Thursday, September 30, 2010

I'd Once Again Like It To Be Known That I Am NOT Crazy

Do you remember me posting a month ago about the dangling tree branch in my neighbor's yard that gave me anxiety attacks because I kept picturing it falling down on children? Remember how I was driving my husband batty with my constant reminders to keep the kids away from that side of our yard? Well, it turns out that I'm not so crazy after all. Five minutes ago I heard a loud thud. The dog was outside, and since he's getting old, I was afraid he'd somehow slipped down the deck steps or something. It was actually this:

Yep, that's the broken branch, plus the top half of the tree fallen right on top of the other neighbor's trampoline. Thank God the kids were all in school when it happened because it wasn't raining or anything at the time it fell--no reason but pure chance for kids not to have been in the yard at the time.

And see all of these little limbs--  
that's my yard where the kids like to go hunting for snakes & turtles while digging through the mulch. Any one of those limbs could have seriously hurt them--if not worse. I'm not looking quite so crazy anymore, am I?

Now, I just have to wait for the rest of that sucker to fall.

Or maybe I'll just go buy a chainsaw.

Oink, Oink!

I'd say it was a month or so ago that Drew came home with a surprise for me. Now, I love all surprises--big, small, free, expensive doesn't matter. It's just the idea of someone thinking enough of me that he/she takes the time to bring me a little treasure. Admittedly though, a large number of my all time favorite surprises involve chocolate in some form. So you can just imagine how tickled I was by this:

But wait, you haven't even seen the best part yet. Not only are those M&Ms in there--which many of you know is my most favorite of all the candies--but they are very special M&Ms.

Do you see the little piggies printed on them? Oh my, but are those little guys cute!

Perhaps now you're wondering why I took so long to post about this little tin of happiness. Well, you see Drew was going to have these placed on the pillows of all of the attendees at the conference that he went to last week. I didn't want to post about his plans prior to them actually being carried out as that would so ruin that giddy feeling one gets when encountering an unexpected treat. Yes, I'm quite sure that all of those attending the conference read this blog--I mean why wouldn't they?

Ok, odds were slim, but I really didn't want to take the chance. Plus, I'm lazy. The hazard of this delay was that I had to spend over a month just looking at those tasty treats dreaming about how they'd melt in my mouth, not in my hand. My will power got quite the workout.

Of course, my will power is not as strong as I'd like to think it is. It really wasn't up to the challenge actually.  I had no choice but to post this today as I was down to my final container--the contents of which quite eerily disappeared as I was typing this up. Imagine the odds. Oh, and if there's anyone out there reading  who attended the conference but hasn't yet devoured her Pig M&Ms due to concerns about the tastiness factor, I can hereby vouch for the edibility of the contents of the tin. Lip-smackingly so. Oink!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Two Thoughts Tuesday

1) I can't help but chuckle when I see a minivan with a vanity plate like "4mygrls" or "kidtaxi" or "boysbus". It makes me think that the owner wants to make 100% sure that I--a complete stranger--realize that she is only driving a minivan for the children. As if the family of stick people on the rear window, various team sport stickers plastered on the bumper, and the movies playing in the backseat DVD players weren't enough to clue me into that fact. Funny how I never see these kinds of plates on the BMWs.

2) Recently my laptop has been waging a mutiny. When I press the print button it tries to send a fax instead. Firefox gets temperamental and crashes whenever I open any of my favorite shopping sites. The last few times I've turned it on, it's started with that fatal black screen that tells me it has to check my files for terminal encryption or some such nonsense.

Oddly, all of this started happening right around the time that Drew brought a new MacBook Pro into the house. Do you think its mainframe has some kind of PC seek & destroy program installed in it under the code name "AppleRulesMicrosoftDrools"? Or is this the universe's way of saying that maybe Drew should buy me my own MacBook? I think I like option 2 better.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Who Knew Delaware Could Be So Fun?

It's such a little state after all. I was excited to get to spend the day at Dover with David and Danielle on Saturday. Positively giddy actually.

It was going to be a great day, anyway. But getting to spend some kid-free, quality time with two of my favorite people just really put the day into the extraordinary category. Why? Well, for one reason, I don't know a lot of people who would not only see a smiling face in the nose of a plane, but who would also indulge my desire to contort myself into silly poses in front of said grinning plane.

