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Friday, July 30, 2010

Back to the Real World

So after a lovely vacation I went back to earn my pay. Starting back on a Thursday had some nice benefits. Suddenly, I feel compelled to take up a cause for the two-day work week. This CFO has done no math on the business case yet, so not sure if my argument will fly...I'll keep you posted.

Anyway, I told my kids that I'd do my best to keep a cheery attitude after I started back to work. Translation: when I come home after a long day, I won't be bitchy. After all, who cares if the house has a little mess? Well....

First day have two chores for the day. Only two.

  1. Fold and put laundered clothes away. (Threads were scattered throughout the laundry room in hampers and line-drying as I had not had time to do much else after a quick trip to Kansas City.)
  2. Clean hamster cage.
Most importantly - COMPLETE CHORES IN THAT ORDER. Since the hamster cage is cleaned in the laundry room, I didn't want any of Flash's poop hanging on my linen capris.

When I got home that night, I was pleasantly surprised to see Alex scrubbing the kitchen counter and explaining that she had just popped a Tombstone in for supper. Perfect! I told her. Things were going beautifully.

"And you finished chores?"

"Yep! They're all done."

Ahhh. I'm feeling pretty darn good about life. Then guess what I had to go and do? Veer off into the laundry room. And while all the hampers were gone, my stomach plummeted as I noticed my t-shirts, capris and shorts all hanging above the counter where (you guessed it) the hamster cage is cleaned. And yes, there was evidence of hamster bedding on the counter. Which very well means there could've been hamster poop all over my freshly-laundered clothing.

But instead of yelling at my well-meaning kids, I calmly explained the rationale for putting away the laundry before cleaning the hamster cage. Now, my kids would've had to actually push the clothing out of the way to clean the hamster cage. The t-shirts would've been hitting their faces. So it amazes me that they didn't at least take off the clothing and lay it away from cage-cleaning station. What were they thinking? Why can't they think of these things? Okay, calm down. It doesn't matter really, does it? Nevertheless...I hope they understand now.

I kissed them on their sweet and silly heads and told them thanks. Then taking a deep breath, I stepped outside to enjoy the aroma and the abundance of my phlox.

Yes, tonight I'm reverting back to a photo of my flowers....later I'll capture some more vacation photos. Wait til you see the ridiculous roller coaster we endured. Talk about silly.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Fathers, Sons and Baseball

Doug and I don't exactly see eye-to-eye on everything. And while we share many of the same values, our interests are quite varied. Really, how boring would a relationship be if we were exactly the same anyway?  But one of his very great passions (that I simply do not get at all) is baseball. But the thing about it? I think it's so adorable. I mean the way he just loves the sport.  And now that our Cole is growing up and taking an interest, I see this eagerness growing in Doug's eyes. Like "yes, the bug is growing in my boy as well..."

I can't decide if it's the fact that

  1. fatherly affection is always a sure way to warm a mother's heart, OR
  2. Doug's ability to throw, catch and hit a small and dangerously hard ball baffle so me to the point that I must assume he possesses a bit of magical powers.
Either way, Doug's connection to baseball is one of the many reasons I love him so. And my memory of him in his baseball suit still makes me smile. A lot! Wonder if I could talk him into putting on the pants, just for old time sakes?

Went to the Royals/Twins game the other night. Despite the 19-1 loss for the Royals, it was a great night. Doug and Cole paying their respects to one of Doug's childhood favorites- George Brett!

Monday, July 26, 2010

my blackberry

I like it because it makes my thoughts legible - I can post a blog while riding in the car. It's also a useful tool for someone with a brain ill-equipped to remember everything, like me. No worries if the camera or map is left behind. And I love the fact that any information is at the tip of my fingers- all the time! Can't think of that artist who sang At Last? Etta James is merely a search away. Other great things about my BB: My mother is available via text, phone or email 24-7. And voice notes, allowing me to record things I need so no longer will I lose or forget my list at the grocery store, are bound to end up on Oprah's favorite things.

