Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Best Christmas Present Ever

The best Christmas present I ever received was a while back when College Geek was a Grade School Geek and Middle Geek was Baby Geek and the Littlest Geek was... well you are going to have to wait for it.

It was December 23 and I put College Geek on the bus for the last day of school before break. I had a million things to do before Christmas. But before I dove into my list of things to do I thought how about taking some time to pause and relax - the calm before the storm so to speak. I asked my neighbor (also at the bus stop) if she would like to come over for a cup of coffee. I am still not sure why I was able to convince her to also pause and reflect but we went inside and had some coffee and conversation. Soon the phone rang. This was before caller ID and I had (and have) a policy of trying not to ignore a live person over one on the phone BUT for some reason I answered the phone.

Phone: "Hello Mrs. Geek, this is Ms. Social Worker from the State."

AbFab: "oh"

Phone: "I wanted to tell you that Middle Geek's biological mother has had another child. He has been in the hospital for a few weeks and they think he is about healthy enough to send home. Since we like to keep sibling groups together, we wanted to first ask your family if you would consider taking him in."

AbFab: "oh oh oh!"

By now my neighbor was listening intently with me.

AbFab: "Of course, oh my God"

Phone: "Shouldn't you talk to Mr. Geek?"

AbFab: "Who? Yes of course I will tell him, he will be SOOO excited!"

Phone: "Are you sure he will agree?"

AbFab: "Agree with what? Oh. It is not much of a decision. Tell me everything!!!"

Now it just so happened that Mr. Geek was on a business trip. And he was not a meeting or conference but he was driving the length of the railroad from Ohio to Missouri stopping at various stations for inspections. This was also long enough ago that not everyone wore a phone in their pocket. (Remember those days) So it was going to be challenging to find him and tell him.

AbFab: "I will call and tell him and get his okay." (The hard part would be finding him, I knew we were completely on the same page regarding more children.)

Phone: "Okay let me know. It is possible he will come home tomorrow, the hospital was hoping he would be home for Christmas."

My neighbor and I squealed, there is no other word for it. The lists that both of us planned to complete that day before Christmas Eve were instantly forgotten.

I called Mr. Geek's secretary.

AbFab: "I was wondering if there was any way that you could get a hold of Mr. Geek BECAUSE (I talked right over her expected explanation of him on the road, uncertain schedule etc.) -- I want to tell him -- he has a new son!"

Mr. Geek's Wonderful Secretary: "Eeek!! Your kidding!! Oh My! I will find him!"

Like all great secretaries I knew that she could make it happen.

Now began the phone calls to my family, who also instantly dropped their last minute things to do before Christmas Eve. I have to give you some more background at this point. As College Geek outgrew all of his baby clothes and baby stuff, I patiently stored everything in the basement. When Middle Geek joined our family (a good story for another day), I pulled everything out and much of it was old and dated. After Middle Geek we knew we still wanted more children. We were assured by the state (that we were adopting through) that they placed older children and it was unlikely (actually they said impossible) for us to get an infant. We really thought that was great and that our next child would probably fit in the large age gap between College Geek and Middle Geek, making Middle Geek the Littlest Geek and ....- are you following this -- and so as Middle Geek outgrew equipment or clothes, I immediately gave them away or sold them.

So (have you caught on yet) it is Christmas Eve's Eve and I am getting an infant tomorrow and I have NO INFANT STUFF!

The remainder of the day is still a joyous giddy blur. My mom and sister came over. We went to several resale shops looking to rebuild the nursery. As we were shopping we were so hyper that we told everyone we met about our "Christmas present". One saleslady even threw in some toys for us to take for him.

Mr. Geek was found - his travel companion actually had a cell phone. He was so happy, he cried, right there in northern Indiana, in front of a virtual stranger (I told you I did not have to ask him if he wanted another child).

And that was the Greatest Christmas Present Ever.

I would like to thank Damama for inspiring me to get this wonderful story down in writing. (It has been repeated over and over of course.) And also her point to the Writer's Workshop which gave us the writing prompt.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Take5 Tuesday

5 things on your tree, (if you’ve put one up yet.)

1. Lights - flashing, I lost this argument or maybe since I didn't help decorate I lost my vote.
2. A victorian angel on the top.
3. An ornament from when there were only four in the family - I think we need a new family ornament.
4. A beautiful tree skirt made by my Mother-in-Law. (I know it is not technically ON the tree.)
5. Various personalized ornaments - my favorite kind.


