Monday, November 26, 2007
I did brave Black Friday somewhat, but there was no way on this earth I was getting up at 4:00 a.m. (or earlier) to fight the crush of people for things I don't need and don't intend to buy for anyone on my list. That's just psychotic. And yes, there was a huge number of people shopping at that time (so I heard), even in Wyoming. Instead, mom and I ventured out around 10:00. Things were much calmer by then. Yes, there were still quite a few people out and about, but you could walk down the aisles without getting plowed into by someone else's shopping cart, or having to turn your body sideways and suck in your breath just to avoid being run over. We stayed out for about four hours, and in that time managed to cover K-Mart, Wal-Mart, Home Depot, the Dollar Store, and three stores in the mall. And take 20 minutes to wait in line for a pretzel. (I won't even get started on that.) All in all a pretty successful trip. Also, by the time the weekend was over, between store shopping and online shopping, I managed to wipe out gifts for all but maybe 5 or 6 people on my Christmas list. Not bad. Not bad at all.
A couple very interesting things did happen this weekend. On Friday my husband, my sister's husband and my dad went fishing at Flaming Gorge for a new type of fish. This is one we've never seen before. It's called a burbot. Here are a couple of websites that give good descriptions: http://www.adfg.state.ak.us/pubs/notebook/fish/burbot.php or http://www.rook.org/earl/bwca/nature/fish/lota.html. You'll notice, though, that they state these fish are found in the Northern U.S. What has happened is that a year or two ago these were illegally planted in some waters around Farson, Wyoming (I think) and have quickly moved their way downstream and into the Gorge. I hear their population has exploded, and while there still is a limit on these fish since they are game fish, the limit is 25 per person and release is not allowed. You catch it, you keep it. The bad news is that they eat a lot of the same things the large lake trout and small mouth bass eat, so there is concern for too much competition for the same food chain. It's expected that they will reach the Green River below Flaming Gorge Dam by next summer, and if so will decimate the trout populations there. Hence the no release rule. The good news is that these fish have an amazing taste. I didn't know until reading those articles myself that they are part of the cod family, but it certainly explains the wonderful flavor of the meat. We chopped it up and boiled it, then ate it with melted butter. YUMMY! I have instructed my dad to go back and get more! I did find it interesting that another name for these fish is the lawyer fish. Could that be because they resemble eels or snakes? Well, my dad did say when you pick them up to get them off the hook, they wrap their tails around your arm. Ew.
Another interesting thing is that somehow my daughter has become a hot cocoa connoisseur. I guess when she was visiting her Granna's house (my mom) without me, she got to have hot cocoa. This morning she asked me for some, and so I made up a cup for her to take with her to daycare. She took one drink and informed me that it wasn't hot cocoa, it was hot chocolate and she didn't want it. I'm still trying to figure out what the difference is, but I guess I better get in touch with Granna and find out what Sweetpea has been drinking there!
