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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Ebay Big Pay Offs

Okay, so I love a bargain. This is what usually happens to me...I go on the garage sale treasure hunt, I slowly walk toward the sale, I scan the set up, I see that magical item. This is the item that I know I totally do not need, want, or have any intention of keeping. I know I can turn around and sell it for a profit if, and only if, I can get it for a steal. It is almost the same at Goodwill, Salvation Army, etc. except that you know the price when you look at the tag.

Thought I would share some of my successes. Let's see. There was this big green bottle shown in this picture. I paid $7 for that bottle. I sold it on ebay for $124.99!

Then I found a real Kate Spade bag brand new with the tags inside, but not attached at the Salvation Army for $3.99. I sold it for $59.

One of the Salvation Army stores that I frequent, has started having $1 clothing days on Fridays and guess what day of the week I am off? Fridays. I usually drop my little guy off at kindergarten, high tail it out to the SA store, spend about 1-1/2 to 2 hours rummaging through the racks and end up with about 15 or so items to sell. Most of these items sell for between $4.99 and $9.99, so my profit ends up being about $60-$135. Some items turn out to be duds and I end up taking them back to the Goodwill, but guess what? I get a tax write off for my donation. And, there are far more items that sell for more than $9.99 than don't sell.

You cannot beat ebay for a great extra money, stay at home mom, make your own hours type "job." Yes, it can be time consuming. Yes, you need to know what sells and what doesn't. Yes, there are some crazy, quirky people buying on ebay and, but life would be boring without a little drama.

Hmm, I just had a few items sell. I sold a costume that cost me 25 cents for $8.99, a $1 pair of Chico's pants for $14.99, a $1 Anthropologie jacket for $9.99, an outgrown by my girl Roxy denim jacket for $9.99 (which I originally bought resale for $4.99), a $1 spiderman costume for $4.99, a $2 Roca Wear wristlet for $4.99, a $1 gap maternity sweater for $8.99, and a couple of other items. Before ebay and paypal fees I have a profit of about $65. Not bad for a little extra time and is it really work if you love it?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


I have been MIA for quite a while from this blog. Why? Hmmm, writer's block, laziness, realization that there were only a minimal number of days left before summer ended...I could go on and on.

I am trying to determine where this blog should go. Here are my dilemmas.

1) I am too lazy to take pictures all the time. Sometimes I think you just need to enjoy moments without having to haul a camera around to make sure you don't forget it. Besides, I really need a new camera.

2) I love to read other blogs and when I find ones that I really like, I feel totally inferior.

3) I am so scattered and random. I would like this blog to have some sort of vision, but I am a scattered person. My interest are all over the place. Cooking, thrifting, ebaying, shopping, refinishing furniture, Hawaii, Chicago, children, crafts, watching episodes of Ghost Hunters, Two and a Half Men, & Hoarders, etc., etc. Notice that cleaning was not in that list. I hate cleaning which means sometimes I think I could be on Hoarders, but then I watch an episode and determine that I am nowhere near that. This, of course, means that I don't have to clean. Yes, it is a vicious cycle.

4) I need focus in so many ways...that is what I am doing if you don't hear from me in a while. I am thinking of focusing on local (meaning Hawaii) food recipes, since I cannot go out and buy many of the foods I grew up eating, I have to cook them. I should just concentrate on that and then add in my stories of my strange life.

We'll see.

Saturday, July 31, 2010


Some people make a conscious effort to make the earth a better place. They are aware that their decisions can harm or help the earth. Some of them decide to "go green;" others, like Kermit and I, decide it's not easy being green. Some decide to use reusable bags when they go grocery shopping; I never remember to bring mine. Some people drive Prius hybrids; I don't ever want to see one of those in an accident with an SUV or semi. Some people recycle; at least I do that, unless we have a really big party and all the recycling bins are full.

In my ever growing conscious effort to make the earth a better place, I have decided to.....are you ready?...never, ever, ever use canned frosting again. Oh sure, I've done it many times in the past. Whip up some cupcakes, throw on some canned frosting, and add a few sprinkles...voila! Each and every time I have ever done this and eaten one of them, yuck. They taste horrible. I have tried all the big brands out there and the all store brands. ALL of them range from yuck to yuckier. And, in all honesty, most of the times that I have used canned frosting, I wouldn't eat any or I would eat one before the frosting went on. Maybe I should use canned frosting; I'd save lots of calories.

Here is my promise to the earth: From now on all delectable, delightful desserts coming from Shevon's kitchen, well, all those that require frosting, will have a yummy frosting made by my own two hands and maybe the grubby little hands of a couple of helpers. This will usually mean either cream cheese frosting or buttercream frosting. There may be others along the way, but they will all be homemade.

The other week I made some of these:

I saw these somewhere on the internet, but I can't remember where they were. Being old sucks as far as memory goes. (If anyone knows where I saw them, let me know. I like to give credit where it is due.) The ones I saw were much prettier. The buttercream frosting was piped nicely and they were beautifully perfect. I was going for a more homey, going to the neighbor's for a few drinks kind of look. And, I really didn't want to whip out all the cake decorating supplies just for that.

The little mini cupcakes on top are just mini Reese's peanut butter cups topped with a little frosting and sprinkles. Mmmm, and cute, too. So, now my challenge to you all is...

Join me on this crusade. It's easy. You don't need to change your lightbulbs, buy a hybrid, or buy organic. All you need to do is take out your blender, powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla. This is about the future of our children who, without your commitment, will never know the wonders of a yummy frosting!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Craptastic Garage Sale

Doing a pop-in post. Getting ready for my garage sale this Friday and Saturday. I really despise having them, but I have too many large items to get rid of. 2 coffee tabes, a console table, an end table, an armoire, a large dresser and mirror, and loads of accumulated crap. Ha, ha, crap.

Reminds me...My Girl is a sweetie. She is a good girl, although recently a bit more moody. In any case, she has always, always, always been my easy child. She never likes when people argue; it bothers her. But, back to Crap. It is one of my go-to words. What is all this crap? That's crappy. Oh, Crap. Just a few of my well known go-to outbursts. So, one day our conversation goes like this:

Bad Mouth Mama: "I gotta get rid of all this crap."

My Girl: "You know, Mom, I really don't like that word."

Bad Mouth Mama: "What word? Crap?"

