Tuesday, June 30, 2009
On a side note about Ina (when don't I have a side note?), as much as I adore her and want to be like the Barefoot Contessa, it annoys me to no end the way she uses the whole name of a recipe everytime she talks about it during the recipe presentation. For instance, if she's making Mustard Chicken Salad, as she is at this very moment (I'm multitasking) she'll say, "1/4 cup of mustard goes into this mustard chicken salad" and "I just love to bring mustard chicken salad on a picnic" or "I roast the chicken in the oven before I add it to the mustard chicken salad."
This is just a minor irk; nothing, no really nothing, will kill my Ina love.
Unless she starts cackling like Paula Deen and saying "yum-o" like Rachael McScreechy Ray.
You have no idea how upsetting that would be.
It's been awhile since Diane Mott Davidson has published a new book and I was so very happy to come across "Fatally Flakey" yesterday. Only, there was one little problem: the only copy available was in the large print section.
Not willing to forgo reading about Goldy and her catering/murder solving skills, I swallowed my pride and checked it out. As I approached the counter, I loudly said "I hope great grandma enjoys this large print book." Oh how I kid.
While I haven't begun reading the book yet, I did skim through a few of the pages and was pleasantly surprised by the awesomeness of the large print.
My eyes are already challenged; I require glasses for reading and to help make the computer screen look not so blurry. Despite the correlation between large print and being old, I found the the enlarged font to be quite easy on the eyes.
Please tell me I won't be purchasing polyester pants and banded bottom blouses anytime soon.
I hope to start reading the book today. That is, however, if I can get the three bored and whiny girls out of my living room. I've had Caroline on house arrest since we found out about the pneumonia and consequently our house has been quite the gathering spot. Wait....isn't it a gathering spot anyway?
If I'm at the computer, they come down and play the Wii and if I go upstairs to the kitchen area, they're on my tail looking for a snack. There is simply nowhere to hide.
I've banned Caroline from the pool and from running around outside for a week to insure that she heals properly. It's my fault and I fully accept responsibility for my sad situation.
Because bowling is an indoor activity that doesn't involve much exertion, I took Caroline and her two friends this morning. We had a good time. Sort of.
No, we had fun. One of the girls doesn't like to lose and resorts to whining. Unfortunately she's not a great bowler so we heard a lot of whining. Many attempts were made to cajole her and convince her that it's ok to be a loser sometimes.
She didn't seemed convinced.
I hate having to walk on egg shells, down play the accomplishments of others and provide copious amounts of positive praise just to keep a kid from having an emotional breakdown over her bowling score. This girl is also the queen of the "it's not fair" talk. She has an older sister and reminds me of Jan Brady. Marcia, Marcia, Marcia.
Caroline doesn't like to lose either, but her poor sport emotion of choice is anger. Ooh, she gets mad. If she doesn't do something perfectly on the first try her eyes begin to water and she gets mad, stubborn, defensive and unwilling to heed anyone's advice. Teaching her to ride a two wheeler bike and how to roller skate did not bring out the most attractive qualities in either of us.
Fortunately I've had plenty of practice at being a loser, so I'm good at it. And gracious to boot.
I lost the first game. All three girls whipped me fair and square.
And then I changed balls.
With the help of the flaming red ten pound ball and the lane bumpers, I destroyed my competition.
I bowled an even 100.
Don't laugh. That's probably my highest score ever.
Overall we had a great time....and we topped off our bowling excursion with a trip to McDonalds.
Chicken nuggets will wipe a sour face off of any kid.
Monday, June 29, 2009
Alison's Basic Green Smoothie
Oh, and you need a blender.
Next up: add 3 oz of spinach.
This is a up close look at all the buttons on my blender. I don't know why they include so many choices. Aren't we all blending to achieve the same thing: something smooth and blended? Whip, chop, liquefy....I hate having so many choices. I used to have this rad digital blender that, um, went to the big appliance shop in the sky. Since I have a sketchy relationship with blenders, I went with the $25 variety at WalMart. It makes my smoothie smooth and that's all I care about.
Then I let it whirl until the smoothie is, well, smooth. You really don't want little bits of chunky spinach in your drink. If your spinach is having trouble incorporating into the mixture, please turn off the blender BEFORE you poke it down with a utensil. Believe me, I know this from first hand experience.
Once everything is all velvety smooth, turn off the blender (in case you haven't figured that part out yet).
Now smile, knowing that the verdant concoction you just whipped up will not only be tasty but good for you, as well. Also, lie to yourself by saying that this drink will undo the damage that the gigantic bowl of ice cream you will be indulging in after dinner will do. Not to mention the spoonful of peanut butter, the handful of chocolate chips, the 32oz diet Coke...oh, and the fallen bits of streusel topping from the banana bread you ate for breakfast as you sliced it up for your husband to bring to work.
Please excuse the mess that is my hair. It's a total wreck and I am getting it cut in a few days.
Now, drink up.
No, really....drink it. It's good. I promise.
See, I told you it's tasty.
You should never doubt me.
Ahh, MUCH better.
You can add any variety of fruit you'd like. I've been known to throw in a handful of frozen blueberries. Just be warned that a blueberry green monster is more accurately a brown monster. Really, the options are limitless.
I hope you enjoyed my tutorial.
Now go drink some spinach!
Popeye would approve.
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Because I like to make things difficult, I opted for something different than the standard, yet quite tasty banana bread. I decided to go with cream cheese banana bread with streusel topping and chocolate chip banana bread with peanut butter glaze.
