Monday, July 20, 2009

Entertainment Without Leaving the Kitchen

Happy Monday!

Sure, me doing pretty much any kind of cooking would indeed be good kitchen entertainment, but this was this was the sort of fun that you can only get from some low-level stalking out your back window .... watching the neighbors put in a large above-ground pool and all the hi-jinx that ensue. Let me first tell you, these are the kind of people that not even Jeff Foxworthy would would be able to categorize (just what IS three steps below the famed Redneck?) or own up to. I thought about getting out the video camera because you just KNEW this was going to be Funniest Home Video material. Then I thought better of it because if something bad did happen, I didn't want my camera to become Exhibit D in the court case.

They started with the little motorized digger do-hickey thing at the CRACK OF DAWN (all right, so it was 9 a.m., I can't help it the day breaks a little later for me on a Saturday!). I doubted they'd get the pool in that day, or even by the end of the month, with the smoke breaks every 10 minutes. Their progress did surprise me, but what caught my attention was their kids' contribution to the project -- the dire need to chop down the NEIGHBORS' tree. Why you ask? Who knows. One guess is that the long-dead 30-foot tree of unknown origin was a threat to their pool, but more likely the kids had already blown up or set fire to their own toys (Happy Meal freebies included), and were BORED and looking for bigger and better game to hunt. I have to tell you I have never chopped down a tree, but I've seen it done quite a few times. I can say, without hesitation, that I have NEVER seen a tree chopped down with the primary tool of choice being a tire iron. Really, a TIRE IRON! Well, to be exact, a tire iron AND fire crackers. You read it here first, folks .... it can be done! Who woulda thought?

If you're wondering where the parents were during this, your guess is as good as mine, but I could have sworn I heard someone yell, "You 'kin do it, son.... keep at it!"

Either way it was an excuse to park my backside on the counter for a few hours, armed with Oreos Double Stuf and a diet Coke and enjoy the show from the privacy of my own home (and yes, the diet Coke DOES negate the calories of the cookies.... complicated scientific formula I'm sure you wouldn't understand so I'll save myself the keystrokes trying to explain it).

All right. Until I figure out how to get the clothes in the washer to sprout legs and climb into the dryer, I better get to it.


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Berry Good


Today was our annual summer trek to the local blueberry farm. Right now you're either jealous of all the exciting summer fun I have OR you are thinking, "GET A LIFE!!!!!" Today was the perfect day for it.... the clouds worked in our favor and the june bugs knew it was July (gotta love a bug-free day in the blueberry patch!), so off we were. I had to laugh, though. I spent 10 minutes before we left convincing my daughter that it was best to wear socks and shoes, not flip flops... safety, comfort, blah blah blah. And you KNOW what happened, right? The first family we saw (mom, dad and three young daughters) were all wearing flip flops, and to add to that, they were Amish. Boy, did my daughter give me a look! You can't win them all, I guess.

What's kind of cool, in an offbeat sort of way, is that this place is also a Christmas tree farm in the winter, which makes it neato to see the trees in their "teen" stage, ready for the holiday rush. Let's hope they get their looks in time for Santa's arrival because they were some of the sorriest trees I've ever seen! Oh how awkward those teen years can be (even for a tree)! :)

We netted just shy of 10 pounds of berries, most of which are still sitting on my counter. I've Googled a bazillion recipes.... jelly, jam, cobbler, coffee cake, smoothies, etc. Even as I drooled on my keyboard, I realized I wasn't fooling anyone, least of all myself.... they'll all go the old-fashioned way--rinsed and put in a bowl for quick snacking. I have lofty intentions for the tasty fruit, but first-grade baking skills, and that doesn't make for a good combination. But hand me a brownie box mix, some, oil, eggs and measuring utensils and I can have you halfway to chocolate heaven. Nothing to be ashamed of there!

Time to bag and freeze the berries.... viva la summer!


Friday, July 10, 2009

Throwing It All Away/Joys of Summer Cleaning

Hello again,

Turns out I'm a season off... but what's new?! Spring cleaning slipped right by me (oh, darn!), now I pay .... SUMMER CLEANING HERE I COME! I realize from the get-go that I am hampered by my town's garbage ordinance.... only two bags outside of what will fit in the garbage tote, but they never said the lid actually had to close, so later on I'll be creating a curbside version of the "leaning tower" to get the most bag for my refuse buck.

I've been chipping away here and there around the house, largely avoiding the worst areas. I doubt any of you out there would blame me for that, right? After all, wouldn't want to get cleaning burnout on Day One, now would I? My favorite part was the bathroom closet. It's huge, and after about 10 years of living in this house and me shoving stuff in there and saying, "OK, I'll deal with that later" it turned into a true "hard hat" zone.... open the door at your own risk! I'm still trying to figure out why I had so many pillow cases and wash cloths. If you sewed all I had together, end to end, they'd circle the earth twice (don't you love when people say stuff like that? Anyway, I don't sew, so it's not happening). There were diaper rash ointment samples from when my daughter was a baby, and she's 12 now. I found THREE bath water thermometer gauges which are little doodads that are supposed to tell you when the water is "just right" for baby's sensitive butt (and assorted baby parts). It might tell you just what kind of mom I am when I let you in on this juicy little secret ... all three were still in their original wrappers! And somehow, she survived a babyhood full of baths without them. Amazing!!!

One shelf left to go... the shelf that has all the little hotel-sized giveaway things... conditioner, shampoo, lotion, soap, mouthwash, etc. I had to laugh at the shoe polishing cloth. Does any traveler really use that? Seems like nothing some spit and a few squares of toilet paper couldn't fix. Then again, I buy most of my shoes at Target and WalMart so what do I know? Maybe it's different for real leather, huh? I'll get to that at some point.... probably....

Anyway, time to water the plants..... catch y'all later....


Road Trippin'?

Hello again,

Sorry about the disappearing act! Spring was not kind to us here, healthwise, but we weathered the storm with most of our limbs intact, and who can ask for more than that? My sense of humor has returned (strangely enough it coincides with my return to caffeinated beverages... coincidence? I think not!), so here I sit, sofa under butt, ready to blog.

For the most part, the only time of the year I can travel is the summer. I'm not one to take kids out of school, thanks to bad childhood memories of my grade school principal, Sr. Gertrude, scaring me three-quarters of the way to death over missing school for anything short of a true emergency. Too bad, too, because travel can be much cheaper in early October! Anyway, I've been auditioning trips we can take that don't involve air travel, though I still plan on charging the kids $10 for each bag they bring... gotta make the money where I can, times are tough! My problem is that it has been so long since I've done a "real" road trip, my mind is short circuiting on how I want to do it. If it's going to be five hours, do I pack a cooler full of sandwiches and drinks, then strap Depends on the kids and myself? Or do we stop every hour to enjoy every ball of twine and semi-historic birthplace, only to turn right back around once we get there because our week is up? I don't know. Thanks to Mr. Apple and the invention of iPods, the trip will be enjoyable for me either way because I can jam to Huey Lewis and Bananarama and no one in the car will care.... rock on Cindy's mix CD! LOL.... I digress. But truly, if half the fun is getting there, what the heck is the other half? That worries me ... a lot!

I suppose I'll find out soon enough... happy summer.... talk to you soon!