Friday, August 29, 2008 the eye of the beholder.

Every week I throw cans, bottles and newspapers in the recycling bins and drop off "gently used" clothing and household items at Goodwill. I walk away feeling good that I am not contributing to the land fills, but never really stop to think what is happening to all this stuff. Yeah, I know that it all gets melded together to make new stuff, but I really started to think about the stuff that gets recycled by everyday people-not machines. The Grouchy Dog is 100% recycled material and misc "art." After seeing things on the internet, I wonder if we (my family) are officially rednecks? Or do we fall in the category of "creative" recycling? I love the idea and could really get carried away-or maybe not. But, there are some really cool things out there that you would never even know were recycled (and some you could guess were). I'd wear these and even these, heck I'd even try to make them-and hand them out as gifts. The Wild Ones would kill for one of these and all the "cool" girls have one of these. Some things are just sweeter the second time around. I will have to take a closer look at all the stuff I set aside for recycling...and perhaps you should take a closer look at any gifts you get from me.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The mysteries of sleep.

I woke up this morning feeling like I needed a nap! I have to give myself a pep-talk some mornings just to get out of bed. Part of that talk usually involves bribing myself with a nap later in the day...if you're a mom-go ahead and laugh right now. I have had one nap in the last 12 years, not including the day I slept in 'til 2 pm cuz I had the "flu"-no really I did, just ask my mom (but don't ask my sister or the Big Guy). Why is it that you have to bribe, force and threaten kids to nap or go to bed at night when most adults spend time each day dreaming about a dark cool room, the soft squish of their head on their pillow, pulling up a warm flannel sheet and heavy down comforter............oh sorry, my eyes were dazing over. Is it nap time yet???

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Great Minnesota Get Together.

After countless hours with our butts on the couch cheering for the USA, the MN state fair couldn't have come at a better time. A little fresh (if you consider animal droppings fresh) air always does a body good. We have our routine down and always think we can fit more in...and they always end up sweeping our sorry butts out with the rest of the dirt. 

We see the timber show each year, I think they are beginning to recognize us--of course the Big Guy always cheers the loudest and manages to get in a few heckles for the opposing team. Soon our annual picture will have the Wild Ones hovering over the "team." The guys at 3rd Lair also look forward to the clans visit (perhaps because we come wearing last years shirts and our wallets hanging out looking for their newest version). We just can't get enough of their cool dudes and crazy tricks. Of course the animal barns always occupy a great amount of our time (doesn't seem to matter that we have horses across the street and all other farm animals with in walking distance...just not the same) as well as the trip to the big yellow slide. At $2.50 a scream, we can't spend the entire afternoon hiking up those stairs like we did when we were little and Great use to give my sister and I each a roll of quarters-looking back I think he was just trying to get rid of us for a while.

We can't miss the annual picture of the Big Guy with his baby girl...same spot for the last 12 years. And then of course there is the food. The Big Guy always walks in with his snout pointed at the first corn dog booth. I could get that at home...if the thought didn't gross me out. I am more into something new or different, but I always look around for so long that I just end up hungry and burying my face in the same old things year after year...but man it's sweet. This year the Wild Ones were intent on trying the chocolate covered bacon. I know, chocolate...bacon what's not to love? First it is cold (I guess I should have thought through the whole melting thing) and second, it's still bacon covered with chocolate. Won't be trying that again. Now if I happen to be cooking some bacon at home and accidently spill some milk chocolate on the HOT bacon I just may have to try a bite!  

If you happen to stay past dark (and don't tell me if you are one of those people that just goes for a couple of hours, cuz that just ain't right) you gotta check out this dancing robot-it is wild(and kinda sexy-you had to be there). It moves like a man (a smooooth man) and has the facial expression to flirt...if I'd have had room I might have snuck him in the trunk for a little late night rendesvoux. Can't wait for next year...perhaps I will rent a bigger car.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Thanks I Get.

