Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Long Climb - Part Uno

I am woefully behind in the pre-Christmas posting department.  Forgive me?  And prepare for bleeding retinas?

The first happy dance was done when we received a box of these from GunDiva:

magic window cookies

I shamelessly stole the picture of the magic window cookies off her blog – because I just as shamelessly “ran out of the subject matter” pretty darn quick.  Thanks GunDiva and family!

(Just check out the official directions – don’t ask, I ain’t giving up the family secret sugar cookie recipe!)

~

Then it was time for Christmas shopping.  Trust me when I say there are a couple of TST’s that are begging to be told.  One with a stalker and one with a gun… thankfully not both in the same story.

~

Then the trip that wasn’t.

Getting up at 4am to set sail on this:

clipperIV

 

Heading for a weekend escape with my favorite girls (can you see the three generation family resemblance?)

IMG_8836

On the itinerary:

High Tea at the Empress

And the Holiday Lights tour at Butchart Gardens

Butchart Gardens

 

(There’s a whole ‘nother story about the time I got booted from High Tea at the Empress… something to do with a dress code and a pageant girl who was tired of dresses and heels…)

 

Before we even got on the boat, I had to gasp at this:

IMG_8830

(Wow Canadians!  I survived a high-speed crash with someone who had a substance problem… the only reason it was a felony was because I was hurt and she ran.  Please don’t drive buzzed this New Year, we love you).

 

There was a wee bit of this:

IMG_8838

But I didn’t think much of it because it was smooth sailing on our swanky catamaran.  They opened up the duty-free shop, where apparently $65 Marlboro cartons go for $31.

An hour later… they announced they were turning the ship around… rough weather in the Straits made it unsafe to proceed.  A chorus of AWWWWs from the full ship of passengers heading for holiday plans.

IMG_8841

 

IMG_8844

(I told you  my hair won’t completely straighten… and you can blame Mr. Daddy stealing my iron and claiming it as a Christmas gift.  Oh yes he did!)

The teenager sitting next to me made my mother’s day when he asked if we were sisters.  And since my mother pretty much doesn’t age, I’m guessing that the amateur hair straightening makes me look older?  Couldn’t be the wrinkles, couldn’t be

 

Then they announced, “If you have purchased cigarettes from the duty free shop, please return them for a refund”.  Repeatedly.  I started to eye the sudden line to the bathrooms suspiciously.  Smoking the evidence???

We returned to a dreary Seattle

IMG_8840

Froze our butts off waiting on the windy dock for them to unload the luggage.

It was still early enough in the morning that restaurants were not open.  We had no transportation, three ladies with luggage walking along the piers.  I made sure to remind my grandmother and mother that I know karate.

 

We see lights, and like hungry moths to a flame, we head toward the scent glow.

And that glow?  Is a gigantic fireplace in the middle of a parking lot!

 

It was a hotel.  That 100 other bumped boat passengers had spotted before us.  We’ll just enjoy the setting while waiting for our seats!

IMG_8857

IMG_8854

 

IMG_8860

Yes, I take pictures of hotel bathrooms.  And I refuse to admit it’s weird.  I mean, the water came out of the faucets in sheets y’all, SHEETS!

Mr. Daddy does not understand why I now want a real birch tree in our living room.

 

Then we had some company.  You know you’re on the water…

IMG_8852

Not like the place was already famous for being right on the water or anything…

We finished our morning with an exotic breakfast and some hot coffee to warm back up.

IMG_8856

 

All I could think of, was how Itty Bit would have destroyed those light fixtures (chain necklaces… genius), and peeled the real bark off the walls.  So I guess it really was a girl’s getaway.  Though I’m a little sad that our rescheduled trip won’t include those Christmas lights. But hey, it’s better than capsizing a catamaran, eh?

~

 

Then off to mom’s house to drop Itty Bit off for our anniversary date.

IMG_8870

Ahh,  yes.  It must have been the straight hair.  Certainly not that wrinkle in between my eyebrows.

