Sunday, June 30, 2013

Another Weekend, Come and Gone

The Teenager came home today; she smells slightly spoiled but nothing a good dose of kitchen labor and a few days of being under-privileged can't cure.

Speaking of cures, we just got back from seeing World War Z. You know how much I love me a good zombie flick, and, despite my distaste for Brad Pitt, the movie did not disappoint.

In other non-disappointing news, the boys played their last double-header, yesterday. They won both games, the second one in extra innings. It was an exciting day. It was also hot as Hades.

I am really looking forward to Saturdays that don't require six hours under a brutal sun. Unless I am under that sun on the boat, on a lake, of course.

Now, that, I could get behind.

Friday, June 28, 2013

We're Having a Heatwave

I wanted to go for my run last night.

I had every intention of doing it.

I strapped on my iPod.

I laced up my running shoes.

I filled my water bottle.

And, I checked the temperatures, just for kicks and grins.

Yeahhhhhhh....that run didn't happen.

I did, however, spend thirty minutes "running" on my elliptical machine.

So, I'm not completely without dedication to my fitness routine.

I just don't want to die from heatstroke while pursuing it.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

From The Teenager's Current Facebook Status...

....If I don't text back I will later I'm shutting my phone off for the day to spend time with my grandparents (:

I'm not quite sure how we got lucky enough to have a kid this awesome, but, I sure am grateful that we did.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Stuff and Nonsense

  • The Teenager made it to Mayberry safe and sound; the Pod People made haste with the spoilage.
  • The Man-Cub's team lost its baseball game earlier this evening. The game lasted over two hours in 100 degree heat.
  • Fearing I might actually die from the heat, I sent an urgent SOS to The Girls, requesting their assistance in settling my affairs.
  • I am on the final day of the third week of the C25K program. This week I was required to run for three minutes at a time.
  • My knees feel like they are being ground into a fine dust.
  • I invested in a bottle of glucosamine and hope that a daily dose will solve that issue.
  • I feel like I should have stopped this post before I started.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

In News Not Related to the Fire Currently Devouring My Childhood Playground

The Teenager is making the two-and-a-half hour drive to Mayberry today, on her own, for the first time. I am....a wee bit nervous about that. But! I'm sure she'll be fine.

Going to my happy place now....

.....and, there.

The Man-Cub cashed his first paycheck on Friday. He placed the majority of it in his savings account and pocketed a bit for "walking around money". On Saturday, he accompanied me to the store for groceries, and, when we were done shopping, offered to treat me to a drink at Starbucks.

I don't know who was more proud, The Cub for having the money to buy his old mother a drink, or, me, for having a son who offers to buy his old mother a drink.

I guess it could have been a tie.

Monday, June 24, 2013

76,000 Acres, 0% Containment

You have got to be crazy-brave to be a firefighter, people. Thank God there are so many crazy-brave people willing to do it.

At last count, there were 32 fire trucks from volunteer fire departments defending the small town just south of the cabin. In addition, there are numerous hotshot crews, smoke jumpers, tankers, and helicopters fighting the fire at the source; unfortunately, the terrain is making it tough on those crews.

When you combine the rugged terrain with the high winds that have been blowing through my hometown valley, you get a recipe for disaster. If you then factor in the vast amounts of fuel available to the fire, fuel in the form of large stands of beetle-kill pine, you have the Inferno Trifecta.

I think now would be an appropriate time to blame the government for banning conscientious logging and cutting of firewood in our National Forests, because, had enough dead wood been removed from them, this situation could have been largely avoided.

But, blaming will get us nowhere, instead, we will focus on supporting the men and women who are putting their lives on the line to protect the homes and businesses currently threatened by the giant wall of fire steadily advancing toward them.

The latest news releases indicate that, due to the current conditions and the near-impossibility of containment; the effort has shifted from containment to structure protection. That essentially boils down to the crews fighting off the fire on a home-by-home basis. The effectiveness of the strategy is hard to predict but the danger involved is not.

