12.22.2005

Old Year Revolutions & Changlings

Wow.

I wish I could say that I’ve gotten immersed in the Holiday Chaos, but not so much.

I’m debating whether or not to post on the kitchen’s progress. It’s getting very exciting now.

Any who ~~~~

How does everyone feel about the new blog skin?

I. Am. Loving. It!

I still have a little tweaking to do but this new look is going to be a keeper.

It’s just sooo, ummmm, ME.

A huge round of appreciative applause goes out to Ginger of, Baby Jane Blogs, whose popularity is increasing with a bullet up the charts. And whose patience went above and beyond the edge of reason as we toiled through this process together.

Check out her portfolio, she does great work, the cost is reasonable and worth every penny.

Let me give you the grand tour and then we can have snacks and bevvies.

For anyone who doesn’t know the story, the header pic was inspired directly from a shot done of Renee Zellweger, (Officially never married/single again.) for the movie, Bridget Jones’s Diary. Thanks Tanisha!

After 6 plus hours of coaching, posing, a bottle of Champaign and a trizillion snaps---- Hubster increases his super hero status.

I don’t hate it.

Which is saying quite a lot for me. As a rule, I hate any pic that includes any part of me.

The author pic is from that same long afternoon/evening of making me into a supermodel.

I don’t hate that one either. Now if I could just figure out how to write the blurb about me….

Bedside Table ~ Except that this isn’t my bed. It’s the purple chair in my sitting room and features my furry little muse, Ozzy, my soul mate in fur and partner in crime.

Recent Blonde Moments ~ I spent February of 2005 in Ireland. In Ring, a Gaelic speaking community, on the southern coast. These beasts were across the road and every night they sang me to sleep.

PPP ~ Ozzy the Wonder Kitty, on bird watching duty. Destined to be in one or more of my novels. ( everyone say—3 book deal…)

Obsession ~ That’s the Princess at a gathering with some of her buddies in NY. Soon to be immortalized in Target’s Spring Ad campaign and larger than life on a billboard in Times Square. Something changes in me when I get behind the wheel of this car and she’s sure to become a main character in one of my books.

Playlist ~ Cheeky Robbie William’s cover art of his latest CD, Intensive Care. It’s Robbie, no explanation is necessary.

Daily Diversions ~ Pieces of Ozzy and I.

Blogroll ~ That’s a pic of one of my bookshelves and some of my ChickLit books. Genre research don’t you know.

Dedications ~ Taken at Ardmore, in Ireland, along the coast to the west of Ring a bit. My business name is AngelWorks born of the Desk Top Publishing/Marketing business I had back 10 years ago. I was just starting it up at the same time my mother was dying and it was my way of keeping her with me even as she was leaving this world.

We've come to the end of our little tour.

I look forward to hosting you all here for many happy years to come, now who wants a cocktail wieney???
posted by Angel @ 12:58 PM | 17 comments

12.15.2005

Shooting blindfolded with one hand tied behind my back...


Parenting is like shooting in the dark, (actually, that’s how most of us became parents in the first place), you don’t know what you’re aiming at and you’re never quite sure if you’ve hit anything properly. (again, a lot like sex)

Sometimes though the light comes on and you see that the target intended was a direct hit.

Other times the light comes on and you wonder, “Who the bloody hell are you and what are you doing in my bed!”
The boy wonder is 16 going on 40. It is safe to say that he is one thing in my life that I absolutely set out after.

Planned does not begin to describe his conception.

My youngest sister was coming home from boot camp and I told my mother I’d be there if a bedroom were guaranteed as I would be ovulating that weekend and tell the neighbors to pay no mind to the rocking doublewide.

Two worthy events happened that weekend.



The boy wonder was conceived and my sister was informed that she had not discovered a new fantastic rock group.

It was 1988 and Areosmith was making their comeback and I referred her to evidence in the form of a, “Toys in the Attic” album.

Yes, an actual album.

They say marriage is a leap of faith but I think the real leap comes when you parent a child.

Notice I did not say become a parent or give birth.

You’re not a parent unless you do the actual work.

If that confuses you, you haven’t earned the title.

The rest of you need no explanation and that’s the audience I’m writing for today.
My tools for parenting were limited. Basically, I had childhood references of what NOT to do.

I have treated my son as a person since the day he came into this world.

Nothing was left unsaid or unexplained because he was just a child.

There was this one time when he was 2 that I locked myself in the bathroom and called my mother and was sobbing my frustration down the phone.

