Where In The World…Gillette’s Castle

Gillette's Castle by you.

Gillette Castle State Park in East Haddam, Connecticut

The history of Gillette’s Castle can be found on Wikipedia.

On a personal note: I have been to Gillette’s castle. The Castle is located next to the Devil’s Hopyard. 

Devil's Hopyard by you.

The Devil’s Hopyard

Video Of The Week

The Godfather


In my youngest daughter’s school the kids earn tickets for doing good deeds. When they get a certain amount of tickets they get to pick an item out of the treasure box.

Yesterday my daughter came home with a package of cute little emery boards and I asked her if she got it out of the treasure box. No, she got it from her friend who gave it to her because apparently my daughter is now working for her. Hmmm, “What do you mean your working for her?” I ask.

This is how it was all explained to me. Her friend has a “store” that she opens at recess. She brings in small stuff that she doesn’t want any more and she sells them for tickets so she can get something out of the treasure chest. My daughter who is now an “employee” is supposed to get the other kids to buy from her friend. My daughter gets to pick out items that she wants from her friend’s store as “payment.”

This morning my daughter went to school and brought some of her own junk to sell. I figured it was to give to her friend’s store but no! My daughter has decided that she is going to quit working for for her friend and open her own “store.”

I hope this does not cause an all out “4th Grade Mob War” on the playground! And yes, this is a Catholic School!

Question Of The Week (Formerly Known As Poll Of The Week)

With this being an election year and the Democratic National Convention going on this week I want to know: Do you talk to your kids about politics?

When I was a kid my parents never talked about politics much. I couldn’t tell you if they were Democrat, Republican, or Independent. As a matter of fact I couldn’t even tell you if they voted!

I, on the other hand, have always loved politics. I can remember being five years old and telling my dad everything he ever wanted to know about then Presidential nominee Jimmy Carter. As I got older I remember in junior high we had a mock election for the Reagan/Mondale election. We had to make a poster for the “election.” This is the poster I made:

Political Poster by you.

My kids hear about politics all the time. I am a Conservative Republican but I tell my kids that they need to listen to both sides of the fence and make up their own opinion on issues. If they agree with me, great, the more the merrier. If they disagree with me, cool, I have someone to debate with!

Secret Agent Younger Daughter

Saturday my oldest daughter was on the phone with her boyfriend. Then she turned around and called one her girl friends. She was trying to get everything in order for the first day of school on Monday.

This is no big deal, her being on the phone. I have come to accept the fact that my oldest daughter now has two new body parts, a phone in her left ear and a MP3 player in her right ear. Sometimes at the same time!

She finally disconnected her left ear and we went on about our day. Every once in awhile I would ask her a question like “So are you and your boyfriend going to meet outside before school starts?” She would answer “Yeah, I think so.” Then I asked her, “What is your friend wearing to school?” Her reply was “She doesn’t know yet.” 

Every time I asked my oldest daughter a question my youngest daughter would start to chuckle. I knew that little chuckle. It was the evil, I am up to something chuckle! I pulled my youngest daughter to the side and I point blank asked her “You know something, what is it?” Then she proceeded to tell me exactly what my oldest daughter’s friend was going to wear to school on Monday and that her boyfriend was going to meet her outside by the flagpole before school started.

Hmmm… my mind started to wonder, just how does this cute little angel know all of this information? AHA, the light bulb went on! My cute little angel with the evil chuckle has been listening to my oldest daughter’s phone calls!

Now I have a dilemma, do I punish my younger daughter for eavesdropping or do I use her as a secret agent?!

(For the record I did punish her for listening in on her sister’s phone calls, but it would have been great to use her as a spy!)

Hip, Hip, Hooray!

Today I finally got to kick both of my girls out of the house and back into school! Today is the first day of school for my oldest daughter! She is officially a Sophomore in High School. I guess that makes me officially old!

Last night she immediately went upstairs to her room after dinner. She was up there for two hours before I made her come down and join the real world. I kept asking her “What are you doing?” Her response was the same over and over, “I’m getting my stuff together.” Being the first day of school you do not need a lot of “Stuff” in high school,  a binder with paper and a pen is pretty much it.