My Girl: "Yes, I just don't like it."

Bad Mouth Mama: "Really, you don't like crap? Why is it too crappy for you? Oh, crap. I said it again didn't I? Does it make you crappy?"

She says nothing just rolls her eyes and giggles. That's how the crap rolls around here. Hmmm, maybe I should list my garage sale as the Craptastic Garage Sale!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Travel Paranoia

The recent passing of a blogger from Hinsdale, Marija of Holding Court got me pondering life. Marija was a beautifully stylish woman who I did not know at all. She was killed in an accident outside of Atlanta on an antiquing trip last Saturday. She was at the Eddie Ross event I recently attended. I noticed her because she had that look to her...the one we all envy. That casually elegant style. The one I will never be able to achieve unless I grow another 8 inches, but even then I would need to lose a few more pounds. I am extremely short for my weight.

Marija leaves behind her husband and two young children. When I hear of tragedies like this I cannot help but ponder my own life and existence. Each time My Copper and I go on a date night, I worry that if something happened to the two of us, our children would be left orphaned. Yes, My Oldest could take care of the younger two, maybe. I would love to go on a mini vacation with My Copper, but again...what if the plane crashed?

This doesn't seem to bother me when we are all traveling together. I know I am not the only mother on earth that has these concerns. I am guessing that once My Girl and My Little Guy are older and more self sufficient, I will be more apt to go on trips with My Copper. It's strange, but I don't seem to worry about My Oldest when he is not with us. I think that constant concern and worry for him diminished when he was away at college. When he was in high school, I knew when he got home and if he was late, I would worry. When he was away at college, I had no clue about where he was and when he got home which resulted in blissful ignorance.

Anyway, just my thoughts. I wish Marija's family peace.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Eddie Ross Event June 17th

Like this photo of a powerpoint on a screen? Eddie Ross was here recently and I was fortunate enough to attend this event called Wow Without Work(even got a discount for being a blogger). If you are not familiar with Eddie, have a look at his website. He is an idea machine, has an amazing background in style, and a magnetic personality.

The picture above is a partial shot of the buffet table set with items from Scentimental Gardens in Geneva, IL. Debra from Scentimental Gardens presented alongside Eddie and, I have to say, they are a great team. Eddie is the foodie and style phenom, Debra is great with garden decor, and together they're a winning combination.

This Baby's Tears Cake (at least I think it was made from Baby's Tears was a cute idea. With some tall candles, lovely.

I can't tell you everything that was a long evening about 3-1/2 hours, but here's an idea I liked: using vintage swizzle sticks for drink markers instead of those wine glass charms. Each has a unique location, is colorful, and also acts as a conversation starter.

There were lots of yummy tidbits to be had. My favorite was probably a spiced popcorn with some candied nuts served in little individual brown paper bags. See the grease spots? Yum. Sorry for the blurry picture. I was trying to take it and grab a bag off the tray!

Speaking of individual servings...this was another great tip. Eddie talked about creating individual servings to be picked up by your guests. For instance, taking little shot glasses, adding a little cocktail sauce to each, and placing a cocktail shrimp inside. Your guests have a holder for the sauce (saving a nice outfit from red cocktail sauce drippings) and, after indulging, a place to put their shrimp tail. I usually do this with any sweet treat I make to take somewhere. When I make a dessert (brownies, lemon bars, raspberry bars, cakes, etc.) to take to a party or work or anwhere really, I cut it into individual servings and place each in a paper muffin cup. This allows everyone to take a piece without searching for a plate or napkin, and, for you germaphobes, people don't get their fingers in other pieces. I also think desserts get eaten faster this way. I would definitely take a piece of something that I don't have to cut and serve myself. Another good point Eddie made was the fact that by making individual servings you know you will have enough for the guests that are coming.

If they rsvp!!! What is it with people and the lack of rsvp-ing? Sorry, but I must go off on this tangent for a moment. I am a planner. I love to have a party with pretty items on the table: place cards, favors, gift bags,etc. It is extremely difficult to do this when people don't respond. So, if you are one of those people, kindly rsvp. I usually add my email to invitations these days because it makes things even easier. Sorry, tangent erased and I am back on track. Oh, and I apologize to anyone that I have failed to respond to for a party. Anyway...
A couple of other hors d'ouevres that were served: mini phyllo cups filled with mac & cheese and topped with bread crumbs. These were surprisingly good and even more surprising was the little canape with country pate topped with a piece of dill pickle. That's right dill pickle and pate. I had to try it. The dill pickle was really perfect with it.

During a break, I spoke with Jaithan for a while. We chatted about parties, and luaus, and how he has a good friend that lives on the Big Island, where one side of my family lives, and yada yada yada. We may have to have a luau the next time he and Eddie come this way. Took a picture with them. This screams, "Go to the gym, woman," and "What the hell did you have to drink?" I had one vodka, cran, oj. I swear; that's it! It also asks me, "Ooh, which one are you an Oompah Loompah or a Munchkin?" Believe it or not, I had on 3" high wedges!!!
This next pictures screams, "What the hell did the person taking the picture drink?" Oh well, she was kind enough to take them.

It was a wonderful evening and I know several bloggers were in attendance. I met Stacey from The Blessed Nest who sat next to me. We had each come alone, so it was nice to have some company from a fellow blogger in the area. Everyone left with some new tips to help create their own Wow party. Or, if anyone needs help, let me know. That way I can just spend your moolah instead of mine.

I am crossing my fingers that Eddie comes back soon to do one of his flea market field trips soon. I would really like to go on one of those outings!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Thrifty Deals

Friday was my highly successful garage sale day. Here's what I got...

Tall case with 5 pull-out baskets $7, small 3 legged table FREE (it pays to chit chat with people, I was looking at this and she said, "If you want that, you can just have it," so I took it), on the top of the case silver pitcher $1, Pottery Barn beeswax candle 50 cents, floral plate 25 cents.

On the little table top: every single thing was 25 cents each. There is a little vintage tea pot, a glass decanter, glass rooster, 3 biscuit cutters, a hand painted vintage pitcher, 2 planters, a decorative bird statue, and a statue of two children (this one is made in Occupied Japan). All that for $2.25.

white shelf was $2 and the little vintage red case with white polka dots was $1. On the bottom shelf of the little table, is a milk glass plate $1, a pewter vase $1.50, a milk glass salt and pepper grinder $1, a vintage music box stein 25 cents, some wood shims 25 cents, a blue and white vintage scarf $1, and the green photo box on the ground was 50 cents.

