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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Batteries not included...

BABW Moose

...because batteries not necessary. After staring down a list of Christmas wishes that all require batteries or electricity, the make-your-own fun of stuffed animals is suddenly very appealing.

About 10 days ago, I received the darling duo above from the PR folks for Build-A-Bear Workshop. Let me introduce you to Holly and Hal Moose, the stars of "Holly and Hal Moose: Our Uplifting Christmas Adventure," which aired as part of the ABC Family Countdown to 25 Days of Christmas and is now available on DVD. (You can watch a trailer here.)

I remember when the Build-A-Bear Workshop first opened in our mall here. Annie was about 3 years old. I thought it was such a great idea. I've never been crazy about stuffed animals, but getting to build your own is such a fun idea. Over the years, we've gone to Build-A-Bear to mark special occasions (like successful potty training or the first day of kindergarten), we've been guests at birthday parties, and we've gone to make an animal to give away to a grandparent (always recording our sentiments on the sound button so the receiver can play them over and over again).

Once Holly and Hal are finished with their visit to our house, they will be headed to the Children's Bureau of Indianapolis to bring smiles to the kids who come to the visitation room. But, they will leave here knowing that they've been loved. Robbie loves Hal's antler's decked out in Christmas lights. Annie digs Holly's Ugg-like boots (so do I).

If someone on your gift list would like Holly or Hal -- or both, the giving is simple. You can go to www.buildabear.com and buy them fully dressed and ready to be loved. Or you can give a gift certificate so your child or grandchild can create the special friend themselves.

Not sure moose will do the trick? Check out the Build-A-Gift feature on the website. Or shop by occasion, price (starting as low as $12), or by cause - including children's health organizations, literacy programs and endangered animal causes.

And before you go thinking that stuffed animals are just for girls, check out the Darth Vader, Batman and NFL apparel to dress your bear (or lion or frog) in. And the coming weeks, you can make your own Alvin (of Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel fame)! I know you want one.

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Have you been to Build-A-Bear Workshop? What's your favorite animal/character? Have you ever made a critter to give away? Who was the lucky recipient?

Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday, yay or nay?

It seems like when it comes to Black Friday, people either love it or hate it. I'm a lover. There is something about the thrill of the hunt, tracking down terrific bargains, stretching the holiday dollar. But there's also just the fun of it all.

For the third year in a row, Annie and I went Black Friday shopping with my friend Beth and her daughter Olivia. They picked us up at 10 'til 4am and we headed to Kohl's. I was determined to stick to my list and not get distracted by good-but-I-don't-need-them deals. So just $30 later (with a $10 rebate form in hand), Annie and I sat down to wait for our partners in crime. Next stop, Target.

Kohl's was busy, but Target was crazy! We waited in the comfort of the car until the doors opened. It took more than 5 minutes for the line that wrapped around the side of the building to stream inside before we could go in. I only had 2 things on my Target list, both in toys. And I knew right where they were because on Wednesday, I had walked the store and scoped out where the items I wanted were located. We had them in hand about 3 minutes after entering the store.

Of course, no trip to Target is that quick and that "don't buy what you don't need" resolve got lost a little, as usually happens in Target, Black Friday or not. I picked up some short socks for $1/pair for Annie (because God forbid socks should actually cover your ankle!) and a couple of $3.99 movies.

After we checked out, Beth and I both realized that we'd forgotten the $25 for $20 iTunes card. So we headed back in -- which was fruitless because apparently it wasn't just any old $25 iTunes card that was available for the discount. It was the Christmas iTunes cards. But not just any Christmas iTunes cards, as we found out at the register, but the exact card in the ad, which of course we couldn't find.

It was frustrating, but nicely illustrates one of the keys to Black Friday shopping - don't take it too seriously. The deals are awesome, for sure. But the key to the fun is to keep it lighthearted. Be serious about the shopping, but be willing to let it go without getting all crazy if the item you want isn't in stock or there is long line at the register.

Despite the hassle of the missed iTunes opportunity, we still made it out of Target in time for probably my best deal of the day -- an artificial (because Charlie is allergic to everything green), LED (because that's what Mike wanted), multicolor (because that's what I wanted), 7-foot Christmas tree, originally priced at $200 for -- get this -- $49! Thanks Home Depot!

After a quick breakfast at Cracker Barrel, it was off to Walgreen's (nada), Bath and Body Works (where I accidentally got a handful of foamy, shapeable shape all over my hands!) and then Old Navy for insane deals -- $5 fleece sweatshirts to start.

By this time it was 9am and I was starting to fade a little. A stop into Justice for Girls and Bed, Bath and Beyond and I was ready to call it a day.

Of course, my Black Friday saga doesn't end there. Annie and I went home, ready to crash but Mike was itching to get out. He was not so much into Black Friday as he was feeling cooped up in the house. Because of his knee surgery, he can't drive yet, so it was back to stores for me -- Target again (though I sat in the car) and Best Buy, where we did find some great deals -- including 3 Blu Ray discs for what normally would be the price of one!

Finally, back home! Ahhh....except that Mike and the boys had planned to go to a movie and oh, that's right, he can't drive, so I had to drive them. The first theater was sold out, so I drove them to another one, further away from our house. Rather than driving all the way back home and then have to drive back to pick them up, I decided to kill time on that side of town. How? You got it -- Black Friday shopping!

All in all, it was a fun, yet exhausting, day. I got a few things crossed off my list, did some shopping on behalf of my Mike's mom who asked me to pick up some things for the kids, and only have a couple of items that I need to return.

How about you? Did you do any Black Friday shopping? What was your best deal? Or do you stay as far away from the stores as possible?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Today I'm thankful for visitors to my blog who will pardon me for linking to last year's Thanksgiving post and who I have come to know and love through this little thing called the World Wide Web.

The ABC's of Thanksgiving (circa 2008)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Biggest Loser: And then there were 4

Biggest Loser logo

This was the last week on the Biggest Loser ranch. After the week is over, everyone will go home, so the vote after the weigh in was to determine who will be in the final four.

Liz, Danny, Rudy, Allen and Amanda were left at the beginning of the week. I had to laugh that Amanda is the only one of the "young" group. Remember that episode a few weeks ago where the contestants were talking about an "us vs. them" based on the "young vs. old?"

Of course, this episode started off with Amanda talking about that stupid "America voted for me."

When discussing last week's vote, Jillian tried to call Rudy on gameplay, but he wasn't having any of it. He swore he didn't vote off Rebecca because she was a threat, but because he couldn't trust her.

During the workout in the gym, each contestant compared him/herself to how they were in week one. Danny looked so much different! And Allen, running and pulling Jillian behind him, was a machine.

