Saturday, September 30, 2017

My Feathered and Furry Friends

Last weekend, I bid farewell to the last of the summer hummingbirds, sending off the final straggler with a wave and a "see you next year!";  I'll miss their frenetic energy and, at times, asshole-ish tendencies to fight each other for their right to perch on the feeders.

Since I can't let Guinn and Finn go without entertainment completely, I set out the regular seed feeders in place of the nectar feeders, and, it wasn't long before they were entranced by the new program on The Nature Channel, aka: the kitchen window.

In the week that the feeders have been hanging, they have attracted the usual house finches, both male and female...

... as well as our pair of resident mourning doves...

...and, in a surprising turn of event, this guy, the exact species of which I have not identified because I cannot find the handy-dandy Guide to Colorado Wildbirds that I seem to recall receiving as a gift one Christmas.

In another surprising twist, the feeders have also attracted wildlife in the form of this adorable squirrel, who spent several minutes stuffing his cheeks full of the black sunflower seeds that the birds knocked to the ground.

(please excuse the poor quality of the photographs, that little bastard was quick).

Not so surprisingly, all of the action at the buffet has also attracted a couple of feral cats, and, without the Rowdie Dog (rest in peace, love) to chase them away, we have resorted to using humane traps and a catch-and-release approach to protecting the birds (seriously, no cats are being harmed in the making of this show; we have friends who own a large dairy and they are happy to welcome the cats into the milking shed).

As you know, in addition to providing three solid meals a day, we have also opened a rental unit, but, so far, no bird family has taken us up on the offer.

I continue to hold out hope, however.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have about thirty Rubbermaid containers full of Halloween decorations to sort through, because, the change in bird feeders isn't the only indication of the changing seasons here at Casa de Chelle.

Time to bust out the witches!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Apparently, Rain Brings Out the Wimp In Me

The past two days have been pretty gloomy here in Petticoat Junction. I actually had to take my evening walks in the rain. Today, as I made my way around the park, I seriously considered turning around and going back home, but, then I saw a flag football team practicing in the rain and I thought, "Oh, hellz, no; if a bunch of six year olds can tough it out, so can I".

And, I did. Right up until I had to jump over a dead snake on the trail, at the precise moment that my Fitbit buzzed to alert me that I had completed my 10,000 steps for the day, scaring the shit out of me because I was so focused on the dead snake: was it dead? Was it alive? Was it a zombie snake that was technically dead but that was about to slither between my legs and launch itself at my face? I didn't know! Also, the vibration on my wrist could have been a second zombie snake, chowing down on my arm!

I was freaked, is the point I'm trying to make.

The inopportune buzzing did let me know that I had toughed it out long enough and could head for home, however, which, I did once my heart rate returned to normal and I was able to climb out of the tree that I had launched myself into to save myself from the zombie snake apocalypse.

Ok, not really, but, close.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

What Hell Hath the Empty Nest Wrought?

We are a solid month into this empty nesting thing and, thus far, I have not missed a day of exercise, have not consumed a grain of sugar, and have not so much as tasted a drop of soda. So, apparently, all the energy that I put into being the best (and, often most over-bearing, over-protective, and smothering) mother that I could possibly be has been channeled into self-torture.

If this doesn't eventually result in my ability to go shopping in my own closet (oh, favorite skinny jeans, it would be awesome to wear you again!) I will be most disappointed. Not to mention extremely annoyed.

I mean, if I'm going to be childless, I would like to do it in style.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Meanwhile, In Petticoat Junction

The Man-Cub had a phenomenal birthday; he climbed a mountain in the rain forest, hung over a cliff on the beach, and teased a school of sharks in the bay.

I'm not worried. I'm not worried at all.


While he was enjoying his birthday weekend, I was striking a deal with Satan.

Well, not actually with Satan, but, with his tools, and, by tools, I mean my orthotics. Remember them? No? Can't say that I blame you; I stopped bitching about them years ago. You know, when I stopped wearing them because they were determined to kill me.


Flash forward to today, when I am having so much trouble with my feet, I am loathe to take my first step each morning. It doesn't get much better with each of the 10,000 steps that I have committed to take throughout the day, either.

So, I am back to the torture devices orthotics, which are, in all honesty, actually helping with the pain that radiates from my foot up my shins and around my inner thighs. They create a really odd stride for me, but, maybe I'll get used to it.

