Monday, July 30, 2007

Giving Hugs!

Giving Hugs!
Originally uploaded by bbackprple
I missed out on a couple of Best Shot Mondays (what with the whole I-am-spam debacle), but I'm ready to play now! Here's a big welcome back hug from Only Niece, who's up to 7 teeth now, I'll have you know. She's getting so big, so fast!

Hey everybody!

a bit of commenting back.

Ms. JaniceNW said -


Welcome back.

Why don;t you have a link to my blog cuz I have one to yours on mine? Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm? Well? I want an answer Missy!

I missed you like crazy. Really.


Janice - I missed you like crazy, too! And the reason your blog isn't linked to mine is because I am sooooooooooooooo far behind that I haven't updated my link list in.... months. BUT - no worries: I aim to do so almost immediately!

Gina: I'm so glad you like children's literature, too. So many of my friends are kindergarten teachers or mommies, so we never thought that there was anything strange about it. But I've run into a bunch of book snobs, just lately, who've turned their noses up at some of my recommendations. Blah to them.

Seahorse - Thanks so much for the meme-love! It's going on my list... (hopefully, that means I'll get to it soon.)

Alrighty? And a big HEY to all the lurkers (I know you're lurking, cuz my sitemeter tells me so)! I'm a lurker at many sites, so I'm feeling so special that you guys are hanging around here.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Glory, Hallelujah ...

Well, Blogger has finally seen the error of its ways and enabled me to blog again! I am not SPAM! Aren't you so happy for me?? I knew you would be.

Quick Update for all of you who contacted me and were wondering: My Grandmother's party was great - about 3/5ths of us made it, which made for a decent sized mob. But, Grandmother was excited, surprised by who managed to show up, and happy. Two weeks later, she's still happy, so that's what counts. Of course she and I are both still worn out (and she has a pretty good excuse, if you ask me), so the mandatory enforced blog vacation did come at a pretty good time for me.

Although you did miss the DRAMA of Sister K (youngest sister, soon to be Harvard student)'s break-up and re-up with her boyfriend of 8 months. And my patience when this DRAMA combined with Sister J's wedding DRAMA to prohibit me from reading the newest Harry Potter until Sunday.

Which I then read in six hours, and cried for probably a good third of that. How amazing was the Deathly Hollows, people? Did you read? Did you love it? Am I - in less than a week - much too late for the discussion? Well, that's too bad, because I have a lot to say! A spoiler filled post will soon be sure to follow!

Other than that, I am recovering and reading and attempting to clean my room (again!); and, in my foolish attempt to show the 'real me' (minus the name) here on the blog, I will now regale you with the tale of why I need a new bookcase:

So, I had, in my very small room, four bookcases: two tall, 5 shelf, regular bookcases, and two smaller two shelf (plus desk-level top) bookcases. And they are full. They are very full. They are so full that I also have three baskets full of ToBeRead books, a 24 gallon Rubbermaid bucket full of books ToBeTraded (on PaperBackSwap), an old box full of books ToBeReviewed, and various piles of other books, on my desktop,, inside my wardrobe, and under the television. In case you were wondering, I like to read.

One of the smaller bookcases was filled with children's books: Books I used to teach/tutor with, books for Youngest Nephew and now his baby sister, and books for me. Because children's books are for EVERYONE, people! (Ahem - Harry Potter is not the only acceptable children's book - surprise! Now stepping off soap-box...) And one day, when I wasn't feeling quite my best (shock!), I was doing more than I should (this many shocks in one post - how will you handle it?!) and I tried to stand up to get something from a pile on the desk, and leaned on the smaller bookcase, and fell into this bookcase. And broke the bookcase into a sad number of pieces. Seriously.

It was just one of those particle board bookcases they sell at Target, the ones you put together yourself? But WOW did it a)hurt, b)crumple like dust, c) make me feel both stupid and gi-nor-mously fat. Incredible amounts of fun, I tell ya.

So, now, all of those books, plus all the books I've gotten since sit in little piles on the floor, because I refuse to pay $110 for a bookcase and I also don't want to buy another Rubbermaid container, because where will I put it once I have my bookcase? But, since it's been a while (like... 5 months?) since I broke the bookcase, and the piles are now getting a bit out of hand (see photos, although, they're usually neater piles, I just wanted to be sure you could see some of the titles, because that's what I'd be looking at)... maybe I should just give in and buy a bucket?

Anyways... glad to be back. Will be posting more often, because I missed being able to talk to y'all here, while I was gone (although my commenting did improve a bit, I must say). Hope everybody is doing well! Love, NTE

Friday, July 13, 2007

Wicked excited

As I get older, the pictures in my head of people at a certain age - say, this is what a 30 yr-old looks like, or that is what a 70 yr-old looks like - have changed. A lot. (And not just because I'm closer to 30 myself.) It's the people around me, my family & friends, who've changed my mind.

