We have finally made it on a family trip that isn’t in combination with some other event.  We have absolutely no obligations so I’m not going to waste my time blogging, but since I am still under a daily post requirement, I have to post something.

Our patio is going to get used a lot when we aren’t at the pool.  This is what it’s been used for in the last hour.

Watching golfers...they were further down the fairway.

Eating popcorn - AKA sneaking snacks.

Reenacting the Corona commercials.


The Birds

Birds were somewhat insignificant in my life for many years.  Sure, I enjoyed seeing the first robin in spring and the occasional cardinal or blue jay, but I lost a lot of respect for birds at a very young age.

We had a big picture window in our living room and each spring and summer, countless birds flew into that window, breaking their necks on impact and landing in the bushes below.  Who knows how many episodes of Pee Wee’s Playhouse or Saved By The Bell were interrupted by that unmistakeable thud followed by the telltale, down feather impression on the window.

All of that changed in 2003.  I was walking into work one morning.  It was a beautiful day and I was in an exceptionally good mood.  I had my coffee in my hand and a skip in my step when out of no where, I received a blow to the back of the head.  I spilled my coffee and almost fell to my knees.  My hair was thrown over my face and as I was trying to regain my composure and readying myself to punch whoever had hit me, I saw a hawk taking flight back up into a tree.  Suddenly, my scalp was stinging and my neck and head were throbbing.  It was then that I realized that I had just been attacked by a fucking hawk!

I only suffered some minor whiplash, a few scalp lacerations from the hawk’s talons and a lesson that if you get attacked by a hawk, people will laugh at your unfortunate attack before asking if you are OK 100% of the time, regardless of their rank at a Fortune 500 company.

Ever since that feathered assault, I have been very leery of birds.  I gave them another chance a couple years later at a pet store.  I allowed a little bird to crawl up on my finger so I could show Kamryn and before I knew it, that bird crept all the way up my arm to my shoulder.  He was dangerously close to my 1 year old daughter and I was trying to pass Kamryn off to Ryan and alert the pet store worker that the stupid bird was biting me and putting holes in my t-shirt.

That was the last straw and birds officially became my least favorite animal.  I avoid them like Avian Influenza.  Today we were playing in Balboa Park with friends and there were pigeons everywhere.  Luckily, I had my own little scarecrow to rid my surroundings of flying rats.

Quite Possibly The Only Recipe You’ll Ever Need

I was looking for a recipe for dinner a few weeks ago.  I didn’t know what I wanted to make, but I did know that I didn’t want to go to the store so it had to be something I could make with what I had on hand.  Little did I know that I would find a recipe for one of the best things I have ever made.  Ever.  Seriously…ever.

I love orange chicken.  It’s usually the only thing I get when I order Chinese food.  To call the orange chicken I get at Panda Express, Chinese, would probably be a bit of a stretch, but it’s delicious, so I forgive the lack of authenticity.

I came across the recipe on The Art Of Doing Stuff about a month ago.  Karen, the author at The Art Of Doing Stuff, came across this recipe at The Noshery.  Karen seems to share my love of orange chicken and she is really funny, therefore, I assumed I could trust her suggestion that I make this chicken.  Yeah, if you’re funny and like the same food as me, that is all I need to form a trusting bond with you.

I’m going to go ahead and tell you to not change a damn thing in this recipe.  It’s absolutely perfect and it is so much better than any orange chicken that I have ever gotten at Panda Express.  You can try and convince yourself that you will make it healthier, but please, just eat it this way once.  That will be all the convincing you will need to not try to make this any other way.  As long as you don’t eat it everyday, you’ll be fine.

The only liberty that I’m going to allow you is whether you make white or brown rice.  I don’t remember what color of rice I cooked – it doesn’t matter because I didn’t want to waste my precious stomach space with rice when I can be filling it with the delicious orange chicken.

Enjoy your dinner.

It Might Be Funny One Day

I don’t know why I need to seek out writing prompts when all I have to do is stare at a blank screen for a few minutes before I am presented with a story.  It almost never fails.  Today I was racking my brain about what I could possibly enlighten my readers with and my sweet little girl appeared before me and said, “Rory peed on my bed.”

For all of you that have been following my blog for awhile or know Rory personally, let me stop you before you think “Oh, poor Rory had an accident.”  I knew with 100% certainty that this was a malicious attack.  In fact, it couldn’t have been more calculated unless he painted a billboard and put it up on the freeway.

Rory's Billboard

If you’re curious how I know that it was intentional, his jeans were off and he was jumping around his pee spot and laughing, in his underwear, when I found him.

My New Magazine

Today I received my first issue of Better Homes & Gardens.  I vaguely remember signing up for a free subscription about 4 months ago and my first issue showed up today.  I don’t think I would ever buy a copy of the magazine, but I have perused my first issue and it’s not too bad.

I used to get a ton of magazines.  I have been getting Real Simple almost since the first day it came out.  It has been the only one that has consistently been a staple in my reading repertoire.  I went through a phase of getting fashion magazines like Vogue, Lucky, Self and Glamour.  Before I got married I got a combination of health magazines like Fitness, Prevention, and Shape and wedding magazines:  Brides and Martha Stewart Weddings. My last phase was interior design.  It was right after we bought our first house so I had visions of making my house look like the rooms I saw in Blueprint (no longer in publication) and House Beautiful.

