Thursday, January 30, 2014

Snow dogs!

Hey!  Guess what kind of dog LOVES the snow???

My camera phone and my camera phone picture taking abilities are somewhat lacking...but he has a ball in his mouth.

Simba bucking like a mule in his special Playin'-ball-in-the-snow dance.

Finally remembers that he must retrieve the ball and bring it back if he's to have another go of chasing it down again.

Daughter takes better pictures with her phone

Yes, you guessed it.  Golden Retrievers LOVE the snow.  Golden Retrievers think that:

Snow + Tennis ball = Happiest fun time ever in the world!

He would play ball or stick or just prance around in the snow all the live-long day.  He ran in the snow. He played ball in the snow. He rolled in the snow.  He had a frosty-face from sticking his nose down in the snow and snuffling around.

Do you know what kind of dog HATES the snow?

I had to bodily carry her off of the deck.

She is hatin' everything right now...she ran off twice before I could snap a picture and I had go get her and carry her back where I was trying to get a picture.

Pweeze stop torturing me with this evil cold white stuff and let me go inside where things make sense.

Little chiweenie dogs, that's who hates snow.  Libby detests it.  We have to frog march her little butt outside and MAKE her soon as she is done, she's nothing but a black blur moving across the snow as she bullets back to the deck and the back door.
Her predominant chihauhau breeding is not conducive to cold living.  If we got snow more than once every three years, I'd probably have to buy her some snow booties and a jacket.
Hope you are all home and warm and safe!
I know it's been a harrowing couple of days for some.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Ode to my blue bra

Oh, blue bra!  How I am going to miss you!  You, who have been my faithful, reliable support for lo these many, many years.
Never in all of our time together have you sought to betray me by stabbing me with your underwire like some of your brethren.  Nor have you ever made me uncomfortable and caused be to cast you from me like others.
Not you, blue bra. were the perfect undergarment
Seemingly seamless, you could be worn under the lightest and most clinging of fabrics.  You could be worn under black, dark blue...even forest green.  You were lightly lined to be so breathable, yet I was never afraid I was nippin'. You were so adjustable, blue bra, that you stayed supporting me through weight fluctuations of plus or minus 20 pounds. 
You could be worn under sweaters in the winter.  In the summer, you worked with StrapEase like a pro and could be worn under any racer back top without making my boobs look all squished together in front like so, so many sports bras that could never be your equal.
I brought you with me, blue bra, when we bought our new home in 2004.  You are older than many of my pets.
I believe you had a good life, blue bra.  You were never subjected to the "normal" cycle of the washing machine like some common towel.  You were always cleansed with the mildest of detergents.  You have never known the harsh heat of the dryer.  I did what I could to increase your longevity, blue bra.  Everything that I knew to do.
But then, blue bra, this last Friday, the inevitable happened.  Sitting at my desk, I arched my back to stretch...and I felt something was awry.  Valiantly, you fought on to provide me strength and support...but now, with every reaching movement, I felt the wrongness increase.
Returning to our home afterwards, I was able to ascertain the extent of the damage:
Yes, the fabric at your very center had become old and frayed and finally, could not prevail against the forces applied so ruthlessly.  But 9.8 meters per second squared cannot be resisted forever...though so tirelessly you tried.
I wish I could believe that I will ever find your equal.  But alas, your tag is so old and faded, I cannot ascertain your manufacturer or even your size.  Were you a 42D, blue bra? Or a 40DD?  Your origins have been lost in the mists of time, I am afraid.
So farewell, faithful blue bra.  Others will come after you to take up your burden(s) but none will surpass you.

Cheatin Chicken and Dumplins

One of my all-time favorite childhood meals was chicken and dumplins. (They are dumplins...not dumplings). (Because I said so.  And more importantly, because my GRANNY said so.)  My Memaw and my Granny both made fantastic Chicken and Dumplins.  They made theirs from SCRATCH.  They used whole cut-up fryer chickens and boiled with celery and onion to make the broth...bones and skin included.  They made the dumplin dough from all-purpose flour and salt and baking powder with lard cut in with a pastry dough cutter (though Granny called it a biscuit dough cutter) and then added milk until you had your dumplin dough

(I actually have a biscuit dough cutter) looks like this:
Another view:

