Monday, March 30, 2009

Requiem 3/30/09 a sad day. We've had a loss at our house, a spirit who's been with us a long long time. Since S.P. and I moved into our first home. Always there, eager to help out when things got down and dirty. Never too tired to pitch in, no matter how early or late the hour.

And when the first baby came, and stuff got nasty, my helper never refused. Never said "NO, that's just too much," or "Do that yourself, I can't take anymore!" No complaints at the burdens added by a second bundle of joy either. My friend stood through it all, doing the work when I was too tired to muster the energy.

Through dog barf, kid barf, and worse, we stuck together. Through a move across the state, when the load got heavier and we had to slog through sand, my faithful friend worked by my side. Sometimes harder than I did, into the night after I had gone to sleep.

But I knew time was taking its toll. Creaks and groans could be heard and there were times my helpmate needed to lean on me. And last night, the death knell. Vital fluids leaked from my loyal pal and I knew it was the end...

Today, my Amana washer passed away. And much like a couple who has been married for many years, sleeping and waking in the rhythms of a life lived well together, the dryer followed only hours behind, struggling to dry the very last load.

I cry not for the loss of my dear friends, but for the bill at the appliance store as I replace them....

Friday, March 27, 2009

It's Almost Done!

Ooh, I am so excited! After almost two years our kitchen/dining room remodel is almost completely finished. The kitchen has been 95% done for 18 months, we've just been waiting on the floor. And the floor couldn't go in until the dining room/entrance extension was completed as the same laminate was going to go right through from the kitchen to the front door.

But oh, now it's almost there. The trim work is getting done, and good golly, it's beautiful. Next week I will get it all clean and ready and take pictures, and then post some "How We Made-Over Our Mess" shots. It's hard to believe it's the same place.

And with the exception of the rust carpet that needs replacing (which will probably have to wait till next year) this is the final step in re-making our 40+ year-old house! Ya-hooo!

Now we just have to keep it clean...

Thursday, March 26, 2009

A Little Love Song

When we first brought Pony Girl home from the hospital she went everywhere in the house with me. Kitchen, laundry room, bathroom. I got really good at doing stuff with one hand, which was no mean feat when it came to going pee and wrestling those baggy post-maternity pants up and down.

It wasn't because I didn't have any help. S.P. was home, then my mom came, and they were more than happy to take over whenever I needed a break. It was hard for me to explain to them that I just needed to keep her close all the time and it felt strange to let go. I guess when you've had a passenger for so many months it's odd to go solo again. But of course I had to share and pass the baby, after all it WAS her daddy and her grammy.

After the first week everyone had to go home, or back to work, and it was just us girls. And we snuggled. Mm-mm. All day long I would just hold that sweet thing, play with her perfect fingers, sniff the baby smell, rub my chin on her forehead, and sing little songs. Every now and then a feeding, and a diaper, and back to our chair. And she would fall asleep, and I would watch. Sometimes I would be tired too, and want to take a little nap, but I felt like if I slept I might miss something special. Eventually I would sleep too, but so often I just watched her face.

During one of these days I thought a trip out to the grocery store might be fun, so we bundled up and drove off. On the way there a song came on the radio, one that described everything I had been feeling about my new baby so well I had to pull over and just listen. I smiled, and cried, and said, "yes, that's exactly it." I still can't hear the song without crying those same tears of joy, remembering those first weeks with my sweet girl.

The funny thing is, it's a love song for a couple. It's called "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing"and was originally done by Aerosmith. A few years ago it was redone by a country guy, Mark Chesnutt. It's perfect for two people in love, whether it's a new love or love that's gotten old and gray together. But if you listen, it's can be perfect for a parent head over heels in love with a brand-new baby, too.

Here's a YouTube video with photos set to the song:

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Random Tuesday Thoughts


Boy, what a relief to get back online. Some mystery bug had the computer down yesterday and I couldn't sign on for anything. No blogging, no to figure out what to make with a pound of hamburger, no access to the school website to see what important things I might be missing...

It must have been in sympathy for all the other sicknesses that have descended on our house. Finally it seemed that all the people were better, and the appliances started getting sick. The fridge has had an odd odor for weeks, though we have gone through it three times and chucked out any food that could possibly be making a stench. The washing machine does the watusi in the spin cycle so bad I have to sit on it to keep it from moving into the kitchen. And just for company the dryer makes this screechy cat-in-heat noise every now and then that brings tom cats to the door.

But, I have control of the computer again just in time to join the random fun.

I went on a field trip with Jones last week. Field trips are fun; between being a teacher and having kids I've been on quite a few. Why is it that the rottenest-behaved kids never have their parents volunteer to be chaperones? And I always seem to end up with at least one of them in my group. It's no secret why; the teacher always says "I gave you Little Sid Vicious because his mom isn't coming and I know you can handle him..." Well, crap. Sometimes I've hit the jackpot and gotten two or three of 'em. So I have my own child and the Demon Squad. Yee-haw. Last year the teacher asked if I needed anything and I asked for Valium and a cattle prod. She thought I was kidding...