 

You gotta love a guy who will take you out for steak and lobster, then do this:

IMG_8888

We headed out for coffee at a bookstore (home of our first unofficial date), and spent some can’t-get-used-to-being-childless time perusing the books without shouts of “I GOTTA GO PEE-PEE!”

(For the record, Mr. Daddy was kind enough to use a nearby tree before we entered the store, and refrained from announcing it).

~

So that was Part Uno… and we haven’t even hit Christmas yet.  Wait till you hear what Itty Bit did to the refrigerator… *sigh*

Because any post isn’t complete without a picture of Itty Bit… here’s a peek at how caffeinated the kid was…  he couldn’t even SIGN straight.

IMG_8907

 

(And Happy Anniversary to the handsome guy that  makes my heart happy – my best gift was you).

Monday, December 27, 2010

Rule breaker

It’s gotta be against all kinds of bloggy rules to skip right past the obligatory “Our Perfect Christmas” post and head right into something so un-holiday-ish… but I couldn’t resist.

 

I mean, what if you saw this news headline?

 

POLICE APPREHEND SUSPECT

 

Then clicked the link to see this:

suspect

 

Those are some serious skills.

I will totally admit that I shrieked with laughter and called Mr. Daddy over to the computer.

 

“Duuuude!  They got him with a dadgum n#pple hold!”

 

 

Lord, I apologize.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Reasons #519 and #520 to shop online

What?

You thought I was going to show you a couple of super-awesome things I bought online?

Aww heck no. 

 

Y’all know how tempting it is to make a quick run to the store during this hectic season, right?  I mean, even if you have *ahem* company?

 

Reason #519 not to take your kid shopping with you:

When you spend the week before telling him he has to wear chapstick otherwise his lips might crack…

He might suddenly recall that and wait for the prime audience to throw himself dramatically in your arms and wail loudly,

“I’m craaaaaaacking!  Mommy, I’m craaaaaacking!”

 

Yes dear, I can see that.

 

~

Reason #520 not to take your kid shopping with you:

When you take him out in public while he insists on wearing his dapper little hat… he gets a fair amount of attention from the ladies.

IMG_9794

(forgive the Cheeto lips)

 

He spent most of the time racing around the store, then suddenly acted shy around the young checker.

“I’m a little shy right now,” he said as he wrapped his arms around my leg.

She smiled at him and I told him to wave goodbye.

He waved.

She waved.

“See you later”, he said.

“See you later”, she said.

He walked nearly to the doors before turning around and hollering at the top of his mighty lungs,

 

“and don’t let the bed bugs bite!”

 

I think I saw a rush on Depends once the front half of the store realized what he’d said.

 

Like I said, online shopping - a beautiful thing.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

A fine line - by Mr. Daddy

There is a fine line between being of a gracious heart, and a cynical Grinch...

And in the infamous words of the song by Johny Cash "I walk the line."

That line for me is my desire to be a benevolent person by choice, and a government that says they want to do it for me, and by legislation tries to make it so...

Mohandas Gandhi, once said that. "The spirit of democracy is not a mechanical thing to be adjusted by abolition of forms. It requires change of heart."

So in keeping with the Spirit of the season, and in an honest effort to change my heart. I am forwarding on a E-mail that a friend shared with me. So that all my friend, no matter of what persuasion will be blessed with the holiday spirit...


To My Democratic Friends:
Please accept with no obligation, implied or explicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all. I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2011 but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great. Not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country nor the only America in the Western Hemisphere . Also, this wish is made without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishee.


To My Republican Friends:
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Mr. Daddy.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Four Minutes and Twenty-Nine Seconds of Joy

 

If you don’t have four and a half minutes to sit and smile, then you most assuredly need it more than you know.

 

If you find it odd that a deaf person would sit here on her blog and tell y’all that you need to listen to piece of music… well, it’s because at three years old, I still had my hearing.  And someday would love to share about when they put those first hearing aids into my broken ears and I burst into “O Susannah” – because I had missed music so much.

