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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Attended A Soap-Making Class: CHECK!!!

Every month I receive a new Learning Connection catalog.  The Learning Connection is a "school" where you can learn just about anything: How to Get Michelle Obama Arms, Knitting for Beginners, Home Finances 101, Short Story Writing, Ghost Tours, Italian Cooking, etc. I've taken only a couple of classes. I always try to get friends to do it with me and someone always bails.  But I was determined to take the soap-making class.  Now...to pick up my friend.

"Marci - what time should I pick you up for the class tonight?"

"Oops - I can't make it.  Cultural Night at the school tonight. Totally forgot."

Shit.  I had to do it alone.  Listen - I've gone to NYC and back...alone, so why couldn't I go to a simple class alone, right? 

I pulled up to the home of Malinda Colletta, co-owner of Professor Chef in North Providence where the class was being held. As usual, I was running late, but I was psyched when I saw a young guy running for the door.  Woohoo!  He was late too - awesome! We both bullshitted each other ("Oh, I got a little lost in the neighborhood." "Ohhh, me too!") Finally, the last student showed up and the class began. (She was REALLY late which made us feel like we were on time.  Not sure how that works, but anyway...)

I learned the following:
  • Lye + water = HOT AND TOXIC!!!
  • Goat farmers are interesting (that was the third student from Sweet Goat Farm)
  • Ordering lye can land you on a government "naughty" list - make sure you are making SOAP!
  • No matter how good the soap smells, you cannot eat it - no, really.
Hardening Soap
Hardened & Sliced

We made a Crock Pot Hot Process (CPHP) Apple Pie-Scented Soap that was absolutely intoxicating.  If I didn't know any better, I would have eaten the soap for sure.  All 3 of us got to take a tub of soap home to harden overnight, had the opportunity to make Bath Fizzies with a lavender scent and got the recipe for homemade laundry detergent.  It was so much fun and it felt awesome to learn something new! 

I can't give you the bath soap recipe as I'm no pro and I'm still learning.  But you can save a fortune using the following recipe for laundry detergent. 

LAUNDRY SOAP 
(Can be used in High Efficiency washers)
  • 1 Bar of Fels Naptha - (approx. $1.49)
  • 1 Cup of Borax (Look for 12 Mule Borax) - (approx. $3.00)
  • 1 Cup of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda (approx. $3.00)
  • All of these items are available in your laundry detergent aisle at the grocery story
Using your vegetable grater, grate the whole bar of fels naptha. Thoroughly add and stir together the other ingredients.  Enjoy!!!  Just add 2 tablespoons of your homemade detergent to each load of laundry.  Wicked money saver.


MORAL OF THE STORY: Take a class.  Who cares how goofy or silly it seems?  You can learn something new, meet new people, and come away with a cool new hobby!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Me, My Motorcycle, & My First Motorcycle Run

I got the fever.  Motorcycle fever, that is.  And not the kind where you want to jump on the back of a bike with a crazed lunatic and hit every bar and encounter at least one brawl before headed home to the trailer home either.  Nope - I got "motorcycle fever" last year when my husband took me on the Toys for Tots run.

Every year, the RI Motorcycle Association and the USMC Reserve holds a Toys for Tots Motorcycle run/fundraiser out of the Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI) parking lot. Last year was very cold which meant mittens, scarf, and lots of layers.  But it was amazing - from the thunderous sound of all the bikes to the hundreds of people lined up on the sides of the roads to the sight of 1,000 plus motorcycles all riding in unison.  Some bikes even carried teddy bears on the backs as passengers giving the rough riders a hint of "softness."  I was hooked and really wanted to ride on my own.

Me and my big mouth.  No sooner did I mention my desire, and "the guys" began their hunt for the perfect motorcycle for me.  Within weeks, I had a black 2003 Suzuki Intruder Volusia and the heat was on to get my motorcycle license.  I signed up for the classes and took the class along with 20 other first-timers - 3 of whom were girls.  It was fun, it was exhilarating, and it was a sore subject for my family.  That part sucked.



So I rode all spring, summer, and fall - around the neighborhood, throughout town, through neighboring towns, to ice cream parlors, etc.  On rare occasion, my husband and I rode with other people, but I wanted to be experienced enough that I wasn't a threat to others around me.

Then in September, I was injured in a soccer game which seemed to mean "no motorcycle for Kimmy."  But I healed up well enough and soon October 16th came.  I couldn't wait for the Toys for Tots run.  It was gorgeous weather - 65 degrees, sunny, and we rode to CCRI with about 15 of our other motorcycle friends.  The entire run was short, but there were over 1,500 bikes this year!  We rode safely and event-free - which sure beats the alternative.  And the best news - there are a whole lot of children who will benefit from the drive and I hope our toys bring lots of smiles.

Which brings us to the next topic - Stay tuned for "Motorcycle Chicks & What Not to Wear."  Seriously - we need to talk!


Monday, October 18, 2010

Wardrobe malfunction? Move Over Janet...

