Saturday, May 30, 2009

Afternoon at the Movies

It seems like there is nothing more relaxing than an afternoon at the movies. With the temperature climbing, I thought a family movie day was in order. You'd think that would be easy... Trust me, it's not! First, consider the age spread of our flock. At the high end, we have the Senior Citizens (No! Not me!!! grandma and grandpa! sheesh...), at the low end we have the kindergarten-graduated Little Buddies. Between, we have the teen, the tween, The Mister, and myself... Now try finding a movie that everyone is willing to see!

Enter, the second dilemma... We settled on a movie--UP--but, lucky us, it comes is two versions, 3D and 2D...

For those of you who haven't met JJ, let's just say he has issues. And 3D cinema comprises a major portion of his entertainment issues... He hates 3D. And no, hate is not too strong a word... Of course, everyone else (I thought) was excited to see the 3D version of the movie. After all, how many 3D movies are released each year--it's a fun change of pace, right?

Grandma and I decided to accompany JJ to the 2D version, leaving the rest of the clan to attend the 3D showing. Thank heaven I confirmed with everyone before purchasing my tickets in advance!

As it turns out, The Boy didn't want to wear the goofy glasses, and Zeke wants to sit next to JJ. So that leaves The Mister, grandpa, HRH, and Max in the 3D showing.

Of course, there are still issues because HRH doesn't want to be the only girl in her group, but she doesn't want to sacrifice the 3D experience. And just as a side note, Max (while insistent that he must attend the 3D version) has problems with his vision. Technically, we are paying more for his 3D ticket (3D showings cost $2/person more) so he can attend the 3D showing, but he physically cannot see 3D. He has no depth perception, so the 3D technology is lost on him... Geez!

After much discussion about which theater, what time, and who will sit by whom, we made it to the movie(s). The kids claimed to love it. Grandma said it was cute. I'm going to tell everyone how much I loved it, and how cute it was too... But don't tell my kids... I actually fell asleep! I'm sure glad mine wasn't one of those expensive 3D tickets!!!

Friday, May 29, 2009

"Fresh" is a relative term.

While staying in Rome, we found a mercato where we could buy just about anything. Although we didn't buy much, it was interesting to poke around a little bit. It was fun to see Coke Light, Nestle' Cereal, individual serving sized Nutella... Definitely things you don't see in our local grocery stores.

I know that different cultures have different ways of doing things. But there are a few things (in my opinion) that just defy good sense. Case in point: We stumbled onto the fresh section of the store. Fresh produce, some of it familiar, some of it not so much. Cold milk. The butcher's counter. And we then we noticed this:

Here, let me give you a better look...

Yep. Those are eggs. Fresh eggs. Six of 'em. And are they in a cooler? No, no they are not. They were sitting on a warm shelf in the back of the store. And more disturbing, the sell by date was three weeks out. Eeeew! Does that kinda make you feel oookie, too?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

2009 Graduation

This is how a 2009 Lone Peak High School Graduate looks.

Isn't it awesome?!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Proud Momma

I'm gonna brag just a little bit (ok, maybe a lot!). If you don't like that kind of stuff--feel free to move along.

You've been warned... Here goes...

The Boy started his senior year of high school in a precarious situation. He had not passed many classes, due to lack of effort, not lack of ability. He claimed to be bored, and never seemed to stay focused long enough to get his assignments finished and handed in. The past few years have been a frustrating struggle. But at the end of last year, he decided to make a run at graduation. I really didn't think he'd make it, but today I got a text message from him that said,

Cap and gown in hand.

Last summer, and for the whole of this school year, The Boy has worked like a madman. He attended school, working hard to keep his grades up. And after school, he worked with a private tutor to get some independent study courses done. I think his tutor must be part slave driver, and part magician. When she said she could help him to graduate with his class, I thought she might even be a little delusional... But no, she's just amazing!

The Boy worked under the supervision of his tutor-extraordinaire, and took his last exam today. He had it done by about 9am, which is cutting it a little close given that his grades all needed to be turned in by noon to qualify him for graduation... But he did it! YAY! My boy is graduating!

