Michael Jackson and Celebrity

If you didn’t know already, yes, Michael Jackson has passed away at the age of 50.

Honestly, I don’t give him much thought in my day-to-day. I don’t listen to his music on a regular basis. The last time I enjoyed MJ, it was at Frank’s cousin’s house. We listened to his greatest hits as we drank wine and ate finger foods. It was fun. Nostalgic with a dash of creepiness thrown in, since Michael was such an oddity. Because of the “kid” accusations, the skin color changes, the plastic surgery…

When I heard the news of his death, I was sad, though. For the same reasons. Nostalgia, no doubt, peppered with a bit of compassion for the later years of his life. It definitely wasn’t what anyone would call normal. And back before exploiting your kids and family on reality TV became all the rage people kinda thought that MJ went a bit koo-koo because he reached high celebrity at such a young age.

Let that sink in, people. Especially those that have cameras follow them and their children around, branding their faces into the world’s brains.

Speculation on Michael’s family and their contribution to his quirkiness was evident. But come on. Kids and early celebrity/icon generally don’t mix well. Most of us can conjure up examples in our head of child-celebrity gone wrong and parents pimping their kids out while they enjoy the riches.

It is a sad trainwreck. As a culture we put people on pedestals for the wrong reasons, treating a celebrity as god because of how they make us feel or how they distract us, or how we envy them. It no longer requires talent to reach a state of godliness in this country. Celebrity, once somewhat reserved for the exceptional (athlete, musician, actor), is now handed out to those born into circumstance (money or otherwise). It is not enough to simply watch their movie, or listen to their music; we want to know where they buy their coffee, what’s their favorite spot on the couch, refrigerator contents and how the inside of their bathroom looks, including the closet.

Endless, the amount of media generated from the “entertainment” business. From magazines, to television shows, blogs… let’s face it, the celebrity in this country are like drugs — if they were eradicated, how many people would be out of a job? What would we do if we could not peer into the lives of others, dissecting it on a daily basis?

Homemaker or Working Woman?

Today’s lunch is brought to you by Marie Callender’s Chicken Pot Pie.

Though I’m not big into pre-packaged or frozen meals, in the past few years I’ve broken down and have added more of them to my shopping cart. The summer days, with the four boys home, always leads to a significant increase in our grocery spending and food consumption. I know that I often break down and will do take-out because I am short on time. But it isn’t like take-out is any more “healthy organic” than frozen.

I wish I had the time and discipline to be a better homemaker, meal-planning, gardening, cooking, cleaning. But with me working, now (out of the home and at home), my time for those things has lessened. And frankly, I didn’t feel I was doing all that well as a homemaker before I started working outside the home (which is why I figured I might as well get a job since I was wasting my time on my butt at home).

I wish I weren’t so confused.

Weekend Wrap-Up

I found my camera. We left it in the pocket of our red camping chair, which we were using when we were at the host’s house of the soccer party last weekend. Thank goodness. As poopy as my camera is, I love it. Though the house is rather far out and not on the way of any of our normal errands, Frank ran out to pick it up so that we could take pictures at the wedding, baptism and graduation party we were attending this weekend. SO glad we did.

Friday is a blur — Saturday we had an out-of-town wedding to attend, about 1.5 hours away, an old friend of Frank’s. Frank was one of the groomsmen, so I got to see him all dressed up in a tuxedo. I liked that. We didn’t get home until late Saturday night, but managed to have enough downtime to watch a movie before bed. Sunday was the baptism of Frank’s cousin’s first child. Frank was the godparent. After the service the group went to a nice Father’s Day buffet. It was a real treat to have all the cousins and family together. After the baptism, we stopped at one of Sophia’s friend’s graduation party.

Many pictures were taken, but here is one of my favorite:

Sal, tangled up with popping streamers from the wedding.

How was YOUR weekend?

Weekend Wrap-Up

Weekend Wrap-up

The first and foremost remnant of my weekend escapades: my camera is nowhere to be found.

We’ve traced back to the last spotting of the camera, which was at my brother’s stepdaughter’s wedding Friday night. I took oodles of pictures, left to change for the reception, came back and somewhere in between misplaced my camera. It has my phone number scratched into the side, so it would be easy enough to return, if the finder was so inclined. And if they weren’t so inclined — easy enough to keep as well.

Very BIG bummer. We don’t quite have the funds at this moment for a new camera. There’s no “good” time to lose a camera, obviously. With weddings, baseball games, summer fun, and of coarse, new cast changes, I will have to find an alternative (my phone camera will suffice, but it is a sad choice for a replacement).

So… yeah, Nikon? If you’re looking for someone to review your Nikon D60 Camera? I’ll be your Huckleberry.

