Oct 30, 2009

A Small View.

So it is true today is that day that I was born, it happened in Provo, Utah. I was eight days late. I weighed 5lbs 4oz and I was 19 inches long. Today I am 41. I live in Massachusetts I am 4'10", I weigh 120 lbs ( yes, I so did just tell you how much I weigh) and I never have been or never will be 8 days late for anything other than my birth :)

So the 41st birthday began a week ago when the UPS chickie knocked on my front door and left me a small padded envelope. It was addressed to me so I opened it. And inside was a very sleek and glamorous looking box that you apparently needed to have a college degree to figure out how to open. When I finally got it open there was a gift card inside. The amount was for WAY too much so that narrowed it down as to who could have sent it. So I started investigating and quickly noticed the last 4 numbers of my husbands credit card number on some paper work(yes, every good wife has the husbands credit card number memorized.) I confess I am a confusing, and very bad wife because I was not happy. What woman is not happy when she gets a nice gift card from her husband to her favorite store for her birthday? Not only that it was early...and obviously thought out. Yeah, can you say high maintenance? :) I am really not so good at the money being spent thing. It actually makes me physically sick. I texted my hubby (since he was in Utah) and graciously said thank you but also told him I could not spend it and that I was taking it back...yeah, I know....do they even take gift cards back? Well I was going to be the first one to take one back...gosh darn it :) Well, after pleading from the children, and lecturing from the hubby I gave up and kept it.

So now the score was husband one and wife zero. Why are we keeping score? I do not know :) And he now implements part two of his evil plan which is that, I leave my Thursday the 29th free so that he can take me hours away to an Ann Taylor outlet store in Connecticut so I can shop...with him. Let me tell you that a long time ago in a galaxy far, far, far away the hubby and I shopped together. I am pretty painful to shop with. I look at everything, I have to know without a doubt that I am getting the best price, I really can not be distracted by anything, and a hubby standing outside the ladies dressing room offering thumbs up or thumbs down did not sound so fun to me.

SO I offered my compromise and I said I would be happy to play on Thursday if we could just accomplish some things that were on my list instead. He agreed. So on Thursday he had me meet him at his work at 10:30 am. He made me come into the office to say hi to everyone and then we left for Enfield,Connecticut. My goal was that I needed to get items for Zach's first, "Christmas away from home" christmas box that needed to be sent to Estonia last week. And also, Madeline's birthday box which also needed to be sent last week. So, our first stop was Barnes and Noble and it only took a few seconds for me to remember why we never shop together :) So I made some hurried choices and never let on that it was killing me to be in a store and not look at every thing :) We ran next door to Marshall's because I needed to get some tights for Madeline and that was worse than the book store at least in the bookstore I can say, " oh, honey looky history books...you stay right here and I will be right back." But in a clothes store that does not work so well. As I am looking at every pair of tights in two aisles trying to find the right pattern and the right size I noticed he just did not look comfortable in the store and that I could not shop with someone just standing there awkwardly in the aisle looking like he is my body guard or something so I grabbed some tights that I gave hardly any thought to...sorry Madeline...I do like to put a lot of time into purchasing tights :) and headed out and I noticed I could cause him to panic if I just pretended to look like I was going to look at something else...so I entertained myself with that while I moseyed on up to the check out. It was there that I had another realization that even though he makes the money and always knows exactly what I spend it is rather uncomfortable to have him actually see the process in real life.....maybe like having a supervisor :)

Thursday was, "celebrate my birthday day" because Brian is in Boston today for work and then he is staying there until tomorrow helping his friend Brad install his floor.

So last night the kids gave me their presents. My goal was that by 2009 he would take them all shopping for my birthday a few days before and I achieved that goal. My next goal is that by 2014 he will realize that he sometimes may need to take them to more than one store. But for now I am happy with all my gifts from Wal Mart.

Oct 28, 2009

A Self Centered Blog.

There was this blog I read a couple weeks ago and it is still haunting me. It was all these nice neat lists...this persons 10 strengths, this persons 10 weaknesses that she wishes were strengths, ten random things about this person, and ten things on this person's to do list. This person is a very private blogger so I am not sure if she wants me to tell you who she is. But I really enjoyed reading her lists. I thought it was a fun idea. I longed to copy her.

And I confess that everyday since I read her blog I have tried to write my own blog answering the same questions. I can easily do the "to do" list...I could write "to do" lists with my hands tied behind my back. But, can I tell you the other three categories elude me. Does everyone else in the world go around every day knowing without a doubt what their strengths and weaknesses are? Maybe I am trying to hard to figure them out? She made it look so easy. I tried pretending I was not thinking about these questions hoping that insights into myself would just wash over me. Nope, nothing.....nada. I could ask other people to tell me but that feels like cheating and would you really tell someone what their weaknesses appeared to be if they were looking straight at you smiling and giving you their best puppy dog eyes??

I finally decided to break it down into very small pieces. This is one of my favorite things to do. I am always dividing projects up, breaking them down so that they are easier.....wait a minute...could that be a...strength? Oh drat I am not ready to start the lists I wanted to first tell you about how she put in the title of her blog the word "egocentric." One of those words I hear a lot and am pretty sure I know what it means but wanted to just make sure. SO I started here and I got myself a solid definition of the word "egocentric"...and it was as I thought...self centered. So, this is a self centered blog today.... but hey aren't they all? :)


Five Random Things About Me.

1.

Okay, wait before I get started...I have to tell you that I wrote that little old number 1 last night at 10:30 pm after staring at the computer for a good half an hour trying to think. I finally decided I would brainstorm better laying in bed so I pulled on my LL Bean flannel nightgown and got in bed and promptly fell asleep. When my alarm rang at 4:45 am my first thought was, "drat" I have nothing for my lists. In the car with the 15 year old and the 17 year old on the way to Seminary I finally broke down and asked for help...it isn't cheating if you ask minors :) They didn't want to play with me and I didn't push it...but a few minutes later they could not resist the urge to at least tell me my weaknesses and here is what they came up with....well actually they came up with the first three and then I did the rest.

List of Weaknesses:

1. That I don't know my strengths and weaknesses...(Amanda presented this little nugget :)
2. I can't take compliments...this was from Miriam...and she is right..I can't take compliments...at all.
3. I over think...plain and simple..no use in me trying to convince you I don't...no use in me trying to convince you that everyone in the world does it...you will see right through all that :)
4. I am a rule follower....I never eat something in the store before I pay for it :)
5. I never fold the clothes right when they come out of the dryer.
6. Never see the danger in anything. I never saw the danger in reconnecting with people from my past. I never see the danger in letting my kids be out of my sight. I never remember sunscreen or hand sanitizer. I rarely think about how something could be bad. I just charge ahead thinking, "la, la, la this is so fun." Until someone says something that stops me cold and I listen, I assimilate and then I confess sometimes just keep going, "la, la, la."
7. Wondering...yes, wondering is a weakness...just in case you did not know it is a big very bad one. It sometimes likes to hold hands with "not facing reality" :)
8. These little dots............they are a big weakness.
9. Being afraid of people not understanding me....sometimes they just aren't going to.....drat.
10. No confidence



List of Strengths
Oh dear I am not sure if I can do this....

1. Don't get offended to easily
2. Like people....a lot
3. Always on time.....actually in the last month I have been late to a few things, it was not my fault but I better not say always...how about, "on time 99% of the time?" I was always the first one to stake dances when I was a kid...yeah, who does that?
4. Sense of humor
5. Know how to use my time wisely and get everything done I need to.
6. I am a "can do" kind of person...I never think about why something can't happen I always do whatever it takes to make it happen.
7. I can admit when I am wrong

I think that is about all I can muster for strengths...it makes me uncomfortable just to look at what I have written :)

How about random things you may not know about me?

1. Once when I was up on a stage playing a piano piece in a recital a fly flew up my nose. I had to keep playing while attempting to blow air out of my nose to try to get the fly to get OUT!
2. I can't fall asleep without reading something.
3. I got pulled over by a cop once when I was wearing curlers in my hair....I did not get a ticket...he was fascinated that people still wear curlers and we had a nice chat that ended in the words...."watch your speed" :)
4. I mix colors and whites together when I do laundry...because I have never had an"incident."
5. I have a very clean house and a very messy car.
6. I once hit a boy with a huge piece of wood when he and I were working on our fort in Del Mar,California and he wanted to "play doctor"...I was about 9.
7. I prefer to be cold rather than hot.
8. I run like monsters are following me back down the driveway every time I take the trash can out in the dark on Thursday nights.
9. I collect a rock from everywhere I have been.
10. I once drove across the church lawn with the missionaries and the ward mission leader in the car.....long story....I was 17.


