Bittersweet Sixteen

16 years ago today I got my first glimpse of the face that was going to change my life for the better forever…

I’m quite sure at that moment I had absolutely no preconceived notions about what that little tyke would be like at the ripe old age of sixteen, but even if I had…he has far exceeded them all.

So today was the day to celebrate Uber, and celebrate we did – – mostly by eating our way through the better part of two counties!!  Andy’s “formal” celebration was on Saturday, when we got together with 15 of our good friends and family for an outing to the local minor league baseball diamond.  Our home team lost in a big way, but we made up for it in loud enthusiastic support!

But today was all about the food!!

Homemade waffles in bed for starters…

A stop by our favorite coffee cafe, where Uber is so much of a regular that they had a candle-topped muffin already waiting for him!

Then it was time for Andy to cash in on his birthday present from one of our dearest friends – – lunch out at a local vegan eatery.  Right up Uber’s meat-free alley!! What we didn’t know was that our friend’s restaurant suggestion even provided free birthday favors in the unisex bathroom!!!  Those vegans know how to party!!!

After a little more rambling around in Uber’s favorite sections of counter-cultural society, it was time to eat AGAIN…this time at Timeworn-Techie’s house for burritos, and of course some ice cream and cake. 

I swear the poor kid just told me, “Don’t worry about fixing me anything for breakfast tomorrow mom.  I won’t be hungry.”

Thank goodness we couldn’t afford a car for the kid on his big day.  He’s going to need to walk till he’s 17 just to burn off today’s calories!!

Happy 16th Birthday Uber!!!

Teenager plus one

I swear it seems like just a couple months ago that I was bemoaning my youngest sons entrance into official teenage-dom. And yet, yesterday was H-T’s 14th birthday!!  How does that HAPPEN??!!

H-T is into keeping things really simple these days, so all he wanted to do to celebrate the 14th anniversary of his birth was have a family dinner at IHOP, followed by a silly string duel in the backyard. 

Uh. Yeah.  I think we can manage that.

I take back everything I’ve said about teenagers. 

Teenagers are a piece of cake.  (or in H-T’s case, a piece of store-bought giant chocolate chip cookie.  see?  easy!!)

Topsy-Techie Birthday Giveaway Winner


In a cool turn of events, and according to, the winner of the Topsy-Techie Birthday Giveaway is…Cake 39

Rational Jenn, the other birthday girl this week! 

Unfortunately, Jenn won’t receive her prize in time for her own birthday, but she says she might do something jazzy for Thanksgiving or Christmas with her new set of tools!!

As for me, I’ve already had a lovely day – – including gravy biscuits in bed, thanks to my incredible hubby – – AND I’ve got a lovely night ahead of me.  R-T is taking me out to the Melting Pot for a night of fondue fun. 

(Yes, for me, birthdays are now all about the calories)

So a BIG thanks to everyone who entered, and for the creative birthday cake ideas.  I enjoyed every single one of them!!  Thanks so much for sharing my birthday fun this week, everyone!!

Topsy-Techie’s Birthday Giveaway!

Ok, normally I let my birthdays slide by like sands in the hourglass, but this coming Friday happens to be a celebration of my very last year in my 30’s, so I’m puttin’ on the ritz.

R-T is taking yours truly for a night of fondue fun at the Melting Pot, AND, of course, I already was the recipient of a kick-ass Blu-Ray player, so I’m feeling pretty doggone generous this week.

Therefore, I’m sponsoring a giveaway at Topsy-Techie to honor the occasion. I thought it would be a hoot – – me being the absolute antithesis of Martha Stewart and all – – to give homage to my lack of domestic skills by RE-GIFTING this beautiful Martha Stewart cake decorating kit that I received and will NEVER, EVER use.  (Don’t worry, the giver doesn’t read my blog and will never know!)

