Thursday, July 14, 2011

Am I Packing? No. Am I blogging? Yes. Again, with the distraction issues!

For seven days, this will be the view off my bedroom. If you look hard, you can see the ocean across the street. But if you're sitting in one of these chairs in the early morning hours, you can take a deep breath & drink in the gulf air. And that my friends, is the best medicine I know of, no matter what ails you.
Why I'm blogging & not doing laundry, packing or, OF COURSE, helping look for the iPod Touch that Brooks suddenly cannot find ANYWHERE, is beyond me. I have my swimwear packed. And my medication. So if we could just find the iPod, all would be right with our world. My list of things to do this vacation includes the following:

*Meet up with friends, also staying nearby.

*Buy something to eat at Cowgirl Kitchen in Rosemary Beach

*Try for another great family photo in Alys Beach

*Visit Sundog Books & have our traditional "on-the-way-out-of-town" breakfast in Seaside at Great Southern

*Ride bikes all over

*Take many, many walks with Chuck

*Visit the Blue Giraffe art gallery

*Get breakfast at Thomas' donuts in Panama City Beach

*Go to Funland for delicious, cheap eats & arcade games. And ice cream.

*Keep anyone in the family from getting even slightly dizzy or off-balance

*Play Goofy Golf with Papa Norm

*Skip the water park, skip the pontoon, skip parasailing & stay closer to 30-A most days

*Hang at the beach and the pool.

*Worry about nothing. (Except keeping people from getting even slightly dizzy or off-balance.)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Funny How Things Change.....Yet Stay Much The Same

This may have been nearer 3rd grade but no matter when it was taken, tell me you had a cooler SATIN roller derby jacket & I'll KNOW you are lying. I swear I was a happy child. You just can't tell. And if you could see my ass in this photo, the jean pockets matched the jacket. Brooks would say, "DUDE, that is BOSS!"

I found many a treasure when I helped go through the things in my grandma's home last year, right before we sold it. The other day, I was going through one of the boxes I brought back & many of the things that I just had to keep back in December seemed much less important when taken out of the box the second time around. Like my paisley underwear & a cast iron cow. But there were several things that I kept, one of them being my "Book About Me" that I filled out in 2nd grade. It was fun to look back & remember the person I was then. And it was also funny to see that some things never change. Some do. I'm no longer in love with Bryan Bates. I'm no longer "best friends" with Stephanie Smee, but we've reconnected through Facebook & we are good friends again. (One of my favorite things about Facebook, finding people I never would have found.) And I thought I would share with you a glimpse of the girl I was then. There are similarities galore.

I am 8 (7 1/2). (Now just multiply x5.)

My hair is brunette.

My eyes are blue.

My name backwards is Elleon. (I found this to be much cooler than I should have. Nerd.)

My special magic word is hocus-pocus. (You have no idea the magic that word has brought to my life ;-) It's so much more "boss" than abracadabra, no matter how much you love The Steve Miller Band.)

I wish I had a flying balloon to ride. (I actually had an appointment to fly in one over Steamboat Springs, CO & it was cancelled due to weather. Some dreams were meant to die :-( )

I would fly to Timbuktu. (Timbuktu was fascinating to me then. I remember wondering all the time if it existed. And I may have driven my dad crazy talking about it. It fascinated me more than Santa. I never said I wasn't weird.)

I would fly to Greece, Germany & Holland. (Amazingly, along with Slovakia & Sweden, those are still my three picks.)

Words I know in a different language are loco, quatro, uno. (Of course I knew loco!)

I do not like to be tickled at all except on my neck. (A rather odd question for a memory book, don't you think? I cannot believe I didn't mention my awesome cousin, Randy, who could tickle you 'til you peed. All in fun, people. All in fun.)

I want to be alone when I'm mad. (No change there.)

When I am alone I often think about trips. (Again, no change.)

If I had a store I would sell things to wear like dresses, shirts, rings & necklaces. (Actually owning a store is something I still think about often.)

I would make a lot of money like $40.00. (Very close estimate to my current monthly earnings! JK.)

My favorite foods were spaghetti, jell-o, grape Hi-C & birthday cake. (Lost the jell-o love & the bastards changed grape Hi-C's flavor, but I still love some spaghetti & cake!)

In the summer I swim. (Shocking, I know.)

My favorite time of year is summer so I can be out of school & swim. (YES!)

I love to wear my Wonder Woman bikini. (Some things never change. Now, I just don't wear mine in public.)

I wish I never had to wear a coat. (So that's where my kids get it.)

If I had a million dollars I would buy anything I wanted, MAYBE. (Good to know I was hesitant.)

