Thursday, June 30, 2011

Part of Knowing Where You're Going is Knowing Where You've Been

I am from a cheerful yellow house on a sleepy country highway, from Country Time lemonade and purple lilac bushes that bloomed in the spring.

I am from popcorn ceilings, wood paneling and shag carpeting, from tea kettles adorned with orange and brown mushrooms and from Red Rivers served at the soda fountain in the Rexall Drug store.

I am from flowerbeds overflowing with vibrant Sweet Williams and from the nectar of mountain Columbine, sweet on the tongue.

I am from large family gatherings at Thanksgiving and women who all look alike, from Molly and Nick and  the long-legged Gibsons.

I am from temperamental outbursts fueled by frustration and from quick apologies sincerely made.

I am from eating my vegetables because there are starving children in Africa and from doing unto others as I would have them do unto me.

I am from Mass on Sunday and Catechism on Wednesday, from dry communion wafers sticking to the roof of my mouth and from coffee and donuts following Father's edict to “go in peace”.

I am from rural Colorado by way of Tennessee bootleggers, German immigrants and Divine Providence, from bread fresh from the oven and sauerkraut fermented in a large stone crock.

I am from home-rolled cigarettes and tobacco tamped down in a pipe, from popcorn made on the stove top and fresh-shelled peas from the garden.

I am from roller skates, Barbies, paper dolls and Spirograph. From forts made with blankets and clothespins, early morning swim practice and late-evening bicycle rides around the neighborhood.

I am from nights spent stargazing on a blanket spread over cool grass, from splashing through warm puddles after the rain, from waking to the sound of drums from the high school marching band during the month of July.

I am from rodeos and parades and carnival rides, from campfires, Knox Blocks, coconut-scented suntan oil, and, the Bionic Woman.

I am from albums crammed with yellowing photos, from memories frayed and sharp, from laughter and love and joy.

I am from a simpler time.

Where are you from?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I Can See Clearly Now

Or, I will in 7-10 business days which is when I will get the new glasses that I was fitted for today. While I am excited about the prospect of seeing better, I'm a little anxious about the cleaning spree that will no doubt follow the improvement; blindness is a really good excuse for overlooking dust and grime and I have milked that excuse for all that it is worth, for quite some time, now.

So, I have 7-10 days left to dwell in relative ignorance of the squalid conditions of my home. I'm going to milk that for all that it is worth, as well, starting with not spending a minute of my long holiday weekend on housework.

Instead, we are going to hit the drive-in for Transformers 3 on Friday night, attend a wedding on Saturday, throw a BBQ on Sunday and, go boating on Monday. The weekend will culminate in a blast of fireworks on the front lawn, courtesy of the $300 worth of pyrotechnics that Hugh purchased this past weekend and, while I realize that new glasses would aid in the viewing of the fireworks, etc.; I'll just have to suck it up and squint through my old glasses during four-out-of-five of our weekend events, vision being less important in boating than in other endeavours (except for when you need to see the giant wave approaching your boat in time to spare yourself from going ass-over-teakettle into the captain's chair, obviously).

Of course, the most important part of all this is the part where I tell you that the new frames I chose are awesome. Seriously, they make me almost want to wear my glasses in public. This could make driving almost pleasant. And, the eye exam, lenses and frames only set me back $90.40 more than Hugh's fireworks.

I'm betting they will last longer, too.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Ryan Reynolds and I Have Something in Common

We can both fly.

Granted, he wears a green catsuit and his ass is so tight that you could bounce a quarter off it while I wear a bikini that I am constantly worried about actually bouncing out of. Plus, he consistently makes beautiful landings while I land in the fetal position but, you know, those are just details.

And I'll get to that later.

So, obviously, Hugh and I took the kids to see Green Lantern Friday night and, since I wasn't expecting much in the way of Oscar-worthy performances or anything of that nature; I wasn't disapointed in the movie at all. Also, since I was expecting the whole tight-suit-quarter-bouncing-ass-thing; I totally felt like I got my money's worth.