This little three-year old captures that joy.  And I love that he jumps in delight when he cannot contain himself, and that he is still that normal kid who picks his nose on camera.  And the ending?  Oh the ending!

Please friends, exhale for a moment and give yourself permission to smile.

 

 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wordful Wednesday: Flour Power

On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me

three sugar cookies

two little giggles

and a plaid-wearing blue green hazel-eyed boy

 

IMG_8760

 

What do you mean I have flour on my face?

IMG_8761

 

 

Did I get it?

IMG_8758

 

Wishing you time to make memories like these.

Next up?  GunDiva’s famous magic window cookies.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Words in my heart - by Mr. Daddy

James Earl Jones is credited with this saying:

"One of the hardest things in life is having words in your heart that you can't utter."

It seems as if sometimes my tongue gets all tangled up with my eyeteeth and I can't for the life of me see a single word that I would like to say.

And it is possible to close your eyes to the things you don't want to see, but find it is impossible to close your heart to the things you don't want to feel.

My cousin that is 8 days younger than I, co-conspirator in so many episodes of my life, inseparable in school and play, living only a short walking distance from each other growing up, and living only a few miles apart now, has lost his only daughter to cancer.

Now I suppose that it could be said that he had her for 31 years, that there was time to live life and forge memories, and enjoy the gift of her life..

But I am absolutely positive that his Daddy's heart would shudder and cry out, that it was but a moment in time. Gone as quickly as a shooting star.That there needed to be one more bounce upon his knee, one more hug and kiss, just one more time to look upon her and wish for all the good things in life to be hers....

And although I can close my eyes, and refuse to see, in my heart are all these feelings that I just seem unable to ignore...

The injustice of a life cut too short, of a child left motherless, of loved ones left without the presence of one cherished and loved..

So in this time of grief, and with all these feeling all bundled up inside my heart, I will borrow some words to share.

A poem, by David Harkins

"You can shed tears that she is gone,

or you can smile because she has lived,

You can close your eyes and pray that she'll come back,

or you can open your eyes and see all she's left.

Your heart can be empty because you can't see her,

or you can be full of the love you shared.

You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday,

or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.

You can remember her only that she is gone,

or you can cherish her memory and let it live on.

You can cry and close your mind,

be empty and turn your back.

Or you can do what she would want:

Smile, open your eyes, love and go on.


And life does and will go on, albeit I will find some comfort in the thought that another angel has found her wings....

(and smile)

And to know that Jesus has gathered another soul into his comforting arms.

(open your eyes)

And keep her memory alive.

(Love)

And help to instill those memories in her little daughter.

(and go on)


R.I.P. Crystal. We love you

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Is it a bad thing

 

Is it a bad thing?

 

That my son just affectionately hugged me, patted my stomach, and said,

 

“You’re growing every day”

 

?

 

 

It’s all your fault little dude.

All your fault.

 

IMG_1739IMG_1742IMG_1745

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(You don’t have to say it.  Yes, I wish I was.  No, I’m not.  Please, talk some sense into Mr. Daddy!)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Letters of Intent - Amazon's turn

Y’know, we’ve had some pretty good luck getting responses from companies that find themselves featured on King Julien’s Letters of Intent…

Foursons

And this week is Amazon’s turn.

Apparently they didn’t take the hint from the Costco debacle – let’s see if I’m the only person who thought this merited a letter.

 

See, I was minding my own jolly business as I shopped online for some wrapping paper.  And I realized that more stores are selling it as “gift wrap” nowadays (did anyone else just snort that I used the word “nowadays”?  I feel like Estelle Getty).

They don’t so much sell wrapping paper rolls, but mostly in sheets.  Come on now… what fun is that?  (Says the little and big boys in our house who  love sword fights)

I was salivating over stuff like this:

(+) click 
                    to view larger

 

So I hopped on Amazon to check out all the designs.

I typed in “gift wrap”… and SWEET JEHOSEPHAT… this is what came up:

amazon giftwrap

In case you can’t see clearly, the very first search result is a lovely giftwrap that repeats “Happy F-ing Holidays”.

