Sunday, July 29, 2012

The More Things Change, The More They Stay the Same

Despite the fact that my dad is no longer a member of the Stampede Committee, we managed to conduct our weekend in much the same manner as we always have; yes, it cost a bit more, but, I can honestly say that the kids lacked none of the traditional experience.

Actually, in addition to all the usual activities; The Teenager got to experience some new things, like, the concert and meet-and-greet with Hunter Hayes...

...and her first Stampede dance, which she attended with Reese's daughter. Reese, Phoebe and I were in attendance as well and it was somewhat entertaining to watch the girls interact with one another, and, with the locals; while sipping drinks in the beer garden.

Wait, that sounded all sorts of wrong; what I meant to say was: Reese, Phoebe, and I were sipping drinks in the beer garden while watching the girls practice their avoidance techniques on randy teenage boys. And, by "avoidance techniques", I mostly mean that each girl, upon being approached by an undesirable suitor, would whip out her cell phone and proceed to text an S.O.S. to either myself or Reese, after which they simply waited to be rescued.

We were actually pretty busy with those rescues, and, on a couple of occasions, enlisted Phoebe to ride to the rescue in our place; an act we rationalized by claiming that it was good practice for when her own eight-year-old daughter is old enough to hit the dance floor (ten bucks says Phoebe just threw up in her mouth a little).

In yet another first, The Teenager wore her first pair of cowboy boots; I'm not even going to tell you how ridiculous the search for that particular pair of footwear was; suffice it to say: in the future I will check the Girls Shoe Department before paying twice as much money for a pair of identical shoes in the Ladies Shoe Department. Also, a little girl's size 5 is the same as a ladies size 6.5 and that shit's just wrong.

And, I digress; I know.

So, anyway; Stampede, the Usual: Saturday's parade was quite well attended. In addition to the usual crowd on my parent's front lawn, we got to meet fifty or so of my mother's high school classmates, who were in town to celebrate their 50th class reunion. Phoebe, Reese, and I made many, many jokes about how we were looking at our future, as one does. We also just enjoyed being together and watching the kids play, as usual.

And, as usual, Smokin' Charlie sent shivers up my spine with his maniacal cackle, flashing eyes, and, tendency to stare directly at me with murderous intent (cue the usual nightmares; fucking Charlie).

After the parade, the kids hit the carnival midway where The Teenager rode approximately two rides before becoming nauseous while the Man-Cub outlasted us all on ride after ride after ride.

After the carnival, we went to the rodeo and then out to dinner and on to the dance I mentioned earlier.

Today, we capped off our weekend with one last rodeo performance and by indulging in our once-a-year treat...


Tomorrow, The Teenager and I will head back home. The Cub will be staying with my parents until Friday, when they will bring him home just in time for Petticoat Junction's annual Corn Festival. And, while the corn festival will be fun, in it's own way; it doesn't compare to the fun that we always have at Stampede, and, I can say that now, just as truthfully as I said it when my dad offered a free ride to all the events.

Some things are just worth the price of admission.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Less Stampeding and More Meandering

With the exception of Thursday night's concert, it has been a pretty low-key Stampede for us. Yesterday, we watched the morning parade and then met Reese and her family for a family picture session. The weather was less than cooperative, but, we managed a few good photos. Of course, with a family this gorgeous, how could we not?

After the photo session, the kids and I went back to Mom and Dad's. We had every intention of going to the carnival but, the rain kind of put a dent in that plan, so, I took a nap. It was lovely.

Then, Reese picked me up for cocktail hour, during which time the kids did go to the carnival before we regrouped and headed out to Phoebe's house to watch the opening ceremonies of the Olympics which we all deemed....odd? Confusing? Overwhelmingly British? I don't know, it was equal parts cool and bizarre. Entertaining enough, though.

Unless you were thirteen or under, in which case you found the ceremony "booorrrring" and opted to chase the younger kids around the backyard, playing Hide and Seek and generally being kids. That was ok, too.

