Saturday, November 28, 2009

i've been listening, and he likes egg nog

Grammie: We were fed, we were clothed – growing up, I didn’t know we were poor! Everyone else had about as much as we did, and the few folks we considered rich, well, it turned out one of them was running an illegal still and the others got their money through shady means too. But we weren’t hungry or naked – we really weren’t poor.

B: Ooh! I love these!
A: Those are measuring cups.
B: I love them. (sniffing deeply) They smell fresh.
Oh! I love these circle things!
A: Egg yolks?
B: Yeah. I love egg yolks.
A: You excited about the puffy pancake then?

B: Dad! Do you like noggin-egg?
R: What?
B: Noggin-egg! Because guess what?! MOM GOT SOME.

B: (giggling) Mom, your belly is jiggling.
A: (while exercising in a sports bra) Huh.
B: Can I touch it?
A: NO.

B: Those Lego men are having tea on their couches. (after taking my hand weights and creating a square with them, then sitting Lego men inside)

Friday, November 27, 2009

who would you sit down with?

It's the national day of listening, where you are supposed to grab a tape recorder and a friend or family member and ask them to tell you something about their lives, or ask them specific questions about something in their lives.

I wish I were near my Grammie. I think she's who I'd best like to hear from, if only because I know my mom has already done something like this and learned that Grammie grew up in a family who would use their bedsheets until they were threadbare down the center, then cut a line directly down the center, sew the two sides together in a new seam, and continue to use them until the sides were as threadbare as the rest.

We do not live in such a practically frugal world any more, and it would be nice to have a reminder of what it was like to really go without while still having everything you needed, to really use something up to the end of its purpose, and to get a glimpse of my Grammie as a little girl. My stories seem awfully dull in comparison!

I love you Grammie, and I plan on calling you (without a tape recorder - I'm sorry and you're welcome) later today to tell you in person!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

this one's for the lurkers

Hey, Aubyn? You know how you luuuuuhve how I comment on your blog all the time?




Anybody out there?!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

exactly how big of a crime is a false fire alarm?

One of the benefits of being stuck in town day in and day out is that I am always around (never gone) for all the fun things going on this time of year. Like Christmas parties for work and our growth group, a cookie exchange among friends, and the Christmas stroll downtown, to name a few.

Now to figure out how to ensure Vann's closes early so that Rob can actually join me at some of these things...

Monday, November 23, 2009

silence is golden, but also kind of boring

We are deep in the "paying dues" phase of life right now. We don't get to live like our parents - not terribly surprising, but terribly disappointing - and it's given Rob and I some good conversations in the last few days. We've covered how long it might take for the Spokane house to sell and what we should do if it's another month or more on the market. We've covered if and when we might move to Canada, since that might be the only way we're able to ensure I meet that side of his family, as well as what he'd do for a living up there. We've covered what marriage has cost Rob, our expectations for our future together, and how to manage his work schedule in a way that doesn't drive us both crazy.

For the house, my suggestion was to add a stripper pole and a beer cooler to appeal to those college guys looking for a place to invest in. Rob wisely pointed out that it was their parents we were trying to attract, since they are the ones who actually have money.

Ah. Guess the fancy dancing apparatus and keg-chilling device are off limits. FOR NOW.

We don't really have any wisdom about that house at the moment. If you're so inclined, we covet your prayers that it would sell soon and for our asking price. Paying two mortgages is very very uncomfortable, and we really do not want to rent it, simply because that pushes back a few other things we'd like to do sooner than later (buy a larger place in Bozeman and begin expanding our family).


There has been an inordinate amount of interest in the status of my uterus these days, and I'm perfectly content to tell you it's empty but for the Mirena that is very effective and dear to my heart. Yes, holding babies (especially girls) kind of makes my ovaries throb. Yes, I love babies (especially YOURS) and would enjoy more children. It ain't happening yet. But you know what's fun? Asking me about it and seeing what happens. That is evidently the new Bozeman (especially Bunko girl) hobby! SO FUN!

For the other stuff, well, I actually wrote and deleted a large chunk of words that, when reread, were just dull. We're hanging out a lot. Blake doesn't really know what to think of it when it's not a Dave Ramsey ("I LOVE DAVE RAMSEY!" -Blake) night or a growth group ("I LOVE THE MCKELLYS!" -Blake) night, but I'm having fun. I beat Rob at Scrabble a few days ago, Blake's been building castles and chariots out of Lincoln Logs and Legos, and I'm reading through the Harry Potter series. We are settling in and getting used to this new normal, this different phase.

