Thursday, August 28, 2008

Diary of a fruit fly killer....

Dear Diary,
I think I have found the second creature that could withstand a nuclear explosion. The fruit fly.

I am confident this nuisance-of-an-insect will be standing alongside the cockroach if said bomb were ever to go off. I don’t have any experience with cockroaches (thank God) but the fruit fly and I are like THIS.

I know most of you can relate to this pain-in-the-ass bug. I don’t cuss much, but I cannot help it when it comes to talking about chasing around a couple of fruit flies in my kitchen. They frustrate me to no end because they are nearly impossible to kill when you go in for the attack. They are like the Stealth Fighters of flying insects. Speedy. Jaunty. Spry…

Over the past few days, I have been like a predator stalking my prey. Swooping down with my hands in formation ready to clap it to its death. My attempts have been many. I have tried the classic approaches, grabbing at the air like a monkey when I spot it flying by. Rolling up a newspaper or magazine when I see it land on something. Arming myself with my lime-green fly swatter, and lying in wait. Which, by the way, is stupid because the swatter has small holes all over it which allows less wind resistance when going in for the kill, yet the damn fly is smaller than the holes so it just escapes…. Whatever. It’s worth the try, and makes me feel better because I’m checking things off my list of How To Kill A Fruit Fly. I have even done the old trick of putting some sugar water in a jar with a paper cone on top so the pests will fly into the jar and can’t escape. But I didn’t want to do that this time, there were only 2 fruit flies I was trying to annihilate, and I wanted to be the victor with my bare hands. I reserve that method for the occasional infestation one can get in the summer if fruits and veggies are left hanging out, inviting an all-out assault.

Aside from the physical Death Watch dance I have been doing for a few days, there’s the mental anguish. Where did these stupid flies come from? Ah, my bananas. The only fruit on my counter top that has been waiting for peak ripeness so I could make my children some banana bread. The things we deal with to make our children happy - the list is endless. However, the bananas are covered inside my glass cake dome on the counter top so the rascals can’t feast, procreate and take over the world solely from my kitchen.

So what do they want from me? Huh? Go away! I will not make it easy for you to gorge on sweat ripened fruit for you to go forth and multiply! I have deprived you of food and water, how long will it take for you to die already? Get the hint, you’re not welcome here. And why do you follow me around the house? Go back to the kitchen where my assault on you is easier. It’s hard to imagine something that small has intelligence enough to taunt me. But it sure feels like that is exactly what it’s doing when it floats by and stares me down. I swear I can hear it yelling to me, C’mon woman, show me whatcha got! Na na na na na, you can’t catch me!

So there I was, pouring my morning coffee, when I spot Zippy, (that’s what I’ll call’em) the lone fly left, taking a rest on my white kitchen cabinets. Easy to spot a black fruit fly on a white cabinet! I gently put my mug down, quietly, as if not to rouse the sleeping enemy. I tip toe ever so softly to the counter and assume my assault position (the Backward Slap is the weapon I chose for this attempt). Then whap! HA! Down that sucker fell into my sink. I quickly ran the water to be sure its journey to the ocean would be complete. I yelped aloud and danced with conviction – YES! YES! YES! It must have sounded like I had just won the lottery. It sure felt like it too. I pumped my fists over my head and did a triumphant lap around the center island, then grabbed a banana in celebration.

Victory never tasted so sweet...

Monday, August 25, 2008

My new guestbook...

Hey everyone - I just added a fun application to my blog, a guestbook! Please take a moment to sign it and say hello. It's always fun to see who and where you are reading from. Even though I track your visits using another software behind the scenes, this one is much more personal. So go ahead, leave some love!

The guestbook will remain at the bottom of the Blog page for public viewing! Don't be shy... I see you anyway with my secret powers!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Meme of Three Things...

Here's a little Meme Challenge - some random things about me - now tell me all about your THREE THINGS!

THREE THINGS THAT SCARE ME: Spiders, being home alone late at night, public speaking

THREE PEOPLE WHO MAKE ME LAUGH: My family, Lewis Black, Chelsea Handler

THREE THINGS I LOVE: Butterflies, 65 degree weather, New England in the Fall

THREE THINGS I HATE: Wet socks, cleaning up puke, flying

THREE THINGS I DON'T UNDERSTAND: Math problems, a lot of my digital SLR camera settings, what causes Autism

THREE THINGS ON MY DESK: My camera, a cookbook, blank CDs

THREE THINGS I'M DOING RIGHT NOW: listening to music, updating my blog, scratching (#!@*%$) mosquito bites!

THREE THINGS I WANT TO DO BEFORE I DIE: Travel to Italy, become a nurse, learn to like tomatoes on my salad

THREE THINGS I CAN DO: Type fast, curl my tongue 2 ways, drive a stick-shift car

THREE WAYS TO DESCRIBE MY PERSONALITY: An open book, fun, worry-wart

THREE THINGS I CAN'T DO: Whistle, play an instrument, keep my nails long w/o breaking them

THREE THINGS I THINK YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO: Waves crashing on the beach, my children belly-laughing, leaves crunching under your feet in the Fall

THREE THINGS I DON'T THINK YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO EVER: The sound of a tornado siren during a storm, fingernails on a chalkboard (eww!), someone grinding their teeth (double eww!)