I know that his Senior Year wasn't all he hoped it would be. There were not many afternoons left free for friends. Nearly all his time was taken up with course work, reading, commuting to the tutor, going to BYU for testing, and listening to us tell him how important this is... And I couldn't be prouder of him for all his hard work. It has really paid off. And someday, I hope he realizes what a great accomplishment this is. He has achieved what I thought was going to be impossible. And he's done it well. Congratulations! You did it! I'm so proud of you!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Springtime Snowballs

After a long winter of snow storms, snowdrifts, snow plows, and and snow men... This is the only snow I want to see in my front yard for quite some time... Like, maybe until October... Although November would be nice--but I know that's asking too much!

But aren't they purty?! Plump bunches of blossoms, all gathered into perfect little pom-pons. I love these cute little snowballs!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Happy Memorial Day

I think it's safe to say that I come from a patriotic family. My grandfather was a Colonel in the Air Force. I remember him displaying the flag from a bracket and pole next to the front door of his house. My dad took up the tradition as well. We always flew a flag on important occasions.

Many people view July as the month for patriotism. And I remember our family gatherings on the Fourth of July. I remember that my cousins and I stopped at every flag along the street to say the Pledge of Allegiance. But more importantly, I remember Memorial Day. And I knew the meaning of that holiday as well.

I don't think there were many kids my age who knew the reason behind this holiday. They identified Memorial Day only because it heralded the coming of summer vacation. But I learned the meaning at a young age. In fact, I served as Miss Poppy for our local American Legion Auxiliary post when I was about eight years old. That year, I visited several area cemeteries, gave speeches, and placed wreathes on the flagpoles. To this day, I try to make my annual contribution by purchasing a veteran-made, paper poppy. I know it might seem like an insignificant gesture to some, but to me, it isn't.

My family had a Memorial Day tradition of it's own. Every year we made the trek to scattered cemeteries to place flowers on the graves of family members. Fillmore, Hinckley, Spanish Fork... Those were the important destinations for our family for the weekend. And as we tidied the headstones, and placed flowers and wreaths, we were reminded of who these people were, and why they were significant. I can't say I always enjoyed the hours-long car ride, but I recognized it's importance. And I did learn our family history in a way that made those far-gone people seem relevant to me and my life.

I know my mom worries that this tradition of placing flowers on the graves will die with her generation. And while I can't promise to locate all the family markers, I do recognize the importance of the tradition. And I won't ever forget the stories that my grandma shared with me. So, don't worry mom... When the time comes, I'll do my best to honor the tradition. Thanks for sharing it with me.

Farewell to the Volvo

This is the damage. Glad nobody was hurt!

Goodbye. Hope to see you soon!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Happy Birthday Kat!


It's a quiet, Sunday afternoon... The perfect time for a rainstorm.

Saturday is full of errands, obligations, and activities. I love the shopping, and the rushing about. The soccer games, the dance rehearsals, the parties. I look forward to movie night or dinner out with friends. I love spending the day in capris and flip-flops... But I'm always tired at the end of it.

But Sunday is a different kind of day. For us, it's truly a day full of family time. We attend our church meetings, but aside from that, the day is calm and unstructured. I love the unhurried mellowness of the last day of the weekend. I love dinner at grandma's house. Chatting after the dishes are done. Going for a walk...

Sundays are the best. The only thing better? A rainy, springtime Sunday... Just like today!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Someone thinks I'm AWESOME.

One of my bloggy friends just tagged me for being one of seven awesome people she knows.

First off, I should probably confess that she lives in Germany (so we're not exactly neighbors...). And she has never met me in person, nor have we ever spoken with one another. So, obviously, it was no great effort to fool her, as people are often not what they seem on the Internet!

But, to her credit, I believe she is awesome, too. And I'm pretty good at reading people--even the virtual kind. So you'll just have to trust me, and go check her out for yourself here.

Thanks for the honor! But I'm truly not sure I can live up to your perception of my awesomeness...

Here goes... These are the rules as I understand them: list 7 awesome things about you, tag 7 other awesome people to do the same.

1. I delivered five, very cute, reasonably healthy babies into the world--the last three were delivered within 120 seconds of each other. Not a recommended method of increasing the family in any kind of sane way... But obviously doable!

2. I can fly across any ocean or continent without ever setting foot in the airplane lav. I've just done it twice in the past 2 weeks. I'm pretty sure I can "hold it" for 18 hours, although that probably isn't recommended either.