I’ll let you read my email to Amazon for the rest.

 

I've been very pleased with numerous Amazon purchases in the past.  I'm just a bit puzzled at the prioritization of Gift Wrap Paper search results.  While I wouldn't call myself overly-sensitive, it seemed a bit crass to have the first result be "Happy F-ing Holidays", the second be "Suicidal Snowman", the sixth be Santa defecating in a chimney, the eighth be a joke about genitals, the eleventh be a drunk Santa, the fifteenth be a depiction of piles of excrement, the sixteenth be Santa with scantily clad women saying HO HO HO... and etcetera.  Considering that the average shopper looking for holiday giftwrap may not be expecting the first results to have items like these... I'm disappointed and well... kinda bugged that all of these were on the very first page of my search.  I need wrapping paper, but I'm not crazy about wading through R-rated content on Amazon to find it.

(I have a screenshot available of the search results if needed).

Thanks,
Rachel

 

I received a rather canned reply, but y’all shouldn’t be surprised that most companies WILL respond to your email.  And even if it’s a standard “thank you and we don’t care” reply – I’m willing to bet that cumulative customer complaints are forwarded on up.

 

Hello,

I understand your concern.

I've passed your comments about the Gift Wrap search results on to the appropriate department in our company for consideration. We truly value this kind of feedback, as it helps us continue to improve our store and provide better service to our customers.

Strong customer feedback like yours helps us continue to improve the selection and service we provide, and we appreciate the time you took to write to us.  We'll consider your feedback as we plan further improvements.

When you use our search engine to look for items, our system attempts to find the products you're most likely to be looking for based on the words you entered. 

The related search results on our website are based on a variety of automated criteria, including the typical search queries and misspellings of other users. Sometimes a spelling correction will be offered for a query that is spelled correctly, simply because our automated system decided there was a good chance you would find the alternative helpful, based on the searches of previous customers.

We look forward to seeing you again soon.

Thank you for your recent inquiry. Did I solve your problem?

Best regards,
Bharath M.
Amazon.com
Your feedback is helping us build Earth's Most Customer-Centric Company.

 

~

Y’all – this was only about the FIRST page of search results.  It’s Amazon’s prerogative to sell off-color products – it was just bizarrely low-class to feature them as the top items when someone isn’t looking for pooping Santas.

 

And for the record?  All the big ticket Christmas gifts I wanted to purchase from Amazon?  Itty Bit’s new bed, Mr. Daddy’s camo top for the Rhino, Rachel’s ceramic hair straightener (ahem)?  All NOT purchased at Amazon.

Can you hear me now?

 

~

Click on Julie’s Letters of Intent Button for more - the letter-writing that gets results! Smile

Thursday, December 09, 2010

I'm Not Even Kidding - Horses in winter

 

While the horses may not especially enjoy the cold weather,

IMG_0305[4]

I’m guessing the feeling is mutual when it comes to anyone caring for outdoor pets right now.

(And for the record, she’s making that face because I won’t let her come inside.  Petulant little thing).

 

The neverending battle against mud is one thing… but traipsing out into the brrr to serve dinner and break ice in the water buckets can leave you chilled.

 

snowy horses

 

Oh, I mean, if your hose hasn’t frozen over… if it has, then the added joy of hauling warm water from the house by small buckets will make your horse love you forever.

Or just stare at you in confusion as her trough steams in the snow.  Whatever.

 

I apparently have made an enemy out of yet another inanimate object (lest you forget about last year’s coffee table that attempted to maim me – and the fact that I’ve been too embarrassed to tell y’all that the same blasted piece of furniture just destroyed my kneecap again two days ago.  I’m limping right now y’all).

So I’m dragging my bum leg outside in the pitch black to throw my nickering girl some hay.  I am totally not admitting that I wore Mr. Daddy’s redneck hat/flashlight combo so that I could see past my feet.  I run around the stall and turn the hose on to fill my beloved horse’s water bucket.

She is eyeball deep in a haypile and completely ignores my freezing butt standing a few feet away in a downpour (without a redneck hat/flashlight combo… we clear?)

