Monday, December 31, 2012

End of the Year, 2012

I supposed it's time to look back at the goals I posted for 2012 and see how well I did.

1) revise/edit HUNTED LYON, send it for copy edit/layout by June
This didn't happen.  I had fully intended to have it happen, but the copy editor I was going to use was displaced by the High Park fire and by the time everything settled down, I decided the book needed more work anyway.  The good news is that I really like the revision work being done.

2) revise/edit/publish (probably self-pub) TALES FROM THE TRAIL
Again, didn't happen.  I've reworked how I want to lay it out, now I just have to work on continuity/flow of the stories.

3) increase my riding ability; learn more leg cues
My riding has gotten better, but I'm not as far along with my leg cues as I would like.  I kind of got fixated on doing bridle-less riding, which requires good leg cues, but found that Estes and I have some major holes in our training.

4) continue to increase my fitness/lose weight
This went really well until after the Bolder Boulder.  That 10k kicked my ass.  Once I was healed up from it, the High Park fire started and the air advisories warned us away from exercising.  And then the summer disappeared and next thing I know, it's the end of the year and I am back to being fat and out of shape.
Back in February, my job changed drastically, which was a giant slap in the face and it broke my give-a-damn.  Unfortunately, it broke my give-a-damn in all aspects of my life, not just work.
Pretty much, my goal for 2013 is to repair my give-a-damn.
Wish me luck.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

More Apologies to Rachel

I owe Rachel an apology for stealing her Christmas idea for Bill.

And then I came up with my crazy idea of making gun-shaped soaps, so, of course, I had to tell someone about it and I shot off a text to Rachel.

Who wanted to cuss me out (she's too nice to actually cuss me out) for stealing yet another idea.

Seems the same day I started on my quest to make gun soap, she had just ordered some for me for Christmas.
Obviously, the folks at KcSoapsNmore used the same mold I did, but they are so much better at making soaps than I am.
I can't figure out how on earth they were able to manage two-tone.  I'm stumped.

Rachel did manage to pull one over on me, though.  She had Jay do a design, ostensibly a design to be used for Mr. Daddy.

She told me a box would be arriving at the Lodge for us, but all I expected was the gun soap that I was supposed to forget she ordered.  Imagine my surprise when there was a dish towl with Jay's design on it.

You got me, Rachel.  Thanks for making us smile :)

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Why Is There A Turd In The Shower?

Last night, before I went to bed, I unloaded by box o' goodies from Kara's Way.  I intended to use some of the items during my shower this morning.

Only, Jay beat me into the shower and came out with just one question: "Why is there a turd in the shower?"

It took me a minute to figure out what he was talking about, and then I realized he was referring to the African Black Soap.

You know, he might have a point.
It does rather look like bear scat.  And I washed my body with it today.  Yes. I. did.  I scrubbed my body with a bar of bear shit scat. 

But I have to tell you - my skin is so soft and smooth. 

Must be all the berry seeds in the scat.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Kara's Way

Photo shamelessly stolen from Kara's Way

Until a month ago, I had never heard of subscription sample boxes. Have you guys?

A friend of mine from work told me about Kara's Way because she fell in love with one of the full-size products she received in her November box.  It was the DLe Light Up Lip Gloss that sold her.  I actually fell in love with it myself and bought a tube.  At almost $9.00/tube, it's more than I've ever spent for lipshit lip stuff, but I really like it.  I always have some form of lip stuff with me, so I'm trying to convince myself to give up my other stuff and use my expensive stuff, at least at work.

For $15/month you get between 5-10 samples (usually at least one full-size item) of hippie-friendly beauty products.  I own *zero* make-up. Before, when I had an event that required make-up, I'd just borrow the Ashinator's, but now that she lives on her own, her make-up lives with her.  I easily get overwhelmed when going through the make-up aisles and have no idea what I want or even how to use most of it.  Since I'm not much of a make-up wearer (I know, I know, SGG, but I'm trying), I thought that by subscribing to this service I would get to try out new stuff without being overwhelmed.

Due to our self-imposed quarantine, I didn't get to the post office to pick up my box until today and I'm super excited.

There were six items (one full-sized) in my box.