The kit has never been used (duh – – this is me we’re talking about!), boasts 52 pieces, and retails for 80 bucks at  (Ok, now I’m having mixed feelings. I mean I feel a little guilty re-gifting something someone was willing to shell out 80 smackeroos for. BUT they obviously don’t know me at ALL if they think I would ever take time away from my computer long enough to actually decorate a cake!!!!)

cake decorating kit

Anyway, all you have to do to get a chance to win this beautiful cake decorating kit, is comment on this post about what you would put on a cake that you were decorating for my birthday.  Now, maybe that makes this an unfair challenge for those of you who don’t know me as well, or haven’t been around Topsy-Techieland for long, so YES, I will choose a random winner…but you still have to try to be creative because it’s my birthday and I SAY SO!! 😉

So pull out all the private jokes on me you want this week.  I’ll pull on my thickest skin – – just for the occasion.  I can take whatever you can dish out. 

What would you put on my cake, dear readers/friends/family???

May the best cake decorator win!!!!!!

(Winner will be randomly chosen and announced on my birthday, this Friday, November 20th!)

Nobody told me it could be like this…

I don’t know what your take on the Blu-Ray players is, but mine has always been…what’s the point?  I mean DVDs work perfectly fine.  They are definitely a step above VHS because of the whole no rewinding thing, and they take up less space in the entertainment cabinet, so I see no reason to change-over to Blu-Ray. 

UNTIL…our DVD went kaput.  Then there was a choice.  Do I plunk down money for another DVD player, OR move with the times and get a Blu-Ray?? Decisions, Decisions.  And with my birthday coming up in just a month, I knew that this new gadget would be attached to the celebration, so I decided it had better be one HECK of a gadget!!

Thus began my search.  After a while I realized that for the most part, a Blu-Ray is a Blu-Ray is a Blu-Ray. 

LG bluray UNTIL…I found it.  A Blu-Ray that was most definitely NOT just a Blu-Ray.  This Blu-Ray had network access.  Which means it connects to your home network, and lets you watch YouTube, Netflix Instant Watch, and even new releases via CinemaNow.  Oh-ho-ho-ho!!  Now that was a Blu-Ray worthy of my last year in my 30’s!!

With one flick of my remote-hovering thumb I have basically TV-on-demand – – especially with YouTube offering more and more network shows, and Netflix having plenty of reruns of stuff I’ve been meaning to catch up on.

This is the way TV was meant to be.  What you want, when you want it.  Sometimes, a techie just can’t resist the temptations and seducements of the “next big thing.” 

I mean have you seen those refrigerators with the internet screen built right into the door?????

He Has Always Been A Star In My Book

I mentioned in my last blog post that Uber recently celebrated a birthday.  His 15th.  For those of you with kids under ten, let me assure you that YES, that really does make you feel old. 

Uber has always been a special kiddo.  He knew all his colors when he was eighteen months old.  He could read a newspaper when he was three years old.  He was doing simple algebra equations at age seven.  He has taught himself how to do almost anything he wants with a computer.

He has also dealt incredibly bravely with a difficult neurological disorder since he was five years old.  He has befriended everyone he has ever met. He has volunteered many hours of his time to help out various charities and non-profits.  He selflessly acts as an unpaid member of the Geek Squad for all his friends and family who hit computer snafus.

Can you tell I’m a bit of a proud mama?  I feel like I have bragging rights.  But apparently I’m not the only one who sees just how special he is.

Today, he received an incredible gift from his girlfriend.  She had a star named for him in honor of his birthday.  A star!!  I thought that only happened in the movies!! 

I’ve been thinking about it all afternoon and I’ve come to the conclusion that no matter what happens between himself and this thoughtful young lady in the future, he will never be able to look up into the celestial beyond without remembering that he is special enough to have his name in “lights.” 

What more could a mom ask for her son’s 15th birthday??

The Paradox

Sometimes having high-tech kiddos just isn’t what you would expect.  Uber proved this to me in a big way with a conversation we shared last week.  Since his birthday is edging closer, I thought it would be fun to ask him what his idea of “the ideal birthday” might be. 

As someone who gave birth to him, nursed him for an entire year, taught him to use the potty, and basically have spent 24/7 with him for the last 14 3/4 years, I was pretty sure I had a good clue as to what he might answer.  I knew it was going to have something to do either with technology, large cities, or a girl.

