Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Every VBS story should have a great ending.

I still keep in touch with friends at our old church in Florida.  Namely, my sidekick Steph whom I shared many a Vacation Bible School with teaching, decorating, assisting, and every other job/duty you can imagine.  If it were not church, you could call us partners in crime.  Since it was church, you could call us co-committee members, which is essentially one in the same.

This year the main Southern Baptist VBS theme is Saddle Ridge Ranch.  The name says it all.  Horses, ranches, barns, and the like.  Around CowTown, it's Saddle Ridge Ranch pretty much all year long.  In the Florida panhandle, notsomuch.  So you can see how decorating for a horsey ranch-themed VBS can be a challenge for my buddy Stephanie.

I emailed her the other day to tell her I'd be on the hunt for any ranch-type items I can send to her in the mail.  This is the first summer we have not attended their VBS.  Even when we didn't live there, it always seemed that we were back for the summer.  We will really miss it this year.  Next year, you can bet on your horse that I'll plan our vacation around the VBS schedule.  Before long, Daughter will be too old for it.  Sniff. Sniff.

So, since we can't be there in person, I thought we could be there in decor. 

Daughter and I went on a hunt for all things cheap and horse related.  Normally, those two adjectives do not saddle up together.  My goal would be to find some sort of tack dumpster where I could dive in and find old crops, saddles, and lassos.  But, sadly none of those seem to exist. 

We went to the local boot and tack store where I looked for inspiration.  Well, I actually looked for discounted goods, but even those were not in our price range.  I had a long talk with a cowboy who was determined that there were cattle all over the Florida panhandle.  He swore by his hat that Steph could look some up in the phone book and ask a rancher to borrow a saddle and hay for her decoration.

I didn't have the heart or courage to argue with him.

I know there are cattle ranches in Florida, just not as numerous as this cowboy believes.  Tacky tourists and oil-covered beaches? Yes. 

So we left the boot shop and headed for a local crafters' store.  This store is filled with numerous booths of handmade quilts, candles, wood crafts, and crochet toilet paper dolls.  If nothing else, we were looking for inspiration once again.

We walked up to a booth and I pointed to a sign.  As soon as Daughter read it, she let out a loud, "EWWWWW!"

The sign advertised a new bath towel for $14.99 which is designed for you to dry one end of your body on one end of the towel and the other end of your body on the other end of the towel.

It's called the "Face Butt" towel.

I'm not even kidding.

It is available in a variety of colors with the words "Face" and "Butt" sewn on each end to remind you of which end, ahem, you are supposed to dry.  It's all in an effort to Go Green.

I quickly took out my phone and snapped pictures which I no longer have. There's apparently this option called "Save" that I forgot to do after taking the pictures. 

I will tell you that the "Face Butt" towel is offered in Scooby Doo and John Deere prints, none of which match my bathroom decor.  Drat.

In the end, pardon the pun, we did not find any horse-related VBS decor.  Although, I was inspired to come home and wash all of our towels.

However, Steph, you can expect a new towel set for Christmas.  Would you prefer the Princess or Patriotic theme?

P.S.  As a side note, you have no idea how difficult it was for me to type the word "Butt" in my blog.  For the sake of tactfulness, I was tempted to replace it with "bottom."  I am guessing the "Face Bottom" towel just doesn't have the same ring to it, and I'm fairly certain that if you would make or purchase one of these towels, tactfulness is probably not your strong point.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

And then I came home and rubbed my tired bunion.

So this week has been Vacation Bible School for us. This is the first time I've helped in VBS at our new church and this time I took on a completely new job.

Making lunches.

As in Lunch Lady.

Yes, I spent the week in the church kitchen making sandwiches and learning how many orange slices make a serving. A very sweet lady came early each morning to help us get started. She works in a local elementary school lunchroom and is an expert in the lunch making.

After she left for her job, another volunteer and I finished the task. We made sandwiches, bagged grapes, sliced oranges and apples, sorted cookies, and delivered water and Popsicles.

By the end of the week I was much more educated in the food pyramid than I'd prefer, but not even close to the expertise of the sweet lunchroom worker who became my mentor. I did, however, suddenly feel the urge to go out and purchase some orthopedic shoes.

The kids all seemed to have a good time. Last night at our Wednesday night kids' activities, one of the teachers reminded them that we were having VBS this week, and that there was still a chance to attend.

