Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I'm A Guest!!!

That's right, folks. I was a guest blogger on Leah and Callie's blog ( Come read my adoration for Drew Barrymore! (And the one reason I don't like her)

It's Time To Clean Out The Fridge When....

I know it's time to clean out the fridge (past time actually) when I bend down, reach waaaaaay into the depths to find the last yogurt only to see sitting next to the lonely yogurt two packages of hot dogs I'd purchased for our camping trip, but couldn't find and assumed we'd eaten, so I had to add hot dogs to our 'what to buy for camping' list.

I know it's time to clean out the fridge (way beyond time actually) when I see some rubbermaid containers with white and green stuff inside and I know one container is holding lemon frosting leftover from a birthday cake two weeks ago, but the other one, the one with the most moldy green on it, I do not have a clue what that is and I'm not quite brave enough at this moment to pull it out to investigate.

I know it's time to clean out the fridge (and today I might just have the time actually) when nothing is where it should be and to find the jam that should be sitting in door shelving actually involves moving a bowl of salad, a ketchup bottle on it's side and a plastic wrapped nibble of white cheese (cheddar or Parmesan: won't know until I need it for cooking and then it will be the one I don't need).

I know it's time to clean out the fridge (the time is absolutely now actually) when I am embarrassed that anyone would see what kind of shambles the fridge is in, when I can't cram one more anything on the shelf, when I am fed up with the mess, when I'm excited by the idea of seeing clean shelves and organized condiments.

I know it's time when I have the time and I have some time today!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Ethics Of Borrowing Your Husband's Toothbrush

What is the moral correctness, the principles that govern my behavior in regards to using a toothbrush that doesn't belong to me? Especially if said owner of the toothbrush doesn't know I'm using it?

Turns out, I've got some loosey goosey ethics in this regard!

When we were first married, even up to 15 years of marriage, I would never have borrowed his toothbrush. Never. Ever. But somewhere along the line, 18 years of them, to borrow the toothbrush of the guy I kiss all the time...well, it doesn't bother me.

Our children find this to be the worst thing I could do.

Let me back up by saying my toothbrush was discovered in a comprising position that ended its binding contract with me. I was toothbrushless as we were about to leave for camping. And my husband had a brand new toothbrush.

So I used it once, thinking I'd get a toothbrush somewhere along our journey.

But I didn't.

So I used it again.

And again. And when my daughter saw me, she was quick to tell her Dad what the haps were....and he was even quicker with a smile and a shrug. Then he took the toothbrush from me and brushed his own teeth.

Yes, our kids were moaning with disgust. Was I? Not so much. I still smile when I remember his grin when he looked at me, knowing as well as I do that a shared toothbrush is nothing in the grand scheme of things, and having fresh breath is crucial!

Sadly, our 18 years have progressed to allow his principles of behavior to believe leaving the bathroom door open while he uses the facilities is A-OK. I'm not so sure I agree with his door logic on this one.

Who knows? Talk to me in another 18 years and my philosophy of what is right and wrong in regards to bathroom doors might have changed......but I highly doubt it!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Why I'm Not Shaving My Legs

Usually the reasons why I skip that final step in making myself perfectly put together is because I am lazy. Shaving takes so much time and I have usually putzed around until I only have 5 minutes to shower.

This week I have been suffering greatly from side affects of our camping trip; namely, 28+ bug bites and several scratches. The bites are, of course, driving me insane with the itchy itchiness of it all, and the scratches are big enough to have scabbed over.

I do not want to run a razor over bug bites or scratches! And I have ten bites on one leg. I decided the risk wasn't worth it.

But today, I thought I might shave. Carefully. Give myself plenty of time. No rush.

Yeah right! Instead I have putzed around and it's so past time for me to be getting ready!

There is always tomorrow....

Camping is so worth a little bit of stubble!!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Our House Is A Very, Very, Very Fine House

Our house is a very, very, very fine house.

Except when it isn't.

Like when I'm digging through the one closet in the whole downstairs that serves as a closet for my clothes, linens, storage, and present hiding or when the one bathroom is being waited on by some one who is always late for work and is getting later or when I'm trying to find the elusive outlet in our bedroom and it involves moving furniture and getting into a dust bunny nest.

Then I find my self muttering hateful, hurtful things about our house.

