Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Hummus Is Yummus

Pardon me, I seem to have food on the brain. That's not exactly news to anyone, but, nevertheless, I'm still thinking about the tasty goodness of the hummus/veggie wrap I just ate for lunch. I'm glad my lunch was so healthy so that it might counteract the damage I did when I got home from the gym this morning. I not only ate the excess lemony glaze that dripped off the lemon bundt cake I baked, but I also sampled a piece of the cherry cream cheese coffee cake I also baked last night. You know, quality control. Quite obviously, I was in a cake baking mood yesterday. Lemon bundt cake isn't exactly very fall inspired in it's flavor profiles (how Top Chef of me) but I came across the recipe yesterday and couldn't resist giving it a try. I really, really enjoy tart lemony desserts. I do not, however, like lemony savory food. Lemon chicken, gag. Chicken picata, gag. Lemon squirted on fish, gag. I don't like fish, either.

Yesterday's baking bonanza kept me quite busy. Well, I take that back; baking didn't take that long. However, it seems to me that I had one of those days where I didn't sit down much, but I can't remember what I did. Obviously it was exciting stuff.
Oh, wait. I remember now. I DID have a busy(ish) day. I had intended on getting up early to take a jaunt around the neighborhood, but when the alarm clock was set to ring, I made a quick decision to stay in my cozy bed. It's been chilly in the morning lately. Chilly weather lends itself to extra time under a pile of blankets. Or just one blanket. It's not THAT cold yet. I flaked on my run and felt mildly bad about it; the good news is that I didn't flake again this morning. But I digress.....yesterday I had to attend a meeting that was being held for parents of kids in the Gifted program. Yep, Caroline is a smarty mcmathpants. Although it's not called the "gifted and talented" program any longer. Now it's called the "Advanced Academics Program." Whatever.
All I know is that I left feeling overwhelmed and stupid. How am I supposed to help my kid become a good, critical thinker when I'm don't exactly possess super critical thinking skills myself? Oh, and how am I supposed to encourage her and set a good example when it takes me three minutes to figure out one of her second grade math word problems. Gah, I hate word problems. Caroline is so quick with numbers and I STILL can't easily subtract big numbers. That whole "borrowing" thing in subtraction still gets me. I suppose that explains why I have trouble reconciling the check book sometimes.

After the meeting, I had the extreme pleasure of going to the doctor for a check up. Oh yay!
It had been a while, so it was a necessary appointment. I'm happy to report that all of my parts, excluding my scattered brain, are working just as they should; I'm a well oiled machine. My medical history is boring, just as it should be. However, it appears that I'm a shorter machine that I thought I was. I only measured 5'3 1/2" tall. Where have I been? I've been rounding up to 5'4" all these years. Or maybe I shrunk? Nah, I'm too young to start shrinking. I do enough weight bearing exercise and take calcium supplements, so I suspect my bones are in decent condition.

Meeting, doctor, trip to the commissary for a few incidentals and baking took up the majority of my day. And today, I've got nothing. I have laundry to do, but otherwise, I've got nothing. ZERO. ZIP. ZILCH.
That would explain why I've been sitting in my favorite chair with my laptop for the past hour and a half.

Sometimes being a lady of leisure is quite nice. But mostly I feel guilty. I had a dream the other night in which I debated having another baby so I wouldn't feel so bad about doing nothing for most of the day. The dream was sparked by a conversation I had at the birthday party we attended on Saturday. I spoke with two moms of only children and then spoke with someone with two kids, but with plans for two more. Both situations have their merits, and I really don't want any more kids, but still, I'll forever feel conflicted. And guilty.

That wasn't a good dream. Dreams should be fun and finding a secret closet with all new fashionable clothing in it, not about heartfelt decisions and guilt. I hate waking from dreams and not being able to shake them from the back of your mind. And to top it off, the following night I had a naked in public dream.

Oh, help me!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

There's no use crying over spilled tea and cereal down your carpeted stairs

So that's how my morning began: spilling half of my tea and all of Caroline's cereal down the stairs. It's a good thing I just purchased a new bottle of carpet cleaner spray. I'm highly coordinated at the gym, but fail miserably to gracefully complete tasks around the house. I bump into things, drop knives on my feet, whack my knee on the storm door while carrying in groceries and dump food all the time. Seriously. I'm messier than the kids some days.

The last time I spilled a bowl of cereal, I landed on my knee caps, causing a ghastly bruise and disabled me from bending my knee fully for several months. Thankfully I didn't slip today; I was just being lazy and tried to prevent multiple trips up and down the stairs. I'm often guilty of trying to carry too many things at once, a la Rachael Ray and her famous "big carry" on 30 Minute Meals. Lesson learned.

On the bright side, milk and cereal are far easier to wipe up than if I had spilled Hawaiian Punch on the carpet. It's always important to focus on the positive side of things. Sometimes I just ooze positivity.

Or not.

Yep, I'm more likely to ooze pessimism and disenchantment. I'm like Eeyore, walking around with a storm cloud permanently affixed over my head. Speaking of storm clouds (ah, a segue), we got rained on at Caroline's soccer game yesterday. Thankfully it wasn't a downpour, but merely a steady drizzly rain. It's quite fortunate that I had the wits about me to pack an umbrella, although, as you may know, it's easier to use an umbrella for it's intended purpose if you don't leave it in the car. Even more fortunately, I had my trusty dusty side kick with me, who despite his greatest hopes and wishes, does not need an umbrella as fiercely as I do, so he fetched it for me as I sat with the hood from my new hoodie protecting my hair. Because, really, the umbrella is there to keep your hair from getting messed up. I don't care if my jeans get wet, I only care if my hair does. Since Craig, um, has a very wash and wear hairstyle, I get first dibs on the umbrella. It's only fair. Right?
I mean, I'm no princess. I don't require the latest and greatest trends. I fix what's broken and pull the weeds. I'm not afraid of dirt, but I do possess a certain amount of concern for the state of my hair.

I don't know why I worry so much about my hair; it always ends up in a pony tail by the end of the day. I suppose I wouldn't have minded a wet head so much if we didn't have somewhere else to be yesterday evening. We had a birthday party to attend and I didn't want to arrive with a rain destroyed coiffure. I have an image to maintain, afterall.

The party was for Craig's co worker's two kids. They had a house full of kids and adults and some good food was eaten by all. The family is of Asian descent and as you might imagine, they had quite a food selection. I'm happy to report that there were some spring rolls in the house. Oh, how I love spring rolls. They had summer rolls, too. I just had to pick out the shrimp because me and shrimp aren't quite simpatico. Shiver.
Caroline, with her simple palate, ate white french bread and white rice. Oh and strawberries. And cake, of course. She raved about the french bread as if she hadn't ever eaten it before. We don't eat much white bread at home so maybe that's why she was so complimentary.
To her credit, she did try the spring rolls and fried rice; she's just a simple girl with simple tastes.

We had a nice time at the party. And because we're such party animals, when we returned home, we put on our jammies and watched America's Funniest Home Videos.

Really, is there anything more thrilling than watching babies burp, wet cats trying to escape from the bathtub and men getting hit in the groin?

Friday, September 25, 2009


Yeah, I got nothing.
It's been a lame week; lame weeks rarely offer any decent blog fodder.

I could tell you how both of our cars have hemorrhaged money this week, but who really cares about broken windows, tires and 30,000 mile check ups.
I could tell you all about my inability to handle basic math concepts, leading to a huge mistake while reconciling the bank account, but that's not very interesting either.

I have nothing.

I feel like I should, because I generally possess an uncanny knack for being able to write hundreds of words about nothing. Seinfeld in blog format. But, alas, not today.

