Monday, August 31, 2009

Verizon hp mini Netbook

I got to test out the Verizon hp mini Netbook for a couple of weeks. If you want a nice little video review from an in-the-know techie type, check out this WSJ video. Here's the deal. It's a little laptop with a built in cellular modem. What does that mean? It means that you can get online just about anywhere. For reals, yo. You can have all of your favorite programs and software and whatever else you use on your laptop or PC. If you are near a wireless network, a wifi hotspot at McD's or Chick Fil A or Starbucks or whatever, you can use your Netbook to get online through that connection. No wifi available? That's ok! You've got the Verizon network behind you- just like in the commercials! I used the Netbook with a wifi connection and also with the Verizon connection. No issues either way. No huge waits for pages to load, no issues watching videos with a good connection. I live blogged from a party and was able to post pics on Facebook and a blog with minimal issues. The only frustration I had was watching any kind of video or streaming video on the Verizon connection in a place where the connection wasn't as strong. Could easily use Pandora (online radio) but had issues with Hulu, for example. And to give you an idea of how the Netbook looks in comparison to a regular sized laptop and how user friendly it is... some pics!

See? Regular laptop and the Netbook. Teagan? What are you doing? Oh! Checking your e-mail! It's exactly Zachy's size! (seriously- couldn't he be a total poster boy??) Big Bird? Gone all internet style? Sah-weet! More size comparison... the Netbook and my iron. The Netbook and my toilet.The Netbook and a tortilla chipWhat's this? What is hanging out next to the Netbook? Could it be?? Well, I'll be darned! You little vixen... it's my long lost love, the enV Touch! What's that? You AREN'T leaving me? You couldn't bear to break my heart? YIPPEE! Happy Birthday to MEEE! To be fair, I don't really have a use for the Netbook. I've got my enV Touch (yayayayayay!!!) that keeps me nicely connected. I have my laptop at home, my PC at work. I have easy access to the internet almost anytime I want or need it. But if I traveled frequently, I would want a Netbook. If I was on the move for my job during the day, I would want a Netbook. If I was a paid blogger whose job it was to attend events and functions and visit tourist spots around Indy (ahem, ahem... this thing on??), a Netbook would be remarkably handy. If I was a student, off to college, not wanting or needing to lug my laptop around from class to class to study group to dorm room, this is perfect because it would fit so easily into a backpack or large purse or messenger bag.

The only concern I would have is how quickly you could eat through your allowed data in a month before you start getting hit with charges for each additional... byte or whatever (sorry- soooo not a techie). Mine came with some of the allotment already eaten up and I zoomed through it and wasn't even using it every day.

So definitely a great product for someone in the market for this type of connectivity!!

Sunday, August 30, 2009


It's easy to throw around words of appreciation and gratitude. "Thank you for mowing the grass, honey." "Thank you for doing the dishes, sweetheart." "I appreciate you moving that furniture for me, babe." But a surefire way to really gain a strong sense of appreciation is to do the chore that your partner normally does. Jeff has the tear in his shoulder. It's a tear in his right anterior labrum. He's going through physical therapy in the hopes of avoiding surgery. He is supposed to limit a lot of what he does with that shoulder- which is hard because the tendon that connects that muscle also connects to his bicep (or something like that) so he uses it All. The. Time. Picking up kids, getting dressed, reaching for things. He's doing his at home exercises and doing his best to limit himself but it's a challenge. He has a hard time asking for help. Hard to believe a man would have trouble asking for help, I know. Allow me to jump back in time to when Jeff and I first bought our house. I wanted to mow the lawn. Crazy, I know. The environmentalist in me wanted an electric mower- just like my parents had. So, since I said I wanted to mow, Jeff agreed and bought the mower I wanted. And then he refused to let me mow. He didn't want the neighbors to think that his wife had to mow the lawn. Whatever. After a few years, he gave up the electric and bought a gas powered mower. And still refused to let me mow. I offered many times- in fact, any time that I felt like I was "nagging" him to do it, I would offer to do the mowing. And he always refused. Today, it had to be done. As we approached the end of the day, he hesitated so I, again, offered. He took me up on it. He did bath time and bedtime and I mowed. The man needs to learn to ask for help. Because there is NO WAY he could have mowed the lawn. No way. Not without serious pain and potential further injury. Maybe I should have realized it. But since I'm never "allowed" to mow, I had forgotten how strenuous it is on the shoulders, biceps, neck, etc. And it made me appreciate his injury. And it made me appreciate his mowing. I came in, got a great shower, and told him that he can't mow for the rest of the season. That's when he finally admitted that he had gotten mad when I told him the lawn had to be mowed this weekend. He knew he couldn't do it. But he couldn't tell me that he needed help. So not only did I accomplish something by mowing our lawn this evening, I also learned something really important about my husband. He truly needs me to be in tune with his needs and, yes, even be a bit of a mind reader. And isn't that what we all kind of need? We have to be able to ask for help. He knows that, I know that. But we all want to be cared for, feel cared about. And I hope I accomplished that by mowing the lawn for my husband... and letting him know that I'll be mowing the lawn the rest of the mowing season. Because I love him. Because I need his shoulder to get better. Because he deserves it.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Farmer's Market

