Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Back at It

I have been hard at work, catching up on the things that I missed while I was enjoying my time in Mayberry, and, frankly, I am ready for another vacation; this working shit is for the birds.

I would much rather be in Mayberry, hanging out at the lake with my bestie while our sons fish. I would rather be chaperoning those sons at their first Stampede dance, even when a girl seven years older than the Cub pulls him out on the dance floor, earning his grandfather's pride and the title of honorary Cougar Hunter. I would rather wake up with a slight headache caused by imbibing in just slightly too much blackberry beer than spend another minute at my desk making dozens of minute changes to an annual report that is due on Friday.

I would just much rather be having fun, I mean, obviously.

But, here I am, making those changes and handling the chores that come with running a home, chores like cooking (roasted root vegetables from the garden tonight), laundry (who knew we could go through so many clothes during a week?), cleaning (neverfuckingending, I swear), and working really hard at keeping some semblance of organization in my cupboards, fridge, closets, and drawers.

Really, really important stuff, for sure.

With any luck, we will have some fun this weekend, although, the annual Corn Festival takes place this Saturday which could throw a wrench in those plans. I would take a day on the lake over a visit to the local park, for certain. And, if we don't get some time on the lake soon, we won't have a chance again before The Teenager goes to college, which, happens on August 20th, just two days after the Cub starts his sophomore year in high school.

Time is moving at warp speed these days. I don't recommend it.

Monday, July 28, 2014

This is Stampede

My week in Mayberry is coming to a close. When I return to Petticoat Junction today, I will be thrust back into the real world; a world where I am required to rise at an early hour each morning and to make my own coffee. A world where there is laundry to be done, floors to vacuum, a garden in which to do battle with squash bugs, and, 4th of July decorations still to be stored away for next year.

I haven't even mentioned the fact that I have to go back to work, where a ton of paperwork awaits my attention.


Time to put on my best Scarlett O'Hara face and to think about that tomorrow, fiddle dee, dee!

Today, I will enjoy my last moments with my parents in my childhood home, and, I will reflect on the people who make Stampede the best time of year to visit Mayberry, because, while there are dances, rodeos, carnivals, parties, good meals, fabulous snacks, and long mornings on the patio to look forward to; Stampede is really about spending time with my people.

And it's the people I will miss when I go.


Farewell, Stampede! Only 360 days until we meet again.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Wish You Were Here

Mayberry vacation, day three, so far I have:

-Spent time with The Girls, catching up and scheming for the future.

-Spent two glorious mornings on the back patio with my parents, drinking coffee and reading the morning newspaper.

-Slept in past six a.m.

-Blown my carefully crafted diet well out of the water.

-Stayed up way past my bedtime and not regretted it for a minute.

-Enjoyed a couple of hours at the lake, watching the boys fish while catching up with Reese and one of her classmates from high school.

So far, The Man-Cub has:

-Caught a fish (on his first cast!) at that local lake where, incidentally, I spent a good part of my teenage years (decidedly not fishing).

-Stayed up well past his bedtime, playing Xbox and snacking in a room where eating food was once forbidden, especially food in the hands of children.

-Spent some time catching up with Reese's son, whom he gets to see once a year, if he is lucky.

-Slept past noon.

-Enjoyed the spoilage that only the Pod People can provide, including dining on every special treat his grandmother could make for him and ordering her around like a short-order cook.

It's been a pretty productive two days and today should prove equally busy. The Teenager and Not-the-Boyfriend arrive later this morning and I am certain to have an update on their activities in a couple of days.

The only negative thing I can possibly identify about the vacation thus far is that it is going by entirely too quickly.

After all, there truly is no place like home.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Coffee on the Porch

Yesterday, I spent part of the morning on the porch, drinking my coffee and trying to catch a photo of the hummingbirds that regularly visit the feeders. I was unsuccessful in that endeavor, but, I still enjoyed my morning.

We haven't used the porch quite as much this summer as I am used to and that makes me sad. Granted, we used it quite a bit more in the spring, with The Teenager's graduation parties and whatnot, but, our summer usage has definitely suffered.