The teenagers, however, stuck it out with the adults and, in the course of the four-hour ceremony, learned far more about our college antics than they probably ever needed to know. They were also equal parts amused and horrified when I likened the podium microphone to a set of testicles and we all watched in horrified awe as the dignitaries appeared to perform an unnamed sexual act on stage.

Also, my sense of humor might have more in common with that of a pubescent boys than I care to admit.

Anyway, today we are watching yet another parade, attending the afternoon rodeo, walking the carnival with the kids and going to the dance. Or, you know; Stampede business as usual.

It's a good life.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

It's Not Every Day That You Get to be a Hero to Your Children

While driving down that dirt road yesterday, The Teenager and I had a discussion about country music; she likes it, I don't. Oh, I don't hate it and, there are a few cross-over artists whose songs I like very much, but, as a general rule, I don't listen to country music.

Since we were on that dirt road, however, and, since we were headed home for Stampede-the most "country" thing I do all year; The Teenager decreed that we had to listen to country artists. One artist in particular is a favorite of hers, a young kid by the name of Hunter Hayes.

Hunter Hayes is apparently the Justin Beiber of country music and both The Teenager and her BFF, Smiley McSmilerson (not her real name, like obviously) have huge crushes on the kid. So, you can imagine the child's delight when, her grandfather casually mentioned that the opening act for the Craig Morgan concert at this year's Stampede was none other than...Hunter Hayes.

The child didn't even have to ask; I drove straight to the ticket office and purchased two general admission tickets for the concert. Then, because I am just that cool; I finagled a backstage pass and a personal meet and greet session for her. My dad's old contacts on the Stampede committee were happy to help me out, which; I chalked up to their appreciation of Dad's twenty years of service to the committee or to the fact that I was wearing a ridiculously low-cut shirt.

Either way, I've never seen my kid more excited. Or, happier. Or, more willing to worship at my feet than ever before. And, speaking of feet; Hunter Hayes totally autographed my daughter's cowboy  boot. For realz.

It was a great night.

Wasn't even kidding about the low-cut shirt, obviously.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

It's Not the Destination, It's the Journey

This morning, the kids and I loaded up the car with three suitcases, two overnight bags, two camera bags, a tripod, a small snack cooler, two laptops, approximately five dozen pairs of shoes, and two large coolers containing eighty-four ears of sweet corn; all we were missing was a large Mayberry or Bust! sign. Despite that omission, our annual trek to Mayberry was well under way.

An hour into the trip, I decided to shake things up a bit by taking a cut-off route that would lead us into Mayberry from a new direction. The cut-off included thirty miles of dirt road that was, as The Teenager put it; a bit sketchy.

And, if, by sketchy, she meant unpopulated, remote, and eerily quiet (in a The Hills Have Eyes kind of way), then, yes; it was a little sketchy. Not so sketchy that I hesitated to pull over and make the kids get out of the car to pose for pictures, though, I mean, of course.

If some mutated axe-murdering inbred rapist comes bounding down those hills and drags us off to our untimely death, you'll have no one to blame but yourself, Mother. Good luck explaining that to Dad.

 Besides, the road, while reminiscent of a horror movie, was also breathtakingly beautiful.

And, once we embraced both the beauty and the eeriness; we actually really enjoyed the stretch of road. In fact, The Teenager scrolled through her tunes on her iPod until she found Dirt Road Anthem by Jason Aldean and we rocked that song hard before, in a serendipitous turn of events, it ended just as we rejoined the pavement of the highway, leaving our dirt road behind us.

Then, since we were on no time table and wanted to stretch out the adventure; we stopped at a scenic overlook to view a waterfall. The waterfall was lovely and in no way reminded us of any horror movie that we could readily recall.

The remainder of the drive passed too quickly, and, while we may not take that route again, I can honestly say that we all enjoyed the change. Also, it's really nice to be back in Mayberry, where people welcome you with open arms.

Probably because you come bearing eighty-four ears of sweet corn, but, whatever.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

And This is Why I Am Not a Vet

Remember how, a while back, I declared Finnigan's eye gunk to be the result of Guinness kicking him in the face? Yeah...not so much.

