Thursday, December 31, 2009

December 31st and it's 75 degrees

I left work at noon today (yay for half day holidays!), jumped in my Jeep and took off towards my hair appointment. Yes, just like the Jeep "It's only hair" ad. Seriously, I was wearing a long sleeve t-shirt and a sweat shirt, by the time I got there I was considering using the air conditioning. It's been cold lately hasn't it? I know the summer was blazing hot so the cold weather was rather welcomed here. Of course 75 degrees is nothing I'm going to complain about either. Visit P Dub's website recently? I have friends in New York/New Jersey right now that took pictures of it snowing this morning. Huh, not so much. No, I think that the present Southern California-esque weather will do me just fine. Of course it's not quite 70 today in San Diego so, oddly, we've got it better out here today. We'll take what we can get though.

Today I left the hair dressers (you know, I only get my hair cut twice a year) and as nice as she made it I totally jacked it up by the time I got home. I'm taking the top down and going out for a longer ride later on. This day is just too beautiful to waste! Don't worry though, I plan on being home and parked in the garage long before the stupid drunk people get out on the road.

Have a happy and safe New Years no matter how your local weather behaves!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Santa update

So ya know how the kid got the full monty on Santa a few days ago? It's had an entertaining result. She is just pleased as punch to play Santa. She wants to do the cookie thing, fill the stockings, wrap the presents, the whole nine. She asks who is who's Santa and delights in coming up with the answer.

Ya know, everyone has an idea of what they want their child to become when he or she grows up and works toward that goal (not like most kids follow it, they really just do as they will). All I want my child to be is a better person than me. I don't know how it happened but she totally exceeds my expectations. My kid, she's awesome.

Happy Christmas everyone, relax and enjoy.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The two-fer

This past Saturday was my work's Christmas party. We go every year because they give away door prizes and the food is good. The company is ok but realize that I work at a LARGE doctors office and the help that is hired at most of these places are barely high school educated. Most are GED people and most come from and continue on the great practice of teen pregnancy. In volume. It's pretty disenchanting but makes for a hella funny (terrifying?) fashion show at the annual Christmas party. Picture a bunch of latino women in their 30's and 40's, bodies a wee bit post 3-4 kids, all squeezing into their old prom dresses from high school. Spandex of course, to accommodate. Can you picture it? Yeah, you don't really want to do ya? Oddly the worst outfit did not belong to one of these fine ladies. No, it belonged to the much hated bean counter/micro manager who decided to wear this orange, yes orange, Chinese themed...pants suit? That looked like very poor fitting pajamas. On a tall, broad white woman. The hubby kept making jokes like "Maybe she'll get clown shoes for Christmas to match.". Seriously, it was a bad color, cut, and fit. Nasty person with a horrid outfit, gotta love the holidays!

The whole point of this post isn't to make fun of my fellow employees though, really! They do a good enough job of that themselves. The point of this was that for last Saturday night we sent the kid to spend the night at her friends house. They wanted her at 4pm so we went straight from dropping her off to a 4:20 showing of New Moon. Yes, we took the first opportunity we had to go to the movies. The party started at 7:30, we figured we could squeeze a movie in first, yes?

You probably want to know our opinion of said movie. I didn't see the first one in the theaters but I did see it on dvd. It wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be after all of the scathing reviews I had heard so I knew New Moon wasn't going to be disappointing. This one had a bigger budget due to the huge following. Plus I had the benefit of reading the books. The first movie didn't need any back story and it didn't matter if you'd read the books. New Moon, not so much. The hubby hasn't read the books and doesn't intend to but he wanted to see the movie in the theaters. Realize that we're geeks and sci fi movies always call to us. The trailers showed enough promise to warrant the hubby's interest so I knew that we'd be going once we finally had a chance. Our verdict? It was good, very good. He needed a little bit of explanation for a few things but if you didn't have it you could still enjoy the movie. It was a wee bit melodramatic at points but it's a vampire movie, what do ya expect? I am definitely in the "Team Jacob" club, I don't know what girls see in Edward, seriously. Skinny white boy in make up or the tanned 6 pack that the Indian boy pulls off fabulously. Hello, no contest. All in all we were pleased with the movie, especially their werewolves. They made them look exactly the way we think they should look. I told you, we are geeks, we have a specific preference for the way werewolves are depicted.
How can one even compare the two? I have no idea.

