Monday, December 31, 2012

Just In Case I'm Not awake to Say It...

Happy New Year!

I have a sneaking suspicion that I won't see the ball drop this year. For one thing, we are celebrating the arrival of the new year alone this year as Jana and Co. are traversing the western part of the United States in Dolly, their 1980's motor home and aren't, therefor, available for our annual New Year's Eve blow-out.

Late last week, I toyed with the idea of inviting the Porch Ladies and their families over, but, it snowed a good six inches here in the past twenty-four hours and I just don't want to be responsible for dragging people out on the roads under such conditions. Plus, the whole "four day weekend" thing has resulted in more rest than I have had in quite some time and I am loathe to apply pressure on myself to be socially active.

A quiet and relaxing evening with my family is the perfect antidote to social pressure, I assure you.

So, our celebration will entail Netflix, a large platter of shrimp cocktail, cheese and crackers, and a million calories worth of leftover Christmas goodies, which, with a little luck and a lot of motivation; will be burned off on the sledding hill, tomorrow.

Because we can't start a brand new year without our traditional trip to the sled park, doncha know.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

File Under: Unusual Occurences

I slept in this morning.

To be specific, I slept until one o'clock in the afternoon.

That...never happens.

In my defense, I offer the following: I haven't slept through the night since sometime last year (thank you, pre-dawn anxiety, you are my oldest- and least dear- friend); clearly, I deserved the extra rest.

Apparently, however, the world ends when the mother sleeps in. Or, at least that is the fear in my household, as evidenced by the attempts my children made to wake me, including that old chestnut of pulling up my eyelids, peering into my unseeing eye and whisper-yelling "Are you awake? Did I wake you up?"

I mostly slept through that one, although it did manage to weave itself into the dream I was having.

Anyway, once I finally awoke from my slumber, I was greeted with cheers from both my offspring and my husband-the former because I was finally showing signs of life which roughly translated into some form of renewed cooking ability, and, the latter out of a sense of clear relief in not being left alone to raise the Spawn from Hell, whose only fear of permanent Orphanhood-due-to- Coma, was the fear of starvation.

As an aside, I will never feel the same way about the phrase "Wakey, wakey, eggs and bakey!", again.

I love you, too, children. I really, really do.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas is the Time for Leftovers, Like, Duh

There is a turkey burrito/enchilada casserole in my oven right now; the latest in a long line of menu items featuring turkey, seeing as we had that twenty-two pound turkey to share amongst a whopping six people, two of whom eat like, well, like birds.


So, easy recipe to follow:

-Dice a couple of cups of leftover turkey, mix with one can of diced green chilies and one can cream of chicken soup. Fill six flour tortillas with turkey mixture, sprinkle with shredded cheese, roll into a nice tight burrito shape and place in a large baking dish. Pour one large can of green chili sauce over burrito/enchiladas, sprinkle with additional shredded cheese and bake in a 350 degree oven for forty-five minutes or until heated through. Remove from oven, lie to your children about contents of burrito/enchiladas ("Is that turkey? AGAIN?!"), cross your fingers and hope for the best.

The end.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Oh, Sure, NOW It Snows

Hugh and the Man-Cub went snowboarding today.

I went to work.

It snowed five or six inches while they were gone and now they are shoveling the driveway.

In the dark.

I am sitting on the couch with a glass of eggnog and a plate of Christmas cookies, watching a rerun of The Vampire Diaries.

I win.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Another Christmas in the Books

Our Christmas was wonderful.

For the first time in sixteen years, I was in bed before midnight on Christmas Eve, and, Christmas morning; I slept past five o'clock! Ok, it wasn't much past five o'clock, thanks to the twenty-two pound turkey that required an early trip to the oven, but, still! Not five o'clock!

And, I hit the sweet spot of parent gift giving-both children were happy with their presents and neither seemed to miss the whole Santa experience.

Oh, I missed it, but that is neither here nor there.

Anyway, gifts were opened, eggnog was consumed, the goodies on the goody tray disappeared with an uncanny rapidity, turkey was consumed, Christmas movies were watched, Skyping between Hugh and his brother in Dubai happened, and, I was in bed by nine o'clock p.m.

Oh! And my spare refrigerator magically started working again! Or, it was never broken to begin with. Either way!


Now, we get a few days to recover and to prepare for our New Year's Eve celebration.

2013, here we come!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Dear Santa,

I know it's pretty last minute, but, if you could find it in your heart to bring me a new spare refrigerator, I would really appreciate it. Or, you know, if the mechanics division of the workshop could spare an elf or two to fix my old spare refrigerator, that would be just as good.

If neither of those things are possible, and, I totally understand if they aren't; then would you mind sparing me and my family any sort of food poisoning tomorrow? Because the turkey and cheesecake both spent quite a bit of time in that fridge and I'm not 100% sure how cold they stayed.

On the bright side, the length of time that it took the turkey to thaw in that fridge would indicate that it was in working order until just recently, and, by recently, I mean sometime this morning.

I'm basing that guess on the fact that the two dozen farm eggs that were also in the fridge were still quite cool when the Man-Cub pressed one to the back of my neck in an effort to convince me that: "the fridge is, too, keeping things cold, motherrr" (insert disgusted sigh and an eyeroll).

That, however,  is crazy talk, because, I am a pretty good judge of cold vs. not cold; I've been cold-blooded all my life  and I know from cold, yo.

