Silly Blogs With Leigh-Leigh

I hope that reminds someone of Veggie Tales.

I know I have a Water Buffalo.

Right. So, this blog is dedicated to my seven year old daughter, Heaven Leigh, and I have called her Leigh Leigh for as long as I can remember. Heaven, she insists, is very much like her father. A little devious. “Mad Evil Genius,” he would say.

Her first devious after school act was committed curled up on a chair with a library journal with an evil little giggle. Anytime I came near her, she hid the notebook, and her end result… You know, when I saw it, I thought, it’s like a mini Adnan Osmani came up with that.

When I saw it, she laughed and laughed, but then again, so did I, laughed so hard I could hardly breathe.

Suddenly, she stops laughing and says, “Mama,  you have to put this online, so you can get a million hits. You will be famous. Even more than Daddy!” I chuckle at her. Me? Famous. I don’t think so. My husband has two books and more than twenty thousand twitter followers. Me? I bounce between fifty eight and sixty two. She’s an optimist for sure. Over thirty thousand stalkers on his blog and I barely have a few hundred.  Enough about who is more awesome than who (it’s me, clearly). I’m actually very proud of my husband, and who do you think pushes him all the time? Well, I wouldn’t say a push, sometimes all someone needs to succeed is a nudge- someone to believe in them when they don’t believe in themselves.

I wouldn’t even be writing a blog right now if Leigh Leigh didn’t ask me to. I’ve got to pack two children to move to London in what feels like virtually no time at all! To say I’ve been frazzled is an understatement. I can barely write my own name, let alone a blog, but I’m taking time out between laundry and other late night clean up activities to introduce to you, my seven year old, Heaven Leigh Osmani, the devious, yet adorable, Mad Evil Genius.

My Family By Heaven Osmani

 

The part that made me laugh was her depiction of her father. Spitting image. For that I’ll get a face-palm, I’m sure.

There you have it, Leigh Leigh’s million hit Silly Blog. I love my kids so freakin’ much! I wouldn’t trade them for anything.

She really did put a lot of effort into it and used me as a spell check for some words (she, however, prides herself on knowing the difference between but and butt), colored her art work, and wrote an endearing little message. She deserves her own blog.  Someday when she’s older.

Love and Growing Pains,

L & LL

xoxo


Gotta Hand It To Antwerpen: Belgium and Back (Part Deux)

Elle in Antwerpen

I know. I’m so punny.

I planned on writing this second part far earlier than this, but it’s a crazy month with at least twelve family birthdays, my husband’s and mine included. Among other things. Like starting the Leap Year off with a tornado.

Now lets take the DeLorean for a spin back to November. A surprisingly calming time, despite the chaos of a trip across the ocean, Thanksgiving, and Black Friday shopping all in one week. (Yes, I am one of those insane people that waited in line for hours for a three dollar waffle maker. Actually, it was a ten dollar Crock Pot.)

Back to Belgium -

We went to the city a couple of times for we left. Where did I really want to go? The Aquarium.

Why? Because my husband is amazing (sometimes- don’t want him to get a bigger head than he already has), and he fulfills those childhood memories that I never got around to making. I’ve also never been to the zoo, but he’s saving the London Zoo for my first time. 

He also took me on my first train ride. It wasn’t the Orient Express, but it was still a train ride. I live ten minutes from an actual train station, and I have for about fifteen years. Despite that little detail, I didn’t go on a train until I went to London in 2010. I know, I’m super lame in the face. I do things like hang out backstage to see Sum 41, hang out with Gallagher at the Landing, and I like to hang out with magicians…these are not very impressive details to a general audience. It’s okay. I’m aware of my own lamedom. You have to own who you are.

Yes, it’s right next to China Town. >_<

Okay, so that’s not the best photo from Aquatopia, but it’s my favorite. I could make a whole blog dedicated to the aquarium Let me just say that it’s a great place to visit. You can bring your kids or your dog. Or your ball and chain… You’ll have fun. Get some great photos and make some memories. I definitely say check it out if you’re there.

Now, some things were planned activities, aside from ones having to do with jQuery-  (Again, if someone linked to this blog because of my husband, I apologize. No, I know nothing about JavaScript or jQuery, and I don’t speak binary. I’ll tell you Al Gore invented the internet just to jerk your chain. I’m a writer of things that don’t really matter to most people, and I’m completely content with that.)

Such activities did not include being in a protest. After grabbing some amazing deals at some sales, we walk out to see a group of hippies and semi regular looking people marching and chanting in Dutch. I know enough about human nature to know it was definitely a protest. So, we joined in to see where they were going with it. They were playing instruments made of sticks, balloons, and a homemade looking drum. Being that we got to Antwerp during a Dutch holiday weekend, Addy was convinced that it was a parade or some sort of festivity.

