If you Drive an Older Red Truck, You Are NOT my Friend

While driving home from a visit with some friends the other day, I was on the freeway, in the left lane - what some of us refer to as: The Fast Lane - and I'm following an older red truck, going approximately 6mph over the speed limit. We're working our way up this long slow hill and find ourselves forced to slow down to 6mph below the speed limit due to an suv of some sort in our left lane. Slow-moving suv wasn't following conventional wisdom of the left lane driving laws that state: If someone is fast approaching you in the left lane and you can safely move over to the right lane, then you are obligated to move over to the right lane.

Good drivers know this, right?

So after trailing slow-moving suv up the hill for a few minutes, my older red truck friend passed slow-moving suv on the right. There was plenty of room to do so. Slow-moving suv was just being a nuisance by forcing the rest of us to pass on the right.

I waited for a minute to see if slow-moving suv learned his lesson after being passed on the right by older red truck (how humiliating), but no, he just kept toodling along below the speed limit. So I also passed on the right. No harm done, it's fine. Totally safe at the moment. And then I proceeded to get back up to my preferred speed of 6mph over the speed limit. Though I really did 10mph over the speed limit to get up the crest of the hill faster, as I hate when my car starts losing speed on hills and I'm the one being humiliated by older red trucks.

Up and over the hill I go and now I'm over the hill, we're on a flat roadway and I'm now at a good spot travelling behind my older red truck friend going 6mph over the speed limit. Perfect.

I'm not a tail-gater, except in extreme cases (like when my windshield wiper fluid wasn't working in the middle of the snow storm and I couldn't see through my mud covered windshield so I had to tailgate for a few minutes to get the water spray from the vehicle in front of me so I could run my wipers and actually see the roadway). So I can assure you that I was not tail-gating older red truck.

We mosey along and we're caravanning, older red truck and I.  Bob Marley is singing, I'm happy. Life is good in the left lane. We pass a few cars. Nothing out of the ordinary.

And a few miles later, older red truck pulls over into the right lane and slows up a bit. I assumed he was going to exit soon, why else would he give up his left lane spot?

Instead of exiting, older red truck slows til we're next to each other and then he paces me and very deliberately rolls down his window halfway (mind you, it's 21 degrees outside and we are going 66mph), and he sticks one hand out....one hand holding up one tall finger.

reenactment photo
I was shocked!! Did we not just bond over the passing of the slower-moving suv?? Did we not just cruise along down the highway together, enjoying the freedom of driving out and about on a non-rainy day? We were caravanning!! Bob Marley was playing, for christ's sake!!!  Who flips off someone for no reason???

And it wasn't like it was a quick and easy flip off. No...he had to actually turn the handle of his window---it wasn't even an electric window!! He had to put EFFORT into flipping me off. Appalling.

I am a good person. I do not deserve this. I hope he felt shamed when he saw the wolf conservation sticker on the side window. Or the I Volunteer sticker in the back window. SHAME, SHAME on you, older red truck man.

There is just too much meanness in our cruel, cruel world.

Sundays In My City - A Blustery Day at the Park

I don't often get to hang out with young kids, which is sad, because I really do like them (in small amounts of time), but I especially want to be around them now that I feel more comfortable with my camera.

My friend brought her 5 year old to my volunteer event a couple weeks ago and we headed to the park after, even though we were in the midst of a wind storm. Her daughter was unfazed by the fact that I took about 100 photos of her. And her mom doesn't ever take pictures of her so it's not like she's just used to it. She probably just assumes I'm a really weird person...



Adi and her mom were playing detective and looking for clues. This leaf was definitely a clue...

Then her mom told her it had blood on it. Adi isn't quite ready for bloody clues I guess. She let this one go.

I love the combo of moss covered rocks and rain boots!



A cow in the suburbs! And what's interesting about this is there is a pig statute very similar to this in a different local park. Maybe there is a story behind these. I'll get back to you on that.

To view more short posts on Sundays in my City, check out Unknown Mami's blog for the list. I have found some great bloggers this way!

Unknown Mami

Souper Duper Giveaway Time - Get Fit with Progresso

Congrats to Erin M. who won my big CSN giveaway last month!

And now on to the new giveaway...

Some of you may remember last year I was doing monthly workout stats...and then I just suddenly stopped. I lost 34 pounds last summer, yay me, and then stopped. I wasn't done. Nope, not at all. But I stopped and I'm starting to slowly (well, not that slowly thanks to the stupid pushy girl scouts) gain it back and it's time to get back on the treadmill and get to work. Stay tuned for more fabulous monthly stats starting in March!

In the meantime, Progresso Soup is here to help us all - with a wide range of soups that are 100 calories or less!!
Andrew personally tested four different varieties and enjoyed all of them, and felt that they were pretty filling, considering that a) he's a teenager and b) they are only 100 calories!! They aren't as thick of soups as normal higher calorie ones, but if you're watching calories, this is a great idea!!

