Monday, December 29, 2008

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More Drink Tax Debate

Well, there's another court hearing regarding the drink tax today. You can read a snippet about it from the Post Gazette. In a nutshell, they (restaurant owners and a councilman - Charles McCullough) are trying to stop my most hated person, Dan Onorato, from using funds collected by the drink tax for anything other than the Port Authority. Did you know that the drink tax collected 16 million dollars more than what was needed for the Port Authority? Crazy. I'm hoping that this makes something else happen. And I wouldn't mind it if it made Dan Onorato cry a little.

After owning the restaurant for seven months now, I have realized that there really isn't money in this business. Don't get me wrong, we are able to pull a salary - enough to pay our bills and the extra mortgage on the house that we got so we could buy the bar. But what's crazy is the sheer amount of money that needs to go OUT. Our electric bill is about $2,000 a month. Gas is about the same. Payroll is crazy. Insurance? Holy crap. Liquor liability insurance is completely insane! Then there's our health insurance! We picked some crappy tier with UPMC, and Tony has a $2500 deductible per year. I've been reading a lot of restaurant-owner-related-crap, and for every $1 in sales, owners are lucky to see about a nickel. That seems about right. But I really don't think that other people realize that.

All in all, though, Tony LOVES having the restaurant. And his happiness is worth it. And we won't be living in a van down by the river any time soon. Tony is one of the hardest working people I know, and considering the economic times, the restaurant is doing really well.

How about that for a venting session? :::takes deep breath::: I feel better now :)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

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Becca's Picture view of Christmas Eve

Here are some un-edited pictures taken by Becca and her cousins last night. They are taken with the Kid Tough camera from Fisher Price. She absolutely LOVES the camera. Of course, the quality is not exactly stellar, but I think this camera is a great starter camera! She already dropped it down the basement stairs, and it held up great! The only complaint that I have about this camera is that it SMOKES through batteries. It takes 4 AAA batteries, and they lasted for about 130 pictures (which is about 1 hour, in our case). I think that I'll invest in some rechargeable ones.

Click to play Becca XMas
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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

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Premature Santa-lation

Here it is, 11:00 am on December 24th. Yeah, we've already done the whole Christmas morning thing. There's really quite a history behind it...

When I was small my father (who was a cop) almost always had to work on Christmas Day. Plus, my father is not exactly patient when it comes to gift giving. I'm the same way. Must be genetic. Anyway, Santa always came to our house overnight on the 23rd/24th, and we opened gifts the morning of Christmas Eve.

Fast forward to my grown up years. Yes, I'm already impatient. Tony and I are living together. I was tending bar at the airport, and I always had off Christmas Eve. And always worked Christmas Day (I usually didn't start until 4:00 - and I got FANTASTIC tips that day). Also, at this time the Downey family festivities usually lasted on Christmas Eve until 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning, and one (if not both) of us were experiencing a fuzzy Christmas buzz. So, the Christmas Eve morning tradition continued.

So, now we have kids. Up until this year, Tony always worked on Christmas Day. Just made sense to keep the tradition alive. This year I had to pause and think about it, though. Yes, Tony is working on Christmas Day, but not until 7:30 pm. Should we break the tradition? Should we follow the Christmas rules? I decided to keep our personal tradition alive, and here is the reasoning: Tony is SO not used to waking up any time before 11:00. If I had to wake him up at, let's say 6:00 am tomorrow morning, it would throw him off for the entire day. So, he came home from work around 3:30, we set up the presents and stockings, and sat around shooting the shit until 5:30. Out came the bells, the mad rush to try to find Santa, and a whirl wind of cute Christmas wrapping, Hershey Kisses and plastic play things. Tony even made breakfast. (Although he kept referring to the 24th as 'tomorrow' and I kept referring to the 24th as 'today.')

Becca is now old enough to figure out that she's getting her presents early. Easy cover up there. PapPap and Santa go way back. Best friends, in fact. There's a very elite group of people that Santa comes out early for. And we're included.

So, now I'm dead tired (I've been awake since about 2:00 am). And I just went through all the opening of the toys. With the wires. And the plastic restraints. I only swore about five times, and came through with one injured finger. I'll share more about the toys (and which ones suck) tomorrow. But for now I will leave you with a design I did for t-shirts and such a couple of years ago. (I think...or maybe it was last year). Anyway, as I was twisting, pulling and swearing I thought of it:

Toy Company Greeting Cards (Pk of 10)

Have a great holiday, and please be safe!!!!!!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

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Christmas Highs and Lows

Let me start off by saying that Christmas really is NOT my favorite time of the year. Really, I'm not a Grinch. There are some things that I really like about the season. Especially now that I have kids. I love perpetuating the whole Santa charade. And the sheer amount of excitement leading up to Christmas. If you could store that excitement up, you could power a city (::thinks of Monsters, Inc.
::). And the whole Santa Cam and holding Christmas over the kids' heads for a month DOES make life a little bit easier. But you NEED something to make life a little bit easier in December. Now, I'm not a huge shopper. I mean, sometimes I can get in a mood and shop 'til the cows come home. But it has to be on MY terms, and the mood has to strike me. I'm not a big fan of deadlines, crowds and keeping secrets.

Deadlines make me crazy. They didn't used to. I'd get a bill, and mail it that day. I'd have a paper due in school, and nine times out of ten it would be done early. But now that I have these two little bundles of energy, they pretty much dictate how my day goes. And shopping for them? It was almost impossible. The hubby's at work 60 hours a week. I made a mad dash to Wal-Fart one morning when Chloe was in school. Normally, while Chloe's at school I'm working at the restaurant. But I put that off and plowed through the toy isle. It actually was going pretty smoothly. Too much so. I got in line and got somebody on their first day. I'm very patient when it comes to that sort of thing, but I had to make it home to hide the toys before I went to pick up Chloe at school. I was practically jumping out of my skin! I did make it, though, and the kids were none the wiser.

The crowds...well...I've always been like that. I'm a loner. A rebel (anybody know the movie?
). And keeping secrets? I think it's genetic. I just don't enjoy keeping a secret. If absolutely necessary, I can do it. I've also found that it's safe to tell a secret to somebody who basically wouldn't give a crap about it. You know, I'll tell my mother or father a secret about one of Tony's friends that they don't even know. They really don't care, and I get it off my chest. It's win-win. I've kept Christmas secrets so far, but I've definitely dropped some hints. After I drop them, I'm ready to just kick myself right in the ass.

So, I'm glad the season is almost over. I'll thoroughly enjoy watching the kids open their gifts. I will also enjoy having a house free of Christmas Decor. It always feels so clean and organized once all the Santas and snowmen are put away. I may not post again before the big day, so I hope you and yours have a fantastic holiday.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

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2008 - Looking Back

Well, my brain is too fried to think about a topic, so I'm taking the (sort of) easy way out, and answering the following questions. Dawn from Because I Said So did the same questions, so I'm a copycat (although my answers are different).

1. What did you do in 2008 that you’d never done before?

Wow, lots. But it mostly has to do with buying the restaurant. So, bought a bar/restaurant.

