August 30, 2009


It was my father-in-law's 79th birthday last week and we went out for dinner last night at one of our favorite restaurants to celebrate.

What a lovely family!

Grad school orientation went well. I bonded with another "mature" student. She's in the same program and taking the same class as I this term so it will be nice to know someone the first night. I think I have 79 things to do before the first class:
- Online Discovering Diversity Profile
- Write a Personal Best Leadership story and give oral presentation at first class
- Read the first four chapters of The Leadership Challenge
- plus two other readings

Guess how I'll be spending my free time this week and next?!

August 25, 2009

Cheating Already

Tonight was the potluck dinner for all the high school volleyball players. I *cheated* and took a meal I made at Let's Dish - three cheese spinach rollups (or mock lasagna). When we arrived there were four other pans of lasagna. Of course. Some folks took the easy way out and brought a bucket of chicken or pizza. I'm not complaining - I'll remember those for future potlucks and they went quickly. Others brought homemade salads, casseroles, etc. Overachievers. I've never been accused of being one of those, though I have been called "Martha" (as in Martha Stewart).

I registered for my first grad school course. I'm a graduate student! That's so fun to say. Let's hope I'm able to hang in there so I can continue to say it right up to graduation. Technically I should graduate in 2013. It may take me another year or so as I'll be taking only one course per term until I'm comfortable with two at a time. Baby steps for goodness sakes. My course is "Ethics and Leadership" (required first course). I'll be going on Friday nights starting September 11th.

This course fosters personal development as an ethical, effective and enduring leader. Activities include: analyzing feedback from assessment instruments such as the Leadership Practices Inventory; reflecting on personal leadership experiences and those of others; responding to case studies; reviewing current leadership literature; and creating a credo and metaphor. Major assignments include analyzing data collected from interviews with leaders, participating in a team presentation dealing with ethical challenges in organizations and producing a portfolio documenting personal leadership abilities, experiences and goals.

What have I gotten myself into?!

August 23, 2009


Love chocolate? Like pomegranate? Then this recipe is for you!
I'd use a little less juice (used 1/2 cup) and maybe less butter for the frosting, but these are wonderful!

August 22, 2009

La Isla Bonita

You may have noticed the countdown on the left-side of the blog. Subtle, I know. The fam is cruising to Mexico (hence the cerveza reference) via Royal Caribbean. I never can remember how to spell Caribbean. And what is the proper pronunciation? Ca-ri-bee-an OR Ca-rib-ee-in? Whatever - I'm going to soak up some sun and cerveza no matter how you say it! We won't have a butler like on our recent Celebrity cruises, but somehow we'll muddle through. We'll be stopping in Cozumel and Costa Maya. Now I have something to obsess over besides Chunky's birthday - shore excursions! I probably need a shrink. MPB is smart, she married one :)

Boyfriend update: he's baaaack! Sassy and he got together for a bonfire at his house last night. Did you hear the angels sing?!

August 21, 2009

The Journey Begins

I received a letter from St. Catherine University today - after careful review of your record by the Graduate Admission Committee... based on the quality of your application and recommendations, you have been accepted into the Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership program. Yeah me! When I told Sassy I was accepted, she said "Well yeah, like you're smart so of course you were going to get in. I can't believe you thought you wouldn't". I love her. Do you think the Admission Committee was like the one in "Flashdance" with them all sitting at a long table prim and proper, deciding who's in and who's out? Thank goodness I didn't have to dance to get in! I'm worse than Albert in"Hitch". So the journey begins. With orientation for four hours next Saturday.

Sassy and I met with her guidance counselor at the new high school today. She's taking biology, world history, german (spanish was not her forte last year), english, advanced geometry, power walking what? in my day it was simply "gym" with no choices, sales & marketing, and digital photography (ceramics is the back up plan if full). We were sent home with a ton of paperwork. uh, didn't I already submit the magna carta for the transfer?! She has to return next Friday for photos, official class schedule, locker assignment and lunch money collection. There seemed to be a lot of references to "extra fees". oh goody, and we thought we were on easy street without the private high school tuition.

So the journey begins for both of us. and the outpouring of cash.

