Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Lovely Alaina

A few weeks ago, one of my Girls asked me if I would mind taking her daughter's senior pictures while we were all in Mayberry for the big Stampede doings and I quickly said yes. For one thing, I have been feeling like my photography talents have been suffering of late due to lack of practice which, for the record, I blame solely on my children who have developed an annoying habit of scowling and turning away when I whip out the camera.

Damn kids.

For another thing, Reese's* daughter is knock-dead gorgeous and I figured that she couldn't take a bad picture so my ego would be safe. For the record, I wasn't wrong.

 In fact, out of 370 photos, not one was bad. Not one. We did agree, however, that, under no circumstances, is this child ever allowed to lay around on a hay bale in mixed company.

I mean, good Lord, right? Yesterday, she was our first baby, the one the rest of us practiced on before we had kids of our own and, today, she's a freaking super model.

That shit ain't right.

*Name has been changed to protect the identity of the innocent. Not really, we just like to call her Reese because of her uncanny resemblance to Reese Witherspoon and, because I'm weird like that.  Also, according to SpellCheck, I cannot spell weird. I before E except after C and all that crap.

Saturday, July 30, 2011


The kids and I are thoroughly enjoying our time in Mayberry. Why, just the other night Aunt Jules and I took them to the movies. What's that? What movie did we see? It was mumblemumbleBadTeachermumblemumble.

Please stop shrieking in parental outrage.

In my defense, I didn't know it would be quite as raunchy as it ended up being. And, I mean, it wasn't that bad; it's no The Hangover 2 or anything. In fact, each time something less than appropriate happened onscreen and Jules leaned over to whisper "Parent of the freaking year" in my ear, I reminded her that, until Cameron Diaz whipped out a dick, I was still winning in the "Not Quite As Bad a Parent as Hugh" contest and, since Ms. Diaz never did whip out a dick; I stand by that statement.


Ok, not really.

Gah. Now I know how poor Charlie Sheen must feel.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Don't Look at Me in That Tone of Voice

A few months back, The Teenager was telling me a story about something that had happened to her at a fast food restaurant and, while I can't recall the exact conversation, it included a bit of information that I found suspicious. When I asked her to clarify the point, The Teenager gave me a look that clearly stated "I am telling you this again only to patronize you, you feeble-minded old woman".

I have been the recipient of That Look numerous times since and, while I suppose I should be insulted; it never fails to crack me up, instead. Maybe I am feeble-minded.

Ya think?

Monday, July 25, 2011

You CAN Go Home Again

The kids and I are leaving for Mayberry later this afternoon. As always, I am looking forward to spending time with my parents, college roommates and childhood friends as well as to the experience of watching my kids enjoy some of the very same things that I enjoyed as a child.

It goes without saying that I am also looking forward to a week away from work, chores and errands.

Instead, I plan to lay in the sun in my parents backyard, to swim in the local hot springs pool, to watch the Man-Cub play a round of golf, to stretch out on the couch with my Kindle and to enjoy a change of scenery during my daily runs.

I'm going to drink a glass of wine with friends while reminiscing about our college days and I plan to get completely misty-eyed over the fact that our kids are always so excited to spend time together despite the fact that they only see each other once a year (thank goodness for modern technology; The Teenager texts the other teenagers and the Man-Cub is a Facebook friend with my friend's son) and are spread across the age spectrum (3-almost 18).

While I will miss Hugh (he's working and won't be able to get away until the weekend), I would be lying if I said that I wasn't somewhat looking forward to having the whole bed to myself; not to mention complete control over the ambient room temperature as well as possession over 100% of the blankets. I love my husband but, having full control over the boudoir is a nice treat. You know, every once in a while.

Speaking of having control, while I do intend to let The Teenager drive part of the way to Mayberry, I am drawing a line in the sand regarding control over the car music, right now; songs including the words "home" and "hometown" will feature prominently.

And, um, yeah...Wild Cherry.

