Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Liar, liar, pants on fire

Sometimes Ray and I question our judgement as parents.

We'd attended a fun BBQ at some friends over the weekend (Thanks, Carolyn & Bert!), and Aidan got to watch Ray win beer money from all the neighborhood daddies in a rousing game of Liar's Dice.

So, guess what the kids wanted to play last night. Why, not? I thought - it's better than sitting around watching TV.

Instruction included not only the rules of play, but lots of tips from Ray and I on how to lie convincingly.

They're quick learners.

I can just see it now, "No, Daddy, I have no idea at all how that dent got in the car!"

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words....

... but the photo doesn't exist.

It's the kind of photo that could mess up her future political aspirations. It could cost her a spot on the cheerleading squad (hmmm.... maybe there's something to this!), or give all the Mean Girls ammunition. Definitely yearbook embarrassment fodder.

Bridget was running around in her two-piece bathing suit yesterday. The AC was running in the house and she got cold. Picked up a pair of riding "zocks" (camo pattern). These are slinky nylon socks to wear under riding boots and breeches. They are too big for Bridget and she pulls them up past her knees to mid thigh. Think naughty girl knee socks. With the two-piece bathing suit. One final accessory to complete the ensemble: her riding crop. She HATES having to "hit" the horse with it, so carries it around the house hitting herself, to remind herself that it doesn't REALLY hurt the horse. So, bikini-clad girl in naughty knee socks picks up the black leather riding crop and innocently goes skipping through the house.

Get the picture?

And that only took 127 words.


Monday, July 21, 2008

Weekend Update - It's all about ME!

It's all about ME.

Well, actually, it's so totally NOT about me, but last night all I could think about was ME.

So, today, it is all about ME. When I get the photos organized, there will be a post All About Aidan and another post All About Bridget.

But, back to ME.

Guess I'm feeling that way because the last 48 hours have been completely dedicated to the support and well-being of my children. Well, for the last 11+ years, LIFE has pretty much been dedicated to that, but there are seconds, minutes, sometimes even HOURS where it isn't.

Not the last 48.

Up by 7am Saturday. Wake The Girl, feed her, gather up the tack and head to the barn so she can get in one last good practice before tomorrow's penultimate horse show, The Battle of the Barns. Bathe the horse, Bridget has already cleaned her tack.

Home by mid-day, just in time to wolf down a sandwich and "turn 'n burn" for Aidan's swim meet. Final meet of the season, championships. Do I have everything? Video camera? (is it charged?), extra disks? history and analysis of Aidan's swim times? Goal sheet? Does HE have everything? Towels, goggles, cap, food, drink, nintendo, ATTITUDE???

Head to Frisco, sit in noisy, uncomfortable aquatic center for 5 hours. I'll let you know how Aidan did later, remember, for now, it's all about me.

Dinner, home by 7. Asleep on the couch by 7:15.

Sunday. Up at 5am. Wake The Girl. Feed her - chocolate chip pancakes at 5am because I am The Best Mom in the World. Braid her hair. Be thankful this show doesn't require that we braid the horse's hair as well. Load up tack, cooler w/ snacks, drinks. Camera (is it charged? Do I have extra disks?), helmet, knee straps, hair ribbons, show shirt, show coat, crop, horse treats, blah blah blah blah. You get the picture.

Head to the barn. Play Find The Pony In The Dark. Stand him in front of the headlights of the truck so Mary (trainer) can wrap and pad his legs so he doesn't injure himself on the trip to the show. Feed the Angry Pony copious treats as breakfast hasn't yet been served. Load him up, drive to the show.

Unload the pony. Run around the 50 acre facility between trailer, stall, arena, parking lot, office managing grooming, registration, tacking, equipment movement. I'm hungry. I fed The Girl. I fed the Angry Pony. I never fed me.

Show is about to start. I don't know who is more nervous - The Girl, the Angry Pony or the wilting mama. The Fan Club arrives: Lori, Carolyn, Elle, Lisa, Gillian, Kirsten, Stacey, Kayla, and best of all Daddy.