Liz looked the least transformed, though she had lost over 60 pounds. I could really see the difference in Amanda -- her face, especially.

Then in the "what the heck" category, finance guru Suze Orman showed up. What the heck was she doing on the Biggest Loser?! She swore that she would help people make the connection between wealth and health. And she did a decent job of it, even though I thought she was a little over dramatic.

Orman started out with "obesity is a very expensive disease." I'll buy that. Not just in health-related expenses -- drugs, life insurance, physician visits. But also in the expenses that make people fat -- Quarter Pounders, Maggie Moos, Hershey bars, etc. Of course, that's all conjecture on my part, not that I would know anything about that.

Suze met with each contestant individually. "Are you happily married?," she asked Liz. "We're working on it," was Liz's answer. A bit later, Liz said "I deserve all I can be for me." I'm sure it's not my place to say (but I'm gonna say it anyway), I don't think this is boding well for Liz and her husband.

One thing that Suze said struck a chord with me: "We spend more than when we feel less than." I'm gonna have to think on that one.

After the individual consultations, Suze joined Allison in giving the players a treadmill quiz. For each question each individual got right, he or she would get $1,000 put into a savings account for a rainy day fund. (There was an official "Suze" term for the fund, but I can't recall it.) For each question a player answered wrong, they had to set their treadmill one level higher and one level faster.

The questions all had to do with the costs related to obesity. Did you know that a person can save $1M over 4o years by going from obese to ideal weight?! Everyone but Amanda earned $4,000. Amanda earned $3,000.

After the treadmill quiz, Bob talked to the final 5 about how they're going to continue and maintain their weight loss at home. They all said they will never go back. I've said that too. I think I've lost and gained close to 100 pounds over the last 20 or so years.

Of course it wouldn't be the Biggest Loser this season without a creepy Bob and Amanda moment. Oh my gosh, she wrote him a note. A creepy, schoolgirl note. Bob said Amanda is his biggest success story -- Oh, puh-leaze. It was all I could do to not fast forward through that scene.

Then there were some moments when Danny and Liz were talking about their relationship and about how brown was the last team standing. If I were Danny's wife, I might feel a little threatened by Liz, especially in light of what she said about her own marriage. Maybe that's immature on my part.

The final challenge had the players carrying the weight they lost, shedding the number of pounds they lost each week by setting a football weighing the same number of pounds at markers along the field. The first one to knock out their old selves (standing at the end of the football field) won a trip for 2 to the 2010 NFL Pro Bowl, plus $5,000 of athletic equipment donated to the school of their choice.

Allen took an early lead and held on to it throughout the challenge, winning the Pro Bowl tickets.

Back in the house, Danny wrote a song that he played and sang for the others. It was more than a little cheesy. I wonder how long it is until that's recorded and available in boxes of Multigrain Cheerios. Inspirational vignettes of each player were shown while Danny's song played in the background.

One thing that Danny said in his moment of inspiration was "I've gone from hopeless to hopeful, from dream on to dream again." I like that.

Last chance workout. More of the same retrospective looks on how far they've each come.

Weigh in - Tonight's weigh in winner won an chance for Chef Curtis Stone to come into his or her home and give tips on healthy cooking.

Liz: -5 (Total -69)
Rudy: -12 (Total -146)
Allen: -8 (Total -95)
Danny: -16

At this point, I thought we need Amanda to fall below, because a vote between Liz and Allen will send Allen home.

Amanda: -7. That was enough to keep her safe. I knew that spelled disaster for Allen. Danny won't vote for Liz. So it came down to Rudy and Amanda. I think Rudy is tired of losing challenges to Allen. Amanda might vote for Liz because Liz voted for Amanda to leave 2 weeks ago.

Allen took Amanda aside to spell out a logical case for why she should eliminate Liz from the final four. Did it make any difference?

Danny voted for Allen. No surprise.
Rudy voted for Liz. Again, no surprise.

So it came down to Amanda. And she voted to send Allen home, saying that she wanted to be challenged and she wanted to support another woman.

I'm sorry to see Allen go, but I think he's had a great experience. This is probably the most disappointed and uninterested I've been in the finale of any Biggest Loser season. The only person I hope to see with the title Biggest Loser is Danny. I just really don't care for the other 3.

It's curious to see how some people almost end up in the finale as the result of just flying below the radar. I think one of the keys -- as the show is edited anyway, is to try not to stand out. Be even keeled in your temperment and steady, but not showy, in your weight loss. Think Helen last season, now Danny this season. They brought it every week, weren't too controversial and kept themselves in the game.

Before the transformation moment, Allen looked at the camera and said, "America, the next time you see me, I'm gonna be a smokin' hot firefighter on a calendar!" Love it!

Be sure to set your DVRs for 8pm EST tomorrow night for "Biggest Loser, where are they now?"

Cooking this Thanksgiving?

Check out this post for Mike's grandmother's secret sausage stuffing recipe!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Peel: True or False

So, I'm on day 3 after my Vi facial peel treatment and I know for sure why they call it a "peel." I thought it would fun to do a little "true or false" telling regarding my experience.

1. The sloughing of the skin will begin on day 3 following the application of the peel. FALSE. I woke up yesterday morning, about 36 hours after my peel and noticed that I had dead skin beginning to slough off of my chin. When I washed my face and applied the moisturizer, more skin rolled off as my fingers glided over my chin.

2. The peeling is similar to that of a sunburn peel. TRUE. It doesn't hurt, but the layers of dead skin coming off are similar to when the skin sheds after a sunburn.

3. You should moisturize the skin frequently during the sloughing process. TRUE. My face does feel pretty dry on the dead patches. Moisturizing helps this feel better, but also causes the dead stuff to roll off more quickly.

4. You should schedule your peel so that you can stay home and out of public view on the sloughing days. TRICK QUESTION. True, that would be ideal. But in my case, the reality has been FALSE. Yesterday, Mike had knee surgery so I was in the hospital waiting room all day, trying to keep my head down in my laptop, so as to minimize the number of people who actually could see that my face was shedding like snakeskin. I don't know why I tried to hide it because by the end of the day, I'd been at the hospital, at the drugstore, at Target and at Charlie's basketball practice. And as much as I'd hoped to be a hermit today, I've been back to basketball practice, to the post office and back to Target.

5. You should not pick at the skin falling off your face. TRUE. Although, I'm kind of failing at that. I'm trying really hard not to pick, but I'm the kid who loved to pick dried glue off the Elmer's bottle in grade school. Old habits die hard.

6. You should not commit murder or any other investigatable crime while your skin is shedding from your Vi Peel. TRUE. If you feel like you want to knock off someone, wait until after all the sloughing of the skin is finished. Because let me tell you, there is so much DNA falling off my face now, I'd be convicted faster than you can say "life without parole."

