Sunday, September 28, 2008

Meeting MD & the Big E

So, on September 11th, I headed out to my dad's house and eagerly awaited the day to come. Micky Dolenz was playing at the Big E in Mass and I couldn't wait. So the next day we (being my dad, Denise [my dad's girlfriend] and I) drove about an hour and a half to our destination. We drove right in and surprised there wasn't long lines for the Big E, although it was sprinkling, it was also the first day of Big E. We arrived there around 1:30ish, I don't really remember. I was sort of oblivious of time. Micky was playing at 3pm. We walked around, admiring how big this fair was...hence 'Big' E. Also realizing how many hot tubs could be sold in one place. Well, after a snack or two we sat down within the benches of people waiting for Micky to come out. This was all outside on a decent sized stage by the way. I looked around noticing most of the people who were there looked liked they watched the Monkees when they were kids or just old folks who wanted to enjoy some music. I'm pretty sure I was the only teenager there.
Before Micky came out, the cutest little girl sang a couple songs. Then the real show began. I had camera in hand. They introduced Micky as he ran out onto the stage.

He started off with "That was Then, This is Now". I've never been fond of 80's music, but it's Micky Dolenz so I didn't complain. The he did few other great Monkees songs such as "She", "Last Train to Clarksville", and "(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone". In between, he would tell us little things and would make a joke, which were pretty hilarious. Oh! His siter Coco was Also there, she sang "Different Drum" by Mike Nesmith. She was really good. It was fun to watch him and his sister together, you could tell they were close.

After the show, they announced that Micky will be signing autographs and taking pictures. I had no idea! But dad did and brought some trading cards for me to pick so Micky could sign. A little white tent off the right side of the stage Micky sat while people lined up to see him. We headed over there and by this point I was shaking like a leaf. It's like I had all-of-a-sudden-restless-body syndrome, I couln't stand still! I finally got up to the table. He said "Hey, Darlin'". I handed him my trading card, he took it and looked at it like he hadn't seen it before, then signed it. I then immidiately got into the picture line. Micky was very quick. After everyone had taken a picture with him, he waved goodbye and left.
Micky was playing again at 8pm that day. We stayed and walked around looking at vendors until two of Denises friends came to see Micky that night (they are Monkees fans too).

We all got front row this time, there weren't that many people there. I feel bad for Micky knowing that he used to have literally thousands of teenagers after him. Lol, I got my 10-year old cousin into the Monkees and she loves Davy. Anyway, we saw Micky play again, and we got his autograph again...and we..or more like I got my picture taked with him again. I was so excited!

On the way out, all of us stopped to see this cow entirely made out of butter. It was awesome.

My dad and Denise told me they're going to bring me to see Peter Tork, because next month on October 24th he will be playing in Mass. So, stop by next month to hear my story about meeting Peter!! This has definately been a Monkee-tastic year. :]

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Landon's Firsts


For the sake of far-away relatives and grandparents, we've decided to post a few pics and videos of Landon who continues to grow like a weed. (Actually, 'weed' does nothing to describe Landon as it conjures up images of long, lean growth, and Landon is growing more along the developmental lines of a baby whale.) He's quite the bruiser! Since there have been so many firsts lately (in one week, he learned how to crawl, sit up, kneel and even once pull himself up to a stand!), we thought you might be interested in seeing some of them here. So if you can get past the boredom of watching family videos, do enjoy the pictures and videos of him...

First feeding at around 7 months

Mike picked up the camera to tape Landon falling asleep (or trying to anyway). Why are videos of babies falling asleep so cute and funny??

Bath Time

Here he is rockin', rollin' and clappin':

Hangin' by the Pool

With Lauryn behind the camera, Landon "crawls"...

Hammin' it up...

Landon hip-hoppin':

Our Smiley Guy

And now for the pièce de résistance...

Landon's Silly Face

The Ortlieb Family

*We will be posting individual postings on the other children as well so watch for them soon!

Friday, September 5, 2008

The Great Debate

Recently, a friend of mine started a debate on facebook that I couldn't resist in joining. With a couple of months before presidential elections, you might think it has something to do with politics. Or both of us being women of faith, you might think it's about religion. But alas no, neither of those factor into our debate (though possibly by the end of things, they will). Rather we have hit upon the Dunkin Donuts vs. Starbucks debate. Just in googling DD vs. SB, a gajillion sites come up with titles like "Coffee Wars" and "Battle Brews". Apparently, this debate strikes a cord with all coffee drinkers everywhere, and people become very passionate about their preferences. In my research, the two monster corporations look remarkably similar, at least, on paper. Their target audience is a bit different though.