2. Did you keep your New Years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Well, I don't really make New Years' resolutions. But I did have goals for the year. Not to be redundant, but one goal was to get the restaurant. The other was to make $1,000 a month online. Some months I hit that one, some months I didn't.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Nobody super close. An old friend did give birth last month.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Lots of funerals this year (but nobody in the immediate family)

5. What countries did you visit?
Um, I don't even think I left Allegheny County this year. Scratch that. I went to Washington County. And Somerset County. But no COUNTRIES.

6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?
More family time

7. What dates from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory?
May 27th - 2 days after my youngest's birthday, 2 days before my oldest's birthday, and our first official day of business at Downey's House.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I didn't collapse and stay in the fetal position in tears.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Keeping up on my house. It's terrible.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Nope :) (OK, everybody knock on some wood for me. I just did.)

11. What was the best thing you bought?
My laptop

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
Chloe's, because right after January 1, 2008 I felt confident enough to leave the house without her in a pull-up.

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
Nobody specific, but lots of politicians. (Hello Dan Onorato and Allegheny County Council!)

14. Where did most of your money go?
ALL of our money went to the restaurant. Um, the money's still there.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
I know that 'the restaurant' is the short answer. But it was REALLY seeing Tony realize his dreams, and having all those ideas that were stuck in our heads really come to life.

16. What song/album will always remind you of 2008?
Nothing really specific here, but I did have fun picking out the 'alcohol themed' songs on our myspace page.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: happier/sadder,thinner/heavier,richer/poorer?
happier, poorer and about the same weight. Well, OK, maybe a couple of pounds heavier.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

20. How will you be spending Christmas?
Christmas Eve with the Downeys and Christmas Day afternoon with the Sarnowskis!

21. Who did you spend the most time on the phone with?
Tony, because we're really not together all that much

22. Did you fall in love in 2008?
Uh, no.

23. How many one night stands in this last year?
Um, none. But I do have a night stand. There are milk stains on it and it's covered with dust.

24. What was your favourite TV program?
Stuck between 'The Office' and 'True Blood'

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Dan Onorato

26. What was the best book(s) you read?
I'm trying to think if I actually read a book this year. Well, an adult book. I don't think I did, but I have been reading the Junie B Jones series to Becca. They're very cute.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Um, yeeeaaaahhh. I discovered that I still remember some of the words to songs you learn in preschool.

28. What did you want and get?

29. What did you want and not get?
Peace and quiet

30. What were your favourite films of this year?
The only one that I really watched. Sex and the City

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I don't really remember what I did on my birthday. I do remember that I turned 38.

32. What's one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
I'm pretty satisfied.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008?
21st century comfortable mom

34. What kept you sane?
The nights that the kids went to bed by 8:00 and I stayed up and had time to myself.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
I still think John Krasinski is adorable

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
That damn drink tax

37. Who did you miss?
My grandmother. I thought about her a lot this year.

38. Who was the best new person you met?
Can't pick just one, but I love my employees.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008.
Realizing your dream isn't really a 'happy ending.' It's more like a 'new beginning.'

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year?
'I'm so-o-o tired. I haven't slept a wink" - The Beatles

Sunday, December 14, 2008

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New shirts :)

Hi! Before I post about the new shirts I did this morning, I wanted to add a quote to my post from yesterday. I am adding the quote "Chloe, kitchen towels are NOT for boogers." There's another one I never thought I would say. I'm sure I'll come across more on a daily basis. I'll try to share.

So, I did a new Groundhog Day design. I don't know what it is about Groundhog Day for me. Just that glimmer of hope that Spring might be just around the corner. Hey, I know I'm grasping, but I really don't like winter. Anyway, here they are. One for the chickies and one that's more for the boys:

Homeboy Groundhog Day Baseball Jersey

As always, I made more than just shirts. There are buttons, tiles, mugs, mousepads and all kinds of stuff. The above links will take you to CafePress, but I made some over at Zazzle, too. Here's a peek from over there:

Phil is my BFF bag
Phil is my BFF by hdowney

So, now it's off to get our running around done before the Steeler game today. Just a little excited about that. And I guess I really should start doing my Christmas cards. Ugh!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

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Wow, how times have changed

I may have mentioned that I've gotten sucked into the vortex of facebook lately.  It's all good.  I started an account there a year or so ago, mostly to promote my t-shirts and to connect with other people who do the t-shirt thing.  But recently I've re-connected with many grade school and high school friends, among others.  And today I realized just how much I have changed.  It hit me like a ton of bricks today when I said this to Becca:

You'd better stop playing on those steps, or YOU'LL be the one with the broken leg!

Now,  she had just finished telling me about a girl at the birthday party this afternoon who had a broken leg.  So, it hits me.  I can't believe that kind of stuff is coming out of my mouth!  There are other things I thought I'd never be saying (BTW, all these things were said today):

  • Close that fridge before all the food goes bad
  • Let me help you.  Your underwear is on backwards.
  • Didn't I tell you NOT to jump in the puddle?
  • Because I said so. (my favorite)
  • No, I don't know why ladybugs have black spots.  Just because they do.
  • Didn't I tell you to close the fridge?
  • Go to bed or I'm calling Santa
If you had asked me 20 years ago (yes, I graduated in 1988) whether or not I'd be saying these things on a regular basis, I'd say no way.  Back then I knew that I always wanted to have kids.  But back then I believed that everything would go my way.  I'd be rolling in cash, my kids would never misbehave, and I'd still be wearing the same size jeans.  Well, notsomuch.

Not that I'm complaining at all.  I'm happy.  I have a nice house and stuff inside of it.  My kids ARE well behaved, but I can't control them like little robots.  And that's when all the fun stuff happens, anyway.  When they decide for the 10th time that they're having a Halloween Birthday party for their bear FiFi and we need to go to the dollar store NOW for treat bags.  (Chloe, by the way).  

I'm glad I didn't have a crystal ball back then.  I might have been too afraid of the reality of it all.  I needed 10 or 15 years to warm up to the idea that my life isn't all mine.  Now it belongs to my kids.  And I'm fine with that.  Now, the couch belonging to the kids?  Not so fine with that, but I'm working on it :)

Friday, December 12, 2008

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Quick Zazzle Sale!

Hey! I just saw a twitter from Zazzle, and they're having a sale today for 5 hours, starting at Noon PST until 5 PST (that's 3:00 - 8:00 for my peeps here on the East Coast). Here's a re-hash of the tweet:

5HOURZFRIDAY Friday Catch up Sale Noon to 5pm PST only -$5 off shirts -$4 off mugs -$3 off stamps -$2 off everything. So, click the link and enter the code 5HOURZFRIDAY to get your discount!

Zazzle 5 Hour Sale

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

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My thoughts on the changing drink tax

Well, Dan Onorato and Allegheny County Council decided to lower the Allegheny County Drink Tax to 7%. Many thoughts enter my head. One is that it's about time they lowered it. The drink tax has raised over 30 million dollars for a failing Port Authority. (Whose drivers, by the way, just got a raise.) However, the Port Authority hasn't even gotten this money yet. Danny Onorato basically told them that they need to shape up before they get an money. What I'm wondering (and maybe somebody can answer this for me) is where is all the interest going that the county is making on those millions of dollars?

