Monday, April 30, 2007

Ancient Puebloans Rock!

Holy crap, I’m tired. Our field trip to Mesa Verde with The Girl’s fifth grade class went well, exhausting but, well.

Thursday morning, Hugh and I arrived at the school at 7:15 to help load the drinks and snacks that one of the other moms had purchased for the trip. Hugh organized coolers and made an ice run while I attended the official meeting of the chaperones. We then loaded the coolers into one of the other parent’s trucks and started the three hour drive to Cortez.

Our first stop was the Anasazi Heritage Center in Dolores. Each chaperone was responsible for three students and we spent several hours exploring the museum and filling out a homework packet for the kids’ Social Studies class. It wasn’t too terrible, you know, for schoolwork.

Later that evening, we continued on to Cortez and, while the kids got checked in at the hotel, Hugh and I drove to a local pizza parlor to pick up the thirty-five large pizzas that I had ordered earlier in the week. Do you have any idea what thirty-five large pizzas looks like? It looks like this

Do you have any idea how long it took one hundred fifth graders to inhale said pizzas? About ten minutes.

After dinner, while the kids were swimming in the hotel pool, Hugh and I helped Other Mother (the one who purchased the drinks and snacks prior to the trip. Or, maybe I should call her, The Only Other Parent Who Lifted a Finger to Help During the Entire Trip. Not that I’m being judgmental. Except, ok, I am.) reload the coolers with bottles of water and juice for the next day’s lunch. Then, we gathered up our assigned kids and herded them off to bed since we had a long day ahead of us.

Friday morning, we were up with the sun and, while the kids dined on the hotel’s continental breakfast, Hugh, Other Mother and I ran to the local grocery store to pick up the box lunches that we had previously ordered. Then, it was off to the National Park, where we spent a great day exploring the ruins before grabbing cheeseburgers from a fast food place and heading back home. According to my trusty pedometer, we logged five miles on Thursday and eight miles on Friday. No wonder we were exhausted.

But, as I said, it was a good time.

However, should you ever volunteer to chaperone such a trip, allow me to offer the following tips on Proper Chaperone Etiquette:

1. Offer to help.
2. Don’t be the first in line for meals. The kids get first dibs; it is the way of the world.
3. Don’t complain about the kids assigned to you. Especially in front of said kids.
4. The same rules apply to you as to the kids. Set a good example by following them.
5. For god’s sake, offer to help.

End of sermon.

So, the rest of the weekend was a blur of activity. Saturday morning we got up early to attend a Passport Fair at our local post office. Our applications, hideous pictures and all are on their way to whatever obscure governmental department handles passports and, with luck, in three months we should be legally documented to travel. You know somewhere.

The rest of the day and Sunday, we worked on the yard. The weather has finally gotten with the program and it was quite nice outside. I dug dead mum bushes out of my flower beds and weeded around my tulips while the kids and the dogs frolicked in the sun. It felt good.

By Sunday night, the week had caught up to me and it was all I could do to keep my eyes open through The Sopranos. Although, that would have proven difficult had I been fully awake since, the show is about boring these days. Seriously; whack Tony and put me out of my misery, HBO.

That is all.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Thursday Thirteen, Edition Eighteen:
Thirteen Reasons to Believe My Parents Have Been Replaced By Pod People

1. They have chocolate flavored cereal in their kitchen. No such thing was allowed when I was a child living under their roof.

2. Ditto the drawer full of Snickers bars, Twizzlers and Hershey’s Kisses. Candy! Easily accessible to small children, in my parents' house. Unheard of!

3, I also heard a rumor about ice cream being served... before dinner.

4. And, my mother suddenly takes breakfast orders like a short-order cook. She will gladly make eggs for one child, biscuits and gravy for another and French Toast for a third, all at the same meal. When I was a child, you ate what was placed before you and you liked it, by god!

5. Bed time? What’s bed time? The children don’t have to go to bed; they are having so much fun!

6. And, since they’re up; they might as well eat some Goldfish crackers… in bed. While watching television.

7. Obviously, much like the Pirate Code, household rules are suddenly more like guidelines.

8. Burping, farting and jokes about bodily functions are perfectly acceptable topics of conversation at the dinner table.

9. Mom neglected to pack your swimming suit? No problem! You can go naked in the hot tub.

10. Sunday mornings now mean sleeping in and lounging about instead of rising at dawn and attending church services.

11. Every trip to the grocery store results in the purchase of a new toy, special snack or other treat for whichever child/and/or/children that happens to be accompanying them.

12. The word no has disappeared from their vocabulary.

13. Dropping everything to bake brownies at the request of a child is now the rule rather than the exception.

Seriously. I had a pretty fabulous childhood but grandkids these days? They just don’t know how good they have it.

