Thursday, September 30, 2010

Driving Miss Laura

Please meet my "new" car -

2001 Hyundai Accent.

Okay, yeah, it is still an older car, but it is in great shape.  Best things about it - it runs great, it is economical, it doesn't leak when it rains, it is cute, and my mom and I could afford it!  So yay!

Now, PLEASE go Choose and Defend in the post below!!!!!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Just to Prove That They Really Existed

I am almost literally crawling over the hump today.  I am shot.  But I shall perservere with the help of a little Choose and Defend Wednesday.   Today we shall focus our attention on the visual arts.  Who doesn't like art?  Especially given the very deep and wide definition of what constitutes art!  Part of what made me think of the visual arts is AlienCG's photo a day project over at Swamp Gas & Moonlit Reflections .  If you haven't been checking it out...well, check it out!  You may recall that MrManuel over at Manuel's View completed a similar project just this past May.   Some of you take photos, some of you paint or draw, some of you (me) don't seem to have any mad skillz in those areas, but still enjoy the visual arts.   This all brings us to today's choices for Choose and Defend. 

Which of these two visual mediums do you prefer?

Painting / Drawing 


Feel free to discuss your feelings about creating vs. viewing these different art forms.  All comments are gratefully accepted.  But don't forget to do the essential...Choose your visual art and Defend your choice!  Thank you :-)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Sound of Music... and Bad Singing

During this heat wave, I got a nice Alpine reprieve this past Saturday evening.  Let's talk about it on this hot Talk Talk Tuesday, okay?   Okay, so on Saturday evening Milly and I went to the Hollywood Bowl for a Sound of Music sing-a-long.  I had never been to one before and was really excited to go.

We parked in Pasadena and took the bus to the Bowl.  The show was sold out and they pack you in like sardines there on the bench seating up top :-)  There was a very long costume parade.  Some of the costumes were incredibly clever and some were incredibly lame...but at least they tried.  We didn't dress up!  The winner was this tiny girl who looked like a butterscotch kiss..she was 'ray, a drop of golden sun'.   When it got dark, around 7:30 or so, they began the movie.  They gave us some participation props and many people brought additional ones of their own.  Think of something like Rocky Horror Picture Show, where everyone talks back to the movie.  It was a lot of fun and they provided the lyrics on screen so that even if you didn't know all the Sound of Music songs by heart you could sing along.  I love singing, but am horrible at it.  Fortunately, in a crowd of 17,000 or so, it doesn't really matter how you sound. 

I actually hadn't seen the movie in quite awhile, so it was good to see it again.  It really is quite sweet for a story featuring Nazis.  I always forget how killingly handsome Georg von Trapp is :-)   And the cell phone lit versions of Edelweiss were surprisingly beautiful and rather moving.  I was trying to decide what to Talk Talk about and since I need good thoughts, how about My Favorite Things?
Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things
-Favorite Things by Rodgers and Hammerstein

Now, you know what to do!  What are some of YOUR favorite things?  What do you think about when you're feeling bad?  Talk Talk!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Hang Tough Children

We come together today to bid farewell to my dearly departed 1998 Chevy Cavalier.  Yes, I'm afraid it is the end of the road for my beloved, yet leaky, convertible.  In some ways it is a relief.  I knew that car was living on borrowed time.  Now I am forced to move forward.  I am exceptionally fortunate in that my mom is willing and able to give me some financial support with a newer, more reliable used car.  Also fortunate in that WTG is willing and able to do a lot of the leg work in seeking out a good deal.  I told him I really don't care what it looks like, but it needs to be reliable as all get-out and run on 4 cylinders.  Beyond that, I am not choosy...nor can I really afford to be!  So, here's hoping we can find something cheap, yet running like a top.   So, once again, wish me luck!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Good Car Thoughts Please!

Again with the car troubles.  Guh.  My car wasn't even acting up, but last night it just quit on me.  I stopped at Walgreens on my way home from work and when I came back out to head on home...nothing!  Social Animal came over to try and jump me, but that didn't do it.  I had a feeling it wouldn't be as simple as the battery.  Anyway, I called AAA and got a tow over to WTGs house.  He is going to have this mechanic take a look at it.  The tow truck guy seemed pretty sure it was the starter.  Now I am hoping it is THAT simple.  Let it be just one simple part that the mechanic can switch out, not too pricey, and off I go. 

It sucks to have my car break down.  There is still plenty of luck to be had, though. 