I would give some of it to friends, my dad, the rest of my family. (The strikethrough was from 2nd grade. I must have been pissed. Except at dad.)

I would save most of it for ME (duh) and I might build a McDonald's. (What can I say? Dexter had JUST gotten one & it was my cuisine of choice, after donuts.)

My favorite subject is math. (That has definitely changed but I was regularly the math match champion at this point in my life. Aaaaah, the glory days.)

When I grow up I might be an airline stewardess (I now hate to fly & stewardesses were much more glamorous then but I distinctly remember this being my goal), lawyer (started down that path & chose to be a good wife instead of a kickass criminal attorney), or a baker. (I do still love to cook but not professionally.)

I would like to learn how to cheerlead. (Thank God I fulfilled some dreams. Thanks to whoever overlooked my clumsiness in 7th & 8th grade & went with, "those stick legs will look killer in some royal blue BHS knit knee-highs & saddle oxfords" I will be forever grateful.)

Thinking about wanting to be a stewardess, as they were known way back then, got me thinking about the short-lived show "Flying High", about a few stewardesses who lived together in a city, one of whom was Connie Sellecca. I loved it & I thought she was the epitome of beauty. Of course, like my other short-lived favorite, "The Kalikaks", it was cancelled. Of all people, Connie married John Tesh. I was rooting for my dad at the time, I think. And that got me thinking about the series "Hotel" that she starred in with James Brolin, who was one of my huge crushes at the time before he went all loco and married Yentl herself, Barbra Streisand. ( At least he gave us Josh so we could continue to lust within his gene pool.) Aaaand, the word "hotel" got me to thinking that I need to get off my rear & pack for our vacation.

And I wonder why my middle child suffers from distraction issues?

Maybe I'll miss you guys so much that I blog from the road. If not, see you in a week or so.

Monday, July 11, 2011

A Fitting Tribute To This Fine Nation We Live In

For the past two years, we've been in Fairhope, AL or Seacrest Beach, FL for the Fourth of July (which I would like to point out is NOT the "Forth" of July). We watched fireworks celebrations from great vantage points & drank strawberry Crush from tall, glass soda bottles, a tradition my grandma started when I was a wee babe, toddling around the family picnics we had on or about the Fourth. Going to pick one out of the freezing-cold soda cooler at Aileen's Grocery is an incredibly fond memory & one I would re-live in a heartbeat if given the chance. Those were the days, were they not?

This year, Chuck & I went to Home Depot. To celebrate our nation's independence. Complete with festive, prom-like balloon arches. Where were my sequins and dye-to-match satin pumps? What? No one is here to photograph us under it? I feel robbed already!
We were there because he needed a new soaker hose. And a new nozzle. (I know there's a joke there. It writes itself, so I won't.) He needed the soaker hose to water the garden we have that consists of 4 hosta sprouts & 6-8 marigolds. Don't get me wrong, I'm very appreciative that his mother carted plants from Missouri to improve our landscape. It's more than we've done since we moved into our house in 1997, not counting new shrubs. HOWEVER, the garden hose we currently have would MORE than have covered this patch of botanical glory. If anything, we should have been there in search of grass seed. Quick-growing, no-fail grass seed. Because our front yard is 1/2 grass & half dusty baseball field. They're only young once so I say "who cares"? Let it be a ball field. But he needed a soaker hose. And he gets a CART.

I point out that we don't need a cart. Surely between the two of us we can lug this hose to the check-out lane, right? No. Because as ANY man will tell you, when entering Home Depot, "You never know what we might pick up." Barring a check-out girl (or boy) or a shiny new toilet, I can't really imagine what we're going to pick up that we need a cart for. But we have one. And we set out. We find the hose & nozzle right away. After waiting for an elderly couple (read 'Chuck & Noelle in 28 years') to argue over the length of garden hose they need & move out of our way, we quickly find a suitable soaker hose. But then, as you know, if you've ever been to Home Depot, now is the part where we look for the stuff we DIDN'T come for. Like toilets, and light fixtures & mailboxes, oh my!

"Lightbulbs! We need lightbulbs!" he says. All I can think is "It's still gonna take a lot of lightbulbs to justify this cart." But we head for the lightbulbs & argue over what size we need, (yep, just like the old couple - we're well on our way) until I lose it and refuse to do a return if they're wrong, because I do not do returns. If I'm not sure, I don't buy it & if by chance I make a mistake, the item will stay in the bag with the receipt well after the 30 days pass & Chuck yells (ok, that's too strong, but he raises his voice) at me that I've wasted his hard-earned money. (See exhibit A - pair of jeans from Target, hanging on our pegboard in Target bag. Perhaps they would fit your son. You may have them.) So after assuring him that we don't need ANYTHING else, we head for the checkout. And our cart looks like this:

Thank God they're not gas-powered. What a waste THAT would have been. Those of you who know Chuck from his younger days manning the Western Auto sales floor will appreciate the fact that he next insists on self-check. He swears it saves time. I swear it's because getting behind that machine is the closest he ever gets to being behind a cash register again. That was a time in his life that he talks about often. And if it takes him back to a fond memory he'd re-live in a heartbeat if given the chance, then I say ok, sweet wife that I am.