Thank goodness I hadn’t bet the house on that one!

His idea of the ideal 15th birthday was going somewhere far into the countryside and hanging out and maybe picnicking and taking some pictures. 

I tend to totally forget that these two young men, who – – on many  days – – seem one step from integrating with the matrix, have a whole lot of facets to their personalities.

Uber, for instance, has gotten really into nature photography lately.  It is his current passion, and he has quite a knack for it, I have to say.  And H-T is our resident fisherman, who would actually forego an entire morning of sleep and his computer for a chance to head out at 5 in the morning to catch some trout with his uncle. 

The same boys who can provide tech support for their friends and know every animated web series by name, date, and serial number can also take you for a guided tour of most of our local hiking trails and can find their way around a kitchen. 

They don’t fit neatly into any stereotype I’ve ever come across. 

Aren’t paradoxes the best??!!


But gravy goes good with birthday cake…

11-16 001

This is my birthday cake.  I tried to leave one piece of it so you could see it, but lunch came and the piece was sitting there, looking so darn pitiful and lonely.  So H-T and I split it.  We’re empathetic like that. And now, this is all that’s left to remind me of today’s significance. 

My birthday will come and go as quickly as this here cake did.  Is that bad?

Not when you’ve had as many of them as I’ve had now. 

Birthdays at this point are just a day for me to look back over the last year and consider all my blessings.  In fact Thanksgiving and my birthday are basically the same holiday, as far as I’m concerned.  If I tried to count all my blessings, I’d run out of numbers.

I’m so blessed to have…

HPIM1808 the most loving, supportive, kind, wet-your-pants funny husband in the whole wide world

HPIM1560e the two most wonderful, intelligent, creative, kind-hearted boys in the whole wide world

Everything else is just….


Robbing DirecTV to Pay Microsoft

No one has ever put me in charge of anything financially important.  The US Treasury has never called on me.  My tax preparation software always asks me to double check my facts.  I even lost the 7th grade student council election for treasurer.  That has always ticked me off.  The girl who won got ‘C’s on her math quizzes.  I know because I sat behind her and always had to switch papers with her.  But C-girl was put in charge of our entire class treasury – – the whole 42 bucks!  So what is it about me that screams “financially irresponsible”??

Well, here’s one thing.  As you know, I recently decided to trim our financial waistline by cutting out our monthly satellite TV subscription.  That will be a helpful addition of $75 to our monthly budget.  Sounds pretty financially responsible so far, doesn’t it?  Keep reading.

computeritis We’ve been having computeritis in our household.  That is a degenerative condition caused by too many people, and too few computers. Fortunately, it is a disease only rampant in affluent societies such as ours.  Third world countries have to deal with slightly less distressing illnesses, such as malaria and cholera.  But in our house, computeritis is going around like crazy.  The worst symptom of the illness seems to be uncontrolled computer pouncing.  Somebody working on his blog needs to pee?  Someone else will be in his computer chair before he even gets his fly unzipped.  And God help anyone who leaves the computer to check the mail.  Probably won’t see the sight of that screen again for two hours! 

The person who gets the worst case of the malady? Poor Resistant-Techie.  I think everyone figures that he is too technologically challenged to deserve more than a few minutes at a time at the computer.  But R-T is getting quite frustrated at constantly losing the musical computer chair game.  His blog is burgeoning, he is a master I-Tunes downloader now, and his surfing skills are way beyond average these days.  Plus, his birthday and Father’s Day are just around the corner, and I usually like to make sure he understands how appreciated he is this time of year.

So…I bought him a computer.  His very own super-deluxe, easy-to-operate, resistant-techie-friendly computer.  I saw in the sales flyer, I went to see it in the store, and I bought it.  And not one person who helped me locate it, load it in my cart, or check it out for me asked me if I could actually afford it.  I took that to mean that I was getting quite a bargain.  My credit card went through just fine – – another good sign.  The store was even on the way to where I needed to drop my son off for an appointment, so I was even saving gas!  And I would definitely get the new computer desk he now needed from the local thrift store, instead of one of those high dollar department stores.

