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Out of the Darkness

By {screen_name}
Friday, December 14, 2007

Only nine more days until life takes a turn for the better. Yep, that’s when the days will start getting longer! Yippee! I will no longer come home from work, make dinner, eat dinner, clean up from dinner, think it must be time for bed, look at the clock and see it’s only 6:15. I mean there is only so much restraint I can practice. One glass of wine per hour watching junk TV until it really is bed time makes it hard to get there! But what else are you gonna do when it’s dark and cold outside? I used to use that time after dinner and before bed to go for my (mostly) daily hike/run. Now there is a very narrow window of opportunity, like 13 minutes, and it’s not worth changing into sweats for. So my favorite-once-again sister Deanne lent me her Pilates DVD. “This is great,” I thought. “I can do it my living room in front of the TV, on my groovy little yoga mat I only used once.” So after dinner Sunday night, pre-accident, I poured myself a glass of wine and popped in the DVD. It gave me several menu options but it makes you review the caution and disclaimer first. So I sat down, sipped my wine and listened to them tell me all the blah, blah, blah about consulting a physician, etc. OK, that took up 7 minutes. Then you are told to go to the menu item called “BASICS TECHNIQUES.” The Pilates lady said to make sure you watch every routine before performing it. Great! I pour more wine, and watch her twist around in her little black leotard demonstrating the basic moves. Pretty easy so far! That took up about 12 minutes, and then you can go to the first actual routine. I am warned again by the Pilates lady to watch the whole routine before doing it. Awesome! I open a new bottle of wine, grab a pillow and lie down on my yoga mat, and watch Pilates lady do her thing again. At the end of the first basic routine, which took 15 minutes, I remembered Pilates lady said not to do any routines after eating. Since I had recently finished dinner, I figured I better be careful and just watch the next routine. Besides, I had been at this for 34 minutes now. Needless to say, at the end of the DVD, I had finished most of the wine, and the Pilates lady was starting to get on my nerves. Besides, she had kind of a big butt to be the star of an exercise video. So I turned off the TV and went to bed. It was 7:30. Here’s to the coming of the shortest day of the year and the beginning of more daylight! 3 comments

Loose Connections

By {screen_name}
Thursday, December 13, 2007

It all started with the zit on my eyelid. It had to be an omen. Of some kind. I mean - on my EYELID? The last 72 hours were lots of fun with my son. He enjoyed two days of boarding at Powderhorn in what had to be awesome conditions. I no longer ask what runs he goes on because he doesn’t. He makes up his own with this friends. On Monday morning I woke him up for school and he started moaning that his neck was stiff and he couldn’t move it. “Why is your neck sore?” “Because I was going fast and there was like this pothole in the snow and the front of my board hit it and I flipped like three times.” “Did this happen yesterday?” “No, on Saturday.” Yet he boarded a full day on Sunday. OK. “Can you wiggle your toes?” “Yes.” “Then you’re fine. Get dressed for school.” I have a place in my house for that Mother-of-the-Year Award I’m sure to get. Later that night we went shopping at Zumiez for a new jacket for him. Something warmer and wind proof. “So Alex, you like this one?” I held up a brown plaid number. “Yeah, that’s really cool!” “Good. I saw it this weekend and asked them to put one aside.” He stopped in his tracks and looked at me with wonder in his eyes. “You actually came into this store by yourself? Ohmigod. I can’t believe you actually came into this store by yourself!” Zumiez is kind of a scary place for anyone over the age of 26, with no tattoos and no nose ring. However, the staff is very friendly and polite to old ladies like me. “It was OK Alex. They even offered me a wheel chair.” I’m not sure where the connection to the zit on my eyelid comes in. (I’m taking muscle relaxers, so bear with me.) Except when Dan came to the scene of the accident, he looks at my eyelid, points to the zit and asks, “Did that happen in the accident?” I forgive him because he was serious AND he let me borrow his car. Ya gotta love a guy like that. 2 comments

No Man

By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Wednesday, December 12, 2007

For all the complaining I hear around here you'd think that people had never actually had FUN in the snow, or that FUN in the snow equals a pretty good part of Colorado's economy, or that it means water for the super hot summer months. Soren didn't remember what snow was so I for one was looking forward to a little dusting of white stuff so we could get out and play. Here is his very first "No Man." MAN1.jpg I think he thought the game of pushing around the snow was a little odd. I kept trying to explain the idea of rolling the snow and he kept trying to explain that it was more fun to kick it. Or to take a big bite out of the side of his head. It wasn't until the addition of the carrot that he understood it was a man. TWOMEN.jpg And then the No Man became his very best friend. We had to keep the front door open so he could check on his pal from time to time. But, then to his horror, it fell over. He showed this to his 2-year-old cousin who announced "Your snow man is dead." Now each time we leave the house he points to the pile and announces nonchalantly, "No Man Dead." I'm not sure how to reply to this. Damn snow and your cold and your damn dead snow men. We've had enough now, thanks. 3 comments