I'm going to change that just as soon as I get back from Mayberry. I'm thinking The Teenager needs a Bon Voyage Porch Night prior to her packing up and leaving for college. I think I will do it Old School style, with just Jana and Co., a few of The Teenager's friends, and us. It will be just as fun with a smaller, more intimate group, and, I think The Teenager will appreciate it more.

So, planning for that can be taking place in my head while I relax in the bosom of my family in Mayberry this week (What? Did I not mention that the Man-Cub and I are leaving for Mayberry tomorrow to spend the remainder of the week indulging in a spoiling by the Pod People? No? Well, we are!).

In the meantime, here are a few pictures that I took yesterday while awaiting the elusive hummingbirds. Because it just isn't summer without some totally gratuitous photos of the porch.


The color scheme for the porch this year is red and white, with touches of yellow and orange. I chose those colors because they are the predominate colors in the bottle-cap tray that Jana brought me back from Africa a couple of summers ago. The tray is useful and unique and I always get tons of comments about it when we have people over.

When I saw the red, orange and yellow flowered pillows on clearance at the Hellmouth, I couldn't resist; they aren't meant for outdoor use but are holding up really well, so far.

I planted this year's flowers in whatever containers I had on hand. Unfortunately, this is probably the last year for the vintage themed wooden crates and window boxes, as they are becoming quite beaten down by age and the weather. With that in mind, I have been on the lookout for more galvanized steel containers to stockpile for next year's flowers. I loved the vintage mop bucket that I found last summer and would love to find some something similar; maybe in Mayberry when my mother and I go antiquing (Hi Mom! Did I not mention that we are going antiquing? No? Well, we are!).

The red, orange, and yellow color palette will transition nicely when it's time to decorate for fall, which, as we all know, happens practically the minute I return from Mayberry. But, we can think about that later, which, as we also know, is how I roll.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Eradication Protocol

With the inclusion of sugar pumpkins in my garden this year, I inadvertently introduced a most unwelcome guest back into the mix: squash bugs.


I waged an epic battle against the insects back in 2010 and it appears that I am destined to repeat that war. Luckily, I think I discovered the little bastards early enough to gain an advantage against them, and, after spending the better part of an hour diligently picking the affected leaves off the pumpkin and zucchini plants; I feel  somewhat confident that a spraying of Neem oil will control the population enough to allow me to stay ahead while still managing to harvest an organic crop.

Time will tell.

If, however, it looks like the little assholes are gaining on me, I will rip the pumpkin vines right out of the garden and burn them to cinders. I can buy a freaking sugar pumpkin at the farmer's market and still have a perfectly awesome home-made pumpkin pie come Thanksgiving. I refuse to lose sleep over bugs infesting my garden.

Just between you and me, though, I bandied about the term "napalm your asses with Sevin" while I was in the garden, just to throw a scare into the little fuckers. So, with any luck, the ones I missed while inspecting every goddamn leaf on every vine will heed the warning, pack up their eggs and move on.

One way or another, like I said; not losing sleep over it.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

This is Why I'll Never be an Empty Nester

The Man-Cub is at a baseball tournament in a faraway community. He was asked to play with the varsity team and who could say no to that? So, he left with the team yesterday and won't return until sometime tomorrow. I asked the Cub to check in regularly (because that is what I do) and he has not disappointed me. In addition to his calls, the wife of one of the coaches has kept me informed via text message; her message about how well the Cub was playing yesterday was especially appreciated.

While the Cub is playing ball, The Teenager is house-sitting for Brandon's mom, who took a well-deserved vacation with her husband. The house-sitting gig lasts for a week, during which time I don't expect to see much of The Teenager or Katie, who is co-sitting with her.

All of this means that my house is quietly devoid of children. Which, is good practice for me for when they are both grown and gone. If I ever thought that I would be bored or have nothing to do once that inevitably happened, I was mistaken; I'm simply going to put my energy into the cats.

Yeah, that's what I'm going to do.

When I told them that they were going to be the lucky recipients of all of my affection and attention, this is the reaction I got:

They remind me more and more of my children every day.