Last 5 CD's I have listened to:

1. Owl City
2. Carolina Liar
3. Dashboard Confessional
4. U2
5. The Killers

There was that so bad? :)

Mental Health Day

Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday not only is that, "evil Wednesday day" here but it was rude enough to invite the steady, cold rain to accompany it this week. The kind of rain that causes you to think longingly of laying in your bed with your Chaps comforter wrapped around you. If I could do that I would be finishing reading A Room With A View by E.M Forester. A Room With A View is my favorite movie and I have read the book a few times before but recently I have discovered the joy of re reading books. My mind is changing so much lately that I am finding amazing new insights in books that I thought I really knew well but it turns out I didn't.

Speaking of minds my mind is all over the place today and in my vast blogging experience that usually is a very good sign that I should not blog. So I am going to take a "mental health day." Joe asks for those all the time....he thinks that if you are in eighth grade you should get a lot of them. He is probably right. So I will see you tomorrow when hopefully I can focus :)

Oct 27, 2009

I Love You?

"What's love got to do, got to do with it? What's love but a secondhand emotion?" Did I sound just like Tina Turner when I sang that? Yea, I know my voice is a more classical voice...sigh. But I do feel like blogging about love today. So if you already know what it is and have it all figured out then....well....lucky you....you can totally take a break from my rambling thoughts today:)

I have kids in college. Kids that really technically could get married. Do they understand what love is? Will they recognize love when it is in front of them? What should I tell them about it? I guess the first thing I need to do is figure out what it is for myself, huh?

I am not very free with the word love. I grew up in a very stable home with parents I knew loved me and siblings that I knew did not love me :) so I am not really sure why love makes me uncomfortable. But it does. I definitely never say it first and I am definitely not a "lovey" type person. Thank goodness that my best friend google said that, "What is love, is one of the most difficult questions for mankind" that made me feel better, I thought it was just me.

My favorite definition of love is , "to be delighted by the happiness of another." Have you ever been delighted before? Have you ever made someone feel delighted? I love the word delighted. It means, "highly pleased." But even better than the definition of delighted is the synonyms: captivated, enchanted, enraptured and ecstatic. Have you ever felt that way about someone else's happiness? Has anyone ever made you feel that way? What about distress or disappointment? Those are the antonyms of delighted...they don't sound as great or fun do they?


Everyone is always talking about different kinds of love and how everyone shows their love differently and insisting that you need to figure out everyone's love language?....Really? Do I have to? I can just see myself flipping through my little black book before I meet you for lunch, double checking, to be sure that I do not forget which love language you speak and to remind myself if I show my love to you by buying your lunch or letting you buy it? While we are talking about different kinds of love I must say that I have a lot of impersonal loves....that is when you say things like:

I love asparagus
I love apricots
I love hiking
I love traveling
I love lists
I love music
I love reading
I love the color red
I love asking questions
I love wearing dresses
Look at how good I am at impersonal love :)

But interpersonal love? That is love between humans, not to be confused with your love for asparagus :) Although it is much easier for me to declare my love to asparagus :) Did you know that most people fall in love 8 times before they actually get married? You can apparently love a lot of people for a lot of different reasons. And not only that do not get me started on all the different kinds of love out there.....unrequited love, romantic love, puppy love, infatuated love, and the list goes on and on...but all the lists always end at unconditional love...which is what I am sure you all have for me...it is the kind that you feel consistently regardless of what the other person does. The kind every blogger hopes her readers have :)

Oct 26, 2009

All About Melamine Foam.


A couple of weeks ago a friend of mine on Facebook requested that I write about magic erasers. I have always wondered about those plain old white rectangles that everyone bears their testimony about. I have personally only bought them twice in my life. I have have been lucky enough to have kids that are not into making messes that would make me wonder how on earth I was going to clean that up. I did have one child that got a hold of a black sharpie marker about 5 years ago and drew on a newly painted wall and I think that Brian sanded it and painted over it. I can not ever remember crayon on the wall. I do know all about scuff marks but water, cleaner and a sponge have always seemed to take care of those. But I have always wondered what makes magic erasers tick. Is it really magic? So just in case looking up magic erasers is on your "to do" list for today I went ahead and did it for you.

I immediately found out that what makes magic erasers "magic" is a material called melamine foam. Melamine foam has been around for twenty years and in those twenty years it was used as sound insulation and temperature insulation it was only recently that someone discovered it could take off pretty much everything on the planet :) I would love to know that story. Probably some construction guy working on building a recording studio was joking around with his friends, while installing the foam, and he writes, "Bob loves Britney Spears" on the wall, in crayon. He panics when he remembers she is crazy and grabs the first thing he can reach to try to wipe it off and it happens to be some of the melamine foam, as he is grabbing it, the foam falls into his cup of water with ice, (all construction workers have cups of water with ice on hand :) he pulls it out of the water and tries to rub the words away with the wet melamine foam and voila the rest is history? :)

Well honestly I never really found out how they discovered it could clean but I did find out how it works by simply asking google. And let me tell you what I found....

When the melamine cures into foam it becomes very hard...like glass. And because it becomes hard it performs like extremely fine sandpaper on stains. I know magic erasers are soft so you are probably confused about how something as hard as glass can be in there so I will tell you that I read on, and on, and on about open celled foam and closed cell foam. It was fascinating but I will spare you all the details....unless you want to have lunch, and pay for it and then I will happily entertain you with all my talk about open and closed cells. But suffice it to say melamine foam's open cells are airy and not jammed together like close celled things thus making them soft and able to hold whatever you are scrubbing up.

The melamine foam works well on surfaces that are painted, polished or easily scratched..they almost work too well. I noticed this the three or four times I have used a magic eraser...they can take a lot of the surface off. Not only that, they did not last near as long as I wanted them to. They will last longer if you mist them with water rather than running them under the faucet. And if you rub gently. I also found out that you can use them until they start to shred....good to know :)

I spent way too much time this morning reading testimonials about the magic eraser and I think I have become convinced that I should have some on hand they really do seem to be magic. I read many lists of creative uses for them and anything involving the words mildew, grease, dried on, mold, adhesive residue, water marks, scuff, stain, nail polish, and spill Mr Magic Eraser can totally handle it. The only question I had over and over was how many magic erasers did it take them to clean their boat? Their siding and gutters? Their swimming pool steps? Their birdbath with bird poop all over it? (true story) The ideas that most caught my attention were; to use it on window screens while they are still in the window and to use it on the brown spots left in baking dishes after you have used them for many years :)

It seems the only thing this amazing white rectangle does not work on is teenagers undesirable
behaviors. Would it not be great if I could just magic eraser those away?

Oct 23, 2009

Pumpkin Patch...... New England Style.

Thursday was, "going to the pumpkin patch" day. We could not have picked a better day if we had tried. It was 70 degrees and beautiful. I love going to the pumpkin patch. As with everything else in my life lately the number of people attending the pumpkin patch with me has dwindled. I used to have 8 other Baird's with me and this time it was just 4 Baird's and of course our friends too.

I have some rules for pumpkin patches that can make life rather difficult. They can not be commercialized in any way, no refreshments sold, no hay ride, and no lines, just plain old pumpkins. And regarding the pumpkins, you have to be able to go out to the actual field and pick your own pumpkin. Fletcher's on Route 10 on the way to Easthampton meets my requirements. The pickings were slim this year but we all still managed to find our perfect pumpkin.
I love to tromp through the field looking at every pumpkin. This year I found a long, oval looking one that I have great plans for. After loading up our wagons with our pumpkins we headed over to the "farm" which consists of a mother pig and her little tiny piglets, two goats, two lambs and lots of cows. There was no one else around so the kids got to watch and pet the animals to their hearts content.
Natalie and her pumpkin.
This is the view from the pumpkin patch.
This is the view from the car window as we were driving along on our way home. I love it when the teenager is leaning over the top of me trying to get pictures out my open drivers side window.

Are You Ignoring? :)

Ignore: To refuse to pay attention to; disregard.
To refrain from noticing or recognizing.

Have you ever been ignored?
Have you ever ignored someone?
What makes you chose to ignore someone?

Ignoring has always seemed like a last resort to me. I am sure it would not surprise you to know that I have never ignored someone....wait, I am thinking...I want to make sure I am telling you the truth....yea, I can't think of anyone I have ignored intentionally. But people do not irritate me very much. I usually want most of them in my life.

I have been ignored a few times in my life (three to be exact) and I think it is the most painful thing in the world to not be acknowledged. Especially when I think I am a reasonable person and very capable of resolving anything without the pain ignoring causes. If I frustrate you, or you don't want to hear from me anymore I can't imagine if you told me that that I would not respect your wishes. I just want closure, and if it comes in the form of someone telling me that they no longer want to hear from me I can handle that much more than being ignored. It is something tangible to deal with. And trust me over thinkers do much better with the tangible. Do you want me imagining that you are ignoring me because you love me deeply? :) Yea, I didn't think so :) HAHA

I confess, if you ignore me without telling me why it does present a small challenge to me and I will try to get you to talk to me :)

Everything I read about ignoring said it should always be a last resort because it is immature and causes another person a lot of pain. Are the people who ignore other people the kind of people who have never been ignored and do not know how it feels?