Anywaaayy...I really would appreciate your assistance in this manner, and, as a show of good faith, I am leaving you a plate of cookies tonight. I would include a nice cold glass of milk, but, the milk was in the spare fridge and I'm not willing to risk poisoning you, Santa Claus.

Pretty sure that poisoning you would land me on the naughty list forever, and, we can't have that.

Love, Chelle

Friday, December 21, 2012

Officially On Vacation

My last duties at work today included a meeting at one of the elementary schools. While I was there, the school held a moment of silence for the Newtown victims, ringing the school bell 26 times-once for each of the victims.

The tolling of the old schoolhouse bell reverberated through the small chair I was sitting in like a heartbeat, the irony of which did not escape me.

It was an emotional moment and not one I hope to repeat. Ever.

On a brighter note, I will be spending the next four days at home with my own children. I feel very blessed to be able to do so.

Tomorrow, we are making our final assault on the mall; The Teenager's presents being our primary quarry. Tomorrow is also Hugh's birthday so we will be dining at The Olive Garden as per his request.

If we finish our shopping in a timely manner (ha,ha,ha,ha!), I plan to bake the last four items on my list: pizzelles*, spritz cookies, banana bread, and, pumpkin bread. I'm not really holding my breath (see above: ha,ha,ha,ha).

I also need to wrap a number of items and make sure that I have everything that I need for Christmas dinner. As an aside, the turkey that I took out of the freezer and placed into the fridge to thaw is still pretty damn frozen, and, I took it out on Monday. My fingers are really crossed for a thawed turkey by Christmas Eve.

*Remember two years ago, when my pizelle maker went missing and I bought another one? And I joked about how, the minute I bought a new one, the old one would turn up? And, them how it didn't turn up? Well, it has now turned up. I know. I have no idea, either.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Here's Hoping YOUR Holidays Aren't Gross

Earlier this month, I mentioned that we had taken pictures for our annual Christmas cards, and, I declared the pictures to be among my all-time favorites due to the fact that they adequately captured the essence of The Teenager.

Our cards have officially gone out and I now feel comfortable sharing the pictures that made the card a classic, you know, for our family.

 The front page of the card featured a collage of the above three pictures. The inside of the card featured the children's response to seeing their mommy kissing Santa Claus...

My favorite part of the card (next to the look of complete and abject horror on The Teenager's face in the first picture) was the greeting:

We saw mommy kissing Santa was gross.

Best. Card. EVER.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Sweeter Than Sugar Plums

The Man-Cub has recently acquired a new "girlfriend". Actually, she's an old girlfriend whom he has circled back to, as is normal in an eighth grade class numbering less than 80.

The "girlfriend" is the daughter of friends of ours and she is adorable. I have no problem seeing her and the Cub being lifetime friends, so, I didn't hesitate to agree when the Cub requested money with which to purchase her a Christmas gift.

The Cub ultimately picked out a small stuffed dog with the softest, fluffiest ears that I have ever felt. He had enough money left over to buy a plastic candy cane full of Hershey's Kisses which we tied to the dog with a red ribbon.

It snowed last night so the Cub asked for a ride to school which is how I gained the privilege of watching him surreptitiously stuff the dog under his coat upon exiting the car, because; he may be crazy about the girl buy he's not so crazy as to open himself up to the ridicule of the remaining members of the Fearsome Foursome.

Also, it was so cute, I died from the sweetness.

This might just be enough to make up for that chest hair he recently sprouted.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christmas Blessings

The Man-Cub just informed me that he has a chest hair. That is soooo not what I asked for for Christmas.
The Teenager is deeply anxious about finals this week. It makes her less than pleasant to be around.
All things considered; I'll take my son growing up and maturing and my daughter rolling her eyes and sighing in my general direction, any day.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Be the Light

The weekend before last, as the Man-Cub and I exited Sam's Club, we happened into an argument between a middle-aged couple and an older woman. I have no idea what the argument was about, but, it was ugly. At one point, the male half of the middle aged couple dropped an F Bomb and I couldn't help but feel horrified. I mean, I am no stranger to the F Bomb; I am not, however, acquainted with the notion of hurling it at another human being, like, ever.

And, witnessing that altercation plunged me in into despair; ashamed for a society in which a peaceful holiday shopping trip could be interrupted by such a gross display.

It was at that point that the Man-Cub extracted a dollar bill from his pocket and made a beeline for a bright red Salvation Army kettle. It was the third bright red kettle that he had contributed to during our shopping trip that day and it was his last dollar.  When he bellowed "Merry Christmas!", in the way that only the Man-Cub can bellow, the older woman involved in the altercation smiled and  my heart rose up in my throat.

In that moment, with just that small gesture, the Cub restored the light to my day.

Recent events have threatened to  shake my faith in our society, yet again; darkness has tried to take hold of our world, and, it would be really easy to simply give up,  to wallow in the despair of it all.

But, while in line at the Starbucks drive-through yesterday, I had the opportunity to do something nice for a complete stranger; I took that opportunity and ran with it and, it felt good. It felt really good.

In that moment, I remembered something that I've always known in my heart; light will always defeat the darkness.

When in doubt, be the light.

Just be the light.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

27 Angels in His Kingdom, Tonight

It's really hard to whine about being behind on Christmas baking when so many parents are facing another night without their child.

My heart is broken for the families in Newtown, Connecticut and, today, I really would give my kingdom for just one more day; one more day for those parents to be able to hold their children. One more day for a disturbed young man to weigh his actions against his conscience.

