Thursday, September 30, 2010

the vacation diary: days ten through seventeen

Yes, I'm really still doing this.  I need to finish something in my life, and here's where I've taken my stand.  Judge away.  I have taken the liberty of combining the last eight days of vacation because honestly I remember very little at this point.


Day 10:  Most of my nearest and dearest departed for their homes on Labor Day.  Ring got to travel back with Michelle's crew instead of her own and spent a night at Nana's without her parents--the first time she's done that.  Pinkie and Thumb (and Susan) looked sad and uncertain about it all as they drove away without her, but I think it worked out fine (or if it didn't, no one mentioned it to me).  We did a bit more family hanging out on Monday and shared our Christmas cabin research with some of the aunts and cousins, where it was met with excitement.  After the last car had rolled out heading towards Kentucky, I headed home to become a vacation slug once more.  I'm pretty sure the Gilmore Girls were heavily involved.

Day 11:  It's all a blur of tv and internet and living in a cave of laziness, which means it was a successful day. 

Day 12:  I resolved on facebook to do at least one useful thing on Wednesday, but it took a while to get there with my standard morning of sleep, tv, and internet.  Jess was home on Wednesday, but she went somewhere in the afternoon.  I forget where.  I was messing around on facebook and saw that Lisa had posted a photo of the first carpet tiles going down in our department, and I got really excited to see it in person.  I had some holds to pick up anyway, so I went to the library.  I got to see the progress being made on the renovation, and I ended up working for about an hour and a half.  I had also forgotten to fill in my vacation on my timesheet, so it was handy that I had the impulse to go in.  By the time I wrapped things up at work, I had to book it home to pick up Jess to head to church.  That felt like a normal Wednesday.  I continued work on the little baby hat while at church.  Jess had heard at work that Tropical Smoothie was having some sort of special that week in the evenings, so we went there and discovered that the special was in the afternoons, but I enjoyed our time there, nonetheless. 

Day 13:  The night before I made a plan with Jess to go to lunch and then to paint pottery.  Then I overslept because obeying alarms is for people who have to work.  We eventually made it to lunch--and missed any lunch crowd we might have encountered, if I'd gotten up on time--at Senor Tequila.  When we got to Firefly, Jess decided she would just watch me paint instead of painting herself.  I was working on a project that will eventually be a gift for a person who might read this, so I won't say more than that for now.  We didn't really have much of a deadline, but Jess was meeting some folks to go to a boxing class at 6:15, so we just needed to be home in time for her to change and drive back across the river.  Unfortunately, our late start combined with the fact that I'm the slowest pottery painter in the world meant that I really had to hustle at the end, and then various unfortunate traffic patterns around the greater Little Rock area almost made her late again, but she made it eventually.

Day 14:  I don't recall anything that happened early in the day on Friday, but the main event was my triumphant return to the movies.  I hadn't been to see a movie in the theater in forever.  I seriously can't remember the last time, but I'm decently certain it was in 2009.  Rob, Smon, Hailsey, and I went to see The Switch, and it turned out to be pretty good thing.  We had sort of stopped going to the movies for a while because it seemed like we were only seeing really bad ones, so it was kind of special for us all to see one that we didn't hate.  Jason Bateman redeemed himself with Robyn, who was still carrying a grudge from The Ex.  I'm glad they made up because I love Jason Bateman.  We laughed and had a good time and felt delighted that our good movie drought was over.  Everyone came over to my messy house afterward to talk about teaching school and lazy vacations and stuff.

Day 15:  Jess worked most of the day, so I did even less than normal.  At some point either on Thursday or Saturday I watched The Ugly Truth, which I had checked out from the library.  It was okay, I guess.  Nothing to write home about certainly.  I know there was a situation (because it's recorded on facebook) where I was having to choose between hunger and laziness.  I resolved it by venturing out into the world for some drive-through fast food.  I was also hankering something sweet and needed to to buy a birthday card.  I ended up going to Walgreens.  After some aimless wandering from cookies to candy to Halloween candy and back again, I decided that what I really wanted was s'mores, so I gathered up the materials for that.  Buying graham crackers at Walgreens is the least economical decision I made during the whole vacation.

Day 16:  Laziness was put on hold so that I could get to church way early, keep nursery, and teach four-year-olds again.  I fell in love with a beautiful little toddler named Christian, who really wanted his mother but settled for snuggling with me and occasionally crying gorgeous tears.  When I got to Bible class, I discovered that Christian's mother was the lead teacher who'd been out of town the first week.  While I was sitting in the floor with my four-year-olds, telling/reading the story of David and Goliath, I noticed that my back started hurting in a weird spot.  By the time class was over, it was getting difficult to ignore.  By the time we ate lunch at Cracker Barrel, I was in serious need of a bed.  I spent the afternoon alternating between the bed and couch in search of a comfortable position.  Shane had finally given me Gilmore Girls season 6, so I had some distraction from the pain.  I decided to forgo two car rides and an hour in a pew, and after trying every possible position in the floor, I found a relative amount of ease in the recliner.  Eventually I staggered to bed and slept uncomfortably.

Day 17:  Monday was meant to have been my first day back at work, but when I woke up, my back still hated me--though perhaps less than it hated me on Sunday.  I decided to give it one more day of resting to see if it would shape up.  Plus our department was closed for one final day on Monday to put things back in place after the great carpet upheaval.  I might have been able to handle sitting calmly at a desk in a comfortable chair, but I knew my back had no business pushing carts or lifting stacks of books, and I knew if I was mixed up in all that work stuff, I'd do something stupid.  So I stayed at home.  But since the laziness was sanctioned by my sore back, I felt even less guilt about my slug-like tendencies than I did when I was actually on vacation, which is why I finished season 6 of the Gilmore Girls in just over 24 hours and still got a full night's sleep.  At this point in the vacation, there was no more food left in the house--and cooking wasn't high on my list of priorities anyway, so I think I ordered pizza Monday night while Jess was at work.

And on Tuesday, I faced the music and went back to work--with a mostly pain-free back.  I still don't know what was up with that.  I'd like to be able to tell you that I went back to work rested and energized and eager to dive back into satisfying and important work.  But mostly I showed up and survived and started counting down the days to the next vacation.  I know you are too, imaginary readers.

