Wednesday, April 29, 2009

How To Read The Mail

First of all, let me tell you that I hate the mail. I visit my mailbox maybe once a week. It's one of those community box things. Mail can be divided into three categories:

1. 75% - Junk and/or Crap. This is the stuff that goes directly into the recycling bin.
2. 15% - People That Want Money
3. 10% - Other Stuff

I picked up the mail today on the way to wait in the pickup line at the elementary school. That seems to be a good place to sort mail.

First, divide the mail into the above three categories. Pile all the junk on the passenger seat.

Second, tackle the bills. There was only one bill today. And it was actually a bill that made me happy. It was the electric bill. It made me happy because I realized that in another month, those bastards are going to owe ME money. I'm on this plan where they figure out what you pay for a whole year, and then divide it up equally over 12 months. What happens is that during the winter in AZ, you build up a credit balance, and then when the A/C bills are a bazillion dollars in the summer, you use up that credit instead of having to take out a second mortgage to pay the electric bill.

Right now, I have a large credit, because Nov-April are pretty cheap bills. That means that when we leave here in June, they're going to owe me money! Yay!

It was the Other Stuff that got me today.

First, an invitation to a party for my friend's son's graduation party. I have been friends with this person since high school. I was in her wedding. We went through a lot together. And now her oldest son is graduating. I was there when he was BORN, for Pete's sake. She was in labor, and I went to McDonald's and got her husband a cheeseburger. I was an integral part of that birth, people.

Sniffle a little bit.

Second, registration packet from Kylie's new elementary school in Colorado. Form to fill out, request for copy of birth certificate, shot records, request for transfer of her records from her old school.

This is where the tears start.

Third, a letter from the local community college that Danni will probably attend. To the parents of Danni. About how they're the best-kept secret in education in the valley. And they really want to be her college of choice. Please contact them for a tour.

At this point, glad to be wearing sunglasses.

Then I remember that in couple of hours, I will be watching Danni play in probably the last high school softball game I will ever see her play in. Because, you see, next year she will be here. And I will not. I won't be going to any Wolves football games, nor watching her in dance. I won't see any softball games. I'm going to miss her senior year.

This isn't fair. I was supposed to have one more year with her. A big year. Her senior year.

I love her too much to force her to go with us. I love her too much to let her miss out on this.

And it's killing me.

Now I'm sitting in the drive-up line, waiting for Kylie, and sobbing.

How long does this peri-menopause thing last? 10 years? AWESOME.

I hate the mail.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


People, can I tell you I am stressed about this whole moving thing? Not only do we have to figure out when and how to be out of this house, but getting our stuff to Colorado, when Steve has to take time off work, making arrangements, legal and otherwise, for Danni to stay here with my parents, packing, cleaning, new schools, not to mention trying to set a record for the most commas in one sentence.

Well, as of today, one worry is taken care of. Sort of. Steve signed the papers on our new (to us) house today.

I'm actually excited. It seems like a nice place, nice neighborhood, etc. Now that we have an address, I know where Shannon will go to high school, and which elementary school Kylie will be attending. I can call up there tomorrow and see how we go about getting them registered. Things are falling into place. And I'm terrified.

Logically, mathematically, I know we should be able to afford this place. But since I am anxiety-riddled by nature, I can do nothing but worry. I spend my life worrying. And it sucks.

The house has a finished basement with two bedrooms, a full bath, and a living area. This shall heretofore be refered to as "Shannon's Dungeon." In fact, once she moves in down there, I'm not sure we'll ever see her again. Although when it storms, I'll be right down there with her. Whether she likes it or not.

Since I have nothing better to worry about, I'd figured today would be a good day to try making these pretzels. Yesterday I got extremely tired of listening to kids whining about how bored they were, so I thought we could do this today. The thing is though, is that anything that involves yeast never seems to work out very well for me.

We just finished making the dough, and now it's supposed to rise for an hour. Here's where my problems start. Dough never seems to rise for me. I have no idea what I do wrong. I follow the directions, I swear. Now it's in a warm place, covered with a towel in an oil coated bowl, and it's supposed to double in size. We'll see how that turns out.

Meanwhile, I'm listening, once again, to Kylie and Shannon screaming at each other. I'm in my room upstairs and they are downstairs and my door is closed, so it's muted. But I can still hear them. And just FYI, to help you (women, at least) understand my period is going to start, like...any minute. I'm just saying.

I bought this juice for Shannon last week, and it remains unopened. That seems wrong. What can we do?

Ah. I think this will go with the juice nicely. Yes, I keep my rum in the laundry room. Don't you?

I'm feeling better already. I wonder how the dough is doing? The nice part is that now, if the dough doesn't rise? I won't really care so much. Hopefully I don't pass out before the hour is up.

Edited, 6pm:

While I appreciate Diesel's reluctance to hear about my yeast issues, I thought I'd let you all know that the pretzels actually turned out pretty well. They may not look all Martha Stewart-y, but they taste pretty dang good. I think the rum helped.

