Saturday, July 31, 2010


Today we went to the Los Angeles Arboretum.  I've been begging The Hubs for ev-ah to take us so I could practice my photography in such a beautiful setting. We were surrounded by beautiful fountains, pristine gardens and some pretty cool old architecture.  Unfortunately, I got distracted by this..

And then this..

And if that wasn't bad enough, this came along...

And ultimately this..

Capturing the beauty of what was around me was pretty hopeless.  Don't you think?

Seriously.. Thoughts?

Friday, July 30, 2010


I'd write something profound today.  Or thoughtful at least.  Or maybe funny.  Maybe even a blond joke.  But I can't.  I'm lost you see.  Lost in the bliss of wonderfully big cheeks, and glorious rolls of baby fat and big puckery lips.  And I don't care if puckery isn't a word.  And really, having seen him and those eyes, can you blame me?

Thursday, July 29, 2010


Why do we, as hard working, well educated, wonderful women completely discount our self worth?  Why are we so willing to believe what critics might say of us, instead of looking at ourselves and the quality of what we produce to see the truth of our own value?

Raise your hand if you struggle with this. 

*raises my hand*

*raises my other hand*

*raises third hand*  (I don't by the way - have a third hand.  What sort of weirdo do you take me for?)

This is one of The Hub's pet peeves with me.  I can't toot my own horn (do horns still toot?).  I struggle with admitting that I'm really good at my job.  Really good at a lot of the things I do.  And I really have a hard time assessing a monetary or other value to the things I do.   My favorite phrase is to say I'm a Jill of all Trades.  Which, as the saying goes, implies that I'm a master of none.  And maybe in some things (like knitting - darn that shifty yarn!) that's true.  But maybe in some other areas, I just completely discount my own value.

I might do this for a lot of reasons.  (Psych 101 alert - I did take Psych 101 in college, and that's about as far as my psychology experience goes.  So to say I'm a complete novice and not qualified to diagnose anything is a complete understatement.  This has been a public service announcement.  Thank you.)  I think part of the reason is societal.  We're taught from a very young age that proper women don't brag.  We're humble and discreet.   And isn't Pride one of the seven deadly sins?  Somehow that gets intertwined with the truth behind our abilities and gets lost.  You tell others that you're not "that good" at whatever long enough, and you start to believe it yourself!

I also think part of it has to do with a constant comparison driven mentality women subject themselves to.  There's always some woman out there who has their stuff more together.  You know the type, who works full time, makes a hot breakfast for her kids every morning, still runs all the family errands, hits the gym, makes a 9 course dinner and has it on the table right as her hubby gets home from the office and manages to do this all with perfect hair, perfect make-up and in the perfect outfit!  We have such unreasonable expectations of ourselves, that when we do really good work (home, office, projects etc) we can't see it.  I don't know who those super women are, but I'm sure they're freebasing something to get it all to come together like that.  And really, who needs addiction to add to their list of issues hmm?  Not me that's what I'm saying!

So today I want to feature several woman who have their own businesses.  Who know their worth and value and aren't afraid to say they're smart enough, good enough, and worth it.  I love these women!  And they truly deserve the endorsements!

This is not to imply that women who work for other people don't know their value or worth.  It just takes chutzpah in spades to start your own business, and a faith in yourself that so many of us struggle with.  Also, if I know you and left you out, it was a complete oversight on my part - leave a comment and I'll add you..  I'm blond, be gentle with me.  Oh, and these aren't paid endorsements.  I just am so darn proud of these women.  They're my idols!

Cinda Lester  - Architect
Love this woman.  Her strength, determination and faith in herself are unshakable.  Plus, she's an exceptional architect.  She's located out of Chicago.  Look her up.

Michelle Barager - Digital Everything
Michelle is Canadian in Alberta and started her business out pretty humbly by making digital year books for the high school she teaches at.  Now she's expanded into website design and other things digital.  She saw and opportunity and jumped in with both feet knowing she could swim.  I am in awe.  Truly.

Linda Gardiner - Dog Training
no website yet - c'mon Linda get on that!
Linda is also a Canadian girl located in Toronto and her passion was her pup Cooper.  Now she's starting a whole business around her love and using him to help train other dogs through the Hustle Up Dog Training program!  As a woman and an entrepreneur, she's inspiring.

