Friday, July 29, 2011

Who's that? Who Else Would it Be? It's Me! Are... Are You My Conscience?

I am very hard on me cell phones: I drop them all the time, I sit on them, I drop them in water... This results in me needing a new phone more often than normal people. This also results in an ever-changing contact list. Every time I get a new phone I lose phone numbers. Normal people would solve this by posting that they got a new phone and would everyone please text them so they can make sure they have every one's number, but since this is a regular occurrence for me, I just don't bother to tell anyone I've lost their number. Again.

I deal with it like this: I get a text from a number I don't have in my current contact list. The text is friendly and personable, so I know that the person texting knows me and thinks I know them. I just don't know who they are because I've lost their number. I love it when this happens. It has become a game: Can I figure out who they are without them knowing that I am trying to figure it out? So I'll send back a text, trying to get them to text me again, hopefully with clues about the person's identity. It looks something like this:

Them: "I'm visiting my mom for the weekend, are you free for lunch?"

Me: "Oh! How is your mom? When works for you?"

Them: "She's better than last time. Anytime works for me, I don't have a child to worry about."

Me: "Glad to hear she's better. And how are you? Anything new?"

Them: "Same old Same old."

Me: "Ha! Me too. Where do you want to go to lunch?"

Them: "We should go to that Indian place we went Freshman year"

Me: (Now that I finally have a hint I can be more specific in my questioning) "I thought you said that Indian Food always looks like it is going to crawl off your plate and eat you."

Them: "Ha! Kate said that, not me! I LOVE Indian food!"

Me: "Oh, yes. That was Kate. Well, I always have time for you, Liz, So call me the first day you are here and we will go out."

Them "Great! Can't wait to see you!"

Me (bwhahaha. I win) "you too!"

But sometimes I just never figure it out. Last week I got a text that said "Hey! I saw that there is a huge sand sculpture event going on in your state. I just wanted to let you and your family know in case you wanted to go!"

So, obviously the person knows me, and knows where I live. I texted back something like "That does sound like a lot of fun! Thanks so much!" And then they texted back something entirely generic. Alas, I had misplaced my phone before I could find out more about them, so I never did discover who they were. But, I did, in fact, go to the sand sculpture event. It WAS a lot of fun. So thank you, whoever you are. I'm sorry I've lost your number, you seem to know just what I think is a great way to spend an afternoon.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Has Anyone In This Family Actually Seen a Chicken?

Having chickens has turned out to be thoroughly entertaining. We let them free range and they have been so good about staying in our yard and going back into their coop as soon as the sun sets. Drek feeds them leftovers from dinner, so now during dinner the chickens line up outside the sliding glass door and tap on the glass in an attempt to beg for food.

But the best was a few days ago: We had a four year old over at our house to play. I was around the corner with Ash when I heard a ear-shattering scream. It was as if he had just came face to face with the Grim (That's a symbol of Death that will eat your face off, for the Non-Harry Potter fans). I dashed around the corner and saw him pointing in terror. "Look!" he gasped "A Chicken!" and there, three feet away, was indeed, Juliette; happily pecking the grass.

I giggled. "Takes one to know one, kid."  Alas, my quick wit was lost on him. But I'm sure Juliette thought it was funny.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Looks to Me Like an Illegal Salvage Operation. It Does? That's Discouraging

Ok, This project actually turned out kind of well...

Really comfy, very old and beat-up patio chairs.  

When Rissy came to visit, we figured out how to remove the old fabric and theoretically install new fabric. She also became chief spray paint advisor and executive spray painter. Thanks to her, the painting went great. After that I was left with this: 

Which I turned into this:
 which became this:
It turned out so well, this evening my family sat out on our porch, enjoying our new patio set and eating homemade chocolate ice cream with the best homemade fudge sauce you have ever tasted. Ever.

Ok, so I didn't actually make the fudge sauce, but I did make the ice cream! Which is something I've never done before. And it was very delicious.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

That Book Was Accidentally Destroyed Maliciously...

