Sunday, July 23, 2017

Sunday With the Roughriders

The Man-Cub's team, finally got their uniforms today; they are officially The Roughriders.

And, what was the roughest thing they did today? They lost by two in an extra inning following nine innings tied 5-5. Seriously. Five runs for each team in the first inning of the game followed by nothing, nada, zilch for the next eight innings.

It was a looooong game. And, hot! Holy hell, it was hot! But, I only have a few more opportunities to watch the Cub play ball, so, I'm not complaining. Plus, I had my trusty lawn chair (complete with side tray table and a handy loop for holding up my giant umbrella), a cooler full of sparkling water (as hoped, the bubbling H2O has kept me off the Diet Pepsi), and a bag full of cherries (I prefer to spit pits instead of sunflower seed shells, I'm weird like that), so, I was as comfortable as I was going to get.

Next weekend, I will be in Mayberry, celebrating Stampede weekend and my 30th high school reunion, so, I won't get to watch the Cub play, but, you can bet your last dollar I'll still be rooting for him.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Another Day, Another Photo Shoot

Today, I got to photograph a large extended family that was gathered together to celebrate the 45th wedding anniversary of it's matriarch and patriarch. That's mom and dad to you and me. Well, not to you and me, but, to my friend, Joy, who asked me to do the pictures.



The family was a blast to work with, and, even with two small kids and two rambunctious dogs, we managed to pull out some great shots, both of the large group and the smaller groups that make up this awesome family.

I can't think of much better ways to spend the day (other than on a boat, of course. Don't even get me started on the boat).

Friday, July 21, 2017

Friday Favorites: Recently Read Edition

I've had a bit more free time than usual, lately, and, I've spent a lot of it on one of my favorite pursuits; reading.

Here are a few of my favorite books so far this summer.

1. From Sand and Ash, by Amy Harmon

This is a unique love story set amid the horrors of the Holocaust. It follows childhood sweethearts and best friends, Eva and Angelo, a Jewish girl and a Christian boy, as they grow to adulthood. Despite his love for Eva, Angelo follows the call to priesthood, which, eventually enables him to assist numerous Jewish families during the Nazi occupation of Italy. The connection between Eva and Angelo is beautifully written and the historical detail of the book is on point.

2. Before We Were Yours, by Lisa Wingate

Spanning several decades, this is the story of a family torn apart by the evil machinations of a woman who manipulated-and profited from-the Tennessee child welfare system. Based on the true story of Georgia Tann, it weaves historical fact with the fictitious story of the Foss Five; siblings stolen from their shanty boat by Georgia Tann and trafficked through The Tennessee Children's Home Society.

I vaguely recalled reading about Georgia Tann at some point prior to discovering this book, but, the story really opened my eyes to the scope of the crimes committed by this horrific woman. It was an entertaining and appealing read, and, I blazed through it in record time because I was reluctant to put it down.

3.  One Week to the Wedding, by Olivia Miles

After reading two books with fairly heavy topic material, I needed to cleanse my literary palate with an easy breezy beach read, and, this book fit the bill. It's the story of a wedding planner who was jilted at the altar and who must now plan her best friend's wedding while nursing her broken heart. Will the best man mend our heroine's broken heart? Will this wedding go off without a hitch? Hey, it's an easy breezy beach read, what do you think?

4. Everything We Keep, by Kerry Lonsdale

Aimee's fiance was killed in a surfing accident a week before the wedding. Or, was he? Dun, dun, begins a mystery that will keep Aimee guessing for two years, culminating in a confrontation with a man who is both familiar and yet not.

I immediately followed this by grabbing the second book in this series...

5. Everything We Left Behind, by Kerry Lonsdale

Picking up the story from the perspective of Aimee's long-dead fiance, and finally explaining the mystery of his disappearance, this book was a great read as well. I would love to give more details about both books, but, that would spoil the surprises, twists, and turns, and I am reluctant to do so. Just trust me when I say; they are really enjoyable. Also, a third book in the series will debut next summer; you can bet I'll be first in line for the download.

6. The Sugar Men, by Ray Kingfisher

Another excellent, poignant, heartbreaking,and hopeful book about the Holocaust. Not sure why I have gravitated to these kinds of stories this summer, but they have certainly been worthy reads. This particular story follows the sorrows of Susanah Zuckerman and her family, interred in Bergen-Belsen for the final two years of the war, as they endure the horrors inflicted on them by the Nazi guards. It was a story that will stay with me for awhile, which is why I probably need to pick up something breezy from Elin Hilderbrand.

Or, Dr. Seuss. Whichever.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Business After Hours

This evening, I accompanied my co-workers to a local brewpub to celebrate the departure of one of our own; she and her husband are relocating to Pennsylvania, where they have extended family, and where they wish to raise the baby that they are expecting in November. It was a bittersweet celebration; we are very happy for them, but, will certainly miss her positive energy around the office.