And that's not fair to this old lovely house. I knew it only had one closet downstairs. I knew it only had one bathroom. I knew it only had one outlet in the master bedroom. But it had hardwood floors, and beautiful molding, and awesome double glass doors, and three bedrooms and a big yard and I loved it.

I walked into this house with my eyes wide open, and while they may have been covered with rose colored glasses, this house is still a very, very , very fine house.

It is ours, warts and all, and it fits our family perfectly. It's a snug fit right now with two teenagers, all their friends, three dogs, and way too many cars and motorcycles, but it will be too roomy before I am ready.

The next time I am tempted to say mean things as I struggle to get the vacuum out of the closet, I will instead think about all the reasons this old house is so right. I will be thankful for the roof that holds up to snow and rain and bees and bats, for the spacious upstairs rooms with walk in closets, for a yard big enough for three dogs, a veggie garden, and a patio, for a driveway that holds 3 cars and one tent trailer, for a carport that shelters the guys as they work on their truck project, for the hot water tank that gives 3 hot showers and one luke warm one on a Sunday morning, and for a porch that is perfect for sitting.

Our house is a very, very, very fine house indeed.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Welcome To The Modern Age

I'm one of those people who doesn't like change.

I still have VHS tapes and I still watch them on my VCR.

But it was getting harder and harder to listen to my music CD's when everyone else in the family has iPods and sound systems designed to play said iPods and while I like a lot of the music on their iPods, lots of music I loved was missing.

My number one reason for not wanting an iPod is I do not like things in or on my ears, so those little ear buds are out. My family goes everywhere with their iPods plugged in to their ears. That is not for me.

But my lack of good music options led me to ask for an iPod for my birthday. My husband was shocked! But had been thinking along the same lines: he was going to get me a CD player.

I was overwhelmed by my new iPod before I even get it out of its packaging! It's so sleek and new fangled and how do I decide what music to download onto it? I want ALL of my music but there is no way that is possible.

My daughter sat down with me and for HOURS we went through my music CDs and downloaded them and listened to each song and picked my favorites. I kept saying, "I love that one," so by the end of the night, with my first session of downloading songs, my iPod was more than 3/4 full and I still had a ton of music I wanted and I hadn't even started using my iTunes gift card....

I was a bit obsessed for a few days!

But now it's been a week and my iPod is plugged into the speakers and I am listening to my favorites while I cook, do dishes, read, blog.....

Look at me! I've stepped into the modern age of music listening, and I've got to tell you, it is bliss.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Very Good Memories Are Made Here

Last year, when it was suggested that we (my sisters and our families) could camp in our grandparents back field, I said sure, but I was thinking how will this work? We've got 13 plus peeps, four dogs and we can get a little loud.

Well, it worked so perfectly, we decided to do it again this year.

We pack up our trailers and bring our fire pit and unleash the dogs and let the kids run barefoot and we don't worry about anything. We make pancakes and bacon and shout with joy when Grandma and Grandpa come down for breakfast. We build a fire, roast marshmallows, watch kids (and dads) wrestle, and we laugh. Oh how we laugh! We put the tired kids to bed and sit around the campfire until we are too tired to keep our eyes open...for some of us that happens earlier than others!

And when we have to say goodbye after two days of fun, even though we are tired and dirty and ready for a shower and clean clothes, we sympathize with the kids who are sad and the one dog who tries to stay behind. We understand!

Very good memories are made here, when we camp in the back field at Grandma and Grandpa's.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sitting In A Field At 6:00 AM

Sitting out in a field at 6:00 in the morning might not sound like a good way to spend a Saturday morning.

I'm here to tell you it is.

It's all the better if you can sit out there and watch the beauty that is a country morning unfold. The peaceful quiet broken by a rooster crow, three dogs bounding around sniffing, the dew so plentiful said dogs are soaked from explorations, all the rest of the family campers still sleeping, a book in hand and the feeling of just right.

This is just right.

And it is so right, I did it again on Sunday morning.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Best Kind Of Dish Towel

I do not have a dishwasher. Unless you count my own two hands....or the hands of my kids....or my husband. We have all taken our turn standing at the kitchen sink.

I know the kids wish we had a dishwasher, but I don't mind being without. I actually hate them. It seems like such a hassle to load everything down into it, then unload everything back up. My dirty dishes sit on the right side of my counter, my clean ones stack in the drainer on the left. I do not bend down unless I drop a spoon.