In an impulse of self-pity, I decided if I can't adopt certain children, then I should foster kittens. I signed up with the Humane Society for more information, and after several emails, several forms and several weeks, I got a phone to come pick up my first litter! 

These five baby kitties don't have a mother and aren't old enough to be adopted. Thus, for the next five weeks, I am their mother. I get to bottle feed them, teach them how to eat  dry food, clean them (after every meal. They are so messy!) and love them. 

They are SO CUTE. We have spots, stripes, solids, and the twins. 

Kittens in books and on the internet are cute, but kittens in person are SO ADORABLE! I love them. And as soon as they are too old to be adorable, I can trade them in for new kittens! 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Did You Hear the Helicopter Dropping Me Off That Night for Our Anniversary Dinner? No. Oh, Percussion Grenades. I was Partially Deaf That Evening

Ideally, celebrating our wedding anniversary would be as big and daring as getting married. I want us to do things we've never done before! I want to get our adrenaline pumping! I want to watch the sunrise from a hot air balloon, hundreds of miles in the air. I want to ride tall and fast roller coasters or go hang gliding over a cliff. One year Drek and I went horseback riding up in the mountains, and that was wonderful. Two years ago I had scheduled us to go skydiving, but by the time our anniversary rolled around I was pregnant so we had to cancel. Last year we had something grand planned, but Drek was on a business trip on our anniversary and by the time he got back we had to move so we settled on a nice hike. 

This year Drek and I talked about doing all those things. We finally decided to go snorkeling; something neither of us has done before. To facilitate this, Drek and I got each other an inflatable Kayak as an anniversary present. Well, in the tradition of our anniversary plans, the snorkeling didn't work out, but we still had a kayak! 

We took it out on the ocean for the first time yesterday. It was perfect beach weather. It was warm, the ocean was clear and for the first time since we moved here, the water was warm! 

The only drawback was that the ocean wasn't exactly welcoming kayaks. The waves were huge and seemingly endless. It wasn't a matter of getting over the waves and into flat ocean, there was always one more wave to get over, each one bigger than the last!

Due to a miscommunication about when were actually taking the kayak out onto the ocean, Drek and I left our lifejackets back on the beach and I was still wearing a dress over my swimsuit. We had a limited amount of time, so we decided to go out anyway and I slipped off my dress and dropped it in the bottom of the kayak.

We headed out into the waves. The thrill of a huge wave crashing toward you, trying to head into it as straight as possible and then falling down the other side; it was so much fun! We got out pretty far before Drek said he didn't feel comfortable going farther without our lifejackets. Right after a wave hit we turned the kayak around as fast as we could. The first wave hit and we rode it a little ways towards the shore. And then the second wave hit: It threw the back of the kayak over the front of the kayak and Drek and I tumbled out into the deep blue ocean. I dropped the paddle I was holding and swam for the surface. As soon as I came up I saw Drek, still holding faithfully to his paddle.  The kayak was flipped over and the waves were taking it back to shore for us. I tread water for a few seconds before realizing Drek was standing up and the water was only came up to my shoulders. We laughed and retrieved my paddle. We tried to body surf on the waves but mostly ended up going under most of them. We made it back to shore and the only casualty was my dress, which I'm sure has been picked up by a dolphin by now.

We had a blast. I can't wait to take it out again! It's not as dangerous as skydiving, but it still got our adrenaline pumping! And now that we have a kayak I'm sure we'll be able to go snorkeling sometime soon.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Good Morning? You're Bellatrix Lestrange, Not Some Dewey-Eyed Schoolgirl!

Yes, I am one of those nerds who goes to midnight premieres or movies and book releases dressed as a character. I've done it several times, not just for Harry Potter, but for Lord of the Rings, X-men... It goes great with my personal motto: Any excuse to throw a party. 