By {screen_name}
Tuesday, December 11, 2007

After I dropped Alex at the bus stop this morning I came home and read the paper while I looked out at this: SNOWYYARD.jpg I thought about how nice it would be to stay home and make Christmas cookies and watch the snow fall. Turns out, I really should have done that, because maybe I wouldn't have ended up like this: TREEDCAR.jpg My head hurts, my back hurts, my knee hurts, I feel like puking. While I try to make sense of it I am very grateful I had no passengers with me since both windows on the passenger side are smashed out. For now, I'll go with that as the silver lining. 3 comments

Christmas Eye Candy Thank You

By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Monday, December 10, 2007

Like many families, we enjoy the traditional ride around town looking at the Christmas lights. It always amazes me how some people really put a lot of time and effort into their displays. Throughout my entire childhood, my parents and I would load up into our little pickup truck and drive around my hometown looking at the lights. Most were mediocre but we always saved the best for last. The best was a small flower shop. Through its cottage windows you could peer into a Christmas extravaganza of moving figurines, poinsettas, trains, flying airplanes, and blinking lights. Beginning at the very back of the store there were layers upon layers of Christmas eye-candy. My favorite were a set of moving figurines acting out the "Gift of the Magi"; the girl cutting her hair and the boy holding a barrett. To this day it's my favorite Christmas story. My favorite flower shop took out a big ad in the newspaper a few years back. Seems some idiot stole some of those decorations and the family decided to end the Christmas display. To this day it brings tears of rage to my eyes. Last week Soren and I had to go to the store after dark. He pointed and asked "Wuzdat?" at a particularly bright house on the hill. "Christmas lights" I said. I was super excited that he was excited and carefully stalked all the bright houses in my neighborhood. I made certain to drive slowly weaving back and forth from one side of the street to the other so he could see from his side of the car. Each time we'd come to one he's shout, "Itsmas lights itsmas lights." And this year we saved the best for last. We featured 727 Galaxy Drive in our Sunday Westlife and I wanted to get there before everyone else. I bundled up Soren and took him last week. We had the whole house to ourselves. I got him out of the car, turned up the radio, and stood on the sidewalk. Every time Santa would light up, he'd scream "Ant Cause Ant Cause." He clapped and he danced on the Mac Millan's sidewalk. He cried when the show was over so I let him watch it twice. Thank you Mr. and Mrs. Mac Millan for a beautiful display. I'm glad that my son will have this Christmas memory throughout his lifetime. If you haven't seen it check it out here. And hey, let's send them cards of thanks. It's the season of giving and not for stealing. It's a great thing they have going and I for one really appreciate all the work they've put into it. I'd hate to see anything ruin it. Merry Itsmas Everyone! 0 comments

Past Presents

By {screen_name}
Friday, December 7, 2007

I recently read an article that asked women to name the best gifts they ever received, Christmas or otherwise. There were some interesting and touching repsonses. It got me thinking about some of the memorable surprises I've received over the years. Of course the ones Alex made or even purchased are special treasures that are sentimental favorites. But other favorites include: 1. A Swiss army knife. I use that almost daily for something or other. Every woman needs one in her purse. Just remember to take it out before you get on a plane. 2. A toolbox filled with the basics like pink-handled screw drivers, a hammer, a tape measure, assorted screws and nails. I've added to it over the years but I still want needle nosed pliers. 3. A five pound hunk of my favorite extra-sharp cheddar cheese. Yum! 4. Household upgrades arranged and paid for. Like a heater in a master bathroom rigged to be on when any other heater was on. Something I would never think of but was a great luxury. 5. Five-dollar bills I got in college from my grandfather. I could make them last for a week. Sometimes longer. What are some of your favs? Any hints to anyone you want us to pass along? 2 comments

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

By Robin Dearing
Thursday, December 6, 2007

Everywhere I look, Christmas is there. The sales ads, the Christmas lights and I've experienced a good amount of holiday cheer. Saturday, found us at that the Christmas tree farm with our dear friends, Rob and Tracee. We tromped around the little tree forest and found two great trees. From the minute we arrived at the farm, Margaret started asking if we'd be going on the hay ride. We'd done the hay ride the previous two years and she wanted to make it a trifecta. I hemed and hawed and hoped that she'd forget after we picked out the perfect tree. She didn't forget. But Tracee graciously agreed to accompany Mar and I on the hay ride while Bill and Rob saw to getting the trees loaded on the cars. I was really glad that Mar wore me down. The day was beautiful and we had a good time riding around the farm basking in the warm December sun. Here's Mar and Tracee sitting on the hay. Mar%20Tracee.jpg Such pretty girls! The day was simply gorgeous. Sky%20trees%202.jpg And if Christmas trees and hayrides aren't enough, how about a grade-school Christmas play? Mar%20play%201.jpg It doesn't get much more festive than that. Can you pick out Margaret? 6 comments