And I wouldn’t trade that for a thing.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

When Selling a Million Pies Is Worth the Effort

Tomorrow, Hugh and I will be here. We are chaperoning The Girl’s fifth grade field trip to the National Park and we are skeered; you would be, too if you had to chaperone 125 ten and eleven year old children on their first over-night school trip. You would be; don’t try to deny it.

As it is, I hope we have a maximum of fun with a minimum of headache and that the kids all gain a healthy appreciation for the Native Americans who dwelled before us on this beautiful planet.

Or, at the very least, that they remember their manners and I don’t have to kill anyone since, I'm pretty sure; body disposal in the National Park system is frowned upon.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Granolas are Good For the Earth

Operation Hottie by July is going swimmingly. I managed to follow a strict diet and exercise program over the past two weeks and as a result I have lost two pounds. I did manage to gain two monster zits on my chin but at least they don’t appear to weigh much.

On a totally different subject, I recently began shopping with re-useable canvas bags. Yes, canvas bags; just like the tree-hugging granolas that my roomates and I used to make fun of in college!

The irony; it is not lost on me, I assure you.

So, why am I using reusable bags, you ask. I experienced an epiphany of sorts during a program at my woman’s club meeting several weeks ago wherein it was presented to us that the average shopper disposes of ten non-biodegradable plastic bags per shopping trip. Those bags go into our landfills where they spend eternity, never biodegrading, and all.

Eternity. Thats like...forever.

And, since I consider myself to be an above average shopper; I calculated that I dispose of at least fifteen bags per shopping trip which, when averaged over the course of one shopping trip per week, four per month, fifty-two per year, etc., etc., meant that I was personally responsible for….a whole hell of a lot of plastic bags going into the landfill each year and I asked myself, is this the legacy that I want to leave for my children? Yeah, not so much.

So, I purchased five canvas bags from and I have been using them exclusively ever since. At first, it was a challenge simply to remember to grab them from the back of my car before I entered a store but, now; it is like second nature.

And, in all honesty, the hardest part of the whole experience was convincing the cashiers at the Hellmouth to bag my groceries in the canvas bags. However, once I volunteered to do the bagging for them, they were a lot more enthusiastic.

I know; imagine that!

That’s ok, though because, now; I know that I will not return from the market to find my bread pinned underneath my bananas or my tampons bagged with a leaky package of chicken breasts (true story). In addition, the canvas bags hold more groceries, they are easier to carry and I never have to worry about them splitting down the side; spilling my oranges into the parking lot and forcing my off-spring to scramble about madly underneath parked cars in an effort to reclaim them before they become orange juice (also a true story).

In short, I have embraced the reusable bags like a long lost lovah and I would encourage you to do the same. It’s good for our environment and it won’t turn you into a tree-hugging granola; I swear.

Of course, if you really want to gather ‘round the campfire and braid each other’s hair as we sing Kumbaya, I’m totally up for that, too.


Friday, April 20, 2007

The End of An Era

We had a terrible wind storm the other night. It knocked down trees and power lines and caused an untold number of headaches for the unthinking souls who neglected to pull their trashcans into their garages * cough.... Hugh.... cough*.

Even worse, it picked up our gas grill and hurled it to the ground, shattering it into many pieces and scaring the beejezus out of me and the children as we watched television. Have you ever heard the sound that a gas grill makes as it shatters into a million pieces? It. Is. Scary.

The resulting mess, however, is spectacular. Twisted metal, shards of plastic and; volcanic rock, spewing forth from the well of the grill as though it had vomited its last meal. Awesome!

And, completely beside the point.

The point is; Hugh was sad. "It's the end of an era" he said as he stood over the debris, shaking his head and trying to hide the tears.

And, right he is; my college roommates purchased that grill for us as a wedding gift almost fourteen years ago (Fourteen years? you say. Yes, children, back in our day, they built them to last! Also, I walked three miles to school. Barefoot. Uphill. BOTH Ways. And, I didn't have HBO until I was twelve. Shocking, I know). At the time, it was the Cadillac of gas grills and we have charred many a chicken breast and steak upon it's hallowed rack as a pot of baked beans bubbled on the adjacent burner.

It was, indeed, a quality piece of machinery and it will be missed, even if it did scare the hell out of me to light it, visions of singed eyebrows and all that.

RIP gas grill.

On a not entirely unrelated note, guess who will be shopping for a new gas grill for Father’s Day? Oh, come on; guess!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Thursday Thirteen, Edition Seventeen:
Thirteen Things I Love About My Son

Turn about is fair play and, since The Girl got her moment in the spotlight last week, it is only right that the Man-Cub get his.