One article I read said that there were three bad reasons why people ignore. One of the reasons was that you are a source of embarrassment, you make them look bad. So I wonder why can't you just say, " I do not know why, but you embarrass me a little?" Am I thinking of it too simply? Isn't there a nice way to say everything? The other reason this article said that people ignore you is because you are a source of sadness, anger or pain to them. Again, why can't you at least explain that before you begin the "ignore process" so that that poor person is not left wondering for the rest of their life what happened? Doesn't ignoring cause misunderstanding? I would rather I had the chance to explain to someone how they made me feel rather than leaving them to wonder and dream up something on their own that may not be right. The last reason people may ignore you is because frankly you are just not worth their time. Yea, you guessed it, I would rather you just tell me that so I can deal with it and get over it.

There are also good reasons why people ignore. Things like they are too shy. Or they don't know what to say. But the bad reasons often crowd out the good reasons making it hard for the "good reason ignore-rs" to get a fair break.

Have you ever read The Great Brain books? They are great books about a boy and his brothers who live in Utah in the 1800's. The stories are all about their growing up years. My family loves the Great Brain books and we have listened to them on tape on many a cross country road trip. In the books if the boys misbehave their punishment is the silent treatment from their parents.....and not just for a few hours, sometimes for a week. It always pains me when we come to that part in the books. One of the boys even tells about how it was the most painful thing ever to be ignored.

I love words. And I can't imagine that there is nothing that words can't solve. Now I have never been stalked so maybe I would change my idea on ignoring if I ever am stalked :)

Ignoring, to me, says to someone else that they are not worth anything and I have never felt like sending someone that message. But maybe I have lived a charmed life and some how avoided coming in contact with all the "riffraff" that is out there. But because this is how I feel about ignoring the three times I have been ignored have been very difficult times in my life because I consider it the worst thing you could ever do to someone. And I feel horrible to think I have driven someone to that point where they honestly thought they had no other choice :)

Oct 22, 2009

Driving.


Do you like to be in the car? I adore it...well as long as I am in the front seat I adore it. I do get awfully motion sick anywhere else in the car. I am one of those people that if I just turn my head once to the back seat I get nauseous. Brian Baird (the husband in the house) thinks it is all in my head and I can barely answer him when he says that. I guess it could be. I did notice this summer that each consecutive time I rode the roller coasters at Six Flags that my motion sickness got better and better. But I have been riding in cars for about 41 years and nothing has changed. Maybe because it is a different kind of motion? Who knows. I do have some great Jennifer throwing up in the car stories...but my post is actually not about that today...or any day...although it could be a challenge to figure out how to write about throw up and make it interesting :)

Anyway, today was my Thursday. I do love Thursday's. I am very selfish with them. But today I decided to share with my friend Karen and I felt like driving. Karen lives up in The Berkshires and I confess I love driving to her house. I mean any road named Skyline Trail has got to be good, right? Today the sun was shining and I wish I could find all the words to make it so you could see the amazing leaves I saw as I drove up in the Berkshires to her house. More shades of orange, red, brown, yellow and orange than you could ever imagine. Think about a huge mountain covered with trees. And then try to imagine all those colors packed all over that mountain...not a hint of green anywhere. The sun is shining on them and they are starting to fall so as you drive along they are falling like snow all around you and driving through them...definitely the best.

We drove the, "back way" to Northampton. Northampton is where Smith College is. It is a fabulous college town with great places to eat and shop. But today I was very focused and on a mission, which was to purchase worry dolls for Tatiana and Natalie. Yes, it is before Halloween and I have already spent $10.63 on Christmas presents..."snaps" for Jennifer :)

After Northampton I needed to check on our pumpkin patch that we go to and make sure I knew how late it was open and that they still had pumpkins. So we drove to Easthampton. (Do you see a trend with the Massachusetts town names? Just throw a "hampton" on the end and you are good.) Anyway, I do love to know about things beforehand and I will often go to unreasonable lengths to gather information. I really hate surprises. So yes, I will end up driving to the pumpkin patch twice today but that is okay, because I love driving and the scenery is SO beautiful.

When I was a kid my parents would often take us driving. I remember my dad driving on the beach and being afraid that he was breaking rules. I remember driving up mountains on curvy, close to the edge roads and being terrified. I also remember driving all night to get to our vacation destinations and staying awake to make sure my dad did not fall asleep. Yeah, go ahead and think it....I am comfortable with this apparent dysfunction I have :)

When our kids were little and we lived within 18 hours of most family we used to drive overnight all the time. I would usually get the midnight to the, "sun coming up" shift and it was my favorite. There is nothing like driving over the mountains into Utah in the middle of the night with a full moon shining on everything. A Dr Pepper with ice (the only time I drink it) to keep you awake. Everyone sleeping. Darkness surrounding you strangely making you feel safe, a smooth road in front of you and your favorite CD on I always feel like I am flying as I push the speed limit as far as I dare. I used to love watching the sky change as the sun came up. My favorite "sun coming up" time was on our way to Mount Rushmore somewhere in Nebraska....sigh...amazing. There also was that time I was so content and in the zone that I ran us out of gas 30 miles outside of Denver in the middle of the night....can you say, "grumpy husband." He did not understand that I did not notice....sigh...how do I explain where my mind was ? :)

I just wish I had the right car. My poor mini van is always something else in my head as I am driving along...a Mercedes, a BMW, a Miata.....something small and fast and possibly with convertible capabilities.

Oh, the picture is the view from the end of my driveway..not the best picture but you can tell how close I am to the Berkshires, get a small idea of how great the colors are, oh and tell that I live on a curve :). This particular picture I took last week and the colors are peaking this week so they are even better I am just too lazy to walk all the way to the end of the driveway to capture it for you :) I guess I could drive to the end :)

Oct 21, 2009

Just Five.

#1. Guess who ran away again? Guess who thinks it is so nice to be able to leave doors to the garage and the basement storage room open and not have to worry about the evil cat getting in? Guess who went to bed without worrying about the cat knocking things off the counter and knocking trash cans over, waking up kids and last but not least guess who hopes she never has to empty a cat litter again? Yes, me, the evil owner of the evil cat :) Is it wrong if I am home all alone and think I hear her meowing outside to pretend I don't hear it?
#2. The middle child. I can only imagine that being the middle child could be tough. I am the oldest in my family so I will never know. But I do know that my Amanda is exactly, smack, dab in the middle in our family. And sometimes I forget to tell you what she is doing :) She is running cross country this year and she is doing very well. She is consistently the #2 finisher on her team and she is only a sophomore. It is very difficult to make it to her meets which are always after school on a Tuesday. We have paper routes and piano lessons on Tuesday. Nevertheless we are very proud of her and so sorry that someone had to be in the middle:)


#3. It has been almost exactly a year since the beetle bug left our family. I miss it terribly. I miss driving a stick shift, there is nothing quite so perfect and rewarding as shifting gears for yourself :) I miss how I could park it anywhere. I miss it's trunk....yea, I said I missed the trunk in a beetle bug, but it was deep, went way back, was oh so generous and I miss it. You see my trunk in my hateful mini van is little, skinny and selfish. I miss seeing people punch other people when I drive by. I miss driving fast....well I still do that but it is not the same (especially around corners) as it is in a beetle bug. I wonder a little bit about the poor trucker who hit me. He had already been in an accident that month and he was probably going to loose his job. I felt bad for him.

#4. It is lady bug time again. Every October ( every means two :) since we have lived here in Massachusetts the lady bugs appear. All of them. Every single lady bug in the world :) They arrive unannounced and I am not sure how long they stay. I am the kind of person who believes in killing bugs if they are in the house but I never dreamed that I could someday be called a, "lady bug killer." But you may call me that if you wish. They are everywhere.....did I mention everywhere? It really is fascinating to see a swarm of lady bugs. They find ways to get into my house and then they discover that just because their name involves the word, "lady" it does not mean I will spare them. The first time I squished one I felt guilt but now I no longer feel guilt. There are SO many of them. They are supposed to bring luck. And they are just looking for a warm place to sleep. We had snow here on Saturday and that was the signal to the ladybugs to head for the nearest house and find a place to sleep. It is recommended that you vacuum them up and not smoosh them since they leave a icky yellow substance when you murder them.