Is it wrong to go to the Farmer's Market and not intend to buy anything from an actual farm? I did buy raspberries. So there was a produce purchase. But I started the trip with an iced mocha from this coffee place that I bought ground coffee from last week. And remember that strawberry rhubarb pie I mentioned? They make many other flavors... sweet cream, apple, cherry, black raspberry, peach were offered in small pie form today. And what happens if you take a really good homemade peach pie and add Haagen Dazs Ginger Ice Cream?
See the sacrifices I make in order to keep this blog as it is? Instead of taking pie out of the header, I'm willing to step up and add more pie to the blog. That's love, I tell ya.

he thinks it is funny, too!

this is what happens when zach is left alone with teagan's dress up stuff!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Kid-Bits, Christian Style

Today at school, a book was read about things you can be when you grow up. One page said that you might even be President of the United States. One child asked what the President is. The teacher explained that the President is in charge of the whole country. Teagan piped up, "No! Jesus is!" *** We were saying our good night prayers and I was saying thank you for our teachers, our daycare provider, our fmaily we saw at dinner... and I said "Thank you for Teagan and Zach because they make Mommy and Daddy so happy." Teagan had been intently watching and smiling and nodding along. She quickly turned her head to the side, covered her mouth sideways like she was telling a secret, and loudly whispered, "And thank you for my mommy and daddy!"

Friday Fragments

It's Friday Fragments time!! ** I'm reporting today that 35 doesn't feel much different than 34. Back to you, Tom. ** Hectic and stressful week at work this past week. Our budget process usually takes 2 months. Due to changes this year, it wasn't going to happen until around the holidays. Then we got word from corporate that they needed numbers that would have come from all that budget work we normally would have been doing the past 2 months. So we took a 2 month process and did it in 5 days. For reals, yo. ** After 2 weeks off, we start back to dance class tomorrow morning! ** I hate it when someone you thought was a friend suddenly yanks the rug out from under you. ** Teagan has discovered her power over boys. I've seen it at church and it has already played out at school. There are 4 kindergarten boys who join the aftercare kids at the end of the day. Apparently, those 4 boys make a beeline directly for Teagan! Per the teacher, most of the girls are pretty much "girly girls" who play dress up and kitchen and so on. Teagan is more of a "keep up with the boys" kid who also has a feminine side. So the boys love playing with her! I think this is a recipe for future trouble... ** More adventures next weekend as we head to Huntingdon, TN for Jeff's annual family reunion! ** I need a new keyboard at work. My keys constantly stick and some of the letters are starting to wear off on the keys. I had brought one from home but it sucked. ** I got a very exciting birthday present! Details coming soon! ** Christy likes to give many gifts over the course of the week or so surrounding one's birthday. The first gift she gave me- books about being a mom and working and funny stuff- had a birthday card. It was very pretty. It had my name on the envelope- written on a post it. Hm. Inside, she had signed it... on a post it. Hm. She very excitedly told me that I could reuse the card that way. ooooo-k. Then goes on to tell the actual exciting part- the card was made by Adopting M.E. and she had won the set and saved one just for my birthday!\ ** When I've been hurt by someone and am all in jumbles on the inside, I want nothing more than to go home, snuggle my kiddos, and color. See ya next week, Fragmenters!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Love's Discovery

