NaBloPoMo 2015: Have You Thanked A Drawbridge, Lately?

I love going through my Instagram feed, especially while riding the train, first thing in the morning. You people take good pictures, while I play with apps and filters and pretend like I know what the heck I am doing. Photo apps are so much more forgiving, they make even the most...meh, it's a drawbridge...image worth an extra 3 seconds of non-scrolling. FullSizeRender

Today, I took this picture of one of my favorite little coves along the water (in between the Raritan River and the New York Bay) and a drawbridge...but, well, the poor drawbridge can't help its utilitarian feel. I mean, it's a drawbridge. A hard-working, under-appreciated and often times thought of as an inconvenience to commuters rushing to and from work type of drawbridge. And it deserves a little love, dammit.

IMG_1027Add a little charcoal filter and it becomes a much more interesting drawbridge, don't you think? Even the high-tension wires in the the back look almost cool and the shadowing of the water directly under the bridge, very deep!

IMG_1028

Hit it with a little pen and ink, and the drawbridge transforms into something so unlike a drawbridge, right? Still, I can't stop staring at it.

IMG_1029This one is called Fusain Painting, which means creating art with a charcoal in stick form, made from the wood of the spindle tree -- don't believe me? Google it, like I did :)

IMG_1030

Aaaaand, then my favorite filter: Van Gogh Style! I adore the coloring, now this drawbridge makes me feel all artsy-fartsy and stuff. Thank you SO MUCH and have a nice day, drawbridge! 

NaBloPoMo November 2015

© This Full House 2003-2016. All rights reserved.

NaBloPoMo 2015: Daylight Savings Sucks, Until It Doesn't

Many of my friends with younger children aren't very fond of Daylight Savings and rightfully so. It takes a while (if ever) to adjust a child's internal clock and convince them that...yes, I know it's still light outside...and YES!!!... it is SO bedtime.

If you have teens then you already know -- rebooting is near to impossible once they've executed an all systems shut down -- asking them to get up earlier than they need to?

It's like a scene out of Clash Of The Titans, where Zeus hesitantly asks Poseidon to...WAKE...THE...KRAKEN...while us mere mortals duck and cover.

Note: I'm talking about the 1980-something version with Harry Hamlin. It's super-campy and awesome fun to watch with your teens, while they rag on all the bad special effects and you try to remember the names of all the actors, wondering if he/she is still living or not.

[one beat, two beats]

And if you're still reading, then I love you and we can totally hang together...moving on.

Image

I too was all Team Daylight Savings Sucks, until I started going to work in the dark.

Image

This morning, however, the platform lights went off as I was buying my 10 trip tickets! It was soooo awesome to ride with the sun shining on the right side of my face and I swear there was a little extra spring in my step.

Image

Until I looked up from my desk at 5:15 p.m. and...wth?!?!...when did it get so dark, again?!?!...BAH!!!...Daylight Savings sucks!!! Until it doesn't, and what a view, right?!?!

NaBloPoMo November 2015

© This Full House 2003-2016. All rights reserved.

NaBloPoMo 2015: The Joy Of My Husband's Cooking!

With my working full-time and commuting into "the city" (NYC, if you live in and around "the city") 3 days out of the week, my kids and my husband have taken over some of the cooking...okay, they do a lot of the cooking...fiiiiiiiiiine...I haven't cooked a solid meal since April.

Oatmeal Craisin Cookies
Oatmeal craisin cookies

Garth(NHRN) is an especially gifted baker and I would do almost anything to bite into one of his delectable cookie creations (that's what SHE...I mean...that's right, I said it!) like those up there, they ARE my favorite! And now he's experimenting with real food.

Chicken Casserole
Herbed chicken casserole

Whenever my husband is home, I start looking forward to lunchtime at 11:30 a.m. Because he'll almost always place a plate on my desk, while describing EXACTLY how he mixed this with that and threw in some more of that stuff over there and...LUNCHTIME!!!! 

Peel me a pomegranite!

