Sunday, June 30, 2019

This Week on Biiiiig Brother!

I recapped my first impressions of the house guests on Tuesday, but I didn't mention my impression of the house, itself, and, can I just say; I'm really diggin' the summer camp theme this year. It's a cool change from some of the past themes, and, I'm really intrigued by what they will come up with for the Have Nots.

Anyhoodle, Tuesday night, Dudley Do Right was elected Camp Director, and, on Wednesday, his first duty was to choose four house guests for immediate-temporary-eviction; three of the banished house guests would be returning, following a competition, while the fourth was permanently evicted.

Dudley chose David, Jessica, Boss Hogg, and Kemi (I TOLD you the reformed-but not really- Mean Girl thing wouldn't fly!).

The competition involved the four house guests crawling through a tree-trunk obstacle course in the dark, in search of the one secret entrance back into the house; the first three guests to find their way back earned the right to return to the house, and, as I said above; the fourth house guest was permanently booted.

Surprise, surprise, Boss Hogg was the first to emerge from the course, followed by Kemi, Jessica, and, finally, David. Whomp-whomp; bye, David! We hardly knew ya.

But, wait a often does the very first person eliminated NOT get another shot? NEVER, that's how often; ten bucks says David will be back before the season is out.

Then, we finally got to see Tommy and Christie squee over the fact that they were practically related by marriage because Christie dated Tommy's cousin for, like, eight years. Let's see how long they can keep that under wraps.

Meanwhile, an alliance quickly formed between Dudley, FauxAquaman, Holly, Christie, Isabella, and Nick.

The first Head of Household competition (endurance competition featuring contestant duos hanging on suspended tree trunks while being spun, sprayed with paint, and blown about by giant fans) resulted in a win for Christie, and, the Alliance of Six, by association.

Tonight, Ovi awkwardly sucked up to Christie while Kathryn and Analyse moped around in their room; Kat put a target on her back by claiming that she had some sort of mind control over Dudley, who, the house is calling Mickie, in order to differentiate between him and FauxAquaman, FYI, and, who said, in no uncertain terms, that he would not be controlled. Plus, the Alliance of Six reached out to Analyse and Tommy, making it an Alliance of eight, which, would have been great had Nick not run his mouth in the middle of the night, alerting Ovi to the possibility that people in the house were already working together. Seriously? And he calls himself a Super Fan? Come on, Ovi!

Meanwhile, with her sights firmly on Kat as Nominee #1, Christie approached Boss Hogg, blubbering through a conversation about putting him on the block as a pawn, which, Boss knows what happens to the pawns, soooo, he was understandably underwhelmed by her crocodile tears.

The house guests are introduced to this season's big twist, which is a new "Wacktivity" competition that will earn someone a special power, TBD. The Wacktivities are broken into three competitions and the house guests blindly signed up, not knowing when their competition would be scheduled to take place-this week, next week, or, the week after.

This week's competitors, were Nicole, Kat, Boss Hogg, Ovi, Isabella, and, they had the pleasure of sniffing three trash cans, and then identifying the scent by matching it to the same, labeled scent, out in the yard. The scents included bobcat urine, rancid Gorgonzola cheese, decaying mushrooms, rotted fish, bad beef, etc. It was about as pleasant as it sounds, I'm sure. And, in the end, Ovi was triumphant, doing a silent victory dance, complete with fist pumping and kisses thrown to heaven. His superpower is the Nightmare Power, which gives him the power to, I don't know, give someone a nightmare and then replace a nominee? I wasn't paying attention, sooo.

Immediately upon winning the Nightmare Power, Ovi stupidly attempts to form an alliance with the Alliance of Eight, not knowing that...there's an Alliance of Eight. Then, he crows about forming the first alliance of the season, after he overheard that whole conversation of Nick's, which...poor Ovi. He really is that dumb.

Elsewhere in the house, Kemi insults Christie via a conversation with FauxAquaman, placing her squarely in Christie's sights, so, will Boss Hogg be spared?

Not so fast.

Nomination Ceremony ends with Boss Hogg and Kat on the block, as expected.

So, one week in and I'm not completely bored! If they keep this up, I just might make it through the whole season. I am cautiously optimistic, y'all!