7. You should have a colorful explanation for people who stare and ask what happened to your face. TRUE. In my case, I had a tragic s'mores accident, when I got too close to the bonfire to check my marshmallow. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

8. No pain, no gain. TRUE. Actually, that's a little misleading. This is an UGLY process, but not a painful one. But the skin that's emerging from under all this ugliness is bright and soft as a baby's bottom. And it smells better than a baby's butt, too. Having said that, I do hope to have my "new" face front and center in time for work on Monday.

I promised you pics, so for those with strong stomachs, here they are:

Early peel:

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In full peel:

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Close up on the cheek:

peel cheek


Bet you can't wait to run right out and get a facial peel of your own, huh?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The peel, part 1

Last night was my first VI peel. I was more than a little nervous driving over there, wondering what in the heck I'd gotten myself into.

When I arrived at Phases, I didn't have much time to sit and fret. Elissa was ready for me as soon as I walked in the door. Before we got started, I had to sign some paperwork indicating that I was aware of all the potential risks involved...redness, stinging, swelling. Most of which Elissa assured me that I would probably not experience for long, if at all.

Soon enough, I was flat on my back on the table, being treated to that yummy orange face cleanser and the warm towels again. Seriously, I think I'd drive over there just for that.

Then Elissa scrubbed my face with nail polish remover. Ok, it wasn't REALLY nail polish remover. But it was an acetone scrub that smelled just like nail polish remover and she did tell me to try not to breathe while she was wiping it over my face. I think she said it was to strip away any grease so that the VI peel could be more readily absorbed into my skin.

Once that was done, Elissa turned on a fan that blew gently on my face. She explained exactly how she going to go about applying the peel. And with that, she got started. Much to my happiness, it didn't hurt. It did sting a little, in a hot/cool way. The sensation reminded me of when I was a teenager and I would cleanse my face with Sea Breeze (anyone remember that stuff), only 2-3 times more intense. But it wasn't enough to make me tear up.

We chatted as she was applying the peel and while we waited a few minutes between each layer. I learned that she is not originally from Indianapolis. That she's got a great husband. That they go to every Colts home game. AND that's she's 32 years old.

Are you kidding me? I would have guessed mid to late 20s. I told her that alone was enough to sell me on all this skincare stuff she'd been telling me!

Once layers two and three of the peel were on, I was finished. Elissa went over the "afterpeel" regimen with me. I have to admit that I was a little lost, but she assured me all the instructions -- post-peel towlette, moisturize, hydrocortisone, etc. -- were in the small bag of aftercare products she was sending home with me.

I could immediately sense that my skin felt tight. Not like bad-Botox-job tight. But just-had-a-mud-mask tight. I had a little bit of redness, but nothing too dire. This is me just after I got home:

post peel

Do I look more youthful and radiant yet?

Annie came up to me, looked closely at my face, sniffed and said "So you're what smells like paint!" Nice kid, huh?

Knock on wood, my face hasn't hurt at all. It does feel a little something akin to windburn, like I've been at the soccer field on a windy day all day. And it's been a bit itchy. I've been using a moisturizer that Elissa gave me mixed with a bit of hydrocortisone cream. I hope that's what she said to do. I probably should have written down what she said.

The "peel" part of this process should start sometime on Day 3. So I'm planning to hole up in the house for most of the weekend. Annie has requested that I have a brown paper bag ready. She's such a sensitive kid, isn't she?

But don't worry. Before I don a paper bag, I'll snap a few pics to share here.

Oh, and to answer the question (mine and yours) about how all of this fits into the Go Red for Women Heart Healthy Makeover, my friend Stephanie on Facebook hit the nail on the head. She said "If you feel better about yourself, you might take better care of yourself."

I love having smart friends and I love having this opportunity.

Wordless Wednesday: Frustration

Sad Socks

Fun socks, fun socks everywhere and not a PAIR to wear...


Click here for more Wordless Wednesday.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Biggest Loser: Makeover Week

Biggest Loser logo

Sorry for the late update. I fell asleep with my little guy just as the Biggest Loser was beginning and just woke up at 1:15am!


It's Makeover Week! And each contestant has to give an inspirational speech. To help prepare the contestants for their speech, Tim Gunn and Tabatha Coffey will give them fashion and hair tips.

The Makeover
Randy is arguing with Tabatha about the beard. I totally hope that Tabatha wins.

Rebecca's transformation - the before and after pics were striking. It's easy to forget exactly where these people started. Rebecca looks now a little like Ali Vincent. In her speech, she said that since she was 10 years old, she's always been chubby friend and sister.

Danny - A little color in his hair took about 15 years off him, though I can't help but think he looks a little like Fred Flintstone. A cute Fred Flintstone, but from Bedrock for sure. Danny shared that before he started TBL, his daughter said, "Daddy, I want to have a belly just like you -- I love your belly." If that's not a wake up call, I don't know what would be.

Allen - How do you make over a guy who is already bald? LOL! But he definitely cleans up good in a suit. He talked about being a firefighter charged with saving people's lives when fearing for his own.

Amanda - Ok, I think she got gypped in this makeover. Rebecca looked glam. Amanda looked frumpy. The shirt was awful and why the heck not put her in a dress that could show off her figure? I think Amanda's story is probably typical of many of today's young people. She had no tragedy that set her weight soaring. She just woke up one day and she was fat -- a lifetime of too much eating and not enough moving.

Rudy! Rudy! Rudy! What else to say? I just wanted to rub my hands on his facial hair-free face. And I finally figured out who he looks like. Tara from last season. Every time he smiles, I see Tara. Rudy shared that he lost his sister from cancer when he was 12 years old. Before she died, she encouraged Rudy to do something about his weight. That's a piece of Rudy we haven't seen or heard before

Liz - Love the new 'do. Very stylish and flattering to her face. She blamed her weight on everyone except herself. Her message to every wife, mother, grandmother is that you're worth taking a little time to take care of yourself every day. "I tried to take care of my husband, my kids, my business and somewhere along the way lost myself," Liz said. Yeah. That's a song I could sing.

The Challenge
It felt like the show should have wrapped after the makeover. But there was still work to be done. In tonight's first -- and only challenge -- the players had to pull themselves across a 700 foot ravine, sitting on a small platform suspended over the canyon. The winner gets to take their family for a two week vacation to the new Biggest Loser Fitness Ranch in St. George, Utah.

Poor Liz was freaking out -- and that's exactly how I would have been. "Do you swear to God I'm not gonna fall out of this damn thing?!" LOL!

Rudy and Amanda took the early lead, but I was really hoping Danny would shoot out ahead. Not to be -- Rudy won.

