Monthly Archives: November 2010

Monkey Feet

Can you pick up a beer bottle with your toes? No? Well then you do not have monkey feet.

My son, on the other hand, was able to pick up that bottle with his lengthy digits with great ease. (no, he could not bring the bottle to his lips, that would make him double jointed).

Please do not underestimate this great talent. At the very least I am sure he is eligible for Letterman’s Stupid Human Tricks. Like all idiotic parents of our generation, we like to encourage what makes our children unique. You know, ‘we all have talents…blah, blah, blah’. I am surprised he was not trophied for this as a young boy.

It is amazing how long those toes are. His big toe actually looks like my thumb! It is uncanny.

Moral of the story: never dare an 18-year-old to do anything; chances are he will find a way to do it.


Filed under absurdities, body image, carry a camera, danny, family, humor, magnet for the absurd

Time to Cry Tuesday – Love Drop

It’s called micro-giving. A lot of people giving a little can make a big difference. Great concept. Easy to do. And it can change lives.

Nate St. Pierre from ItStartsWith.Us made a commitment to change the world. Yep, that’s right.




And change he has. He is committed to making a difference in the lives of people in need. His latest project is Love Drop. Check out the link. It is really simple to make a difference. The idea is ‘spend a dollar, change a life.’


He has even found a way to make this into a consulting gig for himself to help companies with their own initiatives.

He can tell you about it a lot better than I can. The first video is about Love Drop. The second tells you more about ItStartsWith.Us.

I could be in love.

(fyi, they are not a non-profit so the donations are not tax-deductible, but the concept is still quite unique)


Filed under charity, communities, Time to Cry Tuesdays

Doody Babies

I know, after the holiday weekend I am supposed to keep the warm and fuzzy alive and tell you all how special my holiday was. How wonderful it was to be with family and friends. How everyone sleeping in their own beds and having my kids home was absolutely the best. How perfect the table looked, how the Chambers oven earned itself another year of life by actually cooking the turkey in a reasonable amount of time (define reasonable).

But all I  really want to share with you is my son and two nephews and how after eating the holiday meal they felt it was important to pose in this photo with their…

doody babies.

My son has gone so far as to name his Chester (we do not know why). He would be on the right with that more than concerning stance of a true pregnant woman. Look at the way his hand is bracing his back. You would actually think he was pregnant!  All three of them look quite authentic. When I posted this on facebook someone commented on the patriotic touch of the red, white and blue. Um, yeh, well ok.

Just curious, does stuff like this go on at anyone else’s holiday dinners? And have any of you ever heard of doody babies before or is this just our family? (you should hear our table conversations)!



Filed under family, holidays, humor


Tonight’s word is ‘gelatinous’. In an attempt to get a head start on Thanksgiving I decided to make the cranberry sauce tonight. Happy to have Jana and her girls in the kitchen we set out to make the easiest of holiday recipes.


It would appear there was too much water. Or not enough sugar. Or just plain beat cranberries. But in no way did this cranberry sauce possess the (here it comes) gelatinous consistency that we expected.

We were, however, happy to be able to use the word gelatinous more often than humanly possible.

There were years when I used to burn an apple pie, then have to bake another. I suppose the cranberries were tagged as ‘it’ this year.



Filed under family, food, holidays, humor

Time to Cry Tuesday – If these walls could talk

Home. It’s more than just a house. Sometimes it is not even the ‘right’ house. Certainly not the dream house. But definitely home. With its drafty windows, ancient kitchen and not enough space… I still take comfort within these walls.

This is the place where the kids came home from the hospital and now come home from college. Where I walked the floors with them as teething, croupy, bronchitis babies and walked the floors again alone waiting to hear that garage door open when they started to drive.

And now this house – that has been so quiet these past months – is starting to come back alive with laundry and the smell of bacon. One kid home, first with a stomach virus and then a with her boyfriend. (21-year-olds get better quickly). And the other kid will be home before Tuesday comes to a close.