She told me I was taking this parenting thing much too seriously.

Of course I was.

It was/is my job.
When life was forever altered for he and I when he was ten years old, I made him a promise.

That I would keep him here in his house, his neighborhood, his school until he graduated from high school.

Life as he knew it had exploded and he needed something to remain the same, something he could count on.

I have kept that promise.

The Hubster moved here from London to help me keep that promise.

When there wasn’t any proper work here in New England in the Hubster’s field, he built staging and pushed boxes.

Making an insulting wage that barely kept the bills paid.

It’s why the Hubster has been living and working 6 days a week for the last 20 months in NY and the boy wonder and I live in NH.

It’s difficult sometimes but it’s proper work and wages in Hubster’s field and we no longer struggle to pay the bills.

The plan has been to relocate to NY, (I refuse to move to LA), after the boy wonder graduates and goes off to college.

Until 2 months ago.

The boy wonder and I were driving home late one Sunday night after going to NY to visit the Hubster.

We are chatting and all of a sudden he comes out with:

“I’ll have enough credits except for one English class at the end of this year. If I can take a night class for that and graduate early we can all move to NY.”

Sell the house?”

“Yes. I can find a place to intern at for what would’ve been my senior year, earn some money and experience and then find a tech school that I can commute to from there.”

He had decided just before high school that he wanted to go to tech school for auto mechanics – gas & diesel and custom auto body.

Being he didn’t grow up in that sort of an environment he feels very behind the other kids he’s taken classes with who’ve had their heads under the hood of a car since they were 10.

The show Hubster has been working on has built up a network of opportunities that the boy wonder has and can continue to benefit from and he knows that.

He also knows how difficult the long distance relationship can be for the Hubster and me. Especially when there are months I see him maybe 2 days out of 30.

I was shocked.

I let it lie for a week and asked him about it.

“Oh yeah, it’s what I want to do.”

Bulls-eye!

I told the Hubster that day over the phone and we both cried.

The light shines bright and true and we’ve come full circle.

That’s why we are making ourselves crazy doing over the kitchen and next the bath to get the house ready to sell come the spring.

And we’ve been looking at land to build a house on with enough acreage for horses for me and motor toys for the boys.

That pic I posted was of 14 acres in the New Paltz area—close enough to 87 for a clear shot down to Manhattan for the Hubster-----and all orchard land.

The process is a difficult one as we plan to own this new family compound for many, many years and we want to get it just right.

Thanks for taking the time to post your thoughts on the photo and excuse the fuzziness of these. The bloody printer refused to scan and I took pics of the pics with the digi-cam.

Oy.
posted by Angel @ 7:01 PM | 6 comments

12.13.2005

Feelings evoked



Okay blogging buddies I need some assistance.

Look at that photo for a bit and take note of the feelings/thoughts that come to mind.

Then if you would be ever so kind, please share that with me in the comments.

I'll fill in the details later~~I don't want it to influence how your looking at it.

Many thanks in advance!

posted by Angel @ 1:01 PM | 10 comments

12.09.2005

Barbie’s Dirty little Secret

We all have had a love/hate relationship at some point in our lives.

The kind that you know is in no way healthy for you but you can’t help it, they’re soooo beautiful.

You keep being drawn back to them time after time only to have your ego beaten down around your ankles and have your life seem grossly inadequate after a few moments spent in their charmed atmospheric peripheral.

Mine has been going on for 38 long years.

I do believe that my alter Angel was born of that very relationship.

In fact I’m certain of it.



Yup, Angel is a Barbie Doll knock-off.

Okay so even in Angel mode I don’t miraculously and physically sprout an extra 6 inches on each leg.

That would be too Incredible Hulk-ish and green is not my colour.

In my twisted little blonde head though, Angel is every bit a physical impossibility as Barbie and Heidi Klum.



And sometimes in real life a well projected fantasy woman can actually fool people.

Pamela Anderson for instance.

Other times there is a flaw in the projection and no one is fooled.

Anna Nicole for instance.

For 38 long painful years Barbie has been my nemesis.

My ego’s kryptonite.

Every time I get to a comfy place where I am happy and accepting of myself there she is to poke me in the cellulite and slam me back into self-loathing reality.

How do you compete with someone who burst onto the scene and was already a teenage model?


Shut up Cindy Crawford------I was NOT talking to you!

At seven I was eager to believe I had time to evolve into Barbie-ness.