5 of your Christmas traditions

1. Go to Christmas Eve Church Service
2. Wake up early and open presents
3. Meet the rest of the family and have brunch and open gifts. All the kids open first - mass chaos, then the adults open theirs one at a time starting from youngest to oldest.
4. We play a Christmas game and drink wine while the prime rib cooks. We have played Cranium, Apples to Apples, this year the game is Partini - I hope it's fun.
5. Before dinner, we take turns (from youngest to oldest again) saying what we are thankful for. The youngest usually mentions their favorite Christmas present, somebody always mentions that they are thankful we will get to eat soon, lol.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Stories

Story 1

One of my favorite things to do is sing and my favorite part of Christmas is Christmas carols. So on Sunday I got to combine the two for an entire morning -- it was like a perfect storm (in a good way.)

It started at 7:30 am ( which was way too early and COLD, but still...) with practice with the Praise Band. Immediately following was Choir Practice. I don't routinely sing with the choir due to lack of time, however I have sang in choirs since third grade, so I really miss it, especially at Christmas time. We had a special All Church Choir for this Sunday so we could sing the Hallelujah Chorus. I could not pass that up. We had a choir of at least fifty, with brass and timpani etc. There was not much time for practice before church began and we were able to bring Handel's Messiah to life. I don't think I could ever get tired of that piece of choral music, I have sung most of it both in College Choir and in Community Choir.

After the choir sang, I moved to Kidszone. This is what our church calls "Sunday School." My friend from Praise Band plays the guitar and I lead the kids in worship songs about once a month. Today we led them in Christmas music. (I have to admit switching from singing Joy to the World with a choir and singing Joy to the World with guitar kinda hurt my head. I had to have the guitar play quite a bit until I could find the starting note. Thankfully kids are very forgiving of this -- I believe I have found my target audience for my solo career.) We added an impromptu "Jingle Bells" just for fun.

The next church service was the Contemporary service where the Praise Band plays, so it was back to singing as a backup singer. I had one more Sunday school class to lead in song and the day was over. It may sound a bit hectic (and it was) but I could not have asked for a better start to Christmas Week.

Story 2

My mom and I were Christmas shopping last week. Pretty much from the start I could tell that my mom was not feeling very well. You see, my mom lives for shopping the way I live for singing. She loves everything about it and she can shop for hours and hours. After just a few minutes, I could tell her enthusiasm was just not there. Finally she admitted that she had been feeling sick for a few days and was getting more and more miserable. Of course she refused to quit shopping and go home, so we pushed on.

We were in Sears’ Men’s shop when she was feeling so bad that she had to rest and leaned upon a display table of sweatshirts. A young man working there saw her remarked that he too was feeling some of the exhaustion of the season. Then he said, “Why don’t I find you a chair.” Just to put this in perspective -- have you ever tried to find an employee help you during the Christmas season. And here was a young man offering to go out of his way to help an obviously tired woman.

Now I know that there are plenty of stories about the craziness and crazy people this time of year but to me this is what Christmas is about. We can get caught up in the madness, we can complain about the maddening people, we can argue Seasons Greetings vs Merry Christmas like it is a Holy War -- but what is truly important is how we treat each other, on a person to person level. It matters more, how did you treat the sales clerk today or how did you talk to the crabby old man in line. It did not matter if the man said Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas, what mattered was the kindness in his heart. What mattered was the kindness in his actions.

So my wish for all of you is this -- I hope you find love and kindness this Christmas season.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Mr. Geek's Nightmare

This is the commercial that is haunting Mr. Geek.



For the record- I did not show it to him, he showed it to me. (I believe he is still shaken.)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Did you Guess?

AbFab Geek was in Tunica.

Thirteen Things about my trip to Tunica Mississippi

Riding in a Charter bus can be –

1. Noisy – On the bus among many strangers, were my mom my two sisters, my Aunt Sally and my Niece, Cheri. Let me tell you, those women talk a lot – and loud.

2. Boring – We had a movie showing on the bus each way and my mom actually shushed us.

3. Stomach churning - The winds rocked the bus back and forth, back and forth and the ceiling was covered with carpeting that was a swirl of blue, purple and ..

4. Embarrassing - The bathroom door is challenging for some to lock, including some poor man I opened the door on. I thought I covered it really well becauseI ran back to my seat really quickly so he would not know who walked in on him. Why did this have to happen during the first hour of the adventure, oh why?

5. Fun – Perhaps you have met my family or a family like them, we can be our own entertainment and keep each other amused, heck, rolling in the aisles, for days. We also had tour guides that kept us busy with games and BINGO, and at one point a singing Bus Driver. No, the Singing Bus Driver was just weird!

6. If you are ever in Tunica, you will have to eat one or more of the Buffets (it may be the law for all I know.)

7. You can guarantee the following at each and every buffet – Fried Chicken, Chinese cooking, Mexican food, some sort of salad bar.

8. After a couple buffets, you can become part detective and seek out the hidden gems, Fresh strawberries, Eggs Benedict, Caramel Apples and some wonderful southern cooking (greens and sweet potatoes etc.) and surprisingly very good sausage and sour kraut.

9. It is far enough in the south that you can find – Grits for breakfast, Greens cooked with Bacon, Delicious Fried Chicken, and Sweet tea.

