Over 40 Fashion Sense…eh…screw it

Fashion Sense?  Mine is…well….hmmmm…..

It’s not that I don’t care what I look like on a daily basis. It’s more or less lack of time. It’s just easier to clip my hair up and throw on whatever I bothered to throw in the wash. Did I mention I have children?!? And honestly, I love them all dearly…truly I do… but how do I find the time for anything, let alone dressing up?

If you’re over 40, you know the struggle. Everything takes longer. It’s not as simple as it used to be. And 90% of the time, I’m driving kids from point A to point B. I’d make a fortune as a taxi service, if I started charging my kids for services. Add my job to the mix and forget about it! Zero time.

I mean …I’m currently writing this at 11:18 PM just so I can be alone for 10 minutes! 

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Basically…it’s just too much work to bother.. My hair is thinner now …

I am 41.

Did I forget to mention that?

Essentially, I have to ‘fake it’ with my hair. This typically requires curling and teasing, then a lifting spray. My hairs rather long, so it can be hard to get a decent lift. I have cut it in the past, but I hated it! Mostly because I couldn’t just throw it in a bun anymore. Styling takes time. I believe we have established…I have none. And just this year, I started finding  WHITE HAIRS! No…really….ugh. I pulled them out, but it was no use. The bastards grew back. You can’t really see them, but I assure you…

they’re still fricken there!

And my face….well….what do I not have to complain about here???

  • dry skin
  • age spots
  • crows feet
  • those weird forehead wrinkles…crap I hate those things!!!!
  • yellow bumps from skin damage…on my EYEBALLS! It’s called Pinguecula
  • receding gums…it’s mild, but it’s there
  • dark circles…ugh…just shoot me
  • red blemishes just below my neck…again…too much sun

Basically…a boat load of spackle is required, and I flat out don’t feel like dealing with it. I don’t want to deal with primers and foundations (and I don’t really give a shit how light and fluffy it is advertised to be)… glosses, mascara, powders and shadows. I’m not trying to go all ‘Rembrandt’  first thing in the morning. It’s hard enough to find the time to drink my required two gallons of coffee  just to function!.

As far as clothing goes…ugh…here we go again….

  • I’m thin…but…I’m saggy, so not proportioned.
  • My butt has either morphed or melted into the back of my upper thighs. Belts are now required!!!

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  • Where in the name of  Zeus’s pie-hole… did my boobs go?!?! And why do they feel the need to hide in my armpits when I’m laying down?!?! WHY????

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  • Veins…seriously….do I really need to elaborate here?
  • Feet…ugh..ok…four kids in and flat as the earth is wide. “Forget about it” <—this must be said in a strong Italian accent. 
  • It’s not that I have a gut. It’s that I have no lift. Because if I push my boobs up to their proper location…my stomach is flat as a board. Some of you will totally get what I mean. (This also works with my butt…my thighs basically fade away if I yank my butt up to it’s proper place…not that I’m running around yanking on my butt or anything…maybe). 

I mean …

why bother???

And did I mention the popping sounds? Yes…crap just pops for any reason at all. Standing up? Pop. Sitting down? Pop. Walking? Pop. Bending over? Pop. Everything pops…every-fricken-thing. 

And I haven’t even hit menopause yet?!?!

WTF will that be like?!?!?!

  • hot flashes?
  • mood swings?
  • weird hair growth locations?
  • Dammit….is this a cocka-may-mee mood swing?!?!?

Whatever…you know…I intended for this to be a post about  Fashion Over 40. As in; hot spring clothing trends and hairstyles. 

But now I just want a cookie and a glass of wine. (Wait…wine just means I’ll have to pee again in two minutes. I think I’ll try to keep the peeing at my usual 5 minute intervals tonight).

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DRONIUM TWO AP DRONE WITH CAMERA : REVIEW

This review is being solely done and credited to my son. Photos and videos taken by Tommy Scags. Since he is new to doing reviews, this is more of a learning experience. His review will be in photos and videos. You decide for yourself if you like what you see.

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Be sure to Subscribe to his YouTube Channel below!


Photos by Tommy Scags

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DRONIUM TWO AP DRONE WITH CAMERA copyright @PROTOCOL

Below info and images from Best Buy. Click Here for their site, specs and reviews on the Dronium Two. 

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The PARCC: Well, that was rather unexpected..