1. The tow truck driver was a very nice young guy.  We had a pleasant talk about our dream cars.
2.I have help from WTG with a place to park the car and have it worked on.  He's also nice about picking up parts the mechanic might need. 
3.I'm able to drive Girlie Girl's car today...with so many other drivers in the family, we do have the luxury of someone's car generally being available.

Whenever my car is being worked on I think of that scene in Vacation with the mechanics.
 "How much is it?"  "How much you got?"
So, again, wish me luck and have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Just Call Me DJ Weirdo

Are you aware that today is "Make a Mix CD" Day?  Well, it is!  Just ask the Eclectic Calendar over at Eclectic Spaghetti.  Yeah, then you'll know!  Anyway, Tara posted her mix, so me, without an original thought in my brain today, said - I can do that too!    My mix is a weirdo mix.  I got it off one of my playlists on YouTube and it is quite random, although skewing towards the mopey and/or theatrical I suppose.

Please to enjoy:

Wonderful World - Israel Kamakawiwo'ole
I'm Gonna Follow You - Pat Benatar
The Way I Am - Ingrd Michaelson
Kiss Me Deadly - Lita Ford
I'm the Man Who Loves You - Wilco
Abandon Ship - Sorry Kisses
Friday Night - The Darkness
The Garden - Mirah
Janelle Morae - Tight Rope
Bright Eyes - I Want a Lover I Don't Have to Love
John C. Reilly - Mr. Cellophane
Hallelujah - Jeff Buckley

Have a great Thrustday!  Um, Thursday.  Thank you.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

That Guy Should Be Me...

...I'd look much better on TV.  Welcome to Choose and Defend Wednesday here @ Fresh Hell!   I've been busy lately.  You know how it, family, and of course it is that time of year again...television series premiere season!  I get a little excited when the new shows come out, hoping that there will be something in the current crop that will be my next Arrested Development or Seinfeld or Six Feet Under or Dancing with the Stars ;-)  Anyway, yes, I do have my mind on the telly.  Probably, since you all have functional personal lives and such, you are not quite so devoted to the boob tube.  However, you may watch a thing or two now and then.  So, I thought I'd offer some choices on this fine Choose and Defend Wednesday!  THREE, in fact, this time!  Wow.  So, here you go....what do you tend to watch most?


Dramas / Procedurals


Reality Based

Alright!  There are your broad choices...Choose and Defend!  As always, feel free to get specific in comments.  Have an all-time favorite show that you are waiting for others to match up to?  A current must see?  Something especially anticipated?  Tell us all about it!  Also, feel encouraged to check out my special Dancing with the Stars page.  I couldn't help it.  Call it a sickness.  Now...Choose and Defend!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Give Me Me Vitamin C, Ya Scurvy Scum!

I hope you all remembered to celebrate International Talk Like a Pirate Day yesterday.  It is one of my favorite holdays, in part because there is no pressure to buy anyone the perfect gift...yet.  I'm sure with the right PR they could get it there :-)
This is the last pirate movie I saw.  It is one of DR's very favorite fil-ums.

At work here on Saturday, my co-worker Camper had a Pirate Party program.  The kids loved it and she had a huge turn out.   Working on Saturdays isn't my favorite thing, but I do like it when we have something fun going on.  In a couple of weeks I will be presenting a Fall Harvest Fun Day.  I mean, it isn't pirates or anything, but I'm hoping I can bring the good times. 

Sunday was a relaxing day.  I got lots of laundry done in the morning and in the afternoon Handsome Lad and I went to see Easy A.  It was his idea and I was okay with going, but I ended up being pleasantly surprised.  Turns out it is kind of an homage to John Hughes films.  It had a lot more heart than I would have expected. 

Now, here we are at Monday and I'm trying not to feel overwhelmed with the sheer endlessness of the week...heck, of the coming months.  There is nothing extraordinary going on, just the usual stuff again and again.  It wears on me.  What do you do when you feel like you are in a rut?  I am betting you guys have some GREAT ideas :-D  

Friday, September 17, 2010

Friday 5 - Nagging

Oooohhh...this week's Friday 5 is a good one.  It sort of resonates with me, because I have a practically pathological fear of being seen as a nag.  Like, sometimes to the point where I let things go too long, just because I don't want to be seen as nagging.  Join me now, as we explore this issue...

1.  What kinds of nagging injuries do you have?  I'm happy and relieved to say that I have no nagging injuries.  *looks around furtively for some wood to knock on...*

2.  What long-procrastinated task is nagging at you lately? Well, I guess at the moment that would be calling to make an appointment for Handsome Lad to have his sports physical.  Don't quite know why I haven't done it yet.  I will though, promise.

