Monday, January 31, 2011

Monday Rocks

Another awesome Monday morning run!! Did the whole loop, plus ran all the way back to my own driveway with no stopping. None. Zero. Didn't walk one step of it!! HOORAY! Sweating profusely, heart beating wildly, breathing is actually pretty normal, face is beet red and I am so happy!

Bring on the work week! I am ready for you!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Nice Weekend Around These Parts

This weekend has been pretty nice so far. Earlier in the week we had rain in the forecast for most of the weekend, but Friday and Saturday have been lovely so far. Here is a little recap.

Friday morning, I did my run and it wasn't terrible. Wasn't great, but not bad. That is progress!!!

Friday night we went to see the Harlem Globetrotters and it was as funny as I remember it being as a kid. We had seats right behind the benches and could hear the coaches and players talking to each other and that made the show even better.

The Globetrotters won....shocking, right?

Had an early 8:00 a.m. game for Chip on Saturday. I fooled around with my camera settings in that giant, poorly lit, gym and tried desperately to get a couple decent pictures. I took 70 and liked one. This is it. It was a great pass. Good job Chip. Must do some more research to see what helps take better photographs in the dark, cavernous insides of a gym. Must be something.

I fixed up the fireplace all by myself on Saturday afternoon, sand, rocks, little wool ember deals. It worked like a charm, looks great and didn't even make a big mess. Who knew?? Mark that off the list.

Then I went shopping, looking for some new light fixtures to replace some of the dated gold ones that were original to the house. Just can't find anything that I love. Should I settle? Honestly, anything would be better than what we have. Or, do I keep looking? I will probably keep looking. I have waited this long may as well get something I really love. Or at least like ALOT!!

I also popped into a few fabric stores to see if I could find some fabric to inspire me. Nothing. Maybe its me.

Came home, raked some leaves, cleaned out the front flower beds. Covered the giant hole to China that Chip has been digging in the front flower bed. He has been working on it for days. He did a pretty good job too!

Then worked on my Bible study homework, played 40 rounds of Connect 4 X 4 with Chip, made blueberry muffins, took a long soak in a super hot bath. AHHHH!

The boys both ended up upstairs in my room after my bath. There was some carrying on going on! Harry was acting like a crab with a laundry basket on his back. Don't know where he comes up with this stuff, but it was funny. Chip was in dying in fits of hysterical laughter. It was a nice way to wrap up a relaxing day.

Today we have mucho homework to get through. A rocket to build, some Biology books to create about DNA or something like that. Hopefully, it won't take all day!

Hope your weekend has been enjoyable!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Something about Harry...

I feel like Harry is getting the short end of the stick around this here blog. It is not intentional, because I can assure you that Harry is very entertaining and loved a great deal. I think just by virtue of being older he just gives me less material!

There is some pretty big news I can share about Harry. Last week, we sent off for the Parental Instruction Pack for his Driver's Permit.

WHAT??? He's going to be driving?

Yes, he is going to be driving.

Soon. Very soon.

He has a birthday in a couple of months and would like to be far enough along on his at home driving program to be able to get his permit the day he turns 15.

I don't know what other states do, but in Texas you can either attend a professional driving school or your parent's can be responsible for teaching you to drive. Now if your parents are going to teach you that doesn't mean it is going to be easy or free. There are a few officially recommended on-line driving programs you have to buy. Then your student has to complete at least six hours of the on-line program before they can take their permit test. Once you get your permit, you have to finish the remaining 18 hours of on-line work and then log so many hours driving with an adult. It's a lot, and we are going to get started as soon as possible. I want Harry to have lots and lots of practice before we turn him loose on the streets.

Hubby will likely do the on road behind the wheel training. He has nerves of steel. I panic. So, I will be in charge of praying incessantly from now until he is 95 for his safety and good choices while he is behind the wheel. He needs both. I swear the idea of him driving makes my hands sweat so much they are slipping off the keys as I type.

How in the world did this sweet baby of mine get old enough to drive? Didn't we just leave the hospital with him?? More stories about this to come....

In other, less exciting and sucky run this morning was awful. As great as it was on Monday I was expecting good things. I was not expecting it to feel like the first time I had ever run. Did not expect to stop ten times. Did not expect for my feet to feel like they were surrounded by cinder blocks. Very disappointing, and I even had spaghetti for dinner last night. Isn't pasta supposed to be good before a run? Whatever, I am obviously not going to figure out the reasons behind the ups and downs of running, but I will get back after it on Friday and hope it is better.

Have an awesome day!! And be careful driving out there! Someone, somewhere sent their sweet baby out on the road today. Let's all be a little more courteous, a little more patient, give the cars around you some room to maneuver. Its the right thing to do.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

*Beep* in the Cell

Any idea what this is? Take a close look.

It is a cell.

For wrestlers.

Are you surprised?

In real life, a match held in this cage is called "Hell in the Cell". Well Chip can't say "Hell" so he calls it "Beep in the Cell". That is how he wrote it on his Christmas list to Santa.

It was way high up on Chip's Christmas list, but Santa got him a cell cage without a top.

Stupid Santa.

Chip fortunately also got some money for Christmas. It was unfortunately burning a hole in his pocket.

He NEEDED this contraption to go with his other four wrestling rings he already owned.

Apparently, it is very critical to have the top, so wrestlers can be slung off, kicked through, punched down, etc...

Here is a better view of the amazing top. One side has a trap door and the other is a launching platform where unsuspecting wrestlers can be slung half way across the room if they are not careful.