And what a party it will be. I have a ticket to the 12:01 am showing of the last Harry Potter movie. I'm going dressed up as Bellatrix, I'm going with Moaning Myrtle and Tonks. 

In the last two weeks I've watched all the Harry Potter movies except the last one, which will watch in line tonight. 

I'm very, very excited. 

Ash isn't going, but she did wear this shirt today: 
It was made my my super-artistic friend. Not only do I love the shirt, but it's good to know that there are people out there just as excited as I am.

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Pressure is Three Tons Per Square Inch, Enough to Crush Us Like a Freight Train Going Over an Ant If Our Hull Fails. These windows are Nine Inches Thick and If They Go, It's Sayonara in Two Microseconds

For Christmas last year, in an effort to give more "time" and less "stuff", I gave Drek a Groupon to go on a scuba diving adventure for two! 

I will spare you the details of the horrible company giving the scuba tours, the nightmare of scheduling, the lies the owner told and the overall problems and skip right to the good part: 

Saturday Drek and I left Ash with a babysitter and drove down to the bay. Thanks to no traffic, we arrived an hour early and spent it hanging out, just the two of us. It was wonderful. 

Right on time our instructor arrived with all the equipment. We suited up (scuba diving wet suits are thick. Thick wet suits are very HOT!) learned a bit about the gear, and then wore the gear. Here is a fun fact for you: Those oxygen tanks are not light. They are heavy. VERY heavy. We then walked across the park, across the beach, and finally, into the water. That was just about the hardest walk of my life. I do not think I am built for backpacking trips. 

We got in the water and swam around a bit. The instructor took us down one by one to give us our safety test (water in mask, air running out, loosing your air hose). Drek passed in one minute flat. And then it was my turn. Before we went down I had her explain how to surface one more time. I don't know why, but I have an irrational fear of submarines. I really can't stand stories about the bends or lungs exploding because a diver surfaced too fast. Things like that really freak me out of some odd reason. I've always wanted to go scuba diving, but at the same time, I was very nervous I wouldn't be able to handle it. But the instructor was very nice, explained it one more time and said "just don't go faster than your air bubbles." And then we dove. 

As soon as we started diving my ears decided they didn't like it. I panicked. I motioned to go back up and then promptly forgot how to go back up. I inflated my air vest to surface (a huge no-no) and shot to the top. Since we were only ten feet under, the air in the vest didn't really matter that much, but I had the instructor walk me through surfacing one more time so I wouldn't do it again. I also explained the problem with my ears. She said some people are affected more than others, but I might just have to get used to it. She showed me a trick she thought might help, and then we went down again. We dove to about twenty five feet. 

Ow. Just ow. Sure it was cool that I was underwater, and even cooler that I was breathing underwater, but my ear was EXPLODING. Even underwater, that is not pleasant. But I tried her trick and it did make it hurt less so I tried to ignore it as I did the tests. I did fine and she signaled to go back up. We started swimming toward the surface, but I was terrified of going too fast and kept stopping to watch my air bubbles and push all the air our of my lungs. When I finally surfaced she commented "Did you get lost on your way up?" Which made me realize that I was being a bit ridiculous. We were not deep sea diving. I could swim faster than I have ever swam and still be fine. With that fear abated, we went and got the rest of the group to go on an adventure! 

We were in a cove that wasn't very deep, the deepest we went was for the tests. I think after that we were only ten to twenty feet down. The bottom was all silt and visibility wasn't that great, but were there more for the experience rather than the sights. Even so, it was pretty cool. We saw giant bright orange fish, silver purple fish, teeny tiny shining fish and even a few black spotted fish. Drek saw a sting ray. That is so cool. 

But the best thing for me was that I was breathing underwater. I loved it. I wish I would have stopped swimming for a bit and just floated there for a while, just to take it in, but I was too excited and didn't want to miss seeing anything. I was SCUBA DIVING! It was awesome. 