(I honestly have always thought it looked like some sort of martial arts weapon.  But the only folks you ever see with one of these are grannies and pastry chefs.  And in reality the blades are quite dull...they just look dangerous.)
At any rate...Memaw and Granny took hours to make their chicken and dumplins. 
When I started making them on my own, I considered what I did "cheating"...I'd get boneless, skinless chicken breasts and boil them...then add cream of chicken soup and maybe a bullion cube to make the soupy part richer.
My dumplins were made with Bisquick...soooo much easier than the from-scratch kind.  I liked them just fine...but Jeff is a pretty indifferent dumplin eater (just not his fave) and Daughter only likes Chicken and Dumplins made by HER Granny Doris (who follows the same sort of laborious process as my Granny and Memaw).  So even with the short-cuts I made, I still rarely went through the trouble since no one else in the house was all that excited about them.
Then the other day, my friend Annette made allusion to having a CROCK POT version of chicken and dumplins.  (What actually happened is she posted on Facebook that her rotten dog...let in for the day from the harsh Alabama winter...had pulled the crock pot into the floor and ruined her planned dinner of chicken and dumplins):

But I immediately latched on to the thought that you could make Chicken and Dumplins in a CROCK POT. What sorcery was this?
Anyone who knows me will tell you that crock pot cooking is my absolute FAVORITE kind of cooking.  I love, love, love coming home from work and....viola!...there's dinner...all ready to go.  Unfortunately, I live with the two pickiest eaters on the planet Earth, so a lot of viable recipes out there are unacceptable to their discerning palates.
Today I asked Annette for her's so simple, I'm a little frightened that it just CAN'T BE THAT EASY.  It's cheating at chicken and dumplins on a whole new scale that I didn't even know existed.
Granny and Memaw would no doubt fan themselves and say, "Awww, Lawdy!  These lazy kids today!"
But since I got it going an hour's starting to smell pretty darn good....
Annette's Cheatin Chicken and Dumplins
4-5 frozen chicken breasts
a stick of butter
a can of cream of chicken soup
salt and pepper
a diced onion
Throw into crockpot and add enough water to cover everything.  Put lid on crock pot and walk away for several hours.
A half hour or so before serving, remove lid and shred chicken with a couple of forks. Get two cans of whomp-em biscuits (the kind you whack on the cabinet edge until they make a whomp sound and pop open) Tear each biscuit into quarters and pop down into the chicken-y stuff in the crock pot.  Let your dumplins cook in there for 30 minutes and serve.
The only question hanging out there for me right it going to be more trouble to get dressed and go to the store to buy my whomp 'em biscuits or to whip up some Bisquick biscuit dough?  It seems like the first time out of the gate, I should stick to Annette's instructions...but on the other hand I really don't want to have to put on a bra.
I'll update later and give my results.
Errmygosh! That was fantastic!  Good ole comfort food at its finest.
I did end up using whomp biscuits...I didn't want to go to the store, but I didn't want to potentially screw the whole thing up by deviating from the precise instructions Annette gave me.
So...I got the vacuum cleaner out.
After vacuuming a couple of rooms, I went into the room where Jeff was at and started vacuuming in there...prompting him to ask, "Is there anything you need me to do?" (I know.  Manipulation via housecleaning...fine, go ahead and judge.)
So he ran over to Winn Dixie and got the biscuits for me. (Really?  I don't feel too guilty, because he doesn't have to put on additional undergarments and he won't run into anyone looking awful with greasy hair because he is bald.)
(Also...he got to eat some of the chicken and dumplins so it's only fair.)
Buy the kind that comes in 4packs of rolls...each roll containing 8 small biscuits.  Don't do the flaky or the buttery or the Grands...just your plain ole refrigerated biscuits.
The important thing is that you make this dish infused with love.  Also...that stick of butter.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Call me a conformist but...

I have noticed that the pro/con vaccination discussion seems to be a popular topic again.  Slate had this article recently.  One of my favorite authors, Quinn Cummings had this post on her blog in response to yet another article that was all about Jenny McCarthy and her wacky anti-vaccine stance.

As for my household...Jeff has no spleen...he lost it in a car accident 17 years ago.  That puts him at a serious risk if he's ever exposed to certain things.  So we are VERY pro-vaccinations.

And I must say that in my personal experience, the anti-vaccination crowd always seemed to consist of that very odd mix of conspiracy-theory/hippie/new-age-y folks that want so desperately to be non-conformists that they all sound alike.