Cindy Kuykendall - Cookielee Jewelry Consultant
Cindy is out of Los Angeles California and this jewelry line is HOT.  Cindy quit her job, and took this up full time because she not only believes in the product, but found her passion for selling jewelry was so much more fulfilling than her day job.  She wants nothing more than to find you that perfect something.

Megan Donner - Latasia Jewelry Consultant
She's out of Rochester, NY.  The jewelry is divine and so is she!  She loves this jewelry.  Loves throwing the parties.  Loves talking with people and helping them finish the perfect outfit.  The website is a little rough, but she's better at coordinating jewelry than she is coding websites.  And I think we all prefer it that way!  She's definitely worth looking into.

Laura Harris Berrietter - Photographer
I'm partial to this lady.  She's done some family photo shoots for us as well as the photos for my wedding.  I'm biased, I admit it.  Her work is wonderful, amazing, marvelous and yes, stunning.  She's Southern California based and so worth it.

Lauri Stumph - Photographer
She up and decided a few years ago that her passion was photography and her work is pretty remarkable - especially the little babies and toddlers.  She's in Minneapoilis.  Check her out.

I know I need to work on my confidence.  I know I need to work on tooting my own horn (again, do horns still toot?).  I need to be my own cheerleader.  Seeing other women do it is inspiring.  These aren't super women.  They're not freebasing anything that I'm aware of.  And yet, they do it.  They work, the live, they love.  It's probably not easy, but nothing in life that's worth it ever is.  And if they can do it, so can I.  And so can you!

Seriously.. Thoughts?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


This is my camera.   What? You thought I was going to talk about how scatterbrained I am?  Why would I talk about the obvious?  That's right, because I'm blond.  Well, no.  I hate to disappoint you, but today, we're going to talk about my camera.  That's it up there. Pretty isn't it?

I have a Cannon EOS, Rebel XSI.  It's a digital camera, but it's SLR meaning that I get to set all the doodads and thingamajigs on it.  But only if I want to, because it also has automatic settings too.  So far, since getting this camera last year, I've only used the auto settings.  That's because I'm blond, and I don't know how to use my camera.  You knew that being blond was going to come up eventually didn't you?  Yeah, me too.

It came with a standard "kit" lens.  That means the lens it came with is a 18-55mm lens with an f-stop that goes as low as f4.5 and as high as f29.  Don't know what all that means? Yeah, I'm not so clear on it all either, but that's what the box said.  It also says this is a pretty good lens if you want to take portraits or landscape photos. And we also got a 75-300 zoom lens so we could take pictures (like when our kids are in some sort of event) from farther away.  That way we can stay seated in the audience like good grown-ups instead of high-tailing it up to within inches of whatever the performance is to get our shots.

What I really want you to know, is that I've been inspired!  Inspired, I tell you!  My good buddy Ree over at The Pioneer Woman (you know, the one I'm cyber-stalking because I love her and her life?  The one with the hubby who looks hot in his wranglers? Artist who took the photo above? Yeah, that's her.)  She is an amateur photographer,  and when she started blogging way back in 2006, she didn't know much about her camera either.  And now she's a veritable camera junkie.  I dream of being hooked on that kind of hardware!  I dream of making that wonderful digital imagery.  And in order to do that, I must learn to use my camera.  I have a wonderful photographer friend named Laura ( who might be helping me out.  Of course, she can only do what she can with a blond like me, so I'm not hoping for miracles.  I'll also be utilizing Ree's tutorials and whatever else I can find online.  Should be interesting!

I'm going to post all the fun things I learn about my camera here on the blog so you can follow along at home. Get helpful hints to apply to your own camera or photo taking skills.  And to allow you ample opportunity to point and laugh at me and my crazy photo antics.  I promise to post the good.  The bad.  And the ugly photos I take as I go on this journey.  Should be worth a laugh or two, and maybe I'll even make a few nice shots too.  Hopefully I won't be going too blindly into this journey. 

Seriously.. Thoughts?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Blend Well

Part of being an Evil Stepmonster is blending in with your new family.  This can take years and years and years before you feel like you're not an outsider anymore.