I've spent the last 5 months taking care of my MIL, including finding her a condo and helping her move.  My payback is all the crazy stuff that she can't/won't take with her (you need audio to hear the laughter/sarcasm in my voice). I have spent the last 24 years going to (and sneaking out of) that house and can't say I ever noticed this "Devil" hanging above the door in the porch. Five minutes on moving day and the littlest Wild One is following Gramma around telling her how much he really likes the "devil on the porch." And never one to miss a beat-or mince words-she was ever so eager to have him take it home...of course he would have to "ask your mother first." In the midst of shouting orders (to the moving guys), hauling boxes and organizing various family members I think I said something that resembled "Put it on the table and we will discuss it," which to a 6 year old meant, "Sure honey what ever you want, make sure you get it in the car so we don't forget it." I was trying to look on the bright side and thought maybe it would look good at the Grouchy Dog, however, the little one has other ideas...he wants to hang it in the hallway to scare his sister when she gets up to use the bathroom at night. That might work too.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Come a little closer.

In the midst of my crazy life (and schedule...I must learn to say no) I made time for a little rendezvous with the Big Guy to surprise a friend for a birthday dinner. I had everything down...up at 6, pack for three kids to include time at Gramma's, pool parties, sports and an overnight at Donies...oh yeah and shower stuff and an outfit for me (see I do think of myself soemtimes) for my hot dates. I ran kids around, met installers and hauled boxes. By 5 pm I was at my parent's house (all sweaty and gross) dropping off the kids with no time to run home for a shower (thus the earlier packing). I realized that I had forgotten my razor and my dress was way too short to skip removing the fuzz from my legs. My mother was all too eager to offer my my father's razor (which I assume is only used on his face) although I'm pretty sure she would have handed me her pink one if he'd actually been home. I really had no choice so off to the shower I skipped, dad's razor in hand. I did my 15 minute routine: shower, hair and make-up. All I had to do was get dressed. I put on my seamless bra and pulled on my form fitting dress. I stood taking in the view (in the full wall mirror) and congratulating myself on my ability to transform myself  in less time than most men. But then...I saw something down in the "private area." I thought maybe I had snagged my dress (OK,  I know that's a stretch considering it was new and the exact location of the Problem, but...I think they call it denial). I realized that I had forgotten my panties and a few "friends" were poking through the front of my dress. @*&%!  I was out of time and had no coverings. Desperate measures, girls, desperate measures. I hiked up my dress and picked up (my dad's) razor, looked at it for a minute and started shaving. I rinsed out the sink and snuck out of the house with out looking my mother in the eyes. The rest of the evening went smoothly (pun intended), but next time I have to pack I will be sure to slow down and triple check my list.     Stay tuned for review of that night's destination- the new "W."

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A very special day.

Our family will spend the day celebrating the life of our "little buddy" on what would have been his 8th birthday. We are on an adventure inspired by his love of life and yearning for fun. The tattoo above (and a matching one for the Big Guy) was inscribed on my upper back because I feel his energy carried on my shoulders each and every day-it helps me to find joy in all of the things I do.

Take a moment today to listen to Oliver's song (Drift Away by Uncle Kracker). Roll down your windows, feel the wind in your hair and sing at the top of your lungs. Listen carefully you just might hear us singing along.

To my special boy: I love you Lollipop, daddy loves his Grouchy Dog, Morgan loves her Ollie, Henry loves his Nalls and George loves his Naber. We miss you Lolli, but your memories bring many smiles, much laughter and inspiration to all of us and to so many others whose life you touched.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Note to self.

My love of lists is starting to take over. I am leaving trails from the grocery store to the beach...hey, at least I will be able to find my way home. The Big Guy has even taken to calling me "Miss Listy List" (I should be thrilled, it could be so much worse). Now if I could just combine it with my creativity I could start making art (I promise to make it more interesting than this). My dirty little secret is that I have started making lists of the lists that I need to make. Perhaps I should just do what needs to be done instead of writing about it. Nah, it's better that I share my insanity with those around me...if I put X's through some of the items, it will at least look like I am getting something done!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

A little glamour...a little glitz.