Prayers for those brave men and women now takes precedence over prayers for the structures, because, as Phoebe's husband says: they have insurance on the cabin, it is replaceable. Lives are not.

**No photo credit available, if they are yours, please let me know.

Friday, June 21, 2013

With a Heavy Heart....

Drought has been tough on my beautiful state and half of it is on fire right now. Unfortunately, one of the fastest-growing fires is now threatening The Cabin.

You remember The Cabin, scene of several years of Girlfriend bonding...

....where my girlfriends and I go to share our deepest, darkest secrets and to re-tell our already well-known stories. Where we laugh and cry and tease each other without mercy. Where grown women find enough humor in one another's company to laugh until they are in danger of accidentally wetting themselves...yeah...that place.

My heart is so heavy at the thought of losing The Cabin and, that's really selfish of me, I know. After all, I've merely had the pleasure of spending weekends there with my friends; Phoebe's in-laws practically raised their children at The Cabin. Phoebe spent the weeks after the birth of her youngest child there, running the three-mile circuit around the pond to help her lose what little weight she had gained during her pregnancy. The family has spent Christmas at The Cabin for more years than they can remember, and the grandchildren and great-grandchildren have played in the shade of the pines.

I have no right to be as sad as I am about the possibility of never spending another weekend at The Cabin with The Girls.

But, I am.

If you are the praying type, please say a little prayer for The Cabin, for the awesome family who has shared it with us for all these years, and, for my beautiful state.

I would appreciate it.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Summer of My Discontent

Summer officially starts on Saturday, but, I feel like it is almost over, already. This depresses me on several levels. For one thing, I feel like we haven't really had an opportunity to enjoy the season. We haven't been on the boat yet, we have had only one Porch Night, we haven't spent an evening under the stars with the Man-Cub's telescope, and, we haven't even considered a road trip.

Instead, the Cub has been working. And, playing baseball.

The Teenager and Hugh did manage a road trip to the other side of the mountains to tour a college, and, I'm pretty sure they had a good time doing that, but, still. No real fun stuff for the family.

As an aside, The Teenager loved the college. She was stoked to hear that they had a course of study that is exactly what she wants to pursue. She was, however, slightly dismayed to hear that the student body is made up of 66% females and a mere 33% males. We didn't hazard a guess as to what constitutes the final 1%.

So, yeah, great education in a practically boy-free setting, what more could a parent wish for? I don't know, maybe something...closer?

La, dee, da, I'll think about that tomorrow.

Anyhoodle, The Teenager heads to Neighboring City for a country music festival tomorrow. The festival lasts for three days and Hugh and I have allowed The Teenager to attend with a friend and her parents. I hope we don't live to regret that decision.

Once she gets home, we will enjoy her company for a couple of days before she takes off for a few days in Mayberry, where she will be spoiled to the max by the Pod People. At least she is getting the most out of this summer.

As for me, I see a deep cleaning of the house in my future. I also need to have a yard sale (Kill me. Kill me, now) and I have a critically important work report that is due to the state by August 1st.

I don't really see a lot of relaxation, is my point, hence, the title of this post.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Yep, Still Tired

Hugh took the children fishing last night. They enjoy fishing by headlamp because, according to Hugh, the fish bite better in the dark. Apparently, Hugh was correct, because, between him, the Cub and The Teenager, nine fish made their first-and last-road our freezer.

The nighttime excursion capped off a weekend that saw us spending five hours at the ball field, where the Cub's team lost two games but gained a multitude of vitamin D, sunflower seeds, and, Cracker Jacks.

While the Cub was toiling away at second base, The Teenager and I were running the concession stand. Due to a recent decision by the Little League Board of Directors, the concession stand no longer sells anything that requires cooking and/or heating, so, no fake cheese nachos for this girl! No hot dogs! It made the time in the stand far more pleasant and no one missed the junk. Least of all, The Teenager and I.

After the games, the Cub went on an overnight camping trip with one of his buddies, The Teenager went to the drive-in with several of her friends, and Hugh and I went out to dinner. We had hoped to take the boat out, but, the wind was too high to make it an enjoyable experience, so, we quickly adapted to our back-up plans.