An hour later we climbed out. I was freezing, but the weather was perfect and as soon as I took of the wet suit the sun warmed me right up. For the next two days my ears kept popping and every so often they would scream with shooting pain, but I think I'm passed that now. I want to go again. I want to go in a coral reef or some place with crystal clear water. I want to go where the water is warmer and the dive is a bit deeper. Although, in all honesty, I was grateful for the shallow dive for my ears' sake. Also, I'm still a bit nervous about my lungs exploding. 

I hope Drek had a good time. Merry Christmas, Drek! 

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Dear Diary: Today I was Pompous and My Sister was Crazy. Today we were Kidnapped by Hill Folk, Never to be Seen Again. It was the Best Day Ever

I love our new house. We live down a dirt road, we own chickens, and we have three awesome neighbors. We have such awesome neighbors that just assumed everyone around here is awesome. We have a neighbor to the left, an neighbor to the right, a neighbor behind our backyard, and I thought that was it. I thought wrong.

Yesterday I walked down our dirt road to take our trash cans to the curb. An older gentleman was walking toward us. He carried four grocery bags. When he saw me he called out "Do you own a gray cat?"
"No", I answered. "We only have chickens."
"Is that scrawny red one yours? That keeps coming into my yard, too. She lays eggs in my yard all the time."
"Kate?! Kate lays eggs in your yard? She's not mine, but she wanders into my backyard all the time. I've been trying to get to her to lay an egg in a nesting box I made for her. Where do you live?"
"Right here." He pointed to the end of the dirt road. I was surprised: Not only did I not know we had a neighbor I hadn't met, but I had no idea there was a house back there. He introduced himself and I introduced me and my little one. As it turns out, he was just returning home from walking to the grocery store (one point four miles away). Naturally thinking he was another one of our awesome neighbors, and curious about this hidden house of his,  I offered to help carry his groceries. He declined, but asked if we wanted plums. He said he had a plum tree that needed harvesting. I jumped at the chance and he led us down the dirt road, behind our neighbor's house, where the road dead ends at a padlocked fence. He undid the padlock and led us into his lot, all the while explaining that his father built this house and he moved here after his father died, about twenty years ago.

It was at this point; as we walked across the dirt lot toward a small, hand built, serial-killer-looking homestead, and passed several rusting, broken down, serial-killer-looking sheds, that I realized the dusty, sun-baked lot was bordered by huge green trees. There was no grass, no flowers, no car. The house and sheds were so broken down, that even if they were spotted them through the trees, they could easily be mistaken for abandoned. No wonder I didn't know this house existed. A part of the lot shared a fence with my own backyard and yet, I never thought anything was back here.

"I'll just go inside and grab you a bag," he said. "The plum tree is over there, next to the almond tree."

"K la," I said to myself. "This may be the most dangerous situation you have ever gotten yourself into. Definitely not your smartest move." I looked back across the barren lot, wondering how fast I could run with a baby on my hip if things turned bad. I held my breath and listened for calls for help, screaming, or scratching coming from the abandoned sheds.  I confirmed there was, in fact, a plum tree with lots of ripe plums needing to be picked, but that didn't mean this guy wasn't planning on locking me and my baby in one of  his sheds for the next twenty years. If I didn't know he lived back here, did anyone else? How would anyone possibly find us? And then I thought that perhaps I should have read the book Room. A book like that would come in handy if I found myself locked in a shed for twenty years. I resolved to move it to the top of my "to-read" list if I got out of this mess. Just in case.

I nervously looked back toward the house, waiting for him to come back out with a bag. Was this guy dangerous? Was I overreacting? Kate came over here all the time to lay her eggs and if she felt safe, how bad could he be? But she is, after all, just a chicken, and chickens aren't known for their brilliance. I wondered if I should just leave, and then tried to balance being polite with being safe. I decided to stay: He was really old. I could totally take him as long as he didn't have a weapon.

