Sunday, August 16, 2009

Burn baby burn. Vacation inferno.

Oh hi. I'm back from my vacation to the pits of hell. Er, I mean Palo Duro Canyon. Same difference. Pardon me if I'm in a salty mood. I have to work tomorrow. Boooooooooo.

So yeah, it was hot. Hotter than hell. Hot hot hot. Ole ole, ole ole. Let's see how many stupid song references I can throw in here.

Palo Duro Canyon was beautiful, don't get me wrong. But we spent 10 hours in the car to arrive at a place where you had to get up at 6:00 am every morning (which, let's just be honest for a second, isn't my idea of a "vacation") just to be able to actually see anything cool in the canyon, because by 10:00 it was 110+ degrees. Every. Single. Day.

So as you might imagine a lot of our time was spent in the wonderful air-conditioned oasis-like coolness of the camper. Praise the Lord for AC. Because of this, rather than a bunch of beautiful scenic photos of the park to show you, I have a ton of videos of Sydney. Because that's what we did. Played with the kid and took naps and ate junk food (the napping and junk food are totally my idea of a vacation). So here you go..... scenes from my vacation.

In this first one, we see Sydney growing up just a little too fast and exploring my makeup bag.

This next one features me tickling her. I love the way she laughs, and at one point, she snorts. Which is always funny. You can also hear Tiff in the background looking for the fly swatter. Here's another downside to Palo Duro - flies EVERYWHERE.

And my personal favorite, us quizzing Sydney on what certain animals/people "say". We asked her this no fewer than 20 times and it never got old.

And ok, I admit that we did get up early a few mornings and go hiking.

And the canyon was lovely.

And I took some pictures.

Of things other than Sydney, I mean. Such as The Cowboy's back covered in flies.

I told you it was bad.

As I said, it's back to school for me tomorrow. Summer was fun, but I'm looking forward to getting back into a routine and seeing my kids again. Hope you all had a great summer too! (although it's hard to imagine that summer is "over" when it's still 100 degrees outside every day....oh, Michigan falls, how I miss you)

Friday, August 7, 2009

Awkward Friend

This is my friend Charlene.

She's from New Jersey. Need I say more?

Yes? Ok. She calls a purse a pocketbook. She says soda instead of pop (which isn't that weird to me anymore since I live in Texas) and rolls instead of buns. It's not a sucker, it's a lolly. Right, Charlene? And she loves Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi.

Charlene is a fan of wearing very colorful outfits and coordinates all her accessories, shoes, jewelry and handbags with these outfits. My favorite of hers is the "ocean" motif jumper. I wish I had a picture to show you.

Charlene always skips to the last page of a book and reads it before she finishes the book. It drives me crazy. You can't suggest a good book to her, she will just ruin it.

Some of you might remember Charlene from this blog post. Pebbles and Bam Bam are still alive and well, in case you were all wondering.

Charlene is married to Jim Erickson (not just "Jim", no, you have to include the Erickson) and they have 2 children: Matthew and Catherine.

If you have never visited the website Awkward Family Photos, I highly recommend you do. Hours upon hours of laughs. Charlene discovered this little gem of a website through my blog a few weeks back. That is what this blog is all about, people. Bringing you to the lolz. Well not really. I still haven't decided what this blog is all about, but hey, if I can make one person laugh then I'll keep writing, and if I can't make one person laugh then at least I can lead them to AFP and they will make them laugh.

Anyhoo, Charlene is no stranger to awkward photos of her family. So after visiting the website and laughing unendingly, she decided to submit some photos for consideration. After a few days of checking the website frequently searching for her pictures, she received an e-mail from AFP asking her if they could include 2 of her pictures in a book they are compiling. Charlene's response? "HELL YES!" She says her children are going to kill her, but she doesn't care. She's going to be a celebrity. Ok that's a stretch. But still, this is very exciting.

Here now are the 2 pictures.

Matthew, Charlene, Jim Erickson and Catherine pose together after one of Catherine's ballet recitals. Matthew is going through the "change" and becoming a man-child. He hasn't smiled in a family picture since 2007. You can't pay that kid to smile.

Here are Matthew and Catherine after the nativity play at their church this past Christmas. Is that a hint of a smile I see, Matthew? Or are you grimacing thinking about the fact that your mother is in your face taking a picture of you in what is clearly a bathrobe and is going to not only show this picture to your future girlfriends, but also send it in to a website to be published in a book for all the world to see? I can't say I blame you, friend.