We had an anti-vaccinator here at my place of employement. She CONTRIVED to be weird.  Besides harping on about the evils of vaccines, some of her other hobby-horses (I swear to God I am not making these up):

- Foreskin re-growth.  For men who wanted to un-do the "mutilation" that their parents had forced on them without their consent. (She was a big proponent of a product called "Tug-A-Hoy.")

(It works just like you would assume it does.  You know, I'm a GIRL and I? Can't. Even. Imagine.)

- Elimination communication. This is where you never put a diaper of any kind on your baby...from BIRTH...and you learn from his/her "elimination cues" when to hold them over a toilet.  After she had her first child, she met us all for lunch while she was out on maternity leave so we could all meet the little whipper snapper.  I'm pretty sure I made her mad when I didn't offer to hold him...but I'll tell you here and now that the only 3 week old baby I'll hold will be one strapped in tight to some sort of diaper (cloth or disposable...I'm not that picky) so that it doesn't leak all over me.

- She rescued pet rabbits, which was all fine and noble...but she'd rescued about eleventy-five of them and let them free-roam in her house....with her diaper-free baby and her vegetarian dogs.

And her vegetarian dogs.  She was a vegetarian herself, which, hey, is a choice many make...but then she went and deemed everything in the house a vegetarian too.  To this day I'd bet real money that more than one of the rescue rabbits went mysteriously "missing"  at the same time one of the dogs seemed a little friskier than usual. (You know, oddly enough?  She did vaccinate the dogs. WTH?)

- She was very anti-doctor (I guess that fits in with the anti-vaccine thing).  FYI, my opinion? Ob/Gyns are not the devil. If you had an epidural during childbirth, it doesn't mean that you didn't want to "connect" with your child during the birthing experience. Going to a hospital to deliver doesn't make you a victim of "Big Medicine." That's another whole topic that gets me spun up...she would act all smugy smug because SHE wasn't even going to use a midwife!  She and her husband alone were going to have their baby in a clear mountain stream or some crap.

I had MY baby (18 years ago) in a nice, climate controlled hospital. Which was a good thing, since her linebacker-like shoulders caused her to be obstructed. The hospital had the staff and the protocol to quickly react...she ended up with a broken collar bone...I ended up with a 4th degree  episiotomy(wince)...but we were both fine.

I would try to tell my story to little Miss but-I'm-so-much-more-progressive-than-you to try to convince her that MAYBE since she weighed approximately 85 pounds (16 of that looked to be baby) and since MAYBE this was her first child that she should at least consult a medical professional.  She would just smile and say (smugly) "I'll be fine.  You see, I trust God's design." (Meaning a woman's body.)  I wanted to scream, "No, Ms. Patchouli!  Your dogs eat weird meat-free kibble!  You DON'T trust God's design!  Because He?  Designed dogs to be carnivores!  You will not find any free-roaming wild packs of vegetarian dogs! I guarantee it!"

(Patchouli is something that the tree-hugging hippie ilk use instead of antiperspirant.  Because "Big Cosmetics" is trying to give you armpit cancer or some shit with real antiperspirant.  They think patchouli works just as well.  They are wrong).

There certainly wasn't any reasoning with her husband...I assume he had all of his attention directed at the quasi-semi-homemade "medical" device attached to the end of his manhood.  I suppose after she convinced him regarding THAT, giving up meat and having their first-born in a hospital were small potatoes.  Everyone knew who wore the pants in THAT family...and it wasn't him (or the baby).

Monday, January 20, 2014


Well, here we are.
My monkey is officially, legally an adult.
Now, she's not completely grown yet.  I know that.  She still has to graduate from high school.  She's not drinking age.  She still has to follow the rules of the house.  She'll still be partially dependent on us for awhile longer.

But in the eyes of the state, she's an adult.  She can get married if she wants (gah!). She can vote. She can own property. She can pierce or tattoo whatever she wants without a consent form.

How can something happen so slow and so fast at the same time?  Because in some ways it seems like she has always been in my life, always been with me.  In other ways it seems like it is too soon, too soon for her to be on the brink of leaving home...leaving her father...leaving me.

