Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Costco

Today was payday, for a few hours, until we went to Costco where it became poorday again. Why is that place so damned expensive? I can't decide if it's just such a sticker shock because we only go a few times a year, or if it's just because you end up buying WAY too much crap you'll never eat/use. However, I DO use/eat what I buy at Costco. And I'm very picky about what I buy. I shop enough to know what's a deal and what's not and Costco is NOT always the best deal. But today we went with a handful of coupons and no list (yikes!). The first thing Jeff saw was a portable air conditioner. He immediately justified to me why we needed it ("it's a present for me so I don't have to listen to you complain all the time about being too hot!"). Now, in my defense, certain hormonal changes have kept me in the hothouse for the past several years, AND our bedroom is always stuffy (we run the fan even in the late fall, early spring). And I'm just tired of being so damned hot! So, yeah, I voice my opinion from time to time (to time to time to all the time). Air conditioner was procured along with a six pound bag of pretzels, two huge bags of M&M's, a bikini for Hannah and various other essentials and non-essentials alike. The final price was a huge shock to me and made me feel a little bit sick to my stomach. Sure, we have enough food to last us through the summer, but I am still reeling from the sheer number on the receipt and my realization that we are, in the span of one day, broke again. We still have bills to pay and I'm certain unexpected "expenses" will arise, and we're just playing the broke game all over again. AND we're not even paying our mortgage this month. It just makes me want to cry. If I wasn't already on strong anti-ulcer meds I'm sure I'd be suffering right now. Costco = evil!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Oysters and Clams and Sex, oh my!

Tried a new "sport" this weekend. Clamming and....oystering? What do you call it when you collect oysters off the beach? Well, for now I will call it oystering and if anyone comes up with a better word, feel free to comment. Now, clamming is not for the weak of heart (or back, or knees). This involves raking and digging at the ground, which is tarry black, thick sand and silt. You turn this mulch over and in between all the lumps that come up, you must decide which of these are clams. But not just any clams! Oh no! They must be of a certain size (and handy, carry-along tools exist to help you measure these seafaring creatures). You will be sporting a "clam net" or carrying a bucket in which to collect these delights. Oystering is much easier. You simply walk around the beach looking for oysters, which you find in this ratio: one whole oyster for every one million half oyster shells you kick over with your foot, hoping it's a "live one". Oysters must be shucked on the beach. Shucking means prying the shells open with a very sharp knife or tool which will invariably slip and puncture your thigh or perhaps fillet your hand open (if the oyster shell itself has not already done it's job). Inside the oyster is this grayish lump of "meat" and some mysterious white liquid. All of that is scraped into a bag. When you have "limited" which means you've found 18 oysters after nine hours in the hot sun, you will have a smallish bag full of what looks, for all intents and purposes, like fleshy testicles floating in semen. Ever wonder why oysters are an aphrodasiac? It's not the flavor!

Clams, on the other hand, are hard-won after hours of digging and bending over so that one cannot fully straighten up for several days afterward. Clams are neat little packages - tightly closed, often pretty shells. To get the meat out of these little buggers, one must plunge their live little beings into boiling water and wait till they pop open. Once opened, the clams reveal a slotted, fleshy mass not unlike a vagina. In the middle of this is the "meat" and attached to that is a "neck". Which is just another word for "looks exactly like a penis". One must grasp this penis-like appendage and pull it out of the meaty part (scrotum?). The scrotum is saved for delights such as clam chowder or "steamers" in broth.

Did I mention I don't like oysters or clams? Perhaps in a few weeks, when we go crabbing, I'll enjoy the fruits of my labor. Perhaps.

Camping

We went camping this weekend. Just Jeff and I, the dogs and our little camper I like to call "the doll house" because it's like playing house every time we set it up. As we were sitting by the campfire (I'd say "around" the campfire but when there's only two of you, it's not really a "round" kinda thing, unless, of course, you're talking about my shape, and then that's a whole 'nother story), I started thinking of WHY we think camping is so great. Is it "getting away from it all"? Not likely since the highway ran past just a few hundred yards from our campsite and we could hear traffic noise all night. That and the buffoons a few sites over who liked playing loud music and shouting well past "quiet time". Is it "getting back to nature"? Nope, not that either, since I was able to run to Wal Mart mid-trip and get my clamming license and other essentials (propane, strawberry shortcake fixin's). No, I'm pretty sure camping is just sleeping in another place with a whole lot more work and dirt involved. Oh, and trees overhead. Definitely the trees. Which make it dark. All the time. The whole weekend. We have a nice little pop-up camper that sleeps several and it's just perfect for our family. With just us and the dogs I thought we'd have it made - I set up the other bed just for them. But did they sleep there? They did not. One dog staked her claim under the table and the other two were in our bed before you could say "s'more". I woke up to the big dog slobbering on my pillow. Home away from home, indeed! Speaking of s'mores, we didn't have any. Which, I'm pretty sure, is a law - you must consume at least one s'more per person during a camping trip. The by-laws state (and I quote) "each camper must hold one to two marshmallows on the end of a sharpened stick or skewer until it a.) bursts into flames and said camper flings the molten mass into the eye of another unsuspecting camper, or b.) it becomes black and crispy and disappears into a puff of smoke on contact. These must make contact with chocolate and graham crackers at some point and the entire sticky concoction consumed by each and every camper present. Repeat nightly as needed." And we broke that law! I still have a scar from a particularly jovial round of s'more making and I just was not willing to take any chances. Please do not tell the Ranger! The charm of setting up the camper never fails to enchant me. Just a few cranks, pull the beds out, put down the stabilizers and we've got ourselves one seriously pimped out playhouse. With curtains that open and close! A sink with hot water! An adorable dining table! A couch! A little needlepoint pillow that says "home is where you hook up"! OMG! You can take your little home anywhere with you. Except maybe Yellowstone. Or Yosemite. Or other places where grizzly or black bears are in abundance and enjoy terrorizing humans. You might THINK you are cozy and snug in your little playhouse on wheels. But that bear takes one look and thinks "you think you scare me with your mildew-resistant sunbrella fabric walls and aluminum-foil door?" right before he reaches through one of the plastic-zippered windows with one multi-daggered claw and rips your head off. But, seriously? Camping is FUN!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Hayley's Roaring Twenties 17th Birthday Party

