It Lives!

Turns out that cycling is a whole lot easier when you have air in your tires.  How about that?  The one-mile ride to Q's school was a piece of cake.  When I started feeling a bit of quad strain on the way home, I had a moment of panic - until I notice that I was on a slight incline and had a head wind.  Whew!

Apart from fitness, riding the bike had some other unexpected side benefits.  Q is in the midst of some terrible-three-type control issues and wanted nothing to do with going to school this morning.  But when he found out we were going in the bike?  He could hardly wait to leave!  I even got compliments from another mom when she saw me getting ready to leave.  It boggled her mind that I could bike him to school.

I have decided that my pink mom-bike needs a name.  Something as prissy and silly as she is.  Penelope rides again!


Dog Days

"Daddy, there are too many dogs at my house," I announce on our semi-daily phone chat.

He paused for a minute and replied, "That is a sentence I never thought I'd hear you say."

It feels like a kennel here at Casa Critical Mass.  I have my usual crazy complement of four and have added some to the mix. I must have lost my mind!

Scout the Golden Retriever is making a guest appearance while T's parents finish up their last month in Colorado.  He is old and slow, so he doesn't require much work, but he is the size of a Shetland pony - I have tumbleweeds of Scout-colored fur blowing around the baseboards to prove it!  He's been here for almost a month and may be staying well into October.  Not a hardship as I am his favorite person in the world (much to Grandma's chagrin!).

We also have Bun's dog, Lucy.  I promised to take care of her months before I knew Scout was coming to stay.  Lucy is a spastic little Golden-Greyhound mix.  Sweet and well behaved, but very high strung.  She is the straw that broke the camel's back, so to speak.  The other dogs are laid back and lazy and Lucy gets them whipped up into a frenzy.  She's not doing anything wrong, but she has tipped the scales on the rest of the dogs behavior.

With SIX dogs in the house?  Every bird is barked at.  And car.  And neighbor that dares to leave his house.  Every lap is competed for.  Has your lap ever been the field of battle between 200 pounds of Labrador Retriever? With a little fat pom vying for your shoulder at the same time? Every kibble is scarfed up. In record time lest any of the other dogs try to get a bite in edgewise.  Every surface is covered in fur.  My Dyson can't keep up!

And the backyard?  A minefield of dog bombs.  Blarg.

Ah, but when they are all sleeping peacefully around you, you can't help but love them.



Well, not really.  Z has had two soccer games and lost both of them about a million to three.  At the first game, I'm not entirely sure our team, The Ladybugs, understood that the objective of the game was to get the ball into the goal... By the end of the third quarter, a light seemed to have come on for a couple of the girls. Does it make me a bad parent that I am glad Z was one of the players who sucked the least?

In our defense, none of our team has played soccer before.  Both teams we were against played together last year, too.  And were hard core.  We are in the five-year-old league and those teams have gone out and found sponsors to buy fancy uniforms.  Wow.  And I thought I was being all alpha-mom by making bows for the whole team and ordering funky soccer socks.  (Red with black polka dots!  Squee!)

And now?  Pictures!  Of my little soccer star!



Feeding Anger

I just ate a handful of peanut butter pretzels because I am mad at my husband.

Yeah, that'll teach him.


Warrenty Expired

Yet another fun-filled doctor appointment, optometry-style.
  • I have yellowing of the lenses.  Diagnosis: pre-cataracts.
  • My macula (of macular degeneration fame) isn't all sparkly like macula are supposed to be.  Diagnosis: pre-macular degeneration.
  • There is a giant hole in my field of vision, a symptom of glaucoma, that caused me to flunk my peripheral vision screening.  Luckily(?), it is probably caused by a small growth on my left optic nerve.
  • I have some kind of health issue (blood pressure/cholesterol/diabetes/thyroid) causing me to have massively dry eyes, which leads to
  • Calluses!  On my eyeballs!  On the up side, the calluses probably keep me from feeling how uncomfortable my contact lenses are.  Um, yay?
  • For the first time ever, having my eyes dilated rendered me close to helpless.  I was safe to drive my car (distance vision wasn't affected) but couldn't see to sign my name to pay for my appointment.  At my weekly lady's lunch afterward, there was much razzing about my blown pupils and did my policeman husband know about my recreational drug use?
The only good news is that I have not contracted presbyopia from Sister K, as I previously suspected.  (I know that you can't catch presbyopia, I just started noticing symptoms after Sister K described her new-found need of/resistance to cheaters.)   And, I don't need bifocals.  Barely.  For now. 