Since we can't have that day, I will instead say another prayer for the families, as well as a prayer for the family of the shooter, and, a special prayer for the families of the teachers who shepherded their classes into the kingdom of Heaven, yesterday.

Peace on Earth, Lord.

We could really use it.

Friday, December 14, 2012

My Kingdom for One Extra Day

This morning, the Man-Cub cheerfully informed me that Christmas is just eleven days away! Eleven! Isn't that great, Mom?! would be, if, you know, I wasn't twelve days behind.

On the bright side, I managed to bake two batches of cookies last night and, with The Teenager's help, to dip chocolate covered pretzels and cinnamon bears (because cinnamon bears are tasty but chocolate-covered cinnamon bears are heavenly).

Later today, I am going to tackle the last two varieties of cookies and a couple of pans of fudge. Tomorrow I will make dark chocolate covered mint patties and wrangle the family into decorating the cut sugar cookies that I baked last night. It's all coming together, is what I'm saying.

And, at the rate that I am going, I should be totally prepared for Christmas by December 26th.

Oh, shit.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

It's Good to Have Goals

I am still woefully behind on my holiday baking. Despite having every intention of baking something each night this week; I have fallen short of my goals and baked nothing. It's becoming Situation Critical all up in here.

You know who isn't concerned in the least?

Dee Nyall.

He's all, "Heyyy, no worries; we're just chillin' in this giant wine glass. It's allll good."

Dee Nyall, you see, is not responsible for cookie baking, so, of course he has no worries. I should also point out that he is not "chillin" in a giant wine glass; I don't even own wine glasses that big. Which? Why don't I own wine glasses that big? I'm afraid I might be missing an opportunity, here.

And, I digress.

So, the plan for this evening involves a little quality time in the kitchen, SO HELP ME, GOD.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012


I just got home from my women's club's Christmas party. I say "Christmas" party because, in the end, despite all the kowtowing to the atheist and the tip-toeing around our sole Jewish member; I managed to wiggle Jesus into the festivities, making this year's party the first traditional Christmas celebration that we have enjoyed in years.

I can't take all the credit, though. The actual work was done in a round-about way, at the hands of a local vocal group who gifted us with a performance of some of their favorite songs. Or, as some people call them, carols.

However, while it is true that the majority of the songs were Christmas related, the group also sang a little ditty from The Beatles and a couple of old songs from popular musicals, so; there truly was something for everyone.

And, since the group had approached me with the offer of a serenade, free of charge as a way to thank our group for the many good works we do in our community; there was really no way for anyone to be put out by the performance without looking really, really ungrateful and, well, grinchy.

So, the Christians got their carols back, the non-Christians failed to burst into flame at the mention of holy nights, mangers and wise men, and, I made it through the whole thing without a single shot of whiskey or glass of wine.

Oh, I'm totally planning to have one, or the other, now, but, that is neither here nor there.

And I deserve it.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Passing the Torch

The weekend was a blur of Christmas shopping, cookie baking, and family movie watching. I finally feel like I have got a decent start on my holiday chores, and as a result; am feeling slightly less stressed out than I was this time last week.

Of course, I still have five varieties of cookies to bake as well as two kinds of breads to bake, four kinds of candy to make, fifty Christmas cards to send out, three bottles of wine to consume, and, a million presents to wrap, so; my chores aren't anywhere near being done.

Ok, fine: drinking wine is hardly a chore. Thought I would sneak that one by you.

Speaking of sneaky things; the Man-Cub has taken the reigns on the whole Elf on a Shelf thing. He has come up with some really innovative poses for Dee Nyall, including this awesome scene that I discovered this morning:

Front view

Back view

The fact that my very best efforts involving Dee Nyall have involved him hanging in the Christmas tree leads me to admit that I have been bested by a fourteen year old boy.

 It's shameful, really.

On the other hand, I can't wait to see what the kid has up his sleeve for tomorrow. And, just like that, the student has become the Master.

Maybe it's not so shameful, after all.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

It's Beginning to Smell a Lot Like Christmas

It snowed last night.

This morning, I went on a cookie-baking spree, and, I'm not done yet.


I think not.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Reindeer Games

I didn't bake cookies again last night, but, I had a good excuse, I did! I was at a jewelry party. With The Teenager and a couple of girls from work. SO, while I did not accomplish any holiday baking, I did manage to knock a few items off my stocking stuffers list.

Of course, Hugh would like to point out that you can't eat baubles and bracelets, but, I am just one woman and can only do so much. He will get his cookies, eventually. In fact, I totally plan to work on that this weekend.

After I do some shopping.

Besides, I am really enjoying the company of the ladies with whom I work, and, the holidays are the time to gather with friends, right? Right. Dee Nyall totally agrees with that sentiment.

He and a few of his friends got together last night to hang out on the mantle. Rumor has it they were bitching about the absence of cookies in the house as well. Of course, Hugh was the one to pass along that piece of information so, take it as you will.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

December 5th and Not a Cookie in the House

I intended to bake a batch or two of Christmas cookies last night, but, by the time I got home from work, the couch looked really inviting, and, before I knew it; I was cuddled up with a furry, purring cat, snoring away for all I was worth; maybe tonight.

Once I roused myself from my nap, I did manage to "hide" Dee Nyall for the Man-Cub to find this morning. It's day two and my creativity where this tradition is concerned is already lacking. This does not bode well for the remainder of the season.

Yeah, I'm hanging in the tree. How original.