3. I've broken lots of bones, but not because I'm accident prone. I'm not an accident waiting to happen, I just know how to play hard. I've earned every one of my injuries. Including the hand I broke while doing a somersault.

4. I once convinced my 17-year-old son to answer his phone (for a week) by saying, "Hello, this is Mike. My mom's awesome." Is that a sure sign of awesomeness or what?!

5. My Little Buddies think I'm pretty. And cool. And they like my cooking (even the slap-it- together-quick sandwich-making kind of cooking).

6. I'm great at making desserts. I can whip up some amazing frozen yogurt. I also make a pretty mean peach cobbler.

7. I actually think in rhyme, I've done it for as long as I can remember. It's weird--but awesome if you're into writing greeting cards or poetry!

OK--so I'm awesome for weirdness. I can live with that!

Now here's the bad thing. I don't think it's fair to do Tag-Backs, so HoneyPieHorse, you're off the hook! And besides HPH's blog, there are very few I read on a regular basis. So I'm only tagging two:

Olivia at Polka Dot Jumper
Julie at Hearts Full of Joy

I'm sorry, I know that's breaking the rules... But I'm offering two really awesome bloggers!

Friday, May 22, 2009

I called it.

I took my camera to the shop today. Guess what... It worked perfectly! Aarg! They are sending it in anyway for diagnostics and a cleaning. I hope they find the problem. I sent it off with a promise from them that it will be back in time for my trip to New York City. But I won't have it for The Boy's high school graduation next week.

Oh well--I've been demoted to a point and shoot model. Bummer. But Yay! He's graduating!!!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Isn't it just the way...

After arriving home yesterday, I removed my media storage cards from my camera and uploaded all the photos. I wanted to make sure I had taken care of that before sending my camera off to the repair shop. Afterward, on a whim, I decided to try it out again to see if a little down time and a day of rest had convinced it to work again.

You know the answer--right?

While my camera is not in perfect working order, it is performing significantly better. Isn't that the way it always goes? And by tomorrow, when I take it in for repairs, I'm sure it will work flawlessly. I just hate that!

I'm sorry ma'am, but I don't see the problem. It seems to be working just fine...

Aarg! And so I'll take it home, and pack it up again for my trip to NYC. But we all know what will happen when I get there... And so the cycle begins...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Home Again

We made it home after many (many, many) hours of travel. The longest part of the trip was that last 90 minutes we spent waiting for our last piece of luggage (without access to a bathroom!).

Ah. So good to be home. But... So. Tired.

Updates will have to wait for tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

No photo... But lots of memories.

Today is our last day in Rome and we have no photos to share. The camera is broken and I am saddened that I missed several photo ops today.

We will grab a taxi at 4am tomorrow to go to the airport. But tonight we will celebrate for the last time with dinner under an umbrella at Piazza Navona. We love sitting in front of the fountain and listening to the singing and watching the street performers.

We strolled through Trastevere this afternoon and enjoyed a lemon ice while lounging near Ponte Fabricio (the oldest bridge across the Tiber). We love all the little shops and the friendly shopkeepers. I'll miss our ambling walks around town. I don't think I've ever walked so much in my life! But I've enjoyed every step!

See you soon! Hugs and Kisses!!!

Scalinatella di Spagna

We hiked our way across town to the Spanish Steps today. Past Piazza Venezia, the Pantheon, Sant Ignazio, and Trevi (where a kind stranger took our photo), arriving at the famous Spanish Steps and the top of Via Condotti.

We spent an hour or so just shopping... Prada, Fendi, Gucci, YSL, Louis Vuitton, Armani, Bulgari, Celine, you name it! Of course, our shopping was of the "window" variety. I fell in love with a beautiful Prada--but alas, although I married a prince, he is not a wealthy prince!

On our return to the apartment, we stopped by the open market at Campo. The fresh strawberries we bought there a couple of days ago were simply delicious! So sweet and flavorful, served with a beautiful Balsalmic Crema. Yum!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Vaticano e Trevi

Today was dedicated to the investigation of Citta Del Vaticano. We toured Basilica di San Pietro (St. Peter's Bascilica) on our own, and then we joined a tour group.

I learned a lot today--for instance, did you know that the term vatican has no actual religious meaning? It just so happens that the center of the Roman Catholic Church was built upon the Vatican Hills. Thus the name...