Now, as for the lowering of this asinine tax, 7% is better than 10%, but it's still too much. And council even said that it was too much (basically). They said that it would be easier to lower it again if it was too much. Later. Probably another year. So, this is what I've decided. There's really not too much I can do about the drink tax specifically (and there are plenty of other people trying damn hard to get it lowered even more). But I CAN try to get people not to vote for Dan when his term is up. Now, I understand that's quite a while away. He's only a year into his second term. And you know, I'm not normally one to hold a grudge. But I can take a few years to point out every time he screws up (and there will be many, I'm sure). I'll make some anti-Dan t shirts, start talking politics and what not. It's not exactly what I enjoy doing. But really, he's ticked me off that much.

Oh, and to top it all off, he's a bad tipper.

So, please send me any links you might have about Dan and his screw ups. I may start a whole new site.

OK, my rant is over. I'm going to finish out my night working here on the laptop while lying in bed. The lack of sleep compounded with the energy I spent writing the schedule, giving extra attention to a sick and boogery Chloe, and writing/printing a new drink menu means that I may work for an hour. Or less. 6:30 comes pretty damn quickly.

Monday, December 8, 2008

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It was like workin' in a sweatshop!

Well, let me tell you about the past two weeks in regards to my t shirt shops. CafePress added some dark sweatshirts and hoodies. I was (and still am) very excited about it. The dark hoodies sell well on Zazzle, and I know they'll do well over at CP. I added them to my shops a couple of weeks ago. I have one, very large, job/occupation shop. I had to go in and tweak 2/3 of the designs I have for the sweatshirts. Then I added them to my other stores, Brainlintdotnet and PeaceLoveand( <--- that shop needs some love!). I worked on it whenever I could. At the mall when my kids were at the birthday parties. At home while they were watching a movie. After they went to bed and I stayed up until 1:30. Well, I'm finally done! Here are some of the sweatshirts:

Peace Love Candy Canes Hoodie (dark)

Off Duty Bitch Zip Hoodie (dark)

Bartender Barcode Zip Hoodie

So, now I can get back to adding all of my stuff on Zazzle. Which will definitely take me more than two weeks. Oh well, at least I'm never bored.

I think I may have a post coming up soon about the Onorato tax and the fact that they're lowering it. I just need to have more than 10 minutes to myself to do it! Have a great Monday!

OH, I just edited this to add that this is my 100th post!!! Yeah for me!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

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Just like Seinfeld, I'm even.

Don't know if you read yesterday's post, but Chloe was a breeze yesterday. Cheerful and cooperative. Today, however, was another story. I woke up to a very cantankerous three year old. She wasn't going to school. She wasn't taking her medicine. She wasn't getting her outfit on. She didn't give a rat's ass about the naughty list. As I looked down at her disheveled pajamas and her completely matted hair, I threatened to take her to school completely naked. She complained the entire way there. As we were getting Becca to school, Chloe started singing 'Jingle Bells' (well, sort of.). Becca chimed in and Chloe screamed "I'm singin' that song!" So Becca started singing a different song. At the top of her lungs. And Chloe continued on singing 'Jingle Bells.' At the top of HER lungs. Times like this makes me wonder why it's not an option in a family vehicle for one of those limo partition thingies. Just press the button, and up goes a sound proof glass partition. It just makes sense.

So, Chloe did finally get off to school. And after I ran and worked at the restaurant for a couple of hours, I picked her up and we decided to go to the library. I really need to get back in the habit of going to the library. And not really for me, but for my kids. When I was younger, the library was only a block and a half away. I was there constantly. I would spend my summer evenings (and mornings) reading. Couldn't get enough. I hope that my girls embrace reading as much as I did when I was younger. So, Chloe picked out some books (Bernstain Bears, Scooby Doo and some others) and I grabbed some Junie B Jones books to read to Becca. We've read about ten so far, and she really likes them. I had been buying them from the Scholastic Book Club, but I'm publicly promising that I will get more books from the library. It just makes sense. I'd prefer to save cash wherever I can.

So now here we are, and I'm looking forward to the chickies going to sleep. I love them so, but can I have some alone time, please?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

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Sometimes they're easy

Well, today really turned out to be a pleasant surprise. I had made an appointment to get my hair colored and cut at 10:00 this morning. And I was taking Chloe with me. Now, I knew that Chloe would be OK with waiting through just a hair cut. She's pretty darn good. But I wasn't so sure how a three year old would do waiting for over two hours in a small salon.

Now, the place that I get my hair cut is right next to the restaurant (Downey's House, just in case you're new here). The salon is called Hot Heads, and Jessica, the owner, is fantastic. And Chloe has been there a couple of times before. So, I go prepared. Portable DVD player with some Scooby Doo movies? Check. New 'Hello Kitty' doll house that the kids still have an interest in? Check. A lunch that Chloe packed for herself? Check. I have to say, she did fantastic. She danced, she chatted, she ate pudding. It didn't hurt that I've been explaining the whole 'Naughty and Nice' thing to her. She double checked tonight before bed to see if she's still on the nice list. She is.

BTW, I love, love, love my new hair. Short in the back, longer in the front (I like to call it the anti-mullet). The color is great. Or maybe I should say colors. My previous color was brown with some bright orange highlights, and a large chunk of orange in the front. The new color is all that plus some blonde streaks. Very punky. I like it. Just enough (ok, maybe more than enough) to make me stand out in the sea of suburban moms that live in my little plan of homes. Blending in is so boring.

And have I mentioned that I've been sucked into the Facebook vortex lately? I've chatted with people I went to grade school with, went to high school with, and people who I worked with at TGI Fridays in the airport. Crazy. As I speed even closer to 40 years old, I look back and realize that I really have learned something from every single person that I've met. Which is probably why I'm so twisted now (just kidding!)

More later!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

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More free shipping at Zazzle

Hey, Zazzle extended their free shipping code into today. So if you missed it yesterday, go and use it today. Here's my post from yesterday with the details.

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Useless Tip #2

OK, here's a quick useless tip. My kids hate the crust of the bread (surprise, surprise). Seeing that the only sandwiches they will eat are peanut butter sandwiches, this works out well. As I was making a peanut butter sandwich, the light bulb went off in my head. I use the big honkin' jar of peanut butter. The lid fits inside the crust perfectly. Make the sandwich, put the lid in the middle, press down and scoot it around a little bit, and you have a perfect of a peanut butter sandwich. It's like magic. Really.

Monday, December 1, 2008

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Another great Cyber-Monday coupon!

Well, here I am at the restaurant, trying to catch up on all my work. Now that I'm only here one full day a week, Mondays tend to be a little bit crazy. Anyway, had to just jump in and share this great coupon from Zazzle for today! Free shipping on everything!!!! CafePress better step it up. Here are the details: Enter the code CYBERZSHIP08 - there are no minimums! OK, more later :)

Here's the link to the Zazzle coupon page!

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Quick CafePress Coupon

Wow, this one is a good deal, and great to get a bunch of Christmas shopping done! $30 of $100 for today only. Here's the link to the coupon. The code is DEMHOL12. Gotta go downtown today (really, me. I NEVER go downtown). I'll explain more about that later. I'm interested to see what happens today. I have an unemployment hearing (I'm the employer).