That's right, turn around so the nice people can see your ass...

Cut to Saturday morning, when Hugh, the kids and I headed to the lake for our first day on the boat since last summer. It was a beautiful day, the lake was clear, the sun was shining, I had less to fear of falling out of my bikini thanks to my recent attempts to whip my ass back into shape, it was, in short; a perfect day.

The first few hours went off without a hitch; the Man-Cub wake-boarded, The Teenager and one of her friends basked in the sunshine, Hugh fiddled with the new fish finder that I bought him for Christmas and I read the first book of The Hunger Game series while stretched out under the shade of the bimini.

A while later, Hugh pulled out the new tube that he bought himself for Father's Day, blew it up and all three kids jumped on board for a trip-or ten- around the lake. I was in charge of the flag that signals when a rider has fallen off the tube and poses a threat to other boaters (as in, if you run over a poor defenseless swimmer with your boat, you are in imminent danger of a massive lawsuit, plus; using swimmers as speed bumps is highly discouraged by Lake Etiquette).

I was doing my job from the comfort of the bench-seat across from the captains chair, stretched out with my legs in front of me, camera on my lap, flag in hand when, the next thing I know; I was airborne.

Because I can fly like Ryan Reynolds.

Then, I was smashing up against the metal stand of the captain's chair, with the left side of my face, my left shoulder and my left thigh taking the brunt of the impact since, as I mentioned earlier; my choice of landing positions is the fetal position.

I'm still not entirely clear on how I became air born in the first place. A large rogue wave from a passing boat had caused our boat to tip aggressively to the side and, I wasn't exactly holding on (see above: stretched out on the bench seat) but; I'm usually pretty sound as far as my balance on the boat goes so, the reason for my accident remains a mystery.

The resulting bruises are readily apparent, however.

Last year, I fell on the boat dock and spent the next few weeks recovering from bruises and it looks like this year will be no different.

Which begs the question; is it time to invest in some training from a real Hollywood stunts expert, someone who could teach me to take a fall without completely damaging my left side?

And, if so, is Ryan Reynold's guy is available for consulting? No? Well, what about his trainer? Because, if I'm going to be so damn accident-prone, having an ass you could bounce a quarter off of would be a nice consolation prize.

Hi kids! Don't mind me; I'm just going to launch myself across the boat and slam my face into dad's chair! Bruises are fun!

Friday, June 24, 2011

It Happens Every Summer

Yet another reason to love summer: Hugh does a lot of the cooking. Which, in his case, means grilling.

Rowdie is a huge fan of summer for this reason as well. Of course, his affection for the chore stems not from knowing that he won't have to slave over a hot stove but from the anticipation of something yummy accidentally slipping off the grill and into his gaping maw.

As often as this actually happens-that would be never-you would think the dog would get tired of the wait but; he never does.

He just might be the biggest optimist among us and that's saying a lot.

Next time...oh, yes, next time...

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

It's Summertime and the Living Is Easy

-I made an enormous Chef's salad for dinner tonight, using what little lettuce my garden has seen fit to produce in addition to some that I purchased at the grocery store. After a third planting of lettuce, using a different variety of seed; I have high hopes for enough lettuce to fill my next Chef's salad, somewhere down the line later this summer.

-Cherry season is right around the corner and, after several years of our local crop being ruined by late frost, we are finally looking at a good harvest; the majority of which will be consumed by me and my children as we lounge on the porch, reading, listening to music and basking in the heat.

-The stars have finally aligned in the correct pattern to allow us to take the boat out this weekend (no sports camps, warmer weather, less wind and enough water to float our boat in the local reservoir) and, thanks to three months of Pilates, running and a mostly sugar-free diet; I am planning to wear a bikini.

-I bought a new dress today. The dress is for the upcoming Policeman's Ball. I hope this year's ball is as much fun as last year's. One thing is certain; I will be wearing hose with my hooker-heels, having learned my lesson regarding blisters last year.

-The new season of Big Brother starts in July.

