Thursday, December 31, 2009

It’s the End of an Era. Or, a decade, Anyway

As I stand poised, on the precipice of the year 2010, drink in hand, loved ones nearby, I feel the need to express gratitude for our many blessings.

2009 has been decent to us, we have a roof over our heads, food in our bellies and friends and family in good health; a lot of people can’t say the same and, my heart goes out to those people.

I have high hopes for 2010. I look forward to meeting new challenges; new friends and my husband at the door, naked save for a thin layer of Saran Wrap.


Hugh would never agree to wear Saran Wrap.

I’m also looking forward to watching the kids as they enter into a new decade, the last time that happened they were one and three and the changes they have gone through in the intervening ten years are mind-boggling; I cannot imagine them at the end of this coming decade but I look forward to seeing how they turn out. I'm guessing, well.

I'm looking forward to spending another year with my husband; after seventeen years together, I'm finally figuring out how his mind works. It's a dark and scary place but, I'm a brave soul.

I’m also fairly confident that, by the end of the decade, we will be flying about in hovercraft. I know that sounds about as likely to happen as the world’s super computers rising up and killing us all in our sleep but, isn’t that what everyone got so worked up about prior to Y2K? And, ok, so that didn’t happen but hovercrafts are a valid technological possibility.

I read it in The Enquirer.

Anyway, I hope your New Year’s Eve is festive and safe. We plan to grill a few steaks, steam a load of crab legs and watch movies with the kids in between competitive Wii bowling and hoola-hooping.

Because, we know how to send a decade out in style.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Nothing Says Fun like Taking the Twins to a Taffy Pull

My mammogram went as expected; I got naked, felt up, pressed into a medieval torture high-tech device and pretty pictures were taken.

One thing I didn’t expect was actually getting to see the pictures as that isn’t something that I was allowed to do last year. For the record, my boobs? Clear as a bell. At least, as far as I could tell utilizing my crack medical degree from Google Medical University.

And, while I need to wait for the official thumbs up from my gynecologist, I’m relatively confident that I am healthy (although, I do realize that making a statement like that is just begs Fate to screw me over. Sorry, Fate! I didn’t mean it! Please don’t strike me down with the boob cancer, k! Thkx!).

So, in the past month I have had my gums scraped, the depths of my girlie bits plumbed with something resembling a mascara wand and my breasts smashed into road kill. A sane person might space these types of exams out a bit over the course of the year but; I like to schedule my field trips all in December so that I can look forward to starting the year fresh, without having to lie back and relax, swish and spit or hold my breath for ten seconds while shooting a PG rated boob film for an entire twelve months.

(Ok, PG-13; my boobs may have been sandwiched between Lucite plates but they are still worthy of a PG-13 rating.)

No more exams until December 2010; barring any unfortunate snafus, obviously.

Fate, I’m looking at you.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

As Predicted, YeeOuch!

My hamstrings, quads and butt are so sore today, I have a hard time walking up and down our stairs. Did that stop me from running three miles on the treadmill at the local gym? It did not. It may have been responsible for the whimpering and gnashing of teeth during the entire three miles, however and; to the lady on the treadmill next to me, I’m really sorry about that.

I predict even more soreness tomorrow and, in an epic bit of fabulous planning on my part, I also get to endure my annual mammogram so; it won’t just be my lower body that hates me come tomorrow evening.

Oh, and if you are wondering if I followed my own advice in scheduling the exam, oh, hellz no; I am smack dab in the middle of PMS Territory.

I am a genius.

And, sore, did I mention sore?

Monday, December 28, 2009

Tomorrow Is Going to Hurt Like a Sumbitch

I just finished exercising, a feat that I have not accomplished in many a moon and; I’m feeling it. During one set of back lunges, my leg cramped up so hard, I thought it was a contraction. In my leg. Like, I honestly wondered if my leg was spontaneously producing a baby leg or something and, the scary thing is; that made perfect sense to me at the time. That is how out of shape I am; I hallucinate while lunging.

Some of you might be wondering why I suddenly felt the need to get with the program again (it isn’t even the New Year yet! Technically) and, to you I say; I suddenly got the urge to get healthy again when, while at my parents home this past week, I tried to bend over to retrieve an object that had fallen from the kitchen table and something got in my way, preventing me from reaching the floor. It was my stomach.

I’m not even kidding. I suddenly have a roll of fat around my waist so thick, it rivals my butt. Seriously; I have an ass on my waist.

To say that I find this turn of events disturbing would be an understatement, I assure you.

So, yeah. Back on the diet and fitness wagon. Hopefully, sometime in 2010, I will have one less ass (in its' correct placement upon my body) and will be fully capable of bending over.

Or, I will continue to live a life of sloth and gluttony and my family will eventually have to hire a crane to remove me from my bed.

I'm guessing you know which result I am hoping for.
Home Again

Hugh, the kids and I got home yesterday following a fabulous week with my parents, siblings, nephews and niece. Our trip was uneventful save for The Teenager’s sudden need to vomit about twenty minutes after we left my parent’s house; apparently, Dramamine needs more than a few minutes to kick in which we will do well to remember in the future.

We arrived home to a cat who was most pleased to see that we had returned, no doubt due to the low level of food in his automatic feeder; I’m guessing he was concerned that a few more days may pass without our return and he might have had to actually skip a meal. Heaven forbid.

In addition to the frantic mewling of the cat, we had to deal with the suspicious absence of water in our household. Hugh crawled under the house, fearing the worst (burst pipe) only to find the crawl space bone dry and warm. His first call was to the supervisor of the Petticoat Junction Public Works department and, he was fortunate enough to not only catch the man at home but in a relatively cooperative mood.

Within minutes of the call, the supervisor was at our house and had discovered that our meter was frozen. And, that the pit the meter sits in was not properly insulated or sealed after our driveway was poured over it earlier this year (a job his department was responsible for). Had the meter broken, we would have had to tear out a large section of the driveway to replace it. As it was, the supervisor was able to thaw out the meter using a hose attached to the tailpipe of his truck (hellooo, Redneck) after which he insulated and sealed the pit properly and, water runneth again in Casa de Chelle.

In other words, we got lucky.

Or, the town of Petticoat Junction got lucky because, really; if we had to tear out part of Hugh’s beloved driveway because the Public Works department failed to adequately seal our meter pit, Hugh would camp out Boy Scout style on the front steps of City Hall until the town agreed to pay for the repairs and, no one wants to see Hugh’s bed head every morning.

You can trust me on that one.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Twas the Night Before Christmas and All Through the House, Not a Creature Was Stirring...

...unless you count a hyperactive six year old, an equally hyper eleven year old, two teenagers, a Maltese, a Labrador, a Chiweenie, and a hamster in an excercise ball.

Oh, and three grown men stirring bourbon into eggnog.

 In short, lots of stirring going on. Let's hope they all settle down in time for Santa to make his big entrance.

Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

God Bless Us Everyone!

Hugh, the kids and I made the trip to Mayberry yesterday with a carload of gifts, two kids totally drugged up on Dramamine, a hundred and five pound labrador retriever who can't be trusted at home alone and a six ounce hamster that The Teenager insisted on bringing with us because she was afraid it would starve to death in our absence.

For the record, the cat waved goodbye from the front window and I have every reason to believe he is planning a wild party while we are gone. On the other hand, with the exception of the random hairball coughed up on the carpeting, he does manage to clean up after himself so, more power to him.

And, I digress.

Despite its' size, we ran out of room in the back of the Tahoe right around the time the dog kennel was loaded and had to resort to storing suitcases on the roof for the first time in our traveling history. Our inexperience in that arena showed when, Hugh labored for over an hour, tying down the suitcases and had just finished his last Boy Scout knot when it occurred to us that the car might not make it out of the garage door with the extra height.

It's ok, we squeaked by with a quarter inch to spare but; you can imagine the numerous Family Vacation jokes I could have made had we not.

The rest of the trip was anticlimactic and we arrived at my parent's house just in time for Hugh's birthday dinner of steak and baked potatoes.