He found this "toy" on ebay and he had plenty of money to get it.

He begged. We declined. We explained. We tried to convince him he didn't need it. He persisted. He used the "It's my money" card.

He was right. We relented.

The order was placed on January 13th at approximately 8:30 p.m. and it clearly stated that it would take 10 - 14 days to ship. He was fine with that before we hit the pay button.

As soon as the pay button was pressed however...within mere seconds I think...he started asking when it would come. When would it get here? Did I think it would be tomorrow? Would it come while he was at school on Friday? Did I think it would come by Federal Express, Pony Express, UPS, US Postal and/or hot air balloon, tank, delivered by a cowboy, driven in person by the person who sold it? Would it come Saturday? What day did I really think it would come? What if he was at basketball? Then what? Would they leave it? Would it be too big to put on the porch? What if they didn't leave it? Where could we pick it up? Could we go the same night as we missed delivery or would we have to wait until the next day?

He asked a few questions.

Then he went to bed, woke up and asked them again.


By Monday afternoon, five days after he had placed the order, I thought we might have to have him committed to a loony bin. He did not understand what was taking so long. Then it was another five days.


By Saturday, I thought I might have to be committed to loony bin.

Then it came on Saturday. He was at basketball, but they left it on the porch.

To say he was euphoric would be the understatement of the century. He was beyond thrilled. Screaming, dancing, prancing, shouting, running in circles, JOYFUL!

We opened it, put it together and wrestlers have been going at it ever since.

He made a sign for it after school yesterday. It says "Hell in the Cell" (he asked if he could write the word Hell, but not say it) WWE Paper View.

Yeah, you read that right "Paper View". That what he thinks they are saying when they say "Pay Per View" on TV. We all got a chuckle out of that.

He loves it. Best toy ever.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Home Owner Imbeciles

Today was a day of home maintenance appointments. I had Time Warner coming to turn on cable in two rooms upstairs. Unfortunately, they were only able to do one room and will have to come back for another appointment to do the other room.

Of course they will. Nothing is ever easy. EVER.

Then I had a chimney sweep come out to inspect and clean our gas fireplace. We had it done when we first moved in, but it has been a while.

He takes one look at it and says "Wow, you have got a mess here. You don't have any sand under your logs. Your fire must just blast out. That is why your logs are so black. They are covered in carbon. Your tray sits way close to the front. Do you have trouble with soot on your ceiling?" As he is craning his neck all around to look for himself.

I say "No, we actually burn a fire just about every day in the winter. No soot that I have noticed."

He says "This is probably one of the worst fireplaces I have seen."

I say "How long have you been doing this."

He says "Twenty years."


Our fireplace is the worst fire place you have seen in twenty years of cleaning them?


We are home maintenance imbeciles in this house. Not just pointing fingers at the hubby either. It is the both of us. How can we possible get through life so successfully when we know absolutely nothing about nothing!!!!! Especially important things like you have to have sand under your gas logs. Where is the manual about these kind of things? So troubling to me what else we are probably not doing or doing completely wrong.

Is it safe to live under the same roof with us?

I mean, the fire did blast out of there, but hey its a fire place. Isn't it supposed to do that?

Anyway, he cleaned up the logs and they look practically new. Gave me some good advice about getting sand, wool and more lava to make it not get so bad again.

I'll get it and hopefully we will install it correctly and see first hand what a gas fireplace is really supposed to look like!

We are learning something new every time we have a professional come out to our place! Either I need to call them more often or maybe just stop calling them at all. Not sure.

To the Top of the Hill...and Beyond

I did it! I ran up that hill and didn't stop. In fact, I didn't stop at all! Ran the whole loop this morning!! WITHOUT STOPPING!!! I DID NOT WALK AT ALL!!! It's a huge accomplishment for me!!!

It was cold out, but I warmed up pretty quick. In fact, I can see steam coming off my head as I sit in my office and type this message.

Feels good.

Nothing hurts.

Man, what a great way to start a Monday!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Filing is Done!!

I marked number 43 off of my 50 Things To Do Before I Am 50 list this weekend! That feels great! Seven days of sorting, trashing and hole punching has been just the ticket to get the clutter that has accumulated for longer than I am willing to admit out of my office!

Hip Hip Hooray!

That is eight out of fifty items completed!

I'm doing it!!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

I Got Nothing

I have absolutely nothing of interest to blog about today. Out of ideas. The well has run dry. Nothing remotely entertaining, informative or delightful to share. I'm boring. I will just give you the cliff notes of the goings on around here.

I am still filing. One more stack to go through then I have to figure out how to box up 40 three ring binders and send them to Oakridge Tennessee. That should be fun and expensive.

Chip doesn't feel well. His nose is so completely stuffed and he had a very restless night. I am letting him sleep in this morning. I am sure he will be on the couch for the rest of the day.

Harry has a Biology test today. Biology is his arch Nemesis this grading period.

The cat is meowing loudly for no apparent reason.

I ate some banana cake that Beth baked yesterday and a brookie (brownie cookie) that Peggy baked. My friends need to stop baking immediately.

I haven't been able to run this week because Hubby is out of town. I did need to document here and celebrate the fact that I got up that hill last Friday! It was not easy and when I got to the top I stopped running. Mostly to take off my jacket, gloves, scarf, ear warmers, etc. I was sweating. Once I stopped it was super hard to get going again. The bottom of my calves felt like they were on fire. Lesson learned: Even though it might be cold when you start, you should dress for how you are going to feel after you run to the top of that hill. Maybe if I been able to keep running my calves wouldn't have seized up on me. Missing it and can't wait to get back to it so that is a good sign.