Some people have habits that no one ever knows about: pimple popping, binge eating, hoarding, etc.  But I always seem to have an audience when my habit of "not dressing properly when I don't think anyone will see me" presents itself.

Last spring, I was in a frenzy trying to get my two boys off to school.  The bickering and refusal to do the most menial tasks came to a screaming pitch when one of the boys let the dog out the front door.  No big deal...unless you're only wearing a towel, its trash day, and the trash truck is in front of your house...and the door is locked.  But that was last year. 

Wardrobe Malfunction #2 occured on a rainy Fall school day as I got my middle schooler ready for the bus.  With all that pouring rain, we both decided that it was donut and coffee/chocolate milk day. 

"Mom...you are getting dressed, aren't you?" my son asked.  I looked at my husband's enormous long john pants and my pink monkey t-shirt and slipped on a pair of flip flops.

"Nope.  Who's going to see me?  Let's go."  Famous last words.

So we got our breakfast with my 9 year old wailing in the backseat.  "I hate donuts!  And chocolate milk is disgusting!  Please, please, please, Mom - can't we go to McDonald's after we drop him off at school?"

At the school, I parked the car away from other parents (as I have a habit of talking to everyone) and made my 12 year old run to the door.  Then we headed to McDonald's.  After placing the order at the drive-thru, I drove up and paid...and then drove away...without the food.  What the hell was I going to do?

"Sorry, buddy.  You'll have to run in and grab the food."

"Um...I didn't put any shoes on.  I mean we're going home again, right?"

So in I went wearing my long johns, pink tee shirt (no bra), and flip flops.  There were a couple of snickers from the elderly men gathering for their free coffee.  I didn't dare meet their eyes.  The manager handed me my food with a raised eyebrow and out the door I walked as confidently as one can looking like a complete jackass.  Redfaced, I jumped back in my car, and drove away as fast as I could. 

After picking up his shoes, my little guy and I sat in the car at the busstop together and giggled about what people must have thought of my wardrobe.  Hmmm..."deranged," "weirdo," "porch light's on; no one's home," "DRUNK!", etc.

That's not the end.  I pulled up to my house only to find some water pipe contractors parked in front of my house.  I couldn't pull into my driveway.  What the hell was I going to do?  My office is in my house and I had a conference call in 15 minutes.  After parking in my neighbor's driveway, I tried to sneak into the house carrying my tray of coffee, an orange juice, and a raspberry stick.  I would have made it, but I stepped into a sink hole, stepped on the edge of my long johns, and pants-ed myself.

The contractors did their best to pretend they saw nothing.  But I caught an image of myself in a mirror when I got inside.  They saw my pink underwear with hearts and one hell of a mess.  And no doubt, they now have a story to share with the trash men!

Moral of the story:  Stay in bed on rainy days!

Friday, September 10, 2010

SCORED A GOAL!!! Check...

Once we turn 40, the thought of playing organized sports doesn't even seem feasible.  The reasons?  "I'm too old."  "I've never played before."  "I don't have time."  The biggest one is "I'm so out of shape."

After coaching soccer for many years and watching plenty of youth soccer games, my husband and I decided to start our own co-ed recreational team last winter.  We call ourselves "The Kidney Shots."  The Wide World of Indoor Sports in North Smithfield, RI is a brand new facility that offers a co-ed non-competitive league that consists of men and women who are 18 years old and older. 

A post on Facebook didn't draw any interest and the reasons are listed above as to why no one stepped forward.  After a few calls were placed and a little arm twisting, we organized a bunch of fun, adventurous friends to whom we promised "a good time, lots of laughs, and hey...there's a bar upstairs for after the games!"

Our first game was a real learning experience.  I personally took a ball to the thigh that left an imprint for a week, I fell and got turf burn on both knees (mind you, I fell all by myself with no one near me), and we were so exhausted from running that we dismissed the bar and went home to nurse our wounds...inside and out.  But it was so exhilirating and we were already looking forward to the next game!

We lost as many games as we won that first season.  There were 8 teams and we came in 4th.  We didn't remember the scores, but we remembered heckling each other!  "Perhaps you should shave your back hair so you're more aerodynamic!"  "Did you seriously just kick the ball at our own goal???"  "Nice use of your ass, pal!"  "I just don't have the stamina!"  ("Yeah...that's what your wife said.")  Doh!

The Spring session was even better, and we were all becoming more fit, more confident, and suddenly...our team, whose average age is 40, was becoming "the team to beat" by teams who's average age was 23.  The Kidney Shots finished in 2nd place!

Here we are finishing the Summer session.  Our team is 7-0 with 2 games left.  And last night, I scored my first goal!  Normally a defensive player, I got a great pass from my teammate and helped bring our team to a 10-4 win.  The Kidney Shots are going into the playoffs with high hopes, more stamina, better cardio, and some great memories.  We meet for dinner before or after games on occasion with our kids in tow.  The kids have become best of friends, call one another, and cheer us on at every game.  And we feel good that we're showing them that life doesn't end after 40...it's just a continuation of the journey!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

TATTOO - Check!