Early next week, my paternal grandmother turns 90. 90! The picture in my head of a 90-yr-old does not include the woman who was sweeping her back steps yesterday. Not to mention that she has looked almost exactly the same for at least the past 15 years.

She has some health issues: It's from her that I've gotten my very sensitive skin, and nowadays just about everything seems to aggravate hers. She's got Macular Degeneration that wasn't caught quite as quickly as it could have been, so she's got poor vision in one eye. And a couple of other minor things that just about anybody could have going on with them. She often says that it isn't fair that she should feel better, at 90, than me, at 28. (I don't know about fair, but I'm glad she still feeling so good!)

In honor of the occassion the Mc-side of my family are gathering tomorrow for a big celebration at her house. And when I say 'tomorrow', I mean probably till the beginning of next week.

She knows there's a party (because if people showed up and her house wasn't clean, she would skin us all), she just doesn't know who's coming. Which is mostly because we don't really know who's coming just yet either. Everybody is trying to come, but who knows who will make it. My grandparents had 9 children: two of them, including my father, are deceased. Of the 9, 5 have kids. At least two kids. And some of those kids (like my brother), have kids of their own. So when I say that it's just 'the close family' that's coming... I think you can imagine how many people that will most likely turn out to be.

At last count: 32. With less than half of the contigency accounted for, and an estimated count much closer to 65.

I'm excited because it will be the first time we've (who ever we turns out to be) all been in the same space for about 10 years. I've seen a lot of people, bits and pieces, over the years: A cousin at this party, three uncles who managed to get an overlapping vacation day, a large chunk at one of my other cousin's weddings, etc. But the majority of us together? Not since 1992, when we had a family reunion. My grandfather, father and favorite uncle were all still alive then. Youngest Nephew and Niece, along with all of my cousins' kids, were not. Youngest Sister (who's actually the youngest in our bunch) was 5, and our oldest cousin had just started college: Now he's almost 37, and she'll be starting in September.

Oh, and also? I was not sick. But I'm trying not to focus on that.

My grandmother's house is less than 5 minutes away, if you don't hit the one red light between here and there. I'm glad that I can be so close to her, all the time, and sometimes find myself angry at the parts of the family who've moved away: How can they not want to be here? It's illogical, though to be that way. I know it. And I'm glad that so many of them are making the effort to come all this way.

So the plan for my weekend is to enjoy, relax with my family, and take lots of pictures. What's your plan?

Monday, July 09, 2007


I have obviously not taken regional differences into account, here, and am shocked that people don't know what a Fluffernutter is! (Fluff is only available in 28 out of 50 states, and no other countries. This is probably why the rest of the world hates us.)

Fluffernutters are a delicious sandwich, made with peanut butter and creamy, marshmallow-y Fluff. If you go to that page, you can listen to the Fluff jingle, which clearly states that -

First you spread, spread, spread your bread with peanut butter
Add Marshmallow Fluff, and have a Fluffernutter.
When you enjoy, joy, joy your Fluff & peanut butter,
You're glad you have enough for another Fluffernutter.

And it's true, people. True!

Fluff is also very yummy in place of regular marshmallows on top of Hot Chocolate, in Harvard Squares, and useful when making fudge (although I have failed at the Never-Fail Fudge before, I'm ashamed to admit) or a quick frosting. It is made from "Corn syrup, sugar syrup, vanilla flavor, and egg white. There are no artificial preservatives, stabilizers, emulsifiers, or colorings in Marshmallow Fluff." It is similar to, yet different from (lighter and less meringue-ish), marshmallow creme.

Also good to know, but probably out of date: when my family visited Disney World in 1987 (20 years ago!), the Fluffernutter was served at the park, but was called a Donald Duck. PB & J was called the Minnie Mouse. So, for a while after that, in our house, Donald Ducks were the sandwich order of choice.

If I could, I would send you all some Fluff right now, because the fact that you have never had this sandwich makes me sad for you. If you are not lucky enough to live in a Fluff state, you can order some on this page (if you live in the lower 48, that is).

First Fluffernutter

First Fluffernutter
Originally uploaded by bbackprple
Here's My Best Shot Monday picture... It's Baby Girl all sticky and gooey from her very first Fluffernutter! I kept trying to get a shot of her hands, but the battle to keep the camera un-Fluffed was too difficult.

Don't forget to head on over to Tracey at Picture This for more BSMs!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Who'da thunk?

Well, Maya's Granny, I'm glad that you asked!