The problem I have is, I usually have too many dishes for the one drainer. Some have got to be dried and put away before I can fit more in. And I want them DRY. No wet cups suctioned together for me.

Having a decent dish towel is important. I am less about the cuteness or the color matching my kitchen scheme and more about the fact that the towel needs to dry the dishes. Not smear drops of water around to create an all around damp dish.

Enter this old school favorite: flour sack dish towel. This is the best towel in the world. It absorbs water, my cups are dry, and it's pretty darn cute. My sisters and I fairly separated out a stack of towels and table cloths between the three of us and I got these darling ones. I was so nervous to use them because they are so cute. My current dish towels are ragged things, used to dry dishes and to wipe chocolate cake batter off my fingers.

These little squirrels are not going to be pristine and clean for very long in my kitchen.
But they can dry a dish like nobody's business, and I love that!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Oreos: Regular Or Double Stuff

I have always considered myself a regular Oreo kind of girl. I like double stuff, but have you noticed you don't get as many cookies?

I have.

And I am all about the number of cookies. I can have 4 regular Oreos or two double stuff...hmm....decisions, decisions.

My husband loves double stuff (he recently said mint double stuff are his favorites) but he will make do building his own double stuff out of two regular ones. I love the white filling (what is that anyway? The best stuff on earth?) but the cookie part is so, so good. Sounds kind of gross now, but as a kid I'd eat the cookie part after my sister licked her white filling off.

While my husband and son were camping, my daughter and I bought some Oreos, regular, thank you very much. And they were good. I ate way too many. I went to work the next day and there was a ziploc baggy of double stuff Oreos in the kitchen. I'm usually suspect of baggies of cookies (always wanting to know where it came from, imagine that) and I wasn't going to eat one, but my lunch just needed something extra.

Holy Moly.

It was so good. So very good, I might be tempted to buy double stuff next time we want Oreos.

I finally understand. There is a difference, it is a delicious improvement, and eating two versus four doesn't really seem like a big deal anymore. They are that good!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

16 Years Ago Today

There are pivotal moments in life that shape you into the person you become....

August 16, 1995 at 8:31 AM was one of those moments for me.

That was the moment our son was born, the moment sealed in my memory with joy and disbelief....I couldn't believe that he was really here, that he was really a boy, that he was so freaking beautiful....I remember saying, "Oh my goodness," as the doctor held him up for me to see, positive that couldn't have been all there was to becoming two instead of one.

And to the girl who prided herself in not crying at sad movies and remaining stoic in trying times, the first sight of my baby surprised me with tears. I was overwhelmed with this intense feeling of love and pride and amazement and worry and disbelief and it turns out, much of that feeling can be summed up in one concept: motherhood. And the only outlet for this surge of emotion was through tears.

The first born child is so very lucky, so says a first born child myself (sorry, second born beloved daughter), but it's true. He was the focus of all our attention. People would ask me if he was a good baby, and I would say yes, of course he is....then when his baby sister came along I learned he wasn't actually an easy baby. But he was our baby, and he was perfect!

Kind of still is!

August 16, 1995, at 8:31 AM, 16 years ago today.

It's gone by with the blink of an eye. Now when I see my son standing taller than me, I can't help but remember his tiny fingers and toes, his out of proportion with his body chubby checks, his swirly, curly cowlick in the center of his forehead....He may have grown and changed in looks, but when I look at him, I still see my baby. It's weird to think they let babies get drivers licenses.

Cuz that's what we are doing today.

Happy Birthday to my wonderful, smart, funny, handsome Son. The moment I met you I knew I was going to love you for the rest of my life. Thank you for being you and making our lives so fantastically better!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

We Have A Ghost Dog

I've learned to sleep alone, and sleep soundly and peacefully. Not by choice, but by not having any other choice. My hubby has always had a job that involves being gone nights. So, it's either pull up my big girl panties and learn to get a good nights sleep, or go crazy imagining all the noises I've heard are spooky monsters.

That being said, I never sleep with the closet door open and I still tuck all my limbs under the blanket to avoid the things under the bed.

A few weeks ago, I woke up because I heard dog toe nails on the hardwood floor outside my bedroom door. I have three dogs. I know what they sound like as they walk around. My first thought was I better get up to open the door for them. My next thought was wondering how they got out of their latched cage....maybe I didn't fully catch the clasp.....It's been known to happen. Once.