What could be better on a beautiful August night? It may not be Red Rocks, but where else can you see an outdoor concert with bears growling in the back ground (an the wind...I mean the Bug Guy blowing in my ear)? Old friends, new friends (like my date Cindy) and my favorite squeeze (I'll let that remain a secret) swaying in the fresh air to the crooning of Chris Isaak at the MN Zoo. Who knew? Evidently a lot of people-the place was sold out. I just happen to be lucky enough (and home) when my girlfriend called and offered me an extra ticket. Well, it took me all of about 3 seconds to say, "Whoo hoo, when do we leave?" This was just the "medicine" I needed to renew I know I can make it to September 2nd...when everyday at 8:20 (bus time) I'll be cranking the tunes and throwing my own dance party.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Calling all football fans.

Shhh...don't tell anyone. A fourth Manning brother has been spotted. He is being raised in a small somewhat rural, but still kind of funky and hip town by an unsuspecting couple. It is even rumored that the "father" is coaching this youngest Manning in youth football. Stay tuned for further developments...and remember this info is not for public knowledge...yet.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Who's addicted?

I have to say, there is something about the olympics that just sucks me in. I am not in the regular habit of watching TV (I honestly don't even know who McDreamy is and when my mom and the Big Guy get together and start talking sleuths and psychics my eyes glaze over), but since 8.8.08 I've clocked enough hours to make the best couch potato jealous. Do they call them bed sores if they come from a couch? Actually they might have to call mine shoe sores as I am usually watching on the run...or running in between. It's like a real life fantasy. Super human people (the littlest Wild One cannot believe they are "really for real") that are regular the 41 year old mom swimmer...hmmm. And then bring on the competition. I sit, or stand, in front of the TV screaming, "GO MICHAEL," or "GO USA." I get a little crazy-who knew? Oh and then there are the medal ceremonies...get out the kleenex. I sniffle at the national anthem...every time. To be fair, I also sniffle at the family commercials and even at a few that have nothing to do with the olympics. Kind of makes me want to get out there and learn a new sport (or walk around wearing my marathon medal)...or maybe just teach one to the Wild Ones...or perhaps sign them up for something and let someone else teach them. Maybe I'll just get another tattoo.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Me and my big mouth.

We were out yesterday enjoying a warm sunny day at the local "Corn Days" festival. After claiming enough candy to load three suburban houses for Halloween, we proceeded to the food and games area. We ate our fill of corn, talked to more "old friends" than we ought to even have and somewhat patiently waited in line for all the games. As we were leaving we decided to tackle the rock wall, that is the two tiny Wild Ones and me. The Big Guy was daring people to the top and I just happened to say "I'd do it" all cocky like. I didn't say "Yes, I want to do it right now. Please go buy me a ticket." Geez, you'd think after all these years he'd understand my language. What I really was saying was, "Hey that kind of looks like fun. If I was in the right mood I might consider trying that some day." Too late, he had already snuck off to buy tickets. I figured I'd just act like it was all cool and I'd go in with the Wild Ones, beat them to the top and then sit back and watch them struggle...I mean encourage them to the top. So they get all strapped in and the very handsome attendant with the sexy smile...I mean if you were looking and happened to notice...which I did...and he was...came over to strap me in. Now let me just tell you these things strap snugly around your waist and in between your legs. So he is crouched down in front of me ready to strap me in and I say, "So do you have a huge one?" obviously referring to the size of the harness. He looked up at me and smiled...the light bulb went off in my head, my eyes got big and I almost fainted...I could have handled it except for that damn sexy smile. One very rare (and red) moment of silence from me. He had no problem adjusting my straps and even gave me some tips on mounting the wall. I'm not sure if I was dizzy from my encounter or just afraid of heights, but I only made it half way up the wall (twice) and had to stand...shaking...on the sidelines as I watched not one, but both of the Wild One's scale their way to the top. 

Friday, August 8, 2008

Early education.