Now, what I don't like about my crackberry:
1-it makes me stupid. Do you think I know any of my contact's cell phone numbers? I could prattle off my childhood pals' numbers right now (766-3246) Lyn (766-3360) Dee, but the best I could tell you about my adult friends' numbers is that my BB recognizes their names.
2-voice notes are really loud in a store. Especially when purchasing feminine products.
3-while my BB is great for keeping tuned in to work issues, especially on vacation; it's also great for tuning family. That's bad.
4-i can't post photos on a blog post. Maybe it is possible, but I haven't figured it out. I am over forty you know.

And finally, my BB is most definitely, unequivocally contributing to my carpal tunnel syndrome with this damn miniscule keyboard. But wouldn't you know it? I just keep typing and loving it anyway.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Nora and Me

The other day I decided to pick up an audio book at the library. I had every intention of picking up something from Bill Bryson, but everything by him was in cassette. Since I have no device that plays a cassette anymore I had to pass on Bill. As fate would have it, my eyes kept floating to Nora Ephron's I Feel Bad About My Neck. Now, I'm a huge fan of Ms. Ephron (You've Got Mail is my personal E-Ching - a truly great source of wisdom and poignancy that has been radically underestimated), but I haven't been compelled to read (or in this case listen) to this tome simply because of my forty-some young years. (Yeah - you thirty-somethings are giggling to yourselves and I doubt you twenty-somethings are even reading this.) Anyway, as it turns out, Nora had some pretty darn good advice for me - just in the nick of time!

Apparently, I have one more year to enjoy my neck.  AND, I shouldn't have given up wearing my bikini so quickly. Just as I suspected. (Actually, I came to this conclusion about five years ago on my own.) Oh, what am I saying? It doesn't matter how old a woman is. Once she's past 21, doesn't she always feel too old? I distinctly remember visiting my alma mater after graduating from college, being hit on at a college football game and telling some young fool, "I'm much too old for you" at the ripe old age of twenty-two.( Of course, I was desperately in love with someone else at the time so perhaps I just felt really old. Yes, it was your father, Alex.) I was probably ready to retire my bikini back then already!

Anyway, back to Nora. She's absolutely awesome and I think everyone should read (or listen) to this book!  How's that for a trite description. Honestly, I think somehow we were connected in another life somehow. Perhaps we were best friends or even respected adversaries. Or maybe I was just her maid. But really, there are a few eerie similarities between Nora and me...

  • She's an outrageously successful writer. I want to be an outrageously successful writer. Or even a somewhat successful writer. Or even tiny bit successful.
  • She's makes me laugh. I make me laugh.
  • She agrees that everyone should wear black turtle necks. Black turtles happen to be my favorite.
  • She lives in New York City. I don't live there and I've only been there once, but it was cool.
  • When she gets lost in a FABULOUS book, she blocks all and everyone out. SO DO I! (Love her chapter on's a delightful description on escapism.)
What I love most about Nora is her sense of self, her courage and the fact that she's a hopeless romantic. So, of course, she's my hero. 

Bucket list item - MEET NORA EPHRON!  See any similarities?

(This is the only photo of me in my black turtle. It was a horrible, horrible hair day, but my neck doesn't look too bad, does it?)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Not Hanging These on the Fridge

Some time after I graduated from college, I asked Mom what happened to the ceramic angel Christmas tree topper I made in junior high art class. After some hem-hawing, she came clean with a confessional of sorts. "I, decided to, ah, well, get rid of some of your old art projects..." she trailed off in embarrassment.

Finally! My art was abominable.  I couldn't believe my perfectionist of a mother ever put any of it out anyway.  While I always thought if you put your mind to something, you can achieve anything, there are certain things beyond my reach. Singing and drawing fall within those categories for me.