Food consumed:  Aunt Donna made sloppy joes on Monday.  I hadn't tried one in years, as they have always been high on the list of things I don't eat, but I decided to give them another chance--since the reintroduction of sweet potatoes went so well last year, I've known that my taste buds had changed.  I actually enjoyed it, so the official list of foods I hate is down to just three, I think:  fish and cowboy beans and grits.  Actually there are probably more things on the list, but those are the three that I always remember.  At home during the week, I ate leftover spaghetti and leftover brownies and leftover pineapple cheese dip.  I'm pretty sure chips and salsa and pepperonis and crackers were consumed.  I might have eaten ice cream, and I think I made grilled cheese a time or two.  I can't remember what the name of the smoothie was that I had on Wednesday, but it definitely had orange and pineapple and strawberry and maybe banana.  I also had a sandwich there, but I don't remember what kind.  I had my usual fajita nachos with no beans at Senor Tequila and discovered that their fruit punch can't compare to Mexico Chiquito's.  Friday we ate at Great Wraps before the movie, where I reunited with the best curly fries in the world.  We also ate movie popcorn, which is a rare treat for me.  That night I went to Walgreens, I had a hamburger from Hardee's and microwaved s'mores, which were just what I wanted.  At Cracker Barrel on Day 16, they brought me green beans instead of cabbage, and the cabbage was important enough that I had to have it too, so I ended up with an extra vegetable to go along with my chicken tenderloins, so I ate a bunch and still got to take home chicken, green beans, cabbage, hash brown casserole, and biscuits, but I think I ate all the carrots the first go round.  Extra leftovers came in handy during the back drama.  For the second time, I had a spinach, bacon, alfredo pizza from Dominos, and it was a delight.  Please do not consider this an exhaustive list, but you get the idea.

Bright spots:
Day 10:  family time
Day 11:  Gilmore Girls
Day 12:  smoothie
Day 13:  pottery painting
Day 14:  Robyn, Smonica, Hailey (who hasn't earned her place in the middle, even in a list)
Day 15:  s'mores
Day 16:  sweet, pretty little babies who snuggle
Day 17:  Gilmore Girls

Thus ended the chronicle of the least interesting vacation ever taken.  You're welcome.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

the vacation diary: day nine

I've just realized that things have started to go dim.  That's why should write in a diary daily and not try to catch up on it three weeks after the fact.  Sometimes failure is exhausting.  Let's see what info I can scrape together about this particular day.

Day 9 stats:

Wake-up time:  6:28 a.m. Method:  naturally, if there's anything natural about waking up before an alarm in the pre-dawn hours. General mood:  Considerably unenthusiastic about getting out of bed.

Agenda:  I sprang out of bed to start getting ready for church because I could not be late.  There was nursery to keep, and I wanted to make a good impression.  The ironing board at Shane's house is an over-the-door number, which normally folds down into the Spider-Man room.  The night before when she was putting Bird to bed in there, Michelle took it off the door so that ironing could be done after the little darling was asleep.  I discovered the hard way that it wouldn't fit on the back door, and the only doors that it might fit on were bedroom doors where folks were still slumbering, so I ironed in the floor.  I'm sure it was a hoot to watch, but fortunately no one was around to witness it.

I got to church in plenty of time to be charming for the nursery babies.  With Jess as my able assistant, we ran herd on what eventually became a group of six or seven babies.  I had to change two really dirty diapers, but they were otherwise very sweet.  When it was time to leave, I had a clinger, who cried every time I tried to put him down.  It was flattering, but also kinda sad.

I left the nursery to head for my first week of being a teacher in the 4-year-old classroom.  Apparently this year's crop of four-year-olds is one of the smallest they've had in recent years, but you won't catch me complaining abut that.  We split the kids up and rotate them through centers, and for September I do the Bible story center, so I got to talk to them about King Saul.  I didn't share any of the insights I gleaned my from most recent reading of I Samuel, but I think we learned something important anyway.  I like four-year-olds, and I think it's going to be a fun quarter with them.

After Bible class, I hightailed it out of there, so we could head to Beebe to get our feed on. 

After lunch, the kiddos put on their suits to spend another afternoon flying down the slide.  Cousin, scholar, theologian and #1 blog fan and I stayed inside for a while watching Grams hold precious little Josie.  I started a conversation with him that I had brought up with my moma, Michelle, and Shane in the car on the way to the Beeb.  I asked why it seemed as though our family placed such an emphasis on valuing humor.  Being funny is like a badge of honor to most of us, and that doesn't necessarily seem to be a trait that I see everyone else valuing in the way that we do.  Mac's initial response, "because we're not pretty enough to value beauty," seemed to prove my point for me.  We spent a big chunk of the afternoon discussing who the funniest people in the family were--with the input of the various family members passing through the living room.  We also reminisced about our patriarch of funny, Gramps.  My moma did her spot-on impression of him in a story.  I love it when she does that.  I forgot at the time but have since remembered one of my favorite stories about him from before I knew him.  When he used to drop my moma and MacMac off at school, he would sing "These Boots Were Made for Walking" out the window as they climbed the long flight up steps to the front door.  Bless him, he wasn't much of a singer, and they were mortified by it, which was the point.  It was a fun afternoon of stories.

We also watched Pointer's drama camp performance video.  Baby girl went to a day camp for two weeks, and they put on a production of Seuss on Stage at the end of the camp.  Originally, she was Jungle Citizen #3 and had just a few lines, but when Gertrude McSomething-I-Forgot got braces and couldn't do the performance, our girl got called up as her understudy.  It was a big part, and she was precious.  She also did drawing for her talent in the camp talent show, which led to the director using several of her illustrations in the program for the show.  If they hadn't spelled her name wrong in the program (twice), I would have assumed she ran the place.  I t was a really fun show, and I couldn't believe how great it looked after only nine days of rehearsals.

As the afternoon wound down, I eventually made my way outside to see the water-sliders.  MacMac had been told about a leak in it that the guy had sewn up before he delivered it, and he warned her it might start to leak again.  It was definitely worse for wear by late Sunday afternoon.  It had lost some height and therefore some speed from Saturday, but they were still loving it.  We were just about to make them stop for the day when MacMac said that it was a shame that she'd paid all the money for it and had it all weekend and still hadn't slid down it.  We all encouraged her to go for it.  When she started making excuses about having to go put on her suit for one quick slide, Aunt Donna said she should just go in her clothes--and she did. 

It was even funnier in real life.  As soon as Aunt Donna said it, MacMac hopped up like she was going to do it right that second.  Everyone cheered and then screamed for her to stop while we called everyone who was inside to come out.  By the time we would let her go up--with cameras rolling, she had lost a bit of her bounce, and so had the slide of course.  But it was still a great moment.

We stuck around the Beeb and ate and played until past bedtime and made the trek back to NLR one final time.  Pinkie fell asleep in the car, and I carried him in again.  That boy is getting so long--and heavy, but it was the only good snuggling I got out of him, so I'm not complaining.  Once the rest of the Handful were tucked away for the night, we sat around talking about funniest family members and Christmas plans.  We have a new tradition in the making right now that includes all thirty-one of us going somewhere and staying together for a few days after Christmas to celebrate.  We're still working out the details, but my little family got pretty excited about the details.  I can't wait.

Food consumed:  I didn't have time for breakfast, but I did have a bit of breakfast casserole when I got home from church.  For lunch we had chicken and dumplings and the third pan of Cajun dressing that we didn't eat the night before plus the accompanying vegetables and delightfulness.  We were still working on leftover birthday desserts and such too.  I'm pretty sure I stuck with the chocolate sheet cake, though I did have a piece of strawberry at some point.  Sunday night we ordered pizza and kept working on those desserts--and the Woo Pig Chewy ice cream.  At Shane's house there were brownies and rice krispy treats and more pineapple cheese dip, and I can't guarantee I didn't eat some of those as well. 

