I Always Feel Like... Somebody's Watching Me!

Monday, February 27, 2012

February Travels

 I have been quite defunct in my blogging recently. It's 15% winter doldrums (where I feel like my brain is dulled by the weather that isn't really winter anyways) and 85% sewing projects. Add a trip to Pittsburgh for our winter break and a wondrous weekend away in Utica, NY sans children.

 A proper update would involve pictures from both excursions, but unfortunately, the doldrums win and I am too lazy to upload at this moment. The event that really brought me back to any sort of blogging mood was the best Academy Award from last night.

 The Muppets were obviously cheated out of Best Picture (aren't they always?), but won for Best Original Song thanks to Bret McKenzie.

 Thank God, because I usually watch the awards show with a healthy dose of angst over the winners of categories like costume design and makeup. It is unbelievable some of the winners they choose. Who is convinced that it was more difficult to make Meryl Streep look like Margaret Thatcher than to create goblins, Voldemort, giants, trolls, ghosts, etc. in Harry Potter? Really? It was that amazing to make a white woman look like a different white woman. I don't know why - but little things like that drive me crazy.

 So there is justice in the world. The Muppets got an Oscar. And Gregory and I spent our first vacation away from the kids since 2009. (Well, we did go to Rhode Island for a babymoon before Elliot...but he technically went with us on that trip!) I will report more on Utica, NY later, although I believe we saw ALL there was to see in 48 hours.

 Hooray for Bret and the Muppets!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

My Kids are Anti Toys 'R Us!

Despite all of the toys scattered across the floor... the object of choice is the laundry basket. Obviously! This is why investing in expensive "educational" toys is highly overrated.

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Friday, February 10, 2012

The Insensitive Air Freshener

  In the battle to keep our house clean, organized (say what!) and in general, sanitary enough for human habitation - I have started to utilize more and more air fresheners. I try to keep plants in every room of the house, although many do not thrive without constant sunlight. I have tried incense but the smell doesn't last long enough and it always makes just another mess of crumbly ashes.

 Some might say that I should just take out the garbage more than once a day. But I say that is wasteful. Some might suggest that I get oil diffusers (but little hands like to make horrible messes with that sort of thing!) Some might also point out that I should be cleaning more often. Riiiigghhht. I can't help but sanitize the bathroom and toilet with Lysol every day. What I want is a house that actually smells good instead of not smelling bad.

  With the help of the most insensitive air freshener ever made, we are on our way to smelling like a fresh bouquet. I bought an Airwick device that is supposed to "sense" an odor and let out little puffs of fresh, lily of the valley goodness. Great idea. The problem with most plug-in air fresheners is that our noses adjust to a certain, constant scent and pretty soon, it doesn't seem like anything is there at all. This little Airwick guy isn't continually spewing perfume into the air - it sends out a burst of scent when necessary.

 Only it is hurting my feelings.

 It is in the bathroom - so of course, it is working overtime. Five people, three of them being overly enthusiastic about stinking up the house, sharing one small space. So I understand that the Airwick is working hard. But does it have to spray when I walk by in the hallway? I shower once a day - give me some credit! It sprays when I brush my teeth or use soap to wash my hands. Is toothpaste a detectable bad odor... or is my breath really that bad when I wake up? As I am sitting there, watching the kids in the bath, it sprays at least five times. That's just rude.

 We have taken one big step in the direction to getting our house "floral fresh", but I wish it didn't have to come at the cost of my self-esteem!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Another Superbowl Sunday in Buffalo

 Oddly enough, this is not the first time I have been in Buffalo on a Superbowl Sunday. We are approaching our one-year-living-in-Buffalo- anniversary, but aren't there yet! This time last year I was anticipating another Steelers victory and packing up boxes.

  Flashback to February 2004 - Gregory and I were yet to be married, hence no kids and this little thing called spare time to travel. I worked for Hyatt Hotels and one of their key benefits was the use of a certain number of free hotel rooms per year. So, naturally, we chose Buffalo! Perhaps we have a cosmic predetermination to reside in Western New York. Or not. Who knows!

 The true purpose of our trip back in 2004 was to go skiing at Kissing Bridge. I was rusty (but not nearly as rusty as I am now) and we figured it would be a fun overnight trip. It just so happened that we were traveling on Superbowl Sunday, not that I place any importance on the event.