Don't they look good, if not a little misshapen? They were warm and moist and chewy and...yum! Not quite Auntie Anne's, but not bad for someone with yeast issues. (Sorry Diesel) And just for the record, I think this is the 183rd time where I've tried a "project" with the kids where they ended up doing none of the work, and I did everything. So I made Shannon make dinner. At least she's good for something.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Full Circle

How did you choose your childrens' names? Girls' names were always difficult for me, because there aren't that many that I like. If Danni had been a boy, her name would have been Ryan. Ryan Shawn.

I finally settled on Danielle for a girl, because I thought "Dani" was a cute nickname. I was also considering Veronica (Ronni) or something where we could call her Robbi. I just thought that a little boy's name made an adorable nickname for a little girl. And, I also thought that Dani Ourlastname sounded like an athlete's name, and that one day I'd hear it at a game, or competition, or something.

Monday, was a seriously weird experience. Because normally they don't have anyone announcing the varsity softball games. But for some reason, on Monday, they did. There was a guy running the scoreboard (also a rarity) and announcing the lineups over the loudspeaker. He was also announcing each player's name as they came to bat.

I have to tell you, I got serious goosebumps, and a flashback to the day I named her, when suddenly over the loudspeaker I hear:

"Now batting for the Wolves, the first baseman, Dannnnniiiiiiiiiii Ouuurrrrlaaassttttnammmmee!"

Because that's what I had imagined, 17 years ago. It was the strangest feeling ever.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Texas - It's Like A Whole Other Country

I wish. Maybe they should make good on that little tourism slogan they love so much.

Dear Rick Perry:

I'm not sure why everyone is so upset with your comments about Texas wanting to secede from the union. Personally, nothing would make me happier. Please, leave. And don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out. The collective IQ of our country would go up a few points if you took your ball state and left. Please. Do it. Go. What are you waiting for? Adios!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Generation Grand Canyon

Back in the 60s, I believe, the term "generation gap" was coined. It refered to the huge difference in ideology between the WWII era parents, and their free-loving, hippie children.

So what happens when people are two generations apart? Like say, a 17 year-old girl, and her grandparents in their early 70s?

(FYI, this is my own picture of the Grand Canyon on our recent spring break trip. I just wanted you to know I didn't swipe it off Google or something.)

I was struck by this the other day when my parents and I were sitting at one of Danni's softball games. There were two different conversations that brought this point home to me.

The first one happened because there was a girl on the team who was taking some class, that class, whatever class it is where you have to carry one of those fake babies around with you? Several years ago, teachers tried to demonstrate the difficulty of taking care of an infant by having kids carry an egg or a sack of flour around with them. But now, we have simulated infants, dolls that cry when they are wet, hungry, handled too harshly, etc. They don't ever cry for lengthy periods of time for no apparent reason, which to me makes them not very realistic, but I digress.

(Thank you, Mary, for pointing out that this is Baby Think-It-Over. I didn't know what it was called. This picture, I totally swiped from Google.)

Anyway, the girl's mother was "babysitting" the doll. It started to wail a couple of times; once to have a diaper changed, and once to have a bottle. My father did not understand what the doll was all about. I told him it was for a class the girl was taking. He automatically assumed it was a class on babysitting. I told him it was supposed to teach teenagers that taking care of a baby is a lot of work, and they really don't want to have one while they're still in high school. He was flabbergasted, but luckily managed to avoid the stroke I thought for sure was inevitable.

The second conversation was between my mother and me. This was Tuesday, so the day before Danni's birthday. It went like this:

Mom: "So, what are you getting Danni for her birthday?"

Me: "Well, I'm going to get her an iPhone. I've already talked to her about it, because she's going to have to wait until the 20th of this month. That's when I'm eligible for an upgrade on my phone, so it will be a lot cheaper for me to get it that way. She's fine with waiting. Plus her iPod has a cracked screen, and getting the phone this way is going to be cheaper than an iPod Touch, which is what I was planning to get her in the first place."

Mom: "What's an iPhone?"

Me: Speechless.

Danni living with my parents for a year is going to be very interesting. I know she won't give them any trouble and will be respectful (or I'll kill her), but it's going to be interesting.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


Where does time go? I know it's a cliche, but until you start looking at your child's entire life in pictures, and trying to put them in chronological order, you just don't realize how damned fast the whole thing went.

Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Danielle. She was an only child. Her parents and grandparents called her Dani. Life was good. Christmas at age 1 1/'s all about her. And a fuchsia-colored stuffed dinosaur

When Dani was 2 1/2, along came a little sister, Shannon. At the time, it was fun. Dani was a good big sister. She loved her new baby. If she only knew...

Mom started early with the brainwashing. Once a Sun Devil, always a Sun Devil. Start 'em young, she said. Though no one knew it at the time, in another six years or so there would be another sister, who would bear a striking resemblance to this little girl.

Age four, go to Disneyland. Meet Cinderella. Check.

Preschool is stories and games and butterfly wings. She tells her teacher she wants to be called Danielle, not Dani. This would last several years, although she continued to be Dani to family members.