I knew what she was doing! She was trying on every outfit that she owns! I yelled up the stairs,”You better hang everything back up!” Dead silence. Then I yelled up, “You already have a boyfriend, it’s not like you need to impress him anymore!” Then I got the ever famous “Mom, that’s not funny!” I love teasing her!

This morning she was up and in the shower at 5:30. She got dressed, put make-up on and ate breakfast and we were out the door at 6:45. I handed the ever so mature Sophomore her lunch money and she shoved it in her pocket. She will hate/love me when she goes to pull her money out at lunch because I folded up a little note with one of my drawings on it that said “Have a Good First Day of School!” Like I said, I love teasing her!

Where In The World…The Balinese Room

Update January 19, 2009: This past weekend we finally decided to drive down to Galveston. This was our 1st trip back to the Island since Hurricane Ike. It was a very humbling trip for us.

Balinese Room Pre Hurricane Ike

The Balinese Room Pre-Hurricane Ike

Balinese Room Remains

What Remains of the Balinese Room 1-17-09

Update September 16, 2008: I would have never imagined that this beautiful place would be gone not even a month after I posted this. Unbelievable!

This pile of rubble is actually the Balinese Room on the Galveston Seawall



The Balinese Room in Galveston, Texas

“Deep in the South of Texas
not so long ago,
there on a crowded island
in the Gulf of Mexico

it didn’t take too much money,
man, but it sure was nice.
You could dance all night if you felt all right,
drinking whiskey and throwing dice.

And everybody knows
it was hard to leave.
And everybody knows
it was down at the Balinese.”

“Balinese” – ZZ Top – Fandango – 1975


The history of The Balinese Room can be found on Wikipedia.

On a personal note: I have been to the Balinese Room a number of times. We started hanging out there on the weekends when they were doing renovations on it. There are Ghost Stories to go along with the building and I for one believe them, as do my kids. On one of our visits we went into the women’s restroom and when I turned around to flush the toilet the toilet paper was thrown at my back. Another time we were in the old casino part when the jukebox started playing “old music” when we checked out the jukebox for the name of the song we found that it was unplugged. I just hope the ghosts are having as much fun now as they did when the place was in it’s prime!

Video Of The Week

I saw the Monkees in concert in the late 80’s with Weird Al Yankovic as the opening act.

Poll Of The Week

When I was growing up we had dinner as a family every night. If you were not home by 6 pm you had better be in the hospital! Even after my parents divorced my mom always had dinner on the table at 6 and I was expected to be sitting there eating it.

I have continued this tradition in my home and we have dinner as a family every night of the week. As a matter of fact before I got married I told my now husband that this was not even an area for compromise. Dinner at 6pm or you better be on your death bed!

So am I a rare breed in this day and age? How many times a week do you guys have dinner as a family? I am not even talking about homecooked food, even if you eat out do you at least do it as a family or is it a to each his own?

Nosey people like me want to know!

Poll: How many times a week do you sit down to eat dinner as a family?

I’m A Survivor!

I need to have a t-shirt printed that says “I Survived Back To School Shopping With My Teen 2008!”

Yesterday I made the giant leap into the dark unknown called shopping with my teen-aged daughter! Usually we have an all out war when this time of year comes around. She wants a shirt that shows off her assets and I want a shirt that covers them up!

This year went very well, no fighting, no yelling, no grounding, no nothing. We actually agreed on quite a few outfits, had lunch and we even laughed together.

I have a theory that neither one of us was P.M.S.ing for a change or we have both grown up a little. Either way “I Survived Back To School Shopping With My Teen 2008!”

I Am Now The Mother Of A 4th Grader

Today my youngest daughter started 4th grade. This is a big milestone for her because in her school the 4th grade is in the “Big Kid” hall. I was told that I did not need to come into the school to drop her off this year, she would walk in by herself. She did let me give her a hug so I should be honored about that!