10. If you are under sixty, you will feel young at least until midnight when the younger crowd comes out.

11. Although the television news is from Memphis there are no Memphis newspapers, in fact although it is the closest metropolitan area, people in Tunica will deny this. We had one cashier tell us “Oh yeah, I live in Memphis.” And then look furtively around, like someone might overhear.

12. It is fun to hang around bored bartenders. One bartender made us delicious coffee drinks made with Bailey’s and topped with whipped cream. At another bar, a bartender was trying out several new drinks and shots and kept lining them up for me to try and review. (I think my palate became a bit less refined as time went on.)

13. The most fun of any Girls weekend is the time that we all get to spend together. The highlight was shopping in one Casino Gift shop, we bought my mom her Christmas present (We told her not to look.), my niece bought new shoes, and we all bought new Glamorous Sun Glasses.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Where was AbFab Geek?

Oh my, I seem to have stumped everyone (not counting Cheri who does not count because she was there.)

Here's some more clues.

It is in Mississippi.

You can eat in a different buffet for every meal.

Ch-Ching, Ch-Ching, Ch-Ching, Ch-Ching.

Pay no attention to those old people, or that lady over there chain smoking and dragging her oxygen tank.

(Answer and Back Story tomorrow.)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Where has AbFab Been?

Oh My, there is so much I have wanted to tell you about my adventures during the last month!

Let's start with the game: Where was AbFab Geek?

First Clue: Here we are leaving. Note how low the sun was in the sky. And check out the psychedelic rug on the ceiling. Where could these women be going?


It must have been a long ride to include a game of Cover-All Bingo (which I lost).


This town decorates their cars with part of the cow, not just Cow Bells.

There was a piece of Blarney Stone there for Good Luck!



And we all got new sunglasses with plenty of BLING!

It's BAAAACK!!

Good News!!

My laptop is back!

Can you see my smile? Did you hear my happy dance? (Sorry about that.)

It has a new hard drive and I am working at setting all my bookmarks and prefered spots, but we are settling in together quite nicely.

I hope to resume my blogging shortly -- Just in time for Christmas!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Christmas Meme

I received this from a friend by email and thought it would be fun to post and read all of your responses. So if you play along, let me know so I can read your answers.

Welcome to the Christmas edition of getting to know your friends and family. Okay, here's what you're supposed to do, and try not to be a SCROOGE!!! Just copy (not forward) this entire email and paste into a new e-mail that you can send. Change all the answers so that they apply to you. Then send this to a whole bunch of people you know, INCLUDING the person that sent it to you......Tis the Season to be NICE! HO HO HO

Some of you are very rushed this time of year so if you do not respond I certainly understand, but thought some might think it was fun...>

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping Paper (Mr. Geek does all the wrapping, my corners are not nearly razor sharp enough. haha)

2. Real tree or Artificial? Artificial

3. When do you put up the tree? Friday After Thanksgiving -- Although it is KILLING the Middle Geek to wait (that is what he said, "I can't take it anymore!!!")

4. When do you take the tree down? New Years Day

5. Do you like eggnog? OMG, it is the best, I just wish it did not have so many calories

6. Favorite gift received as a child? Stuffed Animals

7. Hardest person to buy for? My Mom

8. Easiest person to buy for? Middle Geek, he has already made a list

9. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes, but I don't think it has many pieces left unbroken. I know Joseph is gone. I think the Baby Jesus is still unbroken.

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail sometimes

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Ugly Clothes

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? A Christmas Story - I can quote so many lines from this movie, I probably don't have to ever really watch it again -- But I will.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? After Thanksgiving

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Only for a large group gift exchange.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Prime Rib

16.Lights on the tree? Yes, lots of lights, they must be all different colors and not blinking.

17. Favorite Christmas song? After all the years I have sang in choirs, I love love LOVE Christmas carols. Some that pop in my head are, Carol of the Bells, Still, The Holly and the Ivy, Do You Hear What I Hear, The Little Drummer Boy, wow I could go on and on...

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Stay home

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Of course, can't everyone.

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Angel

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Christmas Morning -- Bright and Early

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? Crabby people who complain about buying gifts. I say if you don't like buying all those presents, then stop. Except for Mr. Geek, you do have to buy me a present, no matter what.

23. Favorite ornament theme or color? Homemade by one of my kids

24. Favorite for Christmas dinner? Prime Rib, didn't I already answer this, oh well it is so good it bears repeating.

25. What do you want for Christmas this year? Peace on Earth, or at least in my house

Monday, November 24, 2008

Happy Birthday Linda!!

Today is my second big Sister's Birthday!!!



(This is probably the time that my family is wondering about the wisdom of letting me take all of our Grandma's pictures to my house.

It is good to be the baby of the family.)



