Saturday, August 21, 2010


I think I need to go on a trip or something because this blog is becoming B-O-R-I-N-G. Oh wait! I'm going to see my pretend boyfriend tomorrow night with my sister in law! Now THAT is exciting!

This just about says it all.....

Monday, August 16, 2010

Writer's Block

Ok, I know that in order to have writer's block, one has to be a writer. Does writing a blog make a person a writer? I say yes it does! I read many different blogs and enjoy reading people's insights, views on the world, and enjoy delving into their personal lives. There is also a conference every year held by BlogHer in different cities around the country. Last year, it was in Chicago, but since I wasn't a blogger last year, I didn't go. This year it was held in NYC and I didn't go to that one either. My friend Melisa went to BlogHer the past couple of years and she even gave me some of her swag last summer. Fun! You can go here and here to read her recaps on this year's event. (I thought you had to be part of the BlogHer network in order to go, and I'm on the waiting list...but she assured me that anyone who blogs can attend.)

I think it would be fun to get together with fellow bloggers sometime to meet them in person and to sit in some of the conferences to learn more about technology, writing techniques, etc. Of course, the best part would be just hanging out with new people. I'm all about the socializing!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Happy Happy Joy Joy!

I just had a short IM conversation with my dear mother-in-law. She said that they are going to renew their lease for another year at the beach!

That means more of this

And this

Can you smell that intoxicating ocean air? mmmmmm.....

And even these annoying critters

I love the beach! It sure beats the heck out of the soybeans and corn that grow in my back yard! ;)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Still plugging along

Sadly, I found out that I didn't get called back from my lay-off status. I've been sending resumes out like crazy, only to get the standard response, "thanks, but no thanks." I had an interview at another district 4 weeks ago and while I thought it went well, I didn't get called for the job. I really think that in this economy, it's all who you know. And, to be honest, when I got hired by my former district 11 years ago, my volunteer work got my foot in the door there. When The Boy was in second grade, I went in at the beginning of the school year and volunteered my services one day a week. His teacher went around to other teachers and set up a schedule for me and I loved every minute of it. So, by second semester, I signed up to be a substitute, and worked a lot. At the end of the school year, I signed a contract for full time work for the next school year....and the rest is history.

I'm hoping and praying that something comes open soon. I know that when God closes a door, another opens, I just need to have patience. And...patience isn't one of my strong suits! ;)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

He works hard for his money

The Man got The Boy a job at his plant for a couple of weeks this month. The Boy started last night and works from 5pm until 3am doing road work. I was told he'd be holding a road sign and doing traffic control. I got the real story this morning from The Boy...he does hold the road sign during a 'break', but most times he shovels nasty wet concrete that they blast out of the grooves of the road. He was exhausted when he got home this morning!

Yesterday, I drove him to his job site since The Man and I were meeting there to go to a baseball game. I parked in the parking lot and watched my 'baby' use his badge to get through the gate and go find his dad to get started. That was strange. While I was waiting for The Man to come and meet me in the parking lot, I called my mom and she reminded me of the many young men The Boy's age overseas fighting for our country, so I settled myself down. I'm just a mess when it comes to The Boy growing up.

So, The Boy is sleeping and here I am trying to figure out how in the world to get wet nasty concrete out of his jeans. I guess I'd rather do the laundry than work on a road crew.

And The Boy? He's so happy that he has the opportunity to go to college and not have to do this type of work for the rest of his life!

Friday, August 6, 2010

My Heroes ;)

Some comic relief for your afternoon.

By the way....16 days until the Aerosmith concert! I promise I won't go all Mary Katherine on my pretend boyfriend! Maybe.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Let them eat cake!

The Boy and his girlfriend came to visit for a few days when camp was finished. (He met her at camp...we like her...and that's all I'm going to say about that.) I went grocery shopping (according to The Man, we never have food in the house unless The Boy is coming home...whatever!) and started planning what to cook. I saw some blackberries at the store, so I wanted to bake something with them in it.

When I asked TG (the girlfriend) if she liked blackberry cobbler, she said that she normally didn't like cooked fruit. I don't like RAW fruit! lol This is going to sound really weird, but bananas gag me. Watching someone eat a banana gags me. Peeling bananas gags me. HOWEVER, I love banana bread (once I get over the peeling part and the smell of the raw, overly ripe bananas....that just gives me a willy!)

Back to the blackberries. I went through some cookbooks and settled on a recipe in my Southern Living cookbook that Mimi bought for me years ago. It's the 1986 annual recipes book. I love this cookbook! I use it every Christmas for my peanut blossom cookies, among other yummy dishes. The original recipe calls for blueberries, but I substituted blackberries.

