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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Happy Birthday, Mr. Chairman

We have this friend who is afraid he'll do something stupid and show up on my blog.  So, since it's his birthday, I thought I'd write about him. It's the least I can do, right?

DT, or Mr. Chairman as I like to call him, has a big heart and is one of the hardest workers I know. He and my Mr. spend most of the fall marching season hauling band crap together.  He'll work at his job all day and then show up to volunteer at a football game, stay late to help pack the truck for a band trip early in the morning, and then show up before dawn to haul that equipment to the competition. He smiles and has a great time - he has the best attitude and some of the funniest jokes we've ever heard...
Mr. Chairman is as talented as he is funny.  He rings handbells, plays any brass instrument, and can even plunk out a tune or three on the piano.  He has played trombone at our Christmas parties, brought his baritone to the basketball games, and even hopped in to play at a Jazz Concert when one of the kids got sick.  He is a neat guy and dear friend of the family.  

So, please wish Mr. Chairman a Happy Birthday!  And if it turns out he does something funny or stupid, I'll fill you all in...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Hickory Farms


This arrived in the mail for us to sample last week. It is gorgeous!!!

When we opened the box, we were blown away by the selections. We immediately thought, "What a great gift for a family!"
This is called The Hickory Farms Storybook Gift Set. It comes with a summer sausage, a block of cheese, a small box of crackers, a cookie sampler, a plate with Mickey on it, and Mickey's Night Before Christmas hardcover book.
We thought the family could open this gift Christmas Eve. They could have some family time reading the book while chowing down on the edibles in the box. We also thought that if the family didn't have a special "cookies for Santa" plate, that this one could definitely serve the purpose - and with the cookies included in the package, no baking is necessary.
The package came exactly as you see it above except that the book comes wrapped in white butcher paper to protect it. The top layer of cookies were a little crumbled, but you can't eat them in once piece anyway, so it was fine with us. Everything in the box was absolutely delicious.  The crackers were yummy and intact. The cheese was phenomenal. The summer sausage was delectable. I can't say enough good things about this gift set.
I am a collector of children's Christmas books, so this gift set is right up my alley.  I'm going to add the book to the Christmas basket today when I set it out for the season.
If you need a different kind of gift, please go to Hickory Farms and check out the other yummies they have. There are fruit baskets, sausage and cheese boxes, petit fours - my all time favorite, and more. If you want to ship to your favorite soldier, APO/FPO shipping is free. You certainly can't beat that and you know it will be well received - Hickory Farms is the best!
So if you are looking for a terrific gift to give to friends - this is it!

"I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Hickory Farms and received a Hickory Farms gift basket to facilitate my review."

Monday, November 23, 2009

Julie...

My dear friend Julie - the one I've known since we were in elementary school... the one with one leg who was an Olympian - her - Anyway, she was hired away from a very good job very close to home to work at a prosthetics company in New Hampshire over 45 minutes from her house. She did not apply for the job. They called her. They begged and pleaded with her to take this job.  Before she took the position she told them that she knew dental insurance, not prosthetics and that she'd need time to learn. They told her they'd give her 6 months and then they'd review her and give her a raise.   She also told them that she needed a secure job because she's a single mom with a mortgage.  "Fear not", they said... "We want you to retire here".
Julie loved this job. She was in her element. She learned quickly. She felt at home.