Snow. I moved to the beach for moderate winter weather. Last week I was trying to teach a group of second graders and looked out the window and it was SNOWING in MARCH. AGAIN. Snow here used to be an anomaly, a rare treat. Like "I bought these snow pants for my young daughter and they haven't been used again till now, when I pass them on to you, my sweet granddaughter." If we wanted snow all the time we would have moved to a snow zone. One with a Target. And a Red Robin.

Laundry is fun. It must be because I do it so much. And it's o.k. because S.P. goes out in rain, wind and snow to shovel horse poo and feed the pony when I don't feel like it. But how come I check the pockets 99% of the time and find nothing, and the one time I don't check there's CHOCOLATE in the pocket of Pony Girl's coat and it goes through a hot dry? Ooh, gross. It looked like, well, crap. Used it as a visual aid:"This is why you must never keep candy in your pockets, kids..." Maybe I'll remember to keep checking those pockets.

EEHAW! Got a call to teach eleven days in April for one of the second-grade teachers. Good money, should provide a good story or two, and get to be at the school to keep an eye on Jones and his headaches. However, several of the kids in the class are either teachers' kids, or kids of friends, or of parents who have reputations for making things difficult for the teacher. So it may be more work than just teaching the class and doing the prep. Teaching your friends' kids, or your fellow teachers' kids, can be a huge headache if they don't respect your professionalism. Bring on that Valium...

We have a problem in our sixth-grade class this year with some of our young men and women. Some of the boys think it's perfectly o.k. to slap the girls in the face and say "oh, we're just playing around". That for me is enough of a problem, but it gets worse because the girls who are being slapped are allowing it: "No, that's o.k., I don't mind." As far as I can see it's not all of the girls, just the ones who want the boys' attention so much they don't care what kind of attention it is. It's finally being addressed, but I can't believe this would have been coming up with twelve-year-olds.

Gosh, I guess this should have been Random Tuesday Rants. Gripe, gripe, gripe...

I can end on a positive note because we have been playing "Mad Libs" with the kids lately. Pony Girl got some for her birthday and her teacher has been wanting her to spice up her writing assignments with more adjectives and adverbs, so we started doing them for practice. Now we do them because they're so dang fun. Even Jones gets into it. When their grandparents come over he just HAS to read them the latest Mad Libs we've created. A bit of wisdom from our last game? "When you make a promise, make a sailor's promise. Say yo-ho, yo-ho, near the bum cheeks I'll never go!"

There's a rule to live by...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Is It A 5-Slap Restaurant, Son?

We love us some country music at our house. That's not all we love; there's a wide assortment on the iPods here from AC/DC to Vivaldi. It just depends on what we're in the mood for. And if you've listened to some of that red-neck music, you know there are some quaint phrases that are only used in country songs. Jones' favorite phrase, that he heard a couple of years ago and has been using ever since, is "so good you'd slap your Grandma". The funny thing is, after he heard it in the song he heard it on some TV cooking show too. Well, we thought it was cute and didn't worry too much about it until my mother-in-law called one day and said "Jones told me my cookies were so good he wanted to hit me!" WHA? No, tell me exactly what you said to Grandma. "I said the cookies were so good I could slap my grandma! That's really, really good, right?" Well, she just didn't get it even after we explained, so he decided to save that praise for my mom, who understood what a compliment it was.

Anyway, it got me to thinking about how that could be a useful rating tool on this blog. Movies are given so many thumbs up, and restaurants are given so many stars, with five being top-notch. So the only icon that would make sense here, when talking about a restaurant or a recipe, would be the "granny-slap". I'm sure it would be a cute little thing, properly drawn. Maybe a cartoony hand slapping a little cartoon granny off a rocker? Don't know though, it would probably offend somebody, somewhere...

But anyway. For today, I offer a recipe we consider to be 5-slaps, for sure.

Pork Verde Enchiladas
1 1/2 to 2 lbs pork loin chops or tenderloin
1 28 oz can green enchilada sauce
1 2-cup pkg shredded co-jack cheese (more if you like cheese)
package flour tortillas (burrito size)

Cube the pork and toss in a zipper bag with 1/4 c. flour. Brown pork in 2 TBS oil, drain off excess oil. Add enchilada sauce to cover pork. Bring to a boil, then set to low. Simmer 4-5 hours, stirring occasionally. Scoop out pork, reserving sauce.

Make enchiladas: pork--cheese--sauce, then roll up. Place in pan, cover with reserved sauce and more cheese. Bake 30 min. at 350.