Included in my box:
  • Hollybeth Organics Grits and Honey Scrub sample size ($25/2 oz) - I'm getting old and have been looking for something to use on my face.  It's so dry here and I constantly battle with my face in the winter.  I'm really excited to use this.
  • Sheswai Lacquer full-size ($16/bottle) - This is definitely hippie-approved; there is no formaldehyde, toluene or dbps.  I immediately tried this (pics later) because I had read some pretty impressive reviews on it.  I will say, I am disappointed in the brush, it's not all one uniform length, so there are four or five strands that are longer than the rest and it makes it hard to use without dragging polish all over your cuticles.  I'm relatively certain that it's not the norm for them, that I just got a not-so-great brush.
  • Native Touch Warrior Bear Rub sample size ($11.99/ 1.8 oz) - This is supposed to be good for dry skin, cracked heels, cuticles, etc.  I opened it and don't like the smell.  There's tea tree, lavender, and rosemary essential oils in it.  I think it's the tea tree oil that is off-putting for me.  Since I have a friend who makes fabulous balms that I *love*, I think I'll pass on this.
  • Coastal Scents African Black Soap sample size ($12.95/16 oz) - This is made in Ghana and is supposed to be great for skin problems - rashes, acne, eczema, and dandruff.  I can't say as I have any of those issues, but I'll try the soap out because I really like the idea of it.
  • Priti NYC Soy Nail Polish Remover Wipes sample size ($9.99/10) - Are you kidding me? Almost ten dollars for fingernail polish remover?!  Uh, no.  I'll keep poisoning my body with the buck-a-bottle crap from WalMart or King Soopers. Having said that, it worked beautifully to remove the paint from my nail that was all effed up from the dumb brush on the lacquer.
  • TruJoy Sweets Organic Candy Cane bonus sample - it's listed as organic, corn-syrup free, no artificial colors or flavors, vegan and gluten free.  I'm no so sure about it.  I might not be brave enough to try vegan candy.  Oh, who am I kidding?  It's candy, I'll try it.
Like I said, I immediately tried the nail polish lacquer.  Other than the brush issue, it went on nicely and dried fairly quickly.  I only put one coat on:

You can see that I had some issues around the base of my nails because of the funky brush, but one coat covered my nails well and I don't see any need for a second coat.  I'm hard on my nails - usually I have chips within 24 hours - so we'll see how long it lasts.

Overall, I'm thrilled with Kara's Way. I signed up for a three month subscription, though you can do it month by month if you'd like.  I was so excited about the idea that I bought a two-month subscription for the Ashinator for her birthday.  Hopefully, she'll like it as much as I do.

Has anyone else used a subscription sample box?  Who have you used and what have your experiences been? I'm dying to hear, because I think I'm pretty well hooked.

Note: this was not a solicited review - I was just so excited about my box, I had to write about it.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve in Quarantine

As I type this, I hear Mom and Bill clumping up the stairs to our front door.  But they won't come in.

They're dropping off our Christmas presents and picking up theirs.

It sucks.  We're T-1:45 hours from our annual Christmas Eve at Grandma Mary's and we're stuck in the house.

I shouldn't complain, but I didn't realize how much missing out on all the family festivities would suck big old hairy donkey balls.

Once we were sure they were well clear of our plague-infested door, Jay opened it to get our presents.

It immediately fixed my feeling-sorry-for-myself attitude.

Guess Christmas will be okay afterall.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

So Much For Christmas Break

I was pretty excited to take my first Christmas break since high school.

No, really.  I know that in real, grown-up life, there is no such thing as Christmas break.  You might get a couple of days off at Christmas, but then it was back to work.  I knew this, and I accepted it.

But last February, my job duties changed and I was to teach only.  No problem, teaching's what I do.  It took a long time, though, for me to figure out that if I was teaching only, that meant I could take the same two weeks off of work that our students had!  Even better, Jay has the same two weeks off of work.

I had big plans, even scheduled an Open House for after Christmas.

Thursday was the last day of work for both of us.

Friday, about 0300, Jay woke up with a dry cough.  He didn't feel bad, just had a cough, no biggie.

We get up Friday, start to do some run-around, hit the laundromat.  At 1500, the fever started.  By the time we were done with laundry, he had "flu eye".  Nebalee teases me about "flu eye", but after surviving the great influenza outbreak of 2000 (or was it 2001?), in which we diagnosed 30 cases a day in the office for weeks, I can spot influenza at thirty paces.

