The Kindness of Strangers (Playing Scramble with Friends)

July 2, 2012 at 11:00 am | Posted in Misc. | Leave a comment
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My latest app obsession is Scramble with Friends (a sibling of Words with Friends, but this is a Boggle “tribute” instead of a Scrabble “tribute”).  And when I say obsession, I mean it!  Praised be to Zynga, I LOVE THIS GAME!  Why?  Well, in addition to growing up in a Boggle-friendly family (aaaah memories), I’m pretty sure I’ve found my self-esteem right there on my Droid.  And it’s not about winning every match.

The app has this feature where you can play a random opponent, so to get more playing time (after work and on weekends only, of course…), I tried it and ended up being matched to the most encouraging fella (or so I assume from the username) I’ve ever had the pleasure of not meeting! 

ALB, as I’ll call him for ease of reference, consistently beats me (by a lot), but he is so nice about it!  He’s constantly sending messages like “Great round!” and “Nice work :)” and “You’re doing great!”, despite our point differential which is always weighted (heavily) in his favor.  The guy constantly kicks my butt, but includes praise when he does it, and it makes me feel so GOOD!  He wins with grace and kindness, and if there was such thing as a Scramble with Friends Fairy Godfather, he’d be it!

So thank you, ALB, for being you!  If I knew who you were, I’d send you a real thank you note, but due to privacy measures, you’ll have to accept this blog instead!

P.S. In writing this I realized that I might sound a little pathetic thanking a complete stranger for boosting my self-esteem thanks to an app on my phone, but so what!?!  I’ll take praise where I can get it!  Now, off to happily lose another round…      

Don’t mind if I do!

Just for Manly Men?

June 6, 2012 at 9:50 am | Posted in Misc., Office Humor | 2 Comments
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As someone who has been highlighting and dying my hair for nearly two decades (no one is perfect – I was meant to be blond, not a deep brunette), I feel I’m qualified to comment on “follicle hue manipulation.”  When my girlfriends – or even random gals; I rarely hold back when it comes to complements – are looking particularly hair-model-fabulous, I make a point of saying so!  Lately, however, I’m at a loss on whether to complement, or even acknowledge, these color changes. 

Is there a chapter in the Man Code about dying your hair?

Why?  Because more and more often, it’s men who have been updating their do’s!  Those “Just for Men” commercials aren’t lying (for better or worse), and men throughout my tangential social and professional circles have jumped on the colorist bandwagon – even those who used to object to the amount of money people spend on “staying young” and preserving their looks!

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not judging.  Far be it from me to look down on hair dyers.  (Okay, okay – sometimes when the dye job is really bad or really obvious, I do judge – but it’s not gender-dependent!).  It’s just that when I say “I love your hair color” to a chick, she’ll take it as a compliment, but older dudes trying to deny the aging process by adopting metrosexual trends of focusing on cosmetic updates after decades of trying to convince us and themselves that they look distinguished with gray hair?  Well, I’m at a loss. 

I don’t want to embarrass anyone by calling out the change, but I also don’t want to seem insensitive by not mentioning anything at all (because you know that when we ladies get salon treatments, you had BEST complement it!).

What’s a detail-oriented gal to do?

Naturally blond on the inside (no jokes, please),


Words with (Cheating) Friends

February 28, 2012 at 11:40 am | Posted in Misc. | 2 Comments
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As someone who has been playing Zynga’s Words With Friends since its pre-Baldwin glory, I can tell you that the popularity his little airline snafu brought to the app has been great! For the most part.

A whole new group of my friends, family and acquaintances have jumped on the bandwagon, which means I’m playing a lot more.  Suddenly, waiting in line isn’t nearly as frustrating, and, not that I’d ever do this, but I’ve heard that some people have been known to play WWF while on particularly boring phone calls (thankfully none of my calls are ever boring, so I’m never even tempted to play at the office).

Cheaters never win! Or at least they shouldn't... Don't make me kick your qarse!

But what hasn’t been so great is the prevalence of cheating in the game.  As a self-described word nerd, I pride myself on my vocabulary and grammatical prowess.  But some of the folks I’m playing with (whom I dearly love in all other interactions) are so obviously dirty, rotten cheaters that it’s taking the fun out of playing with them.

I’m not talking about throwing a couple letters on the board to see if they make a real word, I’m talking about the people who input their letters into an anagram program.  The ones who play words they couldn’t pronounce if their lives depended on it, let alone spell!

Seriously, people. It’s an app. A Scrabble copy-cat (albeit an awesome one!).  Do you really need to win that badly??

(Internal realization… Holy rhymes-with-spit!  When did I become a bitter, cranky old lady?!?!)

