Sunday, September 28, 2008

A Child of the 80's

Friday we needed bread and milk so we headed out with the intention of going to Target and then Kroger (our local overpriced grocer) but somehow we ended up in the Wal-mart parking lot instead.

I am not really sure how.

We meandered through the electronic section and stumbled across a rack of $5 DVDs. We chose about 20 and decided we really needed to get out of Wal-mart. One of our selections was 'Thelma and Louise", neither of us have ever seen it. I hope it is really good because...

It was $7.50. Darn Wal-mart. And we had to jump through some pretty crazy hoops to even purchase it. I am emptying the cart on the conveyor belt when the lady asks me for I.D.

For what? I say, thinking I didn't get any alcohol or tasteless publications (does Wal-mart even sell tasteless publications?).

The cashier hoping I will check the 'YES, my cashier was friendly today' just holds up the Thelma and Louise DVD.

How old do you have to be? I ask the cashier who is still holding the DVD up, like I should be ashamed of my choice.

17. 17? I have two twins who look older than their 8 months and I am buying a Bundt pan, could she really think I am under 17 I ask myself. I sigh, getting more and more annoyed wondering if she really wants my I.D. for this silly reason.

She does. She stands still holding the DVD. I rummage through my purse and find my I.D. and hand it to her.

Oh, I am going to have to think about this, she says.

This is when my mean spirited self really shows itself as I notice that her screen says 'Born after 9/26/91?'

I can promise you I wasn't born in the 90s, Mam. I think that people hate to be called that because she didn't look pleased with me but by this point I am getting nasty stares from the customers behind me who are proabably convinced that I am holding the line up for some tasteless film in Jerry's town. Is Brad Pitt nude in this film, I wonder to myself, after all of this he had better be.

She finally has to enter in my birthdate. I know that these age requirements are set up for a good reason but I can't help myself. We have been here now for what seems like a long time. I don't think of myself as very young looking, maybe I should take this as a compliment. I know people hate to be carded for alcohol, that doesn't bother me. Carding for alcohol is a good idea. Carding the lady buying $200 in groceries with her family in tow, that just seems a little silly to me. Is there some R-rated movie problem going on that I am not familiar with? I have never even been carded at the theatre for an R-rated movie.

So finally it was determined that I was indeed old enough to purchase Thelma and Louise.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

It's Just Hair, It'll Grow Back Right?

If you were to call me on the phone right now, this is how the conversation might go:

U: How are you?

Me: I was OK, until I went to the salon and ASKED for the lady to chop off all of my hair and give me BANGS. (And I mean ALL OFF and BANGS!)

U: What possessed you to do that? Did you even ask the magic 8 Ball? (That's what you would perhaps say if you were married to me).

or, you may say this:

U: You know, if you were feeling wild and crazy you could have always gotten clip on bangs.

To which I would have replied,

Me: Are you serious?

To which you would have replied.

U: Yes, really.

or, you may say this:

U: Oh, I am sure they don't look that bad, I am sure they look just stunning. You are over reacting, like ALWAYS (and you would shake your head like I could see you, but I can't because we are on the phone, remember?)

To which I would know you were lying. What you would really be thinking is, Why, June, You have that really small forehead and bangs are for eight year olds or hot chicks in Hollywood who can afford extentions if their hair cuts go bad.

There is a good reason I haven't had bangs since 5th grade, I just forgot that reason. But this, this has been a good reminder and I seriously doubt I will need another. Ever again.

-june

Monday, September 22, 2008

I Am Officially Out of Touch

Once upon a time I was so cool and hip, for example I once not only owned but frequently used a hair crimper. But recently I have really felt like I am falling behind in the newest fashion and trends and last week I had two nightmares in which I went to JC Penny's and bought mom jeans and bragged about the 9 inch zipper to all of my childless friends. But is was this morning, while enjoying my new routine morning cup of joe and reading Entertainment Weekly (OK, skimming) for the first time in what seems like months that I realized that the music world really has it in for my hip status.

