Monday, April 26, 2010

Spring in Maine-

As we headed up to Canada on Saturday, I couldn't help but notice the lovely changing of the seasons going on. The trees were blooming, the warm breezes were flowing and the chirps of birds that had returned from the South filled the air.

Jose and Deja noticed several natural springs heading up Rte. 201 and decided to stop and check out the water. Years ago, I could remember people stopping to fill up empty jugs with the sweet tasting spring water. Nowadays, I wasn't too sure-but Jose was determined to find out. We parked on the side of the road and I took some photos of the views while they walked hand in hand up the road to find out what that water tasted like.

Deja returned and informed me that it wasn't too bad at all, while Jose said it tasted "fishy" to him, lol. They had each cupped their hands and gotten a mouthful of the freezing water that way-and according to both of them, that water was COLD... almost too cold to drink.

The view was gorgeous, and the northern Maine woods were peaceful and tranquil-a far cry from the honking of horns, shouting of neighbors or sirens blaring as they drive by. I wish I'd had more time to take it all in, but considering it was getting dark, and I had no desire to meet a moose or deer head on around dusk when they like to come out and search for food on the side of the road-I decided I'd better head home. Plus, black fly season is going to arrive soon. And you do NOT want to be in Maine during black fly season. Forget Twilight and the Cullens-these things can suck you dry in a few hours, lol.

So here's a few pics of Northern Maine as of Saturday-enjoy!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

A Blast From My Past!

When I was a teenager, I used to hang out in Canada alot. One thing I used to love eating was Canadian chocolate bars.... it just tasted, well, different.

Today I went to Canada to visit family (more pics on that in another post) and lo and behold while buying my "French Bread" in the Metro Supermarket I ended up in the candy aisle. And there I found all my favorites, all over again. They happened to be on sale for 4 for $3.00 so I grabbed some for myself and the kids to try. The only new one I saw was Snickers Believe, I have no idea what that one is all about-but I got it anyways. The rest of the bars have been around for ages, and haven't changed much.

How many do you recognize... give me a shout out and let me know!

UPDATE: I think it is super neat that some of you remember these and have tried them. I am also pretty amazed that some can be found in other parts of our country and in Guatemala too~! Here I am, about 100 miles from the Canadian border and I can't even find a single bar in my stores here, even the ones closer to the border! I will be going up again in the fall for the foliage photos, and maybe I will buy some and have a giveaway ;) I haven't tried any of them yet, since I don't think chocolate would make a good breakfast-but I am most interested in the Snickers Believe since it's a new one to me. I, like Rachelle, loved Mars bars with Almonds and thought they were non-existent but am glad to know they can be found in Wal-Mart. It looks like I will be heading to Wally World soon to check it out here.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Long Live The King!

No folks, I am not talking about Elvis. I'm talking about my crazy cat Stubby... Since he arrived at my house he has declared himself King of my King Sized waterbed. No sooner had I taken the sheets off the darn thing to wash them when he decided it was time to make himself comfortable.

Geez, he didn't even give me time to get the mattress protector off. And that cat is L-O-N-G, he sprawls out on my bed and acts like he owns it. It'd be fine if he was willing to share the bed with me. But any movement of my feet is met by swift claw action letting me know I am invading his space. Nothing like getting claws sunk into the sole of your foot at 2 am because you made the bad choice to move a little to the left.

As far as alarm clocks go, I don't need one. The cat wakes me up every morning at 6 am with a swift nudge of his head to my face. He still thinks I am on my work schedule and I have to remind him to let me sleep in a bit more. So off he goes, a bit disappointed that I am not getting up to play with him. (he has a self feeder along with the 3 other felines that live here, when they are out of food, believe me, I DO know!)

When I leave and sit outside on the porch for awhile, he cries for me as he wants to come outside. But he is an indoor cat, with a nice window perch in my room so he should be satisfied with that. Summer is coming, and soon he will be chasing bugs all over the house. Whenever we open our door in the summertime, a random moth or bug finds its way inside. It probably wishes it hadn't. Late May and June should be interesting with the June bugs that fly around and sometimes get inside. One got inside last year, and before I could get it outside I could hear the sickening crunching as someone managed to corner their victim and make a meal out of him. Ewww!

So today, here is a pic of the King, readying himself for a nice nap on my bed. Too bad for him hubby wasn't willing to share the bed with him, and banished him from the bedroom so he could get some sleep before working tonight. In the meantime, the sheets are in the laundry and King Stubby is waiting-not so patiently I might add, for me to take over the bed that he can lie regally on his throne and enjoy a night of blissful sleep. (he snores too!)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

It's Those Baby Blues....