Clearly, I'm going to have to step up my holiday game, and, I might as well start tonight; the night that the kids traditionally place their letters to Santa under their pillows for the elves to pick up. Wait, what's that? You thought that, since the kids no longer believe in the Big Guy that we would fore go this tradition? Oh, Hellz NO. There will be letters. There will be elf dust and chocolate coins. It. Is. Going. To. Be. AWESOME, SO HELP ME, GOD.

And, I will bake cookies, tonight.

I will.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Playing With My Elf

If you are a parent or grandparent of small children, or, if you have a Pinterest account and are not blind; you have learned about the Elf on a Shelf phenomenon. The elf is supposed to be a messenger to Santa, updating him on the activities of all good (or bad) little girls and boys. He's a mandatory reporter for the North Pole.

He is also rumored to be quite ornery, himself; getting into mischief and pulling pranks around the house; pranks that all good little boys and girls instinctively know will earn them no love from Santa.

As we all know, my kids have outgrown the Santa myth, so, you may be wondering why I am telling you all of this.

Well, I sort of refuse to believe that we are past the point of fun holiday traditions, so... our elf, Dee Nyall.

Dee Nyall is a-somewhat lame- attempt on my part to keep the Christmas magic alive for my children (or, for myself, DO NOT JUDGE ME!). He only recently moved in, so, we haven't really gotten a chance to know him very well, but I am working on it.

Last night, I took great pains to create a happy little elf tableau for the Cub to discover this morning, and, I thought I was being quite clever...

That's the postman from the North Pole! Dee Nyall stole his mail truck! Chaos! Naughtiness! Fun!


The Man-Cub discovered the scene this morning and made a few tweaks of his own...

I'm afraid it is going to be a long holiday season for Dee Nyall.

Monday, December 03, 2012

We Still Have 22 Days, No One Panic

Yesterday we took pictures for our Christmas cards and, I can honestly say; this year's card might be my favorite yet. For one thing, we are all in it and, that alone, is a scheduling miracle. For another thing, the card captures a look on The Teenager's face that is so classically teenager, I cackle with parental glee just looking at it. Suffice it to say, the card is unique and I can't wait to inflict them on my unsuspecting friends and family.

Speaking of mail; Hugh sent off my out-of-town packages today, allowing me to cross two whole items off my holiday chores checklist. We are on fire!

Really, we are. Never mind the fact that I have yet to start my baking; it will happen. It will. You know, eventually.

And, speaking of holiday chores, this is what Hugh arrived home to earlier this afternoon...

I bet you are thinking to yourself, "Oh, my goodness, how cute!"

Uh, huh.

Let's look at this picture from another perspective...

I'm going to kill them, dead. Dead, I say!

Sunday, December 02, 2012

T-Minus 24 and Counting

Christmas is practically around the corner and I have barely started on my chores. I do have all of my out-of-town presents purchased and I have every intention of having them wrapped, packaged, and, mailed by tomorrow.

I also intend to take our Christmas card pictures later today as well as getting a start on my baking, probably with a couple batches of easy cookies.

We already have the tree up and decorated and the front porch has been decked pretty well. I haven't bothered with my village yet, but, I intend to get around to it, eventually, so; my intentions are good.

You know where the path of good intentions usually leads, right?

Also, if I have to re-drape the garland on the bottom of the tree one more time; we might be two kitties short by Christmas. I swear, it's like having toddlers; we can't hang ornaments on the lower quarter of the tree, the tree skirt is constantly in a state of rumpleness, and, one of the little bastards (FINNIGAN) has diligently attempted to unwrap one of the two presents under the tree since they went under it last week. And, it isn't even his present!

Bah, humbug!

In brighter news, the Man-Cub's basketball team took second place at yesterday's league tournament. In even brighter news, that means the end of the season and a return to some free evenings and weekends! Winners, all around!

The Fearsome Foursome would have you know that they, too, are excited about this turn of events.

With all the free time that we are now about to have, we should be able to pull off yet another grand family Christmas. And, by "we", you know I mean "I".  Because of course I do.

24 days to go, my friends. The clock is ticking.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

What's Yo Dream? Everybody's Got One!

Today is my birthday.

Since the addition of Guinness to our household, I can now say that I have two cats.

I am, officially, one year, and one cat, closer to being That Crazy Old Cat Lady.

I just need to start working on my hoarding compulsion. Hey, you know what would help with that?


Did I mention, today is my birthday?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Christmas Soapbox

As I may have mentioned, I am the Chair of our club's Christmas party. I volunteered to take over the position when the original Chair had to bow out due to a medical emergency within her family. I think I've done a pretty good job of planning the party, especially for doing it on short notice, and, especially for doing it when no one else would.

And, why wouldn't anyone else do it? Because, over the past three or so years, it has become increasingly uncomfortable to be the Chair, due to pressure placed on the club by a couple of individuals who don't recognize Christmas as a holiday.

The pressure has come in several forms; first, in the form of subtle "suggestions" that we call it a "Holiday" or "Seasonal" party rather than a Christmas party. Then, in the form of a vote on having the party after the first of the year, rather than in December (you know, around Christmas), a suggestion, which, for the record, was voted down 52-2 (SHOCKER).

I think that, as a group, we have been more than accommodating, for instance; our previous (and, long-held) tradition of singing carols upon the closing of the party was suspended the first year that one of the non-Christmas folks complained. The tradition has yet to be reinstated.

