Wednesday, September 30, 2009

You Know You Have A Problem When...#7

You Know You Have A Problem When you cut through a can with a "Forever Sharp Knife;" just so you can have black olives in your taco salad.

We don't use a lot of canned goods in our home; which I suppose is why we've never owned an electric can opener and always opted for the hand held kind. Now though we don't typically open a lot of cans; I distinctly remember that my hand held one had been giving me trouble for a while and that I needed to request Luis' assistance on more than one can opening occasion. Well, upon returning from our last camping trip, Luis deemed it necessary to throw away the can opener; so on my next trip to Walmart, I bought a new one. I perused the can openers (probably longer than most people would have ~ because I am the Queen of INDECISIVENESS) and I finally decided on a sturdy looking can opener that cost all of $1.97
Luis just happened to be home for my inaugural use of the can opener and I bragged "Look how great this can opener works. Who needs a $10 can opener?" I then proceeded to open a few more cans (because I was making pasta sauce) and with my inimitable Paige luck; the can opener ceased working. It was BROKEN. Well, now I know what you get for $1.97
I have yet to replace the can opener and apparently that slipped my mind, when I wanted to open a can of black olives for my taco salad the other night. Oh yes, I guess I could have gone without them; but what's a taco salad without some black olives? "Think Paige, think;" ~ and I did... Suddenly it came to me ~ "The Forever Sharp Knife."
A couple of months ago the kids and I were in Sam's Club and to make a long story short (yes, I will;) we saw a very impressive demonstration of the "Forever Sharp Knife." I had no intention of buying the knives but my kids were SOLD by the presentation, the price was super and the knives appeared to be awesome ~ so purchase them we did. The knives have been fine. Nothing extraordinary about them thus far; UNTIL I got the idea to cut THROUGH THE CAN with the knife. I remembered that the demonstrator had showed us how the knife could cut a hammer ~ so why not an olive can, I thought. I got out my "Forever Sharp Knife" and cautiously started
cutting THROUGH the can and within 5 minutes I had the can cut open. OH MY GOD!! I was SO HAPPY that I almost jumped for joy. And so now you're thinking "Wow, she must REALLY love olives;" but that's not it. I mean yes, certainly, I LOVE olives; but my delight came more from my sense of accomplishment AND the realization that I had proficiently completed this task without amputating one of my fingers in the process.
Oh those olives tasted divine in my salad, and I enjoyed every one of them; but I will promptly be purchasing a new electric can opener during my next vist to Walmart.
Till next time...

Monday, September 28, 2009

What a MAN!

The news of Patrick Swayze's passing was sad, but if I'm being honest; I didn't really give it much thought until I watched the tribute to him on "Dancing With The Stars" last week. Although it wasn't quite the same as watching the original; I thought the dancers did a very good job on the recreation and I will admit that I was moved to tears.
It really doesn't matter how many times I've seen the "Time of My Life" routine or who's dancing it; my reaction is always the same ~ I just love it! I love the song, I love the dance, and I LOVE the movie.
I was a junior in college when "Dirty Dancing" premiered and I couldn't wait to get to the theater. I so related to what this movie was about: a setting just like The Pines, a guest / staff romance, AND dancing. It seemed like this movie was made for me. I fell in love with "Dirty Dancing" and the character of Johnny Castle upon first viewing. No, it wasn't that I had a crush on Patrick Swayze but THE MAN that he was portraying. Yes, Johnny was such A MAN to the girl that baby was and I think he made all of us girls want A MAN. (A man as in a mature being ~ no offense ladies.)
I remember how hopeful I felt watching the love story of Baby and Johnny. How I cried when I watched the scenes between Baby and her father, because my father was gone; and I truly remember feeling that I was ready to have a MAN in my life as opposed to the boys that I'd been spending time with. And all of these feelings drove me back to the theater to see it, again and again and again.
I bought the soundtrack upon its release, the video and the DVD and yet, every time I come across it on TV, it's one of those movies that I can't pass up; even though I could just as easily take it out of its box and watch it commercial free. Oh who amongst us didn't want to crawl across the floor with Johnny to "You're the one," didn't want to dance with Johnny in his room while it poured, or have him for their very own? As a young woman I found watching their relationship exciting and compelling and I wanted one just like it; dancing and all. Oh I could list hundreds of reasons (and you know I could; ) why I loved / love "Dirty Dancing" so much, but I think that one of the most profound reasons is because it was actually the first romantic movie that I had seen where it wasn't just the man rescuing the woman. Yes, Johnny did rescue Baby, (from the corner) but she rescued him too. She showed him that his life could be different from what it had been and that he could choose to have whatever type of life he wanted; and then he even told her (and everyone else) that she had done this for him; which in my opinion made him even more of a MAN.