And now for the best thing that happened. I probably should give a little background here. My family all lives in the same neighborhood in my hometown. My sister's house is right next door to my grandparents' house. My parents' house is around the corner and four houses up. Across the street from my sister and grandparents, and out my parents' backyard gate, is a pretty large park by small town standards called Garnet Park. It includes a couple sets of playground equipment, a basketball court, a tennis court, some horseshoe pits, a small fountain, a couple picnic areas and a large expanse of open grass, as well as some pathways and benches. This was my stomping ground as a kid. The Park is surrounded by neighborhood, but if you head directly up the hill from the park it's only 5 or 6 blocks before you hit the edge of town. This is open prairie/desert, which is of course inhabited by deer. Sometimes in the winter, the deer will head into the neighborhood at night and end up in the park. This has happened more and more the last few winters. Well, Friday night, my mom, sister, the kids and I were all at my sister's house waiting for the guys to come back from the fishing trip. About 10:00 my mom finally gave up and started to head home. She'd only been gone about five minutes when the phone rang. It was her, calling to tell us there was deer and a naked guy in the park. Yes, that's right, a naked guy. She said it so nonchalantly we at first thought she was kidding. By the time my sister and I and the kids got upstairs, the naked guy was gone. We did take the kids out to see the deer, of which there were four does laying down by one of the picnic areas. Apparently the naked guy was not completely naked, he did have shoes on. Which makes sense since by that time the temperature was probably down to 10 degrees (it bottomed out that night at either 6 or 8 degrees above zero.) Certainly he wouldn't want to run through the dusting of snow in 10 degree weather with bare feet. When I asked mom if she was sure he was naked, she said there was no doubt. He was a young man, probably just a teenager, and she said she got the impression he was probably doing it on a dare, since he was running so fast and there was a get-away car waiting for him at the other end of the park. The kicker is that he was running with his hands cupped between his legs. My dad later made the comment that in that temperature he was sure not doing it to prevent things from flopping about. My mom has decided to write a letter to the editor of the city's paper to let the young man know that there was a witness to the escapade, and I'm sure I'll help her with that since I really can't resist. In our discussions of him, we have nicknamed him "Runs Naked With Deer", and he will surely be a chapter in family lore.
Friday, November 16, 2007
So I have to tell everyone something that happened to me on my way to work this morning. I had just dropped off Sweetpea at daycare, and had only managed to travel a couple of blocks away. I was in the outside lane, and came upon a car slowing down to turn right onto a side street. I wanted to remain in the lane I was in, so I slowed down too. However, the turning vehicle must have been a Lexus or a Mercedes driven by an elderly person, because they somehow forgot which pedal was the gas and nearly came to a complete stop. Of course, that forced me to slow down so much I might as well have been stopped too. As I was waiting for the driving-impaired person to complete the turn, I realized that at that same street, waiting to turn left from the stop sign, was a man in a van swirled 70's style with (I kid you not) pink, purple and white, towing some kind of utility trailer behind it. Now I probably would not have even noticed, but for the brilliant van driver's idea to pull out in front of me to make his turn. Had he done that while Ms. Lexus was still turning, it would have been no biggie, since I couldn't really go anywhere anyway. But noooo, he chose to wait until she had almost completed the turn to pull out, literally driving his rig right out in front of me. Nor did Mr. Brilliant think it was a good idea to make this turn quickly. He took his sweet time moving along out into traffic. As for me, I sat there flabbergasted, with my mouth literally hanging open and both hands thrown up in the air in my best "what the hell?" gesture. As I pointedly watched him pass in front of me, frozen in this unmistakable position, I was even more shocked to witness him flipping me off! As if I was the idiot here. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised. Anyone who would drive that van while pulling a trailer filled with who knows what probably has more than a few screws loose in the first place.
Alright, enough of that. I believe I promised some Halloween pics of Sweetpea. So here, at long last, is my little princess:
No, that is not a boa over her shoulder. It is a purse with a feather shoulder strap. The strap is just too long for her, so if she carries it around at full length it drags on the floor. I just tied a loop in the top to shorten it for her. In the purse she insisted on carrying her coin purse stuffed with change and her makeup. You never know when you might need a touch up! She was so good this night, and sat so still while I messed with her hair and did her makeup. She even let me put mascara on her (but only a little!) Thank goodness, because the next day, which happened to be Halloween, she refused to let me do anything other than put a crown on her head (which, incidentally, was not the one pictured, but a real life tiara she received as a gift from her Granna that has combs on the sides to help it stay put in your hair), and put a little eyeshadow on.
Yes, I realize she does not look happy in any of these pictures. We could not for the life of us get her to smile! Not even off camera! I didn't find out until just before we ate at the Trunk-or-Treat that the reason she was not smiling was because she was wearing lipstick. Pink, sparkly lipstick. Apparently she was of the impression that if she smiled, the lipstick would somehow magically disappear. I only discovered this because she asked me to wipe it off, and the second I ran the napkin over her lips in some semblance of an attempt to get it off (there is no way this was going to take it all off, this was that fake kids' lipstick that barely comes off with a putty knife and paint thinner) she began to smile like crazy. Too bad I don't have any pics of the smiles, she was just beautiful that night. (Yes, she really is only 3.)