Today, my mom and I finished up some last minute Christmas shopping. We went to a favorite antique store and I discovered a treasure trove of old books, including a first edition Dickens Christmas Carol which I snapped up for a ridiculously low price, according to Google.

Later this evening, after honoring our family holiday ritual of popcorn ball making, I am hoping to connect with one of my old roomates for some wine and retelling of the Old Stories.

Tomorrrow, my younger sister arrives from Denver and my older sister and her family arrive from down the road. We are going to decorate a gingerbread house with the kids, cruise the neighborhood looking at lights and try like crazy to sneak the Santa magic by the little ones who still believe, all of which I am looking forward to like Tiny Tim looked forward to his lone Plum Pudding.

God bless us everyone, indeed.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Best Gift Ever

I am, as I have mentioned before, Catholic. Yes, I’m about as fallen-away as a Catholic can get without actually renouncing the church, the doctrine and the existence of God, himself, but I am still Catholic at heart (According to Spell-Check, I cannot, however, SPELL catholic, go figure). So, if you know anything at all about the religion, it should come as no shock to you to learn that I attended catechism classes as a child.

For the most part, I do not remember much about those classes, but there is one year that stands out.

Mrs. Atencio was my CCD teacher when I was in the sixth grade. Every Wednesday I would walk from the school to her house along with six of my Catholic classmates. We would study our lessons, read scripture and each week Mrs. Atencio would make a Herculean effort to apply bible verse to our real lives, God love her.

One Wednesday, early in December, Mrs. Atencio announced that we would be taking a field trip to the local nursing home. At the nursing home, we would spend time with the residents making holiday decorations and singing carols while Mrs. Atencio played the piano.

Now, to our wee little brains, this sounded like a most excellent way to get out of reading verse and learning about the world according to the Catholic Church. It would be a blast.


Yeah, not so much. In reality, the nursing home, with its garish tinsel garlands, fake Christmas trees and putrid smell of disinfectant and, I don’t know, DEATH, gave us all the creeps.

Mrs. Atencio, however, was unfazed by our lack of enthusiasm. In fact, she viewed our lackluster attitudes as a challenge; she was determined to break through what she viewed as our selfishness. She pointed out that, unlike us, many of the residents were alone in the world without so much as a family member to visit them at Christmas. Most of the residents would receive no gifts nor would they leave the home to be surrounded by loved ones on the holiest of days, the day for love, family and fellowship.

As a remedy, Mrs. Atencio instructed us each to pick out and “adopt” a grandparent that day. We were to visit our “grandparent” each Wednesday before Christmas and on our final Wednesday, we would throw a party for all of the residents of the home.

I was totally squicked out by the plan, and I was not alone. After all, my friends and I all had grandparents already. What did we need a total stranger for? Being obedient little Catholics, however, we did as we were told without much complaint.

Plus, Mrs. Atencio was more than a little bit scary, but that is more of a Halloween story than a Christmas story, and I digress.

Anyway, as we were milling about the rec. room, I noticed a frail old woman in a wheelchair. She had a smile on her face that had not once wavered since we arrived. This made her seem far less scary than some of the other residents of the home and I quickly decided that she would be the beneficiary of my Christmas spirit. Her name was Evie and she had been in the home for only a few months. She had a son, several grown grandchildren and a great-grandchild but they lived in a different state and she rarely saw them. They would, she assured me however, call her on Christmas. How very generous of them.

I came to know Evie fairly well over the next couple of Wednesdays and, as Mrs. Atencio had envisioned all along, I came to like her a great deal (well played, Mrs. Atencio, well played).

On the day of the party, we were to bring our “grandparent” a gift. The gifts must be something from our homes that our parents no longer needed or used and we were not allowed to bring food because most of the residents were on restricted diets of some sort.

I wracked my brain looking for something to take to Evie. My mom offered up anything and everything that she owned but nothing seemed just right to me. Finally, I decided on a wallet that I had bought on a recent vacation to California. It was a cheap vinyl number with Cinderella’s castle and the word Disneyland spelled out in red lettering. My mother was appalled; she could not figure for the life of her why I would choose a blue vinyl wallet over say, a crystal candy dish, but my mind was set. I had purchased that wallet with my own money. It was the ONLY souvenir that I had from that vacation. It meant something to me and I wanted Evie to have it. The end.

In my mind’s eye, I still see Evie as she peeled the wrapping paper away from that damn wallet. Her fingers were gnarled by arthritis, her hands spotted with age. She cried when she opened it and the smile on that woman’s face was so genuine and loving, my heart swelled almost to bursting. Then she told me that it was the best gift that she had ever received.

The best gift, ever.

Evie passed away not long after that day. I am sure it was a matter of moments before she was granted wings in heaven because she sure was an angel on earth.

Christmas is a time for miracles and, I believe in miracles; I experienced one all those years ago when a spoiled rotten, selfish brat learned that a gift, when given from the heart, could affect another’s life. Because, while that wallet did not change Evie’s life, the gift that she gave me in return certainly changed mine; it was the gift of appreciation for my blessings.

In the end, that was the best gift I ever received.

The best gift, ever.

Monday, December 21, 2009

If This is What I Have to Look Forward to For the Next Four Days, I am in BIG Trouble

I can understand the excitement of the rapidly approaching holiday, I know that freedom from school bondage can be euphoric, I realize that eating three giant M&M cookies followed by a cocoa chaser will probably cause hyperactivity in the most slothful of children but, good LORD; these children are determined to kill me. The energy vibrating from them would be enough to power a small city and, while they are a force to be reckoned with separately; you can only imagine the mayhem they are capable of when united in a common cause (killing me, in case you weren’t following along).

Tomorrow, we leave for Mayberry so; I have a three and a half hour car ride with two crazy-hyper Christmas gremlins to look forward to and, the threat of narking on them to Santa can only go so far. At this point, I feel like I could hold a flashlight under my chin while weeping hysterically about how scared I am.

On the other hand, once we get to Mayberry, I will have back-up in the form of my parents except, who am I kidding? These are the Pod-People responsible for the complete spoilage of each and every one of their grandchildren; they are highly unlikely to pull out the big guns, now. No, Hugh and I are on our own.

It will be a Christmas miracle if we make it to the 25th without bloodshed.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

In a Surprising Twist, Hugh Vehemently Refuses to Wear the Sash and Tiara

On the other hand, he has to sleep sometime.

In another surprising twist, the president of Rocky Mountain Cable called Hugh to apologize for the inadequacies of our cable subscription and, for a brief panic-filled moment I was all Blog stalker! Blog Stalker! Then I remembered that Hugh has been pestering the poor man for at least the past six months and, that, in an unprecedented show of customer service; the man has actually been returning said calls on a fairly regular basis (president of Rocky Mountain Cable, you rock! Rocky Mountain Cable... you still suck).

Hugh’s most recent complaint had to do with the audio and video being swapped between two channels resulting in the audio for something akin to the  Jerry Springer Show playing on the Cartoon Network.

As an aside, you have not lived until you have heard SpongeBob SquarePants call Patrick a stupid, redneck son of a bleeeeep for getting his sister knocked up with his stupid bleeeeping redneck bastard child. Seriously.

The President of the company assurred Hugh that the technical error was being addressed and that our bill will be duly adjusted. So, the service still sucks but, we are paying fifty percent less for said suckage.

And, discount or not, SpongeBob looks phenomenal on a large screen, regardless of the profanity spewing forth from his porous cake-hole.

Now, I am off to rummage through The Teenager's old dress-up trunk for a sash and a tiara; I seem to recall her having them although, on second thought; maybe it was a feather boa she used to play with and not a sash. Hmm....

 Eh, either way.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Is It Really Only Wednesday?

This week is crawling by; I need it to be Friday already.

On the home front, I am still the reigning Cookie Queen. I may, however, still dress Hugh in a tiara and sash just for the fun of it.

In other news, I still have two Christmas presents to purchase as well as a multitude of stocking stuffers to procure before we leave for Mayberry on the 22nd.

