Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2010 Resolution #2

Continue writing, which really isn't too hard, but I really need to get my act together and join a writing group or continue with the Loco FoCo Wrimos.  Jay and I have decided that we'll be staging our own write-ins once a week some place other than home.  We both have fabulous starts on our novels, and by God, we're going to finish.

We're going to shoot for 1,500 words a week each, and my blog words don't count.  It has to be 1,500 words per week on my novel until it's complete and then revisions start.

My other goal is to submit my query letter for Tales From The Trail by the end of January.  The publisher warns there's a four month turn around on queries, so I really don't have a whole heap of time to get my act together.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

2010 Resolution #1

Be healthier.

I'm trying hard not to say "lose weight", 'cause that's what I say every year, and only one year I succeeded.  I managed to lose 28 pounds and keep it off for a good while, but then it snuck back up and then some.  So bye-bye 124 pounds, hello 60 pounds more than that.  Side note:  I just can't bring myself to type my actual weight, so you'll just have to do the math

Yet, despite not saying I'm going to lose weight, I joined the Lose It Bitch challenge, which runs from January 2 through April 30 (I think - rules and dates haven't been formalized yet), which means that every Wednesday I'm going to have to post a picture of what my scale says here on my blog.  God, the humiliation and torture.

How am I going to do this without torturing myself to death?  Well, I sure the hell don't intend on starving myself to death...that doesn't work any way.  I've tried, but I don't have the will power to do it.  So, I guess I'll have to start with cutting my Coke intake down.  And maybe my dining out at lunch intake down.  And absolutely no Chinese food on Tuesdays, the day before weigh in.  God, that salt swelling'll kill you when you get on the scale.

And *heavy sigh*, I'm going to have to start actually using my gym membership.  I don't really mind working out - it's not my favorite thing in the world - but it's not as fun as playing sports.  However, I'm in no shape to play sports, so the working out thing has to be my starting point.  I'm shooting for a minimum of three times a week for at least thirty minutes.  I really like (when I have time) thirty minutes of cardio and thirty minutes of lifting, but I'm not sure how I'll eek out an hour at the gym.

I think that RockCrawlinChef will even join me at the gym, so I'll have some on-hand support.  Heck, if this works out, I might even be in good enough shape to tackle an over-thirty soccer league this summer.  Man, I do miss me some soccer.

And, honestly, it'll feel good to let my inner Michelle Rodriguez out.
Now that's what a GunDiva's supposed to look like!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Trichous Inductus Vomitus

It's been cold in Colorado lately.  And I don't mean a little on the chilly side, but booger-freezing cold.  So cold that when you step outside your boogers, even if you didn't know you had any, freeze into solid boogercicles.  When it's that cold it's easy to let a few grooming habits, like leg shaving, go by the wayside.  After all, don't Polar Bears have a layer of hair close to their bodies that traps the heat in the dead airspace?  Aesthetically speaking, who is actually going to see my legs anyway?  It's winter.  I'm in long-johns and jeans or long-johns and scrubs.  Who cares if my leg hair gets a little on the long side?  And if Happy Hubby has too big an issue with my prickly legs he can just sleep on his own side of the bed.

So during the last cold spell, I ignored the leg shaving for a week or so.  That was about as long as I could stand sleeping with my own prickly legs.  The weather finally warmed up to freezing, literally we got up to 32 degrees, and I'd had enough of sleeping with my own prickly legs.  Into the shower I went, armed with shaving cream and fresh razor.

I took care of the basic shower duties: hair wash and rinse, body wash and rinse, armpit shaving.  Life was good, time to take the hedge clippers to the legs.  I squirted the shaving cream into my hand, leaned over to slather it onto my legs and, oh shit *blech* there *blech* were two *blech* loose hairs from my head *swallow, swallow, don't puke* stuck to my *gross* leg hair *oh God, I'm going to puke*, which was acting like velcro.

