Saturday, May 19, 2018

Now Showing: Kenzie's Graduation Party

Yesterday's grad party for Kenzie and his friend, Matt, went as well as could be expected, given the fact that Mother Nature refused to cooperate.

Mama Jill, her family members, the boys, and I spent hours setting up the various decorations, including an awesome balloon arch that started and ended in giant wooden popcorn boxes that Papa Jill had crafted in his metal shop. Unfortunately, the day was so hot, the balloons started popping in the sunlight, making it less awesome and more raggedy. Then, in a final blow (literally) to the arch, a giant gust of wind twisted the PVC pipe to the point that the arch leaned over almost to the ground.

We improvised by removing the arch from the boxes, rolling the red carpet in between them, and calling it good.

The wind was also less than kind to the remaining decorations, but, everything that we set up on the covered deck fared fairly well, including the popcorn station and the boys gift tables.


The highlight of the evening was meant to be the movie that Mama Jill was projecting against the side of their old barn, but, between you and me, the corn hole games were more popular with the kids (at least until it was too dark to see the boards).

Anyhoodle, the party was a hit. It was well attended, including a lot of last year's graduates, which, gave me a chance to catch up with some of my favorite kids.

When Hugh and I finally left at around 10:30, the kids were just grabbing blankets and lawn chairs and settling in for the movie. Later today, we will head back over there to survey the damage and to load up the tables, pop-up tent, popcorn machine, tiki torches, and other things that we contributed to the effort. I am not looking forward to cleaning out that popcorn machine, but, manual labor is a small price to pay for an opportunity to make one more memory with friends and family.

That's what it's all about.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday! Today marks the end of my first 4-day workweek but, while the week was abbreviated, the stress was doubled, so, I totally need this free day!

And, how am I going to spend it? Helping Mama Jill throw a graduation bash for Kenzie, of course! The party is scheduled for later this evening, and we've got lots of balloons to blow up, popcorn to pop, a red carpet to roll out, and about a zillion other small details to see to before the first guest arrives, so, this post will be brief.

Obviously, Favorite Thing #1 is the fact that I am not rushing off to Day Job right now, but, enjoying a leisurely cup of coffee, instead.

#2: Last night, Hugh picked up the lumber that will eventually (hopefully, sooner, rather than later) become our new backyard pergola. It's going to go where our fire pit currently sits, and, he's also planning to convert the fire pit to gas, which will be awesome; I'm looking forward to spending summer evenings out there.

#3: Speaking of summer, we recently had the storefront windows painted by a local artist. She did an amazing job of capturing the small-town feel of a summer day; she even did a shout-out to my bike, Lulu, which I thought was awesome.

And, that's it for today. Tune in tomorrow, when I regale you with about a million pictures of Kenzie's party! It's sure to be my favorite part of the day.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

And I Can't Even Blame It On a Hot Flash

I had to give a presentation to a room full of people from the State Department of Education today. Midway through the presentation, I started sweating like a whore in church on Sunday; pit stains were not the lasting impression that I had hoped to leave, but, there you have it.

As an aside, I think it might be time to research a more effective antiperspirant. Also, if I were gifted with a super power, I would choose the ability to actually make the earth open up under my feet, swallowing me, whole.

That is all.

Monday, May 14, 2018

How I Spent My Mother's Day Weekend

Friday afternoon, I swung by the nursery to pick up the plants that would ultimately end up in my garden. The weather was not looking too promising, but, I was hopeful that it would cooperate over the rest of the weekend, because, here in Colorado, if you miss the brief planting window, you're shit out of luck for any kind of harvest.

Unfortunately, the wind picked up early Saturday morning, which, put my gardening plans on hold because I really needed to roto-til fertilizer into the garden, and, with the gusts, I was concerned that the granular fertilizer would just blow away before it could be incorporated into the soil. So, while Hugh puttered around in the garage, I worked on crafting projects in the house, including these movie clappers that I made for Kenzie's graduation party...

...Mama Jill plans to use them as props for the photo booth, so I used chalkboard paint, making them easy to personalize for anyone who wants to use them.

I also caught up on some scrapbooking, as well as knocking out some decorations for the Rodeo Princess's upcoming shower...

Meanwhile, in Neighboring City, Katie was matriculating from college!

Due to the limited amount of seating at the stadium, we weren't able to score tickets to watch in person, but, we did attend the after-party that Katie's biological parents threw for her in Hooterville.

While we were there, I thanked them for sharing Katie with us for all these years; I've often said that we couldn't love her more if she was ours by blood, and, that stands true; we are really excited to see where she goes from here, but she'll always have us standing behind her.

On Sunday, the winds finally calmed down long enough for us to get out into the yard. Hugh and the Man-Cub worked all day long, cutting down and hauling off several dead tree limbs. Hugh also tilled the fertilizer into my garden and I was finally able to get all of my plants into the ground. I didn't plant nearly as many vegetables as I usually do; as I have mentioned in previous posts,I am planning to grow flowers that I can cut for arrangements in a large part of the garden space.

