July 29, 2011

Fridays of Intestinal Fortitude:
Jam Session

Note: Fridays of Intestinal Fortitude is a weekly feature about food, food and more FOOD. No, I do not necessarily want to be a food blogger, but I do LOVE to talk about food prep, cooking food, eating food and making sweet love to food. Okay, maybe not the "sweet love" part. This is not meant to be some homage to 9 1/2 Weeks, after all.

Last weekend, I headed over to my friend Christy's to do some good, old-fashioned canning. My friends Celeste and LuAnn soon joined us (Celeste, aka Average Jane, also wrote about our experience.)

Christy grew up near Pratt, Kansas - a land chock full of Sandhill Plums. Last year, she brought me a jar of Sandhill Plum jelly and I was immediately in love. Sandhill Plums look like a bright red, orangeish cherry with a similar-looking pit. But they are super tart. However, mixed with some sugar and pectin, they make a sweet, lovely jelly with a just mere punch of tart.

A few weeks ago, Christy spent a day out near Pratt, riding through pastures and reaching through prickly, bug-infested bushes to pick Sandhill Plums.

10 Gallons worth, to be somewhat exact(ish):

She also purchased a crapton of sugar and pectin:
Why, yes!  That IS a 25 pound of hunka hunka C&H LOVE.  Quick! Someone call an ambulance for my pancreas.

We all donated some jars:
I hereby declare that Christy must ALWAYS provide a plaid tablecloth for our canning adventures.

Then, we got started.

We cooked some plums:

Then, we strained the plums, cooked the "jelly juice", skimmed the foam and filled the jars.

Each jar's rim had to be carefully wiped to ensure a good seal:

Then each jar was treated to hot water bath to entice some proper sealing.

After the jelly was done, we got to work on the jam. First, the plums had to mashed through a food mill.  By hand, with a huge, wooden pestle.

It was probably the least pleasant of all the tasks:
Although, for some reason, Celeste is a picture of frivolity. 

After mashing the pulp through the food mill, by hand, we cooked the jam down with more sugar, more pectin.  Then, we filled jars. Again.
In particular, I LOVED the banged-up, dented to hell, old-fashioned tin funnel - it was one of Christy's grandmother's funnels. I miss tinned utensils. Sigh.

After 6 hours of work, we had 48 half-pints and 9 full pints of jelly and jam.

Aren't they pretty?

I am hoping this will become an annual tradition.  How often does one get to spend an entire day with friends they love AND come home bearing jars of jelly?

And now, I need to figure out where to hide my stash of Sandhill Plum jelly from my family because seriously, they are not worthy.  

*The full set of photos can be found here.

July 27, 2011

Literally Literary: The Prologue

I have decided to write separate posts regarding books and I am calling this feature "Literally Literary".  Why am I going to such bother?  My hope is the post title will provide a subtle hint that I am posting about BOOKS.  For those of you where the topic of books results in narcoleptic fits thereby causing you to faceplant onto your keyboard, this will allow you to just click away from the horror that is the written word.  Also, I simply adore the word "literally", it is literally my favorite adverb. Bonus points if pronounced with a Rob Lowe/Parks n' Recreation affectation.

Special Note: All posts contain non-affiliate links - I do not have an Amazonian Fancy Pants Affiliate Thingie.

A room without books is as a body without a soul. ~Cicero

Recent library book sale finds. All $12 of it. I snagged some Judy Blume (including a boxed set!  SCORE.), some Encyclopedia Brown, Sylvia Plath, Wally Lamb and some adult-era Laura Ingalls Wilder.  No Paul Zindel, but I was still quite happy.

Since getting the e-reader, my strategy for book-buying has changed.  Previously, I would search The Dusty Bookshelf first (a used bookstore in Lawrence)..... then I'd scoot through Borders (always with a coupon in hand.  Always).  In the meantime, I would search the random garage sale or thrift store in order to keep my "To Read" bookshelf stocked.  The library would also come into play here and there.