One little boy who is extremely bright and the ripe old age of nine, raised his hand to comment,
"VBS? I wasn't notified."

We swallowed our giggles and apologized for his lack of notification.

Maybe I should have him help me in the lunchroom. He'd probably know exactly how many ounces of turkey make up a serving.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Random and more random

Thanks for your kind words about Maggie. Y'all are the best.

I promise to get back to some sort of normal blogging one of these days, but for now, here is my favorite list form.

1. Favorite line I heard today on TV-

"How do you just walk into a house and take a TV Guide? How does she expect you to watch TV? Am I just supposed to turn it on and wander aimlessly around the dial?"

(You guessed it, from Seinfeld.)

2. Our family always writes things on the back of greeting cards. Not meaningful quotes or witty quips. Just our normal, odd tidbits of humor. On Father's Day, Daughter wrote on the back of Hubs' card. It was hilarious. I could share it here but it would make no sense whatsoever. It is apparent that she takes after her strange parents.

3. It's hot as blue blazes here. It's a dry heat, which only means I feel like a ham.

4. I think the new host on Food Network's Challenge sounds like she needs to clear her throat.

5. God Bless the person who invented air conditioning. See #3.

6. I've been feeling creative and crafty, but not necessarily inspired. I wonder if this is how Van Gogh got frustrated.

7. I could never cut off my own ear. See #6.

8. Looking forward to our trip to The South and to the Florida Panhandle. I hope it isn't covered in oil when we get there.

I told Hubs the BP oil spill was the Brits' way of getting us back for that whole 1776 thing. (If you are a Brit, please do not be offended. This is my pitiful attempt at sarcasm. However, I have to tell you that I'm still not a huge hot tea drinker.)

9. I'd give anything for some good fried green tomatoes. No way to get green tomatoes here. I guess I'll have to wait until our trip.

10. Here are a few other things I'm going to make a complete pig of myself over:

Starbucks coffee
Thai Food
Good summer veggies

Y'all have a great week!

Monday, June 21, 2010

My Maggie

From the moment I saw her little black nose pressed through the holes in the cardboard box, I loved her.

I loved that she was tiny and fuzzy and black. I loved that her paws looked too small for her body. I loved that her teeth were razor sharp like her claws when she pounced on my head as I lounged on the couch.

I loved that Hubs went to the shelter to get her as a gift for me. She was mine (especially when she destroyed something or needed a bath.)


Over time, she became Hubs' cat, too. Like most men, he pretended to be bothered by the cat of the house, but he was always the one who fed her in the morning. She greeted him as soon as his feet hit the floor.

Sometimes I caught him letting her curl up on the couch right next to him. At night, she always crept on the bed, careful to walk all around Hubs and not on him, for fear he'd shew her off.

She moved with us many times, fussing from her carrier the entire way. When the car would stop, she thought the trip was over. Cats aren't good with time. They only know that they hate where they are and they want to get to wherever it is that you are forcing them to go.

When I found out I was pregnant, she was there. She sprawled across my tummy as it grew. She purred loudly as she always did and I knew that somehow the baby inside could hear her.

The day finally came when my tummy couldn't grow any more (believe me) and Daughter was born. Maggie was there when we welcomed her home.

When we laid Daughter on her blanket on the floor, we told Maggie to stay off of it. She always laid right on the edge and slept as our daughter slept. When Daughter cried and I didn't hear it, Maggie clawed at the nursery door until I went to the room to check on the baby. (I can hear her in her condescending cat voice saying,"Human Mothers. Hmph!")

Maggie patiently tolerated the tug of toddler hands, the playful imagination of a preschooler, and the pet grooming attempts of a kindergartner. She listened to stories and jokes and heartbreaks that I, as a mother, will probably never know. She kept the feet of a sick child warm, and nestled against the tired body of a weary mom.

She annoyed me to no end.

She stole and chewed all the curly ribbon she could find. She shredded the furniture. She scared nearly every kennel worker we ever met. (She is probably on some kind of underground list.)

She climbed in the dryer on top of clean clothes. She crawled inside box lids of board games. She ran up the attic stairs and walked around on the insulation. She found a torn place in the covering of the box springs and crawled inside. Her tiny cat paws pressed against the fabric of the box springs as I tried to coax her out with catnip.

She attacked the Christmas tree. She slept on top of wrapped presents. She peed on my husband's clothes, on bath rugs, or any other thing she willed to mark.

