Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Because I Needed Another Reason to Stress

If I were a Twitterer, (deedle deedle deedle deedle deedle deedle deedle deedle dum...all day long I'd deedle deedle dum, if I were a...oh, never mind) which I am not, because frankly, I just don't get it...but if I were, my entry right now would be "I think Danni has mono."

At the urgent care on Sunday, they said probably tonsilitis and gave her a z-pack. She only has one left, and it has not helped AT ALL. Her throat is still killing her, the glands in her neck are swollen, and she is weak and tired like nobody's business. The only symptom of mono that Web MD lists that she doesn't have is a fever. But she rarely gets fevers when she's sick, and I really don't either.

She went to school Monday and Tuesday but she's home today. Sleeping. The urgent care just called and said the strep test they did on Sunday is negative. So I'm taking her to the regular doctor today to see what they say. Remember yesterday when I said I had no plans for today? Bam.

I didn't know this, but mono is most common between the ages of 12-24. Little kids might get the virus but won't have any symptoms, and most adults are already immune. She's right at that age, and it's not airborne, but it could have been as simple as sharing a drink from a water bottle with someone at band camp. Ugh. I hope it's not mono, because that hangs around a long time, right? But I have this feeling that it is. Stay tuned...

(Added 4:30pm.) Doctor sent us for bloodwork, because that's the only way they can know for sure that it's mono, but we're relatively sure. We got a prescription for 5 days of Prednisone, which should help shrink the swelling in her throat. Other than that, doctor says, "Mono is a virus, has to run its course, blah blah blah." She could feel weak and tired up to a month or more, but hopefully not that long. We won't have the blood test results until probably next week.

I guess the other thing that happens to about half the people that get it is that their spleen swells up. Therefore, contact sports are out for the next several weeks. I guess I'll have to tell the football coach that his star running back is going to be out for a while, right? Contact flag twirling a contact sport? Well, probably not, unless you get jabbed in the stomach with a spinning flag/rifle/sabre. Is dance a contact sport? Probably not, unless elbows start flying. But you never know with those girls. I think she's going to take it easy for a while as far as the physical activity, but will most likely go to school tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Mamma Mia...Here I Go Again

So, yesterday was the first day of school. Danni has to leave much earlier than the other two, so I'm never able to get a pic of all three of them together for the first day. It was nice of Danni to let me take a picture, even though she has tonsillitis mono. She had been at the urgent care the day before, and was still feeling crappy. Still, she didn't want to miss the first day of her junior year.

Kylie was very excited...

and also very cute. I may be biased, though.

Surprisingly, Shannon let me take pictures. I think she just wanted to show off her new haircut. First day of 8th grade. And she thinks she is the shiz, dog. At least, that's what she told me. Wait until next year when she's a freshman, then she won't be so...shiziful? Shiztastic? But right now, she is so the shiz. Dog.

After that, the two of them just started getting silly.

Of course, I continued to take pictures.

Looking at these pictures, you would think that they like each other. I can assure you, that is not the case. Mostly.

Yeah, that's more like it.

Awwww, now how sweet is that? In case you're wondering, Kylie is standing on the toy box. They're not actually the same height.

And we're off...

What'd I tell you? Little tiny frame, white blond hair and the Hannah Montana backpack walking away from me. Doesn't that just break your heart? Well, it did mine. A little.

The first day was not nearly as bad as I'd built it up to be in my mind. Shannon and I walked Kylie to her classroom. Shannon goes to the jr high, but it's right next to the elementary school, and they start half an hour later. When Kylie's teacher opened the door, I was way too distracted by Shannon's whining about her hair and asking if we could go to Starbucks to be too sad. I gave her a quick hug and told her to have a good day, and that was it.

I spent the rest of my first day of freedom grocery shopping, and fighting an ant infestation. You see, when I got home with my groceries, ants had invaded my pantry. And I was grossed out. Ants have just gone to #2 on my list of most-hated insects. Roaches, of course, will always have that top spot. It took me the whole rest of the day, practically, to totally clean out the pantry and kill all those skeevy bastards. Bleh. Those little black ants show up every summer, but this summer seems to be particularly bad. They've never been in my pantry before!