Friday was the wedding, which was very nice. The kids stayed home, since the wedding was geared more towards adults. The ceremony was simple and quick. Like, not even 5 minutes quick. Between the wedding and the reception, Frank and I went home to change (as reported earlier). We stopped off for a bite to eat at Red Robin (split a Whiskey River Burger and some onion rings), since my brother said they’d be serving finger foods, but not a whole meal and advised us to eat. Don’t have to tell us twice!!

We stayed at the reception for a few hours and came home, picking the kids up some dollar burgers at McDonalds.

Dante’s team had their last soccer game on Saturday (over by Milwaukee), and Sal had his last soccer game (here in Madison) at the same time. Both won their games. Carlito had his final soccer game later in the day. I believe they won, too. Lootie played goalie for half and then on the field for half, just as Sal did during his game. Both Sal and Lootie’s teams were splitting up after this season. Dante’s a central “attacking” midfielder, in case you’re burning in the head to know this fact. At his age, the’re a little more technical in where they play and what they are called.

We went to Dante’s team’s soccer party that night, which was a blast. Great group of parents, and nice team of boys. The hosting parents have a house complete with a pool and a humongous backyard. We ate walking tacos and I got in on a parent -vs- kids game of dodge ball, which involved much smack-talking and stretching of the rules to ensure us parents had a fighting chance at winning (and yes, we lost). The team gave me a gift certificate to Maharaja Restaurant (Frank’s pick — parent called him on the sly to ask where I would like to go) as thanks for being the team manager. Super duper sweet of them, and totally unexpected.

Sunday was mostly a rest day, church in the evening. After church I made some chorizo tacos and we had a fire outside with some neighbor friends. Nice, relaxing night where the kids played and us parents sat out, sipping margaritas, wrapped up in enjoyable conversation. A period of time was spent mimicking the Lovahs, which is essential to lively conversation, if you ask me.

Another busy but very enjoyable weekend.
How was YOUR weekend? Link it or leave it.

Painting The Kitchen Cabinets

For years I’ve been wanting to paint the kitchen cabinets. My mother warned me about it, saying it was too big of a job (for me, or just in general… not sure). Too much work, and that she likes the our “beautiful wooden cabinets.”

Well I don’t. I also don’t like the hideous worn-down paprika colored countertop. But that’s a whole ‘nother issue. That will be tackled in the near future.

I’ve been working up the nerve (aka “energy”) to just get started on the project. Either I’m compulsive and start something without thinking OR I over-think it and never start.

As summer break neared, my desire to make a dent in the project grew greater, and before I knew it I had a paintbrush in hand. With a well-timed stumble onto this page: How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets: For Imperfectionist, I was on my way. It was the gentle nudge, this compulsive imperfectionist needed to jump into things. I knew my painting would not be perfect, and that my kitchen is nothing beyond being a simple-as-they-come canvas. But I desperately needs a change, and paint is one of the simplest, cheapest ways to change the look of a room.

I started priming; 2 coats. Frank came home after I was well into the priming and had no desire to paint the kitchen (or do anything aesthetically to the house at all — <em>ever</em>), but he did pitch in and start on the upper cabinets, as well as finish up some of the lower ones that I abandoned by evening.

We are now closer to <em>finishing</em> the priming than starting it, and I need to firm up on my color choice. I know for sure the upper cabinets (or “cabs” as the trend is to call them) will be white. I am a liker of white in the kitchen. But I’ve been contemplating some color on the bottom. Right now I’m tending to favor an olive green for the bottoms, with darker handles). Our walls are a darker shade of eggshell, and the floor is a mock-marble(ish) linoleum.

Decisions, decisions.

Breakfast With Daughter

Sophia (who will be 18 next month) called me the other day and asked if I’d like to come over and have breakfast with her. She’s staying with my parents right now (with the hopes of acquiring a JOB and moving into her own apartment), gaining her “independence” and sparing her brothers some of her teenage angst. The first week was… questionable. She spent most of her time there avoiding all responsibility and hanging out with friends. This second week, though, has gone better. She’s applied for some jobs, went to youth group, and is working on being more responsible. Baby steps.Very tiny, wobbly, and sometimes messy baby steps.

It was a nice shift to have her be making me breakfast. I thought for sure there was some catch. Come for breakfast… andtakemeshopping or Come for breakfast… and borrow me some money or Come for breakfast… and — wait, money, shopping… what else is there?

No catch though, and I checked myself for assuming there would be. Skeptical mom. She simply wanted to make me breakfast.

I’m generally a picky breakfast eater. I don’t like too many carbs (at least not “bad” white ones), and if I do allow myself a treat (generally waffles), I bang up on the protien and fiber.

White bread, Honeybun, eggs with bacon and cheese, yogurt with blueberries and strawberries and coffee.

I was hesitant to even touch the “white death” bread or honeybun because of my carb/breakfast issue. Do it for the kids, I told myself. Do it for Johnny!!