Barbie changed my nightly prayers of wanting to wake up a German Shepard to prayers of wanting to wake up Barbie-esque.

By age 16.

Surely nine years would be enough time, not an unreasonable request.

By the time I was sixteen Barbie had a dream house, designer clothes, a Californian tan, a pink Cadillac and a steady boyfriend for as long as I had been on this earth.

I had zits, one psychotic boyfriend for 2 months time, sun poisoning twice, my brother’s hand-me-downs, 3inch legs and was myopic.

My prayer must have got lost in the queue.

The only thing I managed to be before Barbie was divorced.

Never one to be left behind she promptly became divorced as well.

Bitch.

Imagine my happiness when flipping through the Radio Shack flyer and see that I had beat her out on something else.

By only six months but I’ll take it.

Just in time for Christmas Barbie has got herself a VW New Beetle.

I’ve had Princess since March------I win!

I know hers is a convertible and mines not.

Shut. Up.

Fine.

While doing some background research while preparing this blog I found out something that is going to take that perpetually perky little over achieving bitch down once and for all.

Sit down this is big.

JLo butt big.



Pam Andersons implant upgrade big.


Omarosa ugly big.

1~ The Barbie doll was invented in 1959 by Ruth Handler (co-founder of Mattel), named after Ruth’s daughter.

2~ The Ken doll introduced as Barbie’s boyfriend in 1961 was named after Ruth's son.

3~ Barbie first had bendable legs in 1965. (So she could play better with Ken I suppose.)

Wait a minute.

Back up to number 2.

Ken is Barbie’s brother!

EEEEwwwwwwwww.

Some prayers are better and thankfully left unanswered.

German Shepard.


What was up with that?
posted by Angel @ 2:26 PM | 9 comments

12.03.2005

The Palace Needs a New Chef


I love to shop.

I mean I reaaallllllyy love to shop.

It matters not if it is for me or someone else.

My money or yours.

Okay that didn’t sound exactly kosher, but you know what I mean.

Thinking back to the not too distant past and long throaty phone calls to the 800 numbers found on the back of catalogues makes me wax nostalgic.

Having to go through the effort of making my way to the phone to place an order must have robbed the economy of thousands of dollars.

Cordless phones put that to rights.

High speed Internet and having user accounts at my fav sites put immediate gratification just, “one click” away.

Hurrah!

Then there is Ikea. It’s different




Everything is flat packed and you have to assemble it.

Keeps the prices down and such. Which is great. You can buy more that way.

They have catalogues.

They have a home on the Internet.

You can order from the catalogue, by phone & you can order off the Internet.

Sort of.

Not everything and not all the different choices can be purchased these ways.

They want you to go to the store.

My first Ikea store experience was on a visit to The Hubster in England before he was The Hubster.

It was all very exciting and low stress, as I knew I would not be purchasing anything.

I already had enough things to drag through the airports on the trip back home.

That was 6 years ago and I had not stepped in one since.

Only lusted after it over the Internet and flipping through the pages while in the loo.

With Hubster living and working in NY 6 days a week we have often talked about going to the Ikea in NJ on one of my weekend visits.

20 months and it has yet to happen.

We usually end up doing, um, other things.

Which is why we are selling the house in New Hampshire come spring and we are all relocating to NY.

So there will be time for other things when we are together other than, um, that other thing.

In order to sell the NH home we are gutting the kitchen and starting over.

This weekend.

Yes, I know Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanza et el are less than a month away.

We’ve been over this people. PAY attention.

It’s how I like to do things.

With as much stress and difficulty as possible.

Which is why after 6 long awaited years, I finally stepped into an Ikea store again this past Saturday.

I had seen on the Boston news that the folks in and around Stoughton had been complaining about all the trouble they were having because of Ikea’s arrival.

It’s just a store. They’re everywhere.

Stores in general, not Ikea.

How bad can things be?

Just in case, the plan was to leave as early as needed to arrive just before they open their doors.

Simple yes?

Except that it snowed on Thursday, Thanksgiving, and the Explorer that my son drives was badly in need of new tires.

No biggie-----just get Hubster and son to Tire Warehouse on Friday to get said new tires.

Except that it snowed on Thursday, Thanksgiving, and everyone else in greater Cheshire County was also getting new tires.

So Hubster and son pre-pay for said new tires and plan to be at Tire Warehouse when their doors opened at 8 AM Saturday morning to get new tires put on, son off to his new job orientation and Hubster and I on way to Ikea by 8:30 AM.