It's been a meh kind of day. The warm fuzzies I felt on Tuesday about the onset of fall have dissipated. I don't feel warm and fuzzy. I feel ambivalent and uninspired. And in need of a nap.

I bought a hoodie for myself today; I even paid full price. I bought it because I want and (sort of) need a light jacket, but mostly because I just wanted it. It's chocolate brown; I like chocolate brown. Even though I've been mentally beating myself up over the mistake I made in the check register, I bought it anyway.

Yep, that's all I have. I hate not updating regularly, but sometimes there just isn't anything to report. I have my huge audience to please, you know. All six of you!

We have a big weekend ahead: soccer followed by a birthday party. We did the same thing last Saturday and will do it again next Saturday. Ok, so maybe it's not exactly a "big" weekend, but it's life. Maybe something blog worthy will come of it.

Until then, I SINCERELY hope that everyone else has a more exciting life than mine. If you don't, then, well...I'm really quite sorry.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Happy Fall

I'd say Happy Fall Y'all, but that's cheesy. I'm never cheesy.
Nope. Never.

I'm really quite happy that fall has arrived; it's my favorite season. Actually, I'm not sure if I've ever met anyone who did not like fall. Who doesn't love crisp weather (if you live in Florida, just pretend), pumpkin, apples and pumpkin. Did I mention pumpkin twice? In my opinion, pumpkin deserves a double shout out. I just pulled a batch of pumpkin blondies out of the oven. The aroma is truly intoxicating.. They're for Craig's work mates, of course, but I'm looking forward to nibbling on a corner as I cut them into bars later. The original recipe called for the addition of white chocolate chips and/or butterscotch chips, but I used a bag of cinnamon chips that I purchased when we were in Hershey. Like Bert and Ernie, cinnamon and pumpkin are a perfect match.

There is just something so cozy and comforting about fall. Really, I can't think of anyone who does not share my sentiment. Spring and fall are the welcoming, refreshing and rejuvenating seasons. They're the baby bear of the four seasons; not too hot, not too cold. Just right. Winter is barren and summer is sweaty. I must confess that I'll miss the plentiful summer fruit, but I won't miss sweating. It's just so unlady like, and we all know how lady like I am. Me and my lace and skirts and delicate language.

You know, I really have nothing else to say. After reading all about my magical "wedding" yesterday, what more could you ask for.

I could bore you with the details of Craig's driver side window that breaks every three years or so, but I won't. Or maybe I will. It's a nine year old car and the window has busted three times. Paying $264 to fix a busted window (the roll up kind, not even electric) is a total bummer.
I'm glad the engine didn't blow up or anything more catastrophic than an off tract window, but still. Gee whiz, I'm such a whiny princess.

Did you watch Dancing With the Stars last night? I did. The sight of Tom Delay mouthing the words to "Wild Thing" and shaking his shimmy in a shiny brown costume during the cha cha cha was slightly completely horrifying. Hopefully the ladies dancing tonight are better than their male counterparts because no one was all that good last night. I'll have to DVR tonight's episode because it's Big Fat Loser night. Hooray for Boyfriend Bob. Although, I got made at him last week as he slipped into jerky territory. I realize the contestants are fat and need lots of motivation to keep going, but the amount of yelling that he and Jillian did last week was overkill. Harsh, mean spirited and unnecessary. I wish they'd stop being so over the top for the sake of ratings or whatever their reasoning is. I really hate when television characters or personalities become caricatures of themselves. Just be real, Boyfriend Bob. Jillian is supposed to be the brutal one; Boyfriend Bob is supposed to be encouraging and concerned. Jillian is supposed to use the profanity laden threats of bodily harm, not Boyfriend Bob.

I broke up with him last season for all the game playing he encouraged, but took him back in the end. I'd hate to break up with him again.

If a break up occurs, I promise it'll be for the last time.

Hopefully he'll go back to being Mr. Nice Guy. I'd hate to have to find a new probably maybe more than likely gay reality tv boyfriend.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Um. OK? (Part II of the Great American Love Story)

Before I get started telling you the rest of our fairy tale path to wedded bliss, let me give you my opinion of weddings. I like weddings. I like to see beautiful brides in their beautiful dresses. I love the flowers and the music. And it goes without saying how much I love wedding cake. I think that any girl who has dreamed of a big beautiful wedding should have one. Large or small, formal or informal, it doesn't much matter. I truly believe that everyone should approach marriage however they see fit.

With that being said, as for me, MY ideal wedding would be for me to blink my eyes and suddenly be married. Even as a little girl, I knew I'd never have a big affair. I honestly didn't want one. I knew they were expensive and the pragmatic side of me knew that I wouldn't ever expect my parents to shell out lots of money for a big white wedding. But, my lack of desire for a big wedding had much less to do with money and more to do with the fact that I do not like wearing fancy dresses and I HATE being the center of attention. The thought of having lots of people watching me repeat marriage vows doesn't sit well with me. It's funny, as much as I hate having eyes on me, here I am blogging to the internet at large. Sometimes I think that blogging is the ultimate in narcissism. Read MY words. Look at MY pictures. Comment on MY thoughts. But, it is also different in the sense that the blogger/narcissist is shielded by a computer screen and not in front of an entire church congregation professing her undying love to her husband to be.

I've always been a little atypical in the girl department. I wear make up every day and love pink, but I never wanted to play wedding with my friends. I didn't have a wedding scrapbook. I didn't daydream about walking down the aisle to meet a grinning groom. I didn't scour brides magazines for tips and ideas. The idea of a wedding never made it on to my radar screen.

So, when Craig very casually suggested that getting married would significantly increase his earning potential, therefore helping reduce his debt more quickly, I made the ONLY rash decision I've ever made in my life. I said "uh, ok."

And then we watched the movie.

My memory, like my vision, is a little bit blurry, but I think this conversation took place somewhere around the 6th of September; 12 days before Craig was due to re join the Army.

Clearly, time was of the essence.

I don't remember telling my parents the news. I'm sure it was awkward; I've probably blocked it out of my memory. The plan was going to remain the same: We'd marry, Craig would go to Korea, I'd live with my parents and continue to work and go to school. The only difference was that we'd be official and Craig's addition of a "dependant" (Army speak for spouse and/or child) would help him get out of debt more quickly. Hey, like I said, I'm a pragmatist, I like a good reliable plan, and more importantly I liked the idea of a $0 balance. Besides, we were going to get married anyway.

Nothing was going to change. Those are what they call "famous last words." Hmm, a bit of foreshadowing, perhaps?

I think we originally planned to get married on September 16th, which was a Monday. Somehow, someway, with reasons I can't remember, the date was changed to Friday, September 13th. Because, yes, we're clearly not superstitious.

A few days after the "proposal" and with wedding plans in full swing (ha!), Craig and I secured our marriage license and purchased genuine gold wedding bands at the jewelry counter at Wal Mart. Classy.
What's even classier is that *I* paid for everything! Remember that debt? Poor Craig was a wee bit strapped for cash the weeks leading up to his re enlistment. Don't worry, I knew I'd get my paybacks later. And boy has Craig ever paid me back.

So here's a run down of how the wedding day went:

Craig was done with work, so I'm not sure what he did. He probably came up to McDonald's to get a free cheeseburger, but that's purely speculation.

I didn't have class on Fridays, so I worked all day. I think I got off around 4pm and I needed to be at Craig's parent's house for the 6pm "wedding." I went home, showered and tried futilely to remove the onion smell from my fingertips. I put some make up on, tried to tame my wild locks, hoping for my annual good hair day (it wasn't) and put on a hideous navy blue and white print dress that I had hanging in my closet.

I didn't even buy a new dress! Sheesh!

And then I drove to my future in-laws house. To get married. Two months before my 20th birthday.

