Saturday, February 27, 2010

New Feature

So, after reading Dawn's post entitled "What the Hell? Wednesday!", I came up with this great idea. Ok, so it's Dawn's idea, and I just changed the day.

Yesterday I was going to write a post called "What The F&*$ Friday!" You see, my plan was that every Friday, I'll go through the news and find something totally ridiculous (because really, how hard can that be?), and write a post about it. Please don't tell me six million bloggers already have this feature on their blogs on Fridays. It'll just depress me.

So I set out to write this post yesterday, and I'm pretty sure it had to do with that whiny Russian ice skater that won the silver medal (or, in his world, platinum), but then I got distracted. My crops were about to die so I had to harvest them, plow and replant, milk the damn cows and gather the damn eggs, and then I had to comment on some friends' statuses (stati?) and upload some pictures and drive someone somewhere and move the laundry from the washer to the dryer and unload the dishwasher and yell at the dog for the bazillionth time to get the hell off my bed and check my email and pick someone up from school and get the laundry out of the dryer and fold it and put it away, and then write to the Guiness Book of World Records and tell them that I am applying to be the person with the longest run-on sentence ever, and who the hell can remember what they were going to write after all that?

Stay tuned next week for the inaugaral installment of "What the F&*$ Friday!" Maybe.

In the meantime, here are some pictures. On Thursday it snowed all afternoon and into the night, and Friday we woke up to one of my favorite kinds of days. Bright blue sky, not a cloud in sight, and snow-covered everything. When the sun's out, the snow sparkles and it's just gorgeous and I cannot get over it. I went up to Red Rocks early to try and get some pictures of the snow on the rocks before the temp could get up to our high of near 50 yesterday and melt it all.

This is a tree across the street from me that has nothing to do with Red Rocks. But I just think it's so beautiful with all the snow on it.

This is on the road that leads up to Red Rocks Amphitheatre, which is a pretty famous place for concerts. There is a visitor's center and museum up at the top, and it's really cool. On the walls, they have a list of everyone who has ever played there, going back to the 1920's. Of course, in the 1920's there were only two or three people each year, and they were playing a harmonica and a metal tub, but still. Did you know that for the past 10 or 15 years, Blues Traveler has played there every 4th of July?

Another picture on the way up. Or maybe on the way back down. I get confused easily.

The history of this place is so neat. Did you know that when the Beatles played here in the 60s (I forget what year), the price of a ticket was $6.60? That's the stage way down there, and I'm standing at the top railing. I've never been to a concert here, but I'd love to go to one. Maybe this summer. You'd be able to see all the benches where people sit, if they weren't covered with snow.

I'm going to miss the snow when it's gone. I hope the summer is short. Yes, I know I'm crazy.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


My baby.

This kid, with two teenage sisters, is sort of stuck between childhood and teenage-hood. I found her last night talking to her friend Courtney on the phone while sitting on her bed, which is draped with her favorite monkey blanket.

The pose reminded me so much of the older girls, but upon closer inspection? She was reading a book to her friend over the phone. The name of the book? "Kitty's Special Job."

She is torn between wanting a cell phone (um, no...not for several years) and loving her stuffed animals. Between playing with her Legos, and wanting to hang out with her 15 year-old sister and her friends (which her sister does not care for).

She puts her plastic pet dinosaur to bed every night in a special purple box next to her bed. She loves me. She tells me every day. She still wants to hold my hand when we're walking together. And she wants to be grown up, so very very much.

Every day, I make her promise that she's still going to love me when she's 13. And every day, she says "Of course I will, Mommy!"

One day, I'm going to get that on video, for evidence.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Ok, so it's not Wednesday and it's not wordless. I'm a rebel like that.

It is wordless in that I don't even know what to say about this picture, except that it cracks me up.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Valentine's Day, Blah Blah Blah

From Wikipedia:

"St. Valentine's Day (commonly shortened to Valentine's Day) is an annual holiday celebrated on February 14th celebrating love and affection between intimate companions. The holiday is named after one or more early Christian martyrs named Valentine and was established by Pope Gelasius I in 496 AD. It is traditionally a day on which lovers express their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards (known as "valentines"). The holiday first became associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffery Chaucer in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished.

Modern Valentine's Day symbols included the heart-shaped outline, doves, and the figure of the winged Cupid. Since the 19th century, handwritten valentines have largely given way to mass-produced greeting cards."

Well, that totally blows my theory that Valentine's Day was completely made up by Hallmark, 1 800 Flowers, and See's Candies. Although that last line about the mass-produced greeting cards confirms that Hallmark is to blame for blowing this "holiday" up into the ridiculousness that it has become.

