I Am Published!

Posted in animals on May 7th, 2010 and tagged , , ,

It doesn’t take much to amuse me, I guess, because today I’m happy that my local newspaper printed a picture I sent in of the baby doves that resided in our tree.  You have to subscribe to the paper to see the picture, so if you’re local, pick up a copy to see my picture; it’s on page 5 😉

For the rest of you, follow this link and you can read my post about the baby doves – the photo that was printed in the newspaper is the middle picture.

Newseum – Haven For News Junkies!!

Posted in Cool Internet Stuff, Current Events on March 11th, 2010 and tagged , , , ,

If you are a news junkie like me, then you will love this website – there are maps of the whole world, broken down into sections.  You click on dots on the map, and you can see the front page of the newspaper for that region.  In many cases, you can get the pdf file of the entire newspaper!  The site is updated every day, so you can see current headlines.  I really like to read news from all over the country, especially places where I use to live, like Chicagoland, Lincoln Nebraska, and Rockford Illinois.  And it’s really interesting to see headlines from the entire world!  (even though I can only read the ones in English!)

Here is a link to the United States headlines map – enjoy! Follow links on the site to access news taking place on the entire planet!


Posted in Current Events on March 2nd, 2009 and tagged , , , , , ,

I like to read the news stories on dailyherald.com  – probably because they have much more interesting news than my local newspaper.  But hey, that’s not a complaint since more interesting news = more crime to write about.  But I grew up in the Chicago area, so when there are interesting stories on dailyherald.com, I know where the town is they’re talking about, which is another reason why I frequent the site.  Today’s edition had an interesting (but sad) story:

Naperville police are desperately searching for a missing 12-year-old child who allegedly took the keys to his family car and left the home.

Cmdr. Dave Hoffman of the Naperville Police Department said the child is 5-feet, 8-inches tall, about 140 pounds, has wavy brown hair and brown eyes. He is believed to be wearing gray cargo pants and a white T-shirt and a green winter Army jacket.

Hoffman said the boy allegedly took the keys sometime after 2 a.m., left his house, backed the vehicle out of the garage.

Hoffman added the boy also has a history of sleep walking, but has no history of taking the family vehicle for rides when sleep walking.

The vehicle missing is described as a light blue, 2008 Hyundai Santa Fe with an Illinois registration number of A744198.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to call the Naperville Police Department through 9-1-1 of or contact your local law enforcement agency.

Hopefully this kid is going to be alright.  Does a 12-year-old know how to drive, especially in his sleep?  At that age, it’s quite possible that he decided to run away also, but he does have a history of sleepwalking.  The article fails to mention how they KNOW he took the keys and left – was there a witness?  I know where Naperville is; in fact, I used to live there.  It’s a nice town, but it’s a dangerous world.  I am hoping they find this kid safe and sound.  It’s a sad story, but let’s hope there’s a happy ending.  I know some of you loyal readers know people who sleepwalk and have interesting tales – let’s hear them!

*UPDATE* – The kid was found safe and sound at O’Hare airport.  Apparently he was not sleepwalking but was trying to run away.  How a 12-year-old was able to navigate the expressways to get to O’Hare I don’t know – but thank goodness he is safe.

The Unborn Gran Torino

Posted in Everyday Life, Movies on January 15th, 2009 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Luckily for us, Tuesday’s date night was not hindered by the recent barrage of snow in any way.  We ventured to the larger town nearby to see what all the Golden Globe fuss was about Clint Eastwood’s latest movie, Gran Torino (they didn’t have Slumdog Millionaire).  But after the previews and especially when the movie started, it became painfully obvious that there was something wrong with the theater’s sound – you couldn’t hear the dialogue.  My husband went to report it, and all that did was cause several loud popping noises and lengthy annoying electronic burps while they tried to fix it.  There were 3 other people in the theater with us, and we all left – seemed like a movie where you really need to hear what the characters are saying.  They offered our money back, but that wasn’t really enough because we had spent $7 on pop and popcorn that we wouldn’t have bought if we weren’t going to a movie.  The incredibly flustered but sensible kid working the counter saw our point, and apparently his manager agreed, so they let us go into another movie AND get a refund – COOL!  Earlier in the day, we had been up in the air trying to decide between seeing Gran Torino and The Unborn anyway, so I guess the choice was made for us – We only had 20 minutes to kill before a showing of The Unborn.

