Monday, June 28, 2010

Summertime...and the livin's NUTTY!

I woke up in a really good mood--very happy and optimistic after a fabulous date night with my husband (I highly recommend Knight & Day).  As the day has progressed and I've been working on my "to do" list, I've become increasingly anxious. 

It started with a call to the hospital to pre-register for some tests I'm having done on Thursday.  The lady told me she would call me back with my estimated bill total so that I could pay it over the phone, since the hospital has a policy of getting paid before services are rendered.  Now I'm scared that she's going to call me back with a $500 quote for a couple of tests.  Still waiting on that call.  I feel like I could use a Xanax, but with two children in my house that I have to drive somewhere soon, that's probably a bad idea.  Whoever invented Xanax was not very smart about it:  if I had the time to take a nap every time I felt anxious, I wouldn't need the darn pill to begin with!

Anyway, as I sat here worrying about the impending phone call, I began to mentally plan out my summer schedule in my head, which compounded the anxiety.  Here's what's coming up in the next two months:

  • Fourth of July party at my house
  • The kid's 3rd birthday and subsequent birthday party
  • A trip to my dad's house for the weekend
  • A trip to Omaha for the weekend
  • A visit from my 16 year-old brother for several days
  • A visit from a couple friend of ours for a day or two
  • A visit from my mother in-law for a week or so
  • A trip with my mother in-law to Chicago when she comes to visit (at least, I think that's still the plan)
  • My 9th wedding anniversary
  • My 31st birthday
  • Several medical tests which may lead to surgery
  • Tae Kwon Do lessons for the kid twice a week

It's funny that most of those things would actually go in the "leisure" category of life, but when you put them all together in such a short amount of time, they become more like obligations.  Hm.

I'm noticing that many people have neglected their blogs now that it's summer--you all must be busy "relaxing" too.  Maybe once autumn hits and the living's not "easy" anymore, we can all get back to our writing.  I knew I liked autumn best...

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Summer takes a break.

Sittin' outside drinking some fresh homemade lemonade and visiting with my 11 year-old neighbor and my (almost) 3 year-old kid.  Ahhhhh....relaxing.  The humidity went on vacation today, and it's felt like Spring again--such lovely weather.

I had to go to the T-Mobile store today to replace my phone after I spilled lemonade all over it a few days ago.  I thought it was functional--and it (practically) was until this morning when I answered a call and heard nothing.  Oh well.  $300 down the drain...whatareyagonnado?  At least they had a payment plan!  And now I have a pink phone so...score!

I'm going to listen to my neighbor read Everyone Poops to the kid now.  Even though I have it memorized.  Ah, motherhood.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I can't always get what I want.

But I can try sometimes.

I'm really frustrated right now.  Do you ever get in one of those "woe is me" moods, where you feel like everyone and everything is against you in the world?  That's how I feel right now.  I know that I should look to the oil spill or the war or the poor and the hungry and get a little perspective, but sometimes it feels better just to wallow in it for a little bit.  Please bear with me.

The heat is stifling lately, and maybe that has something to do with it--it's hard to breathe literally and figuratively.  I feel like I have no purpose other than to cater to the needs of a toddler and a husband. neither of whom seem to appreciate what I'm doing anyway, so what's really the point?  Father's Day was last week and the hubby's birthday is this weekend, so I've been buying him gifts left and right, and I know that this sounds completely selfish, but what about me?  What about what I want? 

Here is an easy-to-read list of the things I want.  Just to sum it up, I want:

1.  A nap.

2.  Time to myself.

3.  A pendant necklace to replace the one that broke over a year ago (something I've been asking for for over a year now)

4.  Appreciation.

5.  Attention.

6.  Enough money to not have to worry about it ever.

7.  A home studio to write and record songs in.

8.  Time to myself to write and record songs.

9.  A co-writer/producer to write and record songs with.

10.  A bigger house.

11.  A new phone  (mine is on the fritz since I spilled lemonade on it a few days ago).

12.  Some new bras.

13.  Some new clothes/dresses/jeans/shoes/ get the idea.

14.  Someone to clean my house.

15.  To go skydiving.

16.  The movie It's Complicated (I freakin' loved that movie)

That list was very random.  I'm surprised I couldn't think of more things to put on's amazing how few material things I actually want when I think about it.  It's really the items that money can't buy which stand out the most to me on that list. 

