Sunday, March 30, 2008

Did you miss me?

I know I swore on my last post that I would be back on Thurs. to show all of the sewing that I had accomplished....that didn't happen and now you all think I am a complete slacker. Right?

On my way to pick up the blonde rascal from school on Weds. MIL calls me and says she is having heart attack symptoms. Her Dr. told her to go the E.R. post haste. So I picked up b.r. and then MIL and off we went to the E.R. Did you know when you have heart attack symptoms that you do not have to sit in the waiting room of the E.R. for 6 hours? No siree they get you in immediately. Thank goodness huh? After some anxiety and then an angiogram (sp?) we get the good news that her heart is perfect. They admit her so they can figure out what the problem is in the morning. Lots of tests later and ANOTHER nights stay (due to the Dr. dragging his feet in my opinion) she was released Friday morning with a diagnosis of reflux or gastritis. Which can closely mimic the signs of a heart attack.

All of that to say thank God it was not her heart or anything else serious, but very treatable reflux. Hubs was out of town so all of the hospital runs, feeding the horses, getting b.r. to school and back, going broke from the b.r./hospital vending machine love affair....sewing was out of the picture! Now don't misread this....I was happy to take care of MIL because she is VERY good to me, but I had to explain my excuse for not sewing. I am admittedly a slacker on SO many levels but this time I had a legit excuse!!

Hubs got home from his conference in Vegas Friday afternoon. Friday night was scrapbook night. We had a fabulously wonderfully time. The seriously cute Stacey B. was the hostess and let me tell you she had a mashed potato bar for dinner. It was too fun. You put the mashies in a martini glass and then add your fixings. Cute and yummy.

I bought some of Sofia Coppola's sparkling wine in cans for the occasion. (Francis Ford Coppola is a wine maker...who knew?) In cans? Yes I know it sounds totally white trash but it is sooooo girlie. CUTE pink cans with little straws!!! Looks nothing like an alcoholic beverage. We giggled about them. They are a little pricey, but perfect for a girls night out. Look for them!

Saturday morning was book club. Then hubs was leaving to go to a roping in Hamilton, which is 4 hours away, that afternoon. B.R. decided he wanted to go too! Wha...? The boys left, leaving me 24 hours of nothing. Pinch me! I sewed all day yesterday afternoon! Really! Quilty Chick really does sew! I have something to show instead of just babbling on and on about ridiculous stuff!

Woohoo! I lit a candle in my sewing room, popped open a cold Peach Fresca and sewed my little heart out. I finished another row of my jelly braid. Then I got caught up on Thimbleberries Club blocks.

This is not a pattern I would have chosen to make but being in the club has been so beneficial for me as a beginner. Lots of good info and fun stuff is shared in the meetings. The pattern directions are very thorough and easy to follow. It is a really great experience for me as a novice!

I skipped church this morning. Don't tell anyone. I am going to sew some more this afternoon, get caught up on my block of the month. I may take a little nap sometime this afternoon before the men folk get back home. I stayed up too late last night. You know how when you are alone in your house at night you hear EVERYthing? So while waiting to convince my ears that there were no boogie men outside and drop off to sleep, I killed some brain cells by watching a few episodes of "Keeping up with the Kardashians". Which incidentally hubs told me that Bruce Jenner was the motivational speaker during the opening session of the conference he was at in Vegas. He agreed that it was likely that ol' Bruce has been under the knife. His face looks weird doesn't it? I asked him if he talked about his reality show. Hubs was like "huh?" I guess it would probably embarrass Bruce to talk about his ridiculous step daughters in front of a group of men from the car industry who have likely never seen the show.

I have a new friend in my sewing room...
I had to take the chair out, which I never sat in, to make room for this monstrosity. I also will have to rearrange the room now....but that is OK because rearranging furniture is one of my top 10 favorite things to do.

I have been trying to convince hubs to exercise for years! For both stress release and fitness purposes. However since he works 1,000 hours a week going to the gym is realistically out of the question.

Hubs has a buddy who recently had a heart attack and has since bought a treadmill that he loves using. Then to convince hubs of the merits of running I showed him this. Incredible huh?

That did it and we were off to buy a treadmill. Now I still have a year left in my gym contract and the only way to get out of it is to lose a limb in a fiery crash or move to Alaska. But since we live outside of town and I love not leaving the house, I figured it would be advantageous for me too to have a treadmill at home for the days I did not have to go into town.

The main fear I had was that I am a treadmill snob. I am accustomed to running on the big daddy treadmills at the gym which handle and absorb the pounding from my big bouncing body. I would not settle for some cheap rickety treadmill but at the same time could not afford a big daddy gym quality one. So long story short, kudos to Sears and Nordic Track for providing a quality and affordable treadmill!

Here is what I love about it: It is not rickety but indeed very sturdy, it has an i-pod dock and speakers so I can rock on AND sing out loud, the digital panel is smaller than the ones at the gym so I do not torture myself by watching the count down and praying for it to end! Plus the beauty of getting up early and running thereby having it all over before the day even starts is priceless. AND there is no perfume
AND I can just wear my jog bra and no shirt...which allows the "coolest" method of running. AND the treadmill has a built in fan! The gym doesn't even have that. Yeah Sears!!! Sure it ruins the aesthetic of my sewing room but it is worth it.