Likewise, the ornament exchange that we used to enjoy was cancelled since ornaments were deemed too secular. Decorations and decor in generic winter themes have replaced anything having to do with presents, angels, reindeer, or a certain jolly old elf, and, God forbid someone mention wise men, shepherds, stables or Jesus.

So, planning the party entails walking a delicate tightrope between pissing off the atheists and further disappointing the Christians; a tightrope that I really didn't want to have to navigate, but; here I am.

And, I think I have done a fairly good job of being sensitive to both camps. Granted, the decor will be decidedly "Christmassy" as the country club where we are being hosted is responsible for decorations and I'm relatively certain that evergreens will feature prominently. So, that's out of my hands, really.

The entertainment, however, will be in the form of a serenade by a local community glee club, singing seasonal favorites such as Jingle Bells and Frosty the Snowman, with no mention of Silent Nights, herald angels, or holy nights to be heard.

Despite these compromises, the planning has been a bit stressful.

So, I have to admit to being somewhat annoyed today when one of the minority camp made a point of cornering me in order to confirm that the party wasn't actually going to be, you know, a Christmas party, or anything.

And, I snapped internally, people. I actually entertained the notion of telling her that she had lucked out; the actors I had hired to play the parts of Mary and Joseph had developed laryngitis and would not be able to spout scripture while riding a rented donkey up the stairs and into our venue, after all. Sucks to be us, right?

In hindsight, I totally should have said that. I mean, what was she going to do, tell me to go to hell? She doesn't believe in hell.

I missed an opportunity, is what I'm thinking.

Monday, November 26, 2012

No Hobos Were Hurt in the Making of This Post

While we were in Mayberry,and, before The Teenager's internal organs began attacking her for no apparent reason, my younger sister and I went on a photo excursion.

Our mission was to capture an image of her and her son for her annual Christmas card, despite the absence of snow, or of anything vaguely resembling the winter wonderland that one envisions when thinking of a Colorado Christmas.

Our first stop was at my good friend Jules' childhood home, where we made use of a red shed; the same red shed that I used when taking pictures of Reese's daughter, last year. For the record, the shed is a multi-seasonal prop, because, the pictures were just as good as the ones I took back then. So good, in fact, that we didn't even miss the snow.

The "Joy" sign was hand-crafted by myself and Hugh on Thanksgiving morning; we like to get our inner Walton on, sometimes. And, I digress...

...after the shed, we experimented with pictures by a tree and a fence...

We were fairly certain that we had some shots that would work, but, on a whim, we stopped at a local train yard, where we discovered the beauty in gritty, urban, locomotives....

My nephew, it should be noted, was completely convinced that we would either be arrested for trespassing or murdered by transients before our photo shoot was over. He's a funny kid, that one. On the other hand, it was private property and I did spy something that could have been a hobo camp, but, there was no way in hell I was admitting that to him.

And, obviously I made it home in plenty of time to transport my daughter to the emergency room, so, no drama ensued at the train yard; we totally saved that shit for the hospital.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity-Jig

We made it back from Mayberry yesterday, after a late-evening discharge from the hospital on Friday. The Teenager was a trooper through the entire experience and we felt that she deserved a reward.

This is Bruce...

...he and The Teenager are super-tight, now, as one would expect from a relationship forged in adversity and eventual triumph.

Speaking of triumph; the car ride home was far less taxing on The Teenager than we had feared. She and Bruce slept through most of it and we were feeling pretty good about the experience.

Until we got home and nausea kicked in, that is.

Anyway, all is well, today. Pain is under control, the nausea seems to have passed, and, her appetite has returned in full force. I'm pretty sure she is on the road to a full recovery.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Eh, Who Needs an Appendix Anyway?

In hindsight, I should have known something was seriously wrong when The Teenager showed zero interest in picking at the mashed potatoes the minute the lid came off the casserole dish. If that wasn't a big enough clue, the immediate upheaval of pumpkin pie and the fainting spell that followed should have cinched the deal, but, it was Thanksgiving and, nothing unpleasant happens on Thanksgiving, right?

I mean other than riots over the last Big Gadget of the Year, of course; I hear those are pretty unpleasant.

Anyway, a trip to Mount Pilot's emergency room eventually resulted in a diagnosis of appendicitis and eventual admittance to the hospital which led to surgery this morning. Indeed, The Teenager is under the knife even as I type this.

Our fingers are crossed for no complications and a swift recovery. Ideally, she will be released later this evening and we will be able to head back to Petticoat Junction tomorrow morning, as planned. Of course, I realize that, merely by typing that sentence, I have doomed us to at least some small complication. Or, maybe not. I mean, nothing bad happens on Black Friday, right?

Le sigh.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thankful That Two People Fell in Love

We celebrated two things today. The first, obviously, was Thanksgiving. The second was the 50th anniversary of my parents wedding to one another.

50 years is a Big Deal.

50 years makes plenty of time for lots and lots of love. It also makes time for lots and lots of laughter, as well as a few disagreements. One thing is certain; it makes for more than a few stories told around the Thanksgiving table, and, today we were blessed to be together as a family to hear those stories.

I would write more but, unfortunately, The Teenager is feeling quite poorly and a trip to the emergency room isn't entirely out of the question.

I guess now would be the time to say that I am thankful for insurance but, yeah...

*Photo snapped mere seconds before The Teenager passed out in her mashed potatoes. True story.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thankful For a "Fun" Job

One of the perks of my new job is a monthly "fun club" activity, planned by the actual Fun Club. Yes, it's a real thing; a Fun Club. At work. Try to contain your jealousy.

