When the husband does housework: A cautionary tale.

Last summer, I had a girls day planned. It was much-needed and as far as I was concerned all of my normal Saturday chores could wait.

At our house, laundry is one of the things that I am responsible for. Ed is supposed to be responsible for taking out the trash and the dishes, but we won’t get into that now… So on my girls day, my good intentioned husband offered to take care of the laundry. Hey, help with housework? Yes, please!

I got home later that evening, and was sorting the laundry with Ed in our room.

Me: Why is there a Swiffer sheet in the laundry?

Ed: I thought that was a dryer sheet.

Me: No, it is a Swiffer sheet.

Ed: Well, I guess we don’t have to worry about dust in the laundry.

Thanks for the help, hon!

TA-DA!

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Get Off My Lawn! And other joys of getting older.

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I already know that I will be the kind of old person that screams at kids to get off their lawn. I have grown to accept this, even revel in it. I also know that I will be an uncooperative older person.

One of the lessons that I have learned from being a social worker, and working with elderly and disabled adults for so long, is that former nurses and social workers are the worst clients. They know their rights and they are not messing around. To those people, I say I get you and more power to you. They make my job harder now, but I applaud the tenacity.

I saw the change happening a few years ago when I found that my husband has the volume of the TV on too high. (In his defense, he is selectively deaf) And then there is the need to follow societal rules. My husband will make comments of not liking the ways things are happening and I find myself getting so mad at him because he acts like the world should bend to his views of things. “There are rules for a reason! Damnit!”

I while back, I found myself getting so irritated at an e-mail that came out to the whole department at work. The e-mail was a reminder to staff who drive the county cars that they needed to pick up their trash when they are done using the car. I could not believe that this needed to be said. Seriously people, are we not all grown ups? But I can tell you that I occasionally drive these same cars and apparently there is a definite reason for the reminder. But I again question this, are my co-workers and peers that self-absorbed that they can’t be bothered to pick up their Taco Bell cup. The answer is sometimes a resounding YES!

My office houses probably 200-300 people (or more, I am no good at estimating.) I cannot tell you how many times that I have returned to my desk having lost a little faith in humanity, simply from using the restroom. It floors me that there are adult women in my building that neglect to flush the toilet, turn off the faucet or pick up the toilet paper roll that has fallen off the poorly constructed dispenser and rolled away. Are we in Kindergarten? Does a note need to be pinned to some of our shirts to be sent home? But I can tell you that I have experienced all of these scenarios in my office building. Ladies, some of you are just gross! I would like to think that the men’s room is equally or more gross, but I have my suspicions.

I tend to fall down a rabbit hole when I think about these instances. Things like stopping in the middle of the aisle of CostCo and talking to your long-lost friend and positioning your two carts in such a way that you are blocking everyone. Why? Do you not see the hundreds of other people who are there to buy their bulk stock of TP? But I digress.

Are other countries so self-absorbed? Are other parts of the US like this? Why is it so hard to be courteous and considerate of those around us? So many questions…

So I can see that in my mid-40’s that if these things are bothering me, than it is best to just accept that I will be the old lady on the block that will be seen yelling at “those pesky kids.” And I am okay with it.

TA-DA!

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I must offer my unfortunately typical apology for not being a better blogger. I think about it all the time but time gets away with me so easily. So I appreciate you that are sticking with me and taking the time to read my thoughts, words and rants. You all are the best!

Teenagers!

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As many people have been saying, 2016 was the worst. The popular media focuses on the deaths of beloved celebrities (RIP Alan Rickman), civil unrest and the three-ring circus of an election. *Disclaimer- not getting all political here. Also even if I was, this is still my blog, so there! That is all*
Whereas, I would tend to agree there was a lot of junk that happened this year, there was some good too. Regardless, I have been feeling a little blue this holiday.

This year we did not get a little Christmas tree. We are having our living room floors redone and it would have been ridiculous to get a tree only to move it. I thought that I was going to be fine with this, but it made me pretty sad. On the other hand, there is still good things with the holidays- peppermint everything, Ed hung our Christmas lights, my annual holiday vacation. I am trying not to let things get me too down. I have a lot to be thankful for. You know that overly used statement of being “blessed.” But it is true.

How does any of this have to do with the title of this long overdue blog post, you might ask. Well, I will tell you. My mindset has been a little off lately. I may or may not being taking things wrong at times. But I am starting to understand what parents feel when their children grow up. And empty nest parents out there, it sucks.

It is no secret that I love my nieces. They have been my only shot at parenting. I can’t even fathom a life without them. But the last couple years it has been creeping up on me, that they are not going to need me more and more. Within 3 short years, Niece #1 will be off to college. Within 5 years, Niece #3 could be off as well. Then what? I have no idea. I guess I will have to get friends or maybe blog more. To be honest, it terrifies me.

One of the things that I am starting to realize is that some children might be preparing their family for this departure by their teenage years. Not some new profound concept, I know. It has been written about before. Comics do entire sets about it. The attitude that comes with some teenagers is outstanding. And I mean that with the highest level of sarcasm possible.

