Thursday, May 31, 2012

Pet Peeves

I'm a pretty mellow person by nature. I balance positive and negative emotions and always try to look for the bright side of any situation. That said, there are a few things that just righteously Piss. Me. Off. They are, in no particular order:

-Ordering a side of cheese curds in the drive-thru lane of the local A&W/Long John Silvers and getting practically home before realizing that my cheese curds are actually deep fried popcorn shrimp. If gas didn't cost almost four bucks a gallon, I would have driven right back and dumped those fucking shrimps right over the head of the moron working the drive-thru window.*

-Mouth breathers. Loud eaters. Loogie hawkers. Gross. Just, gross.

-People who are chronically late.

-People who are rude to waiters and waitresses.

-People who say one thing and then do the exact opposite. This kind of goes hand-in-hand with people who make promises and then break them as well as with people who tell me things that they obviously think I am too stupid to recognize as total bullshit. My bullshit detector, for the record? Fully functional and finely tuned, and; if I haven't called you on your shit it's probably because I am quietly plotting my revenge.

-Being underestimated, condescended to, patronized or dismissed.

-Men who stare at my breasts. Yes, they are a thing of beauty, but, so are my eyes, asshole.

-People who don't automatically understand the many references that I make to Zombieland. Double tap, people? No? Oh, come on!

*This would actually never happen, see above; rudeness to wait staff, distaste of.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

What the What?

I was just watching The Today Show, during which; Kathie Lee and Hoda Kotb were discussing things that they consider strange. One of Kathie Lee's big no-no's appears to be accompanying her friends to public restrooms. Hoda, on the other hand, has no problem with peeing in the company of her friends, she will even go so far as to join them in restrooms without individual stalls; an admission that just about made Kathie Lee's head spin like Linda Blair's in that one movie.

This brings me to the following two conclusions:

1) Kathie Lee has no close girlfriends. I say this because, in the twenty-some years that I have known The Girls, I have had occasion to share bathrooms with them in at least four states and two countries. I have peed in tandem with them on numerous occasions in public restrooms and in the great outdoors when a restroom was unavailable. We have also peed together in locations that are not actually appropriate for peeing, but; I can't really get into that. Plus, I blame the Devil Tequila. So, yeah; Kathie Lee has no true friends.

2) Hoda would be way more fun to hang out with; I don't care how much wine Kathie Lee drinks.

The end.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Kicking Off Summer in Style

Our Memorial Day celebration consisted of floating in hot water, laying in the sun, eating ice cream, laughing with friends, enjoying the beauty of the area in which we live, dining on food crafted at a local brewery and, finally, crashing into a coma-like sleep due to exhaustion.

I think that constitutes a great Memorial Day.

Unfortunately, while enjoying all that sunshine, Hugh and I managed to get sunburned in weird and random patterns all over our bodies. I blame improper sunscreen application for some of the burns but must also question the sunscreen itself since I know I applied multiple layers of the stuff to the inside of Hugh's knees while he was sleeping and yet he still managed two wicked burns in that exact area.

Anyway, I have a week and a half to recover from the burns before heading out to meet The Girls for our weekend get-a-way and I am determined to be evenly colored before the trip.

Or, I will drink enough wine to forget about my patch-work tan lines. Either way.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Thank You

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." -John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Sunday, May 27, 2012

In Which Weeds are My Nemesis and Space is the Final Party Frontier

I spent the better part of the day in the garden, weeding. I am now 99% positive that everything growing in the garden will eventually produce something edible. You know, at some point.

While I was weeding, the kids were at Jana's, either watching a Disney classics marathon or playing in the wilderness; I'll let you guess who was doing what (hint: the girls don't particularly care for the wilderness).

Both kids had spent Saturday night at Jana's since, that is where we went upon our return from Mayberry; Darren's birthday party having been the major reason that we left Mayberry after a mere twenty-four hour visit rather than spending the entire holiday weekend.

