Sunday, September 23, 2012

Balloon Treats

I knew there was a reason to keep this blog up! It was so I would have a place to put pictures that I needed to pin on Pinterest. Clearly.

Last week Kindergarten had a Balloon Unit study (that culminated in "Balloon-A-Mania." Which meant that each parent was sent home with about 30 water balloons to fill. And, I'm pretty sure that being asked to fill a gazillion water balloons seriously damaged my relationship with Lulu's teachers). Anyway. I digress. Elizabeth was "Snack Helper" for the week, which meant we brought the daily snack for her class. And, the teachers requested that the snacks fit the theme of the week.

Once I threw any dream of taking healthy snacks out the window, I was able to come up with some ideas. There was woefully little to be pilfered from the internet. So, because I'm all about making the world a better place, I thought I would put my five ideas for Balloon Treats on the internets for the next poor sap who has snack duty on Balloon week. You're welcome.

And, here they are...

Hot Air Balloon snack cups
Hot glue three ribbons (about 10" long) to the edges of plastic cocktail cups.
Tie helium balloons to ends of ribbons. Fill cups with snack mix.
Cheese Crackers with squeeze cheese ribbons
Put three dots of squeeze cheese on a paper plate
and press cheese cracker sandwich on each dot.
Draw balloon strings with squeeze cheese. 
Dipped Oreo Balloon Pops
Just a rip-off of the Mummy Pops from last Halloween.
Follow the same directions but sprinkle with dots and make balloon stems at the bottom.

Balloon bundles in pudding
Large pink marshmallows on lollipop sticks
poked into the foil top of pre-made pudding cup.
Rice Krispy Treat Balloons with Licorice Strings
Make Rice Krispy treats according to directions. Use a cookie cutter to cut balloon shapes (Shawn had the brilliant idea to use a pumpkin-shaped cookie cutter so it would have a "stem" to tie the "ribbon" around). Sprinkle with dots. Wrap a single licorice string around stem for ribbon. Note: the Krispy treats are sticky enough that the decorations will stick if left to set. Just make sure the licorice ends are under the balloons so they'll be held in place to stick.

Again. You're welcome.

Monday, September 03, 2012

I Love You. Goodbye.

Do you remember my brilliant cousin, K.C.? She's the singer/songwriter. (I mentioned "brilliant," right?) Today's her birthday. And, it made me realize I never told you about her new album: The Tag Hollow Sessions. It's awesome. Duh. But, guess what? One of the songs on the album... IS MINE. MINE. MINE. MINE. MINE. MINE. (I'm a little possessive.)

Maybe I should tell you the back story.

When she produced her last album, Orchid, she did it by asking her friends and family to become her record label. She explains it better here. If you contributed at a certain level, you could choose for her to write you a song. Like I wasn't going to choose that, right?! Well, it turns out, you can't just flip K.C. to "on" and watch her crank out a song. Who knew? So, I patiently waited for my song... 

Then one day she sent me a message saying she was writing my song. Yay! As it turns out she had read this blog post. Go ahead. Read it. I'll wait... Finished? Good. Could you write a song out of that?! Me either. We suck. But, K.C. doesn't. She took that blog post, coupled it with my real life, and wrote this:

"Just in Case" (Click the song title, you can hear it on iTunes. It's song #13)
I don't wanna answer the phone.
These days are taking their toll
'Cause it's never good news calling.
And you. You are my port in the storm.
You're what I'm waking up for.
You remind me the sky's not falling.

But, just in case there aren't any more tomorrows,
Let's not waste one drop of our love on sorrows.
Just hold me close, knowing our time is borrowed.
Just in case there aren't any more tomorrows.

I was never fond of surprises.
I like the way the sun rises.
You can count on it every morning.
But, now, so many people around us,
They ain't got nothing but sadness.
And it came without any warning.

So, just in case there aren't any more tomorrows,
Let's not waste one drop of our love on sorrows.
Just hold me close, knowing our time is borrowed.
Just in case, oh, just in case

The hands on all the clocks have stopped.
The life that we once lived is lost.
I don't want to be full of words
I wish I'd said,
I wish you'd heard.

So, just in case there aren't any more tomorrows,
Let's not waste one drop of our love on sorrows.
Just hold me close, 'cause baby our time is borrowed.
Just in case there aren't any more tomorrows.
..........

Holy crap it's good, huh? And, it's MINE. MINE. MINE. MINE. MINE. MINE. (Well, and Shawn's, too. But, mostly. MINE.)

She's brilliant.

And, that leads me to this:

I just heard another song. An oldie, but goodie. And, it sums up how I feel about this blog.

"Too Busy Being in Love" by Doug Stone
Songwriters: Gary Burr, Victoria Shaw
If I had taken the time
To write down a few lines
Every time you crossed this heart of mine,
I'd put them all in a book.
How much time would that have took?
The words and years have a way of slipping by.

Oh no! Too bad. There goes the chance that I had.
I could have written a play so sweet and so funny.
Given old Mr. Shakespeare a run for his money.
Written the words to the prettiest tune
That would never leave a dry eye in the room.
My only excuse for not doing enough...
I was too busy being in love.
Yes, I was too busy being in love.

Brand new phrases appear every time you are near.
All these words you inspire after all these years.
But I never reached for a pen.
Break the mood that I'm in.
Before I knew it the words were gone again.

Oh no! Too bad. There goes the chance that I had.
I could have written a play so sweet and so funny.
Given old Mr. Shakespeare a run for his money.
Written the words to the prettiest tune
That would never leave a dry eye in the room.
My only excuse for not doing enough...
I was too busy being in love.
Yes, I was too busy being in love.