And who else would find this sign as humorous as I do?

Granted, I'm not a NASCAR super-buff or anything, but I just don't understand why hosting Race 2 in the Chase is such a banner worthy accomplishment. Home of the State Champions, Home of the Brave, Home of Race 1--sure. But Home of Race 2? Not so much. How about: Welcome to Race 2? I should totally take over the marketing at this track, I think.

Speaking of banner worthy:

In case you haven't noticed, I love to be silly and play what I deem to be perfectly harmless pranks on people. Apparently, my NASCAR BFF Ashely is the same way, so together we hatched a most diabolical--if overly sparkly--plan. That would be how PR extraordinaire Joey D ended up sporting a hand-bedazzled BigSpot hat. And bless the boy's heart, he was actually going to wear this nightmare of a hat out in public--that's just one of the reason's he's also one of my favorite people. Hard to find a guy willing to proudly sport blinged-out, tacky head attire where national TV crews roam freely and everyone has fingers poised ready to send incriminating tweets out into the world. Which makes me feel a tad guilty for posting this picture to my blog, but not enough to actually take it down. Clearly, I would not qualify as one of my own favorite people. I'll work on it.

I loved being at the track with D&D because I got to see everything through their eyes making it all feel new again. Admittedly, those fresh views included some things I'd have preferred not see such as myself wiping the sweat off of my upper lip here.

But the good stuff far out weighed the bad. For instance, this really cool shot of the team before the first pit stop that Danielle took. My pictures never turn out so awesome.

And this wreck that happened right in front of my face, had my face been pointed in that direction instead of studying the guy wearing the hat made from a Budweiser box, that is. My priorities can at times be a bit skewed.

And I think they were having a good time too, if their big ole grins are any clue.

You may have noticed that thus far I have yet to mention anything about The Curse of the Mellon. I do want you to know that I took special efforts to not let my bad luck-tainted self within range of anything or anyone that could be harmed. This is as close as I got to the car and my BFF prerace:

 Of course, after he realized that I was the cause of all of his Richmond woes, I'm sure he rescinded that BFF declaration without delay. He probably has sent someone to seek and destroy any evidence that we ever even met . That is why I have hidden my beloved hero card where no one will ever find it: in my closet.

I actually think that Brian may have decided that my husband would make the better BFF. Why else would he give this helmet to Drew and not me?

Not that I let a debate over ownership keep me from trying that baby on.

Two observations: It squeezes my cheeks and makes my voice all surround sound inside my own head. I never realized my voice was so irritating--how can ya'll stand to listen to me? Oh wait...never mind.

But back to how I worked hard to contain my curse. I wanted to be extra cautious and keep my hex far away from the crew chief and all of those power tools, so I chose to sit on the handy little hill behind the pit boxes. Can you find Mellon?
The fact that it was shady there on the hill? Absolutely nothing to do with my decision. At all. 

Did all of my careful curse-containment planning payoff? Well, my friends, it certainly did. Brian finished 13th without any major technical malfunctions. I thought that my bad luck woes might be behind me, so I decided to test the theory at Dover Downs: 
 But no. Misfortune is still sticking around if the rate at which my money disappeared is any indication. Now, I have to wonder if I had stayed home would that 13th have been a top 10? A top 5? Maybe the team will respectfully request that Andy leave the Hapless Mellon at home. Could this have been my last NASCAR race? Depressing thoughts right there. So what choice did I have but to drown my disappointment in a huge slice of banana chocolate chip cake? And that right there is but another reason why I love Danielle, she understood this without me even having to explain. Plus she ordered the strawberry shortcake so I could have a bite of that too. BFF #1 status, earned.

And then the day was done, and we had to say Good Night to our Day at Dover.
Or as I like to call it, the perfect day that really was.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Attention Target Shoppers

Fashion Emergency in the Shoe Department--we have a confirmed Person of Interest(POI):

Suspect is with an accomplice--be aware he has a target on his chest. Proceed with caution. 

Perp has also been known to impersonate Shiloh Pitt.

