Stolen from Lee's Blog: my wordle

I followed the link from Lee's blog and created my own wordle.
The best thing about it? The colors!

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Making the rounds - I am a Purple Crayon....

This cute, fast Blogthing is making its way around the various blogs I read. My friend, Andrea is a red crayon, as is Lissa. Lee and I are Purple and Michelle is Green. So, if you haven't taken the short quiz, what's holding you back?




You Are a Purple Crayon



Your world is colored in dreamy, divine, and classy colors.

You hold yourself to a sky high standard, and you are always graceful.

People envy, idolize, and copy you without realizing it. You are an icon for those who know you.

And while it is hard to be a perfectionist, rest assured it's paying off!



Your color wheel opposite is yellow. While yellow people may be wise, they lack the manners and class needed to impress you.

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Currently Playing (over and over) - Phantom of the Opera



Imagine if you may - a Toyota Corolla with an adult driving and two children in the back. Upon closer inspection, you see that all passengers appear to be singing along to a tune on the radio. You see their mouths open wider and wider, with their eyes starting to bug out. Then you see what appears to be a scream - mouth wide open, eyes squeezed shut, neck craned upwards.

That would be us attempting to sing The Phantom of the Opera's namesake song "Phantom of the Opera". And the ending (high E for goodness sake!) doesn't sound so great (that's when we are screaming).

Erica watched the movie adaption of the musical on TV last weekend and was completely enthralled by the whole thing. Scott and I loved the musical back in the 90's, so we already own the original London Cast recording and the sheet music. So we pulled it out for Erica to enjoy. By "enjoy" we mean play over and over and over and over again. She seems highly partial to the "Phantom of the Opera" song, because that's all she wants to listen to. It has even toppled Taylor Swift off her pedestal of most listened to artist in the car.

But we are all having fun. Things don't start sounding like a wailing cat in heat until the very end, when we are attempting to sing (screech) notes above G. After the high C's and E's, we all burst out laughing because, well, we sound like wailing cats in heat. Erica has been adamant about keeping the windows rolled up on the car as we drive through town - smart girl!

Seriously, Erica has a very nice voice and if she sang more and was standing up, she could probably get to the point where she could hit the high E.

And if Phantom comes to Chicago, we need to go see it.

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Wordless Wednesday - Early morning motivation

Why stay in bed when you can go outside and take in the sunrise?

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This just in - Brian's 2nd Degree BB Testing

Coming to you live from the cornfields of Illinois.....(gotta love that WIFI access)

Brian has successfully tested for 2nd Degree Recommended Black Belt!

He had been working on this for a year now - you must complete 5 midterm tests and then break a series of three boards at the testing.

Brian broke 2 out of the 3 boards on the first try, and nailed the 3rd one on the second attempt!

He was also named Black Belt of the year (we had no idea this was coming!).

We are proud of you Brian - way to go!

Pictures will come later.....

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Some Facts

I snagged this from Cyn, who snagged it from Lee, who snagged it from Lissa, who snagged it from Dawn.