But, I loved her.

I loved her picky, rude, better-than-thou, tail-in-the-air attitude.

She was Maggie.

And after a brief fight with cancer, we said good-bye to her. Her last days were filled with all the Medleys she could eat, all the attention and love she could stand, and all the bath rugs I could keep clean. She slept and purred and in the end, she went out with the same cat attitude that made me fall in love with her.

When it was time, I stroked her face, the only place we were ever allowed to pet, and told her it was okay to let it go. It was time and that I knew she was ready to leave.

And when it was all over, I felt nothing but grief and loss and peace all at the same time.

She gave our family thirteen years of hairballs and furniture repairs and apologies to kennel staff. She was the most irritating, sassy and loving creature I've ever known.

She was my Maggie and she will always have a warm place to sleep in my heart.

Thank you for sharing her many stories with me, including this one.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Friday's Fave Five- Summer and Soccer

Here are my favorites for the week.

And since I'm in a blogging and writing funk, let me say how grateful I am for the list form.

1. Watching Hubs watch the World Cup- Notice I didn't say watching the World Cup with Hubs, although I have been in the room and looked at the TV (as my grandparents would say.) Since I know pretty much nothing about soccer, I won't even pretend that I watched it with him. It would be like him saying he went with me shopping for fancy linens.

However, I'm learnin.'

A few things I have learned.

South African horns sound like a swarm of angry bees.

Soccer games have momentum. None of this standing there and tapping the plate or calling time-outs constantly.

Three goals total is a serious high score. For good reason.

Have you noticed all the running and kicking?

2. Upgrading the satellite- Hubs only watches the World Cup. He doesn't really watch any other sports. So that means he only needs a sports channel every four years. (Yes, I am blessed, ladies.)

We upgraded our satellite package so Hubs could watch any and every World Cup game he wants. We have ESPN 1, 2, and 2 1/2, which is only on 12 hours instead of the usual 24. Oh, I kid.

The upside of the upgrade is that now I get to watch all the home shows. However, the package that has my favorite home improvement networks also includes some yucky, not-so-family-friendly networks. At the end of World Cup, we are going to downgrade to our old, boring, less scary package.

In the meantime, I'm watching HGTV as much as Hubs watches soccer while flipping right past MTV.

And may I just say that it used to be about the music, man.

3. Summer- Yesterday Daughter and I went to Chili's for lunch for absolutely no reason at all, except that we wanted to.

You just can't do that during school.

4. Sonic's Sparkling Strawberry Lemonade- yummy and refreshing

5. This post by the Carpool Queen. You won't believe what she and her mom got for the low, low price of $9.95.

See Susanne for more great Faves. Have a great weekend and Father's Day!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

And I really miss Bob Barker.

I have to confess.

Summer has ushered in some guilty pleasures for me.

Other than the excuse to eat Ben and Jerry's ice cream, I've fallen into some tempting television habits. It may have something to do with the fact that I sit in my pajamas most of the day, I mean morning.

It all started when I was flipping through the channels one morning and saw an old favorite, The Young and The Restless. Y & R was my addiction when I went off to college, along with Melrose Place. Don't judge me.

When you're in college, entertainment is cheap, both in the monetary and apparently moral forms. I'm not proud. I'm just sayin.'

After graduating from college and getting a real job, I had my own place, along with my own television. The Young and The Restless came on at lunch. I rushed home every day to my frozen Michelina's entree (hey, Lean Cuisines were a splurge) to watch Jack and Victor fight over make-up lines and a woman.

I loved Jack. He was the kind of guy you loved to hate. He was the kind of guy I would have actually dated before I found Hubs and realized that boyfriends could actually be cute and kind and decent and not nerdy all at the same time. Who knew?

Today I was watching Young and The Restless once again, not enough to catch up. No, that would mean that I am a frequent viewer. Ahem.

There on the screen was none other than David Hassellhof.

Apparently, after he stopped saving lives on the beach, he was able to squeeze in med school during his gig at America's Got Talent. Now he is some kind of doctor on Y & R where today he convinced his TV mom to take deep breaths and let go of some dramatic issues. (Not that I was paying attention.)

After a very brief viewing of David's life-saving techniques, I clicked over to my other guilty pleasure. Judge Judy.

I heart her.

