Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Will Lick You For Food

Charmin has an interesting obsession with her food. Once positioned over her bowl she will growl if Koko approaches the outer bounds of our galaxy. It’s rather annoying for us and it reached a new level last night. Charmin was guarding her dinner and Koko was in the kitchen grunting and talking to us. Took me a few minutes to realize it was because she didn’t want to leave the kitchen for fear of disturbing the queen. It’s funny, she expends so much energy trying to prove her dominance that she is exhausted and has to eat lying down.



Monday, November 24, 2008

Devil Duckies (Uncensored and Uncut)

Susanne isn’t telling the whole story behind the Devil Ducks. I don’t blame her. Its rather embarrassing. Frankly, if I had my way I wouldn’t let my children touch those things.

The fact is the Devil Ducks for the most part live on the top of our shower door. Emily gets her hands on them when she runs into the bathroom and BEGS to hold the Devil Ducks.

The truth is it all started out so innocently enough. Susanne getting one duck, then another.

These photos are a recreation of what happened. No Devil Ducks were harmed in the documenting of this event. Here they are living peacefully together on top of the shower:


Then one day I went to take a shower and noticed that two of the Devil Ducks were doing something completely unexpected. Innocent enough:


After that things went downhill and they went downhill fast.


Now if you are sensitive to graphic images, please, do not scroll down any further because these ducks are NASTY.


What I want to know is what kind of mother lets her daughter play with horny animals like these. It's repulsive and nasty.

Now if I could only find the video from the hidden cameras.

Devil Duckies

My coolest cousin-in-law ever bought me my first Devil Duckie for Festivas about five years ago. Since then, I have picked up two more. I love them. What’s NOT to love? I mean, they are BAD ASS.

Emily loves them too. What a horrible mommy I am though. She has a warped understanding of what ducks look like, and I half expect her to ask me where the duck’s horns are when we go to the pond with those extra bread crumbs.

She has started to enjoy pretend banter with her toys, and she wants me to play along. It generally requires speaking in the highest pitched voice you can manage. Tonight, she enlisted the aid of my devil duckies, and it sounded something like this:

Emily’s Devil Duckie: Hi!
My Devil Duckie: Hi!
Emily’s Devil Duckie: Hi!
My Devil Duckie: Hi!
Emily’s Devil Duckie: Hi!

Then when we sit and animate the ducks as they sing the ABCs and “Tinkle Tar” (Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star), I can’t help but wonder if these little guys heads are going to suddenly start spinning while they each projectile pea soup.


A Twig Full of Color

This tree started as a foot long twig three years ago. It was pushed into a tiny hole in the ground with little hope of it actually turning into something. Hell, we weren’t even sure what it was when we “planted” it. This year it absolutely shot up and is now taller than me. The leaves have turned a brilliant red and have still not fallen off. It adds a nice shot of color in our otherwise dreary, dog-trodden back yard. The dogs must not like the flavor of whatever kind of tree it is because some of the larger items in the yard have been chewed down to nubbins.


Friday, November 21, 2008

Is the Grass Greener?

Along with my way-too-early self-professed midlife crisis comes a huge question I can’t seem to answer to any degree of satisfaction. When you know you want something in your life, but to get it would take a tremendous amount of upheaval, turmoil, and possible failure, do you still go for it?

In my case, both Greg and I know that we want to live near the ocean. Having grown up in one desert in Texas and then moved to another in Nevada, this is something that I know from the very core of me that I want. I’m so over the sounds of rattle snakes and coyotes. I want crashing waves, and my little ocean sound machine ain’t cuttin’ it.

So here’s the question. I have a beautiful house, a wonderful family, phenomenal friends, and am surrounded by extended family in the area. Greg has a successful job where his input is valued. Life, for all intents and purposes, is great! But there’s that gnawing feeling that we only have one shot at this life. Do we wait until retirement to go where we feel that pull to be? Or do we take a shot at obtaining it earlier, knowing that failure is always a possibility? I don’t want to be one of those people that feels like the grass is always greener somewhere else, but when is not going for it settling? How does one conclude that now is not the time? What are we teaching our children by not going for it? What are we teaching them if we do?

These are just thoughts running around in my head. Even if we WANTED to make a big change, now is certainly not the time for it. I doubt we could even sell our house right now or get good jobs in a brand new city. A neighbor a couple of doors down is being transferred to another city, and they are going to simply walk away from their home. To them, I’d like to give them a certain middle finger, but they probably don’t feel like they have much choice in this economy. I don’t think TRYING could hurt them.