Our list of "wedding" guests was quite cozy: my mom, dad and sister and Craig's mom, dad and sister. Oh and the justice of the peace.

And we got married.

And ate cake, which was pretty, but unfortunately had whipped cream frosting. I'm sure Craig was in on that deal. There's something about those Smiths and their whipped frosting; we Kennedys are buttercreamers through and through.

After the cake and a few pictures, the "wedding" guests left. Craig and I went to Winn Dixie and bought tater tots and went back to his house and ate them while we watched tv with his sister.

Holy Crap, I cannot believe I just typed that!
I must have legitimately repressed that memory, because I forgot all about the tater tots until just now. If you could see me now, I'm madly waving my arms in the air trying to shoo that memory back into the recesses of my mind.

OK, now I'm sufficiently mortified and feeling pretty pathetic.
I think I'm done with the "wedding" reminiscing.

In conclusion, I would probably do every thing differently, with the exception of the groom. This happens to be one of the 360 days of the year where I'm glad I married Craig.
But to be honest, I don't know how I would change it. My ideal situation would be to blink and have it done, but I'm not a magician.

I don't know.

I'm glad it happened, but I'm glad it's a distant memory. Part of me wishes I had a better story to tell Caroline when she's older. But, in the end, perhaps she'll get a kick out of it.

My only hope is that when she gets married, she'll have exactly what suits her. I only have two requirements: she has to be older than 19 and she most certainly will not, under any circumstances, go to Winn Dixie on her wedding night and buy tater tots with her new husband.

That's the type of history that does not bear repeating.

Friday, September 18, 2009

And They Lived Happily Ever After

All week I've been meaning to sit down, as I promised in my post about our 13th anniversary, and write about the details of our totally unromantic and non fairy tale-like union. In all honesty, I don't really like to think about the details of that day. I hate that I cringe when reminiscing. That's not how one should remember her "wedding" day, but that's just me. Before I go on, let me be very clear here (she says in her best Barack Obama voice) I do not cringe because I'm not happy with the outcome of the events that transpired on September 13, 1996. In fact, I'd have to say that 360 out of 365 days in the year, I'm totally and completely glad that I met and married Craig. So please don't think that my less than happy memories have anything to do with the actual union itself. And for those of you rolling your eyes because I said I'm only happy 360 days a year, that's a rough estimate. I'm just being real here; it would be disingenuous of me to lead anyone to believe that life and marriage is, to borrow a phrase from my dad, always peachy groovy.

Craig and I met in 1995, the summer after I graduated from high school. I was slaving away in the drive thru at McDonalds asking all of Inverness, Florida if they'd like to try an extra value meal and planning to attend the local community college to which I secured myself a dandy scholarship that fully paid my tuition and books. I lived at home, had my first car and my life was boring and predictable. I had a handful of friends (most went off to college), a crazy frizzy mane of brown curly hair and a few too many extra pounds on my frame. Pretty much the same as high school, minus the car.

Even back then I didn't know what I wanted to be when I grew up. I really wanted to be a different person, but that wasn't a viable option, so I chose the safe community college route, hoping that I'd suddenly drop those extra pounds, meet the man of my dreams and never look back. For a down-to-earth realist, I couldn't help but defy my groundedness and keep hoping for some sort of magical transformation.

At this time Craig had returned from his stint in the Army, living it up as young bachelors are apt to do. He was done with the military and ready to put his GI bill to good use. However, he managed to misplace his discharge papers, the DD-214, which happens to be a very. important. document. Especially when trying to get the government to pay for your schooling. Due to the misplacement of the DD-214 and an unfortunate car dying episode, Craig's desire to get moving on with his life was severely impeded.
He worked for his mom, on a part time basis, preparing tax returns, but the dude needed money. Any guesses as to where he took up employment? Ah, yes. He buried his pride and started working at McDonalds.

We were a good team at McDs. It wasn't glamorous, but we had fun. It's hard to be glamorous when your hair is smells like french fry oil and your fingertips permanently smell like onions. We were quite inseparable, although the details of our time dating are beginning to fade. I do, however, remember that a whole lot of fast food was consumed. LOTS of Taco Bell. Oddly enough, we almost never eat fast food anymore. In fact, I haven't eaten Taco Bell in over 10 years. We were a lot different then. Young and uninterested in diet and exercise. It's too bad we wasted our good, young, spritely years eating and laying around. Kids are so dumb.

It didn't take long for Craig to realize that I was a positive influence in his life, not that I'm tooting my own horn, or anything. He knew he wanted to marry me, but also knew that I wouldn't consider it unless he, you know, DIDN'T WORK AT McDONALDS. I'm not knocking solid employment in the fast food industry, but the idea of financial security and health benefits were important to me. Why would I leave my safe home and dive into the unknown? I realize the romantics of the world might be inclined to take that proverbial leap of faith and follow their hearts, but I'm not a romantic. Please excuse me as I take a moment to barf. Did I just use two of the most cliched reality tv dating show phrases in one sentence? Ugh. Forgive me.

The thing is, I think with my head. Sometimes that can be a downfall and a total kill joy, but when considering the finality of marriage vows, I was going to make darn sure that I didn't vow to love, honor and cherish a fry cook. Does that make me sound like an elitist? I'm not. I promise.

None of that really mattered at the time because in my mind, marriage was still a long way off. Craig may have been 24, but I was only 19. I was still in college and, might I add, Craig STILL WORKED AT McDONALDS. I had a feeling we'd be coasting in that situation for quite a long time. Perhaps long enough for me to figure out what it is that I wanted to major in. That is, however, until Craig was on the receiving end of a fateful phone call from one SSG Clapp, the local Army recruiter. No, he wasn't calling to recruit Craig. Actually, he was calling to recruit Craig's sister, who also happened to have moved home. However, his sister was pregnant, thereby unable to fulfill any kind of Army commitment. Thankfully Craig was home to take that phone call. Not because he wanted so badly to get his sister out of the house, but because he wanted to see if SSG Clapp could locate the missing DD-214. The missing piece to the jumbled puzzle!

Not too long after that fateful phone call, Craig got a second call, informing him that he could pick up his DD-214. Such great news! He quickly borrowed my car, took off for the recruitment office, so eager to secure that document and get moving on with the college thing. He had great intentions. Great plans. Triumphantly, Craig returned with the DD-214 in his hand.....and news that he was going back in the Army! Wow, that was a surprise. Although, I found it to be a good surprise. Army=secure job + benefits. After meeting some more with the recruiters, filling out paperwork, having the necessary physicals and such, it was determined that Craig would head to Korea upon his initial re entry into the Army. Korea is a year long unaccompanied assignment, but it offered me time to finish my first two years of college; once he returned, we would get married and move to the next duty station.

A plan was in place. I like plans. I liked knowing what was ahead, but knew that I had time to think things through, plan accordingly and save up some much needed money. The plan was for me to take care of Craig's financial matters while he was away. I was going to manage his checkbook and make sure the large sum of debt he had accrued, and was understandably weighed down by, would be taken care of each month. Things were finally moving in a good direction for Craig. He was happy and so was I.

Two weeks before Craig was ready to ship off, we went to the movies with my sister and her friend in tow. As we sat together in the dark theater waiting for the previews to start, Craig, in a very thoughtful way said "you know, I'd make a lot more money if we were married."

Wah? Huh? Wait a minute.....was that a proposal?!?

To Be Continued........

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Huh, this is my 201st post.
I didn't even notice that #200 was so near, Obviously it passed without any acknowledgement on my part, but I'm not one for celebrations, anyway.
There is little hope that this will be a very exciting post, but, 201 seems like a nice number, nevertheless. According to Wikipedia, 201 is an area code in northern New Jersey. 202 is the Washington DC area code. Ours is 703 and it used to be 706 in Georgia. I still get confused.
Numbers are not my game. Craig and Caroline put me to shame. They remember everything and I still can't remember Craig's cell phone number.

