Friday, May 27, 2016

So Ready for Summer and Some Other Things

McDaniel finished her last final yesterday and Ellie graduates from the 8th grade this afternoon.

Yes, McDaniel is in her pajamas. Her back is to the camera because she just
woke up and she was nursing a bloody nose. Again. (She has a cold.)
But I took the picture anyway because these are the pictures I love the most.

After the graduation ceremony at the middle school,  it’s SUMMER!

I’ve been singing “School’s Out For Summer” all week. 

Yeah, the one by Alice Cooper.

I’m not an Alice Cooper fan.

But I’m very fond of summer.

We’ve been knee-deep in all that is the marathon of May.

On the third night in a row of meetings at the middle school, one of the dads mentioned to us that May was turning into the new December.

I just couldn’t agree.

Because where are the parties 
and presents 
and food 
and good cheer
and peace on earth wishes
and celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior?!

Because all we’ve had over here are choir concerts 
and track meets 
and sports banquets 
and meetings 
and school trips to pack for 
and pay for 
and finals.

On top of making lunches 
and normal homework
and an enormous amount of laundry. 

Here are a few things I want to mention since it’s been so long since I’ve posted.


I may have mentioned once or 45 times that Monte and I are reading "Alexander Hamilton" (very slowly).

Just to make that process even slower, Monte came home from the library with the first season of AMC’s TURN.

It’s a TV series about the use of very normal people as American spies during the Revolutionary War. It goes along well with Alexander Hamilton. Except we’ve gotten so hooked on the show that we aren’t reading as much.

It’s intense and I have to look away during ALL THE KILLING. 

It’s war, after all. 

But the storyline is so good!

And one of the British soldiers is so well cast as a villain that I may or may not have screamed at the TV for the Patriot to “KILL HIM!” when he had the chance during a duel.

Bad guy.

Alas, he did not because it was just the first season.

It really shows how even the Loyalists got sick and tired of the tyrannical rule of King George.

He was NUTS. 

And all those pompous soldiers in white wigs barging in 
to live in American homes and ceasing their guns
without much courtesy or gratitude.

It’s no wonder our amendments are what they are
and the order in which they were written.

 It’s so interesting to see our country in its infancy and how it was being molded and shaped. I see some of the same struggles are resurfacing today as our country is growing into adulthood. 

• Cats

McDaniel’s good friend, Charlotte, who played Mary Poppins a few years ago in the high school production, was in a local production of Cats recently.

McDaniel and Charlotte.

So the girls and I went.

Monte said something about being allergic to cats 
and stayed home and hosted poker with the guys on our street.

We went to a beautiful theater and had second row seats!

Look at the theater ceiling.

We did not know what Cats was about.

I know!

You’d think with the amount of times I sang the signature song from Cats in choir concerts in middle school and high school, I would’ve picked up a few plot points from the musical.


We thought maybe it was a metaphor ABOUT cats.

I know that I’ve seen the actors all made up like cats but I didn’t realize that they’d be 

Like, never breaking character.


We were right up there in the second row--they didn’t break character.

Ellie was so shocked by this fact that she could not stop laughing. The woman beside her gave her a few side eye glances and the woman in front of us, flat out gave her the stink eye.

Judging by how much she cried during the entire musical, Cats was very personal for her.

Ellie meant no disrespect. 
She was just caught off guard.

The outfits they wore were basically leotards. The girls were quite uncomfortable with our good seats when a “male cat” was up front and close to our eye line.

I never did figure out what the plot was but Charlotte sang and danced beautifully.

The woman/cat who sang “Memories” blew it out of the water!! Amazing!

It was definitely worth it to see.

•  Chewbacca Woman

What a hoot! 

I love seeing someone who doesn’t take themselves too seriously and has an obvious joy for life. 

Jennifer Dukes Lee is a gifted writer/blogger who wrote a wonderful article about the mask wearing woman and how her instant viral video shows our thirst for joy and laughter.

What I don’t understand is why so many people feel the need to be unkind to this mask wearing, laughing, joy-filled woman?

To poop on her parade and say hateful things on social media? 

It’s so sad how cynical people can be over something so innocent.

• Bitmoji Mishap

Monte and I enjoy playing around with the Bitmoji app on our phones. It allows you to make an animated version of yourself that you can send with messages.

