Thursday, October 18, 2007
I was taking photos of a beautiful foggy morning when a cloud formation that looked like a creature came into view. I first thought it looked like a unicorn:
Then, it appeared as a dove, winging into the periphery of the photo view finder:
It quickly traveled to mid-sky and became more pronounced, spreading its wings:
I glanced away and then back and it had truly turned into an angel, the sun streamed through and made shafts of light that reached down to us:
And, then, upon developing of this picture of Elena, I can see its light encircling and protecting her, can you?
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Just when I thought I was finally getting back on track, I started having numerous banking issues. These issues are my fault. I don't have enough in there to cover the outgoing bills. Hence, I am declaring bankruptcy. But, that little fact aside, I am still downright appalled at Bank of America for several reasons.
1) I have been charged over $250 in $35 fees for transactions that presented when there was not enough money in the checking account. The first of these happened when an automatic savings transfer went through and I had thought I had cancelled it. Grrrrrr....my fault, but they couldn't give me help with ANY of the charges.
2) I went to the bank last Friday and presented a Bank of America check. They cashed it, handed me the cash, to which I replied, "Oh, I wanted this put into my account." The teller took it back and assured me, "Ok, it's cash, it's available immediately." I went to the grocery store, got my medication (you should be saying here, "she's obviously NOT been taking it." LOL), and paid at that counter. Then, I went through the store and bought dinner and checked out and paid for the food items at a different register. Yup, you guessed it, TWO $35 charges for payments made on an overdrawn account. Why in the HECK would I have NOT taken the cash from the teller and just paid in cash? It would have saved me $70 in fees...Grrrrrrrr
3) So, yesterday I went into the bank branch to try and get them to waive the fees. Did you know that all they can do is dial the same 800 numbers we dial? I waited for over a half hour while the bank manager waited ON HOLD with the BofA HQ. Ridiculous.
4) Today, I escalated to a manager, who sounded about 20 years old named Dorian, at the 800 number. This was AFTER I called the main 800 listed on my online banking site, they transferred me to Banc of America Investments, I waited through prompts, answered umpteen questions about who I am and what numbers are associated with me, and then was told I was at the wrong number, only to get transferred again into a waiting queue where I had to again parrot answers to the same questions. The answer was no. No they can't help me. Sorry to lose your business, Ms. Gill. I even asked, "Whatever happened to the customer is always right??"
So, I am closing my account. I am transferring my banking business to Ridgefield Bank...one of the last of the local banks. Please God don't let it get bought out by Bank of America.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Sunday, September 09, 2007
Sunday, August 26, 2007
1) Summer was H-O-T. The kids spent much time fighting and cranking, but they just started playing together. Elena has finally learned that a baby brother can be fun to boss around. She gave him the bizarre nickname of Brother Munka, and chases him around shouting orders, "Munka, NO, you come here with me!" or "Come here wittle Brudder Munka. Silly Munka! What are you doing?" VERY CUTE.
2) Elena's grasp of language continues to improve. She is now into using surprising verbs and descriptions to get her point across. Two examples of this happened last week:
She was using a colorful term a bit too much, so Gwammy (my Mom) put "freakin" in time out. Well, last week she said it again and I reminded her..."That word's in time out, remember?" Her response? "Mom, I know, it just jumped into my mouth."
I stripped my bed. She watched and later said to me, "Mommy, that was so funny when your bed was all naked nudity. It REALLY needed its clothes on!"
3) We are attempting potty training. She is pretty well pee trained at this point. However, we still continue to struggle with the other. Anyone have any ideas?
4) Liam is walking. He walked just after his first birthday. Elena had walked at 9 months, so we have been waiting forever (or so it feels). I am hoping this means the tendonitis in my elbow will improve...walk on little man!
Getting better at it:
5) I got let go from my job due to a misunderstanding. Yeah, right. Stay tuned on this one, folks.
6) I decided to become a consultant in Business Development and secured my first client. Check out www.marketingfire.com I am working on helping them go-to-market more effectively and developing relationships for them with brand owners in the packaged goods space. It's very exciting to be part of an organization of Futurists! Talk about a forward-thinking organization!
7) I am taking my firt plane trip with the kids on Labor Day. We are flying to Orlando to then go to see a good friend and her kids in Gainesville. Wish me luck! I'll send a "postcard".
8) Lots of walking, outdoor play, visits to Lake Candlewood, picking raspberries in our yard...it's been a fun summer.
