Pass the Ketchup Please

Because my blog is in dire need of some catch-up. (Get it, ketchup/catch-up? Who's corny, is it me?) (I don't understand spelling ketchup like catsup, that just makes me think of cats and I don't want cat hair in my ketchup, you know?)

Since things are in such dire straits around here (Who hearts the 80s?) I shall resort to my favorite random blogging tool, the list.

1.) Annelise had to make a poster for Social Studies and I tried really, really hard to let her make it 100% her own, only making occasional lay-out and content suggestions (and repeating them somewhat forcefully).
2.) Don't you love the dead plant in the corner? Our porch needs some serious TLC and attention because nothing says welcome like dead leaves, dead bugs and weeds.

3.) Something went missing around here last week and someone was quite excited about it.
4.) Now her smile is so gapey and adorable, but different and older too and I still find myself staring at her while plotting how exactly I can stop my little girl from growing up any more.

5.) Last Wednesday Annelise's class had their End of the Year Party and spent the morning playing at the park.
6.) The good news is: it was overcast, there were plenty of breezes and no one melted (namely me).

7.) After the park, we went roller skating which was loads of fun for those that could skate. As it turns out not all first graders can skate.

What is up with that?

Two hours is really, really just this side of eternity when you can't roller skate (or at least not for longish spurts) and the bouncy play area is under renovation.

But Annelise and approximately three or four other kids had a BLAST.
8.) See? Who is this girl holding that cupcake? It can't be Annelise, she looks too old, like at least second grader old.

9.) Since Friday was her last day of school (YAY!!), I guess Annelise is a second grader now.
10.) I had to bake oodles of cookies for an event last week so I took the easy way out and made cheater cookies thanks to a mini muffin tin, store bought cookie dough and mini Reese's. I hoped I would be so sick of unwrapping those mini Reese's I wouldn't be tempted by any remaining cups of chocolate and peanut butter heaven.


11.) Scott had a bit of surgery on his neck Friday. I guess I can say "bit of surgery" since it wasn't me under the knife, but it was kind of a big deal for him.
12.) His surgeon has also operated on former President Bush (41) and Barbara so Scott felt like he was in really good hands.

13.) It was an out-patient procedure (even though we were there all day anyway) to clean up the area around two compressed cervical disks that had been causing him loads of pain (off and on) and numbness over the past two years or so. Fingers crossed this did the trick!

14.) Scott had been feeling pretty well even right after waking up from surgery and had no side effects from the drugs. Everything was easy breezy Cover Girl until we were about five minutes from home (but still on the freeway) and, well...you know...he went all Linda Blair.


Poor guy. Poor me. Poor car.

I guess it was delayed effects from all the drugs (general anesthesia and pain meds) and/or motion sickness.

Again, ew.

15.) Over the course of his weekend jump-start recovery (while Annelise stayed with Pappo & Grandma and swam herself silly) we watched two movies from Netflix, The Fighter (um, hello Mark Wahlberg, but also coarse language) and The Tourist (I'm still on the fence about Johnny Depp) along with the delightful 7-part series Downton Abbey (LOVED it) We also caught up on our DVR'd Friday Night Lights (Eric Taylor, I love you) and Modern Family.

16.) Annelise celebrated the end of first grade with her Sunday school class after church Sunday with a hot dog and ice cream sundae party hosted by her AMAZING teachers. It was a lot of fun!

17.) Today Scott went back to work with the goal of trying to make it all day. He decided to bring his blue travel pillow for his office chair and test it out in the car.
18.) He can't drive for two weeks so Annelise and I will be his taxi service.

19.) Today is also his birthday (more on that to come).
20.) Okay, don't freak out or anything, but I've started running again. That is, if following a 2:1 run:walk interval for threeish miles yesterday morning and again this morning counts.

I guess that's it.

The blog is officially caught up.

Or maybe I should say ketched up?



Oh, I'll Be the One In Pink Gingham Spandex. With Fringe.

Well friends, we had a rather eventful weekend.

Not the least of which involved Annelise and I dancing together, on stage, in front of oodles of people during her dance recital Saturday afternoon.