This is so much like a Ten Random Tidbits, but I didn't number them so we will act like it is something completely new and unique.

Moving on...

Can it possibly be January 20th already? Dang!

I had an idea that I would like to be able to display my Christmas Village houses on top of my kitchen cabinets next year. Why I have these ideas I don't know. I wonder how expensive it would be to add a couple of electrical outlets above the cabinets to plug them into. Are any of my six loyal readers familiar at all with the running of electricity? I know my mom and dad are not, so how about you other four? Hmmm, wonder if there is an Ask Electrician website? I bet there is. I am going to find it and ask.

My apologies for this boring, awful, uncohesive, rambling, terrible excuse for a post. I give bloggers everywhere a bad rap.

What kind of title can I possibly come up with for this post? I got nothing.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Ten Totally Random Tidbits

Good Tuesday morning that feels weirdly like a Monday morning around these parts! It is time for another "Ten Totally Random Tidbits" posts. Brace yourself, it's going to be really random. You have been warned.

1. Chip had a stomach ache, head ache, cough and sore legs this morning. I took him to school anyway. He is a faker. I hope he is a faker.

2. My hubby was in Casablanca, Morocco last night. He had lamb brains and liver for dinner. Gag me with a pitchfork.

3. Chip had 11 rebounds and 2 baskets in his basketball game this weekend. He also had his first foul called against him. He ran hard, worked hard and played really well. They lost by a basket. He didn't care.

4. Harry worked on a Glogster project this weekend about the effects of war on the children of Iraq. So heartbreaking. What the heck is a Glogster?? In a different class he had to create a video newscast with a small group. They were recording, editing, uploading to the computer, rearranging the clips, doing transitions to come up with their final product. How old are these kids?

5. My laundry is completely done. Completely done. Washed, folded, put away. It is a beautiful thing.

6. I worked on a jigsaw puzzle at Peggy's house this weekend. I forgot how much I love jigsaw puzzles. It was addicting. Had to force myself to walk away.

7. I am memorizing two bible verses a month. My selection for January 15th - John 4:19 "We love because He first loved us." I am a memory verse slacker. I am drawn to short, sweet verses.

8. Working on life goal #43 this weekend - "Get caught up on my filing". I put up a big table in my office and have paper from one end to the other. I am working through it though! My goal is to have it completely done by Friday and then I will be marking number #43 as complete on the 50 Things to do Before I am 50 List! Then to maintain. That will be the trick.

9. I have new fabric swatches taped to my wall in the kitchen and living room. Time for Mom to head to Texas with her sewing machine in hand. Time for a revamp of some window treatments and maybe a coat or two of new paint around these parts!

10. I love bread.

Hope your week is off to a great start! Going for a walk and then back to the filing!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Gentle Leader

Walking your dog seems like it should be an enjoyable experience doesn't it?

It's not.

Ever heard of the "Gentle Leader" harness or collar? Maybe you have if you have a dog that pulls your arm out of the socket when going for a stroll. I have been doing a little research on the old internet trying to find something humane that doesn't look like it could possibly impale your dogs neck or pinch his head flat off.

Now keep in mind that Astro is a big boy. He is about 70 pounds of excited, "thinks he should have been born an Alaskan sled dog" when it is time to walk.

For the first mile, he is an absolute disaster. Frantically sniffing, straining, pulling, peeing on anything that doesn't move, FREAK that makes his owner loathe the moment she strapped on his leash. He breathes and pants so loud that you can hear him coming before you see him. I constantly correct him until my arm just aches. To this day I think my left arm is a smidgen longer than my right arm because the constant stretching has most certainly lengthening my tendons.

Right about the time we hit mile two he gets a little winded from all the pulling and panting and starts to do a little better. Not much better, but a tad better. Either that or I am so tired from correcting him I just give up. Mile three he is amazing. Best dog to walk ever. Problem is that I hate mile one and two so bad that it is just not worth it to get to mile three.

Sad for poor Astro because he does love it so much. I have guilt when I leave him, but it just isn't fun or enjoyable for me and I don't want to do it.

As I mentioned I have been looking for a better solution. I did the research and kept coming up with the Gentle Leader as a very excellent option for controlling dogs that pull. I had seen several dogs around the neighborhood with this, or something very similar, and they were so well behaved. Walking beside their master with little or no resistance.

I decided I would give it a go for my sweet boy Astro. Here is what it looks like for those of you who may not know:

The idea is that the collar around their neck feels like their mother biting them or something and the strap around their nose is their father telling them to act right. That's not really it, but it is some Ceaser Milan dog jargon like that.

I watched a video of how to fit it on your dog. Not supposed to be too tight. High up on the neck behind the ears. A little leeway around the nose, don't want to cut off their air supply.

Or do you?

I had some left over chicken in the fridge so I put it in a little baggie and used it as bait and reward to introduce Astro to the new contraption.

I got it on. Gave him a piece of chicken. Smiles all around.

He noticed the nose strap wasn't coming off and went ape crazy.

I calmed him down with more chicken. When he was quiet and calm I removed the collar. Just put it on for a few minutes with lots of yummy chicken. He was cool with that.

Tried it about five more times in the house. Just putting it on and off. Lots of chicken bits. All is good.