#5. I finally got the garden all tucked in for winter. I tried something new this year that I am pretty sure my hubby does not think is a good idea, so lets all cross our fingers that planting a cover crop of winter rye was the best idea I ever had. You can't see it in the picture yet but it's there and I have been reading about it all morning and it sounds like if I mow it at exactly the right time in the spring and then leave it for a couple days to dry out and then till it under and then not plant anything for 2 to three weeks I will be happy that I planted a cover crop. So remind me of this blog when it is next May and I am crying to you about my, "winter rye gone awry" and my hubby is saying, yet again, "I told you so."

Oct 20, 2009

The BYU Track Team.



I think most of you already know that Madeline is officially on the BYU women's track team. Almost every day she sends me text messages or pictures talking about or showing off all the free BYU stuff she is getting for being a member of the team. After hearing all about the workouts, the fat tests that involve getting in the swimming pool and curling up in fetal position, and the strict diet I think she has earned whatever free stuff she gets.

We are anxiously looking forward to January when her season begins. I looked at her schedule today and she will be running a lot of places if you want to try to go see her starting on Jan8-9 clear through to April 21 she will be in:
Provo
Pocatello
Albuquerque, NM
Seattle
Boise
Pocatello
New York
Colorado Springs
Seattle
Colorado Springs
South Bend, IN
Fayetteville, AK
Irving, CA
Palo Alto, CA
Austin,Texas
Provo
Ogden
Tempe, Arizona
Walnut CA
Lawrence Kansas (yes, you all better be there in April)
Logan
and Provo

If you google, "BYU women's track team" you can pull up the schedule. We are hoping to make a couple of the meets but I would adore you forever if you went to one and got pictures :)
I am amazed that I gave birth to so many children who decide what they want to do and just do it. Madeline never even doubted that she would make the team. She has a ton of confidence and I am jealous of it and wish I would have kept some for myself :) I have no idea how she is taking Calculus, Chemistry and a ton of other hard classes adding up to 15 credits, keeping up her grade point so she can keep her scholarship, teaching gospel doctrine class, dating, practicing track from noon to 4 everyday, and finding time to still text me and her sisters.....all the time :) I am so happy she is seizing this time in her life.

Most of you know who Sheri Dew is. I read in her book, "No One Can Take Your Place" about when she was at BYU in1971 and she describes herself as shy, lacking social skills, unaccomplished and more. She talks about how she had grown up playing basketball and had had some success and how more than anything in the world she wanted to play for BYU. She went to tryouts and peeked inside and saw these girls running drills and she noticed they were good. She says that, "every insecure cell in her body began to scream at her, "what are you doing?" She never went in to the tryouts she paced and paced and paced outside the doors and then finally walked home. She was disgusted with herself and couldn't believe that she did not have the courage to try out. Years later in 2001 she was telling this story when she was invited to speak to the women athletes and it just so happened that the woman who was the coach of the BYU womens basketball team in 1971 was there and she got up and asked Sheri if this story really was true? And Sheri said "yes." Then the coach told her and the audience that in all her years coaching 1971 happened to be the one year that she could not fill her roster and there was one spot open on her team all year and she never found someone to fill it.

I will never forget that story. Because it has happened to me countless times. I should have sung in a choir at BYU. I should have played the piano at BYU but I was not confident enough. But I have to say that Madeline Baird will never have a story like this. She does everything she wants to do. She has incredible confidence in herself. We are SO excited for this chapter in her life.

Yes, I did have enough confidence to post two posts in one day :) It is my blog after all :)

The Store Where They Wear Orange Vests :)

I do love Home Depot. I love the smells of wood, new carpet, power tools and so much more all mixed together. I love the possibilities in every aisle. I always learn something new when I go to Home Depot. I do not get there near as much as I would like to. Actually, I think the last time I went was way back in the spring when I was looking for short little metal fences for my peas to happily climb. If I had extra money I would definitely spend it in Home Depot. And it would have to be a lot of extra money because I have a big list for Home Depot. When Brian goes out of town for some reason going to Home Depot is always on my, "to do" list but it often gets pushed aside. I dream of a day that I have hours with nowhere I "have" to be so that I could just wander up and down the aisles of Home Depot educating myself on all the projects there are out there. Projects are what I have been thinking about lately, probably because Brian is going to be out of town for awhile. Yes, I confess to doing projects when he is out of town.

Most of you know I have ALWAYS been a, "plain white walls" kind of girl but for some reason I found my "color courage" when we moved to Massachusetts and now I have red walls, Ralph Lauren's oatmeal colored walls, and Hershey chocolate colored walls. The key to acquiring color for me seems to be waiting for a very long time, like years. So I am pretty sure that in the last couple of months I have brought home my quota of those addictive little color squares and I am now ready to give my three, plain, white bathrooms some color. Two of them I really want to be blue. Did you know cool blue is good in small spaces but warm blue is not? The tradition is that I paint when Brian goes out of town. Why, you ask? Well you see, I do not clean up properly, I never put paint can lids back on tightly, I get paint on his screwdriver, I never buy Sherwin Williams paint and to top it all off I never tell him I am painting so that I can look forward to being scolded when he gets home.

After I look at paint in Home Depot I need to go find something else. I don't know what it is called but I should practice explaining it to you so that I won't appear too stupid if I need to find someone wearing a orange vest to help me. You see, out my back sliding door is a deck, if you walk out on the deck and go down the steps you will look back at the deck and see a space. It is a very inviting space for the furry, small, "needing shelter" type of animals. It goes all around the deck. Our cat adores escaping out the open door and dashing to this space under the deck, causing us to throw rocks at her and sometimes lose our temper. I need to find that "criss crossing X stuff" that you hammer along the deck. Does it have a name or do I really have to tell the, "orange vest guy" my whole story and use the words, "criss crossing"?

Now I know it is October but no trip to Home Depot is complete without a visit to lawn and garden...just in case. I have a spot that desperately needs a shrub and I am too cheap to buy one full price so I keep checking clearance plants for the perfect shrub that needs me. I will know it when I see it. I have been looking for it for two years. Do you see a trend? Me.....decisions....long time? Yeah, trust me I learned about the decision thing the hard way.

When I am done in lawn and garden I want to go look at gutters. Gutter extensions are a very exciting topic at our house. We have even had flannel board stories all about gutter extensions... JK. A long time ago when we lived in Kansas we had a very old house. This very old house had some problems. And the problems were all related to water, and gutters. (very short version of the story) Many a pounding Midwest rain storm you would find me outside in my rain coat with the rake and ladder trying to unclog gutters because the basement was flooding from rain that was not getting directed away from our house. Isn't it just hilarious how our experiences shape us? Now I live in a brand new house that has gutters but is missing one thing.... those long extensions that shoot the water far, far, away from the house. Yes, I think I need them. Yes, my husband thinks we don't :) Who is right? I honestly don't know. I just want them, my past experiences may have scarred me and made me think they are an absolute necessity, sometimes that happens :)

After I peruse the gutter section I need to go find a "thing-a-ma-jig" to hold towels. When we moved into this house none of the bathrooms had those cool hold your towel things in them yet. The kids bathroom upstairs still does not have them and I am thinking for our two year anniversary in the house it may be the perfect time to show the children how civilized people do they towel thing. I am sure their future spouses will thank me for these 46 months of them throwing their towels on the floor.

After the things on my list I would adore being able to just wander up and down the big, wide, cement aisles looking at everything so that when I find myself wondering if something pertaining to my house or yard could happen I can remember about some kit you can buy in aisle 32 in Home Depot that will make all your dreams come true :)

Oct 19, 2009

Once Upon A Time....




So did you feel prompted to drop me a note this last weekend? Did you think about me and wonder how I was but dismissed it as nothing? Well, you should make a mental note to act on that feeling next time...if there is a next time....you just never know. Let me tell you about my weekend. If you get queasy when people talk about their faults and spend a little bit of time wondering why they are human you should probably go read something else because this could get icky, so icky that to make it as easy as possible I will tell it as a story and maybe then you will only see the pain I am in if you read carefully :)

So once upon a time there was an amazing, clever, beautiful and unforgettable girl named Jennifer. (hey, it's my story I can take liberties with the describing words if I wish :) Jennifer loved to go hiking. She mostly liked her hikes to end up at a view, waterfall, or a handsome guy. (ahem...it's my story :) So one day in October in the year 2008 Jennifer found out about a hike in Connecticut to a place called Heubelin tower. She read about the hike on her royal highness's Dell computer which she often sits at while her servants clean her palace :) (hey, a girl can dream)

She found out that there was once a man named Gilbert Heubelin who was hiking one day on Talcott Mountain in Simsbury, Connecticut with his fiancee Louise. He promised Louise that one day he would build her a castle there on that mountain. Lucky for Gilbert he was a magnate in the area of food and beverage and he had most notably manufactured A-1 Steak Sauce so he had plenty of money to make that promise come true. So in 1914 he hired some architects and Heubelin Tower came to be. (Yes, several boys have promised to build something on a mountain for me too, I am sure it happened to you too, right? :) It was the Heubelin families summer home and it is amazing. Many famous people have been to the home with the 165 foot tower. It is where the Republican party asked Dwight Eisenhower to run for President. Ronald Reagan also visited the tower when he was president of the Screen Actor's Guild in the 50's.