Bright spot:  That moment of cheery high spirits when MacMac hopped up to slide down the water slide in her clothes--the actual event was not as unifying and fun as the instant when we all realized she was really going to do it.  It was just so hilarious.

Bedtime:  I'm really not certain, but I think it was in the neighborhood of one.

the vacation diary: day eight

This paragraph used to say something different about the number of days I was behind and how things had started to go wrong, but even those few sentences are out of date now.  But since one loyal reader actually cares about what happened on the eighth day, I'm going to forge ahead.  This is for you, most loyal of fans.

Day 8 stats:

Wake-up time:  7:09 a.m. Method:  naturally--if you can say that there's anything natural about voluntarily waking before a 7:30 alarm.  General mood:  Looking forward to making breakfast and celebrating birthdays and stuff.

Agenda:  I worked on breakfast solo for a while, but the little boys and Joshua were up before too long.  I offered them delightful choices of homecooking, but Pinkie wanted a PopTart because he has no taste.  Thumb did eat one of the things I offered, but it wasn't even the really good one.  After that other folks began to trickle in from various beds, and the grown-ups at least appreciated my efforts.  Actually I think Pointer and Bird ended up eating my cooking too, but Ring had PopTarts too.  Losers.

The kiddos were excited to get out into Uncle Shane's back yard, so we sent them out of our hair for a while.  Jess came over for breakfast, and we sent her out to play with the other kids.  Eventually we had to haul the smelly things back inside so that the birthday folks could open their presents.  We were jointly celebrating Susan, Shane, and my moma, and they ended up with some good stuff, I think.  Pointer and Bird painted some pottery for my moma, which was a big hit.  As a self-proclaimed pottery painting expert, I can tell you those girls are good.

Once the presents were opened, the first shift left for the Beeb and the giant inflatable water slide.  Michelle and I still weren't ready, so we stayed behind to come later.  Jess stayed to entertain us since she had to work that afternoon and couldn't go play.  The Popster also brought me a cord to connect my mp3 player to my computer (faithful readers will recall that I couldn't find mine back on day 1), so I spent some time while my hair was air-drying removing the Christmas music and adding some new music.  During that process I got a phone call from the lady who's coordinating nursery workers at church this month.  I didn't mention this back on day five, but I agreed to do the toddler nursery during first service for three of the four weeks this month.  I originally hadn't committed to Labor Day Sunday because I didn't know what exactly we'd be doing, but I told her that if she could find someone to cover the first week, I could do the others.  When she called on Saturday, she was actually just trying to verify which service I'd said I'd cover, but she did mention that she was having a really hard time finding a sub for me, so I said I could do it, and then she asked if I could find someone to help me, and I knew I could boss Jess into doing it, so I got to mark a couple of things off her list.  Eventually, both Michelle and I were ready, so we headed to the Beeb, leaving Jess to fend for herself until she went to work.  Poor weekend-working Jess.

When we got to MacMac's, the water-sliding was in full force.  Even the fun grown-ups joined in the fun (though I never got a picture of Robyn when she was actually sliding and Dixie had already called it quits by the time I got the camera out):
Thumb was so little and slid so fast that the landing was pretty scary for him.  Once Alicia started catching him, he had a lot more fun.
Elijah was just about finished sliding by the time I got here, but I got him once.
I have one of Alicia with a funnier face, but it was less flattering overall, so I took the high road.
Shane went for comedy over style every time--I also like Ring's face up at the top of the slide.
Ethan never stopped.  He loved it.

Mac was a pretty big show-off too.

Pinkie started going backwards every time.
You can't tell from the still pictures, but it was so steep that the kiddos really flew down.  None of them could really control their limbs (or faces) once they started down.  Pinkie would pretty much go airborne at the end.
I thought head-first seemed terrifying, but Bird managed just fine.
Pointer's legs were flying in every picture I took of her.

By the time I got there, the little guys were taking lots of breaks.  At this point, Rob-Bob was feeding them Cheetos, and I finally got the little beggars to look at me for a picture.  Thumb was shaking with cold and had blue lips.  The little guy doesn't have enough meat on him to actually regulate his body temperature adequately but not for lack of trying.  He's quite the little Cheeto mooch.

Big Jake was just getting over double ear infections, so he steered clear of the watery fun.

Michelle brought a little craft project to entertain the double Handful.  They decorated capes that Michelle had left over from VBS this summer.  I was pretty consumed with helping the little guys work on theirs during the beginning of the project, so I only have pictures of the slow-pokes.

This boy is so pretty, which is a good thing because he's a total mess.
You should try to get eight kids to stand still and look over their shoulders all at the same time.  I gave Josie a pass on following directions because she's too tiny and cute.

Here's the tiny, precious one's cape up close. 
Her Rob-Bob is a fan.  The feeling will be mutual if Josie knows what's good for her.

 This little darling used to be that tiny and precious.  Now she's just seven-year-old-sized and precious.  Some days that's okay too.

Aren't my Grams and my moma delightful?  I really like them.

It's tough to get her to smile sometimes.  I'm proud of this picture.
And though she hates it, this one is perfect too.

Eventually, it was time for the official birthday shindig.  We ate.  The birthday folk (my moma, MacMac, Shane, Rob, and Susan) opened presents and cards and such.  There were birthday cakes and singing and candles.  It was a full day of delightfulness.  But eventually we had to head back to North Little Rock for Handful bedtime, leaving the big boys to play poker for a while.  Pinkie and Thumb both fell asleep in the car, and I got to carry the heavy one in. 

The grown folk stayed up for a while and talked about nothing in particular.  We didn't stay up too late since I had babies to meet in the nursery.

Food consumed:  I made breakfast casserole and maple nut ring for breakfast.  The maple nut ring is a blast from the past that was a favorite of Joshua's.  I didn't like it as a kid because I am not terribly fond of maple syrup, but it wasn't so bad this time around.  The breakfast casserole was an eggy, cheesy, sausagey masterpiece.  When we got to MacMac's, everyone else had already eaten lunch, but there were sandwiches and chips and dip and salad and cookies and good things.  For dinner, Aunt Donna outdid herself.  We had Cajun dressing, which is one of my all-time favorites.  And she made rolls.  I could die.  Robyn and I were in charge of the birthday desserts for our momas.  She made apple pies, and if you'll recall, I made chocolate sheet cake and strawberry cake.  Rob-Bob was also in charge of buying the ice cream which means that in addition to the angel food vanilla that goes perfectly with pies and cakes, she also got Yarnell's Woo Pig Chewy, which was a big hit.  I'm going to let her be in charge of ice cream again.

Bright spot:  Is it wrong if I pick the Cajun dressing?  Because seriously, it's the best.

Bedtime:  I don't exactly remember, but I'm nearly positive it was before midnight, which is pretty impressive for us.