While we were at the restaurant, we indulged in a wide selection of appetizers, and, by wide selection, I mean, every appetizer on the menu.

Every. Single. One.

And, we ate Every. Single. Bite. True story.

Then, we roasted the guest of honor with stories about some of her less-than-ideal encounters with clients as well as sharing memories of times spent together over the past four years.

Then, because goodbyes are awkward and sad, and, because no one wanted to cry, we organized a farewell victory tunnel, instead.


It was an enjoyable way to spend the evening; the company could not be beat, and, the fact that I am still full is a happy bonus.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Not So Fast, Good Doctor

My breakup with the Good Doctor may be the shortest lived breakup in history; she called today, begging me to come back. Clearly, she can't live without me.

Ok, actually, she called to let me know that the latest spelunking of the Nether Bits produced a sample that is "suspicious" in that it contains endometrial cells, which, apparently have no business hanging out in that particular region of Cooterville. So, now I get the pleasure of my second endometrial biopsy in two years.

Yes, my second one.

Care to know how the last one went? Please feel free to read all about it. Go ahead, I'll wait.

Done? Great!

Now, doesn't that sound exactly like something you would want to experience twice in your lifetime?

I would have been so much less uncomfortable if the Good Doctor had simply missed me.

It's Like He KNEW

I woke up with a raging headache at 1:25 this morning. After downing four ibuprofen, I returned to bed, anxious to get in some more zzzz's before my alarm went off at 5:00.

Once my head hit the pillow, Guinness, who was also utilizing the pillow, started licking it. My head, I mean, not the pillow.

It isn't unusual for Guinness to show affection in this manner-he's a head-licker, that one, but, this time, I didn't gently shoo him away, I let him do his thing. It felt rather comforting.

There is a lot to be said for the animal-human bond, for sure.

 I awoke to my alarm with no headache. I credit the kitty licking every bit as much as the drugs.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

This Week's Thoughts on Biiiiig Brother

- I TOLD y'all that Jessica would be the downfall of Cody. Yeah, yeah, him being a massive dick contributed, but, still.

- Dear Jessica, henceforth to be known as Messica: False eyelashes have no place in an endurance competition.

- Paul laying out Alex's options for nominees as though she has no say in the matter, despite her being, you know, the actual HOH, is just as narcissistic as one would expect, considering that Paul is a narcissistic asshole.

- Mark continues to be clueless. Sweet, but clueless.

- Christmas's competitive crossfit career is kaput (say that five times fast).

- Matt is the prettiest scenery in the house. As for his game play...Matt is the prettiest scenery in the house.

- Kevin should adopt Ramses. It'll be a remake of Different Strokes for the new generation.

- I'm not looking forward to next week, when the ejected houseguests get to battle for the chance to re-enter the house. I wonder if they gave Megan the option? Actually, I wonder how long it took her to say FUCK THAT, if they did.

- I was desperately hoping that Raven would eat a damn sandwich, considering the fact that it looked like you could actually see her internal organs through her skin. Then, she casually announced that she has a gastric pacemaker on account of her gastroparesis and I wanted to slap myself. I bet she wishes she could eat a sandwich too.

- I can't believe I've hung in this long; I might just make it to the bitter end.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Got Ink?

I have never considered myself a tattoo person. But, while I have no burning desire to mark my body in a permanent fashion, my children have taken a different course.

Her freshman year in college, Queen B got an incredibly tiny cross on her foot. This introduction to the art opened the floodgates, and, a year later, she added a colorful dragonfly to her body art collection.

The dragonfly was in remembrance of both Brandon and my dad, and, since I also hold the dragonfly dear to my heart, I was less dismayed by her choice to permanently mark herself with its' image than I might have been had she chosen something less endearing.

Not that it would have been my choice, either way; she was-and, is-an adult and was free to make her own choices regarding her body.

Flash forward to last year, when the Man-Cub turned eighteen and was, for most practical purposes, a legal adult. He and Queen B plotted and planned to share the tattooing experience together, and, their bond was made complete. In the sense that they now share ink, at least.

Again, while not a choice I would have made, I did commend the sentiment, as well as their use of tasteful script and the choice of location on their bodies-that is to say, not in an area that future employers will necessarily see (a future in pole dancing or as a Chippendale not looming on the horizon, please and thank you, God).

Then, because you can't put the genie back in the bottle, the Man-Cub started planning for his next piece of body art, the design of which he labored over, intensively.

I can't say that I was thrilled. It's...large. But, it truly speaks to his wanderlust and to his adventurous spirit, and, as I've said, it's not my body and he is an adult, so...

I still have no burning desire for artwork of my own. As far as I'm concerned, the artwork that means the most to me is reflected in the two beautiful human beings that I created.

Besides, in a way, I do carry two tattoos; I carry them on my heart, crafted from an ink that will never fade.