Ms. Janice has awarded me with the Thinking Blogger award, a prize which you have - rightly - received yourself (otherwise you'd be getting one today). In her post, she said some awfully nice things about me - Janice, remember what I said about how easily I blush? Totally happening right now! But, I really appreciate the award, the hugs, and the fact that my blog makes you think!

Here are the rules of the Thinking Blogger Award:
1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think.
2. Link to this post so everyone can easily find the exact origin of the meme.
3. Optional: Proudly display the ‘Thinking Blogger Award’ with a link to the post that you wrote.

The blogosphere is certainly filled with places that have reminded me that I used to have actual working brain cells, and that they used to be interested in more than my current white blood count or how low a person's blood pressure can actually get before they land on the floor. Not that these things still aren't important, just that there happens to be more to life than my small little world. And I'm glad to be connected to the rest of the world again.

I don't think I can explain to people who aren't housebound, or practically so, just how quickly your world narrows. Just how seeing the same things, doing the same things, talking to the same three people, looking for something to eat in the same two cabinets, day after day after day can make the world a hopelessly small and joyless place. Blogging, and being a blog reader, has reopened a lot of the world to me. I wouldn't be thinking about feminism in
comic books or what font Aveeno uses on their products in the course of my regular, ordinary day. And that's too bad, because there are other important or enjoyable things to think about. It's nice to be reminded of that.

Here are 5 blogs that do my reminding:

The group of bloggers over at The Hathor Legacy, who've helped me to see that feminist theories should apply everywhere - even in fictional places. They talk a lot about representations of women in media - Some recent examples include Law & Order SVU & their hilarious take on the newest Slim Fast Commercials: "I think my brain just threw up. I didn't know that was possible."

I've got to give one to Tracey, over at Picture This, because she's really helped me to think about myself as a photographer, as a writer, as an artist. Her posts about different techniques have given me so many great ideas & new perspectives. Between My Best Shot Mondays and Theme Thursdays, I find that I'm lugging my camera around during my day-to-day more, looking for photo opportunities all the time.

If you haven't been reading Soul Gardening, then you've really been missing out. A new mother who's trying to figure things out, Soul Gardening is living up to the goal she had from her very first post: "I hope that I'll be able to write well, with honesty and humanity. I hope that if anyone reads my words, they'll be able to see something of themselves. And if these words end up being just for me, that's okay, that's why I'm doing it anyway." As I, or any of her readers, can tell you, she is certainly not writing just for herself.

Although she's on vacation just now, Chaos Theory(named 2004's "Best Blog Title Based on Ian Malcolm's Dialogue in Jurassic Park") is a blog I look forward to reading every day. The variety of the posts & range of subjects covered is amazing, and definitely gets me thinking about a LOT of things.

Lastly, I'm going to award The Happiness Project blog. Which filters through all the research about how to be happy and gives us just the most important parts. Tips and quotes and the 12 commandments of happy all help me to reflect on what being happy means to me, and how to get there.

So there are my five picks for Thinking Blogs... thank you again, the always thinking Janice (and extra thanks for putting up that nice picture to go with your post!)

Friday, July 06, 2007

I cannot believe my last post was on Monday!

I swear I was just here!

But apparently not, as today is Friday, and there's very little of that left.

This past week has been a bit crazy - unless you're new here, you know that this is status quo. Status Quo Sucks, but at least it's our own special brand of suck-y.

In the good news file, Zack (my main doc) is on vacation. And I decided if he is, so am I. So I have gone an entire week without a doctor's appointment, phone call, test, or new treatment. And I have a whole 'nother week to go. I'm quite enjoying it, and would really like to make it longer. However I'm also very sore, so I'd kind of like to find some answers to that before my next doctor vacation.

The bad news is overwhelming family drama, so I'm going to pretend - just for this moment - that it is not there.

Today's good news is that Ms. Janice has been picking up some awards at her blog (for being Thinking and Community Involved), and has kindly passed one along to me! It's my first award! I'm so honored ~ and accept the hugs with just as much enthusiasm. I'm racking my Bloglines to narrow it down to my top 5 Bloggers who make me Think; hopefully I'll have it up tonite or tomorrow.

Off for my 10:00 pills, promise to post soon!

Monday, July 02, 2007

Youngest Nephew and his favorite team

My Best Shot Monday picture this week is Youngest Nephew, totally representing our Bo Sox. Around here, it would be sacrilege not to... even Baby Girl dances along to "Tessie." I'm not a sports person at all (Kindergarten teacher tendencies = hating to see people lose. Even if they are Dreaded Yankees), but Youngest Nephew has no such issues.

I know it's a bit late in the day, but I'm going to be making the rounds... I highly suggest you make your way over to Picture This ( and check out all the other BSM, too!