April 28, 2012

April's Real Pins and 25,000!!!

From my heart to yours:
During the month of April my blog page views totalled over 25,000!!! 
That absolutely amazes and touches me deeply. 
Ever the math geek I never grasped how huge that number is until I thought of it this way:

Your 25,000th minute of life occurs when you are:
 17 days, 8 hours and 40 minutes old 
Your 25,000th hour of life occurs when you are:
 2 years, 311 days, 16 hours old
Your 25,000th day of life occurs when you are:
 68 years, 6 months, 1 week and 5 days old

Here's the new things I tried from Pinterest this month: 

1. Hard Boiled Eggs in the Oven ~ these were so easy to do and turned out wonderfully.  I cooked 20 at once and not a one cracked.  The eggs did turn out with brown spots as the post mentioned but the spots wipe off while you're cooling them in water... no more boiling for me.  I did this while baking a cake so double duty for the oven :)  Royally Rocked
2. Organizing Measuring Cups and Spoons ~ My attempt did not turn out as lovely as this but it was truly my fault:
       ~I recently treated myself to metal measuring cups/spoons from Crate&Barrel that I love however they are bigger and heavier than most
       ~ I did not buy strong enough hangers for my metal measuring items
I plan on retrying tis idea in the next week so hopefully I'll have a picture in May

3. Freshen air in bathroom~ Use your favorite scent of essential oils dropped onto the toilet paper roll to freshen up the air after each use.  Maybe we go through rolls quicker than most but I went through a lot of oil and no one really noticed the scent  Royally Failed

My biggest disappointment to share with you this month was with crochet attempts. 
I think I got a bit too ambitious with trying these new patterns:

Not willing to be defeated I created a YouTube Channel and filled it with crochet videos so I am planning on having new wash cloths to show you next month.  I think I'll learn better watching someone instead of figuring it out myself.

That was pretty much the extras in April that didn't get their own blog posts. 
 Remember you can find me on pinterest as Lady Bren.  If you don't have an account and need an invitation email me and we'll get you set. 

April 25, 2012

Are people really that clueless?

    It amazes me that people can be so rude and think no one notices.  I guess I really shouldn't be surprised by at times it still takes me aback. In the past two weeks I have had run in with people who just are clueless. One I went back at and the other was well a delicate situation.
     The first was at the bank.  Patrick was driving and let me off then parked the car ~ in a handicapped space, which we have a parking tag for.  On most days I don't use the tag but on some days I'm very thankful we have them.  As we were getting ready to leave a noticed a gentleman talking to him.  When we got to the car I asked what he said. Seems the gentleman made the comment that Patrick didn't look handicapped.  OH NO he didn't!!  Considering how crappy I felt lashing out at someone was a welcoming opportunity.  I went back inside and from the door called to the man.  "Sir, I understand you made a comment to my son regarding parking in a handicapped spot? Just so you know not all handicaps are visible.  My son happens to have Spina Bifida which YOU can't see.  He's endured more pain than most men will ever know.  Not only has he overcome that but he's enlisting in the Marines to serve YOUR country.  On top of that he's driving me today because due to complications from my stroke I'm unable to drive.  So next time you think of making a snarky comment remember all handicaps are not visible."  With that I left the bank. I'll admit that was a bit easier as there was maybe 6 customers that day.  As we were getting ready to leave the gentleman came out. I could see Patrick thinking oh no what did she do now.  The gentleman began a huge apology but then pointed out that we didn't have handicap license plates. NO sir we had the blue handicap placard hanging on the rear view but we've taken it off to drive which you are supposed to do.  He then said his goal was to make sure that people weren't using the parking spaces that weren't supposed to. Once again he apologized.  We felt a little bit bad because we couldn't put down the window when he was talking to us because it was broken but didn't feel bad that he had to talk louder to make his apology.
     While that was incredibly annoying at least it was from a stranger.  Today's situation just blew me away as it was someone that we know.  Well I don't know him but my husband does.
     There are some days when my migraines are so bad that my speech is affected.  I usually wind up repeating words or get stuck on words.  This morning was one of those days.  I called Michael to let him know not to call me at lunch when he usually does as I was going to lay down until I had to leave for physical therapy.  Unlike his old shop that had a phone on the work floor to reach him in this new shop I have to call into the office.  Today when I spoke to his boss instead of only using six words - Can I please speak to Michael - it wound up being probably close to 20.  Sure, his boss said.  Maybe he thought he put the phone on hold because the next thin I hear is him mimicking me! This is Michael's boss who is well aware of my situation. I made sure not to cry when Michael got on the phone as I really wasn't even sure whether or not to tell him. When I did tell him I could hear the conflict in his voice.  He was obviously upset with what his boss did yet at the same time this is the man who picks and chooses who gets to work overtime.  That didn't matter he told me he was going to talk to him.
     How could someone who knows me indirectly be so cruel?  So immature, so clueless?  Does he think this is fun for me?  It took me right back to the first weekend I was home from rehab when a door to door salesman called me retarded due to my speech issues.  And my therapist wonders why I hate going out in public