This is my sister in grade school. The thing that everyone remembers about her at this age (honestly, even people who have not seen her for years and years) is how fast of a runner she was. I remember at my Mom (or Dad)'s work picnic that she would blow past the entire field and ALWAYS won a ribbon. (As a matter of fact, no, I never won any ribbon, even though I tried so very hard to jump in that sack, but it's okay I am over that now, thanks for asking.)




This is my sister is high school. Do you see that beautiful shiny straight hair? It took hours to achieve and she slept with metal orange juice cans in her hair for years - If you roll wavy hair around big enough rollers it will straighten the waves out, or so I have been told, you would never see me trying to sleep with my hair rolled up in orange juice cans (yes I realize you can tell that by looking at pictures of me during that time -- leave me alone already.)







Happy Birthday Linda!! We always have alot of fun together! (Don't worry I still have more embarrassing stories for your next birthday. heh heh heh)



Thursday, November 13, 2008

AbFab on Top Chef


After the Amazing Race, my next favorite show is Top Chef which just started it's new season last night - WooHoo. Maybe you enjoyed Mr. Geek and I on our Amazing Race Adventure. Well (in my head) I also believe I might do okay on Top Chef (at least in the early rounds). Join me if you will on another journey, this time to the Top Chef Kitchen.


Padma: Welcome to today's Quickfire Challenge. Chefs, today's Quickfire challenge will test your skills of substitution. Food allergies are becoming more and more prevalent in our society. Chef are often requested to prepare dishes or complete meals without certain ingredients. For this challenge you must prepare a traditional side dish without gluten (this includes wheat, rye, barley and for this challenge oats) or dairy (including cheese yogurt and butter) or eggs. You will draw knives to decide the order you will choose the side dish to prepare.

On the table before we have place a number of speciality items that you may use to prepare your dish.

Chef AbFab you have chosen Knife number 1, which side dish will you prepare?

Chef AbFab: Potatoes Au Gratin

AbFab (in interview): When I heard the challenge, I thought, yes this is MY challenge! I looked at all of the side dishes and picked one that I thought would be the most challenging.

Padma: Ima, you have chosen number two, which side dish will you prepare?

Ima DaBest: Mashed Potatoes

Ima DaBest (in interview): I am very familiar with gluten free cooking and the chefs at the Hoity Toity Restaurant where I have worked for several years often are requested to prepare food gluten free. Not being able to use eggs or dairy was new, so I thought, I had better pick something safe. I saw the Rice Milk on the table and thought, this will be easy.

Padma: Uda, you have next choice.

Uda Woman (in interview): I have heard of gluten, I mean it is a good thing when you are making bread, right? So making food without it just seemed weird. I was trying not to panic, when I saw some Elbow Macaroni made with who know what on the table and some soy cheese.

Uda Woman: I will take Macaroni and Cheese.

(The rest of the contestants finish choosing.)

Uda Woman (in interview): I started the water boiling to cook the noodles, while I prepared the items for the sauce. When I came back to test the noodles, the texture was not right at all, they were way too mushy and overcooked.

One hour passes with a flurry of knives.

Count down: Three two one -- Hands Down!

Judges: Ima, what was your side dish?

Chef Ima: I chose Mashed Potatoes.

The judges look at the potatoes, clearly unimpressed.

Judges: These potatoes are not very creamy, in fact they seem really watery.

Chef Ima: I used the rice milk that was provided and I struggled to get the texture as creamy as I would have liked.

Judges: Hmmm. Uda, what to you make?

Chef Uda (laughing self consciously): Well it was supposed to be Macaroni and Cheese.

Judges: I am glad you told us, it does not look very appetizing.

Chef Uda: Uh yeah, well I could not figure out the best way to cook the noodles, they kept coming out under or overcooked.

Judges: Hmmm.

Judges: AbFab, what did you make today?

Chef AbFab: I chose to make Au Gratin Potatoes. I wanted to challenge myself to make something that was as creamy and satisfying as the original.

Judges: Hmm, it looks good.


Chef AbFab: I started with White sauce made with margarine, Rice Starch and Rice Milk. I then added several (secret) ingredients to punch up the flavor. I pour the sauce over some thinly sliced red potatoes and baked it until the potatoes were done and the sauce was thickened.


Judges: Wow, I am not sure I would have even guessed that this was gluten, dairy and egg free unless I had been told. I wish I could have seconds.

(Shut UP! It is my story.)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Goodbye Fall!


Here is a picture of my favorite tree.

Remember what it looked like in the Spring?


Now it is completely bare!

Hello Winter!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Tagged by Mean Mom

Mean Mom tagged me (and gave me a cool award to sucker me into it.) What can I say, she must know me very well.