I could have written a poem to make young lovers crazy.
Could have written a movie for Hepburn and Tracy.
A beautiful song and it starts with your name.
Written my way into fortune and fame.
But I have no regrets for not doing enough...
I was too busy being in love.
Yes, I was too busy being in love.
..........

Y'all. I love my family. I love my life. It's not perfect. By far. But, it's mine. And, I love living it. And, right now, I don't want to write about it. I just want to live it.

I've lived long enough to know to never say never. So, I'm not saying I'll never come back here to post. The next time I find a potato chip that looks like Abe Lincoln, I am so coming back here to write a post about it. But, until that earth shattering occasion occurs...

I'm too busy being in love.

Bye, y'all.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Camp!

We picked Spence up from camp this evening. To quote one of my friends, "He was third-world dirty." And, tired. But, so happy.
Lulu was so glad to see him, too. We took them out to dinner when we got back to town. Spence made her laugh so hard it was like her tickle box got turned upside-down. It was hysterical. It was that darling little kid laugh that makes everyone else laugh, too. Heads in the restaurant were turning in joy to watch her joy. And, then she announced, just as loudly as she was laughing, "I just laughed so hard I TOOTED!"

Speaking of. Each boy in Spence's cabin painted a square that were all hooked together to created their cabin flag. Everyone took home their individual piece. This was Spencer's:
He said it was the "Atomic bad word."
I said, "Oh. Ok. The Atomic Bad Word?"
"Well... The Atomic Toot."
"Oh. That's funny. The Atomic Toot."
"But, not 'toot.' The bad word for the word 'toot.'"
"Ohhhhhhhhh...." You see, I have my children convinced "fart" is a bad word. For that matter, so are "stupid" and "shut up."
And then it dawned on me. "Were you allowed to say that word at camp?"
With the proudest yet sheepish smile on his face, he drawled, "Yeeeeeees."
Once he found out he could say that word, I bet he said it every. other. sentence! I mean, he made it his camp banner.

And finally. His bags. I pretty much thought "Ewww" with every item I pulled out of them. How are things crusty and wet at the same time? I pulled some letters out of his bag. He had actually written them at camp, he just never mailed them. Eh. That's 50% success. Anyway. One of them was to Lulu. This is what it says:
Translation:
Dear Elizabeth Ann Johnson, Lulu, Libby, Louis Von Lewiston,
Do you want to know what my favorite thing at camp is? Well, do you? Well, you have to guess correctly. It was Arts and Crafts.
Love, Spencer
[and then he drew her tic-tac-toe games to play]

Heart. Melted.

P.S. If you're not my friend on Facebook, you might not have seen the camp 'do. Spence has begged for years to get a summer buzz cut. Finally, since this was our second year at camp and Shawn and I were fully aware that no comb would touch his head for a week (I mean, our greatest hope was that some shampoo might actually touch it), we gave in to the buzz cut plea.

May I introduce "The High and Tight."
When he went to bed the day he got his hair cut, he told me, "It's awesome being me!"

Thursday, July 05, 2012

And Then? My Foot Got Barfed On.

My 20th high school reunion just happend. It was... meh.

No. I take that back. It was AWESOME to see some AWESOME friends that I hadn't seen in far too long. AWESOME to promise each other that we wouldn't wait another ten years before we got together again. But, the try-to-hide-in-a-corner-because-I-hate-chit-chat-and-worry-that-people-will-think-I'm-a-bitch-because-of-it sucked. As usual.

But, overall... so glad I went.

Friday night's event was just my high school's graduates (Monterey High School, Lubbock, Texas - GO PLAINSMEN!) at a cocktail party. Saturday's event was a combo reunion with the other two rival high schools in town, Coronado and Lubbock High. It was at a cool new rooftop bar in town. The reunion started at 7:00, but the bar wasn't closed to the public. So, about 10:00 the college kids started rolling in as college kids are wont to do at that time. (Do you remember when 10:00 made you think of heading to the bar, not jammies and the couch?!)

So. The college kids were there. One of my friends overheard one of them say, "I'm trying to get to the bar, but there are all of these old people in the way." Ouch.

But, I headed to the bathroom with a friend. While I was finishing up in my own personal stall I had the disquieting thought of, "Did my foot just get wet?" I looked down and saw... splatter... from the next stall had made its way into mine. And, then I heard it. The distinct sound of barf splashing down in the toilet next to me.

My foot got barfed on.

I ran out of the bathroom in horror (while stopping to wash my hands - I mean I'm not gross. Just because my foot had been dishonored didn't mean I had to sacrifice my hands as well), mumbling to my friend, "myfootjustgotbarfedonmyfootjustgotbarfedonmyfootjustgotbarfedon."

But, here's a couple of things I would like to say to the nameless college beauty that brought such honor to herself and hers last Saturday night. First of all: hit. the. toilet. Gross. And, secondly: Who barfs at 10:00 at night?! What is this? Amateur hour? At least we "old people" know how to hold our liquor!

So, that's it. That's my best anecdote from the reunion. If you didn't go to high school with me, stop here. If you did, or you're just really interested in watching other people's home movies, keep going for some of the pics.

