Friday, July 31, 2009

Friday's Fave Five

This week I've been blessed enough to see old friends, make new ones, and take a few minutes here and there to appreciate the little things.

1. Friends- T. and her daughter are in town. Her daughter and mine had a grand time of giggling, making up code words and taking care of our newest resident- a caterpillar we found on the grill cover.

My daughter loves bugs almost as much as I love Starbucks. His little temporary home in her room is full of dandelion leaves and fresh grass.

That caterpillar has no idea how good he's got it.

2. Rain- Yes, rain! In New Mexico! It is so rare around here that I wondered if I should start looking for the ark. Then I remembered that we have no trees so Noah probably built it over in Georgia somewhere which means my family is on a cruise right now.

Oh, the random nothing I can write about. When I'm old, please tell them I am not senile and I've been like this the whole time.

3. New recipes. I made a lemonade pie that is so easy-

Frozen Lemonade Pie

2 prepared graham cracker crusts
1 can frozen lemonade, thawed but not diluted
1 (8 0z.) container whipped topping
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk

Fold lemonade, whipped topping and condensed milk in bowl until well mixed. Pour into pie shells. Cover and freeze until firm. (About 2 hours.)

Now I know why they say "easy as pie."

4. My husband. He's always one of my favorites but since it's my blog, I'll go ahead and list him here.

5. New blog friends- I recently discovered Carpoolqueen's Blog. She is hiliarious and an amazing writer. Most of the time, she has me in stitches but, this post brought me to tears (in a good way!)

Be sure to read it and browse through her archives. Good stuff.

What about you? What are your favorites this week?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

You search! I answer!

I've mentioned before how I love to see how people find my blog. The Google searches crack me up.

But I really feel sorry for folks who are in need of important information and click on This Ain't New York, only to find useless tips on how to transport 20 pounds of flour on an airplane or how to live with a cat in her mid-life crisis.

A person's time is her most valuable asset. Well, that, along with good hair.

So I decided to take a few of the most frequent Google searches that bring folks here and try to answer a few of them.

Wink. Wink.

1. "How to look really thin"- I have no idea.

If you find something, please leave a comment. I could use all the help I can get. If your tip includes running, please know that I appreciate your input but the possibility of me sprinting in some New Balance is highly unlikely.

2. "How to unstop a sink"- My guess is that you have found my Works For Me on using a plunger to unstop a sink. Now I've created an entirely new post which will bring you here. Reminder- use a new plunger. And be careful that there are no chemicals in your sink (cleaners) that could splash you in the face.


3. "How to clean sea shells"- I'm your gal. Soak them in a mild solution of bleach water. Rinse well. If you're in a hotel at the beach, soak them in that mouthwash they give you with the shampoo, lotion, and tiny bar of soap.

4. "Do they wear pantyhose in New York?"- I don't know. I hope not.

5. "Paint color Charleston Green"- Not really a question but I have to shout out a huge "YEAH" to you for joining me in my love of all things old and all things Charleston.

6. "Hubcaps at Wal-mart"- If you are looking for hubcaps, I hope your Wal-mart has them. I was out of luck the last time I looked. I still find that ironic.

I mean, what's next? No more cute shoes at Target?

The American tradition is simply slipping away.

My next piece of advice- How To Bathe a Cat or How To Show You Are Completely Insane.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Works for Me: Freezing Leftover Pizza

We always order too much pizza. I get sucked into the deals and we like variety. I also have the fear of running out of food. Okay, maybe it's not a fear as much as it is a phobia.


Whenever we order pizza we have leftovers. In the old days, before I was wise and wrinkled, I would just put all the leftovers in the frig. By day three, we'd all be sick of supreme and I'd end up throwing some of it out.

Thank goodness for my friend T., who is wise but not wrinkled.

She suggested freezing the leftovers.

So now I put 1 or 2 pieces of pizza in a freezer bag (or what you would consider an individual serving), then pop them in the freezer. Sometimes I end up with several bags depending on how much is leftover.