And when I start to feel badly about all that I've cost Rob, he counters with this (paraphrased, because if I start walking around with a tape recorder, no one will want to hang out with me):
"Yes, when it comes to short-term freedoms to do what I want, take trips, buy what I want, and live just for me, getting married has cost me. But in the long-term, this is an investment for me. I'm investing in what I've wanted: a family. A future. It has been worth the cost. I love you both."
"Well, that is very good to hear."
"Are you crying again?"
"YEAH! SO?!"

Sunday, November 22, 2009

overheard at bunko and taken out of context

L: I had the nuts.
M: Oh, the nuts were GOOD.

M: You're easy. You know that, right?

N: Lick it, Addie!
L: That's what he said.

N: I don't know where the tip went!
A: That's what he said.

A: Go ahead, take the picture. You can't put it anywhere.
N: I can't put it anywhere? (camera flashes)

B: Wow, you have a fast grab!

Monday, November 16, 2009

that's what we said

B: I changed my mind. I don't want to be normal any more. I want to be silly because it makes you happy.
A: It DOES make me happy when you are silly!
B: Yeah. I'm your bestest kid.
A: Indeed.
B: So will you keep me forever?
A: Of course! What would I do with you if I decided not to keep you?
B: I guess I'd have to go live at the McKelly's house and be their kid.
A: But you want to be my kid, right? Now I'm worried...
B: Well...

R: You're... caustic today.
A: Yeah, well, I was all holy until I got home from the women's retreat. Then I was accosted by my family and it was like "WHY DON'T THEY WANT ME TO BE HOLY?!"

A school exercise wherein Blake dictated five things he's thankful for to a teacher, who copied them down.

I am thankful for:
1.) My mom making me breakfast.
2.) My clothes.
3.) My Grandpa and Grandma.
4.) My mom baking me treats.
5.) Food and my home.

I can't decide if I'm glad he's so grateful for the little things in life, or if I think he's going to grow up to be morbidly obese. Three out of five pertaining to food means...

He's definitely my child.

B: I'm the one who made all the music in that song.
A: What about me? I was singing too. Was I just making noise?
B: Yes. I was making music and you were making noise.

Friday, November 13, 2009

that's what he said

B: Mom, can we get two pets if we have a bigger house?
A: I suppose that could work...
B: I want a cat and a dog because I love dogs licking me.
A: Uh...

B: I want to be a girl.
L: Why?
B: I want to be like Daisy Duck.
L: No, you don't.

T: That song is about how Jesus loves us!
B: No it's not.
T; Yes, it's about how much Jesus loves us as his children.
A: And it makes my heart happy to hear you singing, buddy.
B: It makes my heart happy too.
It sounds like you're going to cry.
T: Well, you know, when your child says "It makes my heart happy," it makes you want to cry EVEN WHEN IT'S NOT YOUR CHILD.

Go ahead. Reread that after watching this and see if you don't cry about the fact that Blake was singing the chorus along with them. God is good, even when life doesn't always feel very good.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

is it too early for christmas music?

Rob and I went to bed at 11:30 last night to rain. We woke up this morning to about ten inches of fresh, heavy snow. I am ambivalent about snow. I like to ski, but I'm not rabid about it. I like sledding, but we need better options to really enjoy it. I like getting my cardio/weight workout by shoveling it, Blake loves to help shovel and play, and it's really lovely the way everything looks when covered with it.

However... We live in a college town, so many of the folks who live and drive here in the winter are either from a different part of the state or a different part of the country, AND they have wholly inappropriate cars for a foot of unplowed white fluff OR are completely unaware of how to drive in it. Worst case scenario: a combination of both!

I feared for my life this morning and truly regretted that Blake has to go to preschool so far from home. It was a mess! I'm not sure if the plows got out at all this morning, based on the conditions of the roads I used, or if it was just snowing THAT hard. There was clear evidence of the piled up snow and ruts throwing folks into the curb on Main Street. I had to stop too suddenly and had my anti-lock brakes engage, and I saw folks fishtailing all over the place. FREAKY!