1. I love that he sees the humor in any situation. His laugh, my god, his laugh, it is wholehearted and real.

2. I love the freckles across the bridge of his nose and the fact that, when someone teases him about having “Dumbo ears”, he shrugs his shoulders as if to say “the better to hear you with” (I would add, dumbass, if I were him but, I suspect that will come later)

3. In the same vein, I love that he includes his ears in all of his self portraits and I am delighted by his ability to wiggle them without moving any other part of his face.

4. His positive sense of self-esteem at such a tender age simply astounds me.

5. I love that, when he cries, the tears are huge and voluminous, no crocodile tears for my boy.

6. I love that he puts his whole heart into whatever he does, whether it be sports, coloring with crayons, or building with Leggos.

7. Also, how he sticks his tongue out of the corner of his mouth when he is concentrating.

8. I love how he sings to himself when he is alone in his room or in the bathtub.

9. And that he has no embarrassment whatsoever when I catch him at it.

10. I love how he treats his friends.

11. And how he raises his eyebrows in the perfect Groucho Marx impression when he wants me to laugh.

12. I love his impression of Gollum, even though that is exactly what he was doing when he knocked out his front teeth at the age of four. Toothless, he was still my preciousssss.

13. I love how he rolls with the punches; how a disappointment that would send a higher-strung child into hysterics merely causes him to shrug his shoulders and say “Oh well, I don’t care, moving on.”

In short, I just love him. And I think he loves me, too.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

But It Works For Ashton and Demi!

The Man-Cub has a crush on a little girl in our neighborhood. Her name is Angel and he often asks for permission to invite her over to jump on the trampoline or to play laser tag in the yard and, they can be seen biking down the long hill in front of our house almost daily.

I don’t really know Angel all that well; her family only recently moved into one of the rental properties on the block adjacent to ours but, she seemed nice enough and I thought nothing of the Cub’s interest in her. That is, until The Girl clued me in to the fact that, perhaps, the Cub likes Angel more than he likes the other girls in the neighborhood.

And, by likes, she meant likes. Like, likes, likes her! You know?

I feigned indifference and The Girl dropped the subject.

By then, the small seed of the worrywart plant had taken root in my heart however and, I became somewhat concerned. I mean, I reasoned to myself, this early experience could color the Cub’s entire love life; first crushes can be brutal. What if she’s just using him for his trampoline? What if she doesn’t return his feelings?

Oh my god, what if she does? He’s only eight!

So, I breathed into a paper bag for awhile, had a little sit and, I was fine. Really.

Some time after that though, The Cub and I were driving to the grocery store and I decided to address the topic. My intention was to keep the conversation light so as not to cause the boy any embarrassment, sparing his future therapist additional pause for concern over my parenting skills. I’m a forward thinker like that.

Chelle: So, Angel seems really nice.
Cub: Yeah.
Chelle: You two seem to get along well.
Cub: Yeah.

(So far, so good. Very subtle, way to go, Chelle!)

Chelle: You appear to share a lot of the same interests.
Cub: Yep.
Chelle: So…

(Well, this is going nowhere…do I hear crickets?)

Chelle: She’s a good friend, huh?
Cub: Yeah.

(Good lord)

Chelle: I think you like her.
Cub: Well, yeah.
Chelle: No. I think you like her. I think you liiiike her, you want to kiiiisss her. You want to squeeeeze her….

(Christ on a cracker, when did I start channeling Sandra Bullock?)

Cub: God, mom! We’re just friends. She’s in the third grade!
Chelle: Oh. Well…so? Your dad was in the second grade when I was in the third grade and that worked out just fine.

Cub: Squirrels must love you. You are nuts.

That went well, don’t you think?

Hey, at least I can stop worrying now; the Cub and Angel will just be friends even if he likes likes her.

You know, because dating an older woman would so wound his delicate pride.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Ladies Who Lunch

Saturday’s luncheon went well. According to the majority of women I spoke to; my table was a big hit. Of course, after viewing some of the other tables, I have to wonder if they were all just being polite as some of the tables were so elaborately decorated; they would have been right at home in a photo shoot for a fancy magazine.

  As usual, Hugh was a big hit with the ladies. He is officially my best accessory and I should
plan to never participate in the luncheon without him. As it stands, he is the most seasoned of the wine servers and was in high demand from tables not even assigned to him. I took the pressure off him a bit by using the biggest wine glasses in the history of glass at my table, requiring one pour and no additional refills. Trust me; the ladies at my table got plenty to drink as indicated by the number of times Hugh’s butt received a little pinch as he breezed by to service the other women (dirty!).

His mother, who was seated at my table feigned shock but even she has become accustomed to the hi-jinks of the Ladies who Lunch.

And, it’s all for a good cause, of course. While the exact numbers aren’t in just yet; early estimates place our proceeds at around $10,000 which will give us plenty of money to fund the year’s remaining projects. That makes my job as Service Chair ever so much easier since saying “yes” as opposed to saying “no” to people seeking funding always makes one more popular.

