Thursday, September 30, 2010

Ten Totally Random Tidbits

It has been a while since I did a "Ten Totally Random Tidbits" so here we go!

1. Chip is a spelling machine. He is in third grade and spelling words like encourage, beautiful, uncle and rhyming! Those are hard words!

2. I didn't walk this morning because I had to have both boys at the dentist at 7:30 a.m. and because I have walked the last 15 days in a row and I needed a break. Instead of waking up at 4:45 a.m. I set my alarm for 6:10 a.m. Ahhhh! Except it wasn't ahhhh at all. My sweet husband got up at 4:45 a.m., started making coffee, letting the dog in and out, moving furniture, searching the kitchen cabinets, using a jackhammer and heaven knows what else was going on. I had to get out of bed to shut the bedroom door to drown out his efforts to keep me from my extra hour and 25 minutes of sleep. I am glad we don't have a gun in our house or I might have used it on him. Just saying.

3. This fall weather is glorious! Makes me want to bake a pie, buy a pumpkin and rake some leaves!

4. I hid Chip's Buzz Lightyear and a couple of swords up in the top of the closet. I just wasn't ready to donate them just yet.

5. My family does not like Sloppy Joes.

6. After I finish the 60 mile walk in November I am going to start training for another 1/2 marathon. I really hated the one I did in 2005, so I want to try again. See if I can do it better. So brace yourself for about a year of hearing about me trying to run. Running is hard.

7. I am doing 10 week Beth Moore Bible Study with some friends in the neighborhood. Really enjoying it so far. That Beth Moore is an energetic, charismatic, passionate and funny lady! She talks and I want to listen.

8. Tomorrow is October 1st. Damn.

9. Can Alabama beat Florida? Can my new fingernails survive the game? Should be a doozy!

10. Dinner dilemma. I have some leftover ham. I want to make this amazing ham/potato casserole my mom used to make. I don't think any of my boys will eat it. It is not fun to cook a dinner that no one will eat. Please see previous number 5 which was earlier this week. Not fun at all. Maybe I will just make a tiny little casserole for myself and just serve the fellas plain old left over ham. That might work.

Hope your Thursday is off to a wicked good start!!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I'm Registered

I just completed the on-line registration for my 3 Day 60 Mile walk in November! Only 38 days left until we hit the road!

Let's reminisce a bit about the walk last year, shall we?

Lots of training, lots of fundraising, but the day finally arrived!

Limo ride to Dallas!

We made it and so did our luggage!

Nice healthy dinner at Panera Bread and early to bed.

We arrive in the wee hours of the morning! So excited.
Hot air balloons glowing with inspiring messages.
Group photo kicking it off.

The awesome opening ceremonies!

We are off! We are doing it! Walking 20 miles!

Hydrating at the 7-11!

Day one complete. Yummy dinner at camp and early, early, early to bed.

Early to rise, too!

Camp is buzzing in the early morning hours.

Jiffy Poppers ready to walk on Day Two!

Lots of people ahead of us.

Lots of people behind us!

Group shot! Right after this picture my arches fell and I wanted to amputate both of my legs.

Not a minute too soon we made it back to camp!

And surprisingly got a little rest and a little food and then got our groove on!

Dance Party!

Day Three. Final Day. Bobbye in our hearts. One year ago.

Firemen make everything better.

Except our feet. We are the walking wounded. Feel like warriors.

We did it! Sixty long miles, but we crossed the finish line! I love, love, love these girls!

Now I am officially excited. I can't wait to do it again!!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tender Moment

Yesterday afternoon while I was throwing together dinner, Chip walks by me and says "I am going to go clean out my toy box."

Huh? Did I hear that correctly? I hear the closet door opening and lots of chatter and clatter as toys are separated into piles.

Chip hollers from the other room: "Mom, come check on how I am doing."

Mom: "Wow, you are doing great! Are you getting rid of all of those guns, swords and weapons?"

Chip: "Yep. This is my keep stack, this is the throw away junk and this pile is the stuff that we can give to other kids."

Keep. Trash. Donate. I think those organizing shows on DIY Network are starting to rub off!

Mom: "Are you sure you don't want to keep some of your Star Wars stuff?"