First, of the Billboard Top 20, I have only heard one song (Coldplay's Viva la Vida) and haven't even heard of half of the artists on the lists (Flo Rida? Leona Lewis? T.I.?). But this was the real stinker, in the Fall Preview section there is mention of one of my favorite artists upcoming new release;

"Forgoing CDs altogether, the Portland, Ore., band wil instead release three multitrack downloads..."

WHAT? I thought we were friends Decemberists? Did you perhaps overhear my conversation at Bunco last week that I don't even have a digital library or even want one? I have never even purchased a single song from iTunes, I only own an iPod Shuffle, and one of the archaic cumbersome white ones not those cool colorful petit ones.

So all morning I have been thinking, are CDs really dying off? Are Digital Libraries the norm now? Am I one of a dying group who wants the tangibility of CDs and cover sleeves? I am a collector, a fan of clutter, who will I become without my CD cases and educational liner notes.

The next thing you people are going to tell me is I need a Blu-Ray player.

-june

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Incredible Weak June

Remember when I said I was going to start running? Well, I apparently am a big and fat liar. I had good intentions (which are never enough) and I bought a not inexpensive Double jogger and some really cute running shoes. I got a running buddy and I ran for a week, in June, during the hottest week we had all summer. I took the weekend off and never went back.

And then I gained weight. As should be expected when your day consists of sodium packed frozen entres, several blog posts and sitting on your bottom as your children crawl around and on you.

So last week I decided that I need to be a better role model for my children. I have decided to kick my 12 can a day Cherry Coke habit (to more like 2 cans a day) and get moving.

So far? My family and I have taken walks about every other day around the neighborhood, and walking up the hill on Runners Stone Lane really proved how out of shape I really am. The Cherry Coke? I am thinking that I will most probably need to join a support group, like CCAA (Cherry Coke Abusers Anonymous) and go daily. Everything about it is bad for you, I know. The calories, the sodium, all those ingredients with multipe hyphens but I just can't seem to drop it. Some people are addicted to alcohol, ciggerettes, coffee, sex, gambling, work, pain medicine, recreational drugs. Me, I am not addicted to any of those things. But suggest that I withdraw from soda consumption and my day is ruined.

I am mostly trying to be being funny. But it is just that hard. The fact is, I know I should cut back, I just don't really want to. I personally think that is a big distinction to make. Lots of people know that things they do are wrong or bad for them, it's just how badly do they want to stop.

I apparently ~gulp gulp~ don't want it all that badly.

The thing is I am not going to give it up, it's just too tempting that way. I will aim for less and less and hope that allowing myself to have it and choosing not to will be a good solution.


Here is to a real effort to cut back on the best thing since two cells became four and then 8 and then well you know how babies are conceived, right?

-june

So Maybe I Will Let Them Watch Sesame St.

When Bailey and Cooper are two of course.










-june

I Just Can't Seem to Shut Up

Several times in the last week or so I have found myself in conversation with people just babbling as if I had no sense at all. I will just be rambling away and in my head I am saying; Just shut up, Now. Now, would be a really good time to stop talking. But what do I do? I keep on and keep on.

Maybe I don't get out enough. Maybe I kept so much of my life a secret from everyone for so long that I don't want to keep secrets anymore. Maybe I have shared so much on my blog that I have no filtering abilities left in me. Maybe I should just think more and speak less, I mean that sounds like a fine idea in theory. Why can't I follow through?

I used to be more quiet, shy even. I used to keep everything a secret. I used to keep a daily journal adamantly, maybe I should return to my roots.

So if in the last few days you have been carrying on a conversation with me and been offended or shocked by some stupid/silly/annoying thing I said, I apologize.

I appear to be broken in more ways than one.

-june

Friday, September 19, 2008

All you need is love and a few friends.

When I started to going to Bunco a year and a half ago, I wasn't pregnant (though I wanted to be desperately) and we were still a semi-social couple. I was drawn in by the 'theme' aspect I believe, I really overdid that first month. I think everyone remembers my first time. I enjoyed meeting new people and learning the game. Many of the girls, but not all of them, were mothers so when I got pregnant I felt like even more of the members began opening up to me.