When the redness, irritation and general gunkiness of his eye did not improve after a few days of warm eye washes and cold compresses, I finally took Finn to the vet. Or, as Finn would tell you; straight to the Bowels of Hell, where he was unceremoniously poked and prodded by The Devil, herself. At least, that's what I took him to mean, what with the hissing, spitting and charging the door of his carrier every time someone in the clinic so much as looked at him, anyway.

And, getting him out of the cage for an examination? Yeah, again...not so much.

The hissing, spitting and charging was just a warm-up; biting, clawing and head spinning followed until the vet was so unnerved, she suggested sedation. I said thanks, but, no thanks, I was there to support my cat and didn't really feel like I should take the easy way out. Then she specified that she meant sedation for the cat and, If you will recall, this is the vet who almost killed Finn with anesthesia during his neutering; no way I was letting her anywhere near him with her poisoned apple sedatives.

Instead, we agreed to start a course of antibiotics, based on the assumption that there was an injury to the eye and that it had become infected. When the eye was no better three days later, and, the other eye started to exhibit the same symptoms, it became obvious that an injury was not the culprit but that the cat had conjunctivitis. Again.

And, yes, you would think that I would have learned by now, despite never having gone to veterinary school, but, yeah....not so much.

Luckily, when I called the vet to report on the latest developments, she suggested that I merely come to the office and pick up a prescription for the pink eye, no need to bring the demon hell-spawn who hates her poor baby in, which would further stress him. No need, at all. No, siree.

So, that is what I did, and, a day and a half later, we are already seeing improvement in both eyes.

So, please, in the future, when I start freaking out over gunkiness in the cat's eye; remind me that he is a delicate flower who develops pink eye at the drop of a hat so that I may save us all a trip to the vet, because, hand to heaven, I don't think I (nor the vet) can take watching another real-live episode of Cats From Hell as it plays out in living color.

I don't care if the cat does have a reason to carry a grudge, see above: The vet almost killed him while removing his testicles.

Which, come to think of it, gives him two reasons to carry said grudge.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Recipes From the Garden: Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

This post brought to you by the enormous zucchini that grew in my garden; you may remember it from such performances as The Zucchini That Ate Toledo and Ginormous Zucchinis from Mars. Or, you know, from the picture of it with the Man-Cub, whatever.

Well, it does weigh almost as much as a newborn...

And, I digress...


Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

1 c. All-Purpose Flour
1 c. Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 c. Brown Sugar (not packed)
1 1/8 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp. Vanilla
1/2 c. Chocolate Chips (or more, your call)
1 Large Egg, beaten
2 Tbsp. Butter, melted
1 c. Unsweetened Apple Sauce
1 1/2 c. Zucchini, shredded

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly spray a loaf pan with cooking spray. Combine flours, sugar, baking soda, and salt in large bowl, mix well. Add chocolate chips and stir gently to coat. In a medium bowl, mix egg, vanilla, butter, apple sauce, and zucchini. Add to flour mixture and stir until just blended. Pour into loaf pan and bake for 55-60 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center of loaf comes out clean. Remove from loaf pan and allow to cool before slicing.

Not only is the bread delicious but, it's nutritious, and, if you have a picky eater who turns his nose up at the very thought of eating zucchini (which he will cradle in his arms like a baby yet refuses to eat); you'll have the added satisfaction of knowing that you pulled one over on him. Just call it chocolate chip snack bread and you're good to go.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sometimes You Have to Look Behind the Milk

Despite spending at least half an hour in the garden each day, I somehow managed to miss a number of very interesting developments. The first would be the sudden appearance of a zucchini larger than the Man-Cub's arm. I'm not even kidding.

As an aside, while I may be able to grow zucchini, I cannot spell it to save my life. Thank you, for your patience, SpellCheck.

Moving on...

Next, there was the abundance of green beans that grew pretty much overnight. Literally over night; I just checked the bushes yesterday and didn't see more than a handful of beans worth picking, yet, today...