I've made them both before with great success, so it is safe to say that I did not anticipate the greatest banana bread overflow of all time.
After I had put both loaves in the oven and washed the pile of dishes that accumulated due to my ambitious baking plans, Craig called to tell me that Billy Mays, the OxyClean guy, died. As we were concluding that all that yelling Billy Mays did may have led to his untimely demise, and vowing to talk a little lower ourselves, I turned on the oven light to check the bread's progress. I'm glad I checked because the cream cheese banana bread was pouring like molten lava over the side of the loaf pan. I quickly grabbed a cookie sheet to position under the pan to catch anymore drippings and carefully scraped the crunchy burned bits off the rack and from the bottom of my already very dirty oven.
I made the same recipe in the same pan before so I'm a bit puzzled by this messy turn of events. I'm just glad I caught it before the kitchen filled with billowing smoke. We had a small amount of smoke to contend with, nothing I haven't dealt with in the past, but an even bigger problem was the smell of burning sugar.
I hate when things don't turn out the way I want them to. I'm such a perfectionist and often feel like I'd rather throw something away than serve people something I'm not proud of. Craig would be rightly annoyed if I did that so I'll refrain from chucking the whole loaf, but it's going to take a lot of effort for me to not pick at, scrutinize and hover over that stupid loaf of bread. I took it out of the oven and it appears to have survived, but I did pick off the extra crunchy burned bits of streusel around the corners of the pan.
I removed the loaves from the pans and covered them with a towel to keep me from going back and obsessing.
We'll see how that works out.
I guess I should have anticipated some sort of disaster as it seems as if today is a day of multiple kitchen oopsies.
Besides the overflowing banana loaf, I also almost killed another blender this morning. Thankfully the blender survived, but my smoothie ended up down the drain. This time the culprit was a little rubber spatula I stuck inside my green smoothie mixture, as it was blending, to get the spinach to fully incorporate. I tried to fish out the rubber pieces so I wouldn't have to chuck the whole smoothie, but the spatula was green and camouflaged nicely in my green smoothie.
I don't know about you, but drinking mutilated bits of rubber isn't my sort of thing. Of course, drinking liquefied spinach isn't many people's idea of a good time either.
I still have dinner to make so I hope I don't have to deal with the triple crown of kitchen disasters. Oh, who am I kidding. While I'd like to think I'm competent in the kitchen, clumsiness abounds. I burn myself, drop knives on my bare feet and sometimes give a spoon a whirl in the garbage disposal.
On a completely unrelated note, my precious kid is neurotic too! The antibiotic she is taking comes with a very specific set of instructions: take one hour before or two hours after a meal with no dairy and do not lay down for 30 minutes after dosage.
Friday night I gave her the medicine at 8pm. Shortly after she went to take a bath. As I was helping her wash her hair, I prompted her to lay back so I could rinse out the soap. She asked me what time it was so I looked and told her that it was 8:28. She asked if we could wait two minutes to rinse her hair because it hadn't been exactly 30 minutes since she had the medicine and she couldn't lay back yet. I'm not sure if she thought she'd explode or something if she didn't obey the directions, but she was quite adamant that we wait until exactly 8:30 so she could lay back in the water without worry. I told her that it was quite alright if we rinsed her hair and nothing bad would happen, but she looked up at me with the most horrified look on her face. She looked as if I had suggested she run naked through the neighborhood or something similarly mortifying.
She may look exactly like Craig and have his knack for numbers, but she sure is my kid.
I had such high hopes for her.
It looks like the neurotic gene doesn't skip a generation.
Saturday, June 27, 2009
Or maybe not.
I can, on occasion, whine with even the most accomplished drama queen.
Thursday just happened to be a very long day.
It started with a trip to the doctor because my child, who was FINE, spiked a fever Wednesday night. Again, everything looked fine upon examination, but the NP we saw suggested a chest xray.
As it turns out, the xray showed that Caroline has pneumonia. You'd think a kid with pneumonia would look, act and feel sick, but this was not the case with Caroline. It's a trifling, puzzling, baffling situation, if you ask me.
So, we waited all day for the NP to call in a prescription; she wanted to confer with a pediatric pulmonologist at Walter Reed to determine the right medication. Finally, she called the house and talked to Craig, telling him that a prescription was being put in the computer. She then said something about taking the medicine twice a day for ten days. I did not talk to her, so this is all information Craig relayed to me.
Being that I'm a professional conclusion jumper, I immediately assumed that she had prescribed Augmentin, which is a derivative of amoxicillin. Caroline is allergic to penicillin, and any medicine in the "cillin" family for that matter.
Now here's the thing about the military health care system: if you have a question regarding your care, you cannot just call up the doctor to ask a question. You have to call the appointment line and leave a message for the care provider. They then have up to 48 hours to return your call. This really squashes any hope for a good patient-doctor relationship, if you ask me. I shouldn't complain because the quality of our care is decent...and it's free. And on a side note, considering the "Obama Care" hack job plan that our representatives in Washington are putting together, we're mighty fortunate.
In panic mode, convinced that the NP had just prescribed my baby a red itchy rash in a bottle, I called the appointment line in hopes that I could convince them to let me get through to the nurse line. I'm not proud of this, but I cried on the phone. I didn't mean to, but I was completely frustrated and worried that I wouldn't be able to get through to them before the office closed at 4:30. And if there is one sure thing in the Army, if the office closes at 4:30, they are out the door at 4:30. The woman on the phone had great pity on me and got me through to the nurse.