Also, who knew that the shepherds wore bathrobes? And hung out with little old Russian ladies? I need to read that bible more often.

Congrats to Charlene, Jim Erickson, Matthew and Catherine on their recent publishing success! I have no idea when the book comes out, but I can't wait!

**Edited to Add** Charlene just informed me that she is not from New Jersey. She is from Philly. Tomato, tomahto.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Double D

This blog is not about breasts. If you've seen the title and have come here looking for information or pictures pertaining to hooters, fun bags, jugs, golden bozos, or any of the like, I am sorry to disappoint you, but you've come to the wrong blog. AND the wrong lady.

Rather, this blog is about my trips this past week to the 2 D's. Dallas and Detroit. First let me just say that moving away from where you were born, raised and lived for 27 years and then going back and trying to cram in 27 years of friends, family and former co-worker visits in 4 and a half days is exhausting. I never got so little sleep in my life and if there's one thing we know about me, it's that I need my sleep. So if I didn't get to see you while I was there, or if I did see you, but not enough, I am sorry.

I have compiled a series of highlights, lowlights, and observations pertaining to my trips.

Started the vacation off my locking my keys in my car upon my arrival in Dallas. Along with my luggage. All. Locked. In. After using a few choice expletives, and Benny trying his hardest to break into my car with a coat hanger (I'm sure his neighbors loved that), I decided to sleep on it and call a Locksmith in the morning. The Locksmith comes, does the exact same thing I'd seen Benny doing the night before (only with an official looking un-bent coat hanger thingy) and within 60 seconds - POP. $50 later and I have my things and my keys. Great way to begin the vacation.

Got to see the Detroit Tigers kick the Texas Rangers' asses at Ranger Stadium with the cousins. 13-5 and it wasn't even that exciting. I like a little more action in my baseball games, but this at least somewhat made up for the Tigers losing so badly to the Astros when The Cowboy and I went down to Houston.

Me, Matthew and Ang.


Dallas is just about as hot as Austin. And the baseball game was outside. Hi, I'm Sweaty.

Ann Arbor is even more beautiful in the summer than I remember. Sadly, I don't have a picture to show you. But everything is even more green and wonderful than my memories showed. Austin is a pretty green area of Texas, but I truly had forgotten how verdant (big word alert) everything looks up there this time of year. Not to mention that it was barely 80 degrees every day and actually pleasant to be outdoors.


It got cold at night. Friday night we sat outside on my friend Lisa's patio and drank and laughed (and laughed, and laughed....oh, and laughed) and it got down into the 60's. I was ccccccccold. I could see my breath. It hasn't taken me long to acclimate to Texas weather.

Apparently, when I'm cold, I look like a thug.

At first I had trouble remembering what radio stations I used to listen to, so I did a scan and found a country station. Country stations up in Detroit are WAY different than the ones down here. They play almost completely different music. I heard a few songs that I may have heard down here, but on the whole, it was different stuff. Weird.


Got to eat at The Heidelberg, one of my favorite Ann Arbor restaurants, with some of my favorite people.

Me, Marcie, Lisa and Charlene (more blogs to come on these clowns SOON)

Lisa (and I, maybe) couldn't stop laughing and they almost kicked us out.

Oh wait, that wasn't a lowlight. It was another highlight. And they didn't really almost kick us out. We were the only people in there. We always are the only people in there. I don't know how that place stays open. I also don't know how they make such delicious pork chops.

Labatt's Blue Light and Bell's Oberon Ale both taste just as wonderful and delicious as I remember them tasting. I wasn't sure of that after the first one. Or the second. I needed to make absolute certain of it, so I drank quite a few.

Yep, still tasty.


I didn't absolutely love the Harry Potter movie*. I didn't hate it. It was ok. And I think if I watched it again I would enjoy it more the second time. But the problem is that I am a HP purist. And I'd just re-read the book, which is clearly a mistake and setting myself up for failure. I know they can't possibly include everything from the books in the movies, but I feel (since you asked) there are certain vital pieces of information which were just barely touched on or left out all together. There are going to be a lot of holes to fill in the beginning of the next movie. I'll shut up now, I'm even annoying myself with all this HP movie talk. Let's just say I was disappointed.