  1. What is in the back of your car? Before 8am, two kids, after I drop them off, nothing!
  2. What color is your toothbrush? Blue - but I need a new one
  3. What were you doing at 8 am this morning? Rocking to some tunes on my iPod as I drove to work.
  4. What Were you doing 45 minutes ago? At the grocery store buying beer - bought a 12 pack of Landshark.
  5. What is your favorite candy bar? Ghiradelli Intense Dark Chocolate - Espresso Escape
  6. Have you ever been to a strip club? That would be “no”.
  7. What was the last thing you said aloud? “Who played with the Trouble Game and left the green pieces in their pocket?” (They showed up in the dryer - and Brian confessed to the deed)
  8. What is the best ice cream flavor? Something with Raspberry or dark chocolate (or both!)
  9. What was the last thing you had to drink? Presently drinking that Landshark I just purchased.
  10. What are you wearing right now? Khaki shorts and a pink sweater
  11. What was the last thing you ate? Teriyaki pork and couscous
  12. Have you bought any new clothing items this week? Not this week, but last week, I bought a new Coach purse!
  13. What is your favorite flavor of popcorn? I like cheese popcorn.
  14. Ever go camping? Yes, enough times to realize that I am not a sleep in a tent type of gal...
  15. Do you take vitamins daily? No, but I probably should...
  16. Do you go to church every Sunday? If we are in town, we go..
  17. Do you have a tan? Yes - because of my ethnic background, I tan very easily. I even use 80 SPF and still get brown.
  18. Do you like Chinese food over Pizza? Of course - but only if I make it.
  19. Do you drink your soda with a straw? Sometimes. I hear it is better for your teeth.
  20. Are you someone's best friend? Sure.
  21. What are you doing tomorrow? Drop the kids off at their summer camp. Go to work. Pick up the kids at 3:30. Cook dinner. Since it is Friday, I might have some time to scrapbook.
  22. Where is your dad? In Massachusetts when he and Mom aren’t traveling the world.
  23. What color is your watch? I haven’t worn one in about a month. It is silver with changeable bands
  24. Do you use Chapstick? Every night and morning.
  25. Do you go in at a fast food place or just hit the drive thru? I don’t tend to “do” fast food, but when we do, it is generally the drive thru.
  26. What is your favorite number? I really don’t have one!
  27. Do you have a dog? No - too much work. We have two cats, a hamster and numerous fish. I think we are covered in the pet department...
  28. Last person you talked to on the phone? Scott, to determine which beer to buy at the grocery store.
  29. Any plans today? Since it’s almost 8pm, I’ll outline what I already did today - ran 4 miles this morning, dropped kids off, went to work, picked kids up, cooked dinner, registered Brian for Fall Little League, bought beer and peaches at the grocery store. I still need to cajole the kids to take showers and get them into bed. Then I’ll have take a shower and crash into bed..
  30. How many states have you lived in? Washington, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Ohio, New York, West Virginia, Indiana and Illinois. Whew - that’s 8 states!
  31. Ever go to college? Yes, graduated with my BS in Chemical Engineering from MIT.
  32. Do you dye your hair? No. So far, the white hairs have been at a minimum.
  33. Biggest annoyance in your life right now? Lack of time. It’s too hot here.
  34. Last song listened to? Chicago by Kate Voegele
  35. Can you say the alphabet backwards? I doubt it - I have some dyslexia and I think I would get confused.
  36. Favorite pair of shoes you wear all the time? At work, my brown Bass shoes - they have a nice 2" heel to make me taller and they go well with most pants.
  37. Are you jealous of anyone? Not really anymore. But I am sure that green monster rears his ugly head now and then.
  38. Is anyone jealous of you? I don’t know.
  39. Do you love anyone? Definitely!
  40. Do any of your friends have children? Most, if not all do. Afterall, I am 41!
  41. What do you usually do during the day? See my answer to #29!
  42. Do you hate anyone that you know right now? Hate is a pretty strong word. I don’t think I hate anyone. Very annoyed by certain people, you bet, but I don’t hate any of them.
  43. Do you use the word 'hello' daily? Numerous times.
  44. What color is your car? I am currently driving the Silver car.
  45. Do you like cats? Yes - we have 2 of them - Rascal and Hannah.
  46. Have you ever been to Six Flags? Yes, but they don’t compare to Cedar Point!
  47. How did you get your worst scar? Imy face and my knee from that accident, but I don’t think many people notice.

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Cedar Point Pictures

As promised, some pictures from our trip to Cedar Point:

Lake Erie serves as the backdrop to the giant wheel and the Wicked Twister Coaster.


Erica poses with Snoopy in front of their new Planet Snoopy attractions: (you are never too old to pose with Snoopy!)


One of the spires on the Wicked Twister - Erica and Scott are in the 2nd to the last car, and heading towards the top of the structure.