Last night, I think that I had one of the lowest aunt moments that I can recall. After arriving very late to Niece #3’s basketball game and basically missing the whole thing, I was feeling terrible. I watched these funny, stubborn creature come off the court with her friends and appear to be in the best mood. I even commented to her mom that she was seemingly pleasant. As if she was Dr. Jeykll & Mr. Hyde, by the time that she came over to talk to us, she had changed into the part-time evil 13 year-old that she is. I brought the kid a cupcake and she was still evil. I could find some solace in the fact that she was evil to her mom as well but somehow, it does not.

On top of that, Niece #1 was there, in the same gym but was with her friends and didn’t have time for me. That still stung but, if you are a 15 year-old, who would you rather hang out with? Your friends or your 40 sometimes aunt, albeit super cool aunt. The majority of the time the friends win.

How is this a big deal, you might ask? Really it is not. But I left this scene feeling beaten down. Neither of these amazing girls, who I love more than anything, could have cared less that I was there. I yelled at my poor husband to speed across town to make a portion of the game because I pride myself on being there for as many of these girls’ activities as possible, and it was killing me that I messed up the time of her game. And it mattered to no one but me. In fact, she thought that I had been there the whole game. Ouch kid, that one hurt.

It is going to get worse, isn’t it? I had hoped that 12 & 13 were the worst of the years, but the next few could be equally as bad. Niece #1 could get her driver’s license next year and then I won’t even be needed for transportation. The depression is beginning to spiral now.

I have to admit that I am feeling a little better today. The attitude is universal with those parental types in her life. And she is a teenager after all. And I do think back a couple of months to the same girl who met me outside the night her dog died and cried in my arms. Despite these angst ridden teenage years, I still love this girl. And will still come to every event possible whether she cares that I am there or not. I hope that she will look back some day and realize how lucky that she was to have parents that supported her but the world’s best aunt there every step of the way as well.

And I know that someday, at least one of these two creatures will have to choose my care options when I am old. So this night of heartbreak at a basketball will be a distant memory. One that I am sure one of the involved parties had no awareness of. (Little Chicken, I love ya, attitude or not).

Parents out there. My hat is off to you. What a heart wrenching job that you have undertaken. More power to you all. Hang in there, it seems the good outweighs the bad.

TA-DA!

The Cupcake Project 3.0

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cup·cak·ing
/ˈkəpˌkākiNG/
verb
The recreational activity of making cupcakes to share. This may include trying new recipes and constantly saving them on Pinterest.

I warned you that I was going to make Cupcaking a thing. It is a published official word. (* Warning- Urban Dictionary should not necessarily be consulted when trying to look up definitions. Some images you can’t get out of your head.)

I finished the last Cupcake Project in November 2015. I wanted the third go around to be a little more of a challenge. I looked for a few more out of the ordinary flavors. You can only make so many cookies & cream or lemon cupcakes. If this is my hobby, then I have to branch out. It is getting a bit harder to make sure that I have not made a repeat cupcake or one that is too similar to a previous flavor.

The planning stage!

The planning stage!

If you have not already read the reason why I started the Cupcake Project a few years ago, you can revisit my past blog post. The Cupcake Project

The majority of the recipes can be found on my Pinterest Page under The Cupcake Project 3.0 Board Pinterest Board The Cupcake Project 3.0

I am nearing the 1/3 way point of The Cupcake Project 4.0 so this is late in coming but I am happy to share with you the Cupcake Project 3.0 List. Enjoy!

Week
1. Pumpkin Cupcakes with Nutella Frosting
Week 1 Bonus- Devil’s Food Cupcake with a Peanut Butter- Chocolate Ganache topped with a Peanut Butter Cream Frosting. Happy Birthday to my friend Ethel.
2. Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cupcakes with Cinnamon Sugared Chocolate Chip Frosting
3. Butterscotch Cupcakes (white cupcake with a butterscotch buttercream dipped in a butterscotch ganache)
4. White Russian Cupcakes (Vanilla cupcake with vodka & Kahlua with a brush of more Kahlua topped with a Kahlua buttercream)
5. Nutterbutter & Chocolate Overload Cupcakes (Devil’s Food Cupcake with crushed Nutterbutters in it. Topped with a peanut butter frosting, then a milk chocolate frosting & finally a tiny Nutterbutter)

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6. Apple Crisp Cupcakes (Vanilla Cupcake with a Cinnamon frosting, topped with a homemade apple pie filling and an oat crisp)
7. Cranberry Cupcakes (vanilla cupcake with cranberry sauce filling topped with a cranberry buttercream frosting)
8. Pecan Pie Cupcakes (butter cake with a homemade from scratch caramel frosting, topped with toasted pecans & a piece of pie crust)
9. White Chocolate Cupcakes with White Chocolate-Cream Cheese Frosting
10. Orange Clove Cupcakes with Orange Buttercream
Week 10 Bonus- Maple-Bacon Cupcakes
11. Chocolate- Peppermint Cupcakes (Devil’s Food Cupcake with a Peppermint Buttercream frosting)