This is the closest thing we got to a pic of a smile. And this was taken by my bil. Yes, that is me behind her. I also didn't discover until arriving at the Trunk-or-Treat that her dress has ties in the back meant to make a cute little velvet bow. So I was fixing the problem. Luckily, this is the only image I know of captured of me that night! Unfortunately none of these pics really show her makeup, which really made the whole outfit. Oh well, I got to see her and she was/is gorgeous!
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
My next irritation happened this morning when I took my daughter with me to the polls. The place where we vote is a school just a couple of blocks from my house, so I thought it would be easier to take her with me on the way to daycare. At first she thought I was saying that I was taking her with me to "boat". When I explained to her that I was actually saying "vote", and sounded it out for her, she changed her pronunciation but not her idea of what we were going to do. Once I had cast my ballot, we headed for the door, when all of the sudden she stopped dead where she was and said she didn't want to leave. When I asked why, she said she wanted to ride in the vote. It dawned on me that she, being only three, has no idea what a vote is. She got in her mind that it was like a boat, and she was to ride on it. And stubborn as my child is, she refused to let go of that idea. I tried to explain to her that I had already voted, and that it was a word that meant to choose (in a round about way, but this is the best definition I could think of. How do you explain voting to a three-year-old?) I tried this tack from several different angles. Each time I concluded what I thought was a perfectly understandable explanation, she followed up with "I want to ride on the vote." As if I had not said a word. So, I changed angles. I tried to explain that a vote is something you do, it is not something you ride on. She didn't get that either, and continued to repeat that she wanted to ride on the vote. By the time I had her strapped back in her car seat, I was so frustrated and out of patience that I just finally told her that the vote was broken and we couldn't ride on it today. She accepted that explanation, but I get the funny feeling it will come back to bite me in the near future.
The next irritation came just a few minutes later when, about a half a block away from the daycare, it suddenly occurred to me that today is picture day. You know that feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you realize, all of a sudden, that something very important has escaped your attention? Yes, I had forgotten (surprise, surprise.) I had even written it down in my planner so I wouldn't forget, and had had my planner open just yesterday. And still I forgot. Unfortunately my daughter chose her own clothes today with no prompting from me. She chose a blue Hogle Zoo t-shirt with a monkey on it, and a teal-colored sweatshirt to wear over the top that says "Am I cute or what?" on the front. My husband helped her get dressed this morning, and so he simply chose a pair of jeans from the top of one of the baskets full of laundry I have yet to get folded/hung up and put away. The jeans have embroidered butterflies and flowers down the lower parts of the legs, the cuffs of the legs are ruffled, and there is a pink ribbon around the bottom of each leg. The sweatshirt does have flowers on it around the little saying, which is why I didn't bother to change her jeans to an unadorned pair. To top it off, she chose tan shoes with pink butterflies all over them, and, in an effort to get out of the door quickly so I could go vote, I simply pulled her hair up into a ponytail. Which she had completely destroyed before we ever got to daycare, since she refuses to wear her sunglasses and instead pulls her blanket up over her head. I walked her into daycare looking helplessly at all the little girls in their pretty matching outfits and hair all done up special, and the little boys all dressed up in their cute little shirts and dress pants, and felt like the most inattentive mother in the world because my daughter looked like a bum. Pictures were being taken at 9:00 this morning, so there literally was no time for me to run back home and bring her back a nice outfit. Her teacher promised to fix her hair before the pictures, so at least she will have that going for her, but still! I feel like such a heel. My husband tried to reassure me by reminding me that we don't purchase the pictures taken there (we have her pictures done every year around her birthday), but I told him I had wanted a class picture for her book, and thought it would have been nice if our daughter had looked the part.