That's good enough for me.

Friday, July 14, 2017

This Was, By Far, the Saddest Break-Up I've Ever Had

Yesterday, I finally met with my gynecologist for my once-tri-annual-spelunking of the Nether Bits. I say finally because, the appointment has been rescheduled three times, once because the good doctor was sick and twice because I had an unexpected visitor in the form of Aunt Flo, who, fickle bitch, had neglected to arrive on time for her scheduled visit in June, and then, made an unexpected re-appearance a mere two weeks following the end of her belated visit.

Does that make sense?

It made sense when I explained it to the good doctor.

Anyhoodle, we finally connected (pun not intended) for my exam, and, as she was exploring the deepest, darkest regions of the Nether Bits, she casually informed me that she is retiring this year, so, this would be our last adventure together.

That made me sad; she's been my chief spelunker since 1999, she knows the terrain, if you get what I'm saying. While I'm really happy for her (she is moving back to Oregon to be closer to family), I am sad for the Nether Bits, having to be re-discovered by a brand new spelunker, who, could be far less quick, efficient, and gentle as the good doctor.

Once she was satisfied that no new stalactites or stalagmites had grown in the Nether Bits since her last spelunking of them, she snapped her gloves off and gave me a big hug goodbye, casting me adrift, into the sea of providers covered by my insurance.

At least she spared me the trite and tired "It's not you, it's me" speech.

I'll  live, but, still :(

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Recipes From the Porch: Summer Berry and White Fruit Sangrias

The sangrias I served at last night's Porch Night were possibly the best sangrias that I have ever made. I chose to make two varieties because my friends are equally divided between sweet wine drinkers and dry wine drinkers and I wanted to cover all my bases.

And, speaking of bases, I need to digress for a moment: last night, the ladies each brought a designated driver in the form of a son recently graduated from high school (with the exception of Mama Jill, whose DD will graduate next May, obviously). While we guzzled delicately sipped our sangria on the porch, the boys were in the house watching baseball. After the last drop of sangria was drained from the dispensers, the boys bundled their mothers off the porch like they were leading  doddering senior citizens to the common room of the old folks home for a rousing game of bingo. There were reminders to collect sweaters and purses and gentle admonitions about watching their steps on the stairs, as well as good-natured teasing about the obvious limitations in our alcohol tolerance.

It was the sweetest thing I have ever seen.

I'm going to miss these boys; they make our world a safer (and sweeter) place.

And, speaking of sweet, on to the recipes, done in true Ms. Congeniality style, which is to say, poorly conceived and badly executed. You've been warned.

Summer Berry Sangria:
-1 bag frozen whole mixed berries
-1 orange, thinly sliced (And, not pictured because I continue to forget one ingredient in the photos of every gosh-damned recipe I ever post. At least I am consistent)
-1 (very generous) cup orange liqueur (I eyeballed it; could have been a cup, could have been two. Live dangerously, I always say!)
-1 bottle (1.5 litre) Arbor Mist Blackberry Merlot
1 litre lemon-lime soda

Yes, the bottles are empty, my picture-taking timing is impeccable, don't you agree?

Mix fruit, orange liqueur, and wine in a container (I used the dispenser that I planned to serve from because it was easier than mixing in a pitcher and transferring the liquid later). Chill in the fridge for several hours, the longer, the better. Right before serving, add chilled soda and give a little stir.

White Fruit Sangria:
(None of the ingredients for this recipe are pictured. I told you this post was badly executed, just go with it)

-1 bag frozen mixed fruit (mango, nectarine, and strawberry)
-2 oranges, thinly sliced
-1 cup orange liqueur (see above for exactish measurement of this ingredient)
-1 bottle (1.5 litre) Arbor Mist Pink Moscato
-1 litre lemon-lime soda

Follow the instructions for the Summer Berry Sangria. This isn't brain surgery.

Serve both drinks over ice. Add additional fruit if desired (I didn't do this because, in my experience, fruit in the glass gets in the way of proper drink delivery through a straw, which, is my preferred method for enjoying this drink).

These recipes come with a very important Public Service Announcement: Because these drinks are tasty and refreshing, it is easy to suck down two or three without a thought. This will result in a ninja-style kick to your ass due to the high alcohol content. You will require the services of a designated driver. Obviously, I recommend well-mannered teen aged boys. I hear they work for snacks.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

And Our Lips Taste Like Sangria

Porch Night was a tremendous success. We had a relatively small group-ten people, yet we were able to nearly polish off two large dispensers of sangria and almost every snack that I set out. So, while we were small in number, we were great in appetite.

And, after polishing off those drinks, we were relaxed and prepared to take on whatever the rest of the week has to throw at us, which, if the first two days of this week are any indication, will be a total shit show (time for this girl to win the lottery, y'all).

Thank goodness for Porch Night and good friends with whom to spend it.