Sunday, August 19, 2007
1 pork roast, at least 2 pounds
ground pepper and whole mustard seed to taste
1 fresh apple
1 fresh plum/plumicot
1 jar of baby food (I used blueberry apple baby food, but any would work)
2 fat Tbls. of dijon mustard
1 Tbls brown sugar
2 tsps. ground thyme
1 tsp garlic powder/2 cloves garlic
1 tsp dried onion flakes
2 tsp salt (separated)
1 tsp cider vinegar
half dozen carrots
butter (no set amount, but about 6 pats)
1 box of prunes (you will only use as many as fit in the channels in the roast)
Prepare pork roast - wash, dry and place in greased broiler pan. Prepare carrots, scrape and cut in 2 inch dices and put aside.
Slice long channels into the meat (3 of them) and stuffed them with prunes (you could easily use apricots, dried apples, fresh apples, roasted garlic, fresh shallots, garlic, onions, etc...)
Salt and pepper and sprinkle with ground thyme and garlic powder (or rub with cloves of garlic) and place in a 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, cut up apple, plum/plumicot in slices or cubes (I think in retrospect, it might have been good cut in smaller dices), put aside
Heat a small saucepan over med/high heat and saute some garlic and finely sliced onions (I used the dried kind from the spice aisle and fresh garlic), when the aromatics are clear, add baby food, brown sugar, vinegar, dijon mustard, ground thyme, a tsp of salt, cut up apple and plum, and some ground pepper. Cook for about 20 minutes until mixture thickens to a glaze.
After 30 minutes in the oven, reduce the heat to 350 degrees and add the contents of the saute pan to coat the roast with the glaze. I tossed the big pieces of apples and plums on the side of the roast and added the carrots to the side as well, separating them so they weren't touching each other, but were coated with the glaze. Set the timer for one hour (total cooking time should 30 minutes per pound at 350 or until internal temp reaches 160-170 degrees). Every 20 minutes or so, baste the roast and carrots.
When the roast comes out of the oven, move it to a plate and let it rest under an aluminum foil tent.
Use a spatula/spoon to remove all the carrots from the pan. I sliced them into rounds and, right before serving, glazed with some of the sauce, some of the cooked fruit and a couple of pats of butter.
Meanwhile, collect all the drippings from the roast pan and deglaze the pan with about 1/4 cup of water. Reduce sauce in a large frying pan (or you can just put your roast pan right over a burner like you do when making gravy). After the roast rests for 20 minutes, slice into 1/2 inch slices, and arrange on a platter. Finish the gravy with a pat or two or butter to thicken and pour over all the slices....arrange the glazed carrots and fruit pieces on the platter next to the meat and VOILA!
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
We are looking through a book on giraffes. Despite my best efforts to find library books that are fictional, pithy, and full of lively, fun words and pictures, my child is hooked on encyclopaedic works. We picked out ten books at the library last week. Seven are ideal bedtime books, sweet picture books, funny stories, etc. What does she like to read best? Which books does she cart around with her EVERYWHERE? Which books do I fear I will have to replace due to damages incurred by over-loving? The three books on animals. One is on Zebras, one on Elephants, and one on Giraffes.
We arrived home from the library and she was boldly flipping through the animal books making up a story to go with each picture. Thank goodness, since I wasn't interested in reading the four or five paragraphs per page. She was flipping through the giraffe book, creatively called Giraffes, and came to a picture of a weird looking zebra. She annouces to us, "And that's an okapi." We looked at her quizzically and read the teensy print under the picture. Sure enough, it was an okapi. You learn something new everyday, just not usually from a three-year-old!
The okapi is the closest living relative of the giraffe, hence the reason it was in the giraffe book.
Sunday, June 10, 2007
And some photos:
Friday, June 08, 2007
I stepped outside into the road that is arched by trees, vines and ivys. Growing alongside the road are wildflowers and thick banks of weeds. The moment I stepped onto the lane, I could smell the smell of GREEN. I closed my eyes and sniffed. Yes, that was the exact smell of green. Later in my walk, I came to an area that had a funny smell. It smells a bit like urine actually...the smell of YELLOW. At another point, I smelled the acrid odor of old skunk...the smell of BLACK and WHITE.
I started imagining what other smells immediately link in the brain to colors. Here is what I came up with...
The smell of water-soaked hands after swimming in the lake all day. The smell of clean, cool skin, BLUE.
The smell of a warm oven with gingerbread cookies baking, BROWN.
The smell of crushed raspberries or a tomato warmed to pungency by the sun, fresh from the garden, RED.
The overwhelming smell of grape chewing gum, in all its fakeness, immediately connotes PURPLE.