As it turns out she did not prescribe Augmentin.
I panicked for nothing.
And looked like a total moron to boot.
Eh, it's not the first time.
So off I went to the pharmacy to pick up the medicine.
Guess what? They were out of it.
I went to CVS.
Evidently this isn't a common antibiotic in liquid form.
Wal Mart was next.
The lady at the first CVS told me to check a larger CVS. So I called Craig and he looked up the directions to the store for me.
Thankfully it wasn't far away, but it was 6pm. Evening traffic is horrific and I was smack dab in the middle of it.
Not only did I have to go to multiple pharmacies, I was also faced with a time constraint.
The pharmacy at our hospital didn't have a hard copy of the prescription....and it was after 4:30 so I couldn't get it from the NP, because like I said....it was past quitting time and they were GONE.
I needed to find a pharmacy that had the medicine in stock before our pharmacy closed because they needed to verify the information over the phone.
After waiting in line for 20 minutes, I was relieved to learn that they did indeed carry the medicine. She took my info, called our pharmacy and told me to wait an hour.
And wait I did.
I ate frozen yogurt and went to Trader Joes.
This also happened to be the night that Michael Jackson died. While I perused the aisles of Trader Joes, they played really old school MJ as a tribute. It was nice shopping music.
I read all kinds of healthy eating/exercise blogs and the chicks that write them are all in love with almond butter. In most stores, it's super expensive, but Trader Joes had it for $4.99.
Ever eager to join a popular bandwagon, I bought some.
I think it needs salt or maybe some sugar.
I had some with honey on a Kashi waffle and that was tasty, but it's not that great by itself.
Nothing beats a spoonful of creamy, ever so slightly salty and sweet Jif.
Jif actually has a natural pb out that tastes great, but it's hard to find.
I'm just a simple girl, I guess.
Caroline has been forced to rest for the past two days. She is on the mend, not that she was ever really out of it.
I wish I knew why a really healthy kid would get pneumonia twice in a nine month period.
She's going to see a pulmonologist for a check up, so maybe we'll get an answer.
I hope it's just a fluke.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
You know, one of THOSE days. The type of day that will forever be embedded in my motherhood journey memory bank. The kind of day that I'll use in the future to remind Caroline of my dedication to her and her well being when she's being a particularly nasty teenager, claiming that she's so horribly mistreated.
A day worthy of a long, rambling and whiny post dedicated to the crappy events that kept me in and out of my car all day and made my debit card smoke from the over use.
I'm just too tired to rehash it right now; you probably don't really want to know anyway.
I'll just say this, I left at 4pm to pick up a prescription for Caroline, less than five miles from our house, and I just got home.
It's almost 8pm.
I ate frozen yogurt and these for dinner, washed down with a caffeine free diet pepsi.
Yep, one of THOSE days.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
I feel like I haven't had a chance to sit all day, but the more I think about it, I did sit for quite a while at the pool today. Maybe it didn't feel like sitting because I was sweating so much.
Between going to the gym, showering, fixing lunches, taking a trip to the vitamin store, minding the kids at the pool, cooking bourbon chicken for Craig and his work peeps, delivering the dinner to work, cleaning up my messy kitchen and the humongous blanket tent in my living room and discovering that Caroline's blasted fever came back again, I feel a little spent.
And glad to be sitting.
Caroline was FINE. Yesterday and today, FINE. This is so frustrating. Her appetite was back and she was full of energy. When she ate only half of her dinner and claimed she was tired, both sure fire signs of fever, I got suspicious and went hunting for the thermometer.
She cried when I wanted to take her temperature because she didn't want to be sick.
I'm the same way.
Ignorance is bliss.
On an unrelated note, what a shame?
What a jerk.
What a day.
Monday, June 22, 2009
I never post pictures of me because, eww, but here's one of me and my present. There's nothing like material worship to bring out the photographer in me.
Now, what should I buy?
I'm not a bragger/big talker because I don't want to jinx myself. Yes, I know you can't really be jinxed, but sometimes I'm not so sure.
Wednesday morning, as I was making the bed, Craig and I had a conversation about how long it had been since Caroline was sick. "She hasn't been sick since September" I said. And then we talked about how long it had been since Caroline had an hour (or more) long coughing spell in the middle of the night. I remarked that the rumors of mold buildup in our old house must have been true. The mold was indeed a major contributing factor to all the coughing fits she had in Georgia. To make this a jinx trifecta, we then said that it had been a long time since Caroline had a restless night. For several years (ages 3-5) Caroline slept very restlessly. She talked, yelled and cried in her sleep. If it had been a long and particularly adventurous day, the restlessness was amplified.
Neither Craig nor I slept very well during those years.
So we opened our big traps and jinxed ourselves good.
As you know, Caroline developed a fever/cold, which as I'm told, has swept through the school and permeated into our subdivision. Yesterday she was all better, even went to a birthday pool party. And then last night happened. She coughed for hours and had a terribly restless night. Craig and I didn't fall asleep until 4ish because Miss Drama (not from her mama) was busy securing her Oscar for best dramatic slumber.
And now, the fever is back.
I really should keep my mouth shut.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
And really, with the exception of food, television, exercise and shopping, I don't even have any idols.
I also realize that being in love with an inanimate object is wrong. And strange.