That is all.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

This Is Even Better Than Having a Fairy Godmother

I arrived home this evening to find this...

...because one of our best customers at the store held an event recently and he just happened to have some leftovers that he thought I might be able to put to good use at one of those "porch things" I do.

You know what this means, don't you?

I have my very own Wine Fairy. Aren't you just the teensiest bit jealous?


Well, would you be jealous if I told you that I also have a leprechaun?


What  if I told you it was a Beer Leprechaun?

Uh, huh, that's what I thought.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Clouds. Silver Lining. All That Jazz.

Three Things:

-Hugh and I just spent money on a new windshield for the Tahoe because the old windshield developed a large crack from a small star chip that had previously been "repaired". I'm still sort of irritated at the ninety-year-old man who "repaired" it. On the bright side, my new windshield sure is purdy; here's hoping it stays that way.

-As soon as we handed over the money for the new windshield, a grinding, metal-on-metal sound began to emanate from the rear of the car and, following another trip to the mechanics; we were out another, even larger sum of money for new brakes. On the bright side, the car no longer vibrates when I am braking at traffic lights. I find this turn of events quite interesting as I had no idea that a car vibrating like Mother's Little Helper wasn't perfectly normal (Paging MENSA...MENSA, please pick up the white courtesy phone).

-This morning, the fraud detector service responsible for monitoring our credit card alerted us to the fact that our account number had been compromised if, by compromised, you mean completely stolen by some punk-ass computer hacker. Apparently, a number of charges had been made to an online entertainment company of some sort which piqued the interest of the fraud department, spurring them to call Hugh immediately and, once they determined that the charges were, indeed, fraudulent, our account was suspended. We are now waiting for our new cards which shouldn't take more than a couple of days to arrive. This sucks on numerous levels but, on the bright side, our credit card company clearly views us as the kind of customers who are unlikely to purchase smut on the Internet. Points to us.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Hello, Ladeeeze

Last night, the children released this year's battalion of Lady Bugs into the garden.

2000 red and black beetles marched off to do battle with the aphids currently dining on my plants. The march required the beetles to traverse the vast landscape of my children's bodies which left The Teenager and the Man-Cub giggling at the ticklish sensation of having 12,000 hairy little insect legs scurrying across their skin.

This was not a new sensation; we have released Lady Bugs each of the past few summers, yet, the kids giggle like toddlers every time.

This morning, there are at least 1000 Lady Bugs still in the garden so, despite a few that felt the need to go in search of greener pastures, we are set for pest control.

Now, if only Lady Bugs ate mosquitoes, we would be all set. 

Monday, July 18, 2011

I Started the Weekend in High Heels...

...and ended it in running shoes. And, by offending waterfowl. But, I'll get to that part, later.

So, yes, our weekend was busy and yet lazy at the same time; if it was a celebrity couple, it would be dubbed Bazy or something stupid like that which, well, let's just say that it's a good thing it wasn't a celebrity couple because that wouldn't just be stupid, it would be stoopid, dawg (I am sooo down with the hip lingo of the kids these days, yo).

Oooh, speaking of celebrity couples; J-Lo and Marc Anthony breaking up, whoa, didn't see that one coming.

And, I digress.

So, my weekend, right...Friday night Hugh and I got dressed up and attended the annual Policeman's Ball.

We had a good time again this year but, unlike last year, did not imbibe in so much wine as to cause us to bid willy-nilly on silent and live auction items. On the one hand, that restraint was good for our bank account. On the other hand, no wine tour for twenty purchased at this year's Ball (that's ok, I still have to use the wine tour Hugh won last year; which is tentatively scheduled for September).

Actually, the only item that I even considered bidding on was a trip for eight to Mexico. Hugh was against the idea because he lives under the impression that all of Mexico is a seething cesspool of gang activity, crime, filth and nudity and, sadly; the fact that he has viewed the photos from my college spring break trip to Mazatlan has done little to dispel that notion. Sorry, Mexico.