I had always thought that when Cooper and Bailey arrived I would stop going to Bunco. I thought I would be too needed at home to go out socializing with the Bunco Babes. But by the time Christmas rolled around I was starting to get sad by the idea of giving up this once a month event. And then the twins were born and a girlfriend of mine sent out the email with the details and pictures of the twins to all the members and I got a flood of beautiful emails and comments. I really felt a part of the group. I don't often feel part of any group. It was nice.



By six weeks post partum I was really missing Bunco, the people more than the game though. Ward told me I should go. I was welcomed back with open arms and questions about the new bundles I had at home. Then in March they threw me and two other girls a surprise shower, have I mentioned I love surprises?



Since the twins have been born I have gone five times and I feel like every month I get closer and closer to the women there, they are so friendly and don't mind my babbling and rambling (have I mentioned I talk too much?). Last night there was only a small group of women but it was really intimate feeling and I had several intimate conversations with people where I felt like the bridge was crossed between acquaintances and true friends.



On the way home I was thinking about how much I really enjoy Bunco, the game, the girls, the whole package. In the past few months I have been becoming more and more of a homebody, but going to Bunco feels really nice. I love talking with the other mothers and getting advice, I love talking about good books, and relationships. I feel like with everything else going on in the world and our private lives having people to talk to can really brighten the day.

Next month, Bunco is at our house for the first time!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The News!

So in case you haven't been paying close enough attention lately, I've got some news updates for you.

1) Today is "No Pants Wednesday". That's right, take 'em off. This is the best news you're going to get on my list today.

2) "It's about time we got a HOT V.P." - that is a quote from a fox news reporter. I heard it on the radio yesterday morning on the way to work, and I've decided that I'm officially bored with this election. Does anybody know where Ralph Nader went?

3) "It is a myth that lack of exercise makes you fat." I stumbled upon this new diet while checking my email. Evidently the most important thing you can do to lose weight is time your meals properly. It doesn't matter what you eat, or if you even move at all.

4) Mickey Rourke is finally making his leading man comeback as Randy "the ram" Robinson in "The Wrestler"

Well, that's all I have for you today. Stay tuned for more urgent updates as they come in, and take your pants off!

-Ward

Just Another Reason to Love Brad Pitt

"Brad Pitt has donated $100,000 to fight California's November ballot initiative that would overturn the state Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage."

I don't expect anyone to agree with me on this issue (and what a heated issue it can become at times) but I wish more people would see it the way that Brad Pitt does:

"Because no one has the right to deny another their life, even though they disagree with it, because everyone has the right to live the life they so desire if it doesn't harm another and because discrimination has no place in America, my vote will be for equality and against Proposition 8," Pitt said Wednesday.

Right on, Mr. Pitt

So I'm Putting Together a Cookbook

We are in the habit of really celebrating the wonderfully things around us by creating a new recipe. Who could forget Jake Just Got A New Haircut Cookies (intrinsically Chocolate Chip Oatmeal) to celebrate our Springer Spaniel finally getting a haircut after 8 months and hairs up to 11 inches long or Water On Mars Loaf (coconut bread with pecans or walnuts, depending on my mood) celebrating well…water on Mars.

Today we are so excited to celebrate No Pants Wednesday that we made a No-Pants-Wednesday-Casserolet (lots of foods usually served separately but put in a 9x13 pan for convenience!).

Unfortunately, it was decided that we should keep our pants on until AFTER dinner was cooked, you know for sanitary reasons and all.

-june

Monday, September 15, 2008

Playground Update #4

With playgroup set to meet here October 20th and a Halloween Party scheduled for October 25th, Ward is really feeling the pressure to have the playground closer to complete. This weekend he worked on it both Saturday and Sunday morning.


This is the entrance to the first level of Tower A, nice little covered porch.

This is a shot taken from the porch to get a better feel of the whole project, you can barely even see the leaning tower of old in our neighbor's yard.