Stepping off soap box now…

P.S. If you want to play with me, my username is Mrs. L-ski… and I promise I’m not always this judgmental!

Goodbye, Batphone!

January 31, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Posted in Misc., Office Humor | 4 Comments
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I work at a technology company and pride myself on my technological prowess (well, maybe “prowess” is too strong, but I’m savvy, at least!).  And yet, for years I have been carrying around an old, clunky cell phone in addition to my smartphone.  Witness:

I admit it looks really silly to have both a sleek, modern phone and a circa 2002 clunker.  But it was all because of my parents (also known as “Sarah’s Mo” and “RWFOTB”)!!

Well, that’s not exactly true… what is true is that the ancient cell phone was like the Batphone to me.  My folks were pretty much the only ones who called it, so it was like their exclusive way to reach me (not to mention a local number for them).  It was my tie to my younger years, my link to a simpler time when phones just rang – no games, no interwebs, no email, just good old-fashioned talking (and a small amount of texting). It is also the most reliable piece of technology I’ve ever owned.  After 10 years, it still works like a charm (and has better reception than my droid, just saying).

But it also made me feel foolish.  Why waste money on a second cell phone, especially one that’s so outdated it’s almost cool again (give it another 20 years and it’ll be a collector’s item; until then it will live in my basement)?  And why carry that thing around and look like I’m the kind of person who still calls it the “world wide web” or the “information superhighway” when I’m really a super hip technology geek?

The answer is clear: it’s time to say goodbye to my soon-to-be-vintage flip phone.  It has been decommissioned, made redundant and disconnected.  I am now a one phone gal.  And I imagine this is kind of what Bruce Wayne felt like when he finally hung up the Batsuit.

I feel ya, Batman!

The Pizza Song

May 25, 2011 at 7:05 am | Posted in Misc. | 5 Comments
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I love food. I know, most people do. Food is great. We need it to survive. And, when cooked properly, it tastes pretty good.

But I really  love food. And one of my favorites is pizza. I could eat it for every meal (including fourth meal and train feast), plus all my many snacks in between. It just so happens my son has the same affinity for pizza. You should see him cram slice after slice of cheesy, saucy goodness down his gullet. I burst with pride.

So the other night we had dinner at Schmommy’s house. Max wouldn’t eat what we adults were eating, so we gave him some of my brother’s calzone. Which we called pizza because Max can be pretty picky. And a calzone is basically a pizza all rolled up on itself. Max loved his pizza so much that he started singing a song about it while he was waiting for Schmommy to get him more. And since sharing means caring, and because I’m sure there’s at least one other person besides me and Uncle Nick who adores pizza, I’m going to teach you The Pizza Song.*

The Pizza Song (to the tune of Twinkle Twinkle)

By Max

Pizza Pizza

Pizza Pee

Pizza Pizza




*WARNING: The Pizza Song is highly catchy. Uncle Nick and I have been singing it all week. It has become a kind of greeting.

What Do You Want?

May 16, 2011 at 8:50 am | Posted in Misc. | 8 Comments

Dear Reader(s) –

Occasionally we like to check in with you to make sure we’re serving up the kind of factinis and factomelettes you enjoy. We want this to be a blog you love reading. How else are we going to get a book deal? We’re thinking we need some new categories now that we’re not planning any weddings or pregnant.And now that neither of us works in Boston, our commutes are destined to become pretty ho-hum (especially for those of us who only commute down to the basement!).

Reader(s), it’s your turn. What is your interest in the following topics?

  • As Seen On TV — Do the products really work?
  • TV shows we love
  • What’s going on in the kitchen

Is there another topic you’re just dying to read about? Go ahead, tell us what YOU want. We might even listen. Maybe.

~ April & Sarah

Review: Mo’s Dark Bacon Bar

May 10, 2011 at 8:17 am | Posted in Misc. | 6 Comments
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Next week is one of the biggest events of the year for one of my networking groups. We’ll be having a silent auction of a variety of gift baskets donated by our committees and members. And since I sit on two committees and am always looking to expand my Mary Kay customer base, I’m making several baskets.

Last night was my Community Service Committee meeting. Everyone had to bring in some chocolate for our cocoa-themed basket. Let me first issue a warning to anyone looking to bid on that basket. I will cut you. I need that basket.