So as amazing, beautiful, clever, unforgettable Jennifer read about this tower she really wanted to go see it. It happened to be Fall which was a perfect time to do this hike because of all the colors of leaves in the trees. So to make a long story short in October 2008 along with loads of friends Jennifer got to hike Heubelin Tower. So what does Jennifer do when something turns out good? She plans it again for the next year. So in September in 2009 Jennifer sent out another e-mail from her royal Dell and this is where Jennifer needs to start confessing about her demons in her head.......

Guess what guys? Breathe......did you realize you were holding your breath? Well you have been spared, you were walking up the steps to the gallows and the amazing, beautiful, clever and unforgettable, royal highness Jennifer did something she has never done before she wrote, and wrote, and wrote about all the hard work she went to to make a hike happen this weekend, about the demons in her head, about her mad family, about her expectations and then she stopped and read everything she had written over, and over, and over again and came to the royal realization that she could not publish and deleted so you don't ever have to know what a bad person she is and can continue thinking she is amazing, beautiful, clever and unforgettable. Through the course of writing about her acute disappointment she realized (never leave an over thinker alone :) that she may have reached the time in her life when the only thing she can do is withdraw and protect herself. Build herself a moat with crocodiles, add a drawbridge and some stone walls. Yes, she knows that some day someone may figure out how to get in but she will deal with that when the time comes.) She had never built these things before in her reign as queen but it was much easier than she thought. No wonder so many people have them. Jennifer has always been an open person. She has put herself out there over, and over, and over again but she finally grew up and realized that she can't do that anymore. If she does she will have to take royal medication and see the royal therapist. And that can not happen.

So let me tell you that the morning of the hike was beautiful. Clear, crisp, blue sky. Queen Jennifer let her subjects have a lot of power and she was grumpy which is so unlike her. She always feels uncomfortable with grumpy because she is not very familiar with it but she did not have the proper sword, shield and helmet available to fight it. The hike to the tower is not very long. It does have a straight up part but that is to be expected when you involve the word view. And there really are spectacular views. When you get to the top of the tower there are huge windows and a room with a beautiful parquet floor and warm sunlight is pouring in.

Jennifer and her entourage started on the hike at 9:30 in the morning and they were done with the tower, snack and hike up by 10:30 am and back to the royal 15 passenger coach and on the road to pick up Princess Amanda from her PSAT test by 11:00 am. Her royal gardener (or hubby) made it to Prince Joe's soccer game at 1:00 and Queen Jennifer gave her staff (HA) the day off and with the 7 year old helping got the compost spread on her garden, got it rototilled, planted her winter rye cover crop, and spread straw on her strawberries. So it was a productive day in so many ways...building walls and moats, getting exercise and preparing for winter :)

P.S.
The pictures are from the hike, the view, and Natalie (the 7 year old). And if you are confused after reading this then I have been successful :)

Oct 16, 2009

Piles and Lists All About Them.



I am thinking about lists and piles at the same time. I wonder if I can tie both of them together neatly? Would you buy it if I said a list is just like a pile? A pile of needs. A pile of things to do. A pile of things you want. Am I right?

I have some piles I need to deal with. I am NOT a pile kind of person. I always sort the mail the minute it comes in the house. I say that like it proves something :) But anyway I noticed all the piles as I was walking around the house this morning dealing with what "they" leave behind as they run off to school.

The first pile I noticed is nobody's fault but mine. It is on my black bedside table from Ikea. Normally this table is clear. But today it has:

One wooden carrot from the kids play kitchen that is in the basement. I have no idea why it is up here.
The latest BYU Alumni magazine ( I read mine cover to cover, they are very interesting)
Nineteen Cooks Illustrated magazines..this is a good sign, it means I am cooking.
A little tiny drawstring bag with 6 worry dolls in it....it is there to remind me to purchase two more bags of worry dolls for Natalie and Tatiana.
Carmex....we all know that something would be very wrong if this was not on my bedside table....the Baird mommy loves her Carmex.
One 20% off coupon for JC Penney.
The DVD of the "whatever" edition of Clueless. I got a strange urge a couple nights ago to watch a mindless movie from 1995.
One of those annoying envelopes full of coupons that have a ton of rules for redeeming them written in very small print. I am confused about how this envelope escaped the trash can.
Way on the bottom of the pile is my Lands End catalog that I keep salivating over...so many cardigans and so little money :)
And last is my Book of Mormon with Monday's Seminary lesson crammed into 1st Nephi 19....I get to substitute in Seminary on Monday and I am SO excited...I confess to praying that something would happen to the Seminary teacher so that I could snag this gig :)


The next pile is on the kitchen counter...I need to figure out a way to convince you that there are not usually piles on the kitchen counter but today there is. Yesterday was grocery shopping day. It is an ALL day process, loading the car, unloading the car, and putting away. I usually get the kids to carry the food storage items down to the shelves in the basement, but not this time. I came home, unloaded the car, did paper routes, got Joe's hair cut, picked up Miriam's friend Nichole, dropped them at the mall and went to book club and got home at 9:30 pm. Getting someone to carry the food storage items downstairs never crossed my mind until this morning when they all were conveniently at school leaving me a pile of:

A 7 lb bag of powdered sugar
Two 64 oz bottles of Log Cabin Syrup
10 lbs of pancake mix...geesh, think of us when there is a crisis and we are eating pancakes huh?
48 oz of Craisins
2 lbs 4 oz of plain old cheerios
A package of 16 Hamburger buns and one of 16 hot dog buns

The next pile is in the basement and it is only two things but it is lots of them:

Blankets ....about 10 of them
Every sleeping bag in the house

Now this pile, in a round about way, may be my fault because I refuse to turn the heat on yet and even when I finally do turn the heat on I will make sure it is set at 62 degrees. So when the kids have sleepovers in the basement, with their friends, they NEED a lot of blankets. And everyone knows that when you have a sleepover it is very important to ride the family sleeping bags down the stairs. I confess.... I let them. They were laughing SO hard. You would have caved too. But now I need to get children to face the consequences of their fun and do some folding.


There is even a pile on the counter by the phone:

3 Flat Rate boxes to be filled to be sent to Baird children that are in Estonia and Utah. Madeline's birthday is Nov 5 and Zach's Christmas box needs to be sent in the next week or he will not get it in time. But I am very happy to report that Zach's first box made it to Estonia un-opened.
A cup full of ping pong balls (that I do not know for sure where to put them) that the evil cat keeps knocking off.
A paper that list off the characteristics of a 7 year old:
Needs constant reinforcement
Strong likes and dislikes
Keeps a neater desk and room
Changeable feelings
Needs security and structure
Sometimes moody, depressed, sulking or shy
Touchy
"nobody likes me"
Doesn't like to make mistakes or risk making them

GULP......guess what? I think I just may be 7 instead of 41....
A bag of pumpkin seeds that Natalie brought home from school yesterday.
A box full of the parts of a Vittorio Strainer I borrowed so I can make applesauce.

The last pile involves three words.....laundry....enormous...couch.

Oh and how could I forget the pile of horse manure in the garden waiting to be spread across the garden?

So today is about facing piles...wish me luck.

Oct 15, 2009

Do You Want To Pick On Her Too?



So today was, "run errand" day. At about 1:30 pm I was on my way home I received a text from my daughter number two who is a senior at the high school. She wanted me to come get her. I looked at the time and knew that school got out at 1:59 pm. I thought for a very short minute about my car that was very full of groceries and how I did not want to unload it all and I decided to pick her up early so I could score myself some slave labor. I had to hurry because getting stuck in high school traffic is a very soul searching experience. She was waiting out front for me and when she got in the car this is what she said to me, "Mom, you know those movies where there is that kid that always gets picked on at school and everyone is mean to them? I replied, "Yeah I know what you are talking about." She said, "that's me." Awwww it just broke my heart. Miriam has really been struggling. I know I am her mom but she really is a nice kid. Her intentions are always good. She had one friend when we first moved here who was a boy, and for reasons unbeknownst to Miriam, it went awry and it has left her with nothing....he took everyone with him. It has been the cause of many tears. It seems like your senior year should be a good year. Are people really still being mean to others when they are seniors? Yea, I know people are still being mean when they are grownups.....real bummer.

So today she was walking up the stairs at school and another Senior boy who she does not even know sprayed water all over the back of her pants so that it looked like she wet her pants and he ran away laughing. Then in one of her classes you had to have a partner review your paper and sign it and no one would review hers for her so she had to beg someone to just simply sign it. I promise I would never do it but I feel like going to school and telling everyone what is what. I just don't get mean people. I can tell you the times I have been mean in my life.