And did you know that the Vatican is guarded by the Swiss Guard? Well it is--but why do they wear those funny uniforms? No, I'm really asking, why do they where them??? I really want to know!

Did you know the Vatican is a city/state? And that they have their own postal service and banking system? Some of you may actually get postcards from a Vatican Post Office. IF the US postal service delivers it without a zipcode--oops! Did you also know that they have their own money--but the money is in the form of collector coins and can't actually be used?

We found it very interesting that people seemed to enjoy taking photos of the deceased Popes who were laying in repose in St. Peter's Bascilica. I enjoyed the sculpture and the frescos, but I can do without photos of the deceased.

I can't imagine how many people and how many hours went into the creation of these famous structures. Simply impressive. Although, to be honest--I enjoyed the works by Raphael more than I enjoyed the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Sorry, but true. Maybe it was because it was crowded in there, and uncomfortable looking at the ceiling for any length of time. Or maybe it was because our guide shared interesting commentary about Raphael, and I enjoyed picking out the details he described. No offense, Michelangelo!

After leaving the Vatican, we took a taxi through Trastevere and over the Tiber River. Our next stop was the Pantheon.

We had been to the Pantheon before, but for some reason, we always arrive just as it's closing. So today we made it in time to go in and see the oculus. The Pantheon is especially impressive when you realize that the dome was constructed without the use of scaffolding. The builders used rock-climbing ropes. Sounds dangerous to me!

And the oculus is so cool! Does anyone know if it's really true that rain never falls through the opening because of the updrafts? I wish it had rained today so I could witness that!

We finally made it to Trevi Fountain today. It was certainly a spectacle! I can't believe the hordes of people who just sit around and enjoy the sights. It was certainly a great place for people watching. And we topped off the day with a gelato from our favorite gelataria. And for those of you who were wondering... I counted 109 flavors of gelato. I hope I didn't miss any...

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sunday in the Jewish Ghetto

Our day started with the sounds of a lively neighborhood. The couple downstairs entertained us with their version of a Italian tune, sung at the top of their lungs. The woman across the balcony sneezed, very loudly, and repeatedly for over an hour. The guys who had the party last night with all the laughing and storytelling were sleeping late... It's a fun place to be, but don't expect any privacy!

We decided to be locals today and take public transportation. We walked all over town to get to the bus stop we needed to take the bus to Via Appia Antica. On the way home, we discovered a bus stop just down the street from our apartment. At one stop, we waited for 30 minutes before a bus arrived, just to tell us we were at the wrong stop!

At Via Appia Antica we toured the Catacombs. Specifically, we toured Catacombe di San Callisto. It was a little claustrophobia inducing... But kinda cool! The park-like setting above the catacombs is the perfect place for a Sunday afternoon picnic--but we opted for gelato, instead!

On the way home, we stopped at Musei Capitolini. We looked at statues and paintings until I thought I would faint from the heat and exhaustion.

This evening, we ate dinner here, in the Ghetto. We had the traditional meal of carciofi alla guidia and filetti di baccala--otherwise known as deep fried artichoke, and battered salt-cod fillets. It was delicious--especially when topped off with another gelato!

We got gelato at a new place we found, just a few blocks north of the Pantheon. There were too many choices! And it was interesting to note that while the place was packed, there were no children in sight! These clamoring clients were all adults!

To purchase one of these coveted gelato treats, you pay for the gelato first. After paying, you wait in line, hoping that the server will pick your ticket next. And look at the final result! Well worth the wait!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Dead on my feet...

Our day began with food... The perfect beginning to any day...

We slept in, then went to the open air market at Campo de Fiori.
We bought pastry, fresh berries, and fresh pasta and veggies for tomorrow.

After taking our food back to the apartment, we went sight seeing.

Our tour of the city began right outside our door. We are literally neighbors with the Portico d'Ottavia. Just past Ottavia is Teatro di Marcello. With only a hop, skip, and a jump, we were in the Colosseum and the Forum. We lucked onto a very knowledgeable tour guide and for 12 EU each, our afternoon was very well spent. We took a little time for a photo op at the Colosseum here...

Then, this Gladiator challenged The Mister. But we didn't want to humiliate Gladiator Man, so we decided it was time to move on...