Anyway, this month's Fun Club activity took place yesterday. We gathered as a group and watched Charlie Brown's Thanksgiving. For realz. Ten adult women sat around a conference table and watched an animated classic, on purpose.

It. Was. Awesome.

Granted, we spent the entire movie analyzing the characters (Lucy has some serious anger issues, y'all), but, it was a nice break from working with actual real life troubled kiddos. Especially this time of year.

Speaking of this time of year; we are headed to Mayberry later today to spend Thanksgiving with my family. I am really looking forward to seeing everyone and would probably have been desperate to get out of town by now if it weren't for fun activities at work.

Which, when you think about it; is precisely why my employers instituted the practice to begin with.

Well played, New Job. Well played.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Thankful That My Children Are Smarter Than I Am

Both kids made the honor roll again this quarter. This marks the ninth time for The Teenager and the fifth time for the Man-Cub; their father and I can't claim that many times between us. Actually, I don't think either one of us made Honor Roll even once.

My kids are way smarter than I am.

Oh, I'm not stupid, I mean, my mother would definitely want me to let you know that she didn't raise no dummy, but, yeah...not Honor Roll material.

I realize that the kids' achievements boil down to one thing: they apply themselves much more than I ever dreamed.

This is commendable and I hope they know how proud I am of both of them. And, of course, thankful for the opportunities we have to educate them to the best of our financial ability.

And, you know, I hope their intelligence eventually translates into successful careers; careers that provide them each a good living as well as providing their father and me with a cushy retirement in the old folks home of our choosing.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Too Many Things to Mention

The past few days have kicked my ass; I could really use a bonus weekend to recover from them. What's that you say? There is no such thing as a bonus weekend? Buzzkill.

So, before the weekend even got started, I spent two hours on hard gym bleachers watching the Man-Cub play basketball. The boys won both of Thursday's games, handily. Unfortunately, one of the referees made a series of rather bad calls, enciting one of the "fans" from the other team to riot. Which, in turn, caused one of the "fans" from our side to take umbrage (new favorite word!), resulting in a verbal altercation the likes of which should never be seen at a Middle School basketball game.

Hugh immediately came in between the two children men, and, manged to end the altercation before it escalated to physical violence. Despite my fervent hopes that he would; Hugh did not employ the tactic of singing Kum-ba-ya in order to achieve this feat. Next time.

Thankful for The Fearsome Foursome. Three of whom are pictured above.
Friday night, Hugh and I attended my women's club's annual Festival of Trees. I had stopped in at the venue earlier in the day, driven by nightmares of arriving at the event and discovering that the wreath I had made had spontaneously combusted during the week it had been hanging. Not only had the wreath neither combusted, nor, bent into the shape of an oval under the weight of the ornaments (seriously, that had been my overriding fear throughout the week), but, it had a bid on it, already.

Thankful that it was still in one piece

The wreath ended up selling for almost $60, which, is more than twice what it cost to make, so; I was pretty happy.

I was also pretty happy with the centerpiece that I won, despite the fact that I really didn't need another holiday centerpiece, nor was I actually planning on bidding on anything. I blame wine.

Thankful that we could afford it, even if I didn't need it

The evening was lovely, as usual, and; we raised over $14,000 for the continuation of our projects. I also got a chance to catch up with friends whom I don't see nearly enough, including one of our most recently re-elected State Representatives and his lovely wife, the latter of whom used to sit on the Board of Directors at Old Job. She is one of my very favorite people in the world and it was a pleasure to catch up with her.

The evening wrapped up fairly early and Hugh and I headed home, intent on getting a good night's sleep prior to rising at the crack of dawn to attend the Cub's weekend basketball tournament in a town an hour away. The town is conveniently located midway between Petticoat Junction and Mayberry so, my parents were able to make the drive over to watch the Cub with us.

The tournament went well, the boys won one and lost one and they had a good time playing. There were no ugly altercations between the fans and the officials, which, was a relief.

After the tournament and the long drive home (The Teenager's first time driving over a mountain pass, even though it is a small mountain pass, took a bit longer than what it usually takes us to make the drive, but, she needed the experience), Hugh busied himself with helping The Teenager craft a brain from modeling clay for her psychology class while I worked on downloading, editing, and publishing the photos I had taken of the Festival.

Then, we dragged our fairly-exhausted asses into Hooterville to watch our local community theater's production of Sorry, Wrong Chimney. The play was awesome and may have played a small part in finally stoking the embers of the Christmas Spirit flame in my cold, dark soul.

I hope so, anyway, because; I am forcing Hugh to encouraging Hugh to set up our Christmas tree early this week so that it will be ready to decorate when we return from our Thanksgiving trip to Mayberry and  I am going to need all the Christmas Spirit I can muster.

Thank goodness for The Hallmark Channel, ABC Family, and, a fully stocked arsenal of Christmas classics on DVD; I'm going to need the inspiration this year, me thinks.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Thankful That I Didn't Have to Clean the Carpet

As I was getting ready for work this morning, Finnigan made a stealth attack on my bathtub; a stealth hairball attack. And, while the offending pile of nasty was possibly the last thing I wanted to deal with this morning, I do appreciate his thoughtfulness in ejecting his breakfast on a non-porous surface, because, clean-up was a breeze.

Also, if a steaming pile of cat puke is the biggest issue I have to deal with today, then I am going to have a great day!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

What. The. Hell, Big Toe?

