Monday, July 30, 2012

It's A Little Early For Santa Claus

Upon our return from camping last week, we looked up to discover this:

Either the world's dumbest burglar tried to break in to our house or some animal is making a home in our chimney. 

I'm not sure which option is more distressing to me.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Random Photo Series: A Boy and His Dog

San Simeon Camping - 2012

Last week, the familia and I packed up the minivan and headed north to San Simeon for a good old fashioned camping trip.  San Simeon is one town away from the world famous Hearst Castle.

Ok, so it's neither world famous nor a castle.

Need a better frame of reference?  It’s about 2 hours north of Santa Barbara, smack dab on the water’s edge.

This is our second year in a row camping at this campground, and this time around proved an even better experience than the first.  We scored a site so close to the water that we could walk there in under 3 minutes.  The view was as good as it gets.

Anyone care for a stroll on the beach?

But it was cold.  So, so cold.

Well, cold for me, that is.  My idea of the perfect temp is 82, and it was 65 on the coldest day.  Fortunately, the nights weren’t much worse, and I had toughened up by sleeping with the window open for the month leading up to the trip.  Me and my 5 layers of clothing were ready for those chilly 55 degree nights. 

I thought it was an unfortunate coincidence last year that our site had been so breezy.  It definitely added to the brrrr factor.  Turns out, this part of California is known for being breezy, so this year, in addition to the swim suit and tank tops, I brought along a scarf to the beach.  And used it.  Sure, I got some looks, and an old lady used it as a conversation starter, but at least I was warm amidst a sea of goose bumpy females.

I felt justified when the 17 year old in the group said, “I’m beginning to think NW was the smart one out of all of us.”  Coming from her, that was high praise.

Despite the sub zero temps, the trip was perfect, start to finish.  One day, BH took the boys kayaking, and when the boat flipped and almost brained P, they all proclaimed it the best part of the day.

This year, we decided to go fancy with the meals, so one night we had Korean bbq and another night we had Shish Kebobs.  We weren’t exactly roughing it; we drove in to town for lunch each day.  The best part about beach camping in So Cal is that you’re always near some amazing BBQ places, like Sebastian’s in San Simeon and Main Street Grill in Cambria.

Good eats in here.

On our way home, we decided to check out some new beaches, Moonstone Beach in Cambria and Montana de Oro in San Luis Obispo.  Moonstone is one of those beaches that boasts a pebble shoreline filled with natural California jade.  The boys and I saw stars in our eyes when we saw how much jade there was to be had.  Imagine all those jewels!  Turns out jade is not so easy to polish, so in the end, we’re left with a bunch of green rocks.  No matter, the time we spent combing the beach was the stuff of memories.

My plunder.

Montana de Oro was the best surprise of all.  This beach took for-EVER to get to, but what a beautiful strip of coastline.  64 degrees and gloomy didn’t even put a dent in the beauty of this place.  You know, I think it might’ve even enhanced it.  We climbed rocks, explored tide pools, and took pictures galore.  This beach has a campground attached to it, but the facilities are primitive (read:  dig your own toilet), which is a deal breaker in BH’s book.  Too bad.  I would love to stay here for a few days.

And thus concludes the recap of the Number Whisperer’s San Simeon Camping Trip of 2012.  Next up:  El Capitan camping.  This trip will be sans friends, just the kids and us.  Wish me luck.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Late Night Reading

Last night, I had another stomach ache.  My stomach has been extra difficult lately, and I probably could’ve done things differently to avoid the pain that ensued.  The abridged version is that I hadn’t eaten all day, worked out, and then took some medicine before starting dinner.  Probably should’ve eaten first and then taken the medicine. 

Oh well.  Live and learn. 

By bedtime, my stomach was going crazy, and I knew it was going to be a rough night.  Shortly after dinner, my empty, drug-laced stomach had begun to eagerly transform my spaghetti dinner into a nuclear explosive.

And I wasn’t sure which end this explosive was planning to be launched from.

So I retreated upstairs, told everyone to keep out, and settled down with my new book, The Mockingjay.