I really wanted to just get out of the house for a little bit without the hubby or kid, but the kid's been having severe attachment issues lately, so I felt too guilty to leave when he started crying.  I'd like to scream really loudly to maybe let some of the stress out, but our house is so small that there's no way to do it without freaking out the kid and the hubby.  I went outside and pulled the weeds, but all that did was give me time to think and stew in my unhappiness, so that's when I locked myself in my bedroom to write this blog post.  I also took a picture of myself before I began, just to see if I looked sad...I did.

The kid was climbing up on the bed to give me a hug right when that photo took, so that helped a little bit.

Anyway, I don't know what I thought I would accomplish by conveying this terribly depressing information to you all...other than the idea that I'm just putting my wants out there into the universe, hopefully to float around and come back to me some day.  Like The Secret.  I hope it works. 

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Come on Jewel, light my fire...

I just got home from a Jewel concert.  The hubby surprised me with tickets a few weeks ago, and since this was my fourth time seeing her (the last time only about a year ago), I wasn't even all that excited to go, even though I've always been her #1 fan.  Actually, I was sort of not looking forward to it at all, since we just got back from vacation and then my mom was here--I kind of just wanted to stay home and watch TV.  I'm so glad I went.

The opening act was a guy by the name of Radney Foster.  The name rang a bell, but I wasn't quite sure why.  Throughout his entire set (with just him and a guitar), his voice rang out clear, singing songs that he'd written for himself and for some other artists, including Keith Urban.  It wasn't until he sang his last song, the 1993 hit "Nobody Wins" that I remembered who he was.  As soon as he started singing, tears began welling up in my eyes, and it was all I could do to not let them run down my cheeks and ruin my eye makeup.  That was my absolute favorite song back then, and I still remembered every single word.  Something about the words, the melody, got me "right there", you know?  Fourteen must have been an emotional year for me, because all kinds of feelings came rushing back, creating a pit in my stomach as I sang along shakily to the perfection that was Radney Foster performing at that moment.  If you don't know the song, here is the video (which I vividly remember) for the song:

Jewel was up next, and she did not disappoint.  Though she told several of the same stories I'd heard at past shows, her voice was as awe-inspiring as ever.  I haven't bought her new album yet, but from what I heard of it tonight, it's going to be one of my favorites.  Here's her first single:

As we left the building humming the songs we'd just heard, I was overcome with a sense of excitement, but also one of sadness.  I'm not sure how many of you know this about me, but before the kid was born, I was actively writing and singing my own songs, and was even met with a teensy bit of success.  Since the birth of my child, however, I haven't had the time or energy to devote to creating music, nor have I had the studio space to record any.  The funny thing is, I didn't really want to be famous--just successful at songwriting--but the thing that I longed for most while watching Jewel up on stage tonight was just to be singing into the microphone on stage.  I do love to sing. 

Anyway, going to this concert lit a fire under me.  Maybe I'll try harder to make music in my spare time.  At 30 years old, I may have missed my chance to break into the big time, but you're never to old to make music...or to sing.  :)

Monday, June 14, 2010

My Denver vacation: A Culinary Tour.

Sorry this took so long, guys!  I know some of you were waiting with bated breath for me to post all of my Denver trip food photos, so I apologize for the wait.  I guess I'm just a little ashamed that this is not a more exciting post, so I was putting off showing the photos. 

Like I said before, this was not the vacation I expected--we barely ate out at all, especially compared to our past trips.  As a result, I did actually fail to photograph some of my food before it went down my esophagus, and since I didn't figure you'd want to see it after the fact (I'm a classy blogger), those meals are missing altogether. 

If the images are too small, click on them to make them bigger.  If they're still too small, click on them again to make them enormous.   If you still can't see them, then how are you reading this?  You are most likely blind.

So, without further adieu, da-da-da-daaaaa--a culinary tour of my vacation!

Day 1

How lucky were WE that the day we left for Denver also happened to be NATIONAL DONUT DAY???  Dunkin' Donuts celebrated by offering its customers a free donut with the purchase of any beverage--an offer we took full advantage of before leaving town.  It was like kismet! 

A coconut cake donut with a cinnamon iced coffee (extra cream)

In the spirit of full-disclosure, I must admit that I also ate a $.99 sausage egg and cheese wake-up wrap, which was like a little soft breakfast taco.  I forgot to photograph it...not a good start!

