Category Archives: Random Stuff

Random Thoughts of a Frequent Travelin’ Mama

Before Flight

1.  Who are these people?  What is his/her story?  I wonder why they are going to Denver. Hey, Sir, can you please stop talking loudly on your cell phone? I really do not want to know about the property you sold and for how much.

2.  Okay, here we go and we are lining up for our flight now and people have no clue what the number system is and people are just wandering.  Now we are all on top of one another.

3.  I always sneak on an additional small item with my carry on suitcase and my giant overflowing backpack.  I hide it under my coat.  Will she see it?  I turn to the left a little with my shoulder bag on and make it through.  Whew!  I did it!

4.  I pick a seat and get settled in.  I hope no one sits next to me, but if it is a full flight, I am sure someone will.   If  I do not make eye contact, people generally do not sit next to me or near me.  It’s nice.

5.  Okay, here we go.  Whoops… forgot to put my phones in airplane mode.  I better do that.  Ah it doesn’t matter anyway.

30,000+ feet in the air or just on the plane:

1. Really? Do you need to recline all the way back into my lap only to bend over and work on your laptop? The plane is completely full.

2.  Why does this guy keep hitting my seat from the back?  What is in that damn seat pocket that keeps hitting the middle of my back?

3. Will these people ever need to get up and go to the restroom?  The passenger in the aisle drank two wines and a bottle of seltzer water.  She is never going to get up….ahhh! The guy next to me never got up the entire 3 hours and 46 minutes.  Is he a camel?  How do these people not need to pee for so long?  Note:  I love window seats.  Love looking out and leaning away from the middle seat occupiers.  Anyway, that means I have to make people get up everytime I need to use the restroom which is often on a 3 hour and 46 minute flight.  

4.  Seriously, dude, behind me.  Please stop hurting my back with whatever you have shoved into the seat pocket.

5.  God, this flight attendant is so disinterested in her job.  Why is she even here?  The other one is making up for her shortcomings though.  I have to say I love Southwest Airlines though – got some food, used my drink coupon, and I am all set for this long haul home.

6.  Woh!  We are going through a nasty weather patch – it will be fine.  Woh! Big bump.  It’s all good.  I think it’s called Winter Storm Pandora?  Why are they naming winter storms now?  What is that all about anyway?  Seriously, when will the turbulence stop?  My Fat Tire just splashed on me. Grrrrr…..

7.  Okay, I am going to close my eyes and try to sleep.  Yeah I can’t get comfortable.  5 minutes later: It’s not gonna happen.  How can only 5 minutes have gone by?  It felt like 35 at least.  Seriously.

8.  I watched an entire episode of MYTHBUSTERS.  The Star Wars episode was particularly cool.  I love Southwest and free Direct TV.  Wait, how can we still have 2 hours left on this flight.  I mean, seriously?  That episode was an hour long.  Why is America such a large land mass anyway?  Who decided to make it one big country?  At least if I was traveling 3 hours and 46 minutes to a different country, I’d probably feel better.  Like when I lived in Europe, it was so super cool to fly 2 hours and be in a different country and all.  Okay, I am going to try to sleep again.

9.  I really can’t sleep with that guy kicking my seat, and this lady has her light on to knit.  I will turn left to get out of the light.  Not working – how can only 2 minutes have gone by.  I mean the whining alone in my head has taken longer than that, right?  No.  Ugh!  Time moves so slow when one is flying.

10.  Oh thank God, final approach.  We are at 10,000 feet.  This is when I turn my airplane mode off and start checking my email again.  My $99 phone will not crash this million dollar plane.  Right?  Ah well.  Okay here goes.  Hope no one reports me to the flight attendants. They can’t get up anyway.  We are on our honor since we are landing into bumpy Denver. Final approach is my favorite part of flying.  I love it, bumps and all.

After landing/at airport:

1.  Will you please stand up and get into the aisle.  I really want to get off this plane- like now!  We are in row 3.  If you couldn’t get ready quickly, you should have not sat in the front of the plane.  Whew.!

2. Made it off the plane.  Since I have all my stuff with me, it is time to head to the terminal on the train.  Ah that damn train at DIA, Concourse C.