Chip: "Nah, I am kind of over Star Wars."

Mom: "Your guns? All in the give away stack?"

Chip: "Yep, unless you want to keep them. Mom, do you want me to keep one for you to play with?"

Mom: "No, that is okay."

Mom: Gasp. "Buzz Lightyear is in the give away stack?"

Chip: "You can keep him for your room if you want to Mom."

Mom: Choking back tears. "No sweetie, that's okay. Some other kid will love him."

Chip: "Are you proud of me for doing this?"

To myself: "No, I am not proud so much as I am SAD! Andy waited until he was going away to college to part with Buzz Lightyear. You are killing me slowly with this growing up business. Stop it immediately. Start playing with those toys and don't stop until I am good and ready for you to stop."

To him: "Yes buddy, I am very proud of you. Thanks for having such a great idea to clean out this closet."

Chip: "You're welcome. Thanks for helping me mom."

Sniff - sniff - sigh.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Weekend in Review

We had a terrific weekend. Here are the highlights!

Friday night - We did nothing! It was great! I did spend some time getting the boy's uniforms and such ready for an early start on Saturday morning, but it was minimal.

Saturday - I got up bright and early to walk at 6:00 a.m. Karen, Connie and I hit the road and walked about 5 1/2 miles. Dashed home to shower and were out at the ball fields by 8:30 a.m. Chip's little team got drilled the first game, so bad in fact that they didn't even score. It was very lopsided. We got a quick break and then he had another game at 12:30 p.m. I used to really dislike double headers, but they don't bother so much now that he is a little older. In game two, Chip's team dominated. They won 19 - 2. Chip hit the ball like a brute in both games. After the game we had just enough time to catch a few minutes of the Bama game before we had to head out for Harold's first flag football game of the season. His Bears team won! They are FINALLY the tall team! Go Bears! Once that was over we sped home to watch the fourth quarter of the Bama game. I gnawed all the fingernail polish off of my fingers before the Tide pulled out a win. That was a close one. I was in bed by 9:00! LOVELY!!

Sunday - Woke up at 6:45 a.m., which honestly felt like noon. When you usually get up at 4:45 a.m., getting two extra hours of sleep is bliss! I got in a 10 mile walk with Connie and Karen then it was off to the pool. Might be looking at one of the last couple swims of the summer. The water is cooling off and although right now it still feels nice once you get used to it, our temperatures next week are going to be lower and probably make it nearly brutal to swim. We have definitely had another summer where we got plenty of use out of the pool, but it will still be sad to hang up our pool towels for another season.

I will leave you with some pictures of my boys in action. First is Harold in his flag football game:

A quarterback, ball boy and coach. We have it covered.

Now here is a little photo shoot with my boy Chip. He is a professional at making goofy faces to mess me up!

He's a treasure.
Hope you are relaxed and refreshed from your weekend activities! Bring on Monday, I'm ready!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Genetic Backing Disease

It is a fact, little known by people outside of my immediate family, that we as a family unit are afflicted with a Backing Disease. What this means is that any car accident or incident that we are involved in happens only when our cars are in reverse. We are backing impaired. I am sure there is a gene linked to this disorder, but we have not been able to isolate it, or determine if it will be passed down to the next generation. We are hopeful for our children's sake that it will skip a generation!

Here is a little history: My Mom backed into a Mercedes at a Baskin Robbins ice cream shop, my Dad backed into a Camero owned by my teenage brother's girlfriend that was in the driveway of own house, my sister backed her van into her own garage bending her rear wheel well, my brother backed into a Stealth at a Krystals, and I personally had my first "incident" backing up in the parking lot of a Walgreens last year. It was a no fault accident because the other guy was also backing up and we just didn't see each other. My mini van took the brunt of the damage with a banged up bumper and a rear window that imploded! Not good.

Well, yesterday my hereditary backing disease flared up again. I took Chip to Sonic to get a Happy Hour Root Beer after school and when backing out of our slot I caught the passenger side mirror of my car on a big metal pole. Guess what happened? If you guessed that the mirror went flying in all kinds of directions then hung limply on the side of my Suburban, you are right! I was so mad at myself. I saw the pole, and even commented to Chip how close it was to the back door while we were waiting for our drinks. I was so busy checking all the different directions car could be pulling in or backing out behind me that I didn't realize how close the pole was to my mirror. I heard the crunch before I saw it coming. Sigh.