I got up and opened the door and low and behold, nothing. No dog. I did some tactical searching of the house, but all the dogs are in their crates, all the kids are zonked out in their beds. I decided I was imagining it, but at the back of my mind I was thinking, "Ghost Dog!"

It makes a good story to laugh about. But fast forward a few nights, and before I fall asleep I hear dog tags jingling. Okay. I know the dogs are not out. I ask my barely awake husband if he can hear it. He is silent for a minute, then says, yes, he can. Ghost Dog!

He insists it's the ceiling fan's pull chains clinking together.

I think otherwise.

Ghost Dog!

The kids have always said they think our house is haunted.....

Ghost Dog!

I did pull the covers up over my ears last night. If Ghost Dog was walking around, I didn't want to know. I really needed to get some sleep!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A Groove In My Fingers

My son is a good driver. Honest! I'm not just saying that to make him feel good; he doesn't read my blog so I can write whatever I want. But the truth is, he is a good driver. He pays attention, he follows the speed limit, he is as cautious as any mother of an almost 16 year old driver could desire.
That doesn't mean I am not sitting in the front seat white knuckled. Because I so am.

Our console between the front seats has a little flip up lid that is never fully closed. My fingers slide into that crack effortlessly and there they grip with intensity. I am not grabbing for the arm rest or the hand hold on the ceiling. My fingers just get tighter on the sharpish lip.

Until I have a groove worn into my finger tips.

Now, this I gladly accept. The bite of the hard plastic as I cling to it helps me stay focused and calm. My son does not need me flailing my arms around with spastic nervousness. I like to think he doesn't know how tightly I hold on; I'd like to think he believes that I am just sitting at his side, a little tense, but over all not doing too bad.

I'd like to think that, but I'm sure he knows the truth. I do leave the car with an imprint of the console lid on my finger tips. That's not the sign of a totally cool, calm, hip cat.

But it is the sign of a mother letting go of her son a little at a time.

I've never been more proud of him....or myself.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

I Got You Babe

They say we're young and we don't know
We won't find out until we grow
Well I don't know if all that's true
'Cause you got me, and baby I got you

They say our love won't pay the rent
Before it's earned, our money's all been spent
I guess that's so, we don't have a pot
But at least I'm sure of all the things I've got

18 years ago today, we were 18 year old kids, standing on the edge of the best decision we ever made. I know people said we were too young, but just because we were young didn't mean we didn't know what marriage and love is all about.

It's been hard work and fun times, it's been making ends meet and rolling merrily along, it's been frustrations and joy....and it's been just about perfect!

We've grown up together, melded our lives into one adventure, and I can honestly say I love him more today than I did back then. You just have no idea how love is going to grow, how you think you love him so much, and then you watch him hold your newborn son for the first time or move a back breaking piano into the house for your daughter or be a goofball to make the family laugh hysterically, or hand you a piece of cheese to stave off a hungry melt down proving that he does know you, and you love him more than you did. So much more....

I got flowers in the spring, I got you to wear my ring
And when I'm sad, you're the clown
And if I get scared, you're always around
So let them say your hair's too long
'Cause I don't care, with you I can't go wrong
Then put your little hand in mine
There ain't no hill or mountain we can't climb

I got you to hold my hand
I got you to understand
I got you to walk with me
I got you to talk with me
I got you to kiss goodnight
I got you to hold me tight
I got you, I won't let go
I got you to love me so

I got you Babe.

Thank God.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

My Bangs Were Born To Feather

I have a clear memory from around the time I was 8 or 9 years old, where I loved it take the comb and do that backwards curly thing (you know what I mean, right?) and watch my bangs feather to perfection.

It's too bad that late 70's, early 80's look isn't still cool today, because my bangs were born to feather!

They do it naturally, if I sweep my bangs off my face, they will feather out with no help. I work really hard to not brush my bangs back, no matter how frazzled and flushed I feel, but even if my hand doesn't do it, the wind likes to rush past me, blowing my hair up and back down, no longer resembling bangs that are flat ironed daily.

I lied a little about the perfection part. One side does have a cowlick and the other side just has a tweak out.

But this is me in my natural state, crazy eyes and feathered bangs.

The only thing that would make this the perfect picture is if I had some braided barrettes!