Friday, June 28, 2019

If You Happen Upon a Wayward Cervix, It's Probably Mine

Summertime means different things to different people, for me, it means that it's time to play the part of an actual adult, which means surrendering myself to the annual spelunking of my nether bits. You see, kids, adults take responsibility for their health and well being by allowing professionals to stick medical instruments into their various orifices on a regular basis.

Bet you can't wait to grow up, now!

So, earlier today, I shaved my legs, donned my best undies, and headed to Neighboring City to visit my primary care physician. Or, in this case, my primary care physician's Physicians Assistant (say that ten times fast), since the doctor assigned to be my primary provider was out of the office.


I say again because, out of the last three times that I have been scheduled to see her, she has been out of the office, oh, let's see...all three times. Actually, I've never met the woman.

But, that is a gripe for another day.

The PA was very thorough, she asked all the right questions, took my vitals, chatted with me about the ravages of perimenopause, and, then, when we were feeling good and comfortable together; she had me strip down so she could get familiar with the happenings down in Cooterville.

Except, what should have been a fairly routine procedure ended up looking more like an episode of America's Most Wanted, when, and I kid you not; she ran into trouble finding my cervix.

And, I was like, well, I'm positive that's where I left it, soooo...

And, she was like, huh, that's weird.

Then, she said 'Oh! There it is!" But, that she was having a hard time "catching" it because "It's like a big vein that keeps moving!", and, the fact that I did not throw up right there on the examination table is a testament to my self control.

I knew when she finally "caught that slippery devil" because, I felt her rubbing a cheese grater over it for about thirty seconds or so (you might feel a liiiiitle discomfort, dear!), and, with that, it was over. What a relief! I'm not sure a picture of a missing cervix on a milk carton would be the most appetizing thing for a kid to stare at while eating his Froot Loops.

Anyhoodle, that's over for another year or two. Now I just need to schedule my annual mammogram and my first colonoscopy.

I sincerely hope my colon proves easier to locate than my cervix.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

What's Up Wednesday, June 2019

It's almost the end of the month, so that means it's time for another fun link-up with Sheaffer and Shay This is the post for June, AKA: The Summer Month That Wasn't, thank you very much Mother Nature. I think Colorado saw more snow this month than in all of the winter of 2018, combined, which, is great for our reservoirs, lakes, and streams, but, not so bueno for camping, hiking, or drives in the high country. I guess you can't have it all.

Anyhoodle! On with the post!

What We're Eating

I recently pulled the trigger on a subscription to Hello Fresh, thanks, in part, to the $80 off coupon that was included in my latest FabFitFun box.

So, far, we've gotten two boxes, and, from those, I've cooked four meals, including Pulled Pork Fiesta Bowls...

 Saucy Thyme Steak

Italian Chicken over Lemony Spaghetti

And, Spinach Ravioli with Chicken Sausage, although, technically, I didn't cook this one; Hugh did...

...which led to me Snapchattting the following to the children..

And, yes, I did just make a verb out of a proper noun, thank you so much for noticing (Grammar Nerds, unite!)...and I digress...

Back to Hello Fresh! First, the negative impressions: the portions are, in some cases, tiny. It's also somewhat expensive, and, the packaging is slightly wasteful. On the positive side: I did save money by not running to the grocery store several times throughout the week, wandering the aisles and purchasing items that I ultimately would not use, so, it's a wash on the financial aspect. As for taste, the Hello Fresh meals have all been delicious, so, even if I decide to end the subscription, I will have collected some new recipes, which I consider a bonus. Ultimately though, the time I save in both shopping and cooking (the most time-consuming recipe took 45 minutes) is the most compelling reason to continue the subscription. Also, see above: Hugh cooks!

What I'm Reminiscing About

Hugh finally brought the boat home this week, and, we are hoping to get the gang back together and on the lake for one last hurrah before Darren joins the ranks of married adults and the rest of the kids further drift to the corners of the globe.

Wow. That sounded really, really depressing (Empty Nesting: It's Not for Sissies). What I mean to say is; I have been reminiscing about the long summer weekends that we spent on the lake with Jana and Co. when the kids were young.

We bought the boat in 2008; it was a purchase that we could barely afford at the time, but, it ended up being the best investment we made in our kids' childhoods, hands down. Those were some really, really good times.