Certainly for now change is not in the foreseeable future. Having a dialog about it is healthy though. After all, without dreams, without aspirations, I’d be nowhere near where I am today. The desert I’m in now isn’t as hot and dry as the one I grew up in. That’s a step in the right direction.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Singular or Plural?

I’m starting to wonder if this blog should be renamed Married Geek. You know, singular. Hmmm…

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Could I BE Any More Out of Place?

Last night our local Borders was having a Twilight movie pre-release party. For anyone who has been doubling as a troglodyte for the last few years, Twilight is the first book in a vampire series written by the Mormon housewife, Stephenie Meyer. And it is brilliant. If you are interested in reading it, don’t make the same mistake I did when I tried hunting it down in the book store. You won’t find it in the fiction section. Nope. It’s in the kid's section. OK, OK, not exactly the kid’s section. You will find it in the “Young Adult” section of the book store.

Now I don’t want to give any spoilers for anyone reading it or who wants to read it, but I would like to say that it would be nice if someone would write the steamy stuff that was left out. I don’t know if it was left out because it was written with a “young adult” crowd in mind or because it was written by a Mormon housewife who believes sex is something that ONLY happens AFTER marriage, but please someone, let me know what happens between Edward and Bella in the sac. Really, I WANT to read it. Hmmm… maybe that is my calling. Write all the hot, steamy love scenes for all the Mormon housewife authors out there.

Anyway, I digress. I decided to go to the movie pre-release party at Borders. Even knowing that this incredible series was marketed toward “young adults” I shamelessly thought, I’m only my mid-thirties, I fall into that category, right? After going to this event, I painfully know the answer to that question. Yeah, it would be a resounding NO.

The place was packed with budding-sexuality teenage girls. You know who I’m talking about. The 12 to 16 crowd. I think they were staring at me and the friend I dragged along not because we were old but because they were wondering which of the kids in the crowd were ours. Yes, that’s right. I quickly calculated the average age of the crowd and realized much to my dismay that I was easily a whole drinking-age person older than the majority of the crowd. There were exceptions. You know, the moms who actually did bring their budding-sexuality children to the event. You know, because THEY COULDN’T DRIVE YET.

So, the event itself was entertaining. The young lady who ran it was really energetic and boisterous. We started with a cast-member approval rating, starting with Edward and ending with some of the more minor characters. The nubile audience said what they liked and what they didn’t like about each actor chosen for each role. You could FEEL the passion oozing from these young girls thoroughly in deep, head-over-heels in love with Edward, the main hottie in the book. Oh, wait, that’s a felony for me right? Wait, he’s actually over 100 years old, but trapped in a 17 year old’s body. That doesn’t make me jail material, does it?

The 90-minute event included a portion where the audience was asked to name the character who said a particular quote. I realized how far from profound this was when the quotes included things like, “I can do this, I lied to myself feebly. No one was going to bite me.” Don’t get me wrong, I DEVOURED all four novels in about three weeks, a record for me. It is a great story, but it is really light reading. You aren’t going to be questioning your mid-life crisis or the current economic state of our country while reading this book. Maybe that’s why I liked it so much.

During an intermission on this highly fascinating and soul-searching event, my glutton-for-punishment friend and I decided we’d stick it out until the end. Why? To try and win the free movie tickets of course. We decided this before we heard there was a charades portion of the event. Seriously. What was even more entertaining than the thought of this was actually watching the event itself. One young girl after another (oh, and one tween boy) walked up and pretty much did the same thing. They would stand there clueless and wait to get the help of the young lady that ran the event. It wasn't like watching a reenactment of Moses parting the Red Sea. It was more like trying to guess who at one point opened a door in the book or trying to guess which vampire had the biggest muscles.

Well, we didn't get the tickets in the end, nor did we get any of the smaller raffle prizes that included wax fangs and a vampire-in-a-box. Bummer. I'm still going to see the movie. I might do a matinee during the week in the hopes that most of those wanting to see the movie will be in school. Elementary or otherwise.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Greg has been digging through all of his old Australian Operation Raleigh slides and negatives, scanning them, and recreating this important part of his history. Or reliving his youth. Whichever. Anyway, in one of his boxes of negatives, there were two crystals. With some sort of honing device, our children were drawn to them. Sort of like the orphan Jen seeking the shard of the Dark Crystal. Or Gollum being mesmerized by the Ring. They thought they’d hit the mother load when these precious little gems were discovered.

This morning they were granted permission by the king of the stones, their Daddy, to play with them. Here they are in absolute awe of their innate powers:




Against my better judgement I let them bring their “diamonds” into the car with us on our way to a play date. Now Emily can’t find hers. I’ve hunted with a flash light in all the food and crumb infested crevices of the van. I’ve sent in Koko and Charmin in the hopes they had some inkling of hunter ability in them and could sniff it out. Yeah, no luck with them either. They didn’t even clean up the abundance of crumbs strewn throughout the van. Some dogs they are.

