Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I Would Just Like to Say for the Record

I did NOT steal money from my older brother for makeup.  I bought that amazing blue and yellow eyeshadow duo with my own hard-earned money!   

So, John, I do not owe you $10 after all.  Please notify that collection agency you sent after me.  
There.  I feel better now.  Lies can be so burdensome.

And also for the record, I did sleep with a crowbar next to my bed to ease my intense fear of being kidnapped.  It's all my older sisters' fault.  They were watching the made-for-TV movie about Ted Bundy one night.  Instead of letting me watch with them, they sent me to bed.  The problem was, my bed was in the next room and so I laid there in the dark and listened to the entire movie.  The next four years of sleep were disrupted as a result.

And as a bit of clarification, I did pout and summon inner cuteness that one (and only) time I was pulled over for running a red light (I swear on my life that it was yellow), but it didn't make a difference.  I got a full-priced, $90 traffic ticket.  

Thanks for playing!

P.S.  Sorry for the sparsity this week--my sister is here and we are very busy taking naps and hanging out!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Two Truths and a Lie

Wanna play?  See if you can detect the untruth:

1. One time I stole ten dollars from my older brother's wallet, walked to the local grocery store and bought a palette of blue and yellow eyeshadow.  I told myself that he would have wanted me to have it. 

2. As a child, I was obsessed with a fear of being kidnapped.  I slept with a crowbar next to my bed and would only sleep with my face toward the door so as not to be snuck up on.

3. One time when I got pulled over for allegedly running a red light, I hurried and spruced my hair, put on a forlorn pout smile and tried to summon all my inner cuteness--before the officer walked to my window--to get out of getting a ticket.  

So, what's your guess?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Parents Do the Darndest Things

While we were visiting Utah, my parents were in the beginnings of looking for a new home. I wasn't terribly surprised or alarmed; after all, they seem to go through a wanting-to-move phase every few years or so. But the thing is, they never actually move.  

They've had the same address for 33 years.  It's not like they're going anywhere.

One night during our visit, we accompanied them to see a house.  It was a great house, but I didn't consider it a real possibility.  I mean, we're talking about my parents here, and this was clearly just a phase.  When you're raising parents, you have to expect their phases and go with the flow.  I'm serious.  Write that down.  

However, I have to admit that when my dad said, "Wow!  Look at this laundry room, Mama!" I could sense that things could be getting serious.  He had a passion in his eyes, and if I'd paid closer attention, I would have seen that same passion enflamed when we walked into the detached garage, lined with empty shelves begging for his tools.

But, still.

We drove back home--their home, my previous home and birthplace--and I went promptly to bed since my body was still on eastern time.  I woke up to a big surprise.

"Your parents made an offer on that house," Ryan said.

"Huh?  What?  When?" I muttered.  My eyes were still half-shut.

"They met with the realtor last night and signed papers and everything."

"Who are they and what have they done with my real parents?"

My wonderful, hard-working, devoted parents are anything but spontaneous.  I could never, in a million years, have predicted this one.  Which, again, leads me to another tip for you adult children out there: Ask yourself this question, "Do you know what your parents are doing while you're in bed asleep?"

You may think you know, but you don't.  Write that down too.

So, OK, they made an offer on the house, but they still had their own house to sell.  They spent a week sprucing, rearranging furniture, and filling a storage unit with some of their 33 years of accumulated stuff.  

They were so excited and hopeful about it all, I was a little nervous about having to sit down with them and explain that in this suffering economy, their house might not sell as quickly as they hoped.  You know, life isn't always easy and it's important to have realistic expectations.  (These were just a few of the things I had jotted down on some index cards in preparation for our "talk.")

Well, I don't know what they were hoping for, but their house sold in four days.  

Four. Days.

Blink.  Blink.  This was all moving so fast.  

But, you know something?  You reach a point as a child when you look at your parents and the choices they are making, and you have to separate yourself from the situation.  The fact is, they are going to do whatever they want to do.  It's their lives now.  You have to let go.  You have to find peace with the way you've raised them and know that you may not have done a perfect job, but you've done your best.  (Ahem, are you writing that down?  Because it's pretty brilliant.)

In less than a month, they'll be living at a new address.  My only regret is that I won't be there to help lug endless boxes of food storage onto the U-Haul and strain my back helping them.  

Congratulations, Mom and Dad, I'm very proud of you.  And me a little, too.    

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I Want to Go After Life Like This

And when I'm done, I want to say (as Max does), "Mission Compomplished!"