Today has been one of those days in which I didn't sit down until 2pm. Sure, I sat in the car and at the little desk at Caroline's school while I stuffed the Thursday folders, but that doesn't count. Today was a play hooky from exercise, spend two hours and copious amounts of money at the commissary, burn 400 calories unloading said groceries, find room in an already full pantry and fridge, wolf down a sandwich while standing at the kitchen counter, go to the school to stuff Thursday folders kind of day. With the exception of the time spent at Caroline's school, I hate that day. I hate it with the passion of a million fiery suns.

I used to love my trips to commissary. Somehow, someway, I've done a 180 on the subject.
Little trips to the store don't bother me. Trips involving a cart filled to overflowing, a printed out receipt as tall as me and 347 trips up and down the stairs to unload the groceries from the car, aren't placed too high on my list. However, it's not like you can just not buy food, half expecting the food fairy to make a delivery on your doorstep once a week, thereby relieving you of your grocery shopping duties.

The problem is, as I recently lost my cooking ju ju, I also lost my zest for frugal food shopping. Some enviable ladies out there in blogland can feed their families on $50 a week. Even though I'm not exactly a busy person, bogged down by work, lots of kids and well....a social life, I just cannot find the passion to focus my attention on scouring stores for bargain basement deals. I could quite easily shop at several different stores a week, cherry picking the best deals. It might be nice to lower the food bill, but I'm not so sure I want to put forth that much effort. I think I've just resolved myself to the fact that we'll never get by on a really low grocery budget.

Most of the time I'm ok with that; but on days like today when I went HUGELY and GINORMOUSLY over budget, I feel a tad bit guilty. Sure, we'll eat the food. Sure, it won't go to waste. But, did I really NEED to buy that much? It also seems to be that I'm out of all the essentials at the same time. Toilet paper, paper towels, laundry detergent, ice cream, diet coke. You know, the important stuff. It all adds up.

Bah. I hate commissary day. It never fails to put me in a bad mood. On the bright side, my quads benefited from all the stair climbing whilst holding heavy bags, but my mood hasn't fared as well.

Grocery shopping seems to be an oft griped about subject on my blog. I really should get over it; buck up and take it like a good little soldier. I wish I didn't gripe so much. It probably just makes me seem like a bitter person. I'm not bitter; I just hate going to the commissary.

Ok, lets see if I can find something pleasant to yap about.
It's raining. I like rain. Our plants need some rain as I've been neglectful on the watering front. The leaves are changing so I guess I shouldn't waste the water, but I'd really, really hate to kill my landlord's plants. It's bad enough I burned a hole in the counter top and probably broke the garbage disposal. I'd hate to be found guilty of horticulture neglect, as well. In all honesty, I don't think I broke the garbage disposal; I just need to figure out where the reset button is. Unfortunately, my keen eyes are failing me and I haven't quite located it yet. I should google it. I just haven't gotten around to it yet.
Ack, what is wrong with me.

I've traded my usual perk and optimism in for doom, gloom and malaise. It's the commissary, I tell you.
Yesterday I wasn't so grumpy. Yesterday I had a great run and Body Pump class, cooked five pounds of bourbon chicken, baked a pan of chess bars, washed 147 dishes, yapped with the moms at soccer practice, watched Top Chef and ate everything set in front of my face. It was a good day. And man, was I hungry. Seriously, folks. I ate and ate and ate. Hopefully my metabolism kept up with my food input.

Thankfully I haven't been as hungry today. Although I did do my fair share of damage to the peanut butter jar and the few remaining chocolate chips in the chocolate chip jar. I have a diet pepsi waiting for me upon return from picking Caroline up from school, to which I'm greatly looking forward to.

It's the little things in life.

I'm also chomping at the bit to get out my fall decorations. Maybe we'll do that today. We're free from any extracurricular activities today. Perhaps I'll wash away my commissary gripes with a few wooden pumpkins and some leaf garland.

Pumpkins have the uncanny knack of putting a smile on my face.

Ok, gotta scoot. School gets out in three minutes.

I was late yesterday and I'd hate to be a repeat offender.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Hey Good Lookin' What Ya Got Cookin'?

Hows about cookin' something up with me?

Sorry, you know how much I love good old country songs. That song always reminds me of a cooking show Florence Henderson did way back in the 80s on TNN, called "Country Kitchen." Did you watch it? No? Hmm, maybe I was the only one. Yep, I probably was. At least among those in the 10 year old age bracket. She sang the aforementioned (theme) song and used lots of Wesson Oil. Odd television choice for a kid, I know. But normal has never been a category I've ever been classified under.


If you've read my blog at all, it doesn't come as much of a surprise how much I LOVE to bake.
I LIKE to cook, but I LOVE to bake. However, (wo)man cannot live on brownies alone. Lately my desire to cook dinner has been on the low side. Craig's odd work hours and his desire to drop a few pounds before is marathon in October coupled with hot weather, the intrusion of Caroline and her gang of loud friends and a general lack of enthusiasm on my part, are all contributing factors to my current uninspired kitchen woes. I grew tired of Craig suggesting that I was trying to make him fat, so I quit cooking. Even though I'm hardly the type to turn out unhealthy, fat laden meals. Hrmph. Such a fickle dude.

So for two months or so I didn't cook dinner food during the week and turned out some half hearted dinner attempts on the weekends when Craig was home. He ate sandwiches and an alarming amount of kidney beans at work. I ate an equally alarming amount of beans, but of the chick pea variety. I must confess, it was a nice break.

I used to menu plan at least a month in advance. I 'd lug out my huge binders with handwritten recipes on them and my white dry erase board and planned until my heart was content. I scoured the internet for new recipes, my pantry and freezer were well stocked and I cooked just about everything from scratch. I even tried to make homemade steak sauce once. That was a HUGE mistake, but an interesting experiment, nonetheless. I still cook from scratch, but since Craig isn't home for dinner five nights a week, requiring me to think and plan food way in advance, my enthusiasm was waned. I sort of lost my cooking juju.

With fall around the corner, I'm feeling a bit more interested in cooking again. The cooler weather lends itself to comforting pots of bubbling goodness on the stove. Soups, stews and crock pot meals are generally easy to reheat, which makes things much easier when feeding Craig. With school now in session, instead of spending our late afternoons at the pool, I now have all the time in the world to put something together.

And that is what I shall do.

Even though my cooking love was on hold, my baking love has never waned. Not once. I'd bake every day if I could, but the military has weight standards, you know. I'd hate to be responsible for placing Craig's soldiers on the "fat boy" program. If you're the baking type and aren't afraid of a little, a lot of butter, sugar and an occasional preservative laden cake mix, I thought I'd link up some of the recipes I've made in the past couple of weeks in the event that you'd like to bake up some yummy goodness, too. Thankfully Craig's civilian workmates are hungry beasts and seem to work more efficiently when properly fueled with refined sugar, real butter and white flour. I'm thankful that they indulge my hobby. My thighs are thankful too. I get all the pleasure of baking, the wonderful aromas included, but my pants still fit! Win-win situation.

Gram's Best Brown Sugar Cake

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies (I'm not sure they were "perfect" but the browned butter in them makes them quite tasty.)