Oh, and my man is NOT afraid to peel a pomegranate and...NO!!!!...I am SO NOT taking ANY of this for granted. Trust me! And it's really cute how the roles have reversed and I am more than happy to give him space in the kitchen...UNTIL...he placed today's lunch plate on my desk:

Chicken YUMMY!
Grilled chicken and mozzarella on top of a bed of salad greens, zucchini, red pepper and a ginger sesame dressing

And my first thought was...WOW!!!...I'm feeling a little insecure about my place in the kitchen...I mean, he really needs to lower the bar, a little. And then I ate it in like four bites...NEVER MIND...IGNORE ME...and carry on, Garth(NHRN)!

NaBloPoMo November 2015

© This Full House 2003-2016. All rights reserved.

NaBloPoMo 2015: Carpe Dentum!

It’s that time of year, again! November is National Blog Posting Month, when many of us blogger-types are reminded about how much we USED to blog...dammit...and, truth be told, although committing to writing every day in November is ambitious (even for social media enthusiasts, like me) I could really use a good brain-vomit (you're welcome!) soooooo, let's catch up, shall we?

My Dad is very sick. Long story short, he was admitted into the hospital at the end of August for congestive heart failure and chronic kidney disease (which went unchecked for nearly 2 years) so he's been in and out of hospitals since the beginning of September.

 

Presenting the newest member of the Zipper Club, 2 days post op and looking good :)

A photo posted by Liz Thompson (@thisfullhouse) on

He had open heart surgery about 6 weeks ago -- we did the math, the other day, and figured out he's been home about 7 days in 2 months -- but his kidneys are failing, which is now complicating his recovery. His kidneys keep backing up fluid into his system, so they tapped his lungs last week and, well, it's been a one step forward two steps back kind of stretch these last few weeks, yo!

My brother, my SIL, my husband and I have pitched in and try to help, however and whenever we can, staying with Mom and taking her to the hospital to see Dad -- I've even worked remotely from the hospital snack bar, because FREE WIFI -- and one thing that I am trusted with doing, while at the hospital (because, you know, I am a professional dork!) is helping Dad with cleaning and brushing his dentures. 

We had a close family friend visit when Dad was in the ICU and I sort of got distracted (my trying to talk, listen AND do stuff at the same time almost ALWAYS leads to disaster!) while rinsing Dad's dentures in the sink in his room. 

I grabbed the tube of toothpaste and smeared just a little bit on his top denture and started to...oh...so...very...gently...brushing, but the cream was soooo thick...like cement...and it smelled...like...I don't know...like...wait a minute...raising 4 babies, I know this smell!!!!

BUTT CREAM?!?!?!?

[eyes go wide]

I took a closer whiff and...YUP!!!!!!...I had, in fact, accidentally grabbed the Desitin and tried to brush my Father's dentures with BUTT CREAM!!!!!!

[rolls sleeves up, blows bangs out of eyes]

Guess what? Butt cream is REAL hard to get off of dentures, especially when you don't want anyone to notice what an asshole move you've just made, because butt cream is no where close to being even similar to toothpaste!

Funny thing is, the nurses didn't even question my smelling his dentures to make sure I got all of the butt cream off, because I think maybe they have pretty much seen everything.

The End.

NaBloPoMo November 2015

© This Full House 2003-2016. All rights reserved.

Pink Hair, Don't Care, Unless You Happen To Be My Kid!

I have straight fine hair (and by fine I mean not like...duuuuude, you got some fine-looking hair... but more like...duuuuude, your hair is soooooo fine, can't do nothing wit-it!), so I keep it short and make sure to take many selfies on good hair days...you know...to document...on the Internet...forever and ever, amen.

"What color are we doing, today?!?"

Fortunately, my hairdresser has known me for a very long time and happens to be a good friend of mine.

"Oh, I don't know, surprise me!"

She is also a master colorist and a Ninja with a pair of razor shears. We have pretty much lived through every color on the Redkin spectrum, together.

"I have decided to dye my hair pink!"

Okay, I lied, except pink. Which is probably why our youngest daughter...who has dark hair and looks a lot more like me than any of my other kids...poor kid...decided it would be totally awesome to dye her ENTIRE head pink, because...warning, parental spoiler alert ahead...TEENAGE GIRLS DO NOT WANT TO LOOK ANYTHING LIKE THEIR MOTHERS!

"But you will need to bleach your entire head, you know that, right?!?"