April 24, 2012

A Little Bit of Sunshine

I was so excited to see that I had received a blog award:

April 23, 2012

Thank you to Lynette atRantRaveWrite for passing this award along
The rules for this challenge include answering the following questions:
  1. Favorite color-  Green 
  2. Favorite Animal-  Whales My dream is to swim with a Blue Whale
  3. Favorite number – 23 (ok not really mine as I don't have one but this is both hubby's and son's)
  4. Favorite non-alcoholic drink -  Diet Pepsi Caffeine Free
  5. Facebook or Twitter – FACEBOOK though really getting into twitter of late
  6. My passion – Music 
  7. Getting or giving presents - Giving. I love finding that "perfect" gift
  8. Favorite Pattern- well now that I am crocheting I'd have to say anything easy :)
  9. Favorite day of week – Friday love kicking off the weekend
  10. Favorite flower - Tulips
5 Blogs I am passing this award onto:

April 23, 2012

The Healing Power of Music

            The expression is often misquoted as " Music has charms to soothe a savage beast"  from Playwright/Poet William Congreve's The Mourning Bride, 1697.  The power of music has been recognized to such that we now have certified music therapists.  Did you know that simply handing a teenager a CD has healing powers as well?

     The first Friday of every month is YouthQuake Live.  All three of my kids have been cast members over the last 4 years.  In all honesty we do not attend every show for a number of reasons. First off it is by teens  for teens ~ In other words it is very very loud with music and skits that appeal primarily to teens.  Secondly very often they overfill the venue so seating is usually limited and should be available for the kids. Thirdly until Meg joined the cast Patrick and Emily were never on stage as they were on the Tech Team and kept telling us to not come.  However whenever Meg is on stage we are always there. 
     This past month her team was featured in a video.  She told us we didn't need to be there as we could see the video on line.   I was quite surprised when my phone went off just 30 minutes after the show had started.  "Mom, I'm with the nurse I hurt my knee!"  What? How? She was part of the dance team that got the audience excited at the beginning of the show. The nurse gets on the phone and he believes she has dislocated her knee. Of course this is the month that Patrick wasn't there as his NJROTC team was in Pensacola, FL for National Competition.  Meg wants to stay for the rest of show, claiming that she's fine in a wheelchair with ice on her knee.  I'm walking out the door.
     Ever notice how you are aware of every traffic light and car in your lane when you're trying to get to a hurt child?  I just dropped her off 4 hours earlier and knew exactly how long the ride was.  How is it that the 30 minutes now felt like an eternity?  Why does everything seem farther in the dark?
     By the time we arrive she is surrounded by cast members and adults as she's now in serious pain and the tears are flowing.   On top of being hurt she is also upset as she realizes she can't go to her Bible Study's Beach Party the next day.  With her knee swollen we settle her in the van and head home.   All I want to do is make her feel better NOW; do you want a drink or snack on the ride home?  Then it hits me, I know how to heal her pain, well ok at least distract her from the pain...  I hand her a CD that I purchased over a week ago and left hidden in the van.  Her sobs of pain turn instantly to squeals of joy.  If you haven't heard a teenage girl squeal over a boy band it is something your ear drums will never forget, so consider yourself lucky.
     Remember how I said the ride to get her seemed long ~ well the return ride listening to her One Direction CD seemed even longer.  I'll admit though I preferred hearing her sing along to the CD then cry.  The healing power of music gotta love it!
YQL Sept 2010 Meg dancing for  OutCast