Alright, it’s not my new book, it’s L’s, and I’m reading it on the sly.  I bought him The Hunger Games, but made him pay for the other two in the series, in an effort to teach him the value of the dollar.  He repaid me by forbidding me from reading HIS books. 

Anyway, I’m reading away, hoping my stomach will resolve itself, and at some point, late in the night, it finally does.  Ahhhh, sweet relief.  I stayed up for another hour or so, because, while the pain level had dramatically dropped, it was still hurting pretty good.  That, and I couldn’t put the dumb book down.  Finally, at 12:30, I decide to go to bed. 

And that’s when I noticed it.  The horrible smell.

At first, I thought it might’ve been me, because who else is in the enclosed room, but me?  I brush that thought away, because I know I didn’t make that smell, stomach ache and all.  And as engrossed as I am in my reading, I’m still aware of my bodily functions.  I’d notice if I had given myself reason to blame me for that smell.  To be sure, I sniff around, looking for another explanation.  Is it the bathroom?  I go in and inhale.  Nope, it actually smells better in there.

Is it BH, who is downstairs, watching tv?  Could it be him?  I mean, he IS a guy, and he has been known to clear a room.  Maybe he’s got a sick stomach too.  Maybe it’s food poisoning, not the medicine, that has done me in tonight.

I slowly open the door and take a whiff.  Nope. Again, it smells better out there than in the bedroom.

What the heck?  That’s when I realize that the patio door in my bedroom is open.  Is it possible that he has the downstairs window open also, and the fumes are funneling straight up to my room?  I stop to consider this.  It’s possible.  That must be it. 

Folks, it was late at night, I was weak from the dinner I had just wasted, and anything seemed possible at this point.

I head downstairs to warm up my hot sock one last time before bed, and I ask BH if he’s having stomach problems.  Nope, no stomach problems, not even a gurgle.  It’s not him.

Back upstairs, I notice that the room has cleared.  Was it all my imagination?

As I turn off the light and get into bed, I smell it again.  And then it hits me, not unlike the wave of deadly gas gel that seeps into District 2 after Boggs gets his legs blown off.*

That’s when all the pieces fall into place.  Charley!  Charley, who has been quietly in his cage since bedtime, had eaten some free treats from Petco tonight.  Appropriately enough for this family, he also has a tricky stomach, and something tells me these treats were not looked upon favorably by his digestive tract. 

My hunch is confirmed, as I approach his crate, and the smell intensifies.  It was the dog all along! Which then makes me laugh, as I rehash all the reasons I brainstormed for the phantom smell in my room.  I actually accepted that the smell had crept up the outside of the house and seeped into my patio door!  In the harsh light of day, I can only say I was tired and sickly at the time.  Not in my right mind.

I think this is so funny that I go downstairs to tell BH about the whole series of events, along with his part as the scapegoat (which he was totally fine with…he knows it was plausible).

And Charley, who is the sweetest, most adorable rescue dog in the world, now reminds me of this book:

*That was an unabashed reference that only my fellow Mockingjay nerds would understand.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Feeling Critical Today? Me too.

I caught a glimpse of myself on the way in to work today.  Actually, it wasn’t so much of a glimpse as it was a full scale assessment.  The entrance to my work is floor-to-ceiling reflective mirror, so it’s hard not to see yourself as you approach the office.  And sadly, the results of today’s assessment were not good.  

Where to begin?

I don’t know what it is with me and clothes.  I mean, I know what is flattering on me, and I know what is not.  Yet, repeatedly, I choose to wear the unflattering stuff, despite the closet of better choices waiting for me at home.

Today feels especially bad.  I haven’t had a hair cut since March, and the morning air was drizzly, so the window reflected a hair silhouette that could only be described as witchy. 

My pants are “comfy” sized, which we all know is code for “fat pants”.  I had a picture to show of these pants from behind, but they were so saggy in the rear that I immediately hit delete.  Apparently, I have no problem sharing my need for a public restroom app, but saggy butt pictures are where I draw the line.

Style Rule #193:  Just because they're almost the same color...

