Saturday, February 28, 2015

Things I Am NOT Liking Right Now

In no particular order:

-My hair. Specifically, the color of it. I understood some time ago that I was going to have to surrender my natural brunette shade in the battle against the gray; I mostly accepted that fact. That said; I am not warming up to the lighter shade. I feel like an impostor in my own skin and I stick out like a sore thumb in pictures with my kids.

Exhibit A:


It would be sort of nice to slightly resemble the children that I spent nine months incubating in my own body.

-I am also not liking my current hairstyle. I gave up extreme haircuts all those years ago, when Edwina Scissorhands got ahold of me and ruined my hair. The years of growth since have produced a lot of hair but not much style. I am rethinking my stance on shorter hair but have not arrived at any actual decisions regarding it.

-I find the recent weather somewhat vexing. The forecast calls for snow, in massive amounts, between yesterday and next Wednesday. We have yet to see a single flake, but, I don't want to make plans because, you know, it could snow. Or, it might not, and the things that I have planned to do while stranded in my home will fall to the wayside. Currently, I am doing nothing because, I'm not sure which way to go. Vexing. (And, lazy)

-My body's sudden NEED for all things sugary and forbidden is particularly distressing. I usually do pretty well with my Lenten sacrifices, and, while I have not faltered, I sure am feeling cranky as all shit. I blame my horror-mones, as recent, shall we say, events, have led me to believe that I have entered the dreaded peri-menopause phase of my reproductive lifecycle. The phase comes standard with irregular periods, slight weight gain, and an obsessive desire to eat Three Muskateer bars with wild abandon, despite them being firmly off-limits. Not fun.

I'm sure there are a number of things that I am forgetting, but this seems like enough bitching for now. And, since I am not really the type to wallow in my own misery, I think I will venture out of the house-weather be damned-and get myself a pedicure. Nothing enhances a mood quite as well as a good foot and leg massage and a shiny set of colorful toenails...except for inhaling an entire bag of mini Three Muskateer Bars, but, I think we've already covered that.

Only, like, five more weeks to go!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Friday Favorites: Kicking February to the Curb

Today, my favorite daughter got notice that she has been accepted to the university in Neighboring City; she will be transferring at the end of the semester. I'm happy for her as I know that this is what she wanted and I am happy for myself because I will no longer have to ride on the Will-They-or-Won't-They-Accept-Her Rollercoaster. That ride was not nearly as much fun as the advertisement.

This afternoon, I got out my spring decorations and I decorated my mantel; spring colors are some of my favorite colors. I love the pastels shades of purple, blue and coral. The new d├ęcor brightened my house as well as my mood.

Tomorrow is my second-favorite day of February (The Teenager's birthday being my first-favorite, naturally); the last day. No offense, February, but, you kind of suck. I am looking forward to March since it means that our trip to Paris is right around the corner and that we are that much closer to summer.

Have I ever mentioned that summer is one of my favorite seasons? If not, today was a good day to say it.

Only three months to go!

 
With one of my favorite people, sipping one of our favorite drinks...soon, baby, soon...

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Digging Through Old Diaries

I wrote the following entry in my journal ten years ago. It's fun to read back over entries in that journal to compare and contrast where I was then to where I am, now (well, it's fun for me, if it's not your thing, please feel free to skip on by, it's totally cool, I promise) and it's especially neat to be reminded of what the kids were up to back then.

I just can't believe it's been ten years. I also can't believe how similar the comments I had on the Oscars then were to the thoughts that I had about them this year, but, the more things change, the more they stay the same, I suppose. Also, I really do miss Deadwood; Timothy Olyphant was super hot.


Yes, yes I was.

02-28-2005

Memo To My Weekend

Dear Weekend: Four hours of sleep on Friday night is just not enough, especially when you have to drive in a raging snowstorm for over an hour to get to a wrestling tournament in the morning. And, while we are on the subject, seven hours on a hard gymnasium bleacher? Not fun. Although, I am very proud that the Man-Cub took first place in his division and that he was nominated as Outstanding Wrestler due to being such a good winner. That might have made up for the aching ass, at least a little bit. Also, thanks for the spot of humor in my day when the Man-Cub screamed OUCH! That hurt my nuts! as he racked himself on the rail that I had just told him to quit playing on; I have to admit, the collective whipping around of heads in that gymnasium was spectacular. And funny. Oh, the Man-Cub did not think so, but I digress. Dinner at the Chinese restaurant, by the way; great way to end the day.

Sleeping in on Sunday was nice, thanks. And the Girl enjoyed her play date with her friend from school; going to the swimming pool was a stroke of brilliance and the ice cream sundaes afterwards were a big hit.

Speaking of hitting, are you in charge of disciplining the Girl when she smacks her little brother? Because I weary, Weekend, seriously. I weary.