The Unborn was just as I expected – a PG13-rated supernatural horror movie, not quite as good as others in the genre like The Ring, Shutter, or One Missed Call.  There were some jump-out-of-your-seat moments in The Unborn, but it was obvious when they were coming, at least to me.  I don’t want to give away too much like an article did that I read in the newspaper, so I’ll just say that if you like the supernatural horror genre, check out The Unborn because it’s entertaining.  Back to the newspaper article I read…  seems the little boy who plays a scary kid in the movie is from the area where I grew up, so they featured him in the suburban Chicago newspaper I sometimes like to read online – but they spilled a major spoiler about the movie at the end of the article!  But anyway, that’s another thing I enjoyed about The Unborn – it is set in Chicagoland, so I enjoyed the sweeping overhead views of the city and some of the familiar sites in suburbia.  Apparently the screenwriter of The Unborn, David Goyer, has a fancy for Chicago since he also wrote The Dark Knight which was filmed in Chicago, although set in Gotham City.  But anyway, enjoyable movie for what it was – I might have liked Gran Torino better, but I guess I’ll have to see that one another time.

And that brings me to the Applebee’s saga.  We don’t really like Applebee’s.  They try to tell us we belong there, but I don’t buy it.  Their food seems pricey for what it is, and we stopped going there when the kids are with us because their food takes forever to come out (that and the small fortune it would cost our family of 6 to eat there).  My husband was given an Applebee’s gift card for serving on the board of a local non-profit agency (no, I am not talking about the community theater – did you really have to ask?), which is really nice of the agency of course.  We got the same gift card last year, and so back then we decided to give Applebee’s another chance.  Last year, we got some sort of bland pasta dish and an appetizer sampler and shared everything, but we left there hungry AND having to add money to our gift card in order to cover the check.  Flash forward to now, and we find ourselves with another gift card.  Time to give Applebee’s another try, we decided; after all, how bad can it be?  They have lots of corporate suits overseeing those kinds of places, so maybe they’ve implemented lots of changes in the past year to make it a better establishment.  Not the case.  First, our food took forever to come out.  I had gotten a soup-and-sandwich combo, and the waitress came to tell me they burnt the soup and it would be a few minutes while they made a new one.  My husband wondered if that meant his food was sitting under a warmer while mine was re-prepared, and his concerns were legit because when he got his food, the shrimp was cold.  Not only that, but they had given him the wrong kind of buffalo wings.  So they apologized, and that’s another thing about places like Applebee’s that really bug me – the pesty fake gushy niceness.  I do appreciate a friendly server, but the people who work at these places are way over the top…  I will cite an example in the hilarious movie Office Space – there’s a character in the movie who is Jennifer Aniston’s coworker at a TGIFriday’s type of place who acts just like these people…  annoyingly and unrealistically enthusiastic about his job – funny stuff, but only in the movies.

So anyway, we’re waiting for my husband’s new wings when the manager comes out to say that they have now put the wrong sauce on them, and they’d have to make him yet another order.  Honestly, what is the cook doing back there?  Again, for the second time this day (see my Dawn’s Great Idea post), my fears of starring in a hidden camera show run rampant…  And what has happened to all the food that they’ve messed up?  From just our party of 2, they must have had 2 orders of wings and a bowl of soup all go to waste.  I’ve often thought that restaurants should have a deal with local homeless shelters, giving them their leftovers and food mistakes, but I guess that wouldn’t be considered sanitary.  I wish they’d change this; something tells me that food is food and many people would be very grateful for restaurant “leftovers”…

We calculated our bill correctly this time, and we were about to rid ourselves of the entire giftcard, when the waitress showed up to tell us that because of all the errors, they were going to give us the employee discount on the bill.  That was really really nice of them, but that means we STILL HAVE $ LEFT ON THE GIFTCARD for another trip to Applebee’s!  I told my husband, maybe we’ll just stop in for a couple drinks sometime, but of course, you can’t use a giftcard on drinks, at least on alcoholic ones, and after trying their flavored tea yesterday, I won’t be stopping in for any more of that – yuck!  And in case you’re wondering, both my sandwich and my soup were virtually tasteless, save for the cheese on top of the soup – that was really good!