The birthday party was a lot of fun, with the kids enjoying whatever it is that kids enjoy while the adults enjoyed grown-up beverages and conversation about such topics as politics and the state of the economy. Just kidding; we were totally talking about what cool new toys we need to buy for the boats this summer (the menfolk) and planning a cool outing for the kids (the wimmens, obviously).

And, that cool outing? A stargazing party to be held in the wilderness. Don't worry, the girls will like this version of wilderness; we are going to take Jana's new/old motorhome Dolly, and, we will gaze at the stars from her roof.

Dolly, it should be noted, is a motorhome from the 1980's. She still features the decor and styling of the time and her horn plays a number of catchy tunes, including Dixieland. Awesome.

Anyway, the plan is to take Dolly to the drive-in for a showing of Men in Black III followed by the aforementioned stargazing. The theme of the evening will be complemented by appropriately named snacks to include: Milky Way bars, Mars bars, Starburst, Pop Rocks, Moon Pies, and, Zagnuts. Because we know how to party.

After stargazing, we will hit the local Denny's for breakfast and then call it a night/early morning. The kids were stoked when we told them the plan but, in all honesty, Jana and I are at least as excited (probably more).

The outing is tentatively scheduled for whenever the drive-in shows the movie which could be the as late as the end of the summer or as early as next week. It all depends on the schedule.

Speaking of schedules, tomorrow we have scheduled a trip to the local hot springs for soaking and a picnic since our original Memorial Day plan of boating on the lake has been derailed by high winds, and; boats, wind and water do not mix.

In fact, wind on the lake is almost as annoying to me as weeds in my garden.


Saturday, May 26, 2012

And a Time for Every Purpose Under Heaven

Two years ago, we sat in a stifling hot gymnasium, watching The Rebel Without a Pause, AKA, my nephew, as he graduated from high school. Last night, it was his sister's turn to don a mortarboard and to make her sojourn down the aisle to her future.

My sister is now, officially, an Empty-Nester. I'm not quite sure how she feels about that. Actually, I'm pretty sure she would say that she isn't quite sure how she feels about it, either, but; there it is.

Time waits for no man, after all. Just ask my mom and dad, who, not so long ago, sat in a stifling gymnasium, watching as I and each of my sisters graduated from high school, ourselves.

Now, if you will excuse me, I feel the need to do something, anything, to get that stupid Turn, Turn, Turn song out of my head because; there may be a season for each thing under heaven but ear worms should surely be excluded.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Commencing With the Lazy

Yesterday, I slept in until after 8:00, that's like noon in Teenager Speak. When I got up, the Man-Cub had a pot of coffee waiting for me. The weather was gorgeous, and, after work, I spent a quiet hour in the garden, where seedlings are emerging at a rapid rate. Then, I swept the porch, watered the containers of Gerber daisies and fluffed the cushions on the wicker settee; the porch is pretty much ready for its' inaugural Porch Night, which; I'm planning for sometime next week. The rest of the evening was spent in the company of the kids and Not The Boyfriend; we watched movies until way past our normal bedtimes.

Later today, the kids and I are headed to Mayberry, where we will watch my niece, the Rodeo Princess, graduate from High School. It will be a quick trip since we want to be home Saturday evening for the Man-Cub to attend Darren's birthday party.

Hugh has to work for the police department on Sunday, but, Memorial Day is wide open for a trip to the lake for the first boat launch of the season.

It's beginning to look a lot like summer, I'm thinking.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

It's No Football Helmet, That's For Sure

The first day of summer vacation started off not with a lazy morning of sleeping in but with a butt-crack of dawn visit to the orthodontist where the Man-Cub was fitted for, and received, his headgear; he's so sexy now, he can hardly stand himself.

I'm hoping to sleep in tomorrow but I'm not holding my breath. On the bright side, I'm not the one who has to wear $1500 worth of metal wrapped around her head every night for the next year, so; no complaints, here.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

We're Gonna Need a Bigger Boat

It's seven o'clock; do you know where your children are?