     Thankfully the Orthopedist said she didn't locate her knee but horribly overstretched the ligaments.  She is currently in a knee brace and starting 6 weeks of physical therapy.  She will not be dancing in the May Show.

April 20, 2012

You shouldn’t have to get mad to get what is fair

            I don’t back down.  If I think I am right I will go toe to toe with anyone.  Today the lucky person to feel my full wrath was the manager at The Orange Box Store *.
     Last Spring we went through a fruit tree phase.   We bought 6 different varities of trees.   We’ve been fertilizing and just generally loving them for the past year.   All but one of our fruit trees have been doing really well.   This one tree finally lost its fight with the last dry spell we had.  But I wasn’t too disappointed as we bought the tree at The Orange Box Store .  Like Lowes, The Orange Box Store offers a one year guarantee on their plants.  With that in mind we leave the store tags on the trees in case something happens.  (Can you see where this is going?)
     In the past I have had to return plants.  I’ve never had an issue.  Return the plant in its pot with tags and you get a replacement, no questions asked.  Having decided to return my dead tree I called over to The Orange Box Store and spoke with the garden manager.  Told him my tree was dead and it still had all of it’s The Orange Box Store  tags on it.  I explained I no longer have the receipt and that I didn’t want a refund just a replacement.  He said no problem, bring the tree in and we’ll swap it out.  I should have gotten his name.
            Today we dug the tree up and headed to The Orange Box Store to get a new tree.  I really have to wonder- do the put the most clueless person at the returns desk?  Seriously if they don’t have any authority whatsoever don’t put them there!!  We explain to the girl (in her tight leopard top-can’t make these things up) about the tree and our conversation with the manager.  Sorry you need a receipt.  Again tell her what the garden manager says, she repeats all this (in a “TONE”) to another girl in customer service who repeats the store motto ~ no receipt no return.  Honestly who keeps their plant receipts for a year?  Never mind the fact that today’s receipts are not printed in ink like the good old days but are actually printed on thermal paper and even with the safest storing methods fade over time.  “No sorry you need a receipt, how do we know you bought that plant a year ago?” 
            Obviously she thought her stern tone would be enough to scare me away.  I replied with one of my favorite lines ~ can I please speak with the store manager?  She calls the store manager, tells her the situation and turns to me and says, the store manager said you need the receipt.  UMMM NO I asked to speak to the store manager can you have her come here.  
            The store manager comes up front and before I can say anything tells me that a receipt is required to return anything to the store.  (Oh yeah this is going to be fun) I explain my conversation with the garden manager.  I also tell her how I have returned plants to Lowes, which is literally right next door, without any problem whatsoever.  This doesn’t seem to faze her one bit.  She stands her ground repeating that she’s sorry but a receipt is necessary.  After five minutes this was getting old.  Feeling like we were losing the battle I start to leave and let her know that this is not done.  I tell her I plan on contacting not only the area manager but the corporate headquarters telling them how this store seems more concerned about paperwork then their customers.  Before we leave I turn one last time to tell her that I am going to write a blazing blog post regarding how this store treats their customers.
-and then-
Mam!?!  Mam!?!  I want you to know that this one time I will exchange your plant.  But please know that in the future if you need to return a plant you will have to have your receipt.  You can go to the back and pick a tree to replace this one with.

Now why did it take me threatening to write a blog for me to get a replacement tree???   Let’s face it when something is returned it goes against the vendor not the store (my husband used to work at Lowe’s so I know how this works).    UGGH SO FRUSTRATING!  Imagine how many people just give up.  I hate that stores and corporations have gotten so big that customer service, real customer service barely exists anymore.  Oh forgot to tell you the tree in question cost a whopping $19.95, imagine if it had been one of the $59.95 trees!
My orchard now is the proud home of a Cherry Tree!!