As I was thinking of all these magazines, I remembered my first subscription that I ever got.  Ladies in your mid to late 30’s, prepare for a blast from the past.

YM - it stood for Young Miss, which I don't think I knew until I was no longer considered a "Young Miss".

loved the quizzes in YM, but they were always so ridiculous.  Does your guy friend like-like you?  Are you ready for a boyfriend?  How honest are you?  I would almost always try and skew my answers so I would get the result I was searching for and then I would go back and answer honestly.

I don’t know if YM is still published.  If it is, I’m sure it’s not the same magazine I remember.  I recall it being fairly innocent and it wasn’t until I reached high school did I start getting the racier, Seventeen.

So for the next year I’ll have one more magazine to read besides my Real Simple and Newsweek, which is really just for appearances.

Flashback Friday

The photo in yesterday’s post could have easily been part of the Flashback Friday series because there certainly looks like there should be a story behind that photo, but alas, I do not know what prompted a photo of me holding a jar of pickles.  However, there is something very interesting about the date of that photo.  My friend, Janis, told me I looked like I was 14 in that picture and when I glanced at the back of the photo to see when it was taken, I discovered it had been taken exactly 18 years prior to the day of the post.  Not one or two days off; the date on the back says 2/16/94.  Which means I was 17, not 14.

I’m sure you are rereading that paragraph because I’m pretty sure that just blew your mind, but let’s move on to this Friday’s photo.

I randomly pulled this photo out of one of my photo boxes.  This is my parent’s backyard from a house that they lived in from 1992 to 2002-ish.  It was obviously in winter, but I have no idea what date.  The date the photo was developed was some time in July of 2000.

This is one of those finish-the-roll photos.  Not that digital photography needs any additional acclamation, but just one more thing that we no longer have to contend with when it comes to rolls of film are actually finishing them.

I almost always had film in my camera when I was younger, but sometimes those rolls of film would span months before they were completely used and ready for developing.  It would happen, on occasion, that I would want those pictures developed much sooner and would then take pictures of completely mundane things just to fill the roll.  Far be it from me to think outside the box and take a photo of snow covered trees or venture out into the snow to take a picture of the rolling hills that were literally right across the street.  I can’t tell for certain, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t even open the door, just took the photo through the glass.

The funny thing about finish-the-roll photos, or FTR’s, are that I actually kept them.  Once I had my cat, Shmoopy, he became the subject of many of the FTR’s, which is kind of nice because I have a lot of pictures to remember him by now.  But before Shmoopy, there were a ridiculous amount of nature shots that I’m sure I thought were going to come out like some Ansel Adams landscape and instead look like a bench, covered in snow, in my parent’s backyard.

Me at 45…

Riding the coattails of yesterday’s post about getting older, today I’m envisioning my life in 10 years.  Every once and awhile, I call on the writing prompts over at Bloggy Moms.  They post a year’s worth of prompts, a month at a time.  Today’s prompt was “In ten years…”.

Where do I see myself in ten years?  Let’s start with family.  I will be 2 weeks shy of being a mother of 2 teenagers.  Kamryn will be 15 and Rory will be turning 13.  I look forward to the teenage years almost as much as I dread them.  I can’t tell what kind of teenager Kamryn is going to be, but I am pretty sure I know what Rory’s future holds.  The boy loves sports so as long as his current lack of color knowledge doesn’t reflect his future academic achievements, he’ll most likely be too busy playing organized sports to get into too much trouble.  In regards to Kamryn, I’m going to try to convince her to bring the grunge look back in style.  My parents never had to worry about me showing too much skin in high school – I was always wearing baggy jeans, t-shirts and huge flannels.

Who can resist this??? It's amazing I could go anywhere at all without getting attacked in a paparazzi type swarm. Also, check out the pack of Marlboro Reds in the pocket. Talk about a really cool girl!

Let’s move on to career because obviously, from the picture above, it’s clear I had my shit together in high school.  My jobs up until my early retirement in 2008, all involved finance in some way or another.  My degree, however, is in psychology.  I always liked psychology, but never intended to get my Ph.D or even my Masters so any involvement in psychology ended the day I got my degree.  If I decide to come out of retirement, I will only work in a job that I truly enjoy.  This will most likely mean that the accompanying check will be significantly smaller than the ones I earned in those finance jobs, but I also will never work just for a pay check again.  I have told Ryan this and while he hasn’t said it, I know he doesn’t whole-heartedly approve of my bold statements, but any money I’m making in 10 years will be more than what I’m making now!

In regards to my location, I still plan on being in Southern California, but some days I fantasize about living in a small, quiet, little southern town – like the one depicted on True Blood, Bon Temps.  I don’t think towns like that really exist and I’m not talking about ones inhabited by vampires.  I’m not sure what my draw is to the South.  If Bon Temps were a real place, I would want to move there and it would be fun for about a week and then I would want to move again.  I don’t think I could convince anyone else in my family to move so that would pose a problem.

I guess I don’t really see my life being much different than it is right now.  I can look at that as either sad or awesome.  I kind of like my situation right now, so I’ll say that if things are as good as they are now or better in 10 years, I’ll say that’s alllllright!