Sunday, November 29, 2015

First Snowfall

We woke this morning to about two inches of snow, which, for Colorado, is really no big deal. In fact, it didn't even warrant pulling out the snowblower. That didn't stop Hugh from utilizing a leaf blower, however.

He is nothing if not inventive.

Or, lazy.


The Man-Cub got stuck with the shovel and the manual labor. Because he is seventeen and has more energy. And, because we are the parents and we said so.

Right about now, the Man-Cub is probably thinking that it's going to be a long winter; he's probably right.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

108 AA Batteries Later...

Have y'all recovered from the turkey coma, yet? Soaked your aching feet, following a Black Friday shopping marathon? Broken out the Christmas decorations? Yes? I have personally done two out of the three; I am morally opposed to Black Friday shopping and the crowds it generates, so I skip that holiday tradition.

I did eat a metric ton of turkey and stuffing (Twenty-three pounds, remember), and, as of ten minutes ago, I placed the final Christmas decoration in it's appropriate location. And, if you think the title of this post is an exaggeration, please think again; I really did use that many batteries, so, the fine people at Duracell can rest their heads peacefully, secure in their jobs.

The best decoration, however, didn't require batteries at all.

Meet Colonel Sugarbottom. He stands six feet tall and I love every inch of him. Hugh and the kids gave him to me for my birthday-wait, did I mention that today is my birthday? No? Oh.

Hai, it's ma burfday! Get your drink on!

Or, however that goes.

But, back to the topic at hand; is that not the coolest nutcracker you have ever seen? He is currently standing sentry over the porch, ready to welcome Christmas guests as they arrive at our door. I have no idea where he is going to live the other ten and a half months of the year, but, that is a problem we can tackle after the holidays.

Now, I am going to relax and enjoy the many, many lighted decorations in my house before going out to dinner at my favorite Mexican restaurant with my family; we seriously tire of turkey and stuffing and a big-ass burrito sounds like the cure.

Also, birthday margarita, anyone? I deserve some reward for wrangling all those batteries, after all.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

This Should Come As No Surprise

A twenty-three pound turkey provides a LOT of turkey meat. I know, who would have guessed, right? That's ok, though; I'm thankful for every morsel.

I'm also thankful for the people that I got to share the meat with; having Mom and The Teenager home was such a blessing and a treat. Hugh and the Man-Cub are pretty ok, too.

I'm a lucky, lucky girl.

And, while we miss those who couldn't be here with us today, we are blessed to know that we have their love, no matter how far away they are-be it in Heaven, or elsewhere on Earth.

I hope your Thanksgiving was equally splendid and that you feel the love of your people.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

I Just Got Up Close and Personal With a Turkey

When I picked up my Thanksgiving turkey a couple of weeks back, I knew that it was a large bird. I didn't realize that it was twenty-three pounds large, nor did I realize that my largest roasting pan would be almost too small to accommodate the fowl.

Luckily, I was able to squeeze the bird into the pan, and, once it starts to roast tomorrow, it should shrink enough to make it easy to remove from the pan (She said, with fingers crossed and prayers sent).

The turkey giblets and neck are simmering away on the stovetop, growing ever more tender for their introduction to the stuffing and gravy tomorrow, and I just pulled a pumpkin cheesecake out of the oven. There is still a pumpkin pie baking away in the other oven as I type this, and, I will start on the homemade cranberry sauce later this evening. The meal, it is coming together, nicely.

The Teenager will be home later this afternoon and I can't wait to have everyone here and accounted for, because, as much as I love the food on Thanksgiving, I love having my family around far more.

Perhaps you can relate.

Monday, November 23, 2015

This Is What Happens When Ass Gets Kicked

The Man-Cub just came home from practice, waving around a sheet of paper like he had just come down from the mountain and it was a message from God himself. On the paper? Varsity plays.

My baby has been promoted to Varsity.

I am equal parts thrilled and anxious. Thrilled because he is so obviously tickled and excited, and, anxious because I know how much he enjoys playing with the boys on the JV team. I just hope he has fun; that's really my criteria for a successful sports career.

Really, though; is there any other criteria?

Sunday, November 22, 2015

In Which Much Ass Was Kicked

The boys played fantastically well in yesterday's scrimmages, and, while an official score is not kept during scrimmages, the unofficial score was Us, The Winners and Other Teams, The Losers. Not that keeping score is what it's all about, of course; the real victory was how seamlessly the boys knit together their offense and how aggressively they applied their defense. Winning was just the bonus.