Hoodles. I swung by the grocery store to end all grocery stores last night on my way to the meeting to snag a delish bar of chocolate for my basket. And as I perused the various offerings, from your ho-hum Hershey’s to more exotic wares (chiles and cherries, anyone?), I stumbled across the Holy Grail of cocoa-based confections. Mo’s Dark Bacon Bar. Even my inner Scrooge didn’t care that the price tag was a bit higher than what I ever spend on candy. Heck, the delectable treat I donated to our chocolate basket was on sale! But when I saw the combination of two of my faves in bar form, my brain got stuck on “Bacon and chocolate… bacon and chocolate… bacon and chocolate…”

In the checkout, the young cashier paused to examine my purchase. I assured him his eyes did not deceive him. Which prompted the woman behind me to exclaim how she thought that sort of combo could only be found in NYC. Woman, please! Bryan the cashier requested that I return to give him a full review. A promise I made in exchange for not sharing with him immediately.

I could hardly wait for my meeting to end so I could taste my chocolate. And even though the meeting went long, I sat in my car in a quickly emptying parking lot to take my first bite. I want to tell you that this creation was so incredible I slapped my grandma and jumped up and testified. But I didn’t. Because it wasn’t. How could dark chocolate, applewood smoked bacon and alderwood smoked salt not be incredible? Unless you don’t eat pork, which I understand is trayf if you are Jewish, so please don’t point that out to me.  Besides this being a rhetorical question, I am posing this to those who share my passion for pig.

I couldn’t accept that Mo had erred. Which also would mean my tastes had erred. And that ain’t happening. I blamed a residual spearmintiness in my mouth from the gum I had just spit onto the back of my hand prior to indulging in pricey chocolate. So a few hours later, after a piece of pizza and a Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale, I tried again. Maybe salty, bacony chocolate is best enjoyed with beer and pizza, right? Alas, my grandma still didn’t get slapped. Although it was a little better.

So this morning I will give it one last try before I form my ultimate opinion. Here goes…

Grandma, your face is safe. The chocolate is divine, with a hint of smokey salt. But where’s the bacon? Infinitesimal porcine crumbs ain’t cutting it for this gal. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll eat this bar. And I’ll relish every bite. But for the price I paid? Honey, I want to be able to see the pork. So Bryan, save your money. I’m sure there is a tastier offering out there. The hunt continues…


The Uninvited Guest

May 4, 2011 at 7:48 am | Posted in Misc. | 8 Comments
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Last night, about ten minutes before I had to leave for my wine group networking meeting, I was upstairs with my tiny dictators getting ready to head out when I heard Mike say, “Holy rhymes-with-spit!” He, of course, used a slightly more profane phrase. That being a not wholly uncommon utterance by my beloved, I ignored him. And then he started quietly but urgently calling my name. I called down to see what the problem was.

“There’s a baby bunny here,” Mike said.

“Cute!” I responded. “Let me get Max. He’d like to see that.”

“No!” Mike yelled. “Max needs to stay upstairs. The bunny is inside.”

Huh? I hurried down the stairs with little Paige on my hip. Mike pointed to the small space between our recliner and sliding glass doors leading to our back, uh, “patio.”

“I was going outside when I noticed some movement by the door,” Mike explained. “I turned my head and saw a little animal. It has to be a bunny. But how did it get in here?”

I climbed onto the couch, still with Paige on my hip, and peered behind the recliner. And there was, indeed, a tiny bunny cowering in the corner. And it was a-DOR-able! (please re-read that sentence if you neglected to use your inner Oprah voice)

“Ohmygoshitssocute!” I squealed. “I have to take a picture!”

Mike sighed and urged me to hurry because we had to figure out how to get the bunny outside. Sadly, the flash terrified the poor creature and he died of a heart attack.

Sorry, that’s really not funny. He didn’t die. He was scared, though, and ran behind the couch. I couldn’t get a picture of him.

Unsure of what to do, I offered to call my dad. One time a bunny got stuck in one of a basement window well at my parents’ house and my dad donned a pair of work gloves and rescued the little guy. My husband was not overly enthused about calling his father-in-law for wild animal assistance. So I called animal control instead. But here’s a funny thing about animal control: they only work during normal business hours. Their answering machine advised me to call 911. And I was about to call emergency services, but Mike felt a baby bunny was not exactly a life-threatening emergency. Personally, I’d rather have a 911 operator tell me I’m wasting valuable resources than take my husband to the hospital for a rabies shot, but what do I know?

Mike barricaded the stairs to the basement while I closed all the doors upstairs and made sure Max stayed at the top of the stairs. Mike grabbed his coat to use to either capture or shoo the bunny in the correct direction. Paige was still on my hip. Mike and I looked at each other and nodded. It was go time.