I pull the hose out after seeing a few leaves swirling in the bucket and decide to dump ‘em.  (I didn’t see those leaves with a redneck hat/flashlight combo.  I’m a city girl, savvy?)

When I slipped the hose back into the clean bucket… the thing came to life and attacked me.

garden-hose-gun google

I kid you not, the thing rose straight up out of the bucket and launched skyward.

Shooting a massive spray of water that beautifully drenched the non-redneck-hat/flashlight-combo-wearing girl all over her right side.

With my catlike reflexes (you know, those instincts that help me NEVER to get hurt in dumb ways?), I lunged for the weapon hose just as it whipped around again.

And I kid you not… as my hand wrapped around that little punk, I realized instantly that the most improbable thing had just occurred…

That sucker had launched itself six inches up my right sleeve and was wedged snugly halfway up my elbow.

 

Gushing freezing water.  With all the tenacity of a fire hose with an inferiority complex.

Fire Hose Google

While my coat sleeve just kept right on holding it in like a good little lined jacket.

Seven hours later, I’m still buddying up to the fireplace.

 

And she?

IMG_7966

Didn’t even look up to see what all the screaming was about.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Wordful Wednesday - It doesn't take much

After that last post about all of the bad news in one week about three different cousins… Michelle remarked:

image

I had to laugh at her last line – because it sure seemed that way!

We have bunches and we love ‘em!  More fun in the snow with MORE cousins. 

 

It doesn’t take much

It doesn’t take much to make Itty Bit happy.

IMG_8184

 

Nor the passenger seat driver, Bubba.

IMG_8194

 

Nor the excitable Joe-Bean next door.

IMG_8212

 

And nor I… after I took the wheel and drug Half-Pint through some wild inner tube figure-eights and snowbanks - and snapped away in amazement as the camera-recluse smiled and laughed into my lens.

IMG_8199

 

And when he realized that I was giggling over the snowflakes stuck to those oughta-be-illegal eyelashes…

IMG_8200

Well, maybe it made my whole year.

 

Yeah.  It doesn’t take much to make us happy.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Monday Mugs - Self Portrait

Squeaking in under the wire to join in with Oswald Cuties for a fun week of photos.  (Hey, it’s Monday for a few more hours before I catch some winks… that counts for something, right?)

 

 

This week’s theme is Self-Portrait.  Yech.  Truthfully – I’d much rather be at the business end of a lens!  Those of you who have kept up with Itty Bit for awhile know that he is quite the little wiggleworm when it comes to photos nowadays.  Which is why I cherish this one sitting still shot.

I may or may not have bribed him by promising to open the curtains for him to watch the street sweeper that was coming ;)

IMG_0509-1

 

And I apologize for borrowing from the previous photo post, but here is the other typical Rachel self-portrait:

IMG_1519-1

Anyone else remember the end result of inadvertently being between two bickering horses at feed time?

 

Thanks Oz, for letting us have a fun way to start off the week!  Are you brave enough to link up with your own shots? :)

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Making a list... checking it twice

 

IMG_7930

 

Honey, what else do we need?  Do we need bread?

No babe, we have half a loaf left.

M-kay.  I’m heading to the store, back in a bit.

 

 

Mommy, I want a peanutbutter sandwich.

Okay Itty Bit – just a minute.

 

….

 

Honey?  I thought you said we didn’t need bread?

There’s bread.

Umm…

 

Okay, so I had some toast this morning.

 

 

You had some toast?

Well, we had a half a loaf, babe.

Honey, we didn’t have half a loaf.

Yes we did.

There were five pieces, including the heel… which nobody eats.

What’s left?

The heel.

Oh…

 

 

You ate FOUR pieces of toast for breakfast???

 

*panic*

deer_in_the_headlights

 

 

Mommy, I want a peanutbutter sandwich.

.

.

.

 

 

Would you like to explain this one dear?

IMG_1597

 

.

.

.

IMG_2651

 

Come on buddy, let’s go to the store.