Friday, September 17, 2010

send help

Please disregard the fact that I never finished my vacation diary.  Day 8 has photos, and my computer and blogger get crabby with each other when there are pictures involved--nothing that can't be overcome, but it's tedious.  And I'm lazy. 

So until the technical difficulties are worked out, let's pretend like you're not still waiting on ten days of my boring life in vivid, painful detail--or a long-promised post about the National Zoo--or five months' worth of project 4:4 posts--because if we think about those things, imaginary readers, we'll begin to feel so inadequate that we won't be able to continue blogging.  Ever.

And I don't think any of us want to live in a world where I'm not free to ramble ad nauseam and publish those ramblings for a group of people with nothing better to do than read them.  Do we?

Yesterday I had a sinking spell at work.  That term might carry some serious connotation for some of you, so let me assure you that I was in no real danger, unless my general grumpiness was the final straw in sending one of my coworkers on a killing spree.  That didn't happen, so don't worry.  But I was tired and grumpy and didn't feel equal to even the smallest tasks that I should have been checking off my list.  So I called Jess and told her that I needed something to look forward to in my miserable existence and demanded that she think of something for us to do when I got off work.  The great thing about Jess is that she always takes my petulance in stride.  She said she wanted to eat Chinese--which was exactly the thing that I wanted to do.  Some days we really are two peas in a multiracial pod.  Renewed by the promise of a good time later (and by the chocolate banana shake that I went and got over at Bookends--the library's cafe that's just across the parking lot), I muddled through the rest of my afternoon.

After dinner, we went to a store to buy a gift for someone who reads this blog, so I cannot divulge any more information about that, but my deliberations wasted a sizable chunk of our night.  When we got home, Jess continued the Carol Burnett Biography that she had started before I got home from work, and I reacquainted myself with the internet after our prolonged three hour separation.  Over dinner we had discussed some of our tv shows that are premiering in the next week or so, so after Carol and a Bio on Russell Crowe, we started checking the DVR settings for our returning shows and started a dialogue about new shows.  We also went through and cleared out the DVR settings for canceled stuff, and I finally gave in and deleted the NCIS-rerun recordings from USA, Sleuth, and Ion.  It was a pretty big deal.  Obviously I'm in a place right now where I don't want to do anything but watch tv--up-to-date readers may recall that I'm currently watching Gilmore Girls on DVD, and I can report officially, though it will spoil a vacation post later, that I'm completely caught up on NCIS now.  My tv obsession is no revelation, but even I was surprised by how appealing I found nearly all of the new show synopses that I read online last night.  The fact that I've been watching more commercials than normal lately and my susceptibility to marketing probably also had a hand in this, but I'm picking up something like forty-seven new shows.  In true tv-obsessed fashion, I made a spreadsheet to organize it all, and then we started adding series recordings to the DVR.

Thank goodness for U-Verse.  We can record up to four shows at one time, but I think we only have more than three for a brief half-hour on Thursdays.  We do push it to three shows at once on several different occasions though.  Several of the new shows I added last night are on a definite trial basis.  I don't think I have the time or energy to devote to this many shows--I'm not Robyn, after all, but until I experience them a little, I couldn't say no to them either.  I'm going to attempt to recreate the list here without benefit of my spreadsheet.  Feel free to try and talk me down from the crazy-obsessed ledge I'm on, but don't be surprised if my commitment to self-indulgence cannot be shaken. 

Returning shows:
Chuck--I adored Chuck when the show first premiered, but season 2 never really sucked me in.  I haven't quit it yet because Adam Baldwin is hilarious and wonderful, but I'm not cartwheeling over this one.

How I Met Your Mother--There have been moments during this show's run when it's been my absolute favorite thing on tv.  But if we don't meet the mother--for real this time--soon, I'm going to slap Ted Mosby like Barney's never been slapped.

Castle--None of the die-hard Nathan Fillion fans I know (except maybe Joshua) are into this show, but I love him and it, and if they'll give Beckett a decent hairstyle this season, I think we'll all be very happy together.

New shows:
Mike & Molly--I don't have high expectations here, but I love Melissa McCarthy enough to endure loads of things.  If Scott Patterson would get a new tv show and I could see Lorelai, Sookie, and Luke on a weekly basis, my cup would be full.

The Event--Blair Underwood is the President.  And I don't know why, but I'm a big Jason Ritter fan.  We'll see how it goes.

Lone Star--This is going to be pure, soapy trash, but I can't stop myself from watching an episode or two.  Stupid FOX and their stupid pervasive marketing.

Shows that I don't watch but my DVR does:
Chase--Actually Jess is only watching it because the Jenny (her sister) is an extra in an episode.  She claims once we see her, she'll quit watching it, but I'll probably get sucked in by then.

Returning shows:
Glee--This show is the cautionary tale for why I'm adding so many shows.  As I explained to Jess last night, there have been times in my life when I've unilaterally decided not to add any new shows when the tv season began, so that I could cut down on my devotion to the small screen, but I missed out on some really cool stuff that way--that I later picked up on DVD, so don't cry for me or anything.  If I had had that attitude last season, I would have missed out on being a die-hard Gleek from the beginning, and I never would have felt like a real fan.  And that would be a tragedy of epic proportions.

Parenthood--I've always liked that Steve Martin movie on which this show is loosely based.  Plus Peter Krause who I've loved in Sports Night and Six Feet Under? And Lorelai Gilmore (sorry Lauren Graham, but I can't call you anything else)? And Dax Shepard?  There was no way I wasn't picking this one up last March.  Lucky for me the DVR was trained to remember it because I hadn't bothered to find out when it was premiering until after the first new episode aired on Tuesday.

New shows:
NCIS--I'm calling this a new show only because it's never been in my regular tv season routine before.  My obsession with the very special agents of NCIS is well-documented, so I won't say more.  But trust that I could.

Raising Hope--This is a major trial-only pick.  Recording it means I won't ever miss the end of Glee, so I'm going to give it a shot.

Running Wilde--Two words:  Will Arnett.  I'm excited about this one.

No Ordinary Family--I think this is the moment when I turned into a lunatic.  I was reading about this show and feeling like it definitely wasn't my thing.  And then I read the name Julie Benz, and I can't allow a Buffy/Angel alum to be in a tv show that I don't watch, except that I didn't watch Dollhouse, so don't believe anything I say.  Except that I'm watching No Ordinary Family.  Believe that.

Shows that I don't watch but my DVR does:
The Good Wife--I don't watch this necessarily, but Jess does, and I have sometimes watched it with her.  It's got lots of people that I've loved in other stuff.

New (to me) shows:
The Middle--Robyn goes on and on about this show, and I love Janitor.  So I'm going to go against one of my most deeply-held beliefs and pick up a show during the second season without having caught up on the first season.

Modern Family--see above, but change the "Robyn" to "Jess" and the "Janitor" to "Jesse Tyler Ferguson" and the "love" to "enjoyed watching in the terrible 2006 CBS sit-com The Class."  Plus I'm a follower, and I apparently care about Emmy wins now.