When I first got the e-reader, I was a little out of control with it.  The impulse purchasing coupled with the resistance to reading by any other means led to some significant money spent in the first few months. Gradually, the newness of the e-reader wore off as I realized how much money I was spending.  Sure, I am willing to spend a certain amount of money on my book hobby.  But I want to be smart about it.

I needed a new strategy.

Now, I gauge whether or not I can get the book from the library, keeping in mind  how fast I can get it versus how badly I want it.  Jennifer Egan's "A Visit from the Goon Squad"?  Eh.  I'll wait for that.  Conversely, as Hold #320 with only 36 copies to go around, I wasn't willing to wait for Anne Patchett's "State of Wonder" which so far, has been well worth the 12 bucks. Other times, I have no choice on waiting, dependent upon bookclub deadlines.  Also, if I decide to purchase the book for the Kindle, I download a sample first. Then, I actually READ THE SAMPLE before deciding whether to purchase it. I am totally digging this "sample feature" - wouldn't it be lovely if we could do that with jeans? Cosmetics? Handbags?

Recently, it was announced that Borders will be closing all of its stores. What happened to Border is obvious, so I don't have any new insight into that. In short, they completely screwed up by missing the e-reader boat. Still, I was a little surprised at how sad their closing has made me.    Yes, I am hooked on my e-reader and am trying to make better use of our library, but Borders was still a destination for us.  It was a place to check out books in person, a spot to pick up my knitting reads and other glossy non-fiction things.  It's also a great place to buy cute, little gifts and let my kids explore books on their own (again, limitations on the library - have you tried to get a hold of Fancy Nancy in your library? She's a hot piece of property in ours.)  Furthermore, Borders is near to where I live and I drive by it throughout the week. Although, admittedly, since getting my e-reader, my trips into the store have been more sporadic, instead of nearly every week.

While I am sad that Borders is closing, I know that I did my own little part in nudging along their demise.

July 25, 2011

Goodbye Blue Sky

Pink Floyd, The Wall 1979

I spent Saturday at my friend Christy's along with our friends Celeste and LuAnn making Sand Hill Plum jelly and jam.  After making 48 half-pints and 9 full pints of jelly and jam, Christy and I collapsed onto her couch and watched Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. I do not buy many DVDs these days, but that is one I think I need to own. For my very own self. Because seriously? HILARIOUS.

Christy lives out in the country and as I left her house, these were the scenes with which I was greeted:

I do love living in the soul-sucking suburbs, but wow - I also miss bales of hay and gorgeous sunsets.

The day before, on Friday, because that is the day before Saturday, I loaded up Team Chaos and headed into Kansas City to catch the Monet exhibit at the Nelson-Atkins Museum. The exhibit features one of only two triptychs by Monet in the United States and it was well worth seeing.  

Also, there is nothing more cleansing to the soul than frantic screeching in hushed tones at your kids to remind them to keep their meaty paws off of the pretty, priceless works of art.

Art that may, or may not, resemble steaming piles of poo.

I was yelled at only once by a security guard to stop with the flash photography and my kids were yelled at only three times by several security guards.

However, my kids were yelled at by me no less than 2,432 times.  

At one point, I grumbled that I was never bringing them to the museum again and Arun started to CRY.  Then, he timidly said "If we go into this one room right here, then can we leave?  But still come back another day?"  And thus, we zoomed through the Chinese scrolls, then made a hasty retreat.

Finally!  An escape!  And shuttlecocks!

The nice thing about the suburban prairie is living between the city and country.  Having easy access to both is totally worth handing over my soul to the dark forces.

July 22, 2011

Fridays of Intestinal Fortitude:

Note: Fridays of Intestinal Fortitude is a weekly feature about food, food and more FOOD. No, I do not necessarily want to be a food blogger, but I do LOVE to talk about food prep, cooking food, eating food and making sweet love to food. Okay, maybe not the "sweet love" part. This is not meant to be some homage to 9 1/2 Weeks.


