Wednesday, March 6, 2013

file this under "Things I never wish I knew"

Castoreum is the exudate from the castor sacs of the mature North American Beaver.  Yes, that is exactly what you think it is, no need to run for the dictionary.  Why am I telling you about castoreum?  To share the pain.  You see, it is used as both a perfume additive (color me not surprised) and (gag) a food additive.  All those "natural flavorings," particularly strawberry, raspberry, and vanilla?  Yeah.  I'm not going to spell it out for you.  Those freaks over at the FDA, clearly having spent a few too many conferences whoopin' it up in Denver, shooting back Rocky Mountain Oysters and beer, deemed it "safe for consumption."

I'd like to blame the Scandinavians for this particular one.  After all, they came up with B√§verhojt and B√§versnaps.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Monday, Monday

I have a new smart phone and now my ass chirps every time something comes across one of the many apps I loaded onto it, but that's not the point of today's post.

My children attend an Arts elementary school.  That means there is singing and dancing and drama, and that's just home room.  Seriously, what it means to me is attending a continuous stream of plays, orchestra performances and art shows, all announced with little notice and a lot of urgency.  These events are often double as fundraisers for a school which relies on parent-raised money to pay the salaries of the Arts members of their crazy cast.  The district is currently trying to un-fund things they are supposed to pay for and these line items were never on the table.  Way to up the guilt factor, guys!

Friday, my oldest mentioned off-hand that he would be in a dance number, which he had learned that day, instead of just standing along the wall as a statue.  And that he needed to bring in a sheet to use as a toga.  The guidance from the school consisted of the following - "All students will need to provide their own costume which will consist of a sheet and accessories for a toga."  Medieval Nerf weaponry was transported via my silver chariot, carried in by my faithful knights and delivered to the castle.  I assumed my work here was done, at least insofar as accessories.  Along with the dance update, Thing One told me he "just need[ed] to bring in a sheet."  That actually matched what I had seen on paper so I handed him one out of the linen closet and thought no more of it.

Until today.  Monday.  When he comes back and tells me that everyone had brought in clothing bags (I was the only one who secured the costume in a hanging bag last go around...nice to see the idea catching on).  I pressed.  And pressed.  And grilled.  And quizzed.  Ferreting out information from the deep recesses of my son's brain until I had wrung it dry.

So now, the sheet will be joined by sandals, white shorts (yeah, I'm gonna find those somewhere), white shirt and possibly something to function as a belt...or at least safety pins.  And the Dancing Greek Statue?  He has learned to tie a very simple toga.  Thank God for YouTube.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

oooh that smell. can't you smell that smell?

Did a rapid fire clean out of the refrigerator, sniffing the dog's food and other items suspiciously before a final 11th hour identification of the source...mushrooms.  Really? 

Friday, June 22, 2012


As we pulled into Louisiana, my hair went to hell in a handbag.  I began to get what I refer to as Dred Head - long, ropey locks of hair with a texture not seen in the dry and high of Colorado.  It took us forever to get there and involved calling our friends to reschedule dinner to breakfast but eventually we arrived to our pet-friendly, grass-less hotel and ate a very late dinner at the most excellent diner right out front.  The "sans grass" is an issue only because the dog cannot fathom peeing on mulch.   She is walked about, and is mildly electrocuted on an open wire near the ground for her troubles, before she gives up and pees while looking accusingly at my husband.

Breakfast is as lovely as we'd hoped; catching up with friends always makes the food taste better.  A quick walk around Jackson Square with the boys, purchasing some pralines for the road, and we head for Pensacola.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Sniffy, Snuffy and Snorty

The boys and I were allergic to all of New Mexico and West Texas.  We choked and gagged our way to Abilene, where we met up with Lesley and had a fabulous dinner of take out bbq she'd cleverly replated so it looked like her own.  She could have claimed it...I'd have believed!

The next day was Dallas, where Susan offered me a couch, a blanket, and made me hot tea so I could revive some of my voice.  Rain all night in Dallas, and I do mean Rain with capital R, put a damper of sorts on the pollen count so driving to New Orleans involved a pound or so fewer tissues.  By the Louisiana border, though, I officially had humidity hair, or what I like to call, Dred Head.

Meanwhile, my beloved husband was tooling along with the UHaul and the cat.  Aside from trying to follow me through construction in Dallas - I had the garmin - and it being a bit loud, I suspect he had the more peaceful trip!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

getting out of dodge

Saturday was a bit of blur, clearing the garage to a hastily-acquired UHaul and making sure the house was rent ready.  I returned a borrowed item from a neighbor and dropped off goodies from my 'fridge before the cleaners tossed it all.  (What do you mean, you don't want to see me walking up your driveway with a toilet plunger and a half dozen eggs???) 