When your kids are ready for lunch one day, take the pizza out of the bag, then heat it up in the toaster oven. The pizza will crisp up like it just came out of the oven because, well, it just did.

I still put a few leftover pieces in the frig for Hubs' breakfast the next morning. Cold pizza. The breakfast of champions.

Check out Kristen's blog for more tips this week.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Hello from your Great Aunt Peg

I turn 39 this year. Hubs is one year ahead of me. The numbers have never really mattered to me, but lately I'm starting to think they should.

So, how do you know when you might be getting old?

1. Famous people you thought were cool in high school recently died.

2. You agree with Bill O'Reilly almost all of the time. "YEAH, American traditions are out the window. It's a culture war. You tell 'em, Bill!"

3. While at Walgreens today, you decided to purchase Fish Oil because you've heard it helps with heart disease. You asked the pharmacist the difference between fish oil and bottles labeled "Omega Complex."

He doesn't really know. (very comforting)

You suggest that Omega Complex may taste better. He agrees just to get rid of you.

But you go with the fish oil anyway because it is clearly labeled "helps with cardiovascular disease" and "no fish burps."

Because the fish burp odor may clash with the Bengay.

Be sure to check by tomorrow. I'm hosting a giveaway for orthopedic shoes.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Ice cream and cake and cake.

Guess what song I have stuck in my head.

This one.

It makes me want to get up and dance.

That is all.

Friday, July 24, 2009

The leftover pesto sauce is so choice.

I just finished off my lunch- a bowl of Healthy Choice Chicken Pesto Classico. It was pretty tasty for, you know, low cal food.

I set the bowl to the side here on the couch, planning to get up in a minute to put it away. That's when Maggie decided to join me. Only she didn't want attention. She went for my bowl.

Normally, I would shoo her away in an effort to train her not to eat out of people's bowls. But, I was in shock that she was eating people food, much less DIET PESTO and well, she's a cat. You can't really train a cat.

So I sat here in shock and just observed as my cat licked the pesto sauce from the bowl. Then she jumped down to groom herself after her meal.

I can't blame her. Like me, she could stand to lose a few pounds.

My guess is we'll both be in the pantry in a couple of hours. (The peanut butter jar is all mine, girlfriend!.)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Works For Me: Instant Waist Cincher!

I learned this from Jackie at Chico's. (She's a genius.)

I was trying on a jacket and she said I should always push up my sleeves (to the elbow) if possible.


It makes your waist look smaller! Yes, your waist.

You can also get the same effect by rolling up long sleeves to your elbows.

Go to your closet and try it:

Stand in the mirror with the sleeves down, bring your arms straight down next to your waist. Now, push up or roll up your sleeves to your elbows. (The trick is to have the end of the sleeve hit at waist level. Adjust as needed.)

See the difference? It's amazing!

Of course, laying off the chips and cookies works, too.

For more tips, see Kristen.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

As I Lay Frying

When Nancy called the other day to ask if Daughter and I wanted to go to the pool with her and C., I hesitated at first. Not because I didn't want to see them. I was just still in my pj's.

I turned and asked Daughter, "Do you want to get ready and go to the pool with C.?"

She, of course, was thrilled and ran off to her room to put on her bathing suit.

I was thrilled at the chance to catch up on things with Nancy. Then I ran off to my room to get presentable, meaning put on my bathing suit, a cover-up, make-up, and hat.

After slathering sunscreen on my daughter, we gathered the rest of our things- towels, water, extra sunscreen... goggles.

"Where are your goggles?"

"I don't know."

"Maybe C. will have some extra ones."

We met up at Nancy's house and I asked if they had any extra goggles. She said they didn't and that the ones they did have needed a new strap. We planned to buy some new ones for the girls when we arrived at the pool.

Apparently, the local pool is an authorized dealer for Olympic Level Goggles because the ones they had started at $15.00. Oddly enough, they looked exactly like the ones I've seen at Wal-mart for half that price.

Nancy and I settled on our lounge chairs in the sun and perched ourselves in the best spot to "get a little color." Meanwhile, my daughter ran up to me constantly so that I could adjust her goggles which never fit quite right. C.'s goggles eventually broke in half.