Banana Bars with Browned Butter Pecan Frosting

Honey Bun Cake

Oatmeal Praline Cookies

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Blondies

I'm sure that's not all, but my recipe box is currently not within reach. You get the idea, anyway.
I'm so excited to pull out the pumpkin and apples and get started on some fall baked goods. Just the idea of fall makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. What ?!? ALISON warm and fuzzy. Oh, you better believe it. I heart fall. Who doesn't? It's in the 80s today, but the leaves are starting to change and just today, I found myself informally planning our trek to the pumpkin patch/corn maze/farm next month. Of course, we have to plan around soccer and Craig's running schedule. Two, maybe three races in October plus his usual Sunday long run day. Maybe we'll squeeze in a trip on the Columbus Day weekend.

I seem to have food on the brain today. Tomorrow I'm making a big batch of bourbon chicken for Craig and his workmates. They're reprising the "Asian Night" theme they started a couple months ago. You know, since I don't really know what Craig does at work, being the secret man of mystery he is, I like to joke that he's an event planner. Pot lucks, birthdays, treats for morning meetings, bake sales; he's the go to guy. I end up spending $$$ on butter and my beloved Kitchen Aid gets worked into a frenzy, but everyone wins. I guess it's safe to say that they're a well fed bunch of people.

Just to insure your confidence in the US Army, let me just say that I'm really quite certain they actually do accomplish some work tasks in between all the eating and talking about eating they do. Craig has simply taken it upon himself to keep the office morale high.

And the cholesterol levels, too.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Lucky 13

It's our 13th anniversary today!

13 on the 13th.

The day was recognized by both, but no cards were purchased and no gifts were exchanged.
We haven't any plans for the day and no plans to celebrate in the future.
Eh, no big deal.

Obviously we're low key, low maintenance folks.
That's the way we roll.

Sometime this week I plan to write a post about our very unromantic, thrown together "wedding" and the equally unromantic courtship and "proposal." For the hopeless romantics of the world, dreaming of prince charmings, white horses and fairy tale weddings, our story will make you cringe.

Today I'm knee deep in domestic activities, so I'll try and write it out sometime this week. Laundry and dirt don't care whether it's our anniversary or not. Besides, in between cleaning and cooking, I'm setting aside time to write Craig 13 love notes, cut his sandwich into the shape of a heart, throw rose petals all around him as he lays on the couch watching the Bucs play, and make my own wrapping paper to wrap up his gift that I spent three months searching for.


Hey, I'm allowed to joke a little.
Actually, I'm making a tasty meal for dinner AND I bought Craig his favorite kettle chips and jalapeno dip at the store today.

See, I do have a heart and soul.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Be A Good Girl, Take Your Vitamins

It's not exactly a big surprise, to any regular readers, that I'm sort of a freak about germs. I don't fall anywhere remotely near Monk on the OCD scale, but the older I get, the more and more aware I become of nasty germs and the nasty people with nasty hands that touch things. Shopping carts, public restroom door handles, tables at restaurants all send a shiver of neurotic germ freaky impulses down my spine.
I'm a friend of hand sanitizer. I love it like it were my own child. If it had a Facebook page, I'd become a fan. I'd follow it on Twitter. Everyone has a Twitter account these days, I suppose it won't be long before Purell will too.
Craig's brother works for some governmental agency with an acronym that now escapes my cloudy mind, and he said that hand sanitizer isn't all it's cracked up to be. And my response to this news was: "I don't care." I don't. I'll forever use it. I like the sting of the alcohol seeping into every knick and scratch on my hands. It's a satisfying burn. It makes me feel like I'm doing something to shield myself from the icky people of the world who do not take the precautions and instructions provided by the CDC to heart.

With that being said, I'm not one to jump on the swine flu frenzied panic bandwagon. Sure, I find it mildly alarming. Yes, I'll do my best to shield myself and my family from it. But the thing is, I've been regularly washing my hands for years. It's a habit. And it's the most important factor in preventing illness. I realize it's the CDC's job to reiterate this, because some people clearly don't listen. However, I find it mildly insulting that I need to see report after report in print and on tv reminding us to wash our hands.
It's not rocket science. It's just common sense.

I do remind Caroline to wash and wash well, but she's a kid. She likes dirt. I've trained her well to avoid putting her mouth on foreign objects. I've drilled into her the importance of hand washing. Thankfully, she obliges my obsessive ways. It's a secret hope of mine that she'll continue on this path forever, and not vere off course when she's older and feeling contrary.

So with the saturation of swine flu chatter and Caroline's two bouts of pneumonia within the last year, I've been pretty militant on the health front. Fruits and vegetables are prevelent and she takes a daily vitamin plus acidophilus to aid in a healthy digestive tract. A few weeks ago I encountered a powdered vitamin mix geared towards children. It's made by the same people who produce the Emergen-C drink mixes, which Craig happens to be quite enamored with. The vitamin drink has a super amount of vitamin C and other vitamins which help promote strong immunity.
Bingo. The magic word: immunity. I was sold from the moment I laid eyes on the box.

So I bought the stuff.

And it's totally disgusting.

I can't make Caroline drink nasty junk, unless it's prescribed by a doctor, so we're back to her regular gummy vitamins. She does drink one of the yummy Emergen-C drinks in the afternoon, to, you know, boost that immunity of hers. Sigh. I love those words.

The box of drink mixes used to come with 36 packets. Now it's 30. The box is the same size, but the packets are fewer in number. I hate when that happens; who do they think they're fooling?

Being the quasi frugalista I am, I decided that instead of throwing the packets away, I'd put one in my green smoothie yesterday. I'm happy to say that I found a winner. It actually tastes good all the while providing me with extra nutrients.

I love a happy ending.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Soccer Mom

Minus the mini van.

And a totally enthused and dedicated soccer playing kid.

A few weeks ago I signed Caroline up for soccer, while depleting our bank account rather significantly, in the process. She's played soccer before. She liked it enough, but she didn't profess undying devotion to the sport. Her lack of enthusiasm led me to come to terms with the fact that I'll never be a soccer mom. You know the type. During Kindergarten we did two seasons of soccer, and a season each of basketball and t-ball. Caroline went, played, had fun, but didn't care one way or another if she ever did it again. Her ambivalence led Craig and I to determine that she's just not a team sport kind of person. I think she has the internal competitiveness that I posses, leaving her more suited towards running or swimming. Something on an individual level.

We did swimming lessons last year, but after two sessions, Caroline declared that she needed a break. So for the past six months we didn't participate in any sort of organized activity. It was fine and kind of freeing; she played hard outside and spent lots of time with her neighborhood friends. I tend to believe that above all else, kids need to play. This is a foreign line of thinking to our friends and neighbors, much like being a conservative in the liberal mecca that is the Northern Virginia/DC area. Kids around here are over scheduled and involved in a plethora of activities at any given time. Mom's spend more than half their life in the car and well over half their money on all these activities.

Caroline's two best buds play soccer and being the type of kid she is, Caroline declared that second grade would be the right time to start playing soccer again. Eh, whatever.
So we signed up, but found that a coach hadn't been secured for her team. After some emails sent by the director trying to guilt the parents into coaching, one sucker adventurous mom stepped up to the plate. As it turns out, she's the mom of one of Caroline's first grade classmates.

I was SO close to just giving up on the whole thing. I even composed an email to the soccer director, but once I spoke with the coach, I changed my mind. There is something about knowing the coach and recognizing familiar faces that makes this seem a wee bit more enjoyable. Caroline is more than fine with jumping into a new situation, where she doesn't know anyone, but not me. And I'm not even on the team.

