Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Here We Go!

Are you ready? The clock strikes midnight here on the East coast of the United States of America in less than an hour. To our friends in Japan - "Happy New Year!" To our friends in Europe, Africa, other parts of Asia and Russia, "Happy New Year!"  The new year is creeping closer by the minute and we are ready!  Are you ready?  We hear the fireworks all around and the energy is rising!  We are ready!!!! Ready!!! Ready!!!

2013 has been a crazy year!  I want to 
call it a year of discovery.  We have watched our monkeys discover what it means to be 21, 20, 15, 13, 9 and 4 years old.  We have discovered new friendships and reconnected with old friends.  We have discovered what it was like to live in New York City for the summer.  We have discovered more and more each day what it means to love and be loved!

So, here's to 2014!  What does this year have in store?  My hope is that we will laugh everyday until our sides hurt, love deeper and stronger than we ever thought possible, and that we will all be healthy, strong and able to help others in need with reckless abandonment.  Woo Hoo!!!  Let's get this party started!!!

Thank you to all of you for being devoted readers of "This and That".  I love our community!  Happy New Year!!!

Goodbye 2013! 

Hello 2014!



Monday, December 16, 2013

Where Have All the Candy Canes Gone?

Marble Pound Cake Inkblot Personality Test.

I'm trying to get into the Christmas spirit.  No really, I am, but there are just a few things that are weighing me down.  Well, maybe more than a few...

1.  Egg nog.  Yes, egg nog is definitely weighing me down.  So, I tried low fat eggnog and it ticked me off because it's gross.  Get a life, low fat eggnog!

2.  Those reindeer antler things that people put on their cars.  Because cars look exactly like reindeer.

3. Christmas lights on cars.  Blink, blink, blink.  Distracted, distracted, just ran a red light, distracted. Blink, blink, blink.

4.  Christmas music.  Pleeease make it stop! My ears are bleeding!

5.  Did someone highjack a cargo ship en route from China carrying candy canes and Starlight mints? Were there some pirates on the high seas that needed a peppermint fix?  Because I can't seem to find peppermint anything anywhere this year.

6.  In my fruitless search for candy canes, I did find Christmas Candy Corn and Snowman Peeps.  I now consider both traders to their original holidays.  What's next? Cadbury Cream Ornaments (Please don't tell me if these are already on the market.  It will ruin me.)

7.  Speaking of fruitless...fruitcake.  That's all I have to say about that.

8.  Plastic nativity lawn ornaments. Poor Plastic Baby Jesus bakes in the sun by day and glows in the most eerie way by night.

9. Red and green together is an aesthetic assault.

10.  Sugar cookie dough = scrumptious!  Sugar cookie frosting = suspicious!  Red dye #3, 5, 7 and 9 anyone?

11. Christmas Traffic.  T=Turns, R=Random A=Adult, F=Fellows and F=Females I=Into, C=Crazed lunatics.

12.  Malls.  M=Mad, A=Adult, L=Looney, L=Lunatics, S=Shopping

13.  Santa's White Christmas, Pepperminty, Creme brûlée, White Chocolate Snowman-y, Sugar Cinna-Cookie, Gingerbread Baby, Egg Noggin', Cool Mint Evergreen Spearmint Mocha-chinos for $5 are really, really weighing me down.

Hugs (but only air hugs because I have a head cold and I don't want to spread anymore Christmas cheer than I already have),


P.S.  Please make my day and add to the list.  I want to know what's weighing you down this Christmas season.

Come Laugh at...er...With Me!

This Wednesday night, dos days from today, we are going to have tons o' fun at SAK Comedy Lab in downtown Orlando!

If you need a break from the holiday crazy, then the Level 1 Comedy Showcase at SAK is the place to be on Wednesday, December 18 at 7 PM. Heck, you can even bring those rogue relatives from out of town with you because at $5 a ticket, the price is right. 

So, gather up your second cousins twice-removed and that dude that claims he is your great Uncle George, and make your way to SAK Comedy Lab.

We guarantee an hour of fun and laughs. After that, you're on your own with Aunt Helen's fruitcake and Grandpa Dick's "Country Christmas" harmonica medley.

To order tickets, get directions, etc., etc.:




Monday, November 25, 2013

I'm Sitting - A Rap

I'm sitting. When I shouldn't be sitting, oh! Drinking what I shouldn't be drinking, no! Thinking what I shouldn't be thinking, so! 