Does anyone remember the movie the Outsiders? Awesome flick!  And wow!  How hot were those boys? Seriously!  C. Thomas Howell, Ralph Macchio, Matt Dillon, Rob Lowe, Emelio Estevez, Tom Cruise and Patrick Swayze may he rest in peace.  If you haven't seen it, you must.  Rent it.  Now.  Go on.  I'll wait.

Some families never manage to blend together into one cohesive group.  The key here is patience, consistency, and being open to a new and different way of living.  There is no right way.  There is no wrong way.  You just have to keep at it.

10 years ago when I came into this already-made family, there was one little piece of family history that came to light pretty quickly.  Both of my two girls, are 1/4 Armenian.  Now, if you've never heard of Armenia, don't fear.  I hadn't heard of it either.  I was never too fond of geography or history, so I didn't beat myself up too much about this lack in my education and neither should you.  For those of you who know all about Armenia, and it's history, please feel free to get a snack, have a drink, whip up some brownies.  For the rest of us, let me give you a quick tutorial.  Just the facts ma'am.

Armenia is nestled between Turkey, Iran, Georgia and Azerbajian in the Middle East.  See on the map up there how nestled it is?  It looks comfy right? Wrong.  It has a pretty intense history which I'll hit on in later posts.  What's important here is that it's a Middle Eastern country.  And the girls' Grandmother is full Armenian from Armenia (meaning that her parents immigrated here directly from Armenia instead of say an Iranian Armenian who immigrated first to Iran before immigrating to America).  There are some subtle differences between the groups, but I really have no idea what they are.  I just know they're different.  See, I'm clueless even as I'm typing this up to keep you informed!

The girls' Grandfather was from the Midwest making the girls' Mom half Armenian.  And since their Dad, The Hubs, is Californian, that makes them 1/4 Armenian.  Geez.. I was told there would be no math, so I hope you guys got all of that!

What do you know? I hear you asking.  Don't think I don't.  You guys are so impatient!

What I do know is I've been slowly introduced to this culture through my children, their Mom and their Grandmother, but mostly through Armenian food.  It's got its own flavor and unique tastes from other Middle Eastern countries.  And lets face it, food brings people together.  And in a blended family, togetherness, is likely the only way this is all going to work.

With the help of the girls' Grandmother, I thought in some upcoming posts, I'd help you learn about the culture the same way I did, through your stomach.

From Rice Pilaf

and Stuffed Grape Leaves

And Hummus

To Armenian Pizza and so much more.

You might get some great new recipes.  You might learn some history and geography.  Or not.  Some of the food might make your stomach tilt a little to the left and leave you feeling woosy (one or two have that effect on me).  But in an effort to explore all aspects of the cooking culture, I won't leave anything out.  And maybe you'll discover you have a few little Armenian taste buds hiding inside you that you never knew about!

Seriously.. Thoughts?

Monday, July 26, 2010


I know you'll think I'm lame.  And I won't argue because the truth is, I am lame. But I can't help but feel a certain amount of giddiness that I have successfully completed posting every single stinkin' day (sometimes more than once) for the last month.  I'm not in Junior High anymore, so I know I shouldn't be celebrating one month anniversaries like a complete ninny,  but I just can't seem to help myself.

So Happy 1 month anniversary my sweet blog.  We've had some good times haven't we?  Like that photo contest who's prize I still haven't mailed out (Sorry Brian!!!!  I swear I'm doing it this weekend.  Like, pinky swear!).  That was a good day, we had 45 unique visitors that day.  That was bitchin'.  Yep, I said it.  Bitchin'.   Or how about those kid introductions. Man, those were sa-weet.  Ohh.. or all that seriously valuable archery information.  The world wide web can't live without me!

Really though, I need to thank the fans for making this all possible.  Because if my 9 (on average) daily readers didn't come to read this, well, it would just be me typing stuff to myself.  And that would be a little weird.  So thank you guys for sticking with me.  I hope to have so much better things to say in the future.  But I'm not making any promises.  And I'm certainly not going to pinky swear to it.  I'm a girl who knows her limitations.  Or not.

