Archive | January, 2010

Ice Ice, Baby

29 Jan

My Mother-In-Law just e-mailed some pictures of their backyard to me.  They’re one of the lucky states that is enjoying the winter storm that is sweeping across the country:

I like the way my Father-In-Law described the scene:

“The ‘big tree’ in the back has about a ¼-inch covering of ice and now there’s just good old snow coming down. A couple of close-ups of the little branches look like James Cameron Alien-fingers. Kinda cool.”

Oh, it’s more than cool, it’s awesome(Unless you need to drive somewhere.)

Although, I’m not sure that Zoe, their Shiba Inu, thinks the same. 

And to think, we missed this by just a few weeks.  Darn.  *wink*

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Childhood Cemetary

28 Jan

Across the road from my grandmother’s house lies a large field that is usually planted with either corn, cotton or peanuts.  I spent the majority of my childhood playing in this field with my sister and cousins.  It was prime real estate for play during the summer months when the crops were tall and full.  We would run about it for hours, despite having our legs scratched up from the stalks and stems of the crops.  It was a massive field, at least to a child of eight.  Perfect for a game of hide-and-go-seek or mock war, it was hard to leave when the sun went down. 

The most intriguing part of this field was found in the woods that surrounded it.  It took a good ten minutes to hike across the length of the field and through the brush to find the abandoned church and cemetary that was hiding just beyond the tree line.  Even in the daylight it was eery to get near.  The church was small with large holes in the roof and floor that had been partially sealed with cobwebs.  The webs crisscrossed over the roof and caught the sunlight as they passed down to the floor.  The webs were losing the battle against time.  Eventually the entire church would collapse…which made for an excellent session of truth and dare. 

 “I dare you to walk across the floor to the other side.”  “Make sure you don’t fall in the hole.”

Off to the side of the church was a modest sized cemetary.  The tombstones were worn with time and were barely discernable.  The engravings that were still intact were covered in moss that had to be wiped away to reveal the names and dates beneath.  To children growing up in the 90’s, seeing tombstones dating back to the early 1800’s was awe-inspiring.  We’d read about this time period in school, and had found tangible evidence of its existence.  Proof that the 1800’s had really happened; that people had lived, worshiped and died at the very place where we stood.  It wasn’t just something that people told stories of anymore. 

We continued to visit the cemetary up until I was in highschool.  By then it had lost its appeal.  Who would want to traipse through the woods when one could stay at home and watch the Discovery Channel?

Fast forward to today:  Recently my Father-in-Law has begun researching my family tree.  I’ve never given the topic much thought, but suddenly I find myself obsessed it.  This weekend I’m going to my grandmother’s house to have a look at the family Bible which my grandfather purchased when she was pregnant with my father and his sister.  Pregnant with twins and he goes out and buys a $75 bBible.  A hefty sum for such an item in the late 1950’s.  The Bible holds several generations of names and information for my father’s side of the family. 

While I’m there, I am going to hop across the road to see if I can find that old church and cemetary again.  Even though none of my relations are buried there, I don’t want those who have been laid to rest there to be forgotten. 

Hopefully next week I’ll have some pictures to share with you. 

Shoe Update:

The missing pair of shoes mysteriously showed up at my front door yesterday.  Hmm.  *stroking imaginary moustache*

Day Two, No Shoe

27 Jan

I’m glad to see that you have all tuned in for the exciting conclusion of the shoe debacle.  (Not as exciting as Bush’s shoe debacle, but just as frustrating.)

Day Two of no shoes dawned just like the first: no shoes, but plenty of blame to go around.  I was blaming UPS and UPS, in a round-about way, was blaming me.  Ah, UPS, your unfriendly operator may say that she believes me, but her sarcastic remarks and condescending tones says differently:

Yours Truly: “Hello?”

UPS: “Yes, you’ve reported’ that your have not received your order?”

Yours Truly: “That’s right.”  (I segway into a short story of what transpired the night before.)

UPS: “How odd considering the driver recorded that he gave the package to a young boy.”  “How do you explain that, ma’am?”

Yours Truly: “Well…”  (Again, I make it clear that at no point did anyone in my household see/talk to a UPS employee.)

UPS: “Hmmm…interesting.”  *tisk, tisk*

After a five-minute trail without jury, courtesy of the UPS customer service “lady,” I was set free with the promise of an investigation.  Gee, thanks…I think.

How did I go from being the victim to the suspect?  I can understand her distrust, though.  I get lied to by my customers as well:

 “Yes, I can’t pay my rent because my mother just died.”

“Um…last month you said she died this past Thanksgiving…so, she’s died twice?”