The shoes…well, the shoes were cast offs that my shopaholic cousin had second thoughts on, so they became mine, for $4.  They’re Cole Haan, and being the always predictable female that I am, I cannot resist a $4 pair of Cole Haan’s, no matter how unattractive they are.  Not that these shoes are unattractive.  It’s the pairing with fat pants and ugly sweater that makes them so completely out of place. 

The sweater.  I’m strangely compelled to keep wearing this sweater, even though it is too short and has shrunk to the point of needing to constantly pull it down, to hide my belt.  

The belt does bear commenting on.  I luuuv this belt, and the fact that I found it at a thrift store just adds to my devotion.  It’s plastic, it’s kitschy, and it keeps my pants up.  I’ll be sad one day, when the plastic gives out and my belt cracks in two.

Mount Rushmore?  Check.  Niagara Falls?  Check.

Normally, I couldn’t care less what others may think of my appearance (not surprisingly, those who know me will attest to that).  But today, I don’t know.  I’m hormonal, I guess.  And feeling ugly.  And frumpy.

It didn’t help that, as I was walking towards the wall of embarrassment, a jaguar drove right past me.  Feeling critical, I imagined the impression (or lack thereof) I probably made on that driver.  I know I’m being critical of myself, and I can think of others in this building who have made questionable style decisions to rival mine.  But when I saw my reflection today, it sealed it for me.  I’m not leaving my desk until quitting time.

So why do I do this?  Why do I wear the ugliest things in my closet, when I own better than this? 
3 reasons:
  1. I’m lazy.
  2. I’m cheap.
  3. I’m nuts.
I’m lazy.  Hair, makeup, pretty clothes…all that stuff all takes time, and truthfully, I’d rather sleep in.  The outfits I rely on are comfortable, don’t require ironing or dry cleaning, and are usually clean.  The nice stuff gets worn once (maybe twice) and then sits in the dry cleaning bag for months.  Which leads to reason #2.

I’m cheap.  Do you know how much dry cleaning costs?  It kills me to spend that much money just to get my clothes clean.  $8 to dry clean a sweater?  That makes my blood boil just thinking about it.

I’m nuts.  I feel like I need to save the good stuff for special occasions, like meetings and vendor lunches.  Except that all my meetings are over the phone, and I stopped having vendor lunches two jobs ago. 

I suppose that if I had any shred of dignity left in me…or maybe some pride in ownership, I’d decorate myself up more, spend some time beautifying myself each day.  But truthfully, those feelings were squashed in me years ago.  And except for the occasional pity party (like this one here), I exist fine with this unique and personal brand I’ve developed for myself.   It’s not like I’m hideous to look at, I just don’t maximize to my full potential.  I’m lucky if I get to half potential, most days.


Alright, so here’s the real source of my mood.  P pointed out a weird line on my face this weekend.  Big surprise, it’s a new wrinkle, running horizontal, under my left eye.  And when I smile, it turns into a crevice.  So essentially, there’s nothing I can do about it.  And it is Bumming.  Me.  Out.

Because I know the end is near.  The demise of my face.

I may have mentioned before, I am a carbon copy of my dad.  And his face is a train wreck of lines and cracks and saggy eyelids. And whereas I used to see my dad reflected in the mirror, now I'm beginning to see the kids' grandpa.

So I’m feeling like I need to work with what’s left of me before it’s all gone.

I’m going home tonight and throwing this outfit away.

Except maybe the belt.

Monday, July 16, 2012

An Early Work

Every parent thinks their babies are especially talented, and I'm no different in that respect.  Take this piece of art I found in M's stuff.

Now, I know it's just a kid's drawing that doesn't make much sense, but I love it.  Because he made it.  And when I watch him draw, he does it with purpose, as if each stroke is coming out exactly as he intended.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Sinus Pressure

Me (to L):  L, my nose feels like I have pillows in them.

L:  Oh yeah, I know that feeling.

Can anyone else relate?  Imagine squeezing your nostrils to nearly shut while trying to breathe through them.  THIS is why I'm a mouth-breather.

Apparently (according to our allergiest), we're having a horrible grass pollen season here in Southern  California.

