Monday, August 30, 2010

The Tag Game

Ok, so you know that I'm new to blog land, and I'm still learning the ropes.  Last week, I got "tagged" by Nicole at Destination Unknown (Yipes!  Tag? Is that like a button?).  So, I had to call Leanne to ask her about this tag and what the heck I was suppose to do.  After Leanne's explanation, I've finally gotten around to answering the questions from Nicole.  Here they are:

1. If you were allowed to only read one book for the rest of your life - what would you choose?

Since I don't read much now, I'd have a hard time picking a book.  The easy answer is "The Bible", but that's not MY answer.  Maybe "Green Eggs & Ham"?  I might get bored with that one after a few years.  I guess I'd have to ask for some recommendations from my friends/family who are avid readers.  I'd probably be looking for some type of romance novel -- not a "bodice-ripper" type, just a good old-fashioned romance novel.

2. Imagine you are on death row, and it's time to pick your last meal - what would it be?

Pizza, pizza and more pizza.  Oh, did I mention pizza?  Yup.  Pizza. 

3. If you had to do it again (or do it for the first time) - what type of wedding would you have??

Complete opposite of what we had (but doesn't everyone want to do the complete opposite of what their wedding was after the fact?)  Anyway, it would definitely be small, with immediate family and maybe one or two close friends only.  It would probably still be in a church, but then a great dinner somewhere overlooking a great view -- like the City of Chicago, or maybe the ocean. 

4. If you could live anywhere in the world - where would you choose and what type of dwelling would you live in?

I'm pretty happy where I live now and my current dwelling.  I would consider Italy (and that is probably where CT would want to live, since he has family there), but they don't use clothes dryers in Italy, and I refuse to hang my delicates on a clothes line for the world to see.  Otherwise, I would be happy to live in place that does not have brutally cold, snowy winters like we have here in Chicago. 

5. What are your thoughts on organized religion?

Whatever works for people - makes no difference to me.  To each his/her own, I say.

6. Describe your most embarrassing moment!

There are too many to describe, and frankly, I can't really remember any right now.  Wow - does that mean that I am secure enough in myself to not dwell anymore about what embarrassing things happen or what others think?  I'll have to ponder that one.

7. What are you most proud of? 

I had a really great career for a very long time, and I worked really hard for that career.  I was proof that hard work paid off, even if you didn't get straight A's in college.

8. Finally... who would be your arch nemesis and why??

Any skinny cook on any food/cooking show.  (There are several out there and they shall remain nameless.)  I don't trust skinny cooks who claim to eat everything they cook.  No way, no way, no way.  I've always said that between taping of the various cooking show segments, they have a bucket that they use to "dispose' of the food they are chewing!  Gross, I know.  Sorry!    :)

Ok, so now I'm suppose to "tag" others with some questions.  I'm only picking two, and they are my Scrapbook Cellar girls,


And your questions are (yes, I borrowed these questions from Leanne):

1. What is your all-time favorite movie (the one that you can watch over and over, when just hearing it in the back ground is enough to imagine exactly what is happening on the screen)?

2. Tell me about one Halloween costume you remember wearing as a child.

3. Why did you start blogging?

4. What makes you happy?

5. If you were able to go back in time, where would you go and why?

6. What was the last thing you bought at the grocery store?

7. How do you take your coffee? (If you don’t drink coffee … wait, let me get a handle on that … YOU DON’T DRINK COFFEE??? Ok, if you don’t drink coffee, then what is your favorite beverage?)

8. Brag a little . . . tell me about a recent RAK (random act of kindness) that you took part in.

Ok, thanks for playing the Tag Game.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

It Takes A Village

Did you ever hear the expression “It takes a village”? Well, if you did, I bet you never heard it in this context.

Thursdays are my “Nanny Day”, meaning, I have the pleasure to spend (aka, babysit) the entire day with my nieces, Katie and Ella (well, now that Katie is back in school, it's just me and Ella) while their mommy is at work. You might know Katie and Ella – daughters of my sister, Leanne, the writer of From Chaos Comes Happiness. 