I remember 18 years (plus 4 or 5 days) ago, I was in the bath tub (the only place that my back felt good) soaking in the warm water, talking to my belly and feeling her turn and nudge and kick...when I had an absolute God-awful panic attack.  In just a few short days, I'd be giving birth to my little baby.  And there she'd be...this little helpless, tiny thing...on the outside where ANYTHING could happen to her.  She was going to be so fragile!  So easily hurt!  I mean, come on!  Babies come with a HOLE in the top of their heads!  How can you be vigilant enough to keep them safe?  Once she was could I ever possibly keep her this safe again???
I got out of the tub, dried off and went and found Jeff and blurted all of this out.  Bless his heart, by month nine, he was no longer incredulous when I went completely insane...he just hugged me and told me that everything would be fine and that once I had her in my arms I would be glad that I wasn't just going to stay pregnant for the rest of my life. (as if I had a choice)

And he was right.  As much as I'd loved that little booger while I carried her...meeting her for the first time took all of that love, all of those motherly instincts and blew them up by approximately a thousand percent.

As I rocked her and nursed her and played with her little fingers and toes, I learned a lot of new things.  I learned that I had much more capacity for love than I ever suspected.  I learned that I was both harder and softer than I had ever suspected.  Just the thought of someone harming this child made me see honest-to-God see red...that had never happened before...I thought it was just an expression. But no, I knew I could inflict bodily harm...even a murder if it meant protecting this little person. One the other hand, looking into her tiny, beautiful face, I knew that no matter what, she was in my heart and nothing that she or anyone else ever said or did would ever change that.

I also learned at that moment that all of that stuff that was "important" to me before?  All of the things in my life that were "precious"?  Could all go up in flames and as long as I had this child and she was healthy and happy and whole, I would be fine.

And here we are 18 years later...and I've got some of the same feelings and same doubts.  What a big, bad, ugly world it can be out there!  Jeff and I have raised her well.  She's so talented and intelligent!  But there's so much BAD stuff out there!  I find myself thinking again, "What if something happens to her??"  But I have to take a deep breath and that this transition will be as wonderful as the last one.  That as I move from teaching and disciplining and raising and into my new role of mentoring and advising and consoling and sharing that the rewards will balance the sadness of my empty nest.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Stone soup

Back when I was young, my Granny had an entire set of Collier's Encyclopedia.  She kept them in this armoire/secretary kind of thing that looked like it was meant exactly for it.  It was glass fronted and had shelves that held the Encyclopedia volumes PERFECTLY.  
(Christmas 1979.  Me, my brother, my sister. See the piece of furniture half-hidden behind the Christmas tree?  See the black and red Encyclopedias?  What do you call a piece of furniture like that?  I would LOVE to get my hands on one, whatever it is)

In addition to the encyclopedias, Granny had a set of books called the Collier's Junior Classics (they are on the top shelf).  I think this was a bonus set of books that you got when you bought the really nice set of Encyclopedias.  I used the Encyclopedias for schoolwork...but the Junior Classics were for enjoyment.

I cannot possibly tell you how much I loved these books...or how many hours I spent on my Granny's living room floor reading the stories out of them.  My favorite volume was the one with lots of Greek and Roman mythology (I think it was Roads to Greatness).  I read ALL of the volumes though, numerous times.  One of the stories that really stuck with me my whole life was called "Stone Soup." I think it might have been in the volume Once Upon a Time.  The gist of the story goes something like this (from what I remember):

A couple of travelers come into a village...they are a scroungy looking couple of immediately, the villagers confront them and tell them that theirs is a poor village that they cannot give them anything to eat...yada, yada, yada.
One of the fellows gets a pot out of the things he's carrying and the other guy gets a stone out of his bag...they tell the villagers that they were actually hoping to feed THEM since they'd heard all about how poor the village was.  They had this magic stone that made stone soup.
So they get some water going over a fire, put the stone in the pot and sit back and wait for the stone soup to get ready.  While it's "cooking" they start talking about how even though stone soup is sure does taste better when you add a little of the villagers says "Hey!  I can spare an onion!"  and so on...they get the villagers to add carrots, a little sausage, beans, corn, etc...then they do feed the whole village and everyone talks about how great the soup is.
It's basically a parable about if we all pull together, we can make something great.
But because of that story (and the blue-gillionth time I read it aloud) anytime we were just throwing together soup or stew from odds and ends out of leftovers and adding whatever was handy in the freezer or cabinets, my family called that "Stone Soup."
As you would expect, Stone Soup is never exactly the same twice.  Very often, the base for Stone Soup is whatever I have left over whenever I make a crockpot roast.  Recently, I made a batch of Stone Soup...this one heavily influenced by a crockpot recipe that I read off of Stacey Ballis's blog The Polymath Chronicles.  I had never used a grain in my stone soup before... but her recipe called for one & I decided I'd give it a try.  She used barley, I think...I had some quinoa in the cabinet, so that's what went in mine. (I had bought some quinoa at Trader Joe's because it'd read all about it's attributes recently...then never really had any chance to use it because I had forgotten that I lived with the two pickiest eaters in the entire Northern American continent).
Also from Ms. Ballis's influence, some lentils...another food item I should probably eat more often and that my family never will.  Anyway, I threw it all together and let it cook for a few hours...cooled it in the fridge overnight and brought it to work to feed to the hungry hordes here (If I'm trying new stuff, woe to me if I should spring something like quinoa on my two at home.  I do my test marketing at work.  Because my office?  Will eat anything.)  My co-workers have eaten many, many variations of my Stone Soup.  But several of them have declared this batch my best I thought I'd write down what went into it while I still remembered & share it with all.

