Sunday, April 29, 2007

Whodathunkit?

Good Evening, Loyal Readers. The featured picture is of a "shrine" of yours truly. I am bringing it to my weekly writing group tomorrow. Each woman in the group has made one (it was an assignment) that represents herself. We will display them and write about them in the class tomorrow. The only restriction was that it shouldn't be too much larger than a 6X9 inch footprint. I cannot wait to see all of them.

I thought of all sorts of lofty ideas for mine but in the end, it became clear what to do. If you don't immediately get it, the message is that my family comes before me and that I am happy because of it. It isn't clear from the photo but I am standing behind the images of my kids and of my husband.

And, if you had asked me ten years ago what my path to happiness might be, I could never have guessed that it would be as a wife and mother.

Whodathunkit?

Saturday, April 28, 2007

BloomingtonGirl Shows Off

Loyal Readers, here are some photos of the packages I put together for gifts (the take-out package) and for two auctions this weekend. My cookies fetched $55 per "suitcase".
Am I showing off? Well, certainly. It occurs to me to feel embarrassed about showing off but then I remember that this is my blog and I can show off if I want to. I figure that most people reading this like me well enough not to mind.
I continue to get more ideas about how to package my stuff. It is a trivial thing as far as world events go but I really enjoy creating them and the people on the receiving end seem to be very happy to get them.




















































































"Leap Year"

Loyal Readers, this is the tile installation I purchased at last night's auction. It measures 34"X34" when it is on the wall and is called Leap Year. It is by clay artist Nell Devitt So, there it is.

I have been walking around our house trying to decide where to put it.

I WILL find a spot. I think I can I think I can I think I can I think I can...

Actually, I am pretty happy to have my second piece in my collection of local artists.

I have no idea if Chris is happy or if he even knows we have the beginnings of a collection. I think that he will be happy to learn that there is one site on the Internet that lists this particular piece at about ten times what I paid for it at silent auction. Geez. I feel sort of guilty, but hey, nobody bid over me. Or, now that I reflect on it it...I don't think that anyone did. I didn't exactly see the paper right before it was picked up from the table and the line to pay was so long that I decided to just let the organizers contact me (they said it was okay to do that). Hmmm. Maybe I didn't buy this piece of art after all. I have no way of knowing until Monday.

Stay tuned for the answer, my Loyal Ones.


Jack has his first baseball game today and if his team wins with even half the gusto Jack had when he creamed me at Monopoly this morning, it ought to be a very good day for Jack. I will post pictures of his cute little team later today.

Bye for now from BloomingtonGirl, Art Collector.

Friday, April 27, 2007

BloomingtonGirl is Tired

Loyal Readers, this is what your BloomingtonGirl will look like in a few short moments after she finishes writing this post to you. We got home a little while ago from Edible Lotus, a festive and wonderful affair with an abundance of food, drink and good cheer. I was so happy to see how many people I knew there. It was an affirmation of community and good will.

There was a silent auction of all sorts of wonderful stuff and I actually donated items to the auction. I made two cookie/brownie assortments (I will post a picture of them tomorrow) that went for $55 each. I bid on some sort of tile wall installation and won it (!!). I have no idea where we will hang them. I shall post a picture of them when I pick them up. My husband was a little less than thrilled but he was a good sport about it. It wasn't that much money in the end and it is a cool work of art.

I go to bed content to live in this wonderful town full of culture and conviviality. But most of all, I feel fortunate to live with the finest man I know. Every day I count my blessings to have a wonderful husband and three great kids.

SO lucky.

BloomingtonGirl Gussies Up

Loyal Readers, it is Friday night and your BloomingtonGirl is all gussied up to go out on the town. Well, not the town, exactly. We are going to Edible Lotus, a fund raising dinner party for the Lotus Festival, which everyone we know should plan to go to this year. It is indeed a happening in the true sense of the word.

Gotta go if we want to be on time.

Bye for now!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Busy and Happy

Your BloomingtonGirl had a very busy day today, though I was occupied mostly with self-indulgent activities. Swimming, writing class, Pilate's and some work at Jack's school took up my whole day. Jack had a play date at his "second family's house" in the late afternoon. I dropped him off there, and came home to make dinner. As I was starting dinner, the phone rang. It was our realtor who asked if someone could show our house in a half hour. I agreed and sped around the place neatening it up for the showing. In thirty minutes, our home was show ready and I was all wound-up from the fast-forward paced cleaning. The nice thing about the concentrated effort is that my house is fabulous and all the guilt I had about my self- indulgence evaporated. I can go to bed tonight knowing that I cleaned up my entire house today, so there.