I honestly didn't know exactly what to do. Do you call your insurance company while you are there? Do you call the police? Report it to Sonic? Pick up the phone and call your husband? I did Option 4. He told me to pick up the pieces and if there was significant damage we would call our insurance company later. I hopped out of the car and picked up two big plastic pieces that were on the driver's side of the car. I guess they flew off with some purpose to land on the opposite side of the car. I hopped back in the car, anxious to get the heck out of there, and did a better job of backing out the second time.

Drive home Chip says to me "Well, that was my first wreck. Thanks Mom".

I got home and took a closer look at the damage. Hmmm, do those two plastic pieces snap back on? I dug them out of the car and low and behold, they were in complete solid pieces that snapped right back on the car. The mirror itself was cracked, but the surround looked good as new. Hurray for the sturdy Suburban!

By chance, I had an appointment to take my car in for its first oil change and tire rotation this morning. While there I showed the service guy my sad little hanging off mirror and asked him to see if they could fix it for me. Turns out they could. For less than $100 bucks I was back on the road with all mirrors intact. I am glad that it turned out to be relatively minor and I didn't do any further damage.

Moral of the story, if you see me or someone in my immediate family backing up near something or someone you treasure, get the hell out of the way. We are dangerous in reverse.

Happy Friday All!!!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Wrap Up Last Week

Let me wrap up everything else that happened last week so I can get back to my current life and antics. I will just go down the list:

Flying stinks. Flying on small little jets, with weird diesel smells sucks in the worst way. However, flying in a big jet that has to accelerate unexpectedly back up in the sky when approaching the runway to land sucks worst of all. I guess I am thrilled that the pilot was paying enough attention to realize that there was another plane on our runway, but seriously, zooming back up when you are bracing for landing is not an experience I would ever like to repeat. Nor would the gentleman that was sleeping next to me, who woke up with such a start that he hit his head on the window.

My boys did great without me. In fact, Hubby had the routine down pat. Kids were helpful. They started a family exercise routine while I was gone. Chip actually walked home one day from school with a friend. Harold didn't do that until the end of fourth grade. That was a big deal. Everyone's homework was submitted on time. Animals were fed. People were fed. No stories of anyone going to school in their jammies. Good work fellas!

I learned how to put my phone on silent so I could check my messages without it beeping. That was nice since I was trapped in a classroom for 8 hours. Nothing urgent came across, but it was nice to feel like I was still in touch. I am a texting machine with my new phone. Long time coming, but apparently you can teach an old dog a new trick.

After being in the procurement business for so long I still learned alot in the class I took. I was one of the senior people in the class so I was able to interject some real life stories and examples of things that have gone well and maybe even some that didn't go so well. It was nice to get such positive feedback and to feel like I could contribute. That instant gratification is missing when you work from home and don't get to interact as much with your peers. I really enjoyed that and even more I enjoyed getting to know my co-workers better. I work with a great group of folks all trying to do the job as well as they can. That's nice.

While in Alabama I got to go watch my two Tennessee nephews play ice hockey. They were so good. Seriously better than any other kid out on the ice. Those two little turkeys can skate! My favorite moment of all those was off the ice. The little nephew was in the restroom when I got to the IcePlex and when he came out he and saw we were there he broke out in a big grin and started running towards me. All of the sudden he remembered where he was and he wiped that grin off of his face and slowed from a mad dash to a slow swagger. You can't let the competition see you happy with glee I guess. Always with the game face - even when you are eight!! Funny fella! It was great to get to see them in their element and see them excel at something they enjoy. Good stuff.