Finally decided to try strapping the leash to the collar and taking a short walk around the house. He didn't love it, but the chicken was there and the hungry, hungry, God I love chicken side of his brain wouldn't let him think about the enormous strap that covered his nose. I considered it a success.

I decide to try a quick walk outside. Just around the cul-de-sac and back. NO GOOD!

He was like an alligator, dropping into the grass, rolling across the lawn, frantically pawing at his nose. The leash is completely wrapped around him, pulling harder on his nose than he can stand. I am sure in his head he is screaming....can't breathe, can't breathe, can't breathe....someone help me.

I was trying to help him, but he was so frantic that I couldn't get him untangled. I have chicken falling out of my pockets, trying to figure out what end is up, when finally he gets it off himself. Stands up, looks at me all proud and starts rooting around for the chicken I dropped during our wrestling match. I got him away from it so he wouldn't think he got a reward for acting like a retard.

I evaluated the situation and decided that if he could get it off, then I probably didn't have it fitted correctly.

Tried again.

The next time it was a little tighter and I was smart enough to anticipate the alligator roll, so I held the leash up where it wouldn't get tangled in his body. It worked, he couldn't get it off by rolling and pawing at his nose.

The chicken gets his mind off balance again and we successfully make it around the cul-de-sac. Yeah Astro!

About an hour later I decide to go around the block. Just incrementally increasing things till I think he is used to it and I can consider letting him join me when I do my early morning walks.

He is a little leery by this point. He slinks over. He knows he isn't going to like it. But there is chicken. Why is chicken so damn good?

We head out. About twenty feet from the house he tries the rolling trick. No dice. HA! I am feeling super confident that he will stop rolling every twenty feet and finally give up on trying to get it off his nose.

He doesn't agree.

He tries the new technique of stopping suddenly and backing up. Nose strap comes right off.

He smiles at me. No chicken for that maneuver you dumb dog.

I put the harness back on. Give him a tiny bit of chicken for sitting so nicely.

Start walking. He stops suddenly and starts backing up. Wasn't even on him for thirty seconds.

I am so patient. I try snugging it up a bit more so that it doesn't so easily come off.

Start walking. He stops suddenly and starts backing up. I think he did it in under 15 seconds. He smiles even bigger. He is proud of himself. I am not.

So now I have a dog that doesn't pull me, but guess what???? He's going BACKWARDS!! This is no use to me!!!

We tried it about eight more times. Fitting, refitting, tightening, loosening, adjusting everything that could be adjusted.

In the end, he could get it off in 3.2 seconds without even breaking a sweat.

It might be a record.

I went to PetSmart and got a choke collar.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

New Experience

I am thrilled to report that Time Warner has thrown everything but the kitchen sink at my internet problem and I think it is finally working! We had two vans and a cherry picker in our cul-de-sac for about 3 1/2 hours yesterday. They sent their senior tech managers and they fixed or replaced every thing they could at our house and in the surrounding area. Thanks Randy, Donnie, Alex, Aaron, Lee, Michael and Bob! You were awesome to work with, but I hope I never see you guys again. That is all.

I am so glad that I can blog today, because I had such a wonderful experience this morning that I couldn't wait to write about.

My friend Martha asked last week if I wanted to volunteer with her at a outreach program at a subsidized apartment complex downtown. They provide a meal and do some crafts with the residents there every other month or so. I said yes. Volunteering to feed the homeless is number 2 on my life list you know. These folks weren't homeless exactly, but I knew that this was an opportunity to make a small difference to someone less fortunate AND it sounded kinda fun.

There is FOOD - you all know I am a regular lover of all things food related. There are CRAFTS - did you not see me spring into action on the Pringle Can Nutcracker and the Bad Farm sign? Crafts are right up my alley.

I will admit that I was a little nervous. Going into something new for the first time is always a little nerve wracking. In a good way.

Once we got there and started working, milling about, talking, visiting and serving the time just flew by. It was not quite what I expected. It was better.

In my head, I was picturing a nursing home environment with old and infirmed people, but that picture was all wrong.

It was an apartment building. Twelve stories high with 14 tee tiny apartments on each floor. The residents were not all old or infirmed. Some were, but most were not. Some were in wheelchairs or had walkers, but most didn't. I think to live in this facility you have to be self sufficient. It wasn't like people had just a room, they had their own small home with living room, kitchen and a bedroom. Not any bigger than a hotel room.

These were just people. Nice people. Funny people. Neighbors and friends. Polite people of every shade, nationality, age and shape. There were so thankful for the effort and seemed to sincerely enjoy the company of each other and us.

We served brunch with breakfast tacos, hashbrown casserole, fruit, coffee, juice, etc. Most of the residents came down to the common area to eat and others we delivered meals to their apartments. I mostly worked the dining room area getting a plate for those that couldn't get around too well, fixing drinks, getting refills, clearing trash. I thought I was rocking the waitress duty until I proved otherwise when I grabbed the OJ to refill some cups. I thought the lid was screwed on - it wasn't. I shook the OJ - the lid flew off - the juice spilled. ALOT. Like I shook it hard with no lid. ALOT. I looked up to see who saw me and a sweet little woman was glancing my direction. I said "Did you see that?" She laughed. Glad I wasn't standing next to someone, they would have been a sticky mess. Whoops.

I had some great conversations and laughs. I met Michelle who was probably my age and has lived there for three years. Just about everyone said hello to her as they came in. She has three kids. I don't think they lived there with her. I didn't get to hear her whole story, but we chatted as people do when they are new to each other. I learned a bit about her and she learned a little about me.