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12. Ferrero Rocher Cupcakes (Chocolate Syrup Cupcakes filled with Nutella and topped with a Ferrero Rocher candy)
13. Earl Grey Cupcakes with a Lemon Buttercream Frosting
14. Tiramisu Cupcakes
15. Bananas Foster Cupcakes
Week 15 Bonus- Mt. Dewritos Cupcakes & Coconut-Lime Cupcakes (with lime curd filling) Super Bowl Party at our house!
16. Mayan Chocolate Cupcakes (Cinnamon, Ancho Chile & Cayenne spiced Chocolate cake with Cinnamon Chocolate Buttercream frosting)
17. Pineapple Cream Cupcakes (Pineapple cupcake with a cream cheese frosting)
18. Reese’s Pieces Cupcakes (white cake with baked in Reese’s Pieces topped with a Peanut Butter Buttercream frosting, a PB-Chocolate ganache drizzle and of course Reese’s Pieces)

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19. Blue Moon Cupcakes (it has a bit of Blue Moon Beer & orange zest in the cupcake and topped with Frothy White Frosting)
20. Homemade Funfetti Cupcakes with a Whipped Buttercream frosting
21. Heath Bar Cupcakes (Devil’s Food Cupcake with Heath Bar bits in the cake & buttercream frosting. Topped then with a chocolate ganache & of course a piece of a Heath Bar)
Week 21 bonus- Funfetti Cupcakes & Neapolitan Cupcakes. It was for a fundraiser bake sale!
22. Sour Patch Cupcakes (2 varieties lemon-raspberry & black cherry-lime)

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23. German Chocolate Cupcakes
24. Orange Creamsicle Cupcakes with orange cream cheese frosting
25. Jack & Coke Cupcakes (Cola-Chocolate Cupcake filled with a chocolate-whiskey ganache and topped with a Whiskey Buttercream frosting)
26. Grape Kool-Aid Cupcakes
27. Snickers Cupcakes (Chocolate Cupcake filled with caramel & topped with a caramel buttercream. Oh an a piece of a real Snickers)
28. Banana Pudding Cupcake (banana pudding cake topped with a whipped cream topping & a Nilla Wafer)
29. Lemoncello Cupcakes with a Lemoncello glaze & then Lemoncello Cream Cheese Frosting
30. Blueberry Cupcakes with a Honey Buttercream frosting (and a drizzle of blueberry preserves)

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31. Banana Split Cupcakes ( Devils Food & Banana Cupcake with a Strawberry Buttercream Frosting topped with chocolate syrup, sprinkles & of course, a cherry)

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32. Rum Punch Cupcakes ( Coconut-Rum Cupcakes with a Pineapple-Lime-Rum infused Whipped Cream topping)
33. Atomic Fire Ball Cupcakes
34. Candied Grapefruit Cupcakes
35. Chocolate Banana Peanut Butter Cupcakes (chocolate & banana cupcake topped with a PB buttercream & a chocolate ganache)
Week 35 Bonus- Mayan Chocolate Cupcake with Cocoa-Cinnamon Buttercream frosting. Happy Birthday, Juliet!
Week 35 Bonus Part 2- Port Wine & Cherry Chocolate Cupcakes with Mascarpone Frosting. The yearly Happy Birthday cupcake of my amazing friend, Kara!
Week 35 Bonus Part 3- Triple Threat Cupcakes (white cake with an Oreo bottom, filled with chocolate chip cookie dough and topped with a brownie crumble buttercream) Happy Birthday to my husband’s BFF, Jason. He doesn’t get to partake in the cupcakes often, so he deserves the bonus.
Week 35 Bonus Part 4- Cookies ‘N Cream Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Oreo frosting and Tardis sprinkles. Whew! It was a busy week.
36. Mango-Lime Cupcakes- This is the second time in the entire history of all my Cupcake Project incarnations that a recipe was a total fail.
37. Chocolate Strawberry Cupcakes with Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting
38. Cabernet Blackberry Cupcakes (the cupcake is a chocolate cab blackberry cake with a cab blackberry buttercream)
39. Avocado Cupcakes
This is my first vegan cupcake. No eggs or butter. Avocado’s substitute for all that. The cupcake is chocolate and the frosting is an avocado cream frosting. One of the most different yet.

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40. Piña Colada Cupcakes (pineapple-rum cake with coconut-rum buttercream)
41. Chocolate-Bacon Cupcakes with Dulce de Leche Frosting ( the frosting is dulce de leche cream cheese frosting & is topped with candied bacon & sea salt)
42. Strawberry Milkshake Cupcakes with strawberry whipped cream frosting
43. Kiwi-Vanilla Cupcake with Kiwi Buttercream
44. Golden Oreo Cupcakes (yellow cake with a Golden Oreo bottom & cream cheese frosting)
45. Lemon-Ginger Cupcakes with Lemon Frosting
46. Island Daiquiri Cupcakes (coconut-rum cake with a line curd filling topped with a mango whipped cream frosting)
47. Cinnamon-Sugar Cupcakes (Butter cake topped & filled with a cinnamon buttercream & a caramel drizzle)
48. Raspberry-Lemon Cheesecake Cupcakes (lemon cake with a cheesecake filling & topped with a raspberry cream cheese frosting)
49. Peppermint Patty Cupcakes (Chocolate cake topped with a peppermint filling and chocolate glaze. And a tiny Peppermint Patty)
50. Banana-Bourbon Cupcakes. (There is a lot going on here) Banana cake with toffee & chocolate chips topped with a bourbon buttercream frosting & a chocolate-bourbon ganache. A finally a few more toffee bits.
51. Maple Walnut Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
Week 51 Bonus- Chocolate Death by Oreo Cupcakes. For my niece’s end of the season Field Hockey banquet
52. Cranberry Orange Cupcakes with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting & a Cranberry Orange Drizzle

Don’t worry I have many more recipes to try. Pinterest, friends and some great cook books keep them coming.