-We are going to see Green Lantern at the drive-in on Friday. The following weekend we are going to see Transformers 3; this should fill my summer quota of movies featuring hot men quite nicely (Hellooo, Ryan Reynolds and Josh Duhamel) and; who doesn't love a double-feature at the drive-in on a sultry summer night? No one, that's who.

I love summertime.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

My Idea of Heaven

Not pictured: Wine.

But you can bet your booty it was there.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary

Things in the garden are coming along just swimmingly, assuming one doesn't actually want their lettuce to grow.

Yeah, I have no idea, either, usually; I manage a bumper-crop of salad greens but, this year, despite two separate plantings, I have a meager handful of healthy specimens. It's a mystery.

The good news is; my peppers, tomatoes and beets are growing like crazy. Of course, healthy plants don't always result in lots of produce but; there are baby veggies on the pepper and tomato plants so, I am optimistic and, yes, I know that tomatoes are technically a fruit. I just don't care.

Also, the outfit above is what I wear when I am gardening. The hat and shirt keep the sun off my skin and the rain boots come in handy for tromping through the mud without ruining good shoes. Plus, any footwear that looks brand-new following a simple hosing down is good footwear in my book.

The fact that Hugh is completely mortified by the entire uniform is just the cherry on top.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Porch Night: The Summertime Nostalgia Edition

Last night's Porch Night was the best attended and longest-lasting Porch Night yet, starting early and continuing on well into the night. I'm sure that is partly due to the fact that it was the first Porch Night of the season but also because we hadn't all seen each other in quite a while and women do need their Friend Time.

And, also, wine.

While my friends and I were catching up on the porch, the kids were flying on a sugar high, courtesy of the old fashioned nostalgic candy that I had purchased for the evening.

That high was eventually exhausted thanks to rousing games of croquette and badminton on the lawn and a moonlight bicycle parade down the block.

The Teenager borrowed Lulu and led the parade, honking the ooga-ooga horn all the way although; she would totally deny that if confronted and my greatest regret is drinking that last glass of wine, thereby rendering myself incapable of taking a decent picture with which to provide the necessary evidence of the act. Eh, next time.

And, speaking of next time; our next Porch Night is going to have a movie theme, with hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill, plenty of popcorn and candy and, a double feature playing in the garage. We are all looking forward to it and, for the record, I promised to make sure the movie is appropriate for all audiences, unlike say, my husband who, if you recall, took my children to see an R-rated movie (and the porch goes wild, HE TOOK THEM TO SEE WHAT?! OH, HELLZ, NO! Ha! I love my friends).

In the meantime, we are back to the daily grind. I am driving The Teenager and one of her friends to the college in Neighboring City today for volleyball camp. I would make a joke about dropping my baby off at college but; the day that I actually have to do that, like for realz is just around the corner and I prefer to continue thinking of her in terms of snow cones, bicycle parades, badminton on the front lawn and star-gazing on the trampoline on a sultry summer night, for as long as I possibly can, thankyouverymuch.

Because nostalgic Porch Nights are one thing; being nostalgic for children who have outgrown me will be quite another.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

File Under: What the HELL Was He Thinking?

Last night, while I was at book club, discussing the merits of the book Heaven is For Real; Hugh made an enormous parenting faux-pas: he took my children to see The Hangover 2.

Yes, the R-RATED Hangover 2.

He confessed the misdeed the minute I got home and, because I am a forgiving person by nature, I let him off the hook with a mild reprimand, I think it sounded something like, "YOU DID WHAT?! WHAT THE HELL IS THE MATTER WITH YOU!?" or, you know, something equally sweet and forgiving.

Anyway, I went upstairs to ask The Teenager how she enjoyed the movie and she admitted that it was actually quite funny if a bit, um, risque and, by risque, I'm sure she meant totally inappropriate and rather embarrassing to be watching with her father and younger brother, ohmygod.

Oh, and, apparently, there was a chick in the movie. A chick with a dick. Which might have been the most embarrassing thing to see with one of your parents, like, ever, ohmygod.