Of course traffic irritated me all the way to work after that. No one was capable of doing the speed limit this morning. At least, no one on the same roads as me. Then, just a little while ago, another irritation popped up in the form of an email notification of a comment on my blog. The notification said it was a comment from someone named Tara. I don't know anyone named Tara. When I opened the email it turned out that it was a spam comment. I know I'm new to this blogging thing, but it never even occurred to me that someone would post a comment that is nothing more than spam! Why is it not enough that I get hounded by Spam mail on both my personal and work emails, and that I get sales calls at home (which basically equates to Phone Spam)? Must these people continue their assault by leaving Spam Comments on a site that's just supposed to be a little fun??? Needless to say, I have deleted the comment and opted to moderate comments from here on out. No more spam on this blog! Although I'm sure it doesn't matter a whole lot, since with an average of about 5 hits a day, I doubt they'll sell much.
Hopefully the rest of today and this evening will go better, though I'm not holding my breath. I've already discovered that I have to stop by my house before I ever go to pick up Sweetpea at daycare, because today tuition is due and my husband took the checkbook. Not that it's really his fault. He usually picks her up and it is just habit to grab the checkbook on tuition day. But tonight he is teaching, so I have to pick her up. While he was home for lunch he left the checkbook there. So I have to drive all the way home to get it, to drive all the way to pick her up, just to drive all the way back home again. GRRRRR!!!!
Monday, November 5, 2007
So, in lieu of pics, at least temporarily, I thought I would try and paint a few mental pictures for you instead. I make no guarantees that you won't need intense therapy when I'm finished. This year, after much debate and what seemed like very minimal interest on her part, Sweetpea finally decided that she wanted to be a princess for Halloween. She made this decision while standing in the store browsing at costumes. (No, I am not a crafty mom that makes her costumes. I'm perfectly happy to buy it and let someone else do all the work. I just don't have the time.) After purchase of the pretty pink costume and crown, of course, she then switched to a pumpkin, then a ghost, then back to a princess. Thank god. Luckily for her, I'm ok with the kids "double-dipping", as my friend Em calls it. We've done Trunk-or-Treat for the last four Halloweens, either at my mil/fil's ward or my sil's ward (since I'm not LDS and my husband is not active). And since the ToTs are not held on Halloween, actual Trick-or-Treating is still allowed. Needless to say, the kid makes out like a bandit. Which means that I will be gaining a few pounds before all the candy has disappeared.
So this year it was at my mil's ward. There was a chili dinner, with prizes for the best chili, a pumpkin carving contest, a costume contest and a trunk decorating contest. I have no idea who won, since I don't know anyone in the ward but my in-laws. But there were some pretty awesome costumes. I especially loved The Man with the Yellow Hat and Curious George, the cupcake and the little missionary who was about 5 years old. At most. The weather was quite nice, and Sweetpea had lots of practice on her "Trick-or-treat"s and "Thank you"s. Though, most of the time she would just open up her bag and say thank you right off the bat, by the end of the night she had it down. In between cars she jumped up and down and giggled, she was having so much fun! Once she finished her rounds, she sat inside our trunk all decked out in her pink fur coat handing out candy to the other kids. I thought we ought to get a prize for that. I'd vote it Best Decorated Trunk!
The next night, Halloween, my husband took her around the neighborhood Trick-or-treating, while I managed to finally make it home from work to be there to answer the door at our house. They spent at least an hour and a half walking around, which I believe to be a record for our neighborhood. (There aren't a lot of people that hand out candy, and few kids that come around to houses, which is probably a bonus since most of them that do will definitely arrive home with an abundance of treats.) When they returned ladened down with her over-flowing bag, my husband informed me that she can't go with him any more. When I asked why, he said she embarrasses him. Further inquiry revealed that at the houses where the owners offered her two pieces of candy, Sweetpea would counter with "Well how about three?" That's my girl. In addition, any time someone told her what a pretty princess she was, or how cute she was, she would respond with "I know". I guess she's heard that a little too much. One neighbor apparently held the candy bowl out of her reach until she said "Trick-or-treat". Sweetpea tried several times for the bowl, then frowned, stomped her foot, and let out with a big sigh before she said the magic words. I don't know that she remembered to say thank you at that house. To top it all off, she kept telling my husband that they couldn't go home yet because the bag wasn't full.