3.  I managed to get on the train and take a seat, but then people piled in, and now I am trapped.  This one girl keeps looking at her phone, even while getting on the escalator. Hey lady, look the F up – oh no, she just tripped and almost took out that kid.  What the heck?  Just look up while you are walking onto the escalator for God’s sake.

4.  Whew – got past the chaos and went straight to the shuttle that will take me to my car. Why is it not here yet? Ooh I see it.  I got lucky – it’s here and I can take it to my car.  The Parking Spot is so awesome.  I travel so much, I got some Premier status from them.  So frigging awesome.

5. I am home sweet home 1 hour and 5 minutes after I landed.  How cool!

All these thoughts, and no rest when I fly.  I am exhausted.  Time to sleep in my own bed… ahh, til I do this all over again.

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Childrens’ Birthdays – tid bits and ramblings of a … mom

IMG_3015One more birthday has passed by; one more birthday planned, executed, and one more milestone reached.

My youngest daughter turned 4 and we had a “small” party for her at My Gym.  Keep in mind, in our world, no party is small by normal people standards.  We invite everyone.  It is insane.  We invite the class, and our friends with kids, and often, purely for selfish reasons, we invite our friends in other cities that we have not seen for sometime so we can socialize with them.  We rarely throw a party so when we do, we go all out – after all, we just don’t see our friends that often- so we use our child’s party as an excuse to have some fun for … well, to be blunt, us!

I have written on this topic before.  [see the following related posts on parties: Party Poopers, and Dancing With Myself]  This weekend, we had our party, and then we attended a smaller, more intimate party as well.  I have to say, the intimate party was awesome- the family was kind, everyone introduced themselves, and talk about just nice people.  It made me think back to our party and how chaotic it was, and I do not remember introducing anyone or meeting that many new folks because I was stressed- the videotaping, the photos, the cake, the food, the constant – “can I get you a drink?”  But, like every year, here are some more lessons learned to carry forward into future party-planning:

(1) Go simple- go small:  It is okay to invite 5-10 of her closest friends and just do something super casual like the mall, build a bear, or jumpy castles.  She is after all only 4.  Keeping it simple makes it easy to enjoy.  The chuck e. cheese party we had was the most enjoyable because while it is loud in there, the tables are all there to sit and hang out.  You can hand out tokens to kids, and then just sit back and relax.  The food is served, the cake is served, and there is really not much to do and parents can have a glass of cheap wine or beer too!

(2) Forget the goody bags:  Goody bags are just junk.  I got some good ideas this year to avoid them altogether.  IF you want to do a giveaway and it is not built into the party, then just get scholastic books for $1- $2 and hand out the same ones to all kids.  Another great idea I got from the same friend is a book exchange.  Everyone brings a book of $5 or less and there is a book exchange… everyone takes something home.  Another friend suggested that each kid bring a wrapped gift of $10 or less and you do a round robin type of gift exchange– where each kid goes home with a $10 gift- great idea!  Another wonderful idea is a book exchange no matter what you do with gifts.  People can bring gifts but they also need to bring a gently used book or purchased for $1 – $3, and then the goody bag is the book exchange.

(3) If you do give a gift, be kind, bring a gift receipt and don’t commit the faux pas I did.  If you are recycling a gift, don’t accidentally leave someone else’s card or message on it.  Boo! I heard this weekend that it is okay to recycle gifts.  All moms do it, I was told.  My husband hates recycling gifts.  If our kids get them, and we do not want them, return or donate.  He despises re-gifting.  He is right you know.  But if you do it, do it with pizzazz and style.  Make it look cool – make it look put together or that you thought of this person when you re-gifted.  Don’t throw some trash you don’t want in a bag and call it a present.  Don’t bring a gift at all rather than re-gifting presents without a little class.

(4) Does it feel weird when you bring something back to the store and get store credit? We got something we already had so I took it back to the store and got a gift card.  It felt weird.  These were my daughter’s gifts, and I returned it.  I do not know- it felt weird.  I know it is okay but I couldn’t help but think of the parent who misappropriates their kids’ money.  I think if you get a gift card from a returned gift, let your child learn the value of money by using it to get something for him or her and spend it wisely.  Of course, it depends on the age of the child.  Age 5 and older I think this makes sense.