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay, er, Harbor

Sittin on the Dock of the Bay, er Harbor
Boston Harbor is a great place to sit as the sun is setting.  Preferably with your feet dangling into the gentle waves.  

It's also a great place to dangle your children into the water.  To let them feel the cool water on their toes. To hold them in your clutch, reviewing their best and worst attributes, and resist any passing urges to "accidentally" sneeze.

Priceless moments, I tell you.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Probably Not the Best Part of Our Weekend in Boston

~Part I~

I was all ready for a good night’s sleep, tucked into the hotel king-sized bed, the bed we’d been upgraded to after checking into our previous room and reluctantly complaining that it smelled of smoke. We were offered the only other room they had—the giant one with the king-sized bed.  We normally prefer to have the smallest room available (preferably with a view of a parking lot or neglected rooftop) but we try to be accommodating.

But there was a problem with the king-sized bed.  

For one thing, I never sleep well in a king bed.  I’m used to a queen-size bed.  I fit comfortably in the space and can intermittently spoon with Ryan and still have one foot overhanging the side outside the covers—a perfect temperature regulator for my body.  On a king bed, I feel as if I’m wandering alone in the wilderness of white sheets and down comforters.  Ryan seems miles away and finding my foot’s way out of the tightly tucked-in covers is more strenuous than a trip down the birth canal.  I could have handled it, though, if that was all that causing a problem, but there were bigger problems in store.

We were not alone in the bed.

Somewhere in the ample sheeting was a hungry spider with a foot and calf fetish. 

I can’t say that I blame him.  All of our recent time at the neighborhood pool has left us finely roasted—medium well, I’d say.  Still pink in the middle. 

The spider began a taste-tour that led him from the big toe of my right foot up one calf, crossing the small canyon of my knees and down the other calf.  For dessert, he feasted on the inside arch of my left foot—soft and fleshy.

He made the long journey across the geographic region of Middle Bed to Ryan’s feet, but only got in a few ankle nibbles before one of three scenarios stopped him:

1. He passed out from overeating.
2. He tired quickly as he navigated through Ryan’s leg hair.
3. He was suddenly thrown out of the bed when Ryan jumped up in the middle of the night, threw the covers off, hopped out of bed and declared that he was being eaten by something.

Now, Ryan did fling the covers off and jump out of the bed at one point in the night.  I remember that vaguely, but I didn’t think a thing of it.  As I’ve mentioned before, this kind of thing happens at fairly regular intervals.  It’s like that story about the little boy who cried wolf, but instead it’s the grown man who cries bee/spider/snake/duck/bunny/family dog/scorpion/psycho so often that I don’t even fully awake anymore to tell him that he’s completely delusional and to please turn out the lights.

In fact, as I think about it, it’s EXACTLY like that story about the little boy who cries wolf!  When the wolf actually came, nobody believed him!  And when the spider in our bed ate two of my limbs, I couldn’t even be bothered with the truth because the truth looked EXACTLY the same as Ryan’s middle-of-the-night, fling-the-covers-off LIES!

~Part II~

By the time Ryan was back in bed, I was already tossing and turning from the burning and itching that had overtaken my legs.  The burning and itching jostled me into a state of semi-consciousness—the place where you realize that while you are sleepy, you aren’t fully asleep. 

It happens to be the same place where you mistake all of your irrational thoughts for rational ones.

The legs were sending a signal to my brain, an urgent request for itching.  My brain denied the request.  Even when I'm half-asleep, I know that scratching something that itches that badly is a dangerous idea.  And then my semi-conscious brain began trying to figure out why my legs and feet were itching in the first place.  

I ran through a series of possibilities before I settled on the one and only likelihood—fleas.  I had fleas.  I was devastated to realize it, of course, but the truth is rarely convenient.  Al Gore taught me that.

I was humiliated.  Embarrassed.  Devastated.  Just when I thought I’d finally been freed from the shackles of toenail fungus, I was going to have to admit to my friends and family that I now had fleas.

How did I get fleas?

Well, it’s simple.  At least if you’re half-conscious, it is.  Clearly, I caught the fleas from Lucy.  And clearly, she caught the fleas during the collective 2.3 minutes she spends outdoors each day going to the bathroom. 

Lucy often naps in the foot region of our bed at home and that’s clearly where her flea-infested body transplanted a new colony of fleas that settled first into my sheets and then into my legs. 

Voila.  That’s how I caught fleas.  Clearly.

