Monday, March 31, 2008


So I hosted my first ever kid's birthday party on Saturday. Abby turns 5 this week, and since her mom was going to be home just for the weekend (from her 7 weeks of training out of town) we had the party on Saturday. Jane (Chris' ex) told him last month that we needed to plan Abby's party since she was going to be out of town. She said Abby wanted a Chuck E. Cheese birthday party, and it would ONLY cost $150. ONLY. I immediately nixed that, because a) I hate that place and b) why can't we just have a party at our house? She's 5 - I don't think she cares where the party is, as long as it's happening.

I looked up some ideas on the internet (oh internets how I love you and your awesome party ideas) and came up with a "Littlest Pet Shop" party, because Abby loves LPS. As I suspected, when I asked Abby if she would like to have a LPS party at our house, she was totally on board and could've cared less about the expensive pizza place. Because she's 5.
When I told Jane we'd be having the party at our house because we thought we'd rather spend the money on a new bike for the birthday girl, she scoffed (to Chris) that that was fine but we wouldn't be saving any money. She obviously doesn't know me very well.
I ordered a LPS party pack from a party supply store - for $35 I got invitations, thank you notes, tablecloth, centerpiece, 18 balloons and matching ribbon, streamers, plates, cups, napkins and plastic utensils. I got a bunch of colored gift bags from Target for party favors, and after hitting the dollar bins, put in silly putty, a yo-yo and bubbles. I also made "puppy chow" for the bags, which is Chex covered with chocolate, peanut butter and powdered sugar. I labeled the bags with the kids' names (which I printed at work) and called it good.
Notice the cardboard dog house by the fireplace
Riley helped me think of games for the kids to play that were pet themed, and so we came up with musical lily pads (the hopping like frogs was AWESOME), pin the tail on the monkey, toss the beanbag doggie into his house, cat cat mouse (like duck duck goose), and hot doggie (istead of hot potato). I made a giant LPS monkey and mounted it on foam core, created a dog house out of boxes from work, and cut lily pads out of flourescent posterboard. I did no actual work on Friday - I was too busy making a huge monkey and constructing a cardboard dog house.

Saturday morning, I frosted the cake I had made on Thursday, and decorated it with LPS figures and sprinkles. Chris took the balloons to get heliumed up, and moved our furniture around to make room for seven 5 year olds to run around.
I was REALLY proud of this cake

I won't bore you with more details, but suffice it to say, the kids had a blast. In order to avoid any potential meltdowns if they didn't win at a game, I had about 8 hojillion animal stickers that EVERYONE got after a game. After the first game, no one cared if they won - they were too busy deciding which sticker they wanted.

Look at my little punkin - she's so happy to be the birthday girl!Abby's mom sat and watched the whole time - didn't offer to help or anything - which I thought was kind of weird. Then again, she's at a party for her kid that she had no input into at the house she used to live in. That in itself was probably weird. Her parents were there too, and they were so gracious - her mom hugged me and told me what a great job I did and said she'd email me the pictures she took. And her dad just hung out with Chris the whole time. They love him.

The thing that baffled me was that in all of Riley's 8 years and Abby's 5, this was the first at-home party they'd ever had. I remember most of my parties, and the only time we went somewhere was to go to the pool, but then we always came back for cake (that my mom baked). Beth and I were discussing it the other day, and she never had anything but home parties either - we were remembering all the years of movies rented and homemade cakes and backyard obstacle courses and sleepovers and board games.

My mom said she didn't have parties as a kid, so she wanted to have fun parties for us when we were little. My reasoning is that I grew up with fun and creative parties, so I want to do that for my kids as well.

So tell me - did you grow up with home birthday parties or location parties? Inquiring minds want to know...

Friday, March 28, 2008

Death rides a scooter, apparently

I'll bet you wanted an update on the dead guy in the yard, didn't you? Ok! I'm just going to say up front that while I sympathize with his family, I think he's an idiot and maybe could be the recipient of one of those Darwin awards? Here's why - we get our little town newspaper twice a week, and Chris found the article about the dead guy in the yard. As it turns out, I reported a few inaccuracies, which I will now remedy. One, he wasn't in his 20s, he was actually 45. Old enough to know better than to ride around helmetless. And wearing socks with sandals - not appropriate riding gear and as a matter of fact not appropriate ever. Two, he wasn't riding a crotch rocket, he was riding a scooter. A SCOOTER. The article said he "failed to navigate a turn", which, ok, but what turn? We live on a hill that curves, but by no stretch is it a "turn". After the failed turn navigating, he fell off the scooter and hit his face on the bumper of a parked car (the one in the neighbor's driveway) and died.

