Monday, November 30, 2009

My favorite part of thanksgiving

I hosted thanksgiving this year. My favorite part of the day was trying to explain to my favorite 90-year-old Mammaw the apps on my iPhone. It all started because my friends were HeyWAY'ing me. What's a HeyWAY you might ask? It's an app for my iPhone that lets my friends send me a location update and request my location update in return. This way we can keep track of where we all are at any given time - at home, on the beach, camping in the Florida wilderness. Why would you want to use HeyWAY (which stands for Hey, Where Are You?), you might be wondering. Because when you are actually someplace fun (like Disney World on a weekday or a beachside bar at 3 p.m. on a Friday afternoon) while your friends are possibly stuck at work or at home with their kids, it is fun to use this to brag!!! Unless you are my friend Bob, who keeps sending me HeyWAY-like messages with pictures of his toilet to let me know he's in the bathroom . . . again. 

Anyway, I was showing my Mammaw my iPhone and trying to explain all the things I could do with it to her after our feast. Imagine trying to explain the concept of the internet, a cellular phone, and how they combine to create the iPhone to a 2-year-old who does not have the knowledge of terminology like "app", "wireless", GPS, etc. This was what I was facing in trying to explain iPhone technology to a lady who just learned how to use a DVD player. As I reached way back into the recesses of my vocabulary to try and explain my wonderphone-slash-mini-computer-with-internet-access-and-e-mail-capability-and-oh-yeah-it's-also-a-digital-camera, I not only got myself cracked up, but got her cracked up as well. We finally decided to leave it as a "mystery" not to be solved in her lifetime.

My second favorite moment of Thanksgiving (cause I know you're all just dyin' to know) was the success of my brussel sprouts. That's right, I said brussell sprouts. Not a favorite among vegetables. And when I let everyone know I'd be cookin' brussell sprouts for thanksgiving, I got a lot of "oh, okaaaayyyy" type of responses from my guests. Yet, when I served my roasted brussell sprouts, they were so tasty, they were the only side dish on the menu of which there were no leftovers. And .. .my favorite 90-year-old Mammaw even asked for the recipe. Twice. 

Which just goes to show, let a Vegetarian serve the side dishes for thanksgiving and leave the meat to the carnivores. 

Monday, November 23, 2009

Dear Scout,

Dear Scout,

Since this is a week of Thanksgiving, I'm going to try to remember the spirit of the season and be thankful for you, my four legged friend, and forgive you for chewing up my favorite pair of shoes. I know I've been really busy and didn't stop to take the time to scratch your belly this morning as I scurried around the room trying to get ready for work. Which must be why you sat your furry butt down in my closet and chewed all the beads, rhinestones and jeweled adornments off my blue shoes. 

A sparkly pair of shoes is like Corgi Crack for you, I know. But I had these shoes put away neatly in my closet, not lying in the middle of the floor where they would be an unfair temptation. Last year when you chewed all the jewels and sparkles off just ONE of the shoes in this pair, Ira the miracle worker of shoe repair was able to fix it. But this time, this time you've chewed off ALL the sparkles and jewels and I've only found a few remaining, which all have teeth marks in them. I guess the rest of the sparkly adornments will show up sooner or later. But there's no salvaging them this time. 

I promise this week I'll try to fit in time between work, getting ready to host Thanksgiving and blogging to give you the attention you so obviously need. 

Support Animal Arts

The annual St. Augustine Arts & Crafts Festival this weekend, Nov. 28-29 at Francis Field, will have a booth featuring some very special artists - Marineland's Dolphins.

The festival donated the booth space to Marineland's Dolphin Conservation Center to help raise awareness and funds for the dolphin research and conservation program. I think this is a fantastic idea! I mean who wouldn't want a piece of art created by a dolphin?!? And your purchase helps protect the species. What a deal!

If you've ever wanted to have a dolphin encounter, NativeMom recommends Marineland, located just south of St. Augustine on AIA. 

Vampires and Flashes and Hounds, Oh My!

What a weekend. Got started early by taking MiniMe to see New Moon on Friday afternoon. Oh, who am I kidding, I was going to see New Moon and took her as a cover. There were lots of adults sans kids at the theater, so I guess I needn't have worried. I don't know what all the reviewers are saying about New Moon, because I'm not reading the reviews (big raspberry to all you Twilight hating middle aged white men reviewing movies for the associated press). But I can tell you that New Moon definitely earns a Native Mom endorsement. It was very action packed and MiniMe and I thoroughly enjoyed it. 