…but I thought Belgium didn’t have a government? Who are they protesting to?

I know, I’m usually right. Girls usually are. To the ladies, boys will never learn. To the gentlemen, you’re in a constant state of denial…but it’s okay. I’m accepting of this. It’s like how women are completely insane. I’m aware of this in a million different ways, but I can’t change it. That’s like me trying to be black. There’s no reverse Michael Jackson for that. In a lot of ways, you can’t change yourself, even if you want to. We are who we are. Own it.

Now, back to this trip, before this becomes the most annoyingly long of my posts by far…

One thing I really enjoyed were the creative window displays.

My favorite?

What’s up, Bra?

Yes, it’s a dress made from braziers in a lingerie shop window. My husband liked the metallic Marge Simpson in the window of the hair salon, but it’s my blog, not his, and my next picture will redeem me in his eyes.

Belgian street art…

Street Art

Okay, now I look like a lameface. Why? I know nothing of European comics. I grew up to Family Circus, Garfield, and the Peanuts in the Sunday funnies. I grew up with Inspector Gadget and even Matthew Broderick couldn’t make that worth watching. I do know that he’s beloved in Europe as Blue’s Clues is to North America.-

I don’t care if I saw Steve Burns in real life, I’d make him sing We Just Got A Letter.

At any rate, my husband thought that this cartoon was TinTin and begged me to take a photo of it with my camera. Turns out someone corrected me, which I welcome. My husband will object, saying I need to be right, but honestly, I don’t mind being wrong. It just so happens that in his case, I’m usually right. ;-D

Right…

Where was I?

At this point, I wonder if it’s not worth posting just a bunch of random photos or a slideshow. It’s getting late, and I have an early, big day tomorrow.

WWHSTD?

What Would Hunter S. Thompson Do?

Probably drop some acid, huff some ether, and stay up all night. Also, write something far more entertaining than this that would contain at least one hallucination. Unfortunately, that’s not even in the realm of possibilities for me.

Brothas.

I could’ve posted a couple of pictures of the beautiful architecture, art, music, or any girl’s best friend…the diamond district, but that wouldn’t be me. That would make sense.

I do know that if you’re American, you won’t starve. There’s a pizza place on every corner, Europe is not without Aldi grocery stores, and I even got to eat at a Chili’s. Fajitas and cherry bubbly alcoholic drinks  for the win! The people are lovely. The place is lovely. I definitely wouldn’t mind going back, but I really have my heart set on the Canary Islands for my next vacation.

Love and Fajitas,

L

xoxo


To Belgium and Back (Part 1)

L and O

This past long over-due winter break I went to Antwerp, Belgium with my husband, who was speaking at Devoxx and attending the jQuery summit online. No idea what I’m talking about? Don’t worry, in any other life, I probably wouldn’t either.

The point is Elle hit Europe, but were they ready?

We actually stayed in Ekeren, we went into the city for Devoxx, sightseeing and shopping. I decided to break the first part of this blog into Ekeren photos, because there are far too many pictures and things to blog about as it is.

My favorite place to eat.

Now some might judge them for how they spelled Chinese, but not me. Those girls spoke Chinese, French, Dutch, and English. Amazing. You go to a Chinese restaurant in Branson, and they act like they don’t speak Chinese or English. I love the tolerance of other people. They say that Europeans hate Americans. Maybe the Brits, I find that to be a tiny bit true. However, you have no idea how many Dutch conversations a sweet smile and a polite, “I’m sorry, I’m American” got me out of with a small chuckle an apology. It’s almost like when I get a flat, and I call roadside assistance. “I’m sorry, I’m a girl,” it works every time.

Preggers Belgian Barbie

Sounds crazy, and I’m more than a little crazy, but this was one of my favorite finds of the trip. Just sitting on the shelf with all the other Barbie and Justin Bieber dolls, Knocked Up Belgian Barbie, and she even gives birth to a tiny baby. Totally creepy? Maybe, but highly hilarious. Two thumbs up.

No Doggy Doo

Is this vulgar? Possibly, but it also had me rolling. It was probably the beers I’d had before that, but seeing this sign gave me a serious case of the LOLs. I found it on the side of a building in a seemingly sketch part of town.

Leopold II, King of the Belgians

In my neck of Ekeren, I didn’t find many actual sights per say, but I did find this lovely church and statue of Leopold II. Not the greatest guy if you lived in the Congo in the late 1800s, but the Belgians liked him well enough, I suppose.