So today, I am very very grateful for a garage I can park in (but sorry that there's not room for you, RobRob!), a schedule that's flexible so that I did not have to drive unsafely or worry about being ridiculously late, four-wheel drive and the knowledge to use it, and angels around us to protect us from all the other crazies drivers out there.

What a great day for puttering around the house, maybe going sledding, then warming up with hot chocolate! Maybe I should risk the distance and kidnap Blake from preschool to have a fun play day... I'd need to pick up a sled long enough for two first...

Oh, how snow days captivate my inner child. Guess I'm not THAT ambivalent now that Blake's grown up enough to be a playmate rather than simply someone I need to take care of.

Monday, November 9, 2009

some of the best news ever?


Also, because she doesn't really get into it (and Lane, advise if I'm stepping over my bounds here), they need to live in the house for two years to avoid capital gains taxes. After that, they can sell, pay off medical debt, and STILL have a little nest egg for a deposit on a different home.

Talk about your answered prayer! Oh yeah, AND Bing now has health insurance, AND Maddox gives kisses and is walking and putting things in the toilet/bathtub/trash, AND I love my family so much it HURTS ME.

I'm still a little baffled that Lane and Bing didn't take us up on our offer to let them buy the Spokane house on the cheap. Course, it's going to whoever actually wants it on the cheap, but someone has to want it first. Now let's all pray for that, okay? All those other prayers have been answered, so we can focus back on me.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

that's what she said

P (to his wife): "You can tell me to do something or tell me how to do something, but you can't do both."

M: You want the rest of my cake?
L: Are you sick?
M: Have we done this before?

L is desperately afraid of illness, probably because she always manages to catch everything, so I guess it's fair. If you offer her the last half of your dessert, she cannot accept until she's sure you do not have an infectious disease. Multiple times.

M: This cake is delicious! What's in it?
H: Oh, a lot of puddin', a lot of love, and a truffle!
A: That is going to be my recipe for everything from now on. Flank steak, beans and rice, you name it!

A: (after using it in a sentence a few times) I guess 'vibrate' is my favorite verb.


Saturday, November 7, 2009

that's what he said

A: How was preschool? Did they like your Superman costume?
B: Yes. And everyone liked touching my muscles.

Mom, you have fancy moves. Cuz you have mad skills.

ThankyouJesusforourfoodandblessitinourbodiesinJesus'nameAmen. Let's eat!

B: Mom, I love you. You're beautiful.
A: Thank you!
B: You're beautiful for a lon... for the whole day.

A: You are SO CUTE.
A: Fine. You are handsome. And funny.
A: Well, that is no good at all. Normal is boring.
A: I am not sure that is possible.

Mom, you play the drums and I will play guitar and be the singer. Can we please listen to Metallica? To the one that I love? Enter the Sandman?

T: You know what my favorite candy is of all time?
B: Uh, nope.
T: You're holding it in your hands. I love gummy bears. They are THE BEST.
B: And you know what else is good? Starburst!

A: Do you know who God's little lambs are?
B: Jesus!
A: Nope! You are. And I am. We're God's little lambs!
B: But maybe I can be a tiger and you can be a snake.

It's not funny.

Friday, November 6, 2009

adrenaline rush, sure, but i just need to put food on the table

I was excited about hunting again this year. Not because I like killing things, not because I enjoy "the chase," not because I particularly love wild game... but because it is a fairly inexpensive way to eat, and it would also entail large quantities of time with some of my favorite people.

I grew up around guns, and I have a healthy respect for them. I learned the hard way to ALWAYS pay attention to where your muzzle is pointed (got a backhand and a bloody nose for carelessly swinging it past someone one too many times), and I passed Hunter Safety and went out a few times with my dad for deer and antelope.

I am squeamish about blood and especially squeamish about wounded-but-not-dead animals. There was one time that Dad had to send me back to the truck to keep me from becoming hysterical at the prolonged suffering one poor shot of mine had caused. It wasn't more than five or ten minutes, but I was in agonies for this poor creature.

Still, a girl's gotta eat. With Rob and I still covering two mortgages and some financial wobbliness ahead, I figured that I couldn't pass up the chance to go out this year, even if Rob couldn't come because of his work schedule and residency restrictions. He had a lot of fun telling customers and co-workers that he'd sent his pretty little wife out to shoot something for our freezer, but he really really REALLY wished he could have come. Next year, sweetie!

