Friday, January 31, 2014

Lesson 284: Oh, Brother!

Your weekend edition of The Lamp Post has arrived.
How nice that you don't have to run out to your mailbox to retrieve it!

It's cold!

The outdoor temperatures aren't as frigid as they have been though.

33 degrees felt like a heat wave this morning.

These are the frosty ice patterns left on my window from our friend, Polar Vortex.

It returned for the sequel!
Oh, Brother!

HATE the Polar Vortex.

Reports out of Pennsylvania tell us the falling water of the Falling Waters house has frozen.

polar vortex hits fallingwater

Portions of Niagara Falls have also been touched by Cold Miser's finger.

Niagara Falls Partially FROZEN in polar vortex

Everyone is talking about the weather, it seems.
Winter is always good for jokes.
Lovin these Polar Vortex

Erie after Christmas:
A cold, gray, bucket of suck just about sums it up.

This Polar Vortex Is Making Me Think That A Snuggie Should Count As Proper Work Attire.

Erie area schools had another one of these this week.

SNOW DAY - these were my favorite days when I was in school

Seeing your school's name run from right to left in the blue bar at the bottom of your TV screen always causes excitement.  No matter how old you are, or if you have kids in school or not, it brings you back to your childhood.  That unexpected day off for a kid is like an extra Christmas present arriving in January. They pay no mind to the fact that a make up day will be around to bite them later in the school year. Children don't often think about the future.  They live in The Now and celebrate each moment as it comes.  There are lots of lessons to be learned from children.  My students teach me countless things every week.

By the however-manyeth school delay of this season, parents often have a different reaction.

Everyone has an opinion over the school cancellation policies.  Everyone pays taxes.  Everyone feels they have a say.  My favorite facebook comment I found was a local guy who was worried we were raising a generation of pussies and called for parents to stick a hat on Junior's head and send him out the door to school no matter how low the thermometer dips.

Eloise is just glad I don't have to make the call.  In support of those I know who have to make that important determination, Eloise will say this:  a great deal of thought is behind each decision to cancel or delay school. It is not a resolution easily reached. School administrators fully understand the impact an unexpected change in a school schedule has on families and a community.  Safety of children is always the first concern. Road conditions, school buses starting, and wind chills are also factors.  And there always is that matter of children not having adequate head coverings, too.

As a result of the Polar Vortex 2, I was grounded on Tuesday,
so I took the opportunity to snap this photo as the sun was rising.

It was -3 at the Lamp Post when I awoke.

I let the temperature climb to 2 before I took Josie out.
We weren't out long,

but time enough to snap a few pretty ones.

I don't know how those winter Olympians do it, training out in the cold like that day after day.
It takes a certain kind of person to be an Olympian, and of that subset of ultra driven athletes, someone extra special to be a WINTER Olympian.  

Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics logo

Eloise is getting so excited for the games to begin.  I love sports and love cheering for my team all the more. I can't wait to show you my hat, but I'm waiting until next week.

Click the link below for a great pep rally video for the winter games.  Danielle Bradbery sings My Day with clips of all the different sports fed in.  Enjoy.

I can't wait to see how LoLo Jones does on the bobsled,

The women to watch at the Sochi Winter Olympics. #sochi2014

and how this little cutie, perfectly named Gracie Gold, does in figure skating.

Ralph Lauren got another shot to design the US Olympic Team uniform.
He took heat in the last Olympics because he had the uniforms made in China.

I love this look.  Two thumbs up from Eloise.
I'd trade some of my best Pez dispensers and two rocks from my collection
for one of those hats.

But the sweater?
Oh, Brother!
Not so sure, Ralphie.

It does look better from a bit of a distance.

Safe travels, Team and stay alert.

While we are on the topic of wardrobes, I must comment on the recent Grammy Awards.  There were some really memorable performances, but the attire of the music stars has left permanent marks on my brain.  Ellen commented that she felt like Effie Trinket was going to come out and announce the picks for the 75th Hunger Games when Daft Punk accepted their award.  If you'd like a chuckle, here are some clever observations someone put together.  Thanks for sharing it, Jan.  Madonna was my favorite.

Onto some other clothing capers of the week:

Here is my stocky son Sam, who happens to be the World's Pickiest Eater.  

As finicky as he is, you'd think the boy would be a string bean, but he's not.  My broad shouldered boy already is packing 90 pounds on his frame held up by size 4 feet.  Sam's been wearing size 10 pants but has hit another growth spurt.  12's are out of the question--way too long and just too big yet, but his current size is hard to hike up around his butt.