On another weary topic, how about them Oscars! The fashions actually generated some memos of their very own i.e.:

Dear Selma Hayek I am in awe of your cleavage. That is all. -Respectfully

Dear Laura Linney Were you TRYING to match your dress to your skin tone? Just wondering. -Puzzled

Dear Penelope Cruz So sorry Selmas cleavage stole your thunder. I have a seriously good push-up bra, give me a call and Ill hook you up! -With sympathy

Dear Hilary Swank Two Oscars AND Rob Lowe for a brother-in-law? Seriously, did you sell your soul to the devil? -Jealously yours

Dear Orlando Bloom Mrrrowwrr! -Droolingly yours

Dear Charlize Theron I had a girlfriend in high school who wore that exact same dress to prom. I am not quite sure what to say about that. -Confused

Dear Renee Zellwegar Girl! OPEN your EYES! All that squinting causes wrinkles and Botox is dangerous! -P.S. For the love of god woman, eat a fucking sandwich! -Worried

Dear Beyonce, Girlfriend, you are not all that. -Bored

Dear Oscar Producers, FYI: There are other female vocalists in the world. Some of them are very popular. -Just thought you should know

Dear Weekend, cont. Thanks for salvaging my night with a great episode of Carnivale. If I had ended with the Oscars, I might have slept better but I am not complaining. -Chelle

P.S. Could you please thank Next Weekend, in advance, for showing episodes of both Carnivale and Deadwood? That makes me so happy, I could wet myself! -Kisses!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

This Post Is For the Birds

The eighteen inches of snow that we got on Sunday night has started to melt and the birds have returned to my feeders. Earlier this evening, I looked out the window and was surprised to see more colorful birds than I usually serve at the birdseed buffet; I have no idea what they are, but, they are very pretty.





We had several bags of seed that the mice had gotten into in the storage building behind the store, and, since we couldn't sell them, Hugh brought them home. The seed mix is different from what I usually use-more black sunflower seeds-and I am thinking that must be what attracted the new birds.

The activity at the feeders has attracted the attention of another gorgeous creature...


...who, by the way, is feeling much better following his trip to the vet, thankyouverymuch. He has been stealthily stalking the windowsill with the grace and balance of a ninja for the past half-hour, just hoping for the inevitable moment when that invisible barrier between him and his prey magically disappears.

I mean, that has to happen eventually, right?

Bless his simple little heart.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Snow Day

So, not only did the Man-Cub not have baseball practice yesterday, he had no school. For only the second time in thirty years, schools within the Petticoat Junction school district were closed due to snow.

We got about eighteen inches at our house, but, there was up to two feet in other areas, which led not only to the school closures, but to the closing of all government offices, and, in a pleasant surprise, my office in Hooterville.

I haven't had a snowday since I was about the Man-Cub's age, so, that should have been exciting. As it was, I spent most of the day napping on the couch since I have recently caught a cold and it is kicking my butt.

I did drag myself out from underneath the covers long enough to snap a few pictures as well as to heckle Hugh while he blew the snow off the driveway with his snowblower (where was he the day before, when I spent two hours manually shoveling?). I also spent considerable time begging the Man-Cub to build a snowman in the yard, but, that didn't get me very far, as you will see.

Today, we are headed back to school and work and I am hoping for a decent commute. If all else fails, I suppose I could ice skate.





 



Yes, mom, this IS the best that I can do.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Nineteen

Today is The Teenager's nineteenth birthday. Nineteen, wow. Whatever will I do next year, when she turns twenty? I won't be able to call her The Teenager anymore (I know, first world problems). I'm going to have to come up with a new nickname for the child who was once Baby Girl, then, The Girl, and, finally, The Teenager. How lucky am I to have had the privilege of writing about her for so long?

How privileged am I for having her in my life, period? She is such a good kid, and, as much as we would like to take the credit for it, the truth is, I'm sure she has thrived despite the parenting mishaps that we have made along the way.

She is fun and funny. Sweet and compassionate. Caring and nurturing. She can also be cranky and quite the pistol when she wants to be. She can argue a point until her tongue is tired and still never give an inch. I pity the fool who crosses her, particularly one that brings pain or sorrow to one of her friends, for she is loyal and devoted to them.

I have no worries about her future, I know that she will be successful at whatever path she chooses. It's interesting and fascinating to watch her become a young adult and I am so looking forward to watching her forge her way in this world as she continues to mature. Being her mother is, as I have said, such a privilege and such a blessing.

Happy birthday, baby girl! I love you infinity and beyond.


 
 
 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Maybe Baseball DOESN'T Start on Monday

Winter decided to screw with us today and we now have seven inches of snow and counting. I'm not looking forward to my drive to work tomorrow and I'm really not enjoying the shoveling (as an aside, why does it always seem to dump buckets of snow on the driveway when Hugh is unavailable for shoveling? The Man-Cub and I would seriously like to know). I am, however, very much looking forward to the pot of chili that I have bubbling away on the stovetop as well as to a long soak in a hot bathtub later this evening. After I watch the Oscars, of course.