Saturday night it was a night of Flashes. No, not paparazzi or streakers, a reunion with my high school friends. Our high school mascot was the Flash, represented by a lighting bolt. I know, pretty sorry excuse for a high school mascot. Other high schools had cougars and rams and bulldogs. We were just inclement weather. 

Anyway, my friend Lliba, always the social expert and organizer, managed to get 5 old classmates and our spouses together to see the Nights of Lights kick-off in St. Augustine. If you haven't had a chance to see the Night of Lights in St. Augustine during the holidays, I highly recommend it. 

The weekend rounded out with some holiday hounds. I was joined by Wondertwin and her two adorable kittens (a.k.a kids) to hand out some holiday cheer at the humane society. We delivered rawhide chews to all the "big dogs." November is Senior Dog Adoption month. They say it is better to give then to receive during the holidays. So if you are so inclined, give a senior dog a home. It is a gift that keeps on giving!!!

This week - Thanksgiving at Casa NativeMom. Oh, what fun and hijinks are in store? You'll have to wait to find out . . .

Friday, November 20, 2009

Dead Tree Versions

So, all you bloggers and lurkers out there, since you've embraced this new medium for communication, how do you feel about electronic books? I LOVE books and got the Amazon Kindle for Christmas last year. I wasn't sure if I would like reading books this way, but I love it. In fact, using it has changed the way I read. Now that I have an entire library of books at my fingertips, and in a very portable format, I find that I read 2 or 3 books at a time. It can be a little confusing, and sometimes I do have to go back and reread a page or two. But I love being able to read a heavy and serious book like What is the What and then take a break to read something lite and fluffy like Causing a Scene: Extraordinary Pranks in Ordinary Places with Improv Everywhere (shout out to PFHQ who just loves pranks!). 

I've recently discovered a new term that Kindlers like me are using to refer to books they are reading but not on their Kindle (as in the hardback and paperback variety ) - Dead Tree Versions.  I'm hoping that one day this term will make it into the dictionary (the electronic version of course). 

I'm still a fan of print - I mean after all I do get 3 newspapers delivered to my house each day. But I'm starting to embrace the electronic age more fully. Downloading and reading electronic books is easy, inexpensive, saves trees, reduces pollution and makes reading more available to a broader range of people. 

So if you have a reader on your gift list this year, consider the Kindle. It's NativeMom recommended!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Disney's Holiday Relationship Advice

I received some very helpful advice in the form of my weekly Disney e-newsletter today, that in the spirit of giving, I just had to share with all of you. At Disney, this holiday tip was titled "Give your relationship a holiday gift." The article was all about how to manage your relationship with your significant other during the stressful holiday season. 

So here is the advice offered by Disney's Los Angeles Relationship Expert (yes, that was her title, I kid you not). 

"We women have a very specific vision about things we're invested in; gifts, decorations or the way to set a table. But we rarely want to take the time to be that specific with our partners. We want them to be psychic."

Kaiser says that leaves us with three choices:

  • Let it go and allow him to do it his way.
  • Give specific detailed instructions and relax. If it's not perfect, deal with it.
  • Do it yourself. But if you choose this option, don't complain that it's all on your shoulders.

Cricket, cricket. Don't quite know what to think about that do you? I know, that advice stopped in my tracks as well. Let's start with the first point of advice. 

If I let it go, not only would it not get done his way, it wouldn't get done at all. I could illustrate this point by telling a story here about a Thanksgiving Turkey I once let one of my husbands be responsible for ordering, but that story ends with a rotisserie chicken from a 24-hour grocery store. Next point!

Give specific detailed instructions then relax . . . Ok, I could get on board with this. But halfway through the detailed instructions, I'm interrupted with suggestions for how to do it differently, then comes some backtracking over the first several steps, then confusion, frustration, a look of panic on his face . . . "Where do I find the eggs again? I think you're out of eggs. Are you sure we have eggs?" Oh, just forget it!

And finally our last sage nugget of advice, "Do it yourself but don't complain." I call this the Joan of Ark Syndrome. 

What good is doing everything yourself if you can't complain about it. I mean, it just wouldn't be a family gathering around Casa NativeMom without a few complaints. In fact, if I didn't complain or at least utter some sarcastic remarks, my family would think I'd been replaced by a Stepford Wife.

By the way, Joan of Ark was burned at the stake at age 19. I will not go quietly!

Hey Disney, if you're looking for a real relationship expert, stay out of L.A.!

TwiMom Countdown!

No, your eyes do not deceive you. Those are tickets to one of the first showings of the new film in the Twilight franchise we're holding. This TwiMom will be among the first to see New Moon this Friday. Oh yeah, and MiniMe is going with me. As if she had a choice?!?