What smells make you think of a color?
Or, am I just plain weird?
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
Monday, June 04, 2007
I spent a lot of time pulling my rotator cuff trying to contort to pick up Lambie (Liam's blankey) and handing him food, toys and binkies. At one point, I begged Elena to share her animal crackers with Liam. It reminded me of the Sistine Chapel fresco of God and Adam where their fingers are just barely touching. This provided enough of a challenge to please both players of the "Pass the Cookie" game. I was thanking God I had put a really big, absorbent bib on Liam for the trip. FYI: animal crackers reduce to crumbs and paste really quickly.
It was yesterday, on a shorter road trip of only a half hour or so, that Elena invented the game we are calling "Pass the Lambie." Liam tosses his Lambie overboard and Elena immediately snatches it up. She tosses it over to him and he grabs it. They lock in a minute or two of tug-o-war and I am treated to paroxysms of laughter...until it all turns bad, as all sibling games seem to when one sibling tires of the game before the other. This one ends with Elena peeved that Lambie is continually being jettisoned onto HER library books. "Mommy!!!!!! Liam keeps throwing his Lambie on my book!!!!!!!!" Sigh...
Sunday, June 03, 2007
Here she is drawing on April 22nd (or thereabouts). These are pictures of Elena, Liam and Dadddy:
And just a reminder...these were her faces drawn on June 7th of last year.
So exciting that she might enjoy art like her mommy...
Friday, June 01, 2007
"Mommy, Mommy, MOMMY?"
"Mommy, Mommy, What you doing?"
"Doing the dishes."
"'Cause they are dirty and I need to do them."
"BECAUSE, people have to do dishes to keep them from piling all up. I have to load them into the dishwasher."
At this point, I shoot her the glower and she often says, "'Cause that's how God made us?"
HAHAHAHAHA! I've got her trained now, if she says, "'Cause why?" I just stare at her and she comes up with an answer of her own.
One of my favorite repetitive conversations involves her reading me a book. She starts out telling me the title, which is always "About __________." She has a book with a horse on the cover she got out of the library this week. The story sounds like this:
Elena: "About horses at day and night. (page flip) About horses at night with stars.(page flip) About ponies and horses. (page flip)" The story continues along those lines with her describing each page as she sees it. It's really very endearing.
Last night, she read me a book about cows with spots, horses with manes, and pigs with curly tails. She read the book almost word for word, but added in her own embellishments (in parentheses below).
Who has spots?
A COW has spots! (Elena adds, "course" as in "of course")
Who has a mane?
A HORSE has a mane! ("'course")
I love that she is interacting with books. I will have to get a video of her reading. It's really quite cute!
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Elena collects Schleich animals. They are cute, but not as cute in heavy swarms like we have here. Everytime she goes to her other grandparents' house, she returns with five or so new animals. Having fixated on the them by pointing out the next animals she wants in the promotional booklet (wiley Schleich), she is able to convince them, through repeated requesting, wishing, and tenacious begging to take her to the toy store to pick up the next round of creatures. This time, it was the Cetylene Ponies (Shetland Ponies). They had all except the baby. They ordered the baby. That's IT for a while though.
The horses all gallyup around and they growl-neigh at each other. They knock each other over and are really quite violent.
Recently, there was a big storm that had us driving an alternate route to town. There was a tree down on the road next to our house, Saw Mill Hill. I told my father, in a voice mail message, that he would have to come home a different way. Anyhow, a few days later, Elena chirps up from the back of the car, "Why are we going this way, Mommy?" My response was, "Why do you think, Elena?" (since we had been through taking a different route because of the fallen tree a bunch of times). She answered, "Because there is a tree down on Saw Mill Hill Rd." I laughed out loud. I think I had only told her WHERE the tree was down once. She has a mind like a steel trap.
Yesterday, we were at my grandmother's lake house. We come out of the house to hear a "Cooo Cooo" and Elena says, "Mommy, that sounds like a morning dove." And I had to agree, it most certainly was a morning dove.
Tonight, she came running over to me all excited..."Mommy, does this look like a mama kangaroo?" she blurted all excited. "Um, yeah, it looks just like a mama kangaroo." Here is a picture of what was hopping all over the desktop:
"Oh good!! I have to make her some babies!!" But of course...
She knows the difference between different breeds of animals, different plants, etc. She notices everything, this child. It's an amazing gift to see the world through the eyes of a little three-year-old observer.
