Wednesday, March 28, 2012

That Bitch Stole My Golden Egg!

I knew when word got out that the salon I frequent (Lords and Ladies) was holding an adults-only egg hunt in which the top prizes were a $500 and $100 gift card that it may attract a lot of attention.  And, I knew the odds were against me to pick up one of these top prize eggs.  What I didn’t know (and really, I should have known it) was the frenzied mayhem that would accompany such an event.

The rainy conditions did little to dampen the enthusiasm of the women and men flocking to the sight of the hunt which piggy backed on Exeter township’s children’s egg scramble.  Oh, it was all nice and polite while the children divided into their age groups and awaited the countdown to commence gathering eggs.  Their parents held umbrellas, snapped precious pictures and reminded their children to be polite while gathering their stash of plastic multi-colored eggs containing chocolate and the occasional prize ticket.   Each age group waited patiently for their turn and proceeded at a steady rate when it was time to go.
“If only we could get them to pick up their rooms this well,” parents joked congenially with one another.
My three enjoying a rainy day at the egg hunt.

I was one of those parents acting like such a good mama to brave the weather so my children could have this experience - so they could one day have idyllic memories of their childhood … uh, yeah right!  I had a hair appointment the next day - full highlights, cut, the works – so I was there to grab my golden egg to financial bliss. 

To up our chances for a big win, I brought my parents (my mom could have that $500 gift card spent in one visit!) and a friend with two boys nearly the same ages as my children.  At first, the grassy area designated for the grown-up egg hunt looked inviting and fun.  The shiny gold colored eggs dotted the ground and a few people circled around them.  Five minutes before the start, a crowd – approximately half the residents of the township and the surrounding area - pressed into a tight circle three or four people deep.  My mom scooped an egg between her feet Emperor Penguin style.

Here's me in the blue rain jacket and my mom in yellow moments before the insanity!

Before the start, we were asked to take ten steps back which caused the egg between my mom’s feet to be left behind.  Big Mistake!  The woman beside us had scooted an egg back with her – ugh!  Too late now.

Game on!  The egg, our egg that we left behind, sat nearly four feet away.  More eggs were scattered out towards the middle.  My friend had been lost in the crowd in a different location.  My mom and I devised a plan.  I would go for the near egg.  My mom would shoot for the middle.  An announcement was made that each participant could collect a total of three eggs and no more.  I knew I’d be lucky to get the one in front of me, let alone three of them.

Countdown: 3, 2, 1 … I ran, one step, two steps, reaching forward, inches from the golden egg … and …. and … blocked! A young, lean, tall twenty-something girl dove, I mean like there-was-a-pool-in-front-of-her dove head first for the egg, my golden egg, and snatched it firm in her grasp.  She had a milli-second to celebrate her victory before five woman came diving, tripping, falling and literally piling on top of her.

My father had stood back to watch us while attending to my children and my friend’s children.  Before retirement, he had been a junior high football coach, so you can imagine his disappointment in watching his daughter throwing up her hands up in the air and wildly kicking her feet while yelling, “Oh My God!  Oh My God!  I’m going to die!”

My mom made it unscathed into the middle where in a matter of ten seconds, every egg had been picked up.  She returned empty handed and questioned my own empty hands to which I calmly, er well, explained:

“That bitch stole my golden egg!” 

And, honestly, I lost track of her to know what was inside it.  I do know that it wasn’t the $500 gift card because a husband had muscled his way through the fray to win this prize for his wife.  Meanwhile, my friend did collect one golden egg which contained a $10 coupon towards a future visit.  Since she doesn’t frequent this salon and had been on the hunt for big money to put towards a facial, so she graciously and charitably passed the coupon on to me! 

Now, hop forward one year later to "The Redemption of the Golden Egg" - click here:

The next day I used my $10 coupon and learned that the hunt had made the newspaper.  The Reading Eagle article is totally worth seeing for the comical picture alone!  Here’s the link:

Plus a video had been taken from afar of the hunt.  The salon (Lords and Ladies) put it up on their facebook page- you'll have to scroll down the page a bit:  

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Smiley Face

Do you see the smiley? 

