Saturday, April 28, 2012

Durable S'mores and the Secret Homes Of Angels. (A Photo Essay)

Every Sunday, I load all the photos from my phone, taken in the previous week, into my computer, with the intention of using them in posts that week.

I take a lot of pictures.  So here are the ones I didn't use last week, sometimes with explanations.


When the boys' therapists come over, on nice days they'll take them out to play and do exercises.  Sometimes that means our front walk becomes a rushing mountain stream.

I couldn't decide if it was awful or wonderful that we've invented a cracker made specifically for a more durable S'more.

Mr Bunches in his bath.

The schedule we made so that Mr Bunches would know when we were going to Target to get his Buzz Lightyear toys.

Mr F wanted to go for a walk as it stopped raining.  So we did...

This was taken at that trip to Target, so we're up to Friday now:

This is from my ongoing series of photos "Children at the Bottom Of Slides":

And this is a closeup of that interior of the slide.  When I was a kid, we'd see reflections of light like this and call them angels:

Can an angel live in a McDonald's playland slide? Sure. Why not?

Friday, April 27, 2012

Wanted: A #CoronaRita and a babysitter.

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Chili’s Grill & Bar for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

CoronaRita sm.jpg

My anniversary is on May 13, and every year Sweetie and I have a tradition – we get some babysitters for the littlest kids, Mr F and Mr Bunches, and we get out of the house for a while, going out to dinner and staying in a hotel that night to get a break from cleaning and housework and the fact that our home is filled with what I reasonably estimate to be 72,000 Hot Wheels’ cars.

The really nice thing about going out in early May is that it’s right at the start of what is usually beautiful weather in Wisconsin – warm enough to be outside, but not so warm that you sweat and are uncomfortable.  That’s important, because this is the one night a year that we make an effort to have a fancy-ish night out; whereas we celebrate most occasions with fast food or takeaway pizza, on our anniversary we kick it up a bit and go to a fancy restaurant: Chili’s.

Okay, so it’s fancy to us.  But it’s also an awesome place to go.  I mean, from my perspective, I love a good burger and Chili’s has the best around – the kind of burgers you can only get at a restaurant that really knows what they’re doing.  Restaurant burgers are better than homemade, everyone knows that, and Chili’s are better than anyone else’s.  I’m working my way through their menu; this year, I’m planning to try the “Shiner Bock BBQ Burger,” with Shiner sauce and onion strings and Oh God now I’m starving for a burger.

And, yeah: I preplan my burgers. So what? You can’t leave something like this to chance.

Sweetie, meanwhile, usually goes for something lighter, like a salad.  There’s no accounting for taste, and she is a woman, after all.  But things like the Caribbean salad, with pineapples and cherries on it, at least seem tolerable.

This year, too, Chili’s has something called a  “CoronaRita,” , a Margarita made with Jose Cuervo Especial Tequila and Coronita – a margarita, they say, that you’ll love so much you’ll want to buy it a beer.

Frankly, that sounds awesome to wash down a burger with – something fancier than a bottle of beer and more interesting than a traditional margarita.  I’m not the world’s biggest drinker, so if I’m going to try an adult beverage, you’ve got to make it worth my while, and the CoronaRita hits that mark.

If you like to eat at Chili’s – you know you do – tell me in the comments what you’re favorite item is, and whether you’d give the CoronaRita at Chili's a shot.

And remember: You must be 21 years or older to drink alcoholic beverages and as always, please remember to drink responsibly.

Also: If you’d like to be our babysitter, pop on over with a few references.  I think the older kids are busy this year.


Visit Sponsor's Site

Thursday, April 26, 2012


Do you ever wonder what happens to your children when they leave the house?  Whether its when theyare out with friends are even going to school, what really happens? 

That is what Stuart Chaifetz wondered about his ten year old autistic boy.  Mr. Chaifetz started getting complaints from his sons teachers at school and he wondered what was going on becuase the complaints were out of the ordinary. 

The teachers at his son's school were telling him that his son was hitting teachers and throwing temper tantrums as well as yelling and screaming and crying.  He was surprised becuase his son never acted like that. 

So for six months Mr. Chaifetz and his son's teachers had meetings to see whether he was improving or not as well as try to come up with a game plan to make this behavior stop.  And after six months when nothing changed he decided that he was going to get to the bottom of things.  So he sent his son to school wearing a wire.

I have inserted the video of what the father had captured.  Along with the father as well as many other people I was shocked to tears at what he discovered. 

You can form your own opionion but I think that it is such a shame that all of that can happen to not just a ten year old boy with autism but to a child at all. 

After I watched that video I thought about it the entire day.  I thought about my little brothers and what I would do if something like that were to ever happen.  I have to much faith in the school system that they go to to think that anything like that would or could happen but at the same time Mr. Chaifetz thought the same thing about his son's school and his teacher's. 

How would you feel as a parent if you found this out? and not only that but how do you feel about it in general?  I don't have any children but I feel sick to my stomach watching this and even after thinking about it.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

250=1, Story Eight.

In 250=1, I write stories that are exactly 250 words, including the title. Click this link for more of them

These Dead Composers.

“Did you ever wonder,” Tim said to Ayla one day in the hall as they passed each other, “Why these dead composers wrote all this music?”