(5) Another tid bit I got this weekend was very helpful – siblings.  Who brings along siblings to a party for the other sibling?  If the sibling invited is say 5 and the sister/brother is 18 months, this may be okay, but once kids are older, is it okay? What is the magical age you ask?  Well, it depends on the circumstances too and also, the relationship of the family.  I went to a party where someone was paying $15.00 per kid to build a bear and people brought siblings.  It is one thing if you are family friends but if you are a classmate, and you bring a sibling, you really should just pay the cashier or the party host automatically without being asked.  If they choose not to accept, that is one thing but that is a lot of money to spend on your kid plus their siblings.  In one party we had for my kiddo several years ago, someone we did not know brought a neighbor’s kid so his son would have a friend to swim with.  Here is the kicker- I never invited the son.  He was the brother and his 2 year old sister was the only one invited.  I ended up paying for 3 kids and an adult rather than 1 kid and 1 parent.  It is one thing if they are family friends but you can rest assured that as a classmate, you will NOT be invited back – ever!   We are trying to implement the same for our kids- one kid goes to the party and the other does not unless we are family friends, special buds etc.   Here is an important rule: Please tell people in advance when you plan to bring a sibling.  If one parent is out of town and there is no child care, it is more understandable or if it is a play date at a park or fun place w/ no admission fee.  But, to expect someone to shell out $15.00 + for a sibling or a neighbor’s kid is wrong.  Ask the person if it is okay in advance – but don’t just show up with extra kids.  It is shocking.

(6) What is the etiquette of food at a party?  Do you just feed the kids and not the parents? I think it is really important to feed everyone who is there.  If you order 1 pizza to feed 5 kids and expect to have leftovers, you won’t.  The worst party I went to ran out of food for kids, let’s not even talk about parents.  Parents just stood around drinking bottles of water and going out to dinner afterwards.  If you hold a party at lunch time or dinner time, do the right thing- feed your guests.  If you do it at snack time, have snacks for all.  I felt like it was more work to have snacks than just ordering a bunch of pizzas.  Lesson learned – take the easy way out when you can.  Bottom line: If you do it, do it right or don’t do it at all!

And while we are on food people, let me tell you my observations of all the parties were there was food present.  Order ONLY cheese pizzas for kids- one out of 10 kid eats pepperoni.  The veggie pizzas went first.  As a vegetarian, I get offended when you order just meat and all that is left is meat.  Order cheese pizzas.  Why is it that at all the parties I attend, all that is left over at the end is meat/meatballs/meat trays?  People are more health-conscious and they eat better.  That means they tend to gravitate towards non-meat items.  Order accordingly .

(7) RSVP – this french abbreviation is the bane of my existence in addition to the damn goody bags because no one seems to honor the RSVP date.  As a result, the mom who invites people has to exhibit the utmost grace and dignity when someone RSVPs an hour before the party.  Have extra crap bags handy (goody bags)- it is not the child’s fault after all.  Be ready for 2 to drop, and 4 to add.  If you are mentally prepared, you will not lose your mind and be tempted to write back a nasty response or say something nasty on the phone.  Someone once told me- “grace” – “breathe…grace…breathe again.”  It has worked. It is rude, and nasty and disrespectful what people do, but what you do with that is even more important because how you choose to handle it defines you.  You have to live with yourself.   If you are reading this and you are the mom who always consistently fails to RSVP on time or you RSVP yes and then don’t show up, please use this opportunity to perhaps self-reflect.  Your actions do affect others.  It is never too late to do the right thing.  Your actions will not be forgotten but everyone understands you are human.

Birthdays come, birthdays go – if your kiddo kisses you at the end of the day and says, “mommy I loved it… thank you,” all the madness seems worth it.

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Get Clued In’s Year in Review- 2012

Well, 2012 has certainly been a roller coaster for our family. It was a good blogging year but I honestly have had a rough 2012 and am looking forward to 2013, hoping some of that bad karma from 2012 is gone for good! Wishing you a very happy 2013 as well, and thanks for following along.

This year’s review of Get Clued In is not as diverse or uplifting as the 2011 Top 10 and Year in Review and honestly, is a more mixed bag. Just like the personal roller coaster year our family had, so are the posts.