My boy has the butt of a linebacker.  
(This was Thanksgiving night after I told Sam to "pose"--
yes, he did get in trouble for the moon).

Oh, Brother!

Sam is thick through the legs and be-hind and I thank God every day that He didn't make him a girl.  Poor thing would never find clothes.  

Sam puts that butt to good use aside from the mooning.  He packs a powerful kick and is explosive on a run.  My boy doesn't want a thing to do with carrying the ball across the goal line, though.  He's a natural defender.  All he wants to do is tackle.  "No one is getting through me" is his favorite line to use when we are playing.  

"Let's practice our tackles, Mom," said Sam the other evening.  

"Since when are they OUR tackles," I pondered seconds before being flattened.  

Pants are posing a problem because the 10 Husky of the regular cuts are still too wide.  But last week, I had a revelation and took a shot.  I bought these:

Size 10 Husky, but in a SKINNY JEAN.

The girls and I have been laughing all week at the thought of Sam in Skinny Jeans.
They fit and that is all that matters.
Plus, Sam thinks he's cool.

Onto shirts:

Natalie's traveling shirt has been to Las Vegas!

My friend Patty, also a t-shirt recipient, liked the idea so much she's taking hers along on some future trips.

Patty That's an awesome idea! Can't wait to see where else Natalie's " shiny, happy people" travel! Mine will be hitting FL and NC later this year!

Lamp Post menu themes have continued this week.  Only two more weeks to go and the Doc's Detox will be complete and my body will thank me for my dedication to something I believe in.  Periodically cleansing your system entirely of processed foods, chemicals, and extras like caffeine, sugar, and alcohol is good for you.  But it is very difficult.  The theme weeks helped me keep things new , fun, and interesting.  We worked together as a family to think of foods to match the week, and ate together most nights.  

Our theme during the heart of the second Polar Vortex:
Luau Week!

I bought every piece of fruit that looked like it was grown in a tropical climate.

The new fruits made for some much needed sweet treats on the cold winter nights.
This star fruit was my favorite.  It tastes like a grape and an apple combined.
Plus it is so pretty!

We ate ham and pineapple and rice and fish and lots of fruit all week long.
For the finale night, Grandma and Grandpa provided dinner for us.
When I came home from work, Grandma surprised us and decorated the house.

She claims my Travelocity gnome collected all the stuff for her.

Grandma blamed him for burying my snowman in a grass hula skirt.

Grandma provided a menu,

Although the Polynesian-German potato salad was a bit of a stretch,
it was delicious.  She even included our Lamp Post standard--mac and cheese for Sam.
I am surprised my son's skin does not have an orange-yellow hue.

The kids loved it,

and even the dog got involved.

"Hey, Eloise!  How's that recipe book coming along?"
I signed up to write my still untitled work last November for National Novel writing month. 
It is a collection of my favorite recipes, mixed in with family history, and some of my pictures:
Food, Photos, and Folk Lore.

 10,000 words into my latest creation, I realized the following:
  • A recipe/family history narrative is not a novel
  • It takes much longer to write precise directions on a recipe than it does to put to words a story in my head
  • Putting family history into writing is an important job--I have to be as accurate as possible and check with several sources.  From this I've determined that my older set of relatives are all getting senile.  No two retellings of the same event were ever the same.
  • Fact checking takes awhile
  • On November 20th, with 40,000 words left to successfully complete the challenge, I had to throw in the towel.  
  • Most importantly from that experience of surrender, I learned it's okay to set a goal and fall short.  I didn't FAIL--my timeline just needed readjusted.
My new goal is to finish the book by September.  Relatives, look for your copy under my 2014 Christmas tree. 

The typewriter logo for National Novel Writing Month reminds me of this typewriter,

which is from my favorite new book, S. 

If my teaser last week didn't grab you, see the "movie trailer" posted below.
LOST fans--you'll see the old, familiar Bad Robot.

If you purchase the book like Wendy and Gracie did last week, let me know.
I am starting a private facebook page for S. readers.  I'll add you and we can help each other figure out the mystery.  

Oh Brother, am I tired!  Dark.  Cold.  No coffee.  No beer.  No sugar.  I'd call this Friday night one cold, gray bucket of suck, but I am far too positive of a person to do that.  Instead, I'll listen to my body rhythms and get some sleep.  I'm headed to bed with my S. book, most likely to fall asleep with it, and wake up with all the $h!t it comes with it spread all about.