This year’s addition of a live auction featuring donated items helped to increase our proceeds quite a bit and, it was fun to watch the ladies wave their bidding paddles about in a fierce competition for the more popular items. Not as much fun? The strolling fashion show. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the wedding dress chosen for me to model was rather cumbersome which somewhat limited the “strolling” portion of the program for me. The photograph taken by the Society Photographer of our local paper perhaps best captured my ennui.

Also, my feet hurt.

And, I was a bit stressed over the fact that my children were scattered to the four corners of the world.

Which, ok; I realize that is actually impossible since I do in fact posses only two children. Work with me, people.

The Girl was at her first volleyball tournament and, although she called in to update us (tearily) on the teams' progress through the bracket (they lost, twice), I missed her presence at the luncheon. And, you know, I kind of would have liked to see her play.

The Man-Cub was with Jana, watching Darren’s soccer game and, while he never participates in the luncheon, I reserve the right to miss his presence as well. In addition, as soon as Hugh had poured his last drop of vino, he had to race off to pick up the Cub for the team draft for the rapidly approaching season of Rookie baseball. The day's schedule just made me feel so scattered. Hate.

All is well that ends well, though. After the last of my fine china and crystal was packed away into my car and the wedding dress returned to its bag, I retrieved The Girl and one of her volleyball teamates whom we had invited for a sleep-over.

Hugh managed to work on the yard a bit, the Man-Cub also got to have Darren spend the night and I got to soak my aching feet.

For the record though, they still hurt today. And, yes; I am a big baby.

Friday, April 13, 2007


Recently, my older sister brought home the newest member of her family, a Maltese puppy named Max. My younger sister and I are quite amused at this turn of events since my older sister has never been much of a dog person (in her defense, there was that nasty dog-bite-on-the-ass episode when we were kids). We truly never thought that she would try her hand at puppy training and I am looking forward to my next trip to my hometown so I can see it for myself (in a phone call earlier today, my brother-in-law confided his own amusement at watching his lovely wife clean puddles from the carpet several times a day. He ought to be ashamed. Also, hee!).

As for what prompted my sister’s change of heart regarding dog ownership, younger sister and I are of the mind that having Max to care for is a way to assuage older sister’s feelings of Empty Nest Syndrome now that her kids are teenagers and less dependent upon her. Either that or, she purchased him purely for the thrill of shopping for doggie accessories. And, since Maltese pups are so incredibly wee and precious, and since he will be living on a farm, surrounded by bad-ass ranch animals; I'm sure he will need this.

Why, it just screams Back off, Barnyard cat! I will cut you!

And, really; doesn't every dog need a leather vest with a skull and crossbones?

Sheeee-yeah! In fact, if I didn’t know for a fact that Hugh would kill me and bury my body in a shallow grave, I would totally buy one for Rowdie.

He would just eat it but, still.

My Name Is Rowdie.

I Eat Twee Little Dogs in Leather Vests For Breakfast.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Thursday Thirteen, Edition Sixteen:
Thirteen Things That I Love About My Daughter

Instead of counting to ten when she rolls her eyes at me for having the audacity to do crazy things like, telling her that it is bedtime or to get off the phone, I like to list the things about my daughter that I love. It’s a pretty long list, but, here are my top 13.

1. She loves spinach and will eat it in any form.

2. She is protective of her little brother.

3. She can do a perfect one-handed cartwheel.

4. She enjoys reading and some of her favorite books were some of my favorite books when I was her age. You know, back when dinosaurs roamed the Earth.

5. She still has the round, baby cheeks that she had from the moment that I met her.

6. She is cautious and thinks situations through before attempting anything physical. Why, we didn’t even know what the inside of the Emergency Room looked like before her brother was born.

7. Three words: Popcorn on a knob. OK, that’s actually four words but, her phrase for corn on the cob since the moment she could eat the stuff, is one of my favorite mispronunciations of all time.

8. I love how independent she is and how quickly she makes friends. I love that she is always the first kid in the class to introduce herself to the new kid in school and to offer to show them the ropes.

9. I love how she expresses every emotion whether it be happiness, sadness, anger,or fear with exhuberance. So dramatic! She might just have a future in show-biz.

10. I love that, at the advanced age of eleven, she doesn’t consider herself too old to kiss me good-bye in front of her friends. Or, to cuddle with me on the couch on movie night. Or, to creep into my bed when she has a bad dream.

11. She is always the first person to pass along a compliment.

12. She is quite patient with me when I struggle with the fifth grade math. Fifth grade math is hard!

13. She has been my guinea pig during this whole parenting experiment and she doesn’t hold the vast majority of my mistakes against me.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Excuse Me If I Ramble

The pin was finally removed from Rowdie’s hip yesterday, allowing him to get back to the business of being a puppy. He celebrated by eating one of Hugh’s favorite baseball caps, several of the Man-Cub’s Pokemon cards and a stray sock lifted from the laundry basket, all in the space of time that it took me to wander to the kitchen for a glass of water and back to the mudroom again.