But while drawing and painting have escaped me (and my husband), it has somehow landed within our children's gene pool. And low and behold a magical coincidence occurred this summer. An art teacher moved into our tiny town of Earling! So Alex and Cole took three painting lessons and voila! Take a look at that! Yes I am braggin!

No, I won't have to worry about what to do with my kids' art once they leave the house. There just might be even be a shrine. "And Cole drew this Spiderman when he was three. Look at the detail of the web. And Alex created this quilt when she was in the 4th grade. Yes, it was her design..."

Friday, July 16, 2010

Pee Wee Baseball

Okay, so I'm not trying to brag (well maybe a little), but I just walked in from throwing out the clippings of a philodendron and my kitchen smells deliciously of cookies freshly baked. The laundry room is still seeping of the Tide's Mountain breeze. And my floors aren't covered with dirt, food or the typical undistinguishable goo. And guess what else? The walls-dings got covered today. I hung that shadow box that was still in a box from our move, uhhhh, from six years ago, was it? That cat got its annual shots. Our car is washed. My zinnias are blooming. And suddenly I feel like a domestic Goddess!  Okay, I still have a bit of dusting to do. And my cupboards are still a mess. But I don't feel like a complete wash-up....ANYWAY, the real reason I wanted to post this blog was because at the beginning of the summer (despite all of the sadness of my grandmother fighting cancer), there was a very fun diversion going on in our life. Pee Wee baseball! A friend of ours has this $45,000 camera and took some very cool pics that just got emailed to us.  (Thank Lyn! Since I didn't once bring a camera.) So, I must share.

Does anyone believe that Pee Wee baseball is somewhat of a cult? I thought the night out and visiting with the Mom's was kind of nice - enjoyable, actually! Already, I miss it.  Cole was one of the youngest on a team of 16 boys, so he got his share of messing around in the dugout. But he got to play lots more than I thought he would. And it's so adorable to see your son in that little uniform. It'll bring a smile to any mom. But I tell you what - no one, I mean NO ONE, takes Pee Wee baseball more serious than the Dads. (See Cole's serious father to the right? Well, he is on the job, coaching a base here.) Holy cow. Don't even get a pee wee dad started. Whether you're talking about a kid stealing a base when the signal is given, or not swinging at a full count. Jiminy Crickets. It's serious stuff. Just ask them. Or, don't ask them.  Either way, we all look forward to another year of hitting, pitching, catching and "no crying in baseball." (Well, not sure if big sister will. Unless someone shows up with a really cute big brother...)

The Remarkable 2010 Earling Pee Wees Baseball Team

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Much to Do and See and Say and Hear

2nd day of vacation...a radio on one of the bank's network towers was struck by lightening. It's dead. Beauty. Actually, Joan handled the issue without really needing any of my help. But it just so happens that the handy Blackberry my company provides keeps me way too informed. (A benefit that just keeps giving.)

Today, enlightenment struck. I really don't have time for my job anymore. Not joking...
  1. Too many walls to repaint.
  2. Too many books to read.
  3. Too many books to write. Got a lot of ideas swimming in my head.
  4. Too many stories to tell my kids.
  5. Too many corners to dust.
  6. Too many clothes to launder. (If you think I sound like a clean freak, you're sorely mistaken. It's called about six months of catch-up.)
  7. Too many movies to watch.
  8. Too many stories to hear from my kids.
  9. Too many normal meals to make WITH my family that don't involve a frozen pizza. Too many questions to answer. "Mom? Mom? Mom?" (What do they do when I'm not here? I know for a fact their father has some sort of tonal deafness when their voices are activated.)
  10. Too many FUN things to do. The zoo was awesome (despite the 100 degree weather). Lots of laughter with the sweat rolling down our back. Enjoy the photo of a creature that I'm sure gets passed over by whenever a cocky shark or snappy sting-ray struts their fin.

Al  ELECTROFIED by some jelly fish...

Cole mesmerized by the silly-goose penguins...