He came out with a bag, handed it to me and thanked me for taking the plums off his hands. He said he needed to put his groceries away so he went back into the house. I picked plums until the bag was full, at which time he wandered back outside. I thanked him profusely and said I would make him some plum bars. He said he'd follow me out to lock the gate behind me.

And that was that. I went home with my little one and enjoyed the most delicious plums I have ever tasted. And now we have four awesome neighbors. I wonder if there are any more hiding around here.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

President Eisenhower Celebrates 40th Wedding Anniversary. Not Pictured: Mrs. Eisenhower

Happy Anniversary to us! Drek and I were married four years ago today. I love my husband. He is the best guy ever. I have loved every minute I have been married to him.

To celebrate, I decided to clean out my purse a bit: we had gift cards to Bed Bath and Beyond, given to us four years ago as a wedding present, that we had yet to spend. After our wedding Drek and I only had a tiny apartment and we knew we would be moving several times before we finally settled into a house. We didn't want to spend our gift cards on fixing up a transitional apartment, so we saved them up. Well, here we are, four years later, in a house that needs some decorations!

I got new sheets for our bed, new pillows, and a new bed spread. I'm quite delighted that everything we wanted was on clearance and our bedroom now looks so modern! So thanks, everyone whose gift cards we used!

Maybe next year I'll get around to using the Victoria Secret gift cards I got at my bridal shower...

Monday, July 04, 2011

There You Go, Thinking You're All That, But You are Not as Charming as You Think You are, Sir. Yes, I Am.

Ah, the Fourth of July. A Day when we celebrate this great country and the great heroes it has seen. How do we celebrate? With exploding fire.

We had a wonderful barbecue at a friend's house and drove home just after sundown to but the baby to bed. Five minutes from home, a beautiful display of fireworks went off in perfect view. Drek pulled the car over and we watched the celebration. It was beautiful.

At the conclusion of the finale we started the car and pulled back onto the main road. Suddenly we were surrounded by hundreds of pedestrians and lots and lots of cars. Instant traffic jam! We quickly jumped into the left had turn lane, deciding it was the quickest way out of the mess.

From the moment we got into the turn lane all traffic stopped moving. Not even the lanes going straight moved, but the baffling part was that the left turn lane wasn't moving. There were breaks in oncoming traffic, there were breaks in the masses of pedestrians crossing the street, but the car in the front of line did not even attempt to turn.

We waited. And waited. And theorized on why we weren't moving. Did the car break down? Was he dead drunk? Could he not see in the dark? Did he think now was a good time to take a nap?

We discussed one of us jumping out and directing traffic. I decided that while I was impatient enough, I was not brave enough. Other cars in line honked their horn, trying to get the front car to move. We honked our horn. Still, the front car didn't budge. At last I opened the door and jumped out. I had a much better view of the car at the front of the line, but I didn't want to leave my car, I just reported back to Drek.

"Go tell the car in front to move." Drek told me. But again, I wasn't brave enough.

A guy walk passed me. "I'll go see what's up." He informed me. He walked up to the front window of the car and talked for less than ten seconds. He then jumped into the middle of the road and directed traffic. He got our whole turn lane out of there in less than thirty seconds.

That guy is my American Hero.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

I Was Taking a Walk With Scott and Steve, and I Was Like, Dude, Who are Scott and Steve?

Meet the girls:

She's got a bit more white feathers, making her blond. She is the hardest one to catch: very fast, good at hiding and quite smart. She seems to be a bit of a loner, uncomfortable with the rest of them. She's the only hen I have to pick up to put back in the coop at night.
 Her name is Juliette. 

She's got a white tail feather. She is very quiet and loves to sneak around behind backs. I think she is very conniving.
Her name is Sun

She's a redhead. She's loud, the last one to do everything and I don't really like her all that much.
 Her name is Charlotte. 

She is the adventurer. She was the first in the coop, the first to explore, and the first out of the house in the morning. She bosses the other ones around and does not take orders from anyone.
Her name is Anna Lucia. 

What? Firefly doesn't have enough females.