The road was long, and the options were slim for lunch.  We decided to stop in Salina, KS and get some food to-go at McDonald's and eat it at a park in town.  It was actually pretty fun--very National Lampoon's Vacation of us.  You could almost hear "Holiday Rooooaaa-ooooaaa-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-aod  Holiday Roooooooo-ooooooooaaaa-oh-oh-oh-oh-oad" playing in the background as I ate this artery-clogging meal:

A McDouble, one chicken nugget, a handful of the kid's french fries, and a giant iced tea

After a game of badminton and some playing on the playground equipment, we were off again!  The road was long and boring--nothing much to look at other than a new wind farm out in the middle of nowhere, which was actually pretty cool-looking, I'll admit.

Ten long hours after we set out, we finally reached our destination.  Woot!  To celebrate, we went out to dinner at BJ's, a favorite of the fam.  When we sat down, a waiter brought out this beautiful bowl of chips and spinach artichoke dip, which I dug into without modesty.  

(This probably goes without saying, but those are not my hands in the photo)

It had been 8 hours since our last meal, so I probably looked like a lion devouring a fresh zebra carcass, but I didn't care.   It wasn't until my dinner companions and I were about halfway through the appetizer that we realized (1) nobody had ordered this, and (2) it was probably delivered by mistake.  Oops.  That's what you get, waitstaff, for dropping food in front of starving people at a table of 15!  No apologies, though--that stuff was delicious!

In an effort to eat somewhat healthily, and thinking that I would have plenty of chances to eat crap, I opted for a light dinner of two small plates:

(L) Shrimp skewers on a bed of rice and vegetables (R) Tomato and mozzarella salad with balsamic

Followed by a piece of a giant dessert cookie with a scoop of chocolate ice cream:

Day 2

The next morning was a breakfast of fruit from the fridge and a cup of coffee:  I should have known something was awry right there.  Usually, we would go out to eat at some egg restaurant so that we could get the day started right with some fat and cholesterol.  The fruit was definitely a sign of things to come, and impending doom for my food blog.

By the time lunch time rolled around, nobody had said a word about what the plan was, so the hubby and I took the kid for a walk and ended up at Quizno's, for which I had a coupon.  Again very conscious of the fact that you all were going to witness everything I was eating, I went with a salad:

Quizno's chopped Cobb salad with flat bread, ranch dressing on the side, iced tea to drink

That was a good salad, but by the time dinner rolled around, I was freakin' starving!  My brother in-law was gracious enough to make a nice, healthy meal for us all, and I will admit, I did have seconds.

Teriyaki chicken breast with mixed vegetables and brown rice

The remainder of the evening was spent at the Denver Chalk Art Festival, where I was spoon-fed a few bites of blue Italian Ice by an adorable little vagabond. 

Who could say "no" to this face?

We ended the night with a bag of kettle corn, which I forgot to photograph, but enjoyed a great many handfuls of.

Day 3
The next morning was party day.  Woot!  Every year, the family holds a party at their house, where they serve up free food and beer to all who attend.  For this very reason, my day began with coffee and the kid's leftover cereal (again, not pictured).

I drank a hard iced-tea, before I remembered to photograph anything, and then I ate/drank:

Nachos with jalapenos

Australian chocolate wafer cake

The bottom of a chocolate cupcake (the kid ate the top)
A hotdog with mustard and raw veggies dipped in ranch dressing

An Amstel Light beer (but not the whole thing)

Not pictured:  A slice of supreme pizza, a wine-cooler-type thing, and...I'm sure something else...the rest is kind of foggy.  Oops.  Oh yeah, I think I had some Cheetos...

Day 4

The next morning was hiking day, a.k.a., the day the kid almost caught the plague.  I honestly have no idea what I had for breakfast that morning, but I think it was probably just coffee.  If I ate anything, it was the remainder of the kid's cereal, since he rarely ate a whole bowl.  On the way up the mountain, I shared a bag of Sun Chips with the kid and drank a lot of water.  By the time lunch rolled around, I was ready to eat a whole bear, but we settled on the all-you-can-eat salad bar at the Baldpate Inn.  I had a ton of salad, a blueberry scone, some cornbread, some cherry pie, and probably some other stuff.  I have no idea why I didn't take pictures of it, but I wish I had now, because it cost freakin' $15 PER PERSON FOR A SOUP AND SALAD LUNCH BUFFET.  That did not include drinks (or refills on drinks, for that matter) or dessert.  The atmosphere was nice, and they had a great view, but it was definitely not worth the money.  Here is a hummingbird outside the window there, who they fed for free, presumably:

This is some fancy sugar water!

I think we had left overs for dinner that night, but I really can't remember.  It would appear that my brain just completely blanked on the food pictures that day.  Sorry 'bout that!