The 22nd is also Hugh’s 40th birthday and, much like the little drummer boy, I have no gift to bring (pah, rump, a, pum, pum). All of the ideas that I had for birthday gifts somehow found their way under the Christmas tree (which is what happens when a birthday falls so close to Christmas, or so I am told) and then I got bored with the searching so; no present as of yet. I have faith in my ability to pull it out in the lurch, however and I’m sure I’ll come up with something.

Speaking of which, one thing Hugh really did want was a new TV for our living room and, I would have purchased one had it not been for the fact that he rushed right out and bought one last weekend after spying it at an all time low price in the newspaper circular. So, now we have a gigantic flat screen TV.

The irony of having such a nice piece of technology lies in the fact that we also have the world’s worst cable provider (Rocky Mountain Cable, I’m looking at you); now we can watch truly crappy cable on a truly lovely screen. Irony, the gift that keeps on giving no matter the season.

But, seriously, still only Wednesday?


Monday, December 14, 2009

We’re Having a Heat Wave

44 degrees today. It’s positively muggy outside and, lest you have forgotten that my blood runs thin as water in my veins (ice water); I will remind you that I like heat hence, I’m loving the warmer temperatures.

I even managed to spend my volunteer hour on the elementary school playground in relative comfort this morning, no frozen toes or fingers although; my ass did stiffen up into its’ normal state of a Gluteus Ice-blockius as it is wont to do no matter how warm the temperature (ice water running through my veins, remember). Its ok, I cranked up the seat-warmer in the Tahoe and was marginally thawed out within a few minutes of leaving the school.

So, yes, warmer weather, yay (impending snowstorm, a given)!

The thaw started yesterday, which made our annual family cookie decorating party seem slightly less festive (we usually run the gas fireplace for ambience which, yesterday, would have resulted in less warm glowy Christmas and more hot, sweaty Christmas) but, we soldiered on.

Hugh’s attempts at decorating have certainly improved over the course of our sixteen year marriage and, this year he totally threw down the gauntlet, challenging me to beat him in a cookie vs. cookie duel to the death and, while his early efforts were, I admit, totally lovely and extremely detailed; his efforts as the chore drew on became, shall we say, less impressive as evidenced by this

A wreath-shaped cookie that inexplicably became The Christmas Goldfish.

I know; I’m still reeling from the confusion, myself.

Anyhoodle, here are our best efforts at a reindeer.

If you are interested in voting on which cookie is better decorated, please drop a comment. If not, I’ll simply declare victory and, once again, anoint myself Cookie Decorating Queen. If, by some strange twist of events, Hugh should garner the most votes, he’ll take the title this year and I will eat crow (and I’ll make him wear a tiara and a sash, I swear I will).

I’m counting on you all to make the right (get it, RIGHT) decision.*

Because, if Hugh beats me at decorating cookies, the recent heat wave will be replaced by hell freezing over and, you do not want that on your conscience, now do you?

The reindeer on the right, if you get my drift.

Friday, December 11, 2009

We Don’t Sell Clues, Either

Today, a man openly and loudly berated me for not having any cranberry juice in stock and, Oh, my good heavens, was it because I am stupid? Do I not know how good cranberry juice is for people? He's man's got urinary tract issues and he needs the magical juice of the cranberry so, how can it be that we don’t sell cranberry juice?!! How?! How can it be?!!!

To which I replied, dude, this is a hardware store.

We do sell signs, though and, here's yours

That'll be $1.50, asshole.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

In No Particular Order

I had my teeth cleaned today. I liken the sound of plaque being scraped from my gum line to that of fingernails on a chalkboard.

Tomorrow, I have an appointment with my lady doctor. I liken the sensation of cells being scraped from my cervix to a routine check for strep throat, minus the gag reflex.

I still have Christmas shopping, present wrapping and cookie baking to do. I actually think I might prefer the plaque and cervix scraping to any of those endeavors (and, once again, Scrooge much?).

No more Glee until April. Woe.

It is currently 0 degrees outside. The weatherman says it feels like -15. I think the weatherman needs a swift kick to the nutsack.

Left eyelid, still randomly twitching.

On the bright side, just the other day, a barista at Starbucks mistook the twitching for a wink and proceeded to flirt shamelessly with me over my venti nonfat cinnamon dolce latte.

Sadly, she was not my type.

When I told Hugh that story, he just about peed his pants while laughing hysterically.

He may also need a swift kick to the nutsack.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Colder than a Witch’s… Well, You Know

Our high today was 15 degrees. I’m not sure what the overnight low was because I was cocooned inside my down duvet, underneath a wool blanket, dressed in long underwear and a thermal nightgown (so sexy!) and could not be bothered to check the outdoor thermometer but; I’m guessing it was cold.

On the way to school this morning, The Teenager bemoaned the newly-fallen cold snow and expressed her fervent displeasure of the frigid temperatures and, I was thisclose to reminding her that the temperatures in Mayberry will be even more frigid when we go there for Christmas but; the image of her nose hairs gluing together in the outdoor air was not one that I wanted her to carry with her to math class, given her mind’s propensity to go wandering off topic as it is.

Speaking of wandering minds…wait, what was I saying? Hugh’s Christmas lights just blinked on outside my window and I was distracted by the shiny…um, so, yeah, have I mentioned that it’s really cold?

Monday, December 07, 2009

Now You're Talking

Twelve dozen cut-sugar cookies, ready for decorating; now it's starting to feel like Christmas.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Still In Search Of

The holiday Spirit continues to elude me despite watching twelve hours of the Hallmark Channel’s schmaltzy Christmas programming, baking six dozen cookies and making another trip to the store wherein actual gifts were purchased.

Indeed, the closest I have come to touching the Spirit was yesterday when I managed to refrain from chiding the Man-Cub for playing with his Leggos under the tree; watching him perform a detailed and animated exchange between a Leggos Storm Trooper and his favorite Snoopy ornament reminded me of the years that my sister and I would push around the presents under the tree, making room for Barbie furniture for our doll’s amazing Christmas houses and laying on our backs, staring dreamily up through the glittering branches as we excitedly guessed at what Santa might be bringing us.

I might have felt a tear at the sweetness of the memory, it’s hard to tell though because, my left eyelid has been randomly twitching for the past month and, sometimes I confuse the sensations.

Last night, the children left their letters to Santa under their pillows, as is our custom and, this morning; they were greeted by the customary trail of elf dust and chocolate coins. Actually, the Man-Cub discovered his bounty prior to the morning because, during the night, he got sick to his stomach and, following a vomit field-trip to the bathroom, gave in to his curiosity and lifted his pillow. He assures me that the stomachache came prior to eating the chocolates and not after although, a little virus in no way stopped him from indulging in his reward as evidenced by the gold wrappers strewn across his bed this morning.

Since it is the season for mercy, I have chosen to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Anyway, today the children and I are making my famous cut-sugar cookies and, if that doesn’t kick-start the Spirit in me, nothing will.

So, yes, fingers crossed.

Friday, December 04, 2009

The More You Cut It, The Shorter It Gets

Remember back in August when I was whining about my hair stylist moving away? And, how distressed I was at the prospect of finding another stylist? Yeah, well, I never went looking and, as of this week, have gone four months without a scissors touching my hair (except for that unfortunate incident wherein I attempted to trim my own bangs with the kitchen shears, not pretty!).

The bad hair days caused by my inability to motivate myself for the search have been numerous but; today I am actually having a good hair day! It’s like the heavens looked down upon my weeks of suffering and determined that I deserved a small break. Granted, I have no doubt that tomorrow will arrive with a fresh brand of hair hell but, for today, I am happy.

When I mentioned this to Hugh earlier today, as well as the fact that I really do need to find someone new to tame the wayward tresses, his reply was classically Hugh:

Hugh: Nooooo! The more you cut it, the shorter it gets!

Chelle: Like, um, duh? Is that not the point of a haircut?

Hugh: You know what I meant! Aaaaaaargggg!!

And he sounded exactly like Charlie Brown when he said it.