MiniMe has proudly proclaimed herself Team Jacob, while I'm holding court as the original Team Edward representative. But let's be honest - Jacob, Edward, Werewolves, Vampires - it's all good stuff. 

I read all of the Twilight books during my Christmas vacation last year. MiniMe is still working her way through the first book. Whether or not the books are great is open to debate, but what is great is that I've found something MiniMe and I can enjoy together - great mother-daughter bonding material - and it's not as if I have too many more years (months, maybe) to be included as an equal partner in her fun little world. Any day now she's going to turn into a teenager and I will be lucky to get a few minutes of her time. 

So at 2 p.m. on Friday, we're gonna be TwiMom and TwiGirl with our popcorn, soda and Team Edward (Jacob!) t-shirts enjoying the New Moon!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Thanksgiving at my place this year

In acknowledgement of the fact that I will be hosting the family for Thanksgiving this year, I took the preliminary steps toward getting prepared for my holiday hosting duties. That's right, I went out and bought the November issues of nearly every "food related" magazine on the market. My favorite, Everyday with Rachel Ray, is filled with recipes and plenty of "you can do it!" encouragment that make it seem as if pulling off Thanksgiving is as easy as a 30-minute-meal. 

It's not. But the folks at Everyday with Rachel Ray certainly make you feel that way. 

Then there's O the Oprah Magazine. I know, not a food magazine, right? But it has plenty of advice on how to spend a holiday with your dysfunctional family and stay sane. Forget the turkey, as a Southern born girl, the mom of a 'blended family' and with my very pregnant and moody sister in the mix, this is the kind of holiday survival guide I really need. Forget "how to make a perfectly moist thanksgiving turkey!" Oprah's the girl with advice like "how to serve the Thanksgiving turkey without having evil thoughts of your beloved family while you carve into the bird." 

My other magazine purchases included Budget Travel and Psychology Today. Need I say more?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Time Change or Time Warp?

Anybody else out there having some trouble adjusting to the time change? I usually look forward to the time change when we GAIN an hour of extra sleep in the morning. But this year, the time change left me feeling lethargic. I know it is not just affecting me. Last night when Beloved got home from work, he found me sitting in front of my computer. He wandered in and out of my office before finally saying, "I guess dinner is up to me tonight?" I looked at my watch. It was not quite 6:30. I was simply serving some microwave side dishes with a rotisserie chicken from Publix, so that would take me all of 10 minutes to prepare. I thought to myself, "gee slavedriver, I'm supposed to have dinner waiting for you when you walk in the door?!?" Then I realized, because it was dark out already and had been for a while, he was thinking it was later than it really was. 

We had dinner at the normal time - which around here is close to 7 p.m. because not everyone is home from work/soccer/swimming class, etc any earlier than that usually.

So the time change seems to have caught me and Beloved in the time warp. 

Sunday, November 1, 2009

It just wouldn't be halloween if . . .

. . . you didn't have to suffer as you trick or treated your way around the neighborhood with a costume that was scratching, itching or poking you or made it hard to breathe and or walk. 

This is a truism I had to keep reminding MiniMe about last night as we spent 2 hours trick or treating in our neighborhood and the one just a short walk away.

Her dad had rented her a "parrot" costume, with lots of feathers, which while they looked beautiful, were actually kind of scratchy and pokey. 

"I think this costume is giving me a rash," complained MiniMe only a half hour into our candy-seeking jaunt. "I've got a feather that keeps poking me in the eye."

Man UP! This is what halloween memories are made of. Scratchy costumes. Suffocating masks. 

"Believe me," I said to MiniMe, "one day you'll be trick or treating with your child and be telling him or her stories about the year you thought it would be a great idea to be a parrot, only the costume gave you a rash."

Then I told her, not for the first time or even the second time, about all the halloween experiences that my sister and I endured for the sake of that perfect costume. Some favorites:

The year I thought it would be a great idea to go dressed as Kermit the Frog. Wearing swim fins on your feet is ok when you're getting dressed and ready to go, but after about half a block, walking in the dark with swim fins on your feet is not only a pain in the ass, but a tripping hazard.

One year my sister and I went in matching costumes. Bags of jelly beans. Mom's idea and really quite a creative one. She took clear plastic drycleaning bags & cut leg holes in the top. Then she stuffed balloons around us inside the bags and tied the whole thing up around our necks with a pretty bow. We thought we looked great. But by the time we made it home from trick or treating, we'd left a trail of balloons through the neighborhood and now we were wearing nothing but tattered clear plastic bags. 

MiniMe and I left a trail of red feathers around the neighborhood along with a few candywrappers. Had to test the goods along the way.