We have had it going on a month now and hubs...ahem....has yet to step on it!!! That is ok though, I am still rooting for him. It is easy for me to say because it is a total habit and addiction for me, but I know how hard it is when it has not become a habit yet. He'll get around to it and then fall in love with it...but in the meantime I am in love with it!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Cascade, not just for dishes

Do you have a whirlpool or jacuzzi, or whatever they are called, bath? Have you ever wondered about the cleanliness of the jets...or even more perplexing, the pipes?

Our house was 2 years old when we bought it. The thought of other people's bath oil, skin cells, dirt and heck only knows what other bodily "substances" being in the jets of our bath just wigs me out. Really even my own personal grime is not what I want blowing out of the jets!! Not sanitary by any stretch of the imagination.

I am not a bath person, meaning I prefer showers. But sometimes after a day of grueling yard work or for some magazine reading/wine drinking "me" time a great big bubble bath is perfect.

I have to say I have only turned on the jets once and during that aching muscle massaging bliss... I so distracted by thinking of what kind of scum was blowing out the jets that I could not enjoy it.

So I finally decided to take action. My idols, and cleaning gurus, Kim and Aggie from "How Clean is Your House" had shed some light on the subject. They use denture cleaning tablets or powdered dishwasher soap (which there is some funny British name for that I can't remember) to clean the jets or also just to soak tubs with caked on muck. Ewww.

I did a little Google research on the topic and sure enough Cascade was the clear winner for cleaning your whirlpool jets.

I filled up the tub with hot water, threw in some Cascade. Don't know how much...maybe a cup? I also tossed in a splash or two of bleach for good measure. Turned on the jets and left them on for about 15 minutes.
Just for the sake of good cleaning results I kind of was hoping to find some slime or something gross. Nope, it wasn't so bad after all. There was black flakes and some little chunks of stuff but nothing too gross. Probably just sediment in the pipes. I drained it, filled it again with just hot water and let it run for a few more minutes to rinse. Squeaky clean and easy. And! I could have gone to a hot tub place and bought a bottle of cleaner for $17.99 or something stupid. But no, that's not how I roll...I prefer $2.19 for Cascade.

I may repeat the process tomorrow and throw in the breakfast dishes for fun! Multi tasking, people. It is what I am all about.

Do you have time for another quick pictorial story? OK so blonde rascal and I were in the barn yesterday. He was looking at the kitties...
...and he was ooooohhhhing and ahhhhing about how cute they are. So I said move over short stuff Mama has got to see the kitties. He took the camera from me and I crammed my big booty into the hay. Oh my goodness those little turkeys are cute! Their eyes are still closed and they are crawling all over poor Gary! I couldn't tell how many there are. So cute!
Kind of a messy venture!

While I was wedged in the hay b.r. of course was wildly snapping pictures.
The lovely, stylish and curious Josie was in on all the fun.

Then we have miss bossy britches who was not very happy that I was so preoccupied with kitties. After all, she IS the center of the universe and all attention must be on her at all times.

Patrick, who is also female, is thinking...
"Perhaps you could get me fixed or put me on the pill or something? Those little buggers keep me up all hours of the night!!!"

That is all for today friends. It is 9:00am and I have already run, taken a shower, thrown a load in the wash, made the bed and now I am going to my sewing room. Yep it is all about sewing today. I'll be back to report my progress tomorrow. Unless of course there is some calamity between now and then that I have to attend to. Hubs is out of town this week so Murphy's Law would suggest that now would be the time for some ranchy type catastrophe to go down. If I have to chase any wayward steers (which would cut into my sewing and blogging time) then there WILL be some of Pedro's friends going to the feed lot too. I'm just sayin.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Vote for Pedro

Easter and Spring Break all over and done. Back to the grindstone today. Ho hum.

Saturday afternoon we went to one of our neighbor’s house and all the kids colored Easter eggs in their barn. It was fun...and no need to worry about a mess!

Here is blonde rascal and all the neighborhood babes. He has it rough.

Sunday morning of course the Easter Bunny left a basket full of loot. The Easter Bunny leaves foot prints leading from blonde rascal’s bedroom door to wherever his basket is sitting.
My mom always did I am carrying on the tradition!

B.R. was very excited by all the goodies.
Even Missy wanted to see what all the excitement was about. Missy contained herself until we went to church and then she decided to try out some mini Cadbury Creme Eggs. 3 to be exact. I know the whole dog and chocolate thing, huh? Well it never seemed to phase her!

So on the way to church it was 36 degrees and drizzling. Just lovely. Today of course it is sunny and back up in the 60’s.

In other news....there always has to be some sort of randomness in my life. Why?
Here is the story. We had a steer. A big, I mean BIG black steer. Really too big for hubs to rope and he was always getting out. Not busting through the fence because then all of the steers would get out, but somehow walking his body through the wire without breaking it. Or opening the gate perhaps...maybe he had connections on the outside, who knows. We don’t know exactly how he got out. Anyway that danged steer was always out wandering over to visit the neighbor steers and chow on their hay.