But I can't help it.
I have found my housekeeping soul mate; my dedicated partner in the care and up keep of our hardwood floors. My floors that are unapologetically dirt, debris and miscellaneous food crumble magnets.
Do you know how often I sweep?
I have a perpetual pile of collected sweeplings (I just made that up) in the corner of my kitchen because I'm always sweeping. I don't get the dust pan out every time I sweep, because, well, I'm just too lazy. I figure I'll be sweeping again in 20 minutes, so why bother.
Either we're all incredibly messy or I'm just unlucky in the flooring department. Or perhaps I'm doing it wrong. Sweeping is somewhat self explanatory, so I highly doubt I'm sweeping wrong.
I shant complain too much, because my floor care woes were much more woeful in Georgia, due to the hospital tile flooring our house was sporting. Ugh! That stuff was ug-lay. And SO incredibly difficult to keep clean. Never mind the fact that our backyard was a sand pit and every
So much sand.
So much sweeping.
The institutional tile look was very sad and unwelcoming. It was in fact just like the stuff they had in the hospital. Trust me, I know of what I speak.
Last May, I took a bit of a spill in the living room. Wearing only my socks (well, not ONLY my socks, that would be creepy), I was bringing Caroline her breakfast and somehow managed to lose my footing and slip. I tried very hard to both protect myself from a big owie and keep Kix, milk and bananas from flying all over.
I failed miserably on both accounts.
The breakfast flew everywhere and I landed smack dab on my knee caps.
As I've learned, when you land on your knee caps, you not only get a big bruise but the back of your knee hurts like crazy and gets painfully stiff. I went to the doctor a few days after the fall to see if I did anything structurally damaging. The good news is that I didn't, although bending my knee and getting out of a car was painful for a few months after.
This is so not the point to my story. The point is, the NP I saw was asking all sorts of questions, as they're apt to do, and happened to ask me what kind of flooring we had. I looked down at the floor in the exam room and said, "well, it looks like the same tile here at the hospital."
Military housing can be so charming.
So anyway, yesterday I went to Target to get Caroline's teacher an end of the year gift. While perusing the kitchen doodad aisle, looking for a microplane to zest lemons (for me, not Mrs. Evans) I happened upon this beauty on the clearance end cap display. 50% off!
Behold the Dirt Devil Kruz
I realize the picture makes it look spacey, alien-like, but I don't care. It's awesome. It's like a big Dustbuster on a stick (with wheels!).
Good bye sweeping. Hello sucking.
I'm in love.
Monday, June 15, 2009
A normal mom, one who seeks to teach their child responsibility and instill in them the importance of cleaning up their own messes, one who doesn't start convulsing and ticking nervously when things are out of place, would leave the mess for the members of the guilty party to clean up.
I tried. I tried to ignore the frightful sight. I even hid upstairs, finding solace in Ina Garten and her curried chicken salad wraps.
Evidently my blinders aren't very blinding and can see through the floor, because my
Down to the living room I went, eagerly scooping up the scattered Legos, once again restoring order to my living room and clearing my fuzzy brain. I don't think so good when the house is messy.
I should have waited. I should have made Caroline do it.
I tried. Really I did.
I want Caroline to be responsible and we do work on it regularly. However, I want her to be responsible right away. Like me.
Confession time: I still make Caroline's bed. She sleeps on top of the covers, so her bed is hardly ever askew, but in the mornings I straighten the sheets and then she puts the pillows on.
It's a team effort. A team effort led by a coach with both high expectations and sheet straightness standards. I'm happy to report that she does put the pillows on in the order that I have deemed most attractive.
Caroline cares very little about aesthetics, but she's fond of routine and seems to do things the way I suggest because she simply doesn't care to differ from the norm.
That's my kid!
Caroline's class had an end of the year pizza party this afternoon. Craig and I helped pass out the pizza, juice boxes and cookies. The kids watched a video of their Tale of Despereaux play and received a bag of goodies from their teacher. They still have two and a half days of school left, but I'm not sure they'll be very focused. Who am I kidding, they're seven.
They're never focused.
As for me, I'm going to try and make the very most of my remaining two and a half days of freedom. I'm mostly not looking forward to school ending because of the mob of chaotic children that will undoubtedly congregate in our house. We're the party house, which is baffling, because we don't have many cool toys and I'm really not that much fun. But the real reason I'm dreading the end of the year is because that means I won't have a first grader any more. She's moving up to the second floor of the school. The "babies" are on the first floor; the big kids are upstairs.
As much as I complain about my spawn and how she cramps my style, sometimes I wish I could just freeze time.
She's still eager and uncomplicated.
I can already feel that slipping away, which makes me sad.
Hopefully she'll hold on to that innocent sweetness for one more year. As we've been telling her, second grade is the end of the easy life; she has one good year left. Once third grade starts, the homework is challenging AND abundant. Also, standardized tests enter the scene.
I better start brushing up now. I already feel dumb when Caroline comes home spouting off facts she learned in first grade. Obscure facts. Facts I've never even heard of. Things that make me go "huh?"
Yep, time to pull out "Elementary School for Dummies." I'm really quite certain that my vast knowledge of Reality TV will not be useful come standardized test time.
I still don't know what a dangling participle is, but I sure can tell you who Jillian sent home last week on The Bachelorette.
I'm sure my parents are beaming with pride right now.