To review the Previous Cupcake Project blog posts, please check out:
The Cupcake Project 1.0
The Cupcake Project 2.0

TA DA!

Rethinking the vows

When Ed & I got married, I told the pastor that I was not going to pledge my commitment to the vow “obey.” It was 2000, I am a modern woman, and I am not one to always obey anything. Ask my husband. It was my stand for women’s lib. Or something like that in my head. Of course, we had the option of writing our own vows, but if you have met my husband, you would know that his vows would have been about 3 words and it was easier to go the more traditional route. Minus the whole obey business.

Recently, I have been rethinking one of the other vows that we made. The one that you promise to love & honor in sickness and in health. I am now thinking that I should have added a disclaimer that I will absolutely love him in health but the sickness part needs an asterisk. I am not so sure that I support injury as part of that pledge. Please don’t take this as I am not adhering to my vows. I love my husband, but whoever wrote those vows so long ago did not do this while dealing with a man who has broken his arm.

A few weeks ago (or months maybe, so it feels), Ed broke his wrist. Playing hockey no less. The man has played hockey for nearly 20 years, and in a purely for fun pick up game, he falls and breaks his stupid wrist. I will give him tons of credit, the man was fairly calm when he called me and managed the Petri dish of the ER waiting room with more dignity than I did. But the days following were the challenge.

What is it about a man who is sick or injured, that causes him to become a 5 year-old throwing a tantrum? To be fair, I am sure this does not apply to all men, but my experience has proven differently. I have broken my hand before, I know that it is painful and frustrating. And I am not without empathy or sympathy, for that matter. But the test is real, people.

We have now been through surgery. Ed is the proud owner of a plate and a couple of screws. Next phase was the hard cast. And then the soft brace. I would image that at the time of this writing, we are on the downhill slide. I am sure that he has felt helpless at times through this ordeal. There is a certain level of frustration that applies to being non-weight bearing and one-handed.

I think that having gone through this in our marriage, it ultimately will make us stronger. In retrospect, we will be able to look back and laugh. Hey look, we got through the “Broken Wrist of 2016” and I did not kill you. HA HA HA! Maybe that is what we will laugh about in an anniversary toast in 30+ years. I do know that if he ever have a vow renewal of any kind, I will not be pledging my vows for injury.

In all seriousness, Ed, I am glad that you are healing. And I love you. But please do not plan on any major injuries for a long, long time!

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TA DA!

Life of a Gisher: Year 3. AKA The GISHWHES recap 2015

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**Disclaimer- GISHWHES 2015 ended last August. Seriously 10 months ago, and I am just finishing up this post. Sorry…. I have decided not to participate this year and I am a little bummed about it. But I am still so happy to share my adventures from the last hunt with you.**

August 2015
It is that time of year again, where I recap my departure from normalcy for a week and complete crazy tasks. As I have said in the past, this is one of my favorite blog posts to write about every year.

For those of you that don’t know…If you are not familiar with GISHWHES, you have not been reading my blog long, or not been paying attention. GISHWHES is the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen. (For more information go to http://www.GISHWHES.com or you can find GISHWHES on both Facebook and Twitter) Basically it is a week-long hunt for items that cause you to create, step out of your comfort zone and do random acts of kindness. Basically, taking a little negativity out of the world.

This year our little WaterMelophant team began with some of the usual suspects- Myself, my sister and Niece #1. We once again roped in Critter, who is a video genius and the always extraordinary, Ben. Critter’s sister Jane participated last year on another team, so he convinced her to join us from the far off land of Maryland. Jane brought her BFF, Zona and Rebecca to play along.

Our little band of 8 was joined with 7 spectacular folks from West Virginia (Ella Michelle, Kelli, Jessica, Phillip, Steven, Brittany & Madison) to become watermelophantsLovesRaxarichenbachsalt. Talk about a mouth full. Thankfully the overlords at GISHWHES thought to allow teams to change names this year and we became Team Kale Hydra

Team Kale Hydra

Team Kale Hydra

GISHWHES 2015 team pic

This year, I think that I was the most prepared that I have been. In other words, I was not stressed about the initial process this year because I have learned that there is no way to predict what the next week will entail. I assumed that there would be a team photo, an item to build something out of female hygiene products and a stromtrooper item, but the rest was a exhilarating, scary mystery.