So, yes, we ended the evening earlier than I like to admit but, with The Teenager away at volleyball camp again this weekend, the Man-Cub was home alone and, despite a number of texts assuring us that he was fine; I felt better going home early.

Also, my feet hurt; hooker heels are the Debil.

Plus, we had planned to get up early Saturday morning to take the boat to the lake, which; you know what they say about the best laid plans, right?

Yeah, here's where we enter the lazy portion of the weekend; I slept in until almost 10:00 Saturday morning.

That? Never happens.

Generally speaking, "sleeping in" for me means sleeping until 7:00, at the latest. 10:00 is unheard of and, frankly, a bit embarrassing. But, since Hugh also slept in, I didn't feel too bad.

Of course, by the time we did get up, it seemed like a waste to load up the boat and drag ourselves to the lake for just a few hours so; we decided to play the day by ear, instead which, is how we found ourselves at the bowling alley, the local plant nursery, the local produce stand and the Hellmouth, shopping, picking up ladybugs for the garden, buying fresh produce to make for dinner and, well, bowling, obviously.

It was a random sort of busy/lazy day, as you can see.

Then, later that night, The Teenager arrived back home and we watched movies until bedtime.

Sunday morning, I was up at the usual hour (6:30) to do laundry, clean house, work in the garden and other sundry chores before taking the Man-Cub to the swimming pool where he splashed around a bit while I ran around the lake behind the aquatic center which is how I finally ended my weekend in running shoes and, by offending the local ducks and geese because, apparently; they don't like people runing through their flock while waving their arms and making obnoxious honking noises.

I know, right?! Poultry is such a buzzkill.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

And It Still Doesn't Compare to a Visit To the Gynecologist

Yesterday, I took the kids to the pediatricians office for their annual well checks and sports physicals. Shortly before the doctor came into the Cub's examination room, I warned him that he was now old enough to be checked for a hernia so; he needed to be prepared to have the doctor handle his, um, manhood.

The Cub totally thought that I was kidding; so; I'll let you imagine the look on his face when the doctor reached under his gown, grabbed his junk and bade him turn his head and cough (as an aside, that cough? Weakest-ass thing I have ever heard in my life; it was more of a squeak than a cough, actually. A completely mortified squeak and, naturally; I loved it).

Let that be a lesson to you, son; momma don't lie.

Speaking of lying, the doctor then had a conversation with the Cub, a conversation about girls. According to the medical professional, the Cub needs to know only two things about girls: one, they have cooties and, two, they lie. Then, he laughed and said, "Not really but, when things get crazy you need to ask yourself one thing; am I ready to be a daddy?"

The Cub obviously answered in the negative. Have I mentioned how much I like the doctors at my pediatrician practice? They totally rock the awkward adolescent conversation.

In other medical news, the Cub was weighed and measured and the doctor let me know that, while he falls squarely in the 9th percentile for weight and the 18th percentile for height; he has no doubt that the pubescent growth-spurt is right around the corner so, we aren't to worry.

So, yeah, my son doesn't even crack the 10th percentile for weight despite the copious amounts of food that he eats every damn day; hummingbirds should enjoy such a fast metabolism.

Anyway, the doctor visit is over for another year and both kids are healthy and, in the Man-Cub's case, hernia-free.

Skinny as hell but, his junk is free and clear.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Neighbors Flat Screen TV. Unless it's Really, Really Cool

Last night I attended the monthly meeting of my book club. The woman who hosted the meeting is one of my favorite members and this was the first time that I had been to her home. It was, I'm not even kidding, the most lovely home that I have ever been to in my entire life.

Her kitchen was like something out of House Beautiful. She made a full Mexican meal for us, a meal featuring beef and chicken fajitas, Mexican rice, chips, salsa and jalapeno poppers, all while we sipped margaritas at her bar; it was like watching a cooking show on The Food Network, I'm not even kidding. A cooking show featuring the most amazingly beautiful host in all of TV Land (she is GORGEOUS. Not that I'm jealous. Ooookay).