This evening, we decided to meet with friends for dinner. We walked to Piazza Navona where we found a little cafe table from which we could people-watch. We located ourselves right in front of Bernini's Four Rivers Fountain. We enjoyed another lively evening of pasta, pizza, and conversation. While taking in the excitement of the Piazza. Later, we walked back to our apartment to relax for a while. We're having so much fun getting to know new people and discovering new things about this city.

Tomorrow we are going to Appian Way to enjoy the scenery and to visit the catacombs. Afterward, I would like to wander through Trastevere. But we'll just have to wait and see what tomorrow brings...

Friday, May 15, 2009


First things first... The Boy didn't like the little Italian automobile that we picked out for him. How about this Ducati instead? You like???

We arrived in Rome, Italy today. It was a quick flight, during which I took a much needed nap. It was quite an adventure getting to our apartment in the Jewish Ghetto area of the historic district. First, public transportation is striking, so everyone is on the streets in private cars or in taxis. There was a lot of traffic. Our second obstacle is the fact that nobody seems to speak English. And as you know, my Italian lessons didn't really prepare me for conversing with any semblance of intelligence. Our driver was very nice, and avoided traffic accidents while trying to figure out exactly what we were trying to ask him.

We arrived at our apartment only to find it locked and empty. It took some phone calls and a helpful neighbor to get someone here with the key. Grazie, Shopkeeper Man--I'll come buy trinkets and postcards from you tomorrow! And thank you Veronica--thanks for bringing the keys! Palazzo dei Fabii is on a cute street with loads of charming people and trattoria.

The next little quirk in our day was when Veronica left. She closed the doors (yep, plural) as well as the gates (again, plural) and then we realized that we didn't know how to get out! For a while there, I was pretty sure we were going to spend the following few days locked in this apartment. But after some messing around with the locks and a set of keys, I figured out how to get us released from our (potential) Roman prison.

We were meeting friends for dinner tonight and decided to walk to their hotel. The "helpful" polizia pointed us in exactly the wrong direction. Our half mile walk took us about one and a half miles. But we saw a lot of cool stuff and stopped for gelato along the way. An evening with friends, a pizza,some pasta and some gelato, it wasn't a wasted effort after all!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

It's our last day in Greece

Our party tonight was amazing! It was held at a private house on the beach. The house was beautiful, and open all across the back to take advantage of the views of the water and the cool breezes. There was a live DJ and dancing. And after watching some of the dancing, I've decided that there was also an (over) abundance of drinking!

The food was incredible. The evening was beautiful. We couldn't have asked for a better way to end our time in Greece.

As we were leaving, we discovered that the house next door may have had a party to outdo ours. There were Porches, Ferraris, Lexus', BMWs, Mercedes... I wonder who the host for that party was!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Lots of excitement! Some of it good...

Isn't it always the case... Before we left, I told my mom she shouldn't have any ER-requiring incidents. With Max's disastrous dissolving stitches, we've met our quarterly quota for medical attention. But I was wrong...

First I got a text that said,

Mom, I think I might have broken some ribs. What should I do?

While that was bad, I figured that it was something that could be managed. And I was right. A few x-rays later, and we have discovered severely bruised ribs, but nothing broken.

Late last night the newest message was,
The kids are fine. The deer is dead. And the Volvo is resting in the garage.

I'm sure glad to know that we're not the only ones having an exciting time!

On a lighter note, I hope everyone will be happy to hear that we're doing well. Greece is still fun, although we've reconsidered bestowing Best Smelling upon the whole of Greece. After a little more time seeing other parts of the country, we've decided that maybe only Athens deserves the title.

We went on a yacht to Aegina Island today. Onboard ship, we watched some Greek dancing, and then we were encouraged (forcefully) to join them. Have you ever tried dancing on a yacht? Let's just say that it wasn't only the drinking crew that was having issues! I wouldn't go so far as to say it was fun, exactly, but it did provide moments of comic relief!

We rode scooters around the island on a photo scavenger hunt. It was fun, and we got to see quite a bit of the island. We even saw some wildlife--although our friends weren't so excited that their food could very recently have been classified as wildlife! We were served fish for lunch--head (including eyeballs) still firmly attached... And the open air fish market could have been a big factor in Greece losing it's Best Smelling title. All I can say is eeew. And have you smelled octopus that is sitting out on an 80* afternoon? yikes!