We must impress upon the public that our POI believes herself to be charmed and fabulous--do not attempt to in any way to alter her outfit. To do so would surely lead to dire consequences at the highest decibel level.

PS--clean up in Aisle 3.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Did Someone Say Something About a Swollen Nose?

Scene: Car ride home. Halted in the endless 4-way stop line.

Mama: Look guys, there's a rainbow!

Chase: A rainbow? Where?

Mama: In the sky. Right there. (points)

Chase: In the sky?

Mama: Yes.

Chase: The rainbow is in the sky? I don't see it. (probably because he's looking at the road)

Mama: Tilt your head up and look at the sky where I'm pointing. See?

Chase: Um no.

Mama: Look up Chase. (Chase is still looking at the road) Lift your eyes child.

Chase: (raises eyebrows in surprised fashion, keeps eyes on road) I still don't see it.

Mama: Too late, we passed it.

Chase: My eyebrows hurt.

Mama: Yes, I'd imagine they do.

Chase stole these glasses from Nana's car on Tuesday. I'm told that he put them on and then said that he looked like Uncle Adam and Uncle David. Not sure if it was the nose or the mustache that drew that particular comparison. Maybe a bit of both? I kid, I kid, please don't hurt me. Or refuse to take pictures for me anymore.

He wore his disguise to school and reveled in all of the chuckles that were aimed his way. Pretty sure the boy will be a comedian along the lines of Bob Hope one day. And you can say you knew him when.

Do you think he'd let me be his sidekick? The Laurel to his Hardy?  Put in a good word for me would ya?

And the beat goes on

I'm feeling worlds better today, thanks in large part to this lovely pharmaceutical cocktail the doctor prescribed yesterday:

That was all taken last night before bed. Let me just say that I had no trouble falling asleep. Thanks everyone for all of your kind words and well wishes--I am certain that without them I would not be feeling so much better today despite the consumption of obscene amounts of (legal) drugs. Special thanks to my good friend Eva who is bringing me over homemade dumplings today that her mom made for the Moon Festival. That right there is pretty much worth all of the suffering I was made to endure. Mmm dumplings.

It seems that my return to good health could not have come at a better time. Perhaps you'll recall a tweet I posted a few weeks ago. What, you don't memorize all of the rambling nonsense I post on twitter? Fine. Here's a refresher for you:
 I hear "Amaya do it herself" for a vast range of tasks including, but not limited to, teeth brushing & advanced nuclear physics.

Yes, we are smack dab in the middle of the Do It Myself Phase which as luck would have it also happens to coincide with the Holy Terror If I Don't Get My Way Phase as demonstrated by this tweet:
The name Amaya originated in Japan and means Night Rain. In my daughter's case, I'd say Raging Tempest would be a more apt description.

This morning found us with Amaya insisting that she would get dressed BY HERSELF thankyouverymuch. Since I'm feeling better, I was able to not only indulge this fantasy of hers, but to also sit back and take pictures as well. Mother of the Year right here. 4 years running people.

And the finished product. Front:

Mad style, yo. And no, I did not let her leave the house like that--I totally combed her hair first. 

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Quick question

Does my nose look swollen?

Also, am I dying?

Ok, I know that was two. Send the bill to my estate executor.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Space Case

I don't know if I've mentioned it yet or not, but I've had a sinus infection/headache/invasion for the past month or so now. No, that's not true. I know I've mentioned it, but I'm still waiting for someone to feel sorry enough for me that he sends me a Get Well Chocolate Basket. Or Get Well Boots. Perhaps a Get Well Vespa? Whatever you're most comfortable with--I'm not picky.

Anyway, when I have issues in my upper respiratory region, I always feel like a complete zombie. My head is so clogged that it takes me at least 20 seconds to process the words that were spoken before I realize that someone has asked me a question. I feel like a social pariah. Wait is the word social necessary there or is it kind of understood given that pariah means: any person or animal that is generally despised or avoided? Um, this line of thought is kind of supporting that outcast label isn't it? Back to the point--which is this: I am having a very hard time keeping up with the world around me.