And God Bless America! Balloon arches, soaker hoses & all.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

It's Been A While, I Know....Summer Update

Every time I get the urge to give up on this little blog, I soon get the urge to write again & hey, Blogspot is free, so why not? I've been absent lately because the last month or two of school was VERY hard for me. At first I thought it was just the usual things like Ryder mentally checking out of her schoolwork & getting an attitude about 8 weeks before the end, Wyatt struggling to turn in assignments & having an unhappy teacher at times, Brooks just being his cranky, grumpy self because the sky wasn't the right shade of blue, & Chuck having a huge project & more travel. That would be enough to send someone back to not wanting to get out of bed & crying at the drop of a hat, right? I sensed something else though & went back to my doctor for a medication change & voila', here I am. Properly medicated & on the road to recovery, AGAIN. Appears my serotonin levels were good but my dopamine levels needed something too. And so my medication was adjusted. Let me just say that depression is a bitch & those who have dealt with it understand, those who don't, well, just let me reiterate that you don't have to have a reason or trauma to be stricken with this. And it's nothing to be ashamed of. Add to this, a situation in which we felt a close family friend & coach was given a raw deal & the anger that accompanied that incident & summer was not off to a great start. It HAS gotten better though. And Chuck's big project has come to a close (there will be more - thank GOD, they do provide well) but a short break will be welcome.

Now, we're back to hanging at the pool, which at first was depressing because my crowd was not showing up. The pool queen's minions had better stuff to do??? Like what, people? Work?? My kids were less than enthusiastic because "we don't know anyone here anymore!!!" I was bracing myself for a summer of hell. But, I made some new friends, some old ones began coming & happiness returned. I'm now a much happy ruler of my kingdom. And the kids can sit their ass at home if they're not happy.

Ryder turned 16 & took full possession of her keys & Jeep. It hasn't been as bad as I thought. I really decided worrying does no good so I just have to have faith in her, the good Lord & hopefully a few guardian angels, that she'll make wise decisions and be fine. She has survived one wreck in which she was a passenger & responsibly had on her seatbelt. No injuries, thank God. She's loving the freedom & I love that I can send her to the store & am no longer the taxi to everyone under 17! Although at times, I actually miss that. Yes. True.

In 4 days we hit the road for our annual trip to Seacrest Beach, FL. It's much needed for all of us, I think. This year we have decided to do less "stuff" like the water park & spend a lot more time just relaxing by the pool & ocean or on the upper deck. I'm even hoping for one rainy, stormy day where I can hole up inside, read and stitch. And play board games. Fun stuff. And hook up with some friends who will be there at the same time.

A friend & I took our boys & climbed the "hard" side of Pinnacle Mountain 2 weeks ago. I think my boys were into it the least but they've sure talked about it a lot since so I think they had the same sense of accomplishment I did. I'm ready to do it again, without kids. Awesome view at the top. On the way down Brooks commented that a Subway would make the experience better.

We've also been blessed with unexpected guests that have greatly added to the boys' summer experience. Our friends, the Murrays, came in for a few days from New Jersey & their boys slept over at our house. They were all best friends before the move & it was great to see them pick up right where they left off. My boys said it was "the best night of our lives"! And did I take one photo? No.

Our neighbor across the street had his grandson visiting from FL & we were basically ready to adopt him. Such a sweet kid, and although he's older than both our boys, he was so good at being friends with both of them. All three stayed in our den one night & played Monopoly late into the night. Not a struggle or argument was heard so we locked the bedroom door and left them to fend for themselves. They were still asleep at 10:30 the following morning. And they played together the entire next day without a cross word or complaint. We REALLY miss Tyler!

And now, I conclude this update & head for bed because one of my least favorite things is occurring. Chuck has picked a show to watch & is desperately trying to convince the kids that they do indeed like it (when they clearly don't) by pointing out what's happening in every single scene. And every 5 minutes, Brooks says, "But Dad, we don't care about Ken Burns' Baseball. I told you it's for OLD people. I'll watch it when I'm OLD." And he just concluded his argument to watch "Man v. Wild" with "Would you believe, Dad, he once had to drink his own pee?"

You're welcome.