Long time readers of this blog may recall that I had plantar fascitis a number of years ago. They may also recall that the x-rays taken at the time of that diagnosis also indicated a number of foot anomalies (bone spur, ON MY TOE, extra bone, you know, no biggie) that the podiatrist warned me could eventually cause me some minor problems.

Welcome to Eventually.

Since starting my new job I have donned a far more formal wardrobe than the yoga pants-slash-tee-shirt-slash-sweatshirt combo that I deemed appropriate for the hardware store, and, with this more formal wardrobe has come the re-emergence of my cute shoe wardrobe.

Cute shoes + foot anomalies =Pain. Like,  OH MY EVER LOVING GOD! pain.

It....isn't cool.

So, today I am thankful for working in an office where, despite my adherence to an awesome wardrobe, I am allowed to kick off my shoes under my desk.

Also, thank heavens for insurance (even CRAPPY insurance), because, I foresee a minor foot surgery in my future.

 You know, eventually.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Guinness. Like the Beer, Not the Book

It's been five months since Guinness came to live with us. In that five months he has come to grudgingly trust us. He no longer runs when he sees us coming, nor does he hide timidly under furniture when we are present.

Instead, he runs to greet us at the door. He sleeps in our bed, tucked into the curve of my body or cuddled up behind my knees. He plays with Finnigan and, since the weather has recently become colder; he is getting to know Rowdie in person rather than separated by the glass of the french doors.

When I am in the kitchen, I can almost guarantee that I will find him at my feet, where, he will emit the most pathetic of meows (his voice is still relatively pitiful, it's sort of adorable) before dramatically throwing himself to the floor, desperate for a tummy rub.

He is the only cat that I have ever seen do somersaults, actual, over-the-top somersaults, and; he does that when he wants attention and love.

He is a total love bug, for sure and I am so thankful that we found him.

I'm thankful that we stuck with him long enough to allow him to love us, and, I'm grateful for having a husband who realized that a scrawny, matted fuzz ball was just what we needed to complete our fur family.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

And, For the Cub, I am Thankful

Earlier today, the Man-Cub and I ventured into Hooterville to run a plethora of errands, culminating in a stop at the bank to help the women from my service group set up for next Friday's Holiday Festival of Trees.

This marks the seventh or eighth year that the Cub has accompanied me on this errand, so, it is accurate to say; the women from my club have know and loved him since he was just a little bit of a thing. Which, is why it came as a shock to most of the women to see the child standing mere fractions of inches from my height. Hell, I live with the child and it still shocks me.

On the bright side, the Cub is now tall enough to have helped some of the more petite members of the club when they were having trouble reaching the hangers for their wreaths, so; we can always hire him out as an interior holiday-decorator, I suppose.

And, speaking of holiday decorating, one of my numerous errands included a stop at the local nursery for its' annual Holiday open house. I was hoping to find a Yankee candle in the Jack Frost scent, which, is my favorite candle scent of the season. Unfortunately, Jack Frost is no longer available.

Insert sad face, here.

I did, however, pick up a vintage glass cloche which I am planning to use in a centerpiece along with three vintage Putz houses. What is a Putz house, you ask? Putz houses are little cardboard buildings, frosted with mica glitter and mass-produced in Japan during the 1920's. If your childhood looked anything like mine; your grandmother had two or three of them displayed with small bottle-brush trees, nestled in a bed of angel hair.

I found my Putz houses at an antique store in Pixler and have been wanting a cloche to display them under for some time, mostly because I am craving a hyper-traditional and uber-nostalgic Christmas this year, thanks in no small part to the discovery that the Cub no longer believes in Santa.

Yes, he's fourteen and almost as tall as me, and, yes, he hasn't actually believed for quite some time, but; he let me believe that he did until early this past spring, so I am still processing.

Insert cute graphic of an ostrich with his head in the sand, here.

Annyyyyway....I am planning an old fashioned family Christmas, the likes of which would make June Cleaver proud. Although, June Cleaver probably prided herself on being fairly modern. You know, for her time.

And, I digress..., another item the Man-Cub and I picked up was a tie. The Cub's basketball team is required to dress up on game days and he needed a new tie seeing as he only owns one.

I should also mention that the child knows how to tie said tie and; that was not a skill I taught him seeing as I have a hard enough time tying my own shoes, let alone a dress tie.

Hugh was likewise uninvolved in the tie tying education; instead, the Cub watched one of his male teachers tie a tie and he mimicked the procedure.

I am in awe of that fact because I am in no way, shape or form, the type of person who can watch something being done one time and pick it up like I had been doing it for years.

When I complimented the child on having this skill, he shrugged it off like it was no big deal. Kind of like he shrugged off praise from his coach and teammates last week when he sunk a three-point shot (his first!) or when his teacher congratulated him on bringing his standardized test score up ten points; the kid is humble and, for that, as well as for a million other reasons, I am thankful.

I am, however, far less humble and have no problem bragging about the fact that I make awesome kids.

 You heard it here, first.

Friday, November 09, 2012

Thankful for the Weekend

A storm is rolling into our area, bringing with it the threat of snow. It's November in Colorado, so, you would think that I would have mentally prepared myself for inclement weather. You would be wrong.

I have a lot planned for this weekend. Luckily, everything that I want to accomplish can be done in the warmth and comfort of the great indoors, so, the snow shouldn't be an issue.