In Bozeman, I'm surrounded by a largely split populace. There are the avid hunters (and their widows) who take the whole process very seriously, even if they are only it in for the population control and trophies. Then there are the imports, who consider hunting barbaric, even as they pick up organic grain-fed beef at the co-op.

I am neither of these, but I think it's funny that the fact that my antelope is organic doesn't sway the imports. Most folks like to think of meat as an abstract. They don't want a bloody muscle: they want prime rib, medium-rare. If anything, those who think about it a lot and find the process distasteful become vegetarians, like one of my sisters-in-law. She likes meat. She dislikes the process by which animals become meat... so she doesn't eat it. This is more honest to me than any of the shocked assemblage that can't believe a nice girl would find any pleasure in hunting and killing and gutting her own meal, even as they cheerfully grill out their organic burgers.

For the record, I actually do not gut my own kill. We never have time for that particular dance, so it's a self-fulfilling cycle. I am slow because I never practice, I never practice because I am too slow. Also, I am a bit squicky about parts of the process - as Blake said when watching, "Ow." - and I'll eat just as happily from an animal that dear old Dad gutted. The one thing I can gut is fish. I can totally handle that, which is great, because Blake dreams of having more rainbow trout fried in butter next summer.

Yep. It's confirmed: We're carnivores. I wouldn't have it any other way.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

family is a beautiful thing... or something

This one time, I went to Billings for a benefit held for Lane and Bing. Mostly Bing, because his heart is the one that's all screwed up and needs fixing or needs paying for the fixing, but since he married Lane, she comes with the package.

SO DO I. I would just like to point that out right now.

I would also like to point out that it's only Bing's physical heart that is scarred and broken. His metaphysical "heart and soul" kind of heart is one of the biggest, most tender, and sweetest ones I've ever encountered. He can still be mouthy, but that's his mouth. Not his heart.

Since I can also be rather mouthy (stop gasping - it is true - you will have to believe me), Bing and I have a lot of fun at each others' expense. He's great at playing the martyr, I'm great at shoving my feet in my mouth. It's a good time. You'd enjoy it!

At the benefit, also known as the Bing-efit, a few key things happened. First, I was enlisted by Bing's younger brother, Julian, to outbid any men for him in the bachelor auction. I cheerfully agreed and was sanguine about this until the first bachelor was bid up to something like $250. It was between a rather flamboyant gay man and a girl who appeared to be a sympathetic friend of this young bachelor. Turns out, to boost turn-out, the organizers of the event had posted the photos of the auctionees at the one gay bar in Billings.

Turn-out was boosted. And I tracked Julian down.

A: "Um, I didn't think you were serious... and if that last guy was any indication, I can't afford you!"
J: "Oh, don't worry, we can work something out."
A: "WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY THAT?! I love my husband and you live too far away to babysit!"
J: "Ha ha!"

Thankfully, he had other friends in the crowd who really wanted a date with him. Friends with lady bits, even! I was spared.

Second key thing: I punched Bing during some of our playful banter... right in the pacemaker.

Had he been thinking on his feet, he would have hit the ground and choked out "pace... maker!" before going into pretend convulsions. He wasn't thinking that fast and simply grimaced and pointed out the poor choice of location. I knew EXACTLY what had happened the moment my fist connected with him, and I have died a little inside each time I remember that event.

I think he's okay, but he DID have to bag a slightly retarded deer on our hunting trip. Poor guy.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

to blake, we were all just really cool elmer fudds

We made a rare splurge and got Monsters vs. Aliens. It came with a little featurette in 3-D, and Blake had a hard time with the double glasses. Rob, however, was LOVING IT.

What you can expect if you are Lego man in this household: being chained by your feet or stalked by the one pitiful army figure we have. The chained guy is attached to a "flyer." "He gets dragged behind because he was naughty."

The wound that wasn't. He was a wreck for a surprisingly few minutes, and I'm just relieved it didn't break the skin or smash up his face. Poor kid.

Happy faces, looking for things to shoot.

We warned Blake that he had to be VERY quiet when he got out of the truck, that we were sneaking up on antelope. He proceeded to declare very loudly that Bing let him borrow gloves! AREN'T THEY COOL?! Tom, the friend whose ranch we were on, wryly wondered who would loan Blake a muzzle.