Lately, we have been eating a crapton of sweet corn from the nearby farm stand.  However, my husband is emphatic that sweet corn isn't healthy so I looked up the nutritional content.  I found this article and also this information on Wikipedia:
Cooked sweet corn has significant antioxidant activity, which has been suggested to reduce the chance of heart disease and cancer, although this has not been definitively proven in practice.[citation needed] "There is a notion that processed fruits and vegetables have a lower nutritional value than fresh produce. Those original notions seem to be false, as cooked sweet corn retains its antioxidant activity, despite the loss of vitamin C," says Rui Hai Liu assistant professor of food science at Cornell University.[citation needed] The scientists measured the antioxidants' ability to quench free radicals, which cause damage to the body from oxidation. Cooked sweet corn also releases increased levels of ferulic acid, which provides health benefits, such as battling cancer. "When you cook it, you release it, and what you are losing in vitamin C, you are gaining in ferulic acid and total antioxidant activity."

I also found this:

Okay....okay.... sweet corn is never going to win awards as some sort of Wonder Food, but it still makes for a healthier dessert option!

July 18, 2011

Goodbye Cruel World

Pink Floyd, The Wall 1979

I thought it would be amusing to take a video of Daniel, our Pinktoe tarantula (avicularia avicularia) catching a cricket.  Yes, I am fully aware this may indicate that I have gone to the dark side, what with me posting horrid videos of arachnid-led death and destruction upon hapless crickets.

Daniel, our pink toe tarantula catching a cricket from Kelli Oliver George on Vimeo.

Perhaps then, you may find it even more unconscionable that I would post a video of Arun, my simian son (homo sapien) doing his best rendition of our tarantula catching said cricket.

Arun, imitating Daniel the Pinktoe Tarantula catching a cricket from Kelli Oliver George on Vimeo.

And I wonder why on earth I never get selected for BlogHer's Voices of the Year.


July 15, 2011

Fridays of Intestinal Fortitude:
Loco for Locavores

Note: Fridays of Intestinal Fortitude is a weekly feature about food, food and more FOOD. No, I do not necessarily want to be a food blogger, but I do LOVE to talk about food prep, cooking food, eating food and making sweet love to food. Okay, maybe not the "sweet love" part. This is not meant to be some homage to 9 1/2 Weeks.

A "locavore" is a person who is "committed to eating food that is grown or produced within their local community or region."  I am not fully committed to being a locavore.  Yes, I eat tomatoes year-round and I am duly ashamed.  However, I think most everyone has a little bit of  Locavore in them.  Generally, when you buy products locally, they are fresher, usually better-tasting and you get that cozy feeling of having supported someone in your community.

Lately, we have been going to our local farm stand nearly every day.  Oh sure, I live in the suburban prairie (or the "soul-sucking suburbs" as some would have you think.  Although,  I believe my soul to be quite intact, thank you.) However, we are lucky enough to have a farm stand just down the street from us and this stand is open all day, everyday (it's ran by Bush Family Farms from nearby Edwardsville.)  The other day, I bought some yellow squash and it was all I could to not eat the whole damned thing RAW as I was chopping away.  The taste differential was palpable, no pun intended.  And lately, we've been eating Peaches n' Cream sweet corn for breakfast....for dinner.... and dessert.  Earlier this week, I drove by for some watermelon and a sweet corn refill, but they had already sold out for the day.  Both kids promptly burst into tears.  Um, okay.

Last weekend, we went to the Westport Food Truck Festival to celebrate Average Jane's birthday.  Honestly?  The selection was not super huge, but I am willing to give a pass because there was still plenty of selection and after all, this was very first time they held the festival.  I would definitely like to go next year.

Crazy Man, Walking on Glass

Huh.  Since bloody, cut feet do not usually inspire appetites, it seemed that a festival featuring FOOD would make for a strange choice of venue.