So then, today. First day, it seems all the parents were walking their kids inside. Today we all used the drive up circle. The gates to the building that were open yesterday were closed today. This confused me. Then I noticed that all the kids getting out of cars were walking along a side walk that went around the side of the school and to the back, where the playgrounds are. I asked one of the teachers standing there if the kindergarteners were supposed to go that way too. She said, Yep, the one of the K teachers will come out and get them all.

So Kylie got out of the van with her Hannah Montana backpack on, carrying her Tinkerbell lunchbox, and followed the stream of kids headed out to the playground. As I was starting to pull away, she turned around and waved at me, and I could see her lips form the words,

"Bye, Mommy!"

*Sob* She looked so very small walking away. I think this is so hard for me because of my evening job. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, when I have to be here (work) at 3pm, I will drop her off at school at 8am, and then I won't see her again until the next morning. Today was the first time that happened. And I don't know about her, but today was hard on me. I think sooner, rather than later, something about my job situation is going to need to change. Not sure what yet, though. I might spend tomorrow researching some options.

After dropping Miss Shiz off at the jr high, I went home and got busy. Did a load of laundry, swept the floor, vacuumed the living room, did dishes, cleaned the girls' bathroom (I know, they should be doing this, but I was damned sick of looking at it), made my bed, and straightened up my room. I was on a mission, because I was meeting a friend and her mom at 11:15am to see Mamma Mia. I can do things like that now. Like just go to a movie during the day whenever I want to. It's not all bad, this schedule, but I think missing the kids in the evening is going to outweigh the daytime freedom thing.

So we went to see Mamma Mia. Can I tell you that this movie was one big cheesefest? It was a fun cheesefest, but Pierce Brosnan singing was a little much for me.
This was my favorite part:

Ok, this scene was just fun and made me want to get up and dance. And Meryl Streep? Yeah, girlfriend is 59 years old, bouncing on that bed like a teenager. Fun stuff!

We also saw a preview for High School Musical, or HS3, Senior Year. We had fun deciding where they were going next with that. Like College Musical, years 1-4, then ... what, Thirty-Something Musical? They'll finally end up with Geriatric Nursing Home Musical, and the walkers and canes will be dancing props. I mean, dear about taking something that they didn't even even know was going to be such a hit, and then beating it to death. Enough already. But of course, as long as Disney continues to make that merchandising money, they'll keep cranking them out.

So, my Monday was full of grocery shopping and ant battling, and today was housework then a movie and browsing Borders until it was time to go to work. Tomorrow, I actually have nothing planned. Maybe a little job hunting. Because if I don't have some sort of plan, Lord only knows what kind of trouble I could get into.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Damn You, Kevin Bacon

I'm having a rough day, y'all. You want to hear about it? Well, why are you here then? Geez.

First, Friday is supposed to be one of my precious two days off. But I'm at work right now because about a month ago I agreed to take a co-worker's shift so he could play in one of his stupid golf tournaments. At what point do you resign yourself to the fact that you are a mediocre golfer and you are not going to make the PGA tour? Just saying.

So yes, it's my own fault I'm here, but I didn't really realize the impact of things that I might need to do today.

Shannon went tubing on the river with a friend today. Actually her friend's dad took a group of girls. When they came to the door to get her, I went out to meet the dad. I don't think this is unreasonable. Besides, I had four $5 off tube-rental/shuttle bus coupons that I wanted to give him from when I took the girls there. That's saving him $20, so I thought that was nice of me. However, when I started to follow the girls out to the car, this came out of Shannon's mouth. Let me see if I can get the inflection right...


Or something very close to that. Said loudly. Right in front of her friends. Keep it up'll find out what embarrassing is.

The exchange between Tom (the girl's dad) and I was about 20 seconds long. He saw me coming out of the house, so he got out of the car and stuck out his hand. He said,

"Hi, I'm Tom."

I shook his hand and said,

"I'm Shelley. Nice to meet you. Here are a few $5 off coupons for tube rentals that we got last time we went. I thought maybe you could use them."

"Great, thanks!"

"Have fun!"

God. I'm so embarrassing. She should thank her lucky stars that I didn't mention that I thought Tom was kind of hot. Now THAT would have been embarrassing.