See, I've got thing thing about loose hair.  It grosses me out.  Loose, wet hair?  Well that's just a puke-fest waiting to happen.  In fact, I can't even watch this commercial...

I had to have my husband preview it for me before I posted it, as just the thought of all that *blech* wet *swallow, swallow* hair makes me want to puke.  Some people would accuse me of having trichophobia, an unnatural fear of hair.  I'm not afraid of it.  It just makes me puke. 

What I really have is Trichous inductus vomitus, hair induces vomiting.  Attached hair is fine. 

Loose hair = dry heaves. 

Wet, loose hair = puke fest! 

Oh boy, I'm a ton of fun at a public swimming pool.  And the pool deck when I took Scuba diving lessons - that was a deck full of potential landmines as far as I was concerned.  I'm pretty sure I was the only one who mastered getting her airtanks on while standing on tippy-toe between clumps of hair on the deck.  It's been years and the memory still makes me gag.

The thought of a nice, long, hot soak in the tub?  No way, Jose.  Do you know what goes down the drain?  Hair.  Do you know what floats back up into the tub? Hair.  No effing way!  A nice, long, hot soak in the tub, for me, involves duct tape.  After the drain is closed and before the water starts running, there has to be some of this involved...
...covering the drain or a bath ain't happening!

I'm not sure where my affliction came from, but it hasn't gotten any better through the years.  In fact, it may have gotten a tad worse.  One of RockCrawlinChef's biggest jobs is to "save" me from any loose hair in the shower.  When he hears, "ooo, oo-oo" like a monkey and sees my hands flailing about helplessly he has to come save me from the wet hair that has attached itself to my body before  the dry heaves start.  The worst, by far, is fingers and toes.  Again, just thinking about it makes me gag.

Sadly, during the shaving incident a couple of weeks ago, RCC wasn't around to save me.  I had to do it myself.  I pulled down the shower head and attempted to just rinse the loose hairs away.  Have you ever tried to rinse hair out of velcro?  Doesn't work.  In fact, it just makes it worse.  Whereas before, I had two hairs hung up on the velcro-like leg hairs, now I had the loose hair stuck to both my leg and the leg hairs.  I had no choice, I had to do it.  I had to actually touch the hairs with my fingers and pull them off of my leg.  I took a deep breath, clenched my jaw against the impending puke fest and resolutely plucked the hairs off of my leg.  I tried to ignore the dragging sensation as the hair pulled off of my leg and tried to ignore the feel of it between my fingers, but to no avail.  I did manage to sort of save myself from the hair, but I spent the next five minutes bent over the shower drain with the dry heaves.

I managed to get my dry heaves under control, quick shave my legs and get out of the shower before the dry heaves started in earnest again.  I spent another ten minutes bent over the sink, praying that there was something in my stomach to puke up rather than the rhythmic contractions of the dry heaves.

I learned an important lesson from having to save myself: don't let the leg hair grow long enough to become velcro, no matter how cold it is outside!  It just ain't worth it.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Parenting in the Movie Theater

My sister and her husband also attending the movie last night with their toddler and how they handled her made a big difference in the movie-going experience.  For Stupid B!tch from last night, I offer my sister's guide for taking a child to the movie theater in three easy steps:
  1. Don't pay full price for a kids ticket!  You won't see the movie anyway.
  2. Pre-planning will ensure that you sit at the edge of the aisle so that you can get up and leave if your toddler gets loud or restless.
  3. Leave - take your child to the hallway, outside of the theater - if he or she gets restless.  You can do it with a minimum of fuss if you just follow rule number 2.
If those three easy steps don't sound appealing to you, I offer up two words: Benadryl. suckers.  Let the little one take a snooze while the rest of the adults enjoy the movie.