Yesterday, I spent the majority of the day weeding my garden. The veggies aren't coming in quite as well as I am accustomed to but the weeds are growing at an alarming rate. Que sera, I guess.

By the time I was done, I was pretty beat (I also started Week 2 of the C25K program and the running was exhilarating and exhausting at the same time. Also, I totally ditched the orthotics and the run was far more comfortable than it had been previously), so I had no desire to join the rest of the family on the fishing trip. Instead, I pedicured, watched the season premiere of True Blood and generally just chilled.

It was fabulous.

Today, we start another really busy week. Hugh and The Teenager are traveling to the town of his Alma mater to tour the campus, the Cub is working and then playing ball in a town an hour and a half away, and I have a full schedule of work at both the day job and the hardware store.

Perhaps we can relax later this weekend.

Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!

As if.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

More Cute Shoes

We've had a really busy weekend and I am dog-tired. So, instead of writing about the weekend, I think I will write about my shoes.

Because it's my blog and I'll navel-gaze at my feet if I want to.

You know what I mean.

These are super-cute and more comfortable than any other pair of flat sandals that I own. The bling always attracts attention so I like to wear them when I have a big zit on my chin; bling counteracts zits. You heard it here, first.

These are my second-favorite pair of flat sandals. They are fairly comfortable, with the exception being a pulling sensation that I get on my right big toe when I wear them. Because they are so cute, I tend to overlook that slight imperfection. You would, too.

You didn't think I would leave you without showing at least one pair of heels, did you? Wedges tend to be my go-to footwear for the summer and these are so comfortable, they appear regularly in the rotation.

I wore these bad boys to work on Friday. Unfortunately, on Friday, my co-worker and I had to track down and apprehend a real bad boy. The shoes were stylish enough for the stakeout, but, I'm really glad the kid didn't run. If he had, I would have had a better chance of hitting him in the back of the head with the shoe as he ran away than I would have had of catching him on a run.

Anyway,  I didn't wear any of these shoes this weekend; I was too busy for cute shoes.

 But, that is a story for another day....

Friday, June 14, 2013

We'll Really Miss the Employee Discount

Today is The Teenager's last day at the pizza parlor; she wants to concentrate on volleyball and her manager wasn't able to accommodate her schedule. She also has a number of college tours scheduled for the next month or so, and, she plans to drive herself to Mayberry to visit her grandparents; expecting her to work on top of everything else really would have been asking a lot.

So, goodbye, employee discount! You made The Teenager's first job totally worth it (To me)!

Ironically, today was the Man-Cub's first day at his new job. He will be working for a local corn farmer. He applied for, and got, the job on his own, with no help from either Hugh or myself. I'm understandably proud of him, but, I have to admit to the slightest bit of anxiety over him working with farm machinery.

The Cub was also pulled up to play for the 16-18 year-old baseball team. The coach, who happens to also coach the high school baseball team, asked him to make the transition and we are really pleased for the Cub.

Of course, with the new job and the extra games (the Cub will continue to play on the 13-15 year old team, as well); we are looking at an even busier summer than I had expected.

Boating opportunities are looking less and less likely to occur.

But, I'm still super-proud of my kiddos.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Everyday We're Shuffling, Shuffling

Yesterday, I completed day 2 of the first week of the C25K program. I did slightly better than I did on day 1. Which, isn't saying very much, trust me.

My left leg was in agony the entire half hour, thanks to the Orthotic Inserts From Hell, which I started wearing again because my right foot requires that I do so. I am now toying with the idea of removing the orthotic device from the left shoe and leaving the one in the right to see how that plays out. Or, I guess I could go back to the podiatrist and see if there is some other solution (SPOILER: That probably isn't going to happen).

In the meantime, I am stretching and doing other exercises to loosen up the hamstring muscle on the left leg, which seems to be the area most affected by the Orthotic Inserts From Hell, hereto forth to be known as TOIFH.