What I'm Loving

Queen B came down for the night on Sunday and she and Hugh spent some time outside in the Man Gazebo (that just never gets old), enjoying the fire and catching up. They texted me this photo because I wouldn't go outside since the mosquito population has exploded and I appear to be their favorite thing on the menu. I don't love that, but I do love this picture...

I am also loving all of the local produce that is becoming available. I didn't plant a garden this year, so I am relying on the local farmers market to keep me stocked up. I am also planning to pick cherries at some point, and, just today Co-Worker Erin and I picked mulberries while on our daily walk around the neighborhood where Day Job is located.

What I've Been Up To

I recently shot a Mommy and Me session in the local park. I bonded almost immediately with the young mother when she told me that she works as a lifeguard and swim instructor at the pool in Pixler. I remember the days when I would take Queen B to the pool with me; we had so much fun with my staff of lifeguards. Anyhoodle, the pictures turned out great and I am looking forward to a repeat customer in the years to come.

What I'm Dreading

This one is heavy: I'm dreading the first anniversary of the suicide of the Man-Cub's girlfriend. She took her life on the fourth of July and I fear it will forever color the Cub's memory of the holiday. We are planning to get him out of the house and away from anything that might be triggering for him, but, in all honesty, you can only do so much when it comes to anticipating the stealthiness of grief. Besides, he carries a reminder of her daily; I can only hope that it brings to mind more happy memories than sad ones.

What I'm Working On

I'm working my way through an online posing course for my photography business as well as working on a website design and extending my reach on social media. My goal is to book enough mini-sessions this summer and fall to bankroll a trip to Greece with Queen B next summer; I promised her the trip for her college graduation and it is time to deliver.

What I'm Excited About

I finally got funding approval to attend a symposium in Baltimore in September. It will be the second time that I have attended the event and I am really, really looking forward to it. I'll be attending with colleagues from several neighboring communities, and, we have a sight-seeing itinerary already in mind; it should be a good time.

What I'm Watching

I'm sad to say, Netflix has let me down, recently. There just hasn't been anything on that I have found binge-worthy. With that said, Big Brother started last night! My first impressions of the house guests varied, widely, and I'm looking forward to watching the season play out; fingers crossed that it doesn't turn into a giant snooze-fest midway through. You know, like it has the past three-out-of-four years or so.

What I'm Reading

I read a lot of dark and twisty stuff this month, including My Lovely Wife, which I highly, highly recommend...

and Jane Doe, which was also entertaining and recommendable.

I am currently reading The Summer of 69, because it wouldn't be summer without an Elin Hilderbrand title in the mix.

What I'm Listening To

At the moment, I am listening to the irritating noise produced when the Boomer Dog chews on his squeaky ball. I have no idea how he found it; I thought I hid it pretty well this time.

What I'm Wearing

Layers! Never know what the weather is going to throw at you here in Colorado. It's June, you say? Mother Nature, she no care about your calendar! Freezing temperatures and snow? Sure, why not! On the bright side, when the sun does bother to shine, and the rain doesn't threaten to fall, I wear cute shoes!

What We're Doing This Weekend

Hugh is headed over the mountain to Mayberry to attend a wrestling clinic. While he's there, he's going to swing by Mom's, to install her new security system. Meanwhile, back on the ranch, I will be keeping the hardware store up and running and making sure that Boomer never goes without a game of fetch.

Oh, I'm also going to a Lavender Festival with Co-worker Erin and Former Co-worker Kristi, because; all work and no play makes Chelle a grumpy, grumpy asshole, and we can't have that.

What I'm Looking Forward to Next Month

Girl's Weekend, baby!! Jules, Tee, Reese, Phoebe, and I are headed to the wilderness! Or, as close as you can get to the wilderness in a campground on a lake. There will be laughter, there will be tears, there will be late-night storytelling, confessions between friends, old memories revisited and new memories made, and, I cannot wait!

What Else Is New

Not a thing. And, that's all, folks!

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Big Brother 2019 First Impressions

Summer is on the downhill slide; want to know how I know? Because another season of Big Brother has started, and I'm here for it!

This year's cast is diverse, to be sure, and, these are my first impressions of each contestant.

Top row, left to right:

Analyse, 22, College Soccer Star
She said some stuff? None of which was memorable or interesting. She is pretty, though.