The PARCC..yeah. The abbreviation we’ve all come to know and love ~ yes, that would be sarcasm. Yesterday was my daughter’s turn. You know, the one I wrote about in the post just prior to this one. 13 with the weight of the world on her shoulders, never one to make waves, she pulled a mind scramble on me and created her own little tsunami yesterday.

Yesterday morning, I woke her at the usual time. 5:30 am… I know…rather early isn’t it? Anyway, she had to catch the bus by 6:30 am. Upon glancing at her disheveled appearance, I naturally asked what the problem was. And true to her empathetic nature, she unleashed a whirlwind. She explained that the PARCC was to be given that morning. As a studious pupil…and she is (we’re talking tears over a B on a test, hours of pondering over one single algebra problem and multiple trips to library in any given week…She  has never  NOT been present at an honor roll ceremony and her principal informs me, she won’t be present for her senior year, because she will have graduated prior to) this child of mine, she had concerns for her teachers. She said she knew the PARCC wasn’t a test for her, but for them. And while she’s always scored well above average on state tests, this test  was different. Now she had reached the age of understanding. She knew the meaning behind it. With the pressure she puts on herself (I swear…it’s not me. I BEG her to put down the homework and go to sleep!), she was feeling even more pressure to do PERFECT...no errors… for if she did, she felt her teachers whom she adores, would lose pay or even their jobs.

What?!?!

I was floored. Here’s a girl who at the ripe old age of 13, knows work ethic, has dreams of an ivy league college, has thrown the word ‘memorization’ to the wind and actually bothers to LEARN her subjects…she never goes against the grain and as middle children everywhere do….her race to perfection…to stand out, has always prevented her from voicing an opposing opinion to an authority in any way, shape or form.

While I knew that as some point, her heart would finally collide with her brain, I didn’t expect it to be at age 13. Although, truly, I was hoping it would happen sooner, rather than later. An education is pointless, if you don’t have the courage to use it.

We discussed the test for a bit, as she rushed around trying to get herself together. Finally, after the tears started to flow out of fears of not doing well enough, I said “Lil Miss, there are times in life when you need to make a judgement call. I see your struggle and in this moment I’m so very proud of you. I see you. I see who you are and I’ve caught a glimpse of who you will become. You aren’t an unruly kid looking for a way out of a test. For a mini-vacation or just anti-authority. And it’s children like you, who will grow to change the world for the better. The choice is yours. I trust you to make the best possible decision for you. Ask yourself…what do you want YOUR world to be like, when you have children?”

She asked what would happen if she just refused to take it. The question sort of stunned me. I hadn’t filled out an opt-out form. I hadn’t filled one out, because doing so would imply that I needed to get the states permission to exempt her from a test, that I hadn’t given permission for her to take in the first place.  The state uses HER hard work on the PARCC to do what is supposed to be THEIR jobs…which in turn = free child labor…hey…isn’t that illegal? oh…my bad. Hypocrisy is perfectly legal now.  And  I don’t recall voting in yet another way to add pressure to an already overflowing pile of bureaucratic bullshit , to begin with. Why? Because we only vote in the people (after listening to their endless charade of fairy tales, and  promises of goodness and light), not the load of horse-dung they produce after the fact. I mean sure…there are lots of bills and nonsense put before the heads, however, a vast majority never see the light of day.

I told her she basically had several options. Don’t lift pencil to paper, fail it…on purpose or just take the test. Whatever her choice, I’d back her up. I even gave her my work number and told her, if there was any sort of trouble, give the paper to the teacher.

Now here’s where it get’s…interesting. Actually, I didn’t even believe her! When she said she was going to refuse it, honestly… I laughed. I said “You?!? You who never makes even a ripple? You’re going to refuse it???”....I just KNEW I would never get a phone call, because I KNEW she wouldn’t do it.

And WOW, was I wrong….

So yesterday, I get home from work and my husband (who was completely in the dark as to our earlier conversation) says to me “Ummmm…so, you know what I never expected?”  Me: “No…what?!”  He replies “A phone call from the principal about C~~~~~~  …….   WTF did I MISS????

Here’s the point where I dropped everything and my jaw hit the floor. And honestly, I just started laughing. I was absolutely floored! LIL MIss??? Are you kidding me? She actually did something ‘wrong’???

Naturally that flipped over real quick to “Oh no! What did you say? Did you back her up???”