Emily is devastated. I can only hope that it will be found at some point in the near future. Who knows, maybe this is the inspiration for some children’s book that will incorporate the pure determination of Jen and the utter insanity of Gollum. Sounds like the makings of a winner, yes?

Reno Mapes Demolition

Deep from the archives I found a series of images that I took of the demolition of the Reno Mapes.  Taken handholding the camera I started shooting film prior to the detonation and ran out of film before the final brick hit the ground.

From Mapes

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Eight is Great

Today is my eighth wedding anniversary with Greg. And eight is great. Greg has more patience than I deserve. Oh sure, he has his quirks, but his ability to deal with mine is uncanny. Seriously, he GETS me. And that is a tall order. I know I can be difficult.

To celebrate this brilliant occasion I would like to share a story about us. When we were dating, the issue of kids came up. At the time, I didn’t think I wanted to have kids. I attribute this feeling to the fact that I had never been with anyone I wanted to have kids with. Before him, having kids seemed like something I would have to do alone if I ever wanted any. Greg on the other hand knew he didn’t want any more kids. He already had one beautiful boy from his first but failed marriage. He was certain he didn’t want any more. His adamancy about this became a hot topic for us as we plunged further and further into head-over-heels-in-love land. I wasn’t sure I wanted that door closed, and as far as he was concerned he had locked the door, swallowed the key, waited for it to be pooped out, and then buried it in the middle of the Nevada desert. Somewhere.

Then one day, one remarkable day, Greg took Jacob to his swim lesson. As he sat and watched his boy swim, he swelled with pride and unconditional love. At that moment he realized this was something that he didn’t want me to miss in life. I want to be clear about something. I love and adore Jacob. We had then and still have today a great relationship, but I was never any kind of replacement or substitute for his own loving and adoring mother. I was more of a loving addition to his growing family.

Fast-forward four years or so, and Braedyn was born. I enjoyed being a mom more than I ever could have imagined, so much so that I had a confession for my ever-giving husband. I wanted one more. Just one more. C’mon. I mean, really, what’s one more when you’ve already got the house baby-proofed? His response? Um. No. Resounding and certain. No.

Valentine’s day was several weeks after my emotionally charged confession. This is one Valentine’s I will never forget. This is a picture of what I received:


This locket with a picture of Braedyn on one side and a spot for “Baby #2” on the other exemplifies what kind of man I am lucky to be married to.

I’m sure it was painful and a tad disgusting to locate that damn key, but I’m so glad he did it. Twice. We now have a charming and energetic boy that can unabashedly look up to his father as a wonderful example of how to be a great man and a beautiful and painfully stubborn daughter that has him wrapped around her little finger.

Thanks, Greg, for digging through the poop for me. I love you, and happy anniversary.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Letter to My Children

Dear Braedyn and Emily,

Yesterday was an historic day in our lives. Your father and I helped elect Barack Obama as our country’s 44th President. There are many, many reasons this was an historical and ground-breaking moment in time. What I’d like to do with this letter is to help you understand why this day was so important to me.

Barack Obama is an amazing man who has ignited people to do good for their country. I am ready to roll up my sleeves and help in a way that I have never felt compelled to do before. By winning this election, he has made us realize how each of us is a part of his well-deserved victory. It is our victory. He is compassionate, intelligent, articulate, and has a clear vision for our country’s success and prosperity. He has united people like no other in my lifetime.

Beyond his concise and thoughtful approach to tackling the economic crisis and the wars we are fighting, I was so engaged by this election because of his kindness and humanity. I believe he understands the complexity and diversity of life, and by doing so makes me feel like he truly represents me.

He has helped to bring people together in a way that just thinking about makes me awestruck. It’s not that he himself did this unilaterally, but rather he rallied people to do what was already in them to do. He fired people up! To see Americans of each creed and color celebrating his victory, our victory, together, he has helped bring out the good in people. The good that I believe people want to share with one another, regardless of skin color, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, economic status, gender, age, ability.

I am vehemently pro-choice. Barack Obama was the candidate that fell into line with my beliefs on this tough issue. His approach to such a heavily-debated topic is one that is filled with empathy. His approach is simple. Let’s work on educating people about birth control. Let’s promote sex education that is healthy, informative, and realistic. In doing so, let’s reduce the number of abortions. Let’s leave Roe v. Wade alone so that women’s lives will not be at stake. Educate. Educate. Educate. And by all means, let’s be compassionate about an outcome that no one “favors”.