She was there exactly 6 weeks. They laid her off on Friday because they said that they didn't have enough work to keep her busy. (Bunch of bold faced liars!) This company does many arms and legs for the wounded soldiers coming back from war - not to mention the steady stream of clients they get nationwide and around the world. They are known as the best of the best. (If the owner doesn't make this right, I'll be spewing their company name all over the internet.) Did I mention that Julie wears one of their prosthetic legs?  Who lays off someone who can relate to patients like no other? Julie knows what it is like to be without a limb - those who make limbs think they know, but they do not. Only those who have lost limbs can know. She was hired to be a patient advocate - and she is the best. She got Medicaid and Medicare to pay when no one else could - in less than 6 weeks. (Beat that, baby!)
The supervisor told Julie that she was sorry. (Excuse me, but that's a crock...  We all know that the supervisor didn't like it that the owner hired her.) Before Julie left, she told the supervisor - who is also the owner's wife - exactly what needed to be done with each of the 25 files on her desk as well as the status of the closed files that needed to be put up. The woman was totally shocked because she's a lousy boss who was too wrapped up in herself to see the big picture. She had no idea that Julie had done that much work in such a short time.  By the way - Julie's work is flawless. The insurance companies and the government don't pay out if there are mistakes in paperwork...  That supervisor? She's a moron who just laid off the best thing that ever happened to that place.
So - if any of you know of a dental office, prosthetics office, or medical establishment - in Massachusetts, or southern New Hampshire in need of an excellent worker, please let me know. I've got an terrific employee for you. She can't go back to her old job, because they replaced her...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

May the Force Be With You...

As it was with us...

R & I are definitely shoe-ins for the "Mother of the Year Award".   We took the kids to see Star Wars in Concert last night - in Baltimore - as in Maryland - as in 2 hours from home. 

The evening started off innocently enough - get the kids from swimming and head out.
We stopped at the drive thru for a quick bite, distributed the loot and began our drive.
Within moments we were stopped on the road because of an accident up ahead. I was a little freaked out because #1 was ahead of us - enough ahead of us to be mixed up in that mess we couldn't see. I called home. Mr. was out walking Zeb and told me that #1 had not yet arrived. We hung up. 15 minutes later I called back. #1 was walking in the door. Crisis averted. Blessing #1 of the evening. All was well and we were moving at a good clip.

As we hit Route 495, the backup started... we crept along at 10mph - I think I'm being generous with that speed.  Our arrival time on the GPS was clicking up towards the starting time of the concert. We did not panic.
We are moms. We can handle anything!
We even had a small potty crisis, but we managed. We just kept going. At the 495/270 split, we were blessed with moving traffic - for a short few miles. Then we were back to stop and go. Once on 95N, things opened up. The traffic gods smiled upon us and we were cruisin'.


We were going to be later than expected, so I asked if I should call the band director and have him put our tix at Will Call. R said that would probably be a good idea. I dialed.
Hi, it's Ladybug. Do you think you could put our tix at will call?
I don't have your tix. I gave them to LLB and HP and told them to put them in a safe place.
LLB has the tix?
Umm.. yup.

From the back seat we heard two gasps. 
OMG, Mom... I forgot the tix in my locker.
Yeah. Mine are there, too.

I said into the phone: She forgot them in her locker. Do you think they will help us?
Gee. I dunno. Good luck.
And he clicked off.

Around here, this is what we call an "awshit moment".

R and I sighed. The kids felt awful.  LLB was very close to tears.
R and I discussed the sanity of handing tickets to 9th graders - especially when we'd both been at school in his presence at a meeting the night before.

I called back. He gave us the section, rows, and seat numbers and wished us luck.

We held our collective breaths, said a few prayers, and discussed with the children re-payment of the admission price should we have to purchase more tix. They could virtually see their money flying out of their piggy banks, but they didn't complain.

R's Mr. happened to call at this point, so he was filled in on our dilemma. He said something like, "You're going to have to talk your way in. You can do it!"(Hey, we're moms - we can do anything, right?")

At one point LLB said, "Well, this way we'll have the tickets for the scrapbook." We all giggled. She had a point...

We arrived in Baltimore - time was tight... very tight.
We parked in the Sheraton garage - they were close and cheap.

We walked over to the 1st Mariner Center.  We headed for the Will Call counter.
I had my band jacket and band shirt on. (This certainly helps when you are claiming to be "with the band").
I explained our plight to the agent at the window.
He told me to hang on. He headed out back.
We told the children to cross their fingers and to start praying - hard!

The man came back. He started to fill out a pass and was called away. We tried to remain calm. He returned, and finished filling out the pass.  He handed it through the window and told us to enjoy the show.
We thanked him profusely and heaved a huge sigh of relief.
Yet another blessing!