Someone's got to make fun of the clothes the celebrities are wearing.

In the meantime, I am curled up on the couch, enjoying the warmth of the fireplace and patting myself on the back for not giving in to the urge that I had earlier this week to change the decorations on my mantel from winter to spring.



 

Be careful what you ask for...

Saturday, February 21, 2015

And Baseball Starts on Monday

The Man-Cub's Junior Varsity basketball team played their final game today. Unfortunately, they lost by a few points, but, as usual, they had fun.

Prior to the game, I asked the boys to pose for a picture; I specifically asked just the sophomores so that I can use the picture at the sports banquet when they are all seniors. I realize that this kind of forward thinking may seem slightly cray-cray, but, two years from now, it will be brilliant.

Although I didn't manage to get a photo of the Fearsome Foursome this year (one is playing on the varsity team and one decided not to play basketball this year), I feel relatively satisfied with the pictures I did manage to get.






Tomorrow, I will wash the Cub's uniform one last time. Then, I will wait for his baseball uniform to come home; it won't be a very long wait because, as the title of this post says, practice starts on Monday.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Friday Favorites

So thankful for Friday! It has been a busy week and I was looking forward to some downtime; with Hugh in Denver at the state wrestling tournament and the Man-Cub away at a basketball game, today is my day!

I did have to work, but, after spending extra time on duty yesterday, was able to take off a couple of hours early to get my hair colored. In order to juggle my coloring schedule to best accommodate an appointment close to the day I leave for Paris next month, I had to stretch this month's appointment out an extra week and that is seven days too long; my roots were at least a solid inch of silver. An hour and a half later, they were back to a lovely shade of golden blond, so, it goes without saying that my hair stylist is a definite favorite.

After my appointment, I ran through Starbucks for my new coffee favorite-an iced skinny vanilla latte. With the sun shining brightly through the sunroof, it was a perfect day for a drive in the country. Luckily, Petticoat Junction is in the country, so, I cranked up the radio, sipped my latte, and cruised home for an afternoon of house cleaning (not a favorite) and a delicious two-hour long nap.




When I woke up, I organized my new camera bag. It's not just any camera bag, it's an Epiphanie Bag, which, unless you are both a photography buff and a fan of fashion, probably doesn't mean anything to you. Suffice it to say, Epiphanie Bags are the Cadillac of camera bags. I have coveted this particular style for quite some time and was thrilled to find it at a discounted price on Amazon. Her name is Lola and I plan to take her to Paris, where she will do double duty as a purse.



Throughout the day, I have been texting with The Teenager, who has just recently joined Hugh in Denver. She and Katie will spend the weekend there with him, watching the wrestling matches and letting Hugh spoil them rotten. The Teenager's birthday is on Monday, so I whipped up a batch of red velvet cupcakes to send along with Hugh. Cupcakes don't fit into my Lent plans, so I won't be eating any of the leftovers, but, red velvet is still a favorite.


Happily, wine is still on the menu, and I intend to enjoy a glass (or two) of my favorite label later this evening. I might enjoy it while soaking in my bathtub.

Have I mentioned that Fridays are also sort of a favorite of mine?

Happy weekend, y'all!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Girl Power Edition

Last week, I waxed nostalgic about the friendship between Darren and the Man-Cub, so it seems only fair that I focus on the friendship between Kaley and The Teenager this week; what's good for the goose and all that jazz.



 
 






 
 It has been such a pleasure watching these two mature. They are polar opposites, from their coloring down to their temperaments, and yet they work well together. They argue like sisters and have a sense of loyalty to one another that rivals that of any blood relation. They are a complete blast to be around and I hope we have the privilege of watching them together for many years to come.

In the meantime, I will look back fondly on the numerous scrapbooks that feature the two of them engaged in mischief; they were, are, and will (hopefully) always be a force to be reckoned with.



Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Table For Twenty

Lessons learned at this evening's team dinner:

1.  Ten pounds of taco meat will juuuust barely stretch far enough to feed twenty teenaged boys.

2.  The last minute decision to include flour tortillas, beans and melted cheese on the menu will prove fortuitous when one realizes that a quarter of the team is Catholic. Hello, Ash Wednesday.

3.  In the case that beans and cheese are on the menu, plan to serve no less than three cans worth. This will adequately provide enough bean and cheese burritos to satisfy the non-meat eaters.

4.  Expect a spirited game of Modern Warfare to break out on the Xbox.

5.  An assorted package of Kool-Aid singles and bottles of water are a surprisingly big hit despite the fact that the boys claim to have stopped drinking Kool-Aid in the fourth grade.