Let's see what happens when Grandma gets to babysit.... of course, she takes photos!

here's some photos of the little guy at 10 months taken a couple of weeks ago. He thought the camera was lots of fun, and loved having his photos taken!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Welcome to Spring!

I hate Spring. Well, not really Spring of course-but the things that go along with it. Those things float in the air, fall off the trees and generally get into my nose and eyes more than I would like.

The consequences of the pollen count being so high is that I end up a weeping, sneezing, red eyed miserable person for about a month or so. I love to see the flowers blooming, feel the sunshine on my face, and watch the leaves appear on the trees like everyone else. The warmer weather is a very welcome sight after a long, cold Winter. But having allergies to go along with the Spring weather is definitely a downer.
So I admire Spring from inside. With the windows shut. So much for Spring Cleaning and getting the dust (of which I am also allergic to as well) out of the house and cleaning the air. Spring does not like me. The sun does not like me. Being from Maine I have something in common with the Maine Lobster--we both end up redder than hell from the heat. A couple of weeks ago I went to a BBQ outside. I really didn't want to go, but hubby pitched a fit and I ended up going. The food was great, the company was okay, and the sun was shining. I tossed off my jacket and baked in the warm sunshine. Little did I know the price I would have to pay.

All was well until I came home and saw my face, scalp (damn thinning hair from getting older!) and lower arms were red and throbbing. I literally could not comb my hair for about a week since my scalp was so red. Now I know why bald men wear hats or put sunscreen on their heads, lol. And if that wasn't bad enough, I started peeling within the last week. The arms weren't too bad, but the scalp was terrible, and left me with huge pieces of skin that look like mutant dandruff flakes gone horribly wrong whenever I brush or comb my hair. Trust me,it is NOT a pretty sight.

My days consist of checking the Weather Channel and the pollen count before I venture outside. I silently curse those that are out weeding their gardens and getting their yards ready for Summer. Mine will be ready... in August! I sit inside and play Bejeweled Blitz on Facebook and wait for the sun to go down. Then I can venture outside for a bit, and relax in the early evening on the front porch. My daughter is convinced I am part vampire because I avoid the sun so much. She is lucky, her skin tone is darker than mine thanks to daddy's genes and although she has sunscreen she develops the most gorgeous tan I have ever seen in the summer months. She reminds me of the girls I loved to hate at the beach that would have that perfect suntan at the end of the day while I would come home and end up in the ER a few hours later with blisters popping out all over my body.

So dear readers, welcome to Spring! Enjoy the sunshine, the warmth, and the blooming flowers and trees. I will join you once I can see out of both eyes, have used up my stockpile of Kleenex, and have applied SPF 45 generously over all exposed body parts. Have a great week everyone!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Earth Day-Let's Make a Difference!

Over this past weekend I watched 2012 after getting it in the mail from my Netflix subscription... Now, I don't know about the rest of you, but considering all these strong earthquakes we are having lately I'm beginning to think Earth Crust Displacement theory is not so nutty after all.

Mother Nature is apparently none to happy with us right now-given the way we've been treating Mother Earth with pesticides, drilling, testing of weapons, pollution, etc... it's no wonder our planet isn't blowing off a little steam. (so much so that 200 year dormant volcanoes in Iceland of all places are erupting)

These subtle and not-so-subtle changes going on today really have me worried about our planet and its future. Maybe the Mayans weren't wrong, after all. Sure, it could be we're facing a total planet wide extinction or perhaps the world changing as we currently know it. Look at all the preparations for Y2K a few years back, and nothing came out of it. I guess we won't really know until the time comes.

Our resources are slowly dwindling, oil, water, clean air, crops needed to feed us-all play a part in our everyday life that we often take for granted. I'm a pretty big Sci-Fi fan, and doomsday movies or futuristic movies (Waterworld, The Postman, The Day After Tomorrow, Escape from New York etc...) pretty much show what could someday happen to the world as we know it. It's a scary thought, but one that needs to be addressed.

The debate continues about global warming, and global cooling. How our poles are going to shift or perhaps an asteroid is going to hit us in several years- and in the meantime, nations can't get along and violence has become a way of life in our society. Earth Day is coming up soon, and I do hope that there will be more awareness of the need to protect our planet from man made effects. Sure, we can't protect it from an asteroid strike, but we CAN reduce our use of chemicals, pesticides, plastic, paper, etc... In doing so, we can make our planet safer for our children's children and beyond. Technology and convenience are wonderful, but as I got older I saw the price we are now paying for these things. I'm not living a 100% green lifestyle, but I do try to incorporate living green into the way I do things. If it means using reusable bags at the market, recycling paper and plastic, composting and gardening, canning, etc... all things I have done or want to improve on.