We’d get him back and he’d get out again. Just kept getting fatter and fatter the whole time. Hubs got fed up and decided to let the fat wondering steer ( let’s give him a name for the sake of the story, how about Pedro?) go to the feed lot and eat to his hearts content. Going to the feed lot is a death sentence, but I doubt poor Pedro knew that. He just thought he’d made it big time now with all day eating privileges!

So Pedro stayed at the feed lot for a few months. Hubs told me that Pedro was ready to be picked up. I went to pick up Pedro this morning. Here he is....

Pedro went from the feed lot to the meat processing place. Poor Pedro. I had to make him more comfortable.

R.I.P. Pedro.

WOWZERS! And that is only half of Pedro! Someone else bought the other half. This is the freezer in our garage. It is ALL meat now. I had to throw out the freezer burned package of corn tortillas, a couple bundles of mystery meat and those 2 popsicles that have been in there for 2.5 years in order to make room. Then I had to take out the ice maker storage bin thing for more room. Holy smoke....ground beef, hamburger patties, jerky, steaks of every kind, fajita meat, won’t all fit! I am filling the neighbors mailboxes with ground beef!

I am not a huge fan of red meat...but I have to consider a freezer full of meat a blessing. I mean honestly. We will be cooking on the grill for the next 3 -5 years!!! Party at our house!

It made me feel kind of funny really. I mean I buy meat at the grocery store sure, but I have never eaten meat that I have made eye contact with before. Pedro was running around in our pasture. I probably was forced into chasing him at some point, no doubt on a day when it was 40 below or something. There is a good possibility that I had yelled “Hey Steer” at Pedro a time or two while shooing him into the roping chute. And then cussing Pedro under my breath as he pooped entirely TOO close to my feet.

And now I am going to eat Pedro? Oh dear. Oh well, the Lord provides.

I tested out a little jerky when I got home from picking up Pedro.

Hmmmm. Pedro turned out pretty well!

Sometimes when I have too much time on my hands I wonder things. Like this morning I had to pick up Pedro in a town about 30 miles from us, called Post. Have you ever been to Post, Texas? It is where Post cereal started. True story. Neither the Post family nor the mill are still there, but that is where the magic began! I I am driving east to Post and I pass a hitchhiker on the highway. I thought he did not look too much like an axe murderer and I wondered where he was going.

I had no intentions of picking him or any other hitchhiker up, I was just wondering because what else do you do with your time on the way to Post.

I get to the processing place, load up big frozen blocks of Pedro into the truck and I am on my way back home. Now I am going west and I pass the hitchhiker again. He had crossed the highway. Hmmmm, how does hitching work? I mean that dude had decided at 10:30am he would go east possibly ending up eventually in Dallas or Houston and then at 11:15 he changes to west, heading to New Mexico?!?!

Isn't the purpose to get from point A to point B? Or is it just to wander across the country? Or is it to kill as many people as you can? I don't get it. I need to find a hitch hiker's blog.

OK that is all for today.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

A Saturday ramble

It's Saturday folks. Blonde rascal has a friend over to play this morning. I think I may go fire up the Pfaff and work on my quilt.

Hubs woke up this morning with a nasty sinus headache. Looks like I may have passed along a few germs. Opps, sorry dear. I however am feeling much better today.

So anyway hubs is going to a roping this morning. (No he is not a member of the KKK. Team roping...horses and steers.) He took some sinus medicine this morning and apparently it was not hacking it. He asked me, while he was getting dressed, to go get him some more of the sinus pills. I go look in the cabinet and find the Tylenol Sinus...Night Time. I said "Ummmmm....are these the ones you took earlier this morning?"

Turns out yes, hubs indeed took night time medicine before he went to rope. That should be interesting. The biggest physical risk for a team roper is loosing fingers. You see, after they rope the steer then they wrap (technically "dally") the rope around the saddle horn real fast. Should your finger get caught in the rope while a 600lb steer is pulling on the other end....and snap! Bye bye finger.

So if hubs looses any fingers in his drowsy state today then I am going to have no choice but to sue the makers of Tylenol. My argument of course being that "Night Time" needs to be in bigger print for the over 40 users of their product. I don't believe in suing and think America is sue happy...but that would be my only option if hubs lost ALL of his fingers and could not work. I mean, I am so opposed to having to get a job and be the major breadwinner for the family. It would cut into my domestic goddess routine. My feeding the hungry, quilting, saving the world, spending hours on end daily cleaning the house, caring for & nurturing my blonde rascal and...ahem, blogging!

Say a prayer for hubs and his fingers today. Look out Tylenol...I've got my eye on you.

OK I am through being silly now. On to more exciting news. Remember Gary our barn cat?
There are Gary and Missy, most likely getting ready to rumble.

Anyway Gary is a cute little devil. Except we should probably re-name HER Garyetta or something. Perhaps Gary Ann. You see, blonde rascal came running in from the barn yesterday reporting some "mewing" coming from within the stacks of hay.

We did suspect this as we had taken note of Gary's belly swaying! And thinking back I had noticed a stray gray cat slinking around towards the barn. Scoundrel. I bet he is the baby daddy.