Probably at my house. They've been here since one o'clock this afternoon, when the final bell of the school year rang out in an anthem of freedom for teenagers the world over. Or, you know, as an anthem of freedom for teenagers in our small town.

Either way, kids, I gots em.

And, after six hours with them; I might consider sending them home, if they weren't so darn entertaining.

Although, if we are going to keep them, like, indefinitely; we are going to need a lot more food because, believe it or not; fifty teenagers go through snacks with the efficiency of a swarm of locusts. 

They make almost as much noise, too. 

And, yes, I just said fifty, for; that is the number of teenagers that were congregated on my porch and lawn at last count, and, I'm not even complaining because, as you may recall; it could have been sixty-one.

Whew! Dodged that bullet!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Class of 2012

As promised by The Teenager, I attended the graduation ceremony of Not The Boyfriend, yesterday. I took approximately five meeelion pictures and was pleased with the majority of them.

A few favorites:

The last picture was snapped two seconds before the Assistant Principal snagged the beach ball, putting an end to the Seniors' fun and earning himself the nickname "Buzzkill".

Of course, there were a lot of pictures of the seniors as they recieved their diplomas and numerous family shots for Not The Boyfriend's mom's album. There were more than a few shots for The Tenager's album, as well, since she has bonded pretty tightly with the senior class and is sad to see them move on.

Following the graduation ceremony and the party that followed it at Not The Boyfriend's house; we returned home to watch the solar eclipse. The Man-Cub was suitably impressed while I kept likening the term Ring of Fire not to the eclipse but to the stinging pain generated from the sunburn that I managed to attain on my back during graduation when one area under my right shoulder experienced its' own eclipse; an eclipse of sunscreen.

I'm better, today.

And, as of today, The Teenager is a Junior. Well, as of 3:00 or so, when she turns in her last final. This means we are that much closer to a graduation ceremony wherein I am the parent rather than the bemused photographer (who, admittedly, got quite choked up whilst watching the ceremony. This does not bode well for the future).

Time can slow down, now.



Saturday, May 19, 2012

It's Never Quite the Way You Picture it in Your Head

Once upon a time, I thought that my children growing up would be the death of me. I cherished every milestone, tucking away a mental image to look back on in my old and gray years; years I dreaded with all my heart.

This morning, the Man-Cub gently woke me from my slumber, not to complain of a sick tummy, not wailing for a pre-dawn feeding, not crying over a nightmare or accidental flooding of his sheets, but; to let me know that he had made coffee and that it would be waiting for me when I got downstairs.

Suddenly, I'm not so sad about this "growing up" shit.

Friday, May 18, 2012

You Don't Say

Hugh and I just attended our local community theater's performance of Sweeney Todd and, I have to say; it was awesome.

I also have to admit that, prior to the performance, I labored under the mistaken impression that Sweeney Todd was a dentist.

A dentist.

I need to get out more.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Is It Friday Yet?

I just finished hosting my last ASTRA meeting of the year. The meeting was not terribly businesslike, unless one's business consists of eating cookies and brownies on the porch while discussing how glad one is that school is almost over, in which case; we were ALL business.

Anyway, that's one last chore to cross off my To Do list. Next up: Graduation, where I have been volunteered by The Teenager to take pictures of Not The Boyfriend and his family (at his mother's request since she loved my prom pictures so much and since she really wants good pictures of the family since her last baby is graduating and leaving the nest. Forever. And, did she mention that he is her baby? But, no pressure or anything).

Then, I have to organize and chaperon The Teenager's end-of-school Slip 'n' Slide bash, which is scheduled for next Tuesday. The Teenager has assured me that we will have plenty of room on the lawn for two slip 'n' slides, which, we will totally need since she kinda, sorta invited sixty-one kids to the event.

Sixty. One.

But, it's all good, because, not all of them will come, right?

Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!

Care to make a wager on that?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

They Better Hope I Never Go On Strike

It has recently come to my attention that there are a number of things that I am solely responsible for when it comes to the running of my household, and; they are things that I am not entirely comfortable with being solely responsible for, like at all.

