Thursday, December 29, 2005

What I'll be doing when not desperately trying to finish the B of M by Saturday

This weekend we are hosting (in order of stress-inducement level, from least to most):

--three kids I'm babysitting. They are easy and it's for a short time.
--Steve's brother. He is easy and self-sufficient and fun to have around, but in serious danger of being bored out of his mind.
--the beloved truck of a guy we know who is out of town. He is paranoid that people will break into it if it's left at his apartment complex, and is only slightly less paranoid that it will be harmed "by the neighborhood kids" while parked in front of our house. Irony ensues: no car has ever been damaged while parked in front of our house before, until this morning when Steve noticed our van has egg residue all over one side of it. (What? Why?)
--a dog while a friend goes out of town. Our friend's admonition: "The only thing is the dog has to sleep in bed with you." Steve's and my identical responses, given at separate times upon hearing this admonition: "Absolutely not! There is no way." Steve also said: "We can't guarantee that the dog will be alive when you come back" and he is seriously a little fearful of this.

So, as you can see, we will be home all weekend, playing host to sundry peeps and vehicles and creatures. Feel free to drop in and say hello and leave something for us to watch after.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Christmas Eve Follies

The day started with a bang when my 2-year-old woke me up asking for his "baba." I went to the fridge and poured him some milk, but he grabbed a glass bottle of Orange Fizzy Lizzy and it slipped out of his hands onto the floor. I, half-asleep, barefoot, with blurry vision, disturbed the sleeping household: "STEPHEN!! Wake up! I need help. I'm bleeding! Wake up!" Shards of glass everywhere, orange soda with no added sweeteners or preservatives, also everywhere. My foot, victimized. My husband, rudely awakened.

Then--all of us still clad in pajamas, and me trying to arrange a last-minute cousins' gift exchange--the cable guy called. "I'm running early. Can I come over to fix your internet connection now?" Um, give us ten minutes. Eight minutes later, dressed, but just barely, we opened the door to find the cable guy AND the cabinet guy who was popping in for some last minute touch-ups. Wow, everyone was working on Christmas Eve, and really early at that. "Oh, we didn't know you were coming. We would have cleaned the kitchen." Kitchen was in drastic state of disarray, what would he think of us? And this, after the bounced check debacle. Cabinet guy didn't give me a chance to find out what he thought of us. He was gone in no time, but cable guy stayed. And stayed and smelled like cigarettes in our bedroom and stayed some more. And didn't end up making one bit of difference for the all-important speed component of our high-speed internet connection. Thanks, cable guy. Here's a holiday tip for ya.

I was wrapping presents mid-morning when I did something really lame. I ran out of wrapping paper. That is lame because last year, after Christmas, I hit Target hard on the after-Christmas sales and bought SO MUCH wrapping paper it would blow your mind. I stored it for a year in our garage, and then early this month, I bundled rolls together and tied them with pretty bows and took them to our friends for a neighborly sort of Christmas gift. Our friends were grateful: they needed more wrapping paper! I felt pretty good about how smart I was and how much money I saved, until I realized that I didn't save any of that great, cute, almost-free wrapping paper for us. Lame, lame, lame. I ended up going back to Target and I bought four rolls of full-price wrapping paper. Lame.

Meanwhile, Steve was inspired by the cabinet guy to finally install our range hood over the range. Really, he got it out thinking that cabinet guy would help him install it. No such luck. Several hours, a whole heckuva great deal of aggravation, and several scratches on our new range later, Steve finally finished, and declared that it was totally pointless, because all the hood does is suck up the steam/smoke/whatever, recirculate it, and spit it back out in your face. Not worth the scratches on our range.

We decided to flee the still-messy kitchen, which was even messier than before what with all the tools and cardboard and instructions lying all over the place. Why not get some lunch somewhere? Maybe some Mexican food. Maybe start a new Christmas Eve tradition of eating out Mexican food for lunch. What do ya know? The dive we have heard so much about and were wanting to try was closed for the holiday. Denny's--Steve's next suggestion--was quickly shunned. (Denny's has the potential to be a major hurdle in our marriage, given the fact that he likes it, and I want to vomit every time I drive by it.) So, we settled on Chuy's. Never been there, always heard of people who went there, knew it was Mexican, why not give it a try? We knew we were in big trouble when we ordered at the counter and they gave us a filthy, mangy huge stuffed pink heart to put on our table so they knew where to bring our order. Um, first of all, I do not want to touch that nasty thing with its probable dust mites and baby barf. Second, you want me to put that on our table where our food will go? Aren't there health code restrictions about such practices? When Steve pulled a long blond hair out of his water, there needed to be no discussion between us: severe germ anxiety was settling in, on both of us, really fast. Our reactions were different, though--I subsided the consumption of my lunch, and waited eagerly for everyone else to finish; Steve kept eating, but grew grumpier and grumpier, taking it out on poor Elliot who just wanted a quarter to get a plastic gun out of the gumball machine thingy. Okay, two quarters, and I would never let him buy a toy gun like that anyway, but Steve was awfully grumpy as he chowed down on his chicken and then, upon finishing, hustled everyone out of the germ-infested restaurant with no chance for a six-year-old to so much as look longingly at the toy gun-machines one last time. Steve made up for it by taking the kids to Dairy Queen. We decided to drive thru, so as not to further aggravate our sensitivities toward restaurant health-code violations, which this particular Dairy Queen surely had, but, hey, ignorance is bliss and what we don't know about employees not washing their hands after they go to the bathroom can't hurt us. Er, yeah.