This is a recipe S.P. created while I was out at a workshop. I came home and said to myself, "what is that great smell?" Three enchiladas later I said "where did you get this recipe?" No recipe, he just made it up.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Apparently I'm Not Smart Enough To Be A Sexpot

I was reading the weekly paper yesterday afternoon and an item in the police blotter caught my eye. It was about a minor female at the high school who was caught with pornographic photos on her cell phone. Further investigation revealed that the photos were of herself and she was texting them to a boy she liked. While I was appalled at the decay of the moral fiber of our youth, at the same time I was intrigued as to how I could use technology to give my own love life a little bump.

Our previous cell phones were bare-bones, just for making the occasional call or a game of pinball while stuck at the doctor's office. But last time S.P. came home with camera phones, saying, "Well honey, it's hard to get a plain old phone anymore.." I took a pic or two with it but never really used it for a camera. Till last night. Ooh-la-la, hot and sexy me was gonna wow that guy on his way home from work. I didn't get nasty, just a little cheeky, and sent it off. I figured as soon as S.P saw it he'd give me a call. No call. But when he got home he'd give me a grab, for sure. No grab. Maybe photo messages take longer? Well, for sure he'd see it on his travels to or from the pool. Nothin'... By bedtime I was starting to wonder, just WHO did I send that picture TO?

This morning he said he had to hit the lumberyard to get stuff for the new floor. Aha, I thought, surely by now that message will have come in, and he'll see it. No comment when he arrived back. Not even a smirk. So I asked "Did you get my message?" Sure did, he said, the 7-up for Jones is in the truck. Not that message, the OTHER message! "Did you send another message?"

Well, hell, I sent SOMEBODY a message.... let's see, who is above and below him on my contact list? Oh, just the boy scout den leader, and my in-laws... fabulous. "Are you sure the message sent, honey? What was it, anyway?" Oh, nothin'...just a picture of my nekkid bumcheeks framed in some trashy panties...

But looky here...there's something in my outbox...thank you, Lord (is it o.k. to thank God when your semi-pornographic text message didn't send?)

So, should I be more embarrassed that I tried to send my husband a smutty photo on my cell phone or that I wasn't tech-savvy enough to get the job done?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


I was watching people at the kids' school yesterday during the book fair and saw several women with multicolored streaks in their hair. Not highlights, but blue, pink, red, purple. Rainbow streaks, you would call it. And they were not the sort of women who really needed to be calling attention to themselves, you see. If you saw them on the street with plain hair they might not catch your eye, but with the hair it was "HEY! LOOKY HERE! I AM MIGHTY VISUALLY UNAPPEALING AND THOUGHT I WOULD MAKE IT WORSE BY GIVING MYSELF FRUIT STRIPE HAIR!" I just didn't get it.

Why is it that the freezer door never gets left open just an inch when it's stocked with things like cheap popsicles, white bread for communion or the 20 boxes of girl scout cookies you're hiding from the kids? No, it's when you have a stash of halibut fillets, or there was a great sale on sirloin burger or premium ice cream and the freezer is stocked with great stuff that something blocks the door open just enough to send it all into meltdown. And half the time it's when you are gone for a few days to boot.

I never realized how much of a redneck my in-laws thought I was until S.P. and I played "the Newlywed Game" at the wedding we went to last month. One of the questions was "what is his favorite home-cooked meal?" I said "porcupines", which most people know are the rice-speckled meatballs cooked in tomato sauce. After the game several of the extended family gathered around me to marvel, "do you REALLY eat PORCUPINES?" Hand to Heaven, they truly thought we eat porkies at our house. I wonder if they think we have an outhouse and a still in the backyard too....

Monday, March 9, 2009

I Swear We're All Going To Start Gargling Lysol...

Are almost-40-year-olds allowed to use that phrase while posting in their blogs, or is it reserved for the teen set? Well, I'm usin' it today, because it's that kind of day.

I had a teaching job today, and Pony Girl woke up with a 103.6 fever. No prob, my folks can come stay with her. Of course she wanted ME to stay, and could I try to get a sub to sub for me? No, not really. I've worked for this teacher so much she doesn't even write plans anymore, just leaves a stack of work with sticky notes showing what time to do each thing. SO I would have had to go in and put together a set of sub plans for the sub, and that wasn't happening. Grammy and Gramps would take great care of her and I wouldn't need to worry. Until 9:35, almost the end of reading time. The classroom phone rang and it was the office. Crap-ola, now Jones was in the nurse's office with 99.8 fever. Not too bad, except they send kids home with fever of 100, and he'd already had motrin this morning for the headache he woke up with! So he went home too.