Also on the ground is a box of old sewing notions for $3. I found a vintage advertising piece in the box that sells on ebay for more than that. My very favorite find is an old Italian wine bottle. That's right, the kind they sell at Pottery Barn for $99 and up. Got mine for $7!

Oops, I forgot a few things. This was a vintage strawberry shortcake tray for 50 cents, mug for 25 cents, and candle for 10 cents. The white ceramic basket was $2 and the melon baller inside was 50 cents. The 12 metal molds were 75 cents and the old milk bottle was 25 cents. The frisbee, which will be destroyed by the dog in one play session, and the decorative bead strand was free.

I would call it a highly successful day. Total for everything: $33.85 I'm sure I will make most of that back on ebay from a couple of those items.

Note: I just linked up to the Thrifty Treasures Party at

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Why do we do it? Why? Why? Why? Why do we smell something stinky, wrinkle up our noses, and immediately say to the closest human, "Ewww, smell this." Why? It's bad people, it's nasty, it's disgusting, it kills every pleasant olfactory sensation before, come on smell it too, you know you want to.

What made me think of this? Smelly things, of course. My Copper (poor guy) was out training one day last week. It was outdoors and it was a very wet day. Rain, rain, rain. I felt bad for him. He came home with sore feet that had been sitting in soggy black socks and boots all day. His feet looked like wrinkly, wet dead things. He said they were so bad and smelled like dead fish. He didn't want to put them in the hamper (thankfully), so he put them in the laundry room. Did I know this? No. I just happened to have put a freshly washed load of darks in the dryer right before this. The next time I go into the laundry room, I see two black wet socks on the washing machine. I immediately think that I dropped them going from washer to dryer, so what do I do? That's right. I take a gigantic whiff of them expecting the rain fresh scent that the bottle of detergent claims of. What do I get? A gigantic whiff of stinky dead fish. So, what do I do? I go upstairs (laughing the whole way) and tell My Copper. What does he say, smiling? "They're bad, huh, I smelled them, too."

Why? Why do we do this? It must be leftover from our primal times when we had to smell to ensure something was okay to eat. Cavemen didn't have refrigeration. Smell could deter you from consuming something that could kill you. And, believe me, those socks could've killed me. I put them in the garbage instead of the next load. I just couldn't take the risk that they would infect other articles of clothing.

Dogs, of course, have a whole different view of what smells good...

In the end (ha, ha get it, the end), if we are going to sniff around at things, we should just continue stop and smell the roses.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Thrifty Treasure Finds

I am the lover of a good deal, sale, bargain, etc. I get a terrible pain in my head if I am not allowed to stop at a thrift, resale, garage sale, flea market, antique get the picture. Okay, so I will post pictures when I remember to take some. I love to write, but don't always remember to illustrate!

Right now I have a few items that I still need to put away, sell on ebay or etsy, or do a little prettying up to. My garage currently contains: a cast iron bed (for My Girl's room). This was a freebie from my neighbor's garbage.

A buffet that needs to be sanded and painted for my dining room. I bought it late in the fall and it was too cold outside to paint it properly. It's nice now, so I will be working on it soon.

Bags of treasures that include: crystal plates, pressed glass plates, glass corn plates, a silver pineapple tray (that's right I am from Hawaii), a pressed glass tall dish, a blue small pedestal dish, a pier one frame, and other things that I really don't remember at this moment.

Today at the Salvation Army I found a tacky hula girl statue, but I have plans for her. You'll have to wait and see. A milk glass plate, some wire baskets, a table runner for my antique pedal sewing machine that I got at a garage sale for $20, a game for My Little Guy, and (my best find) pink depression glass salt and pepper shakers for 75 cents!

The best part of the whole Salvation Army (or as I have heard some people pronounce it Salivation Army; eww, I bet people do salivate on some of that stuff) shopping experience was the woman on the phone talking the entire time. She was having a vivid conversation about her divorce and how much it was costing her every time she went to court and every other word was the F word. I was laughing the whole time. My kids weren't there...pheww. Don't worry, I wasn't eavesdropping. I could hear her very clearly from three rows over!

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Okay, so I need followers. Tell your friends!

Be one of the first 50 people to register as a follower on this blog and one random person will be selected to receive a $20 Target Gift Card!!! Don't know much about this blog stuff yet...I believe you need to register as a public follower or I won't know you are there and won't be able to see you.

I will use a random number selector to choose one of the first 50 and notify you by email.

Remember, no one will be able to win unless we hit the magic number of 50, so tell your friends.

Walt Disney World

My children and I were talking about last year's trip to DisneyWorld. Ahhh, I am a total Disneyland and Disneyworld lover. I told my children that each and every time I walk into the Magic Kingdom and see this

Mickey head made from flowers, I AM INSTANTLY HAPPY! Not just a little happy. I am giggly, five-year-old happy. I could skip right under the bridge and take a picture with the first character I see. This has happened to me since the first time I went to Disneyland when I was five years old. Each time I returned seeing the Mickey flower head triggered all my joyous Snow White, Pirates of the Caribbean,and Haunted Mansion anticipation. My dream is to go there without kids. Well, I did that once, but they don't know. But, it was a convention and I wasn't there very long, really, really.

It is just amazing the joy that comes with the magical world of Disney. Walt Disney was brilliant. Where else in the world can you have everything appear to be perfect and happy. Where else are there princesses, pirates, and Pooh; Donalds, Mickeys, and Nemos? Where else can you go on a safari one day, visit a dozen different countries the next, and go on a backlot movie studio tour?

Where else causes children to exhibit unnatural moments of extreme happiness? Here is the proof:

Where else can you go and have your kids look like this at the end of the trip?

AND, where else does your husband smile when his wallet ends up like this?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Tea at Tiffany's Tablescape

The fundraiser for my mothers' club this year was a tea party. Members could volunteer to be a table hostess and decorate their table. And, yes, it was a competition. Am I competitive? Yes. Can I do things half a**? No. Did I spend way too much time and money? Of course.