Actual new shows:
Undercovers--I was intrigued.  It's JJ Abrams.  Jess wants to watch it too.

The Whole Truth--Maura Tierney ended up being my favorite thing about ER.  I loved Abby more than Carter.  And I have some serious Rob Morrow love, but I have no idea why.

Better with You--I don't have a good reason for watching this show, aside from Kitty Forman.  But it made the list to try out. 

Returning shows:
Bones--I am still smarting from the betrayals of last season, but Bones remains in my top three shows.  With all the competition, David Boreanaz is going to have to marry me soon if he wants to stay at the top.

30 Rock--Oh, Liz Lemon.  How I've missed you.

The Office--Gotta savor my last season with Michael Scott.  I'm not sure I'll be able to watch if they continue without him next year.  He's not even close to my favorite, but I can't imagine how they'll go on without him.

Private Practice--I'm still so mad at them for [SPOILER ALERT] killing Dell, and it's nothing but soapy trash, but Taye Diggs sure is pretty.

New shows:
My Generation--I've been burned by other takes on this class-reunion-where-are-they-now type theme (the aforementioned The Class and FOX's 2005 Reunion), but I'm still drawn in and eternally optimistic.  Plus I've never seen Mehcad Brooks in a show where I didn't like him.

$#*! My Dad Says--I don't love William Shatner, but I do love cussing.

Outsourced--Well, I'm pretty bummed that Parks and Recreation isn't coming back until mid-season, but I'm not going to hold that against the show taking its place.  NBC Thursday comedies and I go way back, so I'm going to give it a shot.

Shows that I don't watch but my DVR does:
Grey's Anatomy--Meredith is the single most annoying person in the world, and that's why I'll never watch this show.

Community--Despite my Joel McHale/The Soup love, I couldn't get behind this show.  I tried and failed, but Jess likes it.

I promised myself long ago that I would never watch a show that comes on Fridays, but I broke that one a couple of years ago for Moonlight, which got stupid and canceled anyway.  I'm breaking the promise again this season, because as I explained to Jess last night when asked when some show came on, "I don't know, but the DVR does." 

Returning show:
Good Guys--I've only watched a couple of the episodes that aired this summer, but I'm going to catch up one of these days.  I love Bradley Whitford in a totally unprofessional way.

New show:
Blue Bloods--Apparently mustaches are the thing that Friday night tv was missing, but Bradley Whitford and Tom Selleck are doing their part to fix that.  Plus Donny Wahlberg is in this show, and Donny was always my favorite New Kid.

I don't watch anything on Sundays, but my DVR does:
Desperate Housewives--I let Entertainment Weekly convince me to start watching this show in its first season, and I've regretted it ever since.  But Jess watches it.

So forty-seven new shows may have been an exaggeration, but not much of one.  What TV shows are on your must-watch list?  I hope, dear friends, it's not as many as mine.  Someone needs to be out there living while I grow pale and (even more) lethargic in front of the TV.

*****Note to Hailey:  I was already composing this post before your comment giving me permission to keep blogging, but I appreciate the stamp of approval to forge ahead nonetheless.  See you in a bit.*****

Thursday, September 9, 2010

the vacation diary: day seven

Day 7 stats:

Wake-up time:  9:00/9:19 a.m. Method:  slightly ineffective alarm and jolting awake nineteen minutes later terrified that I had slept much longer.  General mood:  Relieved that I had only wasted nineteen minutes of my jam-packed ultra-productive day.

Agenda:  I had various plans for the day that included taking loads of groceries to Shane's to make some cake magic happen, but I ended up getting started at home because I also needed to do a load of laundry before I packed for my weekend.  I started the clothes, got my recipes in order, cranked up some music, and approached love and cooking with reckless abandon. At one point I went into the living room where I knew Jess was awake and found her watching Lost season 1 on her laptop wearing headphones.  That's when I realized just how cranked my music was, so I forced her to unplug.  She then tried to convince me that her laptop sound was so bad, she needed the headphones.  So I gestured to the fairly large tv sitting nearby and suggested that she could use it.  I scrounged for my mp3 player (which still has some Christmas music on it--but other stuff too), and went back to work.

Every year my moma requests a strawberry cake for her birthday, but since Aunt Donna made one the last time she was down here three weeks ago, she chose something different this year:  a chocolate sheet cake.  I was happy to oblige her since there's much less pressure associated with it, but the more I considered it, the more I realized that family expectation demanded a strawberry cake as well, so I decided to make both--additionally I hadn't made a birthday cake for Shane, and I usually do at some point, so I could consider the strawberry cake his.  It has to be completely cooled before you ice it, so  I started with strawberry.  Once it was baking, I chopped all the pecans I was going to need for the day, which was considerable.  I also made a pineapple cream cheese dip for us to snack on at some point in the weekend.  I would have done some snacking on it right then, but it really doesn't taste good until it's hung out in the fridge all mixed up for a while.

Next up was the chocolate sheet cake.  My moma has made these for years, but I've only ever made a couple in my life.  Recently I compared my moma's recipe with Pioneer Woman's, which she claims is the best chocolate sheet cake ever.  They're almost identical, but P-Dub uses a bit more cocoa and a bit more butter--anyone familiar with her cooking style will not be shocked by this.  I decided to use PW's recipe since more cocoa can only mean good things.

By this point, I had dirtied quite a few dishes in addition to the dishes I'd been avoiding from all week, so I set in to scrubbing.  When we moved into this dishwasher-less house, I was going to have the personality change where I didn't let dishes pile up in the sink, but since I'm keeping it real this week, I'll go ahead and tell you that I'm terrible at it, and Jess is only marginally better.  But there was a brief, shiny moment on Friday when all the dishes not currently in use were clean.  It was a nice, if short-lived, feeling.

I still had one more cake to make, but since it was a dump cake and the world's easiest recipe to construct and since it's better--I think--when it's warm, I decided to wait and do it at an aunt's house closer to supper time.  I also had to gather up a ton of groceries to go to Shane's house for the breakfast I was planning for Saturday morning.  By this point, I was running behind schedule, so I hopped in the shower, threw together an outfit that wouldn't disappoint my mother, packed all my belongings for the weekend, realized I hadn't made the strawberry cake icing and that I'd rather do it at my house at this point, whipped it up, missed a call from my moma giving their ETA, iced the cake and got it travel-ready, and started packing and gathering and loading all my cooking stuff, birthday gifts, clothing, toiletries, and entertainment devices for the weekend.

I headed to Shane's to drop stuff off and pick him up so we could head to the Beeb to reunite with the clan.  On the way, I realized that it was now nearly 3 p.m., and I hadn't eaten breakfast or lunch, so even though we were going to be having supper in a few short hours, I needed food now.  Since I'd been thinking fondly of the punch at Mexico Chiquito for a couple of days, I stopped there for the Friday drive-through special.  I got to Shane's and unloaded what I could and shoved him in the car to hold my chips and salsa, one of the worst-ever driving foods.