ITEM 40 IMAGE- They say, “A dog is a man’s best friend,” but they are sexist. Dogs can be women’s best friends too. To prove it, make one entirely out of feminine hygiene products. The dog must be at least 40 centimeters tall. (See how international we are? Look at these units!)

Item 40: 40. IMAGE. They say, “A dog is a man’s best friend,” but they are sexist. Dogs can be women’s best friends too. To prove it, make one entirely out of feminine hygiene products. The dog must be at least 40 centimeters tall. (See how international we are? Look at these units!)

This year’s list came out on August 1, and contained 215 items. That does not mean that it stayed at 215 items but that was what we had to go over to start with. Unlike previous years, this years list came out at 6 a.m. PST. And I was up and waiting. And let me tell you that there are few things besides Disneyland, that I get up that early for when I don’t have to. I had my week planned out, like you can for GISHWHES. What I mean to say is that I took a couple days off work.

I have to say that this year was my favorite. I felt that the communication was amazing. We had a great little team. I am amazed at how creative & artistic people are. I am amazed at how creative & artistic that I can be at times. I would absolutely join with these group again in the future.

One of the exciting things that happened was that one of our team’s photo’s made People Magazine. Okay, it made People’s online site but who cares, we were momentarily famous (in our own minds.) And don’t think for a minute that we did not share the hell out of this on social media.
People Magazine Online Article GISHWHES 2015

ITEM 179. IMAGE- Work opportunities are scarce since the Death Star blew up. Let’s see a stormtrooper working at their job as a waiter, fast food line prep, car mechanic, postal worker, deli sandwich maker, road-repair worker, etc).

ITEM 179. IMAGE- Work opportunities are scarce since the Death Star blew up. Let’s see a stormtrooper working at their job as a waiter, fast food line prep, car mechanic, postal worker, deli sandwich maker, road-repair worker, etc).

As usual social media played a big part in the hunt. Particularly Twitter. We were asked to harass celebrities trying to get a tweet back. BTW, you disappoint me Taylor Swift for not replying….
We created Bronies for our favorite celebs!

ITEM 54. IMAGE- WILLIAM SHATNER ITEM - You may not know this but William Shatner is a big My Little Pony Brony (a male fan of the My Little Pony series.) He wants to share this interest with other actors. Create an image however you wish of one of your favorite actors as a My Little Pony and tweet it to them. Get the actor to retweet your image and hashtag #Shatnermademedoit @gishwhes. Submit a screencap of the actor tweet.

54. IMAGE. WILLIAM SHATNER ITEM – You may not know this but William Shatner is a big My Little Pony Brony (a male fan of the My Little Pony series.) He wants to share this interest with other actors. Create an image however you wish of one of your favorite actors as a My Little Pony and tweet it to them. Get the actor to retweet your image and hashtag #Shatnermademedoit @gishwhes. Submit a screencap of the actor tweet.

We harassed closed-minded politicians. And supported love winning!
We gave the First Lady Gardening tips.

ITEM 120. IMAGE- Stand in front of your garden holding up a sign with your best unorthodox or hard to believe gardening tip for the First Lady of the United States. Tweet it to @MichelleObama and include “@gishwhes” and “#gardeninghack”

120. IMAGE. Stand in front of your garden holding up a sign with your best unorthodox or hard to believe gardening tip for the First Lady of the United States. Tweet it to @MichelleObama and include “@gishwhes” and “#gardeninghack”

I shared my love of reading and one of my favorites.

ITEM 159. IMAGE-Tweet a picture of you holding up your most inspiring book or book title with the hashtag #booksnotbullets and @gishwhes.

159. IMAGE-Tweet a picture of you holding up your most inspiring book or book title with the hashtag #booksnotbullets and @gishwhes.

Other social media was used as well. We reviewed GISHWHES on yelp. And we created a recipe and submitted it to allrecipes.com. (I was hoping to find the link to share, but alas it is lost.)

I was less afraid this year of dressing up and making a fool of myself. I mean after all are these people going to see me again. Well, yes because I did these tasks in my little city with my friends & family, but if they don’t know how weird I am now, I can’t help them.

ITEM 139. IMAGE- Do your best 1950’s June Cleaver impression and vacuum the lawn.

139. IMAGE- Do your best 1950’s June Cleaver impression and vacuum the lawn.

ITEM 23. IMAGE- Tour a wastewater/sewage treatment factory dressed in formal attire with an accompanying violinist or flutist.

23. IMAGE- Tour a wastewater/sewage treatment factory dressed in formal attire with an accompanying violinist or flutist.

And don’t think that I did not get my family & friends to dress up too!

ITEM 194. IMAGE- Let’s see a fully dressed Mary (pregnant) and Joseph shopping for baby clothes or items, or in a pregnancy breathing class.

ITEM 194. IMAGE- Let’s see a fully dressed Mary (pregnant) and Joseph shopping for baby clothes or items, or in a pregnancy breathing class.

Niece #3 and Nephew #2 were in the act this year and helped with several items, as once again unofficial members of the team.