We stopped at the grocery store so I could buy the makin's for chicken noodle soup, some Advil cold and sinus, and gatorade.

I made dinner and he was in bed by 1900.

This morning, I asked if he wanted to go to the doctor and initially his answer was no.  He took a shower to see if he would feel any better and came out of the shower agreeing to go to the doctor.  Our doctor's office is closed on Saturday, so off to Urgent Care we went.  Along with approximately 5,398 other people with "flu-like symptoms".

We checked in at 1030, finally got seen about 1230 and were told what I already knew: Jay has Influenza A (okay, I didn't know if it was A or B, but it really doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things).

Poor guy sounds like a dying monster, "groan-inhale-groan-pant-pant-groan-coughcoughcough-ohgodthathurts-groan".  Sometimes he mixes it up; "moan-pant-pant-groan-coughcoughcough-sonuvabitch-coughcough-killmeplease-moan".

Almost $75 later, we have Tamiflu and guaifenisen/codeine cough syrup.

When I asked for a 'scrip for me, I was denied, which pisses me off.  Total breach of best practices, there Urgent Care.  Oh, how I wish my doctor's office was open.  She believes in treating the caregiver, especially considering how contagious influenza is.  So now it's a waiting game: is GunDiva going to develop influenza, or is her immune system still rock solid from years of working in doctor's offices?

Maybe next year, I'll just plan on working through Christmas break.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Teens are in the Rearview Mirror

Today, Ashinator said goodbye to her teens forever and is now stuck, for the next 364 days, in I-can't-legally-drink hell.

Being a grown-up sucks sometimes, as she's finding out, but those days are usually off-set by days better than you could ever imagine when you're younger.

Love you, baby girl.  Happy Birthday.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

WTF? I've be hacked.

A couple of years ago, I deleted my Lyon's Roar blog.  It was a temporary blog for NaNoWriMo in 2009, I believe.  Anyway, Bill has alerted me that someone has hacked it and is posting crap.

If you get anything from: http colon slash slash gundiva hyphen lyonsroar dot blogspot dot com, IT IS NOT ME! If you were a follower of that blog, please remove it from your feed so you aren't inundated with crap.  Sorry :(

Also looks like some other deactivated blogs from other people have been hacked.  Mommasgotthemilk and Anatomyofafailedmarriage all have posts that look a lot like the one on my deactivated Lyon's Roar.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Depressed Food

The Ashinator isn't having the best of weekends.  In fact, the last two weeks have been kind of rough.  And it sucks moose tit (thanks for that one, Mrs Mom).

I'm the mom, so I'm supposed to be able to fix it, but I can't.

So, instead I took to the kitchen.  Isn't that what everyone does?  Ok, not everyone.  When I was Ash's age, I did the whole depressed not-eating.  But now I'm old and fat and everything should be fixed with food.

I went to my favorite cooking blog, Cooking Classy, and found something easy to make.  And it included chocolate, which we all know is perfect for depression.

This is what her yumminess looks like.  Mine, not so much.

I read the directions and it sounded easy enough, so I bundled Ash up and dragged her to the store with me.  I needed to buy:
  • square pretzels
  • Hershey's hugs
  • M&Ms
But I ran into a snag with the pretzels, so I bought regular pretzels and hoped they would work.

Linin' up the pretzels

Topped them with hugs

Warmed the pretzels/hugs up in the oven,
pulled them out and topped with M&Ms.
They didn't look anything like the ones over at Cooking Class.  Really, you should go check hers out, because they are beautiful.

Next up, I'm trying her recipe for Funfetti Popcorn.  That involves a double boiler on my end, so wish me luck.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

It's a Good Damn Day

Even though I'm currently sitting at work.

So far...

  • My press credentials from NSSF came (OMG, I'm a real, honest-to-god media professional *squee*) for SHOT Show in January.
  • My first shipment of Thrive foods came.  I'm a lot in love with Thrive.  I've been wanting to order since July, but finally had a couple of bucks that I felt I could part with and placed a small order.
  • It's almost sixty degrees outside.
  • I'm going to the range with Tara!
  • Duck Dynasty and Nashville are on tonight.
Yep, it's a Good Damn Day.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Thanksgiving Moose

We had Thanksgiving dinner up at the Lodge and for the first time in several years, we had almost every body there.  We were only short one person.  Monster decided to spend Thanksgiving with his other grandmother (again).