7 Things I plan to do before I die:

Write a bucket list of thing to do before I die
Sing in a Gospel Choir (just once, I know I would be embarrassing)
Give a sermon (not to my children, a real sermon)
Stay in a hostel
Write a book
Take a culinary course
Be referred to as an expert by the local news

7 Things I do now:
(chronologically today)
Laundry
Empty Dishwasher
Fix lunches
Get children ready for school
Take youngest to school for Intramurals
Drink coffee
Check email


7 Things I can't do:

See without my contacts
Turn on my laptop
Get my children to hang up their towel after a shower
Program in C++ (Shout Out to the College Geek)
The Yoga pose - Tree
Speak French
Make coffee in the office (I really can't, trust me)


7 things that attract me in the opposite sex:


Sense of humor
Eyes full of laughter
Really strong calves (lower legs, not baby cows)
Good hair - nice haircut and must look like it does not smell
A good smell - Not too much cologne
Intelligence
A good job

7 things I say most often:
Can't I have anything nice?
When I speak, can you hear me?
Do not throw the ball in the house.
Do not kick the ball in the house.
Do not play with the ball in the house.
Do not touch the ball in the house.
Just give me the ball.


7 Celebrities that I admire (How about substitute- would like to meet for lunch)

From Bravo TV
Tim Gunn

My favorite British chefs:
Robert Irvine
Jaime Oliver
Gordon Ramsay

Some funny guys:
Stephen Colbert
Steve Martin

My Personal hero:
Sallie Ride


7 Favorite Foods (I Americanized the spelling)
(This is so hard because I get tired of foods after I eat them a few times)
Carmel Apples - The good ones, rolled in pecans not peanuts
Vanilla Latte - nonfat, extra hot -- coffee is a food right?
Lasagna
Gooey Butter Cake
Blueberry Cobbler with ice cream
Homemade Cinnamon Rolls -- made by my wonderful sister Chris- hint hint
Ice Cream Sundaes made by Mr. Geek

7 Bloggers who need to do this:

Okay, I am thinking of a number.

Did you guess seven? Woohoo! I tag you!

Let me know when you fill this out so I don't miss it!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Voting

Some comments I have after voting today.

Vote! Just go vote, there is still time.

Why is the line for those with last name starting with S-Z the longest. always?

Since the line for those with last name starting with S-Z is ALWAYS the longest, why don't we change the way the line is broken down?

Shouldn't their be a frequent voter program for those of us that vote in every election, not just the president? I am thinking a proper reward would be a Fast Pass that allows you to go to the front of the line - even if your last name begins with the letter S-Z.

And last but not least..

To the person who left the graffiti written inside my voting booth (from the hand writing I am guessing a middle aged male -- just a guess), what did you hope to accomplish? Way to take an adult responsibility and reduce it to high school immaturity! Dude, go away!

What was your experience today? (or the last time you voted for those of you not in the US--Hi Mean Mom!)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Happy Halloween!!

What do you think of my pumpkins??


Friday, October 31, 2008

The African Children's Choir

We were all so excited to see the African Children's Choir in concert. This is the best picture I was able to take of the concert. Trust me the children have so much energy and joy and they are so much fun to watch. The church was packed with people enjoying the performance.

We were lucky also that we were able to be a host family for some of the members. I assumed that I would be host to boys (because that is all that I have at my house), but I was pleasantly surprised to have two young girls and their chaperon- also a young woman -- join us. That might be the only time in my house where the girls out number the boys.

After the concert we did not have much time to visit before bedtime. The girls were age 7 and 10 and were from Uganda. Their volunteer chaperon was just out of college and from Canada. We had a quick snack and everyone turned in.

Because our visitors were only staying until 9:30 the next day, I let the boys go to school late that day to have some time to visit.

Our music room was a big hit!

The Littlest Geek was ready to join the choir is they would have him.

The boys were excited to get a big breakfast on a weekday!

The kids were able to play outside for a bit that morning.

The girls were so busy playing that they did not get a chance to teach me some dance steps until we were in the parking lot at the bus. They were very polite and encouraging, my boys that were watching -- not so much.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The African Children's Choir

I am so excited. Guess who is coming to our church? We are also lucky to be a host family for a couple of the children and sponsers. I am sure the Middle Geek will take lots of pictures like he did when we hosted Candlefuse. When my laptop get fixed I will show the pictures.

Until then enjoy the following.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Where is AbFab Geek?

This time it is not a fun game of travel. Instead of being somewhere fun, I am at home but I am having trouble getting to the internet (oh the horror!) My laptop is not broken, BUT it refuses to connect to the internet. The home desktop is still down due to an unfortunate boxing accident. (If a computer can't learn how to fight back it won't last in this house, after all it started the fight!!) I would have made an entry while I was at work (don't tell the boss) but the Middle Geek was off of school. I took him with me to work and I was luck to be able to get the minimum of real work completed before he was bouncing off the walls.