Blonde rascal did climb and wedge himself in the hay until he could shine a flashlight into the kitty nest and saw the little babies. AWWWwwwwwwwwww. I am NOT climbing in hay, so as soon as the kitties make their appearances out of the hay I will be taking pictures. They will be obnoxiously cute. Anyone need a barn cat?

Some other fun news is that we got our first letter from the recruit!!! Yes he is alive and well at boot camp! We were so glad to get it! He sounded great and said he liked it. He did willingly admit that some days really "sucked" but that he was learning a lot. He did say he loved and missed us and could not wait to see us at his graduation in June. Awwwwww, that recruit...bless his heart.

He said the drill instructors that tortured them the first few days from the moment they got off the bus were by far more intimidating than the platoon drill instructors that he deals with daily now. It did our worried little parent's hearts good to get that letter.

Well, I am off to sew. After we take blonde rascal's friend home then we have to go to the store to get egg coloring supplies. Hello! Easter is like 12 hours away....we are so behind. I have however, already purchased his basket goodies thank goodness.

Happy Easter!

Friday, March 21, 2008


Say it isn't so! It is Friday, the last day of spring break. Boo hoo. It started off with a bang. I got the hutch, thread, tea tree oil, made the brownies (which flopped~ ended up too gooey to cut even though the tooth pick test indicated they were done) that Monday to do list knocked out.

The St. Patrick's day party was fun. However about mid way through the evening I thought hmmmmm my throat is getting sore. And that would sum up the rest of my leisurely fun week I had planned. Sick. Yep, a run of the mill cold. Head congestion, sore throat, nose running from here to kingdom come. I have gone through a box or two of Kleenex. Last night I went to bed with Vaseline smeared all over my red, raw, pitiful nostrils. Every man's dream I am!

But on the up side the blonde rascal has had fun. No bedtime & playing outside all day. We did go and watch the auction which I thought was fascinating. It is fast and furious. Those dealers are bidding right and left and the cars just fly through there. I did spy a sweet Jaguar...oh and a little Benz SUV but I managed to not move a muscle!

The really interesting thing to me was seeing how much they paid for the cars and then wondering how much they would resell them for. I could start a little business on the side. If you are in the market for a used car, go and peruse your favorite lot. THEN let me know and I will go to the auction and see what those cars are going for. THEN you would know just how to bargain with those slippery used car salesmen!!!

Is that illegal? Does that qualify as racketeering? You know I want to be in the mafia.

Here is the Craig's List jewel that is now mine...
People, you could so decorate an entire home from Craig's List. In a very budget conscience manner. You must be patient though as great things are not listed every day...but they do pop up.

I have not taken on decorating or filling it up. Remember, the cold. That will involve cleaning out the buffet that is currently in the dining room. Then that buffet will go in the sewing room. Which means I will have to clean out the dresser that is in the sewing room. The dresser which I may paint black and put in the living room. But that all depends on our new chairs...which have not arrived yet. SO none of these decisions can be finalized! Whew.

I have been working on a quilt. Here is my first row...
The entire quilt uses a jelly roll. Which makes it a crazily easy project. I need that. I think the pattern is called jelly braid. Anyway I used the Allspice Tapestry jelly roll by Fig Tree. It is going to be really cute.

Blonde rascal and I went to see "Horton Hears a Who" on Weds. It was cute. Well, what I saw of it anyway. You see the Alka Seltzer Cold medicine that I took before the movie (so I would not have to take a box of Kleenex in with me) combined with the popcorn and Twizzlers in my tummy and then the dark theater and big chair....zzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Blonde rascal did nudge me towards the end.

Here is a fun blog you need to check out, Rocks in my dryer.
She is funny. Every Wednesday she hosts "Works for me Wednesday" where people share little tidbits of what works for them. I have really found some great ideas there. Look at this
brilliant storage idea. By the way that is another fun blogger chick.

The weather has been beautiful all week. Windy (duh) but in the 70's and sunny. As is the norm for West Texas, it is forecast to be a high of 48 on Easter with possibility of rain. Lovely. Luckily I don't have a little girl to doll up for church...48 degrees is not agreeable with any cute springy girlie ensemble. Takes all the pressure off of me having to look cute too! I will just wear something...warm!

Monday, March 17, 2008

It's Spring Break...

...and that makes me STUPID happy. You see for a calm, serene, tranquil, untroubled person like myself (not to be confused with a lazy, idle, loafer) Spring Break is a dream come true. A week with no schedule, no where to be, nothing to do. Sweet.

Well, I do have to do a few things today. I purchased a CUTE black china buffet hutch thing on Craig's List that I am going to go and get today. Sorry, I am not posting pictures this morning because I am tranquil (read: lazy) so I will show you the hutch tomorrow!

Also hubs boss is having his annual St. Patrick's Day celebration tonight. Mr. Boss is very proud of Irish heritage. It is always a fun and festive occasion.

My neighbor across the street asked me to scrapbook with her tomorrow night. We did that about 7 or 8 months ago and she said that was the last time she had touched her pictures. She claims she can only get any scrapbooking accomplished while chatting with friends. So we are going to gab and scrapbook tomorrow night.