We headed to our seats in the nosebleed section.  Up the stairs...
R had to use the facilities, so we stopped to wait just outside the section door. While we were there, I showed my pass to one of the 1st Mariner Center Staff. She told me she'd been looking for us, that we'd been relocated, handed me 4 tix, and told me the rest of the band was there.

R came out of the bathroom and I literally shoved a ticket in her face. Her eyes lit up.  "How did this happen?" I quickly explained. I'm not sure she heard or understood a word I said, but the implication was that we had real tickets! 
Yes, people - another blessing in less than 5 minutes!

We flew down the stairs to our much better seats.
There are 2 doors to each section. We walked in the door to the left - amazingly it was the correct door! Our seats were right on the end. We missed exactly 30 seconds of the show.

R texted her Mr. "we're in!"

The show was amazing -  the music, the lights, the screen - everything! I thoroughly enjoyed watching the conductor. He conducted the symphony and the choir. Amazing!!

The ride home was blissfully uneventful.
We decided that this was definitely an adventure for the scrapbook... I just wish we had some pictures to go with it.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

How not to start a Christmas list...

We had another early morning with Zeb. 
Mr. decided to head off to work early since he was up. He hadn't picked his clothes for the day last night because he expected to be getting dressed in the daylight.  Socks all look the same in the dark.  Mr. is pretty funny about his socks - they have to match what he's wearing - unlike myself... if mine match each other it's a good day.  The light from the closet is not on the same side of the room as his dresser.  He must have made 20 trips back and forth between the light and the dresser to see what color socks he had in his hand. 
The floor in our room is a little "springy" and Mr. walks "hard". The antique lamp on the dresser rattles when you walk.  20 trips back and forth across the bedroom became almost hysterically funny to me.
From under the covers, I said, "Turn on the light."
"No, I found them. I think I need to ask Santa for more blue socks."
"Okay. I'll make a note of that."

Monday, November 16, 2009

Geez Louise!

It's Monday?
Where do the weekends go?

I have my review at the church where I direct my handbell choir in a little while.  Then I have to teach my school kids - hopefully the flu is almost out of that school. I don't like to breathe germy air, you know?  Then I have my church handbell group - unless they fire me this morning, which is unlikely...

I'm tired just thinking about all of that.  But it's really fun exhausting stuff!

The kids start their swim season today. I love swim season for two reasons:
1. It's short.  We're done by the end of January and we've got Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks in there for breathing room.
2. The kids are tired, go to bed early, and sleep really well.  This allows me easier access to the TV remote in the evenings. (It's the little things...)

Okay - I'd best get my rear in gear...
Wish me luck!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Phew! That was fast!

Wow! I can't believe it's Sunday and that I'm home, somewhat rested, and here chatting with all of you.

The bell fest went off quite well. The headmaster from the school decided to come. (I think the fact that he had choice of vomit or handbells may have had a little something to do with his presence, but I'm not fussy. Whatever got him to the festival is fine with me.) His just being there solved a multitude of problems. I didn't have to worry one bit about behavior, any chaperoning issues, or anything. I told him how much I appreciated his presence. I felt a giant weight come off of my shoulders when I saw him walking towards my registration table. What a blessing!!!

The other teacher did show up - sometime late Friday. That's all I'm going to say on that.

As for my children and their competition. I got a call on Saturday morning upon their arrival at the competition field. It was pouring rain. Why should this week be any different than the last 3? LOL!  At noon I got another weather update - it was warm and cloudy, but not rainy. The kids were eating and then they were going to change into their uniforms.
That's the last I heard from them until 4:30 or so...
Mr. called. It did not rain. They marched and played very very well. Their score - 92.75!!! Wow! That's another school record!!!
Their place?
First!
The kids were sooo excited! They beat out 17 other bands. They got their collective act together and cranked it up. I am so glad.
It's still not about winning - although it's nice that their hard work is recognized. It's about working together and having fun.
They did just that on Saturday.