So, what did you do, you may ask? Well...I found a tree branch, trimmed it, and painted it silver. Found a nice bowl at Goodwill that would work. Using plaster of paris, I set the tree in the bowl. How did I get it to stand while it dried? I stood there for 40 minutes in my garage holding the branch upright until it dried. Am I crazy? Slightly. Once the plaster of paris was set, I decided that there was a bald spot, so I screwed in another branch. Then, I glued pieces of dangling sparkle gems to shower down upon the table.

Okay, am I done? Nooooo. I thought it needed something else, so I found some artifical cherry blossom limbs, cut the blossoms off, and adhered them here and there.

What else? Well, since it is the day before I may as well do some other things because I do have a whole day, right? So, I proceed to make pillow boxes out of tiffany blue paper. Then I cut four layers of flower petals out, curled them slightly, and added a little bling to the center. Assemble the box, add some candy, a ribbon, and attach the flower.

Hmmm, what else should I do? Oh, why not create a placecard with a little ribbon and bling, buy a rose, place in a silver julep cup. But, what will hold up the card? Hmm, get skewers and cut them down and paint them silver...yes, that'll work. Oh wait, you don't have too much to do. Make a program and menu, since I need a little more color and because I don't have enough to do. I download a picture from Breakfast at Tiffany's, print it out along with a title, cut it out, and use it for the cover with a little more ribbon and bling.

Now what, oh yeah, I still need to iron 12 satin seat covers. Joy, joy, joy. Did I ever tell you how much I despise ironing? I barely make it out of the house. All of this does not include the 5.5 millions trips to JoAnn Fabric, Michael's, and Hobby Lobby. Plus the online ordering of seat covers, julep cups, and chair sashes.

All of this = second place. Ah, second place, first runner up, almost. What does it mean in my mind, first loser. You know that my competitive nature does not allow for this, so I am already planning for next year. I already have my theme in mind, but I'm not telling.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Jane of All Trades

I have been told by a few people throughout my life that I can do anything. I'm not talking about a pep talk or self-help book. What I mean is this...I have had people literally say, "You are one of those people that can do anything." I would have to agree or at least I think I can do anything. Unfortunately, that is my problem. I get bored with everything. I love the challenge of learning something new and being good at it, but then it bores me.

Do I know a little about a lot of things? Yes. Do I know a lot about some things? Yes. Have I had a lot of experience in many areas? Yes. I realized this one day when someone asked how many jobs I had had. I really started to think about it. There are so many times when I hear myself saying, "When I worked as a ___,..."

I thought I would give you a run down of all the jobs I have ever held both part-time and full-time.

1) McDonald's - my first job as a 16-year-old. Worked a lot and came home smelling like rotten milk from cleaning the shake and ice cream machines out.

2) Japanese Bakery - in high school at the old Gem's store. They had great pastries and I could practice my Japanese with all the bakers. My friend and I also attempted to teach one of the young bakers how to be more American.

3)Record Dept - in another Gem's store. Kevin, my co-worker and I would crazy glue quarters to the ground and watch people try to pick them up. The maintenance guy would always ruin it by using a putty knife to pry them off.

4) Mortuary - owned by my cousins and a great place to study between services during college. Through this I got to know all the guys that worked for the transport company. That's right, they picked up and delivered the bodies everywhere. The best part is when they would see me walking to my house from the bus stop, they'd give me a ride. I always checked to see if there were any back seat passengers.

5) Coffee Shop - located inside a bowling alley and famous for its oxtail soup. There was one grumpy cook that never ever smiled unless the other little cook would ask me out and I would reply with "I would rather die."

6) Hotel - with my B.A. in hand I go to work as a waitress at a hotel. I make a ton of life long friends there, but also spend all my money going out with them.

7) Private Canoe Club - waitress at a private club on the beach with canoe paddlers and volleyball players = bonus; uniform which consisted of candy striper like large vertical pink and white striped shirt with tan long gaucho shorts = not good. The best part is Tom Selleck was a member and would come in when he was in town. By the way, he is very pleasant and friendly.

9) Hotel - waitress in a karaoke bar. Got to work with one of the Ink Spots (old time singing group) as he was the host of the karaoke lounge.

10) Paralegal - so I finally get a real job and work as a paralegal to see if I would like to go to law school. I may have decided to do that if it hadn't been a thrilling insurance defense firm. Oh, then I got laid off after a year.

11) Tuxedo Store - Assistant Manager in a Tuxedo Shop. Fun job, great gay co-worker who always made it fun. Miss you Mike. Got to work with a friend from high school until he got fired. Saw an old boyfriend who was getting married and then he called me that night - what a jerk. I doubt he is still married.

12) Bank - Went back to school to get my education degree so I worked as a part-time teller with some real geniuses. It's nice when you work somewhere for two months and you are asked to train the other tellers, some that have been working full-time for years, on new procedures.

13) Farrington High School - student taught at Kaiser High School and then worked at Farrington as an English teacher. Broke up a gang fight in my first class on my first day. Broke up another gang fight in the hall a few weeks later. Great place to work.

14) Cantigny - gave tours in the mansion of Mr. McCormick as in Chicago Tribune. Worked with some great retirees. This is when I retired from teaching or, rather, I moved here and couldn't find any open teaching positions.

15) Univ of IL Extension - worked as a shelter educator in a homeless/domestic violence/sexual assault shelter in Elgin. Interesting job and flexible.

16) West Chicago Police Dept - part-timers always worked alone on weekends and holidays which meant you did paperwork, watched prisoners in the booking room, and helped people walking in. Memorable moments: guy walking in stabbed and saying he needed help. It wasn't life threatening, well, at least I didn't think so. I just called for an ambulance and an officer.

17) Hotel- worked as a catering assitant with some interesting people. My favorite story is when one manager hooked up with another and told me she had a guy over and her cat pissed on his coat. We had a feeling we knew who the "he" was, so My Copper who also worked there at the time, walked up to the guy and said, "(sniff, sniff) Dude, you smell like cat pee?" His reply, "How do you know about that?" My Copper says, "I didn't, but I do now."

18) Domestic Violence Shelter - worked as the human resource/office manager for about 5 years and then was asked to open a thrift store. Great experience setting up a store, not so fun running a store every day. I was saved by pregnancy and quit.

19) Hardest job ever - stay at home mom for 4 years...need I say more. I was totally underqualified for this and probably should've been fired.

20) Administrative Asst at 911 dispatch center - flexible hours, close to home.