ITEM 1. IMAGE-Beautifully recreate one of these painting optical illusions or another one you find on the Internet using real bodies and/or props: http://www.thedesignwork.com/65-amazing-optical-illusion-pictures/

ITEM 1. IMAGE-Beautifully recreate one of these painting optical illusions or another one you find on the Internet using real bodies and/or props: http://www.thedesignwork.com/65-amazing-optical-illusion-pictures/

I got to bake for the hunt. No, not cupcakes, something much more exciting.

ITEM 165. IMAGE- WILLIAM SHATNER ITEM - Carrie Fisher is known for her portrayal of Princess Leia in Star Wars. Her memorable hairstyle was often called the Princess Leia Bun. Bake a portrait of Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia in bread.

ITEM 165. IMAGE- WILLIAM SHATNER ITEM – Carrie Fisher is known for her portrayal of Princess Leia in Star Wars. Her memorable hairstyle was often called the Princess Leia Bun. Bake a portrait of Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia in bread.

There was of course acts of charity included. Our team wrote letters to people who made a difference in our lives. I officially registered as an organ donor. I was happy to have an art supply drive that benefitted my amazing friend Katie’s 1st grade classroom.

ITEM 102. IMAGE- Many school music and art programs are underfunded. Find a local school art program that needs instruments, art supplies, etc. and donate a needed item to it (as well as try to find others to donate to it). The image should be of you presenting the item(s) to the teacher/administrator at the school.

ITEM 102. IMAGE- Many school music and art programs are underfunded. Find a local school art program that needs instruments, art supplies, etc. and donate a needed item to it (as well as try to find others to donate to it). The image should be of you presenting the item(s) to the teacher/administrator at the school.

And there was so much more that I am forgetting. I wish that I could share more with you.

As always, I encourage you to think about joining the hunt. Step outside yourself. Be weird, do some good in the world. What is a week of your time? GISHWHES website

ITEM 29. IMAGE- Show us your idea of love. Caption the image if you wish.

ITEM 29. IMAGE- Show us your idea of love. Caption the image if you wish.

The full list of items from the hunt can be found here.
GISHWHES 2015 Full Item List

Have an abnosomely amazing day!

TA-DA!

New Year & Welcome Back! (I am aware that it is June….)

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Hello! Let me re-introduce myself. I’m Jenn. I seemed to have fallen down the rabbit hole which has kept me from writing. Not that I wanted to do that, I have been keeping a list of blog post ideas, but the actual act of sitting down at the computer has evaded me. Alas, this is life and I am here now. Which you may or may not be thrilled about.
So let me wish you a Happy 2016. Yes, I know that it is June but better late than never, as they say.

There has been a lot happening in my life since last August, which is when I last posted something. Do you really want my excuses? Probably not. We are all busy, my excuses are not needed. To those of you that are still here, thanks for sticking with me.

I was reminded when I got my auto-renew invoice that I used to be a “blog writer.” I did not say that I as a good one, but I had a blog and I wrote so by logical deduction, that is what I am. (Social Worker by day, blog writer by night?)
So I am going to get back on this horse.

How have you all been? 2016 treating you well?

Welcome back readers. What has been going on with me? You ARE asking yourself that, right?
Well, I am still cupcaking. I have decided that this should be a word and am trying to make it happen. In fact, the Cupcake Project 4.0 started about 11 weeks ago. Who knew there were so many different cupcake recipes in the world. Well, let me tell you there are. Pinterest reminds me that pretty continually. You all are still dying to get the run down on the CP 3.0, huh? Well that is on its way.

I have become all consumingly obsessed with Hamilton the Musical. The addiction is real, people. If you are not on this bandwagon, I suggest you give it a try. The Tony’s are on this Sunday June 12, set your DVR.
Hamilton Grammy Performance

Sadly, my mother-in-law lost her battle with cancer in February. Dealing with death is such a surreal thing. I am sure that I will write about that in the future. To be honest, I am not sure that I have processed it all yet.

Work has been overwhelming. Wizard Con Sacramento is next weekend. Nice # 1 survived her first year in high school. Time has flown by. So many things in my weird, boring, unique life. And I wouldn’t change a thing.

So thanks again for still being here. Your life is more complete again. As is mine.

TA-DA!

Nice Start, Meghan Trainor.

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One of Niece #3’s favorite songs right now, is Dear Future Husband by Meghan Trainor. I am not normally a pop music listener but when you spend a great deal of time with a 12 & 14 year-old, you get your fair share of the Top 40. I do not personally have anything against Meghan Trainor. Her songs are catchy and fairly wholesome. I would rather my nieces listen to her than say, Justin Beiber. I am not up on the back lash that she received last year from her All About that Bass. Personally, I am all for something that gives girls self-confidence. But I am also not one to over analyze a pop song either.

So this Dear Future Husband song. It is cute, and bubbly. Very bubble gum. And after hanging out with Niece #3 for a week I have heard it more than 7 million times. Okay, maybe that is an exaggeration, but if you have listened to a Top 40 station for an extended length of time you come to figure out that there are only so many songs played. So maybe it wasn’t truly 7 million times, but it feels like it. But I digress.