Commercial break with a preview of the new movie The Blind Side starring Sandra Bullock. Wow, Michael Aron, who plays a football player taken in by a southern socialite, had to lose 100 pounds before filming on the movie began. I'm amazed he was even considered for the role at 100 pounds overweight. I've been wanting to see that movie, but now I really want to see it.

After the challenge, Bob wants to know why Allen isn't winning all of the challenges. Allen admits to playing the game a little, letting others win so he keeps the target off his back.

Dr. Phillian goes to work on Rudy and tries to help him see what really got him to 400+ pounds. "I take in every problem and leave it there. And I eat." Hmmm...seems familiar to me...

Green week - tips include take your own mug to the coffee shop and buy local. Would love to talk about buying local sometime...Do any of you buy local? How do you do that? What does that look like in the Midwest? What fruits and veggies are available in the winter?

The Weigh-In
With only one challenge, the weigh-in seemed to come up fast. Bet the contestants felt the same.

Danny - lost 12, sixth week in a row that Danny has lost double digits

Rudy - He's growing that dang beard back. But he lost 16 pounds, so I guess I won't pick on him much about the beard. In 10 weeks, he's lost 134 pounds - most of any contestant to ever lose on campus.

Allen - Lost only 5 pounds. And I guess I'm over being mad at him for voting against Shay because I don't want to see him go home. I'm hoping that two of the girls underperform Allen to keep him safe.

Rebecca - Minus 3. I actually felt a little sorry for her.

Liz - Also down 3. That keeps Allen safe and definitely puts Rebecca below the yellow line.

Amanda - 9! She lost 9 pounds! Which is terrific, although I was hoping to see her on the chopping block.

The Vote
So it comes down to Liz and Rebecca. Liz has more work to do. Rebecca asked to talk to Rudy and Allen. As they leave the room, Allen tells Liz "you need to get some fight." And that's what Rebecca is doing. Fighting to save herself, telling Allen and Rudy that Liz has already gotten her second and third chances.

Liz finds Allen and Rudy and plays the age card. "I'm 49 years old and this is my last chance." And at 39, overweight and out of shape, I can totally relate and hope that Liz gets to stay.

You know, of all the product placements, the one I don't ever see myself trying is the Biggest Loser protein powder. YUCK!

Amanda votes for Liz. No surprise there. Danny votes for Rebecca, again no surprise. So it basically comes down to Allen and Rudy's votes. Rudy votes for Rebecca because of something she did when the teams were blue and black, saying she played both sides of the fence.

Rebecca goes down swinging, telling Rudy that if he didn't trust her, he should have said something before. She was so upset and I felt sorry for her. I think if Liz had been voted off, she would have been resigned to it. But Rebecca went kicking and screaming. In the 10 weeks she was on the ranch, Rebecca lost 71 incredible pounds.

The Transformation
In the transformation moment, Rebecca ran a half-marathon. She looks incredible. She's lost 107 pounds and hopes to open a gym for overweight children. Something about her transformation makes me feel hopeful and good inside. I think it's because I worried that when she left the ranch so upset, she would go home and eat those feelings away. But she triumphed and, I think, will be a contender at the finale.

Disclaimer: The professional communicator in me is being driven crazy by the fact that I'm flipping back and forth between past and present verb tenses. If it's making you crazy too, sorry. But it's now 2:40am and I'm just too tired to go back and fix it all. Forgive me?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Fugitive in the library

When I was growing up, we lived within walking distance of the library. From the time I was 11 years old or so, I would walk to the library by myself and walk back home with six or eight or 12 books. Sadly, my kids don't have that option.

Besides the fact that it's a different world now and I'd be too nervous to let my kids go that far by themselves, we live too dang far from the library. Our town has a b-e-a-utiful library and the kids do like going there. But it's easily 20 minutes from our house in a direction we rarely go. Consequently, we are not frequenters of the library.

Every few years I decide that I'm gonna change that. So I pile the kids in the car (after everyone goes to the bathroom and gets a snack for the big trek) and we head to the library. They play on the computers, sit under the spinning tree in the children's section, and choose books to take home with us. We check out and I promise myself that we'll be back in three weeks to return the books and repeat the whole process.

Then life intervenes and soccer practice or occupational therapy or gymnastics take precedence over a trek back to the library. Soon enough our books are a week late. Then a few weeks late. Then a month. Then, shamefully, much more.

Which brings me to tonight. Annie came home and announced she needed actual book and periodical sources for her research project, not just internet resources. I had no choice. We had to go to the library. Before we left, I recalled that the last time we'd been to the library was for Charlie's research project...LAST SCHOOL YEAR. And we still had books that we'd borrowed. (Insert red-faced emoticon here...)

So after dinner, Annie and I headed to the library. We dropped the way-overdue library books from our last visit in the book return outside. Then I walked in -- fully prepared for the electronic security posts to blare "Fugitive! Fugitive! This lady owes big fines!" as I crossed the threshhold.

Whew...safe! We made it to the second floor reference department undetected.

A very helpful librarian guided us to the Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine for Annie's research on pH in soda and its effects on calcium in the body. Then he showed us the computers where we could search for an article in a periodical. After a few minutes of searching, Annie found a Wall Street Journal article that fit the bill. She wanted to print it out.

"Prints are 10 cents a page," says Mr. Helpful.

"Okey doke. Do I pay you?"

"No. Do you have a library card?"

BUSTED! Here's where I was goin' down for being on the run from library fines. I fumbled for my library card and was relieved when I couldn't find it. Safe.

"That's ok. You can get a visitor pass." Crap. Will that involve showing ID that will give away my secret, I wondered. Not to worry. Getting a visitor pass was as simple as pushing a button on a computer screen. Out popped my little visitor slip and instructions to add change to the machine so we could print Annie's article.

As we finished up Annie's research, still unidentified as a fugitive library offender, I promised myself we'd be back soon to pay our fines (I might need to take out a small loan!) and take advantage of all the great things our library has to offer.

Hmmm...that seems like a story I've heard before.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Color commentary via Facebook

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The Indianapolis Colts amazingly pulled out a win over the New England Patriots tonight, 35-34, coming back from a deficit of 17 points earlier in the game. Here's my running commentary, posted on Facebook as the game unfolded*:

7:43pm I feel like I”m walking through molasses. Absolutely worn out from head to toe. Can I still be a Colts fan if I sleep through the game?

Got a second wind and stayed up to watch...

10:34pm Does Pierre Garcon have any teeth?

10:40pm Should have gone to bed when I had the chance. Friggin’ Colts.

10:45pm Think the Colts should wrap their folks in bubble wrap. (Melvin Bullitt hurt...)