Tell me, why does every retail store always have to have a holiday section that always has to have holiday stuff? Because honestly, I am not thinking about Valentine's day on the day after Christmas, but Target sure as hell is. On Monday, we will be bombarded with Easter paraphernalia, like stuffed rabbits nailed to crosses and plastic eggs hidden on a rendering of Mount Calvary. What? Ok, I know that was sacrilegious, but I've never really understood the whole bunny/egg thing. I suppose Wikipedia could explain that to me too, but honestly I'm just not that interested. Maybe if it was a really large chicken bringing the eggs, that would make more sense. And for God's sake, does a seven year-old child still believe that a large rabbit is coming to our house and leaving her a basket filled with stuff? Well yes, she does. Let me tell you, after 17 years of children, I am so over this Easter basket thing.

Anyway, where was I? Oh, Valentine's Day. It's stupid. I do not want my husband to get me some flowers that are going to die in two days, because that seems to me to be a huge waste of money. Now you can tell me that with proper care, they can live for up to two weeks or some such thing, but have you met me? Possibly you didn't hear about the Great Mum Incident of September, 2009. I can't really talk about it yet, but suffice it to say, it wasn't pretty.

I also don't want chocolates. Well ok, I do want chocolates, but I certainly don't need them, if you know what I mean. I suppose if we had some "extra money" (and I put "extra money" in quotes, because honestly I think that's a joke someone made up that doesn't really exist) I would like a trip to Bath and Body Works, because I love me some pretty-smelling lotion. And I don't mean pretty like flowers or freesia or lavender, but like warm vanilla sugar, coconut, or apple cinnamon. Yes, I like to smell like pies and cookies. Did you notice that whenever you find a scent you really like at that store, they discontinue it? They used to have this lotion, I think it was Almond Hazelnut or Hazelnut Almond or something, and I totally loved it, and they stopped making it. Same with Fresh Pineapple. I think they check to see what I buy, then they discontinue it.

You know what Valentine's Day makes me? Depressed. And not because of the present, but I remember high school, when it was so dang important to have a boyfriend and I didn't. Never had a boyfriend in high school. Pathetic, right? So every year, some stupid club on campus would sell roses that would be delivered to your sweetheart on Valentine's Day, usually by the choir, and they would all gather around the girl and sing "Let Me Call You Sweetheart", or some stupid thing. And I never once got a rose in four years. Even in college it was a big deal, and all these twits were running around with their little gifts that their boyfriends had given them, and they were so in love, and blah blah puke.

Even in elementary school, for Pete's sake. Remember way back, when they didn't send a note home saying that if you give out valentines, you have to give one to everyone in the class, and they send a class list with everyone's name on it stapled to the note so you don't forget anyone? Honestly, it would never occur to me to say to my seven year-old daughter, "Ok honey, tell me which kids in your class you like or are popular, and we'll only give valentines to them." But back in the 70s, it seems that's exactly what happened. And the prettiest little girl in the class got 342 valentines, even though there were only 28 kids in the class.

Now that I write all this out, I think I'm starting to see why maybe I don't like Valentine's Day. But by mutual agreement, I don't get my husband anything and he doesn't get me anything. We just don't. We usually blame that whole "extra money" illusion, but the truth is we're just not into it. I will run out today and get something for the girls, just because I always have. Unfortunately, the girl that needs right now to hear the most that we love her isn't here. But just in case she is reading this... Danni, I love you so much, and I'll have something for you when you get here next month. And I'll probably have gotten it at 75% off. That's ok, right? ;)

How about if we go back to the days of Geoffrey Chaucer and the handwritten valentines? Wouldn't that be cute? I just hate overcommericalizing (Is that a word? According to Blogger, it's not. And they have no suggestions.) every stinking holiday, just so stores can fill up that "seasonal" space they have. The only holiday I don't begrudge them is that "Back to School" holiday. That stuff comes out as soon as the 4th of July is over. And it's not a moment too soon.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Happy Groundhog Day!

I'm not much of a sentimentalist when it comes to my kids' schoolwork. I can't think of anything from their younger years that I saved. Especially now that we're on kid #3 in elementary school.

But last year, when Kylie was in kindergarten, she brought this guy home on Groundhog Day:

I have to tell you, we all laughed ourselves silly at this groundhog peeking out of his little paper bag hole, saying "Wut?" I guess that was Kylie's kindergarten spelling of "what?", but the spelling just made it all that much funnier. Say it like a stoner. "Wut?"

This guy made the move to Denver with us and was still in Kylie's bedroom. I remembered him this morning. I guess I didn't keep it so much for sentimental value, as I did for entertainment value. We all looked at each other this morning and said, "Wut?" It's nice to start the day with a giggle.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Grocery Store Hell

Don't you all just love grocery shopping? I know I do. NOT.

There are several reasons for this.

First of all, about 4 years ago, a friend of mine introduced me to The Grocery Game. Things were tight, money-wise and I wanted to learn about shopping with coupons. Wait, things are still tight, money-wise. In fact, they've never not been. Aren't we supposed to grow out of this phase eventually? Sigh.

Anyway, I use The Grocery Game website, and I'm a couponer and a stockpiler. For example, I just bought three bottles of mustard because they were free with my coupons. So when I run out of the mustard that's in the fridge, I just go to the cupboard and get another one. One thing I like about stockpile shopping is that I rarely run out of anything. Usually, there's another one in the cupboard, somewhere.