She is also fourteen, which is that magical age in between "Read me a bedtime story!!!" and "Loooook at meeeeee, Mommy!!!" to "What?!?" and "WHAT?!?" because teens are super-inquisitive, like that.

"I already Face-booked Lori about it, she gave me several options and mentioned she may have to bleach it twice!"

**blink-blink**

"Aaaaaand, I'm okay with that!"

Which is Teenagerese for: If it helps her stand out from her older sisters and brother, even better!!!

"I have [birthday-graduation] money saved up!"

Aaaaand, she was saving THAT one for last. As the youngest of four, she's learned to watch...wait...and spring it on Mom when she's SUPER tired.

"So you don't EVEN have to pay for anything!"

Well played, indeed.

 

Before picture of our mom/daughter prettifying appointment, so excited! And a little scared, because...well...you'll see :)

A photo posted by Liz Thompson (@thisfullhouse) on Aug 14, 2015 at 10:02am PDT

Long story short (you're welcome!): A very large part of me admires her bravery, because being a freshman in high school is hard enough (personally, I'm still waiting to grow out of my awkward stage!) and then there's this teeniest, tiniest voice inside my overly-processed head that's all, "But does it really have to be your ENTIRE head...and pink?!?"

Add to the list of 7 words that you really don't expect or even want to hear, as a parent: Feel how hot my hair is getting!

 

It's getting real up here, you guys!

A photo posted by Liz Thompson (@thisfullhouse) on Aug 14, 2015 at 1:45pm PDT

But then the color started going on and...Holy Hannah Montana...that IS sooooo waaaaay pink!!!

 

This kid, tho! She is fearless :)

A photo posted by Liz Thompson (@thisfullhouse) on Aug 14, 2015 at 3:41pm PDT

The salon was very busy (because mah girls at Trio specialize in "I don't know, just make me look good, dammit!") and there were three distinctly different reactions:

1. My favorite: You are SO brave!

2. Okay, I like this one too: Wish I could do pink hair!

3. And the one that stopped me dead in my tracks, because it was not so much what was said, but the delivery: WOW, that's a different look, isn't it?!?

It was when my friend Lori began layering on the two colors (magenta and way more magenta), so I was actually on my way out to pick up my two oldest girls at work. The woman was getting her hair toweled off and I'm pretty sure the grimace pasted on her face wasn't from the toweling.

"I don't think you can get MUCH pinker than that, can you?!?"

Did I mention, I don't do well with passive aggressive asshat comments?!? My kid, on the other hand, took it in stride and without skipping a beat, said:

"I don't know, Lori is pretty good, I bet we can go even pinker!"

 

Now she wants to drive the car. Maybe this wasn't such a great idea... #PinkHairDontCare

A photo posted by Liz Thompson (@thisfullhouse) on Aug 14, 2015 at 3:46pm PDT

Did I mention, this kid is way smart?!? Well played, kid. Rock on with your pink self :)

© This Full House 2003-2016. All rights reserved.

Everyone has a story, here's yours!

I'm headed to Chicagoland to visit my sistuh-from-anuh-thuh-muh-thuh, Melisa (YAY!) so my husband dropped me at the airport a little early before going into work, today.

Ticketing Agent: I'm sorry, but you can't check in any earlier than 4 hours before your departure.

Fiiiiiiine, I was waaaaay earlier, but it's okay.

Garth (NHRN): Maybe you can see if there is an earlier flight you can get on.

The thing is, here's the thing: This particular flight has first come first served sort of seating and I had a pretty good boarding spot.

Me: I don't mind, I'll just watch all the people.

Yep, I'm a people-watcher. I can sit and observe and imagine all sorts of stories, for hours. Good thing I have a couple of hours (or twenty) before my flight leaves. Take these guys, for example:


IMG_20150725_094626

They are a father and son traveling together, but there's a problem. The son has declined his spot in the university generously funded by his father, insisting he'd much rather go into the family business of importing olive oil, but dad has higher aspirations for his son and, although the business has kept their family well fed and allowed each of them to live better than most, it isn't exactly legit.

Father (talking as if his mouth was filled with cotton balls): Michael, you are my youngest son, I want more for you.

**blink-blink-blink**

What? You heard this story already?

**sound of crickets, chirping**

I'm from Jersey, what'ya want from me?