To wit:

-Placing dishes in the dishwasher.
-Replacing empty toilet paper rolls with new rolls.
-Replacing empty Kleenex boxes with full boxes.
-Throwing empty food packaging out of the pantry and cupboards.
-Cleaning the litter box.
-Making a bed, any bed.

The last time I checked, everyone in my household had fully functioning fingers (including an oposable thumb) as well as mostly-fully-functioning grey matter, so; why am I the only person capable of realizing that an empty box needs to a) be thrown away, and b) replaced with, you know, a non-empty box?


I know I'm not alone in this; mothers the world over experience the same thing, in fact, I'm guessing it is epidemic in its' proportions. So much so; the government should commission a study on the phenomenon. I mean, why not? They commission studies on just about everything else.

Although, come to think of it; a large percentage of both government officials and scientists are men which, totally explains why they would be too busy to throw away an empty milk carton; they are commissioning studies on such valid topics as "Why Some People Don't Like Cilantro" (true story; saw in on the news just this morning).

Our society is doomed. DOOMED, I say.

Now, if you will excuse me, I have beds to make and curse words to throw at empty cookie boxes in my pantry.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

That's My Story and I'm Stickin' to It.

Today has been a very unusual day, in that; it has been productive, has gone smoothly, and, featured none of the usual aggravations that ordinarily leave me wanting to punch someone in the nuts.

At work, figures calculated correctly the first time, I had no unexpected chores due to someone else's neglect or irresponsibility, my daily work took less time than usual, and, I was on time for my women's club meeting for the first time in quite a while.

At that meeting, I gave my reports flawlessly. I had all the correct notes for the President (Have I mentioned that I took over the duties of the office of Secretary two months early when our last Secretary resigned her position unexpectedly? No? Well, I did), and, the meeting wrapped up just in time for me to make it to an appointment that I had set with the events coordinator at the local civic center (Spring Luncheon planning for next year has begun in earnest).

And, I did it all in heels.

And, a really cute pair of cropped jeans and a camel-colored blazer that is to die for, but, that is neither here nor there.

The point is; it was a great day. Please don't remind me that there is still plenty of daylight left in which things may fall to shit.


Monday, May 14, 2012

Mother's Day Recap

I had a very nice Mother's Day, yesterday; I spent most of it relaxing on the couch, by which, I mean; trying not to move. Why was I trying to avoid movement? Because I was (and, am) very, very sore from my foray into the garden on Saturday.

I do not know how my grandmother managed to plant a large garden well into her 60's. I can't remember her being sore or stiff after a day spent in the garden nor can I recall her complaining after hours of standing over a hot canner in the kitchen at harvest time. Clearly I am lacking in the genes required to produce such levels of fortitude, because; I am in pain, people. Still. Today. In pain.

But! The garden, it is planted; as are the flower containers for the front porch and the various herbs that make up Hugh's culinary selection for use when cooking on the outside grill, you know, like a man.  A man who grilled chicken legs and tater tots for my Mother's Day dinner, last night (he would insist that I mention). And, if you are scratching your head whilst pondering the validity of cooking tater tots on the grill, allow me to assure you; it can be done, and; the result will be extra crispy tots, just like Hugh likes them.

While I was digesting the extra crispy tots and trying to relax on the couch, I was also giving myself an OPIcure, which is usually a very relaxing and enjoyable endeavour. Last night, not so much. You see, I had to share my pedicure soaking with some uninvited company... would think it was his day to be pampered or something.

 At least he didn't beg for tater tots.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

She Is Her Mother's Daughter

The last day of school is still two weeks away and, already, The Teenager is planning her annual Last Day of School House Party. Last year's water balloon fight was so popular; she decided to go the water route again, this time with a giant slip 'n' slide on the front lawn.

Last night, mere minutes after Hugh arrived home from a three-day trip to the Front Range for a tazer class, The Teenager had him measuring the lawn and figuring the length of industrial strength plastic that will become the base for the ginormous water slide that currently exists only in her fevered imagination.

