Tuesday, March 29, 2011

I Dream of Genie? Not Really.

We are a fun-loving group of friends. We've known each other forever. We've worn ridiculous costumes (why, we just dressed like grannies and mooned our friend with diaper-covered adult butts that had letters that spelled out her name). We've partied. We've puked. We've laughed. We've cried. All together.

Each year we attend the school auction. We've dressed in sarongs, togas, wigs, cowboy garb and more. We are a spectacle. We are spirited. We have a wild and crazy time.

This year, I was hoping for a little black dress, some simple shoes and passing the torch to some other crazy kids. Nope. I was just informed that my husband and his friends are dressing as sultans.

My friend turned to me and said, "You know what that means..." No, I'm not sure what that means. I kept quiet. "We have to be harem girls."

Yikes. A harem girl? Seriously, I am waaaaayyyyy too old for this. A genie? A scantily clad harem girl? I am 42 for goodness sake.

Part of me can't refuse the challenge. Part of me is quite sure that there ain't enough Spanx in the world that can make this old gal fit for a harem. Jinkies, Thelma, what's a girl to do?

She goes out and finds a harem outfit. Stay tuned for pictures of our 9th school auction. Still crazy after all these years.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Saturday Mornings

There is something about Saturday mornings that makes me want pancakes. This requires butter and pure maple syrup. Bacon is an extra bonus, but it is not always worth the time commitment.

We used to cook big breakfasts around here. The kids would be up early and running around the house. The TV would, of course, be blaring kid's Saturday morning shows in the background. We made hot chocolate, squeezed fresh orange juice and actually set the table with plates and cutlery.

By noon, taking one look around at the kitchen damage, you knew you had just eaten a real breakfast. I swear I worked off all of the extra bacon and pancake calories just doing the clean up.

Now it is Saturday. It's 10:30. The house is as quiet as the local library. I can hear a bird singing. Someone out there in the neighborhood is using a blower. It is me and the dog. Husband, asleep. Girls? Asleep. John? At a friend's house.

There was a time, before baseball and sleepovers, that we really had family time on the weekend. The weekend was a sigh of relief after a long week. We could relax, hang out and spend some downtime together.

Now, Monday is a relief. The weekends are a rapidly changing schedule and there is never one Saturday like another. There is always a different practice time, slumber party, play date or game.

If you have young kids, treasure the weekend. It becomes a logistical nightmare that I think only will change when I have an empty nest. And then, well, the nest will be empty.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Feeling the Amazon Burn

I am a pretty experienced online shopper and a pretty loyal Amazon aficionado. I love typing in exactly what I want and have it pop right up within seconds. I can comparison shop, I can have it shipped in two days with Amazon Prime, and I am usually very happy.

This is until my last purchase and thanks to one of Amazon's secondary suppliers. We all know to read the fine print, but gosh, really do read it. I bought a toaster recently, thinking nothing of clicking on the purchase button.

It was being supplied by an outside supplier--not being shipped directly from Amazon fulfillment. It was a toaster. I've bought many toasters in my life. Never had any problem. However, this fancy, semi-expensive toaster was a problem from the word go.

It burned every piece of toast. Even on level one, it burnt the toast like it was a flaming marshmallow over the open campfire. Never once did it "pop" up before I had to press the cancel button to save our home from a kitchen blaze.

I notified the seller. I could return it, sure. I only had to pay to ship it back, then pay a 15 percent restocking fee and pay the seller back the "free" shipping that it had been sent to me with. All of a sudden, my $60 dollar toaster was costing me about $33.00 once I returned it, and I ended up with no toaster!

Friends, returns to Target, Williams Sonoma and Crate and Barrel are free. Buyer beware.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Monday Morning Blahs: Overwhelmed As A Life Choice? Don't Read This Unless You Want To Hear Some Whining

The weekends are kicking my butt around here lately. Maybe they always have, but lately, I'm feeling the pain more than usual. Just when I think I have a handle on things, the handle breaks off. Maybe this is all part of being 40 something.

This entire year, I can not seem to get grip on any kind of routine. I used to think I wasn't a routine girl, but as I get older, I can see that I clearly need one. I haven't exercised with any regularity. I haven't written with as much regularity as I'd like.

I'm falling off the healthy eating wagon--I bought Chex Mix yesterday, and sat down on the couch next to my husband with the intent of eating it all by MYself in ONE sitting. He luckily grabbed the bag away from me and saved me from MYself.

I feel like I need a lot of saving from MYself lately. I'm back to two cups of coffee, lots of take out and little premeditated cooking and cleaning. I know it will all be OK, but I feel a little like I'm slipping off the cliff of no return.

I suppose I could put the brakes on a bit and slow things down. I am pretty much the churner that whirls and allows the chaos around here. Can Overwhelmed be a life choice? What if sometimes it isn't voluntary?

Speaking of returns, anyone up for a little Monday retail therapy? That might be my next stop...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Spring Re-Organizational Fever: Hoarding

I am shuffling the stuff lately. I am tired of the bric a brac that sneaks into my house when I'm not looking.

Does anyone else have this problem? Oftentimes, I know I'm in trouble because one of my girls says, "And I got it for free!" What? Just what did you get for free? And, their version of free is imprisoning me in my house on a Thursday morning.

I live in a very creative environment. I have very creative kids. I love the half-finished stories about elves and the half finished sketches of horses. The sculptures made out of the "free" stuff. It is hard for me to part with any creation. I know the feeling of loss, when I've lost a story, or a list, or even a bill. I try to keep it all.

Thus, the shuffle. Is there a Hoarders show about kid's artwork and school projects? Won't we need that diorama someday? Ruth just might finish that half-sewn skirt from scrap material donated by my neighbor. What if, what if, what if?