We did visit the temple of Aphaia. It was in a beautiful setting, surrounded by the Aegean Sea. The blue waters and green hillsides contrasted impressively against the pale columns. These ancient buildings are truly an incredible sight.

But in case you think this is strictly an educational excursion--please be assured... We are finding a little time to relax!

And to The Boy--don't worry too much about the Volvo. We've already found your replacement... How do you feel about swapping for another European car? I found something cute and it's made by little car company called Lamborghini... What do you think of it?

Yeah. I thought you'd like it!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I'm Officially a Tourist...

Last night we attended the formal gala at a fabulously amazing restaurant--don't ask the name, I have no idea... We were greeted by Greek Goddesses who were wearing togas and carrying olive branches. The food was very good, but the really impressive feature was the Acropolis. It was lit from all sides and provided a spectacular backdrop for a memorable evening.

Unfortunately, we didn't know where we would be dining, so nobody brought their cameras. Fortunately, we also had a very nice view from the rooftop restaurant of our hotel. I shot this at about midnight from the hotel.

We took the BIG Athens tour today. We toured the Acropolis, and spent hours walking and taking photos. I have photos of things I know nothing about and with titles I will never be able to pronounce. But it was really interesting and very educational. We did see Zeus' Temple, where our friends got in trouble with security! (Only a little trouble--a misunderstanding really...) Twice. But just for the record--we did NOT tip over this broken column! It was on it's side when we got there!!!

We shopped in Plaka today. If you want to buy something, that is definitely the place. We saw a little of everything there. Lunch today was at a restaurant called Hermione, two nights ago we ate nearby at a place called Daphne's. The food is interesting, but good.

This afternoon we left Hotel Grande Bretegne and took a bus to Grand Resort Lagonissi. We are now staying in bungalows, right on the water's edge. The water of the Aegean is cool, but beautiful. Tomorrow will be another adventure!

Monday, May 11, 2009

We're in Greece!

We got to Greece after about 18 hours of travel. We were exhausted, but happy to be here. We laughed when we got on the flight from Salt Lake City to Paris--our seats were so big! I stretched my legs out as far as they would reach, and I still couldn't touch the seat in front of mine! I actually kept hoping the gentleman in front would recline his seat so I could reach my stuff that was in the seat pocket.

Greece is just like I pictured it. As we flew in, the islands were surrounded by gorgeous, blue water. The island is green and the towns and buildings looked like popcorn along the coast--so much light stucco... The streets are narrow and I am afraid we'll get lost and not make it back to the hotel--especially since we can't read any of the street signs!

We watched the changing of the guard on Constitution Square. The best part about it was the interesting, traditional garb. And I can't believe that those poor guards have to stand so still (looking straight into the setting, western sun) for an hour at a time. They didn't twitch, flinch, look around... They were completely immobile. They had sweat just pouring off their faces. Impressive, and for me, a completely undesirable job...

We're going to a formal gala tonight, I am interested to see what the food will be like--isn't it always about the food when you're on vacation? Last night we had fish and mousaka. This afternoon it was omelet and fried zucchini. My only complaint is that they have neither Diet Coke nor Diet Pepsi... I. Need. Caffeine!

We're having a great time--hope everyone is well at home!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

I'm Headed to Paris!

Well, we packed and left the house. I'm not saying that we have everything, but apparently, we have everything that we're taking! We met a crazy cab driver who rushed us to the airport, just to drop us off at the wrong terminal... Despite our baggage-laden trek, we made it to the gate!

By the time this posts, we should be on our way! We should arrive in Paris tomorrow morning. I'll post updates for you after we arrive in Athens!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Cardiac Man

I am surrounded by interesting characters. Not only in my own home, but in the neighborhood, and on the hill. You may recall my post about Chubby Biker. By way of an update, Chubby Biker is making some serious progress! I noticed that she has shed the parka, and I think she has shed a few pounds besides! I'm proud of Chubby Biker. I have no idea who she is, but I feel a sense of gratification when I see her peddling up the hill. It reminds me that anyone can set a goal and progress toward it. Impending success is just waiting for anyone willing to work.

Now, Cardiac Man is another story. He runs daily... And he doesn't just run in the morning, I see him running all day long... I'm not sure if he does a breakfast run, takes a nap, then resumes his exercise regime in the afternoon... Or maybe it just takes him that long to get his mileage in... Regardless, rather than wanting to cheer him on, I want to go rescue him!

