Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Fall reading anyone?

Summer is over officially. I know the days are still pretty warm but it is September and we are all anticipating cooler weather. 
The kids are back in school and home order is slowly being restored.

Now what to read for fall...???

 I love to read based on seasons. Summer is time for fun, fluffy stuff. Janet Evanovich, May Kay Andrews and Celia Rivenbark are my go-tos for summer. Autumn brings me to books with a more serious (not Tolstoy serious) tone. Elizabeth Berg, Sue Miller are some authors I have read in the fall before; but what about now?

Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
A year in the life of two pioneer girls.

Cider House Rules by John Irving
An orphan in 1900's Maine and the complex issues he faces.

Year of Pleasures by Elizabeth Berg
A woman starts over after the death of her husband enjoys the simple things in neighbors, friends and love.

Sycamore Row by John Grisham
The sequel to A time to Kill. I need to follow up with Jake and Carla after the murder trial that changed their lives.

And one "work" book:

Happier at Home: kiss more, jump more, abandon a project,read Samuel Johnson and my other experiments in the practice of everyday life by Gretchen Rubin
A school year project to get more out of life at home.

Happy Fall Ya'll

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Calling Dr. House

For anyone who has been living under a rock, House ended its eight year run, Monday night. I am grief is not going to be nearly as funny running around the house yelling "It's NOT Lupus!" every time someone stumps their toe.

And when they were putting Jim in the ICU, which has the glass wall rooms just like Princeton-Plainsboro, he looked over at me and said "Sweetie, if you see a doctor with a bottle of Vicodin and a cane out in the hall...get him in here!"

Of course my doctor will be glad there are no more new episodes. I have started using doctor lingo like "Yes, I think there is lung involvement" or "Hey, Doc can we just give him steroids 'cause on House that really fixes a lot of stuff?"

The only thing I regret is Amber (Cutthroat B%&*+) dying. She was my favorite, you know, the cute girl version of House, and we all know that cute girls can be the meanest. The body count would be impressive if she were head of diagnostics.

I also loved the guest stars. I bet people were lining up to get a "House disease". James Earl Jones, Meatloaf, Carl Reiner, Elizabeth Mitchell, LL Cool J.

So first Monk, now House and only 6 more episodes of The Closer...after the summer I will not even need cable.

Well we can enjoy House for years to at the Library! We have Seasons 1-7, with 8 coming soon.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Nobody knows the trouble...

I would like to talk about a very serious problem facing our elderly dogs...back problems! My crazy, neurotic Bella hurt her back. In my usual flair for drama I immediately called Pumpkin and my Granny and told her Bella couldn't walk and that the end was near. So Jim in his usual fix it manner runs out and gets Bella and me each cheeseburgers and french fries. We let her sleep on the couch with a heating pad for the night. Jim decides to sleep with her because I kick in my sleep and we did not want to hurt her more.
The next morning Bella is up and walking. Still a little sore but mobile none the less. She is even eating Annabelle's (Jim's doggie) leftover kibble. Jim packs her up and takes her to see the doggie doctor. I had a doctor's appointment today too so I am not able to be there for the vet appointment. I am oddly relieved.
Long and short after extensive diagnosing (I think they consulted House) and a few hundred dollarswe discovered that Bella has a herniated disk and is on doggie bed rest for a couple of weeks. She is also on steroids and a diet since she is a little porky which is not good for her back. The diagnosis was similar for  me. I need to lose 20 pounds too. Mine is a cholesterol problem although my back would probably thank me too.

Anyway, I will NOT be reading the following books ever-----
Marley and Me by John Grogan
Crazy, neurotic dog with a heart of gold. Just like Bella.
Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World by Vicki Myron
Almost frozen kitten dropped in a library book drop in Iowa. Cat looks just like Atticus.
Homer's Odyssey by Gwen Cooper
About a blind cat...I would be dehydrated from crying.
A Friend Like Henry by Nuala Gardner
Autistic boy and the family pet.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Merry Christmas 2011

Christmas 2010
Dear Family and Friends,

What a year this has been! I thought I would catch you up on all of the exciting events in the Todd-Bain household this year.

Well, we started work on the house in earnest this year. We are broke. This thing sure has turned into a money pit. I think the only thing holding it together was the termites holding hands singing "Cumbaya". So I am putting a lot of paint on it and hoping it will act as a binding agent. Yes buying an old house and fixing it up was my bright idea!!!!

Jim had a defibrillator installed in March. The cardiologist refuses to give me the remote to care system!!!! He is not happy and complains that he is getting old and fat. It is like living with a Victoria Secret model, if the bathroom scales say bad things to him I have to tell him how pretty he is for 15 minutes. I also made him get a vasectomy. We had already met our out of pocket maximum so I figured we should get everything fixed...including HIM!

The kids are doing great! We have spent $0 on bail money this year. In 2010 Jim came home and said he needed my credit card because he had gotten the daily limit on his and it was still not enough to get his (always his child when she is bad) oldest out of jail.

Jessica (aka Pumpkin or the youngest girl child) is now the co-manager of The Body Shop. No, she does not fix cars, The Body Shop is a clothing store that caters to skinny girls who like to show skin. She did quit college though, she loves her job and just wants to work. She also got engaged last Christmas. I am still pretending it is a pop top off a soda can and even though they have a house together they sleep in separate rooms. Denial.

On the other hand Alison (second daughter) is back in school! I told Jim that my daughter quit college and his went back! They each take turns being the good child.

Jamie (third daughter, aka The Princess or Bear) bought a townhouse in Myrtle Beach. She loves the neighborhood. She is our financial guru child. She has already rented out a couple of the bedroooms. She is still a nurse and seems to be excited and happy about life.

Josh is now a middle schooler and math savant. He does not like Advanced Language Arts and I think has been getting pointers from Pumpkin on how to get kicked out. He is taking band this year. We have heard the theme from Jaws 50000 times!

Jim's mother turned 90 this year and the entire family gathered in Winston Salem for her birthday bash. She was something in her pink cowboy hat! Such a hoot!