(As an aside: not a fan of the jalapeno poppers. Oh, sure, they are delicious going down but, twelve hours later, I am still burping jalapeno flavor. Not pleasant. And, I digress. Shocker)

Anyway, after watching our hostess prepare our fabulous meal (have I mentioned that she is gorgeous, by the way?  She is. Of course she is), we retired to the patio to eat under the umbrella at her wrought-iron  patio set while enjoying the strains of Mexican music coming from the outdoor speakers. The sound of the waterfall, gently pouring into the koi pond in the center of the yard provided additional ambiance as well as being visually stunning (I did mention that this is the most amazingly gorgeous house that I have ever been in, right? Yes, well, the yard is the most amazingly beautiful yard that I have ever seen in my life as well. Somehow, I'm not surprised).

After dinner, our hostess's (absolutely adorable) husband built a fire for us in their backyard fireplace. The fireplace is situated under a wooden pergola which is furnished with wicker and bamboo lounging chairs, teak wood tables and has a flat screen TV on which we had planned to watch a movie but, sadly, a storm rolled in and we were forced to watch it from the comfort of her leather couches in her home theater. Such an unfortunate turn of events although, our hostess did invite us all back for another go at outdoor movie night later in the summer once the monsoon rains have moved out. I can live with that.

The movie (Sideways) was a favorite of one of the other club members and, while I didn't find it particularly entertaining, I can say, without hesitation, that I had a great time last night and; I'm not jealous at all. Envious as hell, yes but, not jealous. Also, I really, really like my new friends from the book club and am so glad that I have been included in the group.

And I'm not just saying that because I want to spend an evening under a wooden pergola, sipping wine and watching movies on a television under the stars.

Although, I totally do.

Friday, July 08, 2011

How To Make Perfect Smores

First, you need the correct ingredients; this includes real Hershey's chocolate bars and Campfire brand marshmallows, preferably the super-ginormous sized variety. Now, I don't care what the Kebbler Elves say; graham crackers are graham crackers no matter the brand so, feel free to go cheap on the crackers and, that's it for ingredients.

Next, you need to build a nice, roaring fire, but; don't immediately toss your marshmallows into the flame, instead; let the fire burn down for an hour or so to provide a build-up of nice, hot coals over which to toast them.

While you're waiting, roast a couple of wieners over the flames or, you know, drink some wine.

Unless you are underage, obviously. In that case, play on a swing, preferably one that hangs from a high tree.

Or, commune with the local wildlife, you never know; you might find your prince.

Or, a frog, anyway.

Finally, when the coals are just right, gently toast your super-sized marshmallows over the fire, being careful not to burn them unless, like me; you enjoy burnt marshmallow skin, mmm, mmm, good.

When the marshmallow is perfectly toasted, squish it between two (cheap) graham crackers and a couple of squares of a Hershey's bar and, voila!

Perfect Smores.

This post brought to you by a massive sugar high; you're welcome.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Words to Live By

Even a bad day on the lake beats a good day at the office.

Also, if you arrive at the lake late enough in the evening and, in a rainstorm, you will most likely have the entire body of water to yourselves.

Then, you can tie the boats together Redneck Yacht Club-Style, drop anchor, don cover and, find a way to occupy your time while you wait for the storm to pass over; this may include a game of cards or drinking a glass of wine, depending on your age and/or level of parental supervision.

                                No alcoholic beverages were consumed by these children

                                       Alcoholic beverages WERE consumed by this woman

Finally, once the rain tapers off, you can pull out the fishing poles. As an aside, you just might be a redneck if you use Cheese Balls for bait.

But, you know, fish love Cheese Balls.

After fishing, there might even be enough daylight left to practice your mad knee-boarding skilz or, in some cases, to practice wiping out...a lot.