Sorry I can't commit to the book Mad :(

August 20, 2009

The B's Have It

Sassy has been at tryouts for the volleyball team the last three days (6 hrs a day!). She found out last night she made B-Squad and is a bit bummed. To bring everyone up to speed on high school volleyball teams, there's 9A, 9B, B-Squad, JV (Jr Varsity) and Varsity (the pinnacle). She was really hoping to make JV and was actually practicing with the girls already selected for JV the last two days. She is ineligible for Varsity this year because of the school transfer (state high school sport league rules to prevent recruiting). I was bummed for her, but really think this is best and was glad to hear the JV coach personally talked to her about it. He feels it better for her to be on B-Squad to have playing time and gain experience. There are two juniors (Sassy is a sophomore) that play the same position as her (left hitter) on JV so she would probably be benched a fair amount of time. I say court time is way better than bench time. The coach also told her he'd likely pull her up to JV midway through the season. Not sure if this would be a permanent roster change for the remainder of the season or if she'd be more of a substitute. This means they recognize her talent and potential and want to set her up for long-term success. This is what good coaches do. I'm happy for her, but of course she's bummed. Not defeated, just feeling a little low in the ranks. So long as she keeps her head in the game and the coaches keep pushing her in all the right ways she will have a successful season and make a lot of progress.

I'm kind of excited for volleyball season to start. It's crazy - running to games, cheering (those who know me personally already know I'm not a wallflower and that extends to all aspects of my parenting) and socializing. Afraid I may be overextending myself the next few months - I have new responsibilities at work which mean I own two huge projects due by the end of year plus my regular everyday duties (I think my business card should say "Cleaner"), kids back to school, president of the PTA, volleyball season, hopefully starting grad school and maybe helping Mad author a chapter of a business book. I'm so NOT type A - more like B+ at best. Not sure where I got the motivation for all this - so unlike me. Maybe I'm having a midlife crisis? Where's my convertible and hot guy?! Just kidding - I wouldn't trade hubby in for a new model even on the worst day. C'mon, why would I? He hates cheap furniture, loves to eat out, practically lives in the garage and likes to buy me jewelry and purses because they don't require him to know clothing size. Mr B is a keeper.

August 15, 2009


A whole lotta nada is what's going on here. Still waiting to hear on my acceptance to grad school. I called earlier this week because I'd received a letter some transcripts were outstanding (note to anyone going to school - stick with one or two at the most as it will make life easier for a variety of reasons). Turns out they received the outstanding docs but had filed them under another name. Yes, my last name is a combination of my maiden plus spouses' last names. No, I do not hyphenate. This is not an uncommon practice in our culture today. Why is it so hard for people to put this all together?! I'm frequently asked if I go by my the first or second last name. HELLO?! It is ONE name dammit. Would you ask someone named "Ann Marie" if they go by "Ann" or "Marie"? No you would not. Chunky's basketball camp was a great success - he had a wonderful time and the sweat volume was acceptable. He did have sore feet each day and so felt it necessary to soak them in the portable foot spa I purchased when pregnant with him. I think it's fair to call him a metrosexual. Sassy's boyfriend is gone for two weeks on a family vacation in a neighboring state. I think she may die. High school volleyball tryouts are this week and I think she's a bit anxious. Because of the transfer she's not eligible for varsity, only B squad or JV. I think that's just fine. She evidently was aiming high. Sassy had her three BFFs over for a birthday party for one of them the other evening. There were streamers, silly string, virgin pina coladas, birthday cake and screaming. I picked up Chinese food on the way home so I didn't have to cook, deal with the pressure of making something everyone liked or do dishes. One of the other girls' parents told me my house is the "fun house". Not sure if that's a good or bad thing. I'm already planning Chunky's tenth birthday party in early November. I live for this. I typically have a theme (Olympics, Halloween, Rodeo, Hawaiian, etc.). I'm thinking of a way to play on the number ten (e.g. X or decades). Finger foods is what I'm focusing on at the moment (maybe ten different tapas). Ooohh, just had a thought - a birthday cake in the shape of an "X"! See what I mean? I'm a little crazy but this is my thing.

August 12, 2009

Mrs. Monopoly

We played a family game of Monopoly this evening (minus Sassy who had more important teen things to do like rat her hair). Chunky has declared every Wednesday family game night. Must be a slow TV night or perhaps he was grounded. I like to play but am not particularly competitive. Hubby is definitely competitive. We all had a few properties but I was the first to have a series - the yellows. I had Park Place but no Boardwalk. I had only two railroads. I had WaterWorks and the Electric Company but these were rarely landed upon. Hubby owned the tans (Tennessee) and the greens (No. Carolina) and kept moving his hotels around depending on where we were in our turns. I just hung in there, buying houses for my lovely little yellow ladies every few turns and lo and behold mine were the most often landed upon properties. Did you know statistically the three most-landed-on properties are Illinois Avenue, "GO" and B&O Railroad? Guess who won?!

