September 28, 2009


That’s me. Right now. Exhausted, y’all. It was all I could do to get out of bed this morning. I’m just beat.

Mostly because I got exactly 26 minutes of sleep Saturday night, out at the ol’ GGMS campsite. Barely. Controlled. Chaos. Start to finish. We’ve been before, and we’ve had fun before. But I think we’re done with the camping portion of the weekend. From here on out, we're going for the potluck and the sing-along and then we're gettin' the hell outta there.

First of all, there are a ton of kids. TON. And lots of space for them to run. And rocks to fall over and fireant beds to step in and puke-inducing berries to eat. All of which I’ve seen happen at least once in our past adventures. Plus there’s water, out of sight and way down a rocky hill, so the potential for danger is pretty good, in my estimation. And before you say it, I’m a sport, I really am. I love to go camping, and I don’t expect Peach and Olive to be tethered to my body at every moment when we’re in the Great Outdoors. It’s just that there’s a lot going on at every moment, and it’s hard to keep track of everybody amongst the throngs.

And for a community so focused on respect, it’s amazing to me how many parents let their kids run buckWILD all day, and leave it up to the rest of us to tell their mouthy urchins that 12:30 is a bit late to be screeching at each other around the campfire, especially since the great majority of the rest of us (including, conveniently, their parents) turned in around 9. Honestly.

So between the screeching urchins, the shushing parents, the overnight lows in the 50s, and the giant GD rock in my back that followed me wherever I rolled, I didn’t exactly wake up reborn. That said, I'm hitting the biscuit early. 'Night, y'all.

September 25, 2009

Mother’s Little Helper

Seventeen times a day, I hear Olive say, “Can I help you in any way?” Really. She LOVES to help. She always has. In the kitchen. With the laundry. Scooping the cat poop. The list goes on.

I always have a little shadow following me around the house, dusting and straightening right along with me – even RE-dusting and RE-straightening things I just did! I am so ill with the OCD, this we know, but I think I may have met (birthed) my match.

The child’s feet have barely touched the floor in the morning before the bedsheets are pulled up, the quilt straightened, and the menagerie placed. Nearly every day, she painstakingly arranges her various treasure boxes and can recall in an instant where every rock, shell, and coin can be found. And the folding. My God, the folding. When I ask her to pick up her clothes or invite her to help with the laundry, it’s like observing an origami master class. And the other day, she sighed after spotting the stack of cloth napkins in the pantry because “somebody didn’t face them all the same way.” This after she proclaimed that “Daddy needs a lesson on how to load the dishwasher – this is a mess.” Okay, so maybe she overheard and just repeated that last one. Maybe.

And I know she’s the same way at school. This year especially, she’s been pouring on the assistance, helping with everything from extra gardening duties to Official Condolence Card-making for a series of pet losses the school staff has endured. She’s even taken to reading to “the little kids” before their departure, while the other “big kids” prepare for lunch. Her teachers have both pulled me aside to say what a huge help she is – always volunteering, always happily.

So this weekend is the GGMS campout, and knowing Olive, she’ll have the tent pitched, the fire built, and the marshmallows roasted before we can say “Kumbaya.”

September 21, 2009

Last Week in Random Pictures

Ta-dah! I wanted “the one that flushes a bucket of golfballs,” and by God, we got it. And for a particularly disturbing video demo of its capabilities, go here.

Peach and Olive have magnetic notepads on the icebox for any lists or musings they need to record. For whatever reason (and who needs one, really?), this is currently on Peach’s:

This box used to contain four delicious cupcakes from Sugar Mama’s, which we devoured last week in celebration(?) of my One-Year Anniversary at The Job. The box now houses Olive’s paper airplane collection – that’s “Cherry Bomb” there on top.

Yeah, I decorated this weekend. Six weeks early. Shut it.

And finally, for Bookhart:

Two months later, and still flying high. I’m terrified it’s going to pop and deafen us all.

September 14, 2009

Growing Pains

Right before school started, we did a routine closet overhaul and discovered that none of Peach’s tennis shoes fit. In fact, unless she could wear flip-flops or cowgirl boots to school, she would have to go barefoot. Like I did. In the snow. Uphill. Both ways. You, too?

So we set out to shoe this child and ended up with three pairs of Converse – two pairs of One-Stars (one brown, one black glitter - thanks, Target for the BOGO deal) and one pair of Chucks. She really wanted brown Chucks, but they didn’t have her size, which is 7.5(!), so I came up with the brilliant idea of getting white ones and letting her – as a one-time deal – draw all over them with fabric markers. She was sold, and we now have a darling pair of Special Edition Peach Chucks, which she ties up with a pair of my old rainbow shoelaces from junior high. Because I was cool like that. And they matched my Mork suspenders. You, too?