We also adopted a kitten, Scout (aka Satan Kitty or Kitty Girl). She likes the new house and yard, plenty of room to chase birds and anything else that moves. She had a huge abscess between her eyes. We took her to the doctor and they asked if we wanted to put her "down". She was only 10 days old and an orphan so I guess she was in really bad shape. A little antibiotics, some gross puss draining and she was good as new. She likes to ride in the car and went with Jim to his office for a few days so he could feed her and give her meds.

Granny and Grandpa are happy, for them I guess. Grandpa is 84 so he is a little depressed and cranky because he cannot work a job or climb on the roof. He was even a little cranky to me! I am the Princess in their house so he is always sweet and loves to listen to me talk about my day. Cranky to me, I don't think so! I told Granny she needed to get him some of the happy pills from the doctor like she was taking or it would not be a good Christmas. A couple weeks later I came by for lunch to find out how their checkups went. She just smiled and said it was going to be a good Christmas! She got the doctor away from Grandpa and told him about the problem and he gave Granny a prescription. My Granny is dosing my PaPa! He hasn't been this happy in years!
Well that about recaps our year. It was a pretty good one. My family put up with my craziness for another year. That always amazes me! When I said I was going to stop watching TV for a year, they laughed at first. Five days later they were not laughing, just avoiding eye contact. I resumed TV watching on day six. I am now working on another "year project". Jim says maybe we should have a year "projectless". Poor silly man.Where would the fun be in that? One day Josh will be in therapy saying his mother tried all these crazy ideas like no TV, no caffeine, saying yes to everything, no cable, no consumerism, cooking all year out of that crock pot lady cookbook, etc... and then he would sigh and say his stepdad was afraid of her because she would look crazy eyed. I am thinking this year "Staycation in SC". We can find a festival or something in South Carolina every weekend...what do ya think?

Happy holidays and I hope your new year is full of good, sweet things.

Ronda and Jim   

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Wicked fun...

Halloween is but a memory. We went to White Lake for the annual festival and trick or treating. We had Shaggy, Fred, and Daphne from Scooby-Doo. Josh is getting a little too old for dress up so I made his costume. Well I really found the idea on the web and Amanda did the physical labor. He was "The Lame Excuse". We stapled post-it notes to his sweatshirt with excuses written on them. The dog ate my homework, etc…and the best part, we made him walk around hobbling, using a cane. I don't think he every got the "lame" part. My Grandpa loves coming up to scare kids and give out treats. Grandma is the candy police. You can hear her a block away screaming "Woodrow, do not give the kid in the robot costume any more candy. He has been by here three times already." Maybe Grandma was the one actually scaring the kids.  What fun! I am hoping Bronson will be old enough to join the fun next year.

Note to self: eating five pounds of chocolate will make you sick. It is not just an urban legend.

Halloween weekend reading:
Tressed to kill by Lila Dare
Beautcians, tourist town in GA, dead snobby lady...totally my kind of read. What does that say about me?

How they croaked by Georgia Bragg
Distrbing details of the great deaths in history. Marie Antoinette, King Tut, Edgar Allen Poe to name a few. Grossest book! And I mean that in the best possible way.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

It is time to cut the cord...

I am just not living right. Everything is broken, wrecked or not working at my house. "Lola", my ancient Volvo was rear-ended a couple of weeks ago and she is in the shop. "Johnny Cash", Jim's SUV needs tires to the tune of $900.00. Goodness, when did rubber get so expensive? To top it all off when I got back from the grocery store, Jim met me at the car with a stricken look on his face. The flat panel is broken! What? But it is football season and I have just brought home wings so we could have them with the wonderful buffalo sauce he makes from scratch!!! What are we going to do? With the tires and the holidays coming up and the planned trip to Gettysburg I do not have a new TV budgeted. I was also waiting for the 3D models to get a little more affordable. Now I am panicking! We have to have a TV! Glee, The Middle, The Big Bang Theory, Two and a Half Men, Modern Family....argggg! Christina Applegate has a new series for the love of God.

Then a thought came to we really have to have a new TV? Can we live without it? Well I am taking that as a personal challenge. NO more TV! I will not watch TV for the next 365 days. I will not go to a sports bar. If I go to my doctor's office I will sit away from the TV. I will be entertainment deprived for an entire year!

Just think of all the time I have wasted watching other peoples' lives instead of living! I have almost talked Jim into doing it too. I think he will join me when he finds out I will have to leave any room with a TV turned on. Josh is another story. I will have to give him time to think about it because the new season of Glee just started.

Oh well here goes nothing!!!!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Summer is over back to school....again!

Well, summer is over and since I have blogged very little this summer you can probably guess it was a busy time...

Josh is now a big middleschooler!  I am a little worried. They are going to actually let him walk from class to class unescorted? Have they not looked at his permanent record? In first grade Ms. Butler had to leave early so she sent the whole class to stay in another class for the last half hour of school. Josh walked by a side door and saw my grandfather outside waiting for him. Guess what he did...if you guessed "he quietly ducked out the side door, jumped in the car, and told my Pa Pa that they said he could go ahead and leave" you are the winner! I hope the middle school has really tight security.

The kid is already well versed in the art of the interrogation, he lives with a defense attorney for goodness' sake. Every time Jim questions him he just gets better at covering his tracks. By the time he is 15 we will have to have Kyra Sedgwick come by the house and question him about breaking curfew.

Jess is engaged so she is probably never coming home. I miss having her around. I have no one to blame for my clothes, hair straighter, etc...disappearing. Apparently I just lose everything! Although I have a plan to get her back. Every time she and Harrison disagree I do what mommies should never do...I call her up and tell her she was absolutely right, he was wrong and anytime she wanted to come home just let me know and I will help her pack. Jim is of course telling her that couples argue and you have to try and work through blah, blah, blah...whatever!

So this is what I am reading to get back in the school mood:
Murder by the Slice by Livia J. Washburn
Obnoxious PTO president is stabbed to death. I guess somebody really did not want to sell raffle tickets!

The Sixes by Kate White
I personally think Kate White is the next Sue Grafton which is the highest compliment I can give. She just needs to get back to Bailey Weggins. However, this is about a secret society of girls on a college campus. Do you think they are harassing girls who are not a size 6?