In addition to the flower seeds (foxglove, zinnia, delphinium, poppy, snapdragon, and larkspur), I put in cucumbers, three varieties of tomato (Roma, Yellow Pear, and Moby Grape), one tomatillo plant, jalapeno peppers, Brussels sprouts, beets, and basil. I'm hoping to find some healthy thyme plants later this week, as I have been disappointed in what I have been able to find so far.

I'm glad the garden is in, and I'm hoping it grows, but, I'm planning to be very Zen about the whole thing: if it grows, it grows, if it doesn't, it doesn't. It is what it is, and all that jazz (clearly, in this case Zen=Whatthefuckever, garden).

Since it was Mother's Day, my offspring also gifted me with Alex and Ani bracelets and new box prints for the guest bathroom (Queen B), and a pretty columbine plant for the flowerbed (the Man-Cub and Hugh). I also got dinner out as well as the chance to relax on the couch with a marathon viewing of The Office, which I really appreciated.

Today, I am back to the work grind, albeit a bit more relaxed than I was this time last week. I can live with that. I hope your Mother's Day was fabulous and that you were either incredibly spoiled by loved ones or that you completely spoiled the mothers in your life; every mother deserves to be spoiled at least one day out of the year!

Sunday, May 13, 2018

In the Lottery of Life...

...I'm a winner, for sure, because, although I haven't hit it big on Powerball or scratch tickets, I definitely won the lottery for Best Mom in the World.

If you've read here for any length of time, or, know me in real life, you know that my mom is the bomb-diggity. She's loving, supportive, encouraging, fun, understanding, and, up for any challenge I throw at her.

She's an awesome travel companion, and I've had so much fun with her, whether it was in Paris, where she rocked the cosmopolitan vibe...

...or Hawaii, where she channeled her inner silver screen bombshell...

...road trips with her have been an adventure.

You'll never find a more dedicated grandmother. She makes it a point to connect with each of her five grandchildren through regular text messages, visits, and phone calls. She's present at every game, banquet, award ceremony, graduation, and special event, and, she's always willing to lend a helping hand. In fact, I could not have done half of what I did for my kids without her help. Nor, would I have wanted to; we make a good team, my mom and I.

In my lifetime, I've been favorably compared to my mom; we look alike, we have similar temperaments, we enjoy a lot of the same pursuits. I consider that comparison the highest form of compliment.

My mom is the best, and, if I am half the mom she is, then my kids are almost as lucky as I am.

I may never hit the right combination of numbers* and, that's ok; I already won the most important lottery of all.

Happy Mothers Day, Mom! We love you to infinity and beyond, and we are so grateful for you!

*Although, if I do hit those numbers, a return to Paris is definitely in order, Mom!

Friday, May 11, 2018

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday! I can't believe that another week has gone by, although, I was ready for this one to be over, for sure. I'm ready for a weekend with not a whole lot on the agenda, except for things that I enjoy.

Speaking of which, tomorrow, Katie officially graduates from college! She's thisclose to being a fully-fledged adult, complete with a nursing degree and a gazillion dollars in student loan debt. I could not be more proud of her if she really and truly was one of my own, and, I know she is going to do great things.

We are going to attend a celebration of her accomplishment tomorrow afternoon, and I'm looking forward to it.

Before that, however, I am planning to spend the morning tilling cow poop into my garden. Dream big, I always say!

But, seriously, I am actually stoked to get back into the dirt (manure and all); I missed not having a garden last year. Hugh is stoked about it too, but, mostly because I picked his favorite vegetable up at the nursery today...

...that would be Brussels sprouts, in case you don't recognize the plant. I purchased every single starter that the nursery had on hand, because, Brussels sprouts are wicked cool to grow, and, the last time I planted them, Hugh ate the entire harvest, practically overnight.

In addition to the sprouts, I am planning to plant cucumber (again, for Hugh's sake), three varieties of tomatoes, enough basil to feed an Italian army, and, for the first time ever, a tomatillo plant. I have no idea how to grow a tomatillo or what the hell to do with it once it starts producing, but, hey! That's how  felt about the sprouts a couple of years ago and, look how well that turned out!

I'm also going to plant a variety of cutting flowers as well as several mammoth-sized sunflowers, so, it should be a very colorful space once everything starts blooming.

Of course, all of this is dependent on the weather cooperating. Happily, the forecast is favorable, and since temperatures have been in the eighties all this week, I am optimistic.

So, it looks like I will be spending the weekend with some of my favorite people, doing some of my favorite things (I totally plan on capping the weekend off with wine on the porch Sunday evening). Then, it's back to work on Monday, but, guess what my favorite part of today was?

Go ahead, guess..'ll never get it, so, I'll tell you; I got approval today to take Fridays off throughout the summer! Every Friday! I am stoked!

Four day workweeks are definitely a favorite!

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

I Should Have Budgeted Accordingly

The eagle has landed!