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Boy, Was His Face Red…

Posted in Current Events, Fun Forwards on January 9th, 2009 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I received an interesting email forward today about a letter someone wrote to the editor of The Arizona Republic newspaper.  I checked it out on snopes.com to make sure the story was true and not just someone with too much time on their hands making stuff up.  The story was true, although the letters that were reprinted in the email had been embellished somewhere during the course of the email forward.  Here are the reprints of the letters written to the editor:

A letter to the Editor;
Question of the day for Luke Air Force Base: Whom do we thank for the morning air show?
Last Wednesday, at precisely 9:11 a.m., a tight formation of four F-16 jets made a low pass over Arrowhead Mall, continuing west over Bell Road at approximately 500 feet. Imagine our good fortune!
Do the Tom Cruise-wannabes feel we need this wake-up call, or were they trying to impress the cashiers at Mervyns’ early-bird special?
Any response would be appreciated.
Tom MacRae, Peoria

The correspondent received a response from Col. Robin Rand, commander of Luke AFB’s 56th Fighter Wing, in the pages of that same newspaper the following day:

Luke Air Force Base was asked to respond to a letter writer’s question about a “morning air show” he observed recently (“A wake-up call from Luke’s jets,” Letters, Thursday):
The “wake-up call” witnessed the morning of June 15 was a formation of F-16 jets from Luke Air Force Base lining up for a memorial service in Sun City at the gravesite for Air Force Capt. Jeremy Fresques, an officer assigned to Air Force Special Operations. Fresques gave his life in defense of our country while serving in Iraq.
It is unfortunate that at a time when our nation is at war someone would believe we have less than honorable and professional reasons for such a mission.
The commander of the fighter squadron was given the difficult duty of informing the family of Capt. Fresques on Memorial Day that the officer, a husband, son and Arizonan, had died in Iraq.
On behalf of the men and women at Luke Air Force Base, we continue to keep Jeremy and his family in our thoughts and prayers.
Col. Robin Rand
Luke Air Force Base

Four days later, the newspaper also published a response from Lt. Col. Pleus himself:

Regarding “A wake-up call from Luke’s jets”:
On June 15, at precisely 9:12 a.m., a perfectly timed four-ship of F-16s from the 63rd Fighter Squadron at Luke Air Force Base flew over the grave of Capt Jeremy Fresques.
Capt. Fresques was an Air Force officer who was previously stationed at Luke Air Force Base and was killed in Iraq on May 30, Memorial Day.
At 9 a.m. on June 15, his family and friends gathered at Sunland Memorial Park in Sun City to mourn the loss of a husband, son and friend.
Based on the letter writer’s recount of the flyby, and because of the jet noise, I’m sure you didn’t hear the 21-gun salute, the playing of taps, or my words to the widow and parents of Capt. Fresques as I gave them their son’s flag on behalf of the president of the United States and all those veterans and servicemen and women who understand the sacrifices they have endured.
A four-ship flyby is a display of respect the Air Force pays to those who give their lives in defense of freedom. We are professional aviators and take our jobs seriously, and on June 15 what the letter writer witnessed was four officers lining up to pay their ultimate respects.
The letter writer asks, “Whom do we thank for the morning air show?”
The 56th Fighter Wing will call for you, and forward your thanks to the widow and parents of Capt. Fresques, and thank them for you, for it was in their honor that my pilots flew the most honorable formation of their lives.
Lt. Col. Scott Pleus
Luke Air Force Base

To his credit, the complainant, Mr. MacRae, tendered a written apology which was published in The Republic on 9 July:

Regarding “Flyby honoring fallen comrade” (Letters, June 28):
I read with increasing embarrassment and humility the response to my unfortunate letter to The Republic concerning an Air Force flyby (“A wake-up call from Luke’s jets,” Letters, June 23).
I had no idea of the significance of the flyby, and would never have insulted such a fine and respectful display had I known.
I have received many calls from the fine airmen who are serving or have served at Luke, and I have attempted to explain my side and apologized for any discomfort my letter has caused.
This was simply an uninformed citizen complaining about noise.
I have been made aware in both written and verbal communications of the four-ship flyby, and my heart goes out to each and every lost serviceman and woman in this war in which we are engaged.
I have been called un-American by an unknown caller and I feel that I must address that. I served in the U.S. Navy and am a Vietnam veteran. I love my country and respect the jobs that the service organizations are doing.
Please accept my heartfelt apologies.
Tom MacRae, Peoria

Well, anyway, I just thought it was an interesting email forward.  And it was thought-provoking and even contained some valuable life lessons: don’t jump to conclusions and appreciate everything in life.  God Bless our troops!