And, I got an extra bonus to boot. My good friend at whose home Jack was playing made dinner for Chris and me and gave us a great bottle of wine to enjoy tonight. I feel so lucky and happy and lucky and happy. And very relaxed, thanks to the wine, which is a delicious Chianti.

The realtor just called and said that it was a "good showing." The couple is supposed to get back to her tomorrow. It will be interesting to see what happens.

In other news, I have awarded Jack the distinction of "LEGO GENIUS". Just thought I would let you know.

Off to do the crossword puzzle and catch up on the latest Soprano episode.

More and better tomorrow.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Red Letter Day (Thursday), BloomingtonGirl Takes a Nap and BloomingtonGirl Discovers a Miracle Product

This is a picture of Jack taken about a month ago at the Indy zoo. He was posing by a trash can because one of his favorite games is Junkbot Undercover, a game on the Lego site that features a robot who has to get to the garbage cans in order to eat them. It's a fun game, actually.


Try it out. But, be warned. It can be addictive.

Thursday was a Red Letter Day for my little guy. He spent the day in the 6-9 year old classroom (aka first through third grade) at his school and felt quite mighty at the end of it. He thinks Kindergarten is "way easy" now and has a six-year old's version of Senior-itis. I'll have to be watching him like a hawk to make sure he doesn't start skipping school and partying during the last month of his final Kindergarten semester.

After his big day in the big kid class, Jack had his very first team sport practice EVER. Keep in mind that Jack is not a kid who is keen on sports to begin with much less a team sport. But, for some fortunate reason, he has taken an interest in baseball and agreed to be on a team. He was, as is his nature, a wreck before the practice. What if there are bullies? What if I get really hurt? What if I make mistakes?

I could see how nervous he was when we approached the field and I was jubilant (and no, that is not too strong a word) when I saw him take to the thing like a fish in water. He LOVED it. The team is a riot to watch. Like the Keystone Cops running around willy-nilly. The kids don't yet understand that when a hit is made, the runners should leave their respective bases and advance. It makes for two kids on a base at the same time. Then, they get confused and set out for the next base together in a sort of ill-conceived race. It is far more interesting and entertaining than well played baseball. If you ask me, that is. And isn't that why you are reading BloomingtonGirl? To ask me?

Yesterday, your BloomingtonGirl felt under the weather with fatigue and a sore throat. As a result, I skipped the gym and TOOK A NAP. I enjoyed the nap immensely and felt that I really needed it but then, as is my nature, I felt sort of guilty about it. Isn't that ridiculous? After all, it isn't that I had anything pressing to do. I had cleaned the house from top to bottom on Thursday for a showing (to someone who didn't make an offer) and I was reasonably caught up on laundry and correspondence. So there, Guilt. Take a hike, you pleasure-ruiner-you.

This is a picture of me taken earlier this evening. Uou probably cannot tell from this photo, but BloomingtonGirl is wearing a miracle facial product called Clarin's Perfectly Smooth.
Granted, this is not a great picture of me to say the least, but I would like to think that it shows (a little) that the $27 I spent on Perfectly Smooth was worth the money and that the product has lived up to its claim to make my skin appear, well, Perfectly Smooth.

What is Perfectly Smooth? I think that the best way to describe it is Spackle for the Face. It is a translucent sort of waxy substance that easily glides onto your skin and fills in large pores, potholes and wrinkles. It really does make your pores appear smaller (no small thing for your pore-sized obsessed BloomingtonGirl) and it makes wrinkles appear less deep without looking like you are wearing make-up. It is perhaps one of the best cosmetic counter investments I have ever made and those who have known me for many years, know that this is a huge claim. And though I almost NEVER frequent the cosmetic counters these days for make-up or skin care, you can be sure that I will continue to beat a path to the Clarins Counter for my Face Spackle. I can't even leave the house without it now. I LOVE the stuff.

Well, time for my beauty sleep, though I probably don't need quite as much now that I have found the miracle cure for facial flaws.


Sunday, April 15, 2007

I Love Karen Carpenter

This is, of course, a picture of the tragic and talented Karen Carpenter. She was an unbelievable singer and a master of rhythm. I remember being in grade school band and having "Mr. C" say something like that when we were getting ready to play some horrible rendition of some song by the Carpenters. Or, maybe it was in middle school band and the conductor was Mr. Davis or in high school band and the conductor was Mr. Schmidt. Yes, it was probably Mr. Schmidt, himself an amazingly gifted teacher. But, whoever and whenever it was, the point remains. Karen Carpenter was an amazing talent.