My husband was seated in front of a child last night who initially started kicking the back of his seat.  You could maybe take notes from this kid's mom as well.  When this kid's mom saw what he was doing she leaned over and told him, in a stage whisper loud enough for Jay to hear it, "you keep your feet off that chair."  She said it with enough menace for the kid to believe it and for Jay to believe that if it happened again, someone was going to go to the bathroom for an butt whoopin'.  The kid stopped.  Jay was happy.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Dear Stupid B!tch, A Movie Rant

Dear Stupid B!tch,
I know that you and your lovely husband waited until later in life to have a child.  Though I would have thought with your advanced age, you might have learned a thing or two about movie etiquette and small children.  I'm thrilled that you think that your daughter is about the cutest, most precocious child on the planet. I really am.  Every child should have parents who think the sun rises and sets on their every move.  For a while, that is.

However, I am not thrilled that you thought it was a good idea to drag your toddler along to a grown-up movie.  I'm not talking the X-rated kind, but the kind that carries a PG-13 rating that kind of implies that toddlers shouldn't attend.

I'm also not thrilled that you insisted on repeating everything that your toddler said as though she was the smartest child on the planet (I'm sure you think she is, anyway).  Truly, it was bad enough hearing your toddler babble, but a grown woman repeating the babble... Well, let's just say it took all of my will power not to shove your precocious child down your throat.

Be thankful that James Cameron created such an amazing movie that I was able to (mostly) block out you and your child's incessant babbling, otherwise you'd still be belching up whatever was in your precocious baby's diaper after I crammed her down your throat.

Next time, hire a sitter.  Really, it's worth the investment.

Homicidal Mom Who Was Smart Enough To Leave Her Children At Home

P.S.  I didn't find out until later that I'd inadvertently pissed you off by saving my seat, but I'm glad I did.  Just wish I'd known it sooner.
P.P.S.  If you were dumb enough to pay full price for a toddler, you deserved to lose her seat; she would have ended up sitting on your lap anyway.  And who honestly pays full price for a toddler? (Sorry, just can't get past that one).

Christmas Chaos 2009

Four Christmases in twenty-four hours.  Only ours went a whole lot smoother than the movie Four Christmases, Thank God.

Christmas #1: Christmas Eve
Our Christmas Chaos started Christmas Eve at Grandma Mary's house, which was, as usual, standing room only.  The key is to arrive early enough for butt space.  Christmas Eve is where having kids really pays off, because the kids can step and fetch while you protect your butt space.  If you arrive too late, you're screwed, you've got to find some place to stand and that just sucks.

Of course, the Chaos was controlled by my friend Amanda, who provided us with a good sized bottle of Apple Pie Hooch.  No shot glasses were to be found, but, hell, we're all family, we'll just share the bottle...

Sure beats the time, a few years ago, when we had a bottle of wine, but no corkscrew.  Being the inventive family we are, we drilled (yes, power tools were involved) a screw down into the synthetic cork and used the claw end of a hammer to pry the cork out.  We don't need no stinkin' corkscrew!

Christmas #2: At Home
We woke up bright an early on Christmas Morning.  Well, actually RCC and I were woken up early by Digger, who is well known for his sleeping in ability.  Color me surprised that he woke us up at ten 'til seven, ten whole minutes before our alarm was set to go off.  He was like, well, a kid on Christmas Morning.  In no time at all, he'd roused the entire house and we tore into presents.  We didn't get a tree up this year, which I didn't think would bother me because we went so many years without a tree, but after our amazing tree last year, I'm kinda sad we didn't do one this year.

Christmas #3: Off to the In-Laws
After our early morning, present fest, we loaded up both cars with the kids and the dog and off we went to RCC's parents for Christmas Morning with them.  Unlike last year, when his little brother was still asleep when we got there (what kid can sleep in on Christmas Morning?), Dallan was up and frothing at the bit to get started.  Christmas at RCC's family's house is much more sedate than the free-for-all that occurs at my grandma's on Christmas Eve.  But, Lord, my family is so enormous that if we did the one person open one present thing there we'd be opening presents until New Year's.

