Tuesday, May 27, 2008

That's a wrap!

Today was the end of school awards presentation at blonde rascal's school. Here is the man himself receiving his awards from the principal.
He is the embodiment of brilliance and good looks. (I know, your kids are too!) He got an award for academic excellence and a champion reader award.

His sweet teacher was trying to hug him...
...but I think he was trying to make a quick getaway!

They had off Memorial Day. The last day of school is Friday and they get out at 1:15. Please. The grades are turned in, the remainder of the week will be fluff work and movie watching. All in the name of going a predetermined amount of days in order to get the good old state funding. The poor teachers are glorified babysitters this week. I vote for when the grade books are closed, so are the doors!

Oh dear, the end 2nd grade. 3rd grade means standardized testing and the "no child left behind" b.s.!!! Ugghhh. Homeschooling sounds good compared to that darned testing. Some sort of accountability for what they are learning is one thing but the crazy amount of time they spend teaching towards and stressing the kids out over these tests is nuts.

We'll live through it though, because I don't think b.r. and I would make such a great home school team. I am too laid back for a regimented schedule and he thinks I don't know anything! I can't help him with his homework with out hearing "that's not the way my teacher said to do it." Punk. AND besides all of that, I really LOVE his school despite the stupid tests!

We leave for San Diego this weekend. The weather shows that the highs will be in the low 70's and lows in the mid 50's. That is fan-freakin-tabulous!! I think I will take a jacket on this trip. Frolicking in the ocean will be a bit nippy, but we'll live. I WILL be in the water, cold or not. I hope I don't have to accost any sharks. I don't plan on going deep enough to be mistaken for a blubbery seal.

This whole trip preparation thing is expensive and time consuming. I had to do a lengthy assessment of the summer wardrobes. God bless Super Target. I had trouble finding shorts period, and the ones I did find were total hoochie mama in length. You know the ones that would only look good on an anorexic 16 year old. That was until I stumbled into Target and they saved me.

Throw in all the misc. travel size crap, more sunscreen, a pair of $5.99 sunglasses that I won't cry over if they get lost in California, dog food, some way cute clothes and Target ate my lunch!

So Sunday after church I instigated a little photography training session. I wanted to master fast action shots. My willing assistant was delighted to be my subject. He stacked all the cushions from his couch on the floor to make a jumping platform. Then stripped the comforter and pillows off of his bed to make a padded landing.

My first shot was....ummmm........way off!

After many more shots and playing with the settings, I finally got it right!I jacked the shutter speed way up to I don't even know what. I can't be expected to remember all the details this early on in my photography career!

We were cackling with laughter.It looks a little willy~nilly, I know, but be assured I was faithfully coaching blonde rascal to take note of the ceiling fan. There is some risk taking in action photography you know.

He turned on the cheese towards the end...At least I would have had clear pictures to explain to the e.r. how my son gashed his head on the ceiling fan.

Look out below!I guess if he chooses to be a stunt man later on in life we'll know who to blame!

It was a nice Memorial day. Blonde rascal slept until about 9:00, scarfed down some breakfast and was out the door to play with the neighbor kids. I got up at like 7:00 (darn body clock), ran 3 miles, got into yard boy mode and cranked up the lawn mower. It was more like "labor day" than Memorial Day. As I was walking the front yard looking for large rocks, matchbox cars, huge piles of dog poop...all of which make a wretched commotion when mowed over, except the poop and that just smells, I was startled half to death by a snake! Yes it was slithering across the driveway into the grass. I screamed and shuddered. It did not have a rattle on the end of its tail which relieved me, somewhat. We have a riding lawnmower so I was brave enough to carry on with my task. I didn't see the snake again, luckily for him because he would have been pulverized!

I mowed and weed eated. (What is the grammatically correct way to say that?) That weedeating is a killer. Then I trimmed a few trees. I was beat. I did drink a cold beer at noon in the middle of all of this work. If I have to mow like a man then I am entitled to drink like a man!

Did I mention hubs was out of town at a roping while I did all of this man work? Granted that is sort of our little agreement since he works 200 hours a week. On top of that he really dislikes yard work. It is not on my favorite list either, but truthfully the physical, sweating and dirty effort always feels good...and then there is the cold beer.

My neighbor across the street is always dumbfounded when she sees me tangled up in the yard work. She always tells hubs he has it made. When I feel like grumbling about it, then I remember how hubs works A LOT and then it helps that he does stuff like bring home this for me...