THREE OF MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE FOODS: Gooey cheese pizza, steaming hot lobster smothered in butter, marinated steak tips

THREE THINGS I'D LIKE TO LEARN: Ballroom dancing, how to play Euchre without help, my genealogy

THREE BEVERAGES I DRINK REGULARLY: Cold water, decaf coffee/tea, glass of wine or a cold beer

THREE SHOWS I WATCHED WHEN I WAS YOUNGER: Brady Bunch, Beverly Hills 90210, In Living Color

THREE SHOWS I WATCH NOW: Grey's Anatomy, mindless reality shows (ie; Survivor, Big Brother, The Hills), HGTV shows

THREE HOBBIES I ENJOY: Crafting my cards and invitations for clients, watching NFL (Go Golts!), volunteering on 3 committees

THREE PET PEEVES: Unpainted toenails, self-checkout lanes at stores, the toilet paper roll going under instead of over the roll

THREE PEOPLE I'M TAGGING: John L., Wendy, & JoEllen

Friday, August 22, 2008

One down, thirty nine(ish) to go...

....weeks left of school.

The first week of school is officially over. We survived! By request, my little man asked me when I would bake him a cake "just because" - so today was as good of a day as any right? It's a good excuse for some chocolate anyway....

So here he is, ready for the big day last Monday. He was a little nervous the first couple of days, but I think it's old hat for him now.

There are 10 children at our stop this year. Gettin' on the bus....

Here are a couple of pictures of his classroom, taken at the open house last week, and a random shot of me and the kiddos the night before school started!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Overheard conversations...

I should keep a notebook of things that I overhear kids talking about. I take such pleasure in listening in on what little kids have to talk about with their friends. Sometimes the chatter is so cute I wish I could bottle it up, so that when I need a quick giggle I can put my ear to the lid and gently twist it open to listen to the cuteness over and over again.

Take for instance, this latest bit I overheard. I was in my kitchen with the sliding door to the backyard open, when I heard two of my neighbor kiddos on the deck talking and looking at my potted vegetables. They are 3.5 (boy) and 5 (girl) years old....

The plant of choice they were studying was my Red Bell pepper plant....(by the way, don't they look good? I need to pick them, like SOON!)

It went a little something like this....

Boy: (big inhale of excitement) "WOW! Look, Carter's growing...... APPLES!"

Girl: (hands on hips, shaking head as only a girl can do before correcting someone) "No Evan, those aren't apples. Those are CUCUMBERS. C'mon, let's go play!"


I'm still giggling when I think about how cute it was. See, even if you live in Indiana, or anywhere else in the Midwest, that doesn't mean your family must live on a farm and can identify crops at the tender ages of 3.5 & 5!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Hard to replace...

When Carter was born, my late grandparents gave him a little blue dog with a heart on it's chest around Valentine's day, which was the first time they had met him. That dog had fast become the favorite "lovey" of his that we would be forever held hostage for if it was misplaced for a moment. This dog now has frayed ears, half of the red heart has been loved off, the nose is crooked and a little torn. I can still here the 'click click click' sound Carter would make when he tapped the dog's nose to his pacifier to soothe himself. The Paci was gone at 1 yr, but the old dog is still around and a fixture cuddled up next to him each night.

Yes, I had to just sneak upstairs and take this picture under the cover of darkness...

Since babies don't really care about cute little names one might give their stuffed animals, we simply referred to it as, Blue Dog. It's pretty comical now to think back that long ago (7.5 yrs) and wonder if we just simply had not gotten much sleep those days and could care less about naming rights, or if we are really just that boring! I like to think of us as creative people, so why didn't we come up with a creative name for said dog-in-the-color-of-blue? I don't know if we'll ever have the answer to that question, but it falls into the category of Things That Make You Go Hmmmm... Since "Blue" (we then shortened from Blue Dog to just Blue because we're lazy like that), there has been a pattern of the lack of naming rights for all of the stuffed animals in this house. Frankly, they are what they are, and that's it.

For instance, we have Elephant, Red Teddy, Birthday Teddy, Sheep, Bunny, Pink Bear, Boston get the picture. None of these creatures have names! The list goes on and on, but I'm sure any parent reading this can relate to the never-ending pile of dust collectors (aka stuffed animals) your children have. How do you get rid of them? Each one seems to have meaning, not necessarily as much meaning as their main "lovey" has, but still. I have over 7 years of collecting already, and we've already begun with Olivia. I take that back, we have not begun anything - it's everyone else that contributes to the pile. Us parents are not crazy enough to buy our kids stuffed animals because we know they will keep multiplying from the number of family and friends that can't resist the urge to buy them. I'm digressing again...