So after hearing the song a ton, I started really listening to the words. ( you can find the full lyrics here http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/meghantrainor/dearfuturehusband.html )
And it dawned on me that this girl is missing a few things to tell her future husband. Or perhaps it is just naiveté of someone young.

**I would like to take this moment to give a disclaimer. This is not intended to be a husband bashing blog post. I love my husband. And anything posted here is something that he has heard before. But lets face it, sometimes husbands are oblivious… (Hi Ed!)**

I think that my biggest issue with the song is that she is forgetting that there is a lot more to a relationship, especially a marriage than just taking you on a date and being a classy guy. Not to down play that, because you can hope to marry a gentleman, but why not focus on things like listen to me, and try to understand things from my perspective. No one knows exactly what is going on in the other’s head (Thank goodness) so learn the art of communication. I will admit that after being together for 16 years, I do understand some of my husband’s MO, but not always. For example when he is upset, he will shut down rather than want to talk about. Could be a guy thing…

My song would have talked about the art of compromise. One or the other of you is not always right. There will be fights but it is important to learn to say you are sorry when needed.

Compliments mean a lot. And sometimes are needed out of the blue. Don’t just compliment me when I am all dressed up for something special. I took the time to look nice then, I know this. Tell me I look nice when I least expect it.

Pick a damn restaurant. You are hungry, I am hungry. Why is this the same conversation over and over?

Sure the flowers on our anniversary are nice, but surprise me with flowers at another random time. (See compliments above.)

Help out around the house. Without being told.

Be appreciative. Be supportive.

And I disagree with Meghan. A little dirty mind is not necessarily a bad thing… Sometimes.

I guess that my song would not be as interesting. And not nearly as catchy. Bottom line is love me and be there. So Meghan is not too far off on all the hearts & flowers but there is a lot of important other things to keep a marriage going. Because hearts & flowers are not going to last forever. The realism is that there is no Prince Charming in the real world, but that doesn’t mean Prince A-Little-Flawed is not the perfect match for you.

TA-DA!

The Infamous Rainbow Sprinkle Cake

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I like to bake. If you have been following my blog for a while you have read about the ongoing Cupcake Projects. I am halfway through Cupcake Project 3.0. I enjoy it mostly because I like to share with others. Truth is, I am not the biggest cake fan.

My friend, Jill, and I took four months worth of cake decorating classes a few years back. It was fun and I learned a lot from it. I have no desire to do it on a regular basis, but it made me appreciate the art of cakes (and those that make them.)

I have obviously made cakes for family members or holidays. My nieces & nephews generally get a cupcake recipe of their choice on their birthday. Occasionally, they will want a cake. Nephew #2 has gotten a few cake & cupcake choices for his birthdays.

Transformer Cake

Transformer Cake

Perry The Platypus Cupcakes

Perry The Platypus Cupcakes. I loved these!

Niece #1 generally wants a simpler cupcake recipe. She is not a flashy girl. (Thanks, Noodle for making your birthday easy on me.)

And then there is Niece #3. I love this girl. She is crazy & bold. She is bright & colorful. And this year after seeing a similar cake at my local favorite bakery, it was decided that she wanted the Rainbow Sprinkle Cake. Challenge accepted!

The original cake was eight layers and was a smaller circumference. It was beautiful. I must admit, I was in awe of it. So when Niece #3 turned 12 a couple of weeks ago, I knew that it was time for the cake to be made. We had a nice family birthday dinner closer to her actual birthday. Pretty standard for birthdays around these parts. No cake needed. But wait, there is the upcoming friend party. The important party, when you are turning 12.

We agreed that it would only be four layers, because well no one really needs eight layers. Actually, no one really needs four layers either but you got to make it worth the rainbow title. She decided on blue, green, yellow & orange as the cake colors she wanted. I tried to push for a purple or at least a pink. But when the birthday girl has made up her mind, it is done.

I started my journey with a trip to the grocery store. You need eggs etc., to make a proper cake. And you need sprinkles. Nearly 3 lbs of sprinkles to be exact. As my husband will tell you, I tend to over-estimate when it comes to these kind of ingredients at times. However, better have too much, than be running to the store because you ran out of something you needed in the middle of making it. And I have had to do that too…

So last Saturday morning, I got up early. (For me anything earlier than 8 on a Saturday, is early.) And began the task of the Rainbow Sprinkle cake.

The cake process is easy. Have stand mixer, will bake. The dividing of the cake evenly proved to be a little more difficult but I made it work. And let me tell you that the colors you can make with Wilton Gel Color are amazing.

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Next I got all four layers baked, cooled and frosting made. And the construction begins.

The nice thing with covering a cake with sprinkles is that your frosting does not have to be perfect, it just has to hold the sprinkles. And oh the sprinkles. SO MANY SPRINKLES!

But after nearly an hour of covering the outside of the cake with sprinkles by hand, we have success! And we have a cake of pure sugar. I must thank my dog, Oscar, for his continued cleaning of anything edible dropped on the floor. I can always count on him to clean up the kitchen. In this case, I am a little surprised that he did not get sick from the amount of sprinkles that he ate. And that he did not shit rainbows for a couple of days after. (Disclaimer-No dogs were involved in the baking of this or any other cake. Other than eating dropped things on the floor, of course.)