This whole things starts with the leftovers of a crockpot first, the crockpot roast:

Beef roast
Lawry's seasoned salt
fingerling potatoes (about a pound...whatever the standard small bag they sell in the produce section is)
small bag of baby carrots
medium white onion (peeled and quartered)
2 packets of au jus seasoning

Get your beef roast (shoulder, chuck or bottom round) and dry rub with Lawry's seasoned salt
Place it in the bottom of your crock pot
Put veggies on top
Mix au jus dry mix with about 4 cups of water
Pour into crock pot
Add any additional water needed to cover the meat and vegetables

The best thing to do is throw this together before you leave for work, set on 10 hours/low and leave...then you come home to a cooked meal, Yay!

Now, on to the stone soup:

AFTER you've eaten what you want of the roast and vegetables, remove any remaining meat and veggies with a slotted spoon from the "juice" in the crockpot to a cutting board and coarsely chop.  Return to the liquid that you cooked the roast in...everything after this is stone soup.  This latest batch I added:

(1) large 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
(2) cans of drained yellow whole kernel corn
(1) can of drained kitchen sliced green beans
(1) cup of uncooked quinoa
(1/2) cup uncooked dried lentils
2 or 3 pinches of red pepper flakes (Stacey's recommendation)
2 TBL Tony Tchathery's seasoning
2 or 3 dashes of worcestershire sauce

Also...Stacey had said that she had a parmesan cheese rind that she tucked into her soup and removed before serving.  I didn't have a cheese rind...and when I asked the guy working the deli at Winn Dixie if he did, he just gave me a very bewildered look.  Winn Dixie is really great about saving you a neck bone, or some hog jowl or fat back (or pigs' feet or tails for that matter) if you ask them.  They just must not get too many requests for rinds from fancy cheeses.
However, I had recently purchased some parmesan reggiano cheese bites for the monkey

because she has a habit of buying $15 wedges of parmesan reggiano, eating a smidge of it and then forgetting all about it. (These were $7.99 per 6 bites normally, but on sale 1/2 off)  Of course, she tasted these individually wrapped chunks and declared them foul and evil.

I tried one and it tasted like a hunk of the $15 cheese to me.  Anyway, I pulled the bag out...there were 3 left (Jeff must have tried it too) and so I unwrapped them and put those down in the soup...where they melted.  Whatever effect putting a cheese rind in your soup and taking it out was supposed to have, I missed.  But I do think melting some in the soup added another layer of flavor to mine plus helped thicken the soup juice as well.  It's probably something I will do again.

Anyway, hope you guys try my version, your own version or hop over to Stacey Ballis's blog and try hers (hers is more fancy).
Bonus picture!  While looking for an old photo that showed the secretary/armoire thingy, I found this one of me & my dad (also in Granny's living room).  I can't believe how hideously awful/wonderful the plaid pants are...
Also?  No idea what my shirt is saying. 
Are you loving my bangs?


I think it is wrong to label people, but when you do it to yourself...I lose a lot of sympathy for you.

I've been trying to think of a rational reason why someone would pay EXTRA to get this car tag and cannot think of one.

Monday, January 13, 2014

You might be a redneck if...

