Sunday, January 25, 2015

These Post Are Never Easy to Write

Friday afternoon, an eighth grader from Petticoat Junction Middle School died after skiing into a tree while on a school ski trip. He was appropriately supervised, was wearing a helmet, and was skiing within the boundaries of his skill set.

It was just a tragic accident.

And my heart is so broken for his family and friends. I'm also devastated for the school faculty and adult chaperones who were on the trip. Hugh chaperoned the Cub's ski trips just a couple of years ago and it created a fabulous memory for him and the Cub; I cannot imagine what those poor parents are going through, there they were, having a great experience with their kids and the kids' classmates and boom!


The school staff handled the accident gracefully and with the kids in mind; in fact, the majority of students weren't even aware that there had been an accident until they were back at the school, under the care of their parents.

I found out about it from the Cub, who came home from practice Friday night in a far more subdued manner than he usually enters our home. He told me that one of the Freshmen had been pulled out of practice and that the coaches had then been tasked with the grave responsibility of telling the boys about the accident. The coaches also made the decision to cancel the basketball games that were scheduled for the following day, and the boys were sent home to be with their families.

I am so sad for those kids; I'm sad that yet another of our boys has been lost at such a tender age. I'm also proud of our little community and the way that it comes together to support those left behind.

I just wish I didn't keep getting so many opportunities to be proud of that particular thing.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Throwback Thursday: The Downhill Derby Edition

One of my goals for last year was to get better organized. Part of that effort included organizing the pictures that I have been storing in my mudroom for the past sixteen years. Now, I have been a lover of photography my entire life, so, you can imagine how many albums I have (it's a shit-ton, and, let's not even mention the numerous boxes of additional snapshots and negatives that I have accumulated). Needless to say; I was (and am) facing a huge challenge when it came to finding a solution to the clutter.

Enter my handy-dandy pocket scanner, with which I am cataloging each album and box for tidy storage in the digital warehouse of life (please don't ask me what I am going to do with the pictures once they have been scanned, because, I honestly haven't thought that far ahead; a giant bonfire is becoming a very attractive possibility).

Earlier this evening, I scanned photos from a box that dates back to 2003, when the Cub was five, and I came upon the pictures from the first annual Petticoat Junction Downhill Derby. I had forgotten the detail that Hugh and I put into the construction and design of that car, as well as the unmitigated joy that sailing down a hill (at breakneck speed) brought to the Cub. Thank God I have the pictures to remind me.

The Cub took first place that day, earning a trophy and an interview with a reporter from the Hooterville Daily Press.

 I still have the trophy and the clipping from the newspaper, as well as a double-page spread in one of the Cub's scrapbooks, so, it's safe to say that the event was duly recorded for posterity.

The fact that we still have the car in the attic over the garage doesn't qualify us as hoarders, does it?

Boys and their toys..

Please don't answer that.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Heroes and Villains

Hugh and I left for Aspen Friday afternoon and took our time making the drive. The weather was gorgeous, the roads were good, and we had time to spare before the Cub's game started. Our leisurely pace turned out to be a blessing when the coach of the varsity team called in a panic; his personal vehicle had lost a wheel bearing and he and his wife were stranded halfway to Aspen. Since we were just a bit ahead of them, it was no trouble to back-track for a rescue. The coach was very grateful and we were branded as heroes, but, the real hero was the mechanic at the small service station that the coach managed to reach just as his car hit situation critical; that guy stayed late to fix the bearing and coach's car was ready for him to pick up on his way home from the game. You don't see service like that very often these days.

Totally heroic.

Speaking of the game and of heroes, the boys played well but were not quite able to get the win. They never gave up, though, and they went down swinging.