You had me at "meatball".
Far and away, my favorite was the Magical Meatball Tour guys.  From here on out, I am going to require ALL of my meatballs to contain at least a teaspoon of magic.

This was my main squeeze all evening.
These fresh-squeezed limeades were so yummy that it inspired me to make some at home.  I tried this Honey Limeade recipe and loved it.

This weekend we are getting cupcakes from Tabby's Treats for Anjali's birthday party.   Yes, that is the same Tabby of the Super Mario Nintendo Cupcakes Fame. I am picking them up this evening and I am worried because that means there will be cupcakes. In my house. A full 24 hours before the party. 

Personally, I think Tabby needs to include chastity belts with her cupcakes.

July 13, 2011

Fat Old Sun

Pink Floyd, Atom Heart Mother 1970

Today's post title is courtesy of Kansas City temperatures in excess of 100 degrees, with humidity.  It's a darned good thing I got that leaky radiator fixed last weekend. Since I am a colossal idiot, I had confused the and levels.   I did not even realized the car was over-heating until my Friend the Car Mechanic pointed it out.  I'd like my V8 with a shot of vodka, please.

I really do not care to think too much on all of the different scenarios that could have resulted due to my failure in cognition.


Other than the heat and an unrelenting desire to find something interesting to do that involves that sweet, blessed artificial climate known as "air-conditioned indoors", things are pretty damned good right now.

Anjali's birthday weekend was packed full of fun and cake.  Anjali's Pretend Mama even kicked it into high gear and got her presents and threw her a fancy party.  I was really hoping her Pretend Mama would get her a pony because the only pony Anjali is getting from her Real Mama comes in varying hues of pastel. (Yes, the Pretend Family is still in full gear and now includes a Pretend Baby Boy and a Pretend Dog.  Sorry, Lucy - even you got upgraded.)

We are also still in full-on Boardgame Mode.  We are now playing Sorry with the 5-card hand version of the rules, which certainly makes it interesting but we have not tried Payday .  I did buy Rummikub which is really fun and quite challenging (I still have to help Arun with some of his decisions, but he got the basic concept down quickly).  And that Blokus game I mentioned?  SO MUCH AWESOME. I wish I could get Manoj to play with us, because I think that game would get crazy with more people.  Next up, is the Angry Birds Boardgame. It should arrive on Monday and Arun is I am eagerly counting the days.

Totally Tangential: In your family, do you pay Monopoly fines to the center of the board and then when someone lands on Free Parking, they get the money?   I call it the "kitty" and Arun giggles whenever I meow as he pays his fines (I hiss when *I* pay fines.  Of course.)   Arun also now kisses his money when I pay him rent.  I have NO idea where he learned such poor sportsmanship. *Cough*

And now, I shall commence with some random mommyblogging.....

The Team of Chaos Enjoys a Rainy Day

Rainy Days from Kelli Oliver George on Vimeo.
A silly thing I shot awhile back.  Notice how I patently ignore Arun?  At the end, I seem to notice there is a little boy sitting in my car. Oh right, Arun.  My SON.

The Team of Chaos Hath Spoken
Anju: Can I have some more tea?
Me: That was the last of it, I'll have to some more from scratch.
Anju: What? You don't have any SCRATCH?

"Scratch" - a new ingredient coming soon to an iced tea near you!

Anjali begins many of her sentences with "furthermore" and "I suppose".  Examples:

Me: Anju, pick up those toys.
Anjali: I don't want to.  Furthermore, Arun was the one who got them out!
Me: Anju, just pick them up, please?
Anjali: ALL RIGHT. I suppose I can pick them up.

Just as I was getting ready to hit "publish", Arun walked in to ask a question.

Me: Arun, why is your finger so dirty?
Arun: I was eating jelly.  I sneaked it and I didn't want you to know.
Me: Dude, you gotta learn to wash your hands if you are going to lead a life of crime.
Arun: Huh?

Mother of The Year, folks!  It's a major award!