However, in this instance, I am most certainly telling the truth.

Thankfully, the company I ordered the shoes from was understanding and promptly overnighted a new pair for me…this time to my office.  And low and behold they have just arrived!  *Angels descending from above with trumpets*  They are glorious.

So stick that in your juice box and suck it, UPS.  (Please & Thank you.) 

Oh…and what do the shoes look like?

UPS and Daleks

26 Jan

Last night was an interesting night at our house.  It started with Jordan hooking up a microphone/webcam  to our main computer.  Since my sister lives so far away now, Jordan and I have decided to set up a Skype account.  That way we can see/talk to her when we want.  Sa-weet!  (Hey, Sis, did I tell you about that?  No? Well, won’t you be surprised!) 

Jordan needed to test it out first to make sure that it was working properly before we used it in an real conversation.  I was thinking that the classic, “Test, test, 1,2,3..” bit would work nicely  It’s short, simple and to the point.  However, that just wouldn’t do, not for us, anyway.  We’re a bit different when it comes to certain things.  I wasn’t surprised, then, when I heard what sounded like an angry Dalek shouting from behind Jordan’s office door.  (Don’t know what a Dalek is?  Well, read up and weep over the fact that you’ve missed out on so much.) 

What I found was Fisher standing over the new microphone, doing his best Dalek impression:  “Exterminate!”  “Capture the Doctor!”  Jordan would then take the audio tracks and tweak them so that Fisher’s voice would sound like that of a Dalek….well, a young Dalek….that giggled a lot.  It was adorable.  There they both sat, have the time of their lives taking turns to talk like Daleks. 

Ahh, my nerds…they make me so happy.

With the sound of a Dalek invasion filling the house, Jaden and I headed to the library to work on her homework.  She was having some trouble with her math homework and I was happy to leave the boys to themselves so that they could conquer the universe without distraction.  I was also waiting for a package to be delivered by UPS and wanted to be near the front door when it arrived. 

An hour went by before I heard UPS knocking at my front door.  I was rockin’ some flannel-polka dot PJ’s, but  figured that UPS might not feel the same way.  So I waited a few minutes and then tip-toed out on the front porch to claim my prize.  What I was hoping would be a quick and discrete trip outside, turned into a 30 minute scavenger hunt in the cold.  *siiiigh*  The package was no where to be found.

According to the e-mail that I received from UPS, it was delivered to “CUST/BOY.”  Customer boy, perhaps?  Psh, please.  Why must you lie, UPS?  So now I get to battle UPS for what I am sure will be a month.  Nothing like a he-said/she-said with a major corporation to relax you at the end of the day. 

All I wanted was happy feet. 

In other news, I just witness the most spectacular mullet:  Super short  in the front, down to her knees in the back and ruby-red all over.  Nothing like a bad dye job to accentuate the awesomeness of a mullet.

In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue…

25 Jan

It’s that time again.  Time for yours truly to set out on another adventure.  An adventure to expand my knowledge of the world around me.  (My, that sounds like a bad intro. from a teacher on the first day of school.)

Do you do that?  Wake up one morning and, out of the blue, decide to do something new?  “Ahh, I think I’ll learn how to use a pogo stick today.”  (Okay, maybe not something quite like that, but you get the picture.)  It’s that realization that you’ve got a limited amount of time on earth and that you want to make the most of it. 

This time I’ve decided to re-read the Constitution and try my best to understand it.  Sound exciting?  Not really, but it certainly sounds prestigious.  *laugh*  It’s been 7-ish years since I was in highschool and, as you can imagine, I remember little of the Constitution or of the Declaration of Independence for that matter.  (*gasp*  The horror!)  Yes, I know.  I’m not proud to admit it, but I plan to rectify the situation soon. 

How did all of this come about?  Blame it on the current state of our country.  (Geez, I sound like one of those 24/Hour news channels.)  I couldn’t help but wonder if this is what the colonist had dreamed of when they first became independent states?  Didn’t they break free to be on their own because Parliament had become too involved?

I most certainly do not want to start a political discussion here.  Believe me, I am not qualified.  (I hate to say.)  What I’m interested in is how we came to be an independent nation;  How America got started and what the long-term outlook was when the states were first established.

Thus, last night I busted out a book on the Constitution and started reading.  It was not a dreadful as I thought it would be.  I actually quite enjoyed it.  I found myself wishing that I’d had this level of enthusiasm in High School.  However, I didn’t get far.  I kept coming across historical events and documents that I had long ago learned about but had also forgotten.  The Federalist Papers, Common Sense by Thomas Paine…I’d forgotten everything!  (Yes, that really is a tragedy.)