Christmas #4: To the Mountains We Go
After RCC's family's house, we packed up and headed to my parents' place in Allenspark.  My brother, Deejo and his family, had arrived from Arizona too late to enjoy the fun at Grandma Mary's, but were waiting for us at Mom's.  Well, sort of waiting for us.  They'd done the present thing before breakfast brunch, which we missed while we were at RCC's parents' place.  I was kind of sad and pissy that we missed the major opening party, but felt better when I found out that not everybody had opened their gifts.  I was anxious to see their faces when they opened their gifts from us.  RCC and I had bound our NaNo projects on Blurb for Christmas presents and I wanted to see their faces when they opened them.  RCC's parents loved them and I was hoping to get to see my Mom's face when she opened her present.  I got lucky, she'd been too busy preparing brunch to open her presents, so I still got to be there when she opened them.

It made me happy to see her so excited about the books, even if they're nowhere near being complete.  Monster and Deejo's kids tried snowboarding out back, but that didn't go so well.  The snow was too deep and they had to shovel out a path for the snowboard.

After the non-success of the snowboard, Monster, who cannot sit still, managed to talk his uncle into pulling him behind the car on a snow saucer.  Yes, I know, it's kind of illegal.  But it's also a whole ton of fun.  And we survived when we were kids.  He had a couple of colossal wipe-outs, but managed to survive with all of his fingers and toes and no broken bones.  I gotta tell you, this kid can take a lickin' and keep on tickin'.

We survived all of our Christmases and slept 'til 11:00 this morning.  Wow.  All that running around must have really taken it out of us, but I'm glad to have this running around to do.  I remember some pretty sucky Christmases, so I'll take the exhaustion of running all over God's green earth over some of our other Christmases.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Odd Realization

Just saw a picture of my ex-boyfriend on a friend's Facebook and I realized, "Wow, that wasn't painful at all."  What surfaced were old, fond, fun memories, not the hurtful, hateful, you've-ripped-my-heart-out,-threw-it-in-a-Waring-blender-and-set-it-on-frappe memories.  For the first time since we broke up, when I saw his picture, I thought, "we could maybe be friends."  Odd realization.  I never thought I'd get to that place.

I wasted a good number of years (yes, years, as my girls will attest to) wishing I could have what I lost.  Only now, looking back, that relationship wasn't right for me.  He did a lot of good things for me, but perhaps the single most important thing he did was introduce me to the girls.  I don't know where I'd be if it wasn't for them.  For that, I say, "Thank You, Brian, with all my heart." 

Know what else I realized?  He wasn't the right man for me.  Actually, I realized that years ago, but it took finding the right man, my true soulmate, to drive the point home.  Brian was good for me, yes, but he was not right for me. 

RCC is.  RCC is the perfect man for me.  We complement each other's weaknesses and strengthen each other with unwavering support and I love him more than I thought it was possible to love another human being.  I had given up on finding a relationship and sure the hell didn't believe in a soulmate.  I thought romance writers were a bunch of loonies with their Happily Ever Afters. 

Bah!  No such thing.
Until I met RCC and got my own HEA.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Wow! Another Award!

I could get used to this!  Nathanael over to This Is How It Feels gave me another award.  If he wasn't gay, I'd think he had a crush on me.  We've been mutual blog buddies for a while now, but this was another nice surprise.  You know, one of these days I'm going to have to give him an award.  Maybe a "You're Good For My Blogging Ego" award or something along those lines.