I discovered the Indigo Girls in high school. I loved their sound, I could sing both vocal parts, I dreamed of going to their concert and being plucked from the crowd to sing with them (never happened, of course). This was one of my favorite songs because I thought it was about heartbreak and lost loves and so on. I thought it captured the deepness of what I now recognize as “teen angst.” I recently rediscovered the Girls. And listened to this song. And listened again and again and again and it spoke to me completely differently. I know of at least 2 married couples going through hard times right now. 1 working through some stuff, the other falling apart and in early stages of divorce. Neither of these relationships are intimately known to me but both are marriages that involve children and my heart always hurts especially in those situations. Some of the best marriage advice I ever heard was that when times are hard, turn in towards each other. When you are angry with your spouse, don’t run to your friends, your mom, your in-laws and spout off and vent and so on. Turn towards your spouse and work through it together. I know it doesn’t always work that way. But when you choose to run around and get input and advice and insight from 15 other people instead of keeping the issues inside your marriage and between the 2 people involved in the conflict, you are doing nothing helpful and everything hurtful. Can love be recovered? Can we weather the storms of life? Meanwhile our friends we thought were so together

They've all gone and left each other in search of fairer weather

And we sit here in our storm and drink a toast

To the slim chance of love's recovery. Searching for fairer weather… grass is always greener. The bottom line is that it’s easy to be restless and searching and believing that there is something better out there. But what happens if we hunker down and endure the storm? What happens if we stay together for the sake of the slim chance of love’s recovery? There I am in younger days, star gazing,

Painting picture perfect maps of how my life and love would be

Not counting the unmarked paths of misdirection

My compass, faith in love's perfection

I missed ten million miles of road I should have seen This one really rings true for me now! It held such a different meaning when I was in my younger days and I had all these ideas about life and love and the path ahead of me. I thought I had so much figured out. But I didn’t know anything. And while I do believe that life has happened the way it has to bring me to this point, I also know that I have missed some paths because I refused to see them. Faith, in love’s perfection. I used to think that was a very romantic line and that love was perfect and all those paths were to distract me from finding my one true perfect love. I think it’s missed that love isn’t perfect and that’s why the starry eyed youth me missed out on chances to build and choose love and learn from those lessons. Rain soaked and voice choked like silent screaming in a dream

I search for our absolute distinction

Not content to bow and bend

To the whims of culture that swoop like vultures

Eating us away, eating us away

Eating us away to our extinction Whims of culture… All those outside voices and pressures to pull you away, turn you away, point you in a different direction. To show you what you don’t have, to make you feel what you are lacking. Whims of culture, tempting you, swooping, eating… extinction. Never seeing your own blessings, never working on the happiness that already surrounds you, never accepting yourself and loving yourself as you are, always wanting to be better, do better, go faster, go higher… never being satisfied. Never allowing life to be uncomplicated. Never enjoying the simple beauty of settling. The whims of culture… until we are extinct. Our selves extinct, our relationships extinct. Always seeking happiness instead of choosing to be happy with what you have already chosen. Oh how I wish I were a trinity, so if I lost a part of me

I'd still have two of the same to live

But nobody gets a lifetime rehearsal, as specks of dust we're universal

To let this love survive would be the greatest gift that we could give Nobody gets a lifetime rehearsal. This is it. Make the best of what you have right now. To let this love survive would be the greatest gift that we could give. That love that Jeff and I work on and choose to keep alive, in the midst of all the storms and temptations and ideals, is the greatest gift we can give our children, our friends, our families, our communities, and each other. Tell all the friends who think they're so together