Not only have my children been gone, but their friends have been missed almost as much. I cannot wait for the door to open to those man-boys who love yodels and hug me till I almost fall over. Who initial the fruit and leave notes in the cup cakes and whose humor keeps me laughing all night long. I long for a foyer full of big sneakers and the shouting of video games in the basement. I can’t wait to have a late night kitchen full of  young women who want to bake and hear all the plans of the lives they will soon enter when they graduate. I am thrilled to line this house with air mattresses and make breakfast for the masses.

There is now life in rooms that since the summer laid silent. And if these walls could talk they would tell the tales of a family that has grown up here. The years seem to echo in these walls, and as I walk through them things catch my eye that make me smile. For instance, the photo above brings me back 20 years. That would be a drip of Baby Tylenol on the wall in my daughter’s room. We have painted it twice since then, but it would appear that Tylenol trumps Benjamin Moore and it keeps bleeding through. It is a reminder of the strong will she had as a baby that serves her so well as a young woman.

If these walls could talk they would tell you that maybe this family never got to upgrade their house, but they have certainly built themselves a warm, solid place filled with love that they can always call home.

To my beautiful kids: don’t believe what they say…. You can ALWAYS go home again.

Happy Thanksgiving all. May you and your families feel at home no matter where you may be. And may your turkey not be pink when you carve it.


Filed under college, danny, family, gary, Jana, Time to Cry Tuesdays

Expiration dates

Is it bad that I had a 5-pack of zinc oxide in my closet with an expiration date of 1997? Oh, how I wish i was making this up.

You see, here’s the thing; It’s not like I have not cleaned that closet out in the past 13 years, it would simply appear that I do more organizing than actual cleaning. You might wonder why I would have a 5-pack of zinc oxide back in mid-90s. Well, do the math. Young Danny had his butt in a diaper in the early 90s, so I would imagine it took quite a few years for that stuff to expire. And my neighbor was a pharmacist… hence the 5-pack.

Being the weekend before Thanksgiving I have been obsessively nesting. Since my nephew – the expiration date Nazi – will be visiting, I kept going on the hunt for expired items in the kitchen and garage pantries.

Here is a brief list of the worst items I have found with their expiration dates: walnuts/2006, canned pineapple/2003, pumpkin pie mix/2005, assorted pudding mixes/2007-2009… should I go on? I think you get the idea.

Maybe I should put a challenge out there. Anyone able to beat the zinc oxide from 1997?


Filed under absurdities, holidays

If I had eyes in the back of my head…

I would have told you that you looked good as you walked away. – Jack Johnson

Could good ole Jack have know about Wafaa Bilal, the NYU photography professor that is having a camera surgically implanted in the back of his head?  Yes, you read that correctly. Seems Mr. Bilal has been commissioned by the government of Qatar to partake in an art project called ‘The third I”. It is intended as “a comment on the inaccessibility of time, and the inability to capture memory and experience,” according to press materials from the museum. Um… ok.

The camera will take pictures at one-minute intervals and will stream to a computer database. It will appear in different sequences on monitors in an exhibit between December and May.

Anyone find this just a little too over the top. First of all, ouch! I mean how does one surgically implant a camera in the back of someone’s head? Apparently through a piercing device. Ouch, again. And really, what happens to this guy’s personal life? I can’t help but think that half the time there will be streaming video of his friggin’ pillow while he is sleeping. Then there are the hours that he is teaching when he promises to put a ‘lens cap’ over the camera. I am guessing that would cut into the hours too. What if he really boring and most of the images are of the wall in his apartment?

This guy is known for some wacky antics in the name of art. I suppose his thing is pushing the edge. I mean look at that expression in that picture… this guy has nut written all over him.

Hey, I am all for conceptual art. I love a good performance piece. I am a huge fan of streaming video. Hell, I watched the puppy cam for hours last year. But this one? The idea of the surgical implant is just a bit more than I am willing to accept.

Then again, what parent has not wished they had eyes in the back of their head? Who knows, we may see them recommended on cool mom picks next holiday season.