Seriously.. Thoughts?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Royal Round

If you have absolutely zero interest in archery, feel free to ignore this post.  This has been a public service announcement.  Thank you.

Sundays are our archery practice days.  We spend two hours to try to shoot our arrows into a target anywhere from 20 yards to 40 yards away.

Today we did something called a "Royal Round" which is the scoring technique used by the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) to rank all archers.

Yes, I'm one of "those" people.  We'll discuss that in another post.  But for now, roll with me here.

Here's how it works.  You shoot 6 arrows from 40 yards.  6 arrows from 30 yards.  And 6 arrows from 20 yards.  Then you shoot a "speed round" where you try to shoot as many arrows as you can in 30 seconds from 20 yards.  You add up your scores from each range (40, 30, 20 and the 20 yard speed round) to determine what your first "round" scores are.  You do this three times total, then take the average of the three scores.  What the average score is, determines where you rank.  Did you follow all of that? Anyone? Anyone?

This is what our targets look like.  For the white rings, you get 1 point.  For the  black rings you get 2 points.  Blue rings are 3 points.  Red rings are 4 points. And finally the gold rings are 5 points.  No extra points are awarded for getting a true bullseye, but man is it cool! 

The Hubs looks so hot when he's doing archery.  Why is that?

So, we did our first of three rounds today in practice.  I scored a 37.  The Hubs, of course, in his complete awesomeness, scored a 52.  If we were to assume those numbers were the averages from three rounds, The Hubs would be a Yeoman and I would be a Bowman.  For reference, our instructor is a Yeoman.  Not too shabby for our first round.

Score Rank
0 - 24 Novice
25 - 44 Bowman
45 - 64 Yeoman
65 - 84 Forester
85 - 104 Bowmaster
105+ Royal Bowmaster

Of course, those aren't averages, and we have two more rounds to shoot before we get our final placement.  But so far so good right?  We'll finish up our next two rounds hopefully next weekend.  The best part, once you reach a rank, you can never lose it.  So, if I have a miraculous day and somehow manage to become a Bowmaster, no matter how bad I shoot for the rest of my life, I will always have the title Bowmaster.  And let me tell you, it is a secret dream of mine to shoot that good one day.  Actually, in my dreams, I'm just one of those natural archers who is amazing from day one.  But since we've already proved that dream false, I had to shoot a little lower in my dreaming.

Get it? "Shoot" a little lower? I crack me up!

Seriously.. Thoughts?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Family Affair

Does anyone remember this show?  Bachelor Bill Davis, tries to raise his brother's kids, 15 year old Cissy and 6 year old twins Buffy and Jody with the help of his very English Butler Mr. French?  Man I loved that show.  Does anyone remember the name of Buffy's doll? Anyone? Anyone?

Mrs. Beasley!  I was totally in love with this show.  How come I didn't get to grow up with a Mr. French in my life? Mom? Dad? Are you reading?  Where was my Mr. French???

Of course, that's not what this post is about.  I'm just easily sidetracked and the minute I typed the title to this post, my mind raced back to those crazy childhood days.  Forgive me, for I am blond.  And you know how it is with blonds.

This post is really about archery, and how it's turned into.. wait for it.. a Family Affair.  Glamour Girl went to archery practice with us before she went to visit her mom.  And will join us again when she gets back.

Here's GG in all her archery glory.  She probably got a bulls eye.  She's annoying like that.
Our Lone Wolf joins us when she can, but her work schedule isn't very accommodating.  The real joy is when our Tweedles get into the game.  Let me preface this by saying we are enormously careful when we shoot with them around.  I have no desire to impale my children with arrows.  Well, mostly I don't.

I kid! I kid!

I think.

They have to stay behind us when we shoot.  One of them waits with eager anticipation for us to finish a round.

 One choose to spend her time a bit more constructively while we do our thang.

And they have to wait for us to tell them we're all done before they do this:

And someone gets a bit impatient when we don't run to the target like he does.

But you can't beat the help.

That's my arrow Bunny is pulling out of the bulls eye.  It is!  Why don't you believe me?
Okay, no it's not.  Mines are the ones above that Bug is picking up off the ground.  I'm lame.  Don't judge me.

Archery.  It's a Family Affair.