That concludes my pictures of Markt Ekeren. I was only there a little over a week, so I didn’t do the greatest amount of exploring, and as my husband reminded me, it was a business semi vacation sort of trip. On the bright side, I finally got to finish 1984 by George Orwell, and it was just as brilliant as I imagined it to be. Not much more I could say about Ekeren. My husband would scold me for not mentioning Jump-Inn, his favorite restaurant, but as I said, it was his favorite, and this is my blog.

*insert silly winky face*

Until next time…

Love and Leopold,

L

xoxo


Insert Witty Blog Title Here

It’s not for lack of topic that I can’t write…

Ever had life go so topsy-tuvy that your thoughts are jumbled, and you can’t help but question your existence?

…Yeah…

Me either.

One thing you’ll learn in life is that no one likes a Debbie Downer. So, Buck up, Chuck. I know that I hate when my emo friends constantly post things on facebook about how terrible life is (and semi clothed photos). I love them, and if you can’t say anything nice… I just know that if I wrote about half the things spinning around in my head, I wouldn’t want to read it (and I lived it!), let alone anyone else.

Marilyn Monroe (who is far more brilliant than history gives her credit for) once said, “I believe everything happens for a reason. People change so that you can learn to let go, things go wrong so that you can learn to appreciate them when they’re right, you believe lies so that you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself, and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.”  She was not just big, blonde, and beautiful (and of course brilliant)- she was also desperately sad and lonely- almost haunted.

-But is that how the world remembers her? No, we only remember her smile…

My New Art

And smile I shall, because I have a million reasons to. This is just one.

I know it’s hard to capture every thought that’s racing through my over-worked brain and string them together in some semi-coherent line, but I do have a lot of good ones. Tales and Travels to come…and now, more Tornadoes.

Now, back to where I was going before, not sure if anyone noticed my blog being quite dodgy lately, but I consider it “Under Construction.” I am just committing to writing, even if ElleOhElle is all out of whack with not so many LOLs.

Another quote. This one Picasso. “Inspiration exists, but is has to find you working.”

So, I better get my shit together, eh? (I know, I know, don’t be vulgar…blergh)

I do miss writing. I want to write a short story, but it’s literally been at least seven years since I’ve written one. I wonder if I’ve just forgotten how. I guess I need a topic- any ideas?

Love and Muses,

L

xoxo


Extreme Makeover: Joplin Edition

Unless you’ve been living under a rock this summer, I’m sure that you heard of the F5 tornado that struck Joplin on May 22nd. The tornado killed over a hundred and sixty people and devastated businesses, the St. John’s hospital, and at least one elementary school, that I know of. It was the seventh single most deadly tornado in U.S. history. Leaving thousands without homes and jobs, not to mention the broken hearts over lost loved ones.

Elementary School Across From The Extreme Makeover site

Amongst the rubble of devastation, Extreme Makeover crews came to bring a glimmer of hope. The well known television program took on its biggest task to date. Building 7 houses in eight seven days. Among the families that were to receive new homes where two best friends and neighbors both named Crystal, and in a cruel twist of fate and commonality, both lost children. Crystal Cogdill, ironically worked before the tornado, finding housing for others. Crystal Whitely worked giving personal care to the disabled and elderly, but above all else, she was a loving mother of three.

When they heard the tornado sirens, both followed their emergency plans and grabbed their kids, huddling into their bathtubs. Tragically, the storm overpowered them both. Cogdill lost her nine year old son, later finding his body under a utility pole, and Whitely lost her two older children, only being able to cling to her four year old daughter. Thanks to Extreme Makeover, they will once again be neighbors, and although, no one can bring back their children, they connected their homes with a “Healing Garden” in which they can remember their children in beauty and not tragedy. These two stories touched my heart more than any others. Perhaps, because of all the participants, they were the only families to lose a loved one , but also, because I too am a mother, and I cannot imagine a worser fate than losing one of my children.

The New Whitely House and to the Right the Healing Garden

Where do I fit in here? My part was small to say the least. I never lifted a hammer or a paint brush. I never got to hug these mothers and lend them my strength. I never even got to shake Ty Pennington’s hand. So, what did I do? I did what I could…I catered. I’m only serve safe. In fact, if I’d worry more about their safety if I had built something. I overheard my boss talking about volunteering to cater to the crews that worked all week to build these new homes, and I immediately wanted to help. Not knowing for who or when, but just that I had to do something. Donating my money, clothes, food, and diapers…those seemed like little things. It may sound preverse, but I also wanted to see the destruction first hand. Trust me, it was not a pretty sight, and it would weigh heavy on anyone’s heart. The saying is true. If you weren’t there, you wouldn’t understand.

Still, even after seeing it and hearing countless stories…I don’t think that I fully understand the heartache brought on by this act of nature. It was senseless to say the least, but blameless as well. Sure, many could blame God, but that’s like blaming God for the Nazis or the hole in the ozone layer. What good would it do?

