Sunday, July 31, 2005
  Thirty Minutes

Tonight for dinner I recreated a meal I saw onRachel Ray's Thirty Minute Meals. We had Pork Chops with Sweet & Hot Peppers, Wilted Spinach with Garlic ,and Spaghetti with Cheese and Black Pepper. Rachel actually had spaghetti squash instead of pasta, but we are carb friendly here. Sound tasty? It was. And it only took about thirty minutes. I even did like Rachel does and gathered all my ingredients before I started. This is different from my usual method of frantically looking in the pantry for what I need as things are boiling over I feel I must point out that I used every pot I owned. How come there is never a huge pile of pots and dished in the sink when Rachel is done cooking? Does she have little elves that come and take them away? Anyway, clean up is not included in the thirty minutes.


  Avast Ye Hearties!

My interest in this story is really sparked by Sarcasmo's obsession for anything "pirate". I suppose it is in her blood as Sarcasdad's side of the family claims lineage with rum runners and has ancestry connected to Okracoke Island. Even though Errol Flynn was dashing in Captain Blood, I would imagine pirates would have been less than hygienic people and the shipboard accommodations would be lacking the amenities I look for when on a ocean cruise.

Michael Manerchia claims to have fallen through his kitchen floor while doing renovations on his home in Marcus Hook, Delaware County Pa.. Under his house he found pieces of pottery. Legend has it that this house once belonged to the pirate Blackbeard's mistress. Historians believe the house may date back to the 1600's, and may indeed prove the legend to be true. You can read the story here, and see pictures of what they have found to date. Take note of the picture titled honeybee2. Some have suggested there is more than a passing resemblance to the pirate himself.

The home owners are looking for volunteers to help in the dig. Who knows. There could be buried treasure!


Thursday, July 28, 2005
  1-888-5-OPTOUT

Beginning August 1, 2005, companies that mail you those "you've been pre-approved" credit card offers must also inform you of your right to opt out of receiving future offers. Simply by calling 1-888-5-optout, consumers can elect to not receive these mailings for 5 years, or permanently. And they can opt back in at any time by calling the same number. This is great news. It is another salvo in the war* against identity theft . It is also great news because I put the paper shredder away somewhere when we were getting ready for the CP's baby Blessing and I haven't found it yet.


*or the struggle against identity theft, depending on your political leanings.


  Oh the Possibilities !

After three days of unrelenting, energy sapping humidity and heat indexes in triple digits, capped off with a thunder and lightening show that, literally, shook my house, we were rewarded with a beautiful summer day. Eighty-two degrees, sunny and very low humidity .It was glorious. Amazing isn't it, how the weather affects our mood? A day like today makes all things seem possible. Like possibly I'll wear makeup again. And possibly I will plug in my blow dryer and un-imbed the teeth of that plastic hair clip from my head, It is seemingly possible that dinner will not involve tipping a delivery person. And possibly I will get take up where I left off cleaning out closets and making order out of chaos. Possibly.


Sunday, July 24, 2005
  The Amazing Chocolatier

I had no intention of seeing Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Every time I saw a commercial for it, Johnny Depp's Wonka made my skin crawl. He seemed very creepy in a Michael Jackson sort of way. I wanted my Wonka to remain strange but cuddly. The movie got consistently good reviews in the media and from fellow bloggers. Then I saw a trailer for it when I went to see Batman Returns(awesome movie) and the commercial snippets seemed a little less creepy when put in context. So last Wednesday found me standing in front of the plastic window with the little round speaker. I asked for "two for Willy Wonka" which shows you where my head was. Sarcasdad quickly corrected my faux pax on the title in case the teenager selling tickets was confused about which of the films I was referring to.

I enjoyed the movie. It was entertaining and colorful and had the unmistakable stamp of Tim Burton on it. The theater was more empty than full as it was the early afternoon showing. There were only a few children but they all seemed to enjoy the flick. A little girl, maybe about 9 years old was a few rows behind us. When Charlie finally opens the wrapper to find the golden ticket(hope that wasn't a plot spoiler for you) she blurted out "Oh my goodness"! in such a way that you knew she had been holding her breath the whole time.