Finally, let me tell you the story of the flying spaghetti. It involves Bob. It will be a mini Bob Chronicles. Dad called me at work and asked if I was coming home for dinner. I was. Mom was going to her bowling league but was going to make spaghetti for us for dinner. YUM! She makes it with mushrooms, which I love, but my boys hate. Something to look forward to! When I got home we decided to take a quick walk before it got dark. While we were walking Dad told me about the major disaster they had experienced that day. Mom went to Walmart and was walking in with a gallon of milk. The Walmart bag ripped, the gallon went crashing, the entire bottom of the plastic jug exploded and milk was EVERYWHERE. On the fridge, under the fridge, splashed on cabinets. He said it took forever to clean up. We had a good laugh about it. After our walk we decide to heat up our spaghetti and head out to the screened porch to eat. Dad puts his plate in the microwave. Beep, it is done. As he turns to put it on the counter he stops. The spaghetti does not stop. It went flying off the plate, the whole blob slammed right into the kitchen cabinet and exploded all over EVERYTHING. It slid down the cabinet door, exploding on every white cabinet in the vicinity, splashed all over our legs, covered the floor. At first we jumped back and did a little AAGGHHH like it all happened in slow motion. A moment of silence. Then we cracked up. Hands and knees cleaning it up. Paper towels, damp towels, dry towels. We threw everything at it. So two kitchen disasters in the same day. It that an omen or something?

I think that covers everything that I thought might be worthy of mentioning of my trip from last week. Let's get back to the here and now!

Have a great Thursday!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Herding Fowl

I mentioned in my previous post that I had participated in some farm fowl herding while in Alabama last week. It's true. I did.

See, my sister-in-law and brother-in-law live on 13 acres in Alabama. On these 13 acres, they dug out a pond filled it with catfish, they have a windmill, three dogs, tractors, backhoes, a huge garden and felt a need to add more. They got two geese, three chickens and three ducks.

When you first arrive at their spread you can't even get out of your car without hearing the honking and carrying on by the geese. Apparently, they are somewhat territorial and don't like new people in their area. I got out of the car and my SIL and BIL were on the back deck manning the grill. Their little herd of farm fowl were coming up to check me out. Nice and cautious at first and then those geese put their heads low to the ground and kind of charge at me. Thankfully, I had my purse to put between me and that big honking bird. He took a swipe at my purse and I backed myself up on to the deck and out of his reach. Big laughs all around for my SIL and BIL.

After they fed me an amazing dinner of grilled steak, sauteed mushrooms, asparagus, sweet potatoes, salad and fried apples they asked if I wanted to help feed the animals.


I was in my work shoes so I slipped into BIL's size gazillion crocs to head out to the pond. I waddled out there and watched SIL throw feed to the catfish. I was transfixed by the gulping, slurping and flipping and flopping of the fish and didn't quite remember that dang old attack goose who already took a swipe at me. Well, I turned around and that head was down and he was coming after me. This made me scream of course and start backing away. He kept coming. I screamed for BIL to do something, so he very helpfully threw some feed at my feet. Thanks man.

I spotted a metal trash can lid and commandeered it to use as a shield. I put it between me and that crazy goose and finally felt a little safe.

If that wasn't fun enough, it was now time to try to move these eight birds of a feather into their new coop. I was told that previously they easily would go into their old coop, but weren't yet used to the new coop so they were a little weary.

The three of us start slowly walking toward the coop and old crazy goose and his buddies just follow along. Quickly we have six of the eight inside the coop. Left out are one duck and one chicken. They were smart and when they bolted they went their separate ways.

If you could have only seen us running all over that 13 acres, it was priceless. SIL has a long stick she uses to try to herd them in the right direction. She is whispering all gently to them telling them it is going to be okay. BIL trys the trap and grab method. Getting them up against something and lunging to catch them. He was a sweaty mess, but he did manage to wrangle the duck. I was super helpful in my giant shoes running various directions with my metal trash can lid. We seriously went around the house a couple of times chasing this one stupid chicken.

After about 20 minutes of this nonsense my SIL looks at her husband and says "Go get the gun. We'll have fried chicken for dinner tomorrow." Cracked me up. From "Chicken Whisperer" to "Chicken Murderer" in such a short span of time. She was kidding of course!

Turns out we just left that chicken be and within like 15 minutes it had perched on the fence, fallen into a deep slumber and my BIL walked right up to it and picked it up.

I think there is something to be learned here. Not sure what it is, but at a minimum I learned you should not chase chickens. They are fast and they think you want to eat them.