Sunday, November 30, 2008

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I'm ready to get back in the groove

Well, we've (almost) made it through the long holiday weekend! Our Thanksgiving was fantastic. Baby brother and family came over for breakfast and, if a may say so myself, I made the most kick-ass bacon I've ever tasted. Whenever I cook ANYTHING right, it's a big deal. And it's not that I cook things and screw them up, necessarily. It's that I just don't cook things. Theory is that the more great successes I have, the more I may want to cook. So far, that hasn't really happened.

Anyway, Thanksgiving at the restaurant was great. It was fantastic to have everybody there (except for my BIL Dave, who is recovering from DOUBLE knee surgery) and the gigantic table in the middle of the table was overwhelming. There we were, all sitting at the one table (pretty much). That's the first time that ever happened. And I think it's the first time we all ate Thanksgiving Dinner from actual plates instead of disposable.

Right now I'm in the middle of kids birthday party mayhem. One yesterday at Giggles And Smiles at the mall. The Saturday after Thanksgiving. At the Mall. And one there today, too. The mall wasn't too bad yesterday when I got there, and I actually got a little bit of shopping done. But an hour later it had gotten crazy. So I grabbed the laptop and sat in the food court (Yeah! for free wi-fi) and got some work done. Today the party is at 4:00, which is the same time as the Steeler Game. So, I'm hoping it's not as crazy in there today.

So, enjoy your Sunday! Kids have one more day off school tomorrow, but I'll be working. Hopefully we get the Christmas decorations up today/tomorrow. We're starting to look like slackers. I promise to try for a more meaningful post tomorrow. Really. It will be thought-provoking and possible introspective. I think.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

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Happy Thanksgiving!

OK, I'm going to get a little bit sappy and sentimental, but here it goes. (You know, I'm a firm believer that if you're not thankful for what you DO have, the universe stops giving you cool stuff. But that doesn't explain why I keep buying stuff for my kids.)

This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for:

  • My beautiful children and my strong husband
  • My home, my neighborhood and my neighbors
  • My entire family and their support
  • The opportunity we got to pursue Tony's our dream of owning a restaurant/bar
  • The fact that I'm healthy (I'd better get on the stick and start exercising and stop smoking, though)
  • That I have the opportunity to work from home.
I'm sure there's more, but I'm sorta on a schedule here. Gotta shower, clean up a little, do some payroll and get ready for family breakfast. Baby brother and family coming over for eggs and bacon/sausage feast.

Have a great day!!! And if you're going shopping tomorrow, be safe!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

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Drive by Posting

OK, I have to be quick today. Becca's home sick from school, I have a big honkin' sinus infection, and it's the busiest bar day of the year. I do have a free shipping coupon from Cafe Press for ya. The code is FEMHOL10 and it's good on purchases over $50 up until November 28th.

Lots of stuff to do on the Print-On-Demand projects, too. Zazzle just made a bulk add tool available (so I can FINALLY get all of my designs up there) and CafePress just added dark sweatshirts and zip up hoodies. Looks like I have projects to last me for a while. That's on top of all the birthday parties coming up, Christmas shopping, decorating, and general everyday life stuff. I need a clone. OOH, like that movie 'Multiplicity' with Michael Keaton. The kids sure would have fun with the 3rd clone (or was it the 4th?). You know, the one who was....well...let's say mentally challenged.

OK, gotta bolt! Happy Thanksgiving Eve!!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

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Careful, Karma Might Bite Ya in the Ass

This link was posted on twitter today. And if you go and read this, you can see that this is a bitter, crabby guy just looking to get a rise out of people. Now, I'm going to be honest about a lot of things:

  1. The only time I ever read anything from Mike Seate was when PittGirl blogged about it
  2. I don't have a problem with his writing, exactly
  3. I don't like it when people don't understand something and then pretend like they do.
Mike says that he doesn't know why people blog when it's not for money. I'm going to say that (totally my guess) 90% of people blogging are doing it for money. It might not be money directly. It might be to promote something that they are making money on. A blog might have some great instructional content, and the writer may live off the affiliate links. Could be many reasons. And hey, there are people who just like to write. For whatever reason. Does it really matter what their reasons are? Ten years ago they may have been writing in a diary or a ratty old notebook. Maybe they have dreams of someday being paid to be a writer. Happens all the time. There are two blogs that I follow regularly, and Because I said So. Both of these bloggers sucked me into their writing. Their style was inviting and humorous. They BOTH now have books (one released recently, and one being released in April). There are many other bloggers that make a fantastic living from their blogs (quite possibly more than Mike Seate).

Now, I don't know the reasons behind Mr. Seate's column downing bloggers. There could be many reasons that he felt moved to write that column. Afraid of competition? Jealous that these writers are free to post whatever their little hearts desire? Who knows. And that's why I'm not going to judge his column, exactly. I just think that if you are going to throw your opinion around like that, please be informed. Or at least admit that you are not informed, and that your opinion is coming only from what you are currently aware. Can't everybody just play nice?


Now me? Well, I'm more of a numbers girl :)

Monday, November 24, 2008

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Really, is it Monday?

Well, I thoroughly enjoyed the season finale of True Blood. But now I can't wait until summer. Not just for the next installment, but because I'm about sick of the cold already. But I digress...

You know, I've been thinking about some of my friends who are about to become parents for the first time. I just thought I'd post some of my thoughts about how it might change their lives. First, the good ('cuz I'm a glass-is-half-full kind of gal)
  • You can't even imagine the feeling of all that love. It's overwhelming.
  • You always have somebody to cuddle with
  • You get to play with toys again
  • When they're an infant and you have them in the grocery store, you can have a conversation with yourself and it looks like you're talking to your baby.
  • You get to buy cute little clothes
  • You don't get bored anymore
Next is the not so good. Not really BAD, but different
  • You will never (especially if you are the MOM) have privacy again. Ever. Unless you leave the house and go and hide in your car.
  • You won't get nearly as much sleep as you're used to. Ever. My kids are 3 1/2 and 5 1/2. I still don't sleep, and I don't have insomnia or anything like that. But, the silver lining is that you get used to functioning on less sleep. You just get a little more 'dingy.'
  • Your house will never be as clean as you want it to be. Ever. I could spend hours cleaning, and it would just get messed up right behind me.
OK, this is a short list. And as I'm sitting here with Chloe watching 'Scooby Doo and the Alien Invaders' for the hundredth time, it's about as deep as I can go right now. But I wouldn't trade them for anything. Ever.

So, on a lighter note, I was using stumbleupon the other night, and I came across this site. And it really made me giggle. Here's the page (and I did pay the game, and did pretty well)

You can click on the link to play the game if you want to. That's completely a pet peeve of mine...the whole lose/loose thing. Really makes me crazy.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

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Season Finale of True Blood

I'm so completely excited about the season finale of True Blood tonight. Now, hopefully I don't fall asleep in bed with Becca. But even if I do, the DVR is all set up. Can I just tell you that last week (don't read on if you haven't seen it!!!) when Bill jumped at Sam with those fangs all out, my heart just about leaped out of my chest!!! Unfortunately, Tony has to be at the bar tonight. We usually watch it together. But, I'll still enjoy the last episode. So, hope you had a great weekend! Talk to ya tomorrow!