It sort of sucked that he wasn't there, but on the other hand, he was throwing a world class temper tantrum and I was happy to not have to put up with his attitude.  Sad, but true. 

Since we had 95% of the family there, Mom wanted a picture will all million of us.  That was a chore and a half to herd everyone into one spot and keep them from running off.  Xanax might have been in order, but we managed.

Back row: Beel, Jay, Mr. Nebalee, Junior, Digger
Middle-ish row: Mom, Nebalee, Autobot, Mrs Junior
Second middle-ish row: Me, Kyzzer, T, The Boy
All the rest: Ashinator, Asset, Great-grandma Nita, Mrs Deejo, Deejo, The Girl
And Sophie (can't forget her)
We ate until we were sick (of course) and parted ways.  On the way down, just a handful of miles from the Lodge we saw a moose!  He was just meandering down the side of the cliff.  Jay flipped the car around so we could attempt to get pictures, but we had turned our phones off to save the batteries.

I couldn't get the damn things to power up fast enough to suit me, but finally, I was able to get out of the car and ease up an incline to snap a couple of pictures.  Being cell phone pictures, they suck, but I finally got to see a moose up-close and personal (but not too up-close).  I was maybe 150 feet from them, though it looks much farther in the pictures.  Stoopid cell phones.  We saw two moose.  They looked like a cow/calf pair.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Another Bright Idea

Sometimes my brain scares me.


Like my Million Dollar Idea.  You know, the one that everyone in the family can use 'cept me.

So the other day when Jay and I were out shopping last week, we went into this amazing store that makes homemade soaps and girly stuff.  I ooh'd and aah'd over them and wondered at the creativity it takes to come up with cupcake shaped soap and shower bombs (which, btw, is my new favorite shower item).  I bought five bombs and then went back yesterday and bought five more for my co-workers to try.

Right next door to the girly stuff store is a curiosity store that has pretty much everything under the sun.  Including ice cube trays in the shape of 1911s.  I told Jay I *had* to have the ice cube tray as a stocking stuffer.  Period.  I had to have it.

But overnight I realized that I never make ice, but I really, really wanted the ice cube trays.

And my little brain started turning and I started thinking about the cool soaps.  I wondered if I could make soap with the ice cube tray.  Google became my bestest friend.

Guess what?!

There were instructions for making glycerin soap!  I made Jay drive all over yesterday picking up the stuff I needed for my new project.

I waited impatiently until I had time to start. When I get my mind set on a project, I want to do it right now!

The directions told me to fill the mold with water and dump the water into a measuring cup so I would know how much base to use.  So I did.  And then I got over it and started just eye-balling it.

I chose to use the opaque base so it would look better when suspended in the clear glycerin bar.  I threw it in the "double boiler".

However, I'm not so bright and it didn't occur to me that if I added my red color to my "opaque" (read white, white, white) base it would turn pink, not red.  And y'all know how I feel about pink.  So I quick threw some blue in it and turned it lavender.  Whew, crisis averted.  I also added Aloe and cucumber-melon scent.  Even though they are pinkish lavender, they smell good.

Jay is such a rock star when it comes to my wild hairs.  He jumped in and helped me pour into the molds.

That stuff sets up fast,
so the bottoms of the guns are really ugly.
Impatiently, impatiently, impatiently, I waited until they set up enough to pop them out of the molds.

How cute are these?
And they're NOT pink.  They're lavender.
I thought about leaving them like that, but then thought that they'd be easier to handle as a bar, so into the correct size plastic tub they went and I added clear glycerin base.

They're kind of cute.  Cute enough that my first five bars are headed to the Southern Girl Gang on Friday.  I wasn't crazy about my first batch and they were kind enough to take them off my hands.

I like the blue better, but you can't see as much of the detail in the picture as you can of the lavender.

I also can't decide if I like them just molded or placed into bars.  Decisions, decisions.

But it was a whole heap of fun :)

And since I'm finally finishing this post a half an hour before Thanksgiving day...