WARNING TO THE SQUEAMISH AND/OR VEGETARIANS: Blood and guts and dead animals follow.

Saturday: The first kill of the trip. Bing snagged this guy in one clean shot. Because we were having trouble finding any bucks, Tom offered to wrangle up a slightly retarded one. The rack wasn't much to look at, but since it was meat they were after, not a trophy, the slightly-retarded-stop-to-stare-at-you deer won (lost?) the draw.

Sunday: We (me, Lane, and Dad) put the sneak on a group of antelope bedded down near a draw, belly-crawling in a shallow depression for a few dozen yards (no prickly pear, thank goodness, but there was some poop to avoid), hidden by some straggly sagebrush. Lane sat up and got the sentinel in her sights, took the shot, and tipped her right over. The doe never jumped, never stood, nothing. Our cover blown, the others started for the fence. I got one shot off (that I shouldn't have taken - they were moving, and I am lousy with a moving target), promptly getting Lane and Dad with muzzle blast due to the angle. Lane proceeded to enthusiastically gut her doe with a zeal that made me just a tiny bit uncomfortable. She's such a badass.

Blood diamond. Next time, she'll remember to take off the wedding ring first.

We'd gotten up on and spooked two more sets of antelope. Once, they caught our scent and took off like the devil himself was at their heels - understandable, I guess. They'd been hunted hard the past month, and the numbers were down before that anyway. I took one shot at a bedded down doe that missed. Dad made sure I wasn't beating myself up for two missed shots, but the truth was, I was just self-doubtful, not self-loathing. I'd not hunted in ten years. Maybe I was no longer a good shot? Maybe I should have practiced before going all out when the food was on the line? Maybe I should have gotten a deer tag? They hadn't been hunted much yet and would just stand and look at you as you lined one up in your scope, fifty yards away. And then, minutes before we were to arrive back at the ranch to pack up for home, Tom insisted on a detour. He promised it would only take ten minutes, he knew this draw very close to the house where antelope tended to gather, and if we approached it right, they'd never know where we were. So we belly-crawled up a hill (my arms are still protesting), and there they were.

100-150 yards downhill, they were lined up at the fence. Antelope are PERFECT on a fence line. They go underneath (rather than jump it), and they go single file. If you spook them, they hold still A LOT longer than usual, because they don't know where to go, and they don't want to split up. I drew a bead on a doe, took a few calming breaths, and squeezed the trigger.

She jumped, then fell. What you see there is the exit wound - on the other flank, I hit her EXACTLY where I'd aimed (just behind the front leg), restoring my faith in my old nickname: Addie Oakley.

After I took my shot, I handed Dad the gun and skootched back hard. They didn't know where we were, so the rest of the herd only ran a few dozen yards, then stopped to look around. They'd rather hold still than run in the wrong direction, toward whatever that loud sound was, and Dad took his shot...

A VERY nice buck. I'm sure I looked like an idiot, jumping around and whooping and hugging everyone. Lane and Bing were relieved that we'd gotten what we came for - since they had filled their tags, they were feeling badly that neither Dad or I had anything at that point, even offering me some of their meat. At the end of the ten-minute detour, we were gutting our game. It was MAGIC. Perfect. A euphoric end to a great weekend where I got precious time with my loved ones, Blake got precious time outside with Grammie, and I got to know Bing and Maddox a little better. Maddox now gives me kisses, and Bing has almost forgiven me for running off at the mouth and punching him in his pacemaker.

More on THAT in another post.

Monday, November 2, 2009

we're all just tuckered out

After a few sneaks that involved belly crawling over the ground, cow poop, prickly pear, what-have-you, I successfully shot a doe antelope yesterday.

My arms may never forgive me, since the crawling worked muscles that are declaring their dissatisfaction with me today, but I fared better than Dad, who persisted in finding the prickly pear and kneeling in it.

There's more to tell, but I am more than happy with my kill, more than happy with the meat coming our way, more than happy with the time spent with family and old friends... but right now I have to drag my sorry butt off to sip tea in bed while I read or do a crossword. Daylight savings time and kids are a non-working arrangement, kind of like deciding to put a cat in a bag. It doesn't really sound like a good idea, and you'll walk away bleeding regardless of if the cat is really in that bag or not.