Habitat for Humanity, which won’t have a nationally televised show to pronounce their good deeds has taken Extreme Makeovers efforts to the next level. While I am across the ocean on vacation, which seems frivolous to even announce, thousands of volunteers will be building ten houses in sixteen days with no more than a thank you for their efforts.

I know that I didn’t have a big hand in it, or any at all, just mostly to pass the story on through my blergh. It’s something I had to say before I started posting smiling pictures of my vacation. It’s a story that I couldn’t go without sharing.

Love and Hope,

L

xoxo.


Derby Daze

Confession Time:

I can’t rollerskate.

Not for lack of trying on my part, and it’s not like I didn’t have plenty of opportunity. Two of my little brothers and I (all three of us having birthdays in March) had skating parties thrown by our mother for four, maybe five different years. There are probably dozens of photos in undeveloped film (thank, God) of us falling and busting our butts.

Despite my lack of coordination on rollerskates, I have always wanted to be in the roller derby. The movie Whip It only increased my desire to kick some ass while wheeling around. (I’ll probably have to wait til I’m in a nursing home and riding in an electric wheelchair.) However, one of my dear friends and co-workers told me that she was considering joining the roller derby. I told her that she had to do it, so that I could live vicariously through her.

So, my gbff, DJ, and I headed to Springfield for the last meet of the year ,which happened to be for Halloween. Hit or Treat. It was pretty awesome. Not sure if it was the beers we had at Red Robin (yumm) beforehand, or the fact that a girl on the opposing team fell and broke her ankle, but we had loads of fun.

My Girl Leading The Pack.

 

I just thought that I’d share. There will be more blogs this week than usual, because I’ve had a lot going on. I mean, this one is delayed from Halloween, and this is my busy time of year…

So , QOTN, what dream have you always had but never fulfilled? Mine would be the roller derby…and being President, but I think the likelihood of me being President is probably greater.

Love and Rollerskates,

L

xoxo

 


My Bucket Book List

Love or Obsession?

 

I’m not like some sad old man that reads the last chapter of every book that he’s ever begun, because I might die before I finish it.

In fact, I’d be more concerned if I was a man, old or otherwise.

My problem is that I start a book, get a few chapters in, and I start another book. Sometimes I’ll even go back to books I’ve read before. Perhaps I’m a book hoarder. I’ve cut out the romance novels, though, by the dozens. Possibly hundreds. To just the classics. Gone With the Wind, Love In the Time of Cholera, Jane Erye, and maybe just a couple more if you don’t count any Shakespeare at all…

As much as I love it, I can’t read The Bell Jar again until I’ve made a dent in my book shelf. To say I love it is an understatement. I checked it out every two weeks the entire school year my sophomore year of high school. True story. It’s how I became School Mascot. The school librarian loved me.

I’m currently between 1984 by George Orwell (and I want to re-read Animal Farm, because I bought another copy the other day), Hell’s Angels (and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas) by Hunter S. Thompson. I also forgot that I was half way through a book about Marie Antoinette by Victoria Holt called Queen’s Confession, and I mean, I haven’t even gotten to the rioting or wanting to chop her head off parts.

Once upon a time I wanted to read The Grapes of Wrath, but all the swearing on the first couple of pages made me kick it to the curb. Don’t get me wrong. I swear, but I hate when people use God’s name in vain. It’s like finger nails on a chalk board. I don’t judge people for swearing, but I can’t stand hearing that, let alone reading it in my few and far between moments of free time.

I love to read. I read the entire Narnia series at work at an ice cream stand from ten to noon every day for like a month. I have an awesome edition that is all seven of the books bound into one big ass book.

This is why I can’t be a comic book geek. I barely have time for chapter books. Someday I will read you, Murder On The Orient Express, but for now I write a blergh about reading books…yeah, now that I have my glasses (and my geek on), I should probably pick up a book. My goal should be to finish one of the half dozen books I’ve already started, but I feel like starting a new one…I know. I’m terrible, but there are probably at least a hundred books that I want to read before I die. Tons of movies that I refuse to watch, because I haven’t read the book first. The only except to that rule is Harry Potter. I don’t know why, but I really don’t have a desire to read the books.

*Cue Potter fanatics stoning me to death or beating me with wooden sticks while wearing their bath robes.*

I know we’ve all got a little nerd in us, and while I go read some of Fear and Loathing…(because after all this hullabaloo about finishing a book, I might as well do it).

I want to know, because obviously you have the ability and possibly the desire to read, since you suffered through this lame ass blergh thus far…

What book would you like to read before you die?

You just have to pick one.

I have boxes of them.

Literary Love,

L

xoxo

 


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