After that, Danni, Kylie and I went over to the high school to pay for the damn $50 parking pass. Then, since Danni hasn't really been able to work the last two weeks because of band camp, and it was payday (mine and husband's) and I was feeling generous, I decided to fill up her car with gas.

Here's the difference between my two older daughters. When I do something like that for Dan, she is extremely appreciative. She thanks me several times. I know she is grateful for my help. When I do something for Shannon, like buy her the neon blue jeans she wanted, or let her go tubing with people I don't know, or give her smart-ass little prick of a friend Alec a ride to the mall, I don't feel appreciated. In fact, I feel barely tolerated. I don't feel like I've done anything different in terms of raising the two of them. Is this just 13 year-oldism? I don't remember if Danni was like this or not. I've totally blocked it out. Like you do with a bad train wreck.

Speaking of bad train wrecks, I just watched a movie called Rails and Ties, with Kevin Bacon and Marcia Gay Harden. It's also the directorial debut of Clint Eastwood's daughter, Alison. I'm not going to say anything else about it, other than you've probably never heard of it, I don't know if it was in theaters, but I thought it was extremely well done. You can get it at Blockbuster. If you ever feel like you just want to curl up with a box or two of tissues and have yourself a good this movie.

To make things worse, I know someone who's going through the exact same thing the woman is going through in this movie...dying...same disease. And I just found out that the person I know isn't going to make it much longer.

Then I realized that I'm sitting at work today (well, I'm outta here at 8pm), but today is the last weekday that Kylie will be home, ever. I mean, she starts school on Monday. Well, all three of them start school on Monday, but Kylie starts all-day kindergarten on Monday.

I honestly thought that I was going to throw a big party on that day. The day she was finally in school all day. When I got pregnant with Kylie, Shannon was halfway through 1st grade, and she had only done half-day kindergarten. (You could do half-day kindergarten back then.) I had four months of bliss, with both my girls in school all day. And then I found out I was pregnant. And I was pissed. The string of words that came out of my mouth when that home test came out positive was most definitely not family-friendly.

But then I got used to the idea. And then we found out it was another girl. And Danni (age 10) was so excited about having a baby in the family. Shannon wanted a brother, but I think she just said that to be contrary. Now that I think back, she acted 13 when she was 7. Anyway.

We all got excited about the baby. And then she was here. And now she's going to kindergarten. What's going to happen on Monday is that I will hold my tears back until she gets out of the car. And then I'll watch her tiny little frame and her white-blond hair and her Hannah Montana backpack walk into the building. And then I will cry.

I have no idea why this is affecting me like this. I don't remember feeling this way when Shannon started first grade, which was the first time she was gone all day. And it wasn't because I had another little one, because when Shannon started first-grade, Kylie wasn't with us yet. So at the time, Shannon was the baby.

Damn hormones, I think. (So, peri-menopause? That can occur 10 years before menopause and make your hormones act the same way they did when you were pregnant, not the least of which is crying at the drop of a hat? That's bullshit, I say. Plus, why would anyone cry just because they dropped their hat?) Oh, and damn you too, Kevin Bacon. You didn't help today. I should have watched Footloose instead.

So, on Monday morning Jen, Kirsten and I will go have breakfast. It's Kirsten's youngest's first day of kindergarten too. We can cry together. Hey guys...I called Mimi's cafe today. They open at 7am, and they do have a small bar. The hostess told me they serve mimosas. I don't think that 8am on a Monday morning is too early to start drinking, do you?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Tubing Down the Salt River

About two weeks ago while husband was on his fishing trip, I decided to take the two older girls tubing down the Salt River. Kylie stayed with my mom. This was a favorite past time of mine in college. Of course, since I had my kids with me, I replaced the requisite cooler full of beer with a cooler full of water, soda and Gatorade and snacks. And possibly just one bottle of Gatorade that was meant to look like Gatorade, but actually had rum, pineapple juice and cranberry juice in it. Just saying.

They have a place where you can park, rent tubes, and ride the shuttle bus to the starting point. Then about four hours later, you catch a shuttle bus at the end point, and they take you right back to your car. I think for $15, that's really the way to go.

This is Danni holding onto my foot while I take her picture, so she doesn't float away from me. I had the tube with the cooler tied to me, but we didn't tie ourselves together. Yet.

The water is pretty cold when you first get in, but you get used to it rather quickly. Here's a picture of Danni, and our lovely cooler.