I'm sitting. Sippin' a twelth cup of jo, yo! Hope'in it makes me go, oh! Down to the Costco, whoa!

I'm sitting. Keep sayin' "Hey, no!" I don't wanna go, yo!" To Costco, oh! It's too loco, so!"

I'm sitting. Wonderin', "Hey, so? On Thanksgiving Day, oh! Will my family say, 'Um, whoa! What's up with the hotdogs, yo?'. If I don't go to Costco, oh!"

I'm sitting. When I shouldn't be sitting, oh! Drinking what I shouldn't be drinking, no! Thinking what I shouldn't be thinking, so! 


The artist formerly known and currently still known as Melissa

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Baby Riot!

Being a sound designer and composer, Pete has the opportunity to work on some really cool projects. In my opinion, he is a total sound stud!  I mean, he won an Academy Award for Sound Design on the movie Braveheart for goodness sakes.  You can read more about Pete's work here.

Recently, a friend of Pete's named Paul Cuoco asked Pete to do sound design for a Doritos "Crash the Superbowl" commercial contest.  You guys, this commercial is super funny and it sounds awesome.  Seriously, what could be cuter than a baby riot?

Check it out and please vote for "Baby Riot!"

Baby Riot!www.doritos.comSubmitted From: United States Baby gates and Dads can’t stop the determination of a trio of babies when it comes to getting their mitts on the bold cheesy taste of Doritos.

Here is a behind the scenes picture peek at our youngest monkey girl doing a voice over for the commercial...

She's the voice of the blonde baby boy at the end of the commercial making the "Mmmm" sound.

Awesome work, Paul, Pete and the whole cast and crew of "Baby Riot!"  Good luck!



Saturday, November 23, 2013

We Have A Winner!!!

Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who left us comments, shared, and liked "This and That". How fun!

We would like to especially thank, Jenny Rofkahr! Girlfriend, you just won yourself a $50 Amazon Gift Card!!! Woooohooo!!!

Please FB message me with your email and I will send you a link to the loot! Congratulations!



Me, just showing how much "I love you!" in chocolate (dark and milk, just to be thorough)!
Holy Cannoli!  I can not believe that I have been blogging for three years now!  Three fun, quirky, exciting, awesome years of blogging!  Hopefully, you have enjoyed this journey as much as I have.  If I have managed to make you crack a smile or two throughout the past three years, well, then it was all worth it.

I know that there have been some more serious moments here on the blog too, but that is how it all just seems to flow.  This blog is sort of a barometer of my moods, a musing of sorts, a place to be reflective and all out goofy at the same time.  That's how we roll!

So, thank you for being here for the past three years!  Thank you for sharing "This and That" with others.  I love this community!

As a little birthday present to "This and That" and a HUGE thank you present to you, we are having a birthday giveaway!  Here's the skinny (and trust me, it's the only thing skinny around here :-) ):

From this moment until November 30, 2013 at 11:59 PM, please visit  The "This and That" FaceBook Page, be sure to "Like" our page, "Share" our page, and leave a comment.  OR, if you are not a FaceBook user (you are smarter than the rest of us :-) ), please leave a comment at the bottom of this post (you will have to become a follower of "This and That" to do so). I would love to hear what your favorite post on "This and That" was this past year or any other year for that matter.

Then, on December 1, 2013, a winner will be randomly selected to receive....

A $50 Amazon Gift Card!!!  It will be emailed to you, and you can spend it any way your little heart desires. 

The winner will be announced on the blog on December 1, 2013.

Once again, thank you for making blogging so much fun.  Now, go spend time with your family, eat a ton of turkey,  Deck the Halls (but, try not to deck Uncle Gus when he drinks too much egg nog and knocks over your collection of rare antique glass ornaments.), and Be Merry (no really, Be Merry, dang it!).

P.S. This is not an endorsement or a paid thingy for me.  Amazon does not even know that I exist (although I have been called an Amazon woman from time to time by Pete, when I have gone three months without shaving my legs, but that is really more than you cared to know).  Sorry, sometimes I just share too much. 

P.S.S. Also, please just leave one comment per follower. That means your brother Daryl and your other brother Daryl will have to comment on their own.



Monday, November 18, 2013

Be. Still. My. Heart!

Seriously, seriously I am one proud Momma Monkey over here!  Our oldest son has just released his first music video of his first song!  We are so, so proud!  My heart just pounds in my chest every time I watch this and hear his sweet voice.  I know that he is a grown man, but I can still call his voice sweet, because I am his momma!