***So I ran this post by my husband as he was there with me.  He pointed out how I threatened to write a blog and got a new tree yet here I am writing a blog.  He felt it would only be fair if I took the name of the store out, The Orange Box Store was our compromise.  Also in all fairness I did not mention which one it is as there are 4 in our area. 

April 13, 2012

How could I do this to my teenager??

     To have heard the moans coming from my 18yr old this weekend you would have thought I told him we would no longer have running water in the house.  What could have brought on such cries of protest?  We didn’t cancel our TV subscriptions.  We were still going to have cell phones.  We were not moving.  If it wasn’t any of these life altering changes that had him in such dire straits what could it be?  It was the simple fact that we were going to continue our Easter tradition of coloring eggs and watching old Easter movies.  I know you’re all thinking what horrible horrible parents we are exposing our son to such demanding tasks.  We were actually asking him to spend the afternoon with the family! GASP
          Though he may not admit it he had a blast, as did we.  Tell me, when was the last time you watched The Easter Bunny is coming to Town with an 18yr old?  We still have our original copy which means it is on VHS. We definitely know almost every line and especially every song.  Watching the movie with a running commentary from a snarky teenager was an incredibly entertaining experience.  From Sunny (the bunny) pretty much taking over the town at age 1 to kids that never seem to age and let’s not forget about Hallelujah Jones hanging around a bunch of kids unsupervised ~nothing was left untouched.  Yes we saw this timeless treasure through new eyes this weekend and I’m pretty sure it was not what Fred Astaire had in mind when he provided the voice of the narrator.  Also I’m quite sure we never laughed that hard while watching it before!
          Shortly after the movie came the dreaded egg coloring.  Are you really going to do this? That’s so lame?  The torture I was going to expose him to~ someone call Child Services!!  Could someone explain to me how an unnamed 18yr old took longer than anyone else to color his eggs? Ever the perfectionist, his eggs had to be colored just so and have certain patterns.  Then came the comparison of the talent put into each eggs.  The fact that I chose to use stickers and other items to create patterns didn’t show creativity rather an inability to design without aids. Oh to have the ego of a teenager. 
          I have to be honest.  With graduation looming less than two months away I am having those “last moment” thoughts.  Is this his last Easter home?  When we will color eggs together?  I’ll admit that sometimes, only sometimes, I am even embracing those annoyingly entertaining self-centered moments of his.
Easter Eggs ~ do you like my use of stickers :)

**Pinterest moment: I baked my eggs instead of boiling them and they came out absolutely perfect! Directions here

April 9, 2012

The discoveries I've made on Ancestry.com

   While on Facebook the other day an ad popped up for an app. I hadn't seen before.. Build your Family Tree.  What make this app. so great is that it pulls all the information from anyone you have tagged as family and their family tags as well. I had fun playing and continued on to the Ancestry.com website taking full advantage of the free 14 day trial.  Well the discoveries that I've made.....