As a person who adds a :) smiley prolifically to her e-mails, texts and Facebook interactions, I became enamored when I learned that someone had published a children's book on the subject of finding "smileys", The Smiley Book of Colors by Ruth Kaiser.

And, even better, if I uploaded a "smiley picture" to the author's website, I could help a good cause, Operation Smile, a charity that benefits children with facial deformities.  For anyone interested, the website is Spontaneous Smiley: and you can share your smiley picts under the tab, "Share Your Smiley".

Well, being a self-proclaimed feel-good blog, I had to grab my camera and go on a "smiley" search. 
Plus, check out them out on Pinterest: on the board entitled "Feel-good Fun Stuff ". 

Smile!  (Also, it happens to be picture day for my twins.  I hope they have their smiley faces on, too!)

If you upload a smile, I'd love to see what you've found!  Add it to my Author Page at:

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Swan Lake … or actually, Pond

About a week ago, I was watching for my son’s bus to arrive while he searched for a missing shoe.  As I gazed over at the pond situated across the street from my house, I jumped back at the sight of two large white birds.  “What the hell is that?”

The morning had been brilliantly bright and the sunlight reflecting off the water had been nearly blinding.  As I squinted, the long necked silhouettes glided to an area where I could more easily see them.  “What are they? Snow Geese?”

My son returned and took a look as well.  “They look like those big white birds in Morgantown.”

And then, I realized what they were – Swans!  I grabbed my camera and stepped out into the chilly morning, red plaid flannel pajama pants and all.  I waved to my neighbor leaving for work which reminded me that I may look a little silly running around outside in my pajamas and oh so fashionable purple Crocs.  But, I had to, had to, had to capture them in a photo before they flew away. Only, they didn’t leave.

The pictures I was able to get are okay.  I mean, I’m no nature photographer.  And anyway, I don’t know how anyone gets nature to cooperate.  For one thing, they don’t stand still and they don’t take direction very well.  (For a moment there, it felt like I was describing a photo session with my children!)

The pond across the street had been a major selling point when my husband and I first purchased our home over a decade ago.  The house was older and small, but not without its charms.  We had big plans to put on a fancy addition which has yet to happen.  Somehow our savings went into other “projects” like electrical work, a new heating/cooling system and the stock we first put into diapers that’s now been diverted into a massive collection of Legos and Barbies.  And yet, we still have the long, tall (though not energy efficient) windows facing out to an ever changing view of water, trees and wildlife.

And so, I have been enamored by our new addition to the scenery. 

The swans have become like new pets that I don’t have to worry about feeding, cleaning or taking to the vet.  I learned that their orange beaks indicate that they are Mute Swans.  Every now and then, they would do their little swan mating dance.  (They seem to have kept doing “the nasty” to the other end of the pond, which is fine by me.)  The swans do this head bobbing thing and then, they face one another creating a heart shape with their heads and necks - And, I thought that was something totally made up to sell Valentine’s Day cards!

Well, as I am sitting here typing this post, the pair of swans took flight.  Can you f-ing believe it?  They packed their swan bags and up and left.  I would have snapped a picture of them tree top flying over my house if my camera battery hadn’t died.  They left and I didn’t get a chance to properly name them.  I was thinking Shakespeare like Romeo and Juliet or royalty like William and Katherine or Hollywood like Brad and Angelina or hip-hop like Beyonce and Jay Z.  I was hoping they would build a nest and delight us all with little ones.   

Oh well, maybe they’ll return.  If not, I thank this un-named swan couple for the calming, stress-busting diversion of their presence. 