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Right before Craig was leaving for work, Ty the service guy called to let me know that my car was ready for pick up. Perfect timing, Ty. They're probably relieved that I'm single handedly keeping their Ford dealership in business with all the money we just spent. My 30,000 mile service is just around the corner, so they'll be getting some more pretty soon.
After retrieving my car, and armed with lots of extra time to spare before picking Caroline up from school, I decided to go to Trader Joes. Only, I didn't make it to Trader Joes. Instead I was side tracked by a Vitamin Shoppe across the street from the Ford dealer.
I've been on the lookout for some chia seeds after reading about their meritorious nutritional benefits. Armed with a new blender after a disastrous smoothie making session, I have developed a fascination with green smoothies. According to the chia package, they make a super nutritional addition to smoothies. Hopefully super nutritional translates into super tasty.
Somehow I remain doubtful, but I'll give it a shot.
From what I gather, the chia seeds I bought to
Hopefully they don't sprout in my belly.
By reading this, one would suppose that I'm some crazy health nut. Here's the thing....I'm a paradox of gargantuan proportion. I'm not going to even try to make sense of my diametrically opposed style of eating.As I sit here typing about chia seeds and green smoothies after eating a breakfast concoction of greek yogurt, banana and unprocessed bran and a salad for lunch, I'm drinking a 44oz Super Big Gulp of Diet Pepsi. And before I left to pick up my car, I finished off my healthy lunch with a couple edges of the browned butter toffee blondies I made for Craig's work peeps. Oh, and a spoonful of peanut butter and a (small) handful of chocolate chips.
I'm shameful. And backwards.
But it's not my fault. You see, I had two dollars burning a hole in my wallet. The 7-11 practically called out my name. This is precisely why I do not carry cash; if my wallet was as empty as it usually is, I wouldn't have thought twice about stopping.
I was going to make myself a smoothie when I got home, but now I'm too full from the gallon of diet Pepsi I just drank.
Stupid two dollars.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
I don't use the word "literally" or as Glenn Beck says "litrally" often. It's over-used and also often wrongly used. In keeping with my radio show host theme, Sean Hannity misuses the word "literally" all the time. He also says "etceterer" instead of "etcetera." But that's not the point. I'll blame that on the Long Island accent. Anything ending in "a" gets the "er" treatment.
One of the contestants on the most recent Biggest Loser season
She'd say, "my heart was literally pounding out of my chest."
Your heart was actually beating outside of your body?
Figuratively, people. It's figurative.
Anyhoo, my car is literally stupid. It refuses to believe that it has been put in park, therefore making key removal impossible.
The "P" is clearly marked and the shifter is clearly next to the "P" so it's quite evident that my car is not playing with a full deck.
To remedy the situation, Ty the service guy is ordering a new shifter. Oh yay, just what I've always wanted.
Thankfully it's covered under the warranty, which expires one year from today.
Despite my car's apparent lack of brain power, it's going to look all smooth and fly with some new tires to go with the new shifter.
You know, I really dislike paying for car stuff. I don't want to spend $300 for tires. Just think what I could buy with $300; you better believe that four steel belted radial tires are NOT at the top of that list.
Speaking of spending excessive amounts of money, last night I ordered some flowers for Craig's mom who underwent surgery yesterday. Before I sound like a total jerk, HER flowers weren't excessive, but while browsing through the site, I clicked on the $150 and above price point to see what the heck costs so much.
Can you believe that anyone would pay $181.99 for three dozen red roses?
Those are obviously available for some desperate doofus who has been really, really, REALLY bad.
Even if Craig did something so bad that it warranted sending me three dozen red roses, I wouldn't want them. I'd much rather make him suffer than accept some sort of peace offering that'll die in a few short days.
Yep, I'm like that.
Clearly I was absent the day forgiveness was taught in Sunday School.
Please be assured that I'm not proud of this.
Just keeping it real.
It's a good thing I don't have much of a life. If I did, having my car stuck at the Ford dealer would surely put a kink in my plans. Sadly, no kinks exist. No job. No friends. No plans.
Caroline's school is a three minute walk from our house and the only thing I have planned for tomorrow is to help out at the Economics Fair and stuff the Thursday Folders. The last Thursday Folder of the year!
Hopefully my car will be ready tomorrow afternoon. If not, I'll be forced to drive Craig's car to the gym on Friday. Don't get me wrong, it's a fine car. The first brand new car we ever bought. A car that has safely brought us to our home in five different states. It's a nine year old Honda Civic that has been the most efficient and reliable car ever; it still gets 30 mpg (Obama would approve!).
A true American patriot; a Smith family institution.
Despite all it's merits, the truth is that when it comes to neatness, Craig's car fails miserably.
To be honest, it's in ok shape right now because I cleaned it out a few weeks ago. I'd like to give it a vacuum and a wipe down with armor all, but for now, I'll settle for not liberally scattered with gum wrappers and empty 5 hour energy bottles.
I used to love driving that Civic; now all I can think of is how messy it is. All my happy memories of driving "Little Green" have been soiled by the matchless balled up socks and gas reciepts from last March litering the back seat.
Yes, I realize I have a problem. Whatcha gonna do about it?
Yesterday, as I got into my car at the gym, I made the mistake of looking into the car parked next to me.
Holy moly. It was a pit. Pig sty. Landfill.
Seriously. Disturbingly disgusting.
It's not like garbage cans are in short supply. How hard is it to collect your trash and THROW IT AWAY?
/end rant part two
Ok, I'm done.