Thursday, April 8, 2010

My Crazy Mexicans

When I first moved here, to the land where my husband was born and raised, and the first holiday season rolled around, I asked My Copper what his family usually did on this or that holiday. Family traditions, Mexican traditions, Illinois traditions, anything, anything, anything????

At Christmas growing up, we always did the same thing in my house. We opened gifts, got dressed, went to my grandparents' house, ate a huge breakfast, usually cooked by my uncles (It should have been a national holiday for this reason alone...they never cooked.), we opened our gifts there, played with some of our new toys, went home, got ready, went to my Great Aunt and Great Uncle's home, had dinner, and played games that my mother usually worked on. Oh, and we always had to bring a grab bag, but you couldn't buy something. You had to make it! We have some great talented family members and some not so talented ones. There was always the cute item made by the youngest members of the family and, of course, these were always stolen by their grandmothers. And, always, something that we all remember for years like the "thinker" man sitting on a toliet made out of nuts and bolts.

The point is, there was some sort of tradition. I knew what was going to happen. The times have changed and maybe the location is different, but they still do the same things back home. Here in Illinois, I feel like I am in limbo and we are not talking about trying to bend backward under a stick. We are talking about trying to bend backward to create traditions for my children.

In Hawaii, we have certain things that are done on certain holidays. Some of them are related to the island's culture and other things are carried over from Japanese traditions through my family. On New Year's Eve, my grandmother always made Okinawan pig's feet soup. Mmmm, it was sort of like Miso soup with veggies, small pieces of pork ribs, and piggy toes (literally). I never really ate the feet. Your first thought might be that I couldn't handle the thought of pig's feet being on a pig and, when they were still walking around, we all know what they were walking in. Yuck. No, the reason I didn't like them was because they are really fatty and blubbery and (choke) get the picture. New Year's Eve was spent preparing for the next day. Traditionally, you are not supposed to do work on New Year's Day. This meant that most of the cooking was done the night before and things just got heated up the next day when the entire clan would come over. On New Year's Day the food consisted of all sorts of dishes many of which meant certain things. There were items that were eaten for good luck, prosperity, fertility, etc.

So, back to my point, my kids have no traditions related to culture. Heck, they don't even know what culture they are especially as it relates to their Mexican heritage. My kids don't really think they are Mexican. My Little Guy looks like a clone of me and My Girl looks like a combo of both of us. So, one day My Girl and I go to the thrift store. For those of you that know me, you know that I love the thrill of the hunt at garage sales, thrift stores, and flea markets. We find some cute items including a long night shirt for My Girl, brand new with tags. For any of you that have ever walked into a thrift store you all know that familiar is really hard to describe, but I can verify that it doesnt' smell like gardenias or Chanel No.5. Anyway, My Girl tries on the shirt when we get home and walks out of her room to say it fits. She then proceeds to pull the collar up over her nose and look at us (My Copper, My Little Guy, and I) and say, "Hmmm, this shirt smells like Mexican, but not like Daddy."

Of course, My Mexican Copper and I burst out laughing and My Little Guy begins yelling at his sister, "You Crazy Mexican." She says the same back to him. I say, "You're all crazy Mexicans." My Little Guy thought it was the funniest thing. Honestly, I don't think he had any clue what he was talking about. He called me a Crazy Mexican and I informed him that I was the only one in the room that was not and he said, "I'm not either."

He may be changing his name later in life or he may just figure out that he really is half Mexican.

Monday, March 29, 2010

A Pale Shade of Yellow

I was thinking about all the times since I have lived here in Illinois that people have asked me a certain question. This question is usually preceded by an apology of sorts like, "I'm sorry, but do you mind if I ask you a question?" or something to that effect. I always think it's going to be some great big inappropriate question that would necessitate an apology before being "Do you really think you should be eating those french fries?" or "Have you ever had a communicable disease?"

No, it is always the same..."What are you?" or "What is your background?" Okay, here in the suburbs of Illinois, I am sort of different. I am a mixture of Okinawan, Japanese, Irish, and Scottish. And, believe me, in Hawaii there is a big difference between Okinawan and Japanese. Growing up in Hawaii this is pretty much the question asked after hello. Usually, "So, what you?" Most everyone back home is a mixture of this and that or that and this with a little bit of something else mixed in.

There are a couple of times that this has really been strange. Once while giving a tour of a mansion at an old job, this couple (the guy was white and the girl was Chinese) asked me the question. I followed my answer with, "Hey, so this (making a circle with my finger around my face) is what your kids will look like some day. Hope that's okay?" They giggled and said yes. I must have done my makeup well that day.

Another time, I was actually in the recovery room of the hospital after some surgery. There were three nurses at the desk facing me. They looked at me continuously and whispered back and forth. I was ready to ask what was going on. I thought that perhaps they did something wrong. You've all heard those stories, wrong person operated on, wrong leg amputated, etc. Finally, one of them walks over to me and says, "I'm sorry. Can I ask you something? We were all trying to figure out what you were." Okay, they knew my name...Irish first name not spelled the original Gaelic way (Siobhan), Irish maiden name not pronounced the Gaelic way, and name after hyphen: Mexican. I can see their confusion. I told her what I was, she thanked me, and went back and told the others. They all nodded, "Ohhhh." Whatever, nurses.

My favorite of all of these was when I was in a church meeting and a very kind man asked me the question. He was asking because his own wife was Mexican with a tiny bit of Japanese in their family background. I answered him with, "Tom, I'm Japanese, Irish, and Scottish." He replies, "Oh, what's that like?" I looked at him and said, "Sort of a pale shade of yellow." Everyone started to laugh and I think he realized that his question was absurd. I am still not quite sure what he meant, but living here in the Midwest, I guess a lot of people must wonder what that's like.

Fortunately, I think being of my background gives me some space. Let's face it, most of my friends are white. That's who lives here. I have never felt any discrimination and wouldn't put up with it if there were. The other thing that I am allowed is the freedom to say things to some people because I am not white. I can say things to a non-white person that coming from me is okay, but coming from a white person would not be okay.

