Saturday, June 28, 2014

This Is How We Roll

These are the items required to spend a day at the ballpark watching the Man-Cub and his team play baseball:

1.   One large pop-up canopy to provide shade.

2.   Three standard collapsible camping chairs.

3.   One collapsible camping chair with optional foot rest (Mine! Mine! Mine!)

4.   Two portable water misters.

5.   One case of bottled water.

6.   One rolling cooler filled with:

     1.   One six-pack of red Gatorade.
     2.   Four bottles of iced tea.
     3.   Seven pounds of fresh local sweet cherries.
     4.   One package of cinnamon glazed almonds.
     5.   Ten turkey and Swiss hoagie sandwiches.
     6.   Two packages of pickle flavored sunflower seeds.
     7.   One package of pistachios.
     8.   Two large bunches of red grapes.
     9.   Two large bunches of green grapes.
7.   One bottle of sunscreen lotion.

8.   One can of sunscreen spray.

9.   One sunscreen stick.

10.  Two cameras.

11.  Two grandparents.

12.  Two parents.

13.  One excited baseball player.

I think we are prepared for the long-haul. Wish us luck.

Friday, June 27, 2014

The Pod People Are Coming

My parents arrive from Mayberry later this afternoon and we are excited about their visit, as we usually are.

The purpose of the trip is to watch the Cub play baseball tomorrow. When my parents originally made their plans to visit us, the schedule indicated that we would play a double-header in a nearby town, that has since changed to our team playing in a tournament in Hooterville, which, means less travel time and the possibility of more than two games for my parents to watch. I think that's a win, all the way around.

While the Pods are here, we will also do the usual stuff that the children have come to expect from their grandparents' visits, namely; we will have a huge breakfast at the Denny's. My children may be suckers for tradition, but at least they are cheap dates.

They are also ridiculously excited to see their Pop-Pop and Nana, in case I didn't mention that, already.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Because He Is a Glutton for Punishment

The Man-Cub changed his mind about working this summer, and, despite my sound counsel, took a job working for the farmer that he worked for last summer. His days now consist of sweeping a warehouse, pulling weeds, stacking pallets, and, eventually, picking sweet corn. He claims the money is worth it.

More power to him.

The Cub is also finishing up the baseball season for the 13-15 year old team; his last games will be on Saturday. So, of course he said yes when the coach of the 16-18 year old team asked him to play up for them. His first game is tonight.

I guess he really likes baseball.

In addition to working what qualifies as a full day and going to baseball practice for several hours each night, he is also lifting weights with the football team at 7:00 every morning. So, basically, he goes to the gym for an hour, heads to the produce warehouse for nine hours, scoots home for a quick bite before hustling to the baseball field for practice, and then comes home to fall into bed, just to get up and do it all again the next day.

It's like he's an adult or something.

I don't like it.

In sharp contrast to her brother's day, The Teenager sleeps until noon every other week. On the week that she isn't sleeping in, she has a sweet babysitting gig, watching two kids for a single dad. She was supposed to work this week but her employer got a wild hair and took the kids to Disneyland on a whim, so she got the week off.


So, instead of entertaining small children, she has been spending time with her friends, sunbathing, shopping, and, as I said, sleeping in.

I hope she enjoys this good fortune, because, eventually, she too will face adulthood.

I'm ok with that not happening for a little while yet.

Do you hear that, Man-Cub?

Slow the hell down.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Things I Am Loving Right Now: The June 2014 Edition

1.  Great Value Cinnamon Glazed Almonds.

Three words: Addictive. Like. CRACK. Or, I'm guessing that this constant urge to eat handfuls of these delicious, crunchy, sweet, slightly salty, amazing nuggets of awesome is what it's like to be addicted to crack. If not, I have no better analogy to share.

Speaking of sharing, I don't. Not these babies. Like, ever.

2.  Urban Decay Naked Palette #3

Due to expense involved, I am almost embarrassed to admit that I own all three of the Urban Decay Naked palettes.


My defense for not feeling guilty is based on how interchangeable the colors of each palette are, how long the palettes last, how high the quality of the pigment in the shadows is, and, the fact that, frankly; I'm worth it. So are you. Really.

3.  Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Sunscreen Stick

A number of years back, I got a wicked sunburn on my chest. The burn blistered and peeled and my skin has never been the same since. So, I have since made every attempt to protect my chest with sunscreen, often to unsatisfactory results. Until I discovered this product, that is.