You know, eventually.

Still of the devil, though. Not changing my mind about that.

On a totally unrelated topic, (well, not totally unrelated, I mean, it happened while I was on my first orthotic-wearing-walk-around the park), I saw the strangest thing yesterday.

Yes, even stranger than the previous run-on sentence.

I saw....wait for it...SPIDERMAN.

In the park.

So, ok, it was a teenager dressed like Spiderman, but, I mean, he was full-on dressed like Spiderman, we're talking tight body suit, mask, boots, all of it. And, he was crouching on top of a pole in the classic Spiderman squat while his friend video taped him, or took pictures, or whatever.

I figured it was for a school project or some random YouTube channel or his college applications or something, so, I walked by them, waved as nonchalantly as I could muster, and continued on my way, which, they seemed to appreciate. Because, yeah, they probably thought they looked ridiculous or something. Bitch, please, I raised the Man-Cub; there isn't a lot of awkward geeky teen aged boy stuff that I haven't seen. Your secret is safe with me.

And now, I can say that I shared the park with a super hero. Sure beats the hell out of the disk-golf players I usually share the park with; they are usually trying their damn best to slice my head off with their stupid plastic Frisbees.

I'll take the web-slinger over decapitation, any day.

Saturday, September 23, 2017


This is the second time that I have used the word "Nineteen" as a title for a post on this blog, which, makes sense considering that this is the second time that a child of mine has turned nineteen.

Yes. Nineteen.

The Man-Cub is 19 today; try wrapping your brain around that one. I mean, it was just yesterday that he came sliding into this world, hand-first and ready to charm. And, charm he does.

I posted a birthday message on Facebook this morning, using black and white photos that the Cub allowed me to take over the years, and, I commented on the fact that, despite my chosen photo medium, the Cub has brought nothing but color to our lives, and, that's no exaggeration; he is nothing if not colorful. And, joyful. And, enthusiastic.

I miss his laughter on the daily. I miss his ability to make me smile and to belly laugh even when I don't particularly feel like laughing. I miss the light that he brings to our household, but, damn, I am so proud of his independence and enthusiasm for life.

Happy birthday, Cub! We love you.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Friday Favorites: Snapchat Filter Edition

Like other parents of a certain age, I have been forced to adopt technology in order to stay current, hip, and connected to my children. I was already a pro at Facebook, Instagram and I are old friends, and, of course I text, Facetime, and Tweet (although, not so much on the Tweets, because, truth be told; I dislike the Twitter).

The latest, greatest, technology is, of course, Snapchat. And, people? I am a Snapchattin' fool. I love snapping! I love sending a technologically manipulated image of myself to my friends and family and I especially love one filter in particular.

It's awesome! Giant head? Buggy eyes? Who doesn't love big heads and buggy eyes?!

And, when you record a video, it changes your voice in a most amusing way.

I seriously use this filter for 99.999% of my Snaps, which, has clearly rubbed off on my children.

Also? The family resemblance kills me, every time.

So, thank you, makers of Snapchat. Thank you for creating an app that keeps me in touch with my kids and with my more youthful side. Also, please don't ever get rid of my filter.

I'll cut you. I will.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

The First "Official" Care Package

The Man-Cub's birthday is Saturday and all he has asked for is money with which to purchase a surf board. I don't know about you, but, cash gifts don't say "awesome, creative and exciting care package potential" to me. To an average American college student? Eh, maybe, but, to my son? Not so much, either.

So, we deposited his cash gift into his account and I went to town on a care package that was intended for both his birthday and for the fall season; he is a fall baby, after all.

Items included in the care package:

Limited Edition Fall Twinkies
Graham Cracker Scooby Doo Snacks
Biscoff Cookie Butter
Spiced Apple Cider K-Cups
Caramel for dipping apple slices in
Little Debbie Snack Cakes, also limited edition fall flavor
Brachs candy corn footballs (as an aside, where the hell were these last year when I was hosting team dinners and spoiling the football team with treats? Hmmm?)
2 large confetti poppers (got to celebrate that birthday!)
2 individual cherry pies
 #1 and #9 candles to blow out on his actual birthday (he can stick them in either the snack cakes or pies)
A pair of snazzy Stance socks, because the Cub is obsessed with Stance socks
A singing birthday card

I also decorated the box with some leaves from the trees in our yard, as a reminder of the changes happening here at home.