Shannon seems to be getting the hang of this relaxing thing, even though she was convinced the entire time that a piranha was going to get her. Even though they're indigenous to like, South America, not so much a river in Arizona.

I'm going to pause here to tell a story. We went tubing on Monday after the 4th of July weekend, hoping it would be not crowded at all. It wasn't. However, over the weekend, on Sunday, a 20 year-old tuber had gone missing. It was very crowded Sunday. This guy had fallen out of his tube, and then a large group of people all tied together went over him. He never came back up. (News story here)

This kind of stuff happens every year. This is the first time I have taken my girls to do this, and they don't "get" why it's so dangerous if you're not careful. So I'm all, "Um, yeah, someone DIED here yesterday."

People actually die doing this every year. Drunk dumbfucks fall out of their tubes and drown. However in this case, they said that no one in this guy's group was drinking.

So, the point of this story is that I heard about it on the news Sunday night, about the missing tuber. I wondered if the tube-rental place and shuttle buses would even be open on Monday, but they were. In fact, once we got on the shuttle bus, a girl on the bus with us told us that she had asked at the tube-rental place, and the tube-rental people told her that they had found the guy's body that morning. Which we later found out wasn't true. I was watching the local morning news on Tuesday morning, when they had a "breaking story" that they had just found the body of the missing tuber. Which means that when we were there on Monday, they were still looking for the guy!

I guess that would explain the divers with masks and snorkels and fins that we saw every so often, and the sheriff's helicopter flying around overhead. I thought they were just looking for ... I don't know, forensic evidence or something. No, turns out they were still looking for the guy's body. Yeah, that wasn't too weird. I'm glad we didn't know that on Monday.

ANYWAY...on with the trip...

Danni, having no clue that there may have been a body in the water somewhere underneath her, was doing a great job relaxing and getting some sun. In case you are wondering, we used the ol' SPF 30. And that's a can of Sprite in her hand. Don't even ask about the Yankees cap. Every time someone gave her a hard time about it, I had to pretend I didn't know her.

I put this picture in just because I thought it was pretty. See, it's not just all tumbleweeds and Saguaro cacti here.

Here's another group of tubers. If you look very carefully on the opposite shore over there, there are three wild horses hanging out. Pretty.

Along the route, we found a small ledge that the girls wanted to jump from. After making sure the water underneath them was sufficiently deep, I let them. It was probably about six feet up. Where I'm standing with the tubes over on the bank is the only place I could actually put my feet on the bottom to take pictures.

There she goes!

Oh come on Shannon, just try, we can go together.

Shannon: "Hey, this is fun!" Girl caught some serious air on this jump.

It was really fun to do something with just the older girls and me. We had a great time, and now I'm not so worried to let them go with someone else's family, now that they know the ropes, so to speak. Shannon is supposed to be going again on Friday with her friend Sidney and Sidney's parents. Hopefully the river will be corpse-free this time.

Monday, July 21, 2008

My (Very Quick) Brush With Fame

I have two pictures here of two year-old Kylie playing at a park with a celebrity. The quality of the pictures is rather poor. I'm way too lazy to drive over to my parent's house and figure out how to use their scanner, so I took pictures of the pictures with my cell phone.

See if you can name the famous person. When someone guesses right, then I'll tell the story of my brush with fame.

My friend Kirsten guessed correctly that this is Diana Taurasi. She was a basketball star at the University of Connecticut, and the top pick in the 2004 WNBA draft. The Phoenix Mercury, somehow, had the #1 pick. Oh yes, because they sucked the previous year.

I'm not a huge women's basketball fan. In fact, I'm not really a basketball fan at all. But this is the day we met Diana Taurasi.

When Shannon was about 10 years old, she played on the same softball team with a little girl named Emily. Emily's dad was either the owner or part-owner of the Mercury. I was never quite clear on that. My mom would know, because she used to have season tickets to the Mercury. She had season tickets and sometimes the girls would go with her. However, she dropped her season tickets and stopped going to games after a few seasons, when it dawned on her that a majority of the women in the crowd were lesbians. Yeah, my mom's a little slow on the uptake sometimes, God love her. I'm not sure why this prevents her from going to games, but I think it may be because she's afraid of catching the gay cooties.