Gosh, I remember how shy he was when he was a little monkey.  Then as he grew older, he was less shy, but very humble.  In fact, we did not even realize he could sing until he was in high school.  We knew that he was a wonderful pianist, thanks to genetics and an awesome piano teacher (That's you, Joanna!).  We were really jazzed up that he taught himself to play the guitar while in high school.  But, what totally floored us was that he could sing, really well.  Our worship leader, Carol, auditioned him and gave him a position on the worship team.  She really encouraged him and believed in him and he gained more and more confidence.  Today, he is the worship leader at our church.  God has really gifted our guy and he is so faithful to use the gift of music to encourage others.  We love his heart for worship!  We love his music! We are so, so, so proud of you, Alex!

And to put the icing on the cake, Alex asked our middle monkey boy to film, direct, and produce his music video.  It turned out so FANTASTIC!!! Hey, Middle Monkey! Have we told you lately that you rock? Because you do!  Thank you for teaming up with your big bro!  What a dream team you two are!

But wait!  There's more!  Our super talented nephew, Corey (Alkamist) produced the song!  Could it possibly get any better than that? Corey, you also rock the house!

So without further adieu, please enjoy "Carry You Home"  by Alex Lehman.:

Carry You Home "Single" - Alex Lehman m.youtube.comMusic video for Alex Lehman's single, "Carry You Home." Video production: Aaron Lehman Song production: Corey Lehman (Alkamist)

Be sure to click on the link above to view the video.

Be. Still. My. Heart!



Sunday, November 17, 2013


Sometimes it's the simplest things in life that just enrapture me. Things like:

A crisp fall morning...

A table full of family and friends...

A beautiful birthday girl...


Young love...

58 years of love...

Sweet sisters...

Goofy grandsons...

Cheeky monkeys...

And someone to share it all with...



Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Dear Mr. Middle Finger

Dear Mr. Middle Finger,

When I woke up today, I thought that I was in the United States of America.  So please try to imagine my surprise when I got on the road and drove what I thought was the posted speed limit of 65 (give or take 10) miles per hour, only to find you driving right on the tail end of my car.  So, I thought to myself, "Whoa!  We must be in Germany today!  Whoops!  This isn't the 408 in Orlando, Florida, it's the German Freaking Autobahn!  My bad!"  Of course, by the time I had realized my faux pas, you were already in the lane beside me getting ready to pass me by.

Oh, and was that your middle finger that you offered my way?  Well, here is where I will have to let you know that despite your driving prowess and your rather forward offer, I am indeed taken.  Might I suggest to you a less forward approach with the ladies?  A kinder, gentler gesture of sorts.

Or maybe I could offer you some helpful advice..."Slow down!"  Oh and, you can stick that middle finger where the sun doesn't shine.  What?  I meant in your ear.  Oh ye, with the dirty mind!



P.S.  My 5 year old could drive circles around you and then he could kick you in the shin.  That is, if  we condoned violent behavior, which we don't, but I'm just letting you know.)

Sunday, November 10, 2013

It's Time for Another Adventure...

If you have been playing along with us here on "This and That"  you will know that we like to have adventures.  A couple of years ago, I tried out for a theatre group and we dialogued through that process together.  It was a great experience!  I would do it again in a heartbeat!  You can read about it here, here, here, and here.

Then, there was this past summer, when Pete and I took the monkeys to New York City and stayed in Harlem for a month.  Fun times!  We enjoyed sharing those memories with you and all of your awesome suggestions and comments. Thank you!

And now, friends, I have decided to do something really "stretchy".  Which means basically that I am stepping or stretching outside of my little comfort zone and into...the comedy zone.  I am officially enrolled at SAK University and have taken a couple of classes already this month.   It is very challenging and I am a sweaty mess after each class.  It is crazy fun!  It's the highlight of my week!

Image credit:  SAK Comedy Lab

So, friends, are you up for a challenge?  Do you have something that you have been wanting to try or do? Maybe it's auditioning for a singing group (ahem, Autumn...), learning how to drive a stick shift, traveling to a foreign country, making your grandma's famous lasagna,  yodeling, juggling, drawing, sky diving,  brewing your own beer, starting a non-profit, writing a screen play, whatever, whatever, whatever...

My challenge to you is to go. for. it!  But first, if you want to share please tell us about it here on "This and That".  We want to cheer you on!