Some of the AWESOME people who made it AWESOME
Friday Night
Mindy, Kelly and me
I went to school with Mindy from FIFTH grade through twelfth. Wow. That's a lifelong friend!
Kelly and I were pretty much tied at the hip during high school (with our other friend Lenna who rudely chose to have a baby a month ago and, therefore, couldn't make the reunion. Geez. Some people just don't think of ME when they are doing things. Do better next time, Lenna.) At one point Friday night, Kelly and I were sitting on a couch together and another friend walked by. She said, "You two. Sitting there. Together. It's like it's twenty years ago!" I love my BFF.
Jessica and Jennifer
Amy and Kelly. The Broome girls. No relation. (I have no idea why I think that's so funny...)
Mikey (you can't call a grown man Mikey. You have to call him Mike. Or Springer. He looks at you weird if you call him Mikey.) and Kim
Saturday Night
Jennifer, me and Cressinda
Um. This is exactly what it looks like. I wanted to have boobs as big as the other girls. Some things you just never grow out of. Or should I say, never grow...
This picture is the most representative of our behavior during the weekend.
And here we are acting respectable.
Cressinda, me, Jennifer and Jill
Jennifer, Kim, me and +1 (I mean, Ana!)
me, Jacki and Anna
Jessica's husband. He took my nametag from Friday night and wore it throughout Saturday's event. Then, he just waited for people to ask. His most common response: Sex Change.
THE GIRLS
The Lost Husbands Club
Very lost...

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

May Wrap-up... The June Version

There was a point around the second week of May when I thought, "May doesn't seem to be as crazy this year as it has been in years past."

Then May bitch-slapped me for being cocky. She bitch-slapped me so hard that I haven't been able to finish a post about May until the third week of June.

So, here you go.

May.


Followed by Shawn's 40th birthday party.

Somewhere along the way I printed the invitations for Elizabeth's birthday party three times. The first time I scheduled it the same night as "Hasting's Night" at the amusement park - just an extra 1,500 people expected at the park that night. So, then I rescheduled it. For a night during the week that the kids go on their annual trip to the lake with Shawn's parents and his aunt and uncle. (My mother-in-law caught this error - when we gave her her invitation! And, I told her, "I feel like I'm spinning a whole. bunch. of plates. And, they keep crashing to the ground!"

There was the week that Elizabeth was the snack helper at school. It happened to coincide with the Pre-K Luau. Her teacher "suggested" fruit kabobs, sugar cookies and little bottles of water for the Luau snacks.

I made these Hula boys and girls:
Cute, right?

It wasn't until a week later that I realized... I brought topless Hula girls to the Pre-K Luau. But, I didn't hear of any cookie scandals through the preschool grapevine - so, I think we skated by.

There were also Book Fair shifts. A weekend in the mountains with friends. (This was actually relaxing. Once we were there. But, up til then? Just more things on the to-do list.) End-of-school field day and class parties.

And, dance recital.

May wrapped with my mom and step-dad's annual family reunion trip. I think this was probably relaxing and wonderful. But, to be honest. I think I was too tired to be sure.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Status Update

My Cars 2 bandaid got wet, so I replaced it with an Angry Birds one. That one fell off and my friend gave me one - it's Dora. Do you remember before we had kids and bandaids were just peach-colored?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Coconut Mocha Coffee Completes Me

Remember how I love my Keurig? I do.

My sister introduced me to something that made it even better. Possible, you ask? Indeed, it turns out, it was.

It's called Coconut Mocha. I love it. She told me she had only ever seen it at Target.

She made me a to-go cup before I left for the airport.

Did I mention I love it?

So much so, I began texting about it the first morning I was home:
Off to Target I went. And, this was what I found of their Keurig coffee selections:
She tried to be helpful:
And, then. Then?! This:
Some people have fame and fortune. I have good Walmart karma. And, Coconut Mocha coffee. Win/Win!

(And, notice that it was still the only thing on my mind the next morning? I *heart* Coconut Mocha.)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

My Sister Got Married this Weekend

She is adored.
And, so is he.
So, now.
Let the happily ever after begin.
Oh, wait.
I think it already has.

Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.
-Robert A. Heinlein

I love you, Brandy. Your happiness has always been essential to my own.
I am, and will always be
Your adoring little sister -Ali

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Status Update

I have to admit, when there's gross stuff in my pantry (like rice cakes), I'm so relieved when the expiration date has passed so I can throw it away and not feel guilty about not eating it anymore...

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

True Confession

When I saw this in the shoe department:
I wanted to yell, "They've been HEALED!"

(Is it obvious by how blurry this photo is that I was trying to take it quickly before I got caught?)

Monday, May 07, 2012

"Shawn's Massage"
or
"There Once Was a Little Stool"

Like I said a couple of days ago, I got a Deep Tissue massage.

It turns out I go to a massage to be pampered. I don't want to hear things out of my therapist's mouth like,
"You're going to need to focus on breathing through this part."
Or, "Drink lots of water. That will help you be less sore the next two days. But, on the third day, you should feel really good and relaxed." [I'm sorry. Say what?!]

I want to leave a massage feeling like angels just played with my hair, not like a surprisingly strong woman just used me for her strength training.

And, this made me think of "Shawn's massage." It is one of my favorite stories.

Shawn's Massage
We traveled with another couple to Cabo San Lucas. The other couple and I made arrangements for massages at the spa. Shawn had never had a massage. We convinced him he would love it and he should get one.

Well, first, we were all sitting in the "Relaxation Room" together. And, Shawn's robe? Barely covered his upper thigh.

And, then? His therapist came for him first. She was the tiniest little Mexican woman I have ever seen. As they walked away, the remaining three of us may or may not have laughed and made a few comments that if Shawn rolled off the table he would crush and kill her.