There was Janice in 3rd grade and everyone picked on Janice because she picked her eyelashes and ate them. I feel horrible that I participated in the chasing of Janice on the playground. The squeal she made mesmerized me. I have often felt horrible about this moment in my life and I have often wondered if Janice turned out okay.

There was a grown up lady in one of my wards that just pushed me too far and I shocked myself by fighting back for the first time in my life. I felt mean and within a split second realized it and burst into tears and cried for a very long time.

And there was a girl who I was not mean too I just ignored her and that was not nice at all....so the opposite of not nice is probably.....mean.

Really I think one of my only talents is that I am a nice person. Please feel free to comment if you do not think that is the case...at least then I will get some comments :)

Miriam, daughter number 2, is graduating early in January for this reason. But her decision to do this, as does every life decision, has created a whole another set of problems. Nothing seems clear about what she should do when she graduates.

She officially graduates the end of January which makes it so she can not get into any Mormon church school for winter semester. So she will work at her dad's work for the time being. She and Joe are planning a trip to Hawaii to visit my parents in February during winter break and past those three facts everything is wide open. BYU Hawaii? BYU Idaho? Southern Virginia University? She wants to be different from her two older siblings. She wants to be able to room with her dear friend Nichole who will be at BYU Idaho already. But if she does that she would have to wait a whole year.

I really don't want her to hang around Massachusetts. I have that "mom feeling" that college is just what Miriam needs to help her feel better for awhile. But how it is all going to work out is on my mind a lot. I keep brainstorming with her but the ultimate decisions are hers.

The picture at the top is Miriam and Joe. Doesn't she look harmless? High school was not tough for me. I was ready to go when it was time but I was not dying to go. I had friends. If I was teased I have this small talent for making it into a joke. I feel lost at what advice I should give my three oldest who did not have the high school experience I had. I wish I could make those kids at school see how they make her feel but I can't. It would be so sweet if just once I could tell my kids that they could have control over other people but they can't...not even once.

Oct 14, 2009

That Day You Were Born.

Dear Birthday,

Sigh...where to start? I have been thinking about you since you are coming soon. You and I sure have been through a lot together huh? Some years we have cried. Some years we haven't. Remember way back when we used to have expectations? Yea those were silly times huh? I hope you have been grateful that I have not ever dreaded you coming. You could have had someone that really felt like a number was what it was all about.

Is it strange that I never remember really wanting something for my birthday. You know some people can remember that year they wanted a bike. Or that year they needed a puppy. I don't remember ever having my heart set on something that I thought I would die if I did not get.

Remember how I hate to answer the phone on my birthday? Yea sometime I should really get therapy for that huh? I wonder why I do that?

Do you remember that surprise party my parents gave me when I was 12? It was my first boy/girl party. I was totally surprised. I got three necklaces from three different boys and I thought that I had reached the pinnacle of happiness until I had a teenage boy and took him to choose a necklace as a present for a girl and started to wonder if those boys had chosen the necklaces or their moms had? :)

Are you worried that I am going to be 41 and I still keep expecting to wake up to a day that feels completely different from other days? Remember that year in Princeton when I had 4 little kids oh so close together, a hubby that traveled and no money and that sweet lady in the ward from China who I barely knew made me that amazing homemade birthday cake. And it made me cry because someone thought of me. Oh drat look I still cry about that. ( geesh suck it up...) What about that year that my husband got all those people to write me letters? That was nice...a little embarrassing but nice. What about that year I was already in my pajamas and those ladies knocked on my door and took pictures of me and then dragged me to a late dinner?

Remember how good my brain is at never forgetting the dates of other people's birthdays. Is it weird that I remember September 4, September 23, December 20 and oh so many more? I wonder if there is anyone I knew from years ago that has the kind of brain that remembers birthdays and remembers me on mine?

I know you know that I have a perfect birthday tucked away in my mind but is it strange that I would never tell a soul what it is. For some reason I like to have this very unrealistic hope that there is someone that knows me so well that I don't need to say what my perfect birthday is. Someone out there just knows.

Well, it was fun chatting.

Love,
Jennifer

Oct 13, 2009

Gucci? Prada? Rolex? Louis Vuitton?

I m

Isn't it funny how those dark, thick curtains in hotel rooms can make you sleep the day away? Remember next time you and I go out and spend the night in a hotel that I have been known to open those deceitful curtains to remind you we need to get going. I confess I did this to Sarah and Gail last Saturday morning at 9am. My mind was so full of all the things we wanted to accomplish that I could not resist.

The first thing on our list was The Statue of Liberty. You have to be very aware of the world around you to figure out how to see the Statue of Liberty....well let me rephrase that...it is easy to see it with your eyes but to actually touch it and walk inside of it takes a lot of previous planning. There were no tickets available to get into the base of the statue, and no tickets available to get into the crown of the statue clear until December so our goal was to just SEE the statue with our eyeballs. We decided to walk down to the Circle Line and catch a boat. When we got to the Circle Line we discovered that their cost was not what we had imagined it would be. We knew that there was another company that ran a boat from Battery Park to the Statue that was much cheaper so we started walking along the Hudson River towards Battery Park. I think now is the best time to tell you of my vanity and foolishness. You see I needed to be wearing black shoes since I had black pants on and the only black shoes I had at the moment were sandals. Which, when you are walking a million miles in New York City, are not such a good idea. I bore my pain without a complaint but I do have some monster blisters. After several blocks we pulled out our adorable popup map and realized we had a really long way to go and that we did not want to waste our whole day walking. So we decided to head back into the city and catch the subway. Oh how we laughed when we discovered that the street we just happened to choose to take was the street with the NYC Sanitation department on it...rows and rows of garbage trucks. We definitely took a street that you would not want to ever take in the dark. But we made it to the subway and easily figured out what to do and it felt so great to let the subway do our walking for us :) I added a picture of my foot with band-aids on it for your viewing pleasure :) Notice I showed you Aunt Sarah's face in the last blog and my foot in this blog? Not fair huh? :) I love having all the publishing power :)

When we got to the Liberty Cruise we were happy to find it was only $12.00 per person as opposed to the Circle Lines $30.00. So we purchased tickets and climbed aboard. I am so glad we decided to take the harbor cruise it was so amazing. They took us to the Brooklyn Bridge and all along the way pointed out buildings in the Financial District on the shore and told the history of them. Then at the Brooklyn Bridge the boat turned around and headed back past the tip of Manhattan towards the Statue of Liberty. The boat got very close to the statue so that everyone on the boat could crowd at one end and fight for space to take pictures that would hopefully not have a stranger in them :) I definitely have to take the Baird children back to experience the cruise. Maybe I should explain that the word "cruise" may be misleading it's possible that I made you imagine an amazing, shiny boat loaded with food and people waiting on you...ummm that is not the case. It was more like a boat that had been around the block a few times with no amenities. But even with the rough water in the harbor that day I felt perfectly safe just not pampered :)

When we were done with the boat ride we headed back to the subway, our new favorite way to get around. As we were getting on the subway we saw a man who made us wonder if his mom knew what he was up to that day, it was a man in nothing but a pink polka dot speedo with dollar bills tucked around the edges of the speedo. He got in the subway car next to us and I snuck my camera around the corner to take his picture. He really was not very muscle-y or good looking but definitely something you do not see everyday and that you want to tell your posterity that you saw :)

Our next stop was Canal Street. Do you know about Canal Street? It is the street that separates Chinatown from Little Italy. Do you know how to tell a real Gucci from a fake Gucci? What about a real Rolex from a fake Rolex? Do you know how to say no....or I guess you could want to say yes....to the 50 people that will accost you along your walk down the street with little laminated cards showing pictures of purses and watches that could be yours? It is the perfect place for an accessory-aholic to be. I am not an accessory- aholic so it was just some good people watching for me. I have heard Canal Street described as, "Barney's on a Target budget." It is FULL of guys, and some gals, with suitcases (so they can make a quick get away) full of all sorts of "gray market" goods. DVD's of movies that you know are still in the theater, Prada bags with the word Prada spelled Prahda and so much more. Everything is made in China or New Jersey not in Italy. I guess the word you would use is "knock-offs." I was bursting with questions when I left Canal Street. But the only way to find out the answers would be to go undercover. I was intrigued by the police tower standing high in the middle of the street with tinted windows. And next time I go there I will keep track of how many times I am asked if I want a purse :) I have heard that if you are really serious they will take you down hidden stairways and into back rooms to make all your accessory dreams come true. Thankfully it is one addiction I do not have. I will take my addiction to question asking any day...it is much cheaper :)

After Canal Street we headed back up to Central Park. We walked through the park and when we got to the other side we stopped at FAO Schwarz. Yes, I know we did not have any kids with us but you just have to go in FAO Schwarz when you can. This time what made FAO Schwarz worth it was two people on the second floor at the large piano that is on the floor. This boy and girl who must have been in their 20's have clearly been trained in the fine art of, "playing huge floor pianos." They mesmerized me with their ability to use their feet and even at times their hands to play Hungarian Rhapsody on the piano. I could have watched them for days. And I have a new "job I want" to add to my list.