We went to the party after the movie. Arrived fashionably late (8:15) and couldn't stand the mexican polka music for too terribly long so we left but 9:30. There was a method to this madness though, last showing of Avatar in 3D was at 10. Yes, we were going for a sci fi geek two-fer. The kid was gone for the night so we were going to get everything we could for the evening. While New Moon was one we had been planning on seeing for awhile, Avatar was a spur of the moment "We need to see this movie so we should see it right now". Which, as it turns out, was the best decision of the evening.

Lets just start out with total honesty here, the hubby and I don't normally like 3D. At all. It's tedious and normally isn't a good enough bonus to warrant the headache. Still, it was what was playing when we were available so 3D it was. I thought it would be another bad 3D experience since I've never had a good one. They always look fake and forced, like they created specific scenes with 3D in mind but didn't flow well with the story line. As in, "We're putting this in just so you flinch". This movie was so not that. It was FABULOUS. Yes, there was a bit of vertigo upon leaving the 3D when it was over. It was 3 hours long for crying out loud. And worth every minute. I don't care if you are not a sci fi person at all, I still think you'll love the movie. I had no idea we were in there for 3 hours, it was that good. Lots of action, a love story that wasn't cheesy, and a moral to the story too. They make humans the bad guys with lots of parallels to what we tend to do to indigenous people i.e. American Indians. Loved it. Highly recommended. If you get a free chance treat yourself. I can even say the 3D is worth it. Try it, you'll like it!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Yeah, she just had to go and ask

Again. The kid has been making noise as to the validity of Santa this lovely season. And when I say making noises I mean asking a billion times whether or not he's for real. I commented to the hubby that if she asks one more time that I was giving it up. Really, it's not like I birthed a moron right? Breed 2 Mensa level geeks and you can't get stupid. Too bad too, we could have held out the Santa thing longer.

Actually, scratch that. I'm tired of hiding the Santa bag, other pattern wrapping paper, and wondering if she'll notice that the 'to' and 'from' tag is written in the same hand writing as all the rest of the presents. Lets face it, you can only fake it for so long. If she hadn't asked me that one more time and I hadn't told the truth I was planning on printing the labels out on the computer. I still have Santa's wrapping paper in the back of my car. It would be in the trunk but I drive a Jeep, there's no real trunk. It's just a space/hole in the back. A real bitch to hide things in too might I add.

It wasn't as bad as I thought. She took it very well, wasn't too disappointed. I sugar coated it a bit and now she's kinda pleased that she knows a 'big kid' secret and has been trusted to keep it from other kids. She has one friend I know knows the truth about Santa. He's the only one she's allowed to talk to about it. I think it helps that she is good friends with another kid that knows the big kid secret. Kinda like an exclusive club thing right? She's very good about these things so I'm not worried.

This is just the first of a slew of disaster talks though ya know. She's already gotten the drugs talk (school segues into that one) but I dread the sex talk. Yeah, I know, she's 8 and we probably should have already broached this subject but there's this suburbia issue. Once a kid knows about these things it's not like the Santa secret. They are going to go to school and talk about sex. She's not going to talk about Santa because there's no unknown. Sex is a whole different disaster. I don't mind my kid knowing the gory details at a young age. I do mind her going to school and discussing it with other kids. Especially since I'm sure it won't take long for the parents to freak the hell out. We're in Texas, bible thumpin land. I'm cool with her going to church occasionally with her friends. I'm not so cool with the puritanical anti-sex teachings that come with the bible thumpers. I for see some future issues with us Calis in the bible belt ya know?