This is really going to work out.

Friday, July 18, 2014

This Post Sponsored by KBtiedye

Ha! Just kidding! I don't do sponsored posts. But! If I were to break that very sacred personal rule, I would do it for this small business and it's fabulous proprietors. How could I not? I birthed one of them and have had the privilege of watching the other one grow from an awkward Middle Schooler to a gorgeous High School grad. So, yes, they would be the recipients of my advertising space, if I provided such a thing.

Although I don't, I do feel the need to document the fact that these lovely ladies have started a tie dye business that has provided a modest income upon which they have each managed to eke out a living. And, by a living, I mean that they have been able to finance their summer entertainment without begging a parent for money. Win-win!

Also, watching them meticulously document the expenses vs. profits from the business has been entertaining for me, as has watching their creativity grow and their delight in their achievements shine in their faces. And, not just when they are waving around the twenty dollar bills that they get for each of their creations.

Although they certainly are enjoying the profits.

Their delight is almost enough to make me overlook the giant mess that they make of my house during the creative process, which, now that I think about it; shouldn't I be getting a cut of the profits since I am providing their workspace?

Huh. I think I might have a negotiating point.

Anyway....KBtiedye...your one-stop shopping experience for Colorado tie dye. You heard it here, first.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Summer Stuff

It is almost officially the middle of July, which means that summer is halfway over. Already. This makes me so sad; I feel like I still have more than half a summer's worth of things that I want to do with the kids before they spiral off into their own orbits.

Speaking of orbits, Jana and I were talking about how we have yet to take the kids on the star-gazing party that we planned several summers ago; that makes me sad. I don't know if we can pull it together yet this summer, but I would really like to.

On the bright side, we have managed to cross some of the things that we planned off our To Do list; we did have that fabulous weekend at the lake, after all. And, I don't believe I mentioned it, but, I did manage to host Porch Night earlier this week. It was a spur-of-the-minute gathering, but I pulled together a Mexican-inspired evening that included a pitcher of truly good Sangria.

We also found the time to take the kids to Neighboring City to attend a baseball game. The home team won by several runs and the night was capped off by fireworks, so that was an enjoyable summer activity, even though I am still trying to avoid sugar and therefore had to skip the Cracker Jacks (insert sad face, here).

My garden is also coming along pretty well. It seems to be a little behind last year's garden, but I'm not stressing over it. Last night, I was able to harvest a good amount of lettuce for salads as well as some zuchinni that Hugh used in shish kabobs that he made on the grill, so; the garden is carrying its own weight around here.

That being said, I think that part of the reason for the garden's stunted growth is the heat that we have been experiencing the past week or so. The heat has made it challenging to do things around the yard, as well, but; Hugh did manage to finish out the patio that currently houses our fire pit. If you recall, that area of the yard once housed a small child's cottage and a swing set. As the kids grew, it evolved into a mulched area that featured a trampoline, and, now, has been re-paved and transformed for more mature entertaining. The kids love it and we love having their friends over for smores and hot chocolate in the fall. Unfortunately, the heat of the summer has made sitting around a fire seem somewhat unappealing, but, we are due for a cold front to chill out our nights any time now...

...did you hear that, Mother Nature? I am actually requesting slightly cooler evenings. It's a first; you better write it down.

Once that happens, I'm sure we will utilize the fire pit on a more regular basis. Regardless of the heat, I think Hugh will use it during my annual trip to Mayberry, which happens a little over a week from now. While I am enjoying the comforts of my childhood home, Hugh likes to host a small BBQ for his friends and I'm sure he will be excited to show off his handy work on the patio.

Speaking of my annual trip home, I am once again looking forward to spending quality time with my children at the Stampede festivities. This year, The Teenager will be driving up several days after the Man-Cub and I as she is babysitting and won't be off until later in the week. She is bringing Not the Boyfriend along on the trip, so I am not worried about her making the drive alone.

This will give me and the Cub several hours of quality bonding time, during which I am certain to embarrass him with inappropriate questions and probing inquiries. Lucky him!