Happy Thanksgiving!
I'm super thankful for the blessed life I lead. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

I Got A Craving...

Let's just get this out of the way - *cough* Mr Daddy *cough* - I am NOT pregnant.

But I am a breasted American, of the vaginated variety.  (It was pointed out to me at the range one day that there are a lot of breasted Americans of penised variety, hence the clarification.)

And being a breasted American of the vaginated variety, I get cravings.  And ain't nothing right in *anyone's* world when a woman gets a craving.

I needed popcorn.

But not any old popcorn.


Remember back in the day when KMart had a snack counter and you could go buy ice cream, slurpies, and popcorn?

I wanted *that* popcorn.  The old, chewy stale stuff.

I tried.  Oh, I tried buying some good popcorn from the store, but that didn't do it.  I HAD to have KMart popcorn.

I hounded and hounded Jay for a couple of days and finally, we went to KMart yesterday.  The snack counter is long gone, but I was hopeful they still had popcorn.

And they did!

Unfortunately, they only had two sizes; the small size wouldn't have lasted the drive out of the parking lot.  However, the big size...

I'm pretty certain that Jay's banking on me being so sick of popcorn by the time this is finished that I'll never look at another kernel again.

Hey, Mom and Bill - guess what we're bringing for Thanksgiving dinner?

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Text I Hoped I'd Never Send

Friday, Jay sends me this text: "Are you on your way home?"

And, sadly, I had to answer: "Got arrested.  Just bonded out."

I'll let that sink in a little bit...


Had time to digest that?




It sucked.  Lots and lots.

You see, my youngest, Monster, has a bit of a substance abuse problem and got picked up for possession of marijuana and paraphernalia.  Since he's a minor, the cops took him to "the hub" and chose to ticket and release.  So he called me to come pick him up.

Only, you remember when my cat beat up the neighbor's pretend dog?

yahoo images
Only, I couldn't find a picture of a cat beating up a Shih Tzu,
probably because they're not real dogs and don't show up in the
cat vs. dog image search

Well, I kind of got ticketed for that.  Apparently, it's illegal for cats to be "at large" in the city limits.

It's a dumb fucking ticket.

Well my court date came around and I couldn't get the time off of work (yes, I know my employer is *supposed* to give me time off for court, but there wasn't anyone qualified to cover my class), so I called the court.  They said it would be okay for me to just mail in the fine.  So I asked how much it was and I was told that I'd be notified by mail.

Three days later, I received a bench warrant.  Notified by mail, alright.  Bastards.

I work with an attorney who said it would be just a matter of a phone call to have my bench warrant removed as long as I was willing to pay my fine.  Because it's a dumb fucking ticket.  But my attorney friend has a bit of an attention problem.  So for the last year, I've been trying to get him to make that stupid phone call so I can pay my fine.

Anyway, I got called into the hub to meet the popo who had my son.  And they wanted ID.  And I knew I was sunk.

All I could think about was Momma Fargo's stories and I was bound and determined not to end up on my arresting officer's blog.  I was not going to be a dumb shit.  Well, I wasn't going to be more of a dumb shit than I already was.

What I learned from my experience:
  • those bracelets aren't actually very pretty
  • nor are they comfortable
  • anyone not fun-sized must have to be shoe-horned into the back of a police car
  • sitting in the booking area is a lot like sitting in the DMV, only better, because at least there's a TV in the cop shop
  • but being surrounded by tweakers and creepers isn't very fun
  • even the fuzz thinks that a ticket for a "cat at large" is a bullshit thing to be arrested for
  • it sucks and I don't want to ever go through it again, so I'll be taking the day off of work, whether or not I can get a sub, to attend my court date.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Going Small

Jay and I each had the day off today and we wandered around, continuing our Christmas shopping.  I was telling him how much I admire Julie Goodnight and her husband, Rich Moorhead.  They are firm believers in supporting their local economy.  Every year, they try to do a project around their ranch and they always hire in local contractors and workers.  Jay and I aren't in a position to pump the kind of money into small businesses that Julie and Rich can, but we can do something.  And that something this year is to buy our Christmas presents only from small businesses.