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Yes, another blog

Hey! I started a new blog! It's completely in its infancy, but it's going to be a blog about different products and stores and such that I like. So, go check it out. I'll be adding something every day.
Here's the link: Stuff Heather Likes

Saturday, November 22, 2008

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Vampire at heart

As I sit here eating a healthy snack chips and dip, watching Saturday Night Live, I realize what I really miss the most about my 'pre-kid' life. I miss staying up late. It's not that I miss sleeping. I've adjusted pretty well to getting six interrupted hours of sleep a night. I mean, it took me five years to get adjusted to it, but I'm there now. It's almost midnight right now. I could easily stay awake until 2 or 3. But I know that I'll be getting up at 7:00 or 7:30. Six hours I can handle. Four or five, not so much.

I've always been that way. Never really a morning person. I've come to appreciate the mornings. I actually have a lot of energy in the morning, and get a lot accomplished. But I really have a feeling of peace late at night. And after tending bar for all those years, it just felt right to stay up late. OK, just needed to share. Sleeping rant over.

I'm actually really looking forward to Thanksgiving this year. I always get together with my brother and his family on the morning of Thanksgiving. We catch the parade and chow on some breakfast. It's been at their house the past couple of years, but they're coming to my Grand Maronda Home (did you hear the sarcasm?). Then, we're going to have dinner with the hubby's family at the restaurant. It will be the first time that we will all be able to sit at the same table and eat. We're usually scattered throughout somebody's house, each of us with a Styrofoam plate on our laps. The restaurant is closed to the public, and we figured the clean up will be easier there, too. If I did my count right, there's the possibility of 40 people for dinner.

Here's my kid conversation for today. It's a short one. As Becca's getting out of the tub, she's rattling off names of shapes in Spanish. So, she asks me if I know what a quadrado is. (And I got it right!). Then she asked me how to say 'stripes' in Spanish.

Me: "I don't know"
Becca: "I don't know" means stripes in Spanish?
Me: "Smart ass!"

And as I finish writing this, Chloe just woke up screaming. Gotta go - looks like I have a cuddle buddy tonight.

Friday, November 21, 2008

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Um, There's No Snow

Well, my kids are royally ticked off at me. There's no snow. It actually caught me a little off guard. You know, this early in the winter you still trust the weather man and the 'Winter Weather Advisories.' Now, if it had been March, I would know that there would be no snow. And as I look at my WeatherBug app on my browser and it has a big ol' sun on the Sunday forecast I realize that it will probably snow that day. That's how they roll. I actually bought snow boots for the girls yesterday, so Becca wouldn't have to trudge through the snow at the bus stop in her sneakers. Oh well.

And shopping - I've really got to get on the ball (and get some cash!!!!). Looks like this entire shopping season will be paired with Mr. Chase Visa. And we're getting hammered with birthdays right before the holiday. Between now and Christmas I have 2 sister-in-laws, a husband and four (probably five) kids birthday parties. Aarrrgh! Of course, there's still a kid inside of me, and I think I've figured out what I want. I want a digital video camera. One of those cute little ones. I saw that Kohl's has one on sale today and tomorrow for $90.

Now, I have no idea on reviews and such for this thing, but for $90 bucks I think it's a deal. They just added Flip Minos at CafePress, and they're almost twice as much. Now, I know that they take a nice picture and I've heard great things about the Flips, but I'm into saving cash.

Well, I'm off to do some office work for the restaurant. Well, not really off...I'll still be sitting here at my kitchen table in my froggie flannel pj's, drinking my coffee, listening to Chloe spin on the sit-and-spin!

Playskool Musical Sit'n Spin: Musical Sit N' Spin

OH, I almost forgot! There's a free shipping coupon at CafePress for the weekend. The code is FCPHOL1 and it's for orders over $50. Here's the link to the CafePress Free Shipping Ad.

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Filling a void

Well, I have to say that my days just have felt a little 'off' lately. It's all about the morning routine. My mornings are not the exact same every day. Um, if you're a mom you know that NOTHING is the same every day with two kids. But, I usually have some time before noon to stop by and check on the blogs that are up above me as I type in my bookmark toolbar in FireFox. And I'm not going on and on, but since the Burgh Blog is gone, I've decided I'm on a mission to find another blog (or two) to fill that void. I have a few Pittsburgh bloggers I'm checking out, and I'll share after I stick with them for a couple of weeks.

So, speaking of mornings, I've finally convinced Becca to let me drive her to school on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Chloe has preschool those days, and we gain another 40 minutes in the morning if I just drop Becca off at school before I take Chloe to preschool. So, we enjoyed our little bit of extra time today. While Becca was eating her bowl of Coco Puffs (not the plain chocolate kind - they're half vanilla and half chocolate) she told me about her gym class the other day. I guess that some of the kids from the other team were making faces at her when she was having her turn. Now, I would guess that they were probably making faces at everybody, but Becca takes these things very personally. So, I asked her what she did when they were making the faces. She said that she didn't do anything. So, I tried to teach her about sarcasm. Probably not such a good idea for a five year old. I told her "Why don't you say 'WOW, that face you're making makes you look SOOOOOOOO beautiful.'" She laughed, and I think she understood LISTENING to sarcasm. But she said she couldn't say that. It would be lying.

Yes, my kid follows the rules pretty well. D@mn those rules.

Well, seeing that it's after midnight and the alarm sounds at 6:30, I'd better get going. Yeah! for the Steelers' win tonight. Boo! for the snow.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

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Today's CafePress Deal

Hey! Today's CafePress deal is pretty sweet, especially if you're just ordering one or two things. $5 off $25. The code is DEMHOL7. Here's the link to the coupon. Happy shopping!!!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

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Hey, we got nominated!!!

Hey, I need some help, please! I'd love for you to go and vote for Downey's House for best new bar of the year over at

Here's the post that I just made over at

Hey, everybody!!! We just got nominated for 'Best New Bar' at!!! Go and vote for us here:

Vote for Downey's House at Barsmart!

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Useless Tip

OK, I think I'm going to start putting some of my stupid little tips on the blog. So, here's Useless Tip #1: If you're trying to light jar candle and can't reach the wick with your lighter, just get a piece of spaghetti. Light the end, like a big ol' match and then light your candle. Burning pasta doesn't have the most pleasant smell, but it gets the job done.

OK, carry on.

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New CafePress Coupon for Today

Today's coupon from CafePress is free shipping on orders over $50. Not bad, not bad at all. Here's the link to the coupon. The code is FEMHOL6.

More later :)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

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CafePress Coupon

Hey! CafePress has been sending out different daily coupons for t shirts and gifts. Today's coupon is $10 off $50 or more (which is a pretty good deal!) Here's the link to today's CafePress Coupon.
Really, I have more to write, but I've got to clean up this house a bit first. Pinkie swear I'll write more later today :)

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Goodbye PittGirl

My absolute favorite blog is no more. The Burgh Blog writer, who went by PittGirl in order to stay anonymous, has retired from writing her blog. I'm sure she has very good reasons, and I can only imagine that it was very difficult to keep her real name hidden. She will be missed. She made every week day a little funnier. And I'm sure her language will live on. Her extreme hate of pigeons, Love/Hate relationship with the Duke of Fug and the Earl of Gross and her "move forward' drinking game sure did make me smile.