The sunscreen glides on, provides awesome protection, is totally portable, and doesn't have a funky smell. Plus, its really fun to whip it out and rub it across my chest while people gawk at the crazy woman smearing deodorant in a ridiculous location.

Little do they know.

4.  Pure Leaf Unsweetened Iced Tea

Since I gave up Diet Pepsi, I have been drinking a lot of water, and, that's great. But, woman cannot live on water, alone, so; I'm also drinking a shit-ton of iced tea. Pure Leaf is the best bottled tea that I have found. I sweeten it with a couple of drops of liquid stevia and I'm good to go.

5.  Skinny Girl Liquid Stevia

In addition to giving up the Diet Pepsi, I have made an effort to eliminate artificial sweeteners from my diet in general. Stevia is natural and a little goes a long, long way. These bottles are small enough to fit in my purse, so I carry one with me everywhere I go, which comes in handy at Starbucks and when we go out to eat.

I'm sure there are some things that I am forgetting, but these are the stand-outs, for now. Now, if you will excuse me, I have some cinnamon glazed almonds to devour. I would offer to share, but, yeah...we already covered that.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

I Didn't Think It Could Be Done

The Man-Cub got caught in quite the pickle at yesterday's second game of the double-header. He was caught between third base and home, and the catcher and third baseman were determined to tag him out.

The Cub was equally determined to beat the pickle and he raced back and forth, back and forth, midway between bases for a solid thirty seconds while his opponents played what looked like a game of keep-away.

While the pickle was in play, the Cub's teammate on first snuck over to second, and, when the Cub finally committed to his run for home; made it to third.

Then, as the Cub slid into the plate, narrowly missing a tag by the catcher, the crowd went wild. It. Was. AWESOME.

It was the first time I have ever seen a pickle end with the runner scoring and, I can assure you, the coach of the opposing team was not happy.

Our crowd? Very happy. I think some of us might still be chuckling at the memory of the Cub and his competition, going at it like an episode of The Keystone Cops.

Or, that might just be me.

Either way.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Quick! Do It While Mother Nature Isn't Watching!

Earlier this evening, Hugh, Chris, Jana and I took the boats to the local lake for the first unofficial launch of Summer 2014.

It was an unofficial launch because we were lacking all five kids (one at the country music festival, one at baseball practice, one at dance camp and two at hunter's safety class) and we all know that the boats can't officially launch without the children.

The unofficial launch was a test-run to make sure that neither boat had sprouted a hole over the winter (neither had) and that all the working parts were still accounted for and, well, working.

The only hiccup in the launch occurred when Chris directed Hugh down the dock to unload the Sea Chelle and accidentally directed the propeller right into the cement, where it broke. No worries; Hugh keeps a spare prop for just such occurrences, and, we were swapped out and ready to go in no time.

I'm happy to report, both boats floated just fine. They are also quite capable of skimming gracefully over the surface of the water, towing grown men behind them, as is their purpose on this earth.

In short, the unofficial launch was officially awesome.

The company was pretty amazing, too. And, we are now 100% ready to get the kids on the lake over the July 4th weekend.

And we managed it all with not one stiff breeze, thank you very much, Mother Nature.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Three Months Sober

With the exception of half of one bottle that I downed with my migraine meds back in March, I haven't had a Diet Pepsi since I gave it up for Lent. Although this isn't my personal best (nine months sober, twice. Pregnant, both times), it still warrants a celebration. Unfortunately, when I celebrate, I like to drink Diet Pepsi....oh well.

Not happening.

I have paid attention to how I feel to see if giving up soda has had any sort of affect on my sugar addiction and have arrived at the conclusion that it does not; I still crave sweets like it is my job. I'm going to try using essential oils to battle the sugar demon, but I am not optimistic.

However, I am Diet Pepsi sober. Baby steps, I guess.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Wind, Wind, Go Away

So far, this summer has been unseasonably cold. And, windy. And, there is still snow in the high country which, for the past few years anyway, is unheard of for the middle of June. I'm not diggin' it.

I miss the warmer temperatures and the calm that an evening without wind brings to me when I sit on the porch. Hell, I haven't even had a Porch Night yet. And, forget a day on the lake; the wind makes it too challenging to launch the boat, let alone trailer it after we are done. It's a bummer.