Although, I actually lost count during the second game, so, it's safe to say that it was a right proper ass-kicking.

Not that that matters.

Oh, who am I kidding? It totally matters.

The boys were stoked by their victories, as well they should be, and, I hope this is the beginning of a winning season. Also, I hope that we continue to see the absolute joy that we saw on their faces during yesterday's games.

That is really the sweetest victory.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

It's Scrimmage Day!

The boys host the first basketball tournament of the season, today. It's a scrimmage tourney, so it won't count toward the team's record, but, it's great practice for the boys.

It's also a lot of work for the coach and the Boosters, since we use the opportunity to host the games as a fundraiser. This morning, I am browning ten pounds of hamburger for the taco bar that we are having, then, in between games, I will be manning the concession booth to sell those tacos. We are also going to set up a Pirate Wear table, to see if we can push any of our old merchandise before the new stuff gets here.

The Man-Cub has two games today, one at 1:00 and one at 4:00, so I will have plenty of time to work both booths in between games. Mom is scheduled to arrive at some point, today, to watch the games and, she will be staying for the week leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday, which is nice.

Hugh is in Nebraska for a college wrestling tournament and The Teenager and Katie made a surprise visit to the Front Range, yesterday, to visit with their old roommates from UNC, so, in addition to working the tournament, I will be worrying about them all driving home tomorrow (there was a huge mountain snowstorm yesterday and it took them nine hours to drive to Denver; I can't imagine the roads will be much improved by tomorrow).

I also need to stop in at the hardware store, to do yesterday's receipts and payroll, plus, I should probably start thinking about the food prep for Thanksgiving...

...or, I could just take it one minute at a time and enjoy watching the boys play some basketball.

Facebook seems to think that's an excellent idea; it shared this old memory to my timeline this morning:

That was taken four years ago, and, while only two out of four of The Fearsome Foursome are playing basketball this year (Mikey and Tones opted out), it still made my heart go pitter-pat.

So, on to the gym! It's scrimmage day!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

We've Got Spirit, Yes We Do

I hosted the monthly meeting of the Booster Club last night, and, again, we had great participation; those blingie Mom shirts are certainly working.

The group spent over two hours on Club business. Actually, only about half of that was business, the rest was just good natured (raunchy, LOVE these ladies!) chit-chat about the school, our kids, our jobs, and other stuff, and it made me really happy to be part of the group. I almost wondered why I hadn't gotten involved sooner, but, then I remembered that the Club was previously made up of moms who made me ragey and I was like, oh, yeah...never mind.

Anyway, last night we snacked on a pumpkin roll that the President of the club had brought. It was delicious and she was quick to point out that she had purchased it, not baked it, which cracked me up; girlfriend is President of the Boosters, active in FFA, Fair Board, the Academic PAC at the school, has three children, a small farm, AND a fulltime job. Frankly, I'm amazed that she functions at all, fuck that baking noise.

My contribution to the snacks was the cocoa bar, which I broke out over the weekend. I added a bottle of peppermint schnapps and a bottle of buttershot schnapps to it for the meeting and it was a huge hit. I was actually surprised by how cool the other moms thought it was and it made me feel good when several of them said that they were going to make them for their homes. It was such a Martha moment for me.

So, with warm-and full-bellies, we tackled the topics of winter sports, Pirate Wear sales, fundraising for new wrestling mats, and developing a social marketing plan in the community. Our tagline is going to be "It's Game Day", and we are hoping to get the entire community on board. Because, when we are fully fueled with sugar and alcohol, we are creative, innovative, and, apparently, crazy, over-achieving wild women who think no challenge is too big.

I couldn't ask for a better group of women for the job.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

10 Things You Probably Don't Care To Know About My Blog Habit

1.  I have been blogging since 2003. I started out on Diaryland, which is basically a ghost town at this point, before migrating to Blogger.

2.  I read a lot of blogs back in the day; some of the authors of those blogs became real-life friends, whom I keep up with on Facebook, now.

3.  I still like to read blogs, but, I am more choosy about what-and who-I read.

4.  I do not read sponsored posts; I find them disingenuous. I do, however, like to hear about the products that bloggers like enough to write about without the promise of a paycheck or a freebie.