Santa, only the tip of the iceberg.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Shopped and shipped!

And, miraculously, right and I mean RIGHT before I came down with the kid's cold. She was sick on Sunday, worse on Monday, but better (and still kept home) on Tuesday. We've all gotten our flu shots (both seasonal and H1N1) so the only thing we should be getting this year is colds. And we seem to be getting all the cold viruses going around. Yay! Not. I stayed home with her on Monday (took her out for a few errands but she was fine with that) and managed to finish making our Christmas cards. The hubby stayed home with her on Tuesday, I managed to mail the cards out then (thank God). I was ok for work on Tuesday but by Wednesday I woke knowing I had it. I still went to work since I had already missed one day. I suffered through it but managed to get through the work day and stopped at the automated shipping center at the post office to mail all of the presents that needed to be mailed. While coming down with a cold. I was so thrilled. Really not so much. Relieved, yes, thrilled, no energy for thrilled.

That means my Christmas cards were mailed by December 15th, my packages by December 16th. While I was sick (please note, do not lick the Christmas cards I sent you, ok? OK.). And if they don't make it there by the 25th I'm sorry. Well ok not terribly sorry, I'm sure on some level I do care but not on one of those upper levels I pay attention to. I went out this evening and wouldn't you know it my neighbors have pulled the entire contents of their garage out and have started hacking back their oak tree so they could hang lights on it. 7 days before Christmas. And they are just starting to trim their trees. At 8pm on a Friday night. I thought we were the strange neighbors. Apparently not. I don't even want to know if they've gotten any of their Christmas stuff done, the answer might give me hives.

Speaking of which I am so done with it all it's not even funny. I think I've chronicled the tree buying here yes? The shopping I did all by myself and I chronicled some of that too right? It's done and if I missed something tough shit, next year they can buy it themselves. And then last weekend we managed to get out lights up outside and the rest of the inside of the house trimmed. I really love the garland we put on the stair rails and over the mantle. If I could get away with leaving it up all year long I totally would. Looks kinda strange mid summer here though ya know? If there's one thing I like about this season it's the garland. I could do without the rest.

The good news? I managed to finish it all and I don't have anything last minute to do. As far as I'm concerned it's done. I'm over it. Can we have New Years now? My work has their holiday party tomorrow night and it's really scary. I have some really really big rolley polley women at my work. Most of them latino with a love of mascara, eyeliner, eyeshadow, lip liner, hair spray, high heels, and spandex. See where I'm going with scary dress up party here? I only go for one reason, they have a prize drawing that includes a very large flat screen tv. Seriously that's the only reason we go. I don't bring a camera since I don't want the lens to shatter in fear. Lord knows there are some things in there that should not be seen by small children much less man kind in general.

I'm sorry, have I gotten of track? Again? It's the holiday season and I've had too many cookies. The sugar crash is getting to me.

Happy Holidays, and drive safe. Every lunatic that doesn't drive the other 355 days out of the year is out right now and it's scary....

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Where in the world did the time go?

Seriously, it's almost the 15th and I have yet to even finish making my Christmas cards much less get them mailed out. Even the year I had emergency brain surgery on Thanksgiving and didn't get out of rehab until the second week of December I was more on it than this. Granted my mother in law was here and taking charge of the household (the one time I was happy that she did so) but even still. I am so not up to snuff this year.

The good news? I'm pretty much done Christmas shopping. I haven't mailed the stuff that needs to be mailed though. I have purchased and wrapped it all though, a miracle unto itself, but I dread the post office right now. Presents for me and the hubby though, that's kinda sketchy at best. The kid is still making noise about Santa's existence. I am totally willing to give up the ghost on this one but only if she is ready too. It's still up in the air but I'm sure that by next year the kids will all know. Either way I'm ready for it, I hate having to try and get other rolls of Christmas paper and hiding it so she doesn't catch on. I am going to use stamps to sign "From Santa" on the tags so she doesn't recognize our handwriting. She's a smart cookie and she's keeping an eye out for these things ya know.