So whether or not that beautiful new piece of hardware sitting in the bedroom far outweighs the yearly savings we will get from our dropped satellite subscription, it is all good right?  Hubby is happy.  I am happy.  The computer manufacturer and the retail store are really happy.  And C-girl?  Well, she is probably sitting in her stylishly decorated Manhattan penthouse, that she scrimped and saved and lived financially responsibly for.  But is she as happy as I am knowing that my wonderful, hardworking, incredibly selfless hubby never has to worry about getting up from the computer to get a Diet Coke ever again?  I seriously doubt it. 

Separation Anxiety

Ok, so nobody likes sand in their keyboard, right?  So I made sure my laptop had lots of power, kissed it goodbye, and gently tucked it in for a long nap.  Then I was off to the beach.  Yes, there was some separation anxiety on the part of my little guy, who had never been without me for so long before, but I assured him that I would be back before his battery even got cold.  HPIM1683

And then I made the mistake of looking back.  The parenting books tell you to never look back.  But I did.  I was almost out the door. The minivan was packed.  The cooler was full.  The boys were waiting impatiently for me to get in the vehicle so we could head out, and right at that moment….I looked back.  My little laptop, sitting forlornly inside that deep dark carrying case.  It was all I could do not to well up with tears. 

So I ran back in and grabbed him up in my arms, and carried him lovingly to the van.  I totally ignored the eye rolling and sighing from the other passengers in the van, and found a comfortable shady nook for my laptop to ride out the trip HPIM1665in air conditioned comfort.

When we arrived at the shore, I patted his case and let him know how proud I was that he had been such a good little  traveler.  While everyone else had needed to make a series of pit-stops for food, stretching, or bathroom breaks, my stalwart fella had never made a peep of complaint from his cramped quarters.  I couldn’t wait to introduce him to the sun and fun of the coast in May, but it was late, and we were all tired, so I knew he wouldn’t mind if we all got a good night’s sleep before the merriment began.

The next day R-T and I awoke to the most incredible sight I have ever seen.  From our bed, we could look out and see the sun just coming over the water.  I wanted to stop time and just savor the beauty, but I knew I couldn’t, so I got out my trusty Canon and captured the moment. HPIM1662 Before long, the boys and my mom, who had shared the next room, were up and salivating at the chance to get down and dirty with those lapping waves.  So, hours later, we emerged from the foam and sand, and enjoyed a terrific lunch, then it was back to the HPIM1668beach!  We took a short break from the sounds of seagulls and the smell of salt water to take a dip in the indoor pool,  where the water was like a warm blanket for the soul.  After gobbling down some Mexican food for supper, the boys took a much needed rest, and R-T and I took a beautiful leisurely stroll around the resort and through the gift shops. 



 HPIM1700 The next day was much the same, although after lunch we headed away from the shoreline to Georgetown, one of theHPIM1692  oldest cities in the country, and soaked up some incredible history and ambiance.  The view from the marina was spectacular, and nothing will compare to traipsing through a local Episcopal cemetery to view gravestones dating back to the early 1800’s.  Priceless!  We celebrated Uber’s birthday with a trip to Gamestop, a huge seafood feast, and ice cream cake back at the hotel suite.  He said it was the best birthday he could ever remember.  And, since we were heading back home in the morning, it was time for one more trip to the beach for a long leisurely goodbye.

Sunday morning was spent packing all our belongings back in the van.  And that was when I spotted him.  My poor lonely laptop.  In all the excitement of vacation, I had forgotten all about him.  What kind of person could just unplug themselves like that, and completely neglect their online relationship??  I never thought of myself as the sort of person who would commit such technological negligence?  I didn’t even know I had it in me.  But as I packed the little guy safely back into the minivan, he had a look of forgiveness about it.  Like perhaps he was no worse for the wear.  Who knows?  Maybe we needed to give each other a little space.  A little independence.  And nobody likes sand in their keyboard, right? 

Thank God I got rid of her for a few days!!

Thank God I got rid of her for a few days !!