To learn more about Muted Swans, check out this site of a pond in Canada where the swans actually stuck around for more than a week.  The bottom of the site’s page tells a witness account of how territorial male swans tend to be.  I was reading it thinking, “Oh my God, why am I reading this?  This story is awful!  Look away before it gets worse!”  And then, the end turns out just fine, which had me saying, “You go girl!”  It’s worth checking out:

Hey!  My author page has 17 likes - awesome :)  Always welcoming more thumbs up at:

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

As Heard at Book Club

One of the best choices I’ve made over the past year has been to join a book club.  Every few weeks, I take a night for myself to join The Wine & Cackle Book Club.   Though the places we meet and the choice of book changes each time, there’s always a wonderful group of fine ladies and fascinating, thought provoking discussions.

Recently, we met in the lovely, approximately century old - with I'd say a Victorian feel - home of this month’s hostess.  We pulled a hodge-podge assortment of chairs into a circular formation in her inviting living room bearing a full wall of books and loaded our hostess’s collection of pink depression era glass plates with cheeses, fruit, crackers and sweets.  With the addition of the resident pooch made honorary book club mascot, Bruno (a big name for his small breed, shih tzu), we launched into our group conversation.

We began with broadening most club members’ vocabulary.
“So, has anyone been to dirty bingo?  When you get bingo, you shout out terms like Eiffel Tower.”
“How’s Eiffel Tower dirty?”
“Look it up in the Urban Dictionary”
“I learn a new word a day.  Is it like that?”
“Not quite.”
Someone had access to the internet and we learned some new terms including “Santorum” which was definitely created by a person that is not a fan of the Republican delegate and “Dirty Sanchez”.  Let’s just say, I abruptly downed my wine and gave up on snacking until the subject changed.

Next, we conceded that although we are a book club, we’re not continually reading.  Sometimes we do engage in televised programs.  We discussed the finer points of American Idol and Jersey Shore.  After acknowledging LA Ink’s series finale, we learned more about the members of the group with a lovely break-the-ice type question.
“Who here has a tattoo and where is it?”
Our hostess’s husband had the unfortunate timing of walking through the room.  We learned that he had branded himself while overseas in the navy with “USA Grade A Meat” on his left (or was it his right) butt cheek.  We never found out for sure, since he sprinted from the room and never returned!

Eventually, after a second refill of my wine glass, we did discuss the book.  What book?  Oh yeah, Room by Emma Donoghue. 
Here’s a mini-review derived from our discussion:
“I’m glad it was told from the five year-old’s perspective.  Otherwise it would have been too much to take.”
“It was too much for me.  I hated it and couldn’t finish.”
“I loved it and thought it was fascinating.”
“What was with the mom?”
“She was amazing when they were trapped in the room and then, the second half …”
“Post traumatic stress?”

Eventually we broke into mini conversations.  It was nice to catch up with an old friend (to clarify: she’s not old, I just knew her for over ten years) and with another book club member, I learned about the fascinating cyber world of Pinterest. 

Before saying our good-byes, we picked a new host out of names of those in attendance written on little squares of paper.
“If you get picked, do you have a book in mind?”
“Actually, no.  I’m not good at making decisions.”
“It wasn’t you.”
So, no hosting duties for me next round of book club.  But, hopefully as long as life doesn’t get in the way, I’ll be attending and partaking in the many, varied, never dull conversations!  (I just might share it all here again!)

I was among the last to leave.  Before leaving, we asked, “Is this place haunted?”  It had that haunted look that older homes tend to inspire.  The hostess informed us that although she personally had had no encounters, her husband and her daughter have sensed a presence.  A few years back, they had a medium go through the home.  This woman relayed that a child had died here and his lifeless body had been laid out in the same room where we had held our meeting!  In addition to the boy’s ghost, there's apparently a spirit of an older woman who looks out for the boy and a ghost of a woman wearing a red dress. 

The last two of us left the home a little spooked to say the least.
“Check to see if anyone’s in your backseat.”
“I’m always worried about things like that at night!”
“Now I’m scared too!”
We drove to our respective homes following each other while casting suspicious glances into our vacant back seats.

If you are interested, here’s the link for the Urban Dictionary (disclaimer: this content is not for the young or easily offended):

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Special thanks to the Wine & Cackle Book Club founder, Jen Hall, for the inspiration of this post and many helpful suggestions.