We're supposed to have a practice tonight. The first game is tomorrow (!). But, it's raining. And windy. And the temperature has dropped significantly in the past few days. The field will, without a doubt, be sopping wet. We're supposed to meet, regardless of the weather, to at least pass out uniforms, but these poor kids are going to show up clueless tomorrow.
Well, not clueless. They're all six and seven so I'm pretty sure they recognize and understand the basic premise of soccer: kick the ball into the goal. The OTHER TEAM'S goal. Of course, Caroline has the added issue of FOR THE LOVE OF PETE, DON'T GET HIT IN THE MOUTH to focus on. If she breaks any more teeth, you'll find me in a hysterical blob on the field, wailing, cursing, sobbing and losing my ever loving mind.
I told her the first time she gets hit, I'm getting her a mouth guard. Target had the cheapy kind by the soccer gear and I really should have bought one. Perhaps I'm hopeful that all teeth will remain firmly placed in her mouth throughout the course of the season.

I'm the model of positivity.

And, keeping with this theme of positive thinking, Caroline is now able to both put on and remove her shin gaurds all by herself. You have no idea how exciting this is. I reckon she'll need help with her socks, but at least she'll be able to contribute a little bit to the soccer prep. What a relief.
With that being said, the jury is still out on whether or not she'll put her jersey on the right way.

She's the type of kid that just cannot be bothered with details.

Makes me wonder where her real mom is hiding. Because it surely can't be me.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

September 1989

20 years ago!

Do you remember what you were doing in September 1989?

If I recall correctly, I was just beginning my 7th grade year at Los Arboles Middle School in Marina, California. I wore braces and had a serious love for headbands. Especially the padded variety, not the kind with teeth that dig into your scalp and leave red marks behind your ears. My favorite headband was pink with white polka dots. I loved that headband more than life itself, but our relationship ended quite abruptly one afternoon. My beloved puffy, pink polka dotted headband broke in half rather tragically one day at PE. Why I remember that, I don't know. But it's those kinds of insignificant things that stick with you for twenty years. Or with me, anyway.

Stretch pants and over sized shirts were a mainstay in my closet in September 1989. As were novelty earrings from Claire's Boutique (which is just called Claire's now, right?) and big puffy socks in every color of the rainbow. I sometimes wore two or even three pairs at a time to be extra fashionable.

I was a cheerleader in 7th grade, which to this day, makes me roll my eyes. I'm not sure what possessed me to try out to be a cheerleader because I'm really not the type, but yet, I did it. In sixth grade I was a member of the "Pep Squad" and we wore dorky skirts and vests with a turtleneck underneath.
At least in 7th grade we were called cheerleaders and wore real cheerleading uniforms.

We weren't very good.
Our leader was an overweight woman who just barked orders and relied on some 9th graders to "teach" us. They were helpful with the cheers, but when it came to choreographing a dance for the "big competition" they kind of stunk. All I remember was doing some repetitious moves to "Dial My Heart" and feeling pretty dumb the whole time.
Our cheerleader advisor was nice, when not barking at us, but she wasn't exactly what you would consider a typical cheerleader instructor. She was loud and yelled at kids for saying "aint" but was guilty of saying it herself sometimes. At one point in my two year stint as a cheerleader, the director was pregnant and I remember her stuffing handfuls of dry roasted peanuts in her mouth during one of our meetings. She kept saying, "I have to eat or I'll vomit, vomit, vomit!" while pounding her fist on the desk.
Thankfully I had the wits about me to pass on being a cheerleader in 8th grade. It just wasn't me.

I had two friends in seventh grade, Elizabeth and Lori...oh make that three. I forgot about Teresa, who lived right behind us. She had a black lab that burped and we had a yellow lab that ran around in circles all day and ate laundry detergent boxes.

7th grade was the only year of my schooling in which I was not placed in an advanced English class. Considering the way I continually butcher the English language on this blog, you might think that this was a wise decision. However, to a studious 12 year old, this was quite an ego blow. Consequently, I did VERY well in the regular English classes, which prompted my teacher to put me in an advanced class in 8th grade, back where I belonged. With my nerdy peeps. "Regular" English was quite an experience as my teacher was kind of "different." In a creepy, makes you wonder kind of way. He had an Airedale dog named Astro and drove a VW bug. Just thinking about him now gives me the shivers, but he could have just been a quirky kind of person without any reason to believe that he had some sort of police record.

7th grade also introduced me to Mr. Slaussen, my math teacher. He was young and his name was Theodore. He wore contact lenses, but one day he didn't and it amused me so much to see that his glasses had a little playboy bunny insignia on them. He had an abnormal fascination with The Price is Right, taping every episode and keeping spreadsheets of prices. He went to a show taping once, but didn't get to "come on down." However, he did help a woman out and as she celebrated her winnings, she called out "There's Theodore, there's Theodore" over and over while jumping up and down, trying not to bounce into one of Barker's Beauties. I was actually home sick the day that show aired and I laughed and laughed over it. He was such a dork. But, then again, so was I.
To further amp up his dorkiness factor, Mr. Slaussen sang "Heaven" by Bryan Adams at the school talent show. Now THAT was priceless.

I should also say that unlike every other ordinary 7th grader in 1989, I was not a fan of New Kids on the Block. Perhaps my music tastes were more mature than my peers, but I just couldn't figure out what the fuss was about. With the exception of two NSync songs on my ipod, well three, but the third one was bought accidentally, I've never really gotten the lure of boy bands. Girls my age dreamed of marrying Jordan or Joey or Jon, but not me. That's not to say that I didn't have my own pre-teen celebrity crush. Yes, my friends, I was in lurve with Kirk Cameron. He was so dreamy. He still is, if you don't count his cheesy "acting" in those Left Behind movies. I didn't see Fireproof either, but I gather it was cheeserific. I applaud his commitment to God and to his wife and family, but my cynical and sarcastic nature keep me from watching and enjoying those "films." Nevertheless, Kirk Cameron will always hold a special place in my heart. I wonder how much money my mom spent on Bop magazine so I could complete my Kirk Cameron scrapbook?

Wow, this trip down memory lane has been so much fun.

However, you might be wondering what has prompted this look back into the life of a dorky 7th grader. Well, for those with inquiring minds, let me tell you what Craig was doing way back in September 1989.

On September 6, 1989, a very skinny boy with a head full of brown hair, boarded a bus headed for the MEPS station in Tampa, FL and enlisted in the US Army. He had recently graduated from high school and in typical 18 year old fashion, found himself without much direction. His parents imposed a very early curfew, a curfew even earlier than that of his younger sisters, so he moved into a friend's place and pondered his future. The Air Force recruitment office was too far away for a guy without a car to visit, so he did the next best thing. He joined the Army.

Quickly, he became property of the US Government and his brown locks found themself on the floor beneath the barber chair. Sadly, that was the last Craig ever saw of his hair! He blames the initial buzz cut on the lack of hair on his head now. Every so often he tries to blame it on me, but we all know better than that!

If it weren't for his two year break in service, where he met and married ME, Craig could be up for retirement right now. However, December will mark 18 years of actual time in service and he still has some time before he decides I let him retire. Not many wives can boast that the military has treated them well, but I'm one of the few lucky ones. The thought of retirement causes me to break out in hives, and thankfully Craig is committed to serving well beyond his 20 years.

Sure the Army can be trying at times. The 4 am phone calls for a urinalysis and tripping over big boots can cause an eye roll or two, but all in all, I cannot complain. The Army has provided Craig with a job skill that will serve him well in the private sector if he so chooses to continue in this career field upon retirement. He has been provided a steady pay check, free education and the opportunity to travel to some exciting (and not so exciting) places.

Craig's not a gung-ho kind of guy. He serves in the Army because it's a reliable job. He might not think he's doing anything particularly special, but I do. I've never been super patriotic, but the more I become interested in politics and the further I delve into the importance of protecting and securing freedom and liberty, the more thankful I become to those who have signed their lives away to Uncle Sam. It's not a glamorous job. The uniforms alone, in their drab olive-tan-brown splendor, say it all.