And, that my friends, is the secret to our lasting marriage; I keep him because he amuses me.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Ghosts of Christmas Cards Past

While trying to come up with some inspiration for our Christmas correspondence this year, I am looking back over our past year’s cards. I am in awe of how much the kids have grown and changed. I am also reminded of how much I generally enjoy coming up with new and interesting ways to embarrass my children now and for future generations; I'm thinking:

“Why, hello Possible Future Significant Other of My Grown Child, would you care to see our photo albums? The Teenager/Man-Cub was such a beautiful child! What’s that you say Teenager/Man-Cub? The pictures are embarrassing? Pee-shaw! Let’s look!”

They might require years of therapy on down the road but, I’ll be able to say that I was entertained.

So, let’s see, well, this isn’t embarrassing at all; this is Hugh and my first holiday card as a married couple. Nope, not at all embarrassing, although, the weeping I do for that waistline might be, you know, just a tad.

Ah, here we go, The Teenager as an only child prior to the birth of the Man-Cub. Still not embarrassing, adorable! The zip-lock barrett on her head is simply fabulous and the fact that our dog looks somewhat drugged merely adds to the uniqueness of the card. For the record, he wasn't. Drugged, I mean.

Also adorable, the Man-Cub’s first family card; in a pumpkin patch because, nothing says Christmas like pumpkins! Yeah, I’m not sure about that, either but, hey! Sunglasses!

Ooh, better! A Christmas card featuring a Christmas tree and Santa and everything! Plus, two adorable toddlers, looking on in shocked surprise as their mother kisses Santa Claus! Or, in shocked surprise at the color of their mother’s hair, whichever.

First foray into black and white. Not bad if I do say so, myself and, not at all embarrassing, also; if I do say so myself.

Ok, maybe a little bit embarrassing but, it’s not like they are lying on a bearskin rug wearing nothing but a Santa hat (those pictures never quite made it to a card, I do have them, however, if you would like to see them Possible Future Significant Other of My Grown Child!).

Ah, classic documentation of sibling interaction. Sometimes, we even let them take the gloves off.

Hands down, the kids’ favorite card, ever. Probably because they loved the pajamas. Now, if they are still wearing said pajamas when old enough to be dating their Possible Future Significant Other, I take neither credit nor blame and, once again, therapy.

The Man-Cub declared the pole in this picture dis-gusting! Except, it sounded more like dis-guthting! at the time.

And, would you look at that; I suddenly have the inspiration to finish this year’s card and the newsletter that goes with it; this is no small feat considering my recent ennui concerning the holidays.

It’s like...a Christmas miracle!

*This miracle sponsored by People Who Like to Embarass Their Children

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

December. Fuckity, fuck, fuck, fuck

I know, what Christmas spirit I have! But, still, December, already. Gah. I have shopping left to do, cards to write, presents to wrap and, in a move completely out of character for me; out-of-state packages still to mail, something I have usually accomplished by Thanksgiving.

To say that I am feeling scattered and unorganized would be an understatement and, I’m not entirely certain why I am struggling so hard to get into the groove this year.

Maybe baking will help; I’m planning to start this week. You know, when I can find time amid the Man-Cub’s scout meeting, planning my woman’s club’s annual holiday luncheon-which I agreed to Chair waaaay back in May when I was feeling far less disorganized-the wrestling team’s fundraising banquet, my Bunco Christmas pot-luck and a trip to Emily’s favorite jewelry store to scope out possible gifts to her from Oscar. And, while most of these activities are totally enjoyable and I look forward to attending; I’m just not feeling moved by the Spirit. Like, where are you, Christmas?! (as sung by Cindy Lou-Who of Grinch fame).


I’ll get there; it’s just going to take some time. And, sugar cookies. Maybe alcohol but, only if I get desperate.

Or, thirsty.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Husbands Take Note: How to Rekindle Your Love Affair in Four Easy Steps

1. On the morning of the thirteenth anniversary of your wife’s twenty-ninth birthday, wake her with kisses and whispers of sweet nothings. Or, feed her chocolate; your call.

2. Take her to dinner at one of the finest restaurants in town. When she orders a third glass of wine, resist the temptation to spout sexual innuendo while waggling your eyebrows at her; the phrase “Looks like I’m gonna get lucky tonight” is a phrase best left for a day not involving the thirteenth anniversary of your wife’s twenty-ninth birthday.

3. Following dinner, take her to see the local community theater’s production of My Fair Lady. Look interested and engaged. Applaud at all the right moments; bonus points for not ditching the theater at intermission.

4. Give her the gift that keeps on giving, a brand new state-of-the-art Kindle.

You might just get lucky after all.

Thanks for a fabulous thirteenth anniversary of my twenty-ninth birthday, Hugh. You are the best gift I ever got.

P.S. The Kindle is pretty amazing, too.

Friday, November 27, 2009

We Made It Out Alive

Black Friday. Just the words are enough to give me the hives, never mind the crowds, lines, traffic snarls, grumpy shoppers and stifling hot, overcrowded stores. No thanks, not for me; I’m more a day-after-Thanksgiving-recluse. So, how did I find myself driving to Neighboring City at seven o’clock this morning for an end-run on the mall? Blame The Teenager who just had to have new pants, new bras and new shoes. Actually, blame it on the growth spurt that brought her to within an inch of my height in the past two weeks.

And, while that doesn’t completely explain why we went today, of all days, the sales were pretty darn good and, assuming she will grow another inch (or eight) in the next two weeks; paying full retail just wouldn’t make sense.

Thriftiness didn’t stop me from breaking into hives the minute we hit Old Navy and saw check-out lines stretching the entire length of the store, however.

As I said, we survived and, I even managed to knock out the majority of my Christmas shopping so, despite the itching, burning and general redness caused by the allergic reaction to the unwashed masses; it was a successful mission (a bra-mission, as the Man-Cub insisted on referring to it despite the fact that his merely vocalizing the word bra, mortified his sister).

Upon arriving home from the not-so-secret-bra-mission, I set about decorating the house for Christmas. I have everything done save for decorating the tree which we will do once Hugh gets home, tonight. In the meanwhile, I am sorely tempted to eat the last remaining slice of my from-scratch-homemade-pumpkin pie, not because I am a glutton, nor because it is the best damn from-scratch-homemade pumpkin-pie-in-the-history-of pie but; because I heard, somewhere, that it pumpkin pie cures hives.

Not a glutton. Not, at all.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Why Are Things Never as Easy as I Remember Them?

My contribution to Thanksgiving dinner at Oscar and Emily’s house is pumpkin pie and, since I’m not terribly fond of canned pumpkin, I chose to bake my own pumpkin for the filling. Right now, there are two sugar pumpkins, cut into quarters, baking in my oven.

It isn’t the first time that I have done this but, for whatever reason, I must have blocked out the horror of cutting and gutting baby pumpkins because, people? It was a bitch.

All is well that ends well, however and, with any luck, my pumpkin puree will be the star ingredient in my pies.

Unless, of course, I’m forgetting some other head-banging stress involved with the making of a pie from scratch and, at this point; I’m not ruling that out.

Pray for my sanity, please.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

And We Waited This Long Because I Am Mean

Hugh and I are taking the children to see New Moon tonight. I avoided the theater like the plague when the movie came out last Friday because

1. I hate lines,

2. I hate crowds,

3. The Teenager was grounded, and

4. I am meeeean.

Although The Teenager is still grounded (til she’s thirty!), we made the decision to let her see the movie with us because:

1. We enjoy spending time with a sullen, morose child,

2. She actually hasn’t been terribly sullen nor morose, surprisingly,

3. We realize the importance of doing things together as a family, and;

4. I need someone to catch the drool when Taylor Lautner’s abs are revealed on-screen and Hugh really isn’t up to the challenge whereas, The Teenager is quite capable of wiping my drool, wiping her own drool and texting her friends about the experience, simultaneously. She’s gifted.

Now, I just hope the movie lives up to all the hype.

Oh, who am I kidding? As long as there is popcorn, soda and Milk Duds, I really don’t care how bad the movie is.

And, you know, abs!