So Jeff and I were tooling around Bed, Bath and Beyond looking for some calendars for our offices and home.  The evil squirrel calendar of 2013 has been taken down. (I replaced it with a calendar full of sneepy kitties) 

After picking up another Turvis tumbler for myself (I have a problem) and checking to see if they had any new egg plates (okay, maybe more than one problem), I we turned the corner into the bedding section and I saw this:

Yes.  Camo bedding.  And the thing wasn't just some freak, one-off thing.  There were competing companies...Browning, Cabella, Bonecollector...
There were matching throw pillows and themed deer-head sheets...
If that weren't can extend the Deer-slayer theme right into the bathroom as well...

But what about when deer season is over?  Well, I'm glad you asked...because if you prefer winged prey over the four-footed, you can keep company with these guys:
Nothing like four bearded dudes in camouflage staring at you while you pee.
Now, I'm not red neck bashing...Lord knows I've eaten my share of turnip greens, fried green tomatoes and frog legs in my life.  My daddy kept a mason jar of (equal parts) lemon juice, honey and 'shine in the freezer to use as cough medicine.  But folks, red-neck chic just isn't something I'm ready for...I really don't think it's something I will ever be ready for.

P.S.  I wonder...since I did this post awhile back...suppose you were wearing your camo lingerie in your camo'd bedroom...would your man be extremely turned on?  Or would he even be able to find you?


Friday, January 10, 2014

Please! Make it Stop!

According to my sources (gossip on the internet) there is a distinct possibility that Hollywood will be making yet another Sex and the City movie.

Guys, whatever we must do...we have to stop that from happening.  SATC the series was fun to watch, if predictable...the first SATC movie pretty neatly tied up the loose ends from the series.  Then came SATC 2.

I don't know when I've seen a worse movie.  My friends and I went to see it on opening weekend...we met for (of course) cosmos beforehand and then we all loaded up and went to the theater.
The only reason that night wasn't a complete disaster is because I was with my friends, and it takes much more than some stupid dialog, forced acting and ridiculous script to completely ruin a night out with them.  But this movie tried...oh how it tried.
I don't know how many bazillions of dollars were spent on this goat-rope...the producers must have had more money than sense...
"Hey guys!  Liza Minelli and Hannah Montana want cameos!"
"On it!"
So we end up with a Liza musical number to a Beyonce song and Miley Cyrus (pre-skanky) running into Samantha (they are dressed the same, though there is a 40 year age difference) on the red carpet. Liza, bless her heart, looks like a caricature of herself.  Some of the drag queen back-up dancers looked more like Liza than Liza did.  The Miley/Cattrall mash-up did nothing more than sharpen the focus on how old and inappropriate Samantha's  character continues to be.

After that, the plot really gets stupid and we end up in a bazaar in Abu Dubai with the girls (and I use this term loosely because Kim Cattrell???  Needs to stop) being pursued by an angry mob of Arabic men.  Fortunately, a couple of burka-clad women whisk them to safety and give them spare robes to sneak out safely.  Unfortunately, Charolette gets separated from the group because she's shopping for souvenirs (after nearly being stoned to death by the angry mob)...the other chicks have to locate her by looking for her haute couture shoes sticking out from beneath her burka.

Honestly, except for two sex scenes, the entire scripts seemed like an adaption of an old Scooby Doo episode. 
I really expected ole Scoob to poke his head out of one of the containers in the bazaar as the ladies were finally together and sneaking out past the mob.

In retrospect, I shouldn't have been expecting much considering that I got my ticket using a coupon for a free showing of SATC out of a tampon box (not making that up).

So no, I DON'T need to know if Carrie's "punishment" of having to wear a 5 carat diamond ring helps her to stay faithful...or if Miranda ever gets to kick Ron White in the junk for being a bad boss (Ron?? What were you thinking, Honey?)...or if Charlotte ever learns not to wear $500 white pants while baking red velvet cupcakes.  And don't even get me started about how little I care about what's next for Samantha.  We're done here. 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Monkey business

When I first found out I was pregnant with my daughter...before we knew that she was a she...Jeff had already starting calling her "Monkey" or "the monkey".  She's heard it her whole life...with variations of "silly monkey", "monkey-butt" and "monkey girl" thrown in occassionally. When she was little she was CONSTANTLY clinging on me (like a monkey).  When we'd see a monkey on a card or on the TV or whatever, Jeff would say to her, "Look!  When did they put you on TV?" and both of them would DIE laughing.
This year for Christmas, Daughter found a jewelry artist by the name of Mark Poulin that makes Mother/Daughter matching necklaces.  You can get Mommy and Baby whales, bunnies or monkeys.  She got us matching monkeys.
Here I am wearing my Mommy monkey:

No, I don't know what's with the maniacal look on my face.