We spent some time wandering around local shops and we found some really cool places.  There was a place that makes homemade bath stuff (I had to buy some stuff, just to try them out), a spice shop (we had to buy some stuff, just to try them out), a curiosity shop, a couple of comic book stores, and our favorite - a kitchen store (and had to buy some stuff, you know...).

And then I started thinking, Mrs Mom had a list of people on Facebook who have small businesses and I thought I'd share a similar list** here.  This is by no means a comprehensive list and if I accidentally forget someone, please forgive me.  Feel free to add yourself or your business in the comments section; include a description of your product and a link.

  • Jay Wilson - did the GunDiva logos, business cards and shirts.  Want something custom designed for you?  Check him out.
  • Southern Winds Solutions and The Asylum Creations - Mrs Mom's paracord business.  This woman can make *anything* from paracord.  Trust me on this.
  • Tracey Westbury, who you might know from Mustang Diaries, has some amazing things up on Cafe Press.  Check out Mustang Fever.  She also does leatherwork, which is pretty cool.
  • 13 Zulu does custom kydex holsters and duracoating.  Pretty cool work, in fact, I'm currently using a 13 Zulu holster and love it.
  • In Northern Colorado, Double Tap Shooting Academy offers several classes.
  • And I almost forgot, my favorite small business, Allenspark Lodge.
I *know* there are tons of bloggers out there who are also small business owners.  Please, please, add yourself in the comments section.

**I totally stole this idea from Mrs Mom.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

How Did This Happen?

How did it get to be almost Thanksgiving already?

I mean, seriously?

It's next. freakin. week.


*shaking head*

Anyway, remember this kid?

Yep, that's CJ.  He and Ashinator split ways a while ago.  I was devastated.  I love that kid.  I feel like we've been through a lot together, what with his crazy-ass mother and all.

He finally escaped the clutches of his evil mother and joined the Navy.  He's officially a corpsman now and off to California to hook up with the Marines.

I totally stole this picture from his FB page.
But, he did make time to go out to lunch when he was home last week.  He's got a girlfriend (I'm in denial, BTW, never mind they've been together like nine months now) and is thriving in the Navy.

I do love this kid and it might seem weird that I went out to lunch with my daughter's ex-boyfriend, but it was so good to see him. Especially knowing how rough his teenage years were.  He and the kids are still close; Ashinator and CJ text each other frequently and the boys still think of him as part of the family.  As sad as I am that he and Ash aren't together anymore, I'm happy that they've found some way to still be a part of each other's lives.

It does my heart good to see him all grow'd up and doing so well.

It does my heart even better to know that he survived having that crazy bitch for a mother :)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Swetsville Zoo

Having the Once Upon family come for a visit was the perfect excuse to go somewhere I've been dying to go.  You see, once we moved, I had to drive by a place that my kids have been to, but I haven't.  And I have to do it almost daily.

With Itty Bit here, I had the brilliant idea of using him as the excuse to get to go.  It didn't hurt that I know how much he loves heavy equipment, so I figured that critters made from heavy equipment would be a hit.

I just hopped it wouldn't be a flop.  Especially after we'd spent an hour in the car.

See that running Itty Bit?
That was our view most of the time.
Turns out, it wasn't a flop. We were constantly playing catch up with Running Itty Bit.  And talk about precocious!  He could name what the critters were made out of.  I don't know how he did it.  I had to keep asking Jay what things were.

The only reason he slowed down was to read the sign.
I made Jay pose.
It's a good thing he's game for anything.
How cute are these babies?

More posing :)
Itty Bit loved that damn horn.
And isn't Rachel gorgeous?

Mr Daddy was pretty excited to find this "steelhead".
The Swetsville Zoo has been a landmark for decades and I'm ashamed I had never been there before.  I really had no excuse, but make no mistake, I will be returning.  Probably to take Nebalee's heathens, though there's a couple of really nice places by the river that might be nice to sit at and write.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Happy Anniversary!

25 years.

Mom and Bill have been married 25 years.  Dang, that's a long time.

The story of Casa Bonita was the subject of a True Story Tuesday hosted by Rachel and Mr. Daddy a few years ago.  So it only seemed natural that when they came to visit, we had to meet them there.

We've met Rachel face-to-face before, at High Country Rendezvous, and we've been trying to get her back with Mr. Daddy and Itty Bit. Things just seemed to line up perfectly and plans fell into place and next thing we knew, they were here!