The Cub got the box yesterday, and, despite my suggestion that he wait until Saturday to open it, he dug right in. So, he may not have a gift to open on his birthday, but, he'll always have socks...

I don't hear him complaining.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Final Thoughts on Biiiiiig Brother. Yes, FINALLY

I can't believe I made it! I hung in alllll summer long! I may be the strongest competitor this season, although, that's not saying much. But, onto this (final, thank GOD!) episode.

-  Whoa, Jury, bitter much?

-  Ha! Mark = The Incredible Sulk! Good one, Matt. Why weren't you that clever when you were actually IN the house?

-  Dr. Will is starting to show his age. He's still a handsome son-of-a-gun, though.

-  Cheezus crackers, Matt, shave that fucking animal off your chin.

-  We are thisclose to never having to see Alex's cleavage again. Hallelujah!

-  Oh, my! Josh's sisters look exactly how I would expect Josh to look if he were in drag. That's...not a compliment.

-  And Josh wins the final HOH competition. Huh. Didn't see that coming.

-  If he chooses to take Paul to the final two, he is even dumber than I think he is.

-  Aaaaand he IS even dumber than I thought he was.

-  Well,  this is a contest between two really unlikeable people.

-  Oh, goody, time for Jury questions; this won't end in bitter recriminations. Not at all.

-  Oh wow, Christmas is so thin, you could use her sternum as a washboard. Not her abs, her sternum.

-  Hey, you know who I don't miss? Jessica.

-  Is Kevin seriously wearing a tux? There aren't enough eye rolls in the world.

-  Alex, your bitch face is showing.

-  Crap. I totally forgot the patronizing head pat they give to the house guests evicted prior to jury selection; guess we'll be seeing the Jess and Cody reunion play out live. Where's my vomit bucket?

-  Jess: "I told you so". Again, not enough eye rolls in the world.

-  I think Paul's head is growing even as we watch.

-  And the winner is.....Josh? Wait, what?

-  Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

-  In your face, Paul!! Please don't come back next season. Actually, maybe I won't come back next season.

And, that's it, folks! We made it! Thanks for hanging in there with me.

Again, I Don't Want to Jinx Myself, But...

...yesterday was the first "all-clear" day on the southern front, if you know what I mean. And, if you don't then read back a few posts to the one wherein I complain about the ravages of perimenopause.

I'm relatively certain that this is just a lull in the storm, but, after 22 or 23 straight days of "rain",
I'll take what I can get.

Any port in a storm, y'all.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

I Don't Want to Jinx Myself, But...

...I haven't missed a day of exercise in over three weeks.

I know! That stupid bucket list item might actually get checked off this time!

Or, I just jinxed myself and I'll now lose all momentum and desire to achieve the goal.

Time will tell.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Analysis of the Empty Nest, Weeks One Through Three

Soooo, how's that float trip down the River Denial, Chelle?

Great! Thanks for asking!

Three weeks into this experiment and I am still convinced that the Man-Cub is going to come whistling through the door at any moment.

I also have to remind myself to refrain from filling my cart with Little Debbie snack cakes, Cheese Balls, and Mountain Dew when I am at the Hellmouth.

At least three times a day, I think about what to make for dinner and have to gently inform myself that it doesn't matter if we have Hamburger Helper in the pantry or not because Hugh and I don't eat Hamburger Helper right now, so, why the hell would my mind automatically go to Hamburger Helper? Or, tacos, for that matter.

On the bright side, I have enjoyed the extra few hours that I get on Sundays, hours that I used to spend doing the Cub's laundry, especially this time of year, when his football uniform would require weekly attention.

Well, actually, I washed his football jersey just today, but, that is only because, no matter how many times I drape it artfully across his headboard, Guinness pulls it back onto the middle of the bed and cuddles into it like a baby bird into a nest.

Which, further serves to remind me that, in fact, my nest is empty.

I guess the cat is as much in denial as I am.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

My Ovaries May Be Dust...

...but my uterus is plenty moist. Also, I hate the word moist, but, for lack of a better, even more disgusting word, moist will do.

See, I have been expelling the contents of said uterus for 21 straight days. Twenty. One. Straight.

The Good Doctor warned me that the old girl wouldn't play nice after the endometrial biopsy, but, I thought she meant that it would just, I don't know, close up shop or something. But, nooooo, apparently "not playing nice" means that she will weep for her lost youth on the daily, making me hyper vigilant about the use of feminine hygiene products and more selective about the underwear that I choose each day.