Day 5

The most delicious day of them all!  Coffee for breakfast, then off to tour the Celestial Seasonings Tea Factory in Boulder!!!  WOOHOO!!!  I may have mentioned it before--I am a tea fanatic.  This was basically something that the rest of the family humored me by doing, and I dragged them along without guilt or shame. I was gettin' my tea on!  Woot!

On the way, we stopped for lunch at The Egg and I, and I ordered up the special.

 That is a BLT with two crab cakes on it, served with cottage cheese.  And it was GOOD.

After that, on to the factory!  While I did not have any food at Celestial Seasonings, I had plenty of free tea.  

 I also got a free hairnet, just for going on the tour!  Score!

We arrived home that evening to a wonderful aroma.  The Australian family who was staying with us cooked a delicious delight of a dinner.  It included:

Squash soup

Bruschetta with pesto, tomato, and feta cheese

Meat pie

Sticky date pudding with caramel sauce and cream

The evening concluded with a brisk 2-mile walk, which allowed me to go to bed without feeling the after-effects of such vigorous overeating.

Day 6

Looks like we made it:  our last full day in Denver began with waffles, lovingly prepared by my dear father in-law.

Fluffy and tasty!  

Lunch was at a Polish restaurant not far from their home.  I know what you're thinking:  Polish food?  I, for one, had never had Polish food before, but I will certainly be on the lookout for it in the future, because this stuff was DELICIOUS!

Salad to start

Some sort of farmer's cheese soup that tasted a bit like saurkraut

Potato pancakes with sour cream

Not pictured:  strawberry perogies with a sweet sour cream.  Sorry--I couldn't be bothered to pull out my camera with such deliciousness in front of me.

Since it was our last day and all, I thought we should round it out with another restaurant meal for dinner.  We chose Qdoba, which was nearby, and walked to Coldstone Creamery for dessert.

Naked burrito with rice, pork, sour cream, cheese, and corn salsa

Coffee flavored ice cream with heath bar bits

And that, as they say, is that.  On the morning of Day 7, we got up early and left for home by 8 am, which led to more eating on the road, which I did not document, but included mostly junk food.  Had I known what a long and arduous process this post was going to be, I probably never would have promised it to begin with, but I guess that's what I get for drinking and blogging

From now on, I will try my best to keep your expectations low, and if any of you made it all the way to the end of this post, I commend you.  It took me THREE HOURS to put this together.  Who'd have thought that food pictures could be so boring?  Oh well.  Lesson learned! 

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Food for thought...

What if the mirrors that we think of as "fat mirrors" are actually accurate, and all normal mirrors are actually skinny mirrors? 

Just a thought.  A terrifying thought which will be sure to haunt my dreams.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A plague upon your child!!!

Hi everyone!  I am still alive and well, and still in Colorado. 

The tides have turned here at the father in-law's house in Denver, and I am sorry to say that my food blog is turning out to be incredibly boring, by no fault of my own.  You see, every time we've come here to visit in the past, we have eaten every meal out, as previously  mentioned.  For some reason, the one time I chose to document the whole thing, the tradition ended--with no warning!   After a strong start on the first day with three restaurant meals, the rest of the meals here have mostly been eaten at home.  I believe this is due, in part, to the fact that they were preparing for a giant party they have every year, so we didn't have time to go out to eat.  Then, when the party was over, there were lots of leftovers that had to be consumed, so we didn't dare waste them.  Anyway, I did make a valiant effort, and I will continue to take food pictures until we leave, but I'm just warning you all that the post will not be nearly as calorie and fat-filled as I'd once hoped.  I'm sorry to those of you who were looking forward to that sort of food porn experience.

Moving on. 

So, yesterday we headed up to Estes Park and to Lily Lake for a little light hiking.  We would have gone for the rock climbing, but I didn't think that would be very responsible parenting and, besides, Lily Lake has become something of a tradition when we visit here.  This time, we were joined not only by my father in-law, but also by my sister in-law, her husband, her daughter, and her daughter's BFF. 

The day was beautiful and the trip up the mountain serene.  The higher elevation did not amount only to more labored breathing this time around, but actually seemed to offer a bit of inner peace that I didn't realize was  missing.  The air was clean and fresh, the snow-capped mountains absolutely gorgeous. 