...bumper crop.

While zucchini and green beans growing that quickly are fairly standard for the garden, my next discovery was anything but standard. Or, expected. Or, welcome, really.

What. The. Hell.

Fungi. In my jalapeno pepper planter.  I barely like mushrooms when they are hidden in recipes; I certainly don't need them suddenly popping up in my garden. I mean; are they even edible? Professor Google was all, "Well, mayyybeee...or...maybe not". Who knows? One thing I do know is that the whole crop is now festering away in my composter where they will possibly be good for something.


Once again, Professor Google was all, "Well, mayyybee...or...maybe not". I am rapidly losing faith in Professor Google.

Anyhoodle, we are having green beans for dinner tonight. For dessert, we are having chocolate chip zucchini bread, because; I may not be able to utilize the mystery-mushrooms from my garden but I'll be damned if we don't take advantage of everything else.

Also, It probably wouldn't kill me to do a more thorough search of the garden in the future.

Friday, July 20, 2012


Raising kids is hard. Raising a teenaged daughter is really hard, and, every once in a while, my daughter throws a parenting issue at me; an issue that contains a problem that I cannot immediately solve, or, one that leaves me feeling helpless or, you know, totally freaked out. When that happens, I ask myself; What Would Tami Taylor Do? And, more often than not, I find the strength to tackle the challenge, exhibiting what I can only hope is a Taylor-like grace.

Today was such a day.

And, now, I am going to drink a glass of wine;  because it's what Tami would do.

 Y'all are gonna need a bigger wine glass... 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

What Big Eyes You Have

Please enjoy this totally gratuitous picture of my cat.

 I will also show you a picture of Hugh's cat, but, be forwarned that Finnigan is currently suffering from a gunky eye; a gunky eye that is no doubt the result of a swift kick to the face, delivered by the above preshus darling. I was not kidding when I said Guinness is giving as good as he gets.

Not kidding at all.

Can you believe that little bastard kicked me in the face? I mean, what did I ever do to him? Gah!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Little Engine That Could

As of today, I have gone eleven days with out Diet Pepsi. While that's not exactly a record for me (Six weeks during Lent of 2009 or 2010, I believe); it is still pretty impressive. Jana asked me if I feel any differently than I feel when I am drinking the soda and I can honestly say that...I do not.

In an effort not to simply trade an iced tea habit for the Diet Pepsi habit; I have increased my water consumption. I'm not just drinking plain ole water, however; I am drinking something called Sassy Water. Sassy Water is a concoction created by the folks at Prevention Magazine; the recipe calls for water (duh), one sliced cucumber (Why, yes; I do hate cucumbers, thank you for remembering), one sliced lemon, numerous mint leaves and a teaspoon of grated ginger root.

The water is supposed to flush the digestive system, and, when consumed in conjunction with a specific diet; to help you lose up to five pounds of belly fat, or some such thing. I wouldn't know, because, I am not following the diet. As far as the water flushing my system goes, I have no idea if it's working or not. Jana asked me if I feel any different since starting the water and I can honestly say that...I do not.

I do have to pee approximately ten million times a day as well as dealing with the after-taste of cucumber (gack) in my throat for half an hour after every sip, but, otherwise, nada.

So, when The Teenager asked me if I intend to stay off the Diet Pepsi, like, forever; I said "Probably not". Indeed, I'll enjoy an occasional soda; I just want to limit my daily consumption. She wondered why and I said "Because I can".

And, apparently, I really can.

It should be noted, however, that S(assy) Water is no substitute for the sweet nectar of the Soda gods. I'm just saying.

Sassy Water: Looks refreshing; tastes like ass.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Half-Assed Recipe From the Garden: Cucumber Salad

One of Hugh's favorite things to eat in the world is creamy cucumber salad. In fact, his love of the cucumber salad is the only reason that cucumbers get planted in my garden since I am not really a fan of the vegetable, in fact; I hates it.

So, what grows the best in my garden? Cucumbers, because of course they do.