The tossing and turning at this point had as much to do with my overwhelming embarrassment as it did with the itching.  My train of thought went something like this:

I wonder who else I’ve passed the fleas to?  Oh no, I’ve given the fleas to Ryan!  I wonder if I should wake Ryan up to tell him that he has fleas?  I should probably let him sleep; he doesn’t have to know yet.  I wonder how having fleas will affect him at his job?  He'll have to notify the faculty!  He'll have to warn his students!  Oh no, I’m sleeping in a hotel.  I’ve infested the hotel with fleas!  How am I going to explain to the hotel that they should fumigate this room after we leave?  My children!  My children are going to have fleas!  It’s all my fault!  I was going to do great things with my life, but now I have fleas!  I was going to write a book, but now I have fleas!  I’m going to have to call a vet when I get home.  I wonder if the vet will give flea medicine for Lucy and the rest of us too?  I don’t want to call my regular doctor and make an appointment to treat my fleas!  I am so humiliated.  I am horrified.  I can’t believe I have fleas.  Fleas!  It’s so much worse than toenail fungus.  I have fleas and I’m spreading fleas.  My legacy is going to be fleas!  I wish I could go to sleep, but I can't because I can't stop thinking about fleas!  Fleas cause insomnia.  The fleas are probably going crazy in my sheets at home.  I bet the entire house will be infested with fleas before we get back!  Oh, the itchiness!  Oh, the humanity!  Aaaaaaaaaaa!

See how exhausting it is to be me?

Anyway, you know it's been a rough night when the good news is that you've been bitten multiple times by a spider.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Can I Interest You in a Smoothie?

Remember when smoothies first hit the scene?  Everybody was ga-ga over smoothies.  Smoothies were the latest celebrity accessory, long before tiny dogs.  Everybody who was anybody was sipping a smoothie.  And when Zuka Juice (yes, that was Jamba's original, cooler name) first settled in my neck of the woods, I gladly handed over the cost of a high-class combo meal for my oversized styrofoam cup.  Often.  Frequently.  Regularly.

And I lived happily ever after.

You know, until I started to have some doubts about smoothies.  The first doubt came in the form of an empty wallet.  I hated to admit it, I hated to crash the smoothie party, but I had to wonder--was anybody else concerned about the cost of these smoothies?

This problem was temporarily solved when I outsmarted The Man and began ordering one smoothie and two cups.  A smoothie, it turned out, could be SHARED!  It chopped the savings in HALF!

Then, The Man caught on to me and suddenly one day, the freckled fresh-faced girl behind the counter informed me that they were unable to split my smoothie.  One smoothie, one cup.  New policy.

And you'd think that would be enough to put me over the edge with smoothies, but you know, I still went back for more.  (Though I secretly snatched two straws without paying for the extra one.)

My relationship with ginormous, expensive smoothies did not really suffer until I began my education in caloric intake.  And how it affects the size of your butt.  One day, I began flipping through the nutritional information binder next to where the napkins and straws are stacked.  I haphazardly looked up my smoothie (named something like "Mystical Morning Sunrise") and ran my finger down the page to find the calories.

And then I blinked.

And blinked again.

And shook my head with a cartoon sound effect.



I glanced briefly at the fat grams and suffered a mild stroke.

It was about this time that my smoothie was handed to me--my name emblazoned on the wet receipt stuck to the styrofoam.  I didn't want to drink it, knowing what I now knew, and I considered dumping it in the garbage can by the door and making a run for it.

But I paid like $6.95 for the thing, so I drank it anyway.

That was my last smoothie.

(OK, it wasn't.  I lied there.  I was caught up in the drama.)

Anyway, all this brings me to my point today: a recipe.  My recipe for a low-calorie, low-fat, delicious smoothie that won't break your wallet.

Daybreak Dewdrop Enlightenment 
(Two can play this naming game!)
  • 2 cups ice
  • 1 cup sliced strawberries
  • 1 cup diced mango
  • 1 cup Dannon Light & Fit Vanilla yogurt
  • 1-2 cups skim milk (pick your thick)
  • 1/2 cup oats (trust me on this one)
  • 1-4 Tablespoon sweetener (sugar, Splenda, or honey)
Blend and serve in as many cups as you like!  That's my policy.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