11:15pm Freakin’ A, Manning. (Another interception)

11:38pm Crap! Those ppl who went to bed are gonna be sorry.
(34-27 Patriots; Pats need 2 yards to keep the drive alive and the ball away from Manning)

Pats lose the ball on downs, failing to get the 2 yards. Colts have just under 2 minutes to go about 30 yards.

11:39pm Ok, my entire house is awake now thanks to my bleeds-blue-Colts-lovin’ husband.

Colts score + the extra point. 35-34 with 13 seconds left on the clock.

11:43pm Peyton must have some voodoo priests from New Orleans on his side.

*Times are estimated. Had to count back from present time on FB.

About face

I got a call last week from a doctor's office saying that they were participating in the American Heart Association Better U program and they wanted to schedule me for my consult. Ok. I was expecting the call. But what I wasn't expecting was a call from a plastic surgeon's office.

Whoa! Hold the phone people. I didn't agree to have anything cut off, nipped or tucked! As the person on the phone went on, I understood that this plastic surgeon also runs a skin and laser center. They are offering skin treatments to the five Better U women and will also be doing our makeup for the luncheon and fashion show in February.

So I made my appointment for the consultation and showed up at Phases last Wednesday night. I have to admit, I was a little apprehensive. I don't really like people touching my face. I remember when I was a kid, I saw a bumper sticker that said "If youa toucha my car, I'lla breaka your face." I'm more of the "If youa toucha my face, I'lla breaka your car" variety.

But, I decided to be adventurous. All this skin care service is free, so why not give it a shot? The people in the office could not have been nicer. Elissa, my aesthetician (that's fancy for "face gal") washed my face with some yummy smelling orange stuff and wrapped a warm towel under my chin and around my cheeks. I would have been happy for it all to end right there. It was so cozy, I could have fallen asleep!

However, Elissa had something else in mind. She trotted me out to her magic mirror -- aka the Visia camera -- that takes a picture of your skin and shows all the ugly truths. Sun damage lurking beneath the surface? Got it - plenty of it. Bacteria? Yep, that too. But I'm happy to say that I'm not too bad in the wrinkles department.

After facing the music of the Visia, Elissa took me to another room to photograph me, up close and personal like. Let's just say those pics will not end up in the family Christmas card. Hair pulled back, exposing all the white that is growing from my roots. No makeup and plenty of zoom on the the scars left over from the chicken pox when I was 13.

Back in the comfort of the room with the yummy orange face wash, Elissa explained to me all the stages of skin restoration. Her goal for me before the Go Red for Women luncheon in February is to remove some of that sun damage and give my face a renewed and more youthful glow. For a woman bumping up against 40, that doesn't sound like a bad thing.

So, I agreed to a series of three VI peels, one each month in November, December and January. Elissa swore to me that this will not hurt. I believe "tingling" is the word she used. But she did caution me that on day 3 after the peel, I won't want to go out in public much because that's the day that the "peel" part kicks into high gear.

As in my face will start shedding. "Molting," is what Elissa said. Like a snake. In fact, I got a pretty good visual when she said that if I have a big piece of skin hanging off my face, I shouldn't pull it, but should trim it with scissors.

And this is all supposed to help my heart, how? Ha ha! But I'm game. This Better U challenge is my time and if that time ends up helping me look a little prettier in the process, I won't argue with that.

My first peel is scheduled for this Wednesday. You know I'll be back here to dish about it -- and to share pictures of me as the amazing skin-losing lizard lady!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Cruel & unusual punishment...

or just some heavy-handed encouragement?

Annie and I were meeting my mom and sisters for a day of holiday bazaaring (I just made up a new verb!). I kept telling Annie to get in the shower and she kept saying that she didn't want to take a shower until tonight. But she needed one this morning.

So while she was lying on the floor whining that she didn't want a shower, I calmly walked over and poured a tall glass of water on her head. I even was nice enough to make sure it wasn't ice cold.

She laughed at first, but when she saw me laughing, she turned on the tears and yelled "You're the worst mom in the world!"

Maybe I shouldn't have laughed, but I thought it was a clever response to her defiance.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Biggest Loser: As Annie sees it

Biggest Loser logo

This Biggest Loser wrap-up is courtesy of guest blogger Annie from Fairies 'n' Firecrackers.

Firecracker Annie

The show started with a pop challenge. Alli announced that the weigh-in would be a little different this time and there would be two lines. The usual yellow line with two people under it and a lower red line with one person below it. The person under the red line will go home automatically. They’ll vote on the yellow line, so two people will go home this week. There’s never been a red line. Bob said, “A red line…what the hell?!” I thought that, too! Jillian pulled Bob aside and said that Shay needs to be here. Jillian doesn’t think that Shay is going to do well and is concerned that she’ll go home and fail. What is up with Bob and Amanda?! Why is he worried about her so much? Weird.

Commercial break. I'm hungry and haven't had dinner yet. Hubby is in charge of that tonight.

Danny seems worried about that red line, big time. People are falling over at the gym. Danny doesn’t feel great. He’s hurting and “feels dead”. Let’s hope not. Jillian kicked him out of the gym because he’s over-trained. Dr. Phillian is with Shay on the stairs. Man she’s working her! She really feels that Shay needs another week!

Commercial break. Trainer tip: Monitor your caloric intake of liquids. A 20 oz bottle of fruit juice is how many servings? Answer: 2 ½! That's 30-40 grams of sugar per serving, more than a can of soda!

The “old” folks are teaming up. Rudy, Allen, Danny and Liz. They’re afraid that the younger ones will quickly vote one of them off. Rebecca is quitting according to Jillian. Jillian tells her that all she has is this very moment. Rebecca is in tears with Amanda in their room. “I need this to be the week that I figure it out." She hasn’t figured it out yet?! Come on! Jillian pulls Shay and Amanda out of the gym to see where their heads are. Jillian says, "24 hour fitness" three times in one sentence.

Commercial break. Man, this Papa John’s pizza is good. That’s right, I’m eating pizza while watching The Biggest Loser. My husband ordered it for dinner. It’s good!

The contestants are at a circus for their challenge. What are they doing at a circus for their challenge? Hoops are being lowered. Trampolines, hoops, and mats. Jump through your opponents hoop, every time you do, they get one point. 100 points = you’re out. Last one standing wins. Prize is immunity! Whoa. 8people, two are going home, that leaves only 6 and one gets immunity. This is big, folks! Looks like Liz is getting hit by the young kids. The big guys are going after Amanda. Shay is struggling to get herself through the hoops. Liz is out. Amanda is next. Who’s next? Daniel is out. Big guys are against Rebecca next. Kids are against Allen, he’s out. Now it is Danny and Rudy against Rebecca. She’s out. Shay, Rudy, and Danny are left. Rudy and Shay area fighting because she made an alliance with her at the start of the challenge and now he's trying to get her out with Danny. Shay is out. Danny vs. Rudy. Danny has 77, Rudy has only 5. Danny is out. Rudy wins immunity, no red line for him. Back to campus and Daniel, Shay, Amanda and Rebecca stole bikes out of the gym and they’re working out in Shay’s bedroom while the others sleep at night. That's crazy!