July 9, 2011

Free Four

Pink Floyd, Obscured by Clouds 1972

How did this:

Become THIS?

It seems, just yesterday, she was so small.

Now? Not so much.

The curly hair?

No longer so curly. Sniff.

However.  Her fashion choices?

Still leave something to be desired.

Her brother greeted his new "bee-bee" with stalker-like tendencies. 

He's calmed down now, but is still really into his sister.

She will argue with me ALL DAY LONG, but later that night, she will climb into my lap, snuggle close and rub my tummy with her hand while she drifts asleep.

She loves princesses, the color pink, unicorns, kitties and anything frilly. Add some Glitter and you're golden. She only wears skirts, but will happily dig in the mud for worms.  And she's not afraid to catch frogs and bugs. Her favorite books are Fancy Nancy, Barbie, Cat the Cat and anything nonfiction having to do with bugs, frogs and reptiles.  Her favorite Powerpuff girl is Buttercup ("because Buttercup is ROUGH, Mama.")  She knows as much about dinosaurs as her brother and she wants to be a paleontologist when she grows up.  

All in all, she's really come into her own.

And we cannot wait to see where she goes from here.

Happy birthday, Peanut Butter Anjali.

July 8, 2011

Fridays of Intestinal Fortitude:
The Belle of Tinkering

Note: Fridays of Intestinal Fortitude is a weekly feature about food, food and more FOOD. No, I do not necessarily want to be a food blogger, but I do LOVE to talk about food prep, cooking food, eating food and making sweet love to food. Okay, maybe not the "sweet love" part. This is not meant to be some homage to 9 1/2 Weeks.

We were invited to a cookout last week - I attempted to make tandoori chicken which went dreadfully, awfully wrong.  For some reason, Manoj has a magic touch for making tandoori chicken - it is in his DNA, perhaps?  However, he had to work on Monday so it was up to me to prepare it.  And I failed.  Spectacularly.  Fortunately,  I had made a Creamy Mexicorn Dip so we were not arriving at our friend's house empty-handed.

My sister had passed along this Creamy Mexicorn Dip recipe to me and immediately, I began to think of ways to mess around with it.    I cannot resist adding something "of my own".  I have included the recipe that I ended up making - basically, I added the cumin and substituted 1.5 cups of Greek yogurt for original 8 oz of sour cream.  I also increased the "dash" of sugar to 1 teaspoon's worth (to account for the sourness of the Greek yogurt.)  Personally, I love Greek yogurt as a substitute for sour cream - I always have Greek yogurt on hand, which reduces running to the grocery store and I like how Greek yogurt has such a high protein content.

When my sister passed the recipe to me, she told me she uses Miracle Whip instead of mayonnaise.  It must run in the family, this tinkering business.

Do you tinker with recipes?

Creamy Mexicorn Dip

2- 14.5 oz. cans Mexicorn (drained)
1 10oz can Rotel (drained)
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 to 1 tsp of sugar
1.5 cups Greek yogurt
1 cup Mayonnaise
Mix together and serve with tortilla chips.  

Note: This recipes gets even better as it sits, thus making it a perfect dish to prepare early in the morning or the night before!

July 7, 2011

Celeste, I made this post just for you!

Years ago, I had this friend who had written an entertaining account of her experiences raising a passel of sea monkeys and she had created an email subscription of it.  I read the archives and declared "You should start a blog!"  Others urged her to do the same.

Finally, in 2004, she created Average Jane, thus ensuring a stream of free entertainment for years to come. (Thanks, Celeste!  We owe you!)  I call her blog the "most oxymoronically titled blog of all time" and I like to call her Not-So-Average Jane (behind her back, of course.)

Quite simply, Celeste, is probably one of the most interesting persons I know and is anything but average.  How many folks invite their friends to celebrate their birthday at a Food Truck Festival?