Have a great school year and be nice to your child's teacher, you never know when you will be doing the walk of shame into her classroom because your kid thought telling about how his stepdad sat around all weekend with an ice pack on his lap because mommy neutered him (just like the cat) is just a hoot!

Monday, July 4, 2011

I met the love of my life 19 years ago...who knew!?!!

Today I came to a startling realization...Jim is not the great and complicated love that I have always looked for. You know that relationship that affects every other part of your life. When it is good everything is good, and when is is bad... you get the idea. That wonderfully complicated relationship belongs to me and my daughter. She is the one that my happiness depends on...which has made me realize, who trapped me in the novel Divine Secrets of the YaYa Sisterhood and how do I get out? When did I become ViVi? This all started yesterday when Jess's stepsister told me that Jess has a tattoo. I went ballistic, called Jess and we screamed and yelled at each other until we were foaming at the mouth. Well she had the nerve to hang up on me!!! That caused me to throw my phone (Blackberry makes a sturdy phone) and then we commenced to exchanging snotty texts. My fingers got tired so then I went around throwing hissy fits all weekend long. I screamed, cried and pouted. I fell on the couch and whined like a broken hearted teenager. I broke dishes (not the good ones, I have not lost my mind yet). Jim tried to use tough love to snap me out of it but it did not work. Doesn't he know the husband/dad in the book is a supporting character? Well I reminded him of that and he was excited that James Garner plays him in the movie. My pumpkin is my life. She is my bestie. She is the one I share everything with. Who am I without her? If we do not make up soon it is going to be bad.  I feel so sorry for our family it is like getting caught in a hurricane when we fight.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Blogs to books....

Has anyone noticed all the bloggers who are getting book deals? You just write the stupid things that go through your mind and- BOOM! You get a book. How cool is that?

I went on a rant the other day about that new dog food that you refrigerate and then cook for your I love Bella and Annabelle but I am not fixing them a whole separate meal. I hate to cook people food so why would I offer to cook for my pets. I am already a little creeped out that Little Cesar looks so much like people food and I picked up some doggy ice cream once but then I felt a little foolish...goodness people are starving and I just dropped enough coin to buy both dogs a Double Stack!---- This could be chapter 1.

There was also the night I walked the dogs for 30 minutes because the cops were at my neighbor's house for a domestic complaint and I wanted to see who was going to jail.  It took me a few minutes to get Jim to hush so I could hear better. Boy, I thought I knew all of the cuss words, but I was can combine them in different ways to give them more zing!  So spying on the neighbors would be chapter 2 (and I could spell out all the bad words in the book). ---Maybe I should cook for my dogs they sure do provide we with a lot of cover.

Books from Bloggers:
Make it fast, cook it slow by Stephanie O'Dea (
Stephanie makes a resolution to use her crock pot everyday for  1 year... a whole year!

Living Oprah : my one-year experiment to walk the walk of the queen of talk by Robyn Okrant  (
Robyn decides to follow Oprah's advice for an entire year to see if it made a difference.

Straight up and dirty by Stephanie Klein (
Adventures in dating after divorce.

My Fair Lazy: one reality television addict's attempt to discover if not being a dumb ass is the new black, or a culture-up manifesto by Jen Lancaster (
Jen gets some will laugh until you cry!

Julie and Julia: my year of cooking dangerously by Julie Powell (
365 days. 536 recipes. One year of cooking with Julia.

Can you get hooked on lip balm? : top cosmetic scientists answer your questions about the lotions, potions, and other beauty products you use every day by Perry Romanowski and the creators of TheBeautyBrains.Com (
Based on the blog at

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I (heart) Brick Heck....

So you know "The Middle" is my favorite show...I love Brick so much and I am not even trying to hide it. He just loves books. Heck (Ha Ha), books are his best friend.

So I am going to share with you some of my favorite Brickisms:

"Swimming's no fun without a book." - Brick Heck

"It's really hard to find clothes with a book theme." - Brick Heck

"Grandma, I gotta go. A librarian just walked in." - Brick Heck

"So there's not beautiful singles in my area dying to meet me?
I have to update my blog." - Brick Heck

"They're denying me books. No one's taken me to the library in two days." - Brick Heck

"Can one of you take me to the library? I feel like reading about Peru." - Brick Heck

"Cool! A manual. And it's in German, Japanese and French!" - Brick Heck

Mike Heck to Brick: Seriously, Brick, you read a hundred books a day. Can't one of them be about sports?"

Frankie Heck to Brick:
"Brick, I got your favorites. Books and waffles." more thing I have to keep up with!

Winston and Atticus plotting

So I have finally joined Facebook. I have dreaded this moment and hoped the Facebook fad would pass. I made it through the MySpace faze. I am not computer illiterate - I text and all of the other stuff to stay in touch so do I really NEED the services of a social networking site?

Well, the children have Facebook pages, Jim has a Facebook page...I was really getting afraid that my guinea pig, Winston Churchhill or my satan kitty, Atticus Finch would have a Facebook page before I did! I swear they were whispering about something the other night.

So, yesterday in a moment of weakness I made my page...yeah! Now I have not had time to trick it out and add pics and stuff but I am on Facebook.

Please come be my friend...I am so afraid this will end up like middle school again and I will be in cyber space-- friendless, alone, abandoned. page is Come and be my Facebook friend.

Books about social networking

The Winter of Our Disconnect: How Three Totally Wired Teenagers (and a Mother Who Slept with Her iPhone)Pulled the Plug on Their Technology and Lived to Tell the Tale by Susan Maushart
Mom goes crazy and puts her family on a six month hiatus from technology (no cellphones, iPods, PCs, laptops, game stations, or television).

Facebook: The Missing Manual by Emily A. Vander Veer
Here are 5 tips before you go on Facebook----

1. Never check the "Remember me" box when logging onto the site. (Doing so puts your account at unnecessary risk and saves you very little time or effort.)
2. When you register for the site, use your actual birthday so that your friends will get an automatic heads-up a few days before the Big Day (all the better to fete you with).
3. Never add compromising photos or info to your Facebook profile; bosses, teachers, hiring managers, and others can use legitimate means to see your profile *even if* you think you've adjusted your privacy settings to prevent them.
4. If you're on Facebook to find a gig (or a date), be sure to sprinkle keywords liberally in your profile descriptions. Doing so ups the odds of your appearing in other members' searches.
5. Before you fill out your profile, first head to the main menu and click the "privacy" link (little-p) and follow the steps in Chapter 12 of the book to customize who gets to see how much of your personal information.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Out of my comfort zone....