Johnny Depp was superb, as he always is, in the role of this Willy Wonka. Of course it is impossible not to compare this Wonka to the Gene Wilder portrayal. Wilder's Wonka was strange and enigmatic. An individual so unique that you were sure there was not another like him. Depp's Wonka was more of a dysfunctional adult with enough emotional baggage to make even Tom Cruise suggest therapy. I would describe him using the newer Wonka's favorite bon mot, "just weird". A proclamation he made throughout the movie with a most Rainman-like delivery.

I am told that Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is much closer to the book by Roald Dahl. I have no doubt, even though I have yet to read it. There was definitely some modernization of the characters . The book was published in 1964 and probably did not portray Violet as a karate champ or Mike Teevee as playing video games. The only thing I found lacking in Charlie And The Chocolate Factory was charm. Not surprising as charm is not something expected in a Tim Burton Production. Willy Wonka is a movie I can watch over and over again. If I happen to catch it on cable, I am likely to watch it through to the end. I don't see Charlie And The Chocolate Factory having that same appeal. Also, the songs from the new movie are certainly jazzier, but they don't stick with you like "Oompa-Loompa Doopity Doo". Except maybe for the one when the factory door open to the golden ticket holders.
"Willy Wonka, Willy Wonka, the Amazing Chocolatier!"


Friday, July 22, 2005
  Comparative Shopping

After thirty plus years of working with the public I know enough to know that I haven't seen it all. Someone will come up with something new eventually. At the supermarket where I work, just like every other supermarket on earth, we have shelf tags that compare the price of the store brand to a similar national brand item. They look something like this:

SAVE $$$$$$
compare our diapers to the
national brand

HUGGIES 36ct diapers 18.99
OUR BRAND 36 ct diapers 16.49
----------
YOU SAVE 2.50

You get the idea and I am sure you've seen them before. Yesterday my boss comes up to me laughing and shaking his head in disbelief. In the baby products aisle he had come across a woman who had opened a box of store brand diapers and was pulling one apart. When he asked her what she was doing she pointed to the shelf tag and said she was comparing the two products just as the sign suggested. "And let me tell you" she said."This store brand diaper doesn't stretch nearly as much as the national brand"

If you are in the neighborhood, stop on by. The entertainment is free.


Wednesday, July 20, 2005
  Fashion Faux-Paux or Political Statement ?

Apparently the Northwestern University women's lacrosse team did not see this warning sign .

kerry_flipflops

The players announced on the Today Show that the offending footwear will be auctioned off and the proceeds will go toward a fund for a 10-year-old girl with a brain tumor.


  The Effect of Babies on Time

While the Cutie Patootie was here I made a few observations. Nothing can make your day like getting a smile from a baby. Boy babies are different from girl babies in more than just the obvious ways. Babies take a lot of time and energy (I knew that already but having one around reminded me how much). The effect of a baby on the passage of time is directly corresponds to your relationship the baby. Since the arrival of the Cutie Patootie, his parents are always searching for time. Time to play with the baby after work. Time to catch up on much needed sleep. A little alone time for the two of them. The 24 hours allotted to the day are simply not adequate. For myself and Sarcasdad, the CP's arrival has actually freed up some time. Instead of going online first thing in the morning, I played with my grandson. There would be time later for blogs. Go to the gym, or feed my grandson. The gym will be there later. Get that wash done or walk a fussy baby til he nods off. The wash will get done, later. All those things I would obsess about getting done were easily relegated to later because there will be time for them then.


