Monday, July 30, 2007

Can you feel it?

There is something in the air here at the House of Chang. I think Hubby summed it up when this morning he commented about a sense of dread and doom. I'm sure it will pass soon enough: we just need to get through these next couple of days.

Hubby is leaving his current customer in pursuit of a more challenging, and better paying customer. With that comes a whole mixture of emotions. You know it will all work out eventually but right now, there is a fair amount of worry going on. Mostly his worry. But I can feel a little bit of it myself.

The Things head back to school tomorrow. I'm just making that turn toward "yeah it is time". I'm not totally on board with the whole being back in school mode. But then again, it has been so hot nobody even feels like going to the pool. And we've spent all the $ that we need to spend right now, so they might as well be in school, right?

Fingers crossed that this year their teachers live up to their reputations. Last year, Thing Two's teacher did live up to her reputation. Which given it was a bad one, it didn't make us happy to learn that all the rumors about her proved to be accurate. This year, the teachers have excellent reputations so my fingers are crossed that my kids will each have a great year.

And as for me, I return to my part time gig on Wednesday. I've had so much time off that I really don't care to work at all. But, I know once I'm there I'll be OK. is always that getting there that is the hardest part of any journey...
(and yes, Sue, this time I am thinking about you when I make this observation. Hang in there and know that the right opportunity will present itself when the time is right,OK?)

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Another year older...

And another year wiser. Yesterday I celebrated my 42nd birthday. I"ll spare you the lame joke I told over and over yesterday. It was barely funny yesterday and pathetic the day after.

But, this morning as as I slowly put away the stuff from our "Christmas in July" craft night with the coven, I found myself smiling. You see, I used to spend my birthdays in somewhat of a funk. Noting another year had passed, thinking of the things I didn't have. I know, not really like me and my usual "half full" attitude but there you have it: birthdays were a downer. I just wanted to get through the day and move on.

But lately, I find a birthday is a time to reflect on all that I have. I've got some pretty amazing gal pals. And while we are all a bit different, the one thing we have in common is the desire to support each other and nurture our friendships whenever we get a chance. I've got that supportive hubby of mine (who brings birthday cakes home even when driving his motorcycle), and those mostly sweet boys. Without a doubt, when it comes to people, I'm well stocked in the "good" department. And as for the stuff of life, well I've got plenty of goodness in that department as well. The roof over my head is sturdy, the walls on the house are sound and the house itself is filled with more possessions than one average person really needs.

So, really what do I have to complain about? Not much that is for sure...but give me a few weeks into the new school year, and I'm sure I'll find something. I always do...

Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Cat is home

My creation
Originally uploaded by mchang1112

and the mouse is still playing. Click on image for a larger view.

Monday, July 23, 2007

At least it isn't porn

yet...only a matter of time I fear!

While he looks like his daddy...

I love seeing so much of me in my younger son! Saturday night, he tells me "Mom, I saw some blueberries in the fridge." Yes, you did. "And, I saw a tub of cool whip.". yes, that's right there is some in there. "Do you think we could have berries and cream?". UM, hello...of course we can.

And now, Monday morning rolls around and we're waiting for Thing One to wake up (he woke up once and went back to bed, saying he had a rough night. He does have restless nights from time to time). I've got HGTV on.

Thing Two chimes in "Oh yeah, this is the show we bet on to figure out which one they'll buy. I'm guessing #2, how about you?".

His momma's sweet tooth and a willingness to watch HGTV?
Oh my, you are so a mini-me! :)

Late Night Reading

No, I didn't stay up late reading HP7. One plus to showing up late to that party, is that I am no where close to being ready to read the final installment of this series.

Instead, I found I couldn't put down yet another book by Dorthea Benton Frank. Pawleys's Island marks the 3rd book that I've read by her. And while she does indeed follow a similar pattern in all her books, I either like her stories enough not to mind or it isn't such a structured pattern that it annoys me. Her books are perfect for summer reading: rich characters, with a bit of a quirk, a simple story that pulls you in but doesn't burden you down with heavy thinking and a crisp clear resolution by the time the book finishes up. This story is set on Pawley's Island, a coastal community located between Myrtle Beach and Charleston. Having been there a time or two, and realizing the power of an ocean breeze in terms of helping clear your head and renew your spirit, I loved the story as it unfolded. However, about 2/3 of the way in, she did pump the drama up just a tad too much where I thought "no way lady, dial it down a bit". The story would have been just as good without her adding that extra bit. But, she managed to bring it back down and wrapped the story up into a nice little package with all the lose ends tied up by the time I got to the last page. I like that in my chick lit: everything all wrapped up nice and neat. Because well, we know that real life isn't like at all and so it makes for good story telling on a hot summer evening.