Not that there's anything really abnormal about that. Being a person in possession of an introverted personality and a tendency to lean toward exaggerated narration, I am frequently lost inside my own brain when I should be focusing on my surroundings. Andy likes to tell anyone who will listen that if a 757 were trying to make an emergency landing on a road on which I was driving, all the cars around me would be moving out of the way while I carried on in my merry, oblivious way. To hear him tell it, I wouldn't know what was going on until I saw the pilot's eyes in my rear view mirror when I went to change lanes. I have tried to deny, deny, deny; but over the years, the evidence has continued to mount in support of his charges.Take for instance this kindergarten class photo.

Do you see me? A little closer view, perhaps?

Yep, it would seem that I'm in my own little universe there. I can't refute such hard evidence, so I've lost the will to argue the point. I mean why waste energy on a losing battle when I can focus instead on making my husband feel sorry for my poor sick self? Cough. Cough. I believe the number you're looking for dear is 1-800-FLOWERS.

I'll just climb back into my shell now

Hmmm...something is out of the ordinary around here. Do you see it guys?

Amaya sees it!

You don't see it? Come on Mama, use your eyes!

Oh geez, how blind can you be? Here, let me make it easy for you. 

Glad we're finally on the same page here, Mama. 

Friday, September 17, 2010

Stand Tall Soldier

I give you Exhibit A:

Perhaps you remember seeing it before? Ever since this photo popped up on my laptop screen, I've had nothing but my poor posture on the brain. Aside from contributing to that pesky thing called osteoporosis, bad posture is just down right unattractive. Those slumping shoulders need to go--like yesterday. 

How fortuitous then that one of my favorite vintage fashion blogs recently started running a series of posts entitled: Friday Charm School. You can read her post on good posture and proper walking form here: Couture Allure Friday Charm School Posture Post.

So, fully armed with adequate instruction, I decided to take it upon myself to improve my chances of maintaining strong, healthy bones by improving my posture. As with all of the projects I engage in, I find myself running a mental commentary on my adventures. I thought I might share with you a few of the thoughts that I've had during Mission Perfect Posture. 

  1. Standing straight and tall will introduce you to muscles you never knew you had. There will be a pinching in your back that will make you want to scream for mercy. Your abs will feel like they've gone a few rounds in the ring with Muhammad Ali. My dear friend and trainer Jeanne says this is normal. She even goes so far as to say that if I walked this way all day long, every day, I could cut my core training by half and still rock abs of steel. She also claims that if I stick with the whole good posture thing, it will eventually feel normal and that annoying searing pain will be but a memory. Of course this is also the girl who tells me chocolate is bad and tofu is good, so take her words with several grains of salt. 
  2. It is mentally exhausting to keep up the perfect posture. My brain has no room for anything but thinking "shoulders back and down, abs in, head high, heel, toe, heel, toe" in a constant repeating cycle. If I miss even a single phrase of my inner monologue, the entire production falls apart. This intense concentration means that I can't focus on answering the difficult questions I'm posed during a typical day--such as"Paper or Plastic?" Add in the fact that my sinus infection makes me feel like my entire head is buried in a pot of honey, and I'm pretty much useless in the social realm these days. More than usual, I mean.
  3. Once you start thinking about posture, you can't help but notice it all the time. You not only become aware of yourself sliding back into your shoulder slumping, frumpy ways, but you also notice how large a percentage of the population is right there loafing with you. I felt very conspicuous sitting with a perfectly straight back in the waiting room at the doctor's office when everyone else was slouched down in the less-than-comfortable chairs. I felt eyes watching me, and I imagined them wondering why I was all hoity-toity. As someone who prefers to blend into the background, I had to constantly fight the desire to drop my shoulders and curve my spine. So I distracted myself by playing with my iPad--I'm sure that helped convince them that I was not at all pretentious, right?

  It is generous to say that this project of mine remains a work in progress, and will probably continue to be so well into my 80s. Take for instance, Exhibit B: 
 While it's without a doubt an improvement, those shoulders could still stand to come back and up a bit more. But at least I have my facial features arranged in a somewhat normal alignment--so perhaps my brain is beginning to get used to the challenge of handling two jobs at once? Just don't ask me any questions.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

I Hope You Dance

No matter how cheesy that song is or how many times I've seen its chorus splashed across a scrapbook page, I always get a little chill when I hear it. I think it's the sentiment of the thing that gets me. Being a shyish, bubble girl myself, I sometimes have to force myself to pry my body free of the wall and actually join in the world around me.