Here goes:

10. Best Exotic Marigold Hotel – a gem of a movie (now on DVD) – as far as movies and movie reviews for the year, this one has special place in my heart. I loved, loved (did I mention LOVED) this movie. It’s a must see for 2012 or any year and remember as Sonny said in the movie, “everything will be all right in the end… if it’s not all right then it’s not yet the end.”

9. They really CAN see you- dangers of Group MMS messaging texts– Wow! Did I learn a lot this year about the dangers of group MMS messaging. I learned how to change the settings which can prevent a lot of heart ache later. Also, this one post did get a lot of traffic this year so I am glad the word is getting out. Get smarter than your “smart” phone. Note: Ironically, as I wrote this Year in Review, someone decided to send me a Group MMS and now I am getting texts from people I do not know. I guess keep passing the message on please.

8. Disneyworld on a Dime? Ahhh, Forget about it!– How could I not share a fabulous trip to Disneyworld we had and the opportunities to share tips. Sure, you can’t do Disney on a Dime but you can do it with some tips. It was a fun trip to Florida for my brother’s wedding and Disneyworld BUT we did manage to bring home the plague– not even kidding. So perhaps you can read the plague post after you read about all the fun we had at Disneyworld.

7. Our School-Moon Trip: get Clued In Heads West to California– Before our daughter started Kindergarten, we took a family trip to California- we had a blast! We saw the Bay Area, San Francisco, and San Jose, and got to hang out on the Beach at Monterey Bay/Carmel. We saw family and friends, and really enjoyed San Francisco.

6. New York, New York! We took a trip for Thanksgiving week to New York. The excuse was a wedding for a relative, but we capitalized and saw New York City, and enjoyed some amazing pizza, pretzels, and felafel. I think I gained 5 lbs on this trip from the wedding food, and all the other libations. Wow! Great trip with the kids and we saw a lot of both sides of our families. Great reunion, and a great time!

5. In an Instant– As I said earlier, this year marked the first time for us, on my side of the family that there were some health issues for both my mom and dad. Postings 4 and 2 below relate to all of this too. It was truly eye opening for all of us on many fronts. First, on the health care front in America – truly scary how bad it could have been without good health insurance but second, and more importantly, it made my brother and I realize that life is fragile. We all realized that the time we have on this earth is limited with friends, family, and loved ones so make it all count.

4. With Mom on Mother’s Day– This year, because of the health issues of my dad and then even my mom, was a bit unusual and instead of spending mother’s day with my kiddos, I got to spend it with my mom. I was there to help after my dad’s heart attack but getting that opportunity to spend time with her was just unique and there is nothing like being with mom.

3. Milestones & Memories- First Day of Kindergarten– This one is near and dear to my heart because all milestones are. Our eldest started Kindergarten. What a journey she has ahead and I guess us too!

2. Because of the Sacrifices they made – As you know this was a rocky year for our family, specifically my parents both had health issues and I thought this post was heartfelt and even reading it now, gives me goose pimples as the tears roll down my cheeks. My favorite quote from the movie The Odd Life of Timothy Green holds true as I think about the time we all have with each other on this planet especially our kids and parents: “there are two people in the world who want you more than anything. They will do their best, they’ll make mistakes, and you only get them for a short time, but they will love you more than you can ever imagine.”

AND FINALLY…. (drumroll please)

1. Decision 2012: Why Social Issues Matter – What would 2012 be without a political post or two. So, of course, I’d be remiss to not talk about how President Obama won this election despite all that is going on with the economy. It was a rough campaign and very ugly, and some of the posts I wrote before define it all but in the end, social issues do matter. Here are some other posts on the heated and historical election year: Why do you Vote? and my post after seeing President Obama for the first time ever: Politics 101

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Smelly Car, Smelly Car, What did they Spill in you?

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Remember Seinfeld?  To be precise, it is Seinfeld Season 4, Episode 21 [Reference: Wikipedia.com].    See the Seinfeld mini-episode here about the “smelly car” here and then keep that in mind as you read the rest of this because most days, I feel like my life is one long, crazy and funny Seinfeld episode.  This is just one example.  And if you did not get my title because you were born after the show, Friends was off the air, here is the smelly cat video from that show too – come on now, it’s an oldie but definitely a goodie.  If you got it, whew!