Close up of my necklace.  Also?  Some gratuitous cleavage shot.

I love my Mommy monkey necklace.  I think it is so sweet that my almost 18-year-old daughter still embraces her childhood nickname.  I love that the Mommy monkey and the baby monkey are holding little hearts.  However, I can't help but think that the "monkeys" look a bit like sloths.  Or maybe even that they look exactly like sloths.  I went to the site where she bought them...

and sure enough, they are billed as monkeys. (You can check out the link here) But still...what do you guys think?

Monkeys or sloths?

Tuesday, January 7, 2014


It was seven degrees this morning when I left the house. Seven. Degrees. As in Farenheit.
I live in Alabama...and single digit temperatures are INSANE.  If I have to live with 2 months of 95 degree heat and 112% humidity, I should never have to tolerate single digit cold.
By the way...every snarky, mean remark I ever made about my daughter's UGG boots?  I take them back.  I know they aren't very attractive...but when it is seven degrees outside, they are like a gift from heaven, lined with the perfect material designed by God's angels to keep your feet warm outside, and yet don't get all sweaty and gross when you're indoors.

I know Jeff is unlikely to tackle me when I come through the door and drag me upstairs because of all of the sexy hotness I radiate when wearing UGGS, but considering I also don't have to worry about losing toes to frostbite, I'm good.

Speaking of sexy know what's not helping the UGGS?  The fact that the leggings I'm wearing that looked like this in the light when I put them on:

Look like this in my office:

Yep...Imma wearing blue leggings with a houndstooth sweater, black skirt and UGG boots.  Basically, I'm dressed like a bag lady.  A warm bag lady, but still.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Letter to my future...

You know how folks are always writing those "Letter to my future husband" and "Letter to my future children" and such?  Well, this is a letter to my daughter's future roommate(s).  It's NOT a letter to my future son-in-law.  I'm hoping that if she's marrying him, he's smart enough to have done his own due-diligence and knows what he's getting into and considers her worth it.
Her future roommate, on the other hand, will probably get picked by the university and will just be stuck with her for a year.  And to that roommate, let me say:
I. Am. Sorry.
I take full responsibility for the fact that my child is a slob.  I guess, though, when I was picking my battles about the importance of her education, the character of her friends, the endless arguments over boys...that by the time it came to her cleanliness...I had run out of steam.
Now...her PERSONAL hygiene is flawless.  That much came out okay.  But insofar as her housekeeping?  I would like to say that it is non-existent.  But that would actually make it sound benign.  My daughter is some kind of anti-clean-house force of nature.
A large part of the problem is that she has three rooms in which to wreak havoc...and the doors to these rooms stay closed most of the time.  If I had had to look at the mayhem all of the time, I'm sure it would have bugged me enough to bump housekeeping up the list of child-rearing priorities.
This is her "TV room". It's actually more like a prep room...where she curls her hair and puts her makeup on...and keeps her shoes.  See the cubby we put in to organize her shoes?  Yeah, she pretty much ignores that in favor of a big ole pile of shoes in the middle of the floor.  Once every few months I wander in and see what a disaster it is and demand she straighten it up.

Bathroom...again, because she's the only one that uses it, I rarely get inside to see how bad it're looking at eleventy-five different moisturizers, conditioners, skin care paraphernalia all haphazardly flung about.

But here is where I start getting a bit squicked out.  The other stuff?  Is mostly clutter.  And clutter, while annoying, isn't a health risk.  This tub on the other hand?  I think the stuff growing in it might be a new life-form.  Perhaps even one we need to have vaccinations against.


My only hope is that the bathtub scum never escapes its environment and mates with whatever hair/fur/lint/fuzz creature that is slowly evolving in the corners of her bathroom floor. Blech.  I think it's made out of the fur remnants of 5 different animals that live in the house, plus daughter's hair.  Occasionally, you'll find a Q-tip or bobby-pin ensnared as well.
Again...Future daughter's apologies.  My daughter has some fantastic qualities...she is a lovely human being, fiercely loyal, smart and funny.  And an amazing cook and baker.  But the housecleaning thing?  Is a biggie to get past, I know.  I do think your life will be forever enriched if you can deal with it.  Just make sure you're up to date on all of your shots.