Another aerial view of the park (taken from the Giant Wheel) - the steep coaster in the far background is the initial drop of the Millennium Force Coaster - 310 feet high. The large structure up front is the Power Tower. (a free fall tower)


Erica and Scott ready to be launched on the Top Thrill Dragster: this crazy ride launches you from 0 to 120 mph in 4 seconds, directly up 410 feet, crest the top of the ride and back down the other side (and the track twists on the way up and down).
It is very entertaining to watch people as they are about to experience this ride - the anticipation and nervousness of first time riders and the excitement of experienced riders. Heck, Erica still looks apprehensive, and this will be her third time!

Anyways, the ride is a MUST DO - the view from up top is awesome!

Taking things a little slower - Brian drives an antique sports car.

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12 on July 12th

What a weird weather day....

We woke up this morning to the rumbling of thunder (and it woke us up during the night, too). Pouring rain ensued:



We received almost 2 inches, according to Froggie:


The rain subsided, and I decided to weed around the pond - weeds are much easier to pull out of the ground when the earth is moist - right after a good rain is the best time. Plus, the weeds are simply out of control:


The end result, three hours later - I did some general pruning, weeded the beds in the front year and cleaned the water lilies out of the pond. I haven't worked out in the garden in at least a month (hence the weeds) and it felt good to smell the earth and get all dirty.


By noon, the sky was blue, the sun shining and any traces of the morning's rain forgotten - it felt like a normal July day. The water lilies enjoyed soaking in the sun:


And like any normal Saturday, there was laundry to do: [Erica wanted me to include the smiley ball with the laundry baskets]


And I journeyed out to the grocery store to acquire food for the coming week. The best thing about summer is the luscious berries available, and this week, even the blueberries were on sale:


But even with stuff on sale, the week's grocery bill topped $100. Last year our average weekly bill was around $80. [And I don't even want to talk about how much it costs to fill up the Tahoe these days]


Around 4pm, as I was getting ready to light the grill and put on the flank steak for dinner, the weather turned again - the black clouds gave way to more thunder, whipping winds and downpours again. We received another inch of rain! I ended up broiling the steak inside.


Hannah watched the rain on the pond from her perch in the family room.


Brian enjoyed some popcorn while watching Alvin and the Chipmunks


I spent a little time finishing up a layout from Easter of 2007. My scrapping space has changed a little - I have a little more table space, thanks to an old island counter top. It was the original counter top for our kitchen island, and back in 2002, we replaced it with a bigger top. The old counter top then took up residence in the garage for the next 6 years. I tried to sell it at the garage sale, and when it didn't sell, I decided to place it on top of my existing 6' table. The top is much wider than the table underneath, and it gives me much more working space. Plus the surface is nice and smooth (and not that ugly brown from the 80's). So I am enjoying the little upgrade:


That's all for today - we are expecting more thunderstorms tonight, and I hope they aren't too loud!

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Cool Photoshop Technique

Elaine posted this link to Jessica Sprague's blog, which has a cool PhotoShop technique to add some POP to your pictures. Jessica calls it "SHAZAM", and I really like the effect.

Basically, you take your picture and make two additional layers, one will be a Screen and the other will be an Overlay. Play with the opacities and see what you get. Here is my Before shot:


And my After shot (well, I did straighten it, too)


Cool, eh? You should try it too!
Go to the link above, where Jessica outlines the technique in more detail.

Happy picture taking!

PS - I'll be back later today to post my 12 on 12 pictures!

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Back to Reality

After 10 days of not having to cook, not having to make / pack the kids' lunches, not having to think about what time the kids' activities are, sleeping in, reading the paper at a leisurely pace, completing 3 books, and generally relaxing, we are back to reality.

I guess it had to end sooner or later....

Some of the highlights:
Erica and I have officially ridden all of "Major Coasters" at Cedar Point - 5 new rides for us this year, 15 out of the 17 coasters at the park (the remaining two are kiddie coasters - I'm too tall to ride them). I can't wait to ride some of them again.

4th of July Fireworks in Manlius - they put on a nice show.

Dinosaur BBQ in Syracuse - a great place for BBQ.

The kids trying out Grandma's new lawn tractor. As good as an amusement park ride!

Hopefully, I'll get the pictures downloaded off my camera soon..... but for now, I need to go to the grocery store!

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