Can't wait to take the boys back at Thanksgiving and let them get a taste of the attack geese and fowl herding. Making memories!

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Ups and Downs

Let me fill you in on some of the ups and downs I had last week while I was in Alabama for training.

I will start with an "up" story!

Every time I have to go to Bama for work, the absolute worst part (outside of leaving my family and flying) is finding clothes to wear. Now, I have clothes. I have nice clothes that I wear here in Texas. Not sure they are office casual, but maybe. I also have nice clothes that I have worn to work events before. However, I so rarely work in the office that I hate to wear the same thing twice. I mean, I only have to work like 10 days a year with other people so surely I can come up with 10 different things, combos of new and old to make a new outfit.

PROBLEM: I don't love to shop, especially for clothes. Those three way mirrors are just my worst enemy. But I did and was able to come up with a few new pieces. I had a couple of good bottom choices, a couple of cute top choices, a couple of dresses, just a hodge podge. I bought a couple of pair of new shoes to go with one outfit or another. Then I scrambled around to find the most critical piece of the work wear - SPANX! Can I say right now that I love SPANX! They can be a little tricky to get into sometimes, but they work wonders under just about anything!

In my shopping frenzy I was just helter skelter thinking I would take back whatever I ended up not using. Unfortunately, I didn't have time to pare down my choices before I had to leave for my trip. Ended up just throwing it all in a giant suitcase and decided to take it to Bama and try to figure it out there. Suitcase weighed in at 41 pounds at the airport. That is one heavy bag for just one girl for five nights.

I get to Alabama and have a nice dinner and visit with my Mom and Dad. When we got settled at their house I said "I have got to figure out what I am going to wear this week. I will try on a few things and you let me know what looks best."

I went back to my room and threw on the first thing. You would have thought I was Christy Brinkley the way they went on and on. "Oh, you look stunning. That color is fantastic on you." So, I thought the first outfit was a winner and went back to try on something else. Guess what....all winners. What I finally figured out was that it wasn't the clothes at all. They love me. They think I am all that and a bag of chips. I could have come out in a paper bag and they would have thought it was the most creative bag dress ever designed.

With that said, they did admit to liking some outfits more than others and those were pretty much the ones I liked too.

I brought waaayyyy too much, but it was sure a confidence booster to walk down the hallway five or six times and have their sweet compliments pour all over me. It was good.

Now, let's talk about a "down" moment.

I got stuck in an elevator!!! I have a little anxiety just typing that sentence. Maybe it was only for about 45 seconds or so, but I was stuck and it was frightening.

At work, we have these 3 in 1 badges. That means you have one badge that performs three functions. It is your ID badge, your door opener badge, and your computer key card to access the SAIC proprietary systems. At home, my badge is constantly in my laptop. I never take it out. I don't need to open doors here or verify my employment at my own house.

During the training, we would step outside to enjoy the weather during our breaks and I got used to scanning my badge to get the door to open. I wore my badge constantly for four days, taking it off in the evening to put in my computer and access my email.

On the fourth day of training we got out a little early. I went with the rest of the folks up to the fourth floor to try to catch up on all the work we had missed during the week. I took off my badge and put it in my computer to access my email. Well, wouldn't you know that one of the first emails I see is from a very good friend who happens to be working on the third floor. She heard I was in the building and wanted to say hi! I would love to see her too, so I get up and head down the hallway to the elevators. I am alone - all by myself - no one else is using the elevator at this very moment.

I step on and hit "3". Nothing happens. Oh, I must not have hit it hard enough. Do it again. Still nothing. I hit "Door Open" - nothing. What the heck? Then I see the digital message that says "Panel Locked". Oh crap. I am supposed to scan my badge to be able to make this elevator move. My badge is in my computer. A little anxiety hits my stomach. I take a deep breath and quickly contemplate screaming for help, prying open the doors, calling for help on the phone, popping out a ceiling tile and crawling out of the elevator up through the shaft to the roof of the building and the waiting helicopter to freedeom. Then I flash back to reality and realize that I watch too many movies. So I do the next best thing and push all the buttons. Hoping that if someone on another floor is waiting for an elevator it will go to them. It starts moving. Thank you baby Jesus!!!! Delivers me promptly to the lobby where I stagger out of the elevator breathless with relief. The drama of my minute trapped in the elevator is babbled incoherently to the sweet Ms. Annie who mans the front desk. She shakes her head and says "Honey, don't ever panic, we can get you out. The real lesson here is that you are supposed to have your badge on you at all times and not leave it unattended in your computer."