Unless children are involved. It must be the teacher in me, but I have no problem making a fool of myself in front of kids. That, in fact, is the reason that I didn't get any photos of Amaya's first ballet class--I was too busy twirling and grand pliƩ-ing to be bothered to record the event for posterity. I knew the dance teacher had a heart of gold when she asked me--clumsy, elephant-footed me--how long I'd been dancing. I hope I didn't offend her when I laughed in her face.

Do you see how cute this studio is? It's a princess wonderland. No wonder I feel so at home there.

These fairy crowns were so cute, and so easy to recreate. They're just wired butterfly garland halos with streamers/ribbons attached. The girls loved them. Amaya spent a good 5 minutes just checking herself out in the mirror. Not that there's anything abnormal about that. Girl is a diva.

Here's a fun video to give you a feeling for how the 45 minutes goes--just picture me standing next to her mimicking her moves. Or trying my best to anyway.
I really don't think I need to worry about Miss Petunia sitting idly by on the sidelines, do you?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Curse of the Mellon

All of the makings of a legendary day were in place. Beautiful weather, an easy road trip to Richmond, premium parking and that was just the tip of the perfection iceberg.

BigSpot had a fancy suite at RIR filled with great people from

A suite with a view so good it made me question whether sitting on top of the war wagon really was the best seat in the house. But only for a minute. Or two. Air conditioning may have made it three. But I digress.

Our favorite driver arrived for a little meet and greet. He handled the Q & A session like a pro--he made it look a little too easy actually. I was tempted to ask Brian if he knew how to make my high beams stay on in the Volvo, but a quick look from Drew told me that wouldn't really be appropriate.I swear that man can read my mind, but only when I'm up to no good. Not when I want him to bring me home a latte or rub my feet. Then it's all static. But I digress. Again.

 In hindsight, Drew was probably right on this one. I mean I wouldn't want to put my BFF on the spot like that. What!? He is so my BFF! No, I most certainly am not delirious. You don't believe me? Well, check it: 

Yes, I know that picture is blurry, but trust me when I tell you that hero card says: To my BFF LAURA. In silver sharpie no less.  What? You think I asked him to write that? What? Lo siento.No hablo ingles. (despite my dedication to Rosetta Stone)

So you can see the day was going spectacularly. Not that there weren't a couple bumps along the way.

I don't have any idea what I was doing/saying/thinking here, but trust my husband to capture the moment forever. And trust me to post it here for you all to laugh at--am I your BFF too? Thought so.

But anyway, as I was saying this day was going to go down in the books as one of those too good to be true kinda days. The stuff of fairy tales even.

I got a new photo to frame for Drew's desk.

I discovered a new NASCAR job opportunity to pursue.

I saw Kyle Busch walk by in a pink fire suit. And he didn't run me over this time, so that was a bonus.

Yes, all the dominoes were lining up for the perfect run. I could almost taste the checkered flag. And then without warning, something went wrong. Just as that last domino was about to be placed, something tipped the scale and the whole course came crashing down. Splat.

I thought the #11 guys moved fast during a routine pit stop, but that's nothing compared to how quickly they moved in Richmond Friday night. Before I could blink my eyes, the entire team was behind the wall working on the car. Thank goodness for Twitter or I'd have had no idea why.

No11BraunRacing: A whisp of smoke signals a broken fitting on an oil line for @bscottracing. The @BigSpotDotCom team will take it behind the wall for repair.

So frustrating! To work so hard and then have it all fall apart because of a single broken part. How could this happen? What could be behind such horrid luck? And then I remembered. How I wish I hadn't.

Someone--who shall remain anonymous for he knew not what he was doing--did this to the BigSpot car before the race.

See it over on the left there?

L.L. my initials. On the car. In silver sharpie. Like the mark of the devil since clearly I am misfortune incarnate. No more than that. I am cursed. Now, my dreams of a NASCAR career are really dead. Who's going to hire a girl who leaves a trail of broken oil lines in her wake?

At least I'll always have the memory of the perfect day that almost was.

Yes, there's always that.