To which he said “I’m so confused. I have no idea what’s going on here!  ( Wise decision) The principal called and said C~~~~ had filled in EVERY SINGLE CIRCLE on the PARCC, and while the school was not angry, they had concerns, because it was so unlike her and that she had been sweating and shaking so badly in class…..they had to send her to the restroom!”

Again….my jaw….yeah…at this point, it had made it’s way to the basement. Followed quickly by…”I better call the school”…

After a wonderful chat with the school principal, who again, was not angry in anyway….was very cordial  and made it clear that he knew C~~~~~  had never been any sort of trouble maker… was a fabulous student and he’d only wanted to verify  what C~~~ had said. And what C~~~ had said was that I had told her she had my permission.

About 10 minutes later, Lil Miss walked in the door. She had never even been confronted by any school staff, so she didn’t even know about the phone call. So I  asked her…”how did it go?”. She said she filled in all the dots…I asked why she filled in ALL the dots and didn’t just mark random answers. She said “By filling in all the dots, I don’t throw my teachers into the frying pan. They’ll know I did it on purpose. They won’t think I simply didn’t know the answers, thereby…my teachers don’t look like bad educators.” 

ummm….ok….I really can’t argue that. Then she said, she did however do the essay portion. But instead of the writing what was expected, she wrote the reason for her behavior. She wrote, she wouldn’t participate in the PARCC, because it wasn’t the states job to judge her teachers, based on the scores of the masses. It was her job and her parents…and she and her parents,  thought  her teachers were great. ( I removed awesome here, because I can’t recall if she’d written the word awesome or said it. It could have been ‘great’…she’s at school now, so I can’t ask)

I suppose…I really can’t argue that. Funny thing is, she still took a test…just not the PARCC. This was a test that I hadn’t expected. I can’t even decide if it was hers or mine? I suppose for her, it was a test to see if she had the courage to stand up for herself and those around her (although again…no child should be put in a position, where they have the pressure of knowing, that THEIR own abilities, may or may not cost an adult…a raise, a dip or their jobs altogether. An adult that they respect and care about. That’s not a child’s job! SHAME ON YOU BIG BROTHER!)

And I guess for me…the test was one of conviction….was I raising sheep or human beings? Amazing, articulate, logical and yet curious to the point of breaking through boundaries, empathetic, compassionate and with a wealth of knowledge and zero indoctrination…knowing that a beautiful mind can only  thrive in an open one. Learning all sides prior to making an informed decision, regardless of the subject matter. From religion, to politics, to education, to expression….from the emotional need to override our brains, to shutting off the hysteria and letting a cooler head prevail. Sure…reaching perfection is a goal, just like any other….but knowing when to let it go, when to screw up, when to color outside the lines…that’s simply flawless.

PS: How did she find out what the PARCC was for?  We hear the words ‘critical thinking’ on a daily basis. We say we want them to use it. We preach about it’s importance and slam anything that goes against it. However, critical thinking requires not only the written resources, but the ability to research, understand and put to use all that we have learned. Taking the knowledge you have gained and using it to create an informed opinion, is at it’s very core. Her teachers have never mentioned the  purpose of this test, only asking that they eat a good breakfast and focus. And if it’s believed in anyway, that this child was swayed, know this….critical thinking is not the goal, if the idea is to raise a follower….critical thinking, in it’s true form, raises leaders. We shouldn’t  tell our children they need to be brilliant and score high…and then tell them to shut-up when they tell us  all they’ve learned.  My child’s teacher’s,  don’t require the PARCC to prove that they’ve succeeded. They’ve already proven that in spades. So how did she find out about the true meaning behind the test? Her teachers did their jobs….they taught her to read…

How Do You Catch A Cloud And Pin It Down?

“She climbs a tree and scrapes her knee
Her dress has got a tear
She waltzes on her way to Mass
And whistles on the stair
And underneath her wimple
She has curlers in her hair
I even heard her singing in the abbey”

~ The Sound Of Music, with  Rodgers And Hammerstein, How Do Solve A Problem Like Maria

My youngest daughter….the curious sprite. In so many ways, she boggles me and yet delights me, all at the same time. From her requests for an endless supply of journals and assorted writing materials, to ‘Mom…what does it feel like to be a sunflower?’

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(I imagine it feels better then having dried paint stuck to your face, while on the quest to find out….)

Always watching, always trying to work out the grand design…she’s quite the riddle. From music, to books, to art….