Now, this might not sound all so bad unless you hear the rest. At least one person in our house has been sick since the first week of January. S.P. got sick and gave it to Jones, then it just kept going with new bugs, and now it's MARCH and we're still SICK!! I just finished a Z-pack for a sinus infection and thought that was the end, but then S.P. caught a cold, and then the kids started these fevers, and now we are all getting back on the freakin' merry-go-round again. I want OFF!

Screw Listerine, we're swishing with Clorox starting tomorrow...

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Random Tuesday...RECIPE?!

Hi, there. I had a great idea this morning for some Random Tuesday Thoughts: The Wedding Edition. But then two things happened. One, a ginormous pile of laundry left over from our travels needing my attention. And two, my day slipped through my fingers faster than poop through a goose and I had no time to compose a witty blog entry.

So, I bastardized the sacred Tuesday tradition to bring you a quick and zippy soup recipe instead. And you have to admit, it's pretty random...

Chili Macaroni Soup

1 lb. hamburger
1 med. chopped onion
*cook till pink is gone; drain
5 c. water
15 oz. can chili beans
14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes (juice too)
can corn (drained)
1/2 tsp. ground mustard
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
sauce mix from Chili Macaroni Hamburger Helper
Stir into meat; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 10 min. Stir in macaroni. Cover and simmer 10-14 min. or till macaroni is tender.

We like to top it with queso dip and fritos, and a blob of sour cream.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Hey, That Bouquet Thing DOES Work...Sooner or Later!

We went to a family wedding this weekend in Utah. Which was great for lots of reasons: we caught up on family stories, we partied with the relatives, we got to see Pony Girl really dressed up, and I got to squeeze in a visit with an old friend. And the fun thing about this wedding is that the bride was one of our ring bearers 15 years ago, and actually caught my bouquet. (None of the single women there wanted anything to do with it!)

We flew in Friday and hurried to the rehearsal site, just in time to see the END of the rehearsal. That was o.k., because Pony Girl is pretty smart and caught the gist of her job in a few seconds: follow the other flower girl and throw the flower petals UP so they flutter DOWN. And smile and be lovely. No problem.

Off to the rehearsal dinner. Just a few blocks, so we could walk there. Go two blocks south, then one east. Oops, not the right place. So we asked directions. No, it's two blocks east of here, then one south. Walk, walk, with two hungry and travel-tired kids hurrying along. Crap, not here either. Cell phone rings, it's the father of the bride. Are you lost, he asks. Oh yeah, it turns out that the second person who gave us bad directions had us walk right past the back side of the place and four blocks out of our way. BUT we finally made it, just in time for dinner. A lot of fun, and the bride came by to let us know that I didn't have to do Pony Girl's hair; the whole wedding party was being done at the wedding site. Ya-hoo for me, and Pony Girl too, who has little patience for me fiddling with her hair.

After the dinner was a meet-and-greet party for family and friends, where five lucky couples played "The Newlywed Game". S.P. and I volunteered, despite having sucked at this game five years ago on our 10-year anniversary trip to Sandals. Without going into embarrassing detail, I can say we have not improved with time. Luckily Jones fell asleep on a sofa and missed the whole thing; Pony Girl witnessed our last-place finish.

Next morning the kids swam with their dad and aunt while I visited with family, then it was off to the wedding venue for Pony Girl and me. She decided on lots of curls, and while she was getting done up and hanging with the "big girls", I got to hang with my friend. You all know her as Suz, the Queen of Green Jello. We hadn't seen each other for 20 years, and it was a treat to just sit down with her. She showed me fabulous pictures of beautiful Utah, beautiful daughters, and a handsome man who she is enjoying life with. (Did you know you glow when you talk about Ron, Suz?) It wasn't a long time to spend together, but I felt very blessed to have seen her and shared a bit of time.

The wedding itself was very sweet, with the groom not bothering to hide his tears at first sight of the bride, and lots of funny, tender moments. Afterward we rode a travel bus up into the mountains for the reception where we toasted, watched a slide show full of photos of the couple (including one from our wedding where the bride attended us as a little girl) and danced a lot. Jones was the "family photographer" and kept disappearing with the camera to take pictures. When we got home there were some really, um, artistic-looking shots that were either too dark or too oddly angled to tell what they were, but for the most part he got some very good ones. Several of Pony Girl and S.P. dancing during the bridal party dance, and a excellent one of the bride and groom together.

Near the end of the evening the bouquet was tossed. All the single ladies went out, and the flower girls were encouraged to join them. They should have passed out catcher's mitts, because the flowers hit the floor twice without anyone laying a finger on them. The third time it went up, up, up...and no, Pony Girl didn't catch it.

It was a great wedding, and a wonderful weekend, and just so magical, almost, to see the bride come full circle from the little girl at our wedding to the beautiful woman at her own. Her dad told us that the years would just fly by and before we knew it we would be giving our little girl away.

Now there's something to think about.