Huckle-Buckle Blueberry (Blackberry)

1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar, divided
1 egg
1 2/3 flour, divided
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups fresh berries
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (I only used 1/4 tsp)
1/4 cup butter

Cream softened butter; gradually add 1/2 cup sugar, beating well. Add egg; beat well.

Combine 1 1/3 cup flour, baking powder, and salt; add to the creamed mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Mix well after each addition. Stir in vanilla.

Pour batter into greased 8 inch square baking pan. Top with berries.

Combine remaining 1/2 cup sugar, remaining 1/3 cup flour, and cinnamon. Cut 1/4 cup butter into mixture with a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle over berries.

Bake at 375 for 45-50 minutes.

We had vanilla ice cream on the side and I think even GF enjoyed it. ;)

*This obviously wasn't the cobbler that I originally thought I would make. It was more like a coffee cake...a very moist and delicious coffee cake.


Finally! I figured out the template design and got the background to go the entire length of my blog. I can't even tell you how excited this makes me! :) Oh, and I can finally use my cute title again that my friend Melisa made for me all of those months ago. Woo Hoo!

Go Me!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Skyping is where it's at!

My sister was telling me how she signed up for Skype* and my mom has an account and that they chat sometimes, etc., I asked her how to go about getting my own account. It was easy!

Once you have an account, you sign into Skype when you get online and see if any of your contacts are online. Then you can place a video call and talk. SO! I signed on yesterday and my nieces Allison and Aubrey are staying at my mom's for the week, and guess who was on my mom's computer? Al! I made a call, and we were looking at one another! HOW COOL IS THAT? Except for the fact that they couldn't hear me. So, I was typing and smiling and Al starting typing and smiling, and then I reminded her that I could hear her, so I'll type and she should talk. ;) She was so funny...she was trying to help me figure it all out. I finally found the microphone settings and got that all fixed up, and then they could hear me...then my mom, Aubs (who kept making faces into the camera!) and Al were all cheering. hehe BTW, I think Al types more wpm than I do. When I said something to her about her typing skills, she just shrugged and said, "Yeah, well, I learned how to type in kindergarten!" SERIOUSLY!

One of Aubrey's famous faces

My beautiful and talented Allison...

*I'm not being compensated in any way from Skype. I'm just spreading the love.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Making Memories...and Friends

Wednesday of our girls' week was one of the best nights ever! Little did we know when we signed up for the Navy Pier excursion that we would make such wonderful memories!

We gathered in the lobby of our hotel on Wednesday evening and waited for the charter bus to arrive. As we were standing there, one of our Japanese language classmates (who happens to be from Shanghai, China) came over to chat with us. I started asking her some questions about her culture. I asked if she minded that I was asking her all of these questions. She smiled and assured me that she didn't mind. We stopped talking because they were making announcements and giving out cell phone numbers so that no one would be left behind in Chicago. Once the announcements were over, Celia turned to me and said, "Any questions?" then winked. That was hilarious! ;)

So, we get on the mom and sister sat together and I sat with Celia. We talked the entire way, sharing tidbits of information about our families, showing one another pictures of our boys (she has a 2 year old son), and clearing up misconceptions about our cultures. The ride to Navy Pier seemed to fly by! Once we got there, we walked around taking in the sites. There was a band playing in the Beer Garden, so we stood and listened for a minute before continuing to the end of the pier. After taking tons of pictures like the tourists that we were, we decided to find something to eat. We asked Celia what she wanted to try, and we all decided to walk up towards the restaurants and look at the menus that were posted to see what sounded good. We finally settled on Riva Cafe (there is an inside dining room upstairs with a separate menu that is very chi chi, but we ate outside.) Mom had a small salad with shrimp, Celia had clam chowder in a bread bowl, I had fish and chips, and Margie had a quesadilla. We sat and chatted for over an hour while enjoying each other's company and people watching. Celia taught us that in China, you told the waiter when you were ready to leave, he brought the check, and you left. She also said that they do not tip in China. When our waiter brought the check, she thought we had to leave and we assured her that he wasn't hurrying us out of the restaurant, he was just bringing the check for when we were ready to go.

Celia and I

Margie, Mom, Celia

Dawn, Mom, Margie

After dinner, we went to the giant ferris wheel to wait for the fireworks.

Giant ferris wheel at night

Waiting for the fireworks to start



Beautiful Chicago skyline at night

Once the fireworks were finished, we headed to the bus for the journey back to the hotel. We exchanged email addresses and started planning for next years' seminar, which will be in St. Louis. St. Louis is about 4 hours from my home, so I told Celia that if she is planning on coming, she should come a week early, fly to my house (well, not to MY HOUSE, but to O'Hare in Chicago) and stay with us. I told The Man and he was on board with that. :) She has also extended an invitation to our entire family to visit Shanghai. Now that would be quite an adventure!