That these are ghosts and mirages, these thoughts of fairer weather

Though it's storming out I feel safe within the arms of love's discovery You have to stop looking for it to be better somewhere else, with someone else, having something else. If you move to Florida for the sunshine, you also risk the hurricanes. If you move to Indiana for the 4 seasons, you also get blizzards and tornadoes. No matter where you go, if you aren’t happy with what you already are and already have, you will always be searching and restless. Though it’s storming out, I feel safe within the arms… of love’s discovery. Figuring out that it’s already here and with you. You don’t have to fight the storm from out in the middle of it, alone. It’s all around you and you can wait it out together. You can face it head on together. The point is to do it together. And I think that “love’s discovery” is about realizing that you already have it. It’s already around you. It isn’t about butterflies in your stomach and roses and chocolates (but chocolate never hurts, mind you) and longing gazes and romance. Those romantic gestures don’t define love. Love is hard work and hard choices and hard sacrifices and hard compromises. And when you start doing the hard things together… when you realize that the storm can rage around you and not tear you apart… when you’ve done the hard work to secure the home and family and commit to your partner… when your home and family are strong in the foundation and you are committed to being the safe, warm and comforting place where husband, wife, children can fall, can fight, can love, can cry, can celebrate… that is love’s discovery.

A Birthday Meal

I've shared my OAKLEYS bistro dining experience before. It was amazing and unforgettable. Christy was jealous. So we used my birthday as an excuse to go and enjoy that Tuesday wine tasting and 3 course meal. Oakleys did not disappoint!
foie gras parfait honey fois gras mousse / fried fruit and vidalia onion compote / maderia cream
potato crusted mahi mahi baby vegetables / eggplant puree / tomato fondue / heirloom feta relish
We didn't know what this was. Thankfully, Steven Oakley came by our table and we were able to receive a little education on our baby vegetables. French green beans, baby asparagus and the unknown veggie was baby bok choy (it was uber yummy).
ice cream / sorbet tasting pineapple ginger snap ice cream / strawberry balsamic sorbet
The pineapple ginger is on the left. It was the hands down favorite. The pineapple wasn't overwhelming but brought a crisp tropical whimsy to the depth of the ginger. The middle dish was strawberries, dried strawberries, a cream sauce, and mini shortbread cookies. And on the right is the strawberry balsamic sorbet. That was a fascinating and delicious experience. The balsamic hits your tongue first and you fill up your taste buds with that distinct flavor (but not overwhelming or strong, mind you). It sets the stage perfectly for the strawberry that comes after- making the strawberry sweeter. So good!!
Thank you to my bestest girlfriend Christy. Like a sister. No words. So much to enjoy and explore together. An aunt to my children. Someone I can always trust to be completely honest with me. Someone I can crack up laughing with. Someone who will fight to save my marriage and always help me do what's right. Totally and completely in my corner. Love ya!!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Changes

So there have been some changes put in place. I've got the Twitter thing going- I'll give it a solid month to determine if it stays or goes. We've got lurkers revealing themselves by comment or e-mail. And that leaves one small detail- the header. It was once pointed out to me that a reader had yet to see any pie on my blog so why the reference to pie in the header? I don't have a good answer. I love pie. And pie is homey and comforting. And if I was the truly domestic sort, I'd probably have pie readily available to offer to any guests who came by seeking advice, friendship, laughs. And since those are the things I feel like I'm putting out there- I figure the virtual pie was a good reference. But my reader was right. There has been a significant lack of pie on this blog. And I am willing to do what it takes to make that change. I am willing to sacrifice for my readers. I will keep the heading as is and I will make an effort to include more pie- starting today. This is a strawberry-rhubarb pie purchased by Christy at our local Farmers' Market this past weekend. It came from Lisa's Pie Shop in Atlanta, IN. I have to start off by admitting that I am not a fan of rhubarb. And this pie didn't change my opinions on that. But the pie was great- even with the rhubarb. So I will be making a point to purchase pie from Lisa- it just won't involve rhubarb. Peach? You bet! Banana cream? Absolutely! Butterscotch? You know it! Rhubarb? No way! Sorry the pics are blurry- back to that dratty old 2 megapixel camera phone (for now). Isn't it pretty? It's hard to see- but the crust has a strawberry on it and says "Rhubarb." Cute!