Christie, 28, Boutique Owner
The most interesting thing about her is that she dated Tommy's cousin for, like, eight years. So, we know that at least two of the house guests know each other from outside the house. Care to wager on how many other secret connections there are?

Cliff, 53, Petroleum Engineer
Last name, Hogg, the third, no less. Any relation to Boss? Yep, sure that's not the first time he's heard that.

David, 29, Photographer
He used to be fat, but then he discovered Cross Fit and, now, he's not fat. And...that's all I got, folks.

Holly, 31, Wine Safari Guide
I'm calling it right now: Holly for the win! Girl knows her reds from her whites and she's country strong! Also, what is a wine safari and where do I sign up?

Isabella, 22, Public Health Analyst
I think I'm in love with her very traditional Asian mother, who A) had no idea what Big Brother is and B) Can't believe she left her daughter alone for three months and she's now going to be on reality TV; where did she go wrong?! Ha! Tiger Mom, indeed.

Middle row, left to right:

Jack, 28, Fitness Trainer
His bio says he's a fitness trainer, he says he's a videographer; I say, I'm confused. Anyhoodle, he also says he is constantly mistaken for Jason Momoa (who, by the way, Kathryn referred to as Jason Mimosa, ha!), which, don't be trippin' dude; you ain't no Aquaman.

Jackson, 24, Server
Token eye candy, describes himself as "mentally stable". Yeah, we'll see. Also, I cannot help but see Dudley Do Right every time I look at him. It's the jawline, I think...

Admit it, you see it, too

Jessica 30ish, Model
Plus size, obviously, and, WTF is 30ish? You own your weight; own your age! It's just a number!

Kathryn, 29, Digital Marketing Executive
Friends call her Kat, and she actually hired a photographer to follow her around to take her social media pictures. Jeebus Cripes, there are not enough eyerolls in the world!

Bottom row, left to right:

Kemi, 25, Marketing Strategist
She describes herself as a reformed mean girl, but, not, like, too reformed; that should end well for her.

Nick, 27, Therapist
Not just any therapist, a Child therapist. Damnit, I have no choice but to like him. Maybe he and Holly will form the summer's Super Couple and rule the house; they'll drink wine and talk about their feelings.

Nicole, 24, Preschool Aide
I think she's supposed to be the "quirky" one this season. Huh. I don't see it.

Ovi, 22, College Student
Self described "brown kid", and that's all I caught; hopefully his personality will develop before he gets the boot.

Sam, 31, Truck Driver
Well, his sons are adorable, and, he drives a big truck...

Tommy, 28 Broadway Dancer
He seems harmless enough, but, his voice reminds me of Saturday Night Live's Coffee Talk with Linda Richmond, or, should I say cwaffee tawk.

And, those are my first impressions. Will my thoughts change as the season unfolds? Will the season be interesting enough to actually hold my attention? Tune in for the answer to these and other important questions on this season of Biiiig Brother!

Another Scintillating Entry in the Ongoing Saga of The Perimenopausal Diaries

Let's see, last time I droned on about the topic of my impending barrenness, I focused mainly on the tidal wave of anxiety produced when rapidly diminishing hormones meet life in general. What I failed to mention was the undercurrent of depression that lurks just below the deluge. So, guess what today's topic will be? Go ahead, guess!

I am not, as over ten years of blog posts will attest, a depressive person by nature. I am a pretty happy-go-lucky, look on the bright side, glass is half full, the sun'll come out tomorrow, kind of gal, so; this lackluster feeling of ongoing ennui is of particular concern for me. I don't like it. The fact that it is considered a "normal" part of perimenopause, to be expected and simply endured is absolute bullshit, in my opinion.

I'm doing my best to combat this particular symptom; I'm trying to focus on things that bring me joy, peace, and a feeling of accomplishment, but, often that's easier said than done. I'm also reminding myself that this is merely a season of my life; "This, too, shall pass" and all that optimistic bullshit, but, wow, some days that's a tough sell.

Emotional symptoms aside, the most obvious signs of this stage of the process include dry skin (I have discovered a plethora of moisturizing products to recommend!), weight gain (8 pounds of the almost 40 I lost two years ago have somehow managed to creep back onto my ass; I'm blaming perimenopause, but, between you and me, I think the more likely culprit is tortillas. Hey, I gave up sugar and soda, a girl's gotta have a vice!), intermittent hot flashes, and, obviously, a wonky menstrual cycle. It really is soooo much fun to be female!