And, because we are so creative, I am the most creative of all--thinking up scenarios where all of this "stuff" might be needed.

It's true. I need medication, therapy, or possibly both!

Monday, March 14, 2011

This Is What We Do Around Here For Fun...

Hi Friends,

Lucy is so sweet to treat us on her birthday to such a rocking concert. What about turning the tables just a little bit and treating Lucy to some entertainment of our own!?! We have some ultra talented friends in the crowd, and if the stage is set, how would you feel about combining forces and coming up with a few "acts" and trying to get in on the show as a birthday surprise?

One idea that comes to mind, is to think about the different decades of music that Lucy has enjoyed throughout her life. They are all distinct and lend themselves to great songs, costumes and props. What do you think about trying to do some kind of tribute to Lucy in the themes of the 1960's, 70's, 80's and 90's-present? Even magic or comedy?

There are 20 or so of us--and Ricky wants to be included, as well, so we could divide into teams, couples, girls only, boys only, whatever we are inspired to do.

Myself, I'm wondering if anyone would like to tackle the 80's and do a "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" thing with me-- a la the school play's Daddy Lear--could be girls or guys? Any guys/couple want to do Sonny and Cher? Lady Gaga? Kiss? I don't know, this is all off the cuff and I haven't completely thought it through. I just wanted to throw this out there and see what people think. I know Lucy loves the talent shows, what do you say?

I am not a singer, an actor, or anything except silly. No pressure, only if you'd like to do it, but please let me know quickly, we don't have long to plan, collaborate and connive!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Avalanche, In My Garage

I realized, as a suitcase was falling on me, that it is really time to clean the garage. We have a crazy life, and we are usually throwing down one thing, grabbing another and rushing off to the next activity.

I can get somewhere, have the proper equipment (mostly) and look prepared--but behind me I've left the trail of a war zone.

I'd like to eventually stop living in the chaos, but then I will stop living?

Monday, March 7, 2011

Good Dogs?

Well, you might tout the necessity of a good dog, but let me tell you, I have a good dog and she's the queen around here. On football Saturdays, she's the one cuddled up on the couch next to my hubby. In the summer, they are out in the hammock and they're snoozing together in the sun.

Where am I? I am certainly not in a hammock. I am fully upright, managing the small things that add up to my big domestic life. You know, the life where most of the sentences start like this, "Mom, where's my..." and then you fill in the blank with some item that requires the detective expertise of Sherlock Holmes to find.

Our dog goes on runs with my husband. She goes out for coffee at the local cafe. She rides around in the car with him on his errands. I think my husband is actually dating the darn dog!

Am I jealous? Of course I am! I wish I didn't have to be the fun police of the family unit. Someone has to kick that man of mine off the hammock and make him change the freaking halogen light bulbs. Which is another topic, but, I think men invented those for sure!

And...every time I kick him out of the hammock, he loves me just a little bit less and that darn dog just a little bit more.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

I'm 40 and Falling Apart! Old People Yoga

Well, it was the hip. Then it was the lower back. Then it was the upper back. Now I've got an ingrown toenail. The workout gods certainly are twisting fate cruelly lately.

Today I tried a gentle yoga class with my friend, Pilar. It was so gentle that we were the youngest "kids" in there and I still couldn't keep my hands up over my head for the fully allotted time.

I knew if I made eye contact with Pilar at any given time, I would burst out laughing. Afterwards, she said to me, "No more old people yoga." I agree. However, I'm starting to feel like an old person myself.

My friends are breaking, too. There is always a knee, hip or skin surgery on the horizon. Next I'll be reading the obits, looking for dead people that I used to know.

Tomorrow I'm going to try a new yoga class. This one is sure to have me twisted in a pretzel and convulsing on the floor. I'll let you know. I'm an old dog, and there are sure to be new tricks.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Grandma Plates

In my cupboard is a lovely set of earthenware dishes. They are blue and white with scenes of different castles and little flowers and leaves circling the outer edge. The pattern is Johnson and Brother's Old Britain Castles.

Sometimes when I'm having a cup of tea, I stare into the distant castle-scape and imagine myself in a little white farmhouse with a front porch and white picket fence. My kitchen is decorated in white and blue with lacey curtains. Through the screen doors birds are singing and I can see an apple orchard in the distance.

The caffeine brings me back to the Brady Bunch 1970 reality that I live in. Somehow, I married the man with a penchant for 1970's homes. Weird, inexplicable architecture--he loves it three times over. Open concept, boxy awkward rooms--he loves it. Me? I--hate it.

It's not like he forced me to live in these places. No. He just kept falling in love with houses in GREAT locations, and I am a practical kind of girl. So, here I am. Great location, crappy Brady Bunch house.

Yes, if I were to put myself in an old sit com, it would be the Waltons. I would live in that big, airy farmhouse and gladly yell "Good night, John Boy." I could feed chickens, muck out stalls and even help at the sawmill. Yup. I could do all those things, except I'm in suburbia.

As you may have read before, I rebel in little ways. I wear clothes that people refer to as "grandma clothes." I have a love affair with the "grandma car" and I also possess the "grandma plates." I serve dinner and snacks and tea on these blue, old-fashioned beauties.

The grandma plates were actually bought with my ninety year old grandma. We went shopping together and I bought them on that memorable trip. I think about her pretty much every time I pull one out of the cupboard or put one in the dishwasher.

Sometimes I even see my plates in antique shops and e-bay auctions. They really are the best plates. They are light and durable. They go in the oven, the dishwasher and the microwave with no fuss. As I've said before, there's a reason we all love our grandmas.