Good Bye, PittGirl :)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

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OH, I forgot about a couple of things that happened on Friday.  The bad thing?  My payroll company took the entire payroll amount ($7,000) out of my checking account and paid my employees.  Um, payday is November 2oth.  They took it out SIX days early.  I about threw up when I pulled up my online banking!!!  Luckily the money was in there, but there are a lot of checks floating out there waiting to be cashed.  They fixed their mistake (well, enough where my account would be ok), but that was just another bump in the day.

Later on Friday night, I got an email from Zazzle, and here's the graphic:

Well, I added the writing that says "Hey!  That's my design!"  Anyway, that was a nice little surprise.  OH, and if you're looking for aprons, they are $4 off at Zazzle if you use the code TURKEYAPRONS until November 25. (Just in case you can't see the pic).

Look at that!  Two posts in 12 hours.  I'm getting there!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

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I didn't fall asleep. Really.

Well, let's see.  Today is Saturday, and I said that I was going to write again on Thursday night, if I didn't fall asleep.  Well, the bad news is that I didn't write on Thursday (or, depending on whether or not you like to listen to my drivel - that might be the good news).  I did NOT, however, fall asleep with the girls.  I came downstairs and worked.  Yes, I worked and worked.  And not on restaurant stuff, either.  I worked on t shrits.  And it was fun.  I mada a couple of new designs, but this one is one of my not-so-famous quotes:

So, definitely not a wasted evening.  I stayed up until about 1:00 am.  The next night, however, is a different story.  Last night I didn't fall asleep in bed with Becca.  Came downstairs all ready to watch some grown up tv.  Ten minutes later...asleep.  Oh well.  

We went to the book fair at the primary school on Friday morning.  The girls really enjoyed picking out some books (of course they wanted more than the 3 each I let them get!).  As Chloe and I were in the car on the way there, we had an extreme 'Why?' moment.  If you are the parent of a three year old, I'm sure you know what this is.  Every. Single. Answer. Gets. A. Why.
Here's how the conversation basically went:

"Mom, can i feed Mackie (the fish) when we get home?"
"Sorry, Chlo.  I already fed Mackie today."
"Um, because he was hungry"
"Because everything needs to eat."
"Because if things don't eat, they'll die."
(deep calming breath) "I don't know Chlo.  Because."

Then it gets funny.  Really, Chloe just cracks me up.

'Mom, dead fish go in the potty."
"Right, Chlo"
"But not alive fish.  You can't put alive fish in the potty."
"No, Chloe.  You can't put alive fish in the potty."
"Yeah, because then they would get pee on them."
"Right, Chlo.  They would get pee on them."

Well that satisfied her.  We drive along, bee-bopping to the radio and enjoying the sunshine.  A few minutes later, I get this question.

"Mom, Do fish pee in the water?"
"Well, yeah, Chloe.  Fish pee in the water."

So, there is some Chloe conversation for ya.

Since this post touched on sleep a little bit, I'm going to share this really interesting stuff about polyphasic sleep.  Polyphasic sleep basically is sleeping for 20 minutes every four hours.  And that's it.  This gentleman actually slept this way for five months.  It was really interesting to read through how it went.  

OK, gotta snack before I go to bed!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

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Using Santa

I don't remember if I ever shared this little tidbit, but here it is. If you're a parent, you know that you can use 'Santa Leverage' this time of year. You know, the whole 'Santa is watching' really goes a long way. Well, I've taken this idea and brought it into the 21st century. My girls totally believe that whenever a light bulb is made a 'Santa Cam' is installed. So, wherever there is a light bulb in the world, there is a camera that is connected directly to Santa's computer. It's a very small camera. I have held Chloe up to the light fixture in my kitchen and said 'See, Santa! Do you see what she's doing? I can't believe it!' It's been working like a charm. My father occasionally will call from Florida (usually a bit closer to Christmas) and use his best Santa voice. I try to save that one for when they're REALLY being bad. I also try to use it if they're being EXTREMELY good. I make sure that I look into a light and say 'Santa, you'd better add another present on to the list!' Yes, I am twisted.

So, my plan for the past week has been to get the girls to bed, clean up the house for about a half an hour, and then sit down and blog/design/work. That hasn't exactly happened. The girls are still awake right now. They are dragging each other around in a large cloth hamper from Ikea. There is a great chance that somebody is going to get hurt. In fact, as I typed this, Chloe bonked her head off the ground, and she's not giving Becca her turn. SCREAMING, CRYING - 'MOMMY, CHLOE WON'T LET ME HAVE MY TURN!!! I WANT MY TURN!!! Excuse me, but the hamper is going on time-out.

OK, I'm back. They are both screaming and crying. What was I saying? And that is why I've been trying to blog at night when they are sleeping. (CHLOE IS THE MEANEST SISTER IN THE WHOLE ENTIRE WORLD). So, the reason I haven't been blogging at night is that I've been falling asleep while I put Becca to bed (Chloe is already sleeping by that point). So, tonight I've drank about 3 cups of coffee since 4:00, and I'm getting ready for another. Darn it, I WILL NOT fall asleep tonight.

Hopefully you hear from me again later!

Monday, November 10, 2008

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Monday already?

Well, here's how I started my week.  Becca forgot her lunch.  So, after I get her down to the bus stop and get home (and see the lunch sitting on the counter), we pack it up and head to the Primary School.  I have to say, she did look very cute in her little apple dress with her glasses on.  She's such a good little girl (when she's not at home!!)

Today is the first day of my new schedule at the restaurant.  Which is really my new schedule NOT at the restaurant.  We've decided that it would be more financially responsible for me to be home with the kids.  So, I'm only going to be at the restaurant on Mondays (when Tony can watch the girls) and Tuesday/Thursday mornings (when Chloe is in Preschool).  I really can do most of the work from home, I just have to make sure I always have a server there.  We had our server call off on Friday, and I really was a jack of all trades.  I washed bar glasses, stocked beer, waited on tables, made a delivery, rolled silverware, did dishes and played bus girl.  I just hope all of the work gets done when I'm not there.  ::crosses fingers::

We went and saw Madagascar 2 yesterday.  It was very cute (and funny).  The girls enjoyed it, also.  The trip cost us $50 bucks, though.  Between the price of getting in ($6.50 per person for the matinee) and the popcorn and drinks ($27 for 2 large Pepsi, 2 small Pepsi and 2 medium popcorn) it's a small fortune.  And that's not including the money the kids conned us into spending at the games after the movie.  Oh well, it's a rare treat that we all get to go and spend the afternoon together!

Well, off to wake up the hubby so I can leave.  Talk to everybody soon!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

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A Complete Waste of Time

Well, as if I needed something to suck up my time, I found this game to label images at Google. It is quite addictive. Google matches you up with another player, and you need to match tags for different images. Some images are pretty easy, and don't have any tags yet. But others already have some tags, and you can't use those words. I believe I've wasted at least a few hours over the past couple of days. It was easier to do that than clean my kids' play room. So, I've promised myself that I'm not going there today!!!! Here's the link: Google Image Labeler

Get Any Game Free with GamePass

Friday, October 31, 2008

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Happy Halloween!!!

Well, after a week-long celebration of Halloween, it's finally here. I've got my favorite Halloween shirt on (that I designed, of course):

I also went to the Halloween Parade at the Primary school today. So darn cute. Then (finally) trick-or-treating tonight. You know, I totally love Halloween, but I'm ready to take the decorations down and call it a day.