*(For those of you who don't know the friend from high school Sarah and I have seen every HP movie together since they came out. She flew down to Texas 2 years ago to see Order of the Phoenix, so it was my turn to fly up for Half Blood Prince. The movie came out 3 weeks ago, but Sarah and I waited not so patiently so we could see it together. A lot of hype. A lot of buildup.)

I got to spend lots of quality time with Sarah and her girls.

This is Cate. She will be 4 in a few weeks.

She had been practicing her "rope tricks" for weeks and was very excited to show me. I'm not sure what Sarah and her husband have told Cate about Texas, but I do know it involves rope tricks, horses and cowboys. Is this how all northerners (read: Yankees) see us?

Cate is very stylish.

This is Ellie, Cate's sister. We call her Elbow. She was 1 in April. I've seen some cute kids. I've featured them on my blog.

This kid? Takes the cute cake.

I can barely form sentences about how much I love her.

Sarah is a good mommy.


The apron I made for Sarah is my best work yet. Sarah loved it. She's requested one for Cate.


Lisa's precious and wonderful children, Maddie

and Abby (whose bed I slept in)

had head lice, unbeknownst to us at the time of my overnight visit. So Lisa had to call me and tell me and apologize for my potential exposure to the little bugs.

I don't think I actually got the lices, but just to be safe, Heather and I bought a kit and treated my hair anyway.

If you've never had to treat lice in your hair or someone else's - be thankful. It's a pain in the arse, and I didn't even have any bugs or eggs in my hair. If I had, I imagine it would have been worse. Heather and I made the most out of it, though, with some more help from Oberon and some good old fashioned trashy reality teevee.


Gavin is Heather's kid 100%. (or maybe 50%, I never was any good at maths and reproduction)

His buckets contained, at various points throughout the evening: blueberries, popcorn, chicken, fries and lettuce. I think we have a future "Monster" in the making.

And when those snacks weren't enough, he improvised.

Gavin's fashion sense leaves a lot to be desired, but at least he's comfortable.

Had lunch at Zingerman's, and I can't recall the last time I ate there. It had been years.


Needed to take out a small loan to afford my sandwich, and remembered why I didn't eat there very often even when I lived in Ann Arbor.


The #54, Wayne's Inheritance (not pictured), was just as delicious as it used to be, and (grudgingly) worth the $12.00.

I got to see most of my family while there.

I don't have any pictures of them.


I took this picture for My Lady, who would kill me if she knew that I didn't actually eat there, just stopped by long enough to get a picture. So the official story (if she ever asks) is that I ate there and it was delicious and the proprietor (who we call Lai Lai) is alive and well.

On the plane ride back to Dallas, the kid (11 or 12 years old) sitting directly behind me sneezed no fewer than 30 times. Loudly. And I'm not sure he covered his mouth once. He could have, I suppose. I wasn't about to turn around and look at him and risk getting sneezed on in the face. But every time I'd lean my head against the window and try to doze off.....AHHHHCHOOOOOO. And all I could think about was airborn germs and SARS and bacteria and getting sick. No rest for the weary on the plane.

I saw Eddie Montgomery, from the country duo Montgomery Gentry, at the airport. In fact, I'm pretty sure he was on my flight. But I for sure stood near him durring baggage claim, and also while we were waiting for our rides. My ride came in the form of Ang and Benny, his in the form of his monstrous tour bus with a sign that said "Eddie Montgomery" on the front, and "Montgomery Gentry" on the back.

He did not have on his big black hat or trench coat. In fact, he was dressed like a regular dude. He had on a backwards baseball cap, shorts and a t-shirt. He was just standing there with another guy (not Gentry) chatting and waiting for his bag. No bodyguards or entourage or anything. I guess he's not that high profile, and can still travel without being recognized.

I did not recognize him at first. It wasn't until I saw him get on the tour bus that I actually looked at him and thought it might be him, and not until I looked him up on the interwebs that I realized that it was, in fact, Eddie Montgomery. Otherwise you know I would have gotten my camera out and taken a picture. I have no shame.

In Summary...
It was a great trip, if a little short and rushed. Thanks to everyone who put me up, paid for a meal, drove me to or from the airport, and combed my hair for bugs.

The Cowboy and I are off on another vacation next week, this time to Palo Duro Canyon. It's my last week of summer vacation, and then it's back to work for me.