We got to the Beeb just after the Kentucky caravan consisting of my moma, the Popster, lovely siblings and one of the lovely siblings-in-law, and the Handful of fun.  We originally met up with them at Aunt Donna's, where they had gone to see Grams since everyone else was still at work/school, but the party moved to MacMac's for grilled hot dogs, dump cake, and a loud, good time.

MacMac rented this giant, blow-up water slide for the weekend, but it didn't get delivered until nearly dark, so the kiddos played on the various bikes and scooters and vehicles in the driveway, and I was on duty ensuring that no one drove the little electric jeep thing into one of the parked vehicles.  I was quite impressed with Pinkie's backing up ability, demonstrating an innate understanding of which way to cut the wheels to go in the desired direction that I can remember finding baffling when I first started to drive.  I also took a ride or two on Pointer's Razor scooter, which was faster and more disturbing than I was strictly prepared for.  When the slide arrived and they started blowing it up, loads of folks came out to the patio to watch, but my dedicated drivers and I kept our posts in the driveway.  Shortly after the slide was positioned and fully functional, we had to head back to North Little Rock for bedtime.

I got to upgrade passengers on the way back to Shane's, trading Shane for Michelle, which handily split up the house-keys into different vehicles, double-handy since I had to stop for gas, and Shane could be there to let them in and do the big reveal on his newly-painted bathroom.  We got the Handful settled into their pallets, and I started prepping for breakfast, browning the sausage and putting together most of the breakfast casseroles.  The adult crew stayed in the more uncomfortable dining room chairs rather than the living room so that I could be part of the conversation, and I assume, so they could complain about the smell of cooking sausage.  I also wrapped presents at some point in there.  The cooking was finished and the presents wrapped long before we tired of each other, and in our first-night-reunion giddiness, we lacked the willpower to go to bed at a sensible hour.  But eventually we did that too.

Food consumed:  I licked a few spoons in the cake-making process, but as previously reported, I didn't eat enough of anything to count until the chicken chimi, chips and salsa, and the famous Mexico Chiquito punch on the way to Shane's.  We had grilled hot dogs (mine covered in mustard and grilled onions), chips and cheese dip, and other such delights.  I really can't remember more specifically than that because I was playing waitress to seven or eight kiddos during most of the meal.  I skipped the dump cake in favor of the dishpan cookies that my moma brought, which were much more portable for the Handful chasing.  After we got back to Shane's, I had some of the pineapple cheese dip and a brownie. 

Bright spot:  Too hard to choose a single, specific moment, but being in the bosom of my family covers it.

Bedtime:  I remember seeing 1:44 on the clock, and I think we were really on our way to bed by then, so let's call it that.

Friday, September 3, 2010

the vacation diary: day six

Exciting news ahead:  I have more interesting things to say than to recount the various tv reruns I watched, maybe.  Of course, the best bits of the day are still a secret.  Never mind, it'll be just as boring as usual.  Buckle up.

Day 6 stats:

Wake-up time:  I definitely roused sometime in the 9 or 10 range, but the official wake-up was at 11:41 a.m.  Method:  naturally  General mood:  still sleepy and slightly frustrated with myself because I meant to wake up and get going earlier, but the 3 a.m. bedtime interfered with the plans

Agenda:  Last night I tentatively planned with Jess that we would leave 10ish to go on a little shopping adventure.  When the Gilmore Girl-watching/blogging lasted so far into the night, I knew that probably wasn't going to happen.  I forgot to set an alarm in any case, so when I finally rolled out of bed, Jess was up and breakfasted and waiting around for me to emerge.  I revised our start time to 1ish, got ready in a hurry, and made my list.  While I was covering the grocery portion of the list, I had some lunch.

We headed to various stores in various locations that I cannot share because we were birthday shopping for some folk who read the blog, but I can report that I did find things that made me happy without a significant amount of difficulty.  I can also report that I talked to Katelyn three times during the course of the shopping adventure.  Apparently she's gone to the Alicia school of answering other people's phones, but I did get a little preview of how Nana's crochet camp is going.  Jess was a great shopping sidekick and helped make a final, difficult decision.  By this point, it was after 3, and Jess hadn't had lunch, so she stopped in for some Subway, and I had cookies.  We then hit Sonic for happy hour, and Jess sat in the car eating her sandwich while I shopped for cake ingredients.  I'm making a lot of cakes later.  Also I got to use all my new Envirosax which I got recently at a very respectable price.  I'm pretty sure I was the envy of all my Krogering pals.

When we got home, our outing had worn us out, so we retreated to our areas to recharge.  I watched a couple episodes of the Gilmores while I day five blogged, and Jess did something.  I went back to be social, and turned on various bits of DVRed shows for a while.  We both fell asleep during the Biography of Sarah Silverman.  I might try to finish it another day.

After we woke up, there was channel-flipping which landed us on Tosh.0, which I've already mentioned holds a sick fascination for us.  I had some dinner while that was going on.  I can remember if Jess ever ate, but she's a big girl, so I can't feel responsible for that.  After our guilty pleasure, there was nothing much on, and I  didn't relish more channel-flipping, so we decided to watch some movies.  I let Jess pick, so we started with Something's Gotta Give which she'd never seen.  She was hilarious to watch.  Next up was Unbreakable, which I was all set to enjoy because Shane likes it, and I trust his tastes, but it did not sit well with me.  Also I sorta had the end bit figured out before it happened.  So, apologies to Shane, but I was unimpressed.  We used a couple of Different World episodes to cleanse the palette.  Then I realized that I would need to blog day six tonight or I wouldn't have time for it until late Friday or Saturday, so I let another couple episodes of GG see me through the writing.

Food consumed:  It was nearly lunchtime by the time I woke, so skipping breakfast just made sense today.  I ate the last piece of leftover pizza and breadstick while I made my grocery shopping list.  I ate Subway cookies during Jess's lunch stop and enjoyed a happy hour cranberry limeade while I shopped.  I brought back an old favorite for dinner tonight:  pepperonis, cheese and crackers--and chips and salsa.  It was kinda perfect.  We broke our nightly sundae routine, but Jess had already checked in at Sonic once today, so we didn't even bring up the ice cream this time.

Bright spot:  Katelyn on the phone, hands down

Bedtime:  I'm going to be done typing in a few moments obviously, but there are about twelve minutes left in episode 8, so I'll probably stick it out.  I'm going to predict 2:27 a.m.

Festivities kick in tomorrow with the arrival of my moma and the Popster, the Handful, and far-flung siblings.  There will be cake and cuteness and stuff.  So I'll have better fodder for this blog thing, but less time to actually do the blogging, but I'll catch up eventually.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

the vacation diary: day five

Are you guys sick of these posts yet?  Because I kinda am.  But a promise is a promise, and sometimes when I make irrational blog promises to myself, I keep them.  So after two days of utter laziness and accomplishing nothing of worth, I thought that Wednesday had possibilities.  I could do stuff, accomplish stuff, and not feel as though my brilliant vacation was slipping away with nothing to show for it . . . if I felt like it, anyway.  Apparently a sense of accomplishment is completely relative, but I think Wednesday goes down as a success.