Also, she's always doing something - helping a local animal shelter every week, herding her own cats, raising veggies, reading books, belonging to 3 different book clubs, hosting game nights, singing in heavy metal bands, writing lyrics to music, taking long walks every morning, experimenting with cooking and baking, trying different restaurants, volunteering for charities, doing yoga, traveling and still keeping up on television, pop culture and social media.  I don't know how she does it.  It is as if she posses a special life force in which she can bend time.

Average Jane, Beer Maven
I saved this snap for a special occasion because the best part of this picture?  All of that is not her beer.

Celeste was definitely one of the primary forces who led me into blogging - I saw how much fun she was having and happily jumped into the fray a few months later.  In the summer of 2005, she casually mentioned that she was going to a small blogging conference for women and hey, would anyone else like to go? I was late in my pregnancy with Arun and jumped at the chance for a gal's trip.  That marked our first BlogHer and except for the year Anjali was born, I have gone ever since. The incredible experiences I have had through blogging and the amazing friends I have made these past 7 years?  I owe Celeste for that.

Thank you, Celeste.

Amongst her many super powers, Celeste wields considerable influence over small children and has charmed her way into Arun and Anjali's hearts as well. In fact, when I have plans with Celeste that do not include my kids, I have to hide this fact from them or they get jealous.

Average Jane, Adopted Aunt to the Masses
Celeste and Anjali, walking in the Rivermarket. 

Happy birthday, old friend.

I mean, not  because you are old, per se, but rather because we have been friends for so long.  Of course, if we are going to honest, you will always be older than me, but this is probably not the appropriate time to point that out, right?

July 6, 2011


Pink Floyd, The Dark Side of the Moon 1973

I really, really like board games.

One of my sweetest memories from childhood is that of playing Monopoly with my parents.  Both of them, together.  Because they were still married. And we were a family.  I also cherish the memories of playing Sorry! with my mom.  And card games - oh, the card games....  Speed and Russian Bank were my favorites.  I do remember my mom teaching me Crazy Eights, which seemed easy and sorta fun.

I own 21 decks of cards - all the variations of canasta I play require a good 10 decks.  The rest are extras for playing Nerts, a gangland style of Solitaire.  It's pretty hardcore, folks.  When I see new packs of cards at garage sales, I cannot resist.  It is not a problem.  Yet. 

This is my favorite set of cards - they are good, quality cards and have ruined me for cheap cards.  I have had these cards forever, they were a present from my Aunt Blenda.  

I told Arun the other day that I think he is finally ready for Crazy Eights.  He can already play Uno and they are essentially the same game anyway.  He is SO excited to play with the beautiful deck of cards that are normally forbidden to him.

We started playing Monopoly Jr. over the weekend.  Simple strategy, addition, subtraction and multiplication.  And the games are quick - about 30 minutes a piece.  What's not to love about that?

Well, I suppose losing is not fun.

Yes, winning is infinitely more fun.

Let's move on to the game of Sorry!  Basically like Parcheesi, but easier.
More American, less Indian?

Gentle Reader, I'm in heaven here. We have also started playing Blokus, which is AWESOME.  I am ready to dig out Payday next. And! I cannot wait to bust out the cribbage board.  Or show him my gorgeous, hand-made backgammon board with Bakelite pieces.

Hurry up little boy. Hurry up.

Well, maybe you should not grow up too much.  Once you head to college, who will play games with me?