So, last Thursday, I arrived at Leanne’s house at approximately 7:30 a.m. Leanne and I tried to have a quick chat between changing of the pajamas, making lunches, eating breakfast, packing the backpack, playing a quick game of Wii with Ella (yes, Ella insisted that her and I play Wii that morning), reading through Katie’s latest library book (Guinness Book of World Records – 2003), finding shoes, and then quick notes of the day’s schedule (what time Katie gets off the bus, what time Leanne is working until, who will be there and when, etc., etc., etc.)

So, after Leanne and Katie were ushered out of the door, Ella and I decided to have one last quick game of Wii before we departed to run a few errands on the way back to my house. But before we could escape Leanne’s house, the phone rang. Yes, it was Leanne. Here was our conversation:

Leanne: Oh – I’m so glad you’re still there.

Me: Yes, we are, but we are starting to pack up and head out. To Ella: Ellie, get Teddy and Blankie. And go potty before we leave! Ok, what’s up?

Leanne: Well, today is garbage day, and I forgot to throw out the old pizza from the fridge. 

Me: Ok, I’m right here in the kitchen. Let me look. Ok, I see the pizza. I’ll throw it out.

Leanne: Ok, thanks. And do you see that container of old corn salad? Throw that out too.

Me: Ok. What about this other container? Red lid; not sure what’s in it.

Leanne: Oh yeah, throw that out too.

(So, you get the point. We proceed to review the contents of the refrigerator, as I questioned unknown containers and packages with unidentifiable contents, cleaning out all of the old food. Then, we had the same conversation regarding the not-so-fresh fruits and vegetables on the counter top.)

Leanne: Thanks so much for taking care of the garbage.

Me: No problem. Oh, I also cleared all the dishes in the sink and loaded the dishwasher. Do you want me to turn the dishwasher on before we leave?

Leanne: Oh, that would be great! Thanks! Oh, and guess what? I forgot to take my sinus meds this morning, and my sinuses are killing me. 

Me: Ok, well, Ella and I can drop those off to you at the office on our way back to my house. (Then, I said quite sarcastically): Is there anything else you need?

Leanne: Yeah, could you make the girls' beds upstairs?


Leanne: Well, what can I say – IT TAKES A VILLAGE TO BE ME!

So, that is that. Leanne has now officially informed me that she needs a village to be herself. And trust me – I am only one small part of that village – the other villagers include grandmas and neighbors and friends and PG (the hubby). Truth be told, it is sometimes fun to be part of this village, and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Man and his... BIRDS

So, since this blog is called “The Adventures of CT and Me”, I figure I better add a few stories about my beloved CT. One such story his is love of birds. Yes, birds.

We live in a relatively new house (we built the house about 2 ½ years ago), and due to the downfall of the housing market, we are surrounded by mostly vacant lots (with the exception of one house directly behind our house.) Still, we managed to build our own little oasis, complete with full landscaping, sod, a couple of trees, and a fence surrounding our small property. Oh yes, and then there is the bird island.

Our bird island, complete with feeders and a bird bath, attracts mostly sparrows, gold finches (or “finchies”, as I call them), mourning doves, cow birds and hummingbirds.

Thanks to the tall evergreen tree in the backyard, a robin found the perfect place for a nest this summer. Before long, we had three blue eggs. CT managed to snap the “before” they were hatched, and “after” they were hatched photos (and right before the momma bird was about to clobber CT in his head for getting too close to her babies.) Once all flew the coup and were long long gone, CT removed the nest from the tree.

Later this summer, CT discovered another nest. This one appeared to be a sparrow’s nest - hidden deep in a small evergreen bush in front of our living room windows. Again, when the babies flew the coup, CT removed the nest.

CT loves his birds so much. The guy could sit in his backyard watching the birds for hours and hours. I won’t talk about the small fortune it costs to feed his feathery friends, or the pounds of sugar we go through during the summer months as CT makes batches and batches of fresh sugar water for his hummingbird feeder.  And only once or twice did yell, "Ok, enough!  Take a break from feeding those birds!", when I looked out and saw twenty or thirty birds just having one big party on the bird island.

Oh well, that is one of the things I love about CT - his love for birds.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Leanne wrote a really great post last night (if you haven’t read it yet, hop over to From Chaos Comes Happiness). As I read her post, I thought, “What a great act of kindness.” And then I started asking myself if I had been kind or exhibited an act of kindness to anyone recently. Here is my story.