Ok so I hear it is good to step out of you comfort zone sometimes. You know try something different...go to a different restaurant for lunch, dye your hair a different color, read a different kind of book. So I tried a few boy books and a really depressing girl book to see if it made any difference in my outlook point of view...whatever. Well, I did discover a few things....I like chick lit and books by people who have blogs, and books about girls who get divorced only to realize they are better off (and then find a really great guy). I like the Pretty Little Liars series and Sue Grafton and Jennifer Weiner. What is so wrong with choosing a book because it has shoes on the cover? I mean it is called your "comfort zone" for a reason. So I will just staying in mine....ohhh and I like books with desserts on the cover too.

Sleepwalking in Daylight by Elizabeth Flock
Elizabeth Flock brings you face to face with dysfunction in Sleepwalking in Daylight. Cammy is the adopted child of Samantha and Bob. Bob is unhappy. Sam is unhappy and having an affair. Cam is unhappy and doing drugs. As Sam contemplates her affair Cam finds out about her birth mother. It ends tragedy. I think I just kept going because I was so grateful it was not my pumpkin doing drugs in the library parking lot.

Songs for the Missing by Stuart O'Nan
I really struggled with my decision to read this book. 18-year-old Kim disappears on her way to work one afternoon. This book makes you wonder.... is a family still a family if one member is gone? Can things ever be "normal" again? How do you go home when your child is out there somewhere? As he did in The Good Wife, O'Nan puts you in the shoes of people you hope you will never become.

Obedience by Will Lavender
A group of college students have an interesting assignment; given a set of clues they must find a missing girl by the end of term or she will be murdered. The students start wondering is "Polly" is real and is the shady professor hiding something? The story moves at a breakneck pace to a shocking conclusion.

Safer by Sean Doolittle
Paul and Sara move into their new house and are the victims of a break in the very first night. They become part of the neighborhood watch group and befriend the leader, Roger. Paul soon discovers that Roger is conducting secret surveillance of the neighborhood and questions him. Now Roger will do ANYTHING to make Paul go away.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Operation Pulitzer

So last night I picked up a copy of March by Geraldine Brooks and I am confused already. The book is about Mr. March, the father from Little Women. Now I did not read Little Women when I was a child, I was a much bigger fan of Irene Hunt and Charlotte's Web and the such. So my I need to read Little Women before I read March? My goodness, I am going to need a white board to keep up with this!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Never Say Never....

If you had told me a few years ago I would be rooting for the Packers in the Super Bowl I would have told you to get out the straight jacket. I mean I loved Walter Payton. I was a Dolphin fan until the Carolina Panthers came into existence. I was a little put off when I found out Tony Shalhoub (Monk) had season tickets to Lambeau.

But after the championship games I had to make a decisions Steelers or Packers. At first glance the Steelers would be a no brainer but then I saw him on my TV- Ben Roethlisberger...OMG he looks just like one of my exes and I am talking about the mean one, not the nice one.

So there I sat Sunday night cheering Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay on to victory. Jeez, I wonder what will happen next year....Brett Farve (hate him because he broke Dan Marino's records- but since he was addicted to Vicodin- does it count?) coming out of retirement (again) to quarterback the Cowboys (fired Tom Landry) to the Super Bowl where they will face the Colts (Peyton Manning- he could not open a can of soup) coached by Jimmy Johnson (traded Hershel Walker and made Dan Marino run during practice)? I swear I will have the cable disconnected.

Great football books for girls

Takes you from the locker room to the bottom of a pileup.

Gives an in depth history of the big game. BTW, Green Bay won the very first one.

This book will teach you about each position, the draft, play calling, and all of those things girls want to know but are afraid to ask.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Thank you Michael Connelly....

Thank you so much for writing "The Lincoln Lawyer" so Matthew McConaughey could play an attorney again...I have missed looking at him.....enough said!

Ohh...."The Lincoln Lawyer" is followed by "The Brass Verdict" and finally by "Reversal" which is brand new! Also look for the movie in March and the fourth Mickey Haller book in April!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The dumbing down of Ronda...

OK I am not Einstein, in fact I am only a generation or two from illiteracy, but I think I am getting dumber by the day. I have never done any drugs and I only drink on holidays (or when all five of the kids are in the house at the same time) but still I am loosing brain cells faster than Lindsey Lohan can ask the bartender for another.

Well this year is going to be different! This year I will not ask Claire to buy "The White Trash Mom's Handbook". I will stop watching reruns of "My Name is Earl". I am going to stop (cut back on) reading books just because it is pink or has a high heel on the cover. I will no longer ask Josh if I have Google stamped on my forehead every time he asks me a question. I am going to smarten up in 2011.

The only Pulitzer Prize winning book I have ever read was "To Kill a Mockingbird". I have never read a National Book Award book. I have always tried to stay away from the "classics". Pat Conroy is the hardest author I have ever tried to read. Something has to change....only where to begin.

I got a copy of "Lonesome Dove" (Pulitzer Prize), but it is bigger than a dictionary. So I tried the movie, maybe that would help me get into the book. I told Jim he was going to have to turn on the subtitles because I could not understand them with the accents...and I am southern!

I just do not know where to go from here. Do I try "Pride and Prejudice" again? How about something from the Bronte sisters?  I am just stuck. I think I will pick up "March" by Geraldine Brooks, it won a Pulitzer and I have read "The Year of Wonders" that is like half credit already, right?