Anyway, one day during the winter softball season at the beginning of 2005, Emily's dad brought Diana to one of the kids' softball games. I have no idea why, but there she was. She was very nice, and spent most of the time during the game playing with the little brothers and sisters of the players. In the picture, she was playing scoop-ball, or whatever that's called, with Kylie.

The bummer was that at the time, my mom was a huge Mercury fan. And she almost always went to Shannon's softball games. But she missed this particular game, because I think they were out of town. This was before every cell phone had a camera, but luckily for me, one of the other moms there had her camera and took a couple of pictures for me.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

You've Heard of the Food Crisis?

My 13 year-old daughter has just informed me...

that we have nothing to eat in this house.

I grocery shop on Mondays...

I hope she doesn't starve before then.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Does Any Foreplay Come With That?

Here in these parts, we have a modified year-round school schedule. Which means that after every quarter, or nine weeks, we get a two-week break. Those two-week breaks fall at the beginning of October, at Christmas, and at spring break. Our summer is only 8 weeks long. So they got out on May 28th, and will start on July 28th. Yes, that's less than two weeks away.

Oldest daughter is going to be a junior this year. She now has her own car, so she can drive her own ass to school at 5:30 am for marching band. Ok, I actually never drove her that early, husband took her on his way to work, because he goes to work that early. Still.

Yes, there are buses, but none of them come around at 5:30 am.

Today was the day when incoming juniors went down to the library media center and did their stuff. Pre-paying for yearbooks (they'll never be any cheaper than they are right now), making adjustments to schedules, getting ID pictures taken, etc. And when you drive to school, you now have to do something else. Pay for a parking pass.

Pay. For a parking pass. In high school.

When I was in high school about 86 years ago, we had no parking passes. We had a student parking lot. If you had a car, you parked in the lot. Period. End of story.

Last year, the parking passes at daughter's high school were $30. I told daughter that I would pay for her yearbook, if she would pay for her own parking pass. She agreed, and went to the media center today with $80 in cash. However, she did not come home with a parking pass. Why? Because they have raised the price of a parking pass to $50. Fifty. Dollars. American. And she didn't have enough money with her.

Um, High School? Wtf? I can only assume that you have re-painted the spaces in the lot with gold-flecked paint. Either that, or this is just one more attempt by the public school system to f**k me up the a**. I'm going to guess it's the latter. Do I at least get a kiss with that?

Do you think that having the word "foreplay" in my title will get me more traffic? Again, if you're here because you Googled "foreplay", leave me a comment. And I'll send you a three-page email on what you're doing wrong.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Work It, Baby

So, I have this job. I work for a company that does medical software-y stuff. Because the medical profession is a 24/7 operation (haha, operation, get it?), we also, at the computer place, work 24/7. Well, not all of us at once...we work in shifts, of course.

When people ask me what I do, I tell them I work in product support for a medical software company. This is technically true. I am part of the product support team.

However, what I normally don't mention, is that I'm on the bottom rung of the team ladder, so to speak. So what I'm saying is this: Don't even bother with a college degree if you're going to disappear from the workforce for 12 years to raise yer young'ins. Because when all you've been doing in those 12 years is wiping butts and noses, trying to maintain some semblance of order in a losing battle, and doing a whole lot of laundry, that degree won't matter a whit when you go looking for a job. I don't even know what a whit is. That's college for you.

For the past four years, I have been working the swing shift, or for those of you who are not familiar with swinging, the 3pm - 11pm shift. For those of you that are familiar with swinging, the part of town I work in is quite lovely, and this store is right across the street. They have a very

Moving on.

Where was I? Oh yes, my job. Well, for the lovely state education my parents paid for (zip it, Kirsten, I know what you're thinking), I have this job. I took this job on the swing shift so I could stay home during the day with my smallest (and bossiest) child, while husband worked his 6am - 3pm job. Said small child is starting all-day kindergarten in exactly two weeks, so while fun, swinging would no longer be necessary. I'm not sure I want to give it up, though.

Wow, this post is not going where I intended at all. What I've been trying to say is that my job affords me a certain amount of free time. What I do, is when some hospital-type person calls me and says they have a problem with one of our lovely products, I open a case, or for you help-desk types, a "ticket." If this case is critical, such as this:

"Um yeah, our whole SYSTEM is down, and we've had to resort to paper charting!"