Like Chubby Biker, I don't really know who Cardiac Man is... But I have my own story that gets embellished a little each day. I think he was a Marine--I'm sure he must have had an illustrious military career and that is where the importance of physical fitness was instilled in him. The problem is, he still thinks he's that trim soldier with the buzz cut. I think he's deluded himself into thinking that our hill is the hill. Will he ever take it? I don't know. But I'm seriously worried that his body will call it quits before he makes it to the ridge. Don't tell Cardiac Man that I don't think he's capable... I certainly don't want to be responsible for crushing him, but will someone please check the side of the road each day while I'm gone? And if he is breathing too hard, for heavens sake, offer him a ride! I'm gonna worry about poor Cardiac Man...

Actually, the sad truth is that Cardiac Man may actually outlive me if I don't get moving soon!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Some Kind of Frenzy

It's not a pretty sight. I've got five kids to feed and entertain, The Mister is gone for the week, Grandma and Grandpa are coming to stay in my house, and I have to pack for our big trip... I'm not stressed--I've got lots of time, and everything is nearly organized... NOT!

Does anyone know of a good packing/cleaning/babysitting/cooking/errand-running/massage service? Anyone? OK... I'll just get back to it then...

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A REAL Haircut!

I was disappointed with my last reveal. I didn't cut it enough to make an impression, and the color wasn't dramatic enough. But how do you like this cut?! I love it!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

You Know You Have Issues When...

You know you have issues when driving 2 hours to the dentist is more appealing than finding a new dentist...

OK--so I have issues, dental issues. Some might even say they qualify as Issues... I'd probably admit to ISSUES if prodded, but only of the dental variety.

I have this recurring dream, during which, all of my teeth fall out. I've had the same dream for years. I'm not sure when or why it started, but it's definitely at the root (tee hee) of my dental concerns.

I was fairly well into grade school, maybe even jr high, before I got my first cavity. I've never had a root canal. I don't even think I have any crowns. But for some reason, I'm obsessed with teeth! I wore braces forever and recently had a go with Invisalign for some touch-up straightening. My current compulsion is whitening strips. Is any of this normal?

My sister recently visited Mount Vernon. And what do you think she sent to me? It was a postcard that looked something like this...

And if you don't think that got me worrying--think again! I think she was trying to psych me out... I'm sure she has some sort of devious plan. A plot... But what she's trying to accomplish, I haven't yet figured out...

But now I'm worried. I'm worried that I'll become that toothless granny with the missing dentures. Let's just hope my Alzheimer's is mild enough that I can at least find those dentures for Family Day at the Old Folks Home. I'd hate to be an embarrassment to my kids! Anyone have some Polident I can borrow?

Monday, May 4, 2009

It's not always about the shoes...

I tried on some snazzy shoes today. I wore 'em around for a couple of hours... I played, I danced, I jumped up and down... Then I returned them. Oh, did I forget to mention that they were rented, bowling shoes?

The Boy is finishing up some independent study courses before graduation. While I'm happy to support this worthy endeavor, I didn't realize that it would include $72.00 in bowling charges!

Apparently, The Boy has signed up for bowling as an elective. He needs to turn in score cards showing that he has been working to improve his game. So, we packed up the family for FHE (Family Home Evening) and headed down to Jack and Jill Lanes.

Our bowling styles were as varied as our sizes... Grandpa was the best bowler--he outscored all of us without much effort. Grandma was the designated cheerleader--YAY! The Mister was his typical, efficient self... I was Queen of the Gutter, didn't matter which one, I used them both. The Boy had difficulty finding the lane with his long hair covering his face, but scored acceptably anyway. The Friend was equally acquainted with strikes and gutter balls. HRH has a very dainty style, which seems to be more suited to Wii bowling. Max likes the ramp. JJ is fond of the bumpers. Zeke slides down the lane, handily attached to the ball.

And at the end of the evening, the consensus was that the evening was fun, and that my shoes were uglier than the rented bowling shoes. I disagree. I have very cool shoes--wanna see?They were wrong--right? These are cool shoes! Well, that's what I believe, and I'm sticking with it! As for the bowling? We'll be back for a second go at it. Any suggestions for which bowling alley has the best shoes?