I am composing this on the College Geek's computer. Where is the College Geek? He is home for the weekend, yeah! He and his brothers and Mr. Geek are having a boys day out at Six Flags. At the last minute his ride home from college fell through. The plans for this weekend have been in place for LONG time so Mr. Geek drove down school to get him (4 hour round trip) It is good to have him home (and good to have his computer haha).

I am at home alone more than a little giddy at how quiet the house. I have cleaned out several rooms and now I am blogging on his computer and chatting with people on the College Geek's instant message board (Seriously you would think he would have turned that off.)

Hopefully College Geek will be able to fix my laptop. (I mean he is a Computer Geek also.)

So don't forget about me!! I will be back soon!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Park

On our recent staycation, we spent one beautiful day at a local park. The Middle Geek works in the Church nursery every Sunday and has made no secret about who is his favorite kid there. He was so happy that we were able to meet up with him and his mom, Elizabeth.

I missed the picture of the two of them blowing the seeds off of a dandylion, but of all the pictures I snapped, I really like this one. I think it's because they are standing almost the exact same way, they really are in sync that way.

I like this picture so much, I have been searching for a quote or verse to put with it so I can print it out for the Middle Geek's bedroom. This is where I need you help! I put some quotes I have found but none seem exactly right.

I need Sugggestions!


Here are some I have found:

Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter won't mind.
Dr. Seuss

Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment. Buddha

Monday, October 20, 2008

Trick or Treating for Can Goods

It is our Youth Group's tradition that before Halloween, we go Trick or Treating. We aren't collecting candy, like on Halloween night, but we collect can goods for the food pantry. It is always alot of fun and for a good cause.





Middle Geek decided revisit his Nerd costume from last year. (A geek is different than a nerd, surely you know that. We freely acknowledge our geekiness, but WE ARE NOT NERDS.) However it was interesting that we were able to pull his costume together from things that we just happened to have around the house.






Even some of the adults get involved.


I think I had an out fit like that in the 70's, but mine was more colorful!






It is tough to look like a nerd when you are just this cool.





















The result of all of our hard work.

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Last Triathlon of the Season - The Story

First I have to give a big SHOUT OUT to Mr. Geek for his last Triathlon of the season. Although he doesn't get his own blog posting (or even any pictures, the shame), congratulations to Mr. Geek for finishing the Fall Triathlon consisting of a 500 meter swim, a 21 mile bike ride and a 5 mile run in well under 2 hours (1 hour 51 minutes), scoring a Personal Best and finishing 7th in his age group. Let's hear a big WOOHOOO!!!!

Now on to the Littlest Geek's Triathlon. (Sorry Mr. Geek, but LG is just a bit cuter.)

The swim was a short 50 m. No big deal for this seasoned Triathlete.



Transitioning to the bike in the month of October is just a little different than in the summer. It was a chilly morning.
The transition was very smooth.
Look at Team Geek Go!

I was worried a bit about the bike, because it was on the streets. The lane was marked by big orange cones, but a mother worries.
The biking was for 1.5 miles - Piece of Cake!

Now it was time for the run. This has been the hardest part for the Littlest Geek (and Mr. Geek too). I can't blame him, running a mile after swimming and biking.
Look how he took off out of the transition area. Can he keep up this amazing pace?
Here he is starting the street course - still looking strong!
And here is the Finish Line!!!
He ran the entire way!!!

WOW! The Littlest Geek came a long, long way from his first triathlon!
Just wait til next year!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

13 Things about St. Louis

After our recent Staycation , I have been filled with renewed appreciation for my hometown. In appreciation, I have compiled a list of some of my favorite things about St. Louis including some of the quirks of the people who live here (those quirks are some of my favorite things too.)

Food

1. Toasted Ravioli – You take ravioli, roll it in bread crumbs and deep fry it. Dip it in Marinara sauce, yum what’s not to like. Some restaurants get fancy and also serve toasted Cannelloni, it’s all good.

2. Gooey Better Cake – Think of a cross between the best yellow cake you have ever had and cheesecake combined with sticks of butter and wait I need a minute. At one of the Littlest Geek’s Triathlons, there was a bakery with gooey butter cake samples. I literally stopped in my tracks. I don’t like to chow down on Gluten filled goodies in front on the boys, BUT, I quick looked at LG with his back to me, and snarfed up two pieces. I hope you don’t think less of me.

3. St. Louis Style Pizza – People love it or hate it but you won’t mistake it for anything else. First the crust must be very thin. (Not too thin and crumbly like some restaurants). The cheese must be Provel. Provel cheese itself is traditionally from St. Louis and is a mixture of several cheeses including Provolone. St. Louisians refer to this cheese as “the gooey cheese” as opposed to mozzarella which is called “the stringy cheese”. (They are simple that way.) St. Louis Style Pizza must also be cut into squares, not wedges. It just does, do not argue with us.