Commercial break. The Blind Sidemovie just previewed. That looks really good!

Product placement with Bob, Liz and Danny. Larabars in the cherry pie flavor which are made solely of almonds, dates, and unsweetened cherries. Time for the last chance workout with Bob. He took them off campus and went to some place full of trapeze bars. Bob talks to Shay about how much she needs to be here. These trapeze bars are kind of wonky, but cool at the same time. Looks like a great work-out.

Commercial break again. That wasn’t long.

Jillian gives them all a last-chance work-out at the campus gym. She works each of them hard! There’s the moon... must be time to weigh-in. Ever notice that they always show the moon at this point in the show? Creepy. Let’s see how they did!

Rudy goes first: previous 332 current: 324 -8 this week
Next is Shay starting 476, previous 393, current:

Commercial break! Darn it, why do they do that?!

Shay’s current weight: 376 -17 pounds!!!!! She just lost a total of 100 pounds in 9 weeks!! 4.33%! WOW!
Amanda 250 starting. Previous 207 current: 202 -5 pounds this week. 2.42%
Rebecca starting: 279 previous 219 current: 209 -10 this week. 4.57% that puts her in first place
Danny is next starting: 430 previous 333 current:

Another commercial. Ugh

Danny’s current weight: 316 -17 pounds, he just lost 100 in 9 weeks too! Wow. 114, to be exact.That’s amazing! 5.11% puts him in first place.

Three people left.

Allen has a one pound advantage. He won it during the pop challenge. 325 starting, previous, 253. Current: 243 -10 pounds. 4.35% with the one pound advantage.
Liz is up. 276 starting, previous 218 current: 206 -12 pounds. She looks thin this week. Good for her! 5.50% puts her in first place.
Shay is now below the yellow line by .02%
Daniel is last. Starting weight: 454 previous 261, current:

Go figure…another commercial!

Daniel’s current weight is: 256 -5 pounds which puts 1.92% and under the red line. He’s going home….again.

Shay and Amanda are below the yellow line together. Bob’s worst night-mare? The others have an hour to decide, as usual. Shay is fighting for her life and wants to stay. Amanda is fighting, too. They both want it and are showing it. I’d much rather see that than the usual “oh send me, they need it more” crap that we’ve seen the last few weeks. I know who I’d be voting for. Let’s see who gets sent home.

Rebecca goes first. She voted for, Shay.
Allen voted for Shay as well.

What the heck people?!

Danny is next. He voted for Amanda.
Liz is next. She’s playing the game…..and votes for Amanda. Surprise, surprise!
2 votes for each of them. It is up to Rudy.

Commercial break!

Rudy votes for Shay.
Shay lost 100 pounds in 9 weeks. She set a record and she’s going home. Her goal is to lose 213 pounds by December for the finale and beat that record, too. They didn't show her "now", just her home-coming 24 hours after she got voted off.

Daniel has lost 215 pounds in a year. He visited David, who he started the biggest loser with him last season. David said that weight-loss isn’t a priority right now and feels healthy. Daniel tells him that he's there for him whenever he decides to lose the weight. The end of the show said that Daniel has a girlfriend who he hopes to introduce to America at the finale. (do I smell a proposal?)

Make-over week next week!!! So fun!

Thanks so much, Annie! I was awake for the show (and definitely awake by the wretched end!), but in no condition to do a write up. I'll just add that I am so disappointed that Shay was voted off that I'm tempted to stop watching the show.

I'm not surprised that Rebecca and Rudy voted for Shay. But Allan? He's a Hoosier and we have more decency than that. The only contestant I'm not totally turned off by now is Danny. Guess he's my new favorite. Sigh...


To end on a good note, both Danny and Shay were on the Jay Leno show right after TBL. He has lost 230 pounds; she's lost 150. They both look great!

Got a reader on your holiday shopping list?

Do you have someone who loves to read on your shopping list? Maybe you're a reader -- never without a book. Wouldn't it be great to carry around 100s of books with you without breaking your back or needing a wheelbarrow?

Photobucket

You can do just that with an Amazon Kindle electronic reader. And my friend, Mr. Noobie wants to give one to you. Mr. Noobie is a real person. I know because I've had lunch with him before. He runs a technology coaching and consulting company. I like to go for answers to mindless tech questions such as "What's the best way to archive digital pictures online?"

So anyway, Patric...er, Mr. Noobie, is giving away an Amazon Kindle. If you click this link to enter, I'll get another entry too. And when you enter, you'll get a unique URL to put on your blog or Facebook page or in your e-mail and you can earn more entries when your friends enter.

Go ahead. Click HERE for your (and my) chance to win!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Help Wanted

Ok folks. I feel like this day has lasted 72 hours. I still have a good 2-3 hours of work to do tonight. Then it's off to a conference at 6:30am tomorrow, returning home around 8pm tomorrow night.

Which means that I might be barely conscious to watch The Biggest Loser tomorrow night. So I'm looking for a guest blogger to write a wrap up of tomorrow's show. Write it however you want. Write it in rhyme. Make a true or false quiz out of it. I just ask that it's generally positive -- it's ok to be critical, but not nasty -- and you keep the language rated PG. And you have to send it to me tomorrow night.

If you're up to the challenge, leave me a comment. I'll give you an e-mail address where you can send your write up and a picture of yourself.

Thanks in advance, folks. Me and my already weary self appreciate it.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Dear So-and-So...

Dear So and So...

Joanie first introduced me to Dear So-and-So a while back and I LOVED it. Of course, it's easy to love when she does it so well. Tonight I feel like giving it a whirl:

Dear Kids,

You know that "meat" sauce you loved on the rigatoni tonight? It was actually soy crumbles! Ha ha! Fooled ya!

Love,
Your Sneaky Mom

******************************

Dear Kris Brown, Houston Texans Kicker,

Don't feel bad. It was just one missed kick...that could have put your team into overtime with a chance to win a game you guys deserved to win.

Sympathetically yours,
A Colts Fan

*****************************

Dear Indianapolis Colts,

You owe Kris Brown a thank you note. And you need to re-visit your roster to see that Reggie Wayne is NOT a quarterback.