     Blended Families
          A lot is made today about blended families.  Well I am here to tell you they are nothing new.  The main difference is that today the original spouse is usually still around.  I have a great (x3) Uncle who not only married 3 times but two of his wives had children from previous marriages.  The Brady Bunch has nothing on them. As I don't have the exact dates it appears as if marriage number two occurred less than 18 months after the death of his first wife and marriage number three happened within a year after he lost his second wife. Let's face it marriages in those days were done more for the common sense of it all.  He had a brood of children that needed a mother and so he sought one out, twice. Oh the fun I am having with the 23 children/step children that Uncle has provided
    Repetitive names
     This discovery really astonished me.  Very often when a child died their name would be reused. I understand that unfortunately it wasn't uncommon for children to not always survive into adulthood.  But to use a deceased child's name for another child? It is not as if there was a limited option of names. Inquiring minds wanted to know (okay just mine) how common a practice this was so I went onto a number of genealogy boards and found many others asking the same question.  It does seem to be most common in the UK/Ireland histories.  Just as common was naming many children with the same first name and different middle names. One main reason among Catholics is the habit of naming children for the saint nearest to their birth/christening.  Another reason is the very strong obligation to family names.  I ran across this "rule of names" more than once:
Naming pattern:
  • 1st son is given the father's father name
  • 2nd son is given the mother's father name
  • 3rd son is given the father's name
  • 4th son is given the father's eldest brother's name
  • 5th son is given the mother's eldest brothers name
  • and in reverse for daughters.(which I totally don't get)
I have to admit in my husband's family they were quite adamant about naming the first male and female for the parents. In fact my husband should have his father’s name but that was passed onto his younger brother.
     Different Families:  In keeping up with the times I appreciate that Ancestry.com offers different family relationships.  I was very pleased to find you can choose whether a parent is biological, step, adoptive, guardian or foster.  My mother was a foster child so I thought her side of the tree would be empty or I’d see dotted lines instead of solid. Kudos to Ancestry.com as the only way you would know that familiar relationship is any different from the others is through hitting on that specific person.  And don’t you know for now that is where I am finding the most recent updates complete with pictures!

     Here’s my advice for beginners from a beginner: be sure to include any in-law you can on your tree.  You may wonder why you would want the family history of the wife of your cousin who is three times removed. The simple answer is this~ someone from that family may have done some serious research and included your cousin’s family as well.  By including that name in your tree you open yourself up to more connections which mean more trees which ultimately mean more discoveries!! Oh the places you'll go!
     Have fun!!  Be sure to let me know what you've discovered and if you have any hints please pass then on.
Well I can see where my curls come from but didn't know my paternal grandma was a blonde!

April 4, 2012

Nepotism ~ it's not just for families anymore

     Simply put today's job market sucks.  Now try to be a high school graduate, college student never mind a college graduate. The unemployment numbers for those groups are just staggering.  These are job candidates who don't simply just want money for movies and new video games.  These candidates are often in desperate need of a job so they can buy college books, car insurance never mind make their tuition. So explain to me why time and time again instead of employers hiring motivated, mature candidates who are desperate for work they would rather hire the 15 yr. child of a friend!!!!!!!
     It isn't even just that situation that drives me nuts.  I completely understand people having a passion for a certain job field and wanting to get "hands on" as soon as possible. I don't understand how the passion of an untrained 18yr somehow makes them a better candidate than say someone with a degree? Since when did the fact that they are a niece or nephew become a qualifier? It simply drives me nuts.
     I completely understand the concept of nepotism when you have built the business and want to pass it onto your sons and daughters.  After all aren’t those the hopes and dreams of the founder?  I got my first real job while a senior in high school.  It was for Herber Plumbing and Heating.  I was hired as a gal Friday and thrilled to have made lifelong friends.  Bob and JoAnne worked long hours and were proud of the business they had built out of their home.  When I started working for them they were celebrating their 10th year and in the process of moving into a store front they had built.   They had a son, Bobby, and when he was old enough he went out with the plumbers and learned the business.  Should they have hired an apprentice instead of their son? Of course not.  Herber Plumbing is still a mainstay back home and I'm sure Bobby plans on bringing his kids into the business someday.  That is completely different than a Dental Assistant bringing her 14yr old daughter to work and taking patients’ x-rays!!
     It truly frustrates me to no end when I see others misusing their position to get jobs for their friends and family who honestly wouldn't get the job if there was a true application process.  There is always a loss when that happens.  Very often the person granting the job can't/doesn't see it because of the rose colored glasses they have on. Whether it is in the quality of the work being performed or simply the fact that they didn't have to earn this job and have lost that life lesson there is a loss. Now I am big enough to admit that there are some very great exceptions to this situation but they're just that~ exceptions.
     To be perfectly honest an organization I'm involved with has a severe problem with nepotism.  It is almost comical it has been going on so long.  Currently they have an intern program which is infested with nepotism.  Simply put if you aren't related or the good friend of the staff with rare exception you aren't hired.  The main qualifications as well as a heart for its mission well, reread the last sentence.  Is that to say they aren't great workers~ most of the time they have been but again how would they stand against a qualified group of candidates?  Doesn't matter there never is a group these positions are given out.
     I do not have ties to anyone, any company, anywhere so sorry can't help you with a job search.  Maybe that's why Patrick's having a hard time finding a job! He did have one interview with a pizza chain but talk about sketch.  After showing up early wearing jacket and tie the manager held the interview while they stood outside the store.  Remember this is Florida, it was 80+ degrees. Thank heavens it lasted less than 5 minutes.  He had applied for a team position not delivery, since at the time he hadn't received his license yet.  It didn't seem to bother her that he had his license for less than a week would he take a delivery job?  When he said no she told him she'd try to get his some team hours..... We haven't heard back.  Maybe she was holding the team job for a friend's daughter?
    Just to be clear, my son~