She tells the truth in such a confrontational, yet completely legal way. Her accent and no-nonsense attitude are perfect accessories to the black robe. It is television joy. But really, there is no need to watch her shows. They all end the same way. It all boils down to the same question, "Was it a loan or a gift?"

Maybe Judge Judy could finally settle all the drama between Jack and Victor once and for all.

But, then what would I watch during the summer?

Monday, June 14, 2010

Honey, is that the World Cup or a Hitchcock Movie?

Well, I cooked and ate the shrimp. They were tasty, not guilt-free, mind you, but tasty. Sometimes a girl has to give up her shrimp convictions for the sake of hospitality. The luau party was great- food was good and the company was even better.

After wrapping up that party, we moved on to another one, our daughter's birthday party. This time I didn't have to make any craft kits, so it was fairly easy. We rented a place that does birthday parties and all I had to do was show up with the food.

Is this what it's like for the Hollywood moms? I had only done the rent-the-spot type party one other time. I must say, it is delightful. I do enjoy hosting kids' party at my house, but it was nice and relaxing to have it somewhere else.

Tonight Daughter and Hubs watched a World Cup game they had recorded on the DVR. I bought Hubs a Jersey with his name on the back for the last World Cup. Daughter has an old jersey from playing on a team several years ago. So now they sit on the sofa together cheering on the players and making commentaries about yellow cards and other terms I don't even pretend to understand. It is precious.

However, I would like to say, for the record, that the South African horn the spectators play in the stands is quite annoying. Pardon the pun, but it is all the buzz on the Internet. It sounds exactly like a hive of bees hovering over the stadium.

So tomorrow I may order Hubs a matching pair of royal blue ear plugs to match his jersey. Or maybe a pair just for me. I wonder if they come in petal pink...

Friday, June 11, 2010

You could say I'm a shrimp radical.

It's only 10:00 AM and so far I've made fruit salad, shrimp, and put meatballs in a crock pot.

That may sound normal for some of you, but for me, I don't wake up in the summer until about 11:00. Oh, my body may be up walking around, but my brain is still nestled under a Pottery Barn comforter.

I'm helping host a luau party for a great group of friends. The party is tonight, and my friend K and I have been planning and shopping and texting all week. It has been a lot of fun and I'm looking forward to it.

Yesterday Daughter and I finished my grocery shopping. A few items on my list were shrimp, mango, pineapple, and kiwi.

In case you're new here, I live in New Mexico. It's not necessarily the easiest place to find tropic-related pantry items.

I was in the seafood department, i.e. the place where they thaw all the fish, when I was faced with a dilemma.

What shrimp should I buy?

I have strong convictions about shrimp (not as strong as say, my feelings on how the X Files ended) and have firmly believed that I should always purchase shrimp from the United States. I've lived along the Gulf and in Georgia. (Plus, I've watched Forrest Gump about one hundred times.) Our Shrimpers work very hard to earn their living. I want to support them when I can.

When we lived in Florida, I always passed on the cheap shrimp from Thailand or Vietnam and went for the unpeeled, fresh shrimp from the Gulf of Mexico. It tastes better. It makes me feel better.

But yesterday there were no shrimp from Alabama or Florida or anywhere else in these United States. We're in New Mexico. All the shrimp is frozen and foreign.

But, what was I to do? A luau party is just not complete without shrimp.

So I had to buy shrimp from an Asian country where I'm sure the people are perfectly lovely and work hard but none of them speak with an Alabama accent.

When we got in the car, Daughter noted my shrimp purchase. She has apparently witnessed my convictions and knows how difficult is it for me to buy shrimp from foreign waters. She also watches a lot of Good Eats, our resource for all food science and knowledge.

"Bad shrimp will be oily and smell like gasoline," she said.

Nearly quoting word-for-word the instructions of Alton Brown, she referenced his show about purchasing spoiled shrimp, but her quote also reminded me of one thing.

Unless this gulf oil spill is capped, contained, and cleaned up, everything in the gulf will be oily and smelling like gasoline.

But it isn't just about shrimp literally wreaking of oil and gasoline, it's the fact that this whole thing just stinks.

Stinks to high heaven.

To you shrimpers and oyster men and deep sea fishermen along the banks of the Deep South, we're rooting for ya. We're praying for ya.

We're hoping for the days when we can all sit down together at a picnic table covered in newspaper, dump a big bucket of peel 'n eat shrimp, with lots of paper towels and wet wipes nearby, and enjoy a great meal from the great Gulf of Mexico.