You can leave comments on the blog or on our FB page.  What are you waiting for?



Saturday, November 9, 2013

Pet Peeves

Pet peeve-

pet peeve is a minor annoyance that an individual identifies as particularly annoying to them, to a greater degree than others may find it.

Call me cynical, critical, or compulsive, but, oh man do I have a lot of pet peeves.  Ya'll ready for this...

My pet peeves include:

Weird mouth noises of any kind - slurping, smacking, clicking, sucking, ticking, clucking, or any variations of these sounds

Feet- oh gosh, I hate feet.  I especially hate it when someone touches my feet or WORSE their feet touch my feet. Worst. feeling. ever.

Unannounced visitors- I love to visit with people, just not when I may or may not have brushed my teeth yet, or gotten dressed, or woken up .

Getting my teeth cleaned - because they always, always feel so weird afterwards.  Like someone else replaced your teeth with their teeth.

Someone else using my toothbrush.  Sick!

When the last person to use the bathroom doesn't replace the toilet paper.

Unnecessary labels left on things.  It bugs me to no end.

Talking during movies, plays, or other public functions where you are suppossed to be quiet.

Those ultra-sticky, rip your skin off, bandaids that they put on your arm after a shot.

Old potpourri

When my foot falls asleep.  Or worse, when I sleep on my ear at night and it falls asleep.

When I can hear my heartbeat when I am trying to go to sleep.  It's distracting.

Loud grunting sounds when people are lifting weights at the gym. Awkward!

When you are talking to someone and they start talking to someone else mid-sentence.

The way car seat belts dig into your neck while you are driving.

Squeaky sneakers

Squeaky or slamming doors when you are trying to sleep

Random screaming, screeching, or other loud noises.

Those freaking car horns that sound like train horns.  They freak me out every time!

Listening to sales pitches.  I hate saying no.

When the delivery guy rings the door bell and your baby is sleeping (even though there is a sign on the door saying NOT to ring the door bell)

Fake cheese on food

The smell of red onions.  Or worse the smell of red onions mixed with Big Red gum.  Don't ask.

Jim Lehrer's voice

Okay friends, it your turn.  What pet peeves do you have?  Do share. You can leave a comment on the blog or on our FB page.

In my best Jim Lehrer voice, "Go!"



Friday, November 8, 2013

Go Ahead, Make My Day!

Happy, happy Friday, friends!  Are you ready for the weekend?  I sure am!  What kind of plans to do have?

Me?  I am taking a one-way train to crazy town over here with all the pre-holiday activities.  Who knew November was the new December?  I am starting to wonder if I missed Thanksgiving?  No wait, it's still on the calendar. Gotta get that turkey (I so do not enjoy that part of Thanksgiving).  Here and here are a couple of posts from holidays past to kick off the weekend on the right weird side.

Speaking of kicking off stuff, I am totally thrilled that the new FaceBook page for "This and That" has had such a warm welcome!  I love that we can build up this community and have more people to laugh with.  So, if you have "liked" our page on FB, thank you!  And if you haven't "liked" our page, well, it would just make my day if you did.  Just click on our handy, dandy FB link over there-------------------> and press the "like" button.  You don't even have to be a Facebooker?, Facebookie?, Facebookler? to "like" the page.

Wow, could I say "like" much more?  I feel like a Valley Girl, for sure! If you don't know what a Valley Girl is, that is okay.  It just means that you are young and I am old.  If you do know what a Valley Girl is, you are old too.

So, whether you're young or old, a Valley Girl or not, thank you for reading "This and That".  Please feel free to share it with the universe.  The more the monkeyer!



Can You Build Sandcastles in the Desert?

Human monkey children are quite precocious creatures.  Over the years, our monkeys have said some really hysterical stuff and asked some quirky questions.  Here is a sampling:

Little Monkey:  "Mom, when I turn 20 my name will be Franklin.
Me:  "But your name is Andrew.."
Little Monkey:  "Andrew is a kid's name."

Little Monkey:  "Can you build sandcastles in the dessert?"
Me:  "No, because there is not enough water to mix with the sand."

Funny story here...this summer in New York, Little Monkey was playing in a sand box at the park.  There were a handful of other kids in the sand box and all of their moms were sitting on the edge watching them play. Little Monkey suddenly got a very strange look on his face, and I didn't think much about it until about 2 minutes later when I noticed that the front of his shorts were suspiciously wet and a few moms were ushering their kiddos out of the sand box. I wanted to bury my head right then and there in that sand. Parenthood is so humbling.