Either way, you can say that you spent a good four hours on a completely deserted lake with people you enjoy and, hey; it beats sitting on the couch watching re-runs.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Independence Day: Freedom to Get Your Freak On

I. Am. So. Sore.

And, sunburned.

And, exhausted.

Evidence of a fabulous holiday weekend, obviously.

And, it was fabulous, from the movie Friday night to the wedding Saturday afternoon to the full day of boating, BBQing and fireworks, yesterday; simply fabulous.

Of course, I did spend Sunday cleaning the house, weeding the garden and prepping the porch for yesterday's BBQ but, with two other full days of relaxing activities; I figured I needed to do manual labor of some sort and, despite my poor eyesight, the dust and grime was pretty damn noticeable and, you know, somewhat demoralizing (I will not be defeated by the filth!). Plus, it felt really good to wake up to a sparkling clean house on Independence Day.

And, since we spent the entire day on the lake with Jana, Chris and the kids, the house stayed clean right up until the BBQ. BONUS!

One of the nicest thing about having friends whom you have known for years and years is the fact that you can spend an entire day together on a small floating object in the middle of a vast lake and not get tired of one another's company.

Of course, it doesn't hurt to have two boats; one on which the female members of the group may congregate to discuss world events and ways in which to improve the quality of life for the lesser fortunate while sipping a civilized glass of wine and, one to which the male members of the party can be banished, taking their burping, farting, and gross jokes along with them. Or, the reverse, depending on the personalities of the people in attendance.

Oooh, you know what else? It is possible to teach an old dog new tricks, as evidenced by the fact that I not only attempted to wake board but, totally did it.

For.5 seconds before skipping across the surface of the lake on my face. But, hey! No injuries for me which, in light of recent events, is a triumph worth mentioning.

Also worth mentioning; no children were injured during the annual lighting of the family fireworks. The adults suffered a number of mosquito bites, a few toes stubbed in the dark and at least one case of heartburn caused by extra-spicy salsa but, otherwise escaped the evening unscathed.

And we can't wait to do it again next year.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Rings n' Things

So, we made it to the theater Friday night for the early showing of Transformers 3 and, I have to say; I wasn't disappointed. Ok, maybe a little disappointed but the reason for that is about to become patently clear.

See, like most Americans with access to the Internet, I've been following the recent hubbub regarding Megan Fox's absence in the new film and the resulting debate over whether or not Michael Bay is a complete sexist pig whose only interest in the abilities of his female lead lies in her having very firm buttocks. But, despite the fact that Megan Fox 2.0 could not act her way out of a paper bag and did, in fact, have very firm buttocks, I am going to withhold judgement on that particular topic.

Instead, I'm going to say that, if the plethora of close-up shots of a certain set of butt cheeks was an attempt by Mr. Bay to pull the 12-18 year old male demographic into the theaters; then the ploy was a certain success. However, had Mr. Bay simply managed one shot of a shirtless Josh Duhamel; the 15-Still Alive With a Pulse and Fair Eyesight female demographic would have been guaranteed repeat-ticket-buyers.

Repeat repeat-ticket-buyers, even.

Mr. Bay missed a golden opportunity, is what I'm saying.

Still, thumbs up to the movie.

In other weekend news, Hugh finally made good on his bet with The Teenager.

In a surprising turn of events, Piercing Remorse set in mere moments after the deed was done.

In a not-terribly-surprising turn of events; the remorse was short lived and the child has been on the computer surfing for whimsical new belly rings ever since.

Speaking of rings, our family got dressed up to attend the wedding of Brandon's sister, Felicia on Saturday.

Prior to the wedding, I took a run around the park and, while making a turn around the fishing pond, I was treated to the sight of a large blue dragonfly, the largest and bluest that I have seen since the days after Brandon's death. I took it as a sign that Felicia was going to have a magical day and, that is exactly what she got.

So, it was a great day and an almost perfect weekend and, I say almost because it lacked only a shirtless Josh Duhamel to tip the balance, Mr. Bay.