Usually my Bitmoji is in workout clothes but I decided to shake things up and go with a pantsuit
since I’d never wear one and why not make my Bitmoji a more daring version of myself??
Julie encouraged the bright red lipstick. And other things I won’t get into right now.
Here’s Julie:
There are SO MANY things that I love about this!
But mainly the fuzzy furry vest because Julie has
one exactly like it.
We were in Miami for Monte’s 50th birthday when my girlfriend back home sent me a Bitmoji with a message.

The animation looked EXACTLY like her! 

I asked her to tell me everything about how she came about this and she pointed me to the app. For the next hour, Monte and I sat in the lobby of the hotel laughing and designing our Bitmojis. It went from a crowded pre-dinner lobby to just us. I’m sure people thought we were nuts, staring at our phones and laughing.

I like to send Bitmojis to Monte at work. Especially if I know he’s in a long meeting or conference call. It breaks up the day.

I’m tap dancing.
And apparently winking or sporting a black eye.
Either way, this makes me laugh.

Monte likes to send me Bitmojis back.


McDaniel and I were in Barnes & Noble last week looking for a graduation gift when I decided to show the sweet older lady up front the title of the book on my phone so she could help me find it.

As she was typing the book title and author name into the store computer with my phone in hand, I heard her say,


and her expression changed 
and she started tapping my phone.

I thought maybe she lost the image of the book so I took my phone back to see this:


I just clicked off of it quickly and said nothing.

Absolutely nothing.

Luckily, McDaniel had walked away 
to check out the journals.

We shared a long, wordless stare and the woman finally said,

“So that book is going to be in the Christian section…”

I bet she put me on her prayer list.

• Nose Band Aid

Monte had something removed from his nose yesterday at the dermatologist’s office. He sent me a picture of himself with a band aid on his nose.

There really is no hiding a band aid on your nose.

It’s an attention grabbing zone.

We have Ellie’s graduation today, two graduation parties tomorrow and a wedding tomorrow night.

All with Monte wearing a nose band aid.

I tried to comfort him by reminding him of me wearing ALL THE BAND AIDS on my neck when I gave myself a chemical burn trying to rid myself of a mole with some Frankincense.

It didn’t help.

So I resorted to Bitmoji.

Seriously, what are the odds that Monte got a nose band aid on the day called Red Nose Day?!

• Crying Soldier

I saw this picture online today and it made me stop and read the article. This soldier was captured on film crying at his graduation from West Point.

He was overcome because he was realizing in that exact moment the camera clicked that he was the American dream. 

An immigrant who moved to America with the hopes of a better life. He was accepted into a prestigious school and will go on to be a pilot after graduation.

His gratitude for the opportunities and freedoms of America spilled down his face. 

His willingness to serve and protect America is apparent. Not because it’s perfect but because he is a proud citizen.

I love it.

We need more of that.

There are people threatening to leave America 
if Donald Trump is elected president.

Read “1776” 
or “Alexander Hamilton.”

We have survived so. much. worse.

•  Ann Bogel’s Summer Reading List

Ann writes a blog called Modern Mrs. Darcy. She recommends and reviews books.

Each year, she releases a summer reading list that is full of great books ALL of which she has read.

Here’s a link to this year’s list:

I’ve picked out a few that I’d like to try.

Happy Summer!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Mother’s Day

I could dedicate an entire post to how much I love Bitmoji.
Monte and I have too much fun sending these animated versions
of ourselves to each other.

We have a tradition of going to a place on the university campus right by us for brunch each Mother’s Day.

It’s a wonderful brunch!

They give me a flower and take our picture with a choice of 4 different backgrounds.

There is always some discussion of which background we should choose

 and let’s face it,

it’s Mother’s Day, 

I win.

Who wanted the stupid purple bubble 
background anyway?!

Not when you could stand in front of the biggest picket fence with practically human head-sized flowers climbing up it!

McDaniel is so full she can barely open her eyes.

I think I’ve mentioned it before,

this brunch is a buffet.

And we go to win.

The girls didn’t eat breakfast in preparation.

I am not a skipper of meals.

I just can’t.

We always do a walk around to assess the the buffet stations.

This year they had several seafood options.


Mussels served cold with a veggie sauce.

Salmon with some sort of crab mix stuffed inside it.

There was roast beef, mini BLTs and a chicken stuffed with pea risotto or something as well.

I learned that I like mussels cold. It was a first for me.

This was the second plate I destroyed.
I also learned that I don’t like meat stuffed with other things.