I met "Mama" in Apt 1112. I brought her a meal. She said as I hugged her neck "I love having company, I love talking and I LOVE food." Woman after my own heart.

Met another fella who was in a wheelchair. He needed help getting his meal back to his apartment. As we were heading out, the lady in charge said "DO NOT go in his place because you will not be able to leave. He loves to talk." She wasn't kidding. He loved to talk, but he was interesting and it was easy enough to lend him an ear for a few minutes.

After the meal wound down, we had fleece scarves to make as the craft and they were not just super cute, but superemely useful on this super cold day. It was not much different than working Chip's third grade Christmas craft. Get them started and then just spend your time exclaiming how wonderful they are and how envious you are of their beautiful project.

It was gratifying in such a sincere way. Tonya is the wonderful lady who runs the whole volunteer operation. She is very organized, very sweet and said before the residents came in..."the most important thing you can do today is not serving, but just visiting, talking, listening, interacting". Just human to human. She was right.

I might have made someone's day today with just a touch, a smile, a word...and you know what they made my day right back. I can't wait to do it again.

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Reporting in...

Damn internet has been down AGAIN. My best friend Donnie with Time Warner Cable was back out again today. He got it working, but within minutes of him pulling out of the driveway it was out again. The Senior Tech Ops Field Supervisor has now been called in and he has been working outside in the cul-de-sac for well over an hour. Not looking promising as night falls that it will be fixed today. I am going to type quick and hope I can catch it on one of the twenty second access periods I get to the internet.

BIG NEWS: I ran two miles without stopping this morning. In fact, I probably ran about 2.7 of my total 3.5 route. Totally jazzed about that. On Wednesday, I am going to try to do the whole enchilada. I think I can do it. It is going to be a balmy 26 degrees or something on Wednesday morning. I hope the cold doesn't screw me up too much.

Outside of my exercise accomplishment, I don't have much to report.

We had a pretty quiet weekend. Walked 7.2 miles with Connie on Saturday morning. Later in the afternoon, Chip had his first basketball game of the season. He is playing in a new league that is full court, calling fouls, substituting, so it is the real deal. He was sucking wind and sweating like a full grown adult male, but he rocked it. He scored two goals, had several rebounds and even a steal or two. Camera battery was dead as we walked out the door so I didn't get any pictures, but next week for sure.

Rainy, cold day on Sunday so outside of a quick trip to the grocery store I was home all day. Made a big pot of Pasta Fagiola which was exceptionally delicious.

Today, with the internet down I have been very productive finishing up the last of my new year cleaning, purging and organizing. Went through both the boy’s closets and culled out the stuff that was too small or not being worn any more. I also tackled the upstairs linen closet which was a total disaster area. I threw out worn towels, itchy pillow cases and sheets that were twenty years old and threadbare. Then I put all the good sheet sets together, put them on the shelves by size and it looks so much better. Bonus…I have three more big bags of stuff heading out of this house and over to Goodwill! Love that!

Must get some work done while the internet is up and running…will fill you in later on my dog outsmarting the new leash contraption, the blizzard in Bama and the frustration I have had researching a new mattress.

Anyone out there love their mattress??

Anyone out there at all??

*tap, tap, tap* - Is this thing on??

Never mind, with my stupid internet I probably won’t be able to read your messages anyway.

Friday, January 7, 2011

He Might Be a Lawyer

Yesterday Chip comes out of school with this scroll document rolled up in his hand. He forgot his backpack and had to go back in for that but this document was rolled precisely and gripped in his hot little hand. It appeared to be a roll of paper towels, which was kind of weird.

I said "What do you have there?"
He said "You'll see."

I kind of forgot about it with the run back into school to retrieve the back pack and all, but later came to find out what this important document was. First, it was a roll of paper towels. Not sure if there is a paper shortage at school or if he stole it from the bathroom for a reason.

Anyway....back to the important document.

It was a contract.

That is what he called it.

A play contract. A contract he wanted to put into use by immediately calling his best friend Pootie so they could execute and implement the contract.

I didn't think much about it as Chip unrolled it on the table and dutifully checked off Item 1, before looking at me and saying "Can I call Pootie? It is Item 2."


Thankfully, Pootie was available and came right over. By 3:05, they were going over the contract together. Let me say right here that Pootie is a saint for putting up with this kid.

This is what I hear from the laundry room: "Sign here. Sign here. Sign here. Sign here. Sign here."

I thought they were signing a mortgage loan.

Later, I discretely kidnapped the contract while they were outside completing Item 3 and took a closer look.

Made me laugh so I had to share it with you.

It is hard to read, so I will provide a transcript below:

D - Dave (previously Pootie)
C - Chip
1. leave school 2:45
2. see if Dave can come over 3:00
3. play outside with Dave when Dave is here
4. play xbox with Dave (scratched through and replaced with "watch movie")
5. drink and snack and xbox while playing 2011
6. play with rings if done 2011 (scratched through and replaced with "I don't know")
7. iPad maybe hot cocoa when done with rings maybe
8. Pootie's choice

Sign here___________ Sign here _____________
Sign here___________ Sign here _____________

Sign here_____________

Sign here___________

Sign here___________ Sign here_____________
Sign here___________

Sign here___________

Sign here____________ Sign here_____________
Sign here____________

Sign here_____________

I can't decide what tickles me more. 1) That there are so many places to sign. 2) That they both signed in every available area. 3) They checked off each item as they finished them. 4) That Chip has a list that actually has "I don't know" as an item. 5) That there is a "Pootie's choice".