It was fabulous to see them, even though we pretty much ran them ragged. So much for a weekend of relaxation. They have to go home to relax (as I'm typing this, they're still an hour away from home after getting up before the sun to catch their flight). Itty Bit was a good sport about being dragged all over the northern part of Colorado.  We started their whirlwind tour at Casa Bonita, using them as an excuse to get Mom and Bill there for their 25th Anniversary.  Sneaky, no?

Before we even got in the door, Jay was making trouble with Itty Bit. Of course, once the cameras came out, Itty Bit got all sorts of shy.  Apparently, it's funnier to laugh at Jay "peeing" in the fountain than to pose yourself.

Bill put on his "no paparazzi" face once we got into the restaurant, and this is the best picture I could get:

"No photos, please"
After I showed Rach the bruise the dentist gave me, she offered to punch me so I'd have a better story.  Here's photographic evidence that Rach popped me a good one.  Pay no attention orneriness you see in her face (let's just say Itty Bit comes by it honestly).

I didn't take a lot of pictures, because I was having too much time gabbing with everyone and watching Itty Bit's reactions to the cliff divers and Black Bart's skits.

However, there are a couple of mandatory picture spots in Casa Bonita - the little inlet at the base of the waterfall and the fountain.

I think Rachel has more pictures on her camera, and I'm pretty certain Mom and Bill, do too.  Well, they've got pictures on the camera Bill didn't drown on their vacation.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


We have some very special guests coming in on Thursday!

Expect lots of posts and pics.  So far, we've got Casa Bonita and Swetsville Zoo on the menu.  I'm trying to work in some gun powder therapy, too.

Any guesses who's coming a visiting?

Monday, October 15, 2012

My Weight Loss Plan

Well, it isn't really a weight loss plan, not one that I'd recommend anyway.

You see, I've had a lot of dental work done since August.  I started with not one, but two, root canals that went bad and got abcessed.  My face was swollen.

I had the two offending teeth removed.  My face was swollen.

I had some work done on a molar last week.  My dentist inadvertently ruptured a blood vessel in my cheek.  Guess what?  My face is still swollen (and black and blue, looks like Jay belted me).

I've still got a fair bit of dental work to go, so my face will continue to be swollen.

My weight loss plan? (I know, you were trying to figure out where I was going with the swelling thing.)

Wait for all of the swelling to go away!  I'll look like I've dropped ten pounds and won't have had to do a damn thing.  Okay, okay, it's more of an illusion, but still...

What do you think?  Brilliant, I know!

From Google Images

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Not Even Mom's Recipes Are Safe

I'll pretty much bastardize anyone's recipes, including my own mother's.

I know you're asking, "what pray tell, have you done now?".  I'd be asking the same thing, but I didn't do much to change Mom's Spicy Sausage Potato Soup, just figured out an even faster way to make it.

Mom can whip this puppy out in almost no time.  Subtract six minutes and you've got it even faster.  I cheated, I use canned diced potatoes, thereby taking away the need to cook and cut them.  I also added kale, because I really, really love Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana. 

Drum roll, please...GunDiva's Totally Ripped-off From Her Mom Sausage Potato Soup:

1 lb spicy sausage, browned
½ c. onion, thinly sliced
½ c. celery, chopped
1 c. chopped Kale
1-2 tsp. Montreal steak seasoning
2-3 c. milk
2 cans diced potatoes, drained

Saute’ onion and celery with sausage. Add all ingredients to a large soup pan, bring to a slow boil, simmer 15-20 minutes.

A word of warning - be careful not to break the milk.  I brought mine to a boil too quickly and the milk broke.  It didn't scorch, thank God, but it didn't look very pretty. Tasted good, though. The kale really adds something wonderful and is a cheap ingredient.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

We're Having People Over

The apartment is finally put together enough to have visitors, and what a better excuse than to host a home party?

I was lia sophia consultant years ago, but spent more than I made (hell, who can resist a 70% savings on jewelry?) so I cut my losses and moved on.  However, I still love the product and agreed to host a party. appeared that I was doing my cousin a favor by booking a party off of hers, but the reality is, it was the perfect excuse to have people over.