So the girls just swam without their proper Olympic equipment as we basked in the warmth of our sucker, I mean excellent goggle purchases.

I knew we'd only be there an hour, hour 1/2 tops. Some of the tan I had from our Florida trip had faded, so my bright idea was to sun a little without sunscreen. (Except for on my face. I always protect my face.)

How bad could it be?


Later that night, I could feel the warmth through my old t-shirt. I pulled up my sleeve and revealed my red shoulder. Ouch. I showed Hubs.

"Look. I got burned. I was only out there a little over an hour. I spent nearly half a day on the beach. How could I burn so easily today?"

Hubs explained in his Science Channel voice,"We're at a higher altitude. There's less atmosphere to diffuse the sun's rays."

"Um, yeah."

"Did you wear sunscreen?"

"No. Just on my face, not the rest of me."

"That'll learn ya."

The sensitivity in my household is palpable, along with my lobster-like complexion radiating from my shoulders.

Do you think the pool sells Olympic Level Aloe?

Monday, July 20, 2009

It's all fun and games until someone croaks in the toad condo.

On Saturday we all worked in the yard. Hubs mowed and edged. Daughter and I pulled weeds. Well, I pulled weeds and Daughter started pulling weeds until she found a huge toad.

I do mean huge.

"Can we get a container and put dirt in it and just hold him in there for a little while, not even a day?"

"No. Let's leave him alone."

"Can I just find a flower pot and turn it over and put dirt in there so he can get in there if he wants?"

It was clear to my daughter that the toad needed to be rescued and protected from the various snakes we have here in New Mexico. In my opinion, the toad looked quite content resting there in the murky puddle, shaded by the porch.

But what do I know? I'm no toad expert.

"OK. You can make him a toad house with a flower pot. But, you know what he does if you pick him up... and it's not pee... it's some kind of secretion from special glands."

So, maybe I could be a toad expert.

"What is it then? The liquid?"

"I don't know. I'll have to look it up later."

Or maybe I'm not.

Daughter went on a hunt for the perfect pot and found two. One of the pots was pink and one was a nicely painted Terra cotta. (We couldn't tell if the toad was a girl or a boy.) Good hospitality is one of our life's goals, so we provided one home with feminine Shabby Chic and the other one with gender neutral decor so as not to offend.

She worked diligently on the placement of the flower pots, turning them both on their sides, and filling them with dirt to provide a natural habitat and enough weight so the pots wouldn't blow away. You know the old story about the snake slithering up and blowing down the toad's house, right?

After several treks to the garage, the backyard, and in the house, Daughter was satisfied with the two toad home options nestled in the newly weed-free spot of the front flower bed.

And, yes, she did pick up the toad.

He let out a loud CROAK, puffed up his body and I warned, "Put him down. He's freaking out."

Daughter gently put him back down in his puddle, allowing him to find his new toad home options because we don't want to interfere with nature or anything.

We came inside the house, washed our hands, and I got on the Internet, searching for little tidbits on toads. As it turns out, I was right, toads do not pee on you. This is a myth, along with the idea that they can give you warts.

Do you know what that stuff is that the toads secret when you pick them up?

Do you know?

It's poison. According to my Google hunt, toads have special glands which secrete a liquid when they are stressed. In some toads, the liquid is poison. In others, it is harmless. I have no idea whether our toad falls into the icky, harmless group or the dreadful, deadly one.

Because I'm no toad expert.

Friday, July 17, 2009


Wow. This week has been a full one, jam packed with family visits, lots of travel and a bit of angst (not a fav.)

1. Two- I love seeing my niece. Because of the distance, we don't see her as often as we would like. We consider each moment with her a treasure.

2. The unique landscape of The South- While on our trip, I enjoyed the beach, the pines of South Georgia, beautiful rivers of Georgia and South Carolina, and all the summer blooms across the region. I miss "green" here in New Mexico. Being surrounded by crepe myrtles and the many annuals was a treat for me.