So, the bottom line is I am an American, born and raised in Hawaii to a mother whose grandparents came to Hawaii from Okinawa to work on the sugar plantations and to a father whose Japanese mother, against the wishes of her parents, married an Irish/Scottish white man from Ohio. Now I live in Illinois and am married to a man who is of Mexican heritage and doesn't speak a lick of Spanish. Actually, My Little Guy is getting pretty good at it...he can count to 15 in Spanish and say a few words. They've been learning in preschool. He is probably the only child in these parts, besides his big sister, who can (with a little coaching) count to ten in English, Spanish, Japanese, and Hawaiian!

My Oldest is a mixture of me and his father who was white, but we don't know much more since he was adopted and is now deceased. Ahh, and My Girl and My Little Guy well in these parts, aka our house, they are known as McMacMexanese. I'll have to tell you about how my half Mexican children think they are not Mexican on another day.

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Leprechauns Destroyed Santa

The fantasy has ended for My Girl...yes, she figured it out. DISCLAIMER:Do not let any of your believer children read this. Really, they shouldn't be reading this blog anyway. I am not always appropriate.

I guess I need to explain a little about the leprechauns. We put out our stockings on Christmas and Santa fills them. He even fills mom's, dad's, the dog's, the bunny's, and even the fish's stocking. Not that a fish would have a stocking, since he has no feet. On Easter, we place the Easter baskets out with a carrot for the Easter Bunny and he eats some of it and leaves treats. We had never before done anything for St. Patrick's Day, until we moved into our house in 2004. Our new neighbors, and now very good friends, had these rotten leprechauns that would visit their house each year.

I can tell you why the leprechauns never visited our house before this...March 17th can end up on any day of the week. Not like Easter, always on a Sunday. Not like Christmas, usually preceded and followed by a day off. Well, St. Patrick's Day, as much as I would like it to be, is not a day off for most people. Although, I have known more than a few who call in sick the day after, but that's a whole other story.

So, our great friends next door have these havoc wreaking leprechauns. When the children are asleep on March 16th, these little rascals make a total mess. They knock over chairs, turn over tables, and last year they even shaved off half the beard of the man of the house while he was sleeping (see what I mean..over achievers). They also leave treats like gold chocolate coins and Lucky Charms cereal. So, the first year we move in and St. Patrick's Day comes around and My Girl hears the kids talking about what the leprechauns had done to their house, what happens? She says, "Why don't the leprechauns come to our house?"

What do you say? My wit kicked in and I said, "They must have done so many crazy things next door they lost track of time, the sun came up, and they had to hide. You never know what'll happen next year." For the last 3 years I have been up in the middle of the night on March 16th making a mess, throwing green confetti around, criss crossing green yarn across bedroom doors, etc. This is why St. Patrick's Day should be a holiday. You can't clean that up before school and work on a weekday.

A couple weeks ago as we are driving to some activity My Girl says, "Mom, I think the leprechauns are really you and daddy." I wanted to say, "Daddy, no way. It's all me, girlfriend." Instead I ask, "What makes you think that?" She says, "Well, I know there are no little green men running around our house making a mess." Thank goodness! I started to have that feeling all us moms get. You know, when you see your child on stage at a Christmas program or watch them do something monumental like ride a bicycle solo for the first time. You begin to tremble with the realization that one of your babies is growing up. You want to giggle only because you are so delighted, but it usually ends up being a mixture of tears and the giggle you can't contain. Unfortunately, this ends up sounding more like a bawling laughter.

I waited for a few seconds and said, "What do you think?" My Girl says, "I think, I know, it's you." Then, I waited and held my breath in anticipation of the next question. "Are you Santa, too?" I wanted to cry. My baby is growing up and I have absolutely no power to change it. This control freak is done for.

I went into the explanation of how Santa is the Spirit of Christmas, how it would be physically impossible for one man to get to every house in the world in one night, and blah, blah, blah. Of course, she said she knew that she had seen some of the toys she received this year at Target. If there were actually elves making toys, I'm sure they would be better quality and they probably wouldn't take a half hour to untie from their boxes.

My Girl has now joined the ranks of those that know "The Secret." She is now officially in training through St. Patrick's and Easter and will be out of probation once this Christmas rolls around. I am hoping this means I can go to bed at a reasonable hour and she can take over. Who am I kidding? This just means I don't have to wait for her to go to bed. So, if your little ones are still believing, let them! And, cherish each and every 2 a.m. stocking stuffing session while you can.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Rainbow & Cloud Cupcakes

I love Family Fun magazine. So, the other day I see these on the last page and so do the kids. Of course, we have to make them. Oh, the uses for these babies. Stick a little gold chocolate coin in the top and've found the leprechauns treasure at the end of the rainbow. Got a little girly girl who loves colorful rainbows and you've got the perfect birthday cupcakes. Need a snack while you watch the Gay Pride Parade...fabulous. What else? Let me know if you come up with other ideas. My creative brain just collapsed.

Here's the recipe for those of you who want to go somewhere over the rainbow.

Rainbow Cupcakes
1) Prepare your favorite white cake mix, then divide the batter into six small bowls. Add food coloring to make the six colors of the rainbow. Purple: 9 drops red & 6 drops blue; Blue: 12 drops blue; Green: 12 drops green; Yellow: 12 drops yellow; Orange: 12 drops yellow & 4 drops red; Red: 18 drops red. Mix each until the color is evenly distributed.

2) Line your muffin tins with 16 baking cups. Evenly distribute the purple batter among the cups, then the blue, and so on, following the order listed above. Try to cover the color below as much as possible with the back of a spoon.

3) Bake the cupcakes according to the cake mix directions. Before serving remove the paper wrapper and top with a cool whip cream cloud. I would use cream cheese frosting if you wanted to transport it somewhere.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

I Love the Way You Wrap a Sandwich

In one of my very first posts, I mentioned the fact that one of the reasons My Copper fell in love with me was because of the way I wrap a sandwich. No, he's not crazy, but I might be a touch particular.

Don't get me wrong. I am not particular about a lot. Only the way food sits on my plate, how towels are folded, and a couple of other things. My house is in constant disarray. You will never make a pop-in at my house and find things immaculate, in any organized state, or even close to what I consider presentable. I just seem to find other things to do that I find far more interesting than cleaning. I start, but get easily distracted. There is always a magazine to read, facebook to post on, a blog to write, a book that can't be put down, a child's butt, nose, or mouth to wipe, dinner to be cooked, snow to be shoveled, a garden to tend to, web surfing to be done...okay, I'll stop here. I think you get the picture. I find anything, good or bad to do, better than cleaning.