Roads that do not exist on any street sign or map

4. Wharf Street – This is the street between the Arch and the river. It has some long official name, but you will never hear a local call it anything but Wharf Street.

5. The Interbelt – Officially known as Highway I-170. Not to be confused with Highway I-70. St. Louisians get I and 1 confused a lot, and just so you know, in St. Louisian time, the Interbelt is a new highway (built in the 80’s).

6. The Page Extension – Official name: I-364. This highway and bridge over the Missouri River is so new that I am sure it will never be called anything but the Page Extension within my lifetime. Luckily for visitors to the area it does indeed connect with Page Avenue on one end, which should help them find it on a map.

And soon to join this category

7. Highway 40 – A major renovation within the St. Louis area (hint: if you visit stay far away from this construction.) As the highway is brought up to interstate standards , MoDOT is optimistically renaming it I-64. Yeah right, it will never be anything other than Highway 40 here. And by the way the pronunciation in Highway Farrrty, very heavy on the R sound.

Which leads me to:

Letters that are pronounced in words but don’t exist in the spelling

8. The letter R – St. Louisians love the letter R. They love it so much that there is always a big emphasis on it when it exists in a words, such ar Farrty, sharrts (shorts) and Quarrrter. In fact they love it so much they include it into words where it was not originally, the favorite being warsh (wash), everyone knows that if you take the R out of Wash things will not get clean. (You can quote me, I know these things.)

9. The letter D – This is more confusing because most St. Louisians don’t even know that they do this. I discovered it when a poor lost traveler asked me for help. He had a St. Louis map and directions from a local. “Help me,” he begged, “I can’t find Baldwin, and it is supposed to be right here on the map.” “Oh,” I said easily, “it’s right there.” And I pointed to Ballwin. “There’s no D in it,” He cried (really almost cried, he had been staring at the map for a really long time.) So here is my public service message: There is no D in Ballwin. Now is I could just convince Mr. Geek that there is no D in Winfield. (Unless you are using the word in conversation, in which you must add the D, I hope this is clear.)

Other Pronunciations that just do not make sense.
To understand some of this you have to look to the history of St. Louis. There is a strong French influence in St. Louis’s history most obviously starting with the name St. Louis named after King Louis IX of France. However there is a very strong German influence. If you study the two languages at all, you will find that there is little in common with the way letters and words are pronounced.

10. Sometimes St. Louisians just pronounce the word as if it was English.

Bellefountaine is pronounced Bell-fountain.
St Francoisis pronounce St. Francis
Creve Coeur is pronounced Creeve Core.

11. Pronunciations no one understands Sometimes it appears that there has been an attempt to change the pronunciation, an attempt that has gone horribly wrong, and at this point the spelling and the pronunciation don’t have anything in common and you end up with

Courtois River pronounced at Court-a-Way River
And
Castlio School is pronounced Causely School.



Other St. Louis Quirks
12. How do you pronounce Missouri? You would think that at least the people that live in a state would agree on how to pronounce said state. Wouldn't you? Of course not. In St. Louis, the pronunciation is Mizzoureee with an i like spaghetti. This is actually the only correct pronunciation and I personally will fight this til my death.

13. The Question: Everyone who lives or visits St. Louis knows the question. “Where did you go to high school?” Yes we ask everyone we meet this, we just do, accept it and get over it.
I will try to explain our fascination with this question for those of you who visit or moved to St. Louis after high school and feel left out during this part of the conversation. 1. It is not a moment of snobbery. (Some people of course can use it as such, but that is not its intent.) 2. It is a efficient way to ask lots of questions in one compact questions. (St. Louisians are very thrifty and efficient, that is why they produce such awesome engineers.) Most St. Louisians live here our whole life, I myself am the fourth generation of St. Louisians (Laugh about me if you want, real St. Louisians know that you are laughing and still don’t care.) By asking this one simple, non offensive question, I can find out the following:

How old you are. (Many high schools go in and out of existence)
What your religion is (or a close guess).
How much money your parents made.
I can narrow down, the probability if you went to college and maybe even guess which college.
But most importantly I can find out:
Do we know any of the same people. (Because St. Louis is really just one big small town.)

So there is some important information on my hometown. I hope this is helpful for you if you ever get to the middle of the United States. When you get here, give me a holler!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Winning Photo

After days of voting, the score seems to be just about even for the following pictures. It is interesting that those from the St. Louis area seem to favor the first photo below, and the out of town (and country) crowd prefer the second photo below.

Feel free to continue voting in the comments.

A Bend in the Sky
picture by Middle Geek


From a Distance
picture by the Littlest Geek

Monday, October 13, 2008

Just An Average Monday


I followed Kalynne to Derfwad Manor where everyone is playing "Just an Average Sunday or Monday." And I thought, Hey I want to play. So I am a bit late to a party that I really wasn't invited to... but hey --It's my blog!!