That is, until your mother makes you read the following screencap from Parents Shouldn't, anyway:

I'm so glad we can share these precious moments together.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Weekend Update With Clingy McClingypants

Friday night, Hugh, the kids and I went out for a quick dinner at our favorite Chinese buffet before taking in the early showing of Super 8. Without providing any spoilers, I will tell you that the movie was really good. I will also tell you that, despite what Hugh initially feared; it was not a documentary about a budget-rate motel chain. Oops, spoiler!

We went to the early showing of the movie because the Man-Cub had to be up at the crack of dawn on Saturday to catch the bus to his wrestling camp, a camp at which he was sorely outweighed by the competition but at which he managed to learn a lot and to have a great time doing so.

While the Cub was "camping", The Teenager and I took a drive to Neighboring City and, by "took a drive" I mean; she drove. As nerve-wracking as I thought it would be to put the child on a major (ok, major for our neck of the woods) highway for a forty-minute drive, I was pleasantly surprised; the drive turned out to be pretty relaxing and The Teenager and I had a great conversation and more than a few laughs.

Stop being so grown-up, already, damnit!

Once we got to Neighboring City, we hit the mall in search of a dress for The Teenager to wear to the upcoming wedding of Brandon's sister and her fiance. As luck would have it, we struck out at every store except for the very last one that we planned to visit and, there, we found the perfect dress which led to the search for the perfect shoes (which we found, once again, at the last store we intended to look in) which led to the need for a stiff drink or, a Starbucks frappuccino, at any rate.

Then, it was back on the highway for the return trip which The Teenager handled with skill and grace once again despite the fact that I probably got on her last nerve by asking her if she thought the Man-Cub was having a good time at camp and if she thought I was doing the right thing by not going to watch the wrestling duels that were held during the camp, you know, every two seconds or so.

For the record, the Cub was fine. He had a good time. He was happy with his independence and, clearly, I am getting pathetic and clingy in my old age.

Plus, he was home by 7:30 and I got to hear all about his day before tucking him into bed and setting my alarm for four o' freaking-thirty the following morning so he could get up and do it all over again, minus as much fretting on my part (ok, not really, see above: pathetic and clingy).

                                            But, he's mah baybee!

On the bright side, getting up that early on Sunday morning allowed me to get a (really) early start on the day's laundry and I was able to hit The Hellmouth for groceries while the rest of the population was either still sleeping or getting ready for church, depending on their level of heathen-ness, and; I was done grocery shopping before Hugh and The Teenager even got out of bed (because we are heathens, hear us roar).

Then, I spent the rest of the day toiling in the garden, where I harvested some fresh oregano, basil and parsley for the homemade lasagna that I baked for dinner that evening.

I also swept down the porch and made a run to a nearby five-and-dime (yes, an actual, old fashioned five-and-dime) to pick up a plethora of classic candy for this week's Porch Night which is going to feature a Summer Nostalgia theme.

The Teenager went with me on that excursion (She drove. Are you sensing a theme?) and, again, we had a great time together despite what I'm sure she considered a particularly boring commentary from me on what my childhood was like, how summer back then seemed to last longer, and about how we were never as scheduled as The Teenager and her brother are now and days and, by the way; how did she think her brother was doing at camp?

Yeah. I might need to see a professional.

But, it was a good weekend; one that will be somewhat replicated this coming weekend when The Teenager is away at volleyball camp and, by replecated, I mean; I'll be whining about mah baybee being away from me to my other baby except, that baby won't be driving me anywhere.

Oh my god, I just thought about the Man-Cub driving.

I definitely need to see a professional.

Friday, June 10, 2011

I Remember When...

...camping in the summer required a tent, bug spray, sunscreen and a hearty disposition (well, 3 out of 4 ain't bad). Now and days, camping in our household entails knee pads, sweatbands, ankle braces and athletic supporters.