Anyway, here is a half-assed attempt to present how I make Hugh's favorite salad. It's half-assed because I forgot to photograph an optional ingredient (onion) and a few crucial steps (Like, all of them). As well as, you know, the finished product. But! Here we go, anyway.

Hugh's Favorite Creamy Cucumber Salad

1 cup mayo
1/4 cup sugar
4 tsp. vinegar
1 TBSP dill
1/4 tsp seasoned salt
5 large cucumbers
1 small onion (not pictured, see above: HALF-ASSED)

In a medium bowl, stir together mayo, sugar, vinegar, dill and seasoned salt. Slice cucumbers and onion very, very thinly, preferably with a mandolin.

What? You don't have a mandolin? Get one. Trust me, your kitchen needs one.

Stir cucumbers and onion into dill mixture, cover and refrigerate until flavors meld. I have no idea how long that takes because Hugh never lets it sit long enough to find out. That's why it's his favorite and why I earn the Good Wife award every time I make it. Unfortunately, the Good Wife award in no way, shape or form translates into new shoes.


Sunday, July 15, 2012

A Boys Life

With The Teenager away at yet another volleyball function and Hugh working around the clock on a security detail this weekend; I had a chance to spend plenty of quality time with the Man-Cub. It was wonderful.

We went to Neighboring Town to have a small rock-chip fixed in my windshield and, since we were in the downtown area, anyway; we decided to explore some of the shops and architectural features that have been added during a recent downtown renovation project.

The Man-Cub's favorite stop was at a splash-pad on one of the street corners; he spent almost half an hour splashing through the water and attempting to stay ahead of the unpredictable fountains. Needless to say; by the time we were ready to move on, he was more than a bit wet.

Our next stop was at an old-fashioned candy store, where I stocked up on some of the items that Jana and I will need for our upcoming star-gazing party. I was especially happy to discover the store since the five-and-dime in Pixler recently stopped stocking vintage candy, and, we all know how I feel about vintage candy.

Speaking of which, I actually purchased a vintage-style cotton candy maker. It. Is. AWESOME, and, pairs nicely with the old-fashioned popcorn popper that I bought last year (Hugh just rolled his eyes so hard, he saw grey matter) and I fully intend to break it in at this year's movie-themed Porch Night, which we are planning for sometime in August.

As an aside, Hugh says that I am no longer allowed to surf Amazon late at night since that is when the majority of my more "interesting" purchases occur. I would rebel against this sudden (and laughingly futile) show of authority but, if we are being honest; he's not wrong.

And, as often occurs, I digress.

Anyway, after completing our purchase of rocket-shaped lollipops, Pop Rocks, Zots and Saucer Wafers (Never heard of them? I hadn't, either. They are saucer-shaped wafer candies filled with small candy pellets; the candy store lady recommended them once she heard what we are planning and they may taste like shit, I don't know, but; they look wicked cool), the Cub and I headed for the mall where the child got to spend an hour waiting for me to pick out a couple of new bras. I'm sure it was as exciting for him as it was for me.

But, then we went to S@ms's Club, where he was able to eat his weight in samples and all was right with the world.

Once we got home, we barely had time to unload the car before another epic rainstorm came crashing through town, knocking out the electricity, briefly. Sitting on the porch, watching the rain pour down, gave me plenty of time to talk to the Cub about a load of different things and I just really enjoyed the time together.

Today, Hugh and The Teenager are back under our roof and I am dividing my time between laundry, housework, weeding and harvesting the garden (Bumper crop of cucumbers, bell peppers, lettuce and tomatoes, thank you very much), prepping food for the week, and, puppy-sitting for Oscar and Emily, who recently became the proud parents of a German Shepherd puppy.

It's a busy day, is what I'm saying.

All the better reason to reflect, fondly, on the relaxing day spent in the company of my youngest, and, only most favorite, son.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Turn Your Head and Cough

The Man-Cub had his annual sports physical today. His doctor was pleased to note that the child has grown three and a half inches since last year, which, he assured me, indicates a very nice, steady growth pattern; I didn't have the heart to tell him that the majority of that growth spurt (like three inches worth) actually occurred in the past month.