Not Even A Snow Day!

Posted in Everyday Life on December 6th, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Our first ground-sticking, hill-sledding, angel-making, sidewalk-shoveling snow of the year is here.  And why not – it’s already December 6th!

I slept in this morning, which is more than I can say for my poor husband.  Ironically, last night, he was all gung-ho about staying up late.  He’s like, “And we can stay up late because the kids have been sleeping in lately – nothing to do tomorrow until later…”  And he was right – the two littlest ones have been sleeping in lately – until today, of course.  We stayed up really late last night thinking the kids would sleep in, but WRONG!  They woke my poor husband at 7:20 in the morning today!  Myself, I didn’t stir until 9:30ish, and I was lolling out of bed when WHOOSH!  The door to our walk-in bedroom closet flies open, and it is snowing into the closet!  Turns out, the closet window was not locked, and so the winter storm had pushed it open, which pushed open the door to the bedroom, and all of a sudden, we had a winter storm in our house!  ‘I guess we’re getting some snow,”  I thought as I pushed the window shut, closed the door, noticed the baby was still sleeping and climbed back into bed.  A few minutes later, and WHOOSH!  It happened again.  “Wow, we’re really getting snow!”  I said to myself as I noticed the ground was already blanketed when I shut the window the second time.  This time, I manipulated the frozen lock until it was shut so we wouldn’t have to experience the WHOOSH effect again.  Well, that’s a heck of a way to wake up, especially twice.  Besides, it was late enough and time for me to contribute to the daily household stuff.  Once downstairs, I checked weather.com, which informed me that we were forecasted to get 1-2 inches of snow during the day, and another possible inch at night.  Immediately we began making plans to go sledding, especially since our 4-year-old had been waiting for this all year.  Well, it took us all over an hour to get ready.  And that didn’t even include lunch.  We dressed everyone in 2-3 layers, and then we realized we should probably have lunch before we tackled the sled hill.  Seeing how difficult it was to unravel everyone from their winter clothes enough to find mouths to insert the lunch, we munched on a few pieces of lunchmeat before heading to the sled hill.

Well, the baby wasn’t happy on the sled hill – and before I get all kinds of nasty comments, YES he was bundled intensely!  2-3 layers, then a snowsuit, then a fleece bag-like thingie, then a few blankets, and my husband and I built a little tent-like thing around his carrier…  But he IS a July baby, and I have a theory that people are best suited for the season in which they were born, so…  no sledding for the little guy.  Or for mom, for that matter.  I got down the hill once though, and it was lots of fun – much easier climbing the hill this time than last year being a few months pregnant!  Although I was disappointed about only getting to go down the hill once, after that I got to sit in the warm car and catch up on my newspaper reading in peace and quiet after the baby fell asleep, so that was nice.  And after sledding, since we had kind of cheated on lunch, we treated the kids to Pizza Hut because for some reason, they like to eat there.  And every time we’re set to go, I realize I don’t like it, but I think I’ll be able to find something – but I was wrong again!  I just don’t like Pizza Hut!  Well, their iced tea is pretty good…  but their buffet sucks, and so now I’m headed home with 4 exhausted kids and I’m all hepped up on iced tea…  But the rest of the afternoon went surprisingly smoothly and we even let our daughter have a friend over – providing her mom drove her here so we wouldn’t have to venture out in the snow again.  When the friend’s mom got here, we were chatting about the snow, and we were all dumbfounded about how much we were supposed to get.  Usually, the weather channel will over-forecast us.  If they say 1-3 inches, we usually get a ground dusting.  Today, they say 1-3 inches, and for most of us, it snowed from the time we woke until well after the sun set.  We waited until it was finished to go out and shovel, and by then it was dark and we had gotten a few inches.  Now I see on the news that we could get a few more inches…

But anyway, lots of fun today, and all without calling an official Snow Day!  Can’t all major snow falls be on Saturdays?!?