Ok, seriously what did you people do before computers? Oh wait, I charted on paper. See, the problem with technology is that it's like crack, or a cellphone. Once people have it, they don't remember how to function without it. But, I digress.

When this sort of emergency happens, I open a case with all their pertinent information, and beam it off to the correct on-call technical analyst person so our customer can have their "problem" "fixed." I do various other menial things as well, but my main job is opening cases, and hanging up on telemarketers who have somehow recently discovered our many phone numbers. Tell me something... if this is the "final notice" that the factory warranty on my car is about to expire, then why in the name of Chrysler do you keep calling me? Doesn't final mean, like...the last? The end? Kaput? Finito? Done?

Goodness, trying to stay on-topic tonight is proving difficult.

Tonight is a very slow night here at Ye Olde Workplace. When it's slow and I have no fires to put out, I'm allowed to do pretty much whatever I want, including but not limited to, read, surf the Internet, write blog posts, watch DVDs, and stare out the window, wondering if we'll get another monsoon storm tonight (click here for some really great pictures my friend Jen took of the awesome storm we had yesterday). Occasionally I will watch TV too, but at the moment, I don't see much on TV worth wheeling the thing out and plugging it in. TV sucks right now. It's like the writers strike all over again, except they insist on calling it "summer." As proof, I point out that a new season of Big Brother started last night. Which I absolutely refuse to watch, after that hellish Dick/Danielle fiasco where I lost my cookies and a few other things. Oh Lost, and Heroes...I miss you. Please write.

For those of you who are wondering if I'm ever going to get to the point (and I'm sure that's all of you, by now), here it is. I was browsing my blogroll earlier, and came upon a post by Diesel in which he actually deigned to respond to a meme. Normally, he lets Grundir the Implacable dispense with any and all memes sent his way, but this one, asking for tips on writing a funny blog post, he answered. For which I truly thank him. Not because any of his tips helped me, (let's face it, some people can naturally bring the funny, and I don't think I qualify), but because through his meme-answering, I discovered a few new, pee-your-pants type of blogs. So, thank you Diesel...and since I know how much you love big girls, I'm over here waiting for you, naked.

So, now we're to the point, in which I wanted to share some newly discovered funny blogs! I hope these ladies don't mind the extra 4 or 5 readers I might send their way. Oh, who am I kidding, there's no such thing as bad publicity, right? Don't worry, I'll spell your names right.

The Smiling Infidel
Happy Meals and Happy Hour
Roaming Southerner
O Mighty Crisis

Enjoy! I'm going back to "work" now. And by work, I mean I'm going to watch a movie.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The 4th of July

We normally go to Payson for the 4th of July. Payson is a small town about 100 miles north of Phoenix. It's in the mountains, and the daytime temps are generally about 10-15 degrees cooler than Phoenix. Which is not a huge difference, really...if the high is 110 in Phoenix, it's about 95-98 in Payson. But that's the high. The reason we go to Payson is because when the sun starts to go down, it gets wonderfully, blessedly cool. When the fireworks shows go off in Phoenix at 9pm or 10pm, it's still over 100 degrees, and you're miserable and sweaty. But by the time the fireworks go off in Payson, it's in the 70s. And it's beautiful. That's why we make the annual trek up the hill.

For a smallish town (about 15,000 people), they have a really fun 4th of July. People gather at Green Valley Park, where they have games, food, a playground, a lake, and tons of grassy space for kids to run around. They put on a really good fireworks show too. If you want to see fireworks in Arizona, you have to go to some sort of professional show, because all other fireworks are illegal here. They also have a live band that starts playing around 7pm.

This year, our friends Marc and Kati, and their daughters Lisa and Laurie, and Kati's nephew Marco came with us. Something different happened this year too. For the first time in the five years that we've gone to Payson, a lovely monsoon storm rolled in. And it rained. And rained. And rained. There was about an hour of really hard rain, and then it sprinkled on and off for the rest of the evening. They did get the fireworks show off though, and it was great. It was so wonderfully cool, I hated to come home. Next year, we'll be bringing a canopy though...either as sun or rain protection. Those things work both ways.

