Monday, January 28, 2008

Chalet Village Cabins: Home away from home

Each year, the routine is exactly the same as the previous years’. While most people scurry in and out of stores to find that last minute present, my family loads up the minivan with suitcases and wrapped gifts, ready to head out of town.

A couple years ago we rented a cabin up in the mountains to celebrate Christmas with extended family members. A smoky mountain chalet or cabin is not exactly like a ...Read More

Friday, January 25, 2008

HOT ROD to The Rescue?

I think not!

Yes, it's the weekend. At some point, you're probably going to run along to blockbuster to rent a movie or two. And if you've never seen Hot Rod, consider yourself blessed! Here's why...

Fifteen minutes into watching this movie, I found myself getting a bit irritated. Each time I glanced at daddoo, he too had this “what the @uck” look on his face. Every single one of its “intended to be funny” dialogue seemed out of sync with its stale storyline. Guys, I’m talking ... major, Lame-o! Even the proverbial running into stationary objects type of physical humor that’s often incorporated into movies of this genre, failed. Miserably so, if I may add. What a relief it was, when daddoo finally asked, “have you had enough of this crap yet?” And let me tell ya, right then and there, I was more than ready to implement a strategy that I was never able to follow through on in my glory days of daytrading. Cut your losses short!

Hot rod, at its best, was a Poor and annoying immitation of Napoleon Dynamite. Yep, it felt good to finally pull the trigger on something-;)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

So Long, Farewell: I'm Moving On!

"I've dealt with my ghosts and I've faced all my demons
Finally content with a past I regret
I've found you find strength in your moments of weakness
For once I'm at peace with myself
I've been burdened with blame, trapped in the past for too long
I'm movin' on..."

Listening to this awesome song by Rascal flatts, never fails to inspire me to revisit what I’m currently doing with my life. It never fails to challenge me to re-evaluate my pet projects and decide whether they are worth carrying on with or if it’s time to move on to other undertakings that would actually provide some value to others. Almost six months ago, I launched myfamilyscene to test pilot self publishing. I wanted to learn about google adsense, affiliate marketing and the correlation between writing with keywords and search engine optimization . Most importantly, I needed a creative outlet where I could vent about issues that are of concern to me and also offer my readers a glimpse into some moments that make family life worth every strand of hair that most parents with young children loose over the years. That mission has been accomplished. Now, the fun part. Should I stay or should I go? Is this a good time to lock the double doors to Myfamilyscene and toss the keys forever?

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Legend of the Lavender Sweat Pants

Tucked away somewhere on the top shelf of my walk in closet, you’ll find a pair of sweat pants(with matching sweat shirt) that’s been collecting dust for the past 24 months. A comfy looking outfit that no one wants. Really. The logical thing for me to do, is to toss it in that pile of clothes I’ve been meaning to donate to the salvation army. But I just can’t get myself to do it. You see, there’s a story behind that lovely attire. A story that makes me chuckle silently. A story I’d like to treat like a valuable family heirloom that must be passed down from generation to generation. Don’t you think it’s a great idea to preserve the source of every legend for as long as humanly possible? I do!

Some time Between Y E A R 2 0 0 5 - 2007
I was busy with my Christmas shopping when I came across it. Thinking that it would make a great present for Kid Sid, from Santa , I bought it. Over the years, I often wondered what happened to it, but never really got around to asking her. One day, while she was away during spring break, I decided to clean out her closet. It was then that I found the elusive lavender apparel buried among the rest of her junk. The frugal light bulb inside my head came on. My rationale? She had probably forgotten about it…so, why not wrap it up again and pass it off as another truly thoughtful Christmas gift from one of her siblings! And when she made no sarcastic reference to it, I thought…home run! However, a few days later, I walked into my closet to find that lavender wear. To this day, it's still there and will most likely remain so because someday, I am positive that it would make an excellent present from Santa, to either one of my younger two daughters.

