Tuesday, May 31, 2016

And Then There Were None

I forgot to mention that I got to watch the first of the Porch Birds leave the nest yesterday. I just happened to be on the porch at the right moment, camera in hand.

The bird-I've decided it was Scout-was perched on the edge of the nest. She was stretching and flexing her wings before suddenly leaping onto the wire of the light strand that runs along the porch.

It took her a second to regain her balance, but, once she did, it didn't take long before she started leaning farther and farther forward.

At one point, she seemed to rethink her rash decision to leave the nest, glancing back at her sisters before focusing on the open sky ahead of her.

And, then, before I had a chance to react, she was gone.

It was such a neat thing to witness.

This evening, Hugh and I both got to watch as the third-and last-bird* left the nest. We missed the departure of the second bird, but, you know how independent those middle kids can be; she didn't need an audience to feel good about her accomplishment.

So, I officially have an empty nest. I'm sure there is a metaphor for my life in there, somewhere, but I'm not really interested in exploring that right now, thankyouverymuch.

*Although there were originally four babies, the smallest one failed to thrive and we lost her. RIP, Dill.

Kickstarting Our Summer

We had a very, very busy weekend. It was fun, it was exciting, it was exhausting; in short, it was a fantastic way to start Summer 2016, or, as I have come to know it, the last summer that I will have a child in school.

See? I told you to prepare for a lot of mentions about lasts.

Anyway, the weekend got off to a good start on Friday, when I cut loose from the office at noon to run to the Hellmouth to stock up on the supplies that we would need for a full weekend. The Hellmouth was packed, as is to be expected on the first day of a long holiday weekend.

Then, I went home and spent a couple of hours cleaning the house, stocking the fridge and pantry, and visiting with Queen B, who was awaiting the arrival of her new boyfriend (Yes! She has a boyfriend! And, in a case serendipity if ever I heard one, his last name is Prince. You can't make this shit up!); the two were headed over the hill to spend a couple of days with my mom and to attend the graduation of a friend of QB's.

After I said my goodbyes to QB, I did a quick workout and then went into Hooterville for a massage, which greatly improved my chances of being relaxed for the weekend. Afterwards, I went home to make a huge chefs salad for Hugh, the Man-Cub, and Tones, who came home with the Cub after football practice (Yes, football practice, already), and then I lounged on the couch for the rest of the evening.

Saturday was spent puttering around the house, after getting to sleep in for a little less than I would have liked (Damn you, Guinness, and your early morning face licking! Newsflash; you are not a dog!).

I replanted a rose bush, planted some new veggies in the garden, and weeded where needed. Later in the afternoon, Hugh came home from work and we drove to Neighboring City to pick up some new man-sandals (for him, obviously) and a gift for a bridal shower that QB and I will be attending later this week. While we were there, we ate dinner at Red Robin, where I had a whiskey BBQ chicken sandwich that was to die for; I am now planning to attempt a recreation of the sandwich at home.

Sunday, I went for a nice long walk, returning home to find the menfolk planting the five bearded iris plants that I had picked up at the nursery the day before. Then, they worked on installing some new parts on the RV while I got in a good workout. Our reward for the day was a trip to the theater, where we saw the new X-Men movie (have I mentioned how much I enjoy the side conversations that the Cub and I have about super-hero movies? I love that he turns to me as the expert on all things Marvel and DC; all that Saturday morning cartoon watching and comic book collecting from my childhood has paid off!). After the movie, we met QB and the Prince, who were returning from Mayberry, for dinner at the Chinese buffet.

Monday, Hugh, the Cub and I biked to the local cemetery to take in the Memorial Day ceremonies and to pay our respects to the servicemen and women who have died for our freedom. Then, we finished off the day with a trip back to Neighboring City for dinner and a baseball game with Oscar, Emily, and the kids. The game was followed by fireworks, so we didn't get home until quite late, which brings me to this morning.

It's time to head to work.

Thank God it's going to be a short week.

Monday, May 30, 2016


For those who gave their lives in service to our country.

For those who fought to secure our freedom.

For those who drew their last breath on foreign soil so that we might never know war on our own.

Thank you.

Sunday, May 29, 2016


As of last Wednesday at noon, the Man-Cub officially became a Senior. And, if you don't think that I throw up a little in my mouth every time I say that, then we haven't officially been introduced: Hi! I'm Chelle and I have Empty Nest Anxiety. Pleasure to meet you!

So, yeah. Please be prepared for lots and lots of upcoming posts about lasts; last first day of school, last Homecoming, last football game, etc., etc.

In the meantime, would you look at this kid?!

I mean, how did he get so big? Clearly, I did my due diligence in feeding him all these years, which, is a relief considering the five years or so wherein he would only eat chicken nuggets, macaroni and cheese, and strawberry/banana Gogurts.

The lettermans jacket is a nice touch, don't you think? Mom bought it for him and he just beams with pride when he slips it on. I predict that he will get a lot of use out of it this year, you know, to his last first day of school, last Homecoming, last football game...

It's going to be an incredibly long (yet, sadly short) year.


Saturday, May 28, 2016

I Have a Secret

For the most part, the rose bushes that I planted around the porch last year survived the winter, beautifully. Unfortunately, one, the Chicago Peace rose, did not.

I thought, at first, that it might make it, but, it finally gave up the ghost sometime last week, and, I had no choice but to yank it out and replace it with something new.

