Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Peteyville 2012

The other night I took my kids to Peteyville. What's that, you ask? Don't worry, I didn't know either: despite growing up one town over, this year was the first time I ever heard of it.

A Christmas staple for the past 25 years, it's that house (houses, really) that EVERYONE drives out to see... the house that Clark Griswold could only DREAM of having. Homemade holiday machines, lights, and inflatables span across five lawns; they even have their own theme song! (Tune in to 88.5fm while you're by the house to hear it, along with a brief history of Peteyville.)

My brother got wind of it this year, and he dragged my parents along; my mother insisted I had to take my kids. We were out and about the other night and the weather was good (from their facebook page, they can't put the display up during high winds; otherwise it's on from 5-10pm every night) so we headed over.

The kids were completely amazed. We were all enchanted, and I was given yet more proof that the more we age, the sappier we get; these goddamn Christmas lights and displays made me tear up. I CHOKED UP at someone's holiday display. I almost couldn't finish reading one of the signs to my daughter. It was pretty ridiculous.

Yeah this one. It's not even that sappy but just the thought that a family has been spreading joy like this for 25 years... Niagara Falls, Frankie Angel!

Peteyville is located at 3033 Crane Place in Hammond, Indiana. If you're in the area, you really must go. Get out of your car and walk around; the displays continue up the sides of each house. Take some pictures. Tune in to the radio station and listen to the story and song of Peteyville. Give yourself permission to revel in the holiday spirit just a little. Pictures just don't do this place justice.

Make it a scavenger hunt! See if you can spot:

*three Santas stuck in chimneys
*six teddy bears
*the leg lamp
*the Peteyville sign
*Scooby Doo
*Mickey Mouse
*a 'failed' light installation
*two penguins
*three snowmen

Stop back here after you visit and let me know what your favorite display was! Personally I was pretty damn impressed with the 20 foot inflatables; I've never seen holiday inflatables that size!

A Peteyville Panoramic

Thursday, August 9, 2012

I Feel So Broke Up, I Wanna Go Home

Anxiety and pain have me in vice grips tonight, so much so that I can't sleep. I am on vacation in a cabin in North Carolina, lying in a bedroom with my sleeping family, while my husband's family sleeps on in various rooms around us, with arms aching from poorly thought-out water sports (not THAT kind) and a stomach aching from accidental gluten ingestion (I think, anyway). I miss my house and my anxiety over a number of hurdles I need to face the next four days is sky high, and I don't know how to turn it off. The catch-22 of 'you need to sleep so you can function in the morning AND pack so you can get on the road AND not be a cranky bitch in front of your husband's family' clashing with the anxiety keeping me awake just generates more anxiety and I think I might throw up (the stomach pain doesn't help). I can't sleep during the day tomorrow because we are taking several small trips and meeting various people and right now I just kind of need a day off and there is no such thing. I can't even figure out how to pack because apparently I did it ALL WRONG on the way down here and used too many bags and we don't have enough room, but I don't even know HOW to repackage in such a way that will allow all four of us access to all the clothes and items we will need while traveling by car the next four days. I guess we could all wear the same damn outfit for the next four days, hygiene be damned! Fuck this noise. Can I just get beamed home already??

I wish I knew a good way to quell an anxiety attack when it comes up. I'm not doing very well with it right now. I think I took on too much this trip and I am losing my ever loving mind. Just cancel the rest of this tour and let me go home. I don't want to tackle any more.

I pecked out this whole post on my iPhone. I guess that's sort of like an accomplishment?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Update on Dad

Dad, Oksana, Drake, and OJ at Raven's Grin Inn - September 2010. Mom, Matt, and Amy in the background.

Dad's back in the hospital. He went back in yesterday. He was running a fever - 101.9 at home - so Mom took him to the ER around 1pm yesterday. They did some tests on him and decided to admit him. He has a urinary tract infection and it's causing him some pain in his nether regions (is it in bad taste to discuss your dad's balls on the internet? I guess the answer would be 'only if you think he would care', which mine pretty much wouldn't). I guess there's a possibility of some tubes in there or sometimes even the testicle itself twisting after surgery... not even sure what they need to do to fix that, go in again? ... but from the ultrasound it LOOKS like it's just inflammation from the UTI so here's hoping. They're keeping him again tonight but he can probably go home tomorrow. I'm not too worried as it sounds like it's a fairly common issue after this surgery and they seem to have it under control. Still, feel free to send healing thoughts and prayers Dad's way. I'm hoping now that they've moved him to a regular wing that the kids and I can visit him tomorrow (the rule where he was before is 'no kids under 14'). I'll find out tomorrow!