All in all, it takes about 90 minutes for Bridget to have all her turns. More on that later, as this is still all about ME. The temperature is rising. Run around the facility more dealing with the Hot Angry Pony, haul tack back to truck, etc. Finally I get to sit and watch a friend's daugter show. When she is done, it's time to haul the Tired Pony back to his home. I know I'm missing a teaching opportunity, but I elect to leave Bridget at the show to cheer on her friends while I manage the horse chores. It's quicker that way and I am on a Schedule.

Take pony back to the barn. Bathe him (he's cleaner than I am at this point), disperse all the pads, bridles, girths, etc. to the various places we've pilfered them at 6am. Make sure the Hungry Angry Rude Pony finally gets his breakfast.

Head back to the show. Pawn my daughter off on an unsuspecting mommy for the remainder of the day so I don't have to tear her away from the horses and drag her to the swim meet.

Head home. Unpack the cooler, transfer video camera from Horse Bag to the Swim Bag (is it charged? Do I have extra disks?) See if Aidan has towels, goggles, etc. Load up the car. Remember to move folding chairs from truck to sedan.

Drive to Frisco. Again. Sit in hot uncomfortable aquatic center. Again. Drive home.

Enter house with 48 hours worth of dishes, horse show crap, swim meet crap, and life crap strewn about.



Friday, July 18, 2008

Somebody Stop Me Please!

Now I have the bug. Those mustang grapes keep ripening on the vine and I just HATE to see them go to waste! I feel as if I must pick, can & preserve them ALL!

Sick, I know.

Monday, July 14, 2008


Look what I did!

It all started when I noticed something growing wild by the side of the road. Hard and green, very small bunches. Gooseberries? Maybe. Who knows, I'm the last person to recognize flora and fauna.

Asked a gentleman whose lived on this road for 20+ years and he said they are wild mustang grapes and they make wonderful jelly, he had his mother's recipe he'd be happy to share.

I still don't really know what possessed me. Maybe it's the whole idea of locavorism. This is as "local" as it gets. So, why not give it a try. Who cares that I know nothing about canning and preserving.

We got lucky. The night I'd designated as "grape picking night" featured a thunderstorm that knocked the temperature down a good 20 degrees. All four of us went and my friend Lori came along too, just for giggles.

We picked several pounds of grapes and didn't put a dent in the supply at all. Left plenty for the birds. Lori and I drank some wine while Bridget and I pulled all the grapes off their stems.

Next day, I put them all in a pot of water and boiled them. They produce a crisp, sour juice of the most amazing clear magenta. Lovely!

I wound up with a couple of gallons of juice. Didn't think I'd get that much, had to go buy more mason jars and several more pounds of sugar.

It was a bit of trial and error. Don't ever let anyone tell you canning is an "exact" science because there is no accurate way of measuring any particular fruit's levels of sugar or natural pectin at any point during their ripening process.

I canned in waves and it took a couple of days, given the amount of juice I had. You need one big pot for sterilizing jars, one big pot for boiling the juice, sugar and pectin, and another big pot w/ a rack of some sort to "process" the jars once the product is sealed inside. This is what makes them bacteria-free and able to be stored without refrigeration for long periods of time.

That is a good thing, as I've now got twenty one pints of grape jelly. Sandwiches, anyone?

I did hold back some grape syrup from one of my experiemental batches. It was delicious on pancakes and even better added to a gin and tonic!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Bridget's Rock and Roll Kitchen

As I've said before, Bridget is a real foodie.

Bridget and her friend Ashleigh made brownies the other day and recorded it.

It was TOO CUTE. They planned every take, scripted it, wrote their lines on a white board set next to the camera, etc. She may have a future as the Next Food Network Star!

There is a "blooper reel" at the end that is pretty funny. Enjoy!

What'd ya think? Leave comments for Bridget to read!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

All is Right with the World

My universe is back in alignment. Aidan returned from Boy Scout Camp yesterday. Feels good to have him back under my roof.

He's got quite a few bumps and bruises, poison oak and chigger bites, complaints about the food. All in all, he had a great time!

He and Ray are working on building a fold out table for the clubhouse - the photo is Aidan learning to use the drill press.