But now I fear my days of reading will soon be winding to a close. While I won't put up a count down, I can tell you school resumes in just over a week. This week's plan is to work on getting back in the groove. Late last week, I worked on reestablishing bedtimes and evening routines and now we're getting a handle on eating breakfast and getting our day started rather than lounging around in. Notice I save this piece for last because I'm even more guilty than my children when it comes to the morning stall.

With that in mind, I'd better wrap up this post and get my day going. Make it a good one..

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Living Proof

He is indeed a Chinese Cheese Head!

Home Sweet Home

I am very tired, with mountains of laundry pleading for attention. I've got a lawn that is long overdue for some TLC and weeds tall enough to draw attention from the HOA weed police. We have less than 2 weeks before we go back to school/work despite my having plenty of things I wanted to get to while we are all off track. I'm still trying to figure out how we all start out with similar genetics and similar upbringings but end up so dramatically different in the way we live our daily lives. (*yes, a trip to see mostly family leaves you with lots of conversations that don't need to be released to the Internet. So, they are still stuck in my head.)Without a doubt, I've got plenty of things to be cranky about this morning.
But, on the plus side: last night I slept in my own bed, with my Hubby who is neither a bed hog nor cover hoarder like my kids were. My A/C was on and working. My coffee pot brewed the perfect blend and I can sip that coffee all morning long without trying to remember what is the next stop on our Tour of Obligation.

And most important, I've downloaded some pictures from the camera to finally share with ya'll. No doubt about it, while it is fun to travel, it is always good to finally be home!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

And they wonder why I'm a control freak..

Just when I thought I was capable of loosening up my death grip of controlling all things (I'm a Martha, it is genetic), I have sustained a serious set back.

Last night, I let the Things frolic and play in the pools after dinner. I was waterlogged so I sat poolside without getting in. 2 hrs in a water park in street clothes is a very hot and humid time so when I got up to the room I was having a major hot flash. My dear sweet cousin, who had skipped on the last run to the water park, assured me she had turned down the a/c and that things would be cooling off real soon. Sure, I cooled down a bit but the hot flash just never seemed to go away.

As a recovering control freak, I figured, everyone knows how to adjust a hotel a/c unit, right?
Think again! I discovered this morning that not only was a window left open (messing with the effectiveness of a/c) but she'd turned the fan on high but had the temperature set closer to warm than cold. Grrrrrrr....

Who knew that not EVERYBODY knows how to operate a hotel air conditioning unit?

Tonight? I'm resting comfortably in a different hotel, free of kinfolk. I'm waiting patiently for the first coven of friends to arrive. Nancy and Cathy were indeed some of my earliest gal pals where I first realized, while you can't pick you family, you can indeed pick your friends. And these are keepers...having known them both almost 30 years now! They do indeed know where the bodies are buried!

And, I'm also guessing, they know how to adjust the a/c!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Join in the chorus...

as I know a couple of y'all know the tune.. Going to the Great Wolf Lodge!

The wait is over. We head up this morning to the Wisconsin Dells where we check into our room. I"m so very excited to explore all that this place offers. The Things have surpassed my expectations for patiently waiting for this point in our trip to arrive. what troopers they can be when they set their mind to it.

I've not even tried to load photos. Figure I"m doing good to just get online. (I'm not the geek in the family). The trip is going great. We've met up with all sorts of family and friends and have sampled the usual summer fare that makes WI such a fine place to visit. Even made an after dinner run last night for frozen custard at Kopps. Good stuff I tell ya!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Milwaukee Style

As we were driving over to my aunt's house last night, we saw LOTS of motorcyclists. This is after all, Harley Mecca. (note: Hubby is a BMW motorcycle owner, not a Harley guy)

So, we drive by one fella on his bike. He's about as wide as his bike. Thing One chirps up from the backseat after I made some sort of comment with: "Oh mom, he's just riding Milwaukee style".

Thing Two also had me chuckling yesterday when out of the blue he observed: "you know, Wisconsin is a hard place to visit if you are lactose intolerant".

Where do they get these thoughts? Right on the money, both times.

All is well here. Uneventful trip out. Airport very crowded. Parking lots were all full (even the remote remote lot). Anyone planning air travel trips in the coming months: give yourself plenty of extra time to avoid the frustration of waiting in long lines.

Cousins are coming over this afternoon. Hubby is at his rally. Just called to check in: he can't find his own bike in the sea of motorcycles. Too funny!

Life is good...but no pictures as I'm on dial up!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

On to Wisconsin

Hey, would you look at that, Blogger let me title this one..

OK, the bags are packed, boarding passes are printed and we're out of here. Hope I didn't forget anything. Oh well...if I did...guess what, they have stores there. I know: big surprise eh? Figure in the land of cheese, all they have is..cheese? Nah, one can still indulge in a bit of retail therapy if necessary.

