Wednesday, September 28, 2011

In Your Dreams

My favorite dreams are flying dreams.  They don't happen very often, but when they do I wake up feeling invigorated and interesting.  Probably because of all that fresh air.

My most NOT favorite dreams are the ones when I am standing in the lunch line at Miller Elementary and I realize I forgot to wear underwear, and my 2nd grade love interest just dumped me for a girl with a boy's name, and my teacher is leaning over me to help me with my Math but I can't concentrate because her shirt is showing her cleavage and she is trying to mask her coffee breath by chewing cinnamon gum.  Sometimes my dreams are really vivid.

Worse than that are the dreams where someone is chasing me and I can't scream.  I blame those on the rape seminar I attended when I was 12 years old back when I thought that people who kissed each other in movies wore some kind of invisible lip guard, because certainly they didn't actually kiss each other, on the lips, when they weren't even dating in real life.  You see why I never pursued acting.  That and the fact that when one turns a camera on me you may as well be asking Sean Penn to let out a good belly laugh during an Ellen interview.  Not happening.

Last night I had a dream I had never had before.  No chasing, no flying, no Sean Penn jokes; it was a different kind of dream entirely.  I was...


...washing dishes.

That was my dream.  I was standing at my kitchen sink and washing dishes.  IN MY DREAMS.

???

Remember in 10th grade when you wanted the hottest senior boy to ask you out and pick you up in a red Ferrari and bring you a cake and kiss you over the lit candles (WITHOUT INVISIBLE LIP GUARDS) after your sister's wedding as he wished you Happy Birthday and your friend laughed at your fantasy and said, "Ha!  IN YOUR DREAMS!"  I guess I should have wished to do dishes ad nauseum over my kitchen sink wearing mom jeans because now I could totally call up that friend and be like, "Well, well, who's looking stupid now?"

Monday, September 26, 2011

Buttprints In The Sand

When Drew is bored he sighs a lot.  He'll walk around glumly, shoulders slumped, and while exhaling he'll drone, "I'm booooored."  I usually ignore him, which is his cue for a heavier sigh, followed by en extra exasperated, "There's NOTHING to DOOOO."  I look at him and don't say anything, but the furrow in my brow that would make the Real Housewives jump on the phone to schedule botox says, "Say that again and I'll get you a bag and some gloves and you can go show those weeds how there's NOTHING to DOOOO."  He got the point and walked away without further theatrics.  Later, I walked by the living room and saw this:



The whole room was covered with Drew's handprints in the carpet.  I guess it's better than pulling weeds.  Then I thought to myself, "Hmmm...'Handprints In The Carpet'." It reminded me of the poem "Footprints In The Sand", which is a poem I hate.  I'm sorry if you like this poem and I just offended you, but it's overdone and I find it...annoying.  Here's a clue:  when something is so popular that people start printing it on small plates for display, it's time for a new poem.  This also goes for vinyl lettering over your doorway that says, "Live, Laugh, Love" or "All Because Two People Fell In Love" or "Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the number of moments that take our breath away."  Now I've really done it - I think all my readers from Mesa, Arizona and Sandy, Utah just un-followed me.  But seriously, stop it. 

If you want something more original there is inspiration everywhere. I was in a public restroom once and a four line diddy that was carved into the aluminum doors has always stuck with me:

Here I sit,
brokenhearted.
I came to crap,
but only farted.

Not that I would put that anywhere in my house, but it just goes to show there are other places to get ideas.  Then again, it's your house, do whatever you want.  Who am I, anyway?  I'm just some stupid blogger!  However, as for me and my house, I am likely to display something more like this:

BUTTPRINTS IN THE SAND


One night I had a wondrous dream,
One set of footprints there was seen,
The footprints of my precious Lord,
But mine were not along the shore.

But then some strange prints appeared,
And I asked the Lord, "What have we here?"
Those prints are large and round and neat,
"But Lord, they are too big for feet."

"My child," He said in somber tones,
"For miles I carried you along.
I challenged you to walk in faith,
But you refused and made me wait."
"You disobeyed, you would not grow,
The walk of faith, you would not know,
So I got tired, I got fed up,
And there I dropped you on your butt."