Here's their info:

Available in 40 delicious flavors with 100 calories or less, Progresso® Soup can help curb your hunger, making it easier for you to stick to your weight management plan all year long. With hearty ingredients like pasta, beans, corn and rice, and flavor-packed vegetables like tomatoes, carrots, and peppers, Progresso Soup varieties with 100 calories or less offer a good source of fiber and a full serving of vegetables.


To help kick off a new outlook on the New Year, Progresso is excited to announce the return of the "Souper You™ Debut" contest! From January 3rd through March 16th, Progresso on Facebook to enter for the chance to win a full makeover in New York City or to download a coupon for the new low-calorie soup.


Three grand prize winners will be awarded a trip for two to New York City from May 20th-22nd. The prize includes roundtrip airfare, a two-night stay in an NYC hotel, a full makeover, a guided wardrobe shopping spree with a personal consultation at a New York City department store, and $1,000 in spending money.

And onto the giveaway....

Your Prize (should you be so lucky):
a VIP coupon for a free can of Progresso soup, a yoga mat a water bottle, set of aerobic bands, sport headband and two sport wristbands

To win:
Leave a comment telling us all what about your favorite kind of soup.

For more entries:
Leave an extra comment if you are a follower or subscriber.
Leave an extra comment if you have posted about a volunteer project/event you have done (and share the link).
Leave an extra comment if you blog about this giveaway.

Contest ends March 10th, 2011 at midnight.


Progresso shared this prize pack to me and my contest winner via MyBlogSpark. Thanks Ya'll!!

Yet Another Year Older....Birthday Bash 2011

We knew this day was coming, right? I am officially 37 now. I am not going to say I'm old...but I am definitely older. 37 is close to 40, and then it'll be 50, and then 60, and then 70...and then I'm nearing death, right? That's all just around the corner.
But let's just put that in the back of our heads for now....


My weekend was actually pretty wonderful. My lovely mom and aunt came down to visit for half a day. We had a lovely lunch and then did some shopping, and took our traditional Grandma-Is-Shrinking photo.

Saturday night I had my annual birthday bash, with a shampoo drive for a local nonprofit. I'm still collecting through the rest of the week, so I'll report back on the total bottles I'll be donating, but as of this morning, I am a bit over 100. Last year, I managed to gather 225 bottles!

Chef Alison, my first margarita, and Andrew looking like a creeper.
This year, my wonderful friend Alison offered to set up a fajita buffet, so she came over early and we (mostly she) set up a delicious dinner of chicken fajitas. She taught me how to make homemade guacamole, which was delicious, even though we didn't have her secret ingredient. I was a bit frazzled getting ready so missed the part where i would normally take pictures of the wonderfulness of it all. You know, life getting in the way of my picture taking...it happens.


        

It was a mexican fiesta theme, so I had stopped by our local Mexican tienda and picked up some special candy from Mexico. Like the very special Chicken on a Stick:
mmm...chicken
Unfortunately, chicken on a stick was not delicious. It actually caused one guest to quickly leave the room...
wimp.

Then we tried the yummy sounding Corn on a Stick.
mmm...corn.
It wasn't so great either.
Next up was some mysterious, but fun-looking, sugar candy called Gusano. For those of you who don't speak spanish, gusano means worm. That should have been our first clue.
Nobody cared for this one....there is nothing good about a candy named worm.
worms are bad.
The snacks weren't all bad though (just the mexican ones!) - my sweet friend Michele made me a brownie cake and plotted with the group to have candles and a song.


note the smoke -yay for  my camera!
 Such a fun night!!
I love these guys!

No night would be complete without a chocolate test. It was decided that our last chocolate taste test was not complete, as we were taste-testing different brands and different levels. So dark-chocolate-lover Phil, brought all 70% level chocolates from different brands to see what brand is the best.

mmmm...chocolate
I'm not sure that there was a complete consensus on which was best....but I most definitely liked the Ghiradelli, however, it contained almond bits, and nuts make chocolate better, so that was a bit unfair.

It was a full party - maybe 19 people were there at the busiest time, with lots of laughing and stories being shared. We played the largest game of Mafia I have ever played. Natalie and I played baseball - using a piece of chocolate as a ball and her hand as a bat (this now sounds like a bad idea but made sense at the time). There was a bit of silliness going on...

there really is no explanation for this, he just put this on his head and we happened to take a photo .
dark chocolate and Fat Tire beer is a good combo!
 All in all, it was a really fun birthday party!!


love all the expressions on this photo!


Life Interfering With Life, But Not With Random Thoughts

I'm a bad blogger this month. I've lost my mojo...I think others have found it, judging by the number of blogs I have waiting for me in my reader.