  And the Dog Ate My homework

I tend to update my blog in spurts. Nothing for days and then several posts in one day. Another blogger suggested that I write when the muse strikes and then release the pearls of wisdom into the wild one at a time. A fine idea. But I don't have that kind of self control. When I have something to share I want it on the blog instantaneously. My lack of patience often results in blogs that sounded a lot better in my head. My erratic habits are also why I don't post entries about why I haven't posted. Until today.
First of all the Cutie Patootie was here. I will be posting about this in greater detail as time goes on. We had so much fun. And we were busy, busy, busy. I want to thank everyone who suggested readings for the Baby Blessing. What a big help that was! We took tons of pictures that we are still going through(over & over).Let me tell you, there is nothing like pictures of yourself to send you running back to the gym with a new dedication to your workout!
Secondly, our computer has gremlins. I get kicked off in the middle of something and can't get back on for hours. It is either the Modem, AOL, the DSL line, the aforementioned gremlins or a secret coalition of internet users who wish to halt me blogging for the greater good. Or space aliens. I am currently using the laptop and connecting on dial up.Such sacrifice.
Thirdly, it's hot. Unbelievably stinking hot. We don't have central air. I know, dial-up, no central air. We live like cave people. Some of the Sarcaskids would agree with you. Normally the heat doesn't bother me but it's been a prolonged heat wave and it is starting to wear me down. If the network was working I could take the laptop up to the air conditioned bedroom, but like I said Dial-up.


Friday, July 15, 2005
  I Heart Cows

I am not sure which is the stranger truth. That people may actually do this. Or that there is a FAQ page about it.


Thursday, July 14, 2005
  A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words.

Here are thousands of pictures. This website was started by Londoner Alfie Drennen after last weeks terrorist attack on the city where he lives and works. He posted the first picture. The rest are from others who are also not afraid.


  The Rumble of Engines, the Roar of the Crowd

Yesterday's excitement over the Space Shuttle reminded me of a launch years ago. The Sarcas-family standing across the causeway from what was then Cape Kennedy, listening to the countdown and some other mission control chatter coming from a loudspeaker. We had driven down that morning from Daytona Beach, so excited that we were going to witness the event in person. We left the car at the first available spot, a strip of grass between the highways and joined all the others who had done likewise and were going on foot the rest of the way . It was a lot like the scene in Close Encounters of the Third Kind where people are drawn to the mountain before the spaceship lands. What we thought would be a "three hour tour" turned into an all day exercise in patience. The countdown would stop and hold at T minus something or other and then start up again. Over and over. Eventually the launch was scrubbed and rescheduled for the next day. Undaunted Sarcasdad and I vowed to return. You can imagine how that news went over with three hot , tired and bored children. After all this was cutting into Disney time. THe next day we made the trek back to the viewing area. This time with bottles of water and snacks and a promise to the kids that we would go see The Mouse" no matter what time it was when we left. This time there was no delay. T minus ten...nine...eight...seven..., by the time it got to 5 everyone was holding their breath. Even before you could see it, you could feel it. A rumble that started far away, across the water and came at you like a freight train under your feet. Then enormous billows of white smoke billowed up and out. We watched as the Space Shuttle rose every so slowly, seeming to strain to break free. I can't come up with the right adjectives. It was more than majestic, more than amazing and definitely worth standing and waiting for 2 days. I think even the Sarcaskids agree. We watched with the crowd as it ascended straight up, veered a little to one side and then disappeared into the heavens. Over the years we saw the Shuttle launch 2 more times. Once we saw it from a boat that took you in closer to the launch pad. We had a better view of the launch but as the tour operator had it timed to the second he was cutting the engine at T minus 10. There was no build up of anticipation, and no rumble under your feet. You know how it is, the first time is the one you remember.


Friday, July 08, 2005
  Your Assistance is Requested

A week from Saturday we will be having a Naming Ceremony for the Cutie Patootie( and no we are not really naming him that). It is a non-religiousl ceremony along the lines of a christening. It will also be the first time some family and friends get to meet our Grandson. Here is where we need your help. The CP's parents were given a list of suggested readings for the ceremony and while very nice, none of them feel exactly right for our family. So I am reaching out to the most creative, and well read people I can think of. Can anyone suggest a poem, an essay , part of a story, song lyrics, or anything? Something beautiful, but not too pompous. We are not excluding mentions of God but we are not making it the focal point. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.


  They Speak The Truth


I am The Fool

The Fool can signal a new beginning or change of direction - one that will guide you onto a path of adventure, wonder and personal growth. He also reminds you to keep your faith and trust your natural responses. If you are facing a decision or moment of doubt, the Fool tells you to believe in yourself and follow your heart no matter how crazy or foolish your impulses may seem.