I was wondering if in the scheme of things, there is a less graceful way to go out than losing control of A SCOOTER on a SLIGHT CURVE in a NEIGHBORHOOD and hitting a PARKED CAR with your head. The article mentioned that it was unknown whether there were drugs or alcohol involved. I realize I'm no medical examiner, nevertheless I'm going to say there probably were. Otherwise, he's just a sober idiot who can't drive A SCOOTER. I'm sorry, I kind of just want to laugh. Maybe I'm heartless and unfeeling, but really. A SCOOTER?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Death comes to the front yard

So. Did everyone have a Happy Easter? Did the bunny come to your house with delicious treats? Did you accidentally go to the grocery store to get stuff for "Bunny" to "deliver" a week or so too early and then eat the entire bag of malted milk eggs before it was actaully easter? Ha ha. Me neither. Did you have a delicious lunch and spend time with your family? Did some guy die on your front lawn on Saturday?

I bet that that last one totally did not happen to you guys. But it totally DID happen to us. I wish I were kidding.

I was merrily painting up a storm Saturday afternoon - I was on my third of four walls, and determined to finish all four before I took a break, otherwise I would never go back. The house was quiet - Chris was downstairs playing video games, Abby was asleep in the "fort" the girls had made, and Riley was keeping me company while I painted. I heard sirens, but kind of ignored them, as we live next to a major street and also near the fire station. They seemed to be getting closer...yep, hey! That fire truck just parked in front of our house!

Chris yells up to me "Some guy just died in our yard" and I was like "Ha ha, shut up!" because OF COURSE he had to be exaggerating. I went downstairs and saw him going out the front door, so I peeked out and saw that an ambulance had joined the fire truck. I grabbed a coat and followed him out front, telling Riley that under no circumstances was she to come outside. I walked over and stood next to Chris, and would you believe it? There is a guy laying in our side yard (not the main one directly infront of the house thank god, but the one on the other side of our driveway), his crotch rocket motorbike laying about a foot away from Chris' car in our driveway. By the time I got there, the paramedics were shaking their heads and looking at each other like "I think we're done here". I looked at Chris and was like "He looks dead". The paramedics agreed - they got out the white sheet and as they were covering him, I felt like maybe I was either going to cry or barf or maybe both. So I went in the house.

Pretty soon, a policeman came to the door. Riley saw him coming, and was like "Everybody just act natural. We don't want him to think we killed that guy". I was like "Honey - we DIDN'T kill that guy . Also, DO NOT say that in front of the policeman". And then I sent her upstairs just in case.

The police officer was nice - AND HOT. I was of course very suave - when he asked me if I knew what had happened, I said yes I did. After an awkward pause (I didn't know he expected me to tell him what happened - did he not already know?) I said "A guy took a header off his motorcycle...and died?" He agreed, so finally we were on the same page. He told us we weren't going to be able to leave the house for a few hours because they were blocking off the street until the traffic investigator could do his thing. When he left, Chris was like "He was nice" And I said "He smelled really good" and then went into the bathroom to see if I had paint all over my face or if I had looked halfway presentable when talking to Officer Straight White Teeth and Acceptable Amount of Cologne.

Anyway, that was pretty much it. Guy on motorcycle, not wearing helmet (and also sandals with socks - appropriate riding gear? I think not), loses control of bike and (so they think) went over the handlebars headfirst into the car parked in our neighbor's driveway. Died instantly - I hope. Because the weird thing was that none of us heard anything. No screeches or thuds or skidding - the only way Chris knew what was going on was that he saw one of our other neighbors stop in front of our house and start yelling. Chris couldn't see anything and so he went up to our guest bathroom and saw the guy laying in a heap in the yard. By the time he got back downstairs and put his jacket on, the paramedics were there and the guy was definitely dead. No blood - just major head trauma. However, I have no idea how long he was laying there - maybe our neighbor saw it happen, maybe he just saw the guy in the yard.

Anyway, that's the story. I still can't believe it - who does stuff like this happen to? Crazy.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Put on your tapered leg pants...

... and wear a holiday themed sweatshirt, because oh my god you guys - as of next Monday, I will be a soccer mom.