5.  In that same vein, affiliate links? Yeah, never gonna click on that bullshit. Kind of feel sorry for the sheeple who follow a blogger so closely that they want to purchase whatever the blogger is linking to that day, like, everyday. Get some self-respect, people. Or, you know, grow your own brain.

6.  I don't participate on snark sites. I have read them on occasion, but, for the most part, I think their existence is rather ridiculous. We all have the choice to click on that little X in the upper right-hand corner when we disagree with a blogger; it takes far more effort to open a new window just to bitch.

7.  I love food blogs, yet, I've made only a handful of the recipes that I have read. I blame laziness.

8.   I enjoy travel blogs. Someday, I hope to actually travel to the places that I have read about.

9.  I'm not a huge fan of fitness blogs. Again, I blame laziness.

10.  I love blogs by photographers and have learned some valuable lessons from them.

And, that's it. I hope you haven't been bored stiff by reading this, although, if you were, there is that little X that I was talking about earlier....should've used it sooner.

Monday, November 16, 2015

In Less Depressing News...

Do I make good looking kids or what?

That was a rhetorical question, by the way.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Poor Paris

Over one hundred confirmed dead after being held hostage in a concert hall; thirty-five more dead in shootings and bombings throughout the city. What the hell is wrong with people?

Paris is a beautiful city, filled with kind and generous souls. When we visited there in March, my mother, sister, and I were made to feel welcomed and comfortable; we never encountered a rude person.

I am so sad for those wonderful people.

I am so sad for our world, in general.

If you are the praying type, please pray for Paris.

Pray for peace.

Pray for swift justice for the victims and pray for comfort for their families.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Still Waiting For the Bumper Sticker

Last night, we attended the annual end of season football banquet. Calling it a banquet is kind of a misnomer; there are cookies, lots and lots of cookies, and there is soda. So, not so much a banquet as a stomach ache buffet, and, as always, I digress.

Anyway, the banquet honors the football team, focusing primarily on the Seniors and on the boys who earn places on the All-Conference and Academic All State teams. as a Junior, The Cub received a certificate of participation as well as the bar that goes on his Football letter, indicating that he has lettered for a second year. He was also surprised with an Academic All State Team Honorable mention, which, blew his little mind.

I don't know why, he's made honor roll throughout his high school career, and, Juniors are eligible for nominations; he should have seen the possibility.

On the other hand, this is the child who, when asked to put popcorn seasoning on the grocery list, does this:

Like, he literally put the empty seasoning container on the list. That's either an indication of a serious lack of common sense or a smartass in the making.

I'm going with smartass in the making because, otherwise, I would fear for the child's future.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Fall Decor

The day after Halloween, I decorated the house for Thanksgiving, as I do every year. With the excitement of the new scrapbooking room, I almost forgot to take pictures of the decorations.

Do I need to take pictures of the decorations every year? Noooo, but, as I've explained before; if I don't document it, I am likely to forget where I put things from year to year. I do really like to avoid everything looking exactly the same each year, so, remembering what I have done before goes a long way in forcing me to get more creative.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Also, when I put stuff out and Hugh accuses me of spending good money on more new crap, I can prove that I have had this shit for years. Believe it or not, this argument happens more years than not. Perhaps you can relate.

Anyhoodle, here are this year's decorations.

Ok, so I am no artist, but, didn't I do a fabulous job on this chalkboard? It is amazing what you can find on the internet: step-by-step turkey tutorial, anyone? Why yes! Thank you!

Don't worry, I won't quit my dayjob. And, yes, Hugh, I have had this chalkboard for years.

Monday, November 09, 2015

Honey Do's Honey Did

Our weekend was chock-full of projects, and, I mean, Chock. Full. We started Friday afternoon and did not finish until 9:00 last night, when Hugh declared himself too sore and exhausted to continue. Luckily, we were at a great stopping point, with all but one project left to complete.

So, what were we working on all that time?

My new scrapbooking room!

The room, as you may remember, was our guestroom, prior to The Teenager moving into her own house. Back then, it looked like this...

When The Teenager abandoned her childhood room (not bitter!), I moved the guest room suite upstairs, where it made for a very spacious and airy guestroom. It also left a lot of empty space downstairs for me to utilize for my scrapping purposes.

I had a pretty specific style and design in mind for that space. Thankfully, I also have a handy husband and access to raw materials, and, the picture in my head was translated beautifully into the final room.