I really need to put my pictures on disks and then put the disks in the gun safe, which I believe is fire proof. We have a "safe room" closet that I could store negatives & disks in but that would only protect them in a tornado. I think. However the safe closet is all cinder block under the sheet rock...maybe it would be somewhat fireproof? Well, maybe I should research safe closets.

The humor in our safe closet, which I will not show you a picture of today because remember I am tranquil, is that it is tiny. In the event of a tornado we will to draw straws to see who gets to go in the closet. Actually I think the 3 of us will fit...but it will be tight. God forbid we have guests over and a tornado touches down. Hey we pay the mortgage which gives us first dibs at the safe closet! One day I will do a mindless post about the safe closet. I think we should have a tornado drill and all get in it... with the dog and cats. Good clean fun!

So what else? Blonde rascal is playing outside, as he does during his every free waking hour. He will drop into bed every night this week due to complete exhaustion. He plays with the kids across the street. Sweet girls. It is good stuff. I love living out in a "country neighborhood" where the kids can run wild all day.

I would love to clean out my laundry room cabinets this week. That could be my goal for the week or I could choose to also do nothing productive whatsoever this week. Either way is's Spring Break for goodness sake.

The blonde rascal and I are going to do some fun stuff too. Go to the movies one day, picnic at the park one day and go to daddy's office on Weds. You see daddy is the sales manager for an auto auction. It is a dealer only auction so it is the real deal. I am embarrassed to say that he has been working there for 3 years now and I have never been to see the actual auction. 5 lanes of cars, 5 auctioneers, people bidding...general chaos. Probably fascinating. Mama might just bid on a little somethin' somethin' for myself. A Benz...perhaps a Porche...who knows? How do you bid anyway? I bet hubs won't tell me that! I can watch and learn though. I'll probably sneeze or stretch or something that will be confused with me bidding and end up with a 1991 Town Car or something!

Here is the to do list for today...
1. Go to bank and get cash for the Craig's List transaction.
2. Go to quilt store and get thread. I ran out this weekend. I'll show pictures...tomorrow...of what I am making.
3. Go to drugstore and get some essential oil for my "green" cleaning initiative.
4. Make brownies for the Irish bash tonight.
5. Possibly go to Office Max for a cartridge for the photo printer and scope out a photo disc & index picture organizer/binder. If they don't have what I am imagining I want for this project, then I will invent it and become famous and rich. Probably not THIS week though because it is Spring Break after all and I am....lazy.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

My Beautiful Blonde Boy

Wednesday after school blonde rascal and I stopped at the park to feed the ducks.
I love this little toot. He has my heart all wrapped up in that mischievous smile.

As per the "little boy's guide to playing at the park"...
...there were rocks thrown into the lake. No ducks were harmed, I promise.
Although this guy did run for cover. Duck bottoms are kinda cute, huh?

I love times like this where the obligations and schedule of daily life are suspended for a few moments.

You can just feel the simple joy of life as seen through the eyes of a child. is good!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

On a positive note

Even with a very basic civilian understanding of military ways, I do know for a fact 2 things. #1 they do not tolerate slobs. #2 you do what you are told, when you are told and how you are told.

Heaven help my child.

In June of 2007 after the Marine graduated from H.S. he moved out and into a house with a couple buddies. At which point I promptly painted his room yellow and made it my sewing room!

Last Tuesday he moved out of that house, put his boxes of stuff in our attic, his furniture in the barn and moved into our guest room, since "his" room no longer existed, for 5 nights until he left for boot camp. F-I-V-E nights.

Look how he left my calm, serene, clutter free guest bedroom....

(Note: I keep this bedroom door shut at all times when not in use so that the cats will not get on the bed. Take a good close look at the bed. Those little imps.)

Oh look more dirty clothes...
...on the floor.

And finally...
...the unmade bed. Wonder how he is doing with the "bounce a quarter off his tightly and wrinkle free made bunk" guidelines he now has to live under? tee heee teee heee! (Look at those dang belligerent cats!)

Then, since his truck will be sitting un-driven next to our barn until he returns from boot camp in 3 months, we suggested he clean it out before he leaves. You know, so it won't smell upon his return.

Last Tuesday....
Hubs: "Son you need to clean out your truck before you go...because stuff is going to start growing in there."
The Marine: "Yeah, I know. I'm gonna."

Me: Please clean out your truck so it won't smell like something died in it when you get back."
The Marine: "I will. Dad asked me to do that yesterday."

Hubs: "Really, go clean out that truck! You can't leave it like that!"
The (irritated ) Marine: "I know you ALREADY told me that. I am GOING to clean it out!" Rolls eyes and walks away mumbling under his breath.

It was still parked in our driveway so I went to move it this afternoon.

I opened the passenger side door to his truck....

What fresh hell is this?

And if that is not bad enough, look at the backseat....
This all leaves me wondering just how deliberate procrastination, eye rolling and mumbling under his breath are going over with his drill instructor. Probably not so well! teee heee tee hee!

Therein lies the justice for the parents who tried, for years, to straighten out a slob teenager. God bless drill instructors.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Motherhood: the toughest job you will ever love

This post will be a lengthy, laborious, blubbering, sniffling pity party for me. So let’s pretend like you are here with me. Just keep handing me kleenex and pat me on the back saying “he’ll be fine.” Thanks, I feel better already!