Microsoft Office Live

I was asked to try out this new Microsoft Office Live.
I'm usually a little leery of stuff like this, but I thought I'd try it.
OMG! This thing is terrific and it's FREE!

Microsoft Office Live is a way to create and share documents without carrying flash drives. You create your documents online and they save them for you. You can share with whomever you choose, and you can access the documents from any computer. How many times have I wished I could access a document that was on my computer at home! No more!!!


Sign up for your FREE workspace to:
  • Access and share files from anywhere
  • Work with Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint
  • 5GB of free online storage (thousands of Office documents)
  • Share password-protected documents—you control who views and edits
  • Use for work, home, and school











I used it to create the flyer, invitation, and guest list for our annual Christmas Party. I can then share it with Gram over the internet. She can check it all out, change what mistakes she sees, and not even leave her desk. She doesn't have to download anything - it's all right there on the internet. How cool is that???  The best part is that it is Word, PowerPoint and Excel documents so there is no learning curve. Everything is the same as she is used to seeing. We like to keep it simple here at The Crossing...


You basically download Microsoft Office Live to your desktop and then you can edit all you want!

They have many templates to choose from and have thought of everything! 

There is another option: Microsoft Office Live Small Business. You can create your own website in minutes! It's fast and easy. They've thought of everything!

So - interested? You should be. Go try it!
It's awesome!

“I wrote this review while participating in a blog campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Microsoft Office Live. Mom Central sent me a gift card to thank me for taking the time to participate.”

Friday, November 13, 2009

Ring my bell...

I'm off to the discoveRing bell  festival in Richmond. Stop by and say hi if you're there. I'm the one with the camera - in case you need to find me.

My school bells will be there. My kids are excited, somewhat prepared, and ready for a fun weekend.  I can only hope that the other teacher (who I did not recommend to be hired) actually shows up and takes responsibility for the kids. Because I'm working the event on the other side, I cannot "be the teacher".  There's obviously more to the story, but since I'm supposed to be all sweetness and light over here, I won't get into it. I am worried - very worried.

My own children are headed to their final Marching Band Competition in Allentown this weekend. I'm heartbroken that I can't see them march and take their pictures.  Alas, the other parents will have to step up and do it for me.  Mr. is going to be with them, but the camera will be with me...  I have my cell phone charged so they can tell me how they are doing, how they placed, and any other little tidbit they want to share. I hate not being there with them.

So - if you need me, I'll be back tomorrow.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Wash Day Funny

Yesterday I was collecting the dirty laundry. I was sorting colors and whites in our room. As I stood up, I looked up at the window in our bedroom and noticed something hanging from the curtain rod.
Could it be?
Nah!
Yup - a pair of men's briefs...
It struck me funny...
I left them there.
This morning Mr. was getting ready for work.
I asked, "Hey, look up at the curtain rod. How did those get up there?"
"What?" He laughed when he saw them.

As he took them down he said, "It's a good thing those aren't lace panties, or people might talk..."

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Lickin' it...

Mr. called me the other day and mentioned that his Blackberry trackball wasn't working.
I told him how I clean the trackball on my mouse - I get a paper towel damp with glass cleaner and then roll it over the trackball. It works every time. I told him to try it.

I got this email back from him:
BTW, it worked!!  I licked my BB (blackberry) trackball and it works again!

He said it tastes like cat food.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

3am

Is not a time I like to be woken up - ever.
Zeb has woken me up 2 nights in a row at 3am.  The first night he ran out and did a giant poopy. I understand that and had a feeling it might happen based on what he scarfed down shortly before bed time. But, last night - there was no reason to be getting me out of bed at 3am.

So, I went and checked him. He was fine. I went back to bed.
Zeb woofed some more and Mr. - the big softie - got up to let him out.

The cats know that if I'm up at 3am, they'd best be sweet, purr a lot, and not beg for food. Alas, they know that Mr. will feed them at any hour. I heard the clink of dry food in their bowl at 3:05am. 