Baby Mouth

By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Wednesday, December 5, 2007

My 2-year-old niece Azure had this mosquito bite near her eye that nearly swelled her eye shut so her mom took her to the doctor. I asked her "Azure, did you go to the doctor?" "Yes" she said. "What did the doctor say?" I asked. She thought hard for a second and said "No more monkeys jumping on the bed!" I sure set myself up for that one! Five little monkeys jumping on the bed, One fell off and bumped his head. Mama called the Doctor and the Doctor said, "No more monkeys jumping on the bed!" 51FVYF87MRL._BO2%2C204%2C203%2C200_PIsitb-dp-500-arrow%2CTopRight%2C45%2C-64_OU01_AA240_SH20_.jpg 2 comments

Meals for a Month

By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Last week was seriously crazy. More often than naught my craziness is self inflicted. I try too hard to do too much in too little time. One of the things that made it crazy was a plan I had with my sister-in-law to make a whole month's food in just one day. Why? So we'd have more time down the road to relax. First, we sat down to create a menu. Our heads were bigger than our freezers and we had to pare it down to two soups, one kind of casserole, and a mix of various meats and sides. We went on a late night shopping trip to buy chicken, pork, and steak in bulk. We bought thousands of plastic freezer bags, pounds of onions and frozen veggies. Saturday morning I woke up at 6 a.m. exhausted from a long night of hour long breastfeeding sessions intermit with 45 minute breaks of dozing time. Then I searched for an hour for Soren's shoe. I got myself worked into a frenzy over this missing shoe and finally had to just take him shoeless as I was an hour late for our scheduled cooking extravaganza. Thank goodness for an understanding sister-in-law as she already had cooked mashed potatoes, rice, and had a great start on two soups. I divided up the meat and started adding various spices and sauces. I spooned rice into individual bags and loaded other bags with frozen green beans or corn. I loaded Soren up for an emergency trip to the store for those last few things we'd forgotten or couldn't get like rotisserie chicken to add to the soups. I had to stop and take care of the kids at times but my tenacious sister-in-law just kept on a cookin'. We did a final bagging to divide everything equally. We created meals by placing all our little bags into bigger bags. The combos include pre-cooked taco meat, a small bag of cheddar cheese, and four tortillas (a taco bag), or raw seasoned steak, mashed potatoes, and corn (a steak and potatoes bag.) Quart bags of black bean green chili soup were paired with portions of cornbread or a few tortillas. By 3:30 p.m. we had 28 complete meals. Final cost $155.00 each and complete exhaustion. Tonight we are having tabasco pork chops, wild rice, and corn. Although planning ahead and cooking made my life seriously crazy and hectic last week, the time I'm going to spend watching Rudolph and Frosty with my kids this month is going to be priceless. I may even find some time to bake cookies. And that damn missing shoe — it was hidden in the salad spinner because you know, who doesn't give their shoes a good spin now and then? 7 comments

Christmas Cheer

By {screen_name}
Monday, December 3, 2007

The phone rings and my former-favorite sister Deanne says, “How come you don’t have any Christmas lights?” “Huh?” “We’re outside your house and it’s dark.” Duh, that’s cuz it’s night time. So I flick the outside garage lights on and off in rapid succession and I can hear peals of laughter. She’s parked in my driveway with her two boys and one of their friends. They’re out cruising Christmas lights and for some reason figured I, of all people, would have some up. Regardless of my holiday spirit status, they all come in my house and the boys engage in their favorite game - sliding down my stairs head-first on their bellies. Even Chester their dog, once he figures out how to climb up the stairs, (gingerly, since he is recovering from being "fixed") joins in. At the end of one slide, my 11-year-old nephew Max informed me that he is an experienced Christmas light putter-upper and volunteers to come help me out. Sounds great to me, so he agrees to come over the next morning to liven up the place. And thank goodness he did, because I am apparently completely inept at the Christmas light thing. Who knew? Max tried very hard not to laugh at me when I plugged one end of a strand of lights into the other and declared it wasn’t working. “Um. Aunt Lynn, you might want to plug one end of that into the outlet.” Yeah, I might. Max was a great help and he put lights on everything in my front yard that didn’t move. So I invited them all over for dinner so I could redeem myself when they drove up in the dark. The lights look great and even though I have increased my carbon footprint ten-fold, I’m very happy with the way they look - especially the little blinky ones. Oh - and here’s a good one. Max’s little brother Sam was sporting a new hooded sweatshirt last night. “Sam, I like your hoodie. That’s really cool looking,” I told him. He gets a puzzled look on his face, lifts up his sweatshirt, points to his belly button and says, “I don’t have a hoodie, I have an in-nie!” Yep. Merry Christmas! 3 comments
Page 132 of 175


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