Thursday, March 31, 2011

The A-Z Challenge

As if I didn't have enough on my plate already, I discovered this on Jayne's blog and just can't pass it up.

I love to blog and don't do it nearly often enough as I would like to.  This gives me an awesome springboard to start from. U, V and Y may prove to be the most challenging, but I've got a few weeks to get those narrowed down so I'm not worried about it.

Look for the first of 26 posts tomorrow morning!!!

PS- I'm blog #919 to commit to the challenge!  What number will yours be??

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Toilet Paper Fairy

I'm sure every mom goes through this.  It's an everyday, ordinary, take-it-for-granted thing, yet I am so amused by it sometimes that I feel compelled to write a post about it.  That, and I'm checking Blogspot to make sure I can post at all.  A friend can't, and I'm making sure it's not all of Blogger and maybe something on her end that she can fix easily.  Everything seems to be functioning ok for me, but I'll finish the story I started.

Because you are my faithful reader and I love you. You're welcome.

My four children and I share the second floor bathroom with my mom.  So that's 6 people going in and out, taking showers, brushing hair and teeth and, of course, doing what needs be done in the way of private business.  It's no complicated math formula to know that the more people you have using something, the more supplies and materials are needed to keep it functioning properly.  We buy disposable goods in bulk; paper towels, 409 cleanser, garbage bags and toilet paper.  That plump, 2 ply roll of keep-your-tushie-clean tissue is purchased at Sam's in great packages, to be stored in the hall closet, under the sinks, in the little by-the-toilet tissue cabinet my mom bought (holds 4 rolls), and downstairs in the supply room in the basement where all sorts of 'extras' are stashed in the event of a bomb or snowstorm or tornado or zombie apocalypse keeping us from ever getting to Sam's again.

Recently it has come to my attention that I am perpetually the person who replaces the roll when it is either at the very end with only a few squares left on it, or an empty cardboard tube completely.*  We don't use it up any more quickly than is considered 'normal' use.  My kids know that too much paper will cause problems in the already old and needing attention plumbing system of a 35 year old house.  They have been taught that, in the words of the Charmin bear commercials, "less is more".  Yet, time and time again, when the roll does at last run out who is it that is there to replace it with a new roll?  Yup! Me!

I don't mind it.  It's all part of my regular and never ending mom duties.  Sweep the kitchen.  Cook supper.  Force the walking germs to take a bath.  Wash dishes.  And the laundry! The never, ever, ever, EVER ending or lessening mountain of socks, jeans, shirts, underwear, sheets and towels that is the lot of every mom to gather, wash, dry, sort, fold and put away.  My kids help with many of the daily chores and duties, to the best of their ability.  They even thank me for what I do, on occasion.

But no one ever notices the toilet paper.

They don't notice when it's nearly out.  They don't notice it when it's just been replaced and it's a full roll.  And as I think about it, and some of the children (especially the boys) are less particular concerning personal hygiene, I'm concerned that they don't notice (or care) if it's an empty roll and I haven't gone in to replace it yet!  Oh, no!!

It's like to them, there is a magical fairy- like a cousin of the tooth fairy, maybe- who comes in when they are not looking and leaves them a new roll of TP.  Wonder what that must be like at fairy family reunions?  The dew-drop fairies and the flower fairies, and the snowflake fairies and the sugar plum fairies who work at Christmas time must take it out on the regular job fairies to no end.
"What do you do?"
"I'm a sugar plum fairy.  I bring sweet dreams and holiday joy to children.  What about you?"
"I'm a toilet paper fairy."

Who was the person who provided the last full roll of toilet paper for you to use?  Do you even know?  Maybe it wouldn't hurt to offer up a little prayer of thanks.  After all, there are countries where there is no such thing as toilet paper.  We shouldn't take so much for granted.

But as I said earlier, I don't mind being the Toilet Paper Fairy of this house.  It's my job to keep the bathroom clean and functional and I try to do a good job of it.  Just don't expect me to wear wings and wave a wand.  Unless the toilet brush counts as a wand. ;)

*I excuse my mom from not replacing the roll because she is at work from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. most days, and even then some days has school after work and isn't home until much later in the evening.  So, home at night enough to use it, but not really any other time, and certainly not often enough to be the one it falls on to replace the roll.