Not sure what the Internet situation will be like. Hubby and I are parting ways at one point in the adventure and without him around, it is always a great mystery whether I'll be able to figure out the laptop.

So, until next week...

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

This week's challenge: Summertiiiiiiiiiiiime, and the living is EEEeeezzzzzzy.Tell us how you feel about summer. This summer, a childhood summer, summer traditions, random summer memories, summer sights and smells and sounds. Whatever. Wax poetic about summertime!

I was going to skip this challenge. Lacking both time and inclination because the to-do list is long and the clock is ticking. But, as I read Aimee's challenge this morning, I too was recalling the sweetness of my own mid-west summer memories.

Growing up, my favorite cousin was Sarah. She was a little bit older than me but that never seemed to bother either one of us. She was a little bit different than me, but again, didn't bother either of us. And while we shared one grandmother, she was lucky enough to have her other grandmother living in the same little town as our shared grandma. So, every summer around this time our parents would take us up to see the grandmas. I'd stay with mine. She'd stay with her paternal grandma. One of our differences is I'm an early bird (as was my grandma) and cousin Sarah...well, mornings weren't her forte!

Yet, during the day we'd spend our days laughing and playing like two peas in a pod. Acting goofy, playing paper dolls, eating sweet corn drenched with butter and salt, helping Grandma with laundry (it was fun because she had an old ringer washer), heading out to the family farm and splashing in the creek at the Old Red Mill. Such fabulous happy memories!

Well, we grew up and I moved (again and again, further away with each move it seemed). But, whenever I went back to Wisconsin, I'd always take time to see Cousin Sarah. We are both married now, with 2 kids each. And in just 2 days we'll see each other again.

And in celebration of this life long family connection, I've got a little trip planned for all of us. While the grandmothers have both passed away (leaving no reason to visit the tiny town they lived in), we are still taking a trip together. This time we'll load up own vehicles, buckle in our own kids and head out to Wisconsin Dells. Where we will spend a couple days remembering the days gone by and creating a few more memories at The Great Wolf Lodge. I just hope that she isn't still a night I don't think I can even pretend to hang with that crowd for even a night or two.

Summertime...if you can forget about the never ending heat, it really is a great season of fun!

Monday, July 09, 2007

When the cat is away...

When the Cat is away... the mice will certainly play!

Seriously, honey, we miss you and wish you a safe journey. We'll see you on Wednesday.
Sister Wives: see you tomorrow and park wherever you want, unless Carol has beaten you over here and is hogging the driveway!

Friday, July 06, 2007

Books and Flicks

Just a quick review of a couple movies and a book I finished this week.

For starters, if you like a good chic lit, try Plantation a Low Country Tale by Dorothea Benton Franks. This marks the second book I've read by her in the last couple of months and I must say I enjoyed this one even more than the first. It is a tale of an adult woman coming home, to learn that maybe she's not so different from her mother after all. It is a casual summer read, with richly developed characters and while the plot is predictable (as is always the case in chic lit), it doesn't seem too unbelievable (another flaw with chic lit). I picked up another book by this same author at the library. We'll see if she follows a formula to her writings. I noticed similarities in her first two books but not outright formula writing that makes me irritable. We shall see if she's capable of writing a third good book. Similar is OK, it is when the pattern of the story is almost identical that I get very annoyed. Yeah right, like I could do better?

As for movies, I"m trying to catch up on some chic flicks I rented through Blockbuster Home Delivery. First up was "How to lose a guy in 10 days". Cute premise and Kate Hudson is a good comedic actress. You can tell she's Goldie's Hawn's daughter: she can be goofy and beautiful at the same time. And well, 2 hrs with Matthew Mcconaughey...enough said! (While I don't like him as a celebrity tabloid feature, I do enjoy him on the screen playing the role of leading man. Outside of the screen, I think he's too handsome and he knows it! Again, yeah right who am to be such a critic? ).

Last night I watched an interesting independent film called Real Women have Curves. It stars America Ferrara (Ugly Betty before she became ugly). I rather enjoyed this movie. Keep in mind, it is in an independent film so it has that "artsy" feel to it but you can really appreciate the turmoil that this 17yr old girl is struggling with. If not for the one love scene, I'd highly recommend it be a mother-daughter movie to watch with teenage girls. The scene itself was tastefully done (more of an implied, hey we know what is happening than actually filming a love scene) but it is still a young woman having sex. I think it would just be awkward watching that scene with a parent. Overall I like the film's ability to show a Hispanic family at a cultural crossroads: while comfortable in your own culture, the need to move forward in both education and exposure to the great community that exists out there.