Saturday afternoon, the boys played again, this time at home. The game was a nail-biter from the first tip off to the final score (38-35). The Cub played a really aggressive game, receiving an intentional foul call before ultimately fouling completely out with four minutes left to go in the final quarter. While all of his fouls (including the so-called "intentional" foul) were clean, meaning no malice involved, he was still bummed about having to take the bench. His coach, on the other hand, applauded his determination. Unfortunately, one of the referees appeared equally screw us over. I've never seen such a blatant disregard of fouls in my entire life; the opposing team was throwing elbows and purposely tripping our players and not a call was made against them. It was baffling and frustrating.

At one point, Hugh got a bit vocal about the inequity and came thisclose to getting kicked out of the gym, which, is not embarrassing at all. On the bright side, the athletic director at the school was present and he was disinclined to remove a parent from the gym (smart man). Then, at one point, a player from the guest team slid head-first into the brick wall, smashing his head hard and, the referee was so busy trying to keep the kid's coach off the court (he though the coach was protesting a call), he failed to notice the almost-unconscious kid on the court. It was ridiculous.

What an ass.

Also, I really hope the coaches check that kid for a concussion, because, as I said, he hit hard.

Anyway, all is well that ends well, and, as I've also said, we won. So, yay!

I'll see your "intentional foul" and I'll raise you a three-pointer

To celebrate the win, we went to see American Sniper with almost the entire boys basketball team. Not on purpose or anything, that's just how it worked out.

Did you know that, where teenaged boys go, teenaged girls are sure to follow? Yeah, last night was no exception; Hugh and I had front-row seats to the flirting ritual of the American teen. Trust me when I say, you have not lived until you sit back and observe that adolescent awkwardness in all it's glory.

The movie was good, too.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Friday, Already? Where Did the Week Go?

It's been a busy week at Casa de Chelle. Between work, chores, work, and more chores, I haven't had a minute to rest. Part of the reason for this is that the end of an old year and the beginning of a new one always produces more bookwork at the store; combine that with the mental haze that I operated in for much of the late part of 2014, and you can imagine how many small mistakes I am now having to correct.

It's not fun.

Thankfully, this is a slower time of year at Day Job, so I don't feel as overwhelmed as I would if I were juggling an equally stressful job load, there.

Of course, things haven't just been busy for me; The Teenager is back in the groove of college classes and has also taken on a job hunt. She has an interview later today and I am crossing my fingers for her, as she has recently made the adult decision to transfer schools at the end of the semester and will need to finance a large part of her living expenses once she moves. Getting some job experience under her belt now may very well help in securing a position in Neighboring City later this summer which will help meet her financial obligations (My baby has obligations! She's so grown up!).

The Man-Cub is also busy with school and basketball and has been helping his father to process the two cow elk that they killed earlier this month. It is a time consuming job and I think Hugh is grateful for the help. Also, it is a life skill that the Cub will need if he intends to continue hunting (Since, you know, he is also growing up).

I wish I could say that today is the end of my busy week, but that would be a pipe dream since, later today, we are making the drive to Aspen to watch the Cub play basketball. He has another game tomorrow and, after I watch it, I am going to meet with Emily to work on the year-end reports some more. Then, on Sunday, I get to go to the store to do payroll, pay bills, figure sales tax, and stress over how I am going to rob Peter to pay Paul.

On the bright side, there is always next week, right?

Next week, I am going to make time for a pedicure and a latte if it kills me (I need to, my feet are beginning to resemble the hooves of a cave troll).

Monday, January 12, 2015

A Food Blogger, I Am Not

It's Day Two of the official Pantry Purge and I am 0 for 2 in the picture-taking department; I think it's safe to say that this experiment will not be immortalized in photos for a shot at internet glory.

Eh, I can live with that.

So, what have I managed to scrape together the past couple of meals? Yesterday, we had pot roast, slow-cooked in the crock pot with a sauce mix unearthed from the darkest recesses of the cupboards. This evening, it was one-pot Mexican quinoa, made with quinoa (duh), black beans, corn, tomatoes, vegetable stock, and an assortment of peppers; it was actually really tasty, the Man-Cub even ate it and asked for more (as Oliver said, "Please sir, may I have some more?" Snerk).