I think I'd be ok if it wasn't for the fact that one has to keep up with the normal every day chores of life. During the season of hell there is no time to do the things that need to get done like laundry and food shopping while trying to maneuver through the parking lots of hell filled with Christmas shoppers. Oh and the parties and Secret Santas? Like we don't already have enough to do without adding more crap to the list? Oh please. Fortunately I decline to do the SS thing at work every year and the hubby can whip out a homemade apple pie all by himself (oh yeah he's a keeper). Otherwise it'd be something premade bought from the grocery store and I am not going out there again.

So the deal with our Christmas presents. I'm not even really interested in getting any because it's too much of a pain in the ass (yeah, I'm a Scrooge)but again, it's the kid thing. She would be insanely disappointed if we got to few presents so this is where I cave. I'm totally cool with the tree thing and all the lights. The tree we did last weekend and the lights we lagged on. We finally put those up today. Or rather I conned the hubby into putting them up and told him I'd run the shopping errands while he was doing that. Yes, he got the better end of the deal. No the lights were not up by the time I came home 2 hours later.

You see ever year during December we do this thing on the dining room table. The table we never use. We get jigsaw puzzles and put them together as a family. Why only during December? I haven't a clue. The kid has been really good at puzzles since she was little so we always get 1000 pieces puzzles and we can all still do them. The hubby has gotten really into it this year. And that's what he was doing while he was supposed to be doing the lights. I got home and started doing them and I guess he felt guilty and helped. Which is good since I am short and he is not. I can only get so high with the foot stool until bad things start happening. And just so you know it wasn't just the lights he was distracted from he went back to the puzzle as soon as he could.

And he still needed to make that apple pie ya know (that image of the pie was taken from the net since it was too dark by the time ours was done for a pic). So, me being me, I started peeling the apples. And the guilt got to him again and he jumped on board. Before you think I took the hard job though realize that I have in my arsenal (I LOVE kitchen gadgets, especially Pampered Chef) an apple peeler/corer/slicer. These things are so dang nifty I just don't know how to tell you if you've never seen one in action. It peels them in one long continuous string of peel and my dogs have figured out if they just get the end that it keeps on coming. They love apples and it's like the magic apple machine to them. So dang funny to watch.

Al right, so now that you know I am hella behind how fares it in your fine worlds? All done shopping by Black Friday? Everything mailed, even the cards, by the first week of December? Go on, tell me how much farther behind I am than you are. It'll make you feel better, swearsies.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I have the COOLEST friends ever

Do you love the measuring cups? The hubby, kid, and I went to the local frou frou mall (La Cantera in our hood) at some point a month ago and I felt the need to show the hubby Anthropologie, a store I love but own nothing in. Because, well, it's frack off expensive. Worse than Guess in the 80's. We saw these little measuring cup sets and knew one of them would be perfect for his mom. She's very much into cooking and this particular set (the Puffer Bird) would match her kitchen (newly fully remodeled) perfectly. My mother in law is in her 70's, she already owns everything so finding delightful presents for her is a rarity, obviously we were dead set on getting her this measuring cup set.

I sent the hubby to the mall yesterday. Guess what? They were all out. They had the other cute sets (which I'd love to get for myself, specifically the Matryoshka Cups, I have a thing for these dolls)but not the one we wanted for his mom. Here's where the uber cool friends come in to play. I could have ordered them on line and had them mailed to her and gift wrapped but it would have cost me over $50. So impractical don't you think? I then got creative.

I called the stores in San Diego (our home town) to see if they had them in stock. They did. Of course. I followed that phone call with one to our friend Alison, seeing if she was willing to brave a mall in San Diego in the month of December for me. She was not only willing to but wanted to go to one south of her, outside of the city limits (less crowded ya know), pick up the present, wrap it, and then deliver it for me. Tell me this woman isn't amazing? She ROCKS. It is now 8 pm San Diego time, she has already gone and picked up the cups (I called the store and paid for them over the phone) which the store actually wrapped for me for free(awesome)and is on her way over to my mother in laws house to drop it off.