I'm still going to bitch about it, though.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Thankful the Election is Over

So, there was this election yesterday? Maybe you heard about it. Maybe, today, you are sorting through irate comments on Facebook, or, maybe the majority of comments are euphoric. If you are like me; you are sorting through a lot of one and a little of the other, or, vice-versa.

All I can say about this is: it's over.

Now we have to pull ourselves up by the bootstraps and get on with the business of being American. I hope we can do it all together, as a country. I hope people with rival political and social opinions can set aside their differences and recognize the humanity in one another. I hope we can agree to disagree while maintaining our fidelity to our individual beliefs and that the hurt feelings generated by this election will fade with time, allowing friends and neighbors to be friends and neighbors rather than politcal foes.

In the meantime, I'm sure that we can all agree that dinnertime without a robo-call of some political nature is a beautiful, beautiful thing.

And, that's a start.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

In Other News...

I don't think I've mentioned this, but; I am this year's chairperson for my woman's club's annual Christmas Party.

Yesterday, I joined two of the women on my committee on a tour of the nicest country club in Hooterville. The tour was to determine if we wanted to hold the party in the club's Members Only ballroom (one of my committee members has privileges at the club). The tour was awesome and the menu that the club manager put together for our approval is simply to die for.

We all loved the place and I can't wait to have the party there. You know, once I crunch the numbers to determine if it's really within our budget.

Speaking of my woman's club; this weekend, we are setting up for one of our biggest fundraisers, the annual Holiday Festival of Trees. I put together a wreath for the event again this year and I'm pretty happy with the results. I'm less happy with the glitter that it is shedding all over my house, but, that is a temporary problem so, I'll live.

The Festival is set to take place next weekend and we always enjoy getting dressed up to attend. Well, I do; Hugh could skip the dressing up part.

I bitch a lot about the work involved in being a member of this club, but, I'm so thankful to have had the opportunity to meet the women that I have through my membership. I'm grateful for their friendship and support as well as for the networking that I have been able to do through knowing them, in fact, I have my new job thanks in large part to this club.

I'm also thankful for the good work that we do. I know people are struggling these days and it feels really nice to be able to say that I am involved with a group that has done so much to ease the suffering of so many.

Oh, I'll still bitch about the work involved on occasion, but, thankful.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

I Don't Do Misty, Watercolored Memories

I had an incredibly vivid and life-like dream last night. Actually, I'm not certain that it was a dream, but, more a memory. In the dream, The Teenager shuffled into our bedroom, clutching her pink blanket (bobock) and favorite teddy bear. She wasn't a teenager, of course, but, a little girl of about three, and, she was wearing her favorite footie-pajamas; the pink ones with the ruffles across the butt.

Her sleeves were pushed up over her elbows and her plump little arms were clutching that teddy bear to her chest with all her might. Her hair was curling in random directions and felt damp from the light night sweat, which, was a normal occurrence for her.

In the dream/memory, she climbed into bed next to me, curling into my body, where, she sighed deeply and relaxed into sleep. Then, as often happened when she was sleeping, her leg twitched, and; that sudden twitching awoke me from the dream/memory.

The dream was so vivid, I could still smell a mixture of baby lotion, Johnson & Johnson No-Tear shampoo and toddler sweat. So vivid, in fact, that I actually had to get out of bed and look into The Teenager's room just to convince myself that she had not somehow transformed into the little girl that she used to be.

Spoiler: she hadn't.

Instead of chubby toddler legs encased in footie-pajamas, a long, lean, bare leg hung limply from the edge of the bed; definitely not the leg of a three-year-old.

I bent down to kiss her on the forehead, breathing deeply the scent of apple-scented shampoo, Hollister perfume, and teenager sweat before retreating downstairs to make coffee.

Today I am thankful for vivid memories.

I am thankful for having had nights spent with a toddler tucked into the curve of my body.

I'm thankful for the young woman whom that toddler has grown to be.

And, I suppose it goes without saying that I am grateful for coffee.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

A Month of Thankfulness

It's November, again; how did that happen?

November means Thanksgiving, which is, of course, the time to celebrate and appreciate all of the things with which we have been blessed. I've never had a hard time being thankful for my blessings but I think it's important to also express that thankfulness, out loud. And, publicly.

So, for each day of the next month, I will try to express one thing for which I am thankful. Sometimes, there will be more than one because, let's face it; I have been incredibly blessed.

Today, I am thankful for living in a community of such awesome teenagers. This was especially apparent to me last night at our ASTRA club's fundraising dance at the High School, where, over the course of two-and-a-half hours, I watched teenagers treating each other with courtesy and kindness in a social situation that can sometimes be fraught with opportunities for hurt feelings and embarrassment.

Those kids were awesome, and, that's all I'm going to say about that.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

250 Pieces of Candy Later...

Hugh's annual haunted porch was an unparalleled success. I say that because, when we ran out of candy, no one seemed to mind. The Trick-or-Treaters were just as happy to go through the haunted porch sans Tootsie Rolls, and, when we actually allowed them to go through more than once; they were beside themselves.

Friends of The Teenager and Man-Cub came out in full force to help with the haunting and all it cost me was a huge pot of chili, a pan of cornbread, two gallons of lemonade and a bag of Kit Kats, making them, officially, the cheapest labor force in town.

I think they had fun, too.

Jana and Co. joined us for the fun, too. And, you know I always have fun when I am with Jana. Plus, the haunted porch kept us all busy which, in turn, kept us all off the streets. That's a public service, when you think about it.

And, by "us", you know I mean the teenagers, right?

Of course you do.