And, by the way, did I mention I had to wear a pink gingham & denim spandex ensemble, complete with fringe and a cowboy hat?

Um, yeah.
But the good news is, after much practice (including extra practice sessions at the studio, video recording following by repetitive viewing and hours of tap dancing in our kitchen) I felt more comfortable with the dance and I didn't totally blank out or fall down while on stage.

So that's good.

It was also good that we danced early (like #3) in Act I so we got our two minutes on stage out of the way, so I could relax and enjoy the rest of the show. I was a bundle of nerves, even to the point of having lots of weird anxiety dreams up until the night before and having to make a pit stop on the drive down to Galveston at a McDonald's (and no, I'm sure I didn't stand out at all in my tap shoes and stretchy pants among all the shorts and swimsuits).

Because I know I'm among friends here I'll go ahead and share the video. If y'all are having a dreary Monday maybe this will brighten your day by knowing at least it wasn't you wearing pink gingham and fringe in public.

At the beginning Annelise and I are on the right side, and yes, that is Annelise darting out on stage after the music starts. Why? Well it seems she suddenly became scared and/or unsure of what to do once the lights went out, instead of following the girls in front of her to get in her place on stage I hear "Mom?...Mom?...Where are you?" and see her still standing backstage right before the music started, which wasn't exactly starting things off on the right foot, er...tap shoe. I whispered as threateningly as I could manage to go get in her spot, and then the music started and it was on with the show. So, um...yeah, I started off a bit flustered but tried to soldier on. After the circle Annelise and I are in the far left corner and finish the dance on that side.

Aren't those costumes something else?

I know y'all are jealous.


Dontcha love my jiggly back fat?

(And yes, my jiggly back fat and I enjoyed that ice cream cone after the show.)

Here's Annelise's jazz dance, she's on the far left.

This year they performed the play Peter Pan during Act II and Annelise was a mermaid. This time she's on the far right.
After listening to me whine and complain for months about trying to learn the dance and having to wear that ridunkulous costume and threaten to never do Mother/Daughter Tap again, Scott and Annelise were quite surprised to hear me announce on the way home that I might just give it another shot next year.

What in the world has come over me?


5...4...3...2...1 We Have Lift-Off of Space Shuttle Endeavor

Y'all may remember that two and a half-ish weeks ago my people and I went to see the last launch of the space shuttle Endeavor. Unfortunately, just as our bus was through the gates at Kennedy Space Center and was on its way to the causeway viewing location we got the sad news that the launch had been scrubbed (which is NASA speak for cancelled). We were crushed but took solace in the fact that at least we got to see the shuttle sitting on the launch pad (we were trying to be glass half full people).
When we first heard the launch had been rescheduled for Monday, May 16 we thought no way Jose were we schelpping ourselves back to Florida. Or at least Annelise and I weren't, Scott was considering road tripping with some of his coworkers.

But then we got the good news that we would be bumped up to the VIP bus and be able to view the launch from a much closer location, near the VAB (more NASA speak for Vehicle Assembly Building) and the Saturn V center.
(The VAB where the shuttle is put together before each launch)

How could we not go?

So after many, many mind-numbing miles on the road, a hotel stay or two and getting up at 2:45 A to the M so we could make it out to the Cape (it's so fun to say "out to the Cape" like we're Major Nelson and Jeannie) by 5:00(ish) to get on the VIP bus (it's kind of fun to say VIP bus too), and drive out to KSC.

Where lots and lots of other buses had the same idea.
And so did lots and lots of other people.
There were two other sections of bleachers behind me as well, so there were oodles of people milling around and jockeying for bleacher seats. It almost felt like a sporting event, especially since there were concession stands and souvenirs for sale, except instead of keeping our eyes on the ball, we were all watching this...
From this area our view was from the back side of the launch pad (which was a tad bit disappointing to me--at least at first). Here's a closer look with my lens zoomed in:
You can (maybe) see the shuttle and the rocket boosters perched between those two tower thingies (and no, that's not NASA speak for anything).