"Because in life, there comes a time,
When one must fight, and one must climb,
When one must rise and take a stand,
Or leave their butt prints in the sand."

Yeah.  That's more like it.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Erasure, The Flex Capacitor, and Beeth-Oven

If you ask most people where they would go if time travel were possible they might say something like, "the Renaissance" or, "the time of Jesus" or perhaps, "1776".  I'm somewhat of an expert on the topic as I used to watch Quantum Leap and have seen Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure at least 4 times, but if you ask me I'm torn; it's a toss up between 1984 and 1991.  1984 because Remington Steele was still on the air and 1991 because I'd really like to ask that one guy I liked why he dated me every weekend for four months and never kissed me, and why he sent me a dozen roses, wrote me all summer after I went home, then came to see me as soon as I got back and suddenly NEVER CALLED AGAIN.  (???)  It's not like I want to go back and marry him or anything, I'd just really like to know.  Was it my mustache?  Was he "playing for the other team" and just really enjoyed my company?  It's a mystery.

At any rate, my husband long ago confided that if he were allowed to travel back in time his choice is clear:  1987.  Or, the year of the stake dance.  Not HIS stake dances mind you, but MY stake dances.  As a teenager my youth group sponsored these dances just about every weekend, and I hardly ever missed.  I have expounded before on my love of dancing, but I may not have been quite as forthcoming about the fact that while I love the dance, the dance does not necessarily love me Cory has heard stories and as such would very much like to witness for himself the social disaster that was Vern in 1987.  I was a dancing fool back in the day, emphasis on the "fool" part, and the one song that got me more excited above all the rest was "Oh L'Amour" by the band Erasure.  I. Loved. Erasure.  I tried desperately back in the day to get our basketball team to use them as our warm up music but our star point guard had leanings toward Chaka Khan, so Chaka Khan it was.  I guess no one cares what the star bench warmer wants.

So yes, I loved them.
Yes, I danced like Gumby getting the electric chair when their music played.
Yes, I went to their concert in the 80's and yes, we looked like Sister Wives on Date Night: (me, my sis, Nicole, and Mike)



Erasure is coming in concert to Denver next week.
No, I'm not going.  I can't give Cory the satisfaction and make it that easy on him, he's going to have to wait for time travel.  Better get crackin' on that flex capacitor babe!  In the meantime, how about those tights?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Ambigram Tat

Holy crap!  Where did the last week go?  I can't believe I left you hanging with such a dramatic post and then ignored you for 7 days.  Rude.  We've had so much going on I don't know where to begin, so let's start with the fact that Cory wants to tattoo my name on the underside of his forearm.

Not really.

Here's what happened.

Some co-workers of Cory's showed up at work recently to proudly showcase their matching tats in the form of an ambigram.  I'll wait while you Google that....  Ok, so now you know that an ambigram is something that looks like it spells one thing, but then you turn it around and it looks like it says something else.  This particular pair had taken their kids' names, formed an ambigram out of it, and tattooed it on their arm.  Not for me, but to each his own.  Inspired, (?) Cory looked up our names and sent me an email saying he loved me so much he wanted to take needles and swirl our names together forever onto his body and be like those that had gone before him.  I was like, "Wait, aren't you the guy who passes out when giving blood?  Plus, you don't even like tattoos.  And what if I die and you get remarried and your wife has to look at my name EVERY SINGLE DAY FOR THE REST OF HER LIFE?  That doesn't seem fair to her.  Also, could you remarry someone named Esperanza or something, because I think that's going to be really hard to make into an ambigram and while I'm totally fine with you discovering happiness after my untimely death, I don't want you to be able to swirl your name together with anyone else's.  And for the record, if she happens to have healthy lady parts and a desire for more children, I want you to know I support that.  Especially if she's ugly, because the last thing I need is to look down and see that your new kids are cuter than ours.  It's the least you can do to honor your dead wife!" 

Anyway.