I asked Chip later why they had to sign in so many places. He said "It's like the contract in Cat in the Hat. You know the part where Cat says sign here, here, here, here and here."

So I am thinking maybe he is going to be a lawyer or a really big fake cat movie star.

What do you think?

Big News

I started.
First: Relief
Followed shortly by: Cramps
Enough said.
More than enough said really.

Anyways, in more exciting and a significantly less personal news:

I had a new running personal best this morning.

SIDENOTE: If you are new around here, please don't think for a minute that "running" means anything other than a really, really slow jog. For purposes of this blog though we are just going to call it running. Even though it is just barely running. So barely am I running that sometimes I think I have stopped and have to look at the landscape to make sure trees and houses are still being passed. Still, it is not walking and therefore it is running. Wonder how long I will keep putting in this disclaimer before I just allow myself to just call it running?

Now that we are clear.

I did about 1.3 without stopping!! Woo Hoo! Did a couple of other decent bursts of running on our 3 mile track but that is my longest to date without stopping! I even talked some! Didn't have to have my music to drowned out my gasping, struggling, breathing issues. That is just one week after getting back to it after the Christmas holidays! So excited. I really think in the next couple of weeks I might be able to put the whole 3 miles together. Won't that be so awesome?

There is this one little hill that has me worried. It is more of an incline really, but you can sure tell when you are running that it is uphill. I can't wait till I run up that sucker! That will be a major accomplishment!

Must log off to go find the Aleve! I do have another post to put up shortly about Chip's future profession. Check back in a bit!

Hope your Friday rocks!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Our Welcome Home

When we returned from Alabama, after 13 and 1/2 long hours on the road, we found a couple of surprises in our front yard.

First, our front yard tree was adorned with beautiful Christmas lights. When we left Texas it did not have Christmas lights.

We also found this happy face snowman, lit up and smiling as we made our way to the front door. He also, was not here when we left. What a happy little surprise, but who put him there?

Well, what do you know? The same folks who "Horned" our house during last year's Christmas break struck again! This time with a nicer twist.

In fact, much nicer. They also left this yummy, yummy treat for us! Wasn't that sweet?

Are you wondering about the little bride and groom on the cookie? Let me explain.

We have gone many times to the Brown Santa facility with the V family to wrap presents for the less fortunate. One time, while there in late November they were holding a little silent auction with random things you could bid on. There were some pretty wacky things to bid on including this African American Mini Barbie Bride and Groom Cake Topper set.

Unbeknownst to us, they put down a $2 bid with our name on it.

A few weeks later, Hubby gets a call on his cell phone from the folks at Brown Santa telling him that he has won something at the silent auction and he needs to come pick it up. He doesn't remember bidding on anything so he asks them what it is? Cake toppers they reply.

He calls me and says "Did you bid on cake toppers at Brown Santa?" I had no recollection of even seeing cake toppers. He pauses for just a split second and says "I bet that dang (maybe didn't use that word exactly) UJ and Peggy bid on something for us. I am going to pick it up."

When he came home, he had not just one set of cake toppers, but THREE sets of cake toppers. The folks at Brown Santa said the toppers had been in the auction for three years and had never been bid on so they were giving him all three. He explained what trick had been played on him to the little ladies working at Brown Santa and they thought it was hysterical. They said he didn't have to take them if he didn't want to, but he said "Oh no, I will happily take them. They are going to be wrapped up as a Christmas gift for some really nice friends of mine."

So we did.

We wrapped them up in a beautiful box and left it on our dining room table for the V family. See, they take care of our stupid cat when we are out of town so we knew they would find it.

We left town on Wednesday and they called on Wednesday night, laughing like hyenas. They had forgotten about bidding on the little cake toppers until they pulled the first one out of the box. Just cracked up when they pulled three out of the box.

Of course, they gave all three of them back to us. Two on the cookie and the other four in various locations around the house.

Now we have to figure out how to sneak these six little jewels back over to their house!

Definitely more good times to come in 2011!

I'm Late

Ten days late to be exact.

Not going to panic.

Not going to buy a pregnancy test.

Not going to be a medical miracle who's tubes grew back together.

Not believing I am going to blog about this, but it is consuming the majority of my thoughts at the moment.

Surely to goodness this is pre-menopause or something. Surely.

Heaven help me if it isn't.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Chickens and Turkeys

Remember that little art project I mentioned before Christmas? No? Well, you must not be paying attention! That is one blog demerit if you have no idea what art project I am rambling on about.

If you are currently screaming at the screen that you DO know and DO remember my previous post, please award yourself $200 in Monopoly money. Thanks for reading so carefully.

For any potential slackers, let me refresh your memory. Before Christmas I wrote here that I had a hankering to do something crafty. I wanted to paint something, weave a rug, blow glass, refinish a chair...something creative. It happens occasionally.

Lo and behold, the opportunity was dropped right in my lap while we were in Alabama for Thanksgiving. Upon arriving at Callie and George's "farm" we found out that their recently acquired chickens were killed or dead or eaten or something. That kind of thing happens on farms. These folks have lost ducks, cats, rabbits and various other farmish animals.

When I relayed the news to the boys Chip said "Mom, that is a bad farm. They need a better fence."

Of course I shared his statement with Callie and George and they got a big laugh out of it and said "That should be the name of our place. The Bad Farm."

So for Christmas we decided to make them a sign. We had lots of fun tossing around ideas. Here it the finished product:

Can you tell those are chickens? Or maybe they are roosters? For sure, they look like fowl, right?