Friday, March 25, 2011


This is one of my favorite Hoops and Yoyo cards and pretty much accurately describes my life right now:

Hoops and Yoyo eCards - Crazy Day

But in a good way. :)

I have so many projects and ideas going, it's not even funny.  I'm up to my elbows (literally, there are piles of fabric in chairs in the dining room that reach elbow level!) in sewing.  I want so much to get a move on in this room re-do project.  There is an enormous pile of laundry that I'll be folding as soon as I hit "publish" on this post.  I have other posts that I want to write and get up on my blog.  I have a conference with Jennifer's teacher (regularly scheduled- she's not in trouble, that I know of!) at 4 this afternoon.  I'm halfway through Dicken's Little Dorrit and when I finish it, there are 2 Mr. Monk books by Lee Goldburg, picked up from the library the other day, that I want to read.  The girls' room still needs work.  The boys' room isn't as bad as the girls' room... but it could also do with reorganizing, updating and a fresh coat of paint.

I have errands to run, groceries to buy, appointments for car maintenance to schedule, a garage sale to prepare for, stuff to list on Craigslist and Ebay, Avon books to label and distribute, Avon orders to deliver, and paperwork to sort.

So run around whooping and hollering, Hoops and Yoyo!  You are representing my day (month) to a T! :)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Happy Birthday, Grandmother!

Grandmother Cross 2 years ago at her 80th Birthday Party
My mom's mother is 82 today!  Emily turned 3 day before yesterday as well, so we've had lots of cake and ice cream and such here!  Given her loss of eyesight (macular degeneration) and moving forward in her years as an octogenarian, my Grandmother is mobile, energetic, independent, vibrant and enjoying life to the fullest!  She's spent most of today in her favorite place to be- her garden.  It's good to see her going strong.  We love living here with her.  Happiest of birthdays, Gran, and many more to come!

Friday, March 11, 2011

London is calling...

But for now I have to let it go to voicemail. :(
I want to go to England.  Like, BAD want to go.  (If you are new to my blog and want to see what a hopeless (hopeful?) Anglophile I am, check out this post and this post from a few years ago.)

I have the money.  Jake and I both work hard and although we've been hit with more than a few of life's curve balls, we're trying to save every cent we possibly can.  If I lost my head completely and up and decided to book the trip, it would take up almost all of our savings.  So that's one (Huge) reason why I don't do it.  Another, even bigger, reason would be that I don't have a passport yet! :P
Still, there is that ache.  There's a longing that defies explanation, like I've been on a journey my entire life and not made it back "home" yet.  So much of the whole history and culture of England is familiar.  I can't help feeling that once I do finally get to go for a visit, I will fit in comfortably and totally at ease. I feel like my heart has an England shaped piece missing that will finally be found and make my soul complete.

My mom has a similar draw to all things British.  She has friends who are from Leeds who came to visit us twice when they were visiting the States.  They've become my friends by extension and have graciously offered hospitality and a place to stay when at last I board a plane from Atlanta to London.
Since I can't go now, though, I have to console myself with planning out my trip.  Here are 10 places I want to see when AT LAST I do make it across the pond. :)  They are by no means the ONLY 10 places, and are in no particular order.  I'm sure I'll be listing another 10 in another post in the near future. :)

Jane Austen's House at Chawton
(You knew the very first one was going to have something to do with Jane!)
Jane wrote Emma (my personal favorite) while living here, during the last 8 years of her life.

When I first began discovering the marvels of English tea, I bought a variety package of black teas at Kroger that looked like this:
What resulted is a daily addiction to Twinings Earl Grey blend.  I found out that the original shop, opened in the early 1700s by Thomas Twining, is still there and thriving. Thus, I more or less have planned my entire day in London around visiting this shop! :)
 Photo By: Jim Bahn

Chatsworth House, Derbyshire, Peak District
Photo By: John Dalkin
Used as the fictitious "Pemberly" home of Mr. Darcy in the 2005 Focus Features film "Pride & Prejudice".  My favorite scene in the movie is where Elizabeth Bennett (Kiera Knightly) travels to the Peak District with her aunt and uncle.  When the carriage breaks, they decide to visit Pembery, despite Elizabeth's pleading that they don't. Her aunt says "He won't be there, anyway. These great men are never at home." So when the carriage is repaired, to Pemberly they go and Elizabeth sees in full scale and to the letter, the property she herself might have been mistress of, had she not shot down Mr. Darcy's proposal of marriage when they were both at Rosings.  I found this fan made Youtube video of some of the best scenes, including my favorite. Kiera Knightly's expression as she steps out of the carriage is fantastic!