I love salmon. 

I love crab. 

Don’t naturally assume that shoving the crab inside the salmon will make me love it even more. 

In fact, the opposite is true. 

Didn’t like it at all.

Ditto on the chicken stuffed with pea stuff.

Meat is a stand-alone for me.

I’m all about the sides. 

Go crazy creative on the sides. 

Just don’t shove the sides 
INTO the meat.

I’m looking at you, Facebook videos that keep shoving cream cheese and all manner of cheese and butter into all the meats.

It’s not necessary!

Or healthy.

Ever notice that they don’t include the fat 
or caloric count?

And, while I’m pointing at you, Facebook, 

stop pushing crescent rolls so much in all your recipe videos!


I’d love to see a recipe that isn’t shoved inside a meat 
or a roll.

Just once.


Back to brunch…

McDaniel went after breakfast hard.

Then she discovered the kids buffet.

It’s hard to see in that plate of brown, but there are dinosaur chicken nuggets, smiley face potatoes, bacon and a few waffles.

She decided later that she didn’t do the earlier waffles proper justice.

We left happy and full and then came home and napped.

Monte surprised me with the biggest bag of Gummy Bears I’ve ever seen.

He knows me so well.

Hope everyone had a wonderful mother’s day!

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Disturbing My Peace

On the way to school this morning, Ellie and I could not find a single radio station that was actually playing music.

Not. One.

So she turned on the classical music station.

Classical as in Handel, 
not Sammy Hagar.

She and I have a thing where we listen to the classical instrumental music and set the stage of what we imagine is happening.

A bunny is chasing a butterfly then, OH NO, 
a mountain lion is now chasing the bunny!

It’s a lovely ball and everyone is dancing the minuet.

A man is ice skating on a pond. He’s about to fall down 
but he saves himself. No! He fell.

This morning the music was the soundtrack for a lovely wedding in my head of food and laughing and dancing in a grand ballroom.

I dropped Ellie off and went to the grocery store, still listening to the lovely wedding soundtrack.

I was in a peace-filled mood.

It was early.

I wanted a quick in and out at the grocery store.

No one would wait on me at the deli.

I couldn’t even see that anyone was anywhere near the deli.

No one would wait on me at the bakery even though I made eye contact with a lady pushing a cart full of goods behind the counter.

There were no checkout lanes open.

Not. One.

I had a half-full cart and had to go through the self-checkout lane where the lady on the computer screen kept telling me a cashier had been notified because I removed a full bag from the carousel before I paid.

I was really hoping to see a live cashier because other than the lady in the bakery, I had not seen a single grocery store employee my entire visit! 

And I had a few things to say.

I got back into my car and looked at the clock.

It was 8:24 am.

That is not 5:24 am crazy early.

When do grocery store employees clock in these days?

It made me think of a headline of an article I read recently about a woman fighting for a later start time for schools because “it was just too early for teenagers to learn.” 

You need to say that last line with a bit of whine in your voice.

I did.

I have to admit, I did not read the article.

I was too busy shaking my head.

I know teenagers need sleep. I have two of them and I remind them all the time to


But that’s at night. When all people should be asleep. Not up texting or watching Netflix or doing who knows what.

Why do people always assume that MORNING is when all the good sleep is being interrupted?

If we all just went to bed at a reasonable time, mornings wouldn’t be so hard for teenagers or for us.

I heard on the radio that a large percentage of Americans do not get enough sleep and there are all kinds of medical and mental health issues that are stemming from it.

To wrap this rant up, fighting to have school start later in the morning won’t fix that.

Going to bed earlier will.

Making our kids go to bed and get an appropriate amount of sleep is helping them, equipping them.

The future employers of your teenagers will thank you that they can get to work on time.

And not look like something the cat urped up
doing it.

I was half-way home with all this banging around in my head when I realized that I didn’t have on the classical music anymore.

I turned it on and the feeling that I was becoming 
a ranting Dennis Miller melted away.

Kind of like those Snickers commercials when you “aren’t yourself when you are hungry” 
and end up playing football like Betty White.

Except I was Dennis Miller.
And my Snickers was classical radio.

You probably picked that up.

I might need a Snickers.

It’s easy to trade in our peace for a pound and a half of Boar’s Head turkey (that I STILL don’t have) and a few cupcakes (don’t have them either).

But it’s nothing a little prayer, Bach or a solid good night of sleep 
can’t handle.

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