Dad's stomach last night in the ER. The white things are steri-strips over the incisions. The red areas are the spots where they pulled the tape off after surgery. Mom is convinced those are infected but the rest of us keep telling her they're just irritated and it looks bad but it will heal. The hospital staff don't seem concerned about them so hopefully we're right!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

31 Uses For Thirty-One Gift's Cinch-It-Up Thermal Tote

Every month Thirty-One Gifts runs great special for our customers. This July we have a variety of items available for only $5 with each $31 you spend! I'm going to share ideas for each item, starting with the adorable Cinch-It-Up Thermal Tote.

The first thing you should know is that our thermal totes are amazing. I use them on a regular basis and they really work! I've even had them sit outside in the hot sun on a 90 degree day for 8-9 hours, and the food inside was still cold (sometimes even still frozen, if I stuck, say, a frozen water bottle in it) at the end of the day. THANK YOU FOR MAKING OUR CUB SCOUT CAMP LUNCHES AMAZING, THIRTY-ONE!

The second thing you should know is that this is a fantastic deal. It's a $19 savings! Holy cow! Grab it up! And you can get one with every $31 you spend, so if you've got your eye on some other items in the catalog, go for it.

The third thing, of course, is that they're ridiculously adorable. Just look at those prints! They look even better in person. Here, here's a little video preview of them:

Still on the fence? Here's 31 things you can do with the Cinch-It-Up Thermal Tote:

  1. School lunches
  2. Work lunches
  3. Take home leftovers from parties
  4. Snacks on-the-go for outings with little ones
  5. Beach outings
  6. Picnics
  7. BBQ's
  8. Fill it with ice and a few mini bottles of wine for a romantic date (even if it's in your backyard!)
  9. Mini diaper bag
  10. Emergency car kit (snacks and water)
  11. Have food allergies or a restrictive diet? Separate your lunch from the rest of the family!
  12. Snacks for kids sports games
  13. Taking bottles to day care
  14. Nursing mothers who pump at work
  15. Keep medicines cool while traveling
  16. Carry protein shakes to the gym
  17. Shopping at your local farmer's market
  18. Trips to the park
  19. Tailgating
  20. Cosmetic bag
  21. First aid kit
  22. Grocery shopping
  23. Pool bag for wet swimsuit
  24. Kids traveling activity bag
  25. And don't forget gifts! Teacher gift (back to school is almost here!)
  26. New parent gift
  27. Trick or treat bag
  28. Thank you for coaches
  29. Holiday gift bag
  30. Soup or a gift for a sick friend
  31. Just because!
Here's a peek at our other $5 items on special this month:

All items must be purchased by July 31st to be eligible for the special. E-mail me or call me (773-860-1108) to place your order! 

A final note: through the end of the summer season (August 31st), personalization is only $5 (a $2 savings). The Cinch-It-Up Thermal Tote is not eligible for personalization, but many of our items are. Contact me with any questions or to place your order.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Excellent Band Names

Admit it, you've thought and / or said 'That would make an excellent band name' more than one time in your life. Usually when you've heard a somewhat ridiculous combination of words. I catch myself saying it all the time. Purely for my own amusement, I'm going to keep a running list of Most Excellent Band Names that occur in my life. Feel free to share yours too!

Wikipedia Names Your Band Meme

80's Shemale

Vagina Grinch

Boneless Beauties

Communal Vagina

Angry Uterus

Lard & the Sugar Cookies

This Post Won't Be Pretty

Today my father is having his prostate removed. He is, at this moment, in surgery. He has been in surgery for almost six hours now, at a hospital fifteen minutes from me. I am sitting at home.

I am sitting at home because I woke up at 3AM with horrible stomach pain. I have some reflux problems (and a hiatal hernia; just one of those wonderful many health issues I deal with) and went to sleep last night with those horrible sulfur belches. If you've not ever had the joy, it's... not something I'd wish on my worst enemy. It's like the rottenest of rotten eggs bellowing out of your gut, forcing you to both taste and smell the awfulness. For HOURS. Thankfully it doesn't happen often. So when I woke up at 3AM to a swollen, immensely painful stomach, I assumed it was gas pain. I'd been trying to choke those burps down after all; hoping the gas would make its way towards the other end instead. Presumably it had built up over night.