My goal in continuing the C25K program is to eventually sign up for, and to run in, a 5K. You know, like every other middle-aged woman I know who is desperate to recapture some semblance of youth and vitality.

I have become such a cliché.

But, my heart might thank me, later.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Faster Than a Speeding Bullet

I have even more reason to be happy that I was not chosen to sit on the jury this week: had I been chosen, I would have missed the salad luncheon that we had at work today. That would have sucked because we had some really excellent salads.

Also, the trial is starting to heat up and, from what I have read in the newspaper, the young victim was, indeed, bullied on the witness stand by the defense attorney. I would have had a really hard time sitting through that.

Another bullet that I appear to have dodged this week is concession stand duty at the Man-Cub's baseball game tonight. I dodged that particular bullet because the game has been cancelled, and, as much as I enjoy watching the Cub play baseball, I think we all know how I feel about fake cheese and rubbery concession stand hotdogs. Blech.

So, instead of slinging Neon Cheeze and stale tortilla chips, I think I will run around the park. Or, you know I will "run". Whatever, my feet will be moving at a speed to which I am unaccustomed and I totally consider that running.

And, I couldn't have done that if I was sitting in a stuffy court room. So, winning!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Murphy's Law

I have received a summons to appear for jury duty at least four times in the past six years. Each time, the trial has been cancelled and I have not had to appear, so, when I got a summons last month; I assumed that I would, once again, dodge the jury bullet.

Did you just hear the universe laughing? Yeah.

Because I clearly don't understand the finer points of Murphy's Law, I went about my life, making appointments and scheduling meetings for all day today. When I called the jury hot line last night and discovered that the trial was, indeed, scheduled to go on; I got to panic over how to reschedule my entire day.

Good times.

I reported to the courthouse at 8:00 a.m. I then spent two hours watching other people being called up to the jury box, questioned, and either retained or dismissed. At one point, the gentleman sitting next to me commented on the large pool for this particular jury (there were probably sixty people in the courtroom waiting) and I blithely joked about how that increased our odds of not being called, like, dramatically, ha, ha.

So, you can guess what happened next.

We both got called to the jury box within thirty minutes of one another.

Murphy's Law, remember?

The case that was being tried was a sexual assault on a minor by a person in a position of trust and Murphy's Law kicked in once again when neither the fact that I currently work with children who have often been abused, nor the fact that my husband is a police officer, was enough to sway the defense to dismiss me for cause.

Instead, I came thisclose to actually having to sit on the four-day trial.

How close?

It was 3:00 p.m. and we were down to a handful of potential jurors still in the waiting area before the defense attorney finally used his third peremptory challenge to excuse me from service. The challenge came after I expressed the honest concern that I might not be able to remain completely objective should he place a child on the witness stand and then proceed to bully that child during testimony, and, had I known that would be all it took to get myself excused, I would have stated that fact much earlier.

That said;  I am glad that I had the opportunity to go through the process and I do hope that, one day, I will get a chance to serve through a trial. I was just glad that it wasn't this particular trial.

Also, I am totally going to bone up on Murphy's Law, just for future reference.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Things That Are Chapping My Hide

I started the C25K program today and I think its completely safe to say that I am officially out of shape. Seriously, the entire exercise lasted 30 minutes and I wanted to die the entire time. Granted, it was like 110 degrees outside, but, still. Pa-thetic.

In addition to the "running", I also did some gardening and some vacuuming, so, I look for my muscles to rise up in protest around this time tomorrow. Should be fun.

Speaking of fun, guess who has jury duty tomorrow? I am so irritated, I can't even begin to tell you. I have several really important meetings on my schedule for tomorrow and the last thing I need is to be sitting in a court room waiting to be excused (fingers crossed).

In other irritating news, I got sunburned at yesterday's baseball double-header and the burn has caused my skin to be quite tender in certain areas, specifically, under my armpits and around the back of my neck. The burn happened despite the bottle of sunscreen that I judiciously applied roughly every ten minutes throughout the day; I am tempted to write a very strongly worded letter to the fine people of Neutragena cosmetics.