Seriously... Thoughts?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Home Supplementing

I confess.  I've been delving a little bit into the world of Home Schooling.  While not practical for the day to day lifestyle of a full-time working mom, even one who works from home 3 days a week, I've been gaining a lot of insight about just how vast the potential is for kids to grow and learn, in a myriad of ways.  Now, before you roll your eyes or believe that I'm some wigged out religious nut, who only wears skirts, refuses to cut her hair, confines herself away from the men-folk during "that time of the month" and is afraid to let her kids experience the "modern" evils in the world, let me clarify.  You'll almost never find me out of a pair of jeans.   I don't cut my hair often, but that's because of a deal I made with The Hubs to ensure he never grows his facial hair out into a Grizzley Adams style again. Ever. Not because of some weird religious preference.  And while I'm sure The Hubs would like me to confine myself away some months, if I must suffer, so must the rest of my family.  At least, that's how I see it.  And we have xbox, tivo, dvr's, and 3 computers all hooked up to the internet.  We embrace modern evils.  As for religion, lets just say I do attend church semi-regularly and leave it at that.

Now that we have all that out of the way, let me explain what led me down this path.  Last year, Bunny attended Pre-K for 3 hours a day, at one of the local elementary schools.  On the first day of school, I did her hair the only way I know how, strapped on her new Disney Princesses pink backpack and off she went.  I figured the teacher would know what she was doing, and what more than a Princess Backpack did I need to do after all?  While I'm ashamed to admit it, I really never had any clue what she was doing there from day to day.  I know I know, add it to the list of why I'm a terrible parent.  It's okay, I can take it. 

Does it bother anyone else, that the spider is happily living inside the jack-o-lantern's mouth? Anyone? Just me?

I want to clarify, that she did bring stuff home: reader books, art projects etc, but it was always several weeks after they had completed the work.  So while I got a good taste of what she had been working on, I never knew what was going on in the moment.  I never felt like I was able to help her expand on what she was learning at school, because I was always two steps behind.

For instance, I knew at the beginning of the school year, when we went to Back to School Night, that a good portion of her class knew how to write their name, but Bunny didn't.  As soon as we got home, I set out on a mission for a week, to help Bunny learn to write her name.  And she learned it.  It was great!

Bunny's Father's Day Card.  Cute no?

However, there were lots of areas she was struggling in, and I simply didn't know.  For example, she didn't know all her letters on sight.  We've been working on this for weeks now this summer, and there are still letters she struggles with (C and Y for example).  And numbers are hard for her, especially 6 and 9, 10, 11 & 12.  It took me until half way through the summer when, after much begging on her part, we bought her a Summer Bridge Activities Book (prek-k), for me to realize these deficiencies.  I thought she had learned all these things in Pre-K.  That's what they were working on right? And I admit, the Type A personality in me, feels like last year I let my girl down.

 Let me just say here, that I highly recommend this book.  It's engaging and fun (Bunny completed it in about 3 weeks - far faster than the daily pages because she loved it so much)!

However, there's always new beginnings and new doors of opportunities to open and this year, Bunny will start kindergarten at a new school.  The best public school (a school of choice) in our district, in my humble opinion.  And one that is known for parent involvement.  Can I get an amen? AMEN! (What? I said I go semi-regularly geez!)

Knowing that I can't home school Bunny, and with my serious lack of patience, that it would likely be a disaster, I've decided to start a new trend I'm going to name "Home Supplementing".  My plan is to attack Bunny's new teacher and beat her about the head and neck until she gives up her weekly lesson plans.  Okay, not really.  I'm a big chicken and a weakling after all, so I'll likely take 3 hours to work up the courage to approach the new teacher and timidly ask her if there's any way she can share what they're learning week to week, if it's not too much trouble please,  so I can help a Bunny out.  I'm hoping for something similar to a college level syllabus which maps out at least a few months in advance so I can plan activities, projects and worksheets to give Bunny help and a broader scope for learning.

 This photo has nothing to do with this post, I just liked it.  Bunny draws an excellent monster.