Here's what Cory sent me - MY name:  (using my real name, "Kristy", not my stage name, "Vern")

And when you turn it the other way around you can see his name, "Cory":

It looks more like "Cody", which was the name of the evil dog our backyard neighbor's used to have, so that doesn't bring back good memories.  It also kind of looks like "Cony", which reminds me of Coney Island and the Chili Coney Cheese Dog from Sonic, which does bring back good memories. 

I guess the take-aways from this post are three-fold.  One, if tragedy strikes and I actually DO die soon?  This post will probably be painful for Cory to look back on, and he will probably start looking up women named "Esperanza" on match.com.  Two, now you know the definition of "ambigram".  Three, mmmmm...chili cheese dogs.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

In Which Vern Turns A Wee Bit Dramatic


I’m staging a revolution in my head.  The accumulation of thoughts and feelings has reached a boiling point – I’m at a crossroads, and I can’t decide if I simply need to lower the heat and simmer down or hit full blast, allowing the bubbles to roll over the edge and hit the burner to get someone’s attention.  I don’t entirely know my place but if I don’t find it quickly and secure a firm position, I’m going to be the one who ends up getting burned.

I already feel like I’m getting burned.

It started in the middle of July when Samantha informed me that her cross country practices were already commencing.  I hated this for many reasons.  One, it annoyed me that the school was infringing upon my summer, like showing up at a birthday party that advertised it would last for 4 hours and finding out it only lasted for 1.  Two, the practices were every day beginning at eight o’clock in the morning which is to say, the host of that 1 hour birthday party just announced there won’t be cake or presents.  Nevertheless, my daughter made a commitment to be part of the team, and as her mother don’t I want her to respect her responsibilities, be dependable, learn to work hard, and understand how to sacrifice for something you want?  Of course I do, so I dutifully drove her to practice every morning.

After school started I got this bombshell one Friday night.  “Oh Mom, by the way we have practice tomorrow morning at 8am at a park 70 miles from home because the coach wants to take away more of your happiness.”  Or something like that.  Maybe it wasn’t exactly 70 miles away, but it WAS at 8am and it WAS a 45 minute drive.  And if you’re going to drive 45 minutes for a two hour practice it doesn’t make sense to go home and come back, so this had me alone in the middle of an unfamiliar area trying to kill two hours on a Saturday morning.  Enter the silver lining:  Mimi’s CafĂ© and the Ciabatta Breakfast Sandwich with citrus remoulade.  I’m nothing if not resourceful.

My tension built last week when another practice went extra long because the coach decided they needed more time in the weight room – Samantha was due to babysit for some friends of ours, and I had to call and tell them she was going to be late.  Annoying for all parties involved except, of course, the school/coaches.  Ultimately, the final straw hit me last night.  Practice ran overtime, we were late for dinner with friends, and en route to our dinner (which was prepared and waiting for us – delightful) Samantha began to stress about the workload she still had that night.  I lost my patience – school and sports had already taken ELEVEN HOURS of my daughter’s day, and now that it was time for food and a little family time and a few minutes to, oh I don’t know, let’s get crazy and say “RELAX!” school was still in charge of my family.  And for the record, she was up until 11:45 pm doing homework.

I’m completely frustrated, and part of my frustration stems from feeling unsure about my role here.  Ultimately I believe I am the parent and I get final say.  Right?  Not right?  I don’t even know.  If I tell her to let something go am I holding her back?  If I tell her she can’t participate on a Saturday because we’ve made plans as a family and damn it all to hell THEY CAN’T HAVE HER, am I preventing her from learning commitment to a team?  Am I just mad because I feel like I’m losing my daughter when this is just the natural course?  This is brand new territory for me.  I feel like I’m not the one wearing the pants in my own family, and that All Things School has essentially opened the gate, let my daughter in, shut the gate behind her and told me I can peek if I want to from the other side.

What’s a mother to do? 

(Seriously.)

Friday, September 9, 2011

Cupcakes For Lunch. And Other Weight Loss Secrets.