We all got our massages and we regrouped for lunch. While we sat and ate, we asked Shawn what he thought of his massage.

He answered, "Y'all? That little Mexican woman kicked my ass."

We laughed.

He said, "She even got a little stool out..."

We all paused with our food mid-air between our plates and our mouths and slowly turned toward him with horror in our eyes.

And he continued, "...and she climbed up on it so she could dig in with her elbows."

Once our hearts started beating again... And we could catch our breaths through the laughter... And, one or two of us had picked ourselves up off the ground... We explained to Shawn that the term "stool" has a completely different connotation in the medical community - one he was, up to that point, wholly unaware of.



But, now I see his story in a whole new light. Maybe he got a Deep Tissue Massage. And, maybe she did "get a little stool out."

Friday, May 04, 2012

It was the Best of Times. It was the Worst of Times. And, There was a Coffee Maker.

A couple of days ago, my Keurig coffee maker became possessed by a demon.


I used every troubleshooting technique I could find on the world wide web, because I love my Keurig and I was going to perform CPR until someone pulled me off of its cold, dead body.

But, finally, even I had to admit that I needed more intervention that the internets could provide - and, as much as I love you, Coffee Maker, I just can't clean up the reservoir-full of water that you keep spitting on my counter in the name of "Priming" yourself one more time. So, I called Keurig to tattle on her bad behavior. (That's right. I just made my coffee maker a girl. Because we're like sisters.)

The rep listened to my woes and said, "Sounds like you've done every troubleshooting tip I could have suggested for you. How about I just send you a new brewer?"

Um. Yes, please?* Wow. Well done, Keurig. THAT is customer service.

Now. Where is the nearest Starbucks? This is going to be a rough two to three business days.



*Turns out my loyalty toward this particular "sister" coffee maker wasn't so strong after all. She's going to be replaced. By a better sister.

Would it be bad to use this as a cautionary tale for my children?

*clink clink* [coins in the Therapy Fund... coins in the Therapy Fund...]

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Massages and Panties

I don’t get massages very often. Usually just when we’re on vacation and there’s a spa.

So, I’m no novice. But I’m also no expert. And, here’s what always stumps me: Panties. On or off?

One time, on vacation, I thought to myself, “I need to stop being so immature. I’m sure my underwear just gets in the therapist’s way. So, I took them off. Well, evidently that was a code to this particular therapist to go to town on my gluts. There was a point where I wanted to yell, “Dude! Get off my ass!”

[Pausing while you get all of your inappropriate rebuttals and laughter out of your systems. All better now?]

Lately I've had this "twinge" under my right shoulder. I've been thinking I should get a massage. But, you know. Whatever. Then, on Monday, while I was getting my teeth cleaned, my dental hygienist said she was taking the next day off for her birthday and she was going to get a massage from her very favorite, highly certified, massage therapist. Well, I accepted this as the clear sign that. it. was. that I should get a massage from this woman.

I saw her today. She was very nice. I'm sure she could have cared less about whether I was pro or con underwear-during-massage. She even told me to "undress to the level I'm comfortable with."

Now. If I'm going to keep my underthings on, I want them to be as benign and clinical as possible. I hadn't thought that through when I dressed this morning. My choice was a little, let's say, sassy. Nothing I wanted to show a complete stranger.

And, anyway. I'm mature. I'm sure my underwear will just get in the therapist's way.

So, when she continued with, "Take your bra off, but you can keep your underwear on if you prefer," I responded a little to enthusiastically with, "But, it's okay if I take them off, right?"

[This is the point where the voice in my head starts screaming: "OMG. I just made it sound like panty-wearing was a deal-breaker. She thinks I'm a pervert."]

She was very nice and didn't act overly scared of me from that point on. But...

Then the massage began.

I had chosen to have a Deep Tissue Massage as opposed to a Swedish Massage. I've never had one before, but I wanted her to really "get in there" and get the knot that's been bothering my shoulder. Well, hear me now: Deep Tissue Massages are not for the faint of heart. I had no idea the sumo wrestling match I was about to enter into - a match in which the other person is pre-determined to win.

I also didn't know how much my legs would be moving.

She did, though. So, as I lay on my back and she moved to lift my thigh perpendicular to the table, she first made the appropriate adjustments of the sheet... for the average person. I, however? Am very flexible. I'm sure most people's thighs stop perpendicular to the table. But, by the time my knee was up near my armpit, it was clear that her sheet calculations had been... slightly off.

She was as professional as could be about it.

I, however? Will be wearing underwear for every massage from now until the day I die.

Status Update

For some reason, the phrase "Mommy's head hurts really badly," makes my kids break into rounds of the Mexican Hat Dance song.

*must not hit the children... must not hit the children...*

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Status Update

I shouldn't use superglue without adult supervision.

Status Update

I think Santa Claus drives the Waste Disposal truck in my neighborhood. I always wondered what he did in the off-months.


Thursday, April 26, 2012

True Confession: Eating Healthy

Last night Shawn and I both "saved" the snack from our meal plan so we could eat it after dinner. It was frozen yogurt and sliced strawberries.

I was allotted 1/2 cup of frozen yogurt. I smashed as much yogurt as physics would allow into the measuring cup filled the measuring cup with yogurt. As I scooped the yogurt out of the measuring cup into the bowl, the smallest drop of yogurt fell on the counter.

I looked at the more-than-ample amount of frozen treat in my bowl.

I looked at the drop on the counter.

I looked at the more-than-ample amount of frozen treat in my bowl.

I licked the counter.