This slide was on our nieghbor's soon-to-be-demolished playset, so they gave it to us. It needs a good pressure washing. This photo gives you a good idea of what became of the road pipe, in case you were wondering.

Love the windows. We bought this slide from Lowe's, I think it is sloped higher than it needs to be, but I am not on the Playground committee.



The ship is next.

These are just some shots of the playground from far away and the backyard. We went walking Saturday night and I noticed that the backyard looks really good despite the two month drought we had and with all the leaves, the playground is barely visibly (I am a little worried that the 'neighborhood architectural committee is going to say something about the U.S.S. Deathtrap).




Friday, September 12, 2008

20 Cents An Hour Increase?

So you may not be able to tell from my camera phone picture to the left there, but Sheetz here in town is officially out of 87/89 octane gasoline.
That's right due to all that demand this afternoon all you can get is 93 octane for $3.89 a gallon.
So I guess it's a good thing that I drove up to Sheetz at 3:30 this afternoon (because my brother-in-law in Phoenix called and scared us into this frenzy along with every one else with threats that gas could jump 20 cents an hour until morning) and waited behind dozens of vehicles to fill the Sequoia's tank at $3.49 a gallon, even if it did take me 45 minutes.
We took our smaller SUV into town this evening and filled up with the 93, we figure if Sheetz is going to run out of gas that is the reason to fill up, not because it's going to be $5.50 by sun up.
With this gas shortage and all you would think there would be less people out and about, but there wasn't.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Breakfast

So when does feeding your children get easier? This morning it took Bailey and Cooper 15 minutes to eat their breakfast and it took me 30 minutes to clean up after them which included but was not limited to several squirts of Clorox anywhere spray, complete removal of the high chair pads, sweeping and a load of laundry and all they had to eat was TOAST!!!

I know some pretty messy adults, this could be a long 18 years, huh?

-june

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

My Sister The Artist

I have a half-brother and half-sister from my father's first marriage and 'first family' as he often referred to them as we were growing up. I met them when I was 5 years old and didn't see them again until I was 14/15 when I took it upon myself to contact my half-sister with help from my Grandmother (Betty) and my Dad's approval. My mother had never been keen on interacting with these would-be step children and when my half-sister Valerie had her first daughter six months after Ricky was born she cut off all ties between them, Valerie couldn't even write us.

But she did. And my father showed me the pictures of my niece and hid the letter and the photos in the water heater closet. I would sometimes sneak in there and peek at the photos of a family that I was related to but not allowed to know.

When my mother moved out in 1995 word spread (through my paternal grandmother who had remained close with my dad's two older children) that my mother and father were separated (divorce not being necessary as it was only a 'common law' marriage). Flash forward to Christmas 1996, a Christmas card (that I still have) addressed to my father, me and my two siblings from my sister. It was a very short note, wishing us a happy holiday and passing on the news that she was pregnant again.

It was at this point that I contacted her. And she immediately wrote back with more information about herself and her family and growing up dysfunctional as I was in the midst of doing. In March of 1997 she had another girl. In October 1997 my father, Ricky and I travelled to her family's home in Maryland. It was the first time my father had ever met either of his granddaughters or seen his daughter in over 9 years. It was a happy reunion and the letters continued. In April of 1998 we threw a party for my Grandma Betty's 80th birthday. My half-brother who I had only met for a few hours a decade earlier flew in from Colorado. It was the first time that my dad had seen him in over 10 years.

During high school I spent weeks every summer with my sister, who I no longer think of as a half sister, getting to know her, my brother-in-law and my nieces. When I got married in 2001, my youngest niece was our flower girl. Every year (excluding this year) my dad, grandma, Valerie and I go on a trip together in May. In June of 2004 my father and I flew to Colorado to visit my brother and his family and this past weekend my father and Grandma Betty flew to Colorado to visit with my brother and his wife and their three children who are 7, 4 and 7 months. Their daughter Tatum was born less than a month after Bailey and Cooper.

