Tuesday, August 30, 2011

When in Rome

Fifteen stops. That's how far Coney Island was from where my friend, L, and I stood. We were in the city on our very own photography adventure and what better photographic opportunity than the home of the Wonder Wheel and Cyclone? Off we went.

Fifteen stops later, we arrived. Every couple of feet I would pause to snap a picture (because who can resist a sign beckoning you to "bump your ass"?) and then we encountered the Freak Bar.

I had heard about the sideshow at Coney Island, but had never seen it in my previous visits. L and I looked at each other and reached into our pockets for the $10 admission price. Couldn't take any pictures inside, but it was still an adventure. Once the show started, though, I asked myself what was I thinking.

Now I love horror movies, but I cover my eyes during the gory parts. If I think the icky part is over I may peek but will quickly close my eyes if it's still not done. What does this have to do with the sideshow, you may ask. Well, there was lots of ick. It started with a guy swallowing razor blades and included someone hammering a nail into their face. Oh. And someone else swinging an anchor. From hooks. Attached to his EYES. Did I already say ick?

The best part, though, was when L "volunteered" to go on stage. Not for her, maybe, but definitely for me! I briefly had a flashback to when I would look everywhere but at the teacher in school hoping not to get called. Public speaking is so not my thing.

So I sat there starting to get clammy hands looking down as the guy who hammered the nails in his face looked in our direction. Next thing I knew, L is being encouraged up. Whew. I did feel really bad for her. Especially when hammer guy says he's putting her in the electric chair (my fear is public speaking. L's? Electricution!)

It was really cool, though, and L was awesome. Especially the finale of her "performance" when she started a fire with her tongue!

The afternoon ended at Nathans. Because when in Rome...

Ready for my next adventure!  --M

Monday, August 29, 2011

Manic Mondays: School!!!!

First day of school for my two older boys (ages 10 & 8).  It's always with mixed emotions that I watch them board the bus:
  • Regret, for not having done everything I wanted to do with them over the summer. 
  • Elation, for not having to listen to them quarrel anymore (during the day). 
  • Sadness, because they're growing up and I can't stop the clock.
  • Determination, because now I can buckle down and focus on my own schedule & not theirs.
  • Relief, because I don't have to cook "hot food" anymore for lunch for my middle-son.  I'm content with fruit & yogurt, or a sandwich - but he's not.  He likes a hot meal at noon.
  • Happiness, because I can surprise them after school with homemade cookies for their 1st day!
These are just a few of the emotions I'm feeling right now.  We had a great summer - fun & relaxing.  The kids are ready for school again too.  They miss seeing their friends.

Happy "Back-to-School" Monday!!!


Monday, August 22, 2011

Manic Mondays: Girlfriends

Today is an ode to all my Girlfriends (you all know who you are!). The days when I'm feeling overwhelmed, under appreciated, exhausted, angry, frustrated...or simply happy - you are THERE. Just THERE with the right words to keep me encouraged & smiling.

Tonight I have a "date" with my long-time high-school girlfriend who lives an hour away. We don't get to see each other as often as I'd like, but tonight - despite the chaos at home and work needing to be done, I'm getting in the car to meet her for coffee, dinner, whatever! We'll figure it out. It's not WHAT we do, it's the fact that we're together.

Hope you all take time to meet with your friends - it's what life is about, being social, making connections, having fun!



Friday, August 19, 2011

Happy Hour Dance Party: Flying!

Did you know that it's National Aviation Day today? Neither did I. But in honor of the Wright brothers and the development of aviation, why not dance (and drink!)? :)

Happy Hour
Jet Fuel

1/2 oz cinnamon schnapps
1/2 oz peppermint liqueur

Stir together in shot glass and drink!



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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Working It Out Wednesday: Move It!

It's not a secret that childhood obesity is an issue in the US.  I have 3 kids of my own and I'm conscientious of the amount of exercise my kids get daily, and how balanced their meals are.  Granted, some days are better than others in our household, but lately we (our family) have been particularly active.

Last weekend I picked up a brochure at our local grocery store for (see photo below) because this photo was so easy to visualize healthy eating, particularly for my kids.

Because the weather has been cooler in our area, plus added rain and grey clouds, the kids have been indoors lately rather than at the pool.  However, after dinner we've been going on a family walk each night and then we go to a nearby elementary school and run sprints.  Running sprints is especially beneficial for my oldest son who is playing baseball so we visualize the baselines from home to 1st base and time him. 

My husband and I use the stop watch on our cell phone and the kids love the fact that we time their runs.  It's become a game rather than dreaded exercise.  Plus, we've created an obstacle course on the playground equipment that we all, including my husband, myself and even our 2 year old, run through.  We incorporate sit-ups and upper-body strength moves.  I have to say, within a week we're already seeing improvements in the kids speed, agility, and weight.  Plus, we're all having FUN with fitness as a family.  That's most important.

These are the small changes in our household we've taken to keep our family healthy and active. 

What do you do to stay fit - individually and as a family?


Monday, August 15, 2011

Manic Monday: Cheering with a Cowbell

My husband and I have become fans of the Sunday night TV show on NBC The Marriage Ref .

Tom Papa is the host and he alone usually gets my husband and I laughing.  Having been married for 13 years, I enjoy watching the issues that other couples disagree on.  Overall, the underlying issues always tend to revolve around one spouse giving the other more attention, or a spouse needing more "me-time", but the stories are so obscure and crazy it's fun to watch. 

Last night's show hit close to home because it included a story on a woman who was a fanatical football fan - she loved watching football on TV and particularly enjoyed watching her young sons play football.