It is easy to dismiss the Carpenters as silly seventies pop, but if you listen even a little carefully, you will realize that Karen Carpenter's distinctive smooth alto voice was a singular gift. Every time I listen to her sing, I am really sad that she died so young for no good reason.

Tonight, I downloaded a bunch of my favorite Carpenter songs from ITunes and I suggest, Loyal Readers, that you do the same immediately. You will be transported to a different time and place right away. It is delightful.

That's all on Karen Carpenter.

In other news, I made a great pasta dish tonight. I might post the recipe on my recipe blog tomorrow if time allows. Tonight, I am just too lazy.

In other other news, Chris and I watched The Departed last night and recommend it wholeheartedly. The only thing I would change is the casting of Jack Nicholson as the head mob guy. I think that Gabriel Byrne would have been much more believable. Jack Nicholson is just too, well, Jack Nicholson, you know? But, that complaint is minor. The film is a good one and the performances very strong overall. Two thumbs up from your BloomingtonGirl.

We also watched WordPlay, a documentary about making and doing Crossword Puzzles. It was about 30 minutes too long but still very entertaining. It has inspired your BloomingtonGirl to start doing the NYT puzzle again after a long break. She is rusty, to say the least.

That's all for tonight.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

A Really Stupid Video Game and BloomingtonGirl Steps Out of Her Comfort Zone

I have nothing much to post tonight because I did nothing much at all today. Well, that isn't exactly true. I did four loads of laundry, cleaned my living room, made dinner for a sick friend and played a frustrating and (in my opinion) pretty stupid computer game for about an hour this afternoon. Why? Because I promised the little guy at left that I would try his favorite game, Alpha Team, which is on the Lego web site. He has been begging me to try it and making me promise (in advance) to like it. He has been a bit crushed because his best friends (understandably) have no interest in the tiresome game. It is really a game that only a mother could love so Jack has been counting on me to love the game with him.

Without going into all the boring details, I will tell you that I felt sort of car sick and completely disoriented trying to get to the endpoint of the game. One of the problems with the game is that it isn't clear what the hell the endpoint is. Well, it isn't clear to me, anyway. But, Jack seems to know exactly what to do and where to go to win. When he got home from school, he helped me in a few critical ways and then cheered me on to the finish. When the "Mission Accomplished! Good Job Agent!" screen appeared, Jack was practically choked up with joy. "Mommy! You're Great!" Then he exclaimed, "Goddest!" (Is that like the best of the Gods? God? Godder? Goddest? I would correct him, but I want to be Goddest, Goddamnit.) Then, Jack threw his arms around me and planted the most enthusiastic of kisses on my cheek. It was worth the hour of motion-sickness-inducing drudgery to get that reaction, even though I didn't haven't a clue what mission I actually did accomplish. The only downside now is that I get to go on to the next level. Oh Joy.

But in the bigger picture of my life, I believe that this might have been my Eureka! middle-aged moment. Our parents didn't know how to program the phone or use the VCR and apparently my lot is that I can't figure out a video game that my six-year old has mastered. Technology is passing your poor BloomingtonGirl by. But, truth be told, I don't care much. And its a good thing, too. If I cared, I would have to spend time keeping up with the latest technology and that, Loyal Readers, would lessen the time I have to studying the latest trends in cosmetic dermatology. After all, one has to have one's priorities.

In other news, I am being considered for a seat on a board of an organization I admire and want to be associated with. I am meeting with the director tomorrow to discuss it. If he thinks I would be a good addition, I will be formally proposed as a board member. I attended one of their board meetings this week and was surprised at the extent to which I felt unsure of myself and my abilities in this setting.

As my loyal readers know, I have been a stay-at-homemaker for over six years now and have completely left the working world behind. I have been, for the most part, content in my little-lady role and have felt competent - indeed quite accomplished -at certain aspects of my job. Cleaning and cooking are my best skills, followed by parenting, which is always needing some work. And, if I may say so, my wife-ing abilities are exemplary. Let's face it, I completely spoil my husband. What other wife do you know who cooks an interesting meal from scratch most nights, rubs her husbands feet nightly while he watches the Colbert Report, folds his underwear neatly before putting them in his bureau and on top of that, proposes the Seven Day Challenge?

But, even with all my Martha Stewart-ey home-making achievement, I feel pretty rusty in my outside world skills. Worry not, though. I am still going to join the board (if they will have me) and trust that I will grow more confident in my role. It will be good for me to venture out of my comfort zone.