I’m not entirely certain that there is a place in our family for such an obvious over-achiever.

In other news, I went to my assigned store today to be outfitted for the Spring Luncheon fashion show and, while I patiently explained to the owner of the store that I am officially done being The Bride, she dressed me in a wedding dress far fluffier and more elaborately beaded than the gown I wore on my own wedding day.

She might be deaf. Or, a bit slow, I’m not sure which.

On the other hand, the dress is a lovely peachy-champagne color as opposed to white so; she might be slow but she isn’t stupid.

Anyway, this is it; the last year that I am being trotted out in full-on bridal regalia for this luncheon. Unless, of course, the store starts carrying the geriatric line of wedding dresses, you know, for the ever-popular nursing home weddings that are rampant in our society; in which case; consider me in.

Damn, look at that last sentence. Do you think the punctuation store was having a sale on semi-colons? Me too!

Speaking of geriatrics, the owner of the store also picked out a stunning Mother of the Bride dress for me, which, words fail; I mean, really, Mother of the Bride? Me? Wha?

Maybe she is stupid because, in a complete 180, she also has me wearing an evening gown that she swears is appropriate cruise-wear should Hugh and I ever manage to sell a kidney a piece to finance such an excursion. The dress is black and yes, quite appropriate for cruising the deep blue sea….if you are Charro. As it is, I will spend the next three days searching the stores for a bra that will accommodate the deep plunge of the neckline, a girdle capable of corralling the fat rolls which became painfully obvious the minute I sprayed the dress on and a pair of heels high enough to complete the outfit because, if your ensemble screams Tacky Cruise Ship Entertainer, you might as well go all the way.

And I thought the dog was an over-achiever.

On a completely different subject, yesterday my tulips looked like this…..

Winter came and pissed all over town last night and now they look like this…..

Me no happy.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

This Is Why I Don’t Sing In the Shower

Last night, I lit the candles surrounding my jet tub, popped on my iPod and settled back for a peaceful soak.

Apparently, it was peaceful for no one except for me since I tend to sing along with the music on my iPod-loudly. Like, think bath scene from Pretty Woman but, without the pretty and with ten times more volume. And off-key.

Hugh and the children were less than impressed and now I’m thinking that we should have sound-proofed the bathroom when we remodeled.

Maybe next time.

Monday, April 09, 2007

We Interrupt This Chocolate Coma To Bring You the Following….

Our Easter holiday was lovely and not just because I was able to eat my weight in chocolate following my six-week period of abstinence, either.

Saturday morning, Hugh and I took the kids to a nearby park for an egg hunt sponsored by our local Lions Club. At eleven, The Girl was just a tad bit too old to participate although several of the club members urged her to do so anyway. She was content to stay on the sidelines and cheer on her brother who managed to score a decent number of eggs as well as a large number of chocolate covered marshmallow Santas.

Yes, Santas.

A well-known chocolate maker has a factory in our community as well as an outlet store and, they are generous about giving out-dated, imperfect or out-of season candy to non-profit groups as a donation. And, considering that we could very well have had the kids hunting for Halloween pumpkins, I think we got off quite lucky with the Santas. Plus, the kids could not have cared less because, hello, chocolate.

In addition, the Easter Bunny made an appearance which easily distracted the children from the absurdity of St. Nick’s presence at an Easter Egg hunt.

The rest of Saturday was quite busy for us. The weather was gorgeous and Hugh, finally freed from his weekends of servitude at the hands of Pee-Wee wrestlers, High School wrestlers and work commitments, was able to start on his most ambitious project yet; preparing the back yard for landscaping.

To that end, Hugh and a friend hauled in six dump truck loads of freshly composted cow manure mixed with fine soil. And, yes, the neighbors absolutely love us.

After depositing each load, Hugh filled the dump truck with debris from the remodel and hauled it away, making room in the yard for the new soil which he will spread once the lines for the sprinkler system have been put in.

Hugh’s efforts did not go unnoticed by our newest neighbors, a young married couple who purchased Neighbor Bob’s house not long after his death last year. They ignored the aroma of the cow manure and bravely made their way over to visit and to get advice on the rather ambitious remodeling project that they are taking on in their house. Of course, they had Hugh at “demolish and rebuild” and he offered the use of the million and one tools that we purchased during our three year renovation as well as any labor that he might be qualified to provide. He had them at "nail gun and stud finder", I'm certain.

For my part, I offered Frog Eye Salad, a vat of which I had made for Easter dinner. Sarah, the lovely female half of the couple, invited the children to help her make cinnamon rolls and it was the beginning of what will certainly be a beautiful friendship.