Although I don't like football I have loved watching my son's play baseball and enjoy cheering them on.  I had one moment last Spring that they've been ribbing me for all year.  I've told them repeatedly that it wasn't my proudest moment, but I can't take it back, it happened.

The issue on the Marriage Ref was the woman's husband wanted her to tone down her cheering at their sons games.  She cheered loudly, she yelled, cursed and....rang a cowbell! 

When celebrity-judge Nick Cannon asked, "What's up with the cowbell?!?" she replied, "I'm proud of my sons."

All three judges sided with the mom, loving her enthusiasm.  Comedian/judge Jim Breuer even said that when the kids are older and look back on these moments they'll think, "Mom was crazy!"

I've toned down my own cheering after that one instance but I will continue to root for them (minus a cowbell!!!).  Let them look back and remember my enthusiasm and excitement  and even call me crazy. 

I too cheer for my boys because "I'm proud of my sons."


Q: What makes you cheer and shake a cowbell??

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Working it Out Wednesday: Comic Book Day

Today is uneventful for me but at least my husband - editor of GrayHaven Comics - is happy because (ta-da!) it's Wednesday which means its Comic Day!
Speaking of Comics - Issue # 4 just arrived via UPS from the printers and is now in our hands.  Come and order The Gathering: Into the Abyss if you haven't already...

Before we know it Issue # 5 will be here and that's when Michele and I will have our first comic featured!  Yay.

Happy Comic Book Day!


Monday, August 8, 2011

Manic Monday: Happy Hour Dance Party!

Starting off the week with a Happy Hour Dance Party this week... It accomplishes two things: make up for missing last Friday and making this Monday a fun day!

Happy Hour
Black Monday

1 oz dark rum
1/2 oz sambuca
1 tsp cherry brandy
1/2 oz lemon juice

Combine all ingredients in a shaker half-filled with ice. Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.


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Manic Monday: Great Book, Great TV

I stayed indoors all weekend and today I feel like getting out.

Over the weekend I became consumed by a great book that I just finished reading early this morning.

Cold Kiss by Amy Garvey is worth the read.  It's a YA Paranormal about a 17 year old girl that brings her dead boyfriend back to life.  Very haunting and romantic and just so utterly consuming.

I also now understand how epic it was for Derek Jeter to reach 3000 hits this season.  Okay, so it happened, as many of us already know, and I knew it happened and thought, "Oh that's great." But we watched (twice) the HBO documentary Derek Jeter 3K and the line alone that states how 18,000 men have played baseball but only 30 of them have reached 3000 hits puts it all in perspective.  Wow!  And a home run hit no less!

The kids were inspired by his story and by seeing how a Yankee player can also experience highs, lows, injuries, and bumps back to the minor leagues along the MLB path.

I've never been a baseball fan but watching my own boys play little league ball, and playing it so well (!) has made me a big baseball fan (I even watched several Philly games this weekend on TV too)!

As I said earlier, though, enough reading & TV watching has me wanting to get OUT now so that's where I'll be this week - outside while the weather is still nice.


Monday, August 1, 2011

Manic Monday: August OMG!!!

August has opened its welcoming door to us all, and I am not happy about it. If we could have just extended the month of July a bit longer that would have been wonderful. Nothing personal against the month of August, but it represents so many things to me...

Book Deadline: Michele & I are on the path of completing a paranormal romance book that we are co-writing.  Very exciting to know the end is near, but also alot of pressure.  I have loved the process of co-writing w/ Michele and I'm looking forward to writing the other 2 books in our Demon series.  Perhaps we will post our 1st chapter as a teaser soon....

Back to School: The Sunday Target/Walmart/Sears/Staples ads are just a constant reminder that the kids will be going back to school at the end of the month.  This is bittersweet for me.  My kids DID NOT want to go to day camp this year (they went last year) so they've been very good about staying quiet (inside) during the day so I can write & work and usually by 2ish I have completed my work and I then reserve the rest of the day for them, which usually includes going to the community pool.  I've spent more time at the pool this year than any other year and find that the evening hours at the pool have been wonderful for us! I've had a great time with the kids this summer and my oldest will be going to a new school this year so that is a reminder of how they are growing up.

Baltimore Comic Convention: August 20 & 21.  My husband self-publishes a comic called The Gathering.  This is a labor of love for him and I'm happy to say he's publishing issues 4 & 5 over the next few months so order a copy and familiarize yourself with the series.  Michele & I collaborated on a love themed story called "Post Cards" for Issue # 5.  We will be at NY Comic Con in October at the Grayhaven/Gathering booth (yay, hubby got a booth this year!!) selling copies so come out and say HI if you're there.  But I diverge...Baltimore Comic Con is just weeks away and I have to lock down a hotel & plan for our trip, just one more thing to do this month.  I do LOVE the Baltimore Harbour and they have a fabulous Science Center that the kids & I spent hours in last summer (sorry Aquarium, you are just too crowded for my comfort, but I went last year and it is amazing so go when it's not peak time).

Fall: I'm not ready to retire my comfortable summer clothes for anything heavy and scratchy.  Before we know it, though, we'll be carving pumpkins, eating turkey, and holiday shopping (ugh!).  I'm not going to let thoughts of Fall enter my head just yet as I'm having too much fun going to the pool and being outside in the nice warm weather (ok, you'll find me inside w/ the AC cranked during a Heat Wave, but otherwise I love the warm weather).

So enjoy the rest of your Summer - as I will - and take advantage of your vacation time and make those last minute plans to travel before the weather changes to snow & ice.  Or, just enjoy the outdoors, or take in a summer blockbuster movie.  Whatever your Summer pleasure is, keep doing it....