And Doug ready to go and get some grub.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

R and R

Going to Tokyo for some much needed r n r. Actually on my two week break from the bank and we are on our way to the zoo on the hottest day of the year! So this post is coming from the ole blackberry. So instead of having head buried in book or electronic device, going to look up and enjoy the scenery for a change.

Ps. Going to combine blogs soon and toying with name ideas. Any thoughts? My family has plenty... Mama Taco...Ultimate Alliance... I had thought of Write-Live-Breathe, but then - thought it sounded of death connotations. Perhaps inspiration will come today.


Saturday, July 10, 2010

Mommyhood or What?

Okay, looking through my last few posts I'm wondering if this is really a family blog, or simply a site to post photos of my flowers and pets? What happened to those days when I used to dress my kids up and snap photos after photos? Well, they don't much let me dress them anymore. Nevertheless, I'm still a parent. And it's still a parenting back to...what's their names again?

My kids have had an ABUNDANCE of together time this year. One thing about living in the country - summer break lacks time for hanging out with, this weekend (that most magical weekend of the year when citizens of Earling join together to raise money for our Parish) will allow them to run free on the streets of Earling with their buddies and spend as much as their Dad's cash as possible.

Last night we let them each have a friend stay over after setting up stands. (Perhaps a weak moment, since my home is a disaster and chock full of Oriental Trading toys for the kiddie stand). Then they requested to ride the 4-wheeler this morning, which I absolutely hate by the way. I said yes (again, another weak moment). After all, how often do they go outside without a constant nudging from me or their father? Anyway, I'm happy to report there are no injuries...and I did get a photo op out of the deal. Notice the flannel pj bottoms in the middle of July?
Like I said, they dress themselves these days. Okay, but I also must seal this post by sharing my pretty white lilies. I don't think they've ever bloomed before. Truly I don't believe them to be more beautiful than our children. But they are lovely, aren't they? Kids and lilies, alike.

Monday, July 5, 2010


Our family loves to look at photo albums. As my hubby noted the other day..."funny, isn't it? With all the technology out there, here we are. All huddled around a photo album."

Of course, I tried my hand at scrapbooking once. It's a very slim album with maybe two,three pages tops. My sister-in-law has really cool scrapbooks, so I had this crazy idea that I'd be organized enough to create something fabulous as well. Right. I barely keep up with a regular photo albums. As a matter of fact, I have quite a few holidays all mixed up. And who knows if Cole's birthdays are in the correct order. It doesn't help that Cole doesn't age. Take this photo for example...When I first saw it, I had absolutely no idea how old he was. Could be two. Could be six. Now if his hair would've been a little longer, maybe I'd have a chance. Since this photo was discovered electronically, I was able to date it. (He happens to be four here.)

I can easily tell what age Alex is in all of her photos. "Yes, this was Alex when she was 7 and 3/4 because she she lost her tooth and just had her hair cut in that bob that spring." But Alex also seems to mature leaps and bounds every year...making me sad that my daughter was growing up so very fast. Proud. But sad.

Is it just the development timeline in boys is a bit slower? Is this why Cole still seems like a baby although he's nearing the ripe old age of nine? (Yes, I still have a need to cut his meat.) And the question that is really troubling me...Will my slightly older hubby age better than me? When we're retired and laying on the beach in Maui, the pretty Polynesian girls will stare at us and wonder why such a dapper fellow is with such an old hag! Yikes!!!! The horrors. What are those superfoods again?

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Thank God for America!

Happy Independence Day! I'm so thankful for our freedom. I'm so thankful for, like, everything that I take for granted...

1) walking outside without the fear of being shot.
2) worshipping how we wish.
3) reading and watching and doing anything we feel like.
4) having an education.
4) going to work! How about that one? Really!
5) being with my family and friends just about any time I want (and don't want).
6) the spacious piece of ground we live on is heavenly.
7) our cat is sure pretty. and mad a lot.