  • graduating high school
  • staying local~ not going away to college
  • NJROTC officer
  • clean cut, no tattoos or piercings
  • 4 years in a leadership volunteer position outside of school
  • glowing references
  • plans on joining reserves
Yes please hire the 15yr old boy crazy daughter of your friend... that will work out


April 2, 2012

I have proof I should be drinking more~ and I don't mean water

     I knew there was supposed to be more alcohol in my life and now I have proof!!  While I was checking out Friday (alcohol free mind you) I was completely shocked when I saw the following magazine cover:

Prevent Stroke with a Bloody Mary!!
    I have always been more of a Long Island Iced Tea girl but if switching to a Bloody Mary will lower my risk of a stroke then bring them on.

     Of course I had to buy this magazine to read further. Kudos to the layout team on this magazine because I rarely buy the rags at the check-out.  Well I should have kept my $1.79 as they horribly mislead me. Ok I'll admit I really didn't expect them to say that somehow the combination of tomato juice, vodka, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce and a celery stick was actually going to lower my risk of a stroke but I could dream right. Be honest you were hoping a little bit too.

In her article Stay stroke-free for life Brenda Kearns does share 5 tips, including a Bloody Mary, that can help you reduce your risk for a stroke.  
  1. Exercise, staying fit over getting slim. University of South Carolina study found just 30 minutes of exercise daily can cut a woman's chances of stroke 20% while losing weight didn't make a difference
  2. Vitamin E Some research suggests that your chances of having a stroke decreases as much as 50% if you take 400 IU of Vitamin E. **PLEASE do NOT increase vitamin E without talking to your doctor as there are conflicting reports on whether it is helpful or harmful**
  3. Smile University of Michigan suggests that simply smiling, even if you don't mean it, can reduce your risk of a stroke by 27%.  When you smile it signals your brain to slow down production of cortisol, a hormone that kick-starts artery damaging inflammation.
  4. Eat some Raisins Consuming a 1/4 cup of dried fruit daily could cut your stroke risk by 25%.  Dried fruit is rich in potassium.  This mineral helps artery walls relax which can prevent damaging blood pressure spikes.
AND Finally…..
  1. Bloody Mary To reduce your risk of a stroke up to 37% have some vodka. Well that’s not what it really says ~misleading front page headline L  What it does say is that women who added one cup of nutrient rich fruit or vegetables to every meal cut their risk of a stroke as much as 37%.  This can also be achieved by drinking a Bloody Mary or one 8-oz glass of V8 EACH day.  According to Canadian research going too low on your sodium isn’t helpful so drink the regular V8 not the low sodium alternative.  See you should have had a V8 (Sorry couldn’t resist)
    While Ms. Kearns and the Woman’s World did disappoint me by not endorsing a daily dose of alcohol to prevent strokes the advice given is strong and substantial.  Please always remember if you suspect someone is having a stroke Speed counts.  Be sure to get them to the hospital as quickly as possible.  It is always better to err on the side of caution:
Facial Weakness
Arm & Leg Weakness
Speech Problems
Time is Critical
If you answer yes to any of the above CALL 911 IMMEDIATELY!