Oh, and after the sand box "incident" there was plenty of moisture in the sand box to build a sand castle.  EEEWWW!

Little Monkey:  "My underwear has a secret pocket."

Youngest Monkey Girl:  "Love is operation, it's like a temptation thingy."

Youngest  Monkey Girl:  "Crunchy Crotch" A.K.A. "Country Crock"  This was always a fun one to explain to dinner guests ;-).

Middle Monkey Girl:  Lyrics to "Funky Town" - "Taco body, Taco body, Taco body, glueby, gluebin"

Little Monkey:  "Was Dad a grown up when I was born?"  "Dad was born in 1860."

Youngest Monkey Girl:  When she finished a semester of ballet - "My dancing career is over."

Middle Monkey Boy:  "Green Crackers"  A.K.A "Green Bay Packers"

How about you friends?  Do you have any funny monkey quotes or moments to share?



Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Today's Confessions...

Today, I threw away 10 fun-sized candy bar wrappers and an empty box of Nerds from *my purse. *Emphasis on my. 

Today, I took the car to get the oil changed.  I don't like getting the oil changed. I have an irrational fear that I will drive the car into the underground work bay.  I doesn't help that there is some dude flagging you into the bay, pointing frantically to the left, to the LEFT, TO THE LEFT!!!

Today, I felt like I drank 5 cups of coffee, because I did.

Today, I washed the same load of laundry twice because I didn't want to start a new load.  Don't even try to figure this one out.

Today, I clipped one of my toenails too short. It hurt.

Today, I tried on 4 different pairs of pants before I could leave the house .  Two words:  Fun-sized.

Today, I lip-synced "Roar" while driving.   Someone clapped for me at a red light.

Today, I took a "15 minute power nap" for 60 minutes.

Today, I sneezed 100 times while tweezing my eyebrows.  Does this happen to anyone else?

And finally,

Today, I said, "Love you" as I hung up the phone with the vet technician.

Yep, today was just one of those todays.

How about you friends?  Any confessions for today?



Monday, November 4, 2013

Some Things In Life Just Make Me Smile - Japanese Edition

We love Japan!  Over the years, through business travel to Japan and hosting Japanese college students we have formed some really awesome friendships.  One thing that I especially love about Japanese culture is the quirkiness.  It just makes me smile when I see things like...

 Ahhh! Smooth as a...as a...somehow "baby's butt" just doesn't fit here.

Because nothing is more soothing than a sharp razor blade on the jugular vein.

Do not mess with the chef!  He will go all sumo on you!

A kinder, gentler King Kong...

Sometimes you just need a salad now. On the double! Move it people! 

Don't even think about leaving without paying!  The kitchen ninja is watching!  Always watching! And he might bite you with his freakishly huge teeth. 

It's not mediocre English.  It's perfect and it's certified.  Boom!

As long as it's an iron plate.  

Because nine inch heels always work well on motor scooters.



Sunday, November 3, 2013

Elvis Is a Renaissance Man

I took the monkey girls to the Lady of the Lakes Renaissance Faire yesterday.  Do you like how I spelled fair the fancy way, "faire"? A "faire" is one step up from a "fair" in that it does not have the spin and puke ride or fried Twinkies (although it did have funnel cakes).  A "faire" is like a "fair's" sophisticated older cousin.

It was a beautiful day to be outside, if you had on a bathing suit.  Which we didn't because it's supposed to be fall here, even though it is a gazillion degrees outside. No one should be wearing a bathing suit in the fall, especially at a Renaissance Faire.  I bet the volunteers at the faire wished that they could wear bathing suits.  They had to wear heavy medieval period style clothing.

Stuff like this....

and this...

The monkeys enjoyed this cultural experience quite a lot.  They made things like golden rings.

They shot arrows.

We even watched a falconry demonstration.  It was really interesting and slightly stressful because one of the birds decided it had had enough and flew away.  There's nothing quite like a disgruntled falcon.  It's kind of hard to watch a falcon demonstration without a falcon to demonstrate.

One person in the crowd didn't let some silly A.W.O.L. falcon shake him up.  He was cool a  cucumber in his blue suede shoes.  Elvis is apparently a renaissance man! Who knew?

I am happy to report that the falcon did return eventually.   Elvis however, has left the building.