I see this rapidly growing flower of mine, and while she may look like she’s 12, she’s every bit of almost-10. When she isn’t buried in a book, she still plays – really plays – with Olive. They create the most awesome games and stories, and you can’t believe the outfits that go along with them. She plays with her dolls and other toys, none of which ever have to be plugged in. She’s not parked in front of a computer or asking for a phone or otherwise behaving any differently than I did at that age, despite our current culture’s best effort to turn her into a mini-adult.* She is just a joy to watch. And watch her we do, all the time, giving her the time and space to be a kid who is genuinely excited by the simplest things – like getting to draw on her tennis shoes.

* BTW, Big Media, I will fight you. I will fight you to the death if you keep this up.

September 11, 2009

Stinks Like Team Spirit

Look, I love the Longhorns as much, if not more, than the next gal. I bleed burnt orange, and I truly revel in the knowledge that the Eyes of Texas are forever upon me. Really, I do. HOWEVER, I refuse to sell out my beloved alma mater (or my soul) every Friday during football season for “Jeans and Jersey Day” at The Job. Yeah. And are we going to have a GD pep rally in the quad, too?

First of all, somehow I think the team would be less-than-inspired by the sight of you in your burnt orange tanktop with the Longhorn head Bedazzled across your sagging, 60-year-old boobs, even if you pair it with your burnt orange spray tan and jaunty, bootleg baseball cap. Yes, a CAP. With a TANKTOP. At an allegedly professional place of BUSINESS. That TAXPAYERS are paying for.

Second, I realize that the thoughtful creators of Jeans and Jersey Day took great care to not limit the acceptable attire to just Longhorn gear, which allows my thriftier, fiercely independent co-workers to snatch up whatever NFL knock-offs happen to be on sale at Walmart that week. BUT wearing your torn-up “I’m a Buckin’ Broncos Mom” or “My Kid plays for the Screamin' Meamies Tetherball Team” t-shirt is really pushing it. Especially when your “kid” is now old enough to be serving in the military.

Finally, and probably – no, definitely – the most important point, how exactly is Jeans and Jersey Day different than any other GD day for you people? The only distinction I can see is that you actually dress UP for Jeans and Jersey Day, as a welcome break from those constricting sweat pants and glorified yard clothes you wear every other GD day.

Hear me now – I am no fashionista. I could give a flying fig, to a point, about other people’s fashion choices. I think Casual Fridays are a great idea, and I’m thrilled beyond measure that I can have a job in The Law and not have to wear pantyhose everyday. But the range of what constitutes acceptable and unacceptable work attire is far and wide over at The Job, and I’m telling y’all, having to witness the constant parade of “Business Slothful” roaming the halls, as a matter of daily course, just may be the end of me.

Hook ‘em, indeed.

September 3, 2009

Back To The Future

One, ONE, good thing about The Job is that when I leave for the day or the week or for lunch even, I can turn “it” off and not think about “it” again until I return. Sometimes until well after I return. This makes for a clear mind while I’m away and makes it feel like I’ve been gone much longer than I actually have.

Por ejemplo, I checked out on Thursday, August 20th and checked in on Tuesday, September 1st, and I could swear I was gone a month. I was met with about 47 emails, most of which fell into the Someone Died, Someone Retired, Someone Was Promoted, Cake Party, Cake Party, Potluck, Cake Party categories. The one voicemail I had was counteracted by the one substantive email I had telling me to disregard the voicemail because it was misdirected to me. Of course it was. So other than the fact that one person was transferred to another department and a couple of new temps showed up, it seems to be business as usual at The Job.

At La Casa, however, we are in full-swing Back-to-GGMS mode. Peach and Olive started on Monday, and Peach’s review of the first day in her new classroom was, “It was so fun sometimes, it was like a dream. It’s going to be a great year – I’m going to have so much fun with math.” With MATH, people. And she likes Barbies, too, so there. Olive jumped head-first into her leader role and has decided to make it her personal mission to ensure that “the little kids” understand “the lunch protocol.” That girl.

During our little staycation (aren’t I trendy?), we had a jam-packed week of swimming, shopping, crafting, and lounging. We (re-)organized closets, filled our recycling cart with old school work (what little I could bear to part with, that is), and planned lunch menus from here until Christmas. We got the front door refinished (Praise Jeebus), bought a new toilet (glamorous!), and shopped for a new couch (maybe leathah?). And after all of our hard work and general busy-ness, we were rewarded on Friday with the arrival of our new sista-cuzzin, Baby E (named after my grandmother, Sweet E). We’re going to meet her this weekend and gift her and Opie with the tie-dye t-shirts T-Bone and Co. made for them. I mean really, is there anything better than New Baby Smell?

All in all, I had a wonderful time, reminiscent of the Good Ol’ Days – which are now almost a year ago! At this time last year, I was recovering from the Near-Deadly Seashell Incident and just generally kvetching about starting The Job and this new chapter in The Book of Turista. It’s turned out much better than I could have imagined, all things considered, but when I see folks around The Job getting their 20-year plaques and Cake Parties, all I can think is, “God help me. Don’t let that be me.” Stay tuned.