On the down side, my contact prescription is so wacked out that they don't have anything even close to my prescription in stock.  They sent me home in two ill-fitting contacts that make me squint worse than my outdated prescription did!  The special order trail lenses have yet to arrive - a week after the appointment!  Blah.

I also discovered that Wester is where every pair of boring glasses frames goes to die.  When I finally found a pair that flipped my skirt up, they were CRAZY expensive and the shop didn't take my pidly insurance.  More blah. 

I guess I'll be experimenting with a little internet frame shopping.  I just hope I can find something to accommodate my massive cranium.  As most women's glasses make me look like I wandered into the kids' department, that will be yet another adventure.  I am hoping to find some really funky cat-eye frames.  Rhinestones a total plus! 

What the heck happened?  On the inside I'm still just a kid!  Will someone send the memo to the rest of me?  Thanks.


Funny Fail

epic fail photo - Banner FAIL
see more EpicFail

I think this church might need to be a little more 'of the world'...


Progress Report

  • Diet is going well, but I sabotaged myself with a trip to Sam's today.  Hard to resist yummy snacks purchased for the kiddos.  Luckily, I bought lots of gorgeous produce, too.
  • Exercise?  Not so much.  Was thwarted by the lovely pink bicycle.  But cleaning house burns calories, too, no?
  • Weight lost since the horrible 'before' pictures:  12 pounds.  
  • Yahoo!


Duck Season

Happy hunting season!



The inevitable has happened.  I knew it was coming, but it still took me by surprise.  I have become a soccer mom.  I do not, for the record, drive a mini-van, so there's that.

I signed Z up for soccer this fall.  Our first practice was on Tuesday.  So far?  I am not really impressed with Z's coach.  She didn't attend the coaches meeting, so we were the last ones to hear from our coach.  She put off reserving a field until she just had to take what was left: a field so far away that it is practically in the next state.  Oh, and she didn't show up for our first practice.  Awesome.

Z and I drove out to BFE and found the soccer field and waited for everyone to show up.  And waited.  And waited.  Did I miss a memo?

Luckily, I was the mom prepared for everything.  We had brought Z's shiny new (pink!) soccer ball with us, so we had a practice just the two of us.

My girl has mad skills.  Seriously?  I knew she was a pretty good kicker, but I had no idea she would be a good dribbler and passer.  I played soccer in high school, so I ran her through some drills.  She mastered all of them in no time at all.  By the end of our 45-minute 'practice' she was good enough at ball-handling to steal the ball away from me!  You go, Z!

And since nothing says 'proud mama' like shaky low-res cell phone video with crappy audio?  Enjoy!

Widow Season

It's that time of year again, the time when T takes it upon himself to protect the world from the ravages of small-ish not-very-smart birds.  That's right.  It is dove season.  I mean, seriously?  A bird that is dumb enough to get run over by a car deserves to be food, right?  The question (for me, anyway) is why would you want to eat them?

At best a whole dove makes four bites - and those bites can vary from charred to raw on one tiny bird.  Not to mention the danger of ruining your very expensive dental work chomping down on a bit of bird shot. And the fact that they taste like liver.  Why do we eat these things again?

Z won T's heart forever by declaring dove meat (carefully selected by her father) to be delicious.  Between the two of them, they picked 15 tiny carcasses clean.  Me?  I am on a diet.  A diet that doesn't include liver-y teeth-endangering game birds.

As if dove weren't enough (in)edible game, duck season opens this weekend.  But only the tiny ducks (teal).  One size up from dove and just as organ-y.  Yay!  So T will head out after work to hunt dove, then get up obscenely early to go stand in the water to shoot ducks. I don't know whether to hope his hunt is successful or not!

Oh, did I mention that they have spotted a 12-foot alligator in his duck pond?  If he's not careful, I'll be more than a hunting widow!  Awesome.