But, you already knew that was how this story was going to end. Didn't you?

Status Update

Spencer is using my laptop AND my phone for his homework. It's been five minutes. I have reached for one or the other at least twenty times now. Can't. function. Feeling. baffled. and. confused.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Learning a Healthy Lifestyle...
There's a Learning Curve

Shawn turns forty in a month. He decided that he would like to face the next forty years without encouraging one of the myriad of familial illnesses that plagues his gene pool. So, he is willing to try eating healthier. A serious commitment from someone who has spent the past forty years fine-tuning the delicate skill of vegetable-avoidance.

But, I'm on-board! I would love to eat healthier and have a buddy to help encourage me when I don't feel like encouraging myself. Also? If this is his version of a mid-life crisis and it doesn't involve a girlfriend, ridiculous sports car, or plastic surgery, I'll eat bok choy every day for the rest of my life. So, I signed us up for a meal plan on-line. It counts our calories. We sit down every Sunday and choose what we want to eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. It gives me a grocery list. I shop. We eat.

I've only had to yell at one of the children one time when he wouldn't stop calling this "your diet." We had a discussion about what people think of as "diets" are just radically changing your eating habits for a temporary time to lose weight and then going right back to eating like crap (I didn't use that word, I promise). And, that this was Mommy and Daddy learning how to eat healthy. Forever. He said he understood. Although, he really may have just wanted the lecture to stop...

I hang my head as I tell you how foreign it was for me to buy healthy food - like fresh fruit and vegetables. (I think the first trip to the grocery store took me an hour and a half.) And how eye-opening it was when I started comparing labels to decide which brand of different foods would be the healthier option. (For example: Wheat Chex. A "whole grain wheat cereal." Must be healthy, right? Second ingredient? [And, we all know ingredients are listed in the order of predominance, right?] SUGAR. Straight up "sugar." In "healthy" wheat Chex. Damn.)

But, it's amazing how much we're learning already. After a week, I can already cut up a cantaloupe like a pro. Learning portion control has been huge for us, too. Turns out a 12-ounce piece of meat isn't in anyone's healthy diet. We've also learned how bad some of our "go-to" options are. Pizza? French fries? Salad dressing?! Oh my. But, with the variety this meal plan offers us, there are lots of things that we like that, eaten in the proper amounts, are good and good for us. And, there are healthy ways to prepare some of the ol' favs like hamburgers, pasta, etc.

We have stumbled upon one meal that made us throw up in our mouths. Luckily, it wasn't one of our first meals. We already had enough good dinners under our belts (no pun intended, ba-dum-cha) that we didn't ditch the entire "healthy" concept altogether and run for the nearest Mexican restaurant. But, that meal made it to the "Never, Never, Never, Again" List. We do already have three on our "Put in Heavy Rotation" List. So, the ratio of good to bad is quite acceptable.

It's actually been kind of fun to work along-side each other in the kitchen, too, measuring and cooking. And, I send Shawn to work with his "snack" every day. It's very Donna Reed.

But. (And, we all knew there was a "but," didn't we?) Here's the thing. He gets many more calories than I do. He gets so much food, that many days he can't eat it all... or feels like he's being force fed if he tries. Me? Not so much. I want to kick him in delicate places when he says things like, "I just can't eat my cheese and crackers."

And, then? The first week? He lost seven pounds.

Me?

I'm just bitter.

And, hungry.

Monday, April 23, 2012

"Aaaaaay"

My washing machine started giving me an error code when I tried to start a load of laundry.

So, I tried to fix it the way I fix most broken things in my life. I googled it.

It turns out that "F-dl" on a Whirlpool Duet washing machine means the door lock is malfunctioning. The internet also taught me that the door lock is in the upper back right corner of the washer. You can use gravity to help the lock latch. As the lock is trying to latch, you can "assist" it by pounding the machine with your fist.

Are you picturing this?

Please picture this.

Sometimes, to make my washing machine work, I have to hit it with my fist.

I. am. Fonzie.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Clown Barf Cake

Here's something you missed out on during my hiatus:

Clown Barf Cake!

Or. If you want people to eat it.

Rainbow Clown Cake (boooooring....)

I mean, seriously. That is Clown Barf!

The kids LOVE this cake. I mean, duh. Look at it!

My only word to the wise is that you SCAPE each bowl when you transfer the batter while mixing the different colors or you will end up with very thin layers.

That's all. Let's all go enjoy some barf.

Rainbow Clown Cake
Ingredients
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package white cake mix
  • 1 1/3 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • red paste food coloring
  • orange paste food coloring
  • yellow paste food coloring
  • green paste food coloring
  • blue paste food coloring
  • purple paste food coloring

  • Directions
  • Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour two 8-inch round cake pans.
  • Beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until frothy, about 1 minute. Add the cake mix, water, and canola oil; continue beating for 2 minutes on medium speed.
  • Divide the cake batter into six separate bowls. Use a toothpick to scoop a dab of food coloring into one bowl of batter and stir; add more food coloring, if necessary, to reach the desired shade. Repeat with the remaining colors and bowls of batter.
  • Scoop spoonfuls of batter into the prepared pans, alternating the colors. Use a toothpick to gently swirl the colors for a marbled effect.
  • Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes clean, about 30-35 minutes. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack.

  • Thursday, April 19, 2012

    The Post You've All Been Waiting For
    (Yes, you have. You know you have.
    SHUT UP. You have.)

    So. You remember how I was in a little ol' play? I mentioned that, right? Once or four times? And, then disappeared off the face of the earth for ten weeks or so?