I have two objectives here.  The first is to help Bunny in her learning process.  She's one smart cookie, don't get me wrong, but she's high energy and easily distracted and sometimes getting her mind, eyes, and ears to work together to learn, is a struggle.  And frankly, if she gets bored, you've lost her.  I think, giving her extra time outside of school hours to work with her one on one on problem areas, will help bring some of these things into focus.  Because lets face it, alone time with Mom is rare.  Alone time while showing Mom all the cool things you know and showing her you can do it? Well, that's priceless to a four year old.  And I'm not ashamed to take advantage of that.

The second objective here is more along the home schooling lines.  There's something about taking a school taught theory and applying it to a real world activity that really appeals to me.  It might be the visual - learn by doing - learner in me, but I think things tend to stick more if you can apply them to the world around you.  I know schools do this to a certain extent, but school budget cuts being what they are, and the economy being none to well off, means that school field trips will be limited if ever.  Science experiments will be relegated to what they can read about instead of do.  And don't even get me started on the lack of art and music in schools these days.

Will I be able to provide her with private art and music lessons? Nope, not a chance.  Not on a single income with one parent being a full-time student.  But, can I supplement what she's learning with a free concert in park?  Or a trip to a free museum to look at different water colors and the use of color and line and form? or look stuff up online to give her more information on any given subject?  You betcha.  And the best part about it?   There are tons of Home Schooling families who already know where I can find these resources, and who aren't afraid to share. Even with a public schooling, non-religious freak, PMS, jean wearer like me.

Yep, Home Supplementing is the wave of the future for working moms who want to be involved.

Seriously.. Thoughts?

Thursday, July 22, 2010


One upon a very long time ago, I was young and adventurous and thin.  Especially the thin part.  It was 1995 and the summer after my sophmore year of college - I was 21, the same age as the Lone Wolf is now!.  My oldest and dearest friend Cris, spent the year abroad in London.  After I got over being incredible jealous, Cris invited me that summer to spend a few weeks wandering England and Ireland.  The summer of 1995 rocked!

There was a lot to this trip, and as it was one of the best trips of my life, I'll go into more detail about various aspects of it in later posts.  For now though, I just want to talk about one part of the Ireland trip.

We managed to make our way to Dublin and from there out to County Wicklow (isn't it cute how they use the word county first instead of last?  Love those foreigners!).  We stayed at a beautiful B&B called the Laragh Trekking Centre which also offered horse and pony rides all over the Wicklow mountains.  We specifically chose this B&B for the horses.  And man, we weren't disappointed.

Please let me introduce you to Parnell.  Parnell is an Irish draft horse and at the time, was the second largest horse in all of Ireland at 24 1/2 hands tall.  Now, let me put that in perspective for you.  Most horses average between 14-16 hands.  Yeah, he was a big horse.

Please forgive these photos, I was using a film point and shoot, this was way before digital cameras and any sense of shooting good photos came into my life.

I stand 5'6 if that helps bring perspective to this photo. (Please ignore the fact that I'm wearing short boots.  I was 21 and dumb.  Thin, but dumb.)

Still don't believe me, here's my foot next to his.

And here's a view of Parnell (in the center) compared to the other two Irish draft horses we rode with.

And for all his strength and power, Parnell was a sweet tempered horse.  I loved that horse.  And my best friend and her boyfriend were nice enough to let me have him all to myself.  Thanks again guys!

If you ever want to experience a different kind of life, try staying at this B&B and going on one of these rides.  We rode all over the countryside seeing ruins of old churches, sheep free grazing and amazing vistas.  It's worth it.  Laragh Trekking Centre doesn't have a website, but you can contact them by phone.

Laragh Trekking Centre
Glenmacnass Road
Phone: +353 (0)404 45282
Fax: 404 45204

 It's can't miss if you're going to be in Ireland.

Anyone else have some must visit places either in Ireland or elsewhere?

Seriously.. Thoughts? 

ps.. this is not an advertisement, the Laragh Trekking Centre likely doesn't remember me and could care less about my little blog here.  I just loved the place a lot.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


My Bug has been sick.  He ran a fever for four days, had 2 fever seizures (don't worry, they're harmless - so my doctor assures me), and once the fever finally broke, he broke out in a rash.  These are pretty classic symptoms of Roseola.  Except for the seizures, those only occur in 10-15% of the population - lucky us.  Since his fever broke, he's been back to his normal, full-energy, boy self and everything is fine.  Except he has this red blotchy face.  The cut by his nose doesn't help matters much either.