Review Debut!

Posted in Theater on December 6th, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

As you may know, we are heavily involved in our local community theater.  For each play in which we were involved, part of the fun was to see what the newspaper critic would publish about it.  Well, the newspaper reviewer has been canned, and so my husband was asked to take over.  Not wanting the responsibility of the fallout that one might incur when writing about specific individuals in a small town (not to mention his extremely busy work schedule), he agreed to only do the review about the most recent play because he and I produced it.  The following is my husband’s review debut that was (supposed to be) published in the newspaper, and I’ll go ahead and give myself a secondary byline for editing.  I must note however, that those of you who have seen this particular edition of the paper might notice more than a few differences between the two reviews.  And my husband did not write the paragraph about his credentials that appears at the end of the print version – the newspaper wrote it with info my husband supplied when asked how he was qualified to do the review.  It’s just funny that for the past few years, we’ve been assuming the quirks of our play reviews were the fault of the reviewer when in actuality, the newspaper changes much and does lots of editing!

Don’t Hug Me is a Winter Treat

This past Wednesday evening my wife and I had the privilege of attending a preview of Don’t Hug Me, a comedy by Paul Olson.

As we took our seats, my eyes were immediately drawn to the brilliantly detailed set.  Just a quick glance at the rustic wood paneling, Paul Bunyan style restroom sign, and moose head beer tap and I was instantly transported to a northern Minnesota bar.

 The show opens with owners of “The Bunyan” bar Gunner Johnson (played to near perfection by Mike Roberts) and his wife and co-owner Clara (played by stage veteran Mary Beth Snider) caught outside in the cold.  We see Clara fumbling through her purse for the keys as a freezing Gunner becomes increasingly impatient, declaring he will break down the door if they cannot get in soon.  This first little scene sets the stage for the show perfectly.  Minnesota gets cold in the winter, and Gunner is tired of it.  He wants to escape the frigid temperatures and move to Florida, but Clara’s heart is in Minnesota .  This conflict is the basic central plot throughout Don’t Hug Me and Roberts and Snider deliver it with a very nice chemistry together.  Their bantering back-and-forth comes across as genuine and is also very funny.

 Ms. Snider does an excellent job portraying Clara with a wonderful balance between loving wife and strong-willed independent woman while Roberts is very effective in making the audience feel Gunner’s frustration, as well as the cold outside air.  In fact, even under the heat of the stage lights, the entire cast of Don’t Hug Me does a great job of selling the cold wintery theme. Whenever one of Don’t Hug Me‘s colorful characters enters or exits the bar, you can almost feel the chilly Minnesota draft coming in from outside.


Shelley Scantlen portrays Bernice Lundstrom, a waitress at “The Bunyan” and fiancé of Kanute Gunderson, played by Keith Robinson.   Anyone who has seen Scantlen on stage before expects an outstanding performance, and she delivers.  Her accent is pure northern Minnesota, and she brings a naivety to Bernice that is delightful.  The sincerity in which she sings “I Wanna go to the Mall of America” is downright hilarious.  Shelley’s voice is amazing as always, and her duets with Clara and Aarvid are a riot.  Opposite Scantlen, Robinson is very strong as Kanute, a man whose world unravels with astonishing speed, although he’s quick to remind everyone “I played Nathan Detroit in Guys and Dolls”.  Robinson takes us through Kanute’s transformation from, egotistical jerk who has it all, to loveable loser who lost it all (give or take five stores) masterfully.  When he teamed up with Roberts (Gunner) for the duet “You Dirty Piece of…” it was difficult to hear parts of the song over the sound of my own laughter. 