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 17, 2010

As a child, I didn't experience much in the way of family and I usually find myself somewhat taken aback to see one at close range. "The Donna Reed Show" this was not. People talk about "dysfunctional" families; I've never seen any other kind. --Kinsey Millhone

Thanksgiving has come and gone. Each year I picture a wonderful Thanksgiving with all of the children sitting around the table happy, freshly scrubbed and well...thankful. Well, it did not exactly go as planned but it was still fun. Dinner was 2 hours behind. We could not find the thing that holds the turkey in the grease so we had to get another turkey fryer. Amanda's (Jim's oldest daughter) dog had a seizure and had to go home and take him to the vet. Zed the dog is fine. Her five year-old twins stayed with us. Jess had to leave for work at 3 a.m. so she had to go home and sleep. I asked her to take Jim's car since it is huge and she would be out at 3 am with all to the party people or worse those early bird Black Friday crazies and she assured me her little Jeep could handle the trip. Fast forward to phone rings and Jessica says "Mom, a deer hit me" to which I reply "You hit a deer?" to which she replies "No I was not moving so it hit me". She saw a doe run across the highway and she stopped figuring there was probably a buck close behind and wham! He hit her tire! Deer fur was all over her tire rim. Yuck! I had to look at the Jeep because last year she was sure someone put sugar in her gas tank (she didn't) and if I initiate another false insurance claim I am going up the river.

So I spent the rest of the weekend reading a paperback mystery....murder is always a good escape. I did discover a great author, Livia J. Washburn.

A peach of a murder is a cute cozy mystery perfect weekend reading. Phyllis is a retired teacher who desperately wants to win first prize in the baking contest at the Peach Festival but when a judge keels over after sampling her offering a blue ribbon is not in her future but a orange jumpsuit may be.

I am now starting Murder by the slice which is the second book in the series. This time the PTO president is stabbed with Phyllis's knife. Noboby stand near Phyllis!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

OK...I really think the producers of "The Middle" are basing their show on my life...where is my check?

"The Middle" is my new favorite show. I just laugh at Brick- the odd kid and Axl - the lazy teen who uses his textbook for a plate. I just laugh and snicker and fall into a delirious state all along thinking - this family is borderline dysfunctional, but cute and charming and that Patricia Heaton is so tiny and her husband on the show is so tall.

Well, watching an episode it occurs to us all at once (Jim, Jess, and Josh all watch it too), this show is like us.

So I started making a mental list of all the ways our family is like the Heck family, but since I cannot remember ANYTHING anymore I thought I should put pen to paper or at least chewed down fingernail to keyboard.

Ways we are like the Hecks:
  • I have used a magic marker to color my roots, I even used a marker on a dress once
  • My teenager was such a slacker in high school she almost added a fifth year to her high school experience
  • Our youngest is a little "different" so every year we have to go in and explain his oddities and then we are perceived as over parenting and it takes the entire year for us to prove we are slackers
  • The Hecks grocery shop at the "Frugal Hoosier" and Jim getting some groceries at Big Lots
  • We have gotten completely sloshed on Thanksgiving morning while frying the turkeys by putting liqueur in our coffee...Jim prefers Wild Turkey and I have found a gingerbread flavor
  • I wanted to be the "cool" parent who had my children's friends over only to discover that they find your cookie stash and you can never walk around in your jammies in the afternoon
  • Have turned out the cable only to find I suffered more than the kids...I know, what kind of kids am I raising?
  • Library books....I buy several library books a year only for Josh to "find" them later
  • The kids drive me so insane that even though they started the yelling contest it ends with me foaming at the mouth looking, well insane
  • We also talk about our day during commercials
I could go on and ABC are you secretly taping us in our natural habitat? Don't we get residuals or some kind of check for that. The cable bill is overdue and it is my night to make dinner and the drive thru is not cheap!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Donuts... do we need to say more!

I love donuts. I remember where I was when Krispy Kreme became a publicly traded company. They are good for breakfast and dessert. They are the clouds that hold you up when you are happy and your best buddy when you are sad. My favorite is chocolate covered cream filled....yummy!

I have also passed my love of all things Krispy Kreme to my loving family (I have been systematically brainwashing them over the years so I can rule the house). Jim likes Krispy Kreme coffee better than Starbucks...OK that is a little out there even for me, but he does take it black which to me is like drinking... well grumpy juice, so to each his own. Jess has gone through the drive thru so much she gets an employee discount on her iced coffee. Josh is a purest like me, just bring on the donuts! And if they are hot AHHHHHH!

It doesn't hurt that Krispy Kreme is a two minute drive from my house, although they have yet to implement my suggestion --- in addition to the "HOT" donuts sign in the window, it would really be great if they would get that spotlight beacon thingy, like the one Batman had. It would let us "donutties" when it is time to visit the mothership.

They even have donut books:

Glazed Murder by Jessica Beck
A mystery set in the North Carolina mountains. The book even has donut recipes and its author.s name is Jessica, not the main dead character. Finally!

Glazed America: a history of the doughnut by Paul R. Mullins
I think the book's title says it all!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Clue....25 years still a riot!

Clue is one of the cheesiest movies ever. Great stars, stupid dialogue and Madeline Kahn. It is a must see for anyone who played the game as a child. I have passed my love of the game on to my son so we pull out the game board every few weeks and solve a mystery. As a child I remember getting so excited when I got close to figuring out if it was Col. Mustard in the library with the candlestick or Mrs. Peacock in the hall (in my house the hall was not a room but well a hall) with the revolver. I was amazed that you could kill someone with a candlestick. I just loved the secret passages. Anyway, I digress...

The movie has Tim Curry who is just too funny as the butler and Lesley Ann Warren as the femme fatale. It also has that lady from Private Benjamin who was always yelling at Goldie Hawn.

It also has some hilarious quotes like...

Col. Mustard: How many husbands have you had?

Mrs. White: Mine or other women's?


Mrs. White: It's a matter of life after death, now that he's dead I have a life. 


Wadsworth: Professor Plum, you were once a professor of psychiatry specializing in helping paranoid and homicidal lunatics suffering from delusions of grandeur.

Professor Plum: Yes, but now I work for the United Nations.

Wadsworth: So your work has not changed.

Anyway, to make a long story short...too late (you have had to seen the movie to get it). Clue is one of my favorite movies even if  Jim falls asleep every time we watch it (you know I think he really does not care who did it, in what room, with what weapon) and Josh looks and me and wants me to explain... what is a socialist mommy? Jess and I love it, so the boys either need to get with the program of we will have to vote them off the island, fire them, kick them out of the house, or any other reality show kiss off thingy. The tribe has spoken!