Later that night, after Hugh had showered off the stench of cow dung, we dyed eggs. Then, we tucked the children into bed so we could prepare for our visit from the Bunny. We hid chocolate filled eggs around the house and, as testament to my dedication; I managed to eat not one single piece until the following morning when the kids woke me at six a.m. to check out their loot.

Of course, I might as well have hooked up an I.V. line with a slow chocolate drip then, considering how much of the stuff I ingested throughout the remainder of the day.

In addition to the chocolate, I indulged in spiral glazed ham so tender, it actually fell off the bone, no knife required. Then there was the giant-sized helping of Sinful Potatoes, a small army of sweet dinner rolls, Frog Eye salad in enormous quantities, carrot cake with cream cheese frosting an inch and a half thick and a giant cinnamon roll, courtesy of the neighbors and which I could not refuse considering the fact that my children helped make them.

Gluttony is my favorite of the Seven Deadly Sins or, could you not tell?

In an effort (although not much of one) to work off some of the caloric damage done by dinner, Hugh, The Girl and I engaged in several rousing games of Clue with Oscar and Emily, who had joined us for dinner. Proving once and for all that I would make a terrible detective, I failed to win even one game and was instead pounded by my daughter (three wins) and my husband (four wins).

I finally admitted defeat and joined the Man-Cub on the couch with a large chocolate bunny shared between the two of us.

The day ended with kisses from my children, the smell of chocolate still on the Cub’s breath, and a viewing of The Sopranos. I have high hopes for the last nine episodes. I hope I’m not disappointed.

Today, I am hard at work. Also, Operation Hottie by July, although slightly derailed by my Easter O’ Gluttony, begins again, anew.

Farewell, sweet chocolate, it was sweet while it lasted.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Go In Peace

Sooo…Sunday Is Easter which means two things; one, we will celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Savior, Jesus Christ and, two, I get to eat chocolate! Thank you for dying for my sins, Jesus! And, thank you, God, for chocolate!

I love Easter. Some of my best childhood memories center on the holiday. My parents excelled at the whole Easter Bunny business, filling our baskets with goodies galore, organizing egg hunts, and buying my sisters and me each a new dress, shiny shoes and an orchid corsage; what wasn’t to love?

One particular Easter, however, is etched forever in my memory for reasons having nothing whatsoever to do with jelly beans, deviled eggs or my mythical rabbits bearing chocolate.

I guess I must have been around six or seven and that particular Easter morning, as on every Easter Sunday in my childhood memory, my mother dressed my sisters and me in our new- and matching-dresses. As far as our matching dresses go, that year wasn’t so bad, they were long in length, the fabric was devoid of scratchy lace that might cause itching and it featured a bunny print that would come in handy later in the day, as you shall soon see.

The previous night, Mom had washed our hair and set it on spongy pink rollers (torture devices; created solely for the purpose of making little girls wish, with every fiber of their beings, that they had been born BOYS). The resulting curls were combed out and twisted tightly into buns on top of our heads, pulling our foreheads tauter than a face-lift and tilting our eyelids at the corners, prompting my older sister to chant a forbidden joke that went; Me Chinese, me play joke. Me go pee-pee in your Coke.

Good times.

We whined about the pain but mom would have none of it after all, Jesus died on the cross, girls! What did we have to complain about? And, off to church we went.

The priest of our parish at that time was named-I kid you not-Father Grimes. Father Grimes was gruff and grumpy and I was of the belief that he hated children and me, in particular. Furthermore, I was convinced that he secretly ate small children. Every Sunday, when it was time to present the Body and Blood of Christ during mass, the man licked his chops and stared at me. I’m not even making that up; I lived in mortal terror of Father Grimes, cowering behind my father every Sunday as we made our way out of the church on the off-chance that I would have to shake hands with the man and he would forget himself and eat me alive with a hundred Catholics to bear witness.

To make a long story short (ha! Too late), sometime during the mass, while I tried desperately to avoid eye-contact with Father Grimes lest he signal his obvious intent to dine upon my flesh, my older sister got a little bit carried away while twirling a rosary and accidentally nailed my younger sister in the eye with the cross, causing her to cry. Mom scooped her up, nodded to Dad and headed down the aisle, taking her out of the church so she wouldn’t disturb the other parishioners in their prayers.

Now, the only time I ever got paraded down the aisle and out of the church during mass was when I had done something naughty and the trip generally ended with a swat, lovingly administered by my mother. Not realizing that my younger sister had been nailed in the eye by a religious artifact, I assumed she was in trouble and, being an overprotective older sister, I raced into the aisle and shouted at the top of my lungs…”Please don’t hit my sister!” Or, something equally likely to make a parent wish with every fiber of her being that the earth would simply open up and swallow her whole.