...a 1985 Mercedes Roadster! I have always had a crush on these old Mercedes. There is the benefit of a husband who works too many hours a week in the auto industry...he comes across things and gets good deals. He totally surprised me 3 weeks ago with this little peach of a Benz! At some point in your life...get a convertible. It is like walking on sunshine. It makes me smile from ear to ear to cruise along in this fun old car with my hair blowing wildly and the radio cranked up.

So hubs works very hard, I am the yard boy...and he spoils me. What's not to love?

I have no idea why I have rambled on this long. I suppose because this is much more fun than the dinner that needs to be made, the clothes in the dryer waiting to be folded, the teacher gift to wrap, the bills to pay, the trash that needs to be taken out, the dog needs water.........

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Hotter than heck

Hubs and I had a relaxing time in Phoenix. The day BEFORE we arrived, thank goodness, it was like 115 degrees. Ouch. When we landed on Tues. morning it was 105. Yikes.

Here is the golf course where Hubs played Weds. morning. The high Weds. was only 95. While Hubs hit the links, I vegged at the pool. I met two other ladies while lounging. We started chatting, hit it off and then ordered a pitcher, or two honestly, of margaritas poolside. Good times!

I did not take pictures while at the pool. IF I had, then I would have titled my photos "Why bikinis should have a weight limit"...seriously ladies take a good look at yourself before you go out in public in a bikini. Ewww. Actually, I did not take pictures at the pool because I was too busy with my margarita did not want my camera to melt in the vicious heat.

There were frequent dips in the pool to cool off. I bought some sunscreen I really liked. It is Banana Boat Ultra Defense SPF 30. I slathered it on every 6 minutes, yes I'll admit my paranoia, and not a hint of sunburn. Plus it was not greasy. Go buy.

Thurs. the weird weather that hit parts of the nation, hit Arizona. It was cloudy and in the low 70's. What? That was a lazy, nap taking, book reading day for me, while hubs was attending some conference sessions. Friday morning when we left it was like 55 degrees. What, what, what????? Who'd of thought you would need a jacket in late May in Phoenix!!

I did get to play with my camera, just not at the pool. Right outside our balcony the palm trees were getting haircuts.These dudes climbed up the very tall palm trees with chain saws attached to their belts. Chopped off some palms, repelled down and then climbed up the next tree. I sat on our balcony fascinated, by the whole process, like some kind of silly tourist.

The roses and desert flowers were gorgeous.
Props to MIL who stayed at our house with blonde rascal. Not only did she wrangle blonde rascal and all of his school activities...she fed 4 horses, 10 barn cat/kittens, 2 dogs and lastly 2 indoor cats...one of which needs an insulin shot once a day! Whoa...what a woman! That may be the last time she ever babysits for us!!

Early Tues. morning, at like 2am, the Marine begins his final test. It is called The Crucible. It is a 54 hour hike...with only 8 hours of sleep and 3 meals. It is the culmination of all of their training. It will be physically, mentally and emotionally grueling. Once they have conquered the Crucible, then they receive the Eagle, Globe and Anchor pin and officially go from being a recruit to a Marine. He will graduate on June 6th. We leave Sat. for San Diego. We will have a few days of vacation and then Family Day, which is the first day we will get to see the Marine, at the base is on Thurs. followed by Graduation on Friday. We are so incredibly proud of him and can't wait to see him.

Pray for him as he takes on this huge final challenge!

Tomorrow is Memorial Day and I do believe some yard work will be in order. Bummer yes, but totally necessary!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Teaching the old dog new tricks

I am the old dog.

Here is my new trick.Isn't she pretty?

I had been tossing around the idea of getting a big girl camera. Reading reviews. Paying attention to blogs that spoke of their photography hobby. My little HP point and shoot does a fine job... but is obviously lacking the ability to perform advanced photography. I saw a commercial a few weeks back for this Canon and said to hubs "I want that camera for Christmas!" However hubs apparently checked the calendar and realized the more pressing gift giving occasion was Mother's Day!

I have been studying this......because this camera will do everything imaginable. Everything imaginable that is totally and completely over my head. This dummies book is even a stretch for my little brain. I need a book for idiot, blind, illiterate and armless photographers. There is just so much this camera will do, it will take years to process all the information.

My parents were in town for Mother's Day weekend. Thankfully, because my dad has always enjoyed tinkering with photography. So he helped me at least figure out how to....turn it on!!!!

My first subject was...
....Val the cat in all of his glory. I love photos with the blurred background, so Dad helped me with all the buttons, knobs and ISO settings (I think that's what it was) to achieve this. The camera has so many controls and options, I think it can make margaritas and pull weeds in the flower bed if you want it to.

By the way, Val wants you to go ahead and admit that he looks totally regal in this picture. He is so vain.