As soon as we arrived at Lily Lake, the kid wanted to throw rocks into the water.  This seems to be his favorite water activity:  not swimming, fishing, or boating, but throwing rocks.  There's something about the *plop* sound that is inherently satisfying to his toddler brain, and who am I to judge what makes the kid happy?  At least he wasn't throwing turtles

As he gathered up some good medium-sized stones to toss, we noticed a chipmunk watching from nearby.  The animal kept creeping closer and closer, until he was perched on a boulder, face-to-waist with the kid.  It was a stare-down.  The chipmunk stared coldly into the kid's eyes, and the kid stared back, unable to move out of a combination of fear and curiosity.  The next thing we knew, the chipmunk made his move:  he jumped onto the kid's shoulder, inspected the blue fleece of his sweatshirt for a few seconds, then scampered down his back.  My poor child was paralyzed with fear as we all watched on, cackling with laughter, pulling our cameras out, our mouths agape in disbelief.  DID THAT SERIOUSLY JUST HAPPEN?

Actually, it did.  My sister in-law was fast with her camera, and she managed to document the moment.  Here's a close-up of the poor kid:

After the offending mammal jumped down, I ran over to make sure that the kid was ok--he was just a little shaken, saying in his sad little voice, "I don't like that!".  We all circled around him, laughing uncontrollably and comforting him at the same time, when a park ranger made a beeline towards our jovial group to deliver some somber news.  It went something like this:

"Now, the ground squirrels here are infested with fleas, and they are also known to carry the plague.  So watch your kid real closely, and if he starts to develop a fever or any flu-like symptoms, you need to take that very seriously."


Visions of my child with blood oozing out of his ears and eyes and every possible orifice suddenly began to overtake my motherly brain.  What the hell was I doing laughing at a PLAGUE-RIDDEN RODENT attacking my son?  What kind of mother am I?????  We hurried up the mountain trail, trying to scare the offending chipmunk away, who was, consequently, still following us.  Shouldn't there be signs or something, alerting one to the fact that you are amongst scarily-diseased wildlife?  I think so.

Luckily, the kid acted normally for the rest of the hike and even ate a granola bar along the way.  We ended our walk back where we began, and didn't run into any more overly-friendly rodents.  Here is some photographic evidence that my kid is not dead or sick, and actually had a pretty great time despite his brush with certain death:

I am happy to report that, a whole day later, he seems to be perfectly healthy...but I'll still be watching him like a hawk.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Bon Voyage!

It's 8:57pm, nearly laptop shut-off time (new rule in our house), so I'm writing this fast.  Just a quick note to say that the next time I write will hopefully be from Colorado...that is, if I get up the energy to blog while I'm there.  All that restaurant food may make me sluggish.  We shall see.  I will do my best to take photos of all my food. 

Until then, bon voyage!


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Drawing the dots reeeeeal close together

The longer I've been married, the more I've come to realize that men are, indeed, different creatures than women.  They just hear things differently than we do.  Their brains work in strange and foreign ways--ways which, even after thirteen years of continuous research, I still have not begun to understand.  Take for example, the incident which happened just this evening, when the hubby was getting the kid ready for bed:

Hubby:  C'mon, buddy, let's get ready for bed.

Me:  Put him in shorts and a t-shirt please, since it's hot tonight.

Hubby:  OK.

He gets the kid dressed for bed and they come out to do some karate-style fighting before settling down for the night.  I glance over to witness the cuteness, and I see the kid, dressed in brand new khaki shorts and an orange Polo t-shirt.  

Me:  What is he WEARING?

Hubby:  You told me to put him in shorts and a t-shirt!

Me:  Uh, yeah.  PAJAMA shorts and a t-shirt!  He's, like, completely dressed for a new day!

Hubby:  Well, I thought it was weird, but I just did what you said.  You told me to put him in shorts and a t-shirt, so I went into his shorts drawer and his t-shirt drawer and picked something out.

Me:  (laughing and pulling out pajama shorts and a t-shirt from his top drawer) Why would you do that?

Hubby:  How am I supposed to know that there were special pajama shorts and shirts?

Me:  (blank stare)

Please keep in mind, my dear readers, that this is (1) not the first time the hubby has dressed the kid for bed and (2) not the first time the kid has worn shorts and a t-shirt to bed.

This kind of thing happens often in our house:  if I'm not very specific in what I'm saying, the hubby doesn't have a clue what I'm talking about.  Am I asking too much for him to connect the dots?  Do I need to stop taking for granted the notion that he knows what I'm not saying?  When I put it like that, it sounds like I'm being unreasonable and stubborn.  Damn.  I hate when that happens. 
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