I found out that 4th graders also have a new outlook on lunch. No more ham sandwiches and chips for my little one. Oh, no! We had to go buy a hot food thermos so she could bring Spaghetti O’s, soup and plain noodles. I was also informed that every once in a while she would like to bring a salad for lunch as well.

The great thing about school starting is that I get a little alone time with her in the car. I get to find out all sorts of things on our little morning talks. Like this morning we heard a Bryan Adams song on the radio and seeing how we saw him in concert this summer my little one asks me how old he is. I told her he is about the same age as your dad. I figured I would get a “oh, he’s that old?!” response but I get “He is spicy hot looking!” Where in the world did that come from! I could not help myself from laughing and I told her that I agreed with her!

The last song we heard on the radio this morning was very appropriate for the first day of school. It was “I Don’t Want To Go To School” by The Naked Brothers Band.

Poll Of The Week

The Olympics started last Friday just in case you have been hiding out in a cave or something. My oldest daughter and I are watching it very closely. We especially like watching gymnastics and volleyball. My youngest daughter and my husband can’t stand watching it. My youngest daughter is not very big on sports and my husband can’t stand the fact that the Olympics are being held in China.

Poll: Are you watching the Olympics?

Cajun Baked Catfish

This recipe should work with any type of white fish and it’s healthier than frying!

Cajun Baked Catfish


2 tablespoons canola oil
2 teaspoons garlic salt
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 (8 ounce) fillets catfish
  1. In a small bowl, combine the first seven ingredients; brush over both sides of fish.
  2. Place fish in a 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking dish coated with nonstick cooking spray. Bake at 450 degrees F for 10-13 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

Anniversary, What Anniversary?

Yesterday, I woke up and did my normal routine. Drank my coffee, exercised, ate breakfast, showered and then checked my e-mail. Normal day, everyone said good morning and went about their business as usual. No big deal, just another day.

Wrong!!! My husband comes over to my computer and puts a greeting card on the desk. Then he says, “You forgot today is our anniversary, didn’t you? Remember our church wedding?” My reply was “Of course I didn’t. I was going to pick up a card at lunch time and say something then.” Luckily he fell for that!

I don’t know why but I always forget our church wedding anniversary. I remember our civil wedding date, no problem. I felt like such a heel! It is usually the husband who forgets things like this not the wife!! The sad part is we have a needlepoint picture that my friend made in our bedroom which has the date on it and I dust it every week!

The Biggest Decisions In Life…At Least For A 4th Grader

Last week I took my youngest daughter to go school supply shopping. She goes to a Catholic School so we don’t have to worry about shopping for school clothes for her, everybody wears the same uniform. We got all her supplies in one stop which is a miracle in it’s own! I swear they always find one item that is no where on the planet to find!

The two biggest decisions that my little one had to make were picking out her backpack and her lunch box.

The backpack decision went very well. I told her it had to be a rolling backpack under $20 and other than that it was pretty much up to her what design she wanted. She picked this out:

Rolling Backpack - Blue

Sweet, simple and to the point! She did shock me because pink is her favorite color and she picked this blue one over the pink one they had. You never know with kids!

The lunch box decision took entirely too long to make! Apparently what lunch box you pick out is very important at her school. We looked at Hannah Montana boxes, nope “that is soo 3rd grade!” We looked at Camp Rock/Jonas Brothers boxes, nope “I don’t know is anyone else likes them!” We looked at good old solid color boxes, nope “it has to have something on it.” Finally she found one she liked, a High School Musical box.

Zip-Off Compartment -  Global Design Concepts - Toys"R"Us

It has a bottom pouch which is very important because “Mom, I have to have a place to put my afternoon snacks we get to bring in 4th grade!”

I never knew there was so much pressure on 4th graders! Again, I am very lucky that she goes to a school that has uniforms!

Poll Of The Week

The other day I spilled some salt on the table and being a creature of habit I took a pinch of the salt and tossed it over my left shoulder. My youngest daughter of course asked me why I did that. I told her because if not I would have bad luck according to what my mom told me. I also went without salt for 2 weeks when we moved into our new house because it is bad luck to bring salt with you when you move, somebody has to give it to you as a gift. My aunt was kind enough to bring me some salt when she finally made her way to visit us.