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I can’t recall a time that she EVER had any interest in dolls! It wasn’t that I didn’t buy them….I did. She just found them boring. Especially Barbies….even at 10, she said they were an  ‘unrealistic depictions of girls’. So naturally, we just stuck with the journals. I can’t even tell you how many there are. And the words….so teeny tiny. She says it’s so she can fit more on the page.

This child who spends endless hours trying to solve algebra problems…ummm…for fun! It used to leave me feeling perplexed, however, now I find that algebra is a rather nifty skill. Her constantly calculating mind,  came in handy when we were measuring for the garden.

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“But Mom…it’s a ‘natural’ red…”   yeah…that’s the look. The one that comes about if I question her ‘freedom of expression’. And honestly, I do encourage self-reflection and experimentation on the way to discovering one’s inner self.

Her ability to see my own vision and mesh it with hers, for the sake of art…astounds me….

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She who adds so many  goofy quirky mismatched moments of sheer gentle madness…

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Everyday there’s a new strange glorious path. Filled with music, poetry, math, art and ‘through the looking glass’ moments.

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There’s always a song, radiating from beneath her bedroom door.

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Or a masterpiece on the horizon.


And a question about her current reading materials typically leads to a debate on the Constitution….

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And an outward expression of her thoughts on the matter.


For the record, I don’t censor books, unless they’re ‘too adult’. However, when I tried to voice my opinion on War and Peace, I was met with “Your argument is invalid”. Mmmmkay.

As I walk the path of her childhood, steady at her side, I know without a doubt, she’s been an absolute influence on my life. And while it’s my job as her mother, to help mold her into some politically correct, fit for society model of human social adaptation….It’s a curious thing….she’s the one molding me. That whole “what would mom do???” voice, that I pray is somewhere in her brain….is paired with “what would my daughter do?”, deep inside my own.

I realize….yes…I am completely aware, that this is of my own doing. Let’s face it…I was always waist deep in my own head, maybe I still am. So it stands to reason, that this child of mine, would inherit a bounty of reasons not to flow with the status quo.


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For instance, keeping the ER docs in stitches, yes…I do see the pun there.

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She never does anything halfway. It’s complete or not at all. When she decided to take up archery, little did I know….she’d go and go and go and go…until she hit that mark. Summers around here, are marked by trips to the sporting goods store to get more arrows. And I’ve never been big on cramming a child’s day chalk full of so many activities, they have no time to explore their own minds. In a way, that’s a dangerous game. They need to figure that out while we’re there to watch safely from the sidelines. Too much, too young, creates conflict when they finally get to venture out into the world all on their own. She chooses her hobbies, nothing is forced.

I don’t think she’s met a hobby she didn’t like. Especially on the water….

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If I had to pick my favorite part…the best of who she is…I could not. There are so many. I love her humor, her curiosity, her argumentative way of getting that darned point across, those eye rolls I get if I try to add mushrooms or tomatoes  to her food…the constant desire..no…NEED…to try something new. The casual tossing aside of  the laptop or phone, for an interesting read. The outer beauty that she doesn’t know  she has….

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Combined with an inner beauty that would  overshadow a  Paul Ce’zanne, GEORGIA O’KEEFFE or Vincent Van Gogh . She knows when to hold back and when to push forward. Her heart isn’t plastered on her sleeve, but it’s not hidden in the shadows either. With just the right amount of emotion and logic, the ease with which one can listen to and comprehend  her constantly changing complexities…it’s absolutely flawless.

For this child, my hope is a life of adventure, love , questions, knowing when to go against the grain, when to lead and when to follow. With a child like this one, it’s not the  parents job to lead, it’s only ours to follow.  Knowing how to quiet her mind and when to let it explode with everything she has. Fire and snowflakes, her mind collides and yet does not collapse. It has a meter, a tempo….an unwritten song waiting to be played out. And oh how I hope I’m there to hear the finished ballad….

Between Legos and LOLs

HOMEFREEKIDS.COM

“What’s a conundrum?” …..”ummmm, ask your sister“.

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So my youngest turned 10 this past December. He’s in that ‘inbetween’ world. The one where fantasy begins to slowly slip away into reality. Mind you, there’s still plenty of fantasy….but not quite as much. I’d say around a 10% decrease in the past year. Functioning at a good 90% and still roaming the maze in ‘the Labyrinth’, along with Sting (yes…I’m that old), my son still clings to his childhood. And somewhere between legos and trading lols with his bff, there’s a tiny glimpse into his future…lurking…..