Of course, as with any blog award, this one has some rules:
  1. Post ten things that make you happy
  2. Pass it on to ten other bloggers
Ten things that make Gun Diva happy: (in no certain order.  Well, except maybe for the first one)
  • RockCrawlinChef - otherwise I wouldn't have married him
  • Family - and I've got lots of it
  • Estes - the equine love of my life
  • Books - can't imagine life without them; they are the world's cheapest vacation
  • Shooting - there's nothing quite as empowering as a controlled explosion
  • Godiva Dark Chocolate with Raspberries - Glenna, you're still in trouble for introducing me to those!
  • Fried Ice Cream
  • Jimmy Buffett - another cheap vacation
  • Swinging from the chandelier
  • My girls - there's so much I wouldn't have been able to make it through without them.
Ten bloggers: (again, in no certain order)
  • Damzee at Living In Distress.  C'mon, how can you not love a story about Damsel (the character's name) living in Distress (the city)?
  • Mel at Boots and Saddles .  I'm not an endurance rider.  In fact, I know nothing about it, but I'm learning a lot from Mel.  Her mare Farley looks a bit like my Estes and sounds like she's got the same attitude, too.
  • Sally at Environmental Arts and Faerie Houses.  I love her work.  Whenever I'm having a bad day, I just hop on over to her blog for a quick fix.
  • Meg at Fuzzle Me Please.  She's a fellow WriMo, who is also a horse person.  I love reading her exploits with her horses.
  • Little Farm. Growing.  Boyles Family Farm is a local family trying to eek out a living as new (been at it less than a year) farmers.  I love reading about their trials and successes.
  • MJ at Tetanus Tomato.  I love her sense of humor.
  • K. Erickson at Preachers and Horse Thieves.  His wickedness reared its hilarious head with his Tiger posts.
  • Keep Smiling Smileyfreak!  I must need a lot of laughter in my life, because I keep coming back to the blogs that crack. me. up.  This is one of them.
  • JennyMac at Let's Have A Cocktail...  So I'm cheating with this one.  I stole her from Nathanael, but, damn, the woman's hysterical.
  • Jessica at Rome Photo Blog.  I love Italy and this lucky girl gets to live there.  And she's a talented photographer to boot.
Whew, that was tough.  Mostly because ole Tink (Nathanael) and I obviously share the same sense of humor, so it's hard to find blogs that he hasn't already given an award to.  Only one duplicate.  Not too bad.

Monday, December 21, 2009

I Just Couldn't Wait!

I normally try my best to not post twice in one day; afterall, if I do that, someone may miss an important post *gasp*.  However, Jay and I made the Best Christmas Presents EVER last night and I can't wait to show everybody.  I'm not giving anything away because they are for my grandmas, neither of whom have a computer or really give a damn about my blogging, so they'll never know that I shared their presents with you first.

Any gift giving is torturous for me - once I find the perfect gift I have to give it.  Right. Now.  Case in point: I bought my family members the Best. Present. Ever.  Normally, I'd go running to them to tell them what about the perfect present I found, but since it's for them, I can't do that.  Torture.  Failing that, I post it on my blog.  However, my family loves me and follows my blog.  Guess what that means?  Means I can't freakin' post about the Best. Present. Ever.

Thank God for my work family who at least pretends to be interested when I jump up and down and clap my hands when the Best. Present. Ever. is delivered to the office and I have to show it to everybody.  Every single person in my office knows what my family is getting for Christmas.  Sorry, I'm a blabber mouth, I can't keep a secret, so don't ask.  But...I'm also their boss, so they have to pretend to be interested and don't dare open their mouths, so - family, I'm talking to you here - don't try to bribe them unless you want to pay their unemployment.

Oh, I got off track...drum roll please...the Best Christmas Presents EVER...

I was at a loss for my grandmas.  One of my grandmas has a great outdoor flower garden that she has all sorts of ornamental stuff in, so I was thinking that she needed something along those lines for Christmas.  Then I talked to my mom, who reminded me that Grandma is always talking about the stuff she's got to haul out every summer and pack away every fall, so then I thought that it would be great if she had something ornamental for her house plants.  An inspiration from Sally at Environmental Art and Faerie Houses, who makes everything out of natural stuff, lead me to the indoor fairy houses.

I made this little gazebo from non-natural stuff we found at Michael's.  There's even a little cushy, soft bed for the faeries to sleep on and gossamer window treatments to filter the light.  And little flowerboxes outside of each window, just in case the faeries get tired of looking at Grandma's amazing houseplants.