I'll keep you posted on my progress at becoming a board member. Wow! Your BloomingtonGirl, a real Board Member! This calls for some theme music.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Neckmeat thanks BloomingtonGirl

The picture at left is a thank-you note that your BloomingtonGirl received this very morning from Neckmeat. If you haven't heard of Neckmeat, today is your lucky day. Check out his hit music video by clicking HERE. The Meat is my friend Jimmy, whom I call Yummy Jimmy because he is so, well, Yummy. The lovely woman in the thank-you note photos is his fiancee, Burgess, who will make Neckmeat the happiest of all men later this year. The man in the red coat is my guru, my oracle, Jack's unofficially official Godfather, David.

The delightful thank-you note is a tribute to your BloomingtonGirl's LuckyGuy Bakery (brand) HoosierMama Brownies. They are shown here being savored at Point Reyes National Park in Northern California.

(I do know that there are a couple of Loyal Readers to whom I owe some LuckyGuy treats. All I can say is remember that good things come to those who wait.)

I could write more but alas, obligation calls. Chris and I are watching The Sopranos tonight.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Jack Dances the Sailor's Hornpipe

A VERY brief post, Loyal Readers. Right before dinner, your BloomingtonGirl put on a CD compilation of classic fun Italian songs of the When the moon hits your eyes like a big pizza pie...that's amore...variety. I left the room for a bit and when I came back, there was Jack standing in the middle of the kitchen looking as if he had gotten caught with his hand in the cookie jar. I asked what he had been doing and he reluctantly and shyly told me that he had been dancing the Sailor's Hornpipe.

The pictures at left show a picture of Pickles the Fire Cat, Jenny Linsky (in the red scarf) and another cat whose name escapes me, all dancing the Sailor's Hornpipe. It is from a series of books about Jenny Linsky and The Cat Club. Jack LOVES these books and had read about these cute little dancing cats and apparently had decided to do his own little Hornpipe.

After I assured him that he needn't be shy about dancing around his mom, the two of us joyfully danced around the kitchen, doing the Hornpipe and other improvisational dances. We were grinning from ear to ear and I can say without doubt that it was one of the most joyous moments of my life.

Later in the evening I took a wonderfully relaxing bath and here I am now, tucked into our cozy bed, checking in with my Loyal Readers.

More tomorrow on BloomingtonGirl's taming of her temper when confronted with a nasty parent in the parking lot of Jack's Karate class.

Friday, April 06, 2007

BloomingtonGirl is Reforming

Loyal Readers, this is a picture of The Reformer, a piece of equipment based on the Pilates system of working out. It doesn't look like much but it is a powerhouse, believe me.

As you know, your BloomingtonGirl pledged to do something about her squishy middle a few posts back. I knew then and know now, that the best thing I can do is to stop eating so much. But, let's face it...one of my core beliefs is that food is one of the greatest and most sacred pleasures of life. And, I can't just throw away one of my core beliefs now, can I?

Thus, it follows that I have to settle for doing the second best thing to reduce and firm up my flubby and squishy mid-section -- Calorie burning workouts and ab-focused torture sessions. Rather than bore myself doing crunches and sit-ups over and over or delude myself into thinking that I will actually do a home DVD workout more than twice, I went back to Pilates.

Going back to a Pilates Mat class after about nine months of doing no ab work at all was a rather daunting task. I had to overcome my fear of looking like a completely out of shape slob in front of my Pilates classmates. Not that I know any of them...and now that I think of it, is strange but I never know anyone at these classes, and you think that I would because Bloomington tends to be a very small town. Anyway, on Wednesday morning, I went to a Level 1 class (one level up from absolute beginner) and while it was quite humbling, I was pleased with what I was able to do and how I felt afterward. It felt really good to work muscles I had completely forgotten I had. The fact that just about everyone else in the class was close to or over 60 helped as well.

This morning, I decided to try out a new Pilates studio that opened up about three minutes from our house. I showed up for the 9:30 class but was informed that it was cancelled. The instructor there offered to give me a private training session on the Reformer. FOR FREE. Can't beat that, eh?

I readily agreed and spent the next hour learning how to use the Reformer and getting a great workout. This woman was so smart to give me the free lesson because now I am completely hooked on the Reformer. I think that I will try to do one Reformer session a week and do a mat

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Lucky Seven (Rated NC-40)

Good evening, Loyal Readers. Tonight, I will be writing about a racy topic. S-E-X. In particular, married S-E-X, thus the NC-40 rating, since this applies most to people of a certain age.)