Wonderful plan. Hubster and son were so proud.

As was everyone else in greater Cheshire County who were also getting new tires
and came up with the same wonderful plan.

At 8:45 son was walking to his orientation.

And at 10 AM The Hubster and I were finally heading to Ikea.

At Noon we were approaching the exit off of Route 24 and I see State Trooper cars at the exit ramps on both sides of the highway for the 2 exits previous to where we get off.

Huh goes my little blonde brain. Only for a second though as Hubster points out the Ikea sign.

WhooHooooo!

There is stopped traffic snaking onto the highway at the exit.

WhooHoo-ness turns into, “Bloody hell….”

While we slowly make our way off the highway in the midst of a bizarre, Ikea-car-conga- line, we see a surreal sight and I suddenly feel bad for thinking those folks on the news had been exaggerating.

What should be a lovely main thoroughfare through town dotted with quaint shops looks like a car park with multiple quaint little parking attendant houses.

And if the policeman lining both sides of the street heading to Ikea were dressed like this.



I would have thought we were headed to see the Queen herself.

Finally the store is in sight and you would’ve thought that the Fab 4 had finally consented to that reunion concert. (Before John & George had died natch.)

There were makeshift overflow car parks, people everywhere and the policeman had given way to an army----seriously, an army of security guards who had those flashlights with the red extensions fitted on them that made me you think they look like rent-a-jedis.

What do you mean? I can not be the only one whose mind works this way.

So we slowly snaked up to Ikea Palace guided by the mini light sabers and into the parking facility.

Shout out to the Ikea royal family:

Yo, in the future, build multi-story parking garages.

Would have saved the 45-minute merry-go-round driving we did trying to get a parking space.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the incredible young woman,

THANK YOU INCREDIABLE YOUNG WOMAN!!!
,

who walked us to where she parked and blocked out the other cars trying to get into her spot with their tiny little cars before we could maneuver Hubster’s beast into the spot.

The beast looks like this------only Hubster’s also has the extended bed.




I should’ve been all a twitter as Hubster led me into the Ikea Palace but alas our heroine was not.

I wanted to get right back into the beast and go home.

Soldier on did I and after a brief mind adjustment in the loo, came back out ready to shop.

After all we were there on a mission.

Hubster had taken full advantage of Ikea’s online kitchen planner and had his bundle of printouts, (in the Thanksgiving spirit of Arlo Guthrie and the immortal Alice’s Restaurant),
with circles and arrows and would not be denied.

Once I had ridden the palace escalator up to the showrooms all the previous angst washed away and it was like the other shoppers, all 237, 568, 012 of them, faded from view.

It was just I, The Hubster and that retail playground laid out in front of us.

Two hours later the fact that I had not had anything to eat yet hit me and I was starting to look like one of the renegade balloons from the Macy’s parade floating off course and in danger of injuring people.

Following the screams, Hubster found me he pushed me towards the food counter where I had choices to fill the void.

5 choices.

Hotdog, cinnamon roll, chips, coffee or cola.

For real.

I’ve had better meals at a gas-etc stop.

The hotdog was like none I have ever tasted or want to again. I am left wondering if they brought over Swedish hotdogs?

The cinnamon bun would’ve sent the Pillsbury Dough boy into a panic attack if he thought that sawdust-ty thing had popped out of one of his tubes.

Feeling less empty in spite of the gastronomical horror endured, we pressed on.

Hubster, super hero that he is, sensed that I was running on a limited amount of good will toward men and got us to the kitchen center kiosk quickly.

Where the very personable Frederic helped us. He was amazing.

The Hubster later suggested that Frederic was most likely embedded by Ikea from overseas to insure a smooth grand opening of the Stoughton palace.

Embedded? Where were we, the Persian Gulf?

But given the legions of Troopers, Policeman and Jedi’s in training it took to deliver us to the palace----it fit.

So Frederic sang and danced his way through entering our order into the computer, double checking everything along the way, and presented us with a 2-page print out.

We were instructed that all we needed to do was to bring that print out to a cashier, pay and then bring it to the furniture pick-up kiosk where they would hunt and gather all our cabinetry in their flat packed glory and bring them to us.

Today?

Frederic smiled and assured us that it would indeed happen today and if there were any other self-gathering purchases we wanted to make we should take care of the cabinetry and finish shopping while they put our order together.

Well there was, so we did.

It was amazing.

We took that print out to a cashier who looked it over, smiled at us----smiled--- keyed in the order code and the receipt printed with all our individual items.