Not only did Patrick Swayze play a good MAN; he was also capable of playing a very good woman. For those of you who never saw "To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar;" I highly recommend it; if you are looking for a feel good, B rate movie that will give you a tickle; (and I am the Queen of B RATE MOVIES after all.) Patrick Swayze, Wesley Snipes and John Leguizamo in drag; need I say more? Probably not, but you know I will... Patrick Swayze's character, Vida Boehme was not just a man dressing up as a woman but a man trying to live his life as a GOOD woman. And I must say that he was a lot more graceful in body and spirit than a lot of the "real women" that we encounter in our day to day lives. Vida Boehme was the embodiment of what she believed a real woman should be: feminine, thoughtful, kind, well mannered, respectful and strong. She was poetry in motion; and we have Patrick Swayze to thank for that example.

During his life, Patrick Swayze may not have won an Oscar but he did win our hearts; and I'm sure that he will not be forgotten. I hope that Patrick Swayze had the time of his life and that he rests in peace.
Till next time...

Monday, September 21, 2009

Good Stuff

It's a BEAUTIFUL day in Arizona. It's still quite
warm but not excruciating and you can tell that Fall is on its way. Luis is at work, I dropped Lyndzi at a birthday party and since we're in the vicinity of Wet n Wild, I've brought Nicky and Kelsie over to the water park for an hour and a half while we wait for Lyndzi;(ahh the benefit of season passes.) Not feeling like putting on a swim suit myself, I put on my Queen of TIME MANAGEMENT hat instead because I thought I could use the time to write (excuses ~ BE GONE) and so here I sit, writing away, enjoying the slight breeze, and conjuring up another Bumpy Ride as I move from water slide to water slide with the kids.

Last fall I shared some of my favorite finds of the year in the post "Reasons to be Grateful (and a smokin travel discount opportunity.)" The post was very well received, and so in the interest of (say it with me) "The GREATER good," I have a few new finds / ideas to share.

1. Cinnamon Pecan Special K - I discovered this find a few months ago (when I first thought about writing this post - ahh time;) and I tell ya, I'm IN LOVE with this cereal. For some reason I keep referring to it Cinnamon Pecan Circle K; but nonetheless it's DELISH.
I actually think that I could go on the Special K diet eating this perfect combination of cinnamon, pecans and crunchy rice and wheat flakes. Even if you're not a Special K fan, give this one a try; it's a yummy way to start your day and even makes a super snack.

2. Spicy Sweet Chili Doritos - Now I know what you're thinking; how in the world do I expect to lose weight if I'm eating Doritos? And the answer is "EVERYTHING in moderation." Just because I tell you that I enjoy the Asian inspired, sweet and spicy chip, does not mean that I eat an entire bag in one sitting. Yet, I can attest that a couple with lunch from time to time makes lunch divine. Now you know that I am not usually someone who likes spicy food, but the particular spice of these chips is really different and uniquely pleasant; so when you're in the mood for something different with your sandwich give these delectable Doritos a try and let me know what you think.

3. Wendy's Iced Coffee - Yes, ANOTHER food item; and for this one I refer to my "100 Random Things" post ...#34 - I love iced coffee and even drink it when it's cold. So with that said; on Wednesday I was going to work at soccer registration and I was picking up a quick dinner for my kids but none for me, in the hopes that registration would be too busy to allow me the time to eat. I had planned to have a salad when I was done and so I thought I would just get something to drink for the meantime. I wasn't in the mood for a diet soda or an iced tea and I wanted something more than the bottled water that I'd brought, so I gave Wendy's iced coffee a try and it blew me away. The strong coffee flavor was far superior to McDonald's and I savored EVERY sip. So, if you are an iced coffee fan, I highly recommend this drink. I always order mine light on the syrup because I don't care for drinks that are too sweet. A large drink has 6 pumps of Vanilla, Mocha or Hazelnut syrup and I think 4 is plenty - if ordering a medium, modify accordingly and ENJOY!
And for a bonus plug for Wendy's I'll tell you that if you are stopping by at breakfast time, their biscuits ALSO top Mickey D's. They are BIGGER, less greasy, and taste more like homemade, so ultimately you are getting a lot more bang for your buck by purchasing THEIR biscuit breakfast sandwich. And no, I do not now nor have I ever had a relative who has worked at Wendy's ~ I just like to pass along good info about good stuff, when I find it.