I know this is annoying to some people, but I am going to confess, and I know I'm not the first, that my motivation to blog is spurred on by comments. I'm not saying I need 50 comments a day to feel good about blogging. And I don't blog for the sake of getting comments. But in some ways, it's like if you were to have the attention of part of the world and you open your diary and start reading entries out loud to the group in front of you. If 99% of the people walk away while you're sharing something about your life, do you really continue to read your story out loud? Probably not for long.

So this means something, right? Either I have the most boring blog webly possible, or people just aren't available.  Some people have a REALLY busy February, like me. And I'm sure some people volunteer every night, not me. And some people have babies, or work double shifts, or are in the midst of a divorce, or are taking a full college load, or delete my feed as soon as it arrives in their inbox because I have bored them too often to make them waste their time yet again.

Life is so busy!!!  There are riots, and hurricanes, and freak thunder storms, and pets are injured, and babies are born, and people fall in love, and people get their hearts broken. Meetings go into the late hours, and work requests just never stop. People struggle with personality conflicts at work, and struggle to connect to their spouse who they swore to love (but c'mon-committed for LIFE is a big concept). People are getting new kidneys, and people are having babies born with just one perfect kidney. Some of you are struggling to make friends, and some of you are struggling to maintain the ones you have. I get it...life is hard. I'm with ya.

And in all of this...is a blogger named Kaylen, just writing about her somewhat-boring life. And feeling like there is too much going on, but there is nothing going on. Life is not fulfilling, but life is just perfect. Oreo cookies are wonderful, but oreo cookies are oh so bad. I want another kitten, but I don't want to have to clean the kitty box more than I already have to (note to self: toilet-train Whiskers this summer). I want to walk for an hour on the treadmill, but then I have no time to do dishes/laundry/blog/read a book/print my photos for my class tomorrow/get a full nights sleep. You know what I mean? There is just this huge spectrum of LIFE going on around me.

BUT

What if I'm missing it?
What if I'm not meant to see it?

What if it's over before I'm ready to be done?

What if I keep spewing out words and blog so many random thoughts in one blog post at one time that people worry that I'm highly intoxicated?

What if I actually got highly intoxicated and blogged some seriously funny shit?  But then the next day discovered it wasn't really funny, but just plain shit? What if we all promise to blog while drunk at least once a year, then we share the shit together and it's more funny that way?

What if I never get a twitter account?

What if I failed to do the dishes tonight, even knowing that I will be gone from 8am - 9:45pm tomorrow and that when I get home there will be even more dishes in the sink waiting for me, but I did this knowingly because I wanted to vomit out these words to all of you....most of whom are not paying attention anyway..


What if I turn 37 in less than a week and totally freak out that my life is half over?

I'm an Amateur Photographer. Here, Let me Prove It!

Remember last year and I got this lovely new camera that I've wanted to get for about 24 years? Well, I figured it's time I learned how to use it! I'm taking a beginning photography class at our local community college and learning that there is a LOT I don't know about photography.

We've met three times now and I have gotten a better handle on what aperture and shutter speed are all about. I've read about them and gone to a 3-hr photo presentation (free at AAA!), but it just never really made sense how it all works as a unit. I'm getting there. Though my instructor is a huge fan of just leaving your camera in the auto settings and tells us that if we need to stress about something, stress about the composition and the quality of WHAT you are taking a photo of, and let the camera do most of the work in 90% of life's situations. We were all a little irritated with this, I think, because everyone was in the class to learn how to take the camera OUT of auto mode, and here she is telling us to stop thinking about it!!! I think we were all a bit weary of the class, but it's coming along well....

We had a field trip last Saturday to Portlandia and had a great time wandering around for three hours just "SEEING" things. It's not often that you wander around taking photos of random things, and it's a little awkward even to do on your own, but it was great fun being with a group of 18 others scattered around the block, shooting random things.

We all printed out 30-50 of our photos and brought them to class with us and then discussed which our best twelve were and what we felt about each others pics. Some people have a REALLY natural talent. Some people have a lot of areas to work on. I think I'm a little of both categories. Regardless, I'm learning, and I'm having fun, and I'm loving my camera more and more every day.

Here are some of my favorite shots that I took from the field trip. I took about 190 photos. I like about seven...someday I hope to like at least 20 out of 190...we'll see.

Feel free to offer kind words of encouragement in the comments!

I followed this family two blocks to try to get her naturally stopped. Lesson learned-little girls don't stand still for long and sometimes you just have to ask strangers if you can take a picture of their child's shoes.


Andrew's favorite.

Everyone in class loved this one, it was more unique than the standard shots of the statue.

I think this would be better if I edited her sweatshirt so it was a bolder purple.


I took a ton of shots of this tree taking over this building-I didn't really like any of them, but this one is close to what I was hoping for...