We walked in dazed amazement to the furniture pick-up kiosk where the woman standing behind the counter looked up, smiled and asked if she could help us.

If not for the horrible food in my belly I think that would’ve passed out right there.

I hadn’t seen actual customer service in action since 197?????.

Renewed by the experience we went back to the showrooms and left them to their hunting and gathering of our cabinetry.

Hubster declared he had found the perfect office chair for me-------and indeed he had.

It was me all over.


And after sitting in it and checking it out it not only suited me it fit me.

So mine it was and back to the furniture pick-up kiosk we did head.

They hadn’t finished gathering our order at the furniture pick-up kiosk so we ended up waiting for about 30 minutes longer.

But I didn’t mind.

Because I could see them in the back double and triple checking our list against the boxes piled up on the carts. Three different people did this.

And even though the day was long

and I nearly let my entire cart piled up with cabinetry go careening down the ramp escalator

and rode home in the beast shock-worn and wrapped in a fleece blanket that cost all of $3.99 at the palace

and that when we arrived back home at 6 PM-ish---

while Hubster and Boy Wonder unloaded the 56 flat packed boxes---I promptly crawled into bed and ordered in from our favorite Thai Restaurant:

Even after all that, oddly enough, I am looking forward to another trip to the efficient, customer-friendly, Swedish shopping palace.
posted by Angel @ 6:32 PM | 5 comments

12.02.2005

Nuptuials by fire....

This post is for The Queen of Spain who extended this challenge on her blog.

So to that end I am posting about the day I became a HouseWife again and The Hubster became, ummm, The Hubster.
Being that I prefer to do things with as much stress and chaos as possible I did all the cooking, decorating, bow making, handmade our invitations and my outfit for our wedding.

Oh and our friend’s Peter & Marloes flew in from The Netherlands and were staying at our house for the week before and after the wedding. That was great and the Dutch have a tradition where they get up and do little rhyming skits about the couple at the reception. Peter & Marloes stood up in front of all these strangers and did one for us. Priceless.

I continued working my normal full time desk job right up through the day before our wedding.

I am nothing if not crazy.

The main entrée was this killer brisket I have a recipe for.

It slow cooks for hours at a low temp in the oven so I started it on Thursday night before bed.

Waking up to the smell of that brisket on Friday morning was heavenly.

I had the temp even lower overnight and turned it up a few notches as I went out the door to work while everyone else slept.

Around 10 AM I call home to see how everyone’s getting along and it rings off to the answer machine.

Odd. So I dial again thinking I misdialed even though I had it programmed into speed dial.

On the second ring the not yet Hubster answers sounding a bit breathless and the phone call goes something like this;

Me – “Morning. How’s it going?”

Him – “I’ll have to call you back if that’s okay, the kitchen’s on fire.”

CLICK

I stand up in my cubicle with the phone still pressed to my ear and announce;

“It’s the day before my wedding and my kitchen’s on fire.”

Everyone in my department stands up and says, “WHAT!?!?” , in unison.

“It’s the day before my wedding and my kitchen’s on fire.”

Of course everyone wanted details. So did I, but we’d all have to wait till the not yet Hubster phoned back.

30 minutes later he finally did.

When my phone rang, the entire dept jumped back to their feet to listen.

I hung up.

“WELL???”

Seems that when I had turned up the temp on the brisket it eventually bubbled over and being that brisket is a very fatty cut of meat the over flow caught on fire in the gas oven.

The not yet Hubster being his true super hero self knew enough to keep his head and risk his own limbs by stopping Peter from using the fire extinguisher until after the not yet Hubster pulled the brisket out and clear of the oven.

Fire was extinguished brisket saved and kitchen was still in tact. The only loss was the oven, which actually still worked for another 3 months before it died.

The not yet Hubster said that he, Peter and Marloes were woken by the smoke detector and they were all wonderfully calm and just took care of it with no one running, screaming out into the streets and that when the fire was out the Boy Wonder finally emerged from his room and still rubbing his eyes asked;

“What’s going on?”

And after they explained the whole fire story he turned around and went back to bed.

As they say, The Show Must Go On, and it did.

Here’s a pic of me serving it up to the guests on the day that we became Hubster and HouseWife.



It all worked out in the end.

Fire plays a recurring role in The Hubster’s and my courtship as well.

Did you know that it’s possible to set 15,000 gallons of water, give or take, on fire?
posted by Angel @ 11:12 PM | 5 comments