On Tuesday I had four cupcakes for lunch.  But I thought Vern was on Weight WatchersI am.  Incidentally, four cupcakes equals 36 points, and I am only supposed to consume 29 in a day.  Luckily WW accounts for situations like this and gives us 49 extra points each week to allow for things like PMS.  But I thought Vern didn't have a uterus and couldn't get PMSIt's called phantom PMS - it's very rare but affects approximately 1 in every 5,792 hysterectomies.  I think she's making this upI might be making this up.  White lies are a side effect of phantom PMS. 

At any rate, I was sorta hoping I could keep this cupcake thing on the down low so that people could go on thinking I'm awesome for losing the equivalent of about three newborns so far.  Well, two newborns if you descend from the Gardner line in my family, maybe five newborns if they are premature.  Is she fishing for presents?  I'm registered at Target.  THE POINT IS, when I shared the video of my son dancing like Urkel after one too many pixie sticks I received multiple inquiries about the cupcakes?  muffins? that were featured in the background.  Here's what I have to say about that; if you guys can look past the glasses, the dancing, and the red basketball shorts hiked up so high they got altitude sickness to see the food on the counter then YOU ARE MY PEOPLE.  For the record, they were indeed cupcakes, but not just any cupcakes.  These were sort of an experiment on my part and may I say, they turned out delicious.  I'm calling them Orange Dreamsicle Cupcakes with Chocolate Chip Cheesecake filling.  If you like the combination of orange and chocolate you will love them, and I assume you will want the recipe.  So.  Let's get to it, shall we?



THE CAKE:
Yellow cake mix  (Are you disappointed that this isn't from scratch?  Too bad so sad.  I can only be so amazing.)
Red food coloring
2 tsp orange extract

*Mix according to box directions.  Add a few drops of red food coloring to give it that nice, citrus-y tint.  Add extract.  Spoon into cupcake liners.

THE FILLING
8 ozs softened cream cheese
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
dash of salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
* Mix cream cheese, sugar, egg and salt until smooth then add chocolate chips.  Spoon about a tablespoon onto unbaked cupcakes.  Bake according to box directions, about 20-25 minutes.

ORANGE BUTTERCREAM FROSTING
1/4 cup softened butter
1/4 cup margarine
1/2 cup shortening
4 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp. orange extract
zest of one orange
Milk

*Mix ingredients and add milk until you reach your desired consistency.
*Frost cooled cupcakes and refrigerate.  Serve cold. 


Here's what it looks like when you cut one in half - the filling sort of sinks to the bottom while baking and you get a nice, dense taste of chocolatey goodness surrounded by the smooth buttercream and fluffy cake.


And that's why I ate four.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

It's OK, He Said I Could

Drew likes to play games.  One of his favorites is "How Many Times Can I Play The Same Song Before Mom Yells At Me?".  I dare say we are equally yoked when it comes to this charade.  Yesterday as I stood in the kitchen I heard Al Yankovic's voice streaming for the eleventy thousandth time to his parody titled "White & Nerdy".  I don't know why it's one of Drew's faves, but it makes me want to drown myself just to make it stop.  I was nearing my breaking point when suddenly he appeared from around the corner wearing basketball shorts hiked up to his chest, 3D movie glasses with the lenses popped out, and his slippers, lip syncing along to the song with...I guess we're calling it "moves".  It cracked me up and I asked him if he would do an encore that I could record and upload to my blog, and he agreed.  So if one dancing dork wasn't enough for you yesterday, I offer you one more.  I apologize that you can't hear the music very well but I hope you enjoy it anyway: 


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Sunday, September 4, 2011

When I'm Not Eating Fried Alligator I Stick Firmly To Weight Watchers

I haven't mentioned Weight Watchers lately, but in case you're wondering I'm still doing it.  I don't like to talk about it because mostly I don't think anyone really cares, and the last thing I want to do is make people wish for a nearby stake to thrust themselves upon when I'm rambling on and on about how many points their hamburger is.  Speaking of hamburgers, I had one a couple of weeks ago that would sway PETA to trade their vegan ads for posters that say, "Beef.  Everybody's doing it."  Again, this delicacy came from a bar/grill that was featured on Food Network and was honored particularly for their burgers- naturally, a few friends and I had to experience it for ourselves.  I ordered a quarter pounder with all the regular fixin's then added pepper jack, herbed cream cheese and fresh, sliced avocado.