    Well, it went down like this:
    Play rehearsal, play rehearsal, play rehearsal, play rehearsal.
    Play, play.
    No more play. Funk for a week while I mourned the fact that there was no one in my real life who would applaud me on a daily basis. Bastards.
    Then the family went out of town for a family reunion.
    Then I followed Shawn on a business trip to San Antonio.
    Then I got the plague. I was sick for about a week. Nearly died. Then I slept for 16 hours (many hours of which I still owed myself from the aforementioned play practice and play). And now I'm better.

    I feel like myself again. I hope it doesn't take me four weeks of being useless after the next play before my life returns to normal. Because, let's not kid ourselves, if they'll have me, there will be a next play. And, I'm not sure how long Shawn's sunny, supportive disposition will last with a wife who needs a month of trudging through her regular life and responsibilities before she can construct a coherent sentence. Much less be delightful and charming again. (Shut up.)

    But, anyway. For the past week or so, I've been hanging out at the Little Theater again, helping with the sets for the upcoming musical. I'm pretty much like a stray cat they accidentally fed and now they can't shake. Poor, poor unsuspecting people. I think I saw a horror movie that started this way.

    Anyhooo... What I guess I'm trying to say is:

    I'm baaaaack.

    Wednesday, April 18, 2012

    UN-inspirational Quotes

    Near the kids' school, there is a chiropractor's office that has a sign outside that is always displaying different quotes.

    The one this week reads:

    "One's mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions."
    -Oliver Wendell Holmes

    Every time I see it, I replace "mind" with "stomach" and "new idea" with "child".

    It's less inspiring my way.

    Tuesday, April 17, 2012

    Deep Thoughts by Ali and Spencer

    Disclaimer: This post is in no way meant to ignite any religious fervors. It is meant to make you smile at a conversation between my son and me. If you do not agree with the religious views of my family, feel free to pray for us... silently. You know what? Go ahead and pray for us anyway. We can use all of 'em we can get!



    I started laughing at this tailgate. And I took a picture of it.

    Spencer was in the car with me and said, "What are you taking a picture of?"
    I said, "That truck."
    "Why?"
    "He's just got a lot of things happening there on his tailgate... He's advertising his business and he's saying 'Heaven or Hell? Time is running out! Do you know Jesus?'"
    "What does that mean?"
    "Well, babe. There are some people who think you either believe in Jesus and go to Heaven, or you don't and you go to Hell. But, I think that's judging people a lot more than I'm comfortable judging them. It's not our job to say who's going to Hell. That's God's."
    "Hell. Is that where the Devil lives?"
    "Yep. Where the Devil lives. It's a really terrible place. And, I know me and my family are going to Heaven because we believe Jesus died for our sins so we wouldn't be separated from God. But, if someone else tells me that in their heart they feel right about what they believe in, I think we're supposed to love them and not judge them and tell them they're going to Hell...
    Now. If someone's worried that they won't go to Heaven, I'll tell them all about Jesus! Because I know that Jesus will get you into Heaven. He's a get-into-Heaven-free-card."
    "So, Jesus lets you go to Heaven for free?!"
    "Yep. Anyone who believes that Jesus died for our sins gets to go to Heaven - no questions asked."
    "Mom?"
    "Yeah?"
    "What's a deli?"
    "A place where they sell meat and cheeses and sandwiches."
    "Can we eat at McDonald's tonight?"
    "No."

    Sometimes it feels like I'm being punk'd.

    Tuesday, March 06, 2012

    More proof of where I've been when I haven't been here:

    A slide show from the Neil Simon play, Rumors that will run its last shows this Thursday through Sunday at the Amarillo Little Theater.

    http://amarillolittletheater.com/gallery_rumors_ss.html

    This community theater just keeps proving why they are nationally renowned!

    But, um... One quick question about one of the pictures in the slideshow:

    When did J.Lo's butt get attached to my body?
    I'm choosing to believe there is an optical illusion happening with the
    black dress, white sheers, light and camera angle. And, that it is not
    really possible to balance a drink on my ass.

    Saturday, February 25, 2012

    Hall of Presidents

    The second grade presented the Hall of Presidents. Each student dressed as a different president. They wore a picture of that president on their lapel. When the button was pushed, they gave a memorized speech... as the president himself.

    And now, without further ado, may I present to you President Andrew Johnson...


    Here's the opening parade of presidents. The video I got was lousy, but you can catch a glimpse of FDR in his wheelchair (being pushed by Andrew Johnson), some of the first presidents in their white wigs, Dwight D. Eisenhower in his military fatigues, Lincoln in his top hat, Lyndon B. Johnson in his cowboy wear and Teddy Roosevelt in his rough rider clothes.

    Friday, February 24, 2012

    This is where I've been while I haven't been here:

    http://amarillo.com/entertainment/get-out/2012-02-22/rumors-revival-aims-laughs

    My family's been wondering, too, if it makes you feel any better.

    Tuesday, February 14, 2012

    Something's got to give


    Turns out learning 90 or so pages of dialogue

    and

    maintaining my self-imposed Spanish-learning schedule (Oh wait. That one had to give, too.)

    and

    trying to make sure my family doesn't feel neglected by my new obligation

    and

    dealing with Lulu's raging case of strep throat with high fevers and such bad wheezing that she required breathing treatments

    and

    Shawn's upper respiratory/ear infections - so severe that I found myself putting aside my life view that he's a grown-ass man who can take care of himself and instead worrying that he was going to end up in the hospital with pneumonia

    and

    traveling to meet him while he was at a meeting in New York; getting stuck in Houston on the return trip home and promised a flight home two days later; not accepting that solution and driving the ten hours home (with a 2am pit stop in Wichita Falls; 5 hours of sleep and hitting the road again)

    and

    getting ready to take the kids skiing for their President's Day break from school

    leaves 

    no time to blog.