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Naked Time is NOT a Sponsored Activity

I think it's probably fair to say that anyone who has children has been exposed to Naked Time. For some reason, every child I have ever known has had a propensity for nudeness. I worried that it might be some freak obsession created by a questionable gene pool... But my friends all claim that they have small stature nudists in their homes as well.

It's impossible to count the number of times my children have come running down the hall, dripping wet from the tub, just as a guest appears at the front door. And the truth is, it's hard to get embarrassed after it has happened umpteen number of times... I think the only thing that still makes me shake my head is when they decide to sit down and watch cartoons before covering their nakedness. Ew. Please don't do that! Underwear is a minimum requirement before any tooshie touches the furniture.

It's a weird thing, nudity... If you've ever been to a nude beach (yes, I have--no need to discuss it..) you know that a general rule is that the less of a certain person you want to see, the more they will expose. That flabby, old guy with the paunch seems to be the most comfortable in his skin. Why isn't it the hot guy with the ripped abs who wants to flaunt it?

My favorite nudist story is about a friend of The Mister's. He was staying in Europe at a resort that had a pool and spa. The first night he visited the pool, he realized that everyone was naked. He, being a fairly conservative guy, felt a little uncomfortable being the only one in swim trunks and didn't stay long. The next day, after some long work hours, he really wanted to go relax by the pool. He decided "when in Rome" and joined the nude masses... At least that's what he thought he was doing. He marched through the doors and into the pool area and was horrified to realize that everyone was wearing swim suits! It seems that he'd decided to join the nudist ranks on the wrong day. Apparently there was a posted schedule of "family days" during which swim wear was required. Oooops!

After hearing that story, I sent Mister's friend web links about new colonies he could join and nudist vacation literature. I'm sure he really appreciated it!

But (pun intended), back to Naked Time. Although it does occur in my home, I want to be clear that I DO NOT participate. So you perverts who are planning to come peek through my windows--get a life! And go get your thrills somewhere else! And for the rest of you--go ahead and admit it... Your kids love Naked Time, too!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Ooh La La Lashes!

You know those beautiful women with the long, flirty lashes?
Well, I've become one of them!

OK--maybe that's stretching it a bit... But I have the flirty lashes!

For my birthday I treated myself to a little indulgence. Did you know you could get eyelash extensions? I know it's a little silly, but I'm having fun with it. And at this point, it doesn't take much for me to wanna bat my lashes at anyone! It's fun being a girl! Oh, and by the way, I'm not wearing mascara or eyeliner in this photo! How cool it that?

Friday, May 1, 2009

Hello, It's My Birthday...

Today is my birthday. I know it's a little obnoxious for me to be declaring this little tidbit to the world at large... But I don't care, it's my day and I'm claiming it.

I'm not shy about informing perfect strangers that it's my day, although this fact seriously embarrasses my daughter. I proclaimed it to the girl at the boutique (she didn't offer a discount). I told the girl at the salon. I'll pretty much make sure everyone I see today knows I'm special, even if it's just a 24 hour type of special.

I remember when I was little (and coincidentally, younger...) how a birthday was all-important. I think the only thing better than a birthday was Christmas. I remember parties with all the neighborhood kids in attendance. Scavenger hunts, balloons, cake and ice cream... I fondly recall my surprise Sweet 16 party--I think the whole school showed up! I'm sure my poor mom was a little overwhelmed with the turnout. And it probably wasn't what she had in mind, but I loved it!

When did those happy days of celebration become dreaded days marking the progression to Oldness? I refuse to be a part of that melancholy. As proof of my eschewal, I offer the fact that I rarely declare my true age. I refuse to place importance on any particular age related number. Of course, I do acknowledge the actual benchmark birthdays that mark entry to legal adulthood, or other legally or religiously significant thresholds, but a change from the 20s to the 30s, or the 30s to the 40s doesn't qualify for much in my book.

I know women who claim to be 29 for years (decades?). Not me, since my early thirties I've been claiming 43. Why 43? I don't know... I guess I didn't think that identifying the true number of birthdays I have had was relevant to anything. Or maybe I just didn't think it was any one's business... Or it's possible that I simply didn't want to do the math required to answer the question honestly--I don't always know the correct answer off the top of my head! It's just not something upon which I dwell...

So the question remains, how old am I today? I haven't decided yet. But I like the look of 47--don't you just love the angularity of those numerals?

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