And I did. And… it was good. Not the honeybun, gosh those things are like eating sugar-speckled chemically processed carpet fibers in the shape of a doughnut. But the eggs? Yummy. Toast — everyone can benefit from some nutritionally-void buttered white bread now and then. Coffee, good (surely made by my mother or father before they left), but whatever.

Conversation was nice, the food was good. Finally. Finally a respite between the head-butting that has become so common over the past few years. Just as it was years ago, watching her take baby steps, make friends at the park or accomplish other rights-of-passage as a baby/toddler/pre-teen, it is also satisfying and gratifying to see her making those same steps into adulthood.

Now if I could just get a picture of her that doesn’t look like it fell off of Myspace.

Weekend Wrap-up

Weekend Wrap-up

Busy weekend at the Groovy-Mom household. Friday night was a social night, hanging out with friends. Saturday Sal had a soccer game. They won; don’t remember the score. Sal, the self-proclaimed World Class Goalie, played in goal for the first half, and then on the field the second. The team ran over to Franny before the start, at half-time and after the game to rub his head for good luck. It was very cute. (Franny tells me I need to get a new word because I say everything is cute. Cutecutecute!!! — Happy now?)

Carlito had a game to referee at the same time as Sal’s, but my dad took him to it since Frank was working and I can’t be in two places at the same time. Dante had a game later that day, too. They won 8-0. Dante plays on a team with a crew of very talented players that are a lot of fun to watch. Some games are very intense, but the Saturday’s was not (see the score), so the boys had some fun. At one point Dante, a mid-fielder, went for the ball over-zelously (not needing to) and he slid out of bounds, into the spectator section. His friend called from the other side of the field, “Dante, don’t you hurt my mom!!”

Saturday night we ordered pizza and watched the Fifa Qualifier between USA and Honduras. Go USA.

Sunday we went to Dante’s game, another 7-0 win. After the game we hit McDonalds, just me and the boys. I had a $20 limit, so we ordered cheap and split fries. Carlito treated us to brownie melts for dessert with some of his referee earnings. Dante and Franny split a brownie, and Sal and I split one. Carlito took a bite of ours, but didn’t buy one for himself. They were pretty well behaved, save for Dante distracting Carlito so that he could quickly fly in and pull his shorts down. He pantsed Lootie coming in, and he got him at the door before we left. Franny exploded in giggles both times.

We met Frank at home and decided to take advantage of a beautiful day by heading to the park for a while. Dante was reluctant, concerned that he’d miss the Uriah Faber/Mike Brown UFC fight. Boys. Frank assured him we would not. Frank brought his poles along and the boys brought a soccer ball. Can’t leave home without a soccer ball. Things have changed a bit, with Franny’s injury. He was the one who would usually instigate a game or activity, since he was always a bundle of energy. I’m thankful for his recovery, even though it is slow, but sometimes am caught off guard and get a bit choked up.

Sal, making some casts. OK, tecnically Frank did the casting, the boys reeled in.


On our walk over to the park, we encountered some geese. As we approached I heard what sounded like a cat hissing. It took me a bit before I realized the hissing noise was coming from the goose in our path. What the..? I’ve never encountered a hissing goose before. My eyes and brain needed to make a visual connection to believe it. Mouth open, heeee-heeeesss — yup, it’s the crazy goose!! Freaked me out. As I attempted to snap a picture of the hissing goose, a mother and her children hurredly passed by. “Watch out, kids, they are MEAN. They’ll nip you.” Killer geese.

They boys started messing around with the soccer ball and Franny stood off in the distance, leaning on his crutches watching. I thought we could go to the park nearby to keep his mind off of the things he couldn’t do (like soccer). “Franny, wanna go try the swing?” We made the journey over and sat on the bench for a while, resting his leg and waiting our turn. Franny removed his shoes, and watched as a father pushed his daughter on the tire swing. When they left, we hurried over.

I pushed him cautiously at first, fearful that his cast would hit the ground or that the tire itself would fly off with him riding right on it. Crazy, I know. But as much as Franny is still recovering from being hit (crossing roads are cheap therapy right now), I’m recovering from the blow as well. I am an anxious, freakazoid worrier by nature — the broken leg isn’t helping. I checked my visions of disaster and focused on the cheek-cracking grin splayed across his face.

After the festival of swinging, we parked it at a table and watched the big boys spout testosterone. Franny took the camera and tried to get a shot of me “not noticing” him with the camera. I was forced to feign ignorance of the camera in his hands. My… look at that pretty grass… is that a camera?

Yeah, me and my sexy Fitovers. They aren’t the most attractive sunglasses, but they are convenient and they do the job.

Time to make the trek back. Sal cools off at the water fountain.


My menfolk.

(Don’t ask me why Lootie is saluting.)

On the way home, Frank just had to make a couple casts. No, he’s not drunk. Looks are decieving.


We made it home in time to make chicken tacos and watch hours of cage fighting. I need to get another girl in this house.

(What did YOU do this weekend? Leave me a link!!)