So, I decided to put The Constitution aside for the time being and go all the way back to the beginning:

That’s right, Christopher Columbus.  Check out that handsome mug.  Ooo, he looks absolutely thrilled at the prospect of sailing the ocean blue.  I don’t plan to focus on him for long, but I want to get the full picture of how America came about.    

I’m hoping that by the time I get to the end of my historical foray I’ll have a better understanding of  America, of what it was intended to be and what it has become today.

This definitely tops my last spontaneous endeavor: crocheting.

Trickamastick

22 Jan

You can imagine that after the drive out to Oklahoma/Texas last week and the trip to the water park that we would be exhausted.  We were.  However, that didn’t stop us from doing some shopping before slowing down to relax. 

After checking out of Great Wolf Lodge, (so sad to see it go), we hit up some of the best stores in Dallas for an afternoon of shopping.  The guys of the group requested a trip to Fry’s Electronics.  (Evidentially Fry’s is liken unto the holy grail.)  Next, we  stopped by the mall to let the ladies of the group pick up a few things and for the kids to ride the carousel. 

We ended our shopping spree at Toys-R-Us.  The kids had received gift cards from Jordan’s parents and were dying to use them.  Fisher was predictable and got a new train set.  Jaden, however, was not predictable.  Barbie?  No.  Polly Pocket?  No.  Giant, remote-controlled tarantula?  Yes!  It’s what every little girl wants.

We arrived back in Oklahoma late that evening and collapsed into bed.  We spent the rest of our time with the family relaxing and playing  games.  The game play was one of the more entertaining events of the trip.  Entertaining not only because the games were good, but because they were designed for small children and were being played by adults.  Hold a cake between your elbows and slide under a stick?  No problem. 

We woke up Sunday morning, the eve of our return to the south, and continued the relaxing activities of the day before.  The kids played with Aunt Amy and Josh, both who seemed to have endless patience.  The adults lounged around until the afternoon when we all headed to the theater.  Norman, OK is home to the most amazing move theater that I’ve ever seen.  (I’m sure there are more amazing theaters out there, but this one surely beats out most.)  Though I’d been there several times before, going with the children was like going for the first time.  I think watching the kids react to the theater was better than watching the movie.  The theater oozes class and comes complete with an old-fashioned, red-velvet curtain that slowly ascends as the movie starts.  The kids loved it. 

We returned home this past Monday, leaving at 5AM Central Time and arriving at 11:35PM Eastern Standard Time.  Whew.  It was a looong drive home:

Especially with two dogs in the car. 

Great Wolf Lodge

21 Jan

During our visit with Jordan’s family, we were treated to a visit to Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine, TX, courtesy of Jordan’s grandmother.  It is quite possibly the most amazing place that I have ever been.  It is basically a resort with an indoor water park, kid’s spa and a variety of other child-friendly activities.  (Awesome, right?) 

We drove down to Grapevine last Thursday morning.  It was cold…very cold.  Which is why it was so exhilarating to be changing into swimsuits as soon as we were checked in.  Though it was a long, chilly walk from our room to the water park, it was nice and toasty once we stepped from the hotel area into the water park.

I’m not sure of the square footage of the park, but it was massive.  There was a children’s area, a fort (see left), a wave pool, multiple slides and several other areas that were just plain awesome.  We started off in the children’s area which was dotted with multiple spray guns and buckets, ready to soak an unsuspecting parent at a moment’s notice. 

Then we moved on to the main event: Fort Mackenzie.  It was a four-story interactive treehouse water fort.  (Fun to read and say)  You couldn’t go more than two steps without being sprayed with water.  The coupe de grace came in the form of the enormous bucket that sat atop the fort.  Every few minutes a bell would sound and passersby would get pummeled by a 1,000 gallons of water that would be dumped out of the bucket.  It was crazy-fun. 

The other highlight of the park came in the form of the slides.  There were your classic water park slides.  The kind that you had to climb five flights of stairs to get to the top so you could be shoved into an enclosed tube to scream your heart out in enjoyment on the way down.  Seriously fun. 

However, one slide in particular was different from any water slide I’ve seen before.  Halfway down the slide you were spit out into what appeared to be a giant toilet bowl.  Around and around you went until you eventually emptied out the bottom of it.  Oh-my-gosh.  Who doesn’t want to get flushed?!

By the time we returned to our room that night it was dark and we were exhausted.  However, we didn’t complain.  We had just experienced one of the most memorable days of our lives. 

Thank you, Mawmaw.

In other news: Fisher sneezed last night and out popped his front tooth.  (We didn’t even know it was loose)  *wink*