That is all.

Friday, June 07, 2013

Blame It On the Wine

Porch Night was an unparalleled success. And, we define success by the number of times that one of us is laughing so hard that we can't catch our breaths, so, you can assume that it was a pretty fun evening.

Before the night was over, we had made plans to travel to Las Vegas at this time next year, to celebrate the 40th birthday of one of our friends. We also discussed the merits of boob jobs, tummy tucks, margarita slushes, kids who respect their parents, the Real Housewives of every county, homemade peanut butter cups, couch-to-5k programs, and why the correct running shoe will change your life, plus, numerous topics in between.

While we were enjoying ourselves, several of our children were taking advantage of the spread of delicious goodies, including the Man-Cub's little girlfriend (you might remember her from Continuation pictures), who was with her mother. It should be noted that she and the Cub maintained a distance so far from one another as to elicit several of the other moms to ask if they were still "an item". It should also be noted that those inquiries sent both youngsters into a fit of stammering and blushing, the likes of which we had never seen.

It was awesome.

Not so awesome was the promise that I made to embark on a running program, with the ultimate goal of running a 5k with the group. As I mentioned in the title of this post, wine might have been to blame.

Anyway, I can now mark another Porch Night off the summer to-do list. I hope to have at least a couple more but I guess I'll have to see how that will work into my schedule, what with all the running I am apparently going to be doing and all.

Goddamn wine.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Ain't Nobody Got Time For That

This morning, I noticed a fine layer of cat hair on two-out-of-three couch cushions. Right about that time, a dog hair tumbleweed drifted across the wood floor and came to rest at my feet.

When I grabbed my water bottle from the fridge, I noted the lack of food suitable for entertaining. My cupboards are likewise bare.

On the way out the door, I made a mental note of the dirt and grime coating the table and chairs on the porch as well as the thick layer of dust currently residing on the wicker.

Porch Night is tomorrow and I'm really not all that ready to roll out the red carpet for my friends, is what it all comes down to.

At any time in the past several years, this would be bothering me to the point of distraction. Today? Eh. I'll get around to the grocery shopping and to the cleaning and to the food prep, you know, eventually.

And, we'll all have a great time despite the fact that there will still be a hairball lurking somewhere just out of sight.

We'll relax in comfort on the wicker furniture, sip lazily from wine glasses and margarita glasses and beer bottles. We'll compliment each other on the fabulous food and catch each other up on the recent doings in each of our households, and; I will unwind in the company of women who also have a sink full of dirty dishes waiting for them back home, and, who really aren't all that worried about it.

Which, is really what I always envisioned the spirit of Porch Night to be.

I'm just sorry it took me so long to embrace the spirit, myself.

Monday, June 03, 2013

Pinterest Non-Fail

I was a busy, busy bee this weekend and I feel like I accomplished quite a bit. The fact that the Man-Cub was away with the basketball team at a camp many, many hours away probably had a lot to do with my productivity; I was trying to stay busy to keep from worrying about my baby, as one does.

(He made it home safe and sound. No real surprise, but, always a relief for a paranoid mother)

Before he left for basketball camp, the Cub played in his first baseball game of the season. They won. I got to watch the game from the bleachers instead of from the concession stand, so, I also won.

When I wasn't busy doing the million and ten chores around the house that needed to be done, I was surfing Pinterest. It occurred to me that, while I pin an awful lot of really cool ideas, I very rarely get the opportunity to try them out, and when I do; it is almost always an unmitigated disaster.

Not so this weekend; this weekend I nailed a pin that I have been wanting to try for quite some time. And, while it didn't turn out exactly like the original, it turned out well enough for me to consider it is complete success.

Now, if the flowers will just live, and, well, bloom, we will be all set.

The project added a finishing touch to our landscaping and created a warm welcome to our home, which, is a good thing since I am hosting my first Porch Night later this week. It has been a long time in coming but I finally found a night that we didn't have baseball or some other obligation and I decided to just go for it, which, is a good thing since I was ready for wine with friends about a month ago.