For the first time in my life, I find myself unemployed (oh boy – what a topic – for another time). Anyway, a couple of weeks ago I had to go to my local unemployment office to handle some paperwork. As I drove around the unfamiliar area, the only parking I could find was metered street parking, a couple of blocks from the office. I started to panic wondering if I had any quarters for the old-fashioned meter box (which would only accept quarters).  Luckily, I found some quarters in my car and wallet. So I parked and went in to the office (actually stood in line outside the office with a gazillion other people). As I patiently waited my turn, I saw a young 20-something guy come in. Clean-cut, all-American type of guy. He looked lost (and maybe just a little scared) and I’m guessing this was his first time at the unemployment office too. I watched him ask a thousand questions to the clerk on what to do in order to file for unemployment, and then, my name was called and off I went to conduct my own unemployment business.

As I walked back to the car after finishing my business, I heard running footsteps behind me. I thought, I hope no one is chasing me – I can’t run with my wobbly knees! Suddenly, I heard a voice shout out, “Excuse me, Ma’am! Excuse me!” (Side note – don’t you hate being called “Ma’am”? Ma’am is for my mother – I still prefer “Miss”!) So I stopped and turned around. Running from behind me is the All-American guy. As he was running towards me, he shouts, “Do you have any change for a dollar?” Change for a dollar?  Did I hear right?  Then it hit me – the poor guy needed change for a parking meter.  He must not have finished his unemployment business and needed to feed the parking meter and go back to the office.  He was probably running in order to get to his car in time before he received a parking ticket. (The last thing someone needs when they are unemployed is an unexpected bill, like a parking ticket.) So, I quickly dug in my pocket and pulled out the one last coin I had – a quarter. With that, the All-American guy catches up to me.  He was slightly out of breath from running and had a slight look of panic on his face. I asked him, “Do you need it for parking?” And he replied, “Yes.” I then said, “I’m sorry, I used all my quarters for parking too, but I do have one quarter left. Take it. It’s yours.” The All-American guy looked at me, and he seemed genuinely surprised that I was giving him a quarter. Right there and then the expression on his face changed from panic to relief.  With that, he said with much sincerity, “Oh Thank you! Thank You!”  He then flashed a big grin, and proceeded to run off to his car.

I never saw how far the All-American guy ran or where he parked his car. I smiled to myself as I got in my car, feeling good to help out this stranger, hoping that my small quarter saved him from a parking ticket and made an otherwise crumby day at the unemployment office a little better for him. 

I know that we all have our own stories of kindness, but sometimes we get caught up in the rat-race of our busy lives or we just go on "automatic pilot" and we forget some of the simple things, like being kind.  I know I do.  So whether it is a cake for a neighbor (remember Leanne’s post)…. or a quarter… or a smile… or a please or thank you (said with meaning!), any act of kindness to a family member, a co-worker, or a friend, or a complete stranger, can go a long way.

Be kind.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Toasting Your Nuts

Day #4 of this blog. What to write… what to write...thinking…. nothing…. blank…. Oh wait... got it.

Ok, here is the question of the day: Do you toast your walnuts? Discuss amongst yourselves.

Today is the first time I have ever toasted walnuts. I found a recipe for a couscous salad from a magazine sitting on Leanne’s kitchen table the other day. (You know Leanne – my sister and blog hero; author of From Chaos Comes Happiness).  I decided to try this recipe. Here are the ingredients: plain cooked couscous, red seedless grapes (sliced in half), feta cheese, toasted walnuts, olive oil, lemon juice (the real stuff, not the bottled stuff), salt-n-pepper, and parsley. All pretty basic. All fresh. All yummy.

Anyway, I proceeded to toast my walnuts. The aroma coming from my oven as my nuts toasted was amazing. When toasted, walnuts have such a different, rich, and earthy flavor. Combined with the other ingredients, this salad is really delicious and is probably one of my new favorites.

(Sorry, the picture does not do the salad justice. I’ll work on my photography skills next.)