In addition to the increase in his height, the Cub gained eight pounds, which, the doctor informed me, was pure muscle, and, about that, he was correct; the Cub doesn't have an ounce of fat on him despite the plethora of crap that constitutes his daily diet. I wish I had the one tenth of the child's metabolism, truth be told.

Everything else looks good and the Cub is perched on the very cusp of puberty which means that stinky armpits, razor stubble and an unpredictably lilting voice are just around the corner.

Someone hold me.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

General Housekeeping Notes

No, not that kind of housekeeping; recently, I avoid that kind of housekeeping at all costs, and, I have the dust bunnies to prove it. No, I'm talking about clearing out the various bits and pieces of clutter in my camera, and, in my brain; that kind of housekeeping. So, without further adieu....

...Guinness is really coming into his own, and, by that, I mean; he is fighting back when Finnigan gives him shit. Finnigan, it should be noted, is not impressed. However, Finnigan is also becoming less aggressive as Guinness becomes more confident and, as a result, they are spending more "quality" time together. Unfortunately, this will probably lead to them plotting to take over the entire household, but, you can't have everything. And, now that I think about it; if they would handle the dust bunnies during their occupation, that would be stellar, you know, considering that they are 99% responsible for the dust bunnies to begin with.

...In gardening news, I recently picked a number of cucumbers that seemingly grew overnight. Or, within the span of several days; I can't really remember the last time I looked all that hard at the cucumber plants. Hugh will love this little turn of events since he is a huge fan of cucumber salad. Cucumber makes me belch in a decidedly unladylike way, so; I abstain from them. Unless they are in the form of pickles, that is, in which case, stand back because; I loves me some pickles. Especially pickles made from my grandmother's bread and butter pickle recipe, which I haven't had in quite some time. Huh. I guess Hugh will just have to wait for the next batch of cucumbers to grow, because, I am all over the bread and butter pickle making, me thinks.

...Despite a reputation for being my early rising child; the Man-Cub has repeatedly slept in this summer. We make have broken him, I'm not sure. It could be that he is exhausted from a sudden growth spurt that left him three or four inches taller, recently, or; it could just be that he is lazy. God, I'm hoping for the former.

....Day six of no Diet Pepsi and I'm doing remarkably well; I even dodged the headache this morning. I am drinking quite a bit of iced tea and water lately, an unfortunate side effect of which is an increase in my trips to the loo. This becomes quite annoying when the trips occur after bedtime, because; only infants and the elderly should pee more than three times a night, and, the last time I checked, I was neither geriatric nor infantile.

...The Gerber daisies that I planted on the front porch are blooming quite nicely, recently. This almost makes me glad that I chose them over the petunias and pansies that I usually plant. Next year, however, I think I will try something else as the daises don't really drape over the flower boxes and, in between blooming periods, are just, well, green.

...It's really hot out, lately. I don't mind, really; I like heat as opposed to cold. Rowdie, on the other hand? He would very much like a snowstorm right now, thank you very much. See also: Not Living Up to His Name.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

My New Mantra*

I am on my fifth day without Diet Pepsi.

Yes, on purpose. And, yes, I realize that Lent is almost a year away; I'm doing this for my health, people. Well, that, and; I want to be able to say that I can do it: that I control my habit, it doesn't control me.

So far, I'm doing pretty well. Or, I was until this morning, when I woke up with what I suspect is a withdrawal headache. It's like my body has been humoring me for the past four days and only this morning realized that, hey; this bitch is seriously not going to give into the sweet, sweet nectar of the soda fountain with her head!

I'm pretty sure I will muddle through.

Supposedly, giving up soda will improve my overall diet since popular thinking suggests that the artificial sweeteners in diet soda cause people to crave more sugar or some such drivel; I have no idea if there is actual science to back that claim, but, I'm willing to give it the benefit of the doubt. Also, I am really, really tired of watching my boobs grow exponentially to my age and, any little bit I can do to cut out crap that aids and abets them in their quest to take over the world is A-Ok with me.