July 5, 2011


Pink Floyd, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn 1967

Weekend before last, I went to Indianapolis to say goodbye to my friend.  Jeepers,  It was a weird trip of epic proportions.  It involved my flight out there being delayed by 2 hours and an arrival at my hotel at 1am.  It involved a trip for Arun to Urgent Care and a frantic trip for ME to a far, far away Kinko's store to scan insurance cards because of COURSE, the single time I do not leave the cards, is the one instance where Manoj really, really needed them. It involved my cell phone dying in the middle of all of this and I went 8+ hours kickin' it Old School without a phone (Note: this is where I appreciate my husband so very much because I knew he had it covered and that Arun would be fine.)  I had to kick it Old School yet again because all of my carefully plotted Google Maps were WORTHLESS in the face of crazy Indianapolis road construction and I found myself peering at a teeny, tiny rental car agency map while navigating broken down interstate highway after highway after highway.  After the memorial service Saturday evening,  I then returned my rental car so that I could take the hotel shuttle back to the hotel that evening so that the next morning, I wouldn't have to deal with the rental car return.  I thought I would avoid some headache Sunday morning and it seemed like a good plan at the time. Sigh. Except while at the airport, I missed the first hotel shuttle back to the hotel.  And had to wait 1.5 hours for the next shuttle.

While waiting for the hotel shuttle, I had an interesting encounter.  Since I was just returning the rental car and not catching a flight, I suspect I looked odd just walking around with a dying rose and my high heels looped on my fingers (I wore comfortable sandals to walk around the airport in).  Apparently, this caught the attention of two guys sitting nearby waiting for their own shuttles.  One of the guys claimed he had bit parts in Seinfeld and Cheers.

Call me a Suspicious Sally, but do you recognize the guy on the left?  I sure don't.

Guy on the left claims to have had bit parts on Seinfeld (a plot where he was helping Kramer with his golf game) and Cheers (he played some part of a volleyball player).  Guy on the right said he was in stand-up comedy, but that I wouldn't know him.  Guy in the middle was the hotel shuttle driver.  I definitely didn't know him!

The last bit of Bizarro Weekend in Indianapolis happened when I found out I had to take one of the earliest hotel shuttles back to the airport Sunday morning since the later ones were already full.  Which meant that just before 5am on Sunday, I was back at the airport with over 2 hours until my flight.

Did you get any of that?

So, last week was spent catching up on life and rectifying my piss poor attitude.  I think I have worked myself out of the funk now and I plan to back to my regularly scheduled Ranting and Raving.

You really missed me, didn't you?
 I mentioned awhile back that the sands of my social horizons have been shifting - I've joined a Mom's group and a few of us did the Lenexa Freedom Run 5K (we walked, which was fine by me because I've been out of my workout routine the past month!) Week before last, I randomly met a mom at McDonald's Playplace - we were both escaping the heat and were hiding in the same corner from some overzealous sports moms (shudder!) We got to chatting because I had forgotten my Kindle and was forced to interact with my fellow humans (the horrors!  I'm a Kindle Mom!)  Anyway!  Turns out, our kids are in the same Kindergarten class and now, I have another meetup scheduled with Elizabeth this week.  . Also, last week,  I had a fun Blogger/Twitter meetup with Sarah last week - not only did our kids get along great, but it was so relaxing to hang out with another mom who likes to talk about things other than kids, who also blogs/uses social media, who watches TV and the best part!  A mom who is equally unapologetic about her Excessive E-Reader Use. I mean, you can only watch your kid go down the same slide so many times, right?  Right.

Last week, I finished up The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Hat Tip, Zoot!) which was sweet and sensitive and heartbreaking all at once.  It is going to be a movie and features two of my favorite actresses - Mae Whitman and Emma Watson.  Furthermore, if the producers can secure all the rights, it is going to have a kickass soundtrack.  If you are a Young Adult fiction fan, I cannot recommend this book highly enough!

I'm currently reading Before I Go To Sleep (Hat Tip, Jennifer and Sarah!)  I'm almost finished and the suspense is killing me.  I think I have it figured it out, but then again, do I? DO I?    This read is a Clicker (Old School Term: "page-turner")  click....click....click....

Last weekend was nice, Arun and I played a crap-ton of boardgames (another post forthcoming because it deserves a spot of its own) and then like much of the country, we enjoyed celebrating our country's birthday yesterday.

Yes, we have a "no fireworks" ordinance in our city.  That no one but our neighbors actually follow.

In related news, our neighbors hate us.

Lucy and Pearson joined forces in their silent protest of our fireworks use.