Ok, so if you know me, or have ever read "The Bumpy Ride" before, you know that a close second to my love for food is my love for a GREAT DEAL. So # 4 is more of a tip and it is certainly not meant to insult your intelligence any ~ I'm just passing along an idea in case you haven't already done this yourself; because in the face of this disastrous economy I think EVERYONE deserves to save a little money. So # 4 will be called "The Disconnection threat." In the interest of saving some money any way I can, I was considering switching from my current cable/Internet/phone company to another service. I did some investigating and then I called my current cable etc. provider and to make a long story short, (oh yes I WILL;)
I ultimately got a great discount on my exact same service, by threatening to disconnect my service. Now not only did I get a discount for the upcoming 6 months, but I was told that as that time was coming to an end that I should call back and tell them that I wanted to continue at that rate and I would be able to do so. Imagine that!! So my neighbor is most likely getting the exact same service as me, for several dollars more all because I threatened to discontinue my service - OK works for me. I mean don't get me wrong, I think it's pathetic that it has to be done this way but nonetheless I am thankful for my savings so I thought I would pass along the tip; especially because I just had a very similar experience with my cell phone provider and Yup, I threatened to disconnect and I am now saving well over a hundred dollars on my new phone. SO, if you would like to save some money, I would suggest taking a few minutes and making a call. You don't have to be nasty, remember you get more flies with honey; you just have to tell them that you are going to disconnect, and believe me they won't ever say OK.

Lastly, I would like to share my newest, favorite TV show. Rachel K had mentioned Top Chef to me a number of times, but guess
what; I could never find the TIME to watch it. Well, the kids and I dvr'd the Top Chef Masters marathon and we enjoyed it no end. We may be some of the last people to have caught on to this great show, but just in case a few of you haven't seen it either; I want to recommend taking the time to check out "Top Chef." In our opinion, Top Chef kicks Iron Chef's butt because the challenges are a lot more specific and they are always different. I could go on and on (and you know I could;) and tell you more about why I enjoy this show but let's just suffice it to say, if you fancy the Food Network, Food Challenges, or just shows about Food in general, I think you will really eat up Top Chef on BRAVO, Wednesday nights.
So there you have it; just a couple little tidbits to make life a tad more enjoyable. Like I said in the beginning of this post; Fall is on its way and though that is the time that we usually remember what we have to be grateful for; I say be grateful for life's little delights as you find them. Don't reserve your time for being grateful to Autumn only and in the interest of (say it with me) "The GREATER good" share your finds with your friends ~ I'm always so thrilled when mine share with me. I am grateful to Michelle K for her Dr. Pepper rib recipe as well as her BBQ chicken legs in a bag. I am thankful that I have hardworking friends who inspire me by their success and compel me to pursue my dreams. I am grateful that I still have a job, although I now get paid less to do it. I am thankful for my wonderful children who love me and make me SO proud on a daily basis. I am grateful for my husband who nurtures and loves me more than I usually deserve. I am thankful that soccer season is upon us because I am a total soccer mom and I love to watch my kids play and laugh, not to mention that I thoroughly adore the camaraderie of our league (Yay, USA Soccer!) I am grateful for new friends and new readers, I am thankful for old friends and dedicated readers. I am grateful that Luke proved to the world that "More to Love" actually was worth watching and I am so pleased that he thought not only with his heart but with his head and made the best TV love connection that I have seen in a very long time. And lastly (for now,) I am grateful that all of my favorite TV shows will be back on the air within a matter of weeks so that I will have hours of viewing pleasure and hopefully, some observational humor to share.
Till next time...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

To Camp or Not To Camp...