Monday, August 30, 2010

School is in...since I can't beat 'em I am going to join 'em!

Well school is back in so I must mingle with the mommies. Every year I whine about having to deal with "Perfect Mother" Barbie and her perfect ponytail and buff arms and immaculate car. I proudly carry the banner of imperfection (figuratively because you know I could not keep up with a real live banner) while having the on duty teacher pick up coffee cups that fall out of my car while my little dumplin' scurries out of the passenger seat and off to school. Well this year things are going to be different...I am going to be the perfect mom.

I am going to sign all those permission slip thingies and volunteer to hand out cookies on Parent's Night and read those little fliers that they send home from school. I am going to cook fresh veggies and wake up in a good mood. (Note to self: replace alarm clock ring from the theme from The Godfather to something more cheery). I am going to do it all!

Before you laugh I have armed myself with all of the tools to transform myself from hapless mom to fabulous mom!

First, I have gotten How to Never Look Fat Again by Charla Krupp. The first thing people notice is appearance right? So I am purging myself of my "High Fat" clothes. Goodbye toe rings, sweatpants and boot cut jeans. Hello V-neck sweaters, bangs and dark colored bottoms. I am going to look so skinny I could hide behind a light pole....yeah right, I must have drifted off in front of my computer and am now dreaming!

Second, I got The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.
This will help me organize, become more productive and appreciate my family, friends and coworkers. I have already instituted one of Gretchen's philosophies "Never put off anything that takes less than one minute to do". OMG just about everything I need to do takes less than a minute....hang up coat, put clothes away instead of in the laundry basket, take out garbage instead of stomping the garbage down to get more in the pail. I do not have time to do anything else except for the minute things! Help!

Finally, I am reading Mrs. Perfect by Jane Porter. Taylor has everything a hot husband, cute kids, a home that should be photographed for House Beautiful and she stays perfectly groomed while tending to it all. In the end everything falls apart and she realizes she was never really happy with the "perfect" life. Well, I never have let a cautionary tale get in my I will just have to work around the pesky imperfect end.

Well wish me luck on this journey to perfection. Do you think I should pass this new philosophy of mine by Jim and the kids...Nah I will let it be a surprise.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A book for all of your summer moods...

We are midway through summer know the point where you are hot, tired and cranky. I am off my sleep schedule so I do not want to get up in the morning, my legs stick to my car seats, and my hair is big.

Also, if I hear "Mom, you promised me a Josh day (a day when we do everything Josh wants)"  I will SCREAM!!!

Jim wants to go to the lake all the time but we don't ever go in the water. Our vacation "trailer" may as well be in the middle of no where.

Jess is getting her first taste of grown up life. She is working full time in retail. So she cannot do laundry of anything else because she has to work full time. I feel so sorry for you. Yeah right.

So I  have decided to come up with a book to get through all of the sticky situations the summer brings. Enjoy!

Pool party a little boring?
Sylvan Street by Deborah Schupack
Take a ride to Sylvan Street where a million dollars is found in a suitcase during the summer kick off party. Funny things are happening in the suburbs.

Feel like running away?
Backseat Saints by Joshilyn Jackson
Ro gets her fortune told "Kill your husband or he will kill you". So after she cannot bring her self to shoot him Ro decides to runaway and digs up a lot of family secrets along the way.

Eating too much ice cream?
703: how I lost more than a quarter ton and gained a life by Nancy Makin
Nancy lost over 500 pounds surely I can take off that last ten.

Feel like blowing something up?
Sizzling Sixteen by Janet Evanovich
Janet has moved on from blowing up Steph's cars to blowing up buildings....

Heat making a move to Alaska sound reasonable?
Blueberry Muffin Murder by Joanne Fluke
Visit Minnesota just in time for the Winter Carnival...and for a little homicide too.

Embroiled in a love triangle (a girl can dream can't she)?
Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffin
A single mother falls for the surgeon who attends to her son's injuries. Meanwhile his wife is questioning the choices she is making. This book alternates between Tessa (the wife) and Vicki (the other woman) and yet kept me from choosing sides.

Feel like your vacation is going the way of the Griswold's visit to Wallyworld?
The Starter Wife by Gigi Levangie Grazer.
Gracie's husband just left her for a much younger pop star. She heads to Malibu to get a break from Hollywood. I am really attracted to food and runaway wife books, I wonder why?

Have a Happy Rest of Summer!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Jess, Jess, Jess I have just stopped reading the new Jodi Picoult. This is the second book in the last few months that I have had to stop reading for the same of the main characters is named Jess. I just can't read a book with a murder victim that is about the same age as my child and has my child's name. I tried to block it out or to substitute another name but I could not do it. While I am not really superstitious I do not want to press my luck.

I was reading House Rules last night and Jess's (not mine, book Jess) body was being discovered. Jeez, did everyone decide Jess was the "it" name? So I immediately turned to the end to see how everything shook out, you never know with Jodi's books. Which brings me to the first book I read with Jess as a character...Not My Daughter by Barbara Delinsky. This book was about 4 teenage girls who enter a pregnancy what came first the book idea or the Bones episode. Anyway, one of the pregos was guessed it. I am sorry but Jess had not graduated at this point and I had really been on her case to join a club in school...I was just hoping not anything like this! So I put that book in the trunk of my car so none of the bad juju would escape into the house.

So from now own I will have to read the blurb a little better because apparently when ever there is a Jess in a book nothing good will become of her! Humm...I have not read any books with Josh in them but as I typing this I am thinking that some aspiring writer has just named his next psycho....guess what?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

What would Barney Stinson read?

The web is a great or horrible tool depending on who you ask...for instance, I am no longer permitted to research symptons, conditions, medications or anything health related. So far I have diagnosed myself or a family member with meningitis, sickle cell anemia, arsenic poisoning (I was afraid to eat anything prepared by Jim for at least a week) and appendicitis.

I am also a compulsive house hunter. I can always find somewhere better, nicer, cheaper, etc. to live. My realtor does not even take my calls anymore.

