Olympic fever-ish

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Weekends are supposed to be stress-free. Then again, not all weekends are created equal. Take last Saturday for example.

We woke up. I told the kids we were heading out for a quick lunch on the way to the grocery store to pick up pasta and a few other things. Can you believe I’ve run out of pasta? Never mind, there’s a first time for everything. Anyhow it was supposed to be a quick trip but that’s not how it turned out.

The grocery store is under renovation and has been for the past goodness knows how long. Sections of the store has been partitioned off with planks and tarps amidst tools, tool balancer and equipment. Parking is one big mess. After circling the parking lot like a hawk twice from the road level to the basement, it was obvious we’d never find a spot.

So I shot to the building across the street and was about to enter the basement parking when I noticed the long line of cars backed up trying to get in as well. Obviously a sign that I should reverse the heck out and head home. We’d wasted a whole hour. It was way past lunch time. Empty-handed and hungry, we drove home in silence.

The weekend is here again and it’s Olympic weekend, no less. We’re pretty fired up about it. As for me personally, I only watch TV once every 4 years and this is it! I absolutely do not watch any other sport, least of all wimpy sports like badminton and soccer πŸ˜† . But this, this is the closest I will come to being a couch potato!

Simon and the table across from us

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We had dinner at Friday’s. The usual fare but how quaint to have Steev with us. We were eating and chatting, eating and chatting, and much activity going on at our table.

Our waiter introduced himself as Simon. A really enthusiastic guy who bustled around us refilling our drinks and addressing Steev as “sir” which sent him cringing πŸ˜† . Probably one of those kids who’s been newly freed from their student desks at school and on his first job. Soon I was referring to Simon by name.

Simon, can you get us more napkins please?

I think he almost jumped out of his skin, the poor boy. Anyhoo Simon aside, I had another revelation tonight. For the first time, I noticed how we dally over our meals. While we were there, the table across from us had seen 3 rounds of diners.

First, there was a group of 3 women who barely spoke to each other. When they left, a family of 4 occupied that same table. They left soon afterwards which I thought was strange. Raine pointed out that there had been no conversation between father, mother or the 2 preteens. So that explains it.

When they left, another family of 4 came in and occupied that table again. And there we were, still chatting, laughing and finishing up our meal. Simon continued to bustle around our table probably hoping for a fat tip, as Raine speculated. He made himself scarce as we were leaving so I didn’t get to bid him bye, Simon πŸ˜‰ .

Great workout at the mall

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I think my kids may just have inherited my shopping stamina. We just got back from 4 hours trudging through the mall. Between Steev getting his eyes tested for a new pair of glasses, me tripping around to pick up a few things at the pharmacy and all of us sitting down for a very spicy Thai dinner, hours had flown by.

The mall is huge and walking up and down its entire length is one heck of a workout for the legs, and arms if you’re carrying several shopping bags. Now we’re home and me and the kids are settling down for a movie night, right after I’m done checking out AffordableScales.com for analytical balances.

What did I want to be when I grew up?

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When I was a kid, what did I want to be when I grew up? Interesting question. I read somewhere that every kid many kids grow up wanting to be teachers. That’s like almost a standard first ambition of every child and believe it or not, it was my first ambition too.

Going Green with the Grizls

I think it had to do with wanting to write on the chalk board so bad. It looked like a lot of fun. Clearly I had some sort of fascination with chalk, especially the colored ones which, for some strange reason, were quite rare and only the Geography teacher used to use them πŸ˜† .

As it turned out, I didn’t become a teacher by profession. But I do teach college and working adults from time to time now. It’s fun though writing with a whiteboard marker isn’t half as much fun as writing with chalk πŸ˜› .

Read my other Summer Blog Challenge posts here.

Favorite guilty pleasure

Favorite guilty pleasure
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Going Green with the Grizls

As I was sitting down to write this post, I was exclaiming out loud, “Hmm, let me see, what’s my guilty pleasure?” From the bathroom comes Hip2bDaughter2’s (my 16 year old) voice, “Why do you have to be guilty about something you take pleasure in?” Hmm, good point. I hadn’t really thought about that.