Jay's been slaving in the kitchen all day, because this is exactly the kind of thing he loves (and he might have been the one to suggest booking a party).  He's making mini-tacos, mini-pizzas, and brownies.  But not like I'd make.  Nope, he's making fancy stuff and it will turn out fabulous, just like it always does. 

I did contribute one of my favorite foods, Bacon-wrapped Jalapenos of Happiness.  If nothing else, we'll eat well.

Cross your fingers, though, 600 square-feet isn't a whole lot of space for having people over.  There's not much butt space, so I hope people don't mind getting cozy.
Image from Google Images

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Adventure by Proxy

Baking Weekend 2011
Robs, Sue, Staci, me

You know how much I love "my girls"?  Robs, Stace, and Sue?  And how much I treasure our rare get-togethers?

They are some of my oldest (and by oldest, I mean, I've known them a long time, not as in we're getting old, because we're not) friends.

This year, Baking Weekend is going to be a little different - we're losing my birthday twin, Staci.  She and her husband have sold pretty much everything they owned and bought a sailboat.  They're planning on spending the next couple of years sailing.

I'm super happy for them, even though I'm going to miss Stace a whole heap.  I mean, how often do dreams like this come true?  They've been plotting their escape for a long time and the fact that they're able to do it makes my heart happy.

Stace has started a blog, Shambala Sails, to detail their adventures.  I might not be on the boat with them, but I'm looking forward to living vicariously through their blog (and I don't have to worry about sea-sickness).

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Resuming Life

A Family Affair -
Nebalee, Asset, Ashinator and me

You know how much I love the 9HealthFair?  Sure you do, I talk about it pretty much every April.

Well, I love it so much, I thought it would be a good idea to host a Family 9HealthFair.  Nevermind that the spring fairs consume my life from January through April, that wasn't nearly enough, apparently.  Nope, why not let it consume my life from June through September, too?

Jay's pretty patient.  I'm certain there was nothing in our wedding vows about being a 9HealthFair widower eight months out of the year, yet he never grumbles.  It's not like I get paid an additional salary for all of my work with the fair - it's a volunteer-run organization (for the most part - there are 20 paid employees that oversee the tens of thousands of volunteers state-wide).

And this year, it wasn't just me involved.  I recruited Nebalee to be my Wellness Coordinator.  The fall fairs are different from the springs ones in that the focus is on families, so I needed someone to coordinate kids' and family activities.  Cue Nebalee.

She did an outstanding job.  Her ideas really elevated our fair.  She asked for teddy bears to give out to the kids, so that she could teach "Teddy Bear First Aid". 
Is this the best idea ever or what?

The kiddos learned how to put pressure on bleeding and what to do if their Teddy Bear falls (Don't move!) and when to call 911.  Somewhere, there's a picture of Autobot and Kyzzer all gloved up with their bears.  Super cute.

Nebalee also managed to get the Smoke House from the fire department.  The Smoke House is a training tool that is used primarily with second-graders in our school district.  It has three rooms; the first room is where they talk about kitchen safety, the second about fireplace and heater safety, and the third room they talk about how to check a door to see if it's hot and how to get out of the room if there's smoke in it.  The third room is by far the coolest.  The bedroom door is actually designed so that if you run the back of your hand down it from top to bottom, you'll feel it go from cool to hot.  They also pump in theatrical smoke so simulate how dark and scary it can be if the room fills with smoke.  In the midst of the room filling with smoke, the smoke detector is screaming.  It's really quite an experience.

Even grown-ups like the Smoke House
This was the first year I've acted as the Site Coordinator, always in the past I've been a worker bee.  At times it was very difficult for me to do the schmoozing and glad-handing that goes on with being the Site Coordinator.  After about the first hour, everyone was settled into their jobs and didn't need me for anything other than giving tours and answering questions the bigwigs from the organization.  I guess that's a sign of success.  Everything went smoothly enough that I didn't have to race around putting out fires.

I've now got a few weeks of downtime before NaNoWriMo starts up, so maybe I can get a few things posted and get caught up with everyone.  We've got very special company coming in from the 18 - 21 and I'm so excited I just want to jump up and down.

Then, of course, November means I'll be scarce again as I try to crank out another 50,000 words in 30 days.

So, pretty much, we're back to situation normal here.