We had some time to kill so I amused myself by taking pictures and Scott and Annelise soon went to peruse the gift shop inside the Saturn V center.
We had to get our photo taken in front of the countdown clock:

(That lady seemed to be quite comfy sitting there, on the clock (!!) and didn't budge.)
Not too long before lift-off (don't you like my preciseness with the details?) we all stood for the National Anthem and then
listened to a few NASA big-wigs address the crowd which was quite uplifting (no pun intended).
Then I amused myself some more by taking more photos and fiddling with my camera settings so I would, you know, be all prepared at the crucial moment of blast-off.
One of Annelise's classmates was there too with her family, so they were thrilled to see each other (even though they'd just seen each other Friday).
Annelise amused herself by playing her Nintendo DS from behind her jacket since there was a pesky glare from all the sun reflecting off the water in front of the space shuttle. The nerve.
And by making numerous trips to the water station because water is much more fun when available in paper cones.
Then all of a sudden after what seemed like endless waiting everything started to happen very fast. The countdown clock was rapidly decreasing and the excitement of the crowd rapidly increasing.
I had the surreal out of body-ish feeling of "I can't believe I'm really standing right here watching this and the space shuttle is really about to ignite and fly up, up and away" along with a hearty helping of American pride and good old fashioned awe and emotion.

We then heard the final few seconds counted down and then something along the lines of, "...and we have lift-off of Endeavor" announced and then saw this...
followed by this...
and then this...
and also this...(which was about the time I realized I needed to zoom my lens in. Um... DUH, who was prepared for this very moment in history? Obviously not me.)
And just like that Endeavor disappeared through the clouds (the clouds rolled in right before launch, bummer).
It's hard to explain but not only do you see the launch, you also hear it and feel it. Even though we were about three miles away from the launch pad we felt waves of sound washing over us in rumbly bursts (like a cross somewhere between a sonic boom and a million fireworks, there I go being all technical again).

And just like that it was over. Well at least for the spectators. The shuttle crew and Mission Control at NASA/JSC were just getting started.
On our way back to the bus Annelise sweet talked an astronaut into posing for a picture with her. (Okay, maybe I put her up to it.)

Which was a very cool ending to a very, very cool morning.


Five for Friday

1.) Guess who went on a field trip to Space Center Houston yesterday? Was it Annelise? And was I one of the driver/chaperones? And was it really fun but still kind of the longest day ever?

2.) "You know, I have to tell you, your daughter doesn't look like you. Do you hear that a lot?"

Yes, that very phrase was said to me yesterday by the mom riding with me in my car (!!!) and basically spending all day in my vicinity.

Yes, I managed to keep it together and not go all kinds of crazy on her. Imagine me just shaking my head a bit to try and comprehend such a rude statement and then just smiling and doing my weak laughter thing followed by a murmured hmmm and then trailing off (which is effective but not as satisfying as pulling hair). I decided not to explain the whole WHY she doesn't look like me because I did not feel she deserved an explanation.


3.) Have I told you I hate having to pack a sack lunch for myself?

I really think at 42 I am past a sack lunch.

So I compromised and took California rolls and a sliced pear.
4.) On a slightly gross note, I completed my saliva test this morning and sent it off on its merry way. I'm quite curious to find out the results (which will hopefully be soon).

5.) Who just got back from Florida barely two weeks ago and was heartbroken they missed seeing the shuttle launch? Was it us? And who found out they got bumped up to VIP status and will get to view the upcoming launch Monday morning at a much closer location and possibly rub shoulders with the astronauts' families and various other space-y bigwigs? Who's about to spend a jillion hours in the car again driving to Florida and back? Who has kind of lost their respective minds?

Could it be us?


Happy weekend, my friends. I'll catch y'all on the flip side.

(Who is a dork? Is it me? Yep.)



My morning was replete with awkward moments, on several levels and I just can't stop myself from sharing them with you.

Since there will most likely be layoffs in our not so distant future I finally decided to be a grown-up and make my necessary doctor appointments while we still have insurance. So I sucked up my denial and avoidance and scheduled to have my lady parts checked out, you know, like you're supposed to do every year.

Except (and please don't throw anything at me) I hadn't done that since somewhere around 2004.

I know.