Today, I visited the nursery and chose a new variety, a pink and cream hybrid tearose with super fragrant  blooms; it's called the Secret rose and I love it. I planted it with a banana peel because I read on Pinterest that the potassium in the peel will strengthen the bush and help prevent it from disease. I have no idea if that is true or not, but, I figured it couldn't hurt to try.

Here's hoping for a long and healthy life for the new bush.

Bird Update

Scout, Jem, Dill, and Boo Radley are growing and preparing to leave the nest. Harper Lee spends less and less time at the nest and I haven't seen Atticus Finch for a while. Every once in a while, I catch a glimpse of the babies standing up in the nest, stretching their wings and testing the air, so, I imagine it won't be long, now.

While I will be sad to see them go, I am more than ready to get rid of the nest. I don't know if you know this, but, baby birds make quite a poopy mess.

Anyway, it's been an adventure watching them go from tiny blue eggs to fuzzy mutant creatures to fine feathered friends, and, if Harper, or one of her kin, want to return next year to rebuild and repopulate, I won't complain.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Schoooools Out For Summmmah!

Today, we hosted our 6th annual Last Day of School Slip 'n' Slide party. Lots of kids came, lots of chips and soda were consumed, lots of water balloons were thrown, lots of laughter could be heard, and no one got hurt.


And, what a great start to what I am hoping is an awesome summer.

Monday, May 23, 2016

I'm Gonna Need Some Time to Recover From My Weekend

No, not like THAT. I didn't tie one on or anything, I just busted up my old body by spending twelve hours ripping bindweed from my flowerbeds. It was exhausting and demoralizing; at one point, as I gazed over what I had accomplished and then focused on how much more I had to do, I seriously wanted to cry. I felt like Sisyphus, pushing that boulder up the mountain, just to have it roll right back down, again.

But! I got it done, and, after a nice hot soak in a bath filled with Epsom salts, I am almost able to move today without experiencing labor-induced Tourette's Syndrome. Almost.

Other than tearing weeds from the soil, I had a decent weekend. The weather was nice enough to enjoy being outside, and, Friday night, after I finished photographing the 8th Grade continuation kiddos, I went to Jana's to join Hugh and the kids at a bonfire celebrating Darren's birthday. It was a nice relaxing way to end the day, and, I got to catch up with Jana Bobana and with Carmen, whom I haven't really seen since we all went to the lake for Labor Day. Kaley is also home from college, so we got to see her as well, and my kids were together, which is always a plus.

Saturday, I got up early to get a jump-start on the chores that I needed to do before tackling the flowerbeds, including printing some of the pictures from Continuation. They turned out great, and, I am now a couple hundred dollars closer to my savings goal.

Then, as I said earlier, I spent the rest of the weekend on my knees in the dirt. Today, I am drinking my morning coffee while gazing across the porch at those flowerbeds, and, the pain was totally worth the end result.

You know, until the weeds grow back.

Friday, May 20, 2016

File Under: The Sacrifices We Make For Our Kids

Tonight, I have my first paying gig. No, I'm not playing tambourine in a band, although, I used to wish I was Tracey Partridge, because she got to play tambourine in the family band, but, that is neither here, nor there.

My paying gig is as a photographer.

That's right; I have sold out.

I said I would never do it, but, mama's got bills to pay.

And, by bills, I mean that I am saving for a trip to Hawaii next Spring Break, because; the Man-Cub has it in his head that he wants to go to college in Hawaii, to study to be a marine biologist. Yes, my totally land-locked, mountain-loving, skiing freak of a son wants to make a career out of the ocean.

Insert shocked face emoji, here.

Anyhoo, I am totally supportive of my child and, I want him to have a chance to visit the college that he hopes to eventually attend (after two years in-state to get his general requirements done, because, while he has a dream, he is also a planner and he realizes that this is the most cost-effective way to get the job done. What can I say? I have raised a couple of really intelligent kids, despite myself), so; I am prostituting my photographic skills for the next year or so to pay for a trip.

Tonight: 8th grade continuation.

Tomorrow? Senior pictures, family pictures, you-name-it, I guess I'm doing it.

I know he'll appreciate it, because I also somehow managed to raise kind and grateful kids, and, you can't put a price on that.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Today I Am Going to Talk About Boobs and Birds. As One Does

I had my annual mammogram today, and, I have to say; I was a little bit miffed when the radiologist failed to recognize me. I mean, I'm there every year, how could she forget me? And, ok, she probably does at least eight mammograms a day, possibly more, but, still, I recognized her.


Next year, I am going to put a temporary tattoo of something that won't be easily forgotten right across my boobs. I'm leaning toward Hilary on the left and The Donald on the right. Let's see her try to get that image out of her mind. Bet she remembers me in 2018.

Now, about those birds...

Harper Lee might want to step it up with the regurgitated worms; her babies are crying. Also, those are faces that only a mother could love. I hope they grow out of their awkward adolescence and into beautiful young birds, because right now, ewww.

Monday, May 16, 2016

We Have Babies!

Allow me to introduce the newest residents of the porch:

Scout, Jem, Dill, and Boo Radley.

All four appear to be in good health, although, I was very careful not to get close enough to contaminate them with my humanity, so, I suppose there could be a runt in the litter. I haven't discovered a body outside of the nest, so, I think it's all good.

I'm a little bummed that I missed the actual hatching, but, I'll recover. Now, I am breathlessly awaiting the young-uns flying the nest, which, in bird-time, could happen any day now.

They grow up so fast.