After FAO Schwarz we got some religion in St. Patricks cathedral which is on 5th Avenue right across from Rockefeller Center. Of course it is beautiful inside and outside. But it is always bustling with activity. And since I do not know much about other religions I always have lots of questions when I visit St. Patricks and see people lighting candles and such.

After our religious stop we continued on our quest to find The American Girl Doll Store. Why I continue to torture myself with this store I do not know. Actually I do know...DETAILS.... I love details....I adore details. I mean don't just tell me you love me tell me every detail :) That is why I can not resist American Girl, they definitely meet my need for details. Little tiny Teva sandals, little tiny smocked dresses, little tiny camisoles...basically everything big you can think of made into something little tiny. Not one Baird child owns an American Girl doll. They own the Hopscotch Hill dolls that American Girl made for awhile, they own two Bitty Baby twins....(I guess I did not need to say "two and twins" in the same sentence huh? :) Believe me all 5 Baird girls wish their lives, in relationship to American Girl dolls, was different. My youngest just might be the lucky one to finally talk me into an American Girl Doll. I always leave the store with a sick, materialistic feeling. But I will save my opinions on American Girl for another day :) How do you love something yet hate something at the same time?

After American Girl there is only one thing to do...go back to the Magnolia Bakery. So we stopped and purchased and then headed to find a place to eat dinner. We ate lunch in Chinatown in a restaurant with ducks hanging in the window so we were not sure how we were going to top that. We finally found a Mexican restaurant and an Italian restaurant next door to each other and finally decided on Mexican. It was a great dinner. But as always when I get to the end of something fun and so not reality my other life starts to push it's way back into my brain and thoughts of the looming 2 and a half hour drive home, neglected Baird children, applesauce to can, lessons to prepare and a health care plan to oppose started taking over and I knew it was time to go home.

So I hope you are ready for me to write about something else because tomorrow is back to reality which is not near as fun :)

P.S
The picture on the top on the left is of this fun sign we saw when we were walking in case you can not read it it says"Sin will find you out."

Oct 12, 2009

More.....


Okay, where were we? Oh yeah, we had just checked into our hotel in New York City. As soon as we dropped off our bags in our room and did girl stuff like exclaim over the room, comb our hair and reapply lipstick we headed out to Times Square. Our hotel was the Times Square North Hampton Inn so we did not have far to go to Times Square. We wanted to go straight to the TKTS booth and see what time it opened on Saturday morning so we could be there bright and early to get discounted tickets to see a Broadway show. When we got there we realized the booth was open..... right then.... it confused us a little but we immediately came to our senses, seized the opportunity and decided to see a Friday night 8:00 pm show rather than a Saturday show. If you are ever in NYC the only way to see a Broadway show, if you are money conscious, is to go to one of the TKTS booths around the city, stand in overwhelming lines, have at least 4 choices in your mind of what show you might want to see and know your budget. The line at the TKTS should never scare you, they move pretty fast. Everyone says there is never a bad show on Broadway and so far my record is:

Good Shows 2
Bad Shows 0

The first show I saw was last December and the second show I saw was just last Friday. I could not believe that there was no line for the TKTS booth on Friday night, it was so weird. The only down side to getting up to the ticket window super fast was that we did not have much time to mull over which shows had discount tickets available and which shows we wanted to see. As you start requesting they tell you what seats they have, if they are full or partial view, if they are together and then how much they are and they want you to be fast about it. Our 4th request was The Fantasticks, the price was $43.00, the seats were together so we purchased.

Our one goal for this trip was to not eat at a chain restaurant the whole time we were there. So after we got our tickets we had a few minutes to find food. We found a pizza place called Famiglia...that I fear may be a chain but it was really amazingly yummy pizza and there were pictures of famous people hanging all over the walls for us to exclaim over while we ate. If famous people had eaten there it has to be good, right? I almost felt famous eating there :) We discussed which famous person we would love to run into in New York City. And can you believe I froze under pressure and could not decide? (Note to self choose a favorite famous person ASAP.)

After eating we headed across the street to the Jerry Orbach theater. The other time I saw a show in New York City the theater was very beautiful and very big. Gail has seen a ton of shows in NYC in a lot of different theaters so she and I were both very surprised when we walked all the way up to the third floor of this building to a little room with a very low ceiling and we could not help laughing when we discovered our 6th row seats were 6th out of the only 8 rows in the theater. It alarmed us a little. I mean you have expectations based on your experiences and this picture did not match. We worried a little about what we had gotten my sister into. But the minute the lights went down, at the risk of sounding corny, I was literally swept away into another world. The cast for the show was small, just 8 people. The music was only a piano and a harp. The feeling in the theater was small and very intimate. I loved every minute of the show. I heard a couple songs I had heard before but not known what they were from....."try to remember the kind of September." Do you like the way I sang that for you?

As always when I see something amazing I find myself thinking of all the people I wished were there with me enjoying it. The story was about love, reality and fantasy, and yes they all three don't really go together :) The Fantasticks is Broadways longest running show. The singing was clear and beautiful and I connected with all the characters. I found myself holding my breath, smiling and crying. I think any show can only hope to make their viewers feel like that. So our fears about the location vanished as we were totally engrossed in the acting. We got out of the show at 10:15 pm and you would have thought it was still noon, the streets were full of people and it was SO light from all the lights. So we decided to explore.

We headed to Rockefeller Square where we found the plaque on the ground that proclaims where "that" Christmas Tree stands each year. Then we wandered around inside the buildings and happened upon an adorable bakery called Magnolia Bakery. You must add this bakery to your list of places you HAVE to visit. They had huge cakes on display that you could order a slice of, several different flavors of mini cheesecakes, cupcakes, cookies and brownies. It was 11:30 at night and the bakery was packed with people. I had no idea what we had discovered until I got home and googled Magnolia Bakery. There are three locations in New York City. They first opened in 1996. It is known for its famous cupcakes and depression era icebox cakes. Magnolia Bakery is credited with starting the 1990's cupcake craze. And the bakery has even appeared in some movies. I confess we went back to the bakery twice on this trip. You will realize that there is a whole another level of desserts out there that you have been missing when you taste their stuff. Although I confess I only got a sample bite of each item Gail and Sarah bought and a sample bite of what I bought for my family to share and I am SO regretting having self discipline.

After the bakery we hung out in Times Square for awhile and then at 12:30 am we finally admitted defeat and headed back to the hotel. As we were walking I was watching people as I always do and I saw coming towards us two girls and a group of guys. I could not figure out what the girls were wearing from where I was so I started to get curious. I nudged my sister and Gail and we all observed as the girls came towards us and then passed us and it soon became very clear, as clear as.....well bubble wrap..... that the girls were actually wearing bubble wrap. Just bubble wrap....trust me...I know. They each had a black wide belt wrapped around the bubble wrap and then they had high heeled shoes on. Your chances of getting into a club in New York City on a Friday night are greatly improved if you are wearing something that will get attention and I think bubble wrap....and nothing else just may have got those girls into the club. My only problem with this outfit for me would be the horrible need I have to pop those perfect little bubbles that make up bubble wrap so I would have to come up with something a bit more creative than bubble wrap because we could not have me popping my new bubble wrap outfit could we?

Tomorrow I will tell you about our adventures on Saturday in New York City.....they involve the words Gucci, Prada, and Coach, and I will tell you about pink polka dot Speedo guy.

Oct 11, 2009

Where To Start.


Okay, the good news is I am baaaacccck and I missed you. The bad news is it is going to take me a couple of posts to properly fill you in on all the fun I have been having without you. So think of it as a mini series. You really like those.

My sister Sarah got here on Thursday afternoon. It has been a year since I have seen Sarah. My 5 siblings and I are all spread across the United States so we do not get to see each other very much. My other sisters Rachel and Becky have both recently had little babies so they can't just jump on a plane and go do whatever they want right now as easily as Sarah and I can. And my brothers also have little kids and my parents are in Hawaii for 18 months. So that leaves Aunt Sarah and Aunt Jenny to have all the fun by ourselves.

It was very hard to decide what to do with our time together. I live by so many amazing things and we Ord's do hate having to make decisions. But we finally made some decisions and this is how it all went down.