In all honesty after all of our fertility *stuff* I made the executive decision to take a break from all of that and then just put it off longer and longer. Plus I needed to find a new doctor since my old one had the bedside manner of a chair and made me cry (although that might have been the hormones).


The first awkward moment came when I found myself driving to the same medical building where my car almost drove itself on auto-pilot to seven years ago. I even choked back a few tears as I parked my car. What in the world? It was just a parking lot, just an elevator, just an office but I was feeling highly emotional about the whole process anyway.

The next awkward moment was when I met the doctor, for a little get to know you pow-wow before the actual exam. She was very nice, very friendly, quite professional and didn't rush me, so all of that was good. But I could never quite make eye contact with her, literally. She must have some ocular condition or it's a side effect of something, but for some reason her eyes tracked to the side. I wish I could have asked (I worried it might be rude) or since it was my first time to meet her I wish she would have just explained what was up with her eyes. I tried not to stare but it's only natural to try to make eye contact. I wasn't sure if I should look at one eye in particular, look at both, look off to the side or just ignore it and look at the top of her head, which is of course what I did. But it drove me batty. BAT-tt-Y.

And really, the whole lady parts exam is just plain awkward in an of itself.

After all my parts were checked, another brief pow-wow (chipper, friendly, but still no eye contact) and six vials of blood drawn I was sent on my way to the front to get my boomzoom smusher (you know, a mammy) referral (yep, I'm doing it all) where I recognized a PG someone in the waiting room.

A former student of mine from my first year of teaching fourth grade.


But I said hello and did the vague chit-chat thing and somehow resisted the urge to pat her on the head and ask if this was her first baby.

I felt old.

On the way home I stopped by the pharmacy to get this*:
Guess what I'll be doing? I think it involves lots of spitting. Won't that be fun?

And not awkward at all.

*Along with having blood work done to check my hormones and thyroid I have to do this saliva test because apparently it's even more effective to analyze certain hormone levels. Who knew?

Any awkward moments lately? Do tell.


At the Beach

After the first leg of Road Trip 2011 we pulled into the sleepy beach town of Destin, Florida, staying at this condo located directly across from Miramar Beach. We called the middle condo on the third floor home for four perfect days of lazy beach living. This was the view that greeted us each morning:
Just a hop, skip and a jump across the road and our little feetsies were able to strut through the sugary soft white sands and then dip into the cool splashing waves.
To say it was perfection is an understatement.
If Heaven has beaches then they probably look and feel like the ones found around Destin, I'm pretty sure.

Our days mainly consisted of sleeping late, eating breakfast, donning our swimsuits, restocking the tote bag with snacks (pretzels, Pringles, grapes, etc.), grabbing our towels, chairs and sand toys and crossing the street into paradise. I was beside myself with glee, can you tell?
Annelise was too of course.
Especially once she got the hang of her boogie board.
We hardly saw her, except for when she needed a snack or I forced a sunscreen re-apply upon her (oh the torture!).
Or when she felt the need to take a little break (which actually only occurred once or twice).
While she boogied, we passed the time dipping into the surf occasionally, snacking, lounging and reading.
Sand, sun, surf, snacks and BOOKS. Does it get any better? I think not.
We also built a few sand castles.
Annelise, little miss social butterfly, made new friends each day and loved boogie-ing and playing in the sand with them. One afternoon they had quite the project going of digging a huge hole and then trying to fill it up with water (oddly though they never got discouraged by the futility of their efforts).
(Annelise and Maddy)
In the late afternoons, after showers, de-sanding and de-algaeing (it was rather pesky) we lazed around on the balcony reading, chatting and of course people watching.
One thing I regret was not renting bikes when we first got there (kicks self), that would have been fun. We didn't look into it until our last day and decided not to do it that late in our trip.

I wish there was something exciting to report about the beach leg Road Trip 2011, but there really isn't. We ate, we played, we read, we slept.

So I suppose we perfected the art of laziness.

And it was wonderful.
All too soon though it was time to say goodbye to the beach (SOB!)
...until next time.

Coming up: What would a road trip to Florida be without a mouse, a day with Harry or a shuttle launch? Stay tuned...
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