I have to say, I'm normally not the type to venture outside the box when it comes to burgers - I just like a normal cheeseburger with lettuce, tomato, pickles, mayo and ketchup but I'm here to say that The Cherry Cricket has changed my mind, and perhaps my life, forever.  This burger was a revelation, and I said as much on the radio a couple of weeks ago when my local station DJ's asked listeners to call in with the best thing they ate over the weekend.  The DJ's took calls from 5 or 6 of us, listened to our description, and at the end they declared a winner to receive a prize:  $50 in food vouchers at the Taste of Colorado.  And I won.  I won!  So, with vouchers in hand Cory and I headed for a date to the Taste of Colorado in downtown Denver yesterday.  What's the Taste of Colorado you ask?  It's basically a food festival.  A FOOD FESTIVAL!  And I had COUPONS!  So we ate for FREE!  I felt like Joan Rivers at a botox convention.

We had shrimp and chicken gumbo, red beans and rice with plantains, bacon wrapped chicken (you heard me), a coconut samosa, cinnamon cashews, cupcakes, a snow cone, and...FRIED ALLIGATOR.  I knew you wouldn't believe me, so I took a picture for proof:


For the record, fried alligator isn't that great.  Trying to mask the chewiness of the alligator with a crunchy cornmeal coating is kind of like trying to hide JLo's butt with a potted plant.  FAIL.  You would think that the fact you can make purses and boots out of the stuff would have tipped me off.  Oh well, here I am with my cute date:

They also had some non-food related booths.  Nothing says "Failing Economy" like "Hand Carved Musical Frogs" for sale!


There was a concert.  And a weird guy dancing by himself:

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All because I ate a hamburger and talked about it on the radio.  By the way, anyone know how to calculate the points on fried alligator?

Friday, September 2, 2011

I probably shouldn't tell you this but my brother-in-law still does blue darts

 
Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city.  
~ George Burns

We enjoyed not one, but two family reunions this summer; one in San Diego (my peeps) and the other in Southwest Colorado (Cory’s peeps).  We had a brilliant time in both places (she said in her best Hugh Grant voice) and we didn’t want to come home.  Drew was in heaven with his paternal roots where gas is passed freely and without apology, not to mention it was his first year of eligibility to ride the 4-wheelers solo.  Samantha took naturally to the horses and both were enamored with Grandpa and Grandma’s newest acquisition: a dog.  I would tell you his name but dog lover that I am (not) I can’t remember it.  The kids tried to use this as an opportunity to impose guilt upon me and my anti-animal sensibilities (“Everyone has a dog but us, even Grandma and Grandpa!”), but as far as I’m concerned I’m the hero here.  See, I promised I would drive them to see that dog every single summer, which is just like having a dog if you pretend that you have to board it for 51 weeks a year while you travel for business.  They think I’m totally uncool but the joke’s on them, because “cool” in the Vern dictionary is defined as “doesn’t have to pay vet bills, clean up poop, or vacuum dog hair from the stairs.”  It’s all relative.

As for San Diego, well, I got off the plane, breathed in the air and said, “Ah, I’m home.”  We toured the Star of India, walked the San Diego Harbor, and had Cheerios and fresh fruit every day on my parents’ deck.  When I wasn’t fantasizing about how to retire there I watched various family members scale the inflatable waterslide that my mom and dad rented or inhaled a chocolate raised creation from Peterson’s Donut Corner.  Sheer joy.  Best quote of the week from that trip came from my brother Greg:  “I don’t want to live in a world where you can’t ride poodles naked.”  HA HA HA!  Oh.  I guess you had to be there.  Anyway, I put some pictures together and compiled a musical slide show for the three people that are interested in looking at that.  My in-laws will be wondering why there are four hundred pictures showcasing California and five highlighting Colorado; my response can be summed up in one word:  Vanessa.  Next time I will invite her to the other reunion too so we can have equal representation.  The free gas passing alone seems like enticement enough.  Vanessa, you in?


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