For a major part of Craig's Army commitment, he's had it pretty good. Good work hours in front of a computer in air conditioned building. Heck, if it weren't for the fact that he wears a uniform to work, you wouldn't know he's in the Army. Even still, in my eyes, he's doing something important. Sure, I don't know the details of his job as I'm not privy to such information, but serving your country, no matter your reasons or politics, is worthy of admiration.

Sounds dumb and cliche, but I'm proud of him.

He may not think much of what he does, but I sure do.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

And Now, The Day We've I've Been Waiting For

Someone in this house is REALLY happy that it's the first day of school.

Nope, not her.

Yep, I think it's this weirdo.

I had a hard time trying to conceal my excitement when I came home to an empty house after the gym. Sure I love that kid of mine, but well, I just heart school. Besides, as I so eloquently tell Caroline, you have to go to school because you don't want to be stupid. Perhaps I should work on my choice of words, but she knows what I mean.

Actually, she was pretty excited.

Who wouldn't be? The first day of school is so much fun.

Despite an unfortunate failure to use conditioner last night, resulting in some seriously fluffy hair, Caroline was up and ready for school quite early. We didn't have to bark at her once to eat her breakfast in a timely manner, but I'm sure that's just due to the excitement of the day. Tomorrow, we will, without a doubt, holler at her no less than twelve times to eat. And chew. And then we'll threaten to turn the tv off eleven times.

As usual, I had a heck of a time taking her picture this morning. She's less than enthusiastic and it's rainy and the house was DARK. I did my best and even ran into the coffee table, banging up my ankle pretty good, to get a few obligatory shots in.

Sniff, she's getting so big.

Eh, I'll get over that. Right now, it's party time....and we all know how much I love a good party.

Huh, I somehow managed to turn a post about CAROLINE'S first day of school into a post all about ME.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Croaky The Fingerprint Magnet

That's what I've named our refrigerator. It's a shiny, pretty stainless steel contraption, but it's a fingerprint magnet, impossibly unspacious, and now it croaks. And the ice maker only works when it feels like it. It sounds like a frog, croaking non stop, for reasons unknown. Truthfully, it's quite annoying. However, despite it's smudgyness and the fickle nature of the ice maker, the refrigerator does it's job. Our food is cold, and that's what matters most.
I'm practicing positivity.

We had a dinosaur of a refrigerator in Georgia. In fact, all the appliances in our kitchen were atleast a few years older than me. The fridge kept things cold enough to prevent the spread of bacteria, but not cold enough for our liking. Especially where milk was concerned. The day before Thanksgiving two years ago, that archaic fridge died a quick and unexpected death, leaving me with a crud load of food and nowhere to put it.
My parents were in town, looking forward to a lavish Thanksgiving spread, and there I was in my standard minuscule military housing kitchen, panicking mightily. I had a major meltdown, frantically called the housing people and within an hour we had a new fridge. Well, it was new to us, but just as old as the one that had just conked out on me. I think they swiped it from an unoccupied house down the street from us. I seriously considered kissing the maintenance guy, but figured that would be inappropriate. Besides, he was old enough to be my grandfather. Eww. Instead, I called him my favorite person EVER.

It was a true Thanksgiving miracle.

Two more days until school starts!

We received a note at open house requesting that the kids bring in a special writing journal, as big as or bigger than a marble composition notebook, preferably without the spiral binding. What's with the all these specifics? I guess years of experience in the classroom leads a teacher to know what works best. We found a nicely decorated spiral-less bound notebook, which happened to be the only one left at Target. School shopping is absolutely, positively complete, after grabbing an adorable purple polka dotted shirt for Caroline, and so is our soccer gear shopping. They didn't have black and pink soccer shoes in Caroline's size, so we were forced to buy black and silver. Oh well, I'll just have to get over it; Caroline, as usual, couldn't care less.

It's a slow day around these here parts. After our trip to Target and a stop at Dunkin Donuts to use a free iced latte coupon, we got home and Craig said "now what do we do?" His Sundays are typically spent running an insane amount of miles and then recovering for the rest of the day on the bed in front of the television. However, he did his long run/recovery yesterday, leaving Sunday wide open. Unfortunately we're boring and have nothing to do. Caroline and her peeps are building a tent upstairs, so I gather our day will be spent trying to avoid the tent and the endless bickering over where everyone should sit.

I had every intention of getting up for an early morning jaunt around the neighborhood, since I missed the gym yesterday, but what seemed like a brilliant idea last night wasn't nearly as disgestable this morning. I also dreamed that my big toe was cut in half, which I found to be quite disturbing. In my dream, I walked around in my flip flops, sticking my toe back together when ever the top fell off. I can't even fathom why I'd dream such a thing.

All I know is that a dream about big toes sliced in half doesn't put one in the mood to go for a run.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Brought To You By The Letter O

for Outdoors.

My friend, Sissy, is the self proclaimed Queen of the Indoors and sometimes I feel like I'm in contention for that title. However, while I tend to hide inside for the most part, it's another lovely day in the neighborhood. In celebration of such pleasant weather, I thought I'd bring ye olde laptop outside to blog a bit. However, I may haven't thought this through as well as I would have liked. The cloud cover disappeared and the sun is shining right on me in a rather hot and unpleasant manner. I'm also having trouble seeing my computer screen, but that might be because I'm wearing sun glasses instead of my regular glasses. I have to make this short anyway, because the girls are hankering for smoothies and s'mores. What a combo. I've been promising them for a few days now and it's time to ante up.

I had originally planned to bring my book outside to read, because I find that reading inside during the day only makes me fall asleep. I like naps, but then I can't sleep at night, so I try to avoid them, if at all possible. I brought my book outside yesterday and had a nice time reading and enjoying the weather, that is, until my rather unfriendly and grumpy neighbor drove up and unloaded his groceries. His paper bags kept ripping and the more they ripped the louder and more he cussed. I'm ok with a little mild cussing; a well placed cursed word can be quite effective. However, he's a little on the obnoxious side. The only times I've ever heard him speak were times in which his sentences were heavily peppered with salty words. He's a military guy, that's what they do.

Anyhoo, we've been enjoying a quiet day at home. The girls constructed a massive tent and are busy airing their grievances, while waiting for smoothies and s'mores. One girl is mad at another girl because she wasn't informed when she and Caroline went from playing outside to inside. You know, serious stuff.
It's entirely too difficult to get four girls to all agree on everything. And it's even more difficult to make it so that no one feels left out. I'm learning some diplomacy skills, but mostly I just want to tell them to all buck up and just get along. Perhaps I should work on my sympathy skills, as well.

Caroline found herself without a playmate, well a desirable playmate, yesterday so we went on a little outing. First we stopped at the pool on Ft. Belvoir, but stayed for only a short time, because not only was Caroline bored without a buddy, but the water was cold. Then we went looking for soccer shoes, a ball and shin guards. We struck gold on the ball and shin guard front, but will have to try another store for shoes. Caroline also managed to eek a Lego tow truck out of the deal. So let's re-cap, I took my little girl to get soccer gear and a Lego tow truck. Girlie girl? Uh, I think not. But don't worry, her ball and shin guards were partially pink.
I'm certainly no girlie girl either, but I do appreciate pink as much as the next girl. Thankfully Caroline feels the same.

OK, time to pull out the blender and find the marshmallows and graham crackers. Gee, don't you wish you had a mom like me?

I'm so awesome.

And modest.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Ack, My Brain Has Turned To Mush!

I've been MIA for the past few days, trying to catch my breath. While my to-do list has been pathetically short, as it always is, it seems like I haven't had the extra spare minutes to sit and type. I'm sure many bloggers can whip out a post in a couple of minutes, but it takes me FOREVER.
With the exception of talking and eating, I don't do anything fast. I don't run fast, drive fast, make decisions fast or write fast.