How's that for efficient Christmas shopping? I think from now on I'm going to make a list of what I want for the family in San Diego, call up the stores, buy the presents, have them wrapped, then paying Alison to go and get them. I figure if I do it all in November she may not say no. All in all I am pretty sure that there are few others out there as giving as this woman and she is on the top of my list for a getting cool ass present from me this year. Isn't she awesome?

Monday, December 7, 2009

Cutting down a tree this year

Every year I want a fake tree. Why? Because fresh trees are such a pain in the ass. Every year the hubby refuses and wants a real one. Normally we get it from someplace like Home Depot or Lowes. This year I realized there was a Christmas tree farm about 30 miles away from us. I recently also learned that there are little towns (and I mean wee little) spaced about 30 miles apart all over Texas. Because of the cows. ? Yeah 30 miles is about the distance you can move a heard of cattle in a day. Ah the useless trivia I learn every day. This place was cute, in a town called Pipe Creek. Not terribly exciting. My neighborhood in San Diego was bigger. But they did have a Christmas tree farm and this was a first for the kid. Actually it might have been a first for all of us, certainly together it was.

It was cold but fun. You go in, grab a small hand saw and a measuring pole and find a tree you want. Then you cut it down. Simple no? Sure it is! Until the small child decides she should be the one carrying the pole. It's a 10 foot pole. Yeah the bottom is 4 ft and after that it's marked in 1 ft increments. See?

She ran around with this thing like a wild monkey, we thought for sure we'd get cold cocked at some point. Really, we should have a bit more faith in our child. She manged to swing that thing all over the place and not hit anyone at all. Weird.

We picked one, had the hubby cut it down and then we took the tractor ride back to the shop. Not that we needed the ride, trees are light, but we thought the kid would like it and she did.

Thing to note about the particular tree we got, the needles are PAINFUL. I don't know what kind of variation it is but DAMN ouch. Also I don't think they are any bigger or fuller when you get them from a farm. They do smell really really nice though, better than store bought. All in all a fun experience and we bought something 'local'. The kids in the town end up working there every season and I like supporting that.

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Pioneer Woman book signing in Austin

On a Thursday night. A school night for the love of all that is good and holy. Did I go? Hells yes I went, it's only 100 miles from my front door. My girlfriend was supposed to go with but she works for a not for profit womens shelter or some goody thing and they had a fundraiser. So it was me. And the kid. YES I TOOK MY CHILD. On a school night. She wanted to go and she's an only child, we can be flexible. Hey how often do we get to see the entire Drummond clan in the flesh? Cause you know, we're go and drive to the boonies of north east Oklahoma all the time. OK not so much, I hate weather and I hear they have tornadoes up there. Not enough money in the world, gimme a good ol' earthquake any day.

So the book signing, yeah, awesome. And frick off long. Does anyone out there really understand how popular that woman is? Seriously? I heard that her signing in Dallas lasted until 1 am. We got there at 7pm (when it started) and managed to be one of the last 20 in line so we saw her at around 11pm. Yeah, it was insane. She started off by answering some questions from the crowd and then went upstairs to a room where she signed books. They had us line up in groups and the line would go though the book store and up a flight of stairs into the room.

This was some (and only really a small part) of the crowd:

If you look (below) next to the left of the hat on the dork who went there in a cowboy hat (why do people do that?) that's Ree at the lectern answering questions. Yes, that's as close as I could get. Eventually people started asking insanely stupid questions not relating to her so I took my kid over to the childrens section to wait it out. While posting on Facebook and Twitter from my iPhone. I love iPhones, it was a 4 hour wait and I really understood how addicted to the internet I was at that point.

So who was there? Well since Ree's sister and brother in law live in Austin everyone was there. Even Ree's mom who was helping wrangle the kids. My kid played with all the plethora of toys, trinkets and whatnots they had littered about the place. Eventually Ree's 2 boys joined her (there weren't a lot of kids there, certainly not by the end) and even later Ree's daughters came in. They signed a few books too, more on that later.