Hubs is attending a conference in Phoenix this week. Guess who is going with him? Oh ya baby, mama is going too! I'll be here if you need me. That is right, lounging by the pool on my big white boo-tay. Reading any assortment of... my current book, a People magazine and no doubt my "dummies" book. Oh and probably summonsing the cabana boy to bring me another Tequila Sunrise. Hubs will be in meetings most of the day...what else am I supposed to do?

The combination of my new camera, the dummies book and a fruity drink will ensure lots of practice photography on unsuspecting fellow hotel guests while at the pool. At the very least some good blog fodder will be the natural result of all that. Or getting kicked out of the hotel. Either way it will be most entertaining for me.

Blonde rascal unearthed some of the Marine's cologne while in the bathroom this morning brushing his teeth before church. He put a "little" on. Cough. Oh well, I guess Sunday School is as good a place as any to start wooing the ladies.

I have a list a mile long of errands to accomplish tomorrow. Some sunscreen with a SPF of at least 485 is on the list for sure. Phoenix is going to be brutal I bet. My kind MIL is staying with blonde rascal while we are gone, so add to the list a "house guest worthy" cleaning effort! Hubs was out of town all weekend and I pretty much mastered loafing around. Now, the time has come to clean up the casa and check my list twice so I can go fast and furious tomorrow!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Why I love Wal-Mart: Reason # 351

There is a Super Wal-Mart somewhat close to my house that is just a year old. It would probably be considered, by Wal-Mart standards, one of their cream of the crop stores. It is really nice, clean, big, well stocked...just loverly. I love me some Wal-Mart and I am not ashamed to say that.

Now my pesky brother-in-law Mark does NOT like Wal-Mart, not even a tiny bit. We agree to disagree on the whole Wal-Mart thing. But that is a story for another time.

Generally speaking the highly trained, well educated staff at Wal-Mart is very helpful. Sure you may find a cranky associate now and then, but we all have our days.

Take my cashier man yesterday. I had selected a snazzy pair of (cheaply made) stylin' sunglasses. At the very affordable price of $9.99, no less. They had one of those thick zip tie type tag hanger thingy bobs around the nose piece.

I of course wanted to immediately wear my new cheap sunglasses in the car so I asked mr. nice Wal-Mart cashier if he could cut the tag off for me.

Being ever affable and so willing to please the customer he looked around his station for scissors, but to no avail. Then he reached into his pocket, and I thought perfect he has a pocket knife. Sadly, that was not the case. Nope, he pulled his fingernail clippers from his pocket... and proceeded to cut the tag off of my sunglasses with his nail clippers.

Clever? Yes. However, was I some what grossed out by him manhandling my $9.99 shades with his personal nail clippers, which had cut his nails while at the same time all the germ ridden gunk underneath his nails? I'll be honest...yes!!!!!!!

Friday, May 9, 2008

6 lbs. 14oz.

That was the size of my first, and best, Mother's Day present. The blonde rascal was just a blonde peanut....May 9, 2000.

My tiny baby is 8 and I am in denial. As I am sure I will be on every one of his birthdays as long as I live. Wasn't he just a baby?

Happy Birthday to the sweet 8 year old who makes my heart overflow!

We are partying like rock stars tonight at glow in the dark miniature golf. And Grandma & Papa are in town to help celebrate. Yipee! Which all adds up to make a spoiled 8 year old by the end of the weekend!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Dear U.S.M.C.

Dear United States Marine Corps:

I know you guys are busy with the war and stuff, protecting my lazy self which I greatly appreciate. But honestly, don't have strangers write letters to us pretending to be our son. I know the recruits are way involved in their training at this point and short on free time but I would rather have no letter at all, than to get a letter from an impostor pretending to be my son.

I mean seriously, here is a blurb from the last letter we received from our "son" .......
"I want to apologize for every thing. The way I treated ya'll. I sit back and watch how everybody acts here and some of the stuff my DI says to these kids about the way they act. I see a lot of how I was. Man I can only imagine how hard it was to put up with me. I don't see how you didn't beat my ass! I would like to thank you for all you have done to make me who I am today. That was a lot of work but you never gave up on me. Thanks. It has made boot camp easy for me, not getting into trouble, and with God's help too."

Come on USMC! Don't you think we know an impostor when we see one? The kid we shipped to boot camp on March 10th would NEVER, never, ever have dreamt of saying anything like that to us! What did you do with that eye rolling, sighing, gray hair causing, temperamental teenager we gave you?

I mean sure, the person who wrote that letter sounds like a fine, respectable, mature young man...but where is our son????

Hubs and Quilty Chick