What about the windmill? You knew it was a windmill, didn't you? George is an Aeromotor Sales Rep and big time into windmills.

I thought I did a bang up job on the original canvas painting.

They laughed so hard when we gave it to them. I told them to hang it in the garage, although there was some talk of hanging it in their dining room. I do hope they put it in a place that not too many people will see it.

Heaven knows I don't want to be bombarded with requests to paint signs for lots of people.

Hardee, har, har...crack myself up.

On the same fowl track, this is a turkey platter. This platter was pulled from the trash by my sweet Hubby when he was nine years old. Yes, he pulled it from a pile of trash that someone in his neighborhood had left out for garbage pickup.

His mom washed it, and has used it for Thanksgiving and Christmas every year since then.

Hubby is 45, so that means this Turkey Platter has been in use for 36 years.

That is a very productive life for a turkey platter that was on its way to the dumpster.

Hubby told Callie when she dies, he gets the platter. I am sure there will be a huge family fight over this one, so we will probably put his name on the back of it with some masking tape to lay claim to this family heirloom. Don't want there to be any question who gets this glorious platter forty years from now. They tried to look up a similar platter on Ebay this past Christmas and I think this beauty is fetching $21 or better. No telling what it will be worth in forty years.

Here is something that is priceless right now. Pictures of my two turkeys. I am fooling around with PhotoShop and learning more and more every day.

Made this picture black and white, lightened the shadows and removed a facial blemish (alright, it was a zit) from Harold's chin. I could play with PhotoShop for hours. There are so many buttons and so many special effects you can use. It will take me years to figure it out. Super cool. Anyone else out there love PhotoShop?

That is all for now.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Make This Soup


It is called Mary's Chicken Green Chili and Jalapeno Soup.

It comes together in just a few minutes and is so dang good and pretty dang healthy. I made it today, for like the 15th time this year and it is so worth sharing! In fact it is probably worthy of a Public Service Announcement. Someone get this recipe posted on PBS or something.

SIDENOTE: No one in my house will eat it except for me. I make it anyway. I don't do that very often. It is their terrible loss and my delicious gain.

Here is the recipe:

Mary’s Chicken Green Chili and JalapeƱo Soup

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
l/2 cup chopped white onion
1 clove garlic, peeled
One 32oz box organic chicken broth
One 10 3/4 oz can cream of mushroom soup Campbell’s Healthy Request
One 10 3/4 oz can cream of chicken soup Campbell’s Healthy Request
2 cups lowfat milk or 2 cups evaporated skim milk (I used one cup of each)
2 - 4 oz cans chopped green chilis
2 pickled jalapeno peppers, cored, seeded, and chopped (I used one 4 oz can)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 pound Velveeta cheese, roughly chopped
2 cups cubed or shredded cooked chicken
1 Tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper

Preheat a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the oil and onion and cook, stirring constantly, until the onion turns translucent, about 5 minutes. Press in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the broth, soups, milk, green chilies, jalapeno peppers, and cumin. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the cheese and cook, still stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes, until melted. Stir in the chicken, cilantro, salt, and white pepper. Cook for about 2 minutes more to warm through. Ladle into 6 bowls and serve each with a lime wedge on the side.

Serves 6 to 8

DO IT! Then come back and tell me how good it was. I already know, but would like to hear it from you guys.

Who's Room is This?

Take a look at these pictures? Can you tell who sleeps in this room?

It is Chip, of course.

This table was made by Hubby's Dad, when Harold was two years old. He made it for Harold's Thomas the Train set and that train set lived on this table for at least four or five years. I loved the train set and it is safely packed away in the attic so that when I am a grandma we can drag that set out and play with it again.

After the train stage passed, this table went through many phases. It was a Robot table for a while, then it was transformed into a Lego table, then back to a Thomas the Tank table when Chip was small, then briefly a Rokenbok table, then back to Legos, then held a miniature electric train set for a while until it went back to Legos.

Well, the Legos have been packed up again. Not sure if it is forever or just another temporary stop in the closet. Now it is a wrestling table.

A hard core wrestling table. Four arenas, more figures than you can count, breakable tables, chairs and ladders.

Regardless of what sits on it, I love this table and will have it forever.

So, back to wrestling. Let me share some information with you. This here is the Prison Break Bamboo Cell. What???

Who makes a Prison Break Bamboo Cell for kids?

I don't know, but it is sitting in Chip's room now.

This is Chip's favorite Rey Mysterio going for the Money in the Bank briefcase. He wins just about all of his matches in Chip's room. He's pretty lucky that Rey.

This is Chip's bed.
Check out the wrestling belts hanging on his bunk bed ladder.
Isn't that a crack up?

You know what else is a crack up?

This morning, before school, Chip and I watched the finale of Monday Night Raw that he had taped from last night. After Chip had gone to school, Harold came down stairs for breakfast and this is what I said to him.

Mom: Good Morning Harold, do you want to know who won the Steel Cage match?
Harold: Huh?
Mom: The Steel Cage match last night on Raw.
Harold: Uh, I guess.
Mom: It was Randy Orton. He beat Shamus and Wade Barrett, although CM Punk helped out unofficially when he came out and kicked Wade Barrett in the head as he was crawling out. So now CM Punk is the head of Nexus.
Harold: Cool.

Harold was a little bleary eyed or I am sure he would have been more enthusiastic.

This alarm clock is the icing on the cake. It sits right next to Chip's head and when it goes off it talks in some big time wrestling voices. He loves it.