The kid, entertaining herself because she, for some reason she can't remember, let her mom drag her to another city to get a signature of some woman on a blog. Poor child. BTW, do you love the socks? She's decided outrageous knee highs are the coolest thing this season. Apparently my love of knee highs is genetic, rockin...

Ree's eldest Alex is going to be a very tall woman, I think she's taller than me now (ok I'm 5'1" so that's not saying much but still) but she's very regal in her height. When I think of a child being that tall I think gangly, not at all with her. The two boys are a funny little handful, just as crazy as all of Ree's photos show them being. They grab any microphone within reach and nothing is sacred. One of them manged to find a toy bow and arrow set. In a book store. What were the chances right? Texas, I swear. Did I mention that I made hoops for the girls? I'd have made some for the boys too but I didn't have any 160psi tubing left and I know the 125 psi I used for the girls probably wouldn't last a day with those 2 boys. After seeing them in real life I'm sure of it. Lots of people brought her presents too, as you can see to the left on the table in the pic of she and my kid.

Marlboro Man (Ladd) signed books too, you'll have to excuse what my camera and flash did to his fair skin. He looks really tired in these photos (and he probably was) but it was hot in the store and if you saw him in person he was very cool and handsome. And calm, see now I don't think I know people that are calm like him. Must mean I only know city people. Please note that my child is not that tall (I think Ladd is 6', maybe more) she is standing on the podium next to him.

When we (finally) got up to where Ree was and got her signature the kid gave her the hoops for her daughters and Ladd asked her to show them how she hooped, which was sweet. I will mention that The Book People were very apprehensive about letting hoops in their store. I had to leave them behind an information booth near the front door until the very end (good thing we closed down the place) and when I sent the kid to go retrieve them they tried stopping her too. Pfft, stop the kid from giving her hoop gifts, I don't thinks so. She just told them they were for Ree, blew them off and kept walking. I have such a cool kid, she's so smart. Also she never tried hooping while holding them in line, only when Ladd asked her to. She's so well trained, much better in social situations than her mamma. Oh and these hoops? Sorry I didn't take a picture, one was a purple relief that was solid and sparkly tape and we loved it. The other was the same only pink. Yeah, no picture, sorry, I was in a rush to get to Austin in rush hour traffic, yay me!

See those people behind the kid? Those were the last of us. We got there at 7 and that picture was taken around 11pm. Her kids were long gone to the hotel by then, the only ones left were her husband and her sister and brother in law. No their baby wasn't there.

Yes, I know, you want more pictures I'm sure. Here's where I tell you about what I learned about myself as a photographer (gee Michelle, isn't this post dang hella long enough as it is? Welcome to my blog...). I could have taken lotsa pictures of her kids playing and gotten signatures from her girls but I felt odd about that. Yes, they have definitely reached 'celebrity' status and their college fund could be made with the profits from the book signing tour alone (seriously) but they are kids from a ranch out in the middle of nowhere. It didn't feel right to me so I didn't take a bunch of pictures. As for Ree pics well, this is it. That's all I saw of her. There was A TON of people there and she was upstairs in the room. Even when you got to her a person took the books you wanted her to sign and put them in front of her (earlier in the line some other worker wrote what name you wanted it signed to on a sticky so that was already taken care of). It was oddly like she was holding court.

Don't get me wrong, she and her hubby were very personable. And they must have been really tired by the time I got to them. She asked me to step closer to her and converse, which was nice. Like I said, the way they had it set up wasn't terribly personable. They asked the kid questions and seemed just as chipper at the end as they did in the beginning. It must be a huge change from their everyday life and they seemed to take it in stride. Much better than I would do I'm absolutely sure, too many people for my taste.

All in all I think it was very awesome for Ree to bring her whole family out for all of us to see them in real life. They are just as you would expect from her stories on the blog. Seriously nice people.