I also passionately believe that non-heterosexuals should have every right that I do as a heterosexual American citizen. I do not believe the family unit as we know it today will suffer by allowing homosexual couples to marry or have children. Who someone chooses to marry does not diminish or tarnish the love that your father and I have for each other or for you. Frankly, who someone chooses to marry is none of my business. If being with someone of the same sex makes someone happy in this short life, by all means, be with that person and be happy. Enjoy it. Relish it. I know I cherish the life your father and I have built together. Far be it from me to stand in the way of someone else experiencing the same joy. Furthermore, by allowing someone to be at their partner’s deathbed in a hospital is not only the compassionate thing to do, it simply is the right thing to do. I hope by the time you are old enough to read and comprehend this letter, you have to dig into some history books to figure what the hell I’m talking about. I hope that this election helps incite much needed unity, compassion, and tolerance in this country.

I also want you to grow up around a diverse group of people and cultures. I believe this election has helped create an opportunity in our society to do something very simple -- to get to know one another. It truly is a simple thing, really. I think as Americans we needed someone to say, “hey, we are capable of doing this” and we needed a group, thirsty for change, to say, “yes we can.”

I love you both so very much. I want you to look back at this election and at this letter and realize your voices count in life. I want you to embrace the knowledge that nothing is outside your grasps. I want you to better understand me. Please live your life to the fullest. Every day. Every minute. And never, never forget how much you are capable of.

Monday, November 3, 2008

A Reason to Not Sound So Smug. Ouch.

Many moons ago when I was a wet-behind-the-ears 18 year old, I met a guy. It was July 4th, and I was hanging out at “the bar” with my Dad during a visit with him in El Paso. You only had to be 18 to get into most bars in Texas at this time. You couldn’t legally drink at 18, but you could hang out with all the people who could. Yeah, interesting law. Maybe they figured this was the best way to have a designated driver on hand. Or wait, maybe that was just in my family. Anyway this guy, whose name I can’t even remember now, was older, recently divorced, and had a couple of small kids. He was a nice enough guy, but I think he thought he was going to get something from me other than some good conversation. You know, good conversation with an 18 year old. Uh-huh. Let me be clear up front, he didn’t get anything more than conversation from me. Let me repeat this. He did NOT get anything more than conversation from me. Even though he wanted more.

He and I spent some time together. We went to White Sands and hiked around on the dunes one afternoon. We had fine dining experiences at the local Denny’s. And then one fateful day, we played racquetball. I had never played before but figured, hey, this guy’s old, how hard could it be to beat him? And it wasn’t. We played some intense games of racquetball, and I kicked his ass. Sure, I can hear the questions now. Did he LET you win? Was he trying to make me feel euphoric from the slaughter, so much so that he could take me back to his place for a roll in the hay? Um, NO. No, no, no. It was a heart-thumping, intense game. And did I mention I never played before and still kicked ass? Oh, and this was the last time I saw this guy. So, if that was intention, it totally backfired. As you can see, this slaughter made me smug about what I thought were natural racquetball abilities. At least I can admit it.

Fast forward to the present. Almost two decades later. *Shudder.* Last week I joined a gym. This gym even has a place I can take the kids while I work out, so I have no excuse not to go. I even convinced Greg to sign up. Here’s why I thought this was a good idea. We don’t have date night. We rarely get to go out by ourselves. Here’s an opportunity to get as many dates in a month that we want, all for only an additional $25 a month. Granted, these dates will not consist of candlelight and fine wine (or box wine, for that matter). There will be no long and loving gazes as we walk down a moonlit path. No, these will not be traditional dates. The upside? Two incredible things. One, we don’t have to worry about getting a babysitter to get some alone time. Two, there will be some ass-kicking on the racquetball court. Me doing all the ass-kicking of course. I mean, Greg is older and has two small kids and one big kid. He fits the perfect mold for one of my court dominations.

Yeah, smug. Right? Well, I learned my lesson yesterday. Never estimate an old dog. (Sorry, Greg. You ARE older.) Greg kicked my ass in the racquetball court yesterday. He even stung my ass once with the ball when I didn’t move fast enough. I held my own, for sure. I hadn’t stepped foot in a racquetball court for 18 years, and I think I did an ok job. But Greg, well, he did better.

About 40 minutes into our first “date” on the court, I felt a snap. A foreboding and painful snap. So, now I am nursing an injured wrist. Boo hoo. Sniff. Sniff. That’s ok. This will give Greg some time to get really smug about his victory. That’s my game plan. Let him *think* he’s all that and a bag of chips. I just needed a warm up, a refresher course. And now I just need a little time to heal. He better watch out because our next date is sure to be a knock-out! Get your protective gear ready, Greg!