Of course, the paint in the basement was mislabeled so two rooms of spackle and paint did not perfectly match, but aside from that?  Our house cleaned up pretty darned well!  The new tenants were pleased, keys and checks were exchanged, and off we went.

Sunday was the promotion ceremony of a good friend.  I was able to test run the outfits we would be wearing to the change of command in a week and came up short only one belt!  Kohls was on the way.  Once at the ceremony, I realized I'd not shaved before putting on this sleeveless dress and had also failed to use deodorant.  Fortunately, the ladies' room in the hanger was well-stocked with Bath and Bodyworks soaps, so I could at least make myself long as my arms stayed by my sides!  I was, days later, both comforted and amused to find a friend had attended a similar ceremony with only one leg shaved.  Thanks for sharing, Deb!  You made me feel normal!

Monday was drive out day, which always takes longer because by then, you have entrenched into the hotel, with belongings scattered everywhere, but drive away we did, only an hour later than I'd planned.  We were making good time to Albuquerque when, at our first gas stop, my beloved and somewhat paranoid husband proved once again that triple checking saves lives.  A nail in the sidewall of our tire gave us the chance to enjoy the Big O Tires lobby in Trinidad Colorado for a little over an hour.  

some of us did not enjoy it nearly so much

this was a lovely time to eat leftovers from the night before!
At long last, we arrived in Albuquerque, threw the cat in the room and took off to see friends who greeted us with pasta and wine.  Tuesday to Abilene loomed ahead!

Monday, June 11, 2012

bubble wrapped

T-5 Days to Move, the moving company called.  It seemed everyone in their brother needed to be packed up and transported elsewhere the week after Memorial Day, so could we, would we, pretty please, let them pack early?

Uh, no.

The A Team for a two day pack was promised, providing me with an extra day to get myself ready, with all the things we'd need for the trip set to one side so I could serenely read a book whilst the pros wrapped and boxed all my belongings.

What really happened?

One amazingly efficient and motivated woman did the majority of my pack up.  One.  They are paid not by the hour but by percentage of the job.  Like I said, motivated.  I raced around ahead of her, organizing things so that, for example, all my canning supplies are in a single box and labeled "canning supplies."  I have dreams of whipping that stuff out to make up something yummy in a jar once we get into our house in July.

On the second day, she brought a friend, who packed the garage and basement.  By the end of day two, her hands were like claws.  My kitchen was impassible with dish packs.  My kids wanted to make permanent home with the neighbors.  I'd had peanut butter crackers and Dr Pepper for lunch.  Oh, and my husband was due home from Florida.

Normally, I am competing with his old job for time during a move, as they squeeze out the last ounce of blood prior to his departure.  This time, however, his new job already had him and he'd been gone the middle of the past two weeks.

He missed his flight back.  Something about early flight out of Orlando, printers not working to provide him with receipts and long lines of truckers at the tolls, but the end result was that he was exhausted (overnight shift at his new job with that missed morning flight) and not with me.  It was 1230am before he stumbled back through the front door and crashed into bed next to me.

The trucker arrived early the next morning as I was slinging kids in the shower and ripping the sheets off the beds to stuff into the bedding boxes.  Out of the corner of my eye, I saw my youngest wandering down the street, back pack over one shoulder, looking at the truck as he headed to his friend's house.  "Too early," I thought, and then promptly forgot about it.

My wonderful neighbor made too much breakfast - eggs benedict with a home made hollandaise and a side of fruit - and sent her son over to deliver.  Heaven on a plate, it more than made up for the fact that my husband, still reeling with sleep deprivation, had not picked me up anything at McDonalds when he found our son's on the sidewalk and brought them out for a quick breakfast.

But you never eat McDonalds, honey!
I've been eating leftover bacon and spoonfuls of jelly for two days straight!

Another wonderful neighbor also overcooked - fried rice and egg rolls - which we wolfed down at the counter.  The boys were, once again, eating at a friend's house.  What is it with folks and their surprise excess food?  You'd think they'd plan better :)

At 1030pm, our crap - it's amazing how your love of your possessions decreases the more you have to deal with them - drove away into the night and we collected pets and kids and loaded into our hotel for the night.

Husband had to drive back to the house to get allergy meds left in the garage for Snuffy and Sniffy.  The kids were asleep by the time he came back.

many thanks to Christine, Argie, AnnaMarie and countless others I am still too tired to remember LOL.  Your "pay it forward" attitudes make life so much nicer!