Oh, HEY! We're about to board, now! Good thing it took me 2 hours to hunt and peck this post out on my phone.

Maybe I'll figure out how to upload a picture that is not sideways, on my way back -- you're welcome!

Edited to add: A big THANK YOU to Melisa for emailing me my blog post, after I went back in to edit a typo and then accidentally deleted it, because I am a special sort of dork...like that...yo!

© This Full House 2003-2016. All rights reserved.

Don't Break My Heart...My Icky, Sticky Heart...

It's been about 6 weeks since my "episode" and yes, I just "air-quoted" the word "episode", because I've had all the tests done to me, since the "episode", and I'm WAY MORE comfortable telling you about my "episode", because hypertensive heart disease sounds so...you know...icky.

I mean, not as icky as a sticky heart valve...like the one I got, too...but I've been assured that it is more common than I thought...and who knew...there's a bunch of us walking around with one or more sticky heart valves...[fist bump]...ain't midlife grand, YO!

Oatmeal, It's What's For Dinner!
I like to stir craisins into my oatmeal, how about you?

So, I've got a new cardiologist. I mean, he's new to me, but he's also very old and I realize that I'm not young, either (thanks for noticing, BRAT!) however, I am younger than he is, so, there ya' go.

[blank stare]

Where was I? Ummmmmm...oh yeah!...my husband, Garth (not his real name) was nice enough to drive me to see my new, but very old, cardiologist and accompany me into the office...you know...for moral support...and tissues...oh and cough drops...my throat closes up when I get nervous (that's what SHE said!) and because CARDIOLOGIST!!!!

"Mrs. Thompson?"

I jumped up out of my chair and managed to scare the bees juice out of the rest of the people waiting their turn to see my new, but very old, cardiologist. I also happened to be the youngest one in the room and I'm guessing they just weren't very used to such quick movement...heh...and my inner-twelve-year-old tends to crack very bad jokes, when I'm nervous.

"Who is your primary physician?"

[blink-blink]

"I don't have one."

[blank stare]

"Well, I'm pretty healthy...normally...but...you know...except for this one time...I mean."

[blank stare]

"And if I'm really sick, I take myself to the walk-in-emergency-type-care-place down the corner and see whoever happens to be on duty."

[blank stare]

"So I'm pretty open to recommendations!"

This was getting awkward, you guys. 

[blank stare]

Blank stares are like non-verbal scoldings.

[sound of crickets, chirping]

Moving along...so, I sat down...because non-verbal scoldings are awful, and the rest of the people in the waiting room sort of just stared at me...or maybe they were sleeping with their eyes open...either way...doesn't matter.

[blank stare]

"Mrs. Thompson?"

Oh man, now what?

"We need to take your weight."

Yeah, the woman hates me.

"OH BOY, MY FAVORITE PART!!!"

Although, THAT made her giggle. So, I walked over to the scale and...well...I hate scales...especially, these type of scales...you know...the ones where you have to move the weights and they keep sliding...and sliding...and...DAYUM!!!... is she ever going to stop sliding?!?!

"Eleventy-thousand pounds."

[eyes go wide]

Now, mind you, I've made peace with my squishy size 12 body...a long time ago...but DAYUM!!!

"ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?"

She clicked her tongue (or maybe it was her teeth, doesn't matter) and then she nodded her head.

"Are you sure that thing is working right?"

She assured me the scale was working just fine, but because I seemed a little distraught (i.e. acting like the biggest baby, EVER!), she had me step on the scale one more time and started sliding...and sliding...oh, wait...it stopped about 20 pounds short of DAYUM!!!

"Correction, you're eleventy-nine-hundred-and-eighty-pounds."

So I hugged her, this time the woman actually broke out into a full-blown grin and I'm pretty sure those were her real teeth, too.

"You almost gave me a heart attack!!!"

[eyes go wide]

"Figuratively speaking, I mean."

[sound of a roomful of senior citizens, snoring]

Long story short: My new, but very old, cardiologist is actually very nice AND he laughs at my really bad jokes, so we now have a standing date...every six months...which means I've got plenty of time to work on some new material...YO!

[blank stare]

Stupid blood pressure, dumbass sticky heart valve. 

© This Full House 2003-2016. All rights reserved.