Irritated but still loyal fan,
Amy

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Dear Students & Staff at today's high school open house,

Nicely done. Even my kid was impressed.

Appreciatively,
A Protective Mother

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Dear Shoplifter at Target,

Wearing one bra is uncomfortable enough. I can't imagine wearing three at once. And with your toddler in tow, too. Nice lesson, Ma. Glad you got caught.

Vengefully yours,
Lady Who Actually Pays for her Merchandise

For the original Dear So-and-So'er, click the picture at the top of the post.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

All in a day's work

I've been saying for weeks that I'm gonna clean out my closet. Today was the day. Here it is before (minus the ironing board and iron that I already put away before I took the picture -- that's the one sorta clear spot you can see on the floor):

closet before


Nearly 4 hours later:

Photobucket


Sadly, though, after all that work I'm still missing the mates to four pairs of shoes. I thought for sure I'd find them under all that stuff!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Be still my heart

I have a big mouth. Wanna know what's going on in my life? Just ask and I'll pretty much tell you -- would I be a blogger if I were tight-lipped? (Well, there are a few things that I keep close to the vest.) But, I've been sitting on a secret for a few weeks now.

No, I'm not pregnant.

In mid-October, I ran into a fellow school mom, Hether, at after school pick-up. Hether said, "Hey! I tore this out of the paper for you."

Go Red for women

It was an announcement that the local American Heart Association was looking for five women to participate in their Better U 12-week Heart Healthy Makeover. Anyone can go online and follow the program for themselves. But the AHA here wanted to find five women to put through the program with the help of cardiologists, dieticians, and personal trainers. The chosen women would be asked to blog about their experience and will be featured at the Go Red for Women luncheon in February.

The blogging component is what made Hether think of me. And serendipitously, we ran into each other at school, which doesn't happen often.

So I took the article home, sat down to write my 100-word statement about why I should be chosen (I think I fudged and used 107 words) and e-mailed it off. About 10 days later, I got a call saying I was a finalist! And I didn't utter a word here because I didn't want to jinx it.

I thought the interview went well. They asked me to tell them a little bit about myself, what I wanted out of the program, if I would be comfortable doing media interviews. And I had a good answer for every question, I thought. I left there feeling pretty good about my chances. They had received 120 applications and were interviewing 12 women to select the final five. So I didn't even have to be the best -- just better than seven others!

They said it would be a week or so before they announced the winners. But because I'm an impatient sort, I went to the local AHA website yesterday and saw this:

Go Red BetterU Heart Healthy Makeover
The American Heart Association selected five women who are ready to improve their health to participate in the Go Red BetterU Heart Healthy Makeover Challenge. As part of the Challenge, the women will receive free wellness screenings, consultations with a medical professional and ongoing coaching from a personal trainer and dietician.


Selected. As in already chosen. As in I didn't get a phone call. I was absolutely crushed. I'd really be counting on this opportunity to give me the shove toward better health that I need. Minorly hopeful, and a little irritated that I didn't at least get a "thanks but no thanks " e-mail, I sent a note to Kelly, one of the Heart Association women I'd interviewed with.

"I noticed on your website that the 5 women for the BetterU program have already been selected. Does that mean I should uncross my fingers?"

Then about 20 minutes later, after I had checked my e-mail about 47 times, I got a response from Kelly saying "We haven't made any public announcements. Can you send me the link where you saw that?"

So I sent her the link and one desperate, shameless plug for myself reminding her that I'm practically a cardiac catastrophe waiting to happen.

NOTHING. No response at all yesterday afternoon. None at 9pm. None at midnight. None at 7am this morning.

I was just sick and immediately transported back to my junior year in high school when I was so sure that I was a shoe-in for yearbook and I didn't get picked, which threw me headlong into a genuine depression. I just felt deflated and sick to my stomach and began second guessing my interview.

"Maybe I shouldn't have been so cheerful? Maybe I should have gone in teary and begging for rescue from my sorry self? No. I had been myself and did my best," I thought. "When they do make a public announcement about the five women, I won't be catty and petty and think how they should have picked me. I'll be a grown up about this. A grown up who is going to drown her sorrows in Maggie Moos ice cream."

And then the phone rang. It was Kelly from the American Heart Association. "You jumped the gun on me yesterday," she said. "I told you we hadn't made a public announcement, but I didn't tell you it was because we hadn't notified the five women yet."

Well, at least she was nice enough to call and tell me in person that I hadn't made the cut. Except she went on to say, "So I'm notifying you. We are really excited to have you as part of our Go Red for Women Better U Heart Healthy Makeover!"

WHAT?! WOOHOO!!! They picked me! They picked me! I thanked her and quickly assured her that I am not some kind of crazy, desperate, cardiac stalker.

So, over the next few weeks, I'll be setting up appointments with the cardiologists and whomever else they want me to meet with. Then in the first week of December, I'll get to meet the four other women at a kick-off breakfast. Then in January, my 12-week BetterU program gets underway. In February, the five of us will participate in the Go Red for Women luncheon and -- get this -- fashion show!

I really feel like this is my time to make a change in my life. If I were any good at singing, I'd belt out "This is My Now!" But since I'm not, I'll let Jordin Sparks do it for me:

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Criers, beware.

I'm not a crier. My sister Angie totally is. Tears up at the slightest thing. My daughter Annie is following in her aunt's footsteps.

I'm not a crier. But if I were, I would totally need a Kleenex to watch this:



'Tis the season to help where we can.

P.S. - Thanks to Annie at Fairies'n Firecrackers for sharing this.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Biggest Loser in the nation's capital

Biggest Loser logo

(I'm so refraining from the obvious joke...)

In the opening scene, Allison Sweeny made reference to Thomas Jefferson as one of this country's greatest patriots.

My Charlie was watching and said: He's a Patriots fan? He should be a Colts fan! LOL! The kid makes me laugh.

Starting tonight, no more teams - everyone is now competing as individuals.

They move directly into the Pop Challenge - Each contestant has to talk people into joining Bob & Jillian's public workout at the Washington Monument. The winner gets an advantage at the main challenge and the winning team goes to Subway for dinner.

They hit the streets and quickly, there is a Rudy fan club and an Amanda fan club. Allen heads to the closest fire department to drum up support. At the Washington Monument public workout, it came down to one vote between Liz and Allen and Liz won.

I would TOTALLY love to do a Bob and Jillian public workout...except that I didn't notice any oxygen tanks around. Of course all of Allen's firefighter buddies would probably be able to deliver a little CPR if necessary.

After the workout, the contestants, with Bob and Jillian, have a meeting with two senators to discuss addressing the issue of obesity. I was worried that this was going to veer off into a national healthcare debate, but it didn't. I was glad for that.