This was our day:

People are so nice and friendly in small towns. Kylie started playing badminton with people she didn't even know. They thought she was cute, and they didn't mind.

It takes some practice to be able to hit that little birdie!

In the meantime, John Elway had brought a football, and was playing catch with Marc. Oh wait...that's Steve.

Shannon and her friend Lisa weren't expecting this picture. See that guy in the blue shirt to the right out there? That's Marc, he's the one with whom Steve was throwing the football.

Isn't this a pretty park?

When Shannon and Lisa realize their picture is being taken, suddenly they assume the MySpace poses.

This is Lisa, Danni, and Lisa's sister Laurie engaged in a mean game of Uno. See those ominous clouds behind them?

This is my lovely friend Kati and her nephew Marco. Marco is from Berlin, but he has spent the past school year in a foreign exchange program in Idaho. He has stopped to visit in Phoenix before heading home to Germany. He's a lot of fun, and after only one school year here, he speaks English like a pro!

Kati doesn't always make such silly faces. I think she was afraid I was peeking at her Uno cards. She says she reads my blog but just never comments. I guess after posting this picture of her, I'll find out if she really does read it. :)

They had a rock-climbing wall at the park, and Kylie wanted to try it.

The problem was, she's so light that she had a hard time keeping her body against the wall. Once her little hands let go of the hand grips, she swung away from the wall and wasn't able to get hold of anything to get herself going again.

Below, she froze when an extremely loud clap of thunder boomed behind her. Again, notice the ominous-looking clouds. It scared the boy next to her too...they both wanted to get off the wall very quickly!

And then the skies opened up, and the rain came down. We grabbed what we could and ran for the van. We got a couple of blankets and the pillows, shoes, cameras, etc. The chairs, coolers and another blanket unfortunately were left out in the rain.

When it became clear that we were going to be stuck in the van for a while, we ran out and got our chairs and coolers, which were by that time, soaked.

Shannon was quite wet after helping bring the stuff to the van, but as always, still fashionable, and still texting.

There wasn't much to do in the van while waiting out the rain, except break out the food. So that's what we did.

It rained pretty heavily for about an hour. After that, it was just drizzle on and off for the rest of the night. Unfortunately, the only person who had a change of clothes or a jacket/sweatshirt was Kylie. No one else had brought anything. We did have three umbrellas between our two families...ten people.

It wasn't really all that uncomfortable though. Most people who had stayed came back out of their cars and started socializing again. In a light drizzle, kids ran around and played, adults talked and laughed, and waited for the fireworks to start.

And around 9:15pm, they did start. For a small town, they put on a really nice fireworks show.

I had a really good time. Next year though, rain or shine, we're definitely bringing a canopy!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Adventures in Swimming

This is Dana Torres. She and I have a lot two things in common. She is 41 years old. I am 41 years old. She is a mom. I am a mom. She is a swimmer who just made the Olympic team headed for Bejing. I am...wait, what?

Let me repeat that: This 41 year-old mom is on the freaking Olympic swimming team. That is amazing. I'm not even sure which is more amazing, 13 year-old Katie Kinnear, who qualified to try out for the team, but didn't make it (remember that name in 2012!), or that there is a 15 year-old who did make the team.

Well, I'll be in the water today too. I'm taking the two older girls tubing up on the river. I haven't been tubing on the river since I well, it was a long time ago. I was in my 20s.

I wonder if Dana Torres worries about being able to get her fat ass back in her tube should she happen to fall out while reaching for a yummy rum drink Diet Coke? Yeah, probably not. At least I have a 16 year-old who can drive us home if I break something.

Edited to Add - 8:45pm -

We had fun! I didn't break anything. I only fell out of my tube once that wasn't on purpose. We bought one of those waterproof disposable cameras to take with us, so hopefully I'll have a few pictures of our tubing adventure in the next few days.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Wordless Wednesday - Summer Mornings

Ok, this isn't quite a Wordless Wednesday after all, because I felt it needed a little commentary. This is what 10am on a summer day looks like. We're supposed to go swimming over at Mimi's house. Someone doesn't want to get up. And what's that clutched in her left hand? Why, it's her cell phone, of course. Because we even sleep with the thing. Because what if...what if...what if we missed a text message?? I think the world just might come to a firey, bloody end.