For a full description of your card and other goodies, please visit LearnTarot.com


What tarot card are you? Enter your birthdate.

Month: Day: Year:


  An Excuse to Call In Sick

First of all it is raining buckets here in Philly this morning. And according to my "official" list of important dates, today is Video Games Day


Thursday, July 07, 2005
  To our Friends & Family in London


greatbrE
Originally uploaded by foster photos.
We send you love and good wishes. Be safe & be strong.


  City Mouse, Country Mouse

Every so often the phone will ring at home or at work and Sarcasmo Jr. will be on the other end. "Mom. I have a funny story" I love these calls because they are spontaneous and as any Mom will tell you, I love that my daughter thinks of me when she has something to share. Good or bad. Before I tell you the funny story, you need a little background,
Like her older sisters, and her mother before her, Sarcasmo Jr. is a city girl. Born and raised. Sarcasdad is likewise city born and bred, but obviously not a girl. We may enjoy a visit to the great outdoors, but after a while will crave the hustle and bustle of city living. We need stores that are open 24/7. We are used to a transportation system that never sleeps. We like our wildlife in cages at the zoo. Grad school took JR. out to a one horse town in the western part of Pa. Only four hours away it was like having traveled to another dimension in time and space. She coped. Her first job took her to a town in upstate New York that is so small it has to borrow the "one horse" from a neighboring town. When she interviewed for the position they tried to entice her by announcing there was an Applebees in town. They were very excited. She took the job anyway.
So now to the story. Jr. took her car for an oil change. She is very good about car maintenance. I imagine it has something to do with driving country roads after nightfall. Any way she is in the waiting area, and the mechanic approaches and says "Are you the one with the Saturn?" Jr. acknowledges that she is indeed the Saturn owner. The mechanic proceeds to tell her that he replaced the air filter because the old one had a hole in it, most likely caused by the family of chipmunks that had taken up reisidence there. Not to worry. He also cleaned out the nest and the acorns that had accumulated."You know, that kind of thing never happens in the city"Jr. said. ""Welcome to the middle of nowhere" the mechanic replied.
The car runs better now.
If you live in the country you might not find this amusing. But the city people are laughing like crazy.


Friday, July 01, 2005
  Motel 6

I don't know if you have a Motel 6 in your area. If not you probably have some motel chain just like it. A cheap, no frills motel for when you just need a place to put your head down for the night. They had an advertising campaign with the tagline "Motel 6. We'll leave a light on"
Wednesday evening Sarcasis and Sarcasbro arrived with the 6 month old Cutie Patootie. It's about a 24 hour trip door to door and you gain a day coming this way. They left Tokyo on Wednesday at 4pm and with the time difference, they arrived here on Wed. at 4pm. That, combined with a baby who's schedule went totally out the window, has made sleep, for them, something that happens when you just can't function anymore. Additionally, we have guests from Texas. Originally they are friends of the CP's parents but we consider them extended family. We are so happy they are here. At least I am pretty sure they are here. Their flight was scheduled to arrive around 1 am. Sarcasdad and I are working today and as the CP's parent's can't sleep anyway , Sarcasbro was making the airport run. When I went to bed last night , Sarcassis had just woken up and joined her family in the living room. Around 3:30 am we heard some noise in the hallway. We got up at 4:45. Sarcasdad hits the shower and I head out for the gym. In the hallway I passed a very sleepy looking Sarcasbro carrying The Cutie Patootie who was out like a light. As the sleeping arrangements seemed to have shifted a bit my guess is that our houseguests are snoozing in the back bedroom. Sarcasdad and I figure that with our conflicting schedules we might lay eyes on them on Sunday.
Sarcasdad and I have been "empty-nesters" for years now. We have a routine that varies very little . Up early, out the door, home for dinner and early to bed. It's been a long time since there was this much activity in this house 24/7.We'll adjust. As Sarcasbro told me last night as he rocked his fussy, sleepy son, being a parent makes you learn how to just "go with it" Yes it does.
We'll leave the light on.


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