Filed under absurdities, art, carry a camera, home video, photography

Graff Diamond – Pretty Penny in Pink

Today marks a crazy day in the history of gemstones. At Sotheby’s Geneva a world auction record was set for any jewel when it sold an exceptionally rare Fancy Intense Pink diamond of the purest, vibrant hue, weighing 24.78 carats for $46,158,674.

That, my friends is one pretty penny in pink. The diamond was purchased by Laurence Graff. Shortly after the sale, he named the diamond “The Graff Pink” and made the following statement: “It is the most fabulous diamond I’ve seen in the history of my career and I’m delighted to have bought it.”

Delighted? C’mon Larry, could you not find a stronger word than delighted?

Being a woman who appreciates fine things and all, I can not help but think what the 46 mil could by in times like these. Please don’t get me wrong, if Mr. Graff wants to buy this diamond and it tickles him pink to do so, I say go for it. As a self made billionaire (yes, with a B – he is worth 2.5 billion) he surely has the gelt to make this purchase. And for those who will judge him, he seems to have the give back thing tied up pretty well.

A lover of diamonds he is equally in love with philanthropic and humanitarian causes. He supports Nelson Mandela’s Children’s Fund, ARK, Elton John’s AIDS Foundation, to name a few. He established FACET (For Africa’s Children Every Time), devoted to distributing funds for the education, health and welfare of children in Africa. The Graff Leadership Center directly benefits from these funds and is a training center, hostel and home to 50 orphan girls, victims of the AID and HIV epidemic.

Still, I can’t help but think that 46 mil could buy a hell of a lot for so many in need. Funny the way it is… one man buys a diamond for 46 mil while the same amount could buy 13 million gallons of milk for starving kids. Seems sort of crazy, no?

Just saying.




Filed under charity, current events, fortunes

Time To Cry Tuesday – Four for Twenty

It is a bittersweet fact that as your kids grow, the time you spend as a family shrinks. If you have done your job well, their lives are full. If you are lucky, yours are as well.

We are four people with very full lives. Not one of us is the type to be idle or feel lonely. We have a great extended family, many friends and rich lives. We work hard and play hard.

Blah. Blah. Blah. Ok, so that is all academic. And though it is true on some level, after 21 years of being a family unit, you crave that time when you can be together. And you learn to appreciate the moments for what they are… fleeting and precious.

This weekend we visited our kids at college. If you don’t follow this blog regularly, my kids are away at school together as a freshman and a senior.

They love it. I love it more.

Parent’s weekend = fly. drive. eat. reverse. repeat.

But for twenty precious minutes, just the four of us sat on the couch in my daughter’s apartment and were simply US.

In all caps.

Nothing special was said. (oh except when my son told us about his human sexuality class and said he now knows more about the vagina than he ever cared to know – now that is something you rarely hear from a 18-year-old boy) There were no real heavy parenting moments. We just WERE. (again in caps)

And to me, there is nothing better on this earth than a little time with just us four…

even if it was only for twenty.


Filed under college, danny, family, gary, Jana, relationships, Time to Cry Tuesdays

Hoosier Daddy? – Big 10 Football

Ah, Big 10 football and a rainy morning in Madison, Wisconsin. The late morning kick-off is no reason not to pre-game when you are in college. And for the young woman on the left, the mid-40 degree weather and drizzling chill was no reason to wear sleeves either.

This apartment was a half a block from Randall Stadium and there were no shortages of cheers from the crowd as they passed them by. You have to love the spirit of college football; and the complete joy they get from being fans.

This was the last home game my daughter, the senior, will attend as a student and marked the end of the first season for my son, the freshman. With a final score of  83 to 20 this home season went out with a bang. (this is not the official last home game which takes place Thanksgiving weekend, but it is the last one for my kids). UW set a school record and tied a Big Ten record for points scored and scored more points than any other FBS team this season.

I must apologize to you all for not getting the best shot of the day, which was the two guys walking down the street in the freezing cold rain in nothing but sneakers and badger g-strings.

I know, I am slipping up, sorry.



Filed under carry a camera, college, current events, danny, family, humor, Jana, sports, travel