On to the night's main challenge. It had 4 stages and a contestant must survive all 4 to win. Winner gets immunity. Liz, because she won the pop challenge, gets to choose to skip one of the 1st three stages of the challenge.

1st stage - 1 mile run. The top 6 move on to challenge 2. My Annie was laughing at the Miley Cyrus song "The Climb" that played during the mile run. Rebecca, Daniel, Allen, Amanda, Rudy and Liz finish in the top 6 and move on to the second phase.

2nd stage - 17,954 pennies (The exact number of pounds lost on the Biggest Loser. ) for each player are on the steps of the Watergate Hotel. Contestants each have to run down the stairs, grab some pennies, run up the stairs and fill up a column bank with the pennies. Liz opts to use her skip option, automatically qualifying her for the next round. The top three finishers plus Liz gets to move on to the 3rd phase. Rudy with his big hands was at a distinct advantage and takes one spot in the next stage. Daniel takes the third. It's down to Rebecca and Allen, who will get it? Rebecca won by about 50 cents!

3rd stage - It's Liz, Daniel, Rebecca and Rudy still in the challenge. This is a balance challenge. They must stand on a platform, on a narrow ledge, holding a Pilates ball over their heads. The two who balance longest move on to the final stage of the challenge. The girls seem to be having the easiest time of it. Daniel is the first out. Rebecca looks like the Atlas man statue. Liz steps off her ledge, leaving Rudy and Rebecca to duke it out in the 4th stage.

4th stage - 206 (the total # of BL contestants) steps on the step bench. First to reach 206 wins immunity. Rebecca's lead grows, she doesn't look like she's having fun, but she's doing it. And she won.

Cut to Bob and Amanda taking a walk, talking about getting her head in the game this week. How do they do these product placements with a straight face? This time it was Bob pitching the Extra Berry Smoothie Sugar Free Gum.

Then the contestants get to tour the White House. No sign of the President or first lady, but they did go to Michele Obama's vegetable garden and picked veggies to take inside and cook. But those bowls were REALLY full. Does anyone think that they actually picked all that from the White House garden? (Side note: I really want to plant a big garden next summer. Do any of you grow your own veggies?)

Time for the last chance workout. Jillian had Rudy carrying her up the stairs. Too funny!

Do you think there is some creepy vibe between Bob and Amanda? That "We're back...you and me..." that Bob said. That was a little creepy.

The Washington D.C. weigh in took place at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

Rebecca (immunity) -4
Shay -9 -- broke through the 400s and now weighs 393
Tracey -3
Daniel -11, after struggling with a gain and a 0 pound loss in the past two weeks
Allen -9 LOVE him! He's a firefighter, he's from Indiana. What's not to love?
Danny -12 Wow! They might just move the show to D.C. permanently!
Rudy -9 In 8 weeks, he's lost 110 pounds!
Liz -3 That should keep Shay safe. And definitely puts Liz below the yellow line.

It's either Amanda or Tracey who will also be below. And there Amanda goes with "America chose me" again...Blech! Enough already! I can't decide who I'd rather see go. I don't have to make that choice, though. Because the scale made it for me. Amanda lost 7 pounds, which means it's Tracey vs. Liz in the elimination.

Now is where some gameplay might come in. Who do you send home? Tracey is who crazy and who has alienated lots of people by her actions in previous weeks? Or Liz who is the bigger threat from the competition standpoint?

One more vote and Tracey is gone. Rebecca and Allen are left to vote. Ding dang commercial break! Who did Rebecca vote for?!

Tracey! She's goin' home. Can't wait to see her transformation.

She looks great! Crazy as she was (or was portrayed), good for her! She's lost 85 pounds and looks amazing and she went back and ran that 1 mile that nearly killed her on the first episode.

Were you happy with tonight's outcome? How about next week? Who would you vote off next?

Points for creativity

Waking Charlie up on school mornings is not fun. What starts out as a sweet "Good morning, time to get up" quickly dissolves into begging and pleading and then finally demanding that he get out of bed.

"You're not sick."

"I'm sorry school ruins all your fun."

"No, I can't stay home with you today. I have to go to my job -- and your job is to go to school."

This morning I decided to try a different tactic. Charlie is my uber-competitive kid, so I thought playing to his loves-to-win side might get him moving a little faster.

"Charlie, it's 6:00am. It's a race! Hurry, see if you can get up and get dressed faster than Dad."

To which Charlie replied:

"Sorry Mom. I forfeit."

Gotta give the kid points for creativity.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Crafty Crap

With Halloween done and gone (well, the candy still lingers), my attention is turning full-speed to the Christmas holiday -- more specifically, Christmas shopping. Yes, I know I already blogged about it recently.

But the more I think about it, the more I think I'm wanting to go the homemade route for many gifts. Either stuff that I make myself or stuff handmade by other people. You know, crafty crap. (I mean that in the nicest of ways!) Stuff that is not mass-produced on an assembly line in some foreign country.

The way I see it, there are three ways to get crafty crap for the holidays (or whenever):
  1. Make it yourself.
  2. Shop holiday craft shows/bazaars.
  3. Shop Etsy.
There are a few things I can make myself -- notecards, some kitchen/food gifts, beaded jewelry. I've tried to convince my siblings to do a "handmade" gift exchange -- a CD with a mix of tunes would count, but they're not so enthusiastic. Do you do any handmade gifts? What?

Last year, my mom, sister and I spent a whole day going to holiday craft shows. It was a blast. Sure, there were an abundance of beaded bracelets and I wasn't interested in the homemade jar candles that seemed so prolific. But I did find some cool stuff -- little handmade soaps with mini treasures embedded inside, a fashion-forward t-shirt with a rhinestone horseshoe -- perfect for cheering on my Indianapolis Colts. And when Annie was big into American Girl, those craft shows were the perfect place for buying doll clothes that didn't break the bank.

We're hoping to do a day like that again, so I'm on the lookout for dates/places for local craft shows. If you know of any in the Central Indiana area, please leave me a comment!

Finally, Etsy shopping. I learned about Etsy when I came across a woman who had a booth at a craft show I was at and she had her Etsy site listed on her business card. I could spend hours looking at stuff on Etsy! To get started on Etsy, you can go to Etsy.com and just search something you're interested in -- frogs or Scrabble or sock monkeys, whatever.

Here are a few of the Etsy sites I check from time to time.
  1. Lasso the Moon -- Where my Etsy fascination started.
  2. Fairies'nFirecrackers -- Adorable frou-frou for little girls by 4th Frog follower Annie
  3. Sara's Art -- I just discovered this shop - funky & whimsical art for your home
Do you have others you like? Do share!