Now on to Olivia's stuffed animals. She too has a "lovey" that is special and is the bane of our existence if it is misplaced for a mere moment out of sight. It was a gift from a family friend when she was born, and it quickly became The One. It's one of those soft cuddly combination blanket and animal head characters that I think every newborn is entitled to own. Hers is very sweet, it was a fluffy pink teddy bear blanket head, silk trimming and an ever-so-slight jingle sound in the head from a rattle inside. Notice I used the word was when referring to it's fluffy pinkness. Let's just say it hardly resembles any hue of pink, and fluffy is no longer an adjective that can be used to describe it. Olivia is only 19 months old, what on earth is this thing going to look like in another 7 years?

Well, we decided to try and locate a duplicate teddy/blanket/rattle to keep on hand just in case. Just in case, you know, we leave it somewhere, or it gets thrown out of the grocery cart for the 500th time and I feel like teaching her a lesson about how when Mommy says stop throwing the bear for the 499th time, I mean business on the 500th. (heh, and I thought I didn't negotiate with toddlers!) So, we now have a new addition to the dust collection. A bright (almost needed to wear sunglasses!) new fluffy pink clone of the bear. We swear we are not going to take this new bear outside of the house. We promise to keep it safe from the underbelly of public places. We vowed to always keep it pink. We introduced Olivia to it with such enthusiasm, figuring of course she would recognize this bear to be the lovey for her left arm now when she walks around. You know what she did with it? She smiled at it, gave it a big hug then threw it on the ground and hasn't picked it up since.

I guess it goes to show that some old things that are loved are just hard to replace.

Want to guess what their names are?

Teddy. And New Teddy.

And just in case the Health Inspector is reading this, yes Teddy is actually clean. At least once a week when I have to pry it away from the toddler grasp it is thrown in for a bath in the washing machine. That is the glow of love, not dirt.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Addendum to yesterday's post...

The deed is done. Corn is shucked, blanched, cooled, cut, bagged and frozen! Amen.

Because I'm a geek in my own right, I shot photos of the process.... Olivia's gentle "shucking" is evidence in the above picture. She gently peeled the corn like each piece of husk was a petal...

Saturday, August 9, 2008

How do YOU eat it?

Today's thoughts are about corn. Yes, there is more than just corn in Indiana, but in August we must talk about corn out here. It's everywhere, and it's knock-your-socks-off fresh!

This afternoon, we had plans to drive out to the orchard that we annually visit this time of year, to pick up our bushel of corn. Yep, a bushel. Never thought this City Girl would be talking bushels of anything. I probably learned how many were in a bushel sometime in grade school, but when you live in the city, you don't really have a need to make that sort of info stick. To save you city folks some time, a bushel is 60 ears of corn. What might we be doing with 60 ears of corn you ask? Freeze it of course! Yep, I feel like a pilgrim this time of year too. After all, my roots do hail from the state of the Mayflower's arrival and all, so it does seem a little fitting.

Marrying into a family that still has its feet in the farming business along the family tree, having fresh corn throughout the fall and winter has become a traditional way of life for us. And I have even dragged my own parents into the mix and we have made it an annual event together. Tomorrow's the day we will have sticky hands from shucking all the fresh ears, and our fingertips will be pruned from the juiciness of the ears as we cut each delicious kernel from it's cob.

It starts off with my parents arriving at our place, sleeves rolled up and a stick of butter unwrapped. The butter of course is for the stray ear or three that might get eaten in the process. Just can't have corn without it slathered in butter right? Anyway, so we'll shuck it all out on the deck (this part reminds me of my late grandfather as he'd corner all of us kids around to pull off the silks after he'd shuck)... I'm digressing, I can't help it. We'll have two giant stock pots up to a boil with water and drop the ears in for about a 4 minute roll. When that's done, the ears take a dive into some coolers filled with ice and water to stop the cooking. After that, we cut the corn off the cob into a giant bowl and then fill freezer storage bags with the sweet bi-colored gems. This whole process gives us about 25 bags of fresh corn on hand. It takes plenty of time, but it's so worth it.

Surely you have had an ear of corn sometime in your life that did not come from the grocery store right? Where the kernels just about pop themselves off into your mouth without much effort when you bite into the cob - corn so sweet you'd swear you sprinkled sugar on it instead of salt? Well, if not, that's what it's like. I've become a corn snob this time of year - who'd think to buy corn from the supermarket? *faint* It's just not the same, especially when you can buy it off the back of a "George's" pickup truck parked at the intersecting county roads, literally fresh from the rows behind him. Mmmm good.

So, the question begs to be asked... how do you eat yours? Do you munch from left to right or right to left in a straight line across the ear, or perhaps gnaw in a circle around the cob? Do you haphazardly take bites of your ear with fervor, or are you neat and precise with your nibbles? Salt and butter? Do you stop to wipe your mouth and hands, or wait until said ear is stripped of its kernels?

Wow...*gulp*... I'm sounding like a Hoosier!