The Marine shipped off to boot camp yesterday. Last week on the Military Channel was Marines Week. One of the shows was “Making a Marine” and it chronicled boot camp from the moment the recruits stepped off the bus all the way through graduation day.

Watching that was like a double edged sword. It was nice to see what he would be experiencing but at the same time some of it scared me! And you know they did NOT show the really hairy stuff!!!

On the show, the bus load of recruits shows up at Camp Pendleton in the middle of the night, it is dark. An instructor gets on the bus and tells them to file off the bus
and go stand on the yellow footprints. When they step off the bus there is an instructor on either side of the bus door and as soon as a recruit steps on the ground those instructors go to yelling right in his ears. The recruits are all fumbling and their eyes are wide a saucers as they find where they are supposed to stand.

From there on out, it was all yelling as those kids attempted to walk heal toe with the person in front of them in a single file line.

Oh geez.

Then they start to process them. They strip them of all individuality. They can bring nothing with them, the clothes on their backs are taken away and from underwear and socks out, it is all military issue. They shave their heads, fill out paperwork, get shots and heaven only knows what else. They can not speak in the first person. They are no longer an individual but a platoon. They have to say “this recruit is tired” or “this recruit is from Texas” or whatever. They cannot say “I” or “me” at any point for 13 weeks.

This is all going on in the middle of the night.

Then they get to make one phone call at some point during the night they arrive. And the script, while the drill instructor is hollering for them to get off the phone, is “I am here, I am OK, I have to go.” Click. And that is the only phone call for 13 weeks.

I am glad I watched it so I would have some small idea of what he is doing.

On Sunday we drove the recruit to Amarillo, 2 hours to the north of us, where the Military Entrance Processing (MEPS) building is located. We stayed overnight as he was to be sworn in at 8 am Monday.

The recruits got a wake up call at 3am Monday morning. They had breakfast at the hotel and they took them to MEPS at like 5am to do the final paperwork and medical checkup.

We got to MEPS at 7:45 am. As with all things government...he did not actually swear in until about 10:00am.

These are babies! That is what hit me while I was there, these babies are going to defend our country. And my “baby” is one of them now!!!

Here is the recruit at our wedding. He was 7 and completely adorable.
I of course fell in love with the little toot because he was 7, and all 7 year old boys are undeniably sweet. And the recruit was a sweet boy. I should say, had I processed then that he would not stay 7 and cute, but grow into a teenage boy, I probably would have run screaming from the altar!!!! I kid. I am proud of my gray hairs. I have earned them.

He came to live with us when he was 9. I loved the kid like my own, and somewhere deep down through all the knuckle headed teenage years I still loved him. He was still sweet but an idiot, as are 99.9% of all teenagers (myself included)!

Yesterday morning at 10:00 he quit being a knuckle head...and took an oath to defend our country.

After that, he signed a contract...
... agreeing to defend our country for 4 years as a Marine and go serve in Iraq. And I am proud...and scared shitless if you don’t mind me saying. And poor hubs, he is emotionally drained. Period.

After he signed the contract. They took them into a room and briefed them on their travel plans. Let them eat half a Subway sandwich. Had another briefing. They opened the door to that briefing room and those 6 boys filed out and went straight down the hall and out the door to the shuttle waiting to take them to the airport.

No joke. The Marine came out and said “I am leaving now” and gave each of us a hug. We told him we were proud and we loved him and he walked out the door. Like 15 seconds of a goodbye. I am sure they do that on purpose for both the recruits and the family members because it would be so much more painful to have a long sobbing goodbye.

Hubs, MIL and I were all sniffling and trying to maintain our composure. (Blonde rascal was with us too but he doesn’t really realize what the heck all of this means.)

I thought there goes that knuckle head teenager walking down that hall, with a little piece of my heart going with him. Bravely walking down that hall right into the unknown. He just made the biggest and most life changing decision of his life. The next time I see him, on June 6th when he graduates, the knuckle head punk will have been replaced with a man.

A man that will know how to fight for his life and his country. Which means he is going to fight for me...and you.

So here is his time line. He managed to sleep for 2 hours Sunday night. Was woken up at 3am Monday morning to begin the process, arrived in California sometime Monday, they took them to Camp Pendleton sometime after dark Monday night and they will not let them sleep until tonight, Tuesday.

Poor hubs tossed and turned last night and finally just got out of bed. We did not know when the one phone call would come. At 7:20 this morning the collect call came. And sure enough just like on “Making a Marine” the recruit said “Dad I am here, I am OK and I have to go now” and hubs said “I love you”. The recruit said “I love you too” 6 seconds tops and that is the last phone call we will get for 13 weeks.

The Marine Recruiter did tell us that if his platoon won a challenge or something that sometimes they would reward them with a phone call, but not to count on it.

The parenting guide we got said it is all psychological. They have to break them down completely and then build them back up. It said “this is not the boy scouts nor summer camp”...oh geez don’t you know that is true. They can write home after like 2 weeks. It warned us that the 1st letter we get may say something like "get me out, call your congressman or someone and get me out!" Then it said you will get another letter at about 2 months that says it is the best thing they have ever done. The parent info also said “The drill instructors are VERY good at what they do. It is scary and painful...but it works!” Yikes.