One night I was reading emails, posts and whatnot and came across this great site. Will Unwound. More importantly I saw his post on what to recommend if Hillary Clinton's assisstant called and wanted something for Madame Secretary to read. What a hoot!

We since I am accused of sometimes being in my on little world...I mean oil was leaking into the gulf at least a week before I knew about it, but I knew immediately when Rue McClanahan died (be sure to read My First Five Husbands so her memory can live on) I thought I could put my TV watching ability to good use...Ta-Da!!!! Here is my list of what to recommend to my favorite TV characters, Enjoy!

Also be sure to take a peak at Will's blog. Here is the Hillary entry:

What should TV read?
Lorelai Gilmore (Gilmore Girls)-

Divine Secrets of the YaYa Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells
A mother and her daughter wage war on each other, explore family secrets and learn that the apple does not fall far from the tree.

Dr. Jack Shepard (Lost)-
Trouble by Jesse Kellerman
Medical student falls for the wrong woman and is almost destroyed.

Marge Simpson (The Simpsons)-
Crazy in Alabama by Mark Childress
Lady kills her husband and put his head in a Tupperware bowl. Since Homer is a cartoon character I do not think it will hurt him but I am sure it will make Marge feel better.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Crazy is the new normal

You know crazy is really in now. As soon as Tom Cruise jumped on Oprah's couch all bets were off. Now you have Alec Baldwin giving marriage advice on a show produced by Jerry Seinfeld. Betty White hosting SNL. I am actually hoping Russell wins Survivor.Lauren Graham is in a family drama without Alexis Bledel. Next thing you know Marge will leave Homer for Principal Skinner. It seems like everyone is taking the crazy train. At least I am not on it alone anymore.

Drop by the library to check out these books and decide...Is life imitating art or is art imitating life?

Whacked by Jules Asner
Dani Hale is a Hollywood TV writer. She has been dating Dave, a director, forever (two years!) After hacking into Dave's email and cell phone she discovers he is cheating with Hollywood's new "it" girl, Chloe. Dani dumps him but is completely devastated.  I can relate to not getting out of bed, googling the ex and other silly things, all in the hope of discovering that he is just as miserable as you or at least hasn't married in the few short days you have been apart. Dani takes her need for revenge way too far...although it is fiction so a little wickedness is good.

Never Tell a Lie by Hallie Ephron
David and Ivy Rose are expecting their first child in just a few weeks and are having a yard sale to make room. Their lives are turned upside down after a girl who went to school with them and is also pregnant, visits their yard sale and is never seen again...How well do you really know your husband? Or your wife for that matter?

At First Sight by Stephen J. Cannell did I end up with a boy book. I must have been off my meds. Maybe I picked it up thinking it was a Nicholas Sparks? Well it was not bad. Chick Best, a dot-com millionaire, is on the verge of bankruptcy. He has a high maintenance wife and a drug using teenage daughter. On Christmas vacation he becomes enamored with a beautiful woman by the pool. Chick befriends her and her husband all in an effort to be with her. Even when he returns from vacation he cannot stop thinking of her. The only problem is his wife and her husband...and Chick is going to solve both the problems.

Obedience by Will Lavender
A group of college students have an interesting assignment; given a set of clues they must find a missing girl named "Polly" by the end of term or she will be murdered. People who were part of "Polly's" life suddenly appear in reality. The students start wondering is "Polly" real and is the professor hiding something? The story moves at a breakneck pace to a shocking conclusion.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

This looked so easy on HGTV.

As if my general craziness is not enough, I have decided to put my family's love for me through the ultimate test...I am remodeling and I am doing it myself.

Gone are the stark off-white walls, carpet, cabinets, furniture, etc. Let's bring in some color. I promised Jim I would stay in the neutral family for possible resale value blah, blah. He developed an eye twitch when I told him I did not like the exterior color of our house. I patiently waited while he explained that our house had to stay grey because when the development was built it was in the covenants. Well that was the eighties and things have changed and I really like yellow. What happens if we just paint it yellow? What can they do? Is there a house paint police in NMB?

The remodel started out good...

Living room- I painted it Winter Wheat (or the paint guys interpretation of Winter Wheat). When your 9 year-old is standing there telling the paint guy that the color does not look like the sample that says it all. Chocolate accent wall, now I get hungry everytime I walk in the door.

Countertops- Easy. I just pointed to a sample and they came and installed my new - Rainforest Canyon with the backslash to match - countertops. Unfortunately we could not afford new cabinets after I blew the budget on the countertops so they had to stay white. Score one for Jim!

I would love to say everything else has been a breeze...but now I am just wondering how easy it will be to get blood, sweat, and tears off the laminate flooring I am having installed next week.

Josh wants his room Clemson orange.

Jess wants one wall chalkboard so she can draw on the walls and it will be OK.

The master suite has FIVE different shades of brown ranging from a warm cocoa to a naked skin.

"Sell this House" has been banned from the television.

I really wished I had picked up a  copy of  "The House Always Wins" by Marni Jameson when before I started.

"The House Always Wins" by Marni Jameson
Hilarious book about fixing up your home. I love the fact that she does not make you believe your house will look like it should be photographed for Southern Living but that you can make it functional and cozy for your life and family. It assumes you have kids whose rooms should be decontaminated by DHEC and a husband who (forgive me please) clips his toenails and leaves the shavings on the side table.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

I am finally losing more ways than one!

Well 40 is fast approaching and my waistline is did this happen? Who can I blame? Kids, hectic work schedule, men? It cannot be the Reese's cups because peanut butter is good for you and the chocolate is so I don't walk around like idiot chewing on a glob of peanut butter.
So I have decided to go on a diet...kill me now! I am sorry, it is not a diet it is a "lifestyle change." Whatever. Always the one to take someone down with me I decide Jim is going on a diet too.
I know me and I have to be accountable to someone so I decided to go to a weight loss center. You know where the really skinny girl weighs you and scowls if you have not lost weight.

 The night before the "official start"
We have a nice meal at our favorite restaurant to have the last good fattening meal for a while.