I sat up. I massaged my stomach. It was hard, distended and painful. Most of the gas felt trapped around my stomach, meaning I'd probably have to burp it out to relieve the pain... farting was of course preferable so I could avoid the awful taste, but at that point I was so uncomfortable I'd take what I could get. I maneuvered myself around on the bed for a few minutes, trying to work my way into the yoga pose that might best move the gas up and out,

I use 'fart pose' and I am not ashamed!
It wasn't working. I rolled onto my stomach and stuck my butt up in the air, hoping to encourage the gas to move up and out. And then... it happened.

No, I didn't fart. I wouldn't waste an entire blog post on a mere fart. I felt the gas rolling up my throat and prepared myself to belch the pressure away. Except when the gas reached my mouth, I suddenly found myself with a mouth full of last night's dinner. I mean FULL. I freaked and started trying to scramble out of the bed when I felt more coming up my throat. I did the only thing I could, which was lean over the end of the bed and heave my guts out. I blew chunks all over the carpet. Load after load. In between heaves I was frantically clawing at my husband's foot. Normally this much disturbance would have awakened him but it was my luck that he was passed out cold. Puke. Claw. Puke. I managed to voice a desperate plea. "Help!" Claw foot. Puke. "OJ! Help!" Puke. "Me!" He finally woke up and moved his ass out of the way so I could dash to the bathroom and blow MORE chunks in the toilet.

Chunks is my dog.
I've been miserable ever since. I can't shake the stomach pain. I can't keep anything down. I haven't even TRIED anything but some mint tea with a little honey and baking soda. Things are coming out of both ends now. You never really realize how much liquid and waste there is rolling around in your body until you start spewing it all over for hours.

It's a horrible feeling. I have no nausea, and no warning about when the puke is coming. I'm walking around carrying a bucket. It's like my stomach is slowly filling up, like a hose is leaking somewhere inside me. (Yes, it's as painful as it sounds.) Like one of those giant buckets at water parks that fills up and tips over every ten minutes or so. The discomfort grows and my stomach becomes more and more distended until suddenly, BLEH!

Like this, only with puke.
Needless to say, this is why I'm sitting at home instead of at the hospital with my mom and brother, waiting to hear news about my dad. Physically, being sick like this is bad enough. Emotionally in this situation, it's even worse. I wanted to be there with my family. I wanted to see my dad as soon as we were able. Logically I know that bringing in a bug and potentially infecting my dad after surgery or my mom and brother, who live with him and will be taking care of him, is a terrible idea, and I'm doing the smart and correct thing by staying home. Emotionally, I just wanted to be there.

Please say a prayer, think good thoughts, send healing vibes, whatever your preference, to my dad. They told us the surgery was at least four hours long. Sitting here at six hours and counting, I'm more than a little anxious.

Edited to add: Dad is out of surgery, awake (albeit very groggy and drugged), and the surgery went well. They ran into a few snags with some hernia scars but they got the entire prostate and preliminary reports seem to indicate the cancer hadn't spread. He'll be in the hospital until Wednesday.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Thirty-One Gifts

Did you know I'm a consultant with Thirty-One Gifts? I have been for almost a year now.

What is Thirty-One Gifts?

Thirty-One is a direct sales company offering a variety of products to help make your life easier. Whether you are looking for style, organization, the perfect giftable item - or a little bit of everything - we've got it. From totes or purses you can wear while you’re out and about, thermals to help you transport food and drinks to a party, or organizational items to help you keep your house neat and tidy, Thirty-One has a solution! All products are customizable - each item comes in a variety of prints (with prints changing two or three times a season) AND the majority of items we sell can be personalized with embroidery or laser etching.

The Retro Metro bag (print: Lotsa Dots). I actually USE this purse! (I've never been a 'purse' kind of girl so that's nothing short of a miracle.)
What is direct sales?

Direct sales companies include well known brands such as Avon, Tupperware, Pampered Chef, and more. Individuals sign up to become Independent Consultants with the company. Products are primarily sold through home parties, where you invite your friends over to shop from the comfort of your home, and you (the host or hostess) receive free and discounted items for hosting the show. Consultants run their own business, set their own hours, and determine their earning potential. It's a fun and rewarding business!

A few of our products that are perfect for bringing home groceries (one of their MANY uses). The Market Thermal Tote (upper left, print: Circle Spirals) and the Large Utility Tote (upper right, print: Pin Dots) are two products I use almost daily.

Why did you sign up with Thirty-One Gifts?