Good morning headache.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Coloring with Boys

I've never regretted having all boys.  If you would've asked me (before I had kids) if I wanted girls or boys, the answer would've been boys.  And the answer is the same now, 3 boys later.

But there are some things that I think I've missed out on.  Shopping, braiding hair, playing with Barbies.

And coloring.

Coloring with boys is still good.  My boys have all loved coloring, at one time or another.  But they never got intricate with it.  Not in the way girls do.

That's ok.  I make do and find ways to still enjoy my girliness, amidst this sea of testosterone.

Like this.

And this.

Batman never looked so good.

Friday, July 6, 2012

The Circle of Life is No Disney Movie

Have you ever been in a dead sleep, only to be jolted awake by the sound of something that clearly has no place in your home?  And not sure of what it is, you lie in bed, your heart pounding, eyes open, listening for a clue that will help you figure out what you just heard?

That’s how our morning started. 

5:38am.  An unnatural screeching and scuffling sound in the master bathroom snaps me awake.  My first panicked thought is that it’s an intruder, but as I surface to full awake, the screeching continues, and I know that this is no burglar.  It sounds like an angry animal.  BH wakes up right about now, jumps out of bed, and runs to the bathroom.  He’s impulsive that way, always thinking about protecting us, sweet man.  Me, I would’ve played dead in the bed until I was sure any move was smarter than hiding under the blankets.

As he runs into the bathroom, I yell, “it’s outside,” so as to give him more courage to enter the bathroom.  And that’s when I hear him yell, “HEY!!!!!” 

All caps don’t do it justice.  It was more like a roar.  I could tell he was yelling out the window, and by then I was lucid enough to know that there was no threat to us.  He was yelling at some animals outside.  Which then lead to my next thought, “are you seriously yelling at the top of your voice out the window at 5:38 in the morning?  When did I marry the cranky old man in the neighborhood?”

So of course, I told him to pipe down.  He was so loud that by now our neighbors have either determined that BH gets unhinged when he loses sleep or he has anger issues.  Great. 

That’s when he told me.  A raccoon was attacking a cat, up in our trees. 

No way did I want to witness that, so I stayed in bed, listening.  According to BH, it was pretty clear that the cat was losing.  They were a good 20 feet above the ground, and no amount of yelling was going to stop that raccoon.  So BH closed the windows and came back to bed. 

Fortunately, the kids were all at Grandma’s this week, so they missed out on this potentially traumatic display of Wild Kingdom.  This is the view from M and P’s second story bedroom.  I don’t know how that cat got dragged that high into those trees, but the carnage all took place precisely outside their window.  

3rd and 4th blind down...that's where it all went down.

After BH came back to bed, he proceeded to fall right back asleep, while I stayed awake and tried to drown out the horrific raccoon growls and screeches that continued for 15 more minutes.  Here’s what it sounded like, only loud enough for us to think it was happening in our bathroom.

First thing this morning, before letting Charley out, I went outside to check the yard for a cat carcass.  Because, if there’s one thing we know about our dog, we know he loves him some dead animal.

No more late nights outside for you, my friend.

I hope I don’t see any lost cat signs around the neighborhood, because I’d hate having to tell the owner what happened to their beloved pet.  Or maybe it’s better that they never know?  What do you think?

Monday, July 2, 2012

It Felt So Good Between My Toes

While shopping for some new rugs to protect our precious new foors, I came across this little treasure.

Taken with my camera phone.  No instagram here.

I was fortunate to be wearing flip flops, so I threw care to the wind, tossed off my thong and gingerly tucked my toe into that rug.

Pure luxury.

This carpet was so fluffy and soft and decadent,  I had to rub my entire foot on it (a move that is always appreciated by the salesfolk).

No joke, the first thought that came into my mind was, "Ahhhh, it's like I'm walking across a field of baby minks."

My second thought was an edit of the first thought.

As much as I loved the feel of it, I had to tear my self away, because no way was I bringing home a rug that looked like a bunch of cotton balls.  But it's memory will be forever etched in my heart.