This cute little A-frame is what Jay made for my other Grandma.  He carefully hand-placed each of the stones in the stone wall, which took hours.  We made this with the intent of nestling it down into one of her large indoor tree pots.  Don't ask - I don't know what kind of large indoor tree it is.  It's big and green with big, ginormous leaves.  The faeries should be happy to be sheltered by such a wonderful tree.  The trick now?  Keeping my niece from destroying it (even if she is old enough to know better).  Grandma doesn't have the word "no" in her vocabulary.

P.S. - Tink, I'll get to your generous award tomorrow.  Three posts in one day may be too much, even for me :)

Baking Weekend, Day Two

My laptop is back, though my jump drive is not, and for once I'm glad I'm behind on uploading my pictures from my camera, so I have pictures dating back from October.  *whew*

My girls and I had a great time during Day One of Baking Weekend, and it was hard to see them go.  The great thing about it is that I know that I'll see them again...and maybe next year, if everything goes just right, we'll have another little on in our troupe.  *sending good vibes to Robin's uterus - AI in just two days*

Day Two ended up just being family, which was wonderful!  We haven't had a "family-only" Baking Day in forever.  We were a cookie making machine.  It took us about six hours to add another six batches of Magic Window cookies and a couple of batches of gingerbread cookies.  Jay finished up his flourless chocolate cake with chocolate ganache.  I think that chefs give foods fancy names just so us home cooks will never attempt things like ganache.  Do you know what's in a ganache?  Heavy freakin' cream, butter, and chocolate.  That's what!  That's all.  WTF?  A fancy name like ganache should include some culinary magic, not a simple double boiler.  Cripes, even I can work a double boiler!

While we were baking away in the kitchen, having a great - and loud - time, the snow was gently falling outside.  Big, fluffy white flakes descending ever so softly from the sky.  It was beautiful.  We worried not about the snow fall, afterall, we're a Colorado family, born and raised.  What's a little snow?

Well, a little snow plus a little snow adds up to four fluffy inches pretty quickly.  What did we do?  We turned up the music, put on some chili for dinner and my sister made homemade tortillas.  And we kept baking.  And baking.  And baking.

By the end of the day, we were pretty well done with cookies.  Didn't really care to see another one.  And if that damn timer went off one more time, well, we couldn't be held accountable for our actions.  But this is what we had to show for it...
...quite a bounty.  It may not look like much, but at our mid-point my nephew counted up the number of cookies that we had and it went something like:

  • 22 dozen Magic Window cookies

  • 3 dozen chocolate chip toffee cookies

  • 10 flourless chocolate cakes

  • 8 dozen candy cane cookies

  • a couple-a dozen Neiman Marcus cookies

  • a dozen (or so) peanut butter thumbprint cookies

  • and some chocolate-y chinese haystack thingies that my mom makes every year.

Even though the baking was done, were we done?  Oh, no.  That would be too easy.  After everything was out of the oven, we had to pack up our platters (or in my case, shirt boxes) full of cookies for distribution.
My sister and her heathi strung their Magic Window cookies with ribbon so they can hang them on their tree.  Me?  Nope, I just eat them.  I don't bother hanging them on the tree anymore - I just cut out the middleman - and go straight to the mouth.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Computer ITD Continues...

Good News: The IT God was able to get my laptop back up and running.  I love that man!

Bad News:  I lost pretty much everything.

Good News:  I had most of it backed up on my jump drive.

Bad News:  My jump drive also got an ITD.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Dead Computer

I'd love to post the pictures from Day Two of Baking Weekend.  There are so many beautiful pictures of the snow gently falling and the kitchen full of family and laughter.

Unfortunately, my computer caught a ITD (internet transmitted disease) and DIED.  I turned it on last evening and there was nothing there.  Just a blue screen with shortcut icons that led to nowhere.  Everything is gone.  My pictures, my work-in-progress, my iTunes.  Everything.  Our IT Director at work is working feverishly to resurrect my poor laptop.  I love that laptop.  There's nothing special about it, other than it's mine.  It's well broken in and fits like an old comfortable pair of shoes.  I may cry if he's not able to work his magic.  The good thing is that I backed up everything in September and back up my WIP each time I close it, so the only thing I'll really lose are pictures for the last quarter of the year.  I can live with that.  If I have to.