Honestly? I initially signed up to get a discount on the products. A friend threw a party in August 2011; I had never heard of Thirty-One Gifts, and my cursory glance at the catalog left me thinking it was one of those 'purse parties'. I'm not really a purse kind of girl so I was a bit reluctant about attending but I wanted to support my friend. Imagine my surprise when I showed up and learned that a) the majority of the products are NOT purses, b) I actually love most of the purses they DO have, and c) the products were cute, stylish, well made, and I was IN LOVE with them. It was only $100 to sign up as a consultant, I had people at the party telling me they'd host parties for me, and my wishlist would have cost me more than that anyway... so I signed up. I've been a very casual consultant over the past year, hosting a party maybe every other month - enough to keep me active and get my hands on my desired products. These are the bags I never knew I needed but suddenly can't live without. I take them EVERYWHERE and I love them.

Our new Making Memories Thermal (print: Mint Chip). Only available to hostesses! Both the front pocket and the large section are thermal, and it has an extendable handle and wheels. It folds down for easy storage when not in use. I just used mine last week at Cub Scout Camp - it kept our lunches and drinks cold ALL DAY outside in 90 degree heat. Amazing!

Moving forward, I'd like to share Thirty-One with more people and put more effort into the business side of things. I'll be sharing occasional monthly specials and favorite products in future posts.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments! If you live in my area (south suburbs of Chicago) and would like to host a party, let me know. If you would like to sign up for my newsletter, e-mail me here and I will add you to my mailing list.

I will soon have a personal Thirty-One Gifts website for online shopping and will share that here when I have it!

The Thirty-One Gifts story:

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Gather Up Your Tears; Keep 'Em In Your Pocket. Save Them For A Time When You're Really Going To Need Them.

Today was a hard day, for a number of reasons. Health troubles, business troubles, life troubles, anxiety... overall just a downer. I'm medicating with music. A friend suggested wine, but wine (in addition to wreaking havoc on my already unstable blood sugar) has been bringing me migraines lately, and I just got rid of a near-24-hour one, so I don't feel like tempting that fate again.

Sometimes when I'm down I'll listen to energizing music to cheer me up... and then sometimes, it's really comforting to listen to beautiful, melancholy songs. That may seem odd, that indulging in sadness would be healing, and yet it is. It hearkens back to one of my favorite articles, "Why Lying Broken In A Pile On Your Floor Is A Good Idea".

"All the places where you’ve shattered can now reflect light and colour where there was none. Now is the time to become something new, to choose a new whole."

So I'm indulging in my sadness tonight; in the parts of me that are broken right now, because it's time to become something new. It's scary and it's hard but if I don't do it the crocodiles are going to eat me, so I'm rending myself into little pieces, to be unlimited.

This song is beautiful; it just breaks my heart every time I hear it. The melancholy and, at the same time, the wisdom it portrays fill me with both sadness and hope. I have a dear friend who died young some ten years ago and of course I think of her every time I hear it. But then I think of everyone I've lost, and everyone dear to me who has lost loved ones; for it seems as if 'young' is really relative, and it always seems like our loved ones are snatched away too soon. Gone and yet I believe they are still with us, in one way or another.
'Lord make me a rainbow, I'll shine down on my mother'
'the sharp knife of a short life'
'I've had just enough time'
'I'm as green as the ring on my little cold finger'
'what I never did is done'
'funny when you're dead, how people start listening'


 Pink Floyd has some amazing songs, especially when it comes to melancholy. This is one of my favorites; it captures the melancholy perfectly but also ends with hope, with a heartfelt beseechingness to act, to keep going, to feel.
'No more turning away
From the weak and the weary
No more turning away
From the coldness inside'


 I'm not necessarily searching for a spiritual answer right now, but I frequently feel lost and alone these days. I feel myself reaching out for someone, anyone, to show me the way; to give me the strength and the courage to believe that I'll get there someday. One step at a time. One meal at a time; one workout at a time; one blood test at a time. One day, one hour, one minute at a time.


Yes I *am* a huge nerd, why do you ask? I like Enya and I LOVE Lord Of The Rings. The movies are pretty much perfect. And if you're looking for a melancholy story of epic struggle, you certainly don't need to look any further. As a matter of fact I'm tempted to go and watch them right now but that'll be like 16 hours and I'll NEVER sleep.
'believe and you will find your way'


I'm going to end with one of the most heart-rending songs out there... and I'm choosing to listen to Susan Boyle's audition version because while the song is beautifully depressing, this version at least ends with a lovely lady seeing her dream fulfilled. Godspeed Susan, and Godspeed to me as well. May all our dreams have significantly better outcomes than poor Fantine's.


Related Posts with Thumbnails