On the treadmill this morning at the gym I was a big bundle of raw nerves. So I ran my heart out. Turmoil is good for runners, you can work things out in your head while the endorphins you are producing are busy releasing the negative energy in your body. At the last 2 minutes of my run all of my thoughts had bogged down my mind and I was spent.

I was thinking how proud I was of the recruit because he had bravely agreed to fight for his country, no doubt seeing horrible things along the way and possibly sacrificing his own life. That decision is to be respected. Then I thought about how scared I was. Then how sad I was that they were torturing him physically and mentally at that VERY moment!!!. And in a few days they will issue that boy a high powered rifle and train him how to defend his country.

A small sob escaped me at those last 2 minutes of my run this morning. If anyone around me had their headphones off they probably thought I was about to have a heart attack and get thrown off the back of the treadmill! I wanted to end the run then and start my cool down but with tears and sweat running down my face I pressed on, the recruit probably will have tears and sweat running down his face at some point today too. And the next day, and the next day, and.... So I finished my run just like he will, but there was no big scary man yelling at me like there will be at him. Thank God!

This is not about me so I have to get control of myself! I need to spend my time praying for his mental and physical endurance, writing him letters, sending care packages to soldiers.... or...hmmmm.... making quilts for the injured soldiers or families that have lost soldiers.

There, I am through being a ninny now. I do feel better getting all that off my chest. Phew, let me blow my nose. PSssssffffggggyyytttt. Thanks for listening, I feel so much better now!

There is a local Marine Parents group that I will join. I know there are thousands of “been there, done that” moms out there who will encourage me. It is the support group...or pot...or very large glasses of wine...or shots of whiskey. So I think I will start with the support group as it would probably be most profitable!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Window Mistreatments a la The Nesting Place

I found the most wonderfully delightful blog about 2 weeks ago, The Nesting Place. Seriously, she is adorable...and her house/decorating skills...just stop it!!!! Her “nest” is the most amazingly warm, stylish, welcoming and CUTE thing you have ever seen. Best of all is she does all of her decorating on a budget and not a big budget. I’m talking about a use what you have, TJ Maxx or thrifting type budget. You know, a REAL budget! Right up my alley.

What I absolutely loved about her blog were her window mistreatments. Yeah! I have been mistreating window treatments, well really any form of home decor sewing, since my first apartment in college. I taught myself to sew while in college, starting with garments and then moving on to window treatments, table skirts, pillows, chair pads...blah blah blah.

I figured out early on in my sewing that, with the exception of garments, patterns are just a frustrating unnecessary step. Certainly for 99% of home decor sewing I would much rather wing it than follow any annoying pattern. Shoddy construction does not offend me as long as the end “look” is what I imagined it would be!

Whenever a friend or family member has said “you could do that for me” in regards to something I have sewn for my house I always think...oh geez you have NO idea! I would never subject anyone else to my half ass methods of decorative sewing. I would be totally embarrassed if they saw the true workmanship!

I ordered a big cut of some fabric off of E-bay that I thought I wanted to make curtains in the dining room with. It turned out to not be what I wanted for the dining room. Hard to really tell about fabric online. Anyway it was nice decorator fabric, kind of a faded Ralph Lauren look. And good heavens it was about 15 yards and I think I paid $12.

Our master bathroom has this big glass block window over the tub. It gets really cold in there in the winter. I knew having curtains would help remedy the cold, so I added window treatments to my perpetual to-do list. I also thought that the bathroom was blah. It is a nice bathroom with great neutral paint, but it needed a serious spark.

Then I came across The Nester and her brilliant window mistreatments with the ring clips, and that along with my E-bay fabric gold mine, I was in business.

Here is the dull before of the bathroom......excuse the collection of boats and cars, yes the blonde rascal loves him some jacuzzi bath action! (Sorry none of these pictures are very good)

And after some window mistreating!

The nester is VERY handy with the glue gun in her window mistreatments, however sewing for me is just as easy as gluing. I just cut my fabric in half, and still even then had enough to fold each half, in half again. Lining without the effort!

Instead of some sort of tassel fringe, which can very expensive, I simply sewed some wire edged ribbon into the seam....$8.The top of each panel was the fold of the fabric, so I quickly sewed down both sides and then
added some brown damask at the bottom so they would "puddle."
The most expensive part of the whole endeavor were the rods. However these Christopher Lowell rods were 40% off at JoAnn's. So I got 2 rods for $40.

There was no measuring of anything, I don't like measuring...this method is forgiving because of the poof at the top and the puddle at the bottom. Just how I like it, a real no brainer! This would not however work with poor quality fabric, it would look cheap. I think it is also important to have massive yardages because the treatments being "full" helps to cover a multitude of sins!

Go! Go now and visit The Nesting Place! You will love it! She will inspire you...go fire up your glue gun girls!! Keep your eyes peeled for bargain quality fabric... then go forth and mistreat some windows!!!!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

This was not in the contract

I ended up in one of these situations yesterday. I knew it would happen since the wind was blowing 50mph AND the wind chill was 5 degrees or something crazy like that.