Time to get happy and unload the dishwasher.
Oh, and good news, Top Chef Masters starts tonight.
Besides the trainwreck that is The Bachelorette, my summer time reality show selection is painfully limited.
As I rolled out of bed to pick up the phone downstairs, I muttered "that better not be my mom."
It was my dad.
The very thought of me, his oldest and wisest daughter, entertaining the idea of getting a tattoo led him to give me the wake up call. Mightily displeased with my tattoo dreams, he claimed to have an airline website up, ready to book a flight to come talk some sense into me.
Evidently, I'm not too old to be spanked.
To be honest, I've always secretly wanted a tattoo.
No roses or dragons or unicorns or barbed wire.
And most definitely NO tramp stamps.
Something fun and small. A dragonfly. Or a cupcake.
I want to be a bad ass.
Well, a sensible bad ass with a station wagon and cupcake tattoo. But still, I'm tired of being boring and milquetoast. Even a neurotic housewife needs a bit of excitement to break up the monotony of daily life.
I'll never jump out of an airplane or repel from a building; I'm petrified of SCUBA diving and motorcycles give me the heebie jeebies.
However, I am not afraid of needles.
The way I figure it, the only way I'll ever come close to being even a little bit bad ass is to get a tattoo.
I've toiled with the idea for years, but somehow managed to put in on the back burner. I'm still searching for a reputable, clean and non scary tattoo parlor. I'm not afraid of needles, but dirty tattoo establishments and unfriendly looking tattoo artists concern me.
I honestly hadn't thought about it in awhile, that is, until my exercise instructor walked into the gym on Monday with two tattoos. TWO!
She's near 40 and has four kids.
I figured if she could be a bad ass and get two tattoos, then I could too.
Only, as it turns out, they were airbrushed on. Admittedly this crushed my spirit a bit, but I'm trucking on. Dedicated to the task of achieving bad assdom.
However, I'll have to postpone my tattoo experience for just a little bit longer.
I somehow managed to vow that I wouldn't do it until my dad was, um, no longer with us.
But you see, although my last name may have changed nearly 13 years ago, I'm still a Kennedy at heart. And we Kennedys tend to be a little wicked.
I can't help it that my wicked streak appeared a little later than expected.
You can't fight it, man. It's in the blood.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
I almost never say y'all, but when I'm feeling particularly exasperated, it sort of slips out. I love how "y'all" can be a one word sentence. I had an exercise instructor in Georgia that would simply say a drawn out"y'all" with a little eye roll after a particularly hard set of exercise. It's all she needed to say. Y'all. Just y'all. And we knew what she meant.
Anyway, I've been busy. "Busy" usually means I've been out spending money.
That's what it meant today.
First up, a trip to the commissary, complete with driving past a smushed snake in the road that only brain bleach will erase from my memory. We needed produce, energy bars, soda and ice cream. You know, the essentials.
When I arrived at the commissary, I couldn't pull my key out of the ignition.
The same thing happened back in February and I had some part replaced in the steering column that would prevent that from happening again.
I have to go back to the Ford dealer tomorrow so they can dislodge the key and fix the faulty part. I need tires, too.
Say it with me, "cha-ching."
It's annoying that I can't get my key out, but I can still turn the car off, so I just threw a towel over the steering column, locked the door and went on my merry way. I also bruised the heck out of my hand trying to get the darn thing out. Ty, the service guy, banged with all his might to dislodge the key last time. Evidently he has more might than me.
So after dropping off groceries, calling Craig to tell him my car woes, wolfing down lunch and complaining to the Ford service peeps, I went out again.
First to the library. It's an election day here in Virginia. I think to narrow down the choice for the democratic candidate for Governor. The library is a polling place. It was busy.
The library is also right next to the senior citizens center. While browsing for books, I overheard a bunch of old people vociferously singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame."
An odd song choice, if you ask me.
Although I shouldn't be talking smack because I distinctly remember not being able to go to sleep when I was five or six without first singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame."
I was a dumb kid.
Up next, a trip to Party City for prizes. The first graders are holding an economics fair at school on Thursday.
What's a fair without prizes?
My next stop was totally not on the list, but who can resist a sign hanging in the Old Navy window claiming all men's clothes are half off.
I'm sure it would be sinful for me to pass up that deal.
Craig is in desperate need of new shorts. He has plenty, but they're all too big.
Doesn't that make you sick?
I don't allow complaining from menfolk about the fact that they can't keep their pants from falling off their non existent hips.
I have so sympathy for that. None.
It's hard to pass up $10 khaki cargo shorts.
My last stop was Target.
Caroline needed new swimming goggles.
And I needed a new purse.
Obviously "need" means different things to different people. By nature, I'm not an impulsive shopper. I usually think every purchase through. "Usually."
Until this afternoon at approximately 2pm, I didn't know what a crossbody purse was. Once I discovered this gem (and it was on sale for $10!), I knew I couldn't live without it. If you click on the highighted text, you'll see what I'm talking about. My Target didn't have that blue/green print, so I got a melon/red/pinky striped one. I wish they had the blue/green one; I like it better.
Normally I wouldn't be so impulsive, but a crossbody purse seems like a good thing to take on vacation.
And that's how I convinced myself to buy it.
Yay for the powers of persuasion.
See, I did have a busy day.
After I picked Caroline up from school, we went the pool. She swam; I read.
Until the dark clouds rolled in and thunder struck.