Tomorrow, the Man-Cub is off to a nearby town for a two-day wrestling camp. Next week, both kids leave us; The Teenager to the college in Neighboring City for a four-day volleyball camp and the Man-Cub to a another college in a different neighboring (although not quite as nearby) city for another wrestling camp.

Hugh and I are attending no camps whatsoever but, if I had my druthers; I would be attending a Day Spa/Sleepover camp with the Girls (sorely missing Girl Time, can you tell?). For his part, Hugh would probably just want to spend a couple of uninterrupted days on the lake, fishing and sleeping under the stars which reminds me...

...of when camping used to require tents, bug spray, sunscreen and a hearty disposition...

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

I'm Going to Require a LOT of Medication The Day That He Finally Outgrows Me

Earlier this evening, the Man-Cub and I rode our bikes to the park. While I ran around the jogging trail he tackled the BMX track with a couple of friends and; each time I circled the track he waved at me or gave me a thumbs-up or called out some encouraging words. In front of his friends.

I love that kid.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

First Strawberry of the Season and I'm Onna Kill Me a Dog If He Continues To Think He Is Human

The Man-Cub spotted this potted strawberry plant when we were buying seeds and plants for the garden. Hanging pots don't usually do very well in our climate but I told him that he could give the plant a try if he really wanted to.

Since we bought it, he has faithfully watered it, spoke kindly to it and shaded it when the sun became too harsh for it to thrive and, as a result, he harvested his first ripe strawberry today.

Please excuse the slightly phallic nature of this photo. Ahem.

I think he liked it.

On a completely different topic, several months ago we discovered that Rowdie was sneaking up onto the love seat at night; a discovery that prompted his banishment from the house at night.

Recently, I made a similar discovery; one that could conceivably get him banished from the back porch.

Or, you know, dead.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Something Old, Something New, Nothing Borrowed, Nothing Blue

Old: This morning, I revisited the drop-off lane at the school. I thought we were over the drop-off lane for the summer but, noooo, the children are each required to be at a.m. practice (volleyball for her, wrestling for him) at the gym and, although we live three blocks away from the school, it is 80 degrees in the shade by 8:00 and both children are perfectly capable of walking; I find myself chauffeuring their asses through that infernal line. On the bright side, there are far fewer cars in line during the summer so my aggravation level is at an all-time low. You know,  for the drive-through lane.

New: Late last week I purchased my own domain through Blogger; I am now the proud owner of (when I type that, I hear Truvy from Steele Magnolias exclaiming "I'm a chain!" I have no idea why). The transition from blogspot to .com was a bit nerve-wracking but everything appears to be working so; "I'm a dot com!". Admit it, you heard Truvy just then, too.

Nothing borrowed:  Friday night's baseball game was our last of the season. We were scheduled to play two more but, unfortunately, will not have enough boys to play due to previously scheduled vacations and other obligations. The boys took the premature end of the season quite well and, as I said earlier; the Man-Cub starts wrestling today so he's quite content to focus on one sport at a time.

Saturday, The Teenager and I attended the bridal shower for Brandon's sister. We had a great time and I'm not just saying that because we won the prize for best toilet-paper wedding dress during that particular game but, you know, we totally did. Not only was our dress-featuring a four-foot train, toilet-paper roses at the bodice and a large toilet-paper butt-bow-the most elaborate of the entries but; we also fashioned a lovely toilet-paper wreath and veil for The Teenager's head (she was the poor sucker lucky duck who got to model the dress) and a toilet-paper garter for her leg. We could not be beaten, obviously.

After the shower, I met Hugh for dinner and a show; the show being our local community theater's production of South Pacific. It was really well done and we had a great time.

Sunday I tooled around the house, catching up on housework and chores. Then, The Teenager drove the Cub and me into town to do some shopping. She's doing really well with the driving and I can hardly believe that she will have a license by this time next year; it kind of makes me sad....well, look there, I do have something blue after all.


Friday, June 03, 2011

You Know You Live in a Small Town When...

...the tellers at the bank know that oatmeal raisin is your favorite cookie and they have it ready and waiting for you on Cookie Friday....