Now I really must work on getting ready for company (fresh coffee and butter braid at 10am, drop on over if you want) and think about getting stuff ready for vacation next week. Oh but blogging is so much more pleasurable than folding laundry, sweeping the floor, making bed, unloading the dishwasher. sheesh...I need to get my hiney off of this office chair!

It was a jungle out there..

Yesterday, we celebrated Thing One's passage into the land of double digits. I'm still pretty dazed by the reality he's been around for a decade now.

For his celebration, my goal was to keep it simple! I was pleasantly surprised by how much he helped with that goal! He asked to bring 3 friends (which I kept telling him his brother was a bonus invite. Every time I'd ask him which 3 he wanted, he started with his brother and added 2 more names. How sweet is that?) to lunch. After lunch we'd head across town to Jungle Quest For lunch, I offered to take them anywhere. Yeah, right while we could have been eating something good from TGI Fridays or Gunther Toody's, the unanimous decision was to head across the street to Burger King!
As I sit here this morning after I realize that, while simple is easier to plan and execute, it is just as tiresome. Birthdays are exhausting! Be it that very first day of birth, or ten years later...I'm just all tuckered out. Nah, not really. These days I'm far less tired and even more in love with that kid we call Thing One! Happy Birthday Son! We love you bunches and bunches!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Evil Girls

Overheard just now..
Thing One's friend, CK: "Girls are evil, they put glue on your door".
Thing One: REALLY? I didn't know they did that sort of evil stuff
CK: YEP, my sister is a girl and she did that to my door last week. Hey, isn't your mom a girl?
Thing One: Yeah, I better watch my door!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Quote Me..

This week's challenge is something I came up with on my own (although this morning, my usual source for Blog Challenges posted a new one. I'll get to that one later on).

The reasoning behind this challenge is two fold: first off, a friend of mine has an interesting tag line in her signature and I'm hoping she'll take time to explain it to us since I made up a challenge designed to do just that...take your favorite quote and explain it.

The other reason I came up with this particular challenge relates to a magazine article I was reading this week. The article asked readers to explain why certain words of wisdom had special meaning to them. I liked the quotes they included in the article and thought I could turn this into a challenge. I am curious to see what other quotes are out there that have a special meaning to my blogging friends.

Overall, I'd say my favorite phrase is Live, Love, Laugh. While there are a couple variations on this phrase out there, I love how it pretty much sums up all the important elements needed to have a a fulfilling life. Live a little, Love a lot and laugh often. With those 3 ingredients in place: you are sure to have a good day and a pretty decent life in general.

As for the magazine article I read, here are some of the quotes that they included
  • Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy? unknown

  • A ship is safe in harbor, but that's not what ships are for. William Shedd
  • Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle. Plato
  • You were born an original. Don't die a copy. John Mason
  • You will never be happy with what you want if you are not happy with what you have. unknown
  • A day without laughter is a day wasted. Charlie Chaplin
  • It is impossible to travel faster than the speed of light, and certainly not desirable, as one's hat keeps blowing off. Woody Allen
All of these are inspiring enough to remind us to get off our duffs, and crawl out of our ruts and go make today happen! And since today is Independence Day, it would not hurt to take time to give Thanks that we are living in this nation where we have so many opportunities available to us, so many freedoms and so many choices. While our nation isn't perfect, our politicians all seem corrupt, and we have some policies that make us all cringe, it is our country.... Sweet Land of Liberty! Get out there and fly the flag and make at least today a happy one!

*Today's photos are from some archived pictures of when my Things were little. I just love looking back and seeing how much they change from year to year.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Dog Days of Summer

Wondering what that really means, I looked over at Wiki. Yet again, he had the answer. Man, term papers would have been a breeze if Wiki were around when I was in school.

But seriously, it is the hot season. My yard is brown because it is so hot and I'm too cheap to spend as much on watering as I should. We water just enough to keep it from total death.

The Things decided it was too hot to go to the pool so instead we sought comfort at the movies yesterday. Went to see Ratatouille. Cute movie, even if the scampering and scurrying scenes forced me to cover my eyes. I'm not a fan of rodents traveling in large groups. Ewww.

The movie itself was fun to watch as a grown up. But just like the last kiddie movie we watched (Meet the Robinsons), I was wondering who was their target audience? There were plenty of little kids in the audience and yet the message of the movie was definetly geared towards an older set. You have the animation element. You give it the G rating, and I think families figure it is OK for any age child. But the story required a fair amount of listening and it was rather long making it more appropriate for the school aged child. Towards the end I spotted a couple preschoolers playing off to the side. I think the message was lost on the little ones and there wasn't enough action to at least keep them engaged.

So, that is about it over here. I just figured I should put something up on the blog since Hubby commented last night "behind in your blogging, eh?" as he surfed.

Blame it on the heat...even the boys aren't making funny remarks!