My sister and I no longer write letters, but we still send each other pictures of our families and this past April we celebrated Grandma Betty's 90th birthday with them and my dad's only cousin flew in to see him and his Aunt. My dad hadn't seen his cousin in 33 years. We are still dysfunctional but at least we are allowed to contact one another.

My sister, Valerie is in construction as well but her true love is painting and her horses. A few weeks ago my Dad told me that she had just sold her first painting on eBay and tonight I was trying to find her on eBay and this is what I found instead.

You can find just about anything on the Internet.

-june

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.

Ward and I don't have much in common, and besides our children there is really only one thing that keeps our relationship going year after year, our shared love of Halloween. Before we were even dating, actually going back to the days when we still rather disliked one another, we had one heck of a good time shopping at Goodwill, K-Mart, and the Salvation Army to piece together some of the best costumes. Our love of costumes and dressing up may be the reason we ever started dating in the first place.



My favorite holiday is probably Christmas, but I enjoy the hustle and bustle, the shopping, the decorations and the parties, Ward not so much. He usually goes along with my Christmas shenanigans without much complaining but during October and Halloween he jumps in with the shopping, the decoration and the parties.



For years we attended a good friend of ours Halloween parties, every year we attempted to top the year before's costume. We went as a Prostitute (Ward) and a Pimp (moi), we went as Madonna, we went as Spiderman, and some more that I can't even remember anymore. The last time we went we dressed up as Lara Croft and Indiana Jones. We spent weeks and lots of dollar, dollar bills to put together these costumes, we even purchased real guns, and I don't even like guns, but we had to have our costumes complete. And we could only find one hat that would pass as a Fedora at a Western shop here in town.






(Halloween, 2006)

Last year I was pregnant and our friends Gerald and Lauren didn't even have their annual Halloween party, this year we decided to throw our own Halloween party.


For Kids.


That's right, we have jumped in as usual but this time with a party with kids in mind. We have purchased the invitation materials, been researching creepy, crawly foods to serve and projects to entertain both the young and young at heart. I am trying to get Ward to purchase a Gorilla outfit from Target to go with Coop's monkey costume but it is on the pricey side. He wants to go as the Incredible Hulk or Inigo Montoya, but I would rather go as Miracle Max and Valerie.

So beginning this weekend we will begin the decorating process; tombstones, coffins, black and orange wreaths, cauldrons and more. It's pretty creepy just how into Halloween we get. I discussed it with a few other moms at playgroup who think I should have it at 10 a.m. Sorry. I can't have a Halloween party at 10 a.m., even if it is mostly geared towards children. I won't bring out the Chainsaws or the Freddy Krueger masks, but I can't have a party that early in the morning for Halloween. And besides that is when our children are napping, they may not get much out of the Cleavers First Annual Halloween Party but I want them to at least be awake.

Off I go to rummage together my Brain Cookie with Blood Glaze cookie and Vampire Blood Punch recipes.

-june

Monday, September 8, 2008

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Excess Luggage

So this explains all the scratches on this vehicle, thanks Sammy.


Note the bumperstickers, I actually have four of them!

Friday, September 5, 2008

221 To 460

This morning the twins and I went to Romp and Roll for a playdate with our playgroup. We got there late because we had to drop payroll off with Ward and I wanted to walk through the house they are building. When we got to Romp and Roll most of the Moms and children we had come to meet were leaving so we hung out playing on the floor and sucking on Koosh Balls until noon. I hadn't been out for a while to take any pictures, I have taken some here or there so that I will have something to post but I hadn't really been out on a photography mission in a few weeks so I figured that after lunch I would do the unspeakable and let them nap in the car while I drove around taking shots from my window. It turned out to be the most peaceful afternoon I have had in quite some time.

My father was a Greeting Cards Salesman when I was growing up. Here in the small towns of Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina and for a time South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee, there used to be quite a few small grocers and family owned convenient stores and my dad sold them Greeting cards. He had fixtures and boxes upon boxes of cards in his back seat and trunk and he spent every day for almost twenty years driving the back roads finding these places and servicing them on approximately six week rotations. My little brother was never put in daycare but was taken along with my dad almost every day and watched by my grandfather the rest of the time. On days when my dad was investigating new accounts and my grandfather was busy he would pull my sister or I out of school to sit in the car and watch Ricky. Older stores were used to my tag along brother but it wasn't professional to have Ricky tag along into new accounts.