Al Capone...

...and his sidekick Charlie!

Two tough gangsters, guarding the speakeasy...

Tommy guns at the ready!

What a pretty little flapper girl!

Daddy's little darling!

Tough girls!

Flapper sisters!

Uh-oh, gunshots!

Al Capone and matron mama Morton!

Who's birthday is it?

Aauuggghhh!!! I'm innocent, I swear!

Sweet sisters!

Mama and her chickies!

Mwah!

Happy Birthday superstar!

Pretty little favors

A friendly game of blackjack..

Party girls!

The party guests!

Maddie and Hayley (friends since age 4!)

Haley, Maddie and Hayley

Audrey and Lauren (friends with Hayley since 6 weeks old!)

Hanging outside.....

Swingin' flapper girls! Rylie and Arlie (BFF's since third grade)

Busted!

Twirly girls!

Ice cream cake!

Rylie, Hannah and Arlie

Make a wish!

The parentals....keeping things under control at all times (ha!)

Bootleggers? Moonshine? Bathtub gin?

Don't worry ma'am.......we've got it all under control!
Hayley's birthday party was held a little early this year since many of her (wealthier) friends are heading to France (ooh, la, la). She came up with a 1920's speakeasy theme, inspired by the movie Chicago. Everyone came in costume. Some were purchased and some put together - all of them were great! We found some amazing decorations online, and picked red, gold and black as theme colors. Hayley did all the decorating herself! Bullet holes in the doors and walls, long pearl necklaces, dice and black tulle with tealights decorating the bannister, cutouts of jazz bands, flappers, gangster cars and even street signs and a speakeasy sign. We served turkey roll-ups, chocolate fondue, chips, fruit and veggie trays, ginger-ale punch and root beer in bottles. We even found "vintage" candy! In the rush to get the party ready, Hayley forgot to make cupcakes so we sent Jeff and Harrison out to buy an ice cream cake. They came back with a cake that said "Happy Birthday" on it, decorated with a Tiki and surfboards! HUH? Luckily, I had leftover coffee/chocolate frosting which we quickly used to cover the decoration on the cake. As you can see by the photo, you can't even tell. But it was funny! The kids sang karaoke and we watched Chicago. It was a great time and an amazing theme party!

Cottage Lake Triathlon

Jeff stretches before the race...

Dock dog! A new yoga pose.

Coming in from swim...

Finishing the race...

Winner!

Accepting a medal for second place in his age group!! Go Jeff!!!

Last day of school 2010!

Hannah sings a solo in "Good Riddance/Time of Your Life" for the last day of school, 9th grade.

Rylie and Arlie - no more sixth grade!

Harrison celebrates the last bus ride of the year!

Arlie, clutching her last yearbook of elementary school...

Arlie, last day of school

Rylie and Arlie - last day of school

Harrison - last day of fifth grade!

We celebrated with lunch at Red Robin!

Mommy and Hannah

Happy Summer!










9th grade cruise

My beautiful Hannah graduated from 9th grade!

I did her hair for the occasion of the 9th grade cruise.....

Silver slippers and painted toes.....


What a gorgeous girl!

Lars, Carissa, Hannah and Drew looking amazing!

Hannah and Drew - buddies since second grade!

Hannah and her "brother" Lars....

Chandler, Drew and Hannah

Hannah and her beautiful friends

More friends!
The 9th graders go on a cruise around Lake Washington to celebrate their "graduation". Everyone gets dressed up and they enjoy a three hour lake cruise with catered food and drinks, dancing, and fun with their friends. Hannah picked the most beautiful dress that was just perfect on her, Hayley did her makeup, I did her hair and she looked stunning! She's such a beautiful girl and I can't believe she's off to high school.
Where are you going, my little one, little one..
Where are you going, my baby, my own?
Turn around and you're two, turn around and you're four
Turn around and you're a young girl going out of the door.....
HAPPY 9TH GRADE GRADUATION, HANNAH!