Friday morning we drove 40 minutes to Stockbridge, Massachusetts to see Norman Rockwell's museum. You can get free museum passes at the Westfield library so if you ever come visit I can get you into the museum for free.....are you tempted to skip work and get in the car yet? The morning was overcast but it was still a pretty drive. Stockbridge is an amazing little New England town in The Berkshires that is a very popular destination so be prepared for other people to be there if you ever go. In the town is the very old Red Lion Inn, lots of cute shops and New England-y looking churches and homes. But we drove past it all and on to the museum which is just a few miles out of town.


What can I say about Norman Rockwell? Is their anyone else who can capture faces and real life as well as he can? I confess sometimes when I go to those "other" museums I have been known to skip over some of the pictures and often....gasp....not read every little square with words on it that is hanging next to the pictures BUT when I go to the Norman Rockwell museum I always read everything there are so many amazingly interesting facts about how his pictures came to be.

After you look at every single thing in his museum you can walk around outside on the beautiful grounds and even meander over to his studio. SO, despite the fact that rain is not kind to girls with curly hair, my sister and I decided we had to put seeing Norman Rockwell's studio ahead of our looks. The positive side of the rain was that my sister and I were the only ones who braved the rainy walk to the studio so we got the VIP treatment when we arrived. Lots of fascinating info about good old Norman's life.

After we left the Museum we headed into Stockbridge and faced the rain again while we, ate, and ran in the Country Curtains store. Our time was short since we needed to get going to New York City. SO it was the abridged version of seeing Stockbridge.

We headed to Springfield to pick up my friend Gail who came to New York City with us. If you have a friend named Gail you never, ever go to New York City without her. She is awesome. I hate to be late but we were, sadly, late to pick her up. But by 1:45 pm we were on our way through Connecticut to New York City. From my house it is a two and a half hour drive to the city. Two and a half hours only happens if you are the only person heading into New York City that day. Which I have not been fortunate enough to have happen...yet. But the drive into the city is very beautiful. I always take the Merritt Parkway and it is a beautiful drive...yes, roads can be beautiful, :) if you are skeptical about my claims go to Google images and "google" Merritt Parkway. Apparently lots of other people feel the same way I do about the scenery on this road because there are a lot of pictures of the unique bridges and trees that you see along the way. I am always surprised how I will be driving along on this beautiful road and then all of a sudden I am in The Bronx. We took a small detour this time because the navigator was in the middle of a very fascinating story. But I don't mind detours, as long as I have no time constraint, so ending up on the wrong side of Manhattan was very do-able.

We arrived downtown Manhattan on the Hudson River side ( AKA the "right side") at about 5:45pm. A lot of people recommend not driving into New York City. I am not one of those people. The roads are straight. The roads are numbered, in order, and perfectly square. It does not bother me at all to drive in Manhattan. I don't care if I get honked at, matter of fact I don't feel like part of the club if I don't get honked at at least twice. So despite the signs that warn of a $300.00 fine if you honk I did get honked at. Gail and I have found a very inexpensive parking lot on 60th street right next to the Trump's impressive row of real estate and I also have a couple back up parking lots if needed. But this time we got to park at our hotel. Which was SO great.

We were on the 6th floor of the hotel with a "to be expected" view of more at least 6 story tall buildings all around us. So I made up a view in my head that was much better and got over it :) We dropped off our luggage and headed into the city.

So when I write tomorrow morning and the next day you can look forward to hearing all about what TKTS is, what Broadway show we saw, an amazing bakery we discovered, our cruise around the harbor, our walk by the NYC sanitation department, shopping on Canal street, the boy wearing only a pink polka dot speedo, ending up in the fur district and best of all the two girls we saw wearing ONLY bubble wrap.

Oct 8, 2009

Visitor.

Well, my sister Sarah is coming to visit me today. I am picking her up from Hartford airport at 3:00 pm. I am very excited to see her and we are going to be spending most of our time together in New York City. We have a hotel in Times Square for Friday night. We are hoping to see the Statue of Liberty, shop on Canal Street, see a Broadway show, walk through Central Park and SO much more. So on Saturday think of us in 70 degree, sunny weather in New York City with all the colors of the fall trees. I am very excited. I will catch up on blogging on Sunday afternoon. I will take lots of pictures and tell you every detail as only I can. So enjoy your break from my opinions :) And if you really miss me I do have some fun posts hidden in the past year and a half that you could read. And after that if you still miss me you could always write me and tell me about how much you miss me :) And then if you still miss me you could always come to Massachusetts for lunch...that would make me SO happy.

Oct 6, 2009

The Unfinished Part.


It has a cement floor.
It consists of piles.
The Baird children claim it scares them which is why they only have just enough time to dash in there, tear open boxes until they find what they are looking for, and then bolt out.
It is the room in the house with the most #10 cans in it.

Have you guessed that I am blogging about my basement today? Not the finished part of the basement..... the unfinished part. The part that has desperately been begging for my attention. The part that will definitely not be photographed in the Pottery Barn basement catalog any time soon. (no, don't get excited they do not have a basement catalog :)

So our poor basements 22 months of neglect is about to change. I can feel it. Last weekend the man of the house made shelves for my basement. It involved loads of cussing but it is done. I have 6 new shelves anxiously waiting for me to fill them. It is a little out of my character to not already have them filled but I have a small confession I am not sure how to start. I have taught close to 9 million organization classes throughout the years so I KNOW how to start I just can't.

I know what is in those boxes. Decisions. Loads of decisions. Things that are going to involve owning lots of page protectors and binders and Rubbermaid boxes. And then after the decisions are made I have to swear to the man who made the shelves that we will never need any of the stuff that he is going to have to cart to the dump.

I am not a saver. Any of you who have ever been to my house know that I do not save things. It is very unusual that at this very moment there are 4 empty baby food containers in the cupboard in the kitchen that do not have a purpose. That is how much I save things. But there are things in the basement that I have saved. Things that I feel like I am ready to admit I do not have a purpose for.

There are boxes of clothes. You know the kind, the ones someone in the house is going to grow into. But then you accidentally forgot they were going to grow into it. Or stuff they did grow into but don't like. It is time for it all to go. I started going through it all a couple months ago but company came to visit and it ended up piled in Brian's "man room" then it spent some quality time spread all over the basement play room. It was a painful time. Anytime I went to face it it involved finding a Baird child, making them try things on, listening to them complain, and trying to convince them that what I finally got them to try on was indeed the cutest thing I had ever seen only to have them declare they hated it. The aforementioned clothes ended up in enormous black trash bags that I have to use all my body weight to push across the floor. They just cause me trouble every time any Baird child acquires a new item of clothing because then I have to avoid eye contact with the husband who is thinking constantly about the 4 enormous black bags of clothes in the basement. They are definitely, "the elephant in the room"and they are going to make Goodwill extremely happy.

Then there is....read this in your whisper voice..... boxes of kids papers. My policy is to only save creative papers from school. GEESH do you know how many creative papers 7 kids can crank out? I need them to immediately stop being creative. Not only that I really need all creative papers to only be 8 1/2 by 11 so they can fit easily into page protectors. Is it wrong to beg the teachers to please stop sending home anything creative that I might want to save that is unusually sized?

There are other boxes of papers. Oh drat did I just tell you that? It is true. Oh so many more boxes of papers. I used to have a system. But I am not sure where that system has run off to. I do need to sort through boxes of instructions and bills and thank you notes and so much more. And I just can't imagine doing it without purchasing sharpies, file folders, stickers, 10 file cabinets and 3 new CD's to listen to while dealing with it.

There are unfinished craft projects. There I finally said it out loud. The truth is.....I am a wannabe craft queen. I am fascinated with all the parts of crafting. The colorful fabric, the ribbon, the colorful fabric, the patterns, the colorful fabric. I just can't seem to put it all together into a finished project. I thought I was a failure if I did not craft. So through out the years I have sewn my own curtains. I have sewn kid clothes. I have made quilts. But can I tell you it is hard for me. My brain is a rule oriented brain. If you give me a pattern or instructions by darn I have to do exactly what it says......every word...that is not a craft girl brain. So I have an unfinished table runner. I have unfinished cross stitch. I have unpainted wood. And I am throwing it all out. And I am acknowledging that I have different talents.....what they are I am not sure but I am sure they are here.

The last decisions in the basement are things people I care about have given me but I never use. I am so sorry about these things. I know it is hard to give gifts to people. I know you have something in your basement that I gave you that you are afraid I might ask about someday. Well just get rid of whatever it is because I am doing the same. I really like you and I understand that we never see each other so when you have my name for Christmas you send me something I don't understand but save because I feel bad.

So by next weekend what will be in my basement?

My food storage
My Christmas decorations
One box of Easter eggs
Boxes of fabric organized by color
Two Rubbermaid boxes per child of their personal papers...they can scrapbook their own stuff
when they grow up :)
One file cabinet with organized, labeled manila folders inside :)
One box of all notes I have ever received in the mail
One container of Halloween costumes
One box of winter clothes
and last but not least the 6 boxes full of my love letters :) HAHA