New accounts were acquired in this way: My dad would put $5 in the tank (which was not a lot it seems, even back then) and would wander back roads and side streets aimlessly looking for stores that seemed like they would be persuaded by his sales pitch. I loved going along with my dad (especially on overnighters) because I got to have lunch out with him, read all afternoon and sleep when I wanted. But more than any of that I loved the scenic routes we encountered along the way.

When my mom moved out my brother moved with her and my dad no longer needed my babysitting services so I was not invited as often and so I almost completely stopped going. Between the fall of 1998 and the summer of 1999 he hit a rough time and spent a combined total of 3 months in the hospital due to various illnesses and accidents. By the time he was fully recovered most of his accounts had decided they no longer wanted to stock greeting cards. He got a job as an Inventory Specialist with RGIS and moved to Maryland in early 2000.

Since that time I have seldom travelled back roads and side streets but with my new blog that terrain is what I am seeking. I came home the back way, or the long way really, today from Romp and Roll. I did a big circle around Bedford County, taking a few dozen pictures and listening to Brian Hall, which is perfect for this type of excursion as he sings about South Boston, the road to the farm and closing factories. Driving through the countryside was overwhelmingly touching and beautiful. I doubt that the people around even notice all the beauty that surrounds them because they encounter it everyday. Several people almost stopped and one actually stoppped their vehicle to watch what I was doing while I was parked on the side of the road snapping photos.

I was saddened when the billboards picked up and the road I was on merged with the highway 460. I wished it would have gone on a little longer but the kids were stirring and the belly grumbling, so we headed home.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Are You Kidding Me???

Are they trying to get sued by Stephanie Meyers, not that I really care it looks bad regardless.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

I Guess It Could Be My Fault

Do you remember that election a few years ago? The one where the one guy almost won but didn't because the other guy won instead. Well, perhaps I could have done something about that. You see, I choose to vote Independently that year, or as my wife and sister call it; I threw my vote away.



By the way, if Nader were running this year I would vote for him again. In a heartbeat. This year I happen to not like the Green Party Ticket any better than the (D) or the (R). I guess that there is always the Libertarian Party.



Am I throwing my vote away? Perhaps that should be the topic of our next blog poll. I think not. I think that we, as Americans, deserve better than this crooked two party system which is bent on creating powerful politicians and ignoring the need for decent leadership. How can 'CHANGE' happen when our country is run by two power hungry political machines that are so entrenched in Washington that the only thing they worry about is the next election and earmark spending?



I did not throw my vote away. And I will not this year. What would you have me do? Vote for the Independently Minded Republican, who decides to tow the Party Line as soon as he is nominated, forgetting all of that nonsense of bipartisanism? Or should I vote for the Democratic Cult of Personality? The more I think about it the more I realize that all of the things that Obama says that I agree with are really just election banter. Nothing is going to change. Except which Party gets a turn to rape America for the next four years.



Obama is just like JFK (I know that I'm probably about to offend some people now), and I don't mean that in a good way. Looks good, sounds good, people love him, and he does whatever the Party tells him to. That is my problem with both major US political parties, they are like exclusive clubs where you have to follow their rules or leave.



If anyone out there can give me a good reason why our two party system is the best way to govern, and not a blight on the democratic process I would love to hear it. Why are independent candidates not invited to debates? Or even allowed on most ballots? Otherwise, I will continue to vote for a new status quo. My vote for Ralph Nader (or whoever it may be this year) is a vote of dissention. A vote of disappointment and disapproval for our current system.

Think about it. That's all that I ask.





Monday, September 1, 2008

Happy Labor Day

Where have I been you might be wondering. Well, even though the babies are finally eating more table foods...

they still go through a lot of bottles.


This week, really introducing/pushing the sippy cup.
Happy Labor Day!