101 Thoughts

1. The plants need watering.
2. It's a good morning for German Pancakes.
3. The forecast is unbelievable--80s for days and days.
4. I need to use the gift certificate for my pedicure.
5. I haven't seen those jazzy glitter toes out here in the east.
6. We're trying to figure out our weekend plans.
7. Every day Max asks to go to the swimming pool.
8. Every day we go to the swimming pool.
9. Alison taught me to love life poolside.
10. Sitting at the pool is learned relaxation.
11. I have needed to go to the store for days now.
12. When I realized last night that I had at least one more kitchen bag, I decided to put off going to the store for at least another day or two.
13. No matter how hard I work at taking off my makeup at night, I still wake up with mascara smudges.
14. I am head-over-heels for summer.
15. I think I'll go for a walk.
16. I wonder if Ryan will go with me.
17. I like morning walks.
18. Ryan likes night walks.
19. I'm always afraid we'll get run over during night walks.
20. There are no street lights or sidewalks here.
21. Safety first.
22. I love it when I make Ryan laugh.
23. I love it when I make Christian laugh.
24. I hate farting.
25. I need an eye appointment.
26. Lucy is sleeping on the rug next to me.
27. There must be a gravitational pull, her to me.
28. Tuesday is garbage day.
29. I bought fabric in Utah to replace my kitchen valances.
30. The old valances are nice, but a bit "Grandma Gribble."
31. Ryan invented the term "Grandma Gribble."
32. Grandma Gribble: A decorating style that is overfilled with floral patterns and slightly tacky sentimental objects.
33. There's more to the definition of Grandma Gribble Style, but that will get you started.
34. Every three days I care about eating right.
35. Those other two days I do quite a bit of damage.
36. I have a split personality in the dieting department.
37. Last night I dreamt that the extra weight I'm carrying around is actually a baby.
38. When you look at it in that light--that I'm 13 months pregnant--I haven't put on much weight at all!
39. My dream the night before included an exciting heist with a big money prize at the end. 
40. Right before we pulled things off, I had a sudden revelation, "Oh my gosh. This is illegal.  We're going to go to prison."
41. I almost committed a serious crime in my dream.
42. I usually don't remember my dreams.
43. Good job, dreams, for being entertaining lately.
44. I don't know why, but paying the bills makes me sick and happy all at the same time.
45. I can't believe how many bills there are in the world.
46. I think I've solved my problem of folding laundry, but not putting it away.
47. I fold the laundry in my bedroom now, right in the middle of the floor.
48. I immediately want to put it away.
49. If that idea didn't work, I was going to start folding laundry in the driveway.
50. The other night, our kids were out catching fireflies.
51. I'm sorry, but I don't think I'm ever going to get over fireflies.
52. Their butts light up and glow!!!
53. Imagine all the things you could do with a glowing butt!
54. I have been making strawberry-mango smoothies in the morning.
55. Strawberries and mangos make a great pair.
56. Unlikely, yes, but great.
57. Just like Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore.
58. The pool opens in two hours.
59. I wonder if I can get everything I want done before then?
60. I have come a long way in my relationship with semi-colons.
61. I have also come a long way in my toenail fungus treatment.
62. Only two toes are still showing symptoms.
63. See what happens when I dedicate myself to something?
64. Two years ago, I never used semi-colons and my feet were infested.
65. I love the word infested.
66. I also love the word facilitate. 
67. I love it when Max says, "hand sanitizer."
68. I also love it when Max tries to say Abraham Lincoln: "Hammerlan Lincoln"
69. The oven is almost pre-heated.
70. Ryan just came downstairs dressed for work.
71. What is up with that?
72. I'm not going to talk about it much, but his summer schedule is amazing.
73. I guess there had to be something to make 12 years of college worth it.
74. I'm running a Kids Writing Camp this summer.
75. Yesterday was our first camp.
76. I don't know why the word "camp" is involved; we sat at my kitchen table for two hours.
77. Summer camp is HUGE here.  Everybody's kids go to "camps" all summer long.
78. I had to invent a camp for my kids to go to.
79. And in the spirit of "camp" I didn't clean my kitchen floor before they showed up.
80. (Did you notice the covert use of a semi-colon in number 76?)
81. I think the first camp was successful.
82. Nobody wrote about farts and I didn't strangle anyone.
83. Here we are, all the way at 83.
84. I think I will clean the bathrooms today.
85. Cleaning the bathrooms makes me feel like a responsible adult.
86. I enjoy occasionally feeling like a responsible adult.
87. I made my own roasted tomato marinara sauce the other day.
88. I was inspired by the roasted tomato soup my mom made for us in Utah.
89. My marinara was tasty, but maybe too acidic.
90. After dinner, Ryan and I went downstairs to watch a movie.  
91. I tried to snuggle up to him, but after three seconds I had to sprawl out on the other side of the couch.
92. "Sorry, honey, but I'm just so bloated."
93. We share many romantic moments like this.
94. When was the last time you really thought about your elbows?
95. Two seconds ago for me.
96. Elbows often complain of experiencing feelings of neglect and rejection.
97. I made a morose joke at a church meeting yesterday. 
98. We were brainstorming pioneer activities for the kids to do.
99. I suggested that we could have them dig shallow graves.
100. Only one out of three people got it.
101. I thought it was a pretty good joke.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Life in the Lobby

Recently, Ryan cashed in some soon-t0-expire Sky Miles for magazine subscriptions.  (Did you know you can do that?  You can.)  