Do you ever feel like you are making nothing but excuses? Well, typically I don't; that's just NOT how I roll. I'm a do what I say I'm gonna do, keep me word, you can count on me kinda girl; though lately - not so much. Lately I have been feeling like The Queen of EXCUSES even though most of them are made to myself oh and yes, of course to the readers of "The Bumpy Ride," which troubles me no end. Geez, wasn't it ME, who just a few short months ago was writing that I wanted to try to commit to writing 2 posts a week? Um, yes it was. And now, not only aren't I giving you 2 posts, I'm not even giving you one. Well BELIEVE me, it's not for lack of wanting to (yup, say it with me... "HERE COME THE EXCUSES.") Trust me when I tell you that no one wants me spending time on "The Bumpy Ride" more than I do. I've told you before that I want to write so badly that I physically YEARN for it. Which is why I probably could have produced a fabulous lay out for "Scrapbooking from The inside Out" this month, since the theme for September is yearning ~if only I could find the time. Now of course I know that we are ALL busy, so before you say "Queen get over yourself;" let me provide you with a few more of my excuses...
A couple of months ago I wrote a post about me and the kids going to Sweet Tomatoes and I mentioned that Luis was at a class, though I didn't say what for. Truth of the matter is that back in the spring Luis got a second job and has been working part time as a pharmacy tech; so he is now working Mon-Thurs until 10pm. I am so proud and grateful for my hard working husband, but that means that even though he is the one with the second job; I now have a lot of second jobs too. Basically it feels like I am a single mom Mon-Thurs and lord knows I give props to all you single moms out there; but for someone who is used to having an active partner it is a big adjustment on time. I'm still working my regular 40 hour job, but I'm now responsible for 3 meals a day for 3 kids, all school drop off and pick up, all homework, all housework, and all other parental duties that 2 usually share. Now, PLEASE don't get me wrong; I'm not complaining AT ALL; I'm just giving you my excuses for my lack of time -remember? Anyway, in addition to the fam, I have been working at soccer registration for 3 weeks now and seriously by the time I finally stop doing everything that I am REQUIRED to do in a given day, it's either write "The Bumpy Ride" or do laundry; so clearly I haven't had much of a choice. Now typically I think that I am a pretty good time manager but the reality is that you can't manage something that you don't have. So blah, blah, blah, whine, whine, whine; now you know where I've been, and I do make this promise ~ more to myself really, than to anyone else, but by hook or by crook I AM GOING TO WRITE! I said that this was my year to create AND I MEANT IT; because I am a do what I say I'm gonna do kinda girl! Nuff said.