Happy Birthday...

to ME!!!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Monday, August 24, 2009

From Temper to Hugs

I have a temper. And I need to come to terms with it. I’m not usually quick to anger. I can handle most stress pretty well, I think. There are certainly situations that push my buttons- but it usually takes repetitive action or purposeful bad choices for me to get angry. But I’ve noticed something that I am not proud of. I’m quick and easy to get angry with my family. The people I love the most. My husband, my daughter, and even my baby boy. I feel like, more and more, my home is feeling less like a happy place. It seems that there is always conflict. If I’m having fun with Teagan, Jeff is cranky. If Jeff and I are getting along well, Teagan is having meltdowns. Zach tends to stay out of the odd cycles so far- but he has his normal almost-2-year-old moments. I tell myself I’m going to choose loving responses. I tell myself I’m going to use the tools I’ve learned in various books. I tell myself I’m going to be the type of parent I aim to be. I pray about it. A lot. And I struggle. Lately, it seems, more than usual. I find that I can get myself into the right mood. I will be looking forward to coming home to my family. I look forward to getting Teagan from school, for the car ride home with her. I look forward to coming home from church to Jeff and Zach. I’m calm, and filled with love, and eager for good times. And I walk in the door and am met with whininess or negativity or complaints or demands. I buckle Teagan into her carseat and she morphs from the sweet, eager to please schoolgirl to the whiney, demanding, crying daughter. I doubt and question myself. Am I putting something out there that is causing my family to believe this is what is expected? That this is what works? Or is our family so secure that we all feel like home and family is the safe place to let out the negative emotions and stress? So my struggle, my goal. My struggle is to fight the immediate fall into the stressed out Mommy place. My goal is to be less emotionally charged and way less of a fly-off-the-handle yeller. I want to be proactive and less reactive. My first step… I finished reading Rage Against the Meshugenah last night and instead of tackling one of those books on my To Be Read Shelf, I’m going back to the basics. I’m going to re-read The 10 Commitments by Chick Moorman and Thomas Haller. I’m going back to the work I did on this blog to cover The Only 3 Discipline Strategies You Will Ever Need. I’m not saying I’m a horrible mom. I know that I am doing a good job. We are in a low point right now. Teagan’s hit a growth spurt. Zach is teething. Jeff has a shoulder injury causing almost constant pain. Those are all hard things to deal with. I don’t have any major complaints right now- aside from feeling thinned out by the unspoken demands to be the caretaker for all 3 of my loved ones and also feeling that I’m failing in that role. I know other homes are far worse off than ours. I know other married couples who fight constantly or have really nasty battles in front of their kids. I know spankers and abusers and belittlers are out there. I know my kids know they are loved- even when I’m angry. I can see that there isn’t something broken inside of them. But I also want to make sure we don’t get to that point. I want to do my best to teach Teagan & Zach better ways of handling stress and bad moods. Better ways to respond. From time to time, I wonder if I don’t need to “talk to someone.” From time to time, I wonder if my temper isn’t normal or is somehow tied to my childhood and maybe I have some residual anger issues I haven’t cleared out. Or maybe the fears of my childhood are bubbling closer to the surface- the things that hurt me and my fears over those things ever impacting my children. Or maybe I’m just stretched thin. Maybe it’s just harder than we (parents, adults) are “allowed” to admit. Maybe working full time, the new daycare and school routine, the everyday life things, the involvement levels, the dance classes, the church involvement… Maybe it’s just regular, everyday stress that is building and building. And if that’s the case- how do I step back and fix it? First thing- and I will make sure Jeff reads this- we have to get our house organized. I don’t mean it has to be “clean.” But we have to make a commitment, together, to pick up around the house very evening. If we both do 15 minutes of housework right after we put the kids to bed, we will get a lot done. Picking up the living room, doing dishes, picking up the kitchen. If those main living spaces can feel less crowded than they do right now, that will help everyone involved. Second thing- Self discipline. I have to take the advice I am constantly giving my daughter and am starting to work into my son. Choice, choose, decide, pick. I decide how I am going to respond. And, again, I need Jeff in on this one. When I’m being Cranky Mommy… if I can’t hear it myself or can’t stop myself, I want Jeff to intervene. With a key word. So I can stop myself. I want a key word in my head. Because I hear myself and I know the way I am acting. I know when I am being snippy or naggy. I know when I am fueling the fire. And I need to be more mindful of the choices I am making. Third- It needs to be all of us. Daddy, Teagan, and Mommy all have to be in on this positivity thing. Especially Daddy. I need Jeff’s support on this and I need him to be making the same efforts. I am amazed at how much my mood and my choices are influenced by his mood and his choices. Doesn’t make me right or wrong- it’s an observation. But when he appears to be unhappy or glum or dissatisfied… it completely throws me off. So it needs to be both of us, working together. One major thing that will help- and this is what changed the tide yesterday- is more hugs. We got home and we were all still snippy and snappy and mad. Kids go down for naps, I got a short nap, Jeff got a little nap… and he and I still needed to make up. He came over and said “Hug me.” And we hugged each other and were then able to talk about what had happened that afternoon. Hugging. Gotta do more of it. Ah ha! The key word! The key word is an action! Hugs. When I hear Jeff being negative… when he hears me being negative… we can, together, change the tide by hugging. And I know full well that there will be times that I will tell him I don’t want to or I don’t need it… but that’s all the more reason to stop and hug, isn’t it? To stop, be held, to hold, to breathe deeply, and to feel not so alone. While yesterday was a rough day and while yesterday is what originally inspired this outpouring of stress… this has been coming for a long time. Well, weeks anyway. I feel like I sound a bit like a broken record because I know I’ve been down this path before. And I know that other people have these stressful times. And I know lots of people make efforts to fight through it. So why am I doing this again? We went to the Fair again yesterday- the entire family. Had a great time until things started to unravel and it got uglier and uglier and I got pretty nasty and it just wasn’t a good day. But we got home and took naps and had dinner and hugged and things started getting better. We had an assignment for Teagan’s school. Last week and this week is “All About Me” as the kids get to know each other and figure out ways to share themselves with their classmates. Teagan’s assignment for today was to bring in a family photo. Would you believe that we don’t have a single family picture with all 4 of us in it? So yesterday evening, after a rotten trip to the Fair, a lot of fighting and general yuckiness, we whipped out the camera, set up the tripod, and took 3 pictures out on the deck, hoping to get something for Teagan to take to school. I had been in my pj’s and just threw on a t-shirt. My hair had been in little half ponytails the whole day so I had to whip my hair around, my kids were looking like little ruffians with various stains and dirty faces and mussed hair. My husband was in pain and was exhausted and was recovering from being beaten down by his wife. And yet, because we haven’t broken, because we fight through it, because we work together to seek out solutions… we came up with this. Amen.