Until he's able to bring my computer back to life, I'm stuck with this loaner.  Despite being the exact same make and model, it's just not right.  It's like driving a rental car that's the same make and model of your car.  Familiar, but not right.

Being the optimist I am, I'm not transferring anything to this loaner. Nothing at all to make it feel more like mine.  So until my computer is back, the Day Two blog is on indefinite hold.  I'm not uploading my pictures to this one - I'll wait until I get my computer back.  Which, I'm hoping is by the end of the week.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Baking Weekend, Day One

Well, Day One actually started last night with Jay whipping up a couple quick batches of flour-less chocolate cake for his favorite customers on his route.  He used my step-dad's mother's old crank handmixer until his arms gave out, then he had to change to the electric handmixer.  Using the crank handmixer would have taken far too much effort for me, I would have just by-passed it in favor of the modern, easy-to-use, plug in style to begin with.  While Jay's cakes baked, I whipped up four batches of Magic Window Cookies dough.  The dough has to chill for at least an hour before use, and I figured it wouldn't hurt it to sit over-night.

This is my parent's breakfast table, which seats twelve adults, when I started this morning.  I began the morning with two double batches of chocolate chip toffee cookies while I waited for the best part of Baking Weekend to arrive - my girls!  Baking Weekend started out as Baking Day twelve years ago and has evolved into a two day bake fest.  Baking Weekend has seen us through break-ups, marriages, and babies.  It's the only weekend that we can guarantee that we'll all be together, even if it's only for a few hours one day.  Back before the marriages and babies, it truly was girls' weekend, but with family comes obligations.

Two hours into Day One, we were starting to see some progress...
Neiman Marcus cookies joined the chocolate chip toffee cookies, along with some M&M cookies and we kept trucking.

Jay's mom and sister joined in the festivities this year.  They came up to see "what it's all about" and got put to work.  Next year, they'll bring their own recipes and to-do list.  It seems like everyone's first year is kind of an "observation", then they get into the spirit and join in full throttle the following year.

This is the table after about four hours; I didn't get to take a picture of the full table - I just wasn't fast enough before the girls had to pack up to leave.  But imagine that the entire right side of the table is full of candy cane cookies.  More than half of the cookies left with the girls for their cookie platters or boxes, whatever they'll make with them.  Tomorrow, my sister and her crew is coming up and we'll knock out another six batches of Magic Window Cookies and bourbon balls and whatever else we feel like.

Right now, though, my feet hurt, my back hurts and I'm exhausted.  And I can't wait to do it all over again tomorrow.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Colorado Car Starting Attire

It's been COLD recently.  Even for Colorado winter, it's cold.  So for your edification...a tutorial on proper Colorado Car Starting Attire.*

Let's start with the boots, worn for two reasons: 1) easy on/easy off function - no tracking snow through the house - 2) the snow has to be really deep to fall inside - while not warm, toasty feets, at least dry feets.

Next, the ever sexy running pants circa late 1980s (yes, I've had them that long).  Again, two reasons: 1) they slip down into the easy on/easy off boots, so no snow gets stuck in the cuff (so I'm short, I have to cuff my scrubs) and 2) I can go back in the house, kick off my boots and pull on my scrubs or jeans over the top and be toasty warm.

Big fluffy coat that covers my butt.  'Cause there ain't nothin' worse than a cold ass. (Not even a dumb one.)

Gloves.  Have you ever stuck your hand to the car in sub-freezing weather.  'Nuff said.

Dry hair is preferable, but not required if you don't mind frozen hair.  But it's just hair, it'll thaw.

Now, some of you who follow my Tales From The Trail blog may realize that the Car Starting Attire sounds very similar to the Bear's In The Dumpster Attire.  Very astute.  It varies only by the britches (flannel jammies vs. running pants) and the state of the hair (clean and combed vs. bed head).