Abby has been waiting patiently to turn 5 so she could play soccer, so since her birthday is in 3 weeks, it's about that time. I can't wait to see those tiny kids running around kicking in the general vicinity of the ball. I'm excited to laugh at the hijinks of 4 and 5 year olds who've never played before. I mean, to see them learn skills and sportsmanship.

On the other hand, Riley started yet another season of softball, which I am much less enthusiatic about. Sorry to offend any of you that might like softball, but ack. It is SO BORING. It's bad enough on it's own, but when the kids are little and can't get the pitches over the plate and then the coach has to come in and pitch pretty much EVERY TIME, but not before we sit through a bunch of throws that don't make it remotely near the plate. Luckily, there's a sort of three-pronged escape clause. The game is over when one team gets a certain amount of points OR the game has reached a time limit OR we've gotten to a certain amount of innings. Whichever comes first. And since I'm totally complaining about this, I'll say that three-pronged or not, none of those can come soon enough. It usually ends up being the time clause, because no one can get enough hits to make the point thing and no one can get enough outs in a timely manner as to help along the inning thing. It's good times, I'm telling you.

Speaking of prongs, last season we were driving home after a particularly looooong game in which the score was like 5 hojillion to 2, and Riley was like "If we would have had just one more inning, maybe we could have won!" (oh the eternal optimism of children) and I said to Chris under my breath "Yes! If we would have had just one more inning, I would have totally stuck a fork in my eye so I had an excuse to get out of there!" We laughed for a long time with Riley saying "What? What?" But of course I would never say that to her. Chris (who is also no fan of softball) thinks its unfair that I get to do soccer with Abby and he HAS to do softball (we're such awesome parents - being supportive of our children and their sports decisions) but I told him not to worry. I would at least come to a couple of games and I would even leave my fork at home. Unless we're at an all-day tournament, in which case, all bets are off.

I sound horrible, I know, and I do want the girls to play sports, it's just that is it too much to ask that they play a sport that we might be interested in watching? Their mom signed Riley up for softball, and then conveniently left the state for 5 weeks. Coincidence? I think not.

In other news, last night we were walking to the park and the girls were riding their bikes. Riley said "how come when I stop I can't balance on my bike, but when I start up again, I can balance?" I said "It's physics, baby. You'll learn about it in high school." And she's like "But why? Why does it do that?" So Chris said "It's physics honey - you're going to learn about it." But this was still not good enough. "Is it because I'm moving and not moving? Does that make me balance better?" And I said to Chris (under my breath of course) "Does she not understand that when we tell her that she'll learn something in high school, that means 'WE DON'T KNOW and don't want to sound stupid'?" Sigh. Now I guess I'm going to have to see what the internets say about bike balancing and the like.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

This is me telling you what to do.

Book recommendations, because you asked. Other recommendations, because you didn't.

Shadow Laws by Jim Michael Hansen - he's a Denver lawyer, and I'm that nerd who likes books that take place in my town because I know what the places look like and whatever. Anyway, it's a suspense/thriller told from the point of view of 3 characters, which makes for a good read.

The Watchman by Robert Crais - Part of a series about a private detective, this one focuses on the mercenary (with a heart of gold, of course) who co-owns the business and is protecting someone AT ALL COSTS from getting whacked. Fast, brainless fiction.

Little Earthquakes by Jennifer Weiner - I love her books, and this was no different. Told from the point of view of four characters, it's a total chick book about pregnancy and babies and stuff like that.

Velocity by Dean Koontz - I actually read this a while ago, but wanted to add it anyway. I could not put this book down. Totally suspenseful and really fast moving. So good.

Dark Harbor by Stuart Woods - Suspense/mystery, part of the Stone Barrington series. Gratuitous sex and CIA intrigue and murder - I read it in one afternoon. I enjoy Stuart Woods so much though. Chiefs is one of my most favorite books EVER, and I DEFINITELY recommend that as well.

Dry Ice by Stephen White - Another one set in Colorado. Part of a suspense/thriller series centering on a psychologist. I love this whole series, and would also recommend Kill Me, which is the one right before this I think.

I've also recently read T is for Trespass by Sue Grafton - suspenseful, thought-inducing and not as fluffy as the previous ones in the series. And Book of the Dead by Patricia Cornwell. I really like the Kay Scarpetta series, because of the interesting forensic stuff. However, the characters are really starting to bum me out, what with the fact that apparently no one is ever entitled to any happiness or even a frickin' good mood every once in a while.