And thus began our day, this day before Christmas. Things were not looking so bright at our household. Luckily for us, we had a bit of a sweet reversal of fortune: a celebrity sighting, of sorts. Dairy Queen was followed by a quick stop at Home Depot. Steve ran in to buy some parts for that blessed range hood. The kids and I waited in the car, and beheld: parked right next to us was someone who may have been the goat from The Chronicles of Narnia. Without his hoof costume, of course. And he was a little broader in the shoulders than the one in the movie. But Elliot was convinced, so who was I to argue? How many people get to see the goat just doing his thing at Home Depot on Christmas Eve?

A merry Christmas, indeed.

(And a merry Christmas to you.)

Friday, December 16, 2005

True Love. . .Through the Ages (Ahhhhh!)

We're 16, going to see U2.
We're 17, doing what we do best at Sunday night get-togethers.
We're 18, with a funny hair sticking out.
We're 19, yo.
We're 20, and we live on different continents.

We're 21, one week before we get married.
We're 22, and pregnant.
We're 23, and it will take us six and a half more years to get rid of this ugly couch.
We're 24, and living in Tucson.
We're 25, with larger-than-life Christmas lights.
We're 26, and you can call him Esquire.
We're 27, and expecting Boy #3.
We're 28, and this is the only picture I could find.
We're 29, and I am one lucky girl.
We're 30!
Happy birthday, Stephen! I love you!

Monday, December 12, 2005

The good, bad, ugly and completely bizarre of our weekend fishing excursion

Good: My first fishing trip ever! (Not counting the time my mom took us kids to a stocked lake at Neil's insistence. Don't remember catching anything. Or the time last year Steve decided to start fishing with the boys so we bought licences and gear and went to an urban lake in Tempe and the boys' attention span lasted about 5 minutes. Didn't catch anything.)

Good: Very fun extended date with Steve and our funny, classy, wonderful friends David and Jami.

Very good: David and Jami did all the hard work--planned it, made reservations, drove, prepared lunch. It was heaven.

Good: Knew our kids were in good hands. (Thanks, mom.)

Good: Fun game night in a great little two-bedroom apartment hotel room.

Good: An entire, lazy day on a river in a stunningly beautiful Arizona canyon.

Bad: An entire day on a river when the air temp did not get above 39 degrees.

Good: My fabulous sister let me use her really warm ski clothes.

Good: Once in a while the sun came out.

Good: Our fishing guide gave us dirt on the celebrities he has worked with when they come to do fishing movies: Christian Slater=jerk; John Travolta=nice but flaky.

Ugly: Once I caught a glimpse of our fishing guide in his rearview mirror all contorted and had visions of a nightmarish serial killer who at any moment would turn around, get in my face, stick out his tongue and yell "Mwah ha ha ha ha!!"

Bad: Our guide pulled into a cove, dropped the anchor and asked, "Okay, Cookie, what'd you make us for lunch?"

Good: My friend Jami handled being called Cookie very gracefully.

Good: A delicious lunch of apples; mangos; white cheddar, blue, and brie cheeses; crackers; baguettes; olives; roast beef; turkey and salami.

Bad: Okay, I don't like salami.

Bad: I am turning 30 and still have never caught a fish.

Good: An appreciation for fishing as a sport that really does take some skill.

Good: David caught a fish, tossed the line back in, and let me reel it in and get my picture taken with it, so I can fake out my kids like I really did catch a fish.

Completely bizarre: Two Mormon missionaries walking along the highway in the middle of nowhere hitchhiking. We turn around, pick them up, and they are going to visit an investigator on the reservation, but don't really know how to get there. We drive, drive, drive. Finally, "Turn right here." Really, we are dropping them off in nowhere land. They are 45 minutes by car, with no car, away from their next appointment in an hour and a half and don't seem worried about how they'll get there: "Someone will pick us up." It will be dark and very cold in about 30 minutes. Oh yeah, one of them was on his third day of his mission. Hello!? Mission President?? Do you know what these missionaries do every day? Hitchhiking across the vast northern Arizona expanse in the dark and freezing cold?? It was kind of surreal.

Overall, our trip was great! Good food, good friends, good fishing (for some of us) and good fun.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Momentary Lapse of Willpower

Eating peanut m&m's. Lots and lots of peanut m&m's.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Lesson plan

p week
picture frame ornaments
police officer
(p)russian chocolate

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Inspired by Neil and Larry (find the hidden hyperlink)

I like to think that if I were to ever run into a famous person, I would totally give that person his space and privacy and not be all rubbernecky and pointing and whispering.

Not so. I am a complete pointer and whisperer, as pathetic as that is.

This summer, I saw this man in the Prado in Madrid:

Only he looked older and maybe had some facial hair and he was wearing a baseball cap. Having never in my life seen a complete episode of any crime drama, I did not know who this person was, just that he was getting a lot of attention from the Spanish school children. I pulled some of them aside and asked, in English, if this guy was on tv there in Spain. Si, si, was their answer. What is the name of the show? Casi Miami was the response. Hmm, that must be some local Spanish show. Clearly this guy with the red hair giving out autographs is an American. If I get the chance, I will strike up a conversation about how that is being an American acting in a Spanish tv show.

I almost got the chance. I saw him a while later waiting for his daughter outside the museum gift shop. I almost walked up to him and started a conversation. But then I saw my mom standing closeby, so I decided to share with her the news that she was standing next to someone famous. I pulled her around the corner and got all whispery and pointy (mind you, I didn't know who this famous guy was) and my mom blurted out, quite loudly, "He is just some average Joe Schmoe!!" There is no question that David Caruso knew we were talking about him. Coolness totally runs in my family.