    Until this play runs the first two weekends in March, I will hereby reference this blog post as "Post 2.14" and refer to it when life is just too crazy - and something has to give. And, judging from the fact that this very post sat unfinished on my computer for a week... I'll probably be referencing it a lot.

    Friday, January 27, 2012

    Return of the Prodigal Camera Cord: Part I

    Herein begins a series of posts I shall call "Return of the Prodigal Camera Cord." It seems I have a genetic predisposition to a disorder that I inherited from my mother. Whereas hers is called I-Put-It-Someplace-"Safe," my strain is known as I-Put-It-"Away." Regardless of the strain, it culminates in something important being put somewhere, with vague memories of doing so, and no idea where that place might be.

    And, it happened to my camera cord. It was always wadded up somewhere waiting for me to use it to download pictures and I thought it looked awful. There are so many cords around this house. So, I thought I would tackle the mess one cord at a time and put the camera cord "away." Oops.

    It's a month and a half later and I just found it hidden behind the throw pillows on the living room chair in which no one sits. To my credit, that is very near to where I usually download pictures.

    Anyway, I've killed the fatted calf and now I've got tons of material for blog posts! And, the people said, "Hallelujah!" (Say it!)

    So. Let's get started, shall we?



    I remember buying these earrings for Senior Prom in 1992.
    I also remember thinking they were some of the most exquisite earrings I had ever seen. So beautiful. So sophisticated. And, they were, by far, the most expensive earrings I had ever owned. I think they cost $50.

    And, I thought they went perfectly with my dress, too.
    See the earrings? I could be mistaken, but I think I've even turned
    my head to make sure they get their proper due in the photograph!
    Yep. That's me in the top right. I also believed that dress to be sophisticated and glamorous. Not at all "mermaid," which is the overall impression I get when I look at it now.

    And, today? How would one expect such treasured gems to be treated?

    I'll tell you how. Like this:
    My how the mighty have fallen.

    Thursday, January 26, 2012

    I'll take "Things You Haven't Done Since High School" for $200, Alex


    I'm gonna be in a play.

    *giggle*

    You know that stuff about Shawn being supportive and sweet? Yeah. He's been doing that again.

    Also. I made a really awesome Baked Potato Soup out of leftover baked potatoes.

    It's been an exciting couple of days around here.

    Monday, January 23, 2012

    First World Problems

    So, over the Christmas break, I was hanging out with my sister's sixteen-year-old step-daughter-to-be. (Is that a thing? Well, it's the best description I've got. Let's go with it.) And we started laughing about this website called First World Problems.

    Some of our favorites:

    • They wouldn't serve from the bar menu in the restaurant area, so I had to eat my turkey avocado wrap without appetizers like some sort of bronze age hunter gatherer.
    • The seat heaters don't keep the pizza warm enough for the 10 minute ride home.
    • I have no idea how to reheat my leftover omelette, so I guess I’ll just have to drive to the restaurant and order another one.
    • 'Family Guy’ is on two different channels at the same time and I can’t figure which one has the most potential.
    • I wish I hadn’t used all my pain pills for non-pain-related purposes.
    • I have caviar stuck in my braces.
    • The guy who cleans my yard barely seemed to be listening when I told him about all the stuff I got for Christmas.
    • I’ve run out of obscure ethnic cuisines to impress my friends with.
    • I have over 20,000 songs in my iTunes library. Why can I never find the one that exactly matches my mood of wistful melancholy?
    • I can't wash my dirty hands because the water is freezing.
    • My shoelaces are kinda short.

    I mean, you can see why we love this site, right? But, now. When I'm bitching about something in my own head (it happens a lot), I've started following it with the words, "First World Problem!" Because, truth be told, it usually is.

    And, then. My friend Kelly Rodgers posted some pictures from Nicaragua. Nicaragua, where she lives with her husband and three kids while they are on a two-year mission trip. Now, the Rodgers have done some amazing things with Teeth Savers International. But, these particular pictures were of Kelly and her girls handing out dresses made by Dress A Girl Around the World women. Little girls getting dresses - some of them, the only dress they may ever own.

    And, as the mom to one sassy little dress wearer, well... you know.

    Then there was this picture:
    As I posted on Kelly's FB page, "That is just... a mother's face. We are all the same no matter the country." And, it crushes me to think that, had I merely been born in another place, I might not be able to give my precious girl a dress.

    So, now. When I follow the thoughts in my head with "First World Problem," I'm just a little bit ashamed of myself.

    No.

    I'm a lot ashamed.

    Saturday, January 21, 2012

    One Other Little Obsession:
    Where Did I Come From?

    Shawn was returning from the "old" hometown one night a couple of weeks ago. I sat down on the couch to watch TV and await his arrival.

    (Does that give you images of a captain's wife looking out to sea anxiously awaiting any sight of her beloved's ship? 'Cause that's kinda what it was like. Only a lot less dramatic. And, no anxiety. And, a lot more TV... Anyway, I digress...)

    I have no idea why - I've seen a thousand ancestory.com commercials - but, the one that came on that night totally sucked me. I just thought I would log on and see what I could see. Without "joining," of course.

    I "joined," of course.