P.S Right here, right now…

We’ve all been cleaning all day. At the moment, I am watching Daddoo, who is staring at a lovely picture frame that one of the girls had given him as a Christmas present this year.
“Nice huh?” I say.
“Yeah, it’s pretty cool.”
(Silence. Silence. Silence.)
“It looks familiar.”
(Silence. Silence. Silence)

Turning to me with a puzzled look on his face, he asks, “Didn’t someone give me this last year?”
"I don’t know what you’re talking about.” I reply-;)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Why 100% is the Most Important Percentage

Imagine this…

A 99.9% quality commitment in the following work situations would translate to:
• 50 newborn babies dropped at birth by doctors Every Day
• 20,000 incorrectly filled drug prescriptions Every Year
• 22,000 checks deducted from the wrong account Each Hour
• Your heart failing to beat 32,000 times Each Year
• 500 incorrect surgical operations performed Each Week
• One hour of unsafe drinking water Every Month
• Two unsafe landings at O’Hare International Airport Each Day
• 16,000 lost pieces of mail Per Hour!

Wow! My jaw dropped after reading about such statistics in Jack Canfields “The Success Principles.” Each year, many of us make resolutions for the upcoming New Year - Spend more time with our loved ones. Learn a new language. Pray more. Reach out. Listen more. Talk less. Do 50 sit-ups 3xweek. Take ballroom dancing- Whatever those goals may be (personal or universal) just imagine how much better life and the entire world would be, if we were committed to 100% excellence in all we do.

Btw, I wonder if we would all become Shiny Happy People-;)
Any REM Fans out there?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

"Because You are Black"

Once upon a time, Daddoo and I(with the children)were on our way back home to Florida from a funeral in West Virginia. Approximately 15 minutes after crossing the Kentucky state line, a state trooper pulled us over. (Mind you, on and on for the past several hours I've asked, nagged and even pleaded with him to slow down).

After the usual license and registration scrutiny, the cop asked, "Do you know why I stopped you Sir?"
“No Sir” replied Daddoo.
“The speed limit is 65 mph and by manual observation, you’ve been going 82 mph. Were you aware of this?”
“No Sir, I didn’t think I was going that fast.”
Subsequently, the trooper handed him a citation for speeding; cautioned, “y'all drive safely” and took off. So did we. I expected minutes of really awkward silence, because I wasn’t about to say, "I told you so." I expected his face to turn red with embarrasment or anger. But what I didn’t expect, was the verbal outburst that followed…

“That Mother****ing, Sonofabi**h, C**ksucking, Jacka** were the first batch of many really weird sounding word combos that flew from his mouth. Then he turned to me and said, “I honestly believe that the only reason he pulled us over, was because you are black!”

Silence. Silence. Silence

I wanted to laugh, but I was too irritated. I wanted to pick a spot...anywhere on his upper torso and give him a good whacking; but that would make matters worse. “You were speeding dear.” I mumbled under my breath. ‘Why don’t you just admit it you macho bonehead’ I thought.

Anyhow to this day, methinks he still holds firm to his belief. And I to mine with reasons of course. But sometimes one has to wonder…was he on to something? I’d like to hear what you think;-)

Saturday, January 12, 2008

A Day to Remember

The date has been set. It is going to be a day to remember. A day that her father had dreamed about but never lived long enough to see. His baby, my 33-year-old niece was finally going to walk down the aisle. I remember the day she called to share the news...

"Auntie," she began. "It's so nice to be the one sending out elegant wedding invitations." In my moment of excitement, I volunteered to handle the wedding logistics. However, her husband to be, an aspiring graphic artist, had other plans. He was not interested in shopping for discount wedding invitations online. In fact, he wanted to design and print them all by himself. He said, "I want our invites to be the talk of the town."

So, here I sit, at a coffee house directly across from the only wedding boutique in town... rehearsing my sales pitch. My mission ? Get them to commit to using a wedding planner that could shop around to find them that personalized, unique wedding invitations that they want. Wish me luck-;)

Friday, January 11, 2008

Rhyme Tyme

Looking for a simple, hassle free, after dinner activity for the whole family? Rhyme Tyme is a fun and exciting way to mentally stimulate or challenge every family member from ages 5 and above. Next time your kindergartner comes home with a new set of vocabulary or flash words that she needs help practicing, do not discard after use. Instead, cut up those words individually, fold and toss into a container. You could also come up with your own set of words.