Until then, I think I'm going to pass on the shrimp from foreign waters, whether it tastes fresh or not.

We can eat meatballs for a while.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

What is that sound of crickets chirping in the distance?

Well, hello there!

My how time flies when you are busy. The blogging thing just gets pushed to the side.

I'll be back in a few.

In the meantime, what have y'all been up to this summer? Vacations? Pool days? Just hanging around the house?

Do tell.

P.S. My Spellcheck just highlighted a spelling error in "y'all" above and I fixed it. How I love that my Spellcheck recognizes "y'all."

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Next weekend we document our Activia challenge.

Well, I'm sitting here watching one of my favorite movies, Napoleon Dynamite, while Hubs snoozes on the sofa.

This is our nightly ritual. Hubs puts in a movie or a Seinfeld DVD with the intent to stay semi-conscious, I curl up with the laptop to blog, then peer over the top of the screen to see Hubs asleep before the opening theme song ends.

This is where I take advantage of my close proximity to Hubs (how can you ignore a source of such good material.)

Saturday was when Hubs discovered an old cap, and yes, I said cap, in his closet. It is a tan baseball cap he received free for coaching soccer with an Alabama recreational department. That alone makes this funny, but the story doesn't end there.

He and Daughter attempted to go to a rodeo (explanation to follow) and he wore his cap. He came home and left in on all day. Inside.

At one point I looked over the laptop screen and saw Hubs wearing his rec. department cap, lounging on the sofa, and watching Matlock or something. I emailed Nancy to tell her that Hubs had suddenly become Paw Paw.

That's when I decided to clean out his closet and remove all of his pleated pants and tube socks.

Now I'll explain why they attempted to attend a rodeo.

I had plans with a friend on Saturday, so Hubs and Daughter were on their own. The annual rodeo was in town and they decided they would go.

I got online and checked the local paper for a schedule. I knew I had read the schedule earlier in the week. So, I did a search on the paper's website and found an article listing all of the rodeo's activities, including some super fun kid's rodeo activities for Saturday afternoon. I shared the times with Hubs and they were all ready to go.

A few minutes after I got home, Hubs and Daughter drove up in the garage.

"How was it?" I asked.

"There was nothing there," Hubs said, "there was a huge sign but nothing going on."

"Well, that's weird," I said as I looked at the newspaper article I had printed out.

I pointed to the schedule and said,"Look. It was supposed to be today, Saturday, at 1:00."

Then I handed the printed article to Hubs for him to read.

He looked it over, handed it back to me, and said,"This article was written in 2006. We were only four years late!"


While I did my search, I didn't bother to check the dates on the articles that popped up. As it turns out, the kids' rodeo activities for THIS YEAR were earlier in the week and the only thing left for Saturday was the adult competition.

So, as you can see, Hubs is not the only source of good blog material in this household.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to run to the drug store. Maw Maw needs a new pair of reading glasses.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

School's Out For Summer

We are officially in full swing of summer and I'm loving it. I love being able to sleep in, hang out in our pj's, go swimming, look for bugs, make crafts, get root beer floats from Sonic on a whim and eat Popsicles at lunch.

This time of year reminds me of what I loved about summer (besides not having to go to school) both in elementary school and in high school.

Here are a few of them:

1. Hanging out with friends in my neighborhood until my curfew (when the street lights came on.) Sadly, we can't let our kids do the same thing.

2. Going bare foot.

3. Days at the neighborhood pool, eating a bag of Hot Fries and drinking a Coke over crushed ice in a flimsy Styrofoam cup. I loved how my fingers were still wet from swimming and the seasoning from the Hot Fries stuck to them.

(Hot Fries being the ones that come in the bag and are really chemically laden potato chip thingies shaped like fries.)

4. Digging in the dirt.

5. Collecting roly polies. Yes, I needed a better hobby.

6. The ice cream truck.

7. In high school, going to my friend's house to lay out by her pool after slathering on baby oil and spraying our hair with Sun In. EEEEEEK! Scary.

8. Lunch at home, preferably some sort of Chef Boyardee.

9. Church camp.

10. Making homemade ice cream, the old-fashioned way with the hand crank churn. Good ice cream requires the sweat of a patient dad and the help of an eager kid.

11. Vacation Bible School.

12. Summer music and movies

What about you? What do you love about summer now and when you were a kid?