So I want to know:

Poll: Do you believe in superstitions or “Old Wives Tales”?

I also would love to hear what other “Old Wives Tales” or superstitions you have heard of or believe in!

I Caught Them Red Handed

It finally happened. Last Saturday my dear sweet 16 year old had her boyfriend over for a play date. I thought I had covered all the bases with her on dating and I thought she was finally growing up and accepting some responsibility in life. I should have known not to expect too much from two teenagers. What was I thinking!? 

They were upstairs listening to music and playing table soccer. At least that’s what I thought they were doing! I decided to make my routine “walk-thru” of the upstairs and I caught them doing it! Yep, you heard me right! They were doing it!

They were playing a rousing game of Toss Across! How could they do that to me! Here I thought they were two maturing teenagers and they were playing a game recommended for 6 to 8 year olds! Oh, my aching heart! What will I catch them doing next?

Things I Learned From Edouard…

Luckily for us Tropical Storm Edouard was not much of a show for us. We got some much needed rain and just a little wind. But I have learned a lot from Edouard.

The main thing I have learned, or should I say been reminded of, is that some people are just plain stupid! You do not stock up on milk, yogurt, ice cream when you have a chance of power outages! You do not buy bags of ice until the power is actually out. I actually had neighbors put their trash out last night for trash pick-up this morning. Duh!

My favorite thing is watching the media cover major storms. One news station was telling people to stock up on canned meat and they were showing a picture of a can of cat food! Yum! This morning when they found out what a non-event Edouard was they got really funny! They went in search of trouble and as one reporter stated were on the look out for “Ponding” on the roads. What the hell is “Ponding?” Here in Houston our roads flood with a normal afternoon thunderstorm, but just what is ponding on the road? Another reporter was commenting on how some leaves were blocking a sewer drain and I swear it looked like he actually placed the leaves there on purpose!

The last thing I learned from Edouard is that the City of Houston hires Non-Essential Employees. The City of Houston stated yesterday that Non-Essential Employees should stay home today. How is that supposed to make you feel when you find out that you are a Non-Essential Employee? Then comes my next question, why is the City of Houston paying for Non-Essential Employees?

Hurricane “Party” Time

Just yesterday we were out on our boat in Galveston Bay. We thought it was funny that one of the lakes on the bay had it’s flood gate closed. We thought they did it for low tide or something. Boy are we stupid! They closed the flood gate, so we found out late last night, because Tropical Storm Edouard will be making landfall Tuesday morning! It might even turn into a hurricane.

So today I went and topped off my gas tank, went to the store and bought the essentials and came home and cleaned all the tubs so we can fill them up tonight. This afternoon we will have the fun of moving everything off the patio and throwing it in the garage in the 100 degree heat of course! I have even told our elderly neighbor a few doors down that we will be more than happy to come help her with her crap stuff as well.

I went to the store nice and early this morning as to avoid the panic. I love to see what people stock up on for storms. I grabbed my normal water bottles, batteries, toilet paper, canned meat and a few junk food items for the kids. I saw one lady buy 4 gallons of milk and a bunch of yogurt. Boy is that going to taste good once the power has been out for a few days!

I have been through my share of hurricanes here but my kids have been lucky and really don’t know what they are in for. During Hurricane Rita we went to my in-laws and stayed up all night with the booze flowing and the karaoke machine going. That is what they think of when we say a hurricane is coming. We will sit this storm out in our own house. I have already told the kids they will be camping out downstairs tonight. They think that is awesome! Yeah it’s party time! We will see what they think of it come tomorrow morning! We will see if they still think it’s party time!

Poll of the Week

With the beginning of the school year fast approaching I will be out in the next few weeks doing what I hate most in life, shopping for school clothes! My youngest daughter goes to a private catholic school and has to wear a uniform thank goodness, no arguments there! My oldest daughter however attends a public high school and they have no uniforms. We always end up fighting over the clothing budget as well as my dress code!

 Poll: How much do you spend on back to school clothes per kid?