At least the kids are too busy to care; the Man-Cub has been playing baseball and going to football and basketball camps and The Teenager is traipsing all over the place, enjoying her last summer with Not the Boyfriend and her other friends before she leaves for college. This week, she is attending a three-day country music festival in Neighboring City while we attend yet another baseball double-header.

In the wind.


Anyway, there is a light at the end of the tunnel: baseball ends July 2nd and we have already made tentative plans to pull the boat onto the lake for the weekend of the 4th. Then, I have Stampede to look forward to, which means more time with The Girls and all the cotton candy I can eat at the carnival.

I'm looking on the bright side, 'cuz that's how I roll.

Now, for some pictures of random summer're welcome.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

If Parenting Was a Sport, My Dad Would Be Coach of the Year, Every Year.

In the grand lottery of life, I lucked into the best parents that a child can wish for. And, on this Father's Day, I feel it's only right to express how much I appreciate everything that my dad, in particular, has done to make me the person, and, most importantly- the parent- that I am today; he deserves the accolades, and the credit.

You see, my dad was the ultimate coach. He coached basketball, he coached baseball, and he coached football, but, if you asked him, he coached kids. The sport was important, the fundamentals, the sportsmanship, the dedication, the integrity needed to produce a quality athlete-these things were valuable and necessary, but; the kids were what really mattered.

To this day, when my dad is out and about in Mayberry or, in towns both near and far, a former player will approach him to express gratitude for his leadership. That person will often share stories about how he (or lately, she*) didn't have a lot of confidence in himself as a kid, and about how my dad shored up that confidence, how he helped him to grow into himself as athlete, and, as a person.

My dad was a stern coach. He was a tough task-master and an unforgiving perfectionist. He expected the best from his players and pushed them to find it within themselves. He helped them to recognize the best in themselves and he fostered pride in them. He instilled in each of them a love of their chosen sport, pride in triumph, and humility in defeat. And his athletes remember him for it.

As a parent, my dad utilized many of his coaching skills in order to shape and mold his daughters into productive, successful, community-minded adults who are capable of meeting the challenges of adulthood. He taught us about perseverance, cooperation, teamwork, patience, the proper application of aggressiveness, when to apologize, when to stand our ground, and compassion for others.

When we were growing up, my sisters and I spent too many hours to calculate sitting in bleachers in smelly gyms, in the spring sunshine or in the brisk autumn air, watching my dad's boys do their thing. We tagged along on trips to out-of-town games and we entertained ourselves on the sidelines of practices too numerous to count. These experiences prepared us quite well for the challenges of parenting our own sports-minded offspring and, there is a beautiful symmetry in that.

As a parent, I understand the challenges that everyday life can present. I recognize the sacrifices that my dad made for us and I make similar sacrifices for my children because I have seen how it is done and because my dad taught me that it is the right thing to do.

I listen to my children. I encourage them to be themselves and to follow their hearts. I am their biggest fan and supporter of their dreams. I know that they can do anything they try and be anything they want. My Dad did this for me, so it now comes naturally to me as a parent.

Most importantly, I have fun with my children. I genuinely enjoy them and their activities. I value the humor that they bring to my life and I make it a priority to involve myself in what makes them happy, and, I do this because it's what I know. It's what I had modeled for me as I grew up, and that's important. My parenting skills were literally coached into me.

I will always be grateful to my Dad for his dedication to his family; in a world where too many dads walk away from the responsibility of family, it is a blessing to have been raised by a man who put his family first. Always.

So, happy Father's Day, Dad.

Thank you for coaching us for all these years.

* Dad came out of retirement to coach my niece's middle school basketball team. He quickly discovered that coaching girls is a challenge unto itself, but he stuck it our until my niece gave up basketball to barrel race. Yet another reason that he qualifies as Coach of the Year.

Friday, June 13, 2014

If You Can't Beat 'Em, Eat 'Em

I just spent three hours pulling weeds out of my garden. Or, to be precise; pulling a weed out of my garden. That weed is commonly known as purslane and it is going to be the death of me. Or, it was until I Googled effective ways to get rid of the weed and discovered that, not only is it edible, but, supposedly quite tasty and higher in Omega 3's than salmon.

Sooooo, I chucked some in a sink full of water and, when it's washed an dried, I am going to try it.

It just might be the most successful thing that my garden has ever produced. I'll let you know.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Shape of Things to Come

The Teenager drove over the mountains to attend orientation at the college that she will be starting at in the fall. She left on Tuesday and, with the exception of a handful of texts, I haven't heard a peep out of her. I find this...worrisome.