I took the Wild Ones to a park in Minneapolis yesterday and got a little more than I bargained for. I thought we might play LaCrosse or toss around a football, but first the Wild Ones wanted to play on the steps that lead to the Mississippi. Of course when their toes hit the water they had to "pee" (as the doctors are so fond of calling it) and there were no proper facilities to be found. Next best thing, find a private bush. Well in our back yard that is easy, in the middle of a park-not so much so. We wondered down the shore, behind a steep bank and up a path into some trees and found the perfect spot. In the peace after finding a "potty" we started to look around and realized we had wondered through someone's home. Imagine the size of the Wild One's eyes when they saw freshly washed clothing hanging in the trees to dry and groceries hidden under piles of twigs. We also saw a 6-pack, minus one, sweating in the shade. At this point I scooted the boys of out the woods and explained that someone was living there. We had a very candid discussion and then tried to go about our business of playing in the rocks. As I sat there watching the Wild Ones, many emotions and thoughts whorled through my head. From the corner of my eye I felt someone sneak behind was the occupant of the home we had inadvertently invaded. He was checking to make sure that we had not stolen anything...I should have left him a ten dollar bill. He stayed on the other side of the steps with me between himself and his home, but never let his gaze wonder too far from me. Just before we were leaving I watched a woman walk up to him, hand him a folded bill (as in cash) and inconspicuously take a small envelope from him. I figured our exit was good timing and I was glad at that point that I didn't have any money to leave for him.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Sign needed for Grouchy Dog.

We should have had this for last Saturday. Actually everyone was quite well behaved-no stumbling and no incriminating pictures (mostly). But there have been occasions-and for certain people-when this sign was warranted and for the safety of our other guests...I need this sign. The first one to bring it to me drinks at the Grouchy Dog for free (of course so does everyone else, but don't tell). Happy searching.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Mysterious Mermaid.

Log this under things I can't believe I am sharing. Last night one of the Wild Ones needed help in the shower and I didn't want to go to bed with a wet put on a shower cap and started to get undressed (for the shower, remember?) But for some reason-which escapes me now-I wondered into the kitchen in my shorts and cap. Of course the Big Guy was laughing so hard he couldn't manage to ask me what I was doing, but did figure out how to follow me into the kitchen and suggest that I NEEDED goggles and gloves-which he just happened to have handy. Well something was missing so he decided I also needed flippers (also handy...three kids...summer time). Just as I was standing up from adjusting my elongated feet, I noticed the Big Guy standing there with my camera. After striking the mermaid pose (covering up the girls), I waddled back into the bedroom to surprise the Wild One. In true princess fashion I was going to jump around the corner and try to spook her. Have you ever tried jumping in flippers? I landed against the door frame and the Wild One turned around and rolled her eyes at me. It's a little anticlimactic when you have to ask, "Aren't I funny?" She said (and I quote), "A half naked woman with goggles and a shower cap? Not so much." Well the Big Guy walked in and we rolled around laughing. I guess it's a good thing we can still entertain each other-when the Wild Ones leave we will just have each other!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The morning after.

My favorite time of day is early morning when the birds are chirping, the grass is wet with dew...and the kids are still snuggled soundly in their beds. I like to walk around with a hot cup of tea and marvel at the land I live on. I love the daisies that grow wild in the yard (and so carefully try to mow around them) and the endless sea of green. Today as I walked around the front I noticed the tire swing rocking in the breeze and thought how peaceful it was sitting there waiting to be ridden. I thought about it, I really did. Then I remembered my last "horsy ride" in the front yard. I will save that story for another blog when I unearth the evidence (aka photos) let's just say I ended up in surgery and the "horse" ended up in greener pastures. Then, I looked over and saw the Rolling Rock on the bench and figured with my luck I'd get on the horse and someone would drive up, think I was already drinking  and call for social services. I opted for another sip of tea and a stroll through my gardens.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Hats and Halter Tops

Saturday was the big night and despite 70 percent of those invited being "out east" (that's what happens when we wait til August...when will I learn?) we had a great time. In terms of Grouchy Dog parties it was on the tame side (at least that is what I promised everyone I would say). I got the flashing out of the way early in the evening to pacify the oglers, however, I cannot reveal all the secrets of the evening. I believe you have to be there to know what happened there. So I will recap some of the evening for those of you that were there!  The napkins came out and were filled with lymerics...which reminds me to search the internet for the last set of "missing" napkins, clothing was swapped, libations were concocted and laughter was heard across town. People made new friends and shared old ones. There is something to be said for small, intimate parties. Maybe August is not so bad after all.