Two days after I returned from a trip to Colorado Springs where I was for the weekend, a horrid, a nasty smell cropped up in my car.  I can’t even describe it because it was so bad and every time I got out of the car, went to the office, went anywhere, I felt like the smell was an entity and had attached itself to me and others.  I could smell it everywhere even if it wasn’t really there.  I tried everything short of re-detailing the car.  I paid to get it professionally cleaned, spot steam cleaned the area where I thought it was coming from, used a cleaning/scrubbing agent in the car, put Lysol (c) everywhere, and I even paid for a new car smell which smelled so good but then the car smelled like new car plus nasty stink.  Finally, I had had enough.  Short of abandoning the car, I was thinking of everything else I could do.

Sprinkle some baking soda under the floor mat, then cover the mess up with the floor mat. Oh and it does vacuum right up too!

But then, someone in my office who is a genius asked if we had tried baking soda yet.  I responded, “yeah like that’s gonna work when I have tried all this other stuff but hey what the heck, I will try it out.”  She also suggested putting a small amount under the floor mat of the area I believed the stank was originating from.  I initially just cracked open a box of generic baking soda, and left it in the car.  The smell started to dissipate but I could still smell it – for example, we went on a trip for 5 days and the car was parked in an outdoor lot.  When we returned, I could still smell it but it was super faint now and dissipating.  Nonetheless, 5 days in an open, uncovered lot is a lot for a stank-prone car to be sitting so, I decided to go ahead and now sprinkle the baking soda in the area where I believe the smell emanated the strongest and since then … Stank be gone!  Whew… thank you, 58 cent box of baking soda, for saving my relationship with my beautiful car that I love and have gotten attached to.  A fifty-eight cents box of baking soda!

Anyway, this is my daily life- a story about nothing and while my car has had a happier ending (for now), I have to say I did consider Jerry’s option of just losing the car. A bad smell can do that to a person’s brain. Life Lesson:  practical solutions that cost the least are often the best ones.

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Brent Worth Photography – Making your Photos Special *GREAT DEAL*

We had no idea what we were getting into – but what we got was something truly awesome!  A friend of mine who owns her own business, BRENT WORTH PHOTOGRAPHYtook fall photos of us right near our house and I was very impressed with the result.

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She actually took more than just one cute photo of my girls and if you have kids, you know how hard it is to get even one photo where we all look good, at the camera, all clothing on, no underwear showing, etc.  All kidding aside, it was nice that someone came to us, a setting near our home, and we could do quick costume changes or go to a nearby park for more candid shots. She only charged us for the CD and the sitting fee which lasted almost 2 hours! Her information is listed on her card and her website has her contact info too.  and you can see some of the amazing shots she took so why not take those New Year pictures or how about Valentine’s Day.

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Brent is offering a mini session for V-Day on Sunday the 22nd of January & pricing is $35 for up to 2 kids and $5 for additional kids.   Call and schedule a time with her RIGHT NOW- it starts at 9:30 am and runs through the day.  While this is not a full blown one-hour or two-hour session, it is a quick and easy way to do cute pictures for Valentine’s Day or a birthday or anything you want to (insert special reason here).  The $35 includes a 15- minute session and each session includes 1 8×10, 3 5×7, and 1 sheet of wallets.*  Plus, with your package, when your photos arrive, she will also include a special gift with each one!  This is a great deal so act now and call her.  The venue is amazing too –Cheesman Park which has beautiful columns and fountains.   *Additional photos may be purchased.

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I have to say I am very impressed with her photography and she can even take multiple photos, enhance them, create collages, and do different tones (Sepia, B/W etc).   She can provide you with a price list if you are interested in other options but for us, the CD and the flat session fee were perfect so we can now go print what we want … of course, I am lazy and it takes me forever to print out hard copy pictures so it may help to talk with her about any other packages she could offer you to help make life easier for you too – as working parents,  my husband and I need things to be simpler.  Another thing about Brent, your kids will listen to her- she really has a way with children so if your children do not cooperate, I guarantee they will with her.  Trust me, I know!

Give Brent’s Photography a try – 22nd January is not too far away so book your session with her now and when you book it, ask Brent what colors she thinks work best in the Park – she has great advice!  Mention  me — Get Clued In– when you book and she will make sure to give you a great deal!

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