3. Searching for bugs- Daughter and I helped my niece look for bugs in Grammy's yard. We taught her about good bugs and bad bugs and where to look for them. Sorry, Grammy, if you start to find all of your flower pots on their side! OOPS.

4. Home- As much as I loved returning to our old stomping ground and seeing family, I love my own bed and bathroom. I also love coming home and cleaning to freshen up the house.

5. This post at the Cafe- I had a tough time writing this. There were numerous technical difficulties, Internet issues and pure writer's block, but it was something that just had to come out. (One of those, I HAVE TO WRITE THIS moments.) I wrote it for myself and maybe other people can relate to it as well.

Here's an excerpt.

"Jackpot!" That's what our family says when we find a special treasure on the beach. Sometimes we discover a sea shell, a sand dollar, or even a barracuda jaw..."

Go to the Internet Cafe for the rest of "Contentment In Christ."

See Susanne for more Friday Faves!

Have a great weekend and don't forget to leave a comment with your Man on The Moon Phrase.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

We can put a man on the moon.

Forty years ago America headed for the moon.

Still today, I think that's pretty cool.

Plus, it has given us a chance to use the phrase, "We can put a man on the moon, but we still can't (fill in the blank.)"

Today, I'd say, "We can put a man on the moon, but we still can't keep up with people's luggage."

What about you?

Leave your input in the comments.

"We can put a man on the moon, but we still can't (your phrase here.)"

This should be fun!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

So, it started out on a good note.

My day started with a wake-up call from the front desk.

"Good morning. Yes, it is too early. Get up anyway. You have a flight to catch."

After a hearty breakfast of Robust coffee, doughnuts, frozen biscuits and canned gravy, Daughter and I caught the shuttle to Hotlanta Airport (my nemesis.)

This is where I have to insert my dislike for Hartsfield. There are too many people, it is too big, I hate that train with the scary doors, and did I mention there are too many people?

The shuttle driver popped in a CD and I knew we were buds. Phil Collins began to sing In The Air Tonight and I looked at my watch, wondering how long the ride to the airport would be. I didn't want to miss the drum solo.

Turns out, I got to listen to the entire song. I played the solo on my cute Target purse and mouthed the words like a total goober.

That was the high point of the trip.

We checked in, squeezed past security (kidding), and boarded without incident. I was totally impressed with my travel expertise. I even managed to get better seats than the ones originally reserved.

Arrived in Dallas.


"Now boarding, Flight Number Somethingorother... I'm sorry... there's a problem... this flight has been delayed for maintenance."

The delay turned into an aircraft change and a complete gate change. We waited until finally (over an hour later) we boarded our plane. When we did arrive at our final destination, there was no gate available.

So we sat there on the tarmac and watched out the windows like puppies at the pound waiting for someone to adopt them. We pressed our noses to the glass for what felt like a sweet forever until finally they let us out of our winged cage.

WHEW. Nightmare over.

Not really.

Guess which puppy didn't get her luggage.

Now I wait at home for a phone call or a knock on the door, hoping to talk to someone from the airlines who has my little red suitcase with all of my make-up in it.

Keep your fingers crossed, would ya?

On a different note, Maggie is home from the kennel and they said she was SWEET.

I KNOW! More on this tomorrow.

Monday, July 13, 2009


We are visiting my in-laws for a few days before heading back to Small Town. My sister-in-law and niece are here. My niece just turned two. She is full of wonder and baby sweetness.

I'd forgotten what it means to be two...

When you're two, it is tough to have a cold because someone has to help you blow your nose. This isn't fun. For you or the someone.

When you're two, bigger kids are cool. Right up there with Santa Claus, crayons, tape and stuff you find on the floor.

Being two means that suddenly everything is yours and your job is to let everyone know it.

Two is the year that you learn about potties and that sometimes if you do something there, you get M & M's.

When you're two, people like to clap their hands and sing silly songs. You sing along to make them feel special.

When you're two, the bigger people try to play tricks on you at dinner, but you secretly know that broccoli isn't Little People Trees.