This phase will last for a while, but as I have learned and mentioned here before...this too shall pass.

In all my purging and cleaning this weekend we emptied out the toy closet and toy box. The boys didn't want to keep hardly anything. There are just a few random toys remaining in the big red bucket. The old toy box that has held toys for the last fourteen years was taken empty out to the curb.

I can't hardly believe it.

The big red bucket has overflowed with toys for years and years and now it holds just a few swords, a variety of balls and a couple of random stuffed animals. It's very sad.

They are growing up so fast and I intend to enjoy the wrestling stage while it lasts. We will laugh about it in ten years. About how Chip was obsessed with all things wrestling. He will be able to name a handful of wrestlers, but the rest will just fade with time.

For now, Rey Mysterio can 6-1-9 all he wants in Chip's room. I just hope he brings down that stupid "The Miz". I can't stand that guy.

Have a great day all!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Capital One Bowl

Happy New Year!! Welcome 2011! I can't wait to see what you have in store for me! I know it is going to be awesome! So far, so good! I hope your new year has been as full of purging and cleaning and sorting and organizing as mine has! I have been a mad woman around the house and it feels so good! I love to purge! That will have to be another post all of its own!

Let's get right to the topic at hand! The Capital One Bowl!

As is their tradition of about five years, Hubby and Harold have gone to a college bowl game. Games in the past have been a little closer to home and usually include the Alabama Crimson Tide, but this year to follow Bama they would have to go a little bigger and better. They went to Orlando to see the Tide play in the Capital One bowl!

If you are not an Alabama fan, you might want to just close this post now and come back later for some titillating conversation about our welcome home, Chip's new men and/or the new and improved linen closet. I know, exciting right?

For now, let's recap the boys football adventure!

They flew out on Friday afternoon. That in itself was complicated with four delays and a plane being held for them in Houston, but they made it to Orlando by midnight or so.

When they arrive in Orlando the smart, smart, genius, must be working on commission car rental fellow talked them into a bit of an upgrade for just a few bucks. They were driving around in a Dodge Challenger, which Harold thought was the coolest!

Yeah, just hanging by the pool in Orlando on New Year's Day waiting to head over to the ball game. A great way to bring in the new year.

Matching jerseys. Aren't they cute?

They head over to the Florida Citrus Bowl to enjoy the pre-game festivities.

Signs and banners were everywhere. Weather was a balmy 80 degrees.

They get to watch the Bama boys walk you see Julio dead center of this picture? They also watch Michigan walk in, but I don't know any of those boys.

Next, they spent some time at the Fan Zone!

Here is Harold trying out the accuracy throw. Nice spiral.

Here is the Trojan mascot, he looks pretty cool.

They got to see the big football semi-trucks. Obviously, this is Michigan State's.

And here is Bama's! Isn't it cool? I don't know why I love all this pre-game stuff, but I sure do.

Guys with the truck.

Inside the field they met up with Hubby's brother and his family who drove down from Bama for the game. Big smiles all around!

More matching jerseys for Harold and A-Rod.

Checking out the warm-ups.

It is about to get loud in here!

Sweet gloves!

Here comes the Tide!

What a gorgeous day they had for football. During the pre-game they were playing Sweet Home Alabama! Got to love that!

Now let's get on with the real deal!

Here comes the Tide! On your feet fans!

Big boys taking the field.

Everyone is fired up!

Great shots with the new Nikon camera!

Look at this defensive shot. That poor QB was on the ground all day.

Halftime and Bama is up big! Makes it so much easier to watch than their normal nail biter!

The Million Dollar Band - with some cheerleaders doing flips.

Cool shot of a Michigan State fan helmet. How would you like to be the guy sitting behind him?

Toward the end of the game, fourth string Lacy got some playing time and scored a touchdown. The first, second and third string backs are meeting him at the sideline for a high five. I am sure we will see much more of Lacy next year!

Game over! Bama wins 49 - 7! Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer - give 'em hell Alabama!! Dad, do you have chills bumps right now?? I know you do.

Mark Ingram carrying the Bama flag for what might be his last college game. I would sure love to see him back next year, but we will have to wait and see!

Is this kid happy or what? Great year Richardson! Looking forward to seeing him run next year!

A cool, calm, smart QB. Class act. Goodbye McElroy. I will miss you!

After the game the boys and their parents headed over to Universal City to grab a bite to eat.

They ended up at the NBA City Restaurant, which was really cool. Not sure about the food, but after a big football day with an Alabama win everything probably tastes good.

Hubby and Harold flew home early on Sunday morning and got home in plenty of time to help me put up all the Christmas decorations in the attic! Lucky dogs!

It was a great trip for them. Loved the game, the outcome, the location, just everything was terrific! The end of another great season by Alabama. Not sure what their final record was, but most definitely won more than they lost and finished with a superb bowl game.

One last ROLL TIDE ROLL before we close the books on the college football year!!

Must end this post with a huge shout out to my "Technical Expert", also known around these parts as Hubby. He figured out a much faster, easier way for me to load pictures into my blog! YAY!!! Went from taking me three days to upload 30 pictures to taking me about three minutes. Huge improvement and hopefully that means less delays and more pictures in the future!

You may also notice a new ad area at the top of my blog. Hubby added that in the brief few minutes I gave him my password! He's always working the deal! Anyway, according to my calculations if each of my six followers click on the ad 7,354 times each I will get a nickel!

Not going to be retiring any time soon! Speaking of that....must get to work!