Monday, November 23, 2009

My Kingdom for a Tylenol Caplet

This morning, I switched from my regular two cups of half-caf to decaf and I. Want. To. Die.

I never realized how dependent I had become on caffeine until, when I stepped down from regular to the half-caf about a year ago; I suffered typical withdrawal symptoms, including a raging headache. With that accomplished, I guess I thought the step down from half-caf to decaf would be a breeze and, yet; here I am.

Caffeine is the debil, my friends.

Also, decaf tastes like ass but, I’ll get used to it.

In news unrelated to my aching head, I had a really nice weekend.

As predicted, Hugh and I had a great time at the annual Holiday Festival Friday night; we ate and drank wine and caught up with old friends whom we don’t see regularly. Also, as predicted, the basket that I put together for the silent auction went for a higher dollar amount than the majority of other baskets; there was even a good-spirited bidding war for it between one of my friends from the club and the husband of our club president. My friend won and I have no doubt that her husband will be thrilled to use the fishing gear.

The rest of the weekend was occupied with mundane household chores as well as a visit with one of the elderly citizens of our community, where I installed a Lifeline unit. What was expected to be a twenty minute visit stretched into an hour but, the woman was quite interesting and it would have been rude to turn down the offer to meet her chickens.

You heard me.

Today, as I mentioned, my head is full to the brim with jack hammers and freight trains but; I am young and able-bodied and shouldn’t need a Lifeline unit anytime soon so, I am blessed.

I will take that Tylenol, however.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


Earlier this morning, the Man-Cub handed me his letter to Santa so that I may proof-read it and make any corrections that needed to be made prior to him placing it under his pillow on December 5th for the elves to spirit away in the night. In the letter, he asks for a hat from one of the elves. Specifically, a real, honest to goodness Santa’s elf hat from a working elf at the North Pole.

Last Christmas, the Cub left a note on the plate of cookies that we leave out for Santa, begging for a bell from Rudolph’s harness. You have no idea the scramble that followed; finding a suitable harness bell at midnight on Christmas Eve is a bitch.

All of this leads me to the horrible conclusion that the Cub, at age eleven, is beginning to question the validity of Santa Claus and is desperately grasping for evidence of his existence.

That, or his sister ratted out the Big Guy a while ago and the Man-Cub is totally fucking with me.

Could go either way.

Friday, November 20, 2009

I’m Going to Rent a Copy of The Breakfast Club for Purposes of Comparison

So, yeah, The Teenager spent the last three days in a bleak classroom, serving time in ISS (In School Suspension). The transgression leading to the sentence was suitably horrifying from a parental perspective but, I am not at liberty to discuss it as I have promised The Teenager that I wouldn’t.

Suffice it to say, she knows what she did was wrong and she is doing her time without complaint. On the home front, we have unplugged her television and internet connections, limited her texting and phoning capabilities to family only and have taken more strict control over her before and after school free time. In essence, we have pulled the plug on her life support system yet, she seems to be doing just fine; she’s still breathing and everything.

And, that is all I can say about that.

Oh, except, I will say; Junior High girls are evil incarnate.

And, in other news, the Earth is round, the sky is blue and Yoko Ono totally broke up the Beatles.

Moving on.

This weekend is shaping up to be another busy one. I have my woman’s club’s annual Holiday Festival fundraiser tonight and, while I have decorated trees, centerpieces and garlands for it in past years, this year I opted out of the decorating and chose instead to put together a gift basket. The baskets are auctioned off the same as the decorative pieces and, with any luck; the club will raise enough money to fund our charitable works.

A large number of men attend the event yet, the items are generally quite feminine in nature so; I chose to do a fishing themed gift basket. I used a wicker fish creel for the basket itself and then filled it with a number of fishing related gadgets, Power Bait and, a really cute tree ornament that features Santa Claus in fishing waders. I’m guessing the basket will go high, given the dearth of masculine products from which to choose, otherwise.

Tomorrow, I plan to clean my house from top to bottom, a task which I have not accomplished in quite some time. I’m also entertaining the notion of starting my Christmas decorating since the Festival usually kick-starts my holiday mood.

Once the mood has been firmly established, I’m planning to take pictures for our annual Christmas cards. Last year’s card came together so easily and was such a hit, I’m struggling to follow it but, never fear; I has an ideer.

Of course, we’ll end the weekend with a viewing of The Breakfast Club because, as I said earlier, I think a comparison of the movie and The Teenager’s experiences this week is in order. Followed by a written report, naturally.

Punishment, it’s what’s for breakfast.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I Bet Dante Was Raising an Adolescent Daughter When He Wrote The Inferno

Just a guess, of course.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Happy birthday, Barbie

When I was two years old, my parents brought my baby sister home from the hospital. While I don’t remember her actual arrival, I have vivid memories of her infancy and toddlerhood. One of my favorite memories of that time is of climbing into her crib during what was supposed to be our naptime; I can’t remember what games we played or how our time was spent but I recall the music from her crib mobile, the small lamp that my mom kept on a nearby dresser and, always, the smell of baby powder.

To this day, the scent of baby powder calls to mind my sister.

She turned 39 today and, while she is across the state from me, she’s never far from my heart. She’s grown up to be a fine woman, kind, generous, loyal and smart. She’s a good friend, a terrific mother and, I can’t say it enough-a great sister.

Of course, it goes without saying that she is beautiful.

I love you, sis. I hope you always receive as much love as you give and that you always remember how special you are. also, please ignore the pinholes in your nose in the picture at the beginning of this post; I believe they were the consequence of one of our many sibling squabbles back in the day. What can I say; I love you now, I loved you then but, yeah, sometimes we got on each other's nerves.


Monday, November 16, 2009

There’s One in Every Class

Someone who just doesn’t “get it”. Someone who causes the whole class to circle the airport while she taxis down the airway, pausing at every crack in the tarmac. Someone who meanders off topic to share interesting (to her) anecdotes about subjects unrelated to the class material. Someone who has to ask that one last question five minutes before class ends, that one question that ends up taking twenty minutes for the instructor to answer before dismissing everyone else.

This QuickBooks class was no exception and, while the gabby woman sitting next to me filled the role nicely this time around, I found myself less frustrated with her than I might have been at any other time in my academic history.

At this point in my life, I think I’m just happy that I’m not that Someone.

Oh, don't get me wrong, I was plenty frustrated; I just realize that, you know; there but for the grace of God go I.

Besides, I give it another ten years before I am that Someone. Ten years, tops.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Confirmed: Mountain Dew Does Not Kill Sperm

The question was posed by one of the kids in the Man-Cub’s class yesterday while attending the school district’s fifth grade discussion on puberty. The kid’s cousin had fed him that little gem of misinformation and he was smart-and brave-enough to question its validity, thus giving us hope for the future generation.

While he failed to specify how the soda allegedly killed sperm-via consumption or actual physical contact- I am assuming that he had been schooled in the urban legend of the post-coital Coca-Cola douche, long rumored to prevent pregnancy, because; I seriously doubt that his cousin told him drinking the stuff would impair his manhood although, I wouldn’t stake my reputation on it. Unfortunately, I wasn’t there to ask so; I am getting this all second-hand from the Cub.

Who, it should be pointed out, begged me not to attend the presentation so as to preserve his reputation as a tough guy and to avoid any connection to Momma’s Boy Syndrome.

And, yes, I totally made that up although I am told that there are some men out there who suffer from it.

Anyway, the presentation apparently went well and the Cub feels relatively confident in his understanding of both his own impending puberty and that of his female classmates.

Now, a little sensitivity training would be a good follow-up because; should the Man-Cub break the heart of his little “girlfriend”, I will never be able to show my face in the pediatrician’s office again and; finding a new doctor at this juncture would suck.

The end.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thursday Thirteen, Edition Twenty-Four:
Thirteen Things I Don’t Like

1.  People who say they are going to do something and then don’t.

2.  Driving in snowstorms.

3.  Knowing that; while I am driving in a snowstorm, there is a Texan in a rented SUV on the road with me. A Texan who believes he is invincible and is therefore driving too fast for conditions. SUVs are not magically accident-proof, my southern friends.