When picturing the room, I knew that I wanted a work space that looked less like a craft table and more like fine furniture. I wanted the room, itself, to have a vintage look, in keeping with the rest of the style throughout the house, and; I wanted to incorporate reclaimed and salvaged pieces in the room, in addition to the  new builds. Tall order, I know, but, as I said, ultimately successful.

The new build, consisting of base cabinetry and countertop, were purchased through the hardware store (on sale!). I described the look I was going for and Hugh customized the plain white cabinets with ball feet, wainscoting, and an engineered top that resembles a sheet of slate. We finished the cabinets with the antique glass knobs that I found at Pickin' at the Pea last month, and voila! A stand-alone piece of furniture that can be moved if I ever want to re-arrange the room.

My paper storage/organizer is an inexpensive piece that I have had for years. Hugh tackled the problem of it being utterly hideous by finishing it with wainscoting left over from the house remodel (which we have been storing since 2006. Because, sometimes it pays to be a hoarder), and making a lid for it, with a handle created from two additional antique knobs that I found at one of my favorite thrift stores. The piece now blends seamlessly with the rest of the room, and, a pretty ugly piece has been transformed into a functional and lovely storage solution.

The large picture frame now hanging on the main wall was re-purposed from the old window sash that I also found at Pickin' at the Pea.

After scraping the existing paint from the piece, I repainted with chalk paint, added a few distressed areas, sealed with poly, and had Hugh replace two missing panes of glass and add a back. Although the panes aren't standard photo size, I easily adapted some black and white prints to fit. I'm really, really happy with how it turned out, and, I can't wait to use chalk paint on something else.

A bookcase from The Teenager's old room and an antique cabinet from another local shop complete the space (for now; I am still hoping to fine an old farm table for additional work space and I have a vintage office chair that I am refurbishing for the room even as we speak).

I love, love, LOVE it!

All of my supplies have been relocated from the mudroom to the scrapping room and I am ready to dive back into the kids' scrapbooks; currently, The Teenager's is five years behind, while the Man-Cub's lags by six. This room could not have come along at a better time, obviously.

If posts become scarce, you'll know where to find me...

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Throwback Thursday: My How Times Have Changed

Say what you will about Facebook, but, you can't deny that it has changed the way that people relate to one another. In my experience, it has brought together friends and family from all across this country, and, sometimes, from even greater distances.

Facebook has connected me to kids I knew in grade school, to High School classmates, to family who I know well, and to family that I have barely met; Facebook is a forum for us to share memories and common experiences.

A while back, one of my cousins scanned and posted photos from his mother's old albums; there were photos of my grandparents, my parents, my sister and myself as young children, all of my cousins, aunts, uncles, and old family friends. It was a tremendous undertaking, and, in my opinion, a vastly rewarding one.

For one thing, we got this awesome picture of my Aunt Connie, sharing a tasty refreshment with her infant son while his adoring grandfather looked on...

The picture was taken in front of my parents' house during the Stampede parade; I can't count all of the ways in which it is wrong by today's standards: Providing alcohol to a minor. Violation of the open container law. Contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Child neglect, or abuse (depending on the sympathies of the presiding judge). Yet, I cannot help but love this photo, and, truth be told, to yearn for those simpler days.

I love that it captures, exactly, the way that I remember my Grandad.

I love that it reminds me of just how soft and squishy my cousin Brian's chubby little legs were and how delightful his laugh was.

I love that I see a strong resemblance between my aunt and myself.

I love that my childhood home is in the background.

And I love the mellowness of light that only old prints can capture.

If it hadn't been for Facebook, I probably would have never seen this photo, so, thanks, Facebook. Thanks, Cousin George. And, thank you to my Aunt Connie, for providing the photographer with an epic shot; I cannot wait to see how shocking some of the photos I have taken turn out to be forty years from now.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

New Month, New Hairstyle

Lately, I have been tired of my hair. It had grown a little too long for a woman pushing fifty, and, it was damaged from six years of constant coloring and heated styling tools.

So, yesterday, while in the chair for my monthly root touch-up, I impulsively requested a new do. 

My stylist is awesome and she did not disappoint. Three inches and a new set of bangs later, I was rocking a totally new head of hair. 

I don't miss the length, as I said, it was pretty gnarly, anyway, and; I love the fringe around the face-it really distracts from the forehead wrinkles and crows feet around my eyes. 

So, new haircut for the win!