Here are the photos from the week, set to the tune Hey, Brother by Avicii.  

I just yawned.  Oh, Brother! Time to count sheep.


Friday, January 24, 2014

Lesson 283: Snuggle Up

It's a frigid one again, Readers!
Snuggle up with your morning cup,
sit back, 
and read your weekly lesson from the Lamp Post.

I mentioned morning cup, because so many people have mentioned to me that they read my blog early on Saturday morning.  I write on Friday nights and post before I turn in for the night.  A few night owls catch it shortly after midnight when the moon looks like this.  

Others who like to turn in early, read it when the moon looks like this:

I love it when I catch the sun coming up in one direction and the moon still shows in the other.

The sky was purple just like this.
It makes me want to bust into Prince
the sky was all purple there were people running everywhere..

If you are an early riser and like citrus for breakfast, you may want to treat yourselves to these.
They were recommended to me by a facebook friend.  I actually bought oranges from QVC!
You need a towel to eat them, they are so juicy.  You can also buy them directly from their website.
Worth checking out.  Here's the link:

Hubby won this cool trophy in the Times News Bowling Tournament which ended last weekend.

Someone came into a little cash and looky what Eloise got as a result.
That's TWO dozen!

The role I played in Hubby's big win was small, but Louie was right,
any victory in our house is a team effort.

We all celebrated the win,

Sam is still having a hard time dealing with the second place finish.

Second place is great!
(Look at his finger)

This was Louie's fortune cookie he pulled after the big victory.

I guess that was why I got the roses.

Sam is eagerly awaiting his dad's next big tourney in a few weeks because of his fortune.
He's already dusting off a spot on the shelf for the FIRST PLACE trophy.

Ellen doesn't know what to make of life.
Her cookie had no fortune in it.

Natalie could have cared less what her fortune read.  
My girl makes her own luck.
She likes to cook and was thrilled with all the new possibilities from Asian Week.

We had a few good dishes, but cooking for Asian week was a challenge when you are on a sugar detox.  I found out Chinese food is loaded with sugar.  Last week my family farted all week from the Mexican dishes with beans.  This week, they are guzzling water.  I went through my second case before I figured out Chinese food has tons of sodium in it, too.  

I tried some oolong tea and drank it out of this Chinese mug I received as a gift from a student.

It was good, but nowhere near as good as my beloved coffee.
I've uncovered the basket section of my old friend, Mr. Coffee Maker.
In about 20 more teabags, we shall meet again.

We were ready to be done with Asian week.  The food is fun once in awhile, but rice is something I don't want to eat every day.  The kids grew tired of it by mid week, so I tried to liven things up a bit with a Soup Taste Testing.

Those didn't go over well either.

Big surprise.

Sam, after one bite, accused me of trying to poison him.  
Hey, it's not my fault he chose the Wakame soup made with seaweed first!
He kept a tally instead, and Clear Soup was the winner.  

I felt kind of bad making them eat seafood and seaweed all week, 
so I shopped for some Chinese treats.

These Yan Yan's looked interesting.

Fun, too!  Fun words inside?  Yeah!

I guess the intent is to pull a graham cracker-like stick from the container 
and dip it in the pink, strawberry frosting.

But first I read through the "fun" words.

Ok--not quite fun, but I get this one:

Huh?  And is that a rendering of a sheep's butt?

This one was just dumb.

I just don't get this one.

What is lucky about a goat?

Patience ran out on this one.

Yan Yan's were just too weird, so I bought some Pocky instead.
Pocky is a similar snack, but the sticks come already dipped.

The kids liked those better, and I put the leftovers in Ellen's lunch.
I put a note in her lunch box every day.
I'm sure this went over well in Junior High lunch.

Hubby got some mail from PA State Senator Sean Wiley.

Enclosed was a newspaper clipping of his big bowling win.
Nice touch, Senator.

Senator Wiley wrote out a note of congratulations, too.

Then my eyes zeroed in on the signature.

Does this mean anything to you?  
If it does, you jumped right out of your skin.  
That means you must be reading the book I am:

S. by JJ Abrams and Doug Dorst
(FYI:  The book is titled S with period just like the cover art)

JJ Abrams, JJ Abrams---where have I heard that name before?
If you asked yourself this question, allow Eloise to answer.
JJ Abrams was the Executive Producer of LOST, my favorite TV series ever!

I am only a few chapters in, but I will call this the book a literary lover's delight!