I must say that I was pretty proud of the completed cake.

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And it managed to fit in my cake carrier just enough to keep it firmly in place. I was slightly worried that it wouldn’t fit, but we made it work.

At the party

At the party

Niece #3 was impressed. Her friends were impressed. My sister-in-law was grateful for one less thing to worry about. But the thing that mattered most to me, was that the birthday girl was happy.

Birthday Girl

Birthday Girl

And I completed another challenge that I made for myself.

The inside. Please excuse my poor cutting job.

The inside. Please excuse my poor cutting job.

And the Rainbow Sprinkle Cake will forever reign in infamy, as the coolest birthday cake ever. Well, at least in my family.

TA-DA!

Pop Culture Senior Citizen?

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I must apologize to my readers. I have been a bad blogger. I know that you have been hanging on the edge of your seat awaiting my blogging return. I am that important to your world. You have missed me. Okay, maybe that is a little dramatic but you could humor me a little. A lot has happened in the last couple months, and I won’t bore you with all the details, but here is a brief synopsis:
Had an Upper Respiratory Infection, got a promotion, went to trainings, watched a lot of The Walking Dead, read 10 or so book, slept (not enough), played hockey, nieces had volleyball, went to a couple movies, went to a couple plays, husband had softball, caught up on the current season of Arrow, played with dogs. You get the picture.
So enough about that, here is the real blog post…..

One of my favorite podcasts is The Pop Culture Happy Hour. It is a weekly podcast that is brought to you by the good people at NPR. On a recent episode, the discussion was about anniversary re-releases of various pop culture items. For example: recently it was the 30th anniversary of the release of The Breakfast Club. What I took away from the podcast was that these anniversaries cause us to take a look at things that were influential to us when we were younger.

Listening to the discussion about this topic kind of took me down the rabbit hole thinking about pop culture topics. One of the points made (and this is not the first time that I have heard this brought up this year) is that we are currently 30 years in the future of when the “modern” times of Back to the Future was set. If that makes no sense and you have not heard this discussion, let me clarify. In the first Back to the Future- Marty goes back 30 years to the time when his parents met (1955). At that time this seemed a million years in the past. In Back to the Future 2- Marty goes 30 years into his real future or 2015. (Anyone confused?)

So I started thinking about that concept. Does 1985 seem like it was so incredibly long ago to my nieces now, as 1955 seemed to me then? And why doesn’t 1985 seem so incredibly long ago to me now? I know that this is all a bit timey-whimey. Does the current generation of teenagers have 80’s themed parties or homecoming days and think that it is so old school? Has crimped hair, neon, side pony tails & plastic bangle bracelets become the new poodle skirt?

One of the points made on the podcast was that the pop culture events that occur during our early teen years seem to have the most lasting influence on us years later. I find that somewhat true for movies. Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, Ferris Bueller are still among my favorites to this day. But looking at this list, maybe it was just John Hughes that had an influence on me… I can’t say the same for music. Sure I still enjoy listening to the 80’s channel on occasion, but I can’t say that I am stuck on that music.

The other point that I grasped on to as I was going further down the rabbit hole, was at what point do you become too old to be in the know of what is hot? I have always liked to think of myself as being “in the know” on pop culture. But in recent years, I am losing that more and more. I am busier with work and other life stuff, so some of that is natural. The increase in the amount of media is another factor. We had 60 channels when I was in high school. I currently have well over 200. The internet barely existed, let alone in the palm of my hand on my phone. There was no iPods or satellite radio. In Northern CA, we were always a month behind truly new music. We were limited to what the local top 40 radio played. Unless we had a cool cousin that lived in Southern CA and shared their latest find. What I would have given to have an alternative radio station growing up… So basically, I simply cannot ingest all of the pop culture that is out there anymore.

I read Entertainment Weekly and People. I listen to satellite radio’s college radio station. I flip through Buzzfeed fairly regularly. But I simply can’t keep up. And I have to accept that I am just old. Knowing that True Detective is cool. I am in on this. But naming all the members of One Direction does have the same importance to me that knowing who Joey, Donnie, Jordan, Jonathan & Danny are, once did. At one point, I would have been devastated not to be the one who didn’t watch Orphan Black. But I am okay with it.

I am still pretty cool. I have read books by Rainbow Rowell. I know that Daryl Dixon will kick your ass. I can tell the difference between an Ariana Grande song and one by Iggy Azalea. (To clarify-that doesn’t mean that I necessarily like their music, I can just differentiate them). But I also still buy CD’s on occasion. The Lost Boys soundtrack is still amazing to me. I will still watch Friends reruns on regular TV, not Netflix. I still quote lines from Heathers or Sixteen Candles. And I am perfectly okay with this.

So this is not only my chronological middle age, but my pop culture middle age. I am in PC Limbo. I will never understand every meme created. But I certainly know enough to recognize that the Jem & the Holograms cartoon from back in the day is way cooler than the live action movie coming out. At least in my memories it is.

And I know that Abe Froman will always be the Sausage King of Chicago.

TA-DA!