For quite some time, I’ve been quite aware of his ‘all boy’ psyche. Caution to the wind, shoes unlaced, to heck with the proper safety gear, ‘Mom, you’re paranoid!’, ‘this is gonna be AWESOME!’, ‘Mom…has anyone ever died skydiving with an umbrella?’, barreling full speed ahead, who really needs bones anyway? and…

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Photography And The iPhone 5

This Christmas, my husband bought me a new phone. After making a few calls, sending a few texts and trying out some apps, I found the camera.  And a fabulous camera it is! The phone is an iPhone 5. Honestly, I have no idea how I ever lived without it. Built in photo editing and a plethora of free photo apps…what’s not to like? So without further delay, here’s a few pics from the past month….

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There are literally over 1000 pics on my Instagram.  So my rating for the iPhone 5 cam…easily a 10.

Thanksgiving Delights

Are you ready? Have you picked up your turkey yet?  There’s just something about picking up a turkey that really brings the holidays into the present.  Picking out your side dishes and tasty desserts, maybe a little red or white wine, sitting around a candle-lit dinner table with your family and friends….ahhhhh….bliss! 

Today was my shopping day and I found the perfect bird! 20lbs of yummy deliciousness! 

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So….I thought this would be the prefect time to plan my menu. I do the turkey pretty much the same every year and if it ‘ain’t broke’…why fix it?  But the side dishes could use a little pep and these are the recipes I have decided to try this year. They’re simple enough for the kids to understand and be able to help out, but tasty enough, that it’ll seem as though they were prepared by a master chef!

Fabulous Southern Italian Thanksgiving Stuffing

SOURCE: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Southern-Italian-Thanksgiving-Stuffing/Detail.aspx?evt19=1

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Ingredients
Original recipe makes 12 servings
1 1/2 pounds bulk Italian sausage
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 ounces pancetta bacon, diced
2 onions, chopped
7 large stalks celery, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups day-old French bread, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
3 cups crumbled cornbread
1 1/2 tablespoons rubbed dried sage
1 1/2 tablespoons poultry seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup toasted pine nuts
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup butter
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
1 ounce shaved Parmesan cheese

Directions

Preheat an oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease a deep 9×13 inch baking dish or roasting pan.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and stir in the sausage. Cook and stir until the sausage is crumbly, evenly browned, and no longer pink. Drain and discard any excess grease. Place the browned sausage into a large mixing bowl.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil and pancetta in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the pancetta begins to brown, stir in the onions and celery, and cook until the onion softens and turns translucent, about 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic, and cook another 3 minutes until the aroma of the garlic mellows.
Scrape the onion mixture into the bowl with the crumbled sausage. Add the French bread, cornbread, dried sage, poultry seasoning, salt, and pine nuts; stir well. Pour in the chicken broth and mozzarella cheese; stir until the chicken stock has been absorbed by the bread and the stuffing is evenly mixed. Pack the stuffing into the prepared baking dish, and dot the butter overtop. Cover with aluminum foil.
Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes, then remove the foil, and continue baking until the top has turned golden brown, about 15 minutes more. Sprinkle with the fresh sage and shaved Parmesan cheese to serve.

Tangerine Cherry Cranberry Sauce
http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Tangerine-Cherry-Cranberry-Sauce/Detail.aspx?event8=1&prop24=SR_Title&e11=cranberry%20sauce&e8=Quick%20Search&event10=1&e7=Recipe

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Ingredients
Original recipe makes 12 servings
1 (12 ounce) bag fresh cranberries
1 cup dried cherries
1 cup white sugar
1 cup tangerine juice
1 tablespoon tangerine zest
1 whole star anise
1 cinnamon stick
3 whole cloves

Directions

Combine cranberries, cherries, sugar, tangerine juice, tangerine zest, star anise, cinnamon stick, and whole cloves in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until cranberries are all popped, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Discard star anise, cinnamon stick, and whole cloves, and refrigerate until needed.

Candied Yams
http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Candied-Yams/Detail.aspx?event8=1&prop24=SR_Title&e11=yams&e8=Quick%20Search&event10=1&e7=Recipe

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Ingredients

Original recipe makes 6 servings
1 (29 ounce) can sweet potatoes
1/4 cup butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
Place sweet potatoes in a medium baking dish. Distribute butter pieces evenly over the sweet potatoes. Sprinkle with brown sugar. Layer with miniature marshmallows.
Bake in the preheated oven 25 minutes, or until sweet potatoes are tender and marshmallows have melted.