Hubs called about 10 minutes after he went out the door for work.

Hubs: “Would you do me a favor and it is an EASY favor?”

Me: “Easy....mmmm-hhhmmm, I’ll be the judge of that”

He wanted me to open the gate to the......hay.

So that these chumps......and these schmucks...

...could eat.

Sure that task is “easy”, I mean a well trained dog could open a gate. On a day like today, a nice spring sunny day, that task might even be enjoyable. Yesterday however was freak show weather, as you might have read from my previous post.

I’m talking skin biting wind. Hold on to your hat, walk at an angle kind of wind. I had on my glasses because I knew my contacts would freeze to my eye balls. Well, it looked like this...I had to pull down my glasses because they fogged up.

On top of the anguish causing frigid wind I was trying to avoid stepping in cow patties, struggling to see through my wind blasted hair and fogged up glasses. Cow patties heck, I was also trying to watch out for our new bull! You see hubs got a new load of steers, our old ones got too fat & slow to rope so he bought some young steers. ( I hope he doesn't do that to ME when I get fat and slow!)

Well for whatever reason (I don’t pay attention to any of this trivial ranchy stuff) we got a bull in the mix, you know a boy that still had his you know whats. I don’t know if we (I use “we” real loosely here) are going to remove his you know whats. Be assured that if they do get removed, then some cowboy type person either in my home or in one of my neighbor's homes will insist that we fry “them”, which incidentally taste like chicken. I know this from my college days... which is another story for another time. Anyhoo, I will be sure to dedicate an entire detailed post to that whole situation should it transpire. I know you will anxiously be awaiting that!

Never a dull moment. I think I need a drink.

All of that is irrelevant other than to say I was also trying to watch out for the angry wild bull that I felt sure was stalking me as an easy target to chase all over the pasture!

It all turned out OK and I made it to the hay and opened the gate without getting gored to death.

Of course I stopped briefly to say hi to my sister friend Josie. She was trying to stay out of the wind. We get along really well because you know she is in a barn full of boy horses and I am in a house full of human boys. Same story, different species. We feel each others pain. She asked me if I thought Brad and Angelina would ever get married. I said I did not know.

Anyway Josie has on a “Slinky”...
Now I only know that is the proper name for it because I asked hubs, out of Josie’s earshot of course, just what in the crap that getup was all about. He said it is because Josie likes to stick her neck through the fence, which rubs her mane off, so the Slinky keeps her mane pretty.

Actually I think it makes her look like some sort of thoroughbred racehorse. However, she is proud of her quarter horse heritage and would take offense to being compared to a snotty high maintenance thoroughbred. So I did not tell her that.

She asked me how she looked in it. I did not mention the whole mane thing, because you know it is rude to point out flaws. Like when someone gnaws on their fingernails, making what is left of their fingernails are all horrible looking, you just don’t talk about it.

So I told her it was a "hoodie" and she looked darn fabulous in it. You know something you would throw on to go to your Yoga class for instance.

She agreed that it would be perfect for Yoga. In fact she showed me how she had been practicing her downward dog....

Monday, March 3, 2008

Freak show weather

Yesterday it was a gorgeous 78 degrees. Pretty toasty for March 2nd. About 5:00 yesterday afternoon we could see the front moving in. By 10:00 last night it was like 28 degrees.
This morning we wake up to a dusting of snow and wind chills in the single digits.
I am sure my newly planted daffodils are not exactly happy in these conditions!
It was not my morning to drive the carpool so I have been sitting here contemplating going to the gym. The snow is now coming down pretty good in big ol' flakes and the wind is just whipping like crazy...sooo uummmmm...NO! No gym today!

It is supposed to taper off about lunch time. I will head to the grocery store before I pick up blonde rascal from school. Until that time, I am going to take a shower, clean out the pantry and sew!

Before I go off to my duties I will share a few shots from the OTHER freak show around here. The diabetic cat and weenie dog tag team freak show.

Yesterday before the front blew in I opened the front door just to let some fresh air in. Of course Missy, the boss of everyone, scampers out to see if she needs to police any activities. Then Val, the crusty curmudgeon diabetic cat, saunters out stealthily to the front porch.

Of course as you can imagine it all takes a turn for the worse at that point...

Val: "What a lovely day to sniff things and roll around on the porch"

Val: "Dear God in Heaven here IT comes!"

Missy: "Hey watcha doing? You wanna play with me?"

Missy: "Hey! Woof woof woof! I SAID don't you want to play with me?"

After that there was a blur of violent activity, mostly stemming from the large angry cat, all of which my wimpy camera was not fast enough to capture!

This is my life, these two living to irritate each other. Missy is just looking for a playmate and Val...well he would never admit it but it all entertains him too, in a grumpy sort of way.

It continued on this morning. After a large chase scene went down,

Val got irritated and decided it was time for a good slapping session...

Then Missy finally gets all tuckered out...
and curls up, on the back of my chair, into a little ball that is all snout, paws and big floppy ears.

I suppose now would be a good time, while it is quiet on the battlefield, for me to get some work done!