Enter Denver Henderson as traveling karaoke, err, “Life Style System” salesman Aarvid Gisselsen and trouble starts to brew (pardon the pun).  Aarvid wants to sell the LSS-562, a state-of-the-art karaoke system, to the Johnsons and claims it will save their bar which has been suffering in the customer department.  From the moment he enters, Henderson takes command of the stage.  He does an exceptional job, playing the role of a modern day “Music Man” with charm and panache.   Henderson is able to make Aarvid very likeable without compromising the character’s door-to-door salesman savvy.  He also gives a tenderness to the character that makes you root for him to get the girl; the girl being Bernice.  The moment Aarvid first meets Bernice is very well staged.  One look at each other and the ice begins to melt and the sparks start to fly.  Like Roberts and Snider, Scantlen and Henderson have great chemistry, and their duet, the Sven Yorgensen classic “Take a Chance”, is a hoot thanks in part to some hilarious choreography by co-director Crystal Bowers.


Complete with witty one-liners like “Oh, for spankin’ the neighbor’s baby”, hilarious songs like “Victim of My Y Chromosome”, and even a love triangle, Don’t Hug Me is fun from start to finish.  My wife and I had a great time, and so will you. Bravo to directors Zach McAfee and Crystal Bowers along with the cast and crew of Don’t Hug Me for putting together a real gem.  They take to you to Minnesota in the dead of winter and warm your heart. 

Don’t Hug Me is performing at the Little Theatre December 5 – 14.  Tickets are $12 for adults with a discount for students and seniors.  Reservations are recommended.

I Know One Business That Isn’t Suffering In This Economy

Posted in Uncategorized on August 26th, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

We had to go to the ER yesterday, and it was bustling!  Since this is our second visit in a month, I can tell you that unfortunately, yesterday’s busyness was not any different from the norm.  Seeing as how we’re talking about a hospital as a business that’s doing well in this awful economy, that is not a good thing.

Here’s what happened, and it’s not a matter of life or death (at least for us), so don’t be alarmed about the ER visit.  My husband had been having severe stomach pain since Sunday afternoon that was getting worse, so that’s why we went to the ER.  Turns out to be a virus, so that’s great of course!  We were thinking kidney stone or something worse, so we’re very thankful.  While we were in the ER, some interesting events unfolded regarding some of the other patients.  First, there was the girl who left her contacts in for 2 weeks out of “laziness”.  She finally took them out, and the next morning, her eyes hurt, they were all swollen, and she couldn’t see.  The doctor speculated that the contacts had become fused to her eyeball and actually tore the top layer off when she removed them.  They sent her to an eye specialist.

Next was the couple who came in with the woman (girl actually – they were probably in their late teens or early twenties) complaining of burning during urination.  My husband overheard the doctor ask the girl how many sexual partners she’s had in the last 60 days.  She answered, “just my boyfriend.”  Then they asked the boyfriend the same question, but they did it while the girlfriend was in the bathroom, and he said he didn’t know – yikes.  More than 10, they asked, and he said, “yeah.”  I wonder if they waited to ask the boyfriend until the girlfriend was out of the room on purpose.  I wonder if they’re going to tell the girlfriend.  Makes an interesting moral argument…  there’s something someone should know, yet there’s doctor-patient confidentiality…  but then again, the boyfriend wasn’t a patient, his girlfriend was the patient.  Maybe the doctor’s job dictates whether or not he would have to tell the girlfriend.  What if her symptoms are indicitive of an STD, then the doctor would have to tell her that of course…  wonder if he’d mention her boyfriend’s infidelity as well.  Well, that’s enough time on that story – onto the third ER story, which is sad…

The doctors and nurses started rushing around even more than they were before, and they all kept talking about how they were about to get much busier.  “Something’s coming in…” they were saying.  I started overhearing snippets of conversation including something about calling the state fire marshall and an autopsy…  Turns out someone had been found dead in their basement after their house was on fire.  That is not a usual occurance around here; this was a big deal at the ER.  There was a sheriff walking around, and a body bag was wheeled down the hall.  A sad event, no doubt, but something that would seem like just another day at work to doctors and nurses working at an urban hospital.  I wonder what the circumstances of the fire are; I read in the newspaper that when firefighters arrived, there was only a little smoke showing on the roof.  The man was found dead in the basement, so that seems a little suspicious.  The state fire marshall is conducting a joint investigation with the sheriff’s office, so maybe when they’re done the story will be back in the newspaper.  Well, anyway, I’m just relieved that all is well with my husband.  I hope not to have to see if the ER remains busy any time soon! 