6.  Boys are surprisingly tidy. And helpful. Who knew?

7.  A glass of wine is the best reward for a job well done. It is best to wait until the boys go home to enjoy it, however.

So, another team dinner in the record books. The boys have two more regular season games and very little hope for advancement in the district tournament (I'm not being pessimistic, just realistic). They do, however, start baseball practice on Monday.

Not even kidding.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

I Blame the Car Wash

The weather here in Petticoat Junction took a turn for the worse yesterday; temperatures dropped, the wind picked up, and, as I was driving home, there was just enough rain spitting from the sky to cause water spots on my pristinely washed car. Those of you who may have read about me washing the car and immediately predicted that I had cursed myself were absolutely correct. On the other hand, we didn't get any accumulation of snow, unlike those poor people in Boston who are coming up on one hundred inches for the season, so far.

That's a lot of snow.

While nowhere near a hundred inches, The Teenager did experience her own share of snow on her drive back to school, yesterday, thanks to a blizzard that blew through the mountains. The trip, which usually takes about six hours, took over nine and part of that was spent sitting in gridlock on the interstate due to accidents caused by idiots driving too fast for conditions. I'm just so relieved and grateful that she made it safely.

On the topic of The Teenager, her nineteenth birthday is less than a week away. This will be the first birthday that I have missed and I am sad. On the positive side, Hugh will see her in Denver over the upcoming weekend, thanks to the state wrestling tournament, and he is going to deliver a half dozen red velvet cupcakes to her for me, so, at least I'll know that she is getting her annual birthday sugar fix.

And, speaking of sugar, tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, which means the beginning of Lent. I have struggled with what to give up this year but have settled on giving up sweets, again. This is still a hard thing for me, I don't know why sugar has such a hold on me. Unfortunately, this will limit the treats that I can indulge in while in Paris next month. I hope God will forgive me one (or, two) small lapse(s).

In news unrelated to anything else in this post, tomorrow night I am hosting the boys' basketball team dinner. I am expecting twenty or so boys for a taco bar. I'm basically prepared for the onslaught, but, am wondering if I should be concerned about being...unconcerned. Probably. But, oh well.

It's tacos. What could go wrong?

(If you just predicted that a horrible taco-related fiasco shall befall me, we can no longer be friends.)

Sunday, February 15, 2015

And Donuts on Sunday

When my sisters and I were young, donuts were a treat saved for Sunday mornings after church. Sometimes, we stayed after mass to share the sweets with our fellow parishoners, and, sometimes, my mom would make us our very own donuts once we were home.

Her donuts were simple to make, but, they required refrigerated biscuit dough that was, in her budget-conscious  mind, more of an occasional splurge than a kitchen staple. The scarcity of those donuts made them all the more special when we did get them.

Lately, I've been craving those donuts, and, with refrigerated biscuit dough being more inexpensive these days (I have no idea why, I don't understand economics), I figured I would make them for Hugh and the Man-Cub, who, it should be noted,were thrilled to have them because, apparently, "cheaper" does not equate into "makes more frequent appearances" in my household; I have not made the donuts since the kids were in elementary school, I...have no excuse save for laziness.

Oh, and grease! Remember my reluctance to cook on the stovetop with grease, thanks to the PTSD caused by the grease fires of my childhood? Yes, let's blame it on the PTSD.

Ahem.

Anyhoodle, here are the step-by-step directions for homemade fried donuts, may they remind you of your own childhood.


Your ingredients: vegetable oil, refrigerated biscuits, granulated sugar (you could also use confectioners sugar, depending on what texture you prefer for the coating of your donut). In a nod to my mother's frugal spirit, I am using store brand oil and biscuits. Also, because I am cheap....like my mother.

Using a donut hole cutter (if you have a combination biscuit/donut cutter, this is the center part. Mine twists out to become a separate cutter, yours might, too), remove centers from biscuits. Reserve for donut holes.



In a skillet, heat oil until hot. If the oil smokes, you have gone too far, turn down the heat and allow the oil to cool a tad (If, at that point, you suffer a PTSD related flashback to kitchen fires of yore, turn the heat off completely, step away from the stove, and place your head between your knees. Breathe deeply until the terror fades. Go buy a box of Krispie Kremes at the local convenience store, your family will probably forgive you).

Drop donuts into hot oil and fry each side to golden brown.




Remove donuts from oil and drain on paper towel until cool enough to handle. Dredge donuts in granulated sugar to coat (no picture of that part because this is not a food blog. And, because I suck) and enjoy while donuts are still warm.


How good are they? Good enough to get a teenaged boy out of bed before ten o'clock in the morning on a weekend. That's pretty high praise, right there.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

My Valentines Day in Pictures





 


 


 Good company, good food, a little wine, fine chocolates and a couple of chick flicks...St. Valentine would approve.