So here is my average Monday (Fall break is over, everyone is back in school, yippee!)

Here is an average Monday at the Geek Household.


Sometime before 5:30 (don't ask me, I am sound asleep): Mr. Geek wakes up and exercises (or tortures small animals- who knows at that time of the morning.)

5:30 My Alarm first sounds

6:00 I finally crawl out of bed, it is too, too dark to be up. I stumble into clothing. I go to the Middle Geek's bedroom and flip on his light. "Good Morning!" I continue down stairs where I (in no particular order) do the following:

Put in one load of Laundry

Empty the dishwasher

Microwave a cup of coffee

Drink Microwaved coffee

Put dishes that are in the sink into the emptied dishwasher

Make lunches for Middle and Littlest Geek


Pack lunch for me and Mr. Geek (we work together, I provide the catering)


Yell once more for the Middle Geek to get up


Look through book bags for papers that were supposed be me finished, signed etc.


Get out food for dinner (tonight, I think we will have the Saucy Lemonade Pork. I should go well with the Winter Squash I made.)


Pack backpacks


Get or watch Middle Geek eat breakfast




Look for shoes (oh if I could have back all the times in my life I have spent looking for shoes)


Remind MG to take vitamins, brush teeth and comb hair, reassure him that he will be able to find Health Class which has now replaced PE for the next month (oh the pain).


6: 51 Send MG out to the bus


Ah, Now I have 10-20 minutes all to myself. Sometimes I read the newspaper, sometimes I blog. Today I scrubbed two toilets.


7:05 The Littlest Geek comes down on his own. He gets breakfast, vitamins etc and is on the bus at 7:45.


7:45 Wii Yoga (day 90 groan )

8:30 Go to work. Look there is Mr. Geek. He is so happy to see me!










I know you are wondering--- What does AbFab do all day long at work (besides stare at Mr. Geek)?
Well most of my days I spend sitting here.

I know, you wish you were me.


And somedays, I get to get out of the office to do fun things,

Like hold this stick.





Most of the time I spend out of the office I am watching for snakes or hoping I don't stumble upon a dead body (strange things get washed up by a flooding river, oh yes they do.)

Today, I spent most of the morning swatting at hungry mosquitoes.


But I did get a chance to see some beautiful wild flowers.


And I made a new friend.











3:30 Go home. Unpack backpacks. Supervise snack to be sure it doesn't turn into dinner. Get LG started on homework, assist as needed. Work as much as possible from laptop in kitchen (not much).


Later --

Cook and eat dinner.

Put clothes in dryer, fold and put away clothes (Mr. Geek usually does this).

Wash dishes (also Mr. Geek's job).


Monday is the only day we do not have a scheduled event so I think I will go the Library and Grocery store.


9:00 Small Geeks must be in bed (it is the law). I will be watching Dancing With the Stars on DVR.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Product Review Friday on Saturday

Another review by Middle Geek.

Haribo Happy Cola Gummy Candy

I bought this at Six Flags. They are shaped as Coke bottles and they taste like Coke. And then I bought two more of them with my Grandma at like Aldi's. They are so good you should buy them sometimes.


If you are a fan of the Middle Geek and want and invitation to his blog WHICH IS COOL AND PLZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ LEAVE A COMMENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! HAPPY FACES <(^-^)> <(*-*)> =] =[ =[] :{ "-" :] <(?-?)> <(!-!)> <($-$)> by MG


Thursday, October 9, 2008

Vote for your Favorite!!

There is something about the Arch that inspires people to want to photograph it in many different ways.

Here are four pictures from four different Geeks.

Please vote for one!
Choice One- Straight Up
Choice Two - An Angle Choice Three - A Bend in the Sky
Choice Four - From a Distance

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Staycation (rhymes with Vacation)

I am told that the new trend (in these economic times) is to stay at home and vacation locally. Who knew that the Geek family could be so trendy??!!



Today we continued seeing our city as tourist. Like most people who live in St. Louis, we really don't visit the Arch. Go ahead, ask some one who lives here when the last time they went up in the Arch. There is a good chance they haven't visited since that grade school field trip (unless someone out-of-town visitor takes them there.)



So to the Arch we went.


To get to the top you ride in small capsules (elevators). The car below seats five.




When you get to the top you can look out the windows. The Middle Geek insisted that I put my arm around him as he looked out. It can be a bit unnerving.


You can get a spectacular view of the city from that high up.



Running up and down the stairs leading between the Arch and the river proved to be incredible fun (well not for me). They must have run up and down three times.


Then we took a Riverboat cruise.




Here is AbFab and Mr. Geek pretending to be on a romantic Caribbean Cruise (alone).






We visited the Old Cathedral (no pictures, we had to talk in hushed tones too), and the Old Courthouse. (this is where the famous Dred Scott Case was heard.)



Visit back tomorrow to vote for the best picture of the day!!!