Flat Line

Doctor, the patient is dead.

This would be very sad if I weren't talking about bicycle tires, huh?  After Tuesday's debacle, T (optimistically) filled up my tires on his way to work this morning.  He warned me to check them before I left and if they had lost any air to abandon all hope.

The tires seemed firm enough when we loaded up, but I was understandably skittish.  My quads still ache!  So this time I decided to take a test run.  Fool me once and all of that. 

Out of the gate, everything felt fine.  We made it to the end of our cul de sac before I started to feel the tell-tale drag.  I hopped off to check the back tire and, sure enough, it was a little mushier than it had been in the garage. Deciding that discretion is the better part of valor - or in this case, caution is better than burning thighs and long walks in the rain - we high-tailed it back to the house.

So I dropped Q off in the trusty mom-mobile and I am off for slime tires.  Better luck next week, right?


A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Pre-School

In keeping with my new better 'life style,' I decided that I would take Q to school on my shiny new bicycle.  I got it for Mother's Day and it was just what I wanted: retro styling, big cushy mom-seat, no gears.  I love it!  It is so PINK!  Squee!  (The no gears thing isn't as crazy as it first sounds.  A.) I am a spaz and would never use the gears; and B.) we don't have hills in Wester.)

We have been riding bikes - or, in my case, pulling a wee chariot -  all summer on pleasant evenings when there was no danger of getting struck by lightning.  Which is to say, not very often because west Texas seems to have evening thunder storms more often than not.  All of this is to say that I felt quite confident that taking Q the mile up the road to his school should be no sweat.  (Pun entirely intended!)

With lunches packed and cameras in hand, we packed up the bike trailer like we were setting out on a cross-country expedition.  Q could barely peek out from beneath the purses and nap pads and first-day-of-school flotsam.  It was with bright hearts and big smiles that we took off down the driveway toward Q's education destination.

About a quarter of the way:  (breathing hard) Wow!  It has really been a while since I went for a bike ride! 

About way way:  Huff!  Puff!  Man, I am seriously out of shape.  My legs are on FIRE!  Pant!

About three-quarters of the way:  Gasp!  Sob! The pain!  Make it stop!

As I turn in to the parking lot: (Catching a glimpse of the rear tire as I check on Q)  Is that...?  No. Way.  My @!#$% tires are flat?  ALL FOUR OF THEM?!!?

And then it started to rain.

The end.


D Day

When we got back from vacation, I uploaded these pictures to my computer:

I. had. no. idea.  I barely recognized myself!  In the first picture, especially, I thought I was looking good.  I was planning on using a picture from that day as our Christmas card, for heaven's sake!  Every single picture from our vacation was a contender for the 'before' picture in a weight loss ad.

So.  Where high cholesterol, high triglycerides, and elevated blood sugar weren't enough to get my (big) rear end off the couch and on a diet, maybe two weeks of vacation photos where Jabba the Hut could have been my stunt double will be.

It has begun.  Again.  For real this time.  No, really!

To be continued...

Neighbor Kid Redeemed

Z and Q were playing out front while I was messing around in the garden.  I was raking leaves out from under our bushes (about time - they were last year's!) in preparation for cedar mulch and the installation of a micro-sprinkler system (more on that in another post.  It is SO freakin' cool!)  Z sees NK and asks if she can invite him to play.  In the front yard, sans dogs, natch.  I said sure and went back to my obsessive raking.

I finished raking and watched NK go by on his Ripstick (a twisty skate-board-y thing) pulling Z in the wagon.

I finished pouring out the first bag of mulch and watched NK go by on his Ripstick pulling Z in the wagon.

I finished pouring out the tenth bag of mulch and watched NK go by on his Ripstick pulling Z in the wagon.

Fearing that Z had roped NK into a life of indentured servitude, I called out that maybe he didn't want to spend his entire afternoon pulling her around in her wagon.  Perhaps they could find a different way to play.

NK replied that it was okay, so I told him I didn't want him to feel pressured to cart her around.

His reply?  "No, really!  I don't feel anything!"

Okay.  Maybe he's not that bad.