The wind whipped around like crazy and the power flickered on and off about seven times.
Oddly enough, we woke up to a thunderstorm this morning.
Crazy summer weather.
So now that I've babbled on about my day, I realize I should get up and complete the never ending to-do list. The bad thing about being gone for most of the day is that I feel completely out of whack.
All I can think about is the pile of laundry waiting to be folded and my kid that needs a bath and her lunch prepared for tomorrow.
I'm also contemplating getting a tattoo.
But that's another post for another day.
First I need to fold a mountain of towels.
Sunday, June 7, 2009
At 3.3 miles, the course was shorter than we expected, but still longer than the accurate 5k measurement of 3.1 miles.
Craig, being as speedy as ever, placed third with a time of 21:18.
While not even close to running as fast as Craig, that will NEVER happen, I did come in under my goal time of 30 minutes. I ran the 3.31 miles in 29:33, averaging an 8:56 pace.
Not bad for a first timer, I guess.
Especially a first timer who was built for endurance and not speed.
At the end, to be honest, I felt like throwing up. Unwilling to break my nearly 18 year vomit free streak, I pushed through.
The course was hilly. Very hilly.
But I did it.
And I'd like to do it again someday.
Running three or four miles, albeit a little slower, at the gym before a taking a class isn't uncommon for me, so I wasn't expecting to be so tired after the race. I was dragging yesterday. Seriously tired. Seriously sore hamstrings.
Regretfully, I didn't get a single decent picture of me at my first race. This is a bummer because I would have liked to post one. I'm sure you're all dying to see how I looked in my green tank top with number 188 pinned to it. I forgot to have someone take my picture pre-race and my post-race red face is not fit for viewing. Trust me, I'm doing you a huge favor.
I've never been the type of person that can exercise and then go out in public without showering first. I had friends in Georgia that would want to take the kids to McDonald's after the gym. They'd look perfectly decent, with nary a hair out of place, and I'd be a red faced, sweat drenched mess.
This is gross, but I'll share anyway: after a workout, I can wring out the sweat in my hair like a wet dish towel. Isn't that disgusting?
Aren't you glad I shared?
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Yesterday we wore shorts and tank tops.
Today, it's 63 degrees and rainy. It's June!?!
Color me confuzzled.
I spent the morning with Caroline's class. Her teacher had the kids bring in composition notebooks to decorate and use as a summer journal. We decoupaged for two hours.
By the end, with my fingers covered in Mod Podge and my patience waning, I found myself "helping" a little more than I should have. In other words, I took over creative control, with the kids as the assistant. It should have been the other way, but, I was eager to move things along.
The journals turned out really neat and I'm glad I had the chance to help out.
Those kids are ready for summer vacation, which begins in two weeks. For the record, I am not the least bit ready, but their behavior today was a great indicator of their readiness.
They're antsy. They can't remain seated. Minding the teacher is totally out of the question.
The strangest thing just happened. The bumper music to the radio program I'm listening to was "What Is Love Baby Don't Hurt Me" by Haddaway. For some reason that song instantly makes me feel sad. It always has. Only it's been so long since I've heard it that I forgot it's depressing effect on me.
Isn't that strange?
I'm not sure why this song evokes such a strong reaction in me and no, it's not because I wasted my time or money watching that dumb movie "Night at the Roxbury."
I'm honestly stumped.
After it played, I stopped blogging and went upstairs and ate graham crackers and peanut butter and a couple of spoonfuls of chocolate ice cream straight from the carton.
And don't tell me you don't do the same when you're bummed.
I still feel disturbed (and now fat). Almost like when I finished reading "All He Ever Wanted" by Anita Shreve. That book was so sad and depressing; it stuck with me, haunting me, for days.
I don't get it.
Perhaps it has to deal with some type of repressed teenage traumatic experience. It was a song heavily played when I was in high school. That is, until the radio station I listened to quite unexpectedly changed to a country station.
Every radio station I become attached to does this.
In Maryland my favorite became a spanish station over night.
And in Georgia, my all time favorite "new rock alternative" became a light jazz station.
I'm so not a fan of light jazz.
Although, I do have the last station change to thank for my conversion to talk radio, which has brought such joy to my sad life. Entertainment and enlightenment.
Conversely, however, I now have talk radio to thank for my current sad mood.
I guess I'll blame it on that blasted light jazz station.
Really!?! Who listens to light jazz?
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Did you participate?
I ran four miles (with hills), even though I completely forgot that today was National Running Day. I (sort of) committed it to memory a few days ago, but obviously got side tracked. I was reminded about three minutes ago when I read it on another blog.
Friday is my easy day; I bring a book and ride the recumbent bicycle before Body Combat class. Oh how I look forward to Fridays.
Had I remembered what today was, I would have taken a picture of myself and my mechanized boyfriend, otherwise known as the treadmill.
My first 5k is on Saturday. Caroline's school PTA is hosting the event.
Although, as Craig "Calculator Brain" Smith has pointed out, the course is more like a 5.6k because the PTA president mapped out a completely inaccurate route.
A 5k is 3.1 miles. The route for the run, according to Craig's Garmin GPS, is 3.55 miles.
Not trying to be a know-it-all math nerd, Craig emailed her, gently asking why the route was so long. She replied that it's only a tenth of a mile off.
Hopefully her PTA Presidential skills are better than her measuring ability.