*The pictures are a tad fuzzy because of the frost on the inside of the door - my eldest son was too wussy to open the door for the pictures.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

What A Nice Surprise!

Nathanael over at This Is How It Feels has honored me with a bit of blog bling, and what a great surprise it was!  Nathanael and I "met" when he was honored with the Honest Scrap award by Monda over at No Telling, I jumped over to his blog and fell in love.  We were both then honored by Monda when we were included in EasyStreet Prompts' Blog Carnival.

When I think about the people I've "met" via blogging, it's rather mind-boggling.  The internet, I know it's been said before, has opened up whole new worlds.  Where else would I have met a gay solder serving in Baghdad or a Southern gal with a passion for writing or another wickedly funny Southern gal or an endurance rider from California?  There are so many people that I've met through blogging that I would never have had the opportunity to meet before.  It truly is astounding.

The rules, as have been explained to me by Nathanael are:
1.) grab the award (check - see above)
2.) post it on your blog along with five things you love to do (Oh Jeez, just five.  I'll have to think about that.)
3.) five others you want to recognize... (Again, only five?)
Things I love to do: (in no specific order)
  1. Ride my horse, Estes.  You can find the story of how I fell in love with her over at my other blog, Tales From The Trail
  2. Blog.  Well, write.  I love to write, and blogging is an easy way to connect with people I wouldn't normally get to meet.  I also love my morning blog crawl and can't get through my morning without it; it's my equivalent of reading the morning paper, I guess.
  3. Shoot.  Hence the name Gun Diva.  I love the feel of a controlled explosion, which is all shooting really is.  And, hey, I'm pretty good at it.  My friend and fellow Gun Diva, Tara Janzen, is a rifle shooting queen.  Me, I love the handguns.
  4. Read.  This kind of ties in with #2; part of blogging is reading.  I get to read small, bite-sized stories daily and look forward to them, but I also love novels.  Really, anything with words.  Hell, I even read shampoo bottles.
  5. Work.  I really do love my job and the people I work with; I can't imagine doing anything else.
Recognize Five Others... (again, in no specific order.  Nathanael, you know I'd send this back to you if I could.)
  • K. Erickson at Preachers and Horse Thieves.  He was awarded Editor's Pick for the 1st edition of EasyStreet's Blog Carnival.  I jumped over to his blog and immediately followed.  I love his writing and his dedication to his wife.  Here's a man who is head-over-heels in love with his wife and isn't afraid to post it for the whole world.  Oh, and he's got some great stories, too.
  • Monda at No Telling and EasyStreet Prompts.  She's a great storyteller and I look forward to her posts everyday.  I'm not sure how I stumbled upon No Telling, but I enjoy it immensely.  And, of course, EasyStreet Prompts has a place in my heart, as my Honorable Mention (posted over at Lyon's Roar) was my first ever blog bling.
  • Candance at Crazy Texas Mommy.  I love this woman!  Her posts are guaranteed to make me laugh.  Everyone needs a little CTM in their life.  Imagine my surprise when I was talking to my brother in Arizona one day and he asked if I'd ever read CTM.  We both found her blog at about the same time and fell in love.  Shortly thereafter my step-dad started following CTM, so now it's kind of a family cult thing.  So...that sounds a little creepy.  Didn't mean it to come out that way.
  • Roxanne at Pet Blog.  Her stories about Verne the horse trader keep me in stitches.  I love the way she's able to bring his stories to life in so few words.
  • Bill and Juanita at It's A Horse Life.  Okay, so there's a bit of nepotism here, they are, after all, my parents.  And I was the one who not only talked them into blogging, but set it up for them.  It started as just a way to share some of their favorite stories and recipes and stay in touch with their guests, but they're really taken it and run and their hits counter is burning up. 
That was tough, only choosing five.  Please check them out; I think you'll enjoy them.  And be sure to tell them I said 'hi' when you stop by.