Ayla just looked at him, unsure where this was going.  She was never really clear on Tim’s points, and, sure, he’s cute, she’d sometimes tell her friends, but he’s so… obscure.  She tended to keep her cello between her and him, not out of fear but as a way of keeping a little distance.

“No?” she asked him back.

“What if it was a message?” Tim wandered on, looking out the window as he spoke.  It was easy to keep a distance from him, Ayla often realized, because he only looked at you, as he talked, sparingly.  Tim would stare out a window as he said hi, or look at his shoes as he asked how your weekend was, or fiddle with a pencil while talking about a professor, and his eyes would slowly sneak over like a bird trying to get from one side of the patio to the other while you were tanning on it, and if they made contact with your eyes they would flicker away and start the journey over.

“A message.” This one was not a question, but Tim went on anyway.

“Maybe all this…” and he waved his hands in a way that could have taken in the school, her cello, or maybe all the music, ever, but then he stopped, and said “Never mind.”


Sunday, April 22, 2012

A tinier stegosaurus pays his share for the gas (but will NOT buckle up.)

Computer Problems...Not Anymore (Middle)

So I officially have decided that I am neither technology challenged nor am I furniture challenged. 
Within the last week I have put together a desk as well as an entire computer system.  For some of you that task may not sound difficult but for me it was.
As far as I can remember computers have not been my strong point.  I usually get scared and run the other direction.  But this time I knew that I would be the only one that would be able to put them together and so I went in with the mindset that I can do this.  And I did. 
A few days ago my computer crashed and I was unable to turn it on.  So I decided that I was going to take it to Madison Computer Works instead of Geek Squad because the past four times that I had problems with it I took it to Geek Squad and the problems were still coming back. 
After I told Madison Computer Works what the problems were they told me that they would call me within the next day and let me know whether they think that I should fix my old computer or purchase a new one. 
Within a day I received a phone call and they were telling me all sorts of other problems with my computer and it was all a result of the fact that my computer was initially put together backwards.  (why Geek Squad could not tell me that I am still a little unsure.)
So he and I (the man fixing my computer) decided that it would be better if I purchased another computer so I met up with him at the store later that day to discuss some possible options.  I found one that I loved and within a day I was able to pick it up and take it home.
Taking it home was the easy part.  When I got home I had t make sure that my desk was put together as well as making sure that I had the mindset of ‘I can do this.’ 
When all of that was said and done I opened the box and began putting the pieces together and let me tell you.  It was easy. 
Now I have a new computer that I can rely on as well as the simple fact that I put it all together and it works. 
So as George Michael would say…’You gotta have faith..”  

250=1, Story Seven

Over on Thinking The Lions, I've been writing a series of stories I call 250=1, stories that are exactly 250 words, including the title

And over here on The Best Of Everything I have been knocking myself silly with the 103-or-so-Day, 100-question Star Wars Blogathon and also this A To Z Challenge thing that honestly I'm not even sure what letter we're on.

And ordinarily I post on this blog about pop culture and what I think of it.  But for today, since I have been running the Triweekly Star Wars Blogfest Writers' Challenge as well -- winner gets $10! (yours is coming, Sandra) and since the current challenge ends next week, on the 29th, I thought I'd enter mine.  The challenge is, for those who haven't been following, to write a blog post of any sort -- picture, video, essay, quiz, jokey list, etc. on the topic Han Shot First, But Time-Traveling Elvis Shot Second.

If you want to enter, post your entry on your blog between now and next Sunday.  You get 100 points in the Blogathon for entering (and it's still possible to win the Blogathon, official rules are here.) And the best entry gets a $10 gift card to Amazon.

OKAY. Here's my entry:

Han Shot First. No, He Didn't. Yes, He Did. Wait...

The judge glared at the witness.

"Please answer the question," he said, frowning.

"I'm not thure I can," the witness said around walrus-like teeth.

At the defendant's table, the man in the sequined white jumpsuit leaned over to his lawyer, whispered something, and flickerered briefly.

"Is there a problem?" the judge asked Time-Traveling Elvis' lawyer.

"No problem, your honor," the lawyer answered.

 "I remember now! Han thot firtht!" the witness said.

Elvis sipped his water and looked thoughtful as the witness went on:  "That's why I... wait... maybe he didn't."

The lawyer and his client leaned forward and narrowed their eyes, almost simultaneously.  Elvis' lawyer looked at the prosecutor.

"Did you know," the prosecutor said, conversationally, "That traveling at lightspeed... or hyperspace... is almost exactly like time-travel?"

Elvis frowned.

On the witness stand, Walrus Tooth said "No, it wath Elvith! He jutht walked in and thot that green guy in cold blood."

The judge was watching Elvis and later would swear to investigators that the defendant had not even moved, except that suddenly Elvis was slimmer than he had seemed at the start of the trial.

Now the prosecutor grimaced.

On the witness stand, Walrus Tooth said "I'm not thure why I'm here. I wath on vacation on Caprica at the time."

"This is ridiculous! We all know what's happening here!" yelled the prosecutor, banging his fist on the table.

"Do we?" asked Elvis' lawyer.

Elvis winked at Walrus Man.