I was raised in a family of clutter bugs, pack rats, whatever you would like to call them. I try my best, but blood is strong and, unfortunately, environment even stronger. I consider myself nowhere close to some of my family. In fact, that is another excuse. Viewing my family's clutter makes my house look pristine. This leads to my sandwich wrapping style which was probably developed out of the inability to control clutter and chaos as a child (in my Dr. Head Shrink opinion). Yes, there were times I would de-clutter a room and find it re-cluttered shortly after. There was one other affliction that may have been associated with my need for a neat sandwich.

As a young child I had the blessing of a weak stomach and every fish market in Hawaii was blessed by me. In other words, the fish market doors would open, I would step in, take a whiff, and someone would need to fetch a mop and disinfectant. Smells, another person throwing up, and seeing messy food would make me sick. I even have written proof. I have a kindergarten report card that says, "Shevon's vomiting has improved. It seems to be related to seeing messy food." I don't know if the "vomiting has improved" meant that I got better at it or did it less! In Hawaii elementary school included full day kindergarten and this meant you ate lunch at school. I might add, a great lunch for only a quarter back then. When you were done with your lunch, you took your tray to the cafeteria line, and emptied your leftovers into a hole. If I mistakenly looked into this black hole of a mixture of everyone's half consumed lunch, I would get sick to my stomach. Ewww, I am getting that feeling at the back of my throat just thinking about this.

So, as for the wrapping sandwiches. When I was dating my husband, we would sometimes pack a lunch and go to the zoo or a park. He stated that one of the reasons he fell in love with me was the way I wrapped a sandwich. I always, always, always wrap a sandwich in waxed paper. I place the sandwich in the middle, fold the top and bottom in to the center, fold the sides in to form a triangle, and fold the triangles backward, then it goes into a fold over the top plastic baggie. Particular? Yes. Strange? Maybe in your mind. In my mind, keeps everything in the sandwich where it should be. You do not open your sandwich with meat, cheese, condiments, lettuce, etc. all over the place. That's right. No peanut butter smeared on the edge of the plastic bag. It also keeps your hands clean when you may not have easy access to a water source. I don't want to 1) put my sandwich back together if it's messy when I can't wash my hands before and 2) I don't want pb&j or mayonnaise all over my hands when I can't wash them after. Okay, a little strange, but that's me. I am still, to this day, not quite sure why My Copper liked it so much. Every time I ask him he says, "I don't know. It's just kinda cool."

Is this my only odd eating habit? No. The other day we were out at breakfast and My Copper asked me why I was putting ketchup ON my potatoes. That's right ON my potatoes. You see I am a dipper. Nothing gets saturated with condiments. I dip; therefore, I am. But, on this rare occasion, the potatoes were crunchy enough that they could withstand the ketchup's wrath and were worthy of getting a direct ketchup attack. I know that every single thing I do has thought put into it. If the potatoes had ketchup on them, they would get mushy, since the potatoes were extra crunchy, they wouldn't. My husband always asks me if my brain ever shuts off. Nope, never, ever. It's a curse I say, a curse. Maybe I am a little odd.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Cranks Pranks & "Special" Calls

At work yesterday the subject of prank calls came up...memories began to fly through my head. As a child, my cousins (really friends of the family)would call the guy at the bowling alley and ask him if he had 10 pound balls. The seasoned veterans of bowling alley call takers always replied with, "Bowling balls? Yes, we have 10 pound bowling balls." While the newbies would always answer yes and in reply would get a childish, "Then how the hell do you walk?" Yes, yes, I know...adolescent, but it still makes me giggle. I could never get the nerve up to do it myself.

In high school while working retail, I would get obscene calls at work. Usually creeps who found pleasure by calling and talking about disgusting subjects, especially to an innocent high schooler. I, in turn, usually found great joy in finding ways to get the callers to hang up on me. My favorite was usually pretending that I couldn't hear or understand what they were saying and eventually they would get so irritated that they would hang up on me. My favorite call ever had to be the one where a particularly bored creep called the store and proceeded to describe what he was doing...alone! Yes, you get the picture, not a pretty one either. What was my witty (obviously, didn't think first) reply. It was, "Man, get a grip." His unfortunate reply, "I am." Yup, needless to say I started laughing so hard, I had to hang up on him. At least he was somewhat quick witted and provided me with a chuckle to this very day.

Just an aside before I continue...For those people closest to me, you know that I love to aim sarcasm at you. If I am not mean to you, don't say sassy things around you, etc. 1) I either don't like you very much or 2) I think you will either cry or get angry and then I would have to apologize. Really, I don't like doing that much either. So, those of you that are harassed by me, are truly loved. If I can have something come back to haunt someone repeatedly, I will do just that, bring it up repeatedly. That's just the way I am. Somewhat evil at times, I know.

The other reason I do these things is that I want to create a better future generation. Which brings me to my modern day pranksters. A young prank caller is so limited in his creativity these days because of technology like caller i.d. I had a kid call my house one day and say, "This is the electric company and you haven't paid your bill." For one, my young friend, that is the lamest prank call ever and, two, you are obviously not the electric company. Of course, after a few questions and remarks from me, the young caller hangs up on me. Most people would let that be the end of it. Not me. Remember, I am evil and this is all about that Clinton era "it takes a village to raise a child." Thanks to caller i.d., this villager called back the young prankster. He answers and when I ask if he was the one that just called me pretending to be the electric company, he hangs up on me. Does it end there? Nope. The villager calls again and gets exactly what she is hoping anwering machine. The message, "Hi, this is the person you just called. I know you are there and will probably erase this message, but just so you know, I will be calling repeatedly until your parents answer the phone. Have a great day."

The villager sat back and relished in the thought that somewhere a young boy would spend the next few days like one of Pavlov's dogs. In this case, no bell's ring bringing on a hunger induced salivation, just a phone's ring bringing on a terror induced soiling of the pants. And that, my friends, is how a village raises a child!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Who's "My Copper?"

I just had to explain a few things. I’ve only posted a couple of times to this blog, so before I go too far, I need to clarify a bit.

A friend told me she read my blog and it took her a little while to figure out who “My Copper” was. Since she is a pretty smart cookie, mmmm cookies. Sorry, got distracted there for a minute. I thought I would explain before anyone else gets confused.