Dueling Headlines

Posted in Current Events on August 10th, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , ,

People in our corner of Ohio often make fun of our local paper, and sometimes I can see their point.  Sometimes the articles are not well-written or seem one-sided.  But I think it’s normal to feel this way because I read an online version of a suburban Chicago newspaper, and people are always leaving comments about how this newspaper’s writing stinks.  But here is a case in point from our local paper:  a few weeks ago, they ran two headlines on the front page that had nothing to do with each other.  In fact, they seemed to contradict each other.  I think this was an example of poor journalism.  They should have moved one of the stories to an inside page or saved it for another day because the front page headline was:

College on Its Way Here

And right there in the right column of the front page, was this headline:

Alcohol Deadly for Collegians

Enough said.

Holy Regrettable Cooking Show, Batman!

Posted in Uncategorized on April 22nd, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , ,

For our date night tonight, we decided to attend the much hyped cooking show sponsered by our local newspaper.  Maybe that explains why it was so hyped right there – being sponsered by the newspaper = lots of free advertising, and since I read the paper every day, maybe it was drilled into my head that this thing would be fun.  Was I ever wrong.

It began when we arrived only 10 minutes before the show started, and every seat was full.  It was held in the high school gym, which means we now had to find seats in the bleachers and squeeze past everyone else – pregnancy bump and all.  I was so close to turning around and leaving right then and there; the fact that I didn’t was my second mistake after buying the tickets to attend the thing in the first place.  Apparently our local high school has no air conditioning, because the 1500 or so people who were crammed into the gym were all fanning themselves with their free cookbooks.  Which brings me to another reason why I thought this thing would be such great fun.  The tickets were $10 / person, then there were coupons in the paper for $3 off, which brings each ticket to $7.  They advertised a “bag full of samples, goodies, and free cookbooks” to every attendee, along with a chance to win lots of pretty cool door prizes.  The sample bag was alright – no complaints there.  The “choosing which wine with dinner” wheel made a great fan to combat the heat, I must say, and I’m not the only one who thought so – most of the 1500 sardines in attendence were using it as such.  But on the way into the show, apparently that’s when they handed out the doorprize entry blank and the free can of chili sauce, and somehow (maybe it was my panic when I saw the crowd we’d have to conquer to find a seat) I missed getting either handout.  So, here we were, sitting on the bleachers packed in like sardines in 100°+ heat, and I’ve just found a way to cut our chances of winning a doorprize in half.  Even though we were a little on the late side, that actually turned out to be a good thing because by the time we bumped and stumbled into our seats (ie, the square foot of space each person was allowed for their person, legs, knees, pregnancy bumps etc.), the “show” was ready to begin, thank goodness.  Except it became clear that once the show began, it was not going to pick up pace.  It was a woman on a stage making recipes (she was there to do 8 of them she said!) so far away that you couldn’t see anything she was doing.  Her “jokes” were lame, and she barely had a personality.  So now, this was hot, boring, uncomfortable for my aching body, and my chances of winning a cool grill are like 1 in 1500 instead of 2 in 1500?  Forget being polite or wasting money.  Our time is so much more important; especially with 3.5 kids.  We bumped and stumbled our way out of there, same way we got in, mumbled our apologies for stepping on people, and didn’t look back.  We fled the cooking show.

So that brings me to the Batman reference in the title of this post.  When we went to pick up the kids at the babysitter’s after the cooking show debacle, we went in her laundry room to check out the 2-day-old kittens…  all of a sudden, screams erupted.  I’m normally not a screamer, really more of a gasper when I get startled, but the babysitter and her daughter and my daughters were ahead of me in the laundry room and saw a bat.  Their screams made me scream – I’m not afraid of a little Ohio brown bat, I swear, but apparently screaming is contagious.  So both of our husbands come running, and hers goes for a broom.  Mine respects how sensitive I am about animals, so he asked for a bowl and was going to capture it.  So they open the door, only to find the mommy cat had beaten the babysitter’s husband to the murder of the bat.  She devoured it whole, and there was really nothing left for me to be sad about, so I pretended it didn’t happen, took pictures of the really cute kittens, and left.  What a night!