So, if you have never toasted your walnuts, I encourage you to do so. I guarantee you will enjoy it!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Paul To My Julia

Day #3. The blog pressure has returned. What the heck am I going to write about today? I am starting to have a new-found respect for you bloggers out there who write daily posts and are insightful, witty, humorous, thought-provoking, etc.

So, here on Day #3, I will write about CT.  CT is the love of my life. I met CT at age 40 (he was 41), both of us single, never been married and neither of us had kids. We got engaged a couple of months after dating, and were married 11 months later. We will be married five years this November. Anyway, he is truly the best guy with the best heart. (Although I will tell you there are a few things he does that drive me crazy, like yesterday morning - he walked over an entire pile of bed sheets that were sitting at the top of the stairs waiting to be brought down to the laundry room for washing – just because he was finished taking his shower and REALLY REALLY REALLY needed to get to the TV to see what shows he had recorded that he just needed to watch that very minute! So he jumped over the pile to get to the TV.  And when I stood in front of the bed sheets still laying at the top of the stairs and yelled out to him, “YOU’VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!!!” He cluelessly replied, “What?” And then we both just laughed.)

Ok, so I’ve been under the weather these last two days, and truly not in the mood to do anything – no errands, no shopping, no cleaning, no cooking, no yard work, no going out for dinner. Nothing. So, last night, as we became bored with TV, I said to CT, “Just grab any movie from the stash for us to watch.” I was prepared for a STAR WARS, or JAMES BOND, or STAR TREK, or a RAMBO kinda movie (his favorites).  CT then did the most amazing thing. He pulled out a movie and said, “Let’s watch this.” It was not a CT-kinda movie. Rather, it was one of my favorites – “Julie & Julia.” My heart just filled with happiness, because while I knew that CT would rather sit with the TV OFF than to watch a chick-flick, he would do anything to make me feel better. And, after he started the movie, he sat and actually watched the entire movie with me.

 Yes, CT is the Paul to my Julia.  And yes, I felt better.

So, that is my introduction to CT.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

My Blog - Day #2

As I lay awake in bed last night, I thought about my blog – this new, wonderful, exciting, tool that will allow me to creative and design and develop and ultimately share my thoughts with the entire world. A gazillion questions swirled in my head as I try to understand this Land of Blogs – questions like:

1) Buttons. Until yesterday, buttons were these little things that were attached to clothes and that, from time to time, would fall off and get lost. So, now that I have a “blog button”, what happens if I lose it? Should I have more than one button (like just in case someone “grabs” my button, leaving me with none?) Better make a note to ask Leanne about buttons!

2) Lady Bloggers. Who ARE the Lady Bloggers and what about this special society of theirs? I’m a lady, so can I belong to this not-so-secret society too?

3) Gadgets. What are all these gadgets about? I’ve got to experiment more with these gadgets, and I’m not talking about the ones hiding in my kitchen drawers.

4) Dashboard. Hmmmmm… No speedometer? No gas gage? No lights? But if I click on “templates”, I will see colors and fonts, background and text, two or three or more… the options are truly endless.

So, I hopped out of bed this morning with much excitement and exclaimed to CT (my husband, who you will learn more about in the future): “I’ve got to work on my blog!” I poured my cupacoffee, quickly logged in and saw for the first time… COMMENTS…. and FOLLOWERS…. Six in total…OH MY! I have followers who have already read this blog??? And these are not just any followers, but truly great bloggers in their own right. OH NO! Now the pressure and panic is starting to set in… these followers are waiting to see what I do with my blog, and what words I will share with them in my latest post. OH NO! My hands are shaking and I’m starting to sweat as I read the new comments. Gulp. Ok, I can do this. So, I click on “new post’ and begin typing. (I’ll work more on my blog design later.) And as I type, I begin to relax, and smile, and just enjoy having this new creative outlet. I probably won’t be as witty or intelligent or charming as others, but I will be ME.

So, how did you feel when you started your blog?

Friday, August 20, 2010

My First Post!!

Thanks to my blog hero, Leanne, (check out her blog From Chaos Comes Happiness), I welcome you to my new blog and my first post.  Stay tuned as there will be much more to come!! Feel free to grab my button at the sidebar . . .