I get that she is technically an adult now. I get that she will be out of my line of sight for extended periods of time once classes start. I get that she won't be living under my roof and that I won't have the inside track on who her friends are and on what they are doing.

I understand all of that.

That doesn't mean that I have to like it.

And, I don't.

Not one little bit.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

In Recovery Mode

I would have written sooner, but, I am still catching up on the sleep that I missed while I was in Phoenix, and, an opportunity to take a quick nap trumps the need to update this page. Priorities; I haz 'em.

As for that missed sleep, lets just say that The Girls and I made good use of every moment that we were together, from the first night's cocktails in our hotel room to the final goodbye at the airport. People who know us would say that there is no surprise, there.

People who know us would also be less than surprised to know that we already miss each other and are scheming to create opportunity for our next visit; the current plan being to take each of our children to Las Vegas to celebrate their 21st birthdays. And, if all goes according to plan, the first trip would take place in February, when Reese's daughter is the first to hit that milestone.

In the meantime, we'll always have Phoenix, and, much like Vegas, what happens in Phoenix stays in Phoenix. Unless, of course, it lands here on this blog....

Suffice it to say, there was alcohol. And, cabana boys. And, a mechanical bull, although, that part is really hazy for me for some reason...

Most of all, there was laughter and good conversation and genuine love between dear old friends.

Not that we're old, or anything.

Just saying.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

I Am Flying to Phoenix Today

And boy, will my arms be tired. Ba-dum, dum, thank you,thankyouverymuch, I'll be here all week.

Anyway, yes, this afternoon, I am boarding a plane for Phoenix, where I will rendezvous with The Girls for three days of spa services, sunbathing, pool dipping, wine festivaling, and Girl talk.

To say that I am ridiculously excited would be, as you can imagine, a vast understatement.

In my absence, Hugh and The Teenager will be on their own to tend my garden, ensuring that the tender new vegetable plants survive. That's a lot of pressure, but I'm putting my faith in them. That, and I fully intend to pester them with reminders to water via phone, text, and Facebook messenger.

The Man-Cub is safely ensconced at football camp, where he is surely having the time of his life. Or, being beaten and dragged around a football field by much larger teenagers. I'm sure he's having fun, either way.

And, speaking of fun, did I mention that I am flying to Phoenix to hang out with my besties?

Well, alrighty then.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Early Summer Update

The Man-Cub's summer schedule is exhausting to me. Not because I am the one who goes to football practice at 7:00 am and then again at 5:30 pm, plus baseball practice at 6:30 pm and basketball open-gym at 7:30 pm, but; because I am the one who is driving him back and forth to these practices. Or, the one sitting in the passenger seat while he drives, whichever.

And, I'm not really complaining, the sports schedule keeps him busy and out of trouble, and, if I've learned anything from my day job, it's that kids need to be kept busy with positive activities. But, the kid has to be exhausted, although he gets adequate sleep at night (when he isn't playing video games) and, there is an occasional nap during the day, still; sports in the heat will suck the energy right out of you.

One thing that Hugh and I agreed on, and I'm glad we did, was that we didn't want the Cub to have a job this summer. Adding a job to his already busy schedule would have been overwhelming, in our opinions. The Cub felt like he could handle it all, but we finally convinced him that it was more important to us that he enjoy some part of his summer and doesn't spend the entire time working or working out. We are all at peace with the decision and looking forward to enjoying some family time together on the boat as the summer wears on.

Speaking of the boat, it is finally out of storage and ready for the first test launch of the season. I'm kind of hoping that takes place this weekend while I am in Phoenix with the girls, but, the Cub will be at football camp at a neighboring college and I'm not sure Hugh and The Teenager will want to go out alone. I guess we'll see.

So. That's how things are going in my household currently.

I'm guessing it will get 90% more exciting for me right around the time my flight touches down in Phoenix Thursday afternoon.

Monday, June 02, 2014

The Weed That Binds

I spent the better part of yesterday afternoon pulling an invasive weed out of my flowerbeds. The vine has been the bane of my existence since we landscaped the yard lo these many years ago and I grow weary from the battle.

Today, my right hand is stiff and sore. My back aches. My left hamstring is tight. And my flowerbeds look amazing.

For now.

Until we meet again, bindweed, you tenacious bastard.