Don't watch the following movies: The Heartbreak Kid with Ben Stiller, because as great as I think he is, that is a totally stupid movie not worth the time we spent watching it. 30 Days of Night with Josh Hartnett, because although I like a scary movie here and there and also am not averse to vampires, I couldn't wait for this to be over. The premise was good - it takes place in a tiny town in Alaska during the month when there isn't sun ever. Perfect for vampires, right? Totally. And so this could have been good, but what it involved was a lot of blood and gore and vampires who apparently don't speak any sort of human language, except they scream a lot. There was no suspense, and also it followed not one thing I know about vampires from watching The Lost Boys, Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the t.v. show) and Angel. Plus, there were no remotely hot vampires like Spike or Angel or even a great looking mullet-headed Kiefer Sutherland. AND to top it off, the end totally sucked. Booo.

You SHOULD watch these movies: 3:10 to Yuma. SO GOOD. First of all, in case you didn't know, I love Christian Bale more than, well, something I really love (I can't wait to see him in Batman this summer. Why? Because he is SMOKIN' HOT and can also act). Anyway he was awesome in this. I also enjoy Russell Crowe's acting (and he's pretty hot when he wants to be) and he was stellar in this. He plays a really bad guy who you can be sympathetic to without feeling bad about it. Also this kid Ben Foster plays a perfectly despicable psycho. Love. Hot Fuzz is also great. A lot of people haven't seen this because it stars two English guys and you know how sometimes Americans don't get British comedy? It is funny and actiony and I love these guys. They also did Shawn of the Dead (zombies!) and while I thought that was also funny, I like Hot Fuzz more.

Awesome mascara - Bourjois Volume Clubbing in Ultra Black. I like to look like I'm wearing mascara, because I go with the natural look on the rest of my face, so this is great because it makes my lashes look thicker and not just tinted black. I was a little wary because the girl who recommended it to me was wearing eye shadow in hot pink and bright blue (and not in a good way), and also because it has the word "clubbing" in it, which is a little preciously trendy and reminds me how totally old I am, but as it turns out, she was right and also it's a sub-company of Chanel, not some weird fly-by-night operation. Nobody likes shady fly-by-night mascara, right?

Ok. I think that does it. Anything else you want me to tell you to read or watch or buy or do? You just let me know.

Monday, March 10, 2008

This entry is like if my brain barfed words

So I would've written sooner, except for last week there was this stomach virus? And it did that illegal leg sweeping move like in "Karate Kid"? Only on my stomach instead? I won't keep you in suspense - I did not heroically limp anywhere and win any tournament. Oh no. There may have been some limping, but there were no heroics - in fact the virus soundly whupped my ass. Wax on wax off will not help you in this situation, my friends.

Actual conversation with the intake person on the Ask a Nurse hotline:

Intake lady: "What seems to be wrong?"

Me: "I have the world's worst stomach virus"

Intake lady: "Okay..."

Me: "Seriously. Write that down. 'World's Worst.'"

Intake lady: "What are your symptoms?"

Me: "Excruciating stomach pain, for one. I will say that I tend to exaggerate, but in this case I am not. Also you should write that down too. Excruciating."

Intake lady: "..."

I hope she wasn't new. Otherwise, she's probably like "is everyone who calls here so bossy?"


The good news was that I read somewhere around five or six books last week. All good, so if you're looking for recommendations (Eddie), I've got some.


I got Chris a Wii for his birthday. So far, I like it. Except for how in the instant replays in tennis, my sorry Wii remote skills are right there in slow motion, as my onscreen person watches the ball go by and THEN swings or swings, misses and falls down. It's almost like if I were playing tennis in real life, only marginally less embarassing.


I have never had long hair my entire life, even as a kid. I've always had cute, kicky short to medium hair, and I like it. Right now, I am trying mightily to grow my hair out. It's working, however, I now have hair that falls almost mid-back that is a tangly mess of wavy/curly awfulness. Unless I want to spend time straightening and re-curling it (which most of the time I don't, because *duh* it cuts into my sleeping time), it always ends up in a ponytail. Any advice would be helpful. Because what I ENVISION is the awesome long wavy hair of the STARS. What I'm getting is decidedly not that.


Also, since I'm on a book kick, give me some recommendations. I've got two on deck right now, but will be done with those by the weekend. Also, I'm looking for new decor for Chris and I's bedroom - I've looked at the typical places, so if you've got any off the beaten path places with cool bed linens and whatnot, let me know that too! Awesome.