 But damn, it is hard to find a place to eat during the Superbowl! We arrived in downtown Buffalo to gross slush and rain, and tried in vain to find at least a local chain restaurant. I remember driving to the Buffalo Chop House. Closing. Pearl Street Brewery. Closed. All of this driving around led us sadly to a T.G.I.Friday's (nothing against the place, but after driving for hours to a new city- it's a letdown to fail at finding at least an independent coffee shop).

 And en route, either to the restaurant or from or in the elevator at the hotel - we missed the "wardrobe malfunction" completely. My soul was saved, right? Ha ha. I didn't have to bear witness to the downfall of the NFL's morality and the ensuing shock. The poor, poor football fans had to be exposed to a woman's body (as if cheerleaders serve a purpose other than unnecessary eye candy.) One of the most infamous moments in a Superbowl halftime show, and Gregory and I were driving around cursing the streets of Buffalo.

 However, the next day at Kissing Bridge did turn out to be one of the best skiing experiences I have ever had. It was a Monday and gloriously free of crowds. The weather had cleared up, so we had snow but no painful windburn. The drive out to the ski resort redeemed the WNY area and we loved it.

 Fast forward to February 2012 - Gregory had to work and I didn't turn on the game at all. Oh yeah, and we now live in the suburbs of Buffalo. The kids monopolize any television viewing and in all honesty, I didn't care about the game. I caught up on any worthwhile commercials via our technology savior: the internet. A win-win! I giggled at attacking cheetahs, naked M&M's and a poor overweight dog without having to care about football! (Although I do share the joy that the win made so many of my friends happy!)

 This should be the part of the post where I lament on how eight years has flown by and it is stupefying how much my life and circumstances has changed. But I won't. We now live in a city we once randomly decided to visit. That opens up all sorts of possibilities, doesn't it?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Kindergarten Rules for Politics

 While I find it encouraging that so many people are getting riled up over primaries and the 2012 election (it means we care! We aren't all apathetic and oblivious!); I think it is going to be a long year. A long year of Facebook updates (myself included), terrible political commercials, "scandals", Republican this, Democrat that, Communist everything and misinformation from all angles. It's already gotten out of hand and we have a long ways to go!

  Political (and candidate) arguments and debates, I find, are so heated because they reach into the core of who we believe ourselves to be. We place a lot of personal issues and self-definition on our decision to vote for specific people and within party lines. However, I think we also have the natural propensity to let emotions, "values" and personal gain rule over information and facts. Let me clarify: every person on the planet does this, not just one political party or one gender or one race.

 That's when our political choices and causes are sometimes ill-fated and most of all, short-sighted. We get mean and exclusive. We criticize and find it impossible to compromise. We act like know it alls. We get SO hung up on one issue or ideology that all other possible points of view must be evil or stupid or Anti-American. We also get so hung up on a particular candidate that we just refuse to hear the whole story, glorifying these people that would be just like us if they weren't backed by millions of campaign dollars.

 I won't pretend to be an expert in political science or economics or world cultures or even our own government's design. The last government class I took was in junior high, when I cared more about owning Gap jeans and cruising the mall. But I know a thing or two.

 This post is my official plea that we can just approach this year, and the ensuing debates, with some basic Kindergarten rules for behavior:

1. Don't be a bastard. Remember that it's okay to disagree - but name calling is out of line. Don't talk to people like they are beneath you. (One of my personal pet peeves is when someone disagrees with me and their only rebuttal is to tell ME do some research. Take your own advice!)

2. Take turns. Shut up every once in awhile and listen to what someone else has to say. We love to hear our own opinions and therefore be affirmed by others that agree with us. Get into a healthy discussion about who gets to play on what part of the playground. There's this little thing called critical thinking that miraculously helps us work out difficult problems and come to a *gasp* solution.

3. Everyone is special. We are all different. We value different things. When we are parents of young children, we will accept higher property taxes in order to support the local public school. When we retire and become empty nesters, we should either move or continue funding the community at large.  This thing called society needs give and take. Flexibility. Empathy.

4. Read a lot of books. Get your information from all types of sources. Watch the news network that you absolutely "can't stand" for 10 minutes, if not just to know what they are saying. Don't just listen to what your friends or your church or candidate tells you - they are biased and yes, they will sometimes lie.

5. Clean up after yourself. If you hurt someone, apologize. If you were wrong, admit it. If you made a big freakin mess with your Crayons, pick it up! Be responsible for yourself and realize that it isn't always going to be enjoyable.

 That's the end of my rant. Okay, one more thing: please don't start any sentences with: All Democrats/Republicans/Libertarians/Feminists/Monkeys/Bananas think this way: (insert ideology). You don't know that and I know you wouldn't take kindly to someone saying that about you!