4.  Cleaning up after a party.

5.  Watching one of my children suffer through an illness, issue or emotional event.

6.  Watching my children suffer, period. Unless it is at the hands of their father and he is merely trying to get one of them (Man-Cub) to eat a vegetable. I don’t really consider being forced to eat a Brussels sprout as an event one suffers through.

7.  Clich├ęd romantic comedies.

8.  Professional sporting events on television.

9.  Political rhetoric.

10.  People who make fun of the disabled.

11.  Parents who neglect their children.

12. Liver and onions.

13.  Swimming in cold water.

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!

Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

View More Thursday Thirteen Participants

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Herding Cats is a Great Way to Start the Day

Today, our elementary school is celebrating Walk to School Day. I volunteered to walk a group of kids who usually ride the bus from our High School to our elementary, which is a distance of about five blocks.

The Man-Cub went with me and then abandoned me to walk at the head of the line with a friend while I brought up the rear. I forgive the abandonment because I am a loving and understanding mother who recognizes her child’s need for independence; my feelings weren’t hurt at all. The fact that he will no longer hold my hand in public? Also not hurting my feelings at all. Really. Not hurt. At all.

Anyhoodle, the walk went well. Our group started out with forty kids and rapidly expanded to include kids who usually walk, bringing us up to about forty-five. As I watched the group grow; I was reminded of some very good advice: Never let them eat after midnight, never get them wet and, there was one more thing but I forget what it was…

…oh wait, that’s gremlins, not small children. Huh. Same result when you do get them wet or feed them after midnight and, say it with me, people, I digress.

So, once we got the kids to school I was freed from my community service and I walked back home.

The rest of my day will be taken up with work, QuickBooks class and, later tonight; my Pampered Chef party which I am looking forward to for many reasons, not the least of which includes the fact that we are making chocolate mint squares and; I am a whore for few things but chocolate and mint are high on the short list.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

If Only There Were More Hours in the Day…

…I’d find new and creative ways to waste them.

Yesterday’s QuickBooks class went really well, I can see myself using the program despite the fact that I am nine kinds of stupid when it comes to computer programs of any sort.

What the

As I am typing this, the Man-Cub is in the next room playing Madden 10 on his Playstation. As usual, he is talking to himself or, to the television, depending on your point of view. Not two seconds ago, he growled at the game in a voice that I can only describe as Demonic. Yes, Demonic; it totally deserved to be capitalized because, in the interest of full disclosure; I just about wet my pants when he did it.

What?! He’s eleven for crissakes; he doesn’t have a deep voice, we are alone in the house, it could very well have been a demonic presence telling me to get out all Amityville style. You would have moistened your britches, too.

OMG, now he’s growling at television like a bear. Where did we go wrong?

And, I digress.

I know, shocking.

So, yeah, QuickBooks, should be good.

I have the class again tomorrow. I’m looking forward to it despite the fact that it will take up three hours in a rather busy day (work, school volunteering and a Pampered Chef party plus QuickBooks class makes Chelle a very busy girl. And, a very poor planner).

I am, however, envisioning hours of free time at the store, once I have the program sorted out and implemented. Hours of free time in which to listen to my possibly possessed offspring growl at the television.

Does that seem wrong to anyone else?

Monday, November 09, 2009

I Win, I Win!

Last night, Hugh requested grilled chicken for dinner. Two weeks in and I. Am. The. Winner.

I would get more excited about my victory but, my heads hurts and it did all weekend despite spending Saturday on the couch doing absolutely nothing but napping and watching really crappy television. Also, my left eyelid has been twitching for the past week and my jaw aches on the right side; sinus issues much?

Nevertheless, I have a busy day today; I am taking a QuickBooks class at the local vocational/technical college. I haven’t taken a formal class since um…hold on, I’m thinking…and, I can’t remember, it’s been so long.

I just hope my headache doesn’t prevent me from absorbing the lesson, although that would be a really great excuse for failure now, wouldn’t it?

Speaking of failure, Hugh intended to get the rest of the Halloween stuff put back in the attic this weekend. He also intended to hang the outdoor Christmas lights while the weather is still good, saving him from having to traverse the large expanse of our roof in the cold and dark later this month; he failed epically on both counts and, on finishing the winterizing of our boat for good measure.

The fact that he failed to outlast me in the Great Chicken Challenge of 2009 was the cherry on top of his Failure Sundae and, yes, I’m still on that topic because, in case you forgot; I win, I win, I win.

Damnit, it hurt my head just typing that; this does not bode well for the QuickBooks class.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Alas, Poor Romeo Will Surrender Fair Juliet

The Teenager is fighting an ongoing battle with a nasty stomach virus and, this afternoon, I finally took her to see the doctor, where she was diagnosed with…a nasty stomach virus and told to ease up on the French fries and to make friends with Pepto Bismal.

At the clinic, a nurse greeted us with wild enthusiasm and insisted upon introducing herself since she had been and I quote, dying to meet me. Turns out she is the mother of a little girl whom the Man-Cub has been crushing on this year. After her wildly enthusiastic introduction, she told me all about how the Man-Cub is so sweet to her daughter, opening doors for her and writing her poems

I know!  Poems!

As an aside, I would truly love to see the fantastical spelling and grammar contained in those missives and, as usual, I digress.

Anyway, the lovely (and enthusiastic) woman also told me that, while there has been some talk of peer pressure from her daughter’s little girlfriends, her daughter has yet to" hug it out" with the Cub and good thing, too; because she would be very disappointed in her daughter if there was any of that nonsense.

Disappointed, really? ‘Cause I would be just fine with it.

You know, assuming her daughter still finds the Cub attractive once he is wearing one of those fancy Catholic school uniforms.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Thursday Thirteen, Edition Twenty-Three:
Thirteen Things I Like

1.  My mom’s homemade biscuits and gravy.

2.  Watching the birds stalking the food in our feeders. Watching the cats stalking the birds stalking the food in the feeders. Watching the Man-Cub, stalking the cats stalking the birds stalking the food in our feeders. It’s like Wild Kingdom over here.

3.  The first cup of coffee in the morning.

4.  Buying a new bottle of the OPI, my latest purchase was Dear Santa, a sparkly red shade just perfect for the holidays.

5.  Doing a job right the first time.

6.  Cookbooks, I must have forty of them.

7.  Sleeping between clean sheets.

8.  My new white iron guestroom bed, purchased last week at an antique sale for far less than it is worth.

9.  Finding treasures at antique sales.

10.  Exploring I Spy books with the Man-Cub before bedtime.

11.  Cuddling with The Teenager on the couch, watching movies starring leading men whom we both agree are hawt; ogling celebrities, the latest way to bridge the Generation Gap.

12.  Going to plays with Hugh, even when he grouses about them being musicals like, really? A musical? Why?! Why for the love of God?! Whyyyy....(in my defense, he loved Wicked).

13.  Pomegranates, especially this time of year when they are priced-and sized- right.

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!

Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

View More Thursday Thirteen Participants

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

The First Sign of the Apocalypse

The Man-Cub asked me what the word horny meant. And he understood my explanation.

Bomb shelters, people; you might want to look into one.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Another Day, Another Trip to the Principal’s Office

This morning, The Teenager made a frantic call to me from her Spanish classroom; we had a Hotdog emergency.

Hotdog is our codeword for immediate extraction from an unpleasant situation and can be used in one of the following cases:

-She can’t think of a polite way to escape from a friend’s house and wants me to order her home, thus reducing the possibility of hurting a friend’s feelings.

-She’s in a dangerous or uncomfortable situation which could include-but is not limited to- drugs, alcohol, peer pressure or chainsaw weilding homicidal maniacs.

-She in imminent danger of a Period Catastrophe.

I don’t suppose that I have to tell you there were no homicidal maniacs in Spanish class, today, chainsaw weilding or not.

It was, indeed, a Period Catastrophe: her Spanish teacher refused to allow her to go to the bathroom and she was loathe to explain her predicament to him.