...people on the street know your bicycle and call it by name, like, say, Lulu... step out the front door and are greeted by the sight of your son playing one-on-one with his Middle School science teacher in your drive-way...

...the sandwich artist at Subway knows that your son will want his ham toasted, that your husband will request extra banana peppers on his BMT and, that you won't want cheese on your turkey sub before you can even say a word... arrive home after work to find a houseful of teenagers and they are actually happy to see you...

...everyone knows that you donated paint to the Senior class so that the teenagers could start a new tradition of painting a giant O on the hillside in town park instead of risking their necks painting grafifiti on the highway the night before graduation and they all stop in to say thank you...

...Porch Night has evolved into an open-invitation event, drawing people from all walks of life and you wouldn't have it any other way.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

An Actual Conversation I Had With My Husband While Watching Re-Runs of The Vampire Diaries

Hugh: So, the blond chick is a vampire now?
Chelle: Yes, Katherine turned her.
Hugh: And, Katherine is the evil twin?
Chelle: Yes. Well, no; she and Elena aren't actually twins, Elena is her doppelganger.
Hugh: Her what?
Chelle: Yes, they're twins.

A bit later...

Hugh: How is the blond chick stronger than that guy (Damon)? He's older. I thought older vampires were stronger.
Chelle: Newborn vampires still have human blood in their systems so, they are stronger than even older vampires for a while. Then, they are regular-strength vampires who get stronger as they get older.


Chelle: Wow. I think that was the geekiest thing I have ever explained to you.
Hugh: I was just thinking that same thing, myself.

The lesson here? After eighteen years together, a couple starts to share a brain. Although, if he was also thinking that Ian Somerhalder is super-hot, we could be in trouble.

But It Doesn't FEEl Like Summer

We have had a handful of nice days so far this "summer". Unfortunately, the wind has not yet received the  memo about it being summer and has continued to blow (I just mistyped emo for memo which, could be my subconscious reminding me exactly how I feel about the wind) which makes even a warm, sunny day kind of suck ass (Nope, didn't need my subconscious to remind me after all).

In spite of the wind, we are soldiering on with summer-like activities here at Casa de Chelle. For instance, The Teenager is currently camping next to a geyser in Utah with Kaz and her parents. apparently, geysers are super-cool when the water is propelled thirty miles per hour by wind gusts which tells me that my daughter has both inherited my optimism and that she enjoys the great outdoors much more than I ever did.

While his sister is roughing it, the Man-Cub has been working at the hardware store. It was totally his idea. In fact, he approached Hugh and me separately with the following proposal: he would work three days a week from 9-1 in exchange for $20, cash money.

$20 for 12 hours of work a week is a bargain so, we took him up on his offer. So far, he has dusted every shelf in the store, swept the floors and, in his spare time, taught Otis to roll over for treats. I'm afraid I may have to insist on giving him a raise if this level of dedication continues. Of course, it is early yet.

Speaking of giving the kid money; I owe both children some major cash for getting good grades on their final report cards. Hugh owes The Teenager a belly ring but, that is between the two of them. As an aside, if he bets her a tattoo that she can't stay on the Honor Roll again next year, I just might end up widowed.

In gardening news, which has absolutely nothing to do with anything else that I have been talking about, I have a pretty good start on carrots, beets, lettuce, radishes, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, strawberries, green beans and spinach. In addition, I have the beginnings of about thirty sunflowers. I did not plant sunflowers. I'm thinking about letting them live simply because I admire their tenacity. Also, sunflowers remind me of summertime which, will be here any day now.

You know, once the wind stops blowing.

On the bright side (see? Optimism), the porch is totally ready for Porch Night. And, if the wind should blow hard enough, we will tether ourselves to the posts with bungee cords to prevent ourselves from flying away. Or, we will invent a new extreme sport wherein you fly, tethered by bungee cords, high into the sky like kites. Ok, wait, that would actually be wicked cool; I bet we could score a reality television show out of that.