You know what else is cool? I have a very unorganized next-door neighbor. She frequently borrows things from me. Last week, she made her daughter a hamburger for school lunch two days in a row, but she didn't have any ketchup. She borrowed maybe a 1/4 cup of ketchup from me over those two days. And it wasn't good ketchup either, it was just Hunt's. What I got back from her? Was a huge 40 oz bottle of Heinz ketchup. This wasn't the only incident either. When she borrowed a banana, I got back an entire bunch of organic bananas. A couple of days after she borrowed two eggs? She gave me back two eggs. But they were Eggland's Best, not the store brand that I loaned her. See how stockpiling can be profitable? Hey Erin, need to borrow anything today? I just got back from the store.

Couponing has become a burden also. Because I can't stop doing it. It's a pain, it's time-consuming, and I absolutely cannot bear to pay full price for anything.

My second, third and fourth problems with grocery shopping lie with my family. Let me introduce you to my arch enemies:

Culprit #1, aka "Miss I Don't Like It!"

This kid doesn't like anything. Dinner? Unless it's spaghetti, a cheese quesadilla or macaroni and cheese (the kind from a box), she doesn't like it. Except for turkey. At Thanksgiving, she had three huge pieces of plain white meat. No gravy, nothing. No one can explain this.

I've always had a "one bite" policy. You have to try everything. If you don't like it, then don't eat it, but you have to try it. Getting this kid to try just one bite of something is ... well, you'd think we were making her eat dog crap. There are so many things I think she'd like if she would just try, but she won't. And because she's already in the zero percentile on the weight chart, I can't just let her not eat. So I keep plenty of tortillas and shredded cheese around so I can make a quick quesadilla. Her school lunches? Gah. She used to eat peanut butter sandwiches, but now she won't. I'm standing there every morning saying, "What can I put in here that you will actually eat?" I never get an answer to this question.

Culprit #2, aka "The Vegetarian"

Here we have someone who will not eat meat. None. Her issue is with animal treatment, because some brilliant friend of hers told her to watch some videos on YouTube about how cows are slaughtered, how chickens are caged on top of each other, etc. She says that eating meat would be exactly like eating one of our dogs. Yeah. One time I said, "What if I buy free-range chicken? They're out roaming free! Not piled on top of each other in cages! Will you eat that?"

I wouldn't have a problem with this dietary choice, except I use the term "vegetarian" very loosely, seeing as she won't eat vegetables. My husband likes to call her a "crapatarain", because she only eats crap. I think the proper term would probably be "carbatarian." She likes Hormel's vegetarian chili, so I buy that. She likes the spicy black bean burgers from Morningstar Farms, so I buy those, even though they are ridiculously expensive. She eats an occasional apple, but that's about it as far as fruits or vegetables. I told her to do some research, and find alternative sources of protein, other than meat. You know, peanut butter, cheese, eggs (which she doesn't like), beans, yogurt, etc. She doesn't make any effort to incorporate any of these things into her diet. And she's always complaining that there's "nothing to eat" in the house. So every Monday before she goes to school I say, "I'm going to the store today. What do you want me to get?" And without fail, the answer is, "I dunno."

I have tried, people. I'll make spaghetti and separate some sauce for her before I add meat or sausage. She'll find an excuse not to be hungry. I made an awesome bean and vegetable soup one time. She didn't even try it. I ate it. I made a roasted tomato and bean soup which was again, awesome. Did she try it? Of course not. If I make bean and cheese chimichangas, she won't be hungry. Probably because she's spent the time between getting home from school and dinner snacking. On food we don't have, because clearly there's nothing to eat in this house.

Culprit #3, aka "I Am Not A Rabbit"

Will not eat anything green. Will. Not. Unless it's plain iceberg lettuce with ranch dressing, and even that's iffy. I have to stop and snort right here, because while he calls Shannon a crapatarian? His diet is no better. He would live on Hot Pockets, kielbasa, and chopped ham if he could. And Red Baron singles. He doesn't even like potatoes, unless they're au gratin. In other words, smothered in cheese. Baked potato? Possibly, but it's got to be loaded with cheese, bacon bits, butter and sour cream. Steak must be liberally drenched in ranch dressing. Pizza and chicken wings.

These three people are the bane of my grocery shopping existence. I will eat almost anything, as long as it's not mushrooms, olives, or cabbage. Or seafood. But I love vegetables, sweet potatoes, whole grain bread, walnuts, and a host of other things that are good for you.

Tonight, I'll grill a couple of steaks. Kylie will complain and end up having a quesadilla. Shannon will eat...whatever she eats. Probably a can of vegetarian chili. I will make roasted green beans that are tossed in olive oil, with kosher salt and a lot of pepper. I will be the only one that eats them. Oh, and italian squash cooked the same way. Yum. Perhaps a side dish of parmesan noodles, which husband will eat, Shannon might eat, and I will not eat, because I'll be full of steak and my delicious roasted vegetables.

Now here's the real kicker: Why is everyone in this family skinny except me?