Day 5 stats:

Wake-up time:  9:02  Method:  It's very bright in the living room, and careful readers will recall that I fell asleep on the couch last night so the brightness factored in, and though I had plans to fall back asleep once I crawled into bed, I didn't.  General mood:  I don't exactly remember, but I'm guessing it was all right.

Agenda:  If you've been paying attention, imaginary readers, (and I wouldn't blame you if you weren't) you may have noticed that my days are starting to take on a sameness.  So there was a morning of internet, spider solitaire, perhaps a bit of tv.  Midmorning Jess and I called my moma to sing her a birthday song.  It was a hit.  I didn't talk to my moma long because we're trying to save up our best stories for this weekend when we're together.

Jess got inspired and started cleaning up her room, but I just couldn't find my motivation, so after I ran to the bank, I watched some DVRed gems from the Bio channel.  Apparently Tuesday was some sort of Facts of Life themed day on Bio.  Besides the Kim Fields and The Truth Behind Sitcom Scandals that we watched Tuesday, we also got Cast Confessions about FoL and the Biography for Nancy McKeon.  I've seen Blair, Tootie, Natalie, and Mrs. Garrett with a variety of different hairstyles telling the same anecdotes about the show three or four times, but I'm a bit of an expert now, so that's all right.  I also watched some NCIS eps and some other junk too.

I found the extra needle from the size 4 double-points since the fourth one I had been using went missing weekend before last, so I could start working on the decreases on the baby hat I'm doing right now.  I'll post pictures when I get it finished because it is definitely my best yet.  I took my knitting to church because I always knit during class.  We're doing a book study right now of Simply Christian by N.T. Wright.  I didn't read the first week, so I had every plan to read both chapters yesterday before church, but obviously NCIS reruns and 80s sitcom trivia were more important.  It was a pretty decent class even without having read, but I'm determined to get caught up before chapter 3.  And Bill did bring me a dozen or so movies in a bag with a half-naked man on it.  It got a lot of comments at church.

Shane had one more birthday perk to use up, so we went to Genghis Grill so he could use his free birthday bowl coupon.  Delicious.  On the way home, Jess and I celebrated my vacation with 99 cent sundaes again.  We're getting quite good at that.  When we got home, we watched the DVRed Biography of Bill Murray, which was a huge disappointment.  We also took out the trash because we're not completely irresponsible, but we didn't have the heart to watch anything else after the dismal failure of the Bill Murray bio.  Besides, I had come home with season 5 of Gilmore Girls, and I was ready to reconnect with my Stars Hollow friends, which I foolishly thought I could do while blogging about my moma and delightful aunt.  Multi-tasking was not my friend, but eventually I got it all done so I could go to sleep.

Food consumed:  I skipped breakfast again because it's highly overrated.  I had leftover spaghetti for lunch and a Dr. Pepper float.  The bowl I created at Genghis Grill was a spicy pork/onions/cabbage/celery/rice masterpiece.  And hot fudge is our flavor of sundae choice at Sonic.

Bright spot:  Writing about my sweet moma.

Bedtime:  3:11 a.m. approximately.  Much too stinking late.

happy birthday, moma and macmac

Faithful imaginary readers will have noticed by now that I'm a big fan of my moma, mostly because she's the best person I know.  And I'd be the lamest lame daughter ever if I didn't do one of those dandy birthday tributes for which I'm known.   (Apparently, I am the lamest lame sister because Shane got no blogging love.)  Of course, by the time I get done typing this I'm sure it'll be after midnight and no longer my moma's birthday, but it's the thought that counts, isn't it?  Isn't it?  Moma?

So you may or may not know this, but my moma is a twin.  She and my MacMac were born on my Gramps's 28th birthday.  So September 1 is a spectacularly big birthday in these parts.  The whole clan gets together every Labor Day weekend for the festivities.  The fact that brother Shane and cousin Robyn and sister-in-law Susan also have birthdays near Labor Day is just icing on the many, many birthday cakes.  Lots of years my moma's actual birthday falls during the long weekend, but some years (like this one) Labor Day weekend falls a few days after, and some of that real-day birthday magic is lost because we're apart.  Of course, the favorite daughter was with her today, so my moma probably doesn't even remember me or the fact that I called and sang to her this morning.

My MacMac is pretty spectacular all by herself, so let's start with my five favorite things about her:

5.  MacMac is kind of unintentionally hilarious.  She's scattered and a bit disorganized and a bit prone to doing things in a way that makes for a terrific story later.  It's just part of her charm, and while she would probably consider this trait far from charming, I think it's one of the most endearing things about her.  And it's probably the way that I'm most like her, so maybe that's why I'm so partial to it.

4.  My MacMac is the most hospitable person anywhere ever.  She's always ready to throw a party or a shower or invite a huge crew of people over for a ridiculously good meal.  When I was in college, she was famous amongst my friends (and Robyn's and Mac's, of course) for inviting everyone over for home cooking.  She has a couple of largish cabinets to hold her collection of punchbowls and cups and plates and shower decorations.  I've been on the receiving end of her hospitality more times than I can count (for the past three weekends just to prove that I'm not exaggerating).  And she always acts as though large meals for large groups or fancy, elaborate showers are exactly what she wants to do.  I want to be that part of her when I grow up.

3.  MacMac is an amazing cook.  When she's putting on those elaborate functions, they're full of delicious food.  She makes lots of things that are just like my moma, which is delightful, but she also tries new recipes all the time to rave reviews and she makes chicken and dumplings.  Can you believe it?  She also makes the best pancakes anywhere ever.

2.  My precious aunt is married to a swell uncle, and together they're responsible for creating two of my favorite cousins and dearest friends.  Mac is tall and funny and so full of MacMac's most scatterbrained qualities, and he's my #1 fan.  And RobBob, who definitely deserved a birthday blog all her own on Sunday, has been more than a friend and more than a cousin since time began.  She knows all my stories (because she was there for most of them), and she's the best, most effortless friend.  I'm going to keep her. 

1.  MacMac is the closest thing to my moma within a 200 mile radius.  From the time that I moved to Arkansas for school back in 1997, she's been taking nothing but the very best care of me from the laundry facilities to the home-cooking to being one of my biggest cheerleaders.  She loves me no matter what, and there's something to be said for having a person who's nearly as good as a moma when my own moma is sometimes too far away, and  I love her just as much as she loves me. So it works out for us.

And now let me tell you my five favorite things about my moma (how do I pick only five):

5.  My moma has a million talents.  She can sew, knit, crochet, arrange flowers, decorate cakes, bake, and cook amazingly.  She's pretty much perfect, except for her handwriting.  She's passed along several of those brilliant skills to me, and she's a pretty decent teacher too.  She's mucho amazing.