Given the topic herein, if you are my father-in-law, or mother-in-law, you might wish to skip this entry and check back in a couple of days for a new BloomingtonGirl post. I don't have to write the same for my own parents because they do not read my blog, being completely non-computer people.

You've been warned.

My husband and I have been married for almost ten years now. As most long-time married couples (especially those with children) can attest, the frequency of a certain amorous activity decreases slightly (or greatly as the case may be) over time. Especially if you start out doing it with the frequency and enthusiasm of some young love birds, you just can't keep pace with the early days. Let's face it. How would you ever get anything else done?

Anyway, the other day, I got this wacky idea in my head. I thought, We should do it every night for a full week and in a different position each night to boot. I have no idea what prompted me to come up with this. I wasn't dissatisfied with my current situation. - after all, I am happy to have some nights off to read a book in bed. When I came up with my idea, I wasn't reading some stupid romance novel or watching Lifetime TV for Women. I just thought it sounded like a good idea to ramp thing up a bit, just to see what resulted. I suggested it to Chris the next morning and he agreed to take the seven day challenge.

I won't disclose any of the details of the activities of our challenge - after all, your BloomingtonGirl is nothing if not discreet - but I will say that on day five, well, hmmm...Okay, I admit it. On day five, I stumbled, I fell. I fell asleep early, to be exact. And now, we have to start all over again.

The unexpected benefits of the first four days, however, convinced me that I should suggest the Seven Day Challenge (or Seven Days of Lovin', as my friend L calls it) to others. Today alone, I suggested it to four women, three of whom I am sure will start this challenge on this very night. If their husbands agree, that is. And, that is all but certain, isn't it?

So, Loyal Married Readers and Readers who Live with Significant Others...take the Seven Day Challenge. It is an interesting endeavor and one that is bound to result in only good things. (Well, I suppose it could result in pulled muscles or the like if you are not in very good shape...so be careful if you are one of those people, okay?)

I don't think I will report more on the topic, other than to say that the results of even four days were surprising and fun. I have to go now to...well, you know.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Clean Screened-In Porch Joy

Loyal Readers, I write to you from our beautiful and spacious screened in porch - something I shall miss very much should we sell our house. I am sitting on a chair much like the one on the right in this photo. It is indeed the same style, but it differs in that it is a chair and a foot-rest rather than a single piece. I would have taken a photo of our furniture but it is too dark already for that and I am too lazy to get up. We have a set of this furniture that we purchased about eight years ago and it still looks brand new. It didn't look brand new earlier today, but your BloomingtonGirl got out her scrub-brush and her new favorite cleaning product (Mrs. Meyer's Lavender All Purpose Cleaner) and scrubbed away. Here is a picture of my beloved all purpose cleaner. For those pesky black stains that did not come out with my wonderful Mrs. Meyer's stuff, I used some toxic kind of Mildew Remover. Yes, I did feel guilty about ruining our environment with the stuff, but the results made me so happy, I let the guilt go immediately. Does that make me shallow? Perhaps. But my shallow self feels very deep joy about how clean my furniture is.

Now, who is Mrs. Meyers and why do I love her product? Thanks for asking ! I love any opportunity to discuss these gems of products and I don't even sell them. Here is a sketch of Mrs. Thelma Meyers. I am aware that she might not even exist and for all I know the company is really a front for Proctor and Gamble (remember Bartles & James? Just for the record, I knew that they were actors and not two old farmer guys scraping together a few nickels to start a wine cooler company. ) Mrs. Meyer's daughter started this company - or so the website claims - to honor her mother's good old fashioned virtues. I don't know what her virtues have to do with cleaning products, but I love these products SO much that I don't care if she started the company while on an acid trip. Anyway, the product line is fully shown on their website. If you like to clean and especially if you do not, you should go there right away, decide which scent (honeysuckle, lavender or geranium) most appeals to your good nature and order up some products. (or if you live in town, you can get them at BloomingFoods.) Yes, they are expensive. BUT, they work really well and they will make you really happy when you are using them. I sent Thelma's spring cleaning kit to my daughters along with a small assortment of her other products and they were delighted to get them. Meg reports that the carpet cleaner is amazing, by the way and Kate says the pet odor remover smells so good that she LOVES to use it. Testimonials from my very own family.

Well, it is completely dark now and time for bed. I will go to bed and dream of clean patio furniture. Or perhaps something a little more exciting than that like a flat stomach...