Mike moved the couch and that bunny was skittering through the dining “room” towards the (closed) front door, its little bunny legs losing traction on our linoleum as its made a last-minute course change towards our hall closet. Mike and I simultaneously yelled “NO!” Then I threw him his coat, which he dropped during the excitement, and he started poking around our mountain of shoes precariously piled outside the closet doors. But the bunny was not buried in our footwear. Clearly, he had managed to get into the closet. Which was somewhat disastrous because our closet is somewhat of a clearinghouse of recyclables, more footwear, scarves, my craft supplies (how I’ve missed you, dear Bedazzler!) and other random odds and ends. That bunny could be anywhere. So Mike carefully started emptying the closet.

And as I was suggesting we arm ourselves with hockey sticks, that wily bunny came careening out of the closet, down the hallway, through the dining room (right past the cat — AGAIN!) and hid again behind the couch. Sigh.

Paige and I posted ourselves by the front door while Mike reopened the back (for some reason I had closed it during the confusion). Mike moved the couch again and the bunny scurried out from behind the couch again. But, not having lived in our house for very long, it wasn’t sure where to go. So it started running (not hopping) laps around our first floor, never quite making it out either door.

And throughout this, Max was at the top of his stairs laughing his heart out. Because all he knew was that Ba and A-Dee (that’s what he calls us) were running around and shrieking like maniacs. And it is rather amusing to see your parents acting like fools.

Another point I must mention here: my cat sucks. Our cat was not the one to notice our intruder. In fact, at one point she was sitting just feet from the poor creature and utterly clueless to its existence. That little bunny ran past our cat no less than four times before she noticed him. And what do you think she did when she finally realized there was another animal in the house?

My cat ran away from the baby bunny.

So after my COMPLETELY USELESS cat had run upstairs to cower behind Max, the bunny finally stopped doing laps around our house and ended up beneath the baby’s pack’n’play. Mike pulled the cover, which I store under there so that I don’t lose it, out from under the pack’n’play and tossed it into the pack’n’play. But when he looked underneath, he didn’t see the bunny. Which is when I noticed movement inside the pack’n’play.

“It’s in the pack’n’play!” I shrieked.

The bunny was racing around and finally hopping in a futile attempt to free himself. Mike threw his coat on the animal and tried to pick it up, but he was concerned about hurting it and getting bit in the process. Paige calmly chewed a handful of my hair while we tried to figure out what to do next. Finally we moved some furniture out of the way so Mike could wheel the pack’n’play to the back door, where he dumped it on its side. And after everything else in the pack’n’play fell out into the rain, the bunny finally hopped on out, squeaking all the way.

“That was weird,” Mike said.

~ April

Keywords and Search Terms – A Lesson in SEO and Life?

May 3, 2011 at 9:29 am | Posted in Misc. | Leave a comment
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Despite our recent blogging “slowdown,” Factinis & Factomelettes has been lucky enough to maintain fantastic pageviews; a fact we’re very grateful for… and curious about!  Since we haven’t been producing a lot of new content lately (mea culpa!!), we wondered how people were stumbling upon Factinis & Factomelettes, and decided to take a look at the “Search Engine Terms” that WordPress reports are bringing the most traffic to our little blog. 

Should we be concerned about our online reputation? (Image courtesy of

Talk about “things that make you go hmmm” (another pop music reference – I can’t stop), yesterday’s most popular search terms included:

  • Mini Mouse eating
  • Ninja
  • Secret Squirrel
  • Jeggings
  • David Beckham
  • “Proof Virginity Lost”
  • Kid’s injuries at home
  • Crying men
  • Highway exit called Savage
  • Cats going shopping
  • Savage chicken tooth
  • Little quack cake
  • Lego People

Granted, people wouldn’t be stumbling on F&F when searching for things like emotional guys, trendy pants, soccer stars or strange animal behavior if we hadn’t mentioned these topics, so it certainly says something about April and me. 

Frankly, I think we need to get out more!


Photo Phriday: FUBO

February 18, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Posted in Misc. | 2 Comments
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Tracy and I were driving around Rochester one day and ended up behind a truck with a handwritten cardboard sign in the rear window. Four letters: FUBO. So many questions. Fortunately, Tracy answered my first one by pointing out that the sign probably should read: “F U BO.” That still left many unanswered questions. Who is Bo? What did Bo do to this woman? Was action requested on my part? Should I be wary of Bo and his (or her) antics? Was this part of a larger Bo-hating movement of which I was unaware? If a warning to and/or about Bo is warranted, why not spend a little more dough and get a magnetic sign for each side of the vehicle?

And since Tracy and I couldn’t stop wondering about this Bo situation, we followed the truck in order to snap a quick photo and see if any of my dear readers can enlighten us.



Don't mess with this lady!


Happy Friday!


PS A very belated congrats to RWFOTB for winning our last Photo Phriday contest! Something amazing is on its way to you! It’s in the mail. I swear.

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