To play this game, you’ll need:

-An egg timer or hour glass
-Note pads
-Pens or Pencils
-Plastic bowl or container


Gather everyone around. Sit in front of the fireplace if you like. From the youngest to the oldest(one at a time), each player should pull out a piece of paper from the container; reveal or announce the secret word. After Mom or Dad sets the timer, everyone has one minute to jot down words that rhyme with the selected word. At the end of each round, the player with the highest number of correct rhyme words would become the winner. Play as many rounds as you like and be sure to double check for spelling and accuracy. Wrap up with some home made Frozen Juice Treats-:)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Back to my Motherland

Note:This is an excerpt from Home: A Trip Down Memory Lane(2); a sequel to Home.

I spent the first couple days entertaining family members who had come to see me. We mused over the past and they fired a bunch of questions at me “Is the electricity on all the time in America?” asked my niece. “Pretty much” I replied. My elderly uncle was so intrigued that we had nonstop access to running water.

A few days before Christmas, I visited the homes of some of my childhood friends, hoping that I’d at least run into a few who had returned to celebrate the holidays. The ones I really wanted to see were not around. Those that were at home asked if I had brought them presents. One in particular asked me for cigarettes. I grew tired of being harassed for one favor or another and decided to spend the rest of my visit indoors. I was stunned beyond words about all the changes that had taken place! What was I thinking? I should have realized that time (or people for that matter) waits for no man! Suddenly, I felt like I was swimming around in a future that had completely drowned my past. And like a child without his mother, I wanted to return to my home away from home. I longed for my children. I longed for my husband.

As the plane flew higher up into the clouds away from the west coast of Africa, a momentary feeling of sadness and nostalgia overwhelmed me. I wondered if I'd ever see my mother alive again. I wondered if I would ever set foot on my native soil. I wondered if my children would someday want to trace the roots of my family tree back to Nigeria. And somewhere in time between my last teardrop and the majestic view of the sun fading to a thin red line, I had an epiphany...Read full story here

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Why I'll Never be a 'Girlie' Woman

What’s with children these days? It appears that no matter how much stuff you give or buy them; parental efforts are never fully appreciated! Daddoo and I thought taking Kid Sid on a 5-day carnival cruise to celebrate her 13th birthday would totally blow her away…yep, hello! We were obviously wrong! Did she hold her horses until we’ve at least had a chance to cross the Georgia state line from Jacksonville Ports Authority, before bombarding me with, “Mom, can I have a sleepover party to celebrate my birthday with my friends?” Heck, No!
“Maybe next year” I replied.
“I think we’ve spent enough money already,” added Daddoo.
She pouted. She pleaded. Our answer was still a stern NO! Then she tried to negotiate. “I’ll do more chores. You don’t even have to pay me for babysitting for the next six months!”
My eyes widened. My lips curled into a roguish grin. I flashed Daddoo a look and he understood the signal. I had to cave in. After all, it was going to be one hell of a win-win-win arrangement for all of us. Half a year of babysitting services was worth several sleepovers in my opinion. But, there was one teeny weenie problem...Read Full Story

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Freeze the Cheese Please

That’s right. Cheddar cheese. Mozzarella cheese. Monterey Jack cheese. Colby cheese. Block, Chunk, or Grated; once exposed, most have a life span of approximately 5-7days before turning rancid.

If your family has a history of flushing unused cheese dollars down the drain, and such wastes make you wince, I’ve got great news. (No, this has nothing to do with that annoying Geico commercial.) After opening a block of cheese, if you do not foresee a short term purpose for any leftover:

1. Cut Up into single serving chunks

2. Wrap individually in aluminum foil

3. Transfer into a Zip lock Freezer bag

4. Label with “use by date” (stamped on wrapper)

5. Freeze for future use

Note: Let thaw at room temperature on counter top (15-20 minutes)before serving. Makes a great after school or road trip snack! Can also be used as an additional source of calcium for home made school lunches-:)

*For shredded cheese, follow steps 3-5. Sprinkle on salads, omelets, home-made pizzas etc.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Tale of the Biohazard Stink Bomb

There are times when we hear a story that makes our sides hurt from laughing. And while we’re busy “rotf” laughing our backsides off, we’re thinking, “thank goodness it didn’t happen to me.”