Take the time to sit down and figure out what you can do-it might be something as simple as carpooling to work to save on gas and reduce your carbon footprint. It may be finding another use for that tire you were going to toss out. (heck, make it a planter in the garden!) All the little things DO make a difference. And those changes in the way we do things will hopefully make a positive change and affect those generations to come. We've got the whole world in our hands, let's make a difference!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Society and Kids Today....

I often wonder about the youth of today. Before I go on, I will say that my own teen son has had his share of troubles, which caused me heartbreak and stress. So I myself am not immune to the problems that the youth of today face.

Our society has become a violent one-just turning on the TV nowadays brings images of war, riots, and other unpleasant news our way. I can remember the days when the class bully was a pain in the ass, and pretty damn good at shaking the timid kids down for their lunch money, but that was about it. Today, we have bullying that extends far beyond the reach of the schoolyard-invading our homes and lives on a much more personal level. And social websites contribute to it, unfortunately.

Even adults get into the act, I've seen some pretty good bloggy fights in the past couple of years I've been blogging-and I kind of have to wonder if these people would even have considered bullying or commenting negatively if they were to do it face to face like the old days, not under the guise of an anonymous post or fake ID. Just think too, that even the ones being bullied sometimes stand up for themselves... look at how many shootings and violent events we've seen in the workplace and in schools the past few years. I can remember people snickering about so and so going postal-but today those threats are taken seriously. Just a few wrong words, even if joking, and you can find your sorry ass in a heap of trouble. Ask the foreign diplomat who made a pit stop in Denver last night courtesy of 2 F-16's due to his stupid comment.

Kids today seem to want things handed to them, the latest cell phones, iPods, laptops, brand name clothing and shoes-it all comes with the territory and the need to fit in. Just because they don't have these things doesn't mean it is the end of the world...but to them, it certainly feels that way. I know I felt that way when, in seventh grade, the note was stuck in my locker telling me the 13 or so things I needed to do to fit in with a certain group of students. They even signed it-and I still have their note, to this day. No, I didn't rush out and buy everything they wanted me to get. Because I discovered that being in that particular group wasn't worth it. Hmmm... maybe that's why I didn't go to my 25th reunion this past year. Looking back now, I probably should have. And brought the note... and let them read it, lol. Because now as middle aged (geez, it sucks to say that!) forty somethings I doubt very much if wearing Levis and buying my jackets at Joseph's Sporting Goods store really matters anymore.

Our world has definitely changed-sometimes I do think it is not for the better. It's hard to live in a world where there are so many negatives being thrown at you from all directions. You struggle to find the good in things, but sometimes it isn't always easy. Sometimes the term "Hell on Earth" really makes sense. As a parent, I am constantly watching for any changes in my children. We talk about bullying, and about events both happening in the world today and in their world (school and social life) by doing this, and keeping the lines of communication open, it definitely helps with the parenting part of things.

Today's world has become a scary place. Much different from when I was growing up. I honestly don't envy the youth of today, even if they have all the neat techie gadgets I would have LOVED as a kid. They have so many things being thrown at them, that they seem older than their years at times. I worry that they won't take the time to appreciate the carefree times of their youth, the best time of their lives-instead of focusing on everything that is wrong with the world, try to focus on what is right. Learn to get along without texting, sending IM's etc... because one day it might not even exist. Every problem has a solution, take the time to try to find it.

Appreciate the time you have NOW, dream about what the future holds and live for today. Live simply, simply live...

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Kmart Super Doubles!

After reading around the blogosphere about Kmart having a Super Doubles coupon event this week, I started scrounging around for my $2.00 off coupons for various products-hoping to get some great deals.

Yesterday I managed to have two coupons for $2.00 off the Good Life cat food-the bags in my area are $5.29 each for 3.5 lbs, doubled to $4.00 off I got two bags for $1.29 each! ( FYI you can only use 5 coupons, do it once per day, and you need to have a Kmart rewards card to get the deals-it wasn't advertised in our flyer either, so the general public probably didn't know about it. I know my mom didn't until our shopping trip yesterday!)

Today, I headed back-armed with 4 $2.00 off Nivea mens and womens bodywash from the last two ALL YOU magazines. (there are some great coupons in there BTW, and lots of great info and articles as well, if you don't subscribe-you should!) The mens Energy bodywash was $4.99 so I only paid .99 each, and the womens was $5.29, and I only paid $1.29 each. My last item was a coupon for $2.00 off a La Cross item valued at $4.00 or more-I ended up choosing a $4.79 blemish remover, which cost only .79 after the doubled coupon :) Total amount spent for all 5 items: $7.59, total saved $10.00.