For the record, I miss my "nice" undies and I have a brand new respect for the utilitarian nature of the granny panty.


Still not resorting to artificial hormones. Not gonna do it. This too shall pass and all that jazz.

But, for fuck's sake. 21 days.


Friday, September 15, 2017

A Bonus Favorite on This Friday

I had a surprise visitor today...'s my Mikey!

He's home for the weekend, just in time for the Homecoming game, which, now that I think about it, is probably why they call it Homecoming.

Whatevah! I'm just happy to see him and to get to spend some time with him.

Ironically, I had a surprise for him, too; I arranged to get his #16 jersey from the football coach and was able to hand it over to him today.

This was my most favorite thing all week.

Friday Favorites: Baltimore Edition

I got back from my business trip at 10:30 last night and I am struggling a bit to readjust to the time change, so, this will be a brief post (I slept in a bit and I have to get to work. This week is neverending!).

Despite the business nature of the trip, I found it quite enjoyable. In fact, I would love to go back on a purely recreational trip, with my camera; there were sooo many awesome architectural details that I would have loved to photograph and really didn't have the ability to capture adequately with the camera on my cell phone.

If I am to ever go back, I would like to stay in the inner harbor area, which is where the conference was held. The location is central to a lot of the attractions that Baltimore has to offer, including the aquarium and ballpark. The area has been extensively revitalized, and, one of my favorite things was the way that the city used the old power plant building, installing shops and restaurants, including Phillips Seafood, where I had one of the best meals of the trip (and, no, it wasn't seafood; we all know how I feel about eating from the sea. Bleah!).

The Barnes and Noble was perhaps the coolest book store I have ever ventured into, and, I've been to a lot of bookstores.

The interior was amazing, with two floors of literary goodness to explore, and, the use of the old brick and industrial surfaces was unique and inviting.

I wanted to splurge on collector editions of some of my favorites, but, with my suitcase already on the heavier side, I reigned myself in. Sad face. Like, seriously.

I did pick up a couple of thinner reads, including this manual for perfecting my skill set around the hexing of my enemies.

I'm really looking forward to casually leaving it on my desk at work.

The walk between our hotel and the power plant building was only a few blocks long, and, it took us along the harbor, where we got to check out the locals and the local wildlife, including this guy, who seemed to be saying "What the hell are you looking at?".

I like his attitude.

I also like the fact that I got all of my 10,000 steps (and some) in each day, despite being in sessions from 8:30-4:30. The stairs up Federal Hill were an awesome challenge, and, the view from the top of the hill could not be beat.

I also spent some time each day on the treadmill in the fitness center of the hotel, which, overlooked the harbor, presenting a gorgeous view of the city at night, and which I neglected to photograph because I was, you know, on a treadmill. Still a favorite, though.

So, yes, I would definitely return to Baltimore.

But, for now, I must return to my office; four days away equals five meelion emails and phone calls to return, I'm sure.

TGIF, indeed.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

In Which We Get All Artsy Fartsy On You

Today's conference sessions were interesting and engaging; I actually felt some enthusiasm for my chosen profession again, and, frankly, that hasn't happened in a while.

Oh, I'll be over it by tomorrow, but, let's enjoy the moment, shall we?

Anyhoodle, after the sessions were completed for the day, we boarded a shuttle to a local museum to fawn over art created by mental patients.

What's that? No, I'm being completely serious.

The American Visionary Art Museum houses a collection of textile art that is both fun and funky, and, according to the local woman who organized the event, the work of artists with mental health challenges. I think that's pretty cool.

The art itself is likewise cool, and, it is displayed in unexpected ways and places, including sidewalk art that is truly amazing.

The larger pieces of the collection were equally impressive; a hot air balloon, a massive pink poodle, an iron guitar "stork", building an iron nest, a smaller iron peacock, and a massive jeweled egg were among my favorites.

My most favorite piece was a duplicate of the Eiffel Tower, made completely out of wine corks. Because, who doesn't want to save enough wine corks to build a giant Eiffel Tower?

No one, that's who.

And, since I want to eventually re-create this ode to modern architecture, I need to ramp up my wine cork saving game. Luckily, these ladies were on hand to help get me started.

Only several thousand more to go!