Victory belongs to the most persevering ~ Napoleon Bonaparte

August 10, 2009

Circus x 2

I went to the circus yesterday. We are extremely fortunate to have a wealth of cultural opportunities in our own backyard here in the arctic. One of the best is Circus Juventas - a youth performing arts circus (think junior Cirque du Soleil). Last year was our first time attending. They're celebrating their 15th year and I can't believe I missed out on 13 fantastic performances. This is one of the local best kept secrets that just has to get out. This year's performance is "Yulong: The Jade Dragon" and it did not disappoint. Acts include 97 performers ages 3 to 22 performing hoop diving, tightrope walking, flag tumbling, Chinese pole acrobatics, triangle trapeze, french trapeze, wall trampoline, martial arts, German wheel, traditional Chinese dances and much, much more!

These are synchronized aerial scarf performers - incredible!

I also have a circus within my home most every day of the week. I didn't snap the photo in time, but just missed Sookie (the cat) taking food out of Abbie's (the dog) dish. Dogs and cats living together, what is the world coming to?!

Name that movie:
What do you mean "biblical"?
Human sacrifices, dogs and cats living together! Mass hysteria!

August 8, 2009

Play Date

We had an awesome time with my BFF and her three girls yesterday!

If I'd taken the shot just a few seconds earlier you would've seen BFF doing the splits! This is E helping momma up off her ass.

E is a do-it-yourselfer!

J won by a landslide
M gets the best effort award
Sassy and E

I'm fairly certain this resulted in a strike for me
Chunky's self portrait

E hanging in the "pool" (aka Jacuzzi) at our house. Momma didn't want her to get her hair wet. I knew all those hotel shower caps would come in handy one day.

August 7, 2009


I am so bummed to hear John Hughes died. Being a child of the '80s I have a special place in my heart for his movies and several are bonafide classics. Here's to you John Hughes ~

Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.
~ Ferris Bueller's Day Off

Eat my shorts.
Being bad feels pretty good, huh?
~ The Breakfast Club

Because getting there is half the fun ~ National Lampoon's Vacation

You're doing it wrong ~ Mr. Mom

No more yankie my wankie
What's happenin' hot stuff?
~ Sixteen Candles

August 6, 2009

More Food Porn

Remember the Destination Dinners gift for my mom? Well I found this new foodie site and they are giving one away. Check it out!

Ho Hum

It seems like I haven't blogged in forever. Nothing too exciting to report. Our home PC had a major meltdown so that put a crimp in my style. I lost all my bookmarked sites but thankfully didn't lose documents or photos. No news on the grad school front but I've been plenty busy with PTA back-to-school stuff. I think we are having the coolest summer on record. I do live in the arctic afterall. It seems like most days we don't get above 80 degrees. I heard El Nino is back. I likey El Nino - the last time it came around these parts we had a very mild winter. Tomorrow the kids and I will be spending the day with my BFF and her three girls. It looks like rain so instead of going to the beach I think we'll be bowling.

A work friend's 7 yo daughter had a nasty accident on a motorized scooter last weekend. She cracked her upper jaw so hard her two front teeth fell out and there's only a 5% chance the transplant will take. She also has severe road rash on her lower jaw and quite a few stitches on her face and arms. NO head injury thank goodness - she was wearing a bike helmet. Just hearing about it made me think back to a terrible accident Sassy had at 2 yo. She fell out our second story sliding glass window - no deck - onto concrete 9 feet below. I about died when I looked out the window and saw my baby lying there without any movement. By the time I ran outside our one neighbor had jumped their fence to hold her head still and the other neighbor called 911. She had two hairline skull fractures and a swollen eye that turned from red to purple to black & blue then finally yellow - you could have fit a golf ball under her eye. We've seen otolaryngologists and other doctors over the years but have found no permanent damage. Other than she's naturally blonde. When she does something particularly ditzy, we humor her and remind her she had a head injury. 'Cause we're compassionate like that.

Chunky has basketball camp next week. When I picked him up from summer "school" today he asked how long the days will be (probably because I picked him up 5 minutes before close and he "hates to be the last one", though I think he'd secretly like to see me owe them money for overtime). I tell him 9am to 3pm and he says "Man, I'm going to be tired. I bet I'll be dripping in sweat every day when you pick me up." Oh goody. Note to self: put a towel in the car for Chunky's sweat drippings on the drive home. Maybe I'll hose him off in the driveway too so he doesn't stink up the house on his way to catch some Z's. Again, compassionate family here.

August 1, 2009

Who Fast-Forwarded Summer?

Seriously?! It's August already?! Shut the front door!

Happy Birthday Mimi - this is for you!
Wish you were here to enjoy the cocktail. Another time :)