Friday, May 04, 2007
Saturday, April 28, 2007
Trying to keep the peace doesn't really work. Like the Middle East, it's a case of being squeezed into too small of a place to ignore their differences. I long for the day when they can draw a line between them and not cross it. We need a treaty negotiator. I am getting so tired of hearing:
"NO WEEEEEEEEEUMMMMMMMMMM (Liam) MOMMMMMMMMMMMMYYYYYYYYY HE'S TRYING TO GET MY WATER! BINKY! BLANKEY! HAND! HAIR! FACE! Etc."
UGH...Just to prove it, here is my series of attempts to get a picture of them in harmony...
Friday, April 27, 2007
Sunday, April 22, 2007
Can you see why this image captivates me so?
You might respond, "It's just all the school district buses parked smack-daddy behind a HUGE graveyard."
Yes, that is all it is. You're right. There's no greater truth there. No hidden message about life and death, youth ending...nope, nada, zip...
Or is there? What do you think?
Friday, April 20, 2007
Sunday, April 15, 2007
See-sauce = see-saw, this morning she was making a see-sauce out of a box top propped on top of something so that it would rock back and forth.
Gally-upping = giddy'up and galloping combined...this is what horsies do...they gally-up.
You're killing me nuts = reserved for yelling at my sister's little dog. We think it's a combo between "You're killing me" and "You're driving me nuts."
Weindeers = any kind of deer, even Bambi, his mother, etc. And look MOMMY, dere's WEINDEERS on there!!!
Effphant = elephant, one of three favorite animals. Elephants, giraffes and zebras. There are days when she loves horses more or dogs, but these are the standbys.
Zebra-pants = any striped pants...each day, getting dressed it is a hard choice between horsey pants and zebra pants. Mommy, Liam, Gwammy, and Auntie Cate also have zebra-pants.
Grimp = cross between grinch and grump. Basically it means you're cranky.
Big Purple = most important of all the chenille blankies she has. As of Easter 2007, however, Big Purple is lost. It's been a week. I don't think we're going to find it. There haven't been any tears about it, because I sacrificed a robe of mine (also chenille) that "meminds me of Big Purple, Mommy."
My animals = the thirty or so animals she has made by Schleich. It's getting ridiculous now that she has so many. Her animals love to conga, herd and congregate by type. They also watch her and feel emotions before she does. Example: Yesterday I told her we were going to see Daddy and she said, "OH OH...My animals are SO excited to see Daddy!" or, when Grammy and Grampy showed up, and she was "having a wough day with them" (being shy), "My animals are a wittle bit scared of Grammy."
I'll think on this and update with more later...
The other half of the group WAS driven by exactly that, passion. They didn't really know if their choice was the smartest, or most harmonious, all they knew is they couldn't live without being close to this person. Kissing that person, and feeling the fire of passion that burned inside them, was the sole reason they just "knew" it was right. This group was led by their hearts and, um, other parts.
So, between the two types, which are you? Which are you inclined towards? Do you buy this theory? Are their other options I'm missing?
Thursday, April 12, 2007
The concept is simple. It requires very little effort on the sender's part or the part of the receiver. It's enlightening. It can further a friendship and it does all this in one word. This is why I call it the ultimate forward. See if you agree...
The Game is On
Describe me in one word...just one single word. Send it to me and only me. Then, forward the original message to all your friends and see what they have to say about you.
So far I have gotten back:
EFFECTUAL (with the following caveat)
I don't think this word is generally used to describe people...more likely to describe a thing or action that provides a successful outcome. But if you look it up in the Thesaurus, you'll see why I chose the word. It encompasses the first 20+ words that came to mind when I read this email.
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
This afternoon, Momzilla called from her cell. She shouldn't really have a cell phone since she is fairly deaf and claims it "gets no reception" ANYWHERE. So, the conversation goes something like this:
MZ: HELLOOOO????? HELLOOOOOO??????
ME: Hi there, Mary? Is that you?
MZ: HELLOOOOO???? I can't hear you...this darn thing.
ME: I can hear you, what do you want?
MZ: WHAT??????? HUH?????????? I can't hear you.
ME: (SCREAMING NOW) MARY, CALL ME FROM THE LAND PHONE...YOU'RE AT MY HOUSE, THERE'S A PHONE THERE...USE IT!!!!
MZ: What?? Oh dear...I still can't hear anything...
ME: THE OTHER PHONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!
MZ: CALL ME ON THE OTHER PHONE...