The Royal Armouries Museum, Leeds

Being right in Leeds, where my host family's home is, I want to spend most of a day here.  I especially want to see this elephant armor and possibly have a go at fencing.

Hatchards is the oldest surviving bookshop in London, since 1797.  I would have known nothing of this bibliophile's fantasy come true, if not for Pamela Terry's blog, From the House of Edward.  

Photo By: Roberto Sgarbi
I told my friend whom I'll be visiting that I want to see something of the English Seaside while I'm there. I asked if I should spend a day in Brighton? No, came the answer. Go to Whitby.  For, Whitby has the best fish and chips in all England (here's the restaurant website as well), Abbey ruins, is famous for Bram Stoker's Dracula and Captain James Cook, and also is only an hour and 45 minute journey from Leeds, whereas the south coast takes much longer to get to and takes up valuable touring time. (Brighton= 4 and 1/2 hours; Plymouth= 5 and 1/2 hours)

Victoria And Albert Museum
If I see nothing else in here but Fashion Room 40, I could go home perfectly happy.  Drool. Drool. Drool! (But I'm sure that's only the beginning of what I'll see at the V&A!)  Fashion Room 40 is closed right now for architectural restoration, says the website, but is scheduled to reopen in Spring of 2012. Perfect, since my trip definitely won't likely be before then.

Afternoon Tea at Kensington Palace
The Orangery Restaurant

I can't go to England and not have a full out afternoon tea!!! I surfed a bunch of tour info websites and links and I like this place the best!

Shakespeare's Globe Theatre
Photo By: Ed O'Keeffe

"A Midsummer Night's Dream" is my favorite Shakespeare play. 
"The eye of man hath not heard, the ear of man hath not seen, man's hand is not able to taste, his tongue conceive, nor his heart to report, what my dream was." - Bottom, End of Act 4, Scene 1

221B Baker Street, London

Jake and I are both avid Sherlock Holmes fans.  I'd love to take a peek inside the Victorian flat of the world's most brilliant (albeit fictional) detective!

So there is my first list of 10!  I want to do everything I can to save up funds and go over next summer.  Of course with the 2012 Olympics happening then, that might not be such a great plan, but we will see. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Last year I was enrolled in Jazzercise in Douglasville.  I paid up for 6 months and loved it, loved it, loved it!  Then my time expired right before Thanksgiving.  Which was the WORST time of the year to stop an exercise routine!  But I didn't have the money, at the time, to renew and I was so swamped with Christmas and 3 jobs that I wouldn't have been able to go back anyway and still get 5 hours of sleep in a night.

This month, though, I had some money saved, so I decided to quit procrastinating (well, about that, anyway.) and get my butt back into shape.  I still have a podgy belly left from having Emily and she turns 3 years old in 3 weeks.  No. More. Excuses.

Day before yesterday I got myself ready before dropping the kids off at school, and Em and I headed up to town.  I love the 9:30 class with Elizabeth.  She also has kids at Mason Creek Elementary, in some of the same classes as mine, actually, so we're always seeing each other at the school things.  She's always smiling and positive and telling me she misses me in her class.  I need more of that encouragement in my life!!!  I was front and center on Monday, after having paid up through August, and ready to be back in her class.

I foolishly believed that since I have been to a few Swing dances in those months I didn't do Jazzercise, that I could jump right in.  Well, the jumping only lasted for the first 15 minutes and by the time we reached the top of the curve, I was gasping for breath like an asthmatic shetland pony who's toting a 400 lb. rich noble on its back for a couple hundred miles. (How about that imagery!)  But after the class I felt GREAT!  I felt strong and happy and ready to take on the world!

It took 24 hours for my body to figure out what the heck had just hit it.

Yesterday my thighs determinedly turned to jello any time I tried to climb the stairs.

My abs and sides were all "What?! NO."

Every muscle- some that I had even forgotten that I HAD- was letting me know loud and clear that they didn't appreciate the rude wake up call they had been put through!

Today was some better, but my routine is set for every other day, so off I went this morning to Elizabeth's class again! ;)
My shoulders, abs and thighs hate me so so so badly right now.
In a few weeks the soreness will work itself out and my hard work will start to show.  But until then, every step hurts, and bending down to pick anything up results in an involuntary "OWWWW!"

I'm hoping that tomorrow I'm not so sore that I can't get out of bed!  Because this woman has places to go and things to do! :)