If these animals think that this is going to become a habit - they are in for a rude awakening. Mr. just informed me that tonight he's putting in his earplugs and closing the bedroom door.

Monday, November 09, 2009

More Fall...

LLB has been absconding with my camera. She took these.


She's got an amazing eye...



See what I mean?

Yup... the kid is amazing.

Zeb - the wonder dog!


LLB took this picture, too!

I took these - much to Zeb's dismay:

His expression says, "Mom... I don't like you to take my picture with that thing. It's scary!"





He is so brave.... NOT! He doesn't like the camera, so he ran in here:


See - so brave he'll actually peek at the camera:

His favorite hiding place - behind the toilet... Silly dog!

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Fall at Ladybug Crossing


This is the view out my back door... Truly amazing.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Random Dozen

1. It's early morning, about 2:00AM, and you're driving home. You come to a red light and sit there. There is no one in sight for miles around. Do you wait it out or run the light? I wait... if I run it, I will get caught... It's just the way my life is.

2. If you had the chance to re-do the last 24 hours, would you change anything? no.

3. When you reply to someone's comment on your blog, do you reply in your comments or go to her blog and comment? Depends.

4. Your favorite Disney movie is: Gee... I dunno... I like most of them...

5. Do you recycle? some.

6. Games of strategy or games of chance? strategy.

7. Do you have any recurring dreams? Not usually.

8. What did you learn from your first real job? People are afraid of the dentist.

9. Do you buy or borrow most books? Borrow from the library.

10. What fashion trend of the past did you say you'd never wear again but did? I never thought of myself as fashionable, so I have no idea.

11. When do you start Christmas shopping? I've already started. Started Dec. 26th last year.

12. Have you ever been so happy that you literally jumped up and down for a few seconds? If so, what was the occasion? Yes... I do it all the time in bell class when they finally get something they've been working on really hard and it finally comes together. They think I'm a weirdo.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

You know...


the weather is getting cold when you go to shave your legs and decide a lawn mower would have been a more appropriate tool...

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Voting Day

Today is voting day.
Please go vote - but only if you've done your research...

Monday, November 02, 2009

Spirit??

We were on a band competition trip this past weekend. The kids marched better than they ever have. They played really well - the music was terrific! The kids came off the field proud of what they accomplished.

We stayed for the awards ceremony later that evening. Our two drum majors were on the field to receive the trophy. The kids got second place, but scored 5 points higher than last week - which is unbelievable!!  They also got the award for best music! This is nothing to sneeze at.  When they called our school's name, the kids went crazy - They hooted and hollered and cheered!

When the drum majors got back to the bus, they were upset and wouldn't smile. They wanted first place - who doesn't? They refused to smile for the picture.  I can't submit two puss faces with a trophy to the paper.  The Assistant Director gave them a quick pep talk, but by then, it was too late. They refused to bring the trophy onto the bus and handed it to the Color Guard Coach. Later, after they had changed, there were tears.

In my world, there is nothing wrong with 2nd place. Their Band Director brings them to these competitions for them to learn - not to walk away with first place.  He really and truly doesn't care if they win or lose, but that they work as a team, have fun, and make music together.  The bands are judged - scores are given based on someone's opinion.  It's the luck of the draw really...  So, today they liked someone else (one point better) - so be it.  I was a bit disappointed in the DM's...  If you aren't proud of what your team accomplished - no matter how you are judged - your priorities are messed up -- and you shouldn't be wearing that red plume.

I can honestly say that my DM was never ever disappointed in our efforts. We didn't compete, but we traveled with the football team and played the show every week for 10 weeks - some schools we played had bands 3 times the size of ours and could literally blow us off the field.  He told us we were the best band even when we knew we weren't. He told us our music was beautiful even when we knew we'd messed up. He was our biggest cheerleader... and we believed every word he said.

They have one more competition in 2 weeks. I can't go to that one, as I'll be doing handbell stuff.  I certainly hope the DM's pull it together and decide that, no matter how they place, the kids on the field have done their very best.