Did I mention that Tony went skydiving yesterday? Well, he did, and he thought it was incredible and awesome. I said that I will go on the next trip (when it's a bit warmer). If you want to see what it's like, you can see the video of our bartender Nikki skydiving for her first time.

Chloe is ready to go trick-or-treating right now. She really doesn't understand that we have to wait, and that there really isn't anybody home right now!

Haven't watched The Office or 30 Rock from last night yet. That's what I'll do tonight after the chickies go to bed. I hope you all have a great day!!!!!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

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Cafe Press makeover.

As you all know, have a few stores over at Cafe Press. Well, they've prettied themselves up. I think it looks great! Although there are a few minor adjustments that are needed, the navigation seems good, and I like the four products across. Once you log in there are changes, too. All the same stuff, but presented differently. Can't wait to go and play, but unfortunately I have to play restaurant owner right now!!!! More posts soon!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

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Well, yesterday was a crazy family day.  But it was all good.  After we did our regular Saturday gig of running to the restaurant so that they had change, we came home and got ready for the Rennerdale Halloween parade.  It was very cute, and the Rennerdale Volunteer Fire Department always does a great job.  The kids were happy seeing all of their friends, and the costumes.  Oh, and of course the treat bags were very important.

After that we went to the 
Panhandle Trail for the night walk.  It really is quite cute!  They line the trail with a bunch of carved pumpkins, and have a bonfire on either end.  The kids get a treat bag, and there's hot cider and hot chocolate.  They tell some sorta-spooky stories by one of the bonfires.  It was a little chilly, and Chloe was at the end of her rope by the time we were done.  She had been awake since 5:30, so she just had to be fried.  She was also very "sirsty."

So, I've included some pics for all to see.  More posts later, I promise!  I'm actually getting better at this, and I've thought about some good subjects (other than MY kids, of course) to talk about!

Oh, btw, I discovered the website through another blog that I read (Because I Said So), and it really is cute.  You can use the free verson (like me), or you can pay a yearly/monthly fee to do it without ads and have it show full screen.

Click to play Rennerdale Parade
Create your own greeting - Powered by Smilebox

Friday, October 24, 2008

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Finally, some pics of the kids

OK, it's just a few pics. And I did have fun using the smilebox thingie.

Click to play Idlewild
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Make a Smilebox postcard

The pics are from our trip almost 2 weeks ago to Idlewild. We had a great time, even though it was pretty darn crowded. Oh, and that story about Chloe? I'm not sure where exactly she heard this (because it's not said in out house), but here it is. We were down the street at our friends' house, and Becca was showing off the fact that she now knows all of the colors in Spanish. Well, she got to black and she said "Black, Negro." No big deal. Well, Chloe looks at me and says "Momma, you shouldn't call people that. It will make them sad." I told her it's how you say the color black in Spanish. She didn't seem to care.

She's a little smartie pants. Look at this! Two posts in two days. Maybe it's the start of something. Maybe it's not. Anyway, I'm about to leave the house to go get ready for our big Halloween Bash at Downey's House tonight. I hope it's a success!!!!!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

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Time flies...

Well, time really DOES fly when you have 8 million things going on in life. So sorry I haven't written. Mom came up for a visit, running the restaurant, doing my online business, doing kindergarten homework, sometimes sleeping. OH, and the new seasons of my fav shows have started. I have found time for the shows that I like to DVR. They are, in no particular order, True Blood (HBO),The Office, How I Met Your Mother, Three and a Half Men, and new to the line up, The Big Bang Theory. New episodes of 30 Rock start next Thursday, and that will make it on the list too. the beautiful thing about DVR is that I can watch it whenever I want to and skip the commercials. Now I just have to get it in my bedroom, so I can watch before I go to sleep!!

So, here's what motivated me to actually write today. Another funny little Becca story. Last night we were doing homework. She had to glue pictures (or draw pictures) of things that started with the letter 'A' onto a paper. Her little brain was searching and searching for 'A' words. She's sounding it out 'aaaaaa.' And then she looks at me with her big, beautiful eyes. "Mom, I can't say that. It's a swear word." Of course I know what she's thinking. So I tell her "Well, go ahead and say it. Just this once. Because if it's at least a word that starts with 'A' I'll be happy that you figured another word out." Sh she says it "OK...ass." Then she starts giggling. But the kicker is what she asked next. "Mom, can you draw a picture of a butt on my paper?" Laughing, I tell her that I didn't think Mrs. Z would appreciate a picture of a butt.

I just went out and bought bags and bags of Halloween candy and hid it from
myself the kids. There's the preschool party (bags of treats for 11), then there's the kindergarten party (smaller bags of treats for 19), and then there's trick-or-treat. The really bad thing about all of this is that I'm going to get all of that candy back through my kids. Ugh.

I'm also gearing up for the Halloween Bash at Downey's House. Gotta finish getting my costume ready today. I think I have the tricycles for the tricycle races, got the ingredients for the pudding shots, got some spooky drink garnishes. Now I just have to make it through tomorrow. Got a nice 12 hour day ahead of me. Oh, and it's also Anita's (the co-owner) birthday tomorrow, so I have to go and get her a little surprise cake.

I have lots of thoughts racing around this crazy head of mine, and I really will get better at posting them. And all of the stories. OH, I just thought of another one. Gotta remember to talk to you about Chloe and the color black. See ya later!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

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Chantix Sucks!

Well, it's been a couple of weeks since I posted. Let me fill you in on the Chantix. Um, it was absolutely positively no good. Here's how it went:

Friday (Sept 5th) I started taking the starter pack, which puts the drug into your system gradually. Monday (the 8th) I went to work, and I don't know what was up my @ss that day, but I wore heels. Later that afternoon my knees were hurtin' something fierce. I chalked it up to the heels and the cooler weather. Wednesday I woke up (at the lovely, regular time of 6:40!!) and opened my mouth to brush my teeth. This crazy pain shot into my jaw. Sort of like an ice pick going into my ear. I thought it was odd, but I had shit to do. I had to get the troops ready. As I was drinking my coffee (smoking my cig), I remembered to take my morning Chantix. Literally, as the pill was going down my throat, a light bulb went off in my head. "Huh, I wonder if this crazy pain that's happening every 10 minutes is related to this pill?"

So, I hop online and check the Chantix website. No mention of jaw pain as a side effect. Well, then I Google it. I read stories about joint pain and jaw pain, and one man who complained of jaw pain, walked out his front door and dropped dead. Needless to say, I stopped taking the Chantix. I called the doc and told them the story. They called me back with "We talked to the pharmacist and he read the insert. There's no mention of jaw pain." Wow, thanks. But did I not tell you that I can read, and I already know that it's not listed as a side effect? So, I bitched out politely told the nurse that I would either call her in 2 days and tell her that it WAS the Chantix, or I'd call her in 2 days to look at my frickin' jaw.

Then I talked to my father, who reminded me that jaw pain is a symptom of having a heart attack. Which completely freaked my out and I totally over reacted and contemplated the fact that I could drop dead at any second. I drank a ton of water, took some aspirin and clung to life.