My mother froze like a deer in headlights.

After a few seconds (the time it took her to thaw out), she turned ever so slowly to face me and, the look in her eyes had no place in the House of Our Lord, I assure you. However, she calmly walked back up the aisle, handed my now non-crying-but totally shocked-sister to my father, took my hand and led me out of the church where, to her credit, she somehow managed to refrain from killing me on the spot.

Instead, I got lectured about the inappropriateness of my outburst, how much it had embarrassed her, etc. Then, she informed me that, after mass, I would be apologizing…. to Father Grimes. Believe me when I say; killing me would have been kinder.

We returned to our pew and I spent the rest of the long mass staring down at the frolicking bunnies on my dress. I counted them. I sorted them into colors. I sorted them by size as I mentally prepared myself for the inevitable moment when I would be eaten by Father Grimes.

When the mass ended and we were encouraged to “go in peace”, I followed my family down the aisle and waited my turn in line to apologize to- and to be eaten by- Father. It was a long line what with all the Easter/Christmas Catholics who had turned out for the Mass so I had plenty of time to contemplate my fate and to work myself into quite the state of agitation.

In fact, by the time I made it to the front of the line, I was in tears and my apology was delivered in a whisper, choked with sobs. Father Grimes bent down, took my hands in his and told me that I was forgiven. Only then did I look him in the eye.

He licked his chops and I may, or may not, have peed my pants.

My mother’s version of events may differ, slightly but, in my defense, I was a child.

Happy Easter! May the bunny shower you with chocolate and may you never soil a church with urine. Because, folks?

That is embarrassing; I don’t care how old you are.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Thursday Thirteen, Edition Fifteen:
Thirteen Things I Don’t Get

1. Paris Hilton’s “popularity”.

2. The Black Eyed Peas song, My Humps. I mean, honestly; “my pretty lady bumps”? Way to set feminism back about a million years there Fergie.

3. And, while we are on the subject, what in the world does a hottie like Josh Dumel see in a liver-lipped thing like Fergie?

4. American Idol. Never watched it, never will. Don’t care for most of the people who have won the title over the years.

5. Rosie O’Donnell’s hostility. What’s with the hate, Rosie? You used to be so nice.

6. This season of Survivor. Could the casting department not scare up even one likeable individual this year?

7. The South Beach Diet. Bread is the staff of life, people. Embrace it.

8. The women on The Bachelor. How desperate do you have to be to go on this show? Not that I watch it, I’m just saying.

9. How in the world anyone could have been shocked by Anna Nicole Smith’s cause of death.

10. The fact that Anna Nicole Smith will be more famous for her death than she was for her career, ala Marilyn Monroe.

11. How I can suddenly be sporting an inch of grey root growth with no discernible change in the overall length of my hair. What. The. Fuck?

12. Why my son insists on sleeping with his head at the foot of his bed and his feet splayed across his headboard. That cannot be comfortable.

13. How it is physically possible for my daughter to roll her eyes so far back in her head without dislocating an eyeball. Seriously.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Your Mission, Should You Choose To Accept It....

Sunday evening, I got a call from an old classmate of mine.

Old, as in, we went to school together waaay back in the day. Not old as in, chronologically different from me in age; we are the same age, obviously which is to say, old.

And, I digress.

Anyway, she has taken on the challenge of planning our twentieth high school reunion for later this summer and she was hoping for some help.

I was quite surprised to hear from her, having assumed that we would be going without a reunion to mark the occasion of being a second decade past our prime, but, nay. I assumed that we would go reunion-less because, when I planned the ten-year reunion in 1997, help was not exactly forthcoming from my classmates and the whole thing ended up being a gigantic pain in my tookus, causing me to swear upon pain of death that I would never involve myself in the planning of a reunion for those ungrateful people ever again. And, if I wasn’t going to do it, who would?

Apparently, my old classmate. You have to give her credit for blind optimism; innocently assuming that she will actually convince people to, you know, help. God bless her.

And, if you think I jumped right up and offered my services, you didn’t listen to the part about doing so on the pain of death.

Ok, so you’re right; I caved and will be helping. I am such a schmuck.

Anyway. The reunion will take place during my hometown’s annual summer festival in July, giving me about four months to whip my sorry ass into some semblance of shape.

Thus, Operation Hottie by July commenced, immediately.

Yesterday, I was working out with hand weights and bitching mightily about the pain, the pain! My god, the pain! Why must looking good require so much effort? Why?!

Hugh was unsympathetic to my cause and actually had the gall to question the necessity of Operation Hottie by July as it was explained to him.