I started this blog to write. I love to write almost as much as I love to talk. For those of you that know me…hard to believe isn’t it? I do tend to talk quite a bit. Although I am not a big techy, I know that anyone with access to the internet can view my blog. This would be reason number 2 for starting a blog – FAME. Yup, someday I will be famous for writing about the sometimes mundane, sometimes funny, sometimes unbelievable things that happen to me or around me. And, ooh, a pig just flew past my window.

So, back to My Copper. For my friends and family, you all know who he is. He is the man I married, the man I love, the father of my wascally wabbits, the man that served this country, and the man that might write you a speeding ticket. You can try using my name, but it probably won’t get you anywhere. Yes, my husband is a police officer or cop. Did the light bulb just go on? Cop. Copper. Get it? I am keeping him anonymous, so that he does not have a plethora of people asking him for a break while going 50 mph in a 30 mph zone. Well, at least the plethora of people reading this blog.

The kids, well, they will pretty much remain anonymous as well. My oldest son will be My Oldest Son, my daughter will be My Girl, and my baby boy will be My Little Guy. As for our pets, they won’t be anonymous. Kalani is our, now deceased, Golden Retriever; Brutus is our crazy goat-dog. He’s really a Belgian Malinois, but given the chance would eat anything available. We don’t give him the chance. Marshmallow is My Girl’s lop-eared bunny who is the color of a toasted marshmallow. Here’s a fact: Bunnies do not smell like toasted marshmallows. And, last and definitely least, is Buster. Ahhh, Buster.

Buster is the goldfish won by My Girl at the fair last August. You know those fish that usually last a week or two if you’re lucky. Thanks, Grandpa, for letting her play that game five months ago. She named him Buster because she said he was all “busted up.” This leads me to surmise that these wonderful feeder fish that you can purchase at Wal-Mart for 10 cents are somehow sold off to Carnies when they either aren’t selling or are ready to go belly up.

Think about it…it’s a great money making opportunity. Wal-Mart, who I am sure really owns all the traveling carnivals (see for proof), takes all of these fish and charges $3 for each child willing to take a turn at winning a fish while their parents’ backs are turned.

Now, if the child wins, they make a profit of $2.15. $3 a turn, minus 10 cents for the fish, minus 75 cents for the Carny’s pay. This, of course, is based on 10 kids playing and winning per hour to equal Carny pay of $7.50 an hour. Seriously, Carnies should be paid more than that for standing there and listening to all those kids whining for the chance to throw a ping pong ball at a glass fish bowl. But, when I think about it, where else can you be get paid to be outside smoking a cigarette while talking on your cell phone? Try every office building around!

All I wanted to do was clarify why my husband is “My Copper,” and look what we ended up with…Carnies!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Dog Mourning

Honestly, how many times have I said or heard someone else say, "It's only a dog." Why do we say it? I think it is to keep ourselves from facing possible shame of being cast as one of those "dog people." Yes, like the crazy old lady that dresses her dogs and buys jewelry for the canine, spends countless hours talking to the dog and no one else, etc. Well, today I stand proud and say our dog, Kalani, was always a part of our family.

No, we didn't put silly clothes on him. Well, except for the Elvis costume he had for a few Halloweens. You know the one that had pant legs that went over his two front legs, so it looked like "shake your pelvis Elvis" was actually walking. Who knows, Elvis could have come back as a Golden Retriever and lived with us. Kalani did always have a taste for bacon and peanut butter. But, I digress.

It has only been three days since Kalani passed away. We were relieved at the fact that we did not have to make the difficult decision to take him in to save him from suffering. He made the decision for us. We all knew it was coming. Wednesday night was spent lying down with him, talking to him, and petting him. I think we all knew it. The kids, me, and the Copper. My girl skipped a class she loves because we were a little late and she made no fuss like she usually might.

But, maybe, it was meant to be so that a few extra hours could be spent with our dog. The dog that she would fall asleep against as a toddler. The dog who would give me the "help me, mom" look when she did fall asleep against him, but would listen when I said, "Don't move, just let her sleep." She spent many hours sleeping cuddled against his furry warmth. And, I think he liked it, too.

And, my oldest, he took it pretty hard. After all, he was the one that found the classified ad for a Golden Retriever for only $175 back in 1997. We told him that it was a mistake and it was probably $475, but added that if he called himself, he could find out. Well, he did and the ad was correct. We drove an hour met up with the woman who owned both of Kalani's parents and we drove home with Kalani and his sister. The owners of his sister live somewhere around here and we got a $25 discount on Kalani for giving his sister a ride to meet her new owners. I will never forget the two little puppies curled up on my son's lap as we drove home with them. If we were real creeps we could've had two Goldens for the bargain basement price of $150! Of course, we aren't and couldn't deprive someone else of that furry goodness. We delivered Kalani's sister to her rightful new owners.

My little guy, he doesn't get it. When I told the kids that Kalani had died. He asked if he could see him "go up." What? He wanted to watch Kalani go up to heaven. I guess there must be a magic elevator or levitation trick in the mind of a 4-year-old that takes deceased four-legged friends to meet their maker. Abracadabra, here you go God. He was a little disappointed that there would be no heaven destination on Thursday's episode of Beam Me Up Lord on the travel channel of his mind.

The next day he asked if I had taken Kalani to the hospital. I told him I had. He asked when I was picking him up and when he would be alive again. Had to tearfully tell him that was not going to happen. Although, part of me also wishes that a wrinkle of Samantha's nose or a nod of Jeannie's head would bring him back.

Being part Irish, I guess it is appropriate for us to be reliving silly stories of Kalani at this time. My Copper and I were talking about his pubescent days. Yes, our little hormonal Kalani was quite hilarious. He had a special place in his heart for an old ALF stuffed animal. Remember ALF? The Alien Life Form, furry creature with the strange corkscrew beehive of a nose. He was sort of the same color as Kalani. Maybe he thought he was a Golden Girl and I'm not talking Bea Arthur. Kalani carried ALF around, took out all his stuffing until all that was left was a floppy scrap of ALF fur. That poor ALF was violated so many times and in so many ways by Kalani .

Oh well, we hope that Kalani is chasing ALF tail in heaven, eating peanut butter and bacon, and playing in the snow that he loved. We miss him terribly, but know that he was ready to go. Rest in peace, Kalani. We love you.