September 1st marked the very first item completed on the To Do List of The F in Forties!  As a birthday gift, my husband got me a gift certificate to Sin Alley Tattoo on Benefit Street in Pawtucket, RI. 

How did we choose that particular joint? 
It seems as though everyone has a favorite artist - kind of like when you ask about a good real estate agent, everyone seems to know "the best."  When it comes down to it, if they had a good comfortable experience and they like their tattoo, then it's not necessarily a bad reference.  But when it comes to tattoos, you need to keep in mind that you have it there for the rest of your life - you can't just move out like in a real estate transaction. 

Mike Johnston, an artist at Sin Alley Tattoo, specializes in realism.  His attention to the fine details and his dedication to perfection are purely spectacular.  After seeing a friend's fairy tattoo, I had my mind set that Mike was the one for the job.  And boy...was I ever happy with my choice!

Did it hurt?  Details, Girl!
I walked in those doors cool as a cucumber.  After all, two of my friends (Marci & Amy) were meeting us there for moral support. Then I heard the buzzing of a tattoo needle, and I suddenly felt like I was getting on Space Mountain at Disney for my first time.  "You can't wuss out now, Mama," my husband Andy challenged.  Nope - I'm no quitter. 

Mike looked at the design I had, we discussed how long it would take to make it exactly as is, made some modifications, and then it was time for the tracing table.  About 10 minutes later, Mike pressed the design onto my back - just the outline to start for placement and design purposes.  Once I approved, I laid down on the table and the rest is history.

video

The first couple of strokes hurt - kind of like a bee sting.  But after 5 minutes, I felt mildly uncomfortable with little (if any) pain.  Marci, Amy, & Andy watched for the first half hour, goofed on me, and then marched over to the local (and I mean "local") bar next door.  I was kind of jealous!

So here's the scene:  there's thrasher music playing, the sound of buzzing acted as background noise, and the lights were dim except for the overhead light used over Mike's "work area" (AKA my back).  My legs started to sweat and stick to the table from nerves and my cell phone buzzed constantly with friends checking in on me.  "What the hell is taking you so long?"  My friends are so supportive!

The last half hour was painful.  There...I said it.  It hurt BAD!  Because of the detail and amount of shading, it felt like I was just getting carved with a scalpel.  Mike's very calming voice kept me from jumping from the table though.  "Starting to hurt?  Yeah...I'm sorry.  Just a few more minutes...10 max," he reassured. 

"It's really starting to smart," I tried to say without a whimper. 

"Awww!  My mom uses that word.  'Smart.'"  Great.  I just turned 40 the day before and already I'm sounding like 31 year old Mike's mom! 

That made the next text from my friend Amy (sipping happily on a draft next door) even more ironic. "Jesus...what are you banging him or something?"  I just hope poor Mike couldn't read that one over my shoulder.  Eek - nightmares.

Conclusion
I love it.  I went to Ireland and found a design I could live with for the rest of my life - 2 Celtic Birds in a Heart.  Mike did an unbelievable job modifying the details ever so slightly to cut down on time and cost.  My mom said I'd regret it, but so far...I just plain love it.  As a matter of fact, I might just get another one.  Thanks for making it such a good experience, Mike! 

And to my "partners in crime" - I can't believe you didn't save me a Guinness!!!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

ADVENTURES TO COME: The To Do List

  1. Tattoo - Heading to Sin Alley this Wednesday night to have my first tattoo done.  (Video to come!!!)
  2. Skydiving
  3. Drive a racecar
  4. Velcro Wall
  5. Sumo Suits
  6. Surfing
  7. Walk in stillettos (Might be the hardest one!)
  8. Run a 5k
  9. Tubing in VT/NH
  10. Rock climbing
  11. Atlantic City trip
  12. Brazillian wax  (eek!)
  13. Horseback riding
  14. And so much more!
If you can help out, have an idea, or would like to join in the fun, let us know!

WELCOME TO MY BUCKET LIST (...and Happy Birthday to me!)

Today I turned 40 - And I don't feel any different.  My face didn't suddenly wrinkle up, the kids still fight like I'm NOT on my death-bed, and I woke up on the right side of the dirt...right?  So I guess 40 ain't so different after all!

I spent my 20's going to school, dating, preparing a wedding, buying a house, etc.  Then I spent my 30's raising my two boys - all hands on deck, all the time.  So I have a new plan for 40.  I'm going to do all those things I didn't have the time or money for.  Money is still an issue, but WHATEVER!!!  I'm going to be that "old beotch" in the hot convertible that the high school girl looks over at and thinks, "What an effing waste.  Why is it always OLD people driving hot cars while I just get to drive this stupid 1990 Ford Taurus???"  Want to know why, honey?  'Cuz I earned it.  I paid my dues and now...I get to enjoy life!

I wasted 39 being depressed about turning 40.  But I'm done.  I've got a Bucket List to attend to.  Not "to do before I die," but "to do because I finally can!"  So hello, 40!  Hand me some ibuprofen and my reading glasses.  Can you make a cake out of Metamucil?