That Fishin' Trip

It's been over a week and I suddenly realized that I never shared pics from Teagan's fishing adventure with Pop-pop! Here she is with cousin Andrew and her first catch! Catch #2. She caught 5 total- more than Andrew (he caught 2) and more than Pop-pop (he caught 2). She had a blast!
Here she is with her new fishing pole and Pop-pop.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

State Fair- Last Day

Getting on the Indiana State Fair Train
Jeff and Zach. Jeff is apparently really excited about riding the train.
We rode down with Miss Lisa and her son, Jacob.
We met one of the harness racing horses. She has a race tomorrow. She loves attention.
She was fond of Zach, too.
Making friends with a barn cat
Corn dogs for breakfast??
Porch Swing


Classic Ford
Red Tractors
Jeff found something of interest- the Blacksmith
Teagan, the welding cat
Great t-shirt!
A mid-golf game break
Zonked out
Golfing help from Daddy-pro
This was scary. A grain bin. There are deaths every year from people getting trapped inside. There was a video playing telling what to do if someone is stuck and what to do if you are stuck inside. An important message but... this scary thing was in the middle of a huge play area for kids!
Christy driving a combine
Riding the ferris wheel- Daddy and Zach below
The Midway with a shot of downtown Indy in the distance
One is colby, one is gouda... can you tell the difference?
Part of the Indiana in Space exhibit in the Grand Hall. Some of the astronauts from Indiana are shown below.