For a novice like me, it's not a biggie. I'm just looking forward to participating and showing off my mad skills and my new green tank top (the school's color). However, the husband takes his racing seriously. According to Craig, accuracy in numbers is next to godliness. It has to be, because, as we've firmly established, he certainly doesn't consider cleanliness to be. But we'll save that blog post for another day.
Today as we walked into the school for lunch with Caroline we joked that we were going to vandalize all the signs promoting the race, crossing out the 5k and writing 5.6k instead.
We're such rebels.
Born to be mild.
Pulled pork sandwiches, baked beans, macaroni and cheese, potato salad and S'mores brownies.
Meat, fat and carbs. No veggies.
Just how they like it.
The cooking process is going quite smoothly, with the exception of the bag of yucky yukon gold potatoes I bought last week. I guess I should have inspected the bag more carefully (or at all)because those potatoes were filled with ugly eyes and brown spots.
Thankfully Craig saved the day and bought a new bag this morning.
Aw, my hero.
Yesterday I swung by the commissary for hamburger buns and bananas. And ice cream.
I buy bananas at least three times a week, in case you were wondering. Their shelf life, or lack thereof, makes buying in bulk complicated.
As it turns out, I was feeling quite fruity yesterday and bought strawberries, oranges, grapefruit, blueberries and the aforementioned bananas.
I'm a big orange fan. I tend to gravitate towards the perfect looking ones that appear as if they've been spray painted with orange paint. None of those thin skinned greenish brownish orangish ones, thank you very much. It appears as if I'm an orange snob. I confess, I like the pretty. As the chefs on television say, you eat with your eyes first.
As it happens, the pretty oranges looked quite uncharacteristically unpretty (and expensive!) so I begrudgingly bought a bag of oranges that must have landed in the reject pile.
And you know what?
They are the best tasting oranges EVER. Evidently the "you can't judge a book by it's cover" theory applies to oranges.
Who knew a life lesson would manifest itself in my fruit drawer.
Monday, June 1, 2009
Obviously not following the usual morning routine throws everything out of whack.
No offense to Beyonce or anything. I'm sure she's a very lovely person, but I find that song a little grating on the nerves.
Everyone and their mother, or more accurately, two people, tried to sell me things today. I can't even dry my hair at the gym or go to the grocery store for bananas without being accosted by smooth talking solicitors.
I got roped into one and promised to peruse the web site of another.
And now it's June. I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around that one.
Our first year here in Virginia has flown by. For the most part, that's not good because the quicker times flies, the more quickly I'll grow older. Honestly, I'm not a fan of aging.
I so wish I could rewind the clock and be 24 again. Turning 30 hit me really very hard and most unfortunately, 33 is only five months away. I remember trying my very best to avoid my 30th birthday, mostly because I felt like I did not enjoy my twenties nearly enough and I wasn't ready to enter another decade of wasted moments. I spent way too much time worrying and focusing on the next step without taking the time to enjoy the everyday things. You'd think that perhaps I've learned my lesson and am striving to enjoy daily life now that I'm in my 30s. Um, I'm not. That would be SO unlike me.
Besides the usual daily frets, sickness, injury, car trouble, the economy, crazy dictators, socialism, fingerprints on the storm door, running out of bananas, your 30s bring introduce a whole laundry list of new trials.
Cellulite. Wrinkles. Slower metabolism. Creepy unwanted facial hair.
Gone are the days when you can say, "I'm 21, I'll worry about ______ when I'm in my 30s."
It's my own fault and I know it.
I'm quite certain I'll be one of those people on my deathbed, beating myself up for not doing things differently. Everyone has regrets, but I'm fearful that I'll live my whole life without fully enjoying it.
Sure, I am thankful to be alive and I enjoy tidbits here and there. Some days are wonderfully smooth and joyful.
But I rarely sit back and just enjoy living.
There is always something holding me back. Something in the future to focus on. Something clouding the contentment part of my brain.
And again, it's all my fault.
But will I do something about it? THAT is the big question.
I need my brain re-wired.
Or a lobotomy.
Nah, that would require having my head shaved. I may not know much, but I'm really quite certain that a bald spot would not help me on my quest for finding peace, joy and contentment.
After all, good hair is a major component of the happy life equation.
Gah, I'm such a Debbie Downer.
I checked out "Baking From My Home To Yours" by Dorie Greenspan and have been fervently copying down the recipes. I have a very archaic recipe system that involves 5x8 index cards and an ultra fine point sharpie pen. No exceptions. No substitutions.
Even though I'm sure I have some sort of recipe program on the computer, I like to hand write them and keep them in a box in my kitchen.
I probably have a stack of a hundred different baking recipes I'd like to try. I'll work my way through them slowly, but butter aint cheap and Craig's co workers might not want to gain twenty pounds.
Yesterday I baked a copy cat recipe of Starbuck's Cranberry Bliss Bars. I don't think I've ever had an original, but the copy cat version is really tasty. Craig called with a positive report from my official taste testers, so I'm happy. I'm also happy that the bars are out of my sight. I'm a sucker for anything with frosting.
A sucker with no self control.
Speaking of suckers, this afternoon I had to conduct a "proper speak for a seven year old" lesson with Caroline.
I told her that "see ya later suckaz" are inappropriate words that should not come out of a sweet girl's mouth.
I give up.
She's growing up much faster than I imagined and I'm not sure I'm capable of keeping up.
Suddenly I find myself nostalgic for blow out diapers and spit up down my neck.