The book is two stories in one---the book itself The Ship of Thesus,
as well as the margin notes, written by two people.

The book comes loaded with "stuff" for the lack of a better word.
Newspaper clippings,
post cards,
and a map drawn on a restaurant napkin.
All contents that lie within the pages are clues to a mystery the reader must solve.

I encourage anyone and everyone to read this book.
I'll be commenting on it over the next several months.
Contact me if you purchase a copy---it's a pricey $39 
and Abrams is making a nice little game out of supply and demand.  
You'll see if you try to order one.

Here is a link to a book teaser the Abrams released.  

I hope you read along with me.  It will be fun!

Another much anticipated event for me was the release of Tim McGraw's new song
(written about me)
Lookin' for That Girl.

It was supposed to become available on iTunes on Tuesday, and it still isn't on there.

I hope the delay isn't caused from this blogger known as Trigger.
Mr. Trigger sure ain't happy with the new song.  

I never have met Mr. Trigger, but I can guess that he is one of those people who really likes to impress by using big words.  On a scoring rubric, I'd give him high marks for vocabulary and creative use of language.  Sentence structure would be a Walking in Cowboy Boots Zero.
A 53 word sentence--that's called a run-on.
I'd like to tell Trigger to stop running at the mouth, but it is a free country.
He's entitled to his opinion as much as I am.  

Here are some excerpts from Trigger's January 15th blog post:

Tim McGraw’s “Lookin For That Girl” (A Rant)

January 15, 2014 - By Trigger  //  Down with Pop Country  //  110 Comments
What kind of fresh hell has Tim McGraw unearthed here? Apparently the once high-flying country star has been inadvertently inoculating himself with inebriating bronzer agents from his incessant chemical tan treatments that have now seeped into his blood stream. And combined with an undiagnosed eating disorder that has rendered McGraw’s figure to that of a 55-year-old Venice beach female body builder succumbing to a lifetime of melanoma, Tim has robbed precious nutrients from his gray matter, stupefying him into such an absolute scientifically-infallible vacuum and void of self-awareness that physicists want to employ it to see if it is the ultimate key to tabletop fusion. “Lookin’ For That Girl” isn’t a cry for relevancy, it is a barbaric yawp, a banshee scream, a cacophonous ode to the onset of monoculture and wholesale mediocrity.
ELOISE SAYS:  Intentional overuse of big words to make one appear intelligent, usually backfires.  BOOM!
The icing on this urine-drenched urinal cake topped with cigarette butts, spent gum, and used inside-out prophylactics oozing their venereal slurry out on the diarrhea-infested floor is the fact that through the entire drum machine-driven song Tim McGraw is singing through an Auto-tune filter turned to 11. T-Pain, eat your top hat-wearing heart out. 
ELOISE SAYS:  Smoking is a nasty habit that can kill you.  Time to take a cigarette break, Trigger.
Tim McGraw’s “Lookin’ For That Girl” is the worst song in the history of country music.
Two guns way down!

ELOISE SAYS:  Two thumbs way up, and a finger.  You can pick which one, Trigger.  Both the trigger and middle fingers would work well.
Trigger's comments may seem cold, but they sure aren't as frigid as the temps my friends and I have been trying to exercise in.  Baby, it's cold outside!

Last Saturday's workout:

Sunday's run:

Tuesday's workout:

 Kenyan's eyelashes froze!

Thursday's workout:

Temperatures like the ones Erie has been experiencing always makes me think of the birds.
The tree nests get abandoned,

so where do they go?

I caught some doves this afternoon in an unusual place.
There was a flock of about 20 that I was watching navigate the 40 MPH wind gusts.
I was thinking about how tough birds were while I was sitting next to a crackling fire watching them.
Suddenly they disappeared.
They had been sitting in my snowy yard, 
and suddenly they were gone, 
but they didn't fly away.

Then I watched them, one by one, take peeks at the weather from inside this tube.

All 20 of them were huddled in there together, 
skating on top of that frozen creek water.
The tube provided a nice wind break.
And to think we call people bird brain as an insult.

I won't worry about the birds anymore, 
because I remembered this verse,

and this one.

 One thing I will worry about:

Look who has been added to my class roster.

Glad I got this fortune this week.
Hooray for Chinese Food!
It gives you hope,
(and makes you thirsty).

Enjoy the Lamp Post Photo Story of the week, set very appropriately to the tune Baby It's Cold Outside by Lady Antebellum.

Snuggle up,