Once we get to Mayberry, I will abandon the interrogation-and my parenting duties in general-to revert back to my own adolescence, as is my way when I am home. It's going to be great! And, I'm going to pretend that summer doesn't end practically the minute that I return from that trip.

Because that is also my way.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

I Still Have Time!

I was listening to a radio show this morning and the DJs were discussing the results of a survey that asked Americans to pinpoint the age at which certain activities should cease; while I have "aged out" in certain categories, I am pleased to report that I am still in the running in several:

1.  Age at which a woman* should stop wearing a bikini: 47...ok, at 45, I still have two years in which to rock the two-piece. Or, like Helen Mirren, I can rock it into my late 60's; it all depends on my lifestyle and fitness level.

2.  Age at which a woman* should stop wearing a miniskirt: 35...wha? I wear miniskirts several times a week throughout the summer. And, granted, they aren't micro-minis, but still. This "rule" sucks donkey balls.

3.  Age at which a woman* should stop wearing a boob tube: 33... Dude, please. These C cups haven't seen a boob tube since the summer between sixth and seventh grade, not because my boobs aren't great (they are), but because I am a lady and boob tubes belong in the trailer park.

4.  Age at which a woman* should stop wearing knee high boots: 47... Whew! I still have time to break in the thigh-high riding boots that I got on clearance this spring. That would have been a sad waste of $29.99.

5.  Age at which a woman* should stop wearing leggings...45. What the fuck am I supposed to wear with my knee-high boots when I'm 46? Bad rule!

6.  Age at which women* should stop piercing their navels: 35... I just slipped under that one when I had mine pierced at age 30. Lucky me. Although, if I had another navel to pierce, I would do it now, just to thumb my nose at that "rule".

7.  Age at which a woman* should stop wearing long hair: 53... This surprised me, actually. But, only because it was followed by #8...

8.  Age at which a woman* should stop wearing a ponytail: 51... WTF? How can I be expected to still have long hair until I am 53 and not wear a pony? That's just ridiculous.

9.  Age at which women* should stop wearing stilettoes: 51...Right before they trade them in for a walker, I'm guessing.

The survey was interesting, but, I think it lacked one important question: At what age should  women stop allowing stupid surveys to dictate what they wear and when they wear it?

Answer: Birth.

*No data available on when a man should stop doing this. Because that would be an entirely different survey.

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Weekend Update: The 4th of July Edition

The holiday weekend has been incredibly busy, we've had tons of fun, a million laughs, gotten more than a couple of sunburns, and generally just enjoyed the company of good friends in a gorgeous setting.

We are also completely exhausted; because that's what getting up early to go to the lake and clinging to a tow rope for dear life while being dragged around said lake will do to you. Wouldn't trade it for a thing, obviously, but I am really sore today.

In addition to tubing, wake boarding, and knee boarding, we also got in some quality sun time (see above: sunburns) and the menfolk attempted to fish, although nothing was biting. While they made the attempt, the rest of us were either napping or floating on the tubes, so it was a bit of downtime from the physical activity.

We also found time to bank the boats so that we could take a hike on the trail that runs around the lake. Unfortunately (or, fortunately, depending on how you look at it), the water level in the lake this year is high enough to have completely covered the rock ledge that we usually jump from, as well as the spot that we usually take our group photo, so we had to improvise.

After we pulled off the lake on the 4th, we drove into Pixler to watch the fireworks and then crashed so hard, I didn't think we would ever be able to wake the boys up on Saturday morning, but, we managed, and we hit day two just as hard as day one, ending the evening with an impromptu stop at the drive-in movie theater in Pixler, where we gained dozens of quizzical looks from the other patrons who had apparently never seen two redneck families watch a double-feature from their boats.

As an aside, most comfortable way to watch a movie at the drive in, like, ever. Highly, highly recommended.

So, that brings me to today, the final day of this awesome three-day weekend. Today, I am cleaning house, doing laundry, weeding the garden, and doing bookwork at the hardware store.

It goes without saying: I would rather be on the lake.