Awww!  A diseased face only a mother could love.  Good thing I'm his mom.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

City Mouse.. Country Mouse

I always liked this book when  I was little.  I'm not sure why.  Maybe because for most of the year, we lived in college towns that boomed with kids during the school year, and in the summer, my parents sent me to my grandparent's farm in po-dunk no-where East Texas.  I could easily relate to both mice.  Or maybe, it was a foreshadowing my life to come.

See, I have my very own City Mouse
Who loves shopping and dressing up.  Who loves to go out to eat at fancy restaurants and orders the most expensive dish on the menu even if she's never tried it.  Especially if she's never tried it.  My City Mouse likes to move and shake to fashion trends, and likes to start her own trends.  She likes expensive cars and expensive clothes.  She loves glitz and glam and all things posh.  She loves jewelry and The Theater.  She loves shoes.  Man does my City Mouse love shoes.

And then there's my Country Mouse:

Who loves big open spaces and small groups over big crowds.  She's practical and down to earth.  She adores animals and enjoys a good tussle.  She could care less about fashion trends, make-up or dressing up.  She's the kind of gal that jumps out of the shower, throws on her comfy jeans and a tee shirt and pushes her hair out of her face with her sunglasses.  My Country Mouse loves country music and Disney Movies.  And she would prefer hanging out at home with her friends over going out clubbing any day of the week.  My Country Mouse enjoys playing sports and doesn't mind getting sweaty if it wins the game.

And I love them both, my City Mouse and my Country Mouse.

And that's why we should move to Austin.

Austin is the Live Music Capitol of the world and features venues with the latest and greatest of pop artist and icons as well as country and jazz.

Austin's ethnic diversity has lead to the best restaurants of all kinds from Middle East, Indian and Thai to down home BBQ.

Austin has wineries for my City Mouse (when she is eventually old enough to drink) and Breweries for my Country Mouse.

Austin has the ballet, the symphony and the opera and the South by SouthWest festival that is bound to have something for everyone.

Austin has Museums, Galleries, and Gardens for cultural exploration and parks, hills, trails, pools horse riding and Frisbee Golf.

Austin is the prefect meld of the country life and the city life.  One of the few places on this earth where my Country Mouse and City Mouse could both find happiness and satisfaction.  A place for them both to fit in.

Ahh Austin, you bring worlds together.  Is there anything you can't do my love? Anything?


Monday, July 19, 2010

Kissed by the String

A few weeks ago, while I was at archery practice, I let the unthinkable happen.  I held my arm in such a way as to allow the string, upon release, to hit my arm.  I've heard this referred to as being "kissed" by the string.  Let me tell you, it doesn't feel like a kiss.  There's a lot of force behind that released string and it does NOT feel nice.

I took it cool though.  I glanced down at my arm, maybe winced ever so slightly and might have uttered the word "ow" under my breath.  Or.. I might have grabbed my arm, danced around going "ow ow ow" to anyone who would listen and wimpering like a baby.  The details are fuzzy though, so I'm sure I took it cool.

At the end of practice (2 hours later) I took this photo of my arm, and Santiago's arm.  Santiago is another student in this particular archery class, and he's constantly getting kissed by the string. Doesn't look like anything does it?  Just looks like a pasty white arm in the sun.  You have no idea the turmoil that was brewing just beneath the skin.

This is my arm a few days later.

And my arm a few days after that.

Yeah, archery is a brutal sport.  Not for the feint of heart.

Seriously... Thoughts?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Healthy & Delicious

Last night, after the wedding, while we were sitting at the reception, it became pretty clear that the Bug's fever, that he'd had all day, wasn't going to get any better despite the tylenol we'd pushed through his little system.  He rallied right when we got to the reception, drinking three small glasses of pink lemonade and eating half of a cocktail sandwich before crawling back into my lap and petering out right as dinner arrived. By this time it was 6pm, and we had a full night of reception activities including special dances like the daddy/daughter dance, bouquet toss and toasts still yet to go.  But most importantly, was the cake.  We had been using the cake as a reward for Bunny's continued good behavior all day.