She then described, in detail, her vision of how the drinks would be chilled (galvanized steel wash buckets filled with ice, on the front porch, of course) and of what the menu of snacks will consist (chips, dips, etc.).

She's got it pretty well planned out and I can't help but feel just the tiniest smidgen of pride in her anal-retentive party planning tendencies, because; even I can admit that she comes by them naturally.

As an aside, if you happen to be in the neighborhood on May 22nd and are just dying to relive your childhood via a large sheet of plastic coated in dish soap and ice-cold water; do join us. I'll be the one lounging on the porch with camera (and a non-alcoholic drink) in hand.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

And, We're Runnin'

I spent the better part of the day lounging in the sunshine with Jana. Granted, we were at a Middle School track meet at the time, but, glass half full, doncha know?

Just in case you think that track meets are all hurdle jumping and running from point A to point B, with no time in between for stunt work; allow me to dispel that notion, right now...

... there is also plenty of time for flirting with members of the opposite sex; as evidenced by the following:

And, yeah, there is the jumping and the running, of course...

But, the kids seem to enjoy that stuff almost as much as they enjoy the downtime.

To conclude; The Fearsome Foursome highly recommend track and field as a most enjoyable pastime, should you be in the market for a new activity.

They also recommend doing the high jump with a mouthful of sunflower seeds, though, so, yeah....

Track is cool, yo.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Ah, Monday; We Meet Again

The weekend went by entirely too fast. One minute I was sipping a Starbucks shaken iced tea on the porch and the next I was back at my desk, doing payroll. Why, Monday? Why?

Oh well, at least the weather was nice enough to allow for that porch time, brief as it was. And, I managed to get one container of flowers planted. I was pretty disappointed with the selection of flowers in my local nurseries, however, and will have to expand my search for flowers for the six remaining planters.

In an effort to salve my disappointment, Hugh and I took the Man-Cub to see The Avengers in 3D at the local cinema. Now, ask anyone in my family and they will tell you, that, while growing up, I was a big comic book geek (helloo, sister), but; I never really got into The Avenger comics (I mean graphic novels. Geeks are so pretentious these days), so; I didn't really know what to expect from the movie.

I mean, Thor? The Hulk? How entertaining could it be?

Put down the lynching rope, comic book geeks; I ended up liking the movie. Like, a lot. Much credit goes to the snappy commentary by Iron Man, AKA Tony Stark, AKA Robert Downey, Jr.,  AKA The Best Hollywood Rehab Success Story, evah. I anxiously await The Avengers Part Two.

I did, however, feel a need to balance out the science fiction part of my weekend with a good old fashioned chick-flick tearjerker so; The Teenager and I watched New Year's Eve together on Sunday. We laughed. We cried. We drooled over the man-candy that is Josh Duhamel, Zac Efron and one Mr. Jon Bon Jovi. Well, I drooled over Mr. Bon Jovi; The Teenager fails to appreciate the hotness of a forty-five year old rock star with no drug addiction, who; is in a stable, long-term marriage to his high-school sweetheart, raising a houseful of children while running a philanthropic restaurant on the side (And I ask you; where did I go wrong?).

All in all, it was a really great weekend.

Oh, it could have lasted longer, but, that damn Monday is a bitch who will not be denied.


Saturday, May 05, 2012

Recipes From the Porch: Mock Caprese Pasta Salad

This is one of my favorite things to serve for a quiet summertime dinner on the porch. It's especially good with a glass of chilled pinot grigio and a loaf of crusty bread.

Even Hugh, who is not a huge fan of tomatoes, loves this salad. I think the reason for that has to do with the sweetness of the yellow and red grape tomatoes vs. the less sweet taste of a regular beefsteak or Roma tomato. Or, it could just be that he is weird, either way.

I love this salad because it is made from items I stock, normally, and; because there are no measurements. Seriously, no measurements. You simply decide how much salad you want and play with the ingredients from there. I generally make a very large bowl of the stuff because we eat it so quickly. It does tend to taste better when eaten right away, however, so; bear that in mind when playing with the measurements.