I saw these and felt an intense rush of desire. I don't care if I am days away from 37 years old. IF these puppies came back in style, I'd make some to wear!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

I'm Not Staring....I'm Observing

It's taken me almost 37 years, and it was only through my daughter's insightful comment, that I have realized a true fact.

I am not staring. I am observing.

I can't count the number of times as a child that I heard the words, "Stop staring." In fact, one of my favorite stories to hear retold by my Mom is about a woman at seminary with us who told Mom that my sister and I stared. A lot. My thoughts on that now as an adult are, well, that woman must have had something interesting about her.

But it's true. I stare. I've perfected the subtle stare, and if I can't pull of the "you just caught me staring but I was actually looking around the room at a million other things and we just happened to catch our eyes in a completely random accidental gaze," then I will smile to briefly acknowledge that I was indeed looking at you and just move on to stare at the next interesting object that catches my fancy.

As a Mom, I've said "stop staring" quite a bit. In fact, I just said it yesterday to my daughter. To which she replied, "I'm observing. There is a difference."

I think she's right. There is a difference.

So from now on, if you see me watching something intently, just know that I am not staring. I am being observant. And if my observant eyes are on you, well, then you might want to question what you are doing that is drawing my eyes to you.....I only stare at things that rivet my attention!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Morning Walk From H-E-Double Hockey Sticks

Often, when I walk, I get happy. Or at least, content. I start walking and suddenly, it's a good thing. Today was not one of those days.

I thought about bagging the walk because I had a slight headache, but then I caught sight of my butt in the mirror and thought it's not bad, but walking is what keeps it from getting worse. And when I opened the bathroom door all the dogs were waiting for me.

So I find my sweatshirt, but on my dog poop shoes (when did I step in that?) outside and am ready to harness and leash three dogs.

Emma has other ideas and can't wait. She runs into the alley while I'm putting Olive's harness on. I get Sarah hooked up and walk out to Emma, who of course, seeing the other two dogs ready to walk makes her ready so she takes off running .

She turns right and heads down the sidewalk. I am by now not using my sugar voice, but my scary whisper voice that means if I could be yelling at you, I would. That isn't working. She stops and looks back at me, like, come on Mom, let's go! Instead, I kneel down and cajole her back to me.

I should have turned back home right then. Instead, we went down to the trail and Emma was the lead dog. She would not walk on the right side. She was pulling or stopping suddenly, leashes were tangled, Sarah kept doing the 'the leash is under my tail' squat and Olive held back as much as she could. Half of the walk I didn't see Olive because she was at my heels.

And Emma pooped twice. In less than half a block. And while I was trying to pick it up, she was doing that scrabble run they do, when the leash is too short but they think they can stretch it through sheer force.

This morning, I think I would have found happiness and contentment just as well, sitting on the couch, reading a book and enjoying my cup of coffee!

Monday, August 1, 2011

This Years Bumper Crop

Every year, I have one glorious over abundance of something in my garden. One year it was lettuce. One year it was peas. I'm sure the kids rejoice that it has never been zucchini (try as I might to get it to be).

This year it is a plant that I have had for years, that has always giving me one serving, one year not even, and for it to decide this year, my year of lazy gardening, that this is the year to grow tall and strong and giant, well, golly! That's totally cool with me.

Rhubarb, it's whats for dinner.

Kidding! It's what's for dessert! I love me some rhubarb cobbler. Or pie. Or coffee cake. I love rhubarb.

I still remember my first taste of rhubarb pie, how the tart sweetness burst on my tongue and I wanted more, lots more. When my Grandma offered me part of her rhubarb plant, I was thrilled. I'd been going out to her place to harvest rhubarb every year, so having some of my own was awesome.

But it didn't like where I planted it. I moved it and it liked the new spot better, enough so that I felt it wouldn't die out on me. This year, Grandma asked me to come out and dig up her entire rhubarb plant. She was just cutting it and freezing it for me anyway, I might as well own it and the work. Gladly!

I split it with my sister, then haphazardly planted it, because seriously, this wet summer has lead to my laziest garden experience. Maybe it was all the rain. Maybe it was the immense weeds that crowded around it, but whatever the reason, this year we've had three rhubarb cobblers and I foresee more in our future!

Rhubarb isn't to every one's taste, but it is to mine. And thankfully, the rest of my family. Otherwise, I'd be eating rhubarb cobbler all by myself, and as delightful as that sounds, I don't need to eat all that alone. Want to, sure, but that's a whole different story!