As I was instructing her to hand the phone to the teacher, I heard him in the background, ordering her to get off the phone which; I completely understand given the fact that using the phone during class is against school policy, and she hung up before I could explain her situation to the teacher.

A Hotdog Extraction Plan was put into action and the situation was cleared up but, not before Hugh and I had to spend half an hour in the Principal’s office, explaining what had occurred and then another fifteen minutes wishing for the earth to swallow us whole as we listened to the Principal describe some techniques for dealing with menstruating teenagers to the poor clueless Spanish teacher who was, no doubt, wishing he had his own codeword for immediate extraction from an unpleasant situation.

Good times, people. Good times.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Two Down, a Shitload Left to Go

Today, I purchased the first two Christmas presents of the season. Some people might read that and roll their eyes like “God, one of those people who start early”. People who know me will read it and think “Damn, girlfriend is behind this year” and, I am; I usually have the majority of my shopping well in hand by now, to be finished up the week before Thanksgiving, leaving nothing but the odds and ends and stocking stuffers to be picked up between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The only excuse for my tardiness this year is, well, I don’t have an excuse; I just kind of said, fuck it. The gifts will get purchased. They will get wrapped. The holiday will be super-celebrated just like it is every year with one slight exception; I’m not stressing over it like I usually do.

And, I’ll let you know how that goes.

In other news, I made grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup for dinner. It’s not exactly gourmet but it ain’t chicken.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

….Something Wicked This Way Comes

You all know I love Halloween, right? You know I had a great time decorating the house, carving the jack-o-lanterns, baking creepy treats for the kids and planning the haunted house for The Teenager’s friends, now, I’ll let you in on a little secret; I am so glad Halloween is over.

I’m exhausted, y’all.

I spent the entire day yesterday on my feet. When I wasn’t cooking and setting up for The Teenager’s party, I was helping Hugh set up the haunted house. When I wasn’t doing that, I was grocery shopping or helping The Man-Cub with his costume. When I wasn’t doing that, I was running errands for Hugh. It was enough to tire a younger person and, people, I am not young.

It was all worth it, of course.

The Man-Cub went Trick-or-Treating as a down-on-his-luck hobo. We cobbled the costume together with pieces we found at The Salvation Army, making it, officially; the cheapest Halloween costume we have ever dressed him in.

Since The Teenager was having her friends over, I allowed the Cub to invite a friend to spend the night. The friend’s costume, and this was not planned at all, was a box. He went Trick-or-Treating as a cardboard box.

So, I had a homeless hobo and his box.

Politically correct, I am not.

The Teenager’s friends seemed to enjoy the haunted house almost as much as Hugh, Chris, and several of our other friends enjoyed scaring the beejezus out of them. Since Hugh had gone to all the effort the make the thing; we also allowed Trick-or-Treaters to go through it once they got their candy. We had several older kids who refused to venture in and a couple of brave little people who tried it more than once.

There was, unfortunately, no peeing of the pants, so, while it wasn’t our most successful creation to date; it did ok.

The most terrifying part of the night?

Having this many teenagers in my home. Goddamn, are those kids noisy.

Oh, and I ran out of candy for the first time, ever so, thanks to daylight savings time giving us back that hour; we got to spend extra time worrying over whether or not some freak, denied his Laffy Taffy, would toilet-paper our trees or egg our house, none of which happened but, still, spooooky.

*Full set of pictures can be found here.

Friday, October 30, 2009

By the Twitching of My Thumb…

Happy day before Halloween! As you can see, I have already gotten into the spirit of the holiday. Today, I am playing the part of the ugly-yet-good witch, handing out candy to the children from the learning center up the street from the hardware store.

Even though I am a good witch, I made Neecie, our variety store manager and friend extraordinaire, dress up, too because; even good witches can do mean things.

She was a super good sport about it, though.

On a totally unrelated topic, look! My natural haircolor. You know, if I weren't on such good terms with Ms. Clairol, that is which, have I mentioned lately; thank god for Ms. Clairol?!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Thursday Thirteen, Edition Twenty-Two:

Thirteen Favorite Halloween Memories

1. When my sisters and I were younger, my parents took us to a haunted house put on by the local Elks club. Or, maybe it was the American Legion, whichever. The point is; it was the first haunted house that we had ever been to and it was awesome. Back then, there were no Jason, Freddy Krueger or chainsaw wielding psychopaths, only good old fashioned werewolves, vampires and, if I recall, one very tall Frankenstein’s monster. Good times.

2. While in college, my friends and I attended the town’s street party. The party was a Big Deal, with several city blocks closed off to traffic, a band on each block and hundreds of people milling about in costumes both outrageous and fabulous. One year, my roommates and I went as the seven dwarves, our Snow White was a male friend who braved the teasing of his macho friends to don a dress and a black wig; he was, hands down, the ugliest Snow White in the history of fairy tales.

3. When I was quite young, my parents attended a Halloween costume party with friends. My sisters and I were left behind with a sitter but I will never forget my parent’s costumes; my mom dressed up like a pregnant bride and my dad dressed up like a redneck with a shotgun, in search of the bastard what got his little girl in trouble. Awesome.

4. One of my duties as an employee of the Parks and Recreation Department in my hometown was to stage a haunted house for the youth of our community. My staff from the swimming pool helped with the house and we recruited kids from the High School to help as well. One of my best memories of the holiday is walking through the haunted house during the day when no one else was around. Even in the daylight, it was creepy enough to raise the hairs on the back of your neck.

5. One year, the haunted house was so terrifyingly well done; we managed to make a girl from the Middle School pee her pants. It was alright; she went home, changed and came back for a second trip through. That, my friends, is the sign of a successful haunted house.

6. That same year, my costume consisted of a prom dress I had found at the local thrift store. One of my lifeguards fashioned a wooden stake with a leather belt that wrapped around my waist, allowing the stake to protrude through a hole in the front of the dress. A little fake blood, a tiara and, boom! I was a dead prom queen. My nephew, who was around three at the time, was not a fan of that costume in any way, shape or form.

7. The first year that Hugh and I were dating, he helped with the haunted house. At that time, our location was an abandoned horse stable and it was quite cold. He stuck it out through the building of the house and helped run it all three nights that it was open. I think that is when I decided that he was a keeper.

8. The Teenager’s first Halloween, my mother sewed a fuzzy lamb jumpsuit. It was perfect for Trick-or-Treating because it had a hood and because both her hands and feet were covered. Unfortunately, she came down with a wicked virus the day before Halloween and ended up in the hospital. Not wanting her to miss the excitement of her first Halloween, the nurses took her Trick-or-Treating for popsicles at each nurse’s station in the hospital. The costume may have been a tad bit hot for that particular form of Trick-or-Treating but, she had a blast.

9. The Teenager’s second Halloween went off without a hitch; she dressed as a medieval damsel-in-distress, complete with pointed hat and long, flowing gown. My niece and nephew were with us at the time and my niece dressed as a pink and lavender unicorn so; the damsel had her favorite steed. My nephew was a bat. Not quite sure how that fit with the fairytale theme but, the three of them had a ball.

10. My niece and nephew came to visit years later and my sister and I dressed the whole clan as the characters from The wizard of Oz. My nephew as the Tin Man and the Man-Cub as the Scarecrow are easily two of my favorite costumes to date.

11. One year, when I was around eleven or so, my mom let me wear her old poodle skirt for Halloween. I’m sure she had to pin me into it and, I can’t remember how challenging that must have been but, I still remember the way the skirt would twirl around my ankles as my sisters and I walked through the fallen leaves on Halloween night.

12. When I was a teenager and trick-or-treating was no longer “cool”, my friends and I would wander the neighborhood, playing ditch ‘em which, was like hide and go seek only spread out over a much larger area and played in teams. Back then, the neighbors didn’t mind if you cut through their yards or hid in their bushes. I’m guessing now; that would get you shot.

13. This year. I’m betting this year will be one for the memory books. Fingers crossed.

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!

Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

View More Thursday Thirteen Participants

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Cupcakes, Snow and Vomit. Not Necessarily in That Order

I was tired yesterday but, not too tired to kick ass at Bunco, winning the pot for Most Wins for the first time in the history of my Bunco career, all seven months of it. Jana and I carpooled to the game and she won the pot for Most Buncos so, between the two of us, we were practically rich if you consider each having $20, rich.

While we were rolling dice, Mother Nature was visiting upon us the first snowstorm of the season, making our drive home slightly less pleasant although, not terribly bad. This morning, the trees and grass were thickly frosted with wintery icing and the roads were wet and slippery. By noon, the roads were less slippery and the snow had tapered off enough to allow the melting to begin but; I understand we are expecting a second storm tonight.

Friday and Saturday are supposed to be warmer and dry so, with any luck, Hugh’s haunted house will still go on as planned and I won’t be forced to dress the Man-Cub in so many layers that his Halloween costume becomes less skinny destitute hobo and more over-dressed sumo wrestler.

The Teenager, who spent the day in bed with what I am hoping is just a wicked stomach virus and not a slowly mutating variety of appendicitis, still refuses to entertain the idea of a costume of any sort. She is, however, willing to “check” her brother’s trick-or-treat haul for suspicious candy; she even has a plan for disposing of anything that looks remotely dangerous. I told her not to worry about that; her father and I are seasoned pros at ferreting out the good bad stuff.

Which reminds me, I need to bake cupcakes for the Man-Cub’s classroom party; I tried to use my new-found Bunco fortune to purchase unfrosted cupcakes from the bakery at the Hellmouth so that I could decorate them like mummies and pass them off as homemade but, the Hellmouth has a strict policy against selling naked cupcakes.

A pox on the Hellmouth, says I.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tired, So, So, Tiiiired

I sleep well at night. I get enough vitamin D in my diet. I don’t have thyroid issues and I’m not being woken every hour on the hour to feed a newborn, chase away a closet monster or to check the driveway to make certain my teenager has come home from a rave so; why so tired, lord?

Why. So. Tired?

On a subject sure to exhaust me even more than I am already; the pies from the Man-Cub’s school fundraiser come in today and I have to pick up our order and distribute them to our friends and family who were kind enough to contribute to the effort.

I hope the PTA moms won't hold it against me if I unintentionally fall asleep on a box of Boston Creams while they are checking out my order.

Because, people; that could totally happen.

Monday, October 26, 2009

A Title Would Be Nice But, I Got Nothin'

As predicted, we had a very busy weekend. It started early, with the photo session I did for my massage therapist on Friday afternoon. The Teenager and the Man-Cub joined me for the shoot because I wanted to pick up groceries once I was done and, since they were out of school for Parent/Teacher conferences, I allowed them to tag along.

The Man-Cub, as usual the more social of the two, leapt out of the car the second we pulled into the park where I was meeting my therapist and her family and introduced himself. He then proceeded to busy himself on the playground equipment.

The Teenager stayed in the car, texting and listening to her iPod until one of my therapists’ teenaged sons commented that she didn’t look very happy to which I replied “She always looks like that; she’s thirteen”. He then told the Man-Cub to get his sister out of the car and asked him to tell her to “Get a life”.

As one would imagine, that lit a fire under The Teenager and she joined us in the park where she proceeded to flirt shamelessly with the boys and, really, who can blame her; they are really good looking young men.

Telling them that made them turn fifteen shades of red, by the way.

The pictures turned out great, it took a little over an hour and a half and we were on our way to the grocery store where we stocked up on snacks for the weekend.

Saturday, the Man-Cub’s game went pretty much the way all of the Man-Cub’s games have gone this season-they lost. But! They had a good time and, after the game, the team was invited to one of the coach’s for a party wherein they ate hotdogs, rolled pumpkins down a hill and staged an epic battle of Seek and Destroy amongst the many haystacks. The Cub had a great time and, despite not winning a game all season, he enjoyed the holy hell out of football.

Later Saturday evening, after a delicious (non-chicken) dinner, we set up the crafting table in my mudroom and we carved pumpkins. I cleaned and roasted at least a million seeds and we enjoyed each other’s company.

In keeping with the Halloween theme, Sunday evening we dipped caramel apples and, we are now officially ready for Halloween week to begin.

What? You don’t celebrate Halloween for a whole week at your house?

Anyway, it was a good weekend but, hands down, the best conversation we had took place in the car on the way to the Man-Cub’s game Saturday morning when The Teenager pointed out some dog hair on the Cub’s uniform.

The Teenager: You have hair on your pants. Ewww, it’s probably pubic hair!

Man-Cub: You mean the hair that grows around your belly button?

The Teenager, Hugh, Chelle and the Cub: BA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA!

For the record, while the Cub knows exactly what pubic hair is, he is loathe to voice the word penis in front of anyone. I told him he had better get over that ASAP since the fifth grade puberty talk is right around the corner.

Also for the record; he thinks the prospect of that talk is scarier than anything he might encounter on a dark street this Halloween.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Great Chicken Challenge of 2009

While driving to the Man-Cub’s football game yesterday, Hugh and I had a lively discussion about what I should make for dinner that night and, by lively, I mean that; I threw out ideas and he noncommittally went “yeah”, “whatever”, “sounds great” and “whatever you think”.

Believe it or not, it was a typical conversation between the two of us that is, until he threw out the opinion that I depend too much on the chicken recipes in my culinary arsenal. The gauntlet, as they say, was thrown down.

I vowed to go for as long as possible without resorting to a meal featuring chicken; I'm betting I can make it three weeks, to which Hugh says- and I quote-  pee-shaw.

It’s going to be tough but, I can do it and, thus; The Great Chicken Challenge of 2009 started last night with a dinner of Salisbury steak and mashed potatoes.

Tonight, we are having lasagna with italian sausage and, tomorrow, who knows? But, you can rest assured it damn well won’t be chicken because, once a challenge is issued, I have no choice but to kick. It’s. Ass.

Oh, yeah, game on. Game on.

Friday, October 23, 2009

As Often as We’ve Done This; You Would Think I Would Get Better at It

Parent teachers conferences were yesterday and, no matter how well I think the kids are doing or how high I believe their grades to be; I am always nervous about sitting down with their teachers for the discussion. I don’t know why.

Our first conference was with the Man-Cub’s teacher. The Cub’s grades are pretty decent with the exception of a rather low-though not failing-grade in spelling. His writing grade, on the other hand? Quite high. My children are nothing if not unique in their ability to surprise.

The teacher suggested that the spelling grade has more to do with the Cub choking on the tests than not actually being able to spell. I disagree; I’ve studied his spelling lists with him and, frankly, he just is not retaining the information. We have tried having him write each word ten and fifteen times to try to get the information to stick but, no doing. Granted, the words are harder than any spelling words he has encountered before but, still; there is work to be done and, his teacher had some great ideas for us as well as some strategies that he is going to institute in the classroom.

Otherwise, the Cub is doing great and we all had a round of applause at his recent graduation from vision therapy.

The Teenager’s conference followed and I am blown away at the glowing description we got of the child from her teachers. I’m fairly certain they had the right file and realized whose parents we were and, still, glowing accolades about how well she is doing both academically and socially. One teacher commented on her ability to put her schoolwork before the quest to be popular and, I have to admit, Hugh and I both looked at each other like WTF? The Teenager? Are you sure you have the right file? But, in the end, we have to take the teacher’s word for it since they see a very different side of the child than we do. Obviously.

In addition to her grades being good (with the slight exception of a C+ in P.E. You know, like usual), she was also commended for her work on her Science Fair project (although they did not make it to the final round, she and her partner placed in the top ten which, when you consider how many projects there were, is quite impressive) and on her recently discovered talent for creative writing.

Talent for writing.

Pardon me while I bask in the moment...

….aaand done.

Today, the children are out of school and we are planning something fun this evening to celebrate their hard work and stellar achievements but, first, I have to take photos for my massage therapist. As I sit here, the weather is clear and sunny. Ten bucks says, by two o’clock this afternoon, we have a hurricane or some other freak experience of nature.

Because I used up all my good luck on having awsome kids. I'm not bitter; it's a fair trade.