The first day of kindergarten. Time is already slipping away, and no one even notices.

Along the way, there was a lot of time spent at Mimi's house. An abundance of Christmas cookies, and other projects were created. Mimi was always good with the crafts.

In 1999, Danielle was seven. We got our dog Bo. The girls had always wanted a dog.

She wasn't always the most serious child.

At age 10, she became a big sister again. No one quite saw that one coming. This may have been just a year or so after her mother told her that there would be no more babies. The universe had other plans.

Mimi takes her to church on Sundays. She likes going places with her grandparents.

We spent several Independence Days up north in Payson. It's cooler up there, and we liked the small-town atmosphere. Games and fireworks were always on the agenda.

She lets mom take a picture on the first day of sixth grade. Things are about to change drastically, but no one knew it yet. Hormonal-wise, I mean.

She and Kylie were always, and still are to this day, very close.

She started playing softball at age eight. Here she was an honorary bat girl for the ASU women's softball team.

She started pitching around age ten or so.

She also spent a few summers as a junior lifeguard at the city pool. She thought she was so cool up on that chair. Mom couldn't resist taking the picture.

She joined choir in 7th grade. They had a formal concert one night...

The same night she had a softball game. It was close, but we made it to both. She changed in the car. She can go from formal to tomboy in 60 seconds flat.

Junior high, baby. Gotta act the part...gotta be cool.

A week before high school starts, she meets him at band practices. She is twirling flags on the colorguard, he is a trumpet player. The first boyfriend. This lasts nearly two years.

The childhood brainwashing has worked...she's a Sun Devil girl through and through. This is a night where mom and dad had taken her to an ASU football game. With this t-shirt, sunglasses and a small backpack on, she is mistaken for a college freshman by a young man. Mom is properly horrified.

Pitching for the freshman team.

A pixie and a witch on Halloween, 2007.

Family vacation in San Diego is an opportunity to try boogie-boarding. Danni decides she is a beach girl at heart. In case you're wondering where the second "n" in Danni came from...she was on a softball team once with another Dani, so my Dani became Danni. And it just stuck.

There is a special relationship between these two. I know they will be close their whole lives.

In high school, Danni started taking dance. She took beginning dance for the P.E. credit. Then she fell in love with it. She took intermediate, then advanced dance. She took the improv dance class. At the end of her sophomore year, she tried out for the company class, Modazz, and was selected. I love to watch my girl dance.

She loves dance so much, she will continue into college. She is so beautiful when she is dancing. I might be a bit biased though.

There have been many, many football games and competitions with the band/colorguard in the past three years. Steve and I have been to almost every game. I love watching her perform, and she loves doing it.

The Fiesta Bowl National Band Championships, January 2009.

The girls switched from spinning flags and rifles, to dancing with bouquets of flowers. They were fantastic at the Fiesta Bowl competition. I will never get tired of watching her perform. There is nothing that matches the pride of watching your child doing something that they love, and that they do so well.

This year, her junior year, she is the starting first baseman on the varsity softball team.

As always, to me, she is beautiful whether she is dancing, sliding into home covered with dirt, or dressed up for homecoming, or just hanging with her boyfriend or a sister.

An entire life in a blog post. You have a child, and you think they will be a child forever. But they grow up. They grow up so very quickly. Can someone please tell me how the hell this happened?

Happy birthday, Baby. Your dad and I love you so much. You make me so proud to be your mom every day of your life. Thank you for being you.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Biggest Lie On The Planet

I know you think you've heard this one. The biggest lie is, "The check is in the mail," right? Well, there's another one, but since this is sort of a family blog, I'm not going to say the other one.

I submit though, that neither of those are true.

In my house, the biggest lie ever is:

"Don't worry Mom...I'll clean it up, I promise!"

I'm glad I'm not in the habit of holding my breath while I wait for things to happen.

What's the biggest lie in your house?

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Riddle Me This...

What do you get when you cross an extremely bored, but very creative 14 year-old...

With a willing model/little sister...

A lazy Sunday afternoon...

And seven dollars worth of duct tape?

Project Runway! Oh, Tim Gunn? Check this out!

If you guessed "a messy living room," that would be correct also.

Click this link for some impressive prom outfits that high school kids have created with "duck" tape.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

No Fools Here

I hate April Fool's Day. I hate it, because I think it's mean. I don't like playing tricks on people, and I don't like having them played on me. I think it's juvenile, stupid, and often cruel.

This morning, Kylie was whining because no one had said April Fool to her. So Danni said,

"Hey Kylie, I got you a pony!"

Of course, Kylie didn't buy that. But I used that to explain that what if Danni had woken up this morning and decided to tell you that mom was buying you a pony? Then you got all excited, because you love horses so much. How disappointed and upset would you be when you found out it was just a "joke?" I put joke in quotes because I think jokes should be funny, and I don't find things like that funny at all.

On the bright side, I'm looking forward to jury duty today. The last two days have been pretty entertaining, and today should be even better. I'm on a jury with some cool people, and the case is extremely convoluted and juicy, and I'm having a good time. No foolin'.