Yes ma'am. You can bet your sweet bottom I won't get trapped in an elevator again. Badge on me at all times. Sweet Ms. Annie scans her badge and sends me back up to the fourth floor where I share my story again and again to anyone who will listen. After I would tell it in my wildly enthusiastic way people would say, "Oh my goodness, how long were you trapped." About 45 seconds but it seemed like a lifetime. Eyes rolled, heads shake, not much sympathy offered.

Ups and Downs were the order of business for the week. I have lots more stories to share, but real life is calling! Check back so I can wow you with my farm animal story. Ever herded geese with a trash can lid? Good times.


Hey all! I have sure missed pouring out my guts on this blog for the last several days. I have so much to write about and not nearly enough time to do it! Here is a quick "Top Ten" summary to remind me of what I need to cover from my trip to Alabama last week:

1) Still hate flying. Small planes. Turbulence. Weird smells. Sucky snacks and drinks.

2) Herding farm fowl. Seriously much harder than you can imagine.

3) Getting stuck in an elevator.

4) Flying Spaghetti.

5) Unexpected acceleration due to slow moving plane on our runway!

6) Hockey in Huntsville.

7) Sweet reunions. Boys not only survive - but flourish!

8) Fashion Show - Good for your self esteem!

9) Training - Nice to realize how much you already know. But there are always some "Damn, I should have known that" moments.

10) Learning to use my phone - technology is good!

I will be back later today to start filling you in on all of these!

So good to be back and getting into a regular routine!!

Have a Magnificent Monday!

Monday, September 13, 2010

First Manicure

I DID IT!! I stopped biting my fingernails and let them grow long enough to get a manicure. Please note that #32 has been marked off of my 50 Things To Do Before I Am 50 list!

I actually got both a manicure and a pedicure. Look at me! All grown up! Both were awesome and I have been admiring them every chance I get.

I tried to photograph my own hand so you could check it out, but it was super hard. My hand looks like it was found in the dumpster outside of a morgue. Like it fell off of a body and they mistook it for some leftover sausage from the Italian restaurant they ordered a couple of nights ago and they just chucked it. Not sure why an arm would be off a body in a morgue, but that has to happen sometimes. I read things.

Anyway, I would tell you that my hands look better in person, but I am afraid they probably don't. I took lots of pictures in different rooms, trying to find some decent light, but I don't think the camera could lie that many times!!!

So my fat little fingers have been manicured and I am very proud of myself. I am leaving on a jet plane in a few hours so whether my nails will make it through the flight remains to be seen! Maybe I should take two of my little white pills to head off any nervous energy that would cause me to absentmindedly bite my nails. I would probably sleep through my plane change, but my nails would look nice when I finally got there!

Wish me luck!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Baseball is Back

Fall baseball is under way in Texas. Saturday morning, I was out and about early to squeeze in a quick walk so we could all head to the ball park together. Chip got dressed in his new uniform and looked so darn cute. There was a bit of a breeze outside and at 8:15 in the morning the weather was downright lovely. We pulled into the park and it was crawling with kids, coaches and parents. It was awesome!

What follows is a series of pictures of one of Chip's at bat. I didn't get the one he hit during the first game that was seriously one of the hardest balls he has ever hit. It went FAR! But this is my new camera with the automatic action function! I didn't have my zoom lens on the camera, but definitely plan to bring it next week!

Pitcher about to release.
Ball is in the air.

Here it comes....eye on the ball....

Get ready...

He sees it, he swings, he smashed it.

Swings through and it goes flying.

Hit towards third base...


Nice job Chip!

They tied the first game 11 - 11 against a very good team. The second game of the day they won 18 - 0. Poor kids on the other team just couldn't hit. It was painful.

Great start to the season for the Scrappers!

Flag football will be cranking up for Harold soon! Can't wait!!