Being two means that you get to be friends with Elmo and Cookie Monster. Next year, you learn Spanish with a girl who has a very large head.

Two is the time you discover how fun it is to hide. And to be found.

When you're two, people like to ask you how old you are. Over and over.

When you're two, the world is really tall. Especially when you are trying to reach for something sharp or hot or dangerous. Whatever that means.

Being two means that when you cry, someone big will come and pick you up and hold you.

Two is the time when you are the center of the world, at least for a while, and that's Okay.

Because you're two.

Aunt Mel

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Don't try this at home.

Yesterday was our last day of vacation in Destin. We went to the beach one last time and visited some area museums, rounding out the day with a dolphin cruise.

The cruise offers dolphin sightings along with a chance to feed the seagulls.

This is what happens when you open a bag of Fritos at the back of a boat.

I shudder to think what would have happened if it had been Cool Ranch Doritos.

Monday, July 06, 2009

What's at the top of your list?

After seeing Up, I've been thinking about other movies I love, the ones I could watch over and over.

There are some that I like for pure entertainment. There are others I appreciate for the creative talent or good writing. Some of them, I love for both.

Here's my list in no particular order:

1. Forrest Gump- I love this for the entertainment and excellent writing. I keep saying I'll read the book and haven't.

2. Hope Floats- The mother/daughter relationships are brilliant.

3. Fried Green Tomatoes- Friendship and cultural lessons abound. Too many Southernisms to mention.

4. Steel Magnolias- Southernisms and women coming together in celebration and tragedy. Plus, I can picture people I know as the characters.

5. Truman Show- Love it for the lessons on society. Although, I thought it should have ended differently with the audience rallying behind Truman to escape, then watching a new show with a new baby and falling into the old habit. (Sadly, that is probably what would happen.)

6. Christopher Guest movies- Humor in its own category

7. Napolean Dynamite- "TINA! FOOD!"

8. Edward Scissorhands- Makes me cry.

9. Christmas Story- Only I didn't say fudge.

10. Rear Window- When suspense and mystery did not require violence and gore.

11. Gone With The Wind- Do I really need to explain why? ;>)

There are more, but I'll stop there.

What about you? What are your favs and why?

Friday, July 03, 2009


I needed a good coffee.

After all, I'd left the movie theatre in tears.

Last night we saw UP, by Disney Pixar. I believe Walt Disney would be proud to see his name once again connected with quality work after a long era of substandard entertainment.

UP has the humor and sweetness for kids with an incredible plot line (yes, a real plot line) and life lesson for adults. I haven't cried so much (in a good way) since Forrest Gump. (As a side note, the action in 3-D may be a bit intense for little ones, so you may go with the 2-D version.)

Before the movie, Hubs asked if we wanted snacks. I passed on the $3.00 box of Snow Caps. (In all honesty, I don't even know the price of Snow Caps these days. I'm just guessing they were $3.00 a box. At that rate, there should be a Willy Wonka golden ticket tucked inside.)

So I decided to spend wisely (ahem) and wait for a $4.00 coffee.

When the movie was over, we stopped at Starbucks, and headed back to our condo. There were a few moments of daylight left, so we walked to the beach.

I stood there in the surf, flip flops off, with latte in hand and said to Hubs, "Oh, no. I've become a yuppie."

All I needed was a very small dog and a J. Crew catalog.

He assured me that I was not. We laughed and continued to walk.

I held my husband's hand and watched my daughter scurry for shells as the sun was already setting behind high rises and family vacation homes. I thought of Carl and Ellie.

Of adventure.

For most of us, adventure comes in packages of newborn baby blankets, ten year wedding anniversaries, and boxes of mac n' cheese.

It greets us at the door when we get home from work. It draws cards for us on Mother's Day.

It wakes us up in the night with an ear infection. It makes us weep at a grave.

It washes away on a sandy shore. It drives away for college.

We walked. I held my husband's hand, the moon now high, and thought of all my everyday adventures.

And that someday, maybe, I'll even get a very small dog.

Shhhh... don't tell Maggie.