3. In what way have you been a nag to someone else?  Well, as I mentioned in my little prologue I tend to be cautious...even overly cautious, about pushing someone into actionMaybe my kids see me as a nag if I ask them about their homework more than once.  Or maybe I seem naggy when I am trying to get them up in the morning.  Other than that, I think I'm in the clear here.
4.  Who in your life is a world-class nag?  Fortunately for me, no one really fits that bill!  I guess the closest would be when Handsome Lad or Girlie Girl really want something from me....they can be a bit persistent.  Back in the day WTG could be a nag, but that is all behind us.  Whew!

5.  Nag is such an ugly word. What would be a nicer way to describe someone who exhibits nagging tendencies?  Maybe they could be called...a motivational speaker!  Just there to get you going, thank you very much :-)

Not to nag or anything, but I do expect you'll get out and have a great that too much to ask?  Increase the peace :-)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

What is More, Your Desire or the Facts

This Choose and Defend Wednesday is inspired by Churlita over at Churlish Figure, who leads a full and interesting life in a place that has actual seasons!  It is almost Autumn, so I thought I'd ask a seasonal question....

What is your favorite Autumn tradition?



Of course, you may have a special Autumn tradition of your own.  I'd love to hear about it...but first, between these two traditions, which would you Choose?  And how will you Defend your choice?  Choose and Defend!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

There Were Two Things That Were Missing From His Life

Talk Talk Tuesday trundles towards you terribly tenaciously!  Um.  Hi. 

Last night my son Handsome Lad cooked dinner for Girlie Girl and I.  He enjoys cooking.  Last time we went to the bookstore we each got a book -

Can you guess which is his and which is mine?  Yeah, no challenge there :-)   Anyway, he boiled up some whole wheat pasta and made a simple tomato sauce using whole canned tomatoes that he hand crushed..I  helped with that...that part was fun.  There was also some onion and garlic and a dibble of olive oil.  It was deeeelicious! 

I like to eat, clearly...but have never been terribly fond of cooking.  Of course I cook.  I mean, I do a fine job I think, but it isn't really a pleasureable activity for me.  Since I associate cooking with caring and nurturing, it feels like a definite flaw in myself.  I know I feel cared for when someone cooks for me.  I would like to be that sort of generous person, but honestly, I can barely even fake it.  So, I mourn that stingy part of me.  And that is how I came to this Talk Talk Tuesday...

"Cooking is at once child's play and adult joy. And cooking done with care is an act of love."
~Craig Claiborne, Kitchen Primer

I thought I'd ask how you all feel about that.  Do you like to cook?  How do you feel when someone cooks for you?  Is providing food that you didn't prepare yourself even a distant second in your book?  Talk Talk!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Bad Photo Essay

I've felt busy lately.  Which is a good thing, because as you've all seen, me with too much time to think is not a good thing.  Here are a few shots (yes bad, bad, bad shots) of recent stuff.

Last Wednesday evening I went to a concert with my friend Ceku.  She had won tickets, so it was free!  We had to really run around to get there after work, but we had a great time. 

This is a picture of how the stage looked near the end of the show.  Kind of looks like fireworks, but it is just the lights and the mist rising in the air.  David Gray put on a much more flashy, rock and roll show than I would have expected.  I am fully in love with Ray LaMontagne though. 
He is rather reserved, but his voice KILLS me.  Afterward, we hit this taco truck near her place and I ate THE BEST burrito EVER.  Srsly.

 Over the weekend, DR sent me this picture of his neighbor's emus.  Those crazy country folk :)

Here are an in-your-face Love Bug and Miss Personality with their new kitten Socks. 
They needed another cat like Love Bug need to get closer to the camera phone. 
But she/he (I'm not sure) is, of course, very cute.

Aaaaand, here is Handsome Lad sleeping with his new puppy (name still pending).  She is a lovely little girl, but once again....another animal?!?!  What are these people thinking?  sigh.
So, there we go.  I had a delightfully restful-ish weekend and am ready to keep rolling.  Nothing in particular planned for this week about you?  Anything special going on this week?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Friday 5 - Fields

Not to jinx anything, since it is still rather early in the day here...but what a good week this has been!  Let's celebrate by participating in this week's Friday 5, shall we?  We shall!  Or at least I shall.  But like most other activities it is more fun with friends :-)

1.What is the field nearest your home like?  Just a couple of blocks away is a small wilderness park.  There is a flat field area with trees and some picnic tables and a little play area.  Then there are some hills with hiking trails.  It's a lovely little pocket of nature in the middle of Glendora. 