And now our family room feels eerily like a doctor's lobby, minus the fish tank.  Added to our regular subscriptions, there is a plethora of current reading material at arm's length for every member of the family. 

Our lobby includes (but is not limited to):
  • People
  • Time
  • Glamour
  • Sports Illustrated
  • Sports Illustrated for Kids
  • National Geographic for Kids
  • Philadelphia
  • Game Transformer
  • Martha Stewart Living
  • Real Simple 
I have to say that I'm enjoying life in the doctor's lobby.  There is always something to peruse.  And I like to peruse.  I even like just saying the word "peruse."

What do I do for a hobby?  I peruse magazines.

And I find that the more I peruse, the more I begin to speak in headlines.  Instead of calling my family to dinner, I shout: "A Budget-Friendly Dinner that Beats the Bistro!"

When Ryan and I sit alone on the porch,  I whisper in his ear, "Want to Know the 7 Things Women Can't Resist?"

When my children are restless and whining, I gather them at my feet and direct, "Say NO to a Sluggish Summer with 10 Easy Projects for Kids."

You see, what people who live in doctors' lobbies know that the rest of us don't is that life's biggest issues can generally be managed in five simple steps.  Sometimes less.  And with the use of a lot of alliteration.

I have to say, though, that I'm having sort of a strange conditioned response to one of my glossies.  The only time I ever purchased People magazine in the past was at the airport or gas station before a trip somewhere.  I always found it enjoyable to catch up on the latest celebrity gossip and hometown hero at the beginning of a vacation; it was my pre-furlough meditation.

But now when People shows up in my mailbox (every WEEK, by the way) I have a strange, unsettling feeling that I should hurry and pack my bags.  I'm trying to cope by reading the magazine and then promptly taking a trip to Costco.

And speaking of Costco, have you seen the giant magazine rack there?  Your Favorite Reads Now at Reduced Rates!

Oh dear.

This is getting out of control, isn't it?  Perhaps I need a doctor appointment.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

It's always nice when you meet your blogging friends and they don't turn out to be axe murderers

One of the highlights of my trip to Utah was the night I met up for an almost-didn't-happen-but-thankfully-did dinner with two of my favorite daily reads, Kami and Mindi.  My days just wouldn't be the same without either of these bloggers and their unique points of view.

I would not be surprised to learn someday that Kami is part Disney.  The girl is uber-talented, beautiful, thoughtful, assertive (she directed a perfect stranger to take 27 pictures of us), and would likely get along well with royalty, woodland creatures and dwarves alike.  She inspires me with her incredible design, photography, and do-it-yourself skills.  But most of all, she's really fun to hang out with.  (She also taught me about using Picnik, which has lead to my current obsession.  Can't you tell?)

Mindi--equally beautiful and thoughtful--is hilarious and exudes a cool factor in the 99th percentile, even though she recently admitted to using a refill mug.  And let's talk a minute about her generous streak, okay?  She tipped our waitress VERY amply and also offered to set me and Ryan up in a hotel room for the night, though I had to regretfully decline.  (Ryan and me alone in a hotel room?  What would my parents think?!)  I rely on Mindi's blog to keep me apprised of all things current, cool, and quirky.  Her sense of humor is unmatched.  

Time really flew by and before we knew it, the restaurant employees were locking the doors, mopping the floors, and wondering if the three ladies in the booth would ever shut up.  (The answer: no.)  We talked about so many things, not the least of which was blogging and how each of us has evolved in our relationship with this strange new medium of self-expression.  

It was a great night.  Thanks again, ladies!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Been There & Back

We got in last night from our 10-day tour of the Beehive State.  We had a great, exhausting, adventure-filled time.  We played and played and played and played.  We ate and ate and ate and ate.  We saw loved ones.  We saw houses old and new.  We wondered what happened to the recession as we passed what seemed like thousands of new business and developments.  We ate at our favorite spots and talked with our favorite people.  We partied like there was no tomorrow.

Thanks to everyone who made our trip so spectacular!  

I plan to be back to regular posting now.  Thanks for checking in!
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