On the bright side (see? I try!), perimenopause typically lasts 4-10 years (yes, I said years), and, I figure I'm in Year 7, so, the end has to near.


Oh, lord, please tell me I'm right.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Playing Hooky

It's been quiet here on ye old blog. My excuse, should I feel the need to make one (I don't, actually) is that I have been playing hooky. Hooky from work, hooky from my exercise routine, hooky from life, in general.

It started on Thursday, with a full day away from Day Job. I have reached the point in my PTO bank wherein I will no longer be able to accumulate hours, so, it was time to use a few, and, with nowhere to go and nothing to do, it made sense to do...nothing.

In my case, nothing meant puttering around the house, relocating my fairy garden (I really am becoming an old woman), pulling a few weeds (bindweed remains my nemesis), and napping on the couch.

I would have taken the opportunity to work on my summer tan, but, in case you haven't heard; Colorado got two feet of snow on the first official day of summer, and, while we didn't get any at our lower elevation, we still got the wind, the rain, and a dip in temperatures that more closely resemble March temperatures than June. Mother Nature and I are not on the best of terms.

Friday, I returned to work for a few hours, mainly to attend my monthly Board meeting; had it not been for the meeting, my ass would have remained firmly planted on the couch, which is where it spent the majority of yesterday, and, up until this very minute, today.

I do fully intend to pry myself up just as soon as I hit publish on this post. I have two baseball games to attend, work to be done at the hardware store, and, a return engagement with the treadmill at the gym.

Three days off is enough to motivate me to get back into the groove.

I think.

I hope...

...we'll see..

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Life Lately

I find it very hard to believe that it's already the middle of June; the summer is whizzing past at an alarming rate. I'm beginning to doubt that we will ever get the boat on the water or that I will accomplish any relaxation, whatsoever.

Do you hear the tiny violins playing? Cripes sake, Chelle, pull it together!


Let's try this again...

Life lately has included a few relaxing evenings on the porch, where I like to sip a glass of wine while scrolling through social media on my phone. I'm loving the new curtains, and, this view is about as close as I'll ever get to the sensation of living inside a Genie's bottle, so, I'll take it.

While I'm relaxing on the porch, Hugh is usually hanging out in his "Man Gazebo". Don't look at me that way; it's a real thing! It's like a She-Shed only far less cool and not generally used for crafting. Men don't tend to dig crafting.

I got him new furniture for Fathers Day, and, he is really loving how much cushion real estate he has to stretch out on now.

He especially enjoys using the fire pit at night, with a bottle of beer and a movie fired up on his iPad.

In other relaxing pursuits, I went mini-golfing with my coworkers the other day. There was a smaller group of us this year than last, but, we managed to have a good time, anyway.

This tiny bottle of Jack Daniels was perched on the rim of the lighthouse and we could not resist. The photo op, not the alcohol; this was a work sanctioned event and we are super dedicated employees (I literally snorted when I typed that).

While we were playing, we encountered a duck on the course. Like, a real, live duck... of my coworkers made a shot that went through a course obstacle-I think it was the windmill-and then through the duck's legs as it waddled near the hole. The duck actually kicked the ball into the hole, helping my coworker achieve par for the hole. She was her lucky duck.

And, I keep referring to the duck as "she", because, a little later, we spied her on a nest in the flowerbeds, warming her eggs.

 It was pretty adorable, despite the fact that she hissed at us and threatened to peck our eyes out. At least, I think that's what she was saying; I don't speak duck.

I also recently cut the last of my peonies. They put on quite a show this year and I'll miss seeing them from the porch.

Boomer and I have been hanging out together a lot. In fact, this is how I find him most mornings...

...waiting for me to come downstairs so we can go outside. He's still ridiculously ball-driven (that's what she said. Sorry, I couldn't resist), and he loves nothing more than to see me reaching for the Chuck-it.

And, that's a little bit of life lately. The excitement is exhausting.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Mommy and Me

Considering the challenges involved in getting a nine-month old, overdue for a nap, to pose for pictures for an hour; last week's mommy and me session went far better than expected.

I got a number of good pictures and can officially check the item off my June Bucket List. It may be the only item I can check off the list, but, it's a step in the right direction.