Unique Valentines Day Gift - Calls from Cupid

If you are actually celebrating a traditional Valentine's Day, as opposed to Singles Awareness Day, you are probably wondering what to get your sweetheart to commemorate the depth of your affection.

I have a solution for you! And it's a unique option - not some stupid flowers or card which you can buy at a gas station anywhere. No, this is an original Valentine's Day gift that will show your beloved that you really put some thought into their gift. And putting effort into getting someone a gift is a clear sign of love, right? AND - even better - it's a big sign of love with a tiny little cost associated! It's really economical!!
Send one to yourself in honor of Nat'l Singles Awareness day!!! LOVE yourself!!


You might remember that my beloved teenager is part of this special chamber choir group at his high school.

Here's a funny story - at the last concert they had, they had a little intermission and talked about some fundraising they are doing for new choir robes. One of the choir girls informed us that the choir robes that they currently wear at the high school are 18 years old. And this means that they are actually older than most of the students in the choir. How sad (and disgusting) is that??

The kids are very busy doing all kinds of fund-raising to earn a million dollars, or whatever robes cost, so that they can get these replaced. A lot of the kids are seniors and they will never wear the new robes they are trying hard to get...but that hasn't slowed them down. These are good kids, and amazing singers. They need new robes!! Who wants to wear something that's older than them?? Nobody, but most certainly not a teenager.

SO - Your unique valentines gift this year is a song of love. A snippit of a love song, delivered via telephone on Valentines Day to your sweetie. How sweet, right?? Did I mention it's cheap?? $4!!! That's all. Or you can do 3 song segments for $10. That's nothing, but will mean a lot to your loved one and to a music-loving-old-robe-wearing-hard-working-fund-raising teenager

It's the simplest order form in the world and takes just a few minutes to complete - but you'll get huge bonus points for having something unique to give your lovey. A 30-second love song delivered right to their phone? Have you ever heard of that? And this was all planned and coordinated by the choir kids themselves - big props to them for coming up with it. AND it's for a great cause - make sure you let your sweetie know that you helped a high school choir replace their 18 year old choir robes all in the name of their love. Wonderful right?? HUGE bonus points for you!! And they are G-O-O-D, you can check out one of their holiday songs here.

In the special instructions, you can request the song be sung by a male or female.
I would suggest you request Andrew (my boy who can sing a rock song or an opera song and sounds AMAZING with anything he tries) or Logan (his female friend who sings like a fairy princess and when she opens her mouth, Bambi, Thumper, Ariel and the smurfs appear like magic).

Please consider helping the choir out - they truly are an amazing group of singers and they will get great recognition from the school for putting together a successful fundraiser all by themselves.

Go ahead....sign up for a song HERE. I promise it will bring you good karma all month long!

(and if you're a friend or relative of mine, you might be in for a special treat!)

Important Decision Making Happening NOW!

This is a decision I've put off making for awhile...maybe you could all help with some friendly bloggety-blog advice? I've been thinking about making this change and I'm just not sure how it will go. I think that if something isn't broken, why fix it, but what if something is broken but you've only ever known it as a broken something and so you don't know that you need to fix it? You follow?

So hear me out, offer some great advice, and then wait patiently for my update on my decision.

You see...It's my closet.

Sounds serious, doesn't it?

Typically, I hang my clothes as seems "natural" - arranged with all like-colors together. Like a rainbow. Like they should be. I usually have my closet door open (though I prefer it closed, Whiskers hates closed doors and I'm a wee bit lazy about closing it) and it's just aesthetically pleasing to see a rainbow, not a mess of mish-mash colors thrown together. And it helps with my morning time-to-get-dressed efficiency if I know exactly where to find the red v-neck and brown cardigan.

This is my closet today:
I am obviously not a clothes whore.
These are all work clothes (minus the flannel/sweatshirt section on the far right which exempt from the color scheme). T-shirts and big winter sweaters (ones I hate) are folded and tucked away.

SO - this system has worked fairly well for years now, but recently I realized - my system might be broken!! Maybe it always has been.

I find that most mornings, I'm pushing clothes aside that are not part of my bi-weekly mix of outfits because a) they are not really the right season and are for exceptional days or b) I just don't like wearing them for whatever reason (aka they aren't comfortable).

And this is where the system falls apart.

Why not rearrange everything on a scale of wearability? And have the clothes I usually wear in one entire section, and the clothes I don't really wear often on the other side of the closet. And then if it's a special occasion and I need to wear a shirt that fits the day but isn't one I normally want to wear-I just head for the non-everyday work section. But on most days, I'll be able to find something quite easily because I have an entire section which is part of the rotation of clothes! BINGO!!! Right???

This is a big step for me...I've had the same type of closet atmosphere for years and breaking up the color coding scheme will be a big step. I need your love and support and guidance to do it. Are you with me?

What do all of you do with your closet?

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