Now, with all of this extra work for everybody, we thought a get away was certainly in order, so a couple of weekends ago we got the heck out of Dodge and went camping with The Kalka's. Ahh camping! Camping is something that sounds so good when you think about doing it; but then you have to start shopping for it and packing for it and all of a sudden you realize that camping isn't really as relaxing as you think it's going to be. So in addition to all of my other TIME consuming activities I had to fit camping shopping and camping packing into the mix and by the time we got up there I was exhausted. While we headed off to do the dishes, I actually commented to Michelle K "ya now, camping is a lot of work and I'm starting to wonder if it's worth it? Don't get me wrong; I still love the peace and quiet. I love being in the Pines, I LOVE sleeping in my tent but as far as vacations go, there are definitely things that you could do that would cost the same and require a lot less work." And I started thinking "To camp or not to camp...?" So Michelle and I carried all of our dirty pots and pans etc. over to where we thought there was a faucet that we could use. Upon finding the faucet we found a sign that said that we could take the water but we could not clean our dishes there. Now here was the dilemma... the guys had forgotten to bring a water carrier which is why we schlepped the pots and pans to the faucet. In order to transport water we now needed to fill our biggest pot with it, but then it was far too heavy for us to carry back and so I made the Lucyesque decision that we were going to run a covert pot and pan washing operation in the bathroom where there was ALSO a sign telling us NOT TO WASH DISHES IN THE SINK. OK, well you know me; I am Queen of FOLLOWING THE RULES, but this time I just used a loose interpretation of them and I told Michelle "OK, here's what we're going to do. We won't blatantly disregard the rules and wash the pots and pans in the sink; instead I am going to use the clean water that we just got and wash everything in the bathroom stall." After laughing at me for a couple of minutes, Michelle agreed and kept watch outside the bathroom door. She told me that our code word was "Not you fat Jesus," compliments of "The Hangover;" and if I heard her say that, it would mean someone was coming. I managed to get everything all washed up and even though I heard her say "Not you Fat Jesus" a couple of times; no one actually bumrushed our show. We toted all of the SEMI clean pots and pans back to our site and sent the guys for more water so that we could boil it and give everything a good rinse. I know, you probably NEVER want to go camping with me now; but remember there is supposed to be a certain element of roughing it when you camp and thankfully no one got sick. Now when all was said and done with this fiasco I definitely was leaning towards - NOT TO CAMP; but I have to say that for all the hard work, when you actually get to sit down, relax and enjoy your family and friends, it is more relaxing than any other time I can think of. It is so nice to get back to basics and see the kids run around and play. It is so nice to sit by the fire and talk and sing songs and we even threw in a G rated family version of truth or dare; that I don't know if Lyndzi will ever recover from. First of all I don't know what kind of truth or dare they play in Mexico, but when it was my turn Luis said "oh, I have a question for you;" so of course our ears perked up and I even had hopes that the question would be blog worthy, but then my husband said "True or false the earth is 5 million miles form the sun?" "Um, what?" "Can you repeat that?" And he did. He was serious. And so I responded "I don't know." That's right; me, NOT the Queen of SCIENCE said "I don't know; so rather than guess and look stupid I'll just tell you that I don't know." What the ??? I honestly didn't think that Luis had married me for my knowledge of science, but THIS,of all questions that I should have to tell the truth about??? OK! So it was clear that even though no one else was asking a question in this manner, Luis wasn't paying attention and then score 2 for Luis. The kids and I got together and decided to ask "Luis, Do you love Hershey?" And we asked this because he always says that he likes her but he doesn't love her and we really thought this was going to be the time that he told THE TRUTH and admitted that he loved her, but alas, he said "NO! I like her but I don't love her" and then Lyndzi got this mortified look on her face and started crying; "You don't love her???" She just couldn't believe it and thought it was the saddest thing that she had heard. I felt so bad for my part in orchestrating such a revelation; but what was I to do..."Smores anyone??"
In his defense, Luis did explain (to the adults) that when he was a boy he had a dog that he loved very much and he hurt so badly when the dog died, that he didn't ever want to get that close to a pet again; and how could we fault him for that?
Yes, this camping trip had been a time for many discoveries. Michelle and I even toyed with the idea of opening our own private investigation company after we conducted our own mini surveillance on a gentleman that she and Mike found to be suspicious. Michelle and Mike had noticed this guy when he was walking his dog past our site. They thought that he had observed our kids for a little too long and they were concerned that he might be a danger to them. Michelle and I decided to play amateur detectives and we drove Mike's truck around the campground a few times to gather pertinent information. When we pulled up near the rest room, we had a clear view of our suspect. He was by himself, but yet he had 2 chairs and 2 bicycles which Michelle was convinced were being used as decoys to give the appearance that he wasn't alone (even though she believed he was.) We wanted to get his license plate but we were too far away. I said "If only we had some binoculars" and voila, there they were. Michelle had found some in in Mike's trunk (I'm guessing because of sporting events; but I didn't want to ask.) Anyway, The binoculars worked GREAT! I got the license plate number, gave a full report on what he was making for dinner and then I proudly announced that I didn't think this man was alone because his tent looked too complicated to put up by himself and Michelle seemed impressed by this deduction. We drove back to our site and I decided to continue our surveillance with a technique that I called "Walking the dog;" and so Michelle and I took Hershey for a walk because I expected that she would see HIS dogs, start barking at which point I would apologize to him and a conversation would ensue and we could then get a better idea of what he was up to. My plan did work, although it was his dogs who barked and not Hershey. He and the woman he was with (see I told you he wasn't alone;) started talking to us and we concluded that our imaginations had gotten the better of us and they were perfectly nice and harmless people. Case SOLVED.

I would say that despite some hard work, our camping trip was an overall success and a good time was had by all. So is camping worth it? The jury is still out on that one; but I guess I will continue to take these camping trips until I can decide for sure either way and I will be certain to let you know. In the meantime I am going to do my best to get this blog back on track. I can tell you this, it's not so much that I WANT all the posts to be long; it's just the way they are. Anything that seems worthy of writing about, just seems to take me while. Queen of brevity I am not. No one has EVER accused me of being brief or providing too little information or leaving too much to the imagination; that's just not the kinda girl I am and that's just not the kinda blog this is.
Till next time...