So, yeah...I see a lot of ibuprofen in my immediate future. Also, Wall Street should see an impressive hike in stocks in the companies that produce tea bags.

* And, of course, Water is our Friend.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Tuesdays With The Teenager. Wait, WHAT?

Remember, back in the day, when The Teenager and I tried to do a weekly video installment detailing the experiences of raising/being a teenager? No? Hell, I don't blame you; that was ages ago.

Anyway, The Teenager and I rediscovered those videos a few days ago and decided to bring back the segment, if not weekly, then, you know, occasionally.

Today's installment features not just The Teenager, but her BFF, Smiley McSmilerson (not her real name, like OBVIOUSLY), discussing their opinion of the differences between High School and Middle School.

I think they are adorable and I cannot wait to show  this video at their graduation party. And, again at The Teenager's wedding, because; I am sweet like that.

Also, the matching socks and the mirror-image braids are killing me.

Monday, July 09, 2012

We ALLLLLL Bundle...

Friday's thunderstorms were not repeated throughout the weekend; I was sort of disappointed, to be honest. I made the best of the sunshine, though; I did cool things like weeding the garden (oooh, ahhh), catching up with my tan lines, and, watching The Teenager play volleyball at a scrimmage tournament held in Hooterville.

It. Was. So. EXCITING!

Then, yesterday, Jana came over and we watched Crazy Stupid Love. Actually, I forced Jana to watch the movie so that she would understand, appreciate, and-ultimately-come to share my opinion that Ryan Gossling would make a decent Christian Grey when Hollywood gets around to casting the movie version of the book*.

My plan was a total success and Jana is now totally on board with my casting choice. Granted, I did have to send her home with the DVD of Drive so that she would have a better idea of the Gossling's range as an actor since she insisted on asking me ridiculous questions such as: Can he act angry? Can he seem protective? Is he capable of projecting both smoldering looks and a sweet tenderness masked by a veneer of hubris and conceit? Which, was sort of exhausting (Just between you and me, though? Jana would make a killer casting director.), but; we are now of one mind in this regard.

Hey, maybe you would like to come to my house so that I may brainwash you into agreeing with me as well? I'm a great hostess like that.

Speaking of brainwashing; I see in today's celebrity news that Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes have arrived at a divorce agreement a mere week after Katie blindsided Tom by filing. According to the report, Katie got everything she was asking for in the agreement which leads me to wonder; just what, exactly, does she have on him?

It. Must. Be. HUGE.

My theory? He's a leprechaun. A GAY leprechaun.

Would you like to come over to my house and we can talk about it? I bet you'll agree with me before you leave, because; this is an even easier sell than Ryan Gossling as Christian Grey, for sure.

*What book; you ask? Fifty Shades of Grey, of course. What rock have you been living under?

Friday, July 06, 2012

And the Thunder Rolls

We finally experienced a thunderstorm of epic proportions, yesterday. The Man-Cub and I were in Hooterville when the storm broke and we spent ten minutes sheltered under the cover of a gas station island before braving the downpour for the drive home.

And, what a drive it was.

The rain was coming down so hard and fast, the storm drains couldn't keep up, and a deluge of water flooded the main intersection, downtown. The Man-Cub got quite a thrill out of watching large trucks plow through the water, showering their neighbors with tidal wave after tidal wave; while feeling a bit remorseful for the compact cars that seemed to momentarily float while attempting to cross at the flood below the street light.

The heavy downpour was accompanied by a light show to rival anything we could have seen on the 4th, and, the booming of the thunder was so loud, it shook my Tahoe. The drive home took a bit longer than usual but, the smell of the rain was more than enough to make up for the lost minutes.

Well, that and the amazing double rainbow that crossed the sky once the shower abated.

The weather forecast for today calls for more rain but, I doubt we will experience anything as dramatic as yesterday's storm, unfortunately.