My mom used 5 coupons for $2.00 off cat food in a separate transaction, I ended up getting 3 12 lb. bags of Kit n Kaboodle and 2 3.5 lb bags of other brands for a little over $20.00! Let me tell ya, I was happy and my four felines were just purring with delight when I got home. Be sure to sign up for your Kmart Rewards card so you can save as well-the Super Double coupon event goes on through the 10th, so you can still get in on it. I would suggest calling your local store to be sure they are participating before starting out-not all stores participate! Good luck and happy shopping :)

Monday, April 5, 2010

Maria Soto Robbins-Cuban American Artist Paints Jose & Deja

In my old age, I have really come to appreciate art and all the beauty that surrounds us. (well, I should say in my "middle age" lol) When I was younger, I was never artistic-and really didn't take the time to stop and smell the roses, so to speak.

My daughter Deja, however, is very artistic and enjoys painting and drawing. I was very proud when one of her projects won her the Art Student of the Month award at school and I can only hope that she continues on with her love of art. My teen son, on the other hand, enjoyed his own art so immensely he spread his graffiti with love throughout the neighborhood when he was about twelve. Needless to say, 7 counts of criminal mischief later I was NOT appreciating his artistic endeavors unless of course, they were LEGAL.

I have a somewhat tropical theme to my house, and I love to surround myself with images of palm trees, beautiful flowers and sunshine as the Maine winters are very long, and VERY dreary. (of course, snowflakes falling can be a beautiful sight, if I am safely snuggled in the house and NOT driving that day.)

In my internet travels I discovered Maria Soto Robbins, a Cuban-American artist who now lives in Florida. Her work fits right in with the types of paintings I so enjoy-and by gazing at her work on a dark winter day I can take myself away to a tropical beach, with the warm sun shining on my face and the gentle breeze of the palm trees kissing my skin. So relaxing!!!

Maria is a very nice person, and she has something for everyone in her Etsy shop. If you want to wear her art and take it with you, you can even purchase a pendant from her there. I am in love with her tropical fruits and coconut and lime paintings, they would look perfect in my kitchen.

I was very surprised awhile back when Maria announced that she was looking for subjects to paint, and I immediately contacted her and asked her if she'd like to try painting my daughter and her dad. She made a few changes from the original photo I sent her, but it turned out quite nice and I've got it hanging in my living room next to the original. I've also put it up above for you to check it out, thanks Maria for the painting :) Be sure to check out her blog too for all her latest work and posts.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Today I'm Spring Cleaning....NOT!!!!

A mother's work is truly never done. Ever since layoff a week ago, my days have been filled with doctor appointments, dentist appointments, and shopping trips. Now this would be fine, if it were for me-but I've been too busy to even schedule an appointment for myself, much less make it to one. I've become a glorified taxi driver, but without the tips. (unless you're willing to count gum stuck to a piece of paper on the backseat.)

In addition to taxi driver, I now have to play Suzy Homemaker-the divine image of all things clean in the home, AND be expected to bake as well. Well, from a previous post, you can guess how my baking has gone, and the cleaning hasn't fared much better. I am allergic to dust, and this house is dusty! Because of the huge amounts of rain we've had here in the Northeast these past few days I've been unable to open the windows and let that dust head out the window. Today, though, is another story. It's sunny and going to be in the mid-60's. Perfect weather for cleaning house. Or so they think....

Hubby is off to the junk yard in search of another piece of junk for his Toyota project. The kids are in school. The cats are behaving themselves for the moment, and I am taking some time to get caught up on all things bloggy today. I am planning on opening the windows very soon, and letting the fresh air and sunshine in. Maybe even sitting outside with a book, it's glorious silence, and today it's ALL MINE!!!!

My cell phone battery is low, and the phone is going to die soon if I don't get it re-charged. But I'm not doing it, I am not gonna let the ring of a cell phone spoil my silence. I need to re-charge my OWN batteries, thank you very much. And that means being selfish and getting some ME time in for a few hours without worrying about everyone else. I might even take a nap!

So often we get so caught up in family life, errands, being a mom, and work we often forget or neglect one of the most important things in life---ourselves! I know I feel guilty taking some needed time to relax and do things I want to do. So taking the time for oneself actually feels like a guilty pleasure...sort of like when I eat chocolate, lol.

It's time to open the windows and let the fresh air in-sit back and read the newspaper. Enjoy your day everyone, and make sure to take time for yourself too!