The first day of the rest of my thin life
On our way to the diet place...Since I am going to finally rid myself of my excess body fat I think I deserve a treat. So I am going to Starbucks even though it is in the opposite direction. Yum...frou- frou coffee with whipped cream and chocolate drizzle on top! Should I take the coffee in? Isn't that like taking wine to an AA meeting? Oh well at least they know they have their work cut out for them.

Appointment details
Weigh in - anything over 20 pounds is NOT "vanity pounds".

Orientation - that is where they tell you all the things that you are not suppose to eat.

Doctor visit - checks vitals and asks us what we hope to accomplish and our current weak spots. HELLO my weak spot is food, I have a fried pork chop in my purse!

Pharmacy - collect amino acids and appetite suppressants and anything else we need to help us start our wonderful new journey. What I really need is a muzzle or at least my jaw wired shut...boy it would be quiet around the house.

All finished...not quite! Each month you have to go back and be weighed and check in...Oh goodness, let the fibbing begin!

Next stop Sam's Club for bulk veggies and meat. That was great, us shopping with noble intentions. Then going home and waiting patiently while Jim fires up the indoor Wolfgang Puck grill and makes me a bunless cheeseburger. I can does this. I love red meat.

First month is not bad...lost 6 pounds yeah!

That was the first month, it is alot more diffucult now. The new has worn off and I am crabby. I have realized our social life revolves around food. Jim and I look at each other with blank stares and say "I don't care, what do YOU want for dinner?"

The good thing is we are still trying. Jim is eating yogurt and 15 grain bread for breakfast and I am eating a cinnamon roll....300 calories either way! Which would you choose?

I really miss doughnuts. I sometimes make up little songs about the good times we had. I have texted Jessica at 10 o'clock at night about how I just do not think I can go on without a Krispy Kreme chocolate covered creme filled....ahhh soft airy pastry and gritty sugar filling. I love you so. I am trying to live a virtuous existence but your temptation is ever-present.

Well I still have about 15 more pounds to lose so I think I can do it, wait I know I can!!!! But if for some reason you hear of a wild eyed, crazy haired girl pulling a "Michael Douglas in Falling Down" at the Krispy Kreme you will know I have been defeated....oh and please bring tweezers, sunless tanner and cigarettes to the jailhouse for me because,  I look better in orange if I have tan, everytime I go for a waxing appointment the lady asks me if I want my moustache waxed (I so do not have one, it is peach fuzz) and I will never make it in the joint so I can use the cigs for currency!

Here are some books to keeping you laughing and thinking while you are starving:

Food and Loathing by Betsy Lerner
This book chronicles Betsy's battle with compulsive overeating and dieting. She battles the scales and her overwhelming hopelessness all in an attempt to get treatment for herself.

Such a Pretty Fat: One Narcissist's Quest to Discover If Her Life Makes Her Ass Look Big, or Why Pie Is Not the Answer by Jen Lancaster
If laughing is an exercise you are in for a workout! This book is so funny. It chronicles Jen's quest to lose weight. We follow her to the Weight Watchers, Jenny Caraig and gasp! the gym. During her induction to Jenny Craig she learns that she would have access to a 24-hour help line. Who calls this number? Is it some poor soul sitting in the floor of her kitchen with a can of Pringles thinking if she just eats the chips, her arteries will clog and free her from this no fat, no sugar, portion controlled world? Funny...Funny book I have not finished it yet it: has to get me through the rest of my journey to find the "new me", heck the regular me probably ate her!

Half-Assed: A Weight- Loss Memoir by Jennette Fulda
I am just starting this one. The first few chapters are really enlightening. Jennette challenges all of the stereotypes of why people are overweight. She was not abused or neglected yet she weighed 372 pounds at the age of 24. This memoir chronicles her quest to lose half of her body weight. It promises to be an interesting read.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Battle of the women sleuths...Kinsey or Stephanie? You decide.

Sue Grafton or Janet Evanovich...ABCs or 123s....Kinsey or Stephanie...who is the queen of the girlie mystery? Everyone has their preference. I enjoy both ladies and eagerly anticipate each novel, but I am a Kinsey girl. I just feel like Sue Grafton has created an alter ego for me, you know the person I could be if I had made different choices and of course had been born in 1950, that way I could be a grown up when big 80s hair was in style. Kinsey and I are pretty much the same person...well except her jogging (I am sitting here watching a Bones episode I have seen twice because noone will find the remote and I am not getting off this couch!). Oh and I don't like to be alone, when I get home I call Jim and tell him it is time for him to close his office. See, I am a "fraidy cat" and my fight or flight reflex leans heavily towards flight. Then there's the guns thing...Jim is a gun --well for lack of a better word "enthusiast," so I completely freak everytime I happen across one. Then the turtleneck thing-- I hate them. Of course, Kinsey and I both like jeans, Quarter Pounders with cheese, and paperback mysteries. Gosh it almost seems like I have more in common with Stephanie... doughnuts rock!


  1. Runs 3 miles a day
  2. Carries a gun
  3. Was a police officer
  4. Has no family ties so the bad guys can't kidnap her grandmother or sister
  5. Has a black dress that she can roll up and put it in her purse and it never wrinkles (the fabric must be from the future)

  1. Is still in the 80's - no internet, no cell phone
  2. Kinsey is in her late 30's so she is a little older than Stephanie
  3. Has a Beetle (in U she has a Mustang...don't even get me started) which has a manual transmission so she cannot eat, shoot or anything else while driving
  4. Is kind of "abrasive"
  1. Has a great network of friends
  2. Obviously the criminals in New Jersey are stupid
  3. Has modern technology at her disposal
  4. Boyfriend is a cop
  5. Everyone knows everyone else in the burg so she can usually get herself out of trouble

  1. Unreliable transportation (cars are always blowing up)
  2. Must stop at every doughnut shop
  3. Mother freaks when she misses Friday night dinner, so no chasing bad guys on Friday night
  4. Everyone knows everyone so her mother finds out all of the bad stuff she does (Trenton is a little like Conway...I got in at 3 a.m. once and the phone started ringing, it was my grandmother..."Your cousin just rode by your house and your Jeep lights are on")
  5. Cannot be in good shape eating all of the fried chicken and doughnuts