My guilty pleasure would be that I love to shop and Hip2bDaughter2’s right. For the most part, I’m enjoying myself too much to be feeling much guilt. I think I have what they call shoppingitis. But don’t worry, it’s not infectious. Not unless you’re traveling with me.

Once on vacation in Bali (an island in Indonesia), my girl friend and I shopped till we almost missed the bus that was going to take us to the airport for our flight home. I was pregnant then but that didn’t stop me from cramming 4 bags to the brim with my shopping finds. That’s 3 bags more than I arrived with.

I would fly 8,000 miles to shop but I wouldn’t drive 8 miles to eat. If I had a fulltime job now, it’d probably be shopping forΒ cloud backup solutions. Believe me, if I could live at Costco, I would.

On a mission

On a mission
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School’s out and we’re at loose ends. To put it bluntly, we’re bored out of our wits. Obviously when a new mall opens, that’s where you’ll find us. I guess that’s a little more exciting than scaling the four walls, eh!

Anyhow parking is free till they can get those money-gobbling machines working. Hey, tell me where in the city do you ever find free parking? Almost never, right?! Besides we were on a mission. We need to find some new and more exciting places to eat.

And man, were we disappointed! Same old chain stores, different mall. We walked around in circles and landed right back at Sushi Zanmai eating sushi rolls and teriyaki mackerel.

The bonus was we got these 2 Japanese charms free. Can’t complain. We also received some $1 off coupons for Hokkaido ice-cream which we’re just going to give away to our neighbor or something because we very rarely do desserts.

And that, was our weekend in a nutshell. How did yours go?

Dinner on Mother’s Day

Dinner on Mother's Day
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So how did your Mother’s Day go? I came down with a chronic migraine shortly after breakfast and cradling my head, dived back into bed before lunch. With that and the blazing 90+ temperatures, I was eager to avoid the kitchen at all cost. Dinner out sounded like a great idea. It wasn’t meant to be a Mother’s Day dinner per se, more of a regular Sunday dinner.

We were trying to beat the crowd and thought if we got there early, we might be able to snag a table. As expected, the crowds had beat us to it and there were long lines everywhere. So we decided to try Chicago Ribs, a restaurant that’s new to us. We were in luck because they weren’t even offering a Mother’s Day menu and we got a table right away. No waiting.

For starters, we had Buffalo Wings which were okay but not nearly spicy enough for us. The girls still prefer my homemade Buffalo Wings, I think.

Their Nachos were scrumptious. As Hip2bDaughter1 says, topping the nachos with pulled pork is pure genius. When something is this good, you can bet the next I’m going to be doing is to replicate this at home.

This is the Rattle Snake Chicken Pasta. Interesting name but the rattle snake somehow failed to jump out at us. The chicken was toasty but flavorless but we didn’t mind that. But then the pasta didn’t exactly ss-sing out with flavor either.

The Pork Tenderloin with Cinnamon Applesauce, well, the meat was dry and bland, the veggies soft and overcooked and that plain old baked potato would’ve done a lot better with a handful of bacon bits and a ton more chives.

Hip2bDaughter2’s choice of Fish and Fries turned out great. The portion of fish was generous, crispy and not greasy. And my potato lover somehow ordered 2 potato sides.

Their food definitely could use a lot more flavor, more toppings and bigger portions for the price they charge. Most places go crazy with their salt and fat. This is probably one of the few places I’ve dined at that’s low-sodium, and that’s really great.

The #Avengers – awesome is an understatement

The #Avengers - awesome is an understatement
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Of course, we went to watch The Avengers. Did you really think we were going to miss it? For a coupla weeks, we’ve all been holding onto our toenails waiting for it. Man, how long has it been since we were at the movies again? Too long, chorus my two movie buffs. Think it’s been like over a year.

Okay, The Avengers. Well, the plot is simple. It’s the sort of good guys teaming up against One Major Bad Guy movie that the 10-year-old in me loves. We love Iron Man (snazzy geekery and Pepper Potts) and Captain America (6-pack and all!). But that’s pretty much all I’m going to say about the movie. I don’t want to spoil it for you guys who haven’t seen it yet.