Recently, I received an email link to such a story. Not only did I rush to the nearest urgent care facility to get stitches for my split sides(just kidding); I learned that one must find the grace or humor in circumstances that are beyond one’s control.

If there were an award for "Most Embarrassing Moments", equivalent to the Grammy’s, this story-in my opinion- is definitely destined to snag a trophy…

“I just got back from a trip to Puerto Rico. Yes, the pristine beaches and abundant local 'delicacies', provided temporary succor for me, from the crazy rat race of Corporate America. But, this short piece is not about my 5-day vacation. It's about something quite humiliating that occurred to me, on that journey. The first leg of my trip from Los Angeles, to Tampa, Florida, was quite uneventful, and proceeded smoothly. However, the second leg was a tale of ha, ha, ha, horror. One that I’d probably never forget…

You see, as a chronic bachelor, I'm forced to eat what I cook - regardless of how terrible it may turn out to be. I had prepared some major amount of beans. What can I say, I love eating beans! Nonetheless, the mistake I made, was to eat copious quantities of it; washed down with two glasses of chilled, non-fat milk, the night before my travel.

When the first wave of gas threatened to explode from my you-know-where, I sat upright; bolt stiff. I tightened my sphincter muscles. Beads of sweat formed on my forehead (inspite of the fact that the plane’s interior was quite cool) until they coalesced into tiny rivulets that ran down my face. For some strange reason, there were about six passengers queued up to use the Loo that was closest to my assigned seat. And I just could not trust myself to take the 'long walk' down the aisle, to the next toilet. In my discomfort, I made the mistake of shifting my sitting posture. It was at that moment that all hell broke loose!

It wasn’t even a silent one. I heard the sound, and I'm sure most of the passengers seated across the aisle heard it too. It was a loud, short, "BAAAAAARP!" Now, ordinarily, if a loud one does not have the same aftermath of an SBD( silent but deadly), then, it’s not that big of a deal. But, guys, the only way to describe the smell that emanated … toss many rotten eggs in a bowl, mix with decaying fish and the funk of forty thousand years!

The stench almost brought tears to my eyes. As we all know, if the aroma of your own fart is unbearable even to you, then you can only wonder about its effect on other poor souls. Especially in an enclosed space! I looked around to see how others were taking it. My worst fears were confirmed. At first they tried to brave the smell, by pretending that it didn’t exist. Eventually they succumbed to the over -powering stench. They held their noses. Some fanned away frantically with the in-flight magazines. The middle-aged man, sitting across from me, glared at me menacingly, while he cupped his nose with one hand. A kid (about 5 years old) sitting behind me, who could take it no more, blurted out to her mother: " Mom, what's that awful smell?" I wanted to die. The shame and embarrassment of it all. Not to mention that they heard the sound coming from me. I buried my face in the novel I was reading. The smell hung around for what seemed like eternity. Then…the gas started building up…again. This time around, I was determined not to let it rip through. I made up my mind that I was going to get up and jump the queue, acting like it was a life or death emergency. Alas, to my eternal horror and damnation, in the process of getting up to walk to the toilet, I let out another one. A true SBD! I shoved, pushed and jumped the queue (with apologies) to get to the bathroom. I sat there for a while to let things settle back down. As I walked back to my seat-twenty minutes later-a flowery aroma filled the air. My guess? One of the flight attendants must have been trying to clear the air while I was away. It was then that I knew that it was quite clear to most of the passengers that I was the source of the evil smell. Needless to say, I spent the remainder of the flight in quiet shame and extreme embarrassment. I avoided eye contact with everyone, even up to the time of disembarkation.”

Is there a point to this story other than the obvious illustration that man is never really a worthy adversary for mother nature? You bet! Beans with milk is a deadly combo. A biohazard to the human race. Don’t do it! -;)

If you enjoyed this post, you'll probably like this blog entry

NOTE: This Story was slightly edited for brevity and clarity.

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