The storm brought to mind afternoons in my childhood, when thunderstorms would roll across town, predictably, every summer afternoon. My sister and I would dance in puddles on the sidewalk in front of our house and, when completely dizzy from spinning in circles; would hunt worms that had gotten stranded in the gutters when the deluge of rainwater dried to tiny rivulet running toward the storm drain at the end of the block.

Some afternoons, we cursed the rain for ruining our outdoor forts; shelters built of blankets that my mother preferred not to have drenched by the storm. Other days, we lazily watched the downpour while tucked under the branches of the lilac trees in the back yard, safe, dry, and peaceful. A bright sunshine almost always broke through the storm by early evening and we breathed in the smell of the rapidly evaporating raindrops mixed with the smell of the damp earth.

When the Cub and I finally reached the safety of home, yesterday, he ran into the backyard to search the garden for worms to use when fishing at the pond in the park later this weekend. I sat on the porch for a while and watched as the last drops of the storm scattered across the driveway and; I thought about two little girls in pigtails, dancing in the puddles left behind by a thunderstorm.

It was a pretty great way to end the day.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

It's Independence Day

Our 4th of July celebration went pretty much as planned; we got an early start at the lake, where the girls (and one boy, I'm not naming names) adorned themselves with temporary tattoos in honor of our country's independence.

Not naming names, but showing pictures, mwah,ha,ha,ha,ha. Also, nice patriotic donut you have there, son.

And, I digress.

Once the tattoos were firmly in place, or, as firmly in place as a temporary tattoo can be (hint, not very); we hit the water for a morning and afternoon of tubing, wake boarding, knee boarding and swimming. Jana and I "tubed" in that we reclined upon the tubes with drinks in hand and sunscreen generously and liberally applied (no burn today! We rock!).

Later in the afternoon, a storm rolled across the lake and we were forced to seek shelter in a small cove, where; we tied up the boats, threw up the covers and spent an hour and a half playing cards, chatting, and napping. It was seriously relaxing and not a bad way to spend an hour and a half.

Once the storm cleared out, we explored the spillway of the dam that creates the lake before hitting the lake for more tubing before calling it a day and pulling the boats off the water.

It was getting dark by the time we got home so we fired up the grill for some late-night BBQ and fired up the candles on the porch for craft time, otherwise known as: attempting a neat trick we saw on Pinterest.

This was as close as we got to fireworks this year and, while the effect was cool; we really, really missed the fireworks.

Oh, well, each kid got to take home their very own nightlight, and, with any luck, they will last longer than those temporary tattoos.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Do You Smell Smoke?

Our entire state is under a fire ban and yet fireworks are still available on numerous street corners in Hooterville; I don't really understand how that works.

Because we are broke law-abiding, safety-conscience citizens; we have declined to purchase our usual 4th of July arsenal of rockets, sparklers, and smoke bombs. It was a huge sacrifice for Hugh, whose reputation as the Master of 4th of July Fireworks now stands in jeopardy, but; it was the right thing to do.

As a replacement for the fireworks show, we plan to wave red, white and blue glow sticks overhead while mimicking the noises made by the usual explosions. I bet people won't even notice the difference; the neighborhood kids will probably still pull their wagons down the road to get a good seat for the show and a good time will be had by all.

Or, not.

But at least we won't be responsible for burning down our neighborhood.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Season Ender

The Man-Cub played his last game of the regular season, tonight. His team won by five runs and the Cub pitched two innings. While I will miss watching the boys play, I won't miss my duties in the concession stand, even if it was the best seat in the house.

Speaking of baseball, Hugh took the Cub to Denver this weekend to catch a Rockies game. They had a great time, despite backing a losing team (can't win 'em all).

While they were away, The Teenager and I went to see Magic Mike. In our opinion, watching half-naked men dance on stage was way better than watching men run around a field in tight pants. And, yes; I do realize that taking my sixteen year old daughter to watch a movie about male strippers is only slightly less horrifying than her father taking her to see The Hangover II last summer. I have nothing to say in my defense.

Well...Channing Tatum...'nuff said.