The only way I know how to quickly throw out a blog post is to use my good friend, the bullet point. Bullet points also reign in my tendency towards wordiness.

  • Caroline's teacher for second grade is the one that our neighbor hoped she'd have, Mrs. Fay.
  • There were two girls in our neighborhood I hoped and prayed would not be in Caroline's class this year.
  • BOTH of them are. Ha! Life is funny sometimes.
  • On the bright side, two really great kids from Caroline's first grade class are also in Mrs. Fay's class.
  • So is her running buddy from PE last year. We're VERY happy about that.
  • The weather has been beautiful lately. Consequently, the pool is freezing cold, but the air temperature is really quite pleasant.
  • I'm so happy that fall is around the corner. I mean, really, who doesn't love fall? One of my favorite things to mark the season is Bounty fall print paper towels. My mom hates printed paper towels, preferring boring plain white ones, but I gotta have my prints. I'm not a fussy person and prefer clean lines and simple things, but I just need to have printed paper towels to add a little interest. Bounty's fall prints remind me of Hawaii, where fall is just gorgeous. Nah, not really, I just remember that Hawaii is where I first discovered fall paper towels with pictures of Lucy trying to convince Charlie Brown that she will hold the football still this time while he tries to kick it. We all know that's not true, but still, I love Charlie Brown and I love fall and I love the two on a paper towel. I couldn't find Charlie Brown paper towels yesterday, but I did purchase some with lovely fall leaves, which gave me a similar warm and fuzzy feeling. They'll just have to do.
  • I gave in to my ice cream ban. Popsicles just weren't cutting it. I've been a good girl, though, and haven't eaten more than I should. Yay me.
  • I'm accruing more adoring fans daily with my chocolate cakes. I've made three cakes in the past week or so and have been asked to make a strawberry layer cake for another birthday at the end of the month. The cakes are hopelessly lopsided and look like they've been decorated by a rank amateur, but they taste good and that's all that matters.
  • The $$$ soccer team I signed Caroline up for still doesn't have a coach. The director sent out emails, begging and pleading and guilting parents into coaching, but I didn't give in. She claims you don't need any soccer experience, but I have my limits. Kids don't listen to me and I'd really rather read my book during practice than blow a whistle and make kids kick balls around cones. Practices start next week and they may have to place the kids on different teams, which might not be as geographically convenient as it would be if someone would volunteer to coach at the field at her school. Nope, not me. Ain't gonna happen. I mean, really, could you picture me coaching soccer? I can't. Nope. Not at all.
  • I'm so very annoyed that we have to pay property tax on my car. Like it's my fault we live here. We're just obeying Uncle Sam's orders. Sheesh! Craig is exempt because he's active duty military, but no such luck for the supportive military wife.
  • While in Wal Mart the other day buying a new welcome mat to replace our old fraying one, I saw STIRRUP PANTS. Yeah, I said it. Stirrup pants. Horrifying, eh? For the love of all things holy, why!?!?!?! NO ONE should wear stirrup pants. Not in the 80s and certainly not now. Curse you Miley Cyrus and your trendy clothing line at Wal Mart. The whole idea just makes me want to barf.
  • Um, that's all I have for now. Like I said, my brain is in a mush like state. Hopefully my mental faculties will be restored and raring to go this weekend. No surprisingly, we don't have any big plans for Labor Day. Craig has a four day and will be going to Maryland tomorrow for his friend's bbq. We'd go, but his friend's son, who is Caroline's age, won't be there. Besides, this is Craig's buddy from the "old days" and they'll have much more fun without us. So, Caroline and I will stay home. She and her friends will wreak havoc and I'll clean it up. We're also going shopping for soccer cleats, which will be the highlight of the weekend.

    Or not.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

No Longer Feeling Bad

Yesterday, as I rejoiced over the nearness of the beginning of the school year, I also expressed a bit of guilt for feeling a little too happy.

So much can change in 24 hours.

This afternoon I happened upon Caroline and three friends playing with Play Doh and Moon Sand on the hardwood floors. Have you ever heard of Moon Sand? If you haven't, I urge you to NEVER purchase the stuff. Not for your child, grandchild or birthday boy/girl. Maybe for your arch nemesis, but surely not for anyone you care for. I'm willing to bet that relationships have been severed over Moon Sand. Girls, if you value your friendships, do not, under any circumstances, buy your friend's children Moon Sand. It's the stuff of the devil. Sticky, clingy, stubborn. It sticks in the crevices of your wood flooring and gets stuck between your toes. No matter how thoroughly you sweep, Moon Sand has a way of hanging around. I really hate that stuff. I won't even start ranting about Pixos, Moon Sand's evil cousin. I beginning to think that only childless people, or sadists, invent children's toys. Between batteries, noise, blinking lights and things that come in a thousand pieces, I'm convinced that no right minded parent would ever have a hand in creating the junk being sold in toy stores today.

Now, where was I? Oh yes, Moon Sand. Caroline has owned her Moon Sand for awhile, but I had it cleverly hidden in a big Rubbermaid tub on the unreachable top shelf of her closet. Caught up in an organizational frenzy this morning, I found another purpose for that tub, so I promptly emptied the tub, leaving the Moon Sand, completely unhidden, in Caroline's closet. It took no more than 5.37 seconds for her Potential Mess Making sensors to locate the stupid stuff. She has a keen MessDar; radar capable of detecting objects that will facilitate her mess making abilities.

So, as I watched one of the kids roll on our light colored carpet with Moon Sand on his legs, consequently leaving blue smears all over the beige floor, I decided then and there that I would no longer feel guilty for wanting school to start. I can handle trips to the pool and doling out snacks. I cannot, however, tolerate blue stains on carpet that doesn't technically belong to us. Thankfully I wiped up the Moon Sand smudges without issue. Then I kicked the kids out of the house.

But they came back.

The weather has been most enjoyable the past two days. A trip to the pool is out because cooler weather = cooler water temperatures. Cold pool water, without a doubt, means I'll hear more complaints than splashing. So, we're staying home.
The windows are open, the breeze is blowing. It's really very pleasant.

I went on a run this morning and the cool air was reminiscent of a fall morning. Much to my surprise, but to my great pleasure, I ran for an hour. I don't have a GPS, and I'm direction/distance challenged, so I'm not sure how far I ran. All I know is that I found it really enjoyable. Except for the part where I ran uphill into the wind, but who ever enjoys that? I think the beautiful weather inspired the length of my run. It's nice to feel like you can go forever. It's very freeing.

Oh man, here I am complaining about a couple of blue Moon Sand smears on the carpet when I just dumped half of my Diet Pepsi on the same beige carpet. You'll be happy to know that I acted quickly and no harm was done, but for now on I'll try to keep my unruly laptop cord away from beverage containers.

Moving on to another random subject, I sharpened all of Caroline's Ticonderoga #2 pencils this afternoon. I have a gnarly blistery spot on my thumb to prove it. Caroline and her pal, Rachel, each sharpened two pencils, which was a great help. As I was sharpening, I got to thinking that I should make Caroline do it, since they are her pencils, but realized it would take FOREVER. Sometimes it's just easier to do things myself. Thus sayeth the control freak in me. I'm a textbook case.

Oh gee, Caroline is crying over Mario Kart; time to make her go outside and play. I remember having to DRAG her inside, but not anymore. She and her friends have discovered the love of playing indoors. I'm ok with that when it's too hot or too cold, but the weather is too nice to stay inside. I guess that's the difference between playing with boys and girls. In Georgia, Caroline played with boys. Dirt loving, bike riding, ball playing boys. And here....things are different. They do play outside, but not all day.