"What separates us from other experiences is the extra care we take to create an all-encompassing experience for your coffee moment," says Brad Stevens, vice president of marketing for Starbucks.1

"We're for the people who lead very busy lives, with places to go and things to get done," says Frances Allen, brand marketing officer for Dunkin' Donuts. She adds, "Our customers are not really there to sit and relax and read a newspaper and spend an hour over latte."1

Another difference would be where they obtain their coffee beans and at what price they sell them. Both seem to have high quality beans and both use [some] fair-trade coffee, but "
Starbucks always known for its environmental friendly attitude has made the growing of coffee beans into a cause."2 And anyone who has been to both locations for coffee knows about the price difference. DD beverages cost about 20% less than Starbucks'. Taking a quick look at both nutritional information charts (DD's & SB's), both offer beverages with similar caloric counts. But what strikes me as polar opposite between the two companies is the origin. DD started as a small coffee and donut shop in Massachusetts (very American) while Starbucks started in Seattle with inspiration taken from the old Italian coffee bar tradition offering Espressos and Cappucinos.2

"It tastes like a crappy cup of coffee...
it is a crappy cup of coffee."

"No! It's the world's BEST cup of coffee!" ~ Elf

Anyway, enough about statistics, origins, retail prices... This really comes down to individual tastes. Though I am a tried-and-true, "blue-blooded" New Englander hailing from the state where DD was born, I prefer Starbucks. Personally, I don't appreciate the burnt coffee-scented toxic fumes that drift out of every DD I pass by. I also find SB's customer service to be top-notch, and as far as the exorbitant price, I've received enough free drink offers from SB (thanks to that great customer service) that I consider it a horse apiece compared with DD. Before you label me a traitor however, know that I do not consider myself a coffee connoiseur. I don't drink coffee everyday nor do I look to it as my drug of choice for energy, speed, etc. In fact, I drink decaf. Worse, I drink flavored decaf - nothing akin to black coffee in any way, shape or form. So when I take the time to brew my own coffee from home or am looking to get a quick cup of coffee from a drive-thru, essentially I am looking for a yummy, relaxing, dessert-in-a-cup kind of coffee. I do not consider myself to be the average joe leading a crazy, busy life for whom DD is looking to serve. I am not a utilitarian coffee-drinker. If I have the opportunity to sit and relax with a book while drinking an exquisite (and yes, expensive) frou-frou drink, then I will take it in a heartbeat. My coffee experience is just that - an experience. I totally understand and sympathize with those who don't have time for a date with their coffee - and why I only find time to drink coffee outside the home a couple of times a month.

And with all that said and debate aside, while at home, I actually purchase and brew Gevalia
coffee as they were nice enough to give me a free coffeemaker.

P.S. Please indulge my curiosity and take the poll regarding DD vs. SB on the left-hand side of this page. It'll be fun to see what the results will be!

2.Taken from and condensed from

Monday, September 1, 2008

12 Feet - Takes Up More Space Than You Realize

Over the years as our little family has grown and been added to, we've recently come to a certain realization of how much we've actually expanded. I know that society-at-large has already figured out that we have a "large" family just by the looks we got when I was pregnant with Landon. Anytime I mentioned this was not my first excursion into motherhood but my fourth, I started seeing the "crazy" looks - you know, that look that clearly tells you they think you're crazy and have you ever heard of birth control? I would expect that maybe a 5th or 6th pregnancy would warrant that kind of reaction, but I guess with 'the average family with children' consisting of 1.86 children, a 4.0 seems a bit high...and not as admired as one's GPA.

Anyway, as we have morphed into a 4-child family, we have had to rearrange our minds for all that that entails. The kind of space we take up, food we eat up, resources we use up, etc. has been a clear indication of how many more people make up this family than I am used to. Examples of this are: one pizza no longer feeds our entire family; a 1000 sq. ft. house can only hold so many beds, toys, books and baby stuff; our minivan is almost full to capacity; our crawl space storage is four times too small (thank God for friends with large barns!); four chairs plus a booster chair does not equal six around the dinner table. So the other day when I had to order two more chairs to fit around the table, it struck me how much larger my family is than I've made room for! I actually have a hard time remembering we are a six-person family. Of course, when you factor in the medical evidence of brain-shrinkage per pregnancy, I guess that's not so surprising.

I know that as the children continue to grow and become even bigger consumers, I will have to continually adjust my expectations as well as our budget. When the boys are each eating their own large pizza, I will look back fondly and remember when two pizzas were enough to feed our entire family. Such is the life of a bigger-than-average family...