4.  She's stinkin' funny and a great, great audience.  We are a funny family, and sometimes the big name comedians among us get all the attention.  Sure everyone always talks about how funny Will and Butch are, and I am commonly acknowledged as the funniest natural-born member of our family, but I learned lots and lots of that from my moma.  She makes me laugh without even trying, and she appreciates great comedy.  She's not a cheap laugh, like Michelle is when she gets tired, but she has a great guffawing laugh, and when you make her do that, you can really feel as though you've achieved something.

3.  My moma makes holidays special.  She decorates for Easter and Halloween and continues traditions that make even ordinary days seem special.  Thanks to my moma, there's a right and a wrong way to have a birthday dinner, and Christmas, in our family, is the stuff of legend.  Christmas-y touches are spread throughout the entire house, and there are so many gorgeously-wrapped packages that she can't fit them into the tree corner and has to create little gift annexes all around the living and dining rooms.  She's "cut back" so many times in the past few years, and yet we're all still ridiculously spoiled by her generosity.  She bakes everyone's favorite Christmas goody, and the cookie tins and containers have to be labeled because there are so many.  It's madness, but it's the best kind of madness.  And these days she loves having her little chicks together in one place so much that any weekend we manage to get together is automatically a holiday.  Menus are planned and cakes are baked, and it always seems as though there's something specially made for everyone. 

2.  Twenty years ago, my moma made the best decision of her life when she married the Popster.  I don't know of anyone in the world who has a better blended-family-happily-ever-after than we do.  Few men in the world would have looked at our sweet moma and her four loud, growing, needy brats and wanted to get mixed up in that, but he did, and it's made all the difference in our lives.  My moma's amazing, so it's no wonder he loved her enough to take us on, but he loves us too, and as far as I can remember, he always has.  They are a great team.  The best.  The older I get the more I come to appreciate how many people are screwed up by their parents, and while I'm fairly dysfunctional in many ways, I know that those faults are mine because the best parts of me are all from them, my moma and the Popster.

1.  My moma doesn't know the first thing about selfishness.  Her financial generosity to me over the years can not be overstated, but she is also generous with her time and attention and her heart.  Except in those ridiculous dreams I have where she won't talk to me, there's not a moment in my life when she's not loving me and supporting me, worrying about me, laughing at me, and taking care of me, no matter how many miles separate us.  She is the most constant thing in my life.  When I'm sure of nothing else, I know that calling my moma makes everything better.  Seeing her, hugging her, talking with her is a balm.  She is my happy place.  She is home, and whether I'm 3 or 16 or 31, I'm cherished and adored and wrapped up in more love than I can explain just because I'm her baby.

Happy Birthday, Moma and MacMac!  If it weren't three in the morning, I'd find an adorable picture of you both to post here.  Maybe you'll thank me for not going to that trouble.  Love, love, love to you both.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

the vacation diary: day four

I left out a key part of day three, but since I kept it going throughout day four, I'll just add it in where appropriate here.  For those that want to skip this, day four is just as deliciously boring as day three.  My feelings will not be hurt if you stop reading now.

Day 4 stats:

Wake-up time:  9:07/9:30ish  Method:  My phone rang at 9:07, and I sort of roused and then decided that I didn't care and fell back asleep for another twenty minutes or so.  General mood:  grumpy

Agenda:  I said hello to my internet world and then went to check on Jess.  She was off all day too, so I was a bit nervous that her lazy day off routine would upset my own.  As it turned out, our laziness complemented each other nicely.  I retreated back to my room to work on yesterday's stunning vacation post.  When I checked on Jess at one point in the late morning, she was taking a nap.  I admired her greatly.  I was bored by recounting my own day, so I took frequent breaks to cruise the internet and play spider solitaire.  I've occasionally played spider solitaire in the past, but the last weekend I spent with my family in Lexington, I learned that everyone else was better at it than I, which made me sulkily give it up for a while, but fairly soon my competitive nature kicked in, and I determined that I had to get better.  When I was without home internet for ten whole agonizing days, I had to do something with the computer sitting in my lap, so I devoted scads of time to it.  After 111 straight losses on the four suit difficulty, I finally won the first one a few weeks ago, and I've had a few more successes since then.  My current percentage is 4%, which admittedly doesn't sound good, but trust me that it's a vast improvement.

When Jess woke up from her nap, we flipped channels a bit, and I discovered that we get the Biography channel.  During any other week of my life, I doubt that this would have made quite the impact that it did yesterday, but it was a pretty special discovery.  We tuned in for a Biography of the tv show Home Improvement.  I didn't even know they did biographies of tv shows.  Next up was a bio of Kim Fields, who has definitely aged gracefully.  We looked ahead and DVRed several upcoming episodes.  We flipped off Bio for a while to avoid several episodes of a William Shatner show because even on vacation, I have my limits.  When Jess and I first moved in together, she once made a joke that I wasn't allowed to watch BET, and it's been ongoing for more than a year.  But after we switched off the biographies, we spent some time watching The Game and Everybody Hates Chris reruns on BET, and no one was harmed.  Somewhere in the middle of all this watching, we ate some lunch.  Jess also took an afternoon nap somewhere in there.  That girl can sleep.

My laptop died at some point, and instead of bringing the cord to the living room, I retreated to my room to concentrate more seriously on spider solitaire.  We ordered pizza and in the process debated pizza toppings for longer than strictly necessary.  It probably took us longer to make up our minds than it did for the pizza to arrive.  For the record, Pizza Hut doesn't offer Skittles as a toppings choice.

We watched Gleeruns while we ate and then we took Jess's new crack-free windshield for a spin to Sonic, where after 8 p.m., they have 99 cent sundaes.  Once we got home, we started watching our DVRed shows from the Biography channel.  We saw The Truth Behind Sitcom Scandals, and I now know more about Welcome Back, Kotter, The Facts of Life, and Roseanne than I ever thought I needed to.  We also saw Biography:  Full House, which was an absolute delight.  Candace Cameron has definitely aged well.  Here's the thing I've really learned from watching the Biography channel:  if you are currently remotely successful, you don't agree to be interviewed for the Biography special on a past show.  Just sayin'.  We ended our night with watching Covert Affairs, which I've been watching this summer.  I fell asleep towards the end of the episode and spent the night on the couch.  Jess probably woke me up at some point, but once I've fallen asleep on the couch, I'm impossible to wake up.

Food consumed:  I don't think that I had breakfast--which is not so unusual.  During our marathon block of tv-watching, Jess brought me chips and salsa as a lunch appetizer, and I eventually had some leftover spaghetti.  You'll recall that we had pizza for dinner.  The three toppings we settled on were Italian sausage, ham, and bacon.  There were also breadsticks.  Then there were the hot fudge sundaes, with whipped cream and nuts.  There wasn't supposed to be a cherry, but there was.  I also drank some tea and finished up the last of the good ice.

Bright spot:  Discovering that Kim Fields went to Pepperdine.  Just thought that was nice.

Bedtime:  I'm not sure about the time exactly since there's no clock in our living room.  Jess thinks it was midnight something.  I did wake up once or twice in the night but never enough to consider moving to the bed. 

Here's a spoiler from day five to tide  you over:  I finally found a knitting needle I needed.