Hugh: Why are you so worried about looking good? Who are you trying to impress?
Chelle: No one. Everyone.
Hugh: And, why is that, again?
Chelle: I’m female (tortured sigh and exaggerated eyeroll); the need to appear effortlessly beautiful to my peers is, like, hardwired into my DNA.
Hugh: Whatever. You’re being ridiculous. Men would never do something so crazy.
Chelle: Really? Yet you will puff out your chests and suck in your stomachs when a cute waitress at Hooters serves you hot wings.
Hugh: I don’t do that.
Chelle: You would if we lived anywhere remotely near a Hooters.
Hugh: I see your point. Carry on, then.

Prepare yourselves for several months of bitching and moaning about sore muscles, eyebrow waxing and Man's Inhumanity to Man as it pertains to the chances of me ever getting a decent haircut.

I know! The anticipation!

Monday, April 02, 2007

Living La Vida Loca

Bliss. My weekend was pure bliss. Hugh and I thoroughly enjoyed our trip to Phoenix and I wish we could have stayed longer. The Arizona Biltmore is one of the most beautiful resorts that I have ever had the pleasure of staying at and the weather could not have been lovelier.

So, details, lets see…

Friday morning, Hugh and I kissed the kids goodbye and thanked my parents for making the trip from my hometown in order to spend the weekend supervising (which is Grandparent-Speak for spoiling, apparently) the children. Then we drove to the neighboring city to catch our flight.

We had a lay-over in Salt Lake where I managed to stay true to my vow of observing meatless Fridays throughout the duration of Lent by dining on a vegetarian plate served at a Chinese buffet. Hugh was impressed by both my dedication and the fact that I ate the entire meal using chopsticks; a neat little trick that Hugh perfected during his childhood and with which I have struggled-mightily-lo these thirteen and a half years of our marriage.

When we landed in Phoenix, we picked up our rental car. I had printed directions to the resort as well as from the resort to the mall and to my girlfriend’s house but Hugh was interested in trying out a GPS system, so we upgraded. Best decision, ever. Not only was the GPS system a snap to use, it saved us untold arguments over left versus right turns or merge lanes versus non-merge lanes, allowing us to arrive at the Biltmore completely relaxed. Our weekend was off to a most impressive start.

The Biltmore is, as I have said, beautiful. I would try to describe its splendor but, why bother when you have pictures?

Hugh and I dressed nicely and attended the cocktail reception that night. It was held on the front lawn and it was quite impressive. We enjoyed an hour of free drinks and spent the time catching up since, believe it or not, it was the first trip that Hugh and I have taken alone together since….um….huh….I cannot even recall. Too long, obviously.

After the reception, we attended the dealer’s dinner (sounds somewhat illicit, does it not?). The dinner was surf and turf. We all know how I feel about the surf portion of that particular meal and there was the whole meatless Friday issue so, I ate the veggies and resigned myself to being hungry until morning. Once we were back in our room however, Hugh ordered me a cheese pizza from room service. My hero! How romantic, no?

And, it was. We were two fools in love and alone in a fabulous room with a gigantic bathtub and a huge king-sized bed. I will not, however, elaborate on the remainder of our evening as I would not wish to impose undue discomfort upon my family members who read this.

No need to bleach out your mind’s eye, folks! You’re welcome.

Saturday morning, Hugh attended the meeting portion of the program while I retired to the pool with my iPod, a good book and a bottle of sunscreen. Clearly, I got the better end of that deal.

Once he was finished with the meetings, however, Hugh joined me and we toured the rest of the resort, played a little lawn croquet and enjoyed the sunshine. Then, we programmed the GPS and were off to the mall! Whee! Our shopping trip was short and to the point; I knew what I needed, I knew where to find it and I accomplished the mission in record time, bringing no end of happiness to my devoted husband who always begins to look a bit green about the gills once we enter a shopping center. The brevity of the trip was probably the most romantic thing I did for him all weekend.

Next, we toured historic downtown Scottsdale, picking up some new tee-shirts for Hugh and enjoying lunch at Fuddruckers.

This is such a fun word to say; Fuddruckers. And, I digress.

After lunch, we ventured to my college roomie’s house and spent the best part of the weekend catching up with her, dining on good food, imbibing untold number of Chambord Margaritas and laughing until we thought for certain that we would pee our pants. Our very tight and fashionable pants, I might add.

For women of a certain age, I must say; we looked hot. And, I’m not bragging since 99% of the heat radiated from my girlfriend. I was, however, quite happy with my 1%.

Unfortunately, the battery on my camera died so there will be no pictures of how very hot we looked so, you will just have to take my word for it.

Convenient, no?

Anyway, I missed my girlfriend the second we all parted at roughly two a.m. We would have loved to stay longer but, we had an early flight to catch and that is exactly what we did.

The children were delighted to have us home if only because they wanted to brag about the fun things that they did with my parents while we were away.

Which means we all got spoiled the weekend.

Eh, I can think of worse ways to spend my time