The cub is back in the den!

The nest is again half-full!

I can't think of another way to announce that the Man-Cub is finally home, except for a photo of my grocery cart, which contains three times my usual purchases.

He's going to eat me out of house and home, but, he'll be spending a lot of time in that home, so, I'll forgive him.

And, when he isn't home, it will be because he is in Neighboring City, where he will be working, and bunking, side-by-side with Mikey. So, while I will technically have him home, I'll still be rocking the empty nest half of the time; I can live with that. And, speaking of the empty nest, I am planning to write a more extensive post about what I've learned, how I've adjusted, and what I now know about being a mom to adult(ish) children, sometime later this week. I think it's important for me to document how it all shook out, given the massive amount of worrying and fretting that I was doing over the prospect of it this time last year (remember that? Even I was like "Yeesh, woman; pull yourself together"!).

In the meantime, I'm going to enjoy having the Cub under my roof on the days that he is here, and, I'm going to continue to rock the empty nest stuff when he isn't, all of which will be a lot easier to do now that I'm not worrying about erupting volcanoes, bomb-happy dictators, tsunamis, surfing accidents, and bites from poisonous spiders (I really never did get over that Hawaiian episode of The Brady Bunch. Anyone else? No? Ok, just me, then).

My heart is full.

Monday, May 07, 2018

This Post Brought to You by Sumatriptan

I had a relaxing weekend, just to be hit with a wicked migraine this morning. I don't neccessarily believe the two to be related, but, one did preceded the other, chronologically speaking.

Saturday morning, I got up early to hit the nursery in Hooterville for the flowers for my front porch; the nursery I prefer to get them from just recently re-opened for the season and I wanted to make sure I got first pick. I was not disappointed.

When I got home, I quickly got to transplanting the flowers into my window boxes before spending the rest of the morning helping Hugh with some yard chores that have needed attended to for some time (we really, really neglected the yard after Rowdie passed away last year; it was just too hard to be outside without his goofy self following us around).

Later, I got myself cleaned up and ready for the first Porch Night of the season. It was a Cinco de Mayo themed get-together, which meant Mexican flavored appetizers, including a classic 7 Layer Dip, tortilla chips, and a variety of salsas and queso dips. I had also purchased several new wines as recommended by Google (sommelier to the stars!), which is how I discovered a new favorite: Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc.

It paired especially well with the chips and tomatilla salsa, which I really liked. I also tried rioja for the first time and liked it fairly well; it paired nicely with the black bean dip.

Of course, the best part of Porch Night is getting to spend time with friends, and, this particular night, we were helping Mama Jill put the finishing touches on Kenzie's graduation party, so that was definitely worth a good toast.

Sunday, I relaxed for the better part of the morning before taking Boomer to the hardware store so that Hugh could get the kennels power washed. We have discovered that Boomer has an affinity for water; he runs through the sprinklers and insists on being sprayed whenever a hose is turned on in his presence, and, Hugh really wanted to accomplish the chore quickly, without drenching the dog.

The rest of the day was spent transplanting herbs into the herb box that I like to keep by the grill on the back porch, running on the treadmill at the gym, watching Hugh grill chicken for dinner, and watching trashy television (Royals, oh how I love thee!) before turning in for what ended up being the best night of sleep that I have gotten in ages (according to my Fitbit tracker).

So, it was a total bummer when my vision went all wonky as I was getting ready for work this morning. I'm relatively confident that the headache was another in the long list of complaints that I have against perimenopause, so, I won't bore you by saying it again (except, I just did). I will say, however, that I could seriously kiss the scientist who came up with sumatriptan, because, without it, my world would be a dark, dark place.

So, to the makers of Imitrex and all it's generic counterparts, I salute you!


Sunday, May 06, 2018

Worth It

Raising kids is a scary proposition; assuming you intend to do it right, that is (don't get me started on the "parenting" that I witness on a daily basis at Day Job). From the moment they draw their first breath, every day presents an opportunity for greatness or a risk of abject failure; it's a crapshoot!

I like to think that Hugh and I have done a pretty good job with Queen B and the Man-Cub, because, despite the frequent mistakes and missteps we encountered along the way; they are both finding their paths in this world. We could not be more proud of them if we tried.

Yesterday, Queen B was the "Day Of" coordinator at her first wedding, and, she did it solo, despite it being, quite literally, the first day of her internship. First Day!

And, although I know she was nervous..

...she rocked it like a hurricane! (Side note: neither Queen B nor the Man-Cub understand the "rock you like a hurricane" reference, woe! Where did I go wrong?)

Meanwhile, across the ocean, the Man-Cub was picking up his first set of cords for graduation. Honors Cords, in his first year of college!

He's goofy, but, he's smart!

In fact, they're both so smart, I guess I can forgive them for not getting the Scorpions reference.

All of this is to say: the worries, and fears, and fretting over the years have been worth the effort, and, if I had it to do over again, I would do it exactly the same way, mistakes, missteps, and all.