Mock Caprese Pasta Salad

Orecchiette Pasta (I've also used farfalle, if you can't find orecchiette (which means "little ear" in Italian (wow! parenthesis inside parenthesis; my fifth-grade English teacher is probably rolling in her grave (sorry, Miss Wood!))))

Where was I? Oh, yeah...

Tomatoes, combination of red grape and yellow cherry. Or, just red. Or, just yellow; your call.
Fresh Mozzarella cheese (I use Bel Gioioso Pearls but you can dice a ball if you can't find them)
Olive oil
Garlic cloves
Fresh basil
Salt and pepper

Slice tomatoes in half, place in a colander and sprinkle with salt, toss gently and allow to "weep" for at least thirty minutes, discard juice.

Cook pasta according to package directions.

While pasta cooks and tomatoes weep, cut basil leaves into fine ribbons. Over a large bowl, grate several gloves of garlic. Add basil and olive oil (a few swirls around the bowl) and stir to mix. Allow mixture to sit for a few minutes so that the flavors can blend.

Add tomatoes and mozzarella.

Combine gently, coating tomatoes and cheese with the basil-garlic-oil mixture. Add hot pasta, stir well, sprinkle with pepper to taste, and serve immediately.

With wine.

 And, bread.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Another Milestone

My baby just applied for her first job outside of the hardware store. I really hope she gets it. I hope she loves it. I hope she is good at it and, I hope it is the beginning of a long history of career sucess.

But, wow. She was just a baby, like, yesterday.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

May Day, Mayday!

Oh, look! A post that has nothing to do with Prom! It's a miracle! Also, whatever will I write about? Dilemma!

Here's a thought; it's May, already.

Last time I checked, May is followed by June which is followed by July which is followed by August and; that's summer, people! Already! And, I'm not bikini-worthy, like, at all. I'm working on it, though. In fact, Jana and I are on day three of a twenty-one day challenge to eliminate crap from our diets. So far, we are doing quite well. Yes, we have suffered the inevitable sugar-withdrawal headaches, but, nothing a little ibuprofen and some extra water couldn't handle.

I'm also walking again and trying to build up to running; I'd like to get back to the level that I was at this time last year despite the fact that my hips and feet are determined to derail my every effort.

Summertime also means a return to my gardening. Hugh has already applied the first round of fertilizer to the garden and we will be tilling the soil for a second time this weekend. I won't actually start planting until Mother's Day, when danger of frost has passed.

I'm not making any huge changes to the garden plan this year; I'll stick to the usual vegetables, and, of course, tomatoes will feature heavily, as always (You are welcome, Rowdie-dog). The strawberries that the Man-Cub planted in my granddad's old wheelbarrow last year are already coming up and I am looking forward to having a better crop this year.

Summertime also means flowers on the front porch; I haven't quite decided what varieties I want to plant and am sort of disappointed in the lack of variety from which to choose, since, low-growing annuals are not readily available in our area nurseries (pansies and petunias are the norm, here, and are b-o-r-i-n-g). The season is too short for seeded planting and; I like instant gratification in my porch-box flowers.

Speaking of the porch; school is out on the 22nd of this month (have I mentioned it is May?) and the first Porch Night of the season is tentatively scheduled for the 23rd, barring unpleasant weather, baseball games (oh, yeah, summertime also means baseball!), etc. I can hardly wait.

I'm also really looking forward to longer days, lazier mornings, sultry evenings, sunshine, crickets chirping, lake-spray on my face, the scent of sunscreen, the sweet taste of local cherries, stargazing with my kids, the feeling of sun-warmed beach towels against my skin, the hum of the ceiling fan while I lounge on the porch with a good book, digging through the cool soil of the garden in the early hours of the day, watching my kids release ladybugs into the garden just as the sun is setting, and, of course, to drinking wine with my friends.

May. Already. Yay!