    Three days later I emerged, after totally bingeing on census forms and birth records. I didn't know as much about my paternal grandmother as I should have, though. So, I shot my Aunt Pat (my dad's sister) a message - because, come on, we all know dads don't pay attention to stuff like where their moms were born!

    Holy-wealth-of-information, Batman! I'm pretty sure this is what they mean when they say you should ask questions of your elders. Aunt Pat knows everything - at least everything I needed to get me off and running up the family tree again!

    But, as quickly as I got sucked in, I lost interest. I got back to people being born in the 1700s, but there was no way to know if the information I was gathering was accurate; if the John Bassett born in 1770 was really my grandmother's great-great-grandfather. Especially, since a lot of the information you find is other people's family trees - subject to their own mistakes.

    That. And, my paternal grandfather's side quickly jumped across the pond to Sweden. Turns out I can't read Swedish. So, their official documents were a little less than helpful to me.

    But, my main conclusions?
    • If I have any hope of tracing back to the Mayflower (P.S. I don't.), it would be through my paternal grandmother.
    • My paternal grandfather - well, he's Swedish. (But, I did figure out through my own deduction that there must have been a settlement of Swedes in Iowa. Not only was my grandpa's dad born in Sweden, but so was his mom's dad. And, Aunt Pat told me I was right. I'm a total history detective!)
    • And, my maternal side? Um. I don't know how to say this, but there's a small chance we're a bunch of hillbillies. As in, the guy who kept marrying twenty-year-olds when his wives died - even when he was 54 (which was, like, as good as dead in 1884). He married three of them. And had 15 kids with them. So. I don't know. Maybe he wasn't a hillbilly. Maybe he was was just a dawg. But, most of these people were born in the hills of Tennessee. Isn't that, by definition, a hillbilly?

    So. My heritage. I'm a Swedish Hillbilly.

    But, now. I have a confession. I've been clicking back over there as I typed this post. I kinda want to start searching again. They have this little leaf that shakes at you if they have documents that they believe pertain to a person in your family tree - and I have a lot of leaves shaking over there!

    Alright, I guess this is goodbye. Between ancestory.com and Spanish, when will I possibly find the time to blog?!

    Friday, January 20, 2012

    The Phone Number Song

    We were helping Lulu learn her phone number and address for school. Address? No problem. My mobile phone number? A little trickier. So Shawn and I helped her make up a song for it.

    Now a few things you should know: my cell phone is from the "old" hometown, so you have to dial the area code. And, if you have my cell phone number, you may look it up and sing along. If you don't, I really don't want to risk you calling to ask me out on a date, so I've filled in 555s in classic tv fashion (except for the last digits - you need those for the rhyme)!

    To the tune of "ABC" (or "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" or "Ba Ba Black Sheep"*):

    (555) 555 2... 664 I'm calling you!

    Clever! Shawn and I were quite smug about our little ditty. And, it worked like a charm. But, then... Shawn carried on... Whereas his number ends with 2667 while mine ends with 2664, he composed this continuation:

    7 is the end of Dad's. I call him when Mommy's bad.
    (555) 555 2... 664 I'm calling you!

    I'm pretty sure we have a new family anthem.

    Awesome.



    *They're all the same tune. What a sham!

    Thursday, January 19, 2012

    This, That and The Other

    Whatcha been dooooooin'....?

    Me?

    I've been:
    a) not blogging.

    b) READING. I mean reading like they're about to stop making books.

    I've read The Thirteenth Tale (for the third time. I'm telling y'all. It's hard to get into, but the ending. OMG. The ending. It makes it all worth it.)

    I've read Guilt By Association (a friend's suggestion). Another one with a great ending, although I felt like I was trudging through parts in the middle.

    And, also, because I'm a girl and I thought it was a requirement to read Nicholas Sparks, I read his most recent The Best of Me. Oh, sweet Lord. Those are a couple days of my life I'll never have back. CHEE-SY! I feel like Mr. Sparks might owe me some compensation for the part of my brain his corny story is occupying and won't relinquish.

    c) learning Spanish. ¡Ay de mi! Es muy dificil. Posiblemente, porque soy estúpido.* Y'all? This is not an aptitude for me. I have a friend (from Brazil nonetheless) who says she loves learning new languages. This. is. not. something I can comprehend. But, I refuse (REFUSE. Do you hear me?!) to let this thing beat me! So. After a brief lengthy hiatus, I'm back at it. Rosetta Stone made me do about ten reviews before I was back at the lesson where I left off. I think that was it's way of reminding me how long I'd been gone. Tacky, Rosetta Stone. Tacky.

    d) traveling. When you think of a chid-friendly, blast of a destination, where do you think? NEW JERSEY! I know! Us too! Long story, short, we were going to go with another couple to visit some friends who had moved to Jersey. But at the last minute the other couple had to cancel. Since our kids have known this family (in Elizabeth's case, literally) their whole lives, we decided to pack them up and take them with us. Best decision we've made in a while. Our kids and their kids had such a blast together, there were even a few damp eyes as our visit neared its end. And, on the drive to the airport, the kids asked why we can't just move to New Jersey. I'd say that's a good time.

    e) holding down the fort. Shawn's out of town. Again. But, he gets back tonight. I would like to reiterate my theory that he just leaves town so I will appreciate how much better life is when he's here. That. And, he wants to be sure I know who the favored parent is by letting me hear our children ask, "When is Daddy coming home?" three or four times a day.

    So. That's life in a nutshell.

    I'm going to work on Spanish. *groan*



    * Use Google Translate - you can see what that means.

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