So, the point is, I guess Chantix does work great for some. But if you get the funky symptoms that I got, get the hell off of it. Quickly.

In other news, we (the kids and I) went to Rock the Quarry (a fundraiser for the Panhandle Trail) on Saturday. The kids had a blast, even though we got rained on a little bit. My SIL won $200 in the duck race, and we all ate too many snow cones. But the cutest thing was Chloe. She SOOOOO wanted to work at the 'Beer Store' that Aunt Mary and Aunt Missy were at. She sat in a chair behind the table and was just itching to help. She kept asking me if I wanted a beer, and told me that I needed to be her 'cutomer.' She did end up helping, taking money from the customers and handing back change. She desperately wanted to pour a beer, and reached her fat little hand up when Mary would pour a draft. It was just really darn cute.

And here is the whole thing that really motivated me to write on this blog tonight.

Yet Another Bush Jr. Jersey T-Shirt

Um, is that t-shirt not just hysterical? I saw it on the CafePress blog in bumper sticker form. I really don't buy political stuff (Well, except for my Onorato's a Jagoff t shirt, but that's more personal). I think this one might get bought.

OK, happy day!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

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What my kids say

Well, I thought I'd start posting some things that my kids say to me. Partially for entertainment value, and partially so I don't forget when I'm old and gray. So, here are some things I remember from the last week or so. Right now they're all from Becca. Chloe definitely has big huge conversations with me, but she hasn't started questioning the world so much yet. Well, except by asking 'Why?"

So, last week we're in the car driving to the bank and here's the conversation I had with Becca

"Mom, do bears eat people?"
"Um, well, not usually."
"Well, I think bears eat people, because people are full of meat. And bears like meat."

OK, point taken.

Then, one morning as I was getting Becca ready for school, this was the scene:

"Becca, come on!  You've got to get your outfit on and come down and eat your waffle!  And we still have to do your hair!! You don't want to miss the bus!"

Standing at the top of the stairs, with her hand resting on her hip, she says:

"Geez Louise, Mom!  You sure are one bossy woman!"

Um, ok.  Point taken again.

She also was kissed by a boy on the bus.  She had a half day that day, and got home about 12:30.  She didn't inform me of the kissing incident until 5:30!!!!  Um...HELLO!!!  Where where have you been all afternoon!!!!  I got the details, which were that she was kissed on the cheek by a boy that she DID like.  She thought it was yucky.  She no longer wants to marry this boy.

Chloe has been adjusting pretty well to Becca not being around.  The house is much calmer.  But I definitely can't wait to hear how Becca's day went when she gets home.

On another topic, I started taking Chantix yesterday.  My quit date is Friday the 12th, which will be the first day I'm at the restaurant during the new smoking ban.  There are a couple of girls at work who have started taking Chantix, too.  I'll keep you posted on how it goes.

Monday, August 25, 2008

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A whole new world

Well, Becca had her first day of Kindergarten today. She was totally and completely adorable!!! I'll post a pic later, but she was grinning from ear to ear. I, however, was all emotional and cried like a baby. I was just so proud of her!! She hung out with the big kids and climbed right up onto that school bus with no problem. I can't believe that we're starting the whole REAL school deal. And Chloe starts preschool next week. She's been there for a summer program, so I'm not really so worried about her.

I got a response from our buddy Dan Onorato. It was basically a canned response, with a little bit of personalization at the beginning. And it wasn't from him, but from an assistant. It was basically a bit commercial for Dan, stating all of his fantabulous statistics and what a swell guy he is. In fact, I'll copy and past it for ya, just in case you want to read it.

August 25, 2008
Dear Ms. Downey:
Thank you for your email. County Executive Onorato asked that I respond on his behalf.
Allegheny County is required by federal and state law to provide a $30-million local funding match to Port Authority each year. The revenues from the drink tax and car rental fee are dedicated for this local match. Without the drink tax and car rental fee, the County would have to increase property taxes by $30 million in order to meet its legal funding obligation to Port Authority. Four leaders of F.A.C.T., the group promoting the repeal of the drink tax, testified before County Council that they would prefer a raise in property taxes. The County Executive is strongly opposed to raising property taxes to fund mass transit.
Allegheny County is not authorized to collect any tax that it wants. The County can only collect taxes that are authorized by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. At this time, the Commonwealth only allows Allegheny County to collect the property tax, drink tax and rental car fee.
Please be assured the County Executive has been creative – cutting spending and increasing government efficiencies. During his first four years in office, Mr. Onorato has reduced expenditures and streamlined government by removing 626 employees from the County payroll, and Port Authority reduced its workforce by 375 employees earlier this year. That is a total reduction of 1,000 public employees in four years, which saves taxpayers approximately $50 million annually.
County Executive Onorato was also the primary advocate of row office reform, and come January 1, 2008, we will have successfully reduced the number of row offices from 10 to four, which will save taxpayers at least $1 million annually.
The County Executive has also embraced opportunities to consolidate government functions and eliminate duplicated services to improve efficiency and save taxpayers money. In a two-year period, the Onorato administration reduced the number of 9-1-1 call centers in Allegheny County from five to one, which saves $3 million annually. The City of Pittsburgh’s fingerprinting operation was collapsed into the County’s, and the Pittsburgh Municipal Court was merged with the County court system.
The County and City signed a joint telecommunications agreement that will result in $4.5 million in savings over the next three years, and the County has also taken over purchasing for the City, which improves the efficiency of purchasing operations and results in significant savings for taxpayers. Finally, the County and City have formed an energy purchasing consortium that is open to the region’s hospitals, school districts, colleges, universities, municipal authorities, non-profit organizations and private businesses. This consortium has the potential to be largest cost-saving public/private partnership in the history of Western Pennsylvania.
In addition to these savings, County Executive Onorato cut taxes his first year in office, and he has successfully held the line on property taxes every year since then. Allegheny County has not seen a property tax increase in six years, while all of the counties around us have. During this same period, Armstrong County taxes have increased 35 percent, Beaver County has raised taxes by 19 percent, Butler County taxes are up 12 percent, Washington County has increased taxes by 24 percent, and Westmoreland County taxes have gone up 24 percent. Mr. Onorato’s decision to implement a base year assessment system has also brought stability back to Allegheny County’s real estate market and put an end to back-door tax increases.
Thank you again for contacting our office. We appreciate your input and we wish you success with your business.
Sincerely, Megan Dardanell
Office of the County Executive

All I have to say is blah, blah, blah. I chatted with some of the people from FACT (they're fighting the drink tax), and they opened my eyes to a few things. I had always wondered why the larger chain restaurants weren't really doing anything to fight the drink tax. She told me that a lot of the chains get money FROM Allegheny County just for opening their doors (she mentioned the Cheesecake Factory), and they get some big ol' tax breaks. What do the little restaurant and bar owners get? Diddily Squat.

She also mentioned how they are really concentrating efforts throughout the state in campaigning against the drink tax. Their thought was that we would Never, Never, Never, Ever want Dan Onorato do become governor (and that's church!). Because if he were to become Governor, that drink tax would almost definitely be state wide.

Anyway, she opened my eyes to a lot of stuff. I haven't officially responded to the letter yet. But I will. When I get some more energy. All that girlie-emotional-PMS-weeping from this morning has made me tired!