Of course the sorting through the candy was the best part. The actual smell of the goodies brought back all sorts of yummy memories. And I saw all sorts of stuff in there that I would eat. Oh, um, I mean, that Sweetpea would eat. *giggle* I did find something odd in her bag, though. A 100 Calorie Snack Pack. They were at least oreos, but come on! Who gives out 100 Calorie Snack Packs for Halloween?? From the looks of things, someone in my neighborhood. That's a scary thought!
Speaking of scary, we had a little adventure, too. First, the last Trick-or-Treater we had on Halloween was really weird. He (I'm guessing it was a he, since the full mask and wig he was wearing made it impossible to tell) knocked on the door instead of ringing the doorbell. Since it was a little late, my husband went to the door. This 'kid' stood at least as tall as my husband, probably was similar in weight, and he was alone. He never said a word, just opened up his bag for the candy. When my husband dropped a couple candy bars in, the kid walked away. Never even said thank you. It was just really weird. I wondered how old he was, but it was the kind of Friday the 13th creepy thing that made me wonder if he was going to come back and break down the door with a chain saw. My husband and I looked at each other after he had closed the door, and he said "Yeah, we're done for the night."
The next scary thing that happened was just this past Saturday. We had come home from dinner out and Sweetpea had zonked out on the couch. My husband and I finished cleaning up the mess created earlier in the day from the delivery of Sweetpea's new bedroom furniture. As we were just finishing up, there suddenly rang out a large POP sound from outside. My reaction was to stop dead where I was and say "what the hell was that?" Being the gun guru that he is, my husband thought it sounded like a gunshot. We immediately went into "Spy mode" and killed all the lights, then crouched on the couch peering out of the front window as if we were on some secret mission to uncover the truth. As if anyone outside actually watching our house wouldn't have known what we were doing! We only debated calling the police for about a minute and a half, which was apparently 30 seconds longer than our across-the-street neighbor. As my husband was on the phone with the police dispatcher, another loud POP rang out. Since I was looking out the window, I was able to see that the POP was accompanied by a very bright flash, and that it was coming from up the street either on the same side as our house, or near the parking lot of the Luthern church/school that is on the corner. He reported the information to her, gave her our information, then hung up. So we sat in the dark, watching out into the street and waiting for the police to arrive. It didn't take long, I'd say 5 minutes max, before a patrol unit pulled up. My husband went out and talked to him for a few minutes, as did several of the neighbors, and then came in to report the police had received several calls. We continued to sit in the dark watching nothing outside (except an additional police unit go speeding by) until we finally received a call from the police office about 15 minutes later. It seems that "kids" had been blowing up pumpkins in the church parking lot with what appeared to be some sort of illegal firework. That's why I saw a flash. They said there was pumpkin all over the parking lot up there, and they searched the adjoining small park area and wood, but found nothing. The officer hypothesized that the kids didn't really realize what would happen, and that the explosion of the pumpkin probably scared the crap out of them and they ran off. I'm more inclined to believe a police car coming toward where you're standing, knowing you're doing something illegal, has the better scare-the-crap-outta-you effect. Needless to say there have been no more loud POPs, and we haven't heard if the culprits were ever caught.
I will continue to harass and/or threaten my husband until he downloads the Halloween pics, so as soon as I can accomplish that, I will post them. Hope everyone had a very happy, very safe, Halloween! MUUHHUUWAHHHHAHAHA!!!