2.How did you get into the professional field you’re in? If you’re not working, what field are you most likely to find yourself in some day?  I got into my field mostly by chance.  Of course, as someone who loves reading I had often thought how I'd love to work in a library or even a bookstore.  When I saw an ad in the paper (remember that?) 10 years ago for a part-time Library Associate position at a small public library, I decided to go for it...and the rest is history!  (Just call me Original Laura B.)

3.What’s the most interesting sight within your current field of vision? I'm at work, and as you may recall, I like to keep lots of good visuals around me.  It's actually pretty awesome, the lot of it.  But I guess my eyes are most drawn to the pictures of my kids and DR, within my current field of vision.

4.Where were you the last time you fielded questions from several people in turn?  Fielding questions from person after person, in turn, is a big part of what I do for a living.  So, yeah, I was sitting at the public desk the last time that happened!

5.How are you feeling (fielding?) right now?  I'm super!  Thanks for asking!  

Happy Friday, all y'all!  May your weekend be a field of dreams.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Here Comes Your Man

Choose and Defend Wednesday is here once again.  Are you ready to Choose and Defend?  I hope so!  Your choice this week involves two very different, but currently iconic men.  Sure, they just want to sell you something.  Yet, there is a clever mythology surrounding each of them.  So...who is your man?   I will leave it to you how you want to interpret that.  Could be - who is hotter?  Could be - who would you want to be?  Could be - who would you want to hang with?  You decide and after you have decided that...Choose and Defend your man!

Will it be...

Old Spice Guy

The Most Interesting Man in the World

There you go...Choose and Defend!  And if you haven't yet had a chance to Talk Talk this week...well, feel free to check out the post below as well.  Thanks!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

You Can Choose What You Take

Back to work on this overcast Tuesday.  Want to Talk Talk?  Let's.  Let's share our innermost feelings, shall we?  Well, or alternatively you can humor me with a complete fabrication and/or comment about anything that tickles your ticker.  That'll work too! 

As it sometimes happens, I have Sunday's musical message running through my brain.  Sometimes I pick those nearly randomly when I find a song a remember I like.  Other times, it is more specifically about some lyrics that seem especially apt to me in my life for some reason.  This week, it was a little of both...
Cause you and your heart
Shouldn't feel so far apart...
-Jack Johnson "You and Your Heart"

Just that little snippet.  But I'm feeling it.  I get that sense of separation from my own heart when I am trying to protect myself.  Also, with DR so far away, I sometimes feel more literally separated from my heart. 

Have you ever felt that?  How's your heart right now?  If you are feeling more light hearted, feel free to simply tell me a joke.  The important thing is to Talk Talk!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Labor (No Delivery)

Happy Labor Day to mi amigos Americanos and Happy Monday to the rest of y'all!  I am so pleased to have this extra day off today.  Having a Monday off means I get to go out to lunch with my family.  Aside from that I have no certain plans, which is just my kind of day. 

It's been a great weekend so far.  I worked on Saturday and it was very busy, but I had the best desk shift ever.  There were three of us there so I only had to work the first two hours of the day on desk.  Yes, it was busy, but after luxurious!  After work a couple of the girls had arranged a sort of field trip for us.  A whole bunch of us went bowling.  I hadn't been in a really long time...and my bowling skills were certainly never renowned.  I was happy enough with a score of 69, the supportive cheers of my compadres echoing in my ears :-)   Here are some of us working the camera after a triumphant game -
 On Sunday, I slept in a little.  Kick Back Dude brought the kids over, so that he and Handsome Lad could go for a cross country training run together.  Kick Back Dude has been a runner since the day he could walk, but Handsome Lad is really just starting out.  It's nice for them to have an activity together and me and the kids had fun tearing my apartment to pieces :-)  DR even kept me company on the phone for part of the time.  After the guys came back, half day-id, we had some lunch and languished for awhile. 

Back to work tomorrow, but I am into the four day work week and definitely into being off next Saturday when storytime sign-ups are going on.  Woot!

Hope your weekend was / is a great one too! 

Saturday, September 4, 2010

A Lesson Learned

It's Saturday and here I am at work.  So, not a three day weekend, but at least I still get to have a two day weekend with Monday off!  Yay Labor Day!