I haven't planned tomorrow's menu yet, but, based on the plethora of canned tomato paste in the pantry, some type of pasta is a likely possibility.

In news somewhat related to my culinary skills, the Cub is back in the swing of High School sports; he started basketball prior to Christmas vacation and we finally had our first home game on Saturday. Although the boys lost, they scrapped hard, and, we could not be more proud. What does that have to do with cooking, you ask? Well, I'll tell you: I have volunteered to host a team dinner for the boys next month and the ridiculous number of cans of refried beans and the commercial-sized tub of taco seasoning that I discovered in the pantry will lend themselves quite well to a taco bar menu.

Winner, winner, taco dinner.

I might even remember to take pictures.

Of the food, I mean. Until then, here are some pictures of the boys; I am a mommy blogger after all (Gag).

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Who's Rocking the Resolutions? I Am!

I am off to a fantabulous start with the New Year's resolutions, and, I'm not even being sarcastic when I say that.

You know, for once.

Now, I don't want to jinx myself, but, the clean eating thing is going fairly well. And, while I do realize that I am only on day seven of a very long three hundred and sixty-five days, I am still optimistic for success. I am also starting to come out of the sugar fugue that has clouded my brain over the past six weeks, and, I am starting to remember how much better I feel when I am not indulging in high fructose revelry. I also broke up with Diet Pepsi again; he is a very bad boyfriend and he done me wrong.

I haven't jumped back into my previous exercise program yet, but I plan to do that next week; I read somewhere that making more than two changes at a time can derail the efforts at making a lifestyle change, and I don't want to sabotage myself.

Or, I am lazy. Your call.

The numbered goals on my resolutions list are going to be easy to achieve this year, given the fact that my mom, sisters, and I are planning a trip to Paris this spring.


For real!

I am both excited and terrified. The excitement is natural, I mean, who wouldn't be excited to go to Paris? The terror stems from a general inability to hand over control of every situation in my life, and, there is a lot that will be out of my power on a trip like this. I guess I just need to make peace with that and focus on living in the moment. That's not one of my resolutions, so I am going to file it under Stay Positive and call it good.

See? Rocking it!

Also? Paris!

    Photo credited to a random Google search

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Clearly, I Failed the Christmas Cookie Challenge

I don't think I mentioned it, but, I participated in this year's No Gain Challenge at Day Job. Wait, I should have said last year's. No, I was right the first time. No? Yes? I am so confused, anyway, the challenge started with a weigh-in before Thanksgiving and ended with a weigh-out yesterday. The goal of the challenge was to gain no more than two pounds over the course of the holidays, and, apparently this is an achievable goal.

For some people.

For the girl who eats all the Christmas cookies, pound upon pound of mint chocolate fudge, enough sage dressing to stuff three turkeys (although, there were only two), and her own body weight in assorted chocolates...not so much.

The reading on the scale yesterday sent me into hyperventilation mode. I did not think it was physically possible to gain as much weight as the scale said that I did. Not in six-to-eight- weeks, anyway.

So, I went home, and I stewed about it.

Were my clothes fitting more tightly? Well, yes, a little. My yoga pants are definitely a lot less stretchy and a lot more stretched, but, that much weight? No, weigh (Ha! See what I did there?)!

So, I blew the dust off my own scale and hopped on. The number on my scale was a lot less hyperventilation-inducing than the scale at Day Job. So, this morning, I whined to the coordinator and made her re-weigh me on a different scale in a different location in the building (hard floor vs. carpeting) and, the number coordinated with the number on my scale at home.

The coordinator went "Huh, that's weird", and adjusted my final weight accordingly.


Except for the part where I gained three pounds, which means I failed at the challenge.

Three pounds of gain vs. eight pounds of gain...yeah, I'll take it.

Rest assured, however, New Year's Resolution #2 (Eat clean, for a year) is well underway.