So yes, we loved The Avengers. In a world of hypocrites, leeches and piranhas, we sure could use a couple of hours of superheroes. And the fact that our cushy Gold Class movie tickets fell from the sky and came with free popcorn, Coke and these…

Woah, at 18 and 16, you would think my lovely teens are long done with toys. But you should’ve seen the giant grins on their faces when they were handed these 5 mini muggs (as they are called?) and since then, The Avengers have been making surprise appearances on my desk, my dresser, my dashboard …

Here’s Thor, in my kitchen, keeping an eye on our Bratwurst sausages. Don’t anyone move or I’ll hammer your fingers to a pulp, heh heh heh!!

It’s a great movie to bring the whole family. Lots of action. A plot that’s simple enough even for kids to understand. The girls and I may just go watch it again. Have you watched it yet? If so, what do you think?

If I could dance like that

If I could dance like that
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If I ever said I was hooked on The Voice, well, I’m so over that now. Dancing With The Stars is back and that’s where I’m at. This is the first season I’m actually watching from the beginning. Last season, I only found out mid-season that Nancy Grace was on (have I been living under a rock? seriously!) and went to have a peek.

I got hooked right there. I’m a big fan of Nancy Grace’s. Maybe I see a little of her snarkiness and outspokenness in myself. Maybe a part of me wishes I’d gone to law school. But that’s a story for another day πŸ˜† .

Nancy’s pro dancing partner last season was Tristan McManus and they made a really cute pair. He seems like such a regular nice guy. Totally adorable, Irish accent and all πŸ˜† . He’s back this season with Gladys Knight and I’m officially a MacManiac.

This has been a particularly hard week. The music was rather weird, at least to me. I was sad Jack Wagner had to go home last week and now Sherri Sheperd. They clearly can dance (better than some). He’s so funny, she’s so bubbly and they both have super positive outlook but sadly didn’t garner enough votes to stay in the game.

Gavin Degraw, never heard of him before this but my girls like his songs, and omg, that smile is so adorable, so okay, we’ll go with Gavin. Gladys Knight, I really admire folks who don’t let their age limit what they can and cannot do, and she has such a great attitude about this.

So that leaves me wishing, darn, if I could dance like that! With 2 left feet, I guess I can only dream. If you need me, you know where to find me Monday nights! πŸ˜‰

In the presence of beauty

In the presence of beauty
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So there we were, the girls and I, waiting for our lunch to be served when who should strut in with a wisp of a 10-year-old girl but the beauty queen herself? I say strut, not walk because that’s simply the grace with which beauty queens stride. They don’t walk, like us minions. They strut. Head held high, shoulders back, tummy in and they make sure everyone in the room is watching them.

She was my classmate from the day we first tripped into school, bags heavier than us. Unlike me, she’s come a lo-oong way from tripping. Apparently descended from a line of beauty queens, she has, since those early school days, been groomed to become one herself! I completely understand, of course. Beautiful genes are passed on like heirlooms. Some have ’em, others don’t and there’s no use crying over it. We can’t all claim to be Samantha Bricks now, can we?

Yes, my old school friend became a beauty queen. I can’t really call her a friend though because I was far from being in her league and she never saw the need to befriend someone like me. So our paths never hardly ever crossed. All I know is that she is tall and lithe with long hair and a brain the size of a pea. But so what, when you have genes like hers!

Fast forward to the present and there she was, ordering sushi for herself and her almost anorexic daughter whom she’s grooming to be the next supermodel or beauty queen, no doubt. If you ask me, her daughter’s a tad too skinny for a growing child. But maybe there are sacrifices to be made if you want to make it in the world of beauty, I don’t know.

Sitting in the same room as Beauty herself, it struck me that true beauties are often oblivious to their own good looks and seldom see the need to be validated by the world at large. That’s my theory anyhow. I’m not in awe of beauty, are you? We shouldn’t be, simply because beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. And to put it (loosely) in the words of our guy Shakespeare, some were born beautiful, some had a little help, and if all else fails, there’s always Botox, Spanx and Photoshop. Just sayin’.

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