I hang up and call back on the land line. Now, thank goodness she can hear me. So, she says, "You got a bunch of calls from banks down here at your house in Norwalk, and I think you better call them back...do you know who they might have been?" No, that's why I have voice mail. Then I shake my head and say, "EXCUSE ME? Why are you answering my phone?" Her answer? "Well, I don't know who might be calling." Uh, yeah, that's the point...it's MY phone.
Then, changing the subject at lightning speed, she says, "And...today, you got a call from the Police Benevolent Society saying thank you in the past for your donation and wanting more money...You need to know that it's not a real organization. You're giving your money to a bum."
2) I have a headache and it's about 35 degrees out and it's April...IT'S SPRING...Where's Puxatawney Phil? I want to give him a piece of my mind!
3) I mean, come on, who buys into this crap:
----- Original Message -----
From: "ilasan bello"
Sent: Wednesday, April 04, 2007 4:23 PM
Subject: REPPLY NEEDED
> MR ILASAN BELLO
> DEAR FRINED
> I AM ILASAN BELLO
> A TOP SENOIR BANKER OFFICIAL OF THE
> FOREIGN REMMITTANCE DEPT
> AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK
> OUAGADOUGOU, BURKINA FASO.
> I AM IN CHARGE OF THE FEDERAL RESERVES ACCOUNT
> AND AUDITING ,DURING THE COURSE OF AUDITING SOME ACCOUNT,I DISCOVERED
> THAT A PATICULAR ACCOUNT HAS BEEN LYING DORMANT FOR SOME TIME,AND
> THIS ACCOUNT WAS USED BY THE MILITARY BACK IN 1998-/2000,THE TOTAL
> SOME IN THAT ACCOUNT IS $18.5M DOLLARS.
> FINALY THE REASON WHY I CONTACTED YOU, IS THAT I DONT WANT THE
> GOVERNMENT TO
> KNOW THAT I DISCOVERED SUCH HUGE AMOUNT IN A DORMANT
> ACCOUNT,PLEASE IF YOU ARE INTERSTED TO ASSIST ME TRANSFER THE MONEY
> INTO YOUR BANK ACCOUNT I WILL BE VERY GREATFULL, AND 30% OF THE TOTAL
> SUM WILL BE YOUR SHARE FOR MAKING THE WHOLE THING SUCCESFUL
> AWAITING TO HEAR FROM YOU
Sunday, April 01, 2007
The "recipe" we followed is here.
This was our outcome:
Thursday, March 29, 2007
The second born is the true perfectionist. This person attends to details, strives for perfection and reads the fine print. "Good enough" is never good enough.
The second born competes with the first born for parental attention. When the second born discovers how to put crayons to paper the first born displays a completed picture to mother. The second born senses the inadequacy of what she (or he) has created. The second born decides that to get love she must do something perfectly.
Second borns may not like compliments. Compliments may bring up memories of mother trying to praise the second born's efforts when the first born obviously did better. It felt condescending then and compliments may feel condescending now. Second borns tend to like suggestions for improvement more.
Second borns tend to assume that everyone is like they are so they do not give compliments. Instead, when you expect a compliment the second offers a suggestion for improvement. The second born is not being mean but simply helping you on the way to perfection.
The second born loses attention as the first born aggressively takes it away, leaving the second child to feel as if he or she cannot do anything well enough to merit attention.
Characteristic Bad Feeling: Inadequacy
Strategies for survival: Perfectionism, Logic
Felt Loss: Emotions
Sense of Justice: Necessity
Thought Pattern: Evaluation
T-shirt: "That won't work, it's not good enough."
Childhood Behavior: Deceptive, Critical
Emotional Expression: Controlled, Intense
Source of Anger: Criticism
Nature of Humor: Dry
Means of Relating: Correction
Spirituality: Self-discipline, Living by rules
Relational: Sensitive to others' anger, Peacemaker
The Child Within: Neglected
Type of Procrastination: Puts things off till they can be done perfectly
Blind spot: Others' emotions
Boundaries: Defined by rules
A walk in the woods: Watches ground around the feet, may go around in circles
Careers: Accounting, Banking, Art, Carpentry, Decorating, Receptionist, Secretary, Teaching, Writing Novels
Strengths: Self-discipline, Honesty, Determination
Parenting: Insists of obedience to the rules
Marriage: Puts spouse, family ahead of self
As Friend: Offers constructive criticism
Social Contributions: Art, financial institutions, completed projects
Expression of Love: Constructive criticism
Driving Style: Drives angrily because others do not follow the rules
Listening Style: Listens for mistakes
Common Phrase: "You need to..."
Responds To: "This may not be perfect, but...."