Cake cutting was pretty far down on the list of scheduled events in our program.  Which left us in a bit of a conundrum.  We'd promised Bunny cake.  She'd been asking about it all day.  We'd used it unrelentingly all day to get our beautiful daughter to walk slowly down the isle at the appropriate time, sit quietly through the service, and pose prettily for the myriad of after ceremony wedding photos. Could we really leave before the cake cutting after so many promises? 

Well, turns out we could.  As long as we stopped at the store on the way home and got a cake so Bunny could get her promised piece.  So that's what we did.  We said our goodbyes, made our apologies pointing to our passed out and very sweaty Bug as the reason for our quickie departure and made our way out right after dinner. 

Then we stopped at the store and bought something similar to this:

It was yummy and chocolatety and wonderful.  But it was heavy and sat in my tummy all night and I wished I hadn't had even the small sliver (okay.. two small slivers) that I did.  This morning, the cake was mostly still in tact, but the whipped cream icing was a little melty.  I'm seriously considering throwing the half that's left out.

Tonight, I'm made this.

Fresh Blueberries, sliced bananas and vanilla yogurt with granola.  Who could resist this beautiful parfait? And I'm betting this sits better in my tummy and is better for all my jiggly parts than the rest of that cake would be.

Seriously... Thoughts?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

3 Things

One of my best friends, Cinda, told me at her wedding that all weddings have at least 3 things go wrong.  And that if you can just roll with those three things, everything will be okay.

She mentioned this to me in passing a few days before her wedding while the two of us were running last minute wedding errands.  Little did she know.

Cinda's 3 things:

1. Her best man, while driving across country to the wedding, had his car die.  He didn't have money to fix the car, and get a plane ticket to the wedding.  (I know!)  This was a big one, and certainly not one I could help fix.  A last minute replacement was found and things moved on.

2. On the morning of the wedding, only half of the white flowers Cinda ordered for her wedding actually showed up.  This sent us all into a downward spiraling tailspin.  What? No centerpieces? Oh HELL NO!  Her brother Andy and I drove all over the surrounding towns to every grocery store and flower shop buying up every last "white" flower they had, no matter what it was.  Then we spent the remaining hours before the ceremony creating center pieces in paint cans (such an original idea and SO Cin.. they came out beautifully!).

3. I thought we were home free by this point.  The flowers were set, and we had taken our seats.  Everyone walked down the outdoor isle and the ceremony had begun.  I was sitting on the left hand side a few rows back from the front.  Perfect viewing of my friend, the beautiful bride.  A few minutes into the ceremony, I happen to notice one of the bridesmaids (who was also Cinda's younger sister) waving at me in the unmistakable get your butt up here gesture.  Have I mentioned the ceremony had already started? I mean, the minister was talking about love, and friendship and growing as a couple blah blah blah.

 Cinda's dad had already walked her down the isle and given her away.

Cinda and her husband-to-be were holding hands and gazing lovingly into each others eyes.  Some of the guests already had the water works going.  Was she serious?  I pulled one of those famous "are you talking to me" pointing at myself gestures, then looking around and mouthing the words "me?".  I was classic that day.  She glared at me and mouthed back "YES!" and yes, you could tell she was yelling at me.  So in the middle of the ceremony, up I march to the waiting bridesmaids, trying to look subtle in my little black dress.  As if anyone walking up to the bridesmaids in the middle of the ceremony is subtle.  Turns out, Cinda's sister and her brother Andy were to do a reading as part of the ceremony, and they forgot the book and needed me to run and get it. 

Which I did, and all was well.  Can you imagine my embarrassment if I'd walked up there and she told me she was talking to someone else?  Seriously, that was my biggest fear when I casually and as circumspectly as I could, made my way up there.

Those were pretty big things.  And yet, in the end, the bride and groom still got to kiss.

Cinda's wedding was beautiful, and wonderful, and perfect.  And likely the only one who remembers these things is me, because I'm a little OCD and can't let go of some of this stuff.  So my big advice to the young couple today, is the same advice Cinda gave me.  Three things are bound to go wrong.. just embrace it.. and move on.  And you're day will be as amazing as hers.

Seriously.. Thoughts?