Anyway, I thought I'd check the Eclectic Calendar and it turns out that today is Blog About a School Memory Day.  I have lots of those...years and years of them :-)  But here is the one that is stuck in my mind as I begin to write.  And it is a school memory involving my youngest son, but also me.
Handsome Lad always enjoyed being fancy :-) 
Up until about third grade he often wore a suit or at least a shirt and tie to school.
When each of my four older children began preschool, two days a week, through the Parks & Rec Dept, at age 3 or 4, they seemed to accept it quite well.  Off they went...timidly with the first two boys, more eagerly with Social Animal and Girlie Girl when their turns came.  In each case though, there was always that one kid in the class who would carry on as those being killed as his mother (it was almost always the mother, as far as I could tell) tried to leave him there.  And I am going to be honest...I kind of judged those moms and those kids.  I mean, I understood how difficult seperation was for some children, but I also sort of wondered, why should it be sooo difficult?  Was it some special issue?  How did the parents let it get to that point, where their kid was so anxious?  Well, as you may have guessed, when I took my fifth and final child, Handsome Lad, to preschool for the first time, WE were the freakish ones.  He sobbed and clung to me.  I tried staying for a while, then tried leaving, more tears.  This actually went on for the first couple of weeks of his preschool career.  I felt helpless and frankly, rather foolish, but also full of empathy for what was so difficult for my little boy.  Still, he did adjust and his teachers were quite kind and patient, having dealt with the situation many, many times. 

The whole thing was yet another parenting lesson for me.  Not so much, one of those - oh, I should have done that, not this....more of a - don't judge other parents, you uppity beeyotch - sort of thing.  It turned out, like so many other things I've observed with kids, to just be one of those things.  For some kids, seperation is hard.  Or maybe it is for a lot of kids...but some kids want you to be very aware of how hard it is for them. 

With five kids, you get a bit cocky by the time you get to firsts with that last one.  You think you know what to expect.  Now THAT is foolish.  As a parent, one lesson that I learned over and over is - Never imagine you know what is going to happen next.  Those kids, they will surprise you.

Whether you are a parent or not, children have probably taught you something.  What is a valuable or useful lesson you've learned from a kid?

Friday, September 3, 2010

Friday 5 - Ink

Well, lookie here.  It's Friday and often that means I feel compelled to Friday 5 you.  If you're into it, well keep reading and feel free to play along.  If you aren't into, also read?  And comment about how bitchin'  your long weekend is gonna be :-)

1. What are the coolest and ugliest tattoos you’ve ever seen?  There are a LOT of tattoos out there at this point in history.  I like some of the ones I see that include color, but then again I like some of the very simple, but strong black designs I've seen.  I don't really like it when someone is so tatted up that you can't really tell what you are looking at.  I kind of like tattoos and would even consider one for myself if I could think of anything I REALLY wanted permanently etched on my flesh.
You've seen this before...Social Animal's version of the "family" tattoo.
 2. Have you ever had a meal in which squid ink was an ingredient? How was it?  I have never had a meal in which squid ink was an ingredient.  And at the risk of sounding closed to new ideas, I am okay with keeping it that way.

3. Are you one of those people who has a favorite pen, or one of those people who just uses whatever’s at hand? What’re your favorite pens like?  I use whatever is at hand.  However, I prefer the clicky pens to the capped pens.  And I do like the feel in my hand of the more expensive, heavier pens, but am not good at taking care of them :-(

4. There’s a box of colored markers on the table, and someone tells everyone assembled to grab one. If you have first pick, what do you take?  I'd probably go for the blue.  It stands out without giving the more specific message of green (go!) or red (stop!). 

5. Have you ever written on a wall in a public place?  When I was in college, the restrooms stalls were full of bathroom philosophy.  Questions, answers, statements.  I could seldom resist joining in those discussions.  It was like early Twitter, I guess...

And so it is writ!  Have a great long weekend, those of you who are indulging.  Or, have a great regular weekend.  AND if you haven't had a chance to Choose and Defend, scroll on down to Wednesday's post and partake of it's groovy, gooey goodness. 

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Eeee Heeee Heeee...

Today's Choose and Defend Wednesday is brought to you by the power of drive time radio.  Yes, I was inspired by this morning's playlist on my drive in to work.  Let's call this....The Battle of the Idiocyncratic Black Artists!  Choose your favorite from the usual field of two.  Defend your choice to the best of your ability.  Ready? 


Michael Jackson

No one's gonna save you from the beast about to strike...I only wanna see you laughing....Choose and Defend!  Woooooo!