Monday, June 30, 2008

June Wordle

Like sisters who borrow each other's clothes, we bloggers are always borrowing each others ideas. And since I don't currently have an original post idea floating around in my head, I copied this one from Craig at RainbowDishes. Here, I used to create a collage of just about every word in this month's blog entries.

Common words were omitted, and each word was only used once. Even so, I thought my jumble would be bigger. This month's posts were numerous and quite wordy.

Click on the image below to see it larger.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Bowling For Tears?

Yesterday, Lucas and I went bowling with his best friend and the friend's mom. The alley in our area offers Cosmic Bowling on Friday afternoons. It's an activity everyone can enjoy and a great way to escape the heat.

In addition to glow-in-the-dark effects, a light show, and other psychedelia, they crank up the tunes. And most times, the musical offerings are conducive to a good time, party environment.

Yesterday's music selections were all over the map. There was classic rock, Motown, and some '80s music (I hadn't heard "Pop Goes The World" since before I had Kyle). They also played newer stuff from artists like Gwen Stefani and Maroon 5. And of course, there was disco. Which, for my money, is good anytime, anywhere.

There was something for everybody. And most were songs were you could tap your foot to. Until:

"Crying" by Roy Orbison.

Not a bad song. There's a time and a place for the melancholy. But not at a bowling alley. And certainly not when you're trying to pump up the crowd.

I have a feeling that the DJ was the same one who decided to play the Pussycat Dolls "Don't Cha" (a song about adultery) at my cousin's wedding.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Making The Switch

Last weekend, Q suggested that if I wanted to drop a few pounds, I should switch to diet soda. I don't know how my husband did it, but he managed to broach the subject so tactfully that I didn't yell, kick him out of our bedroom, or otherwise get offended at his implying that I have a little too much junk in my trunk. Q should seriously considering leaving information technology for a career in diplomatic relations.

Anyway, I decided to give it a shot. Having drunk only regular soda all my life, this was going to be difficult. Especially since I've always thought that diet soda tasted foul. But Q assured me that I'd get used to it.

So far, I've had about half a dozen twelve-ounce bottles of Caffine-Free Diet Pepsi. It's alright. Nothing great. I find that diet soda tastes best after it's been sitting in the freezer for a few hours. Drinking it at room-temperature is out of the question.

Today, Fry's had Pepsi products on sale so I bought regular Diet Pepsi and Pepsi Max...both of which have zero calories. I haven't tried either one yet, but I hope at least one of them sucks less than the caffine-free stuff.

I'm going to give it a month. If I don't gain (or lose) anything by drinking diet soda, than I'm switching back to regular.

Old habits die hard!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Muy Caliente!

A frenzied, kitchenwide search for Mongolian Fire Oil yielded anything but.

Monday, June 23, 2008

In Loving Memory

Today was my dad's birthday. He would have been 62.

I celebrated the day in part by driving to the college to pick up my diploma.

At the time of his death in 2001, Dad had lived long enough to see one of his daughters (my sister) graduate from college. The other one of us (me) settled into domestic life and had babies. Since then, my sister and I have each--at least for some part--accomplished both.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Sunday Funny

Gee, I'd like to see what she wears to Neiman Marcus...or even Target, for that matter.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Staycation Highlights: Day 6 and 7 (Thursday and Friday)


--We went to the Arizona Diamondbacks-Oakland A's game at Chase Field. We ate enough pizza, nachos, Cracker Jacks, ice cream, cotton candy, peanuts, and ICEES to put us all in a carb and sugar-fueled euphoria. That's just a fancy way of saying we ate bad...and we had fun doing it! The D-Backs won 2 to 1.

--For dinner, we went to Kyle's favorite place--In-N-Out Burger. Aside from having the BEST french fries anywhere, In-N-Out has the only fast food hamburger that I'll eat. They're also affordable. Nowhere else in Phoenix can you feed four people for less than $20. The boys and I ate there alot back when Q was in the hospital.

Unfortunately, In-N-Out isn't as widely available as, say McDonald's or Burger King. They only have locations in California, Nevada, Arizona, and Utah.

--National Lampoon's Vacation wasn't on today.


--We started the day by taking Kyle to the orthodontist to get a steel tie-back repaired. We I have been doing that a lot lately. The little wire thingy fell out yesterday at the ballgame and it HAD to be fixed before he leaves for Oregon on Monday morning.

--After lunch at Jason's Deli, I dragged everyone to the mall to check out the Fiesta selection at Dillard's. No ivory yet!

--We walked by the movie theatre to see if they're playing anything good. Indiana Jones had started two minutes earlier...that means the previews are still showing. We got tickets and hurried inside. Q and the boys had been wanting to see IJ. As for me, that's two hours of my life I'll never get back.

--On the way home, the electric sign next to McDonald's said that it was 118 degrees outside. Time to hit the pool!

--For dinner, we went to a restaurant called Fajita's. Q and I used to go there alot when we were first married. The drink special for the evening was berry margaritas. I was drunker after one drink than Q was after two. My tolerance is very low, and bad things happen when I drink. Or good things, depending on who you are. :-)))

As of now, our staycation is all done. Collectively, we had a very good time. We bonded as a family. Hopefully we made a few good memories. We also indulged ourselves in ways we don't normally get to. And we managed to do it all without going broke!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Staycation Highlights: Day 5 (Wednesday)

I am finding it very difficult to adhere to the "no chores" rule. I may not like cleaning, but I really hate living among filth. It's also very hard to enjoy life with my pretty house all in shambles.

I also had to give Q a pass because he is incapable of not working. My husband is the opposite of lazy. He cleaned the kitchen while I sorted the laundry and cleared away some of the top clutter.

It had to be done. Flies were hovering around the sink full of dirty dishes and the trash cans were overflowing. We were also out of clean washcloths, and it's not like I can call the front desk and ask for some clean ones. Something had to give.

Housework notwithstanding, we were still tired from the two previous days' endless activities. The water park trip, in particular really did us in. A few hours worth of down time was in order. We ended up spending most of the day at home.

National Lampoon's Vacation was on yet again. Mobile Home Disaster must not be pulling in the viewers.

In the evening, we went to dinner at our family's favorite restaurant--Tokyo Lobby. This place has the best sushi in on the west side, if not the entire city.

After dinner, we went to play pool. Q found a billiards hall that's allows children AND is still in business. This establishment seems to be very popular among teenagers. Also, it's not too terribly far from home. I have a feeling we'll be visiting this place again.

On the way home, we stopped for gelato. We got one cup free because I had a coupon. Thanks, Value Clipper!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Taking It Personally

The following article appeared in yesterday's newspaper. The topic was also discussed on The Adam Carolla Show.

Who's prone to road rage? Check for bumper stickers

Shankar Vedantam
Washington Post
Jun. 17, 2008 12:00 AM

Three horrors await Americans who get behind the wheel of a car for a family road trip this summer: the spiraling price of gas, the usual choruses of "Are we there yet?" and the road rage of fellow drivers.

Divine intervention might be needed for the first two problems, but science has discovered a solution for the third.
Watch out for cars with bumper stickers.

That's the conclusion of a recent study by Colorado State University social psychologist William Szlemko. Drivers of cars with bumper stickers, window decals, personalized license plates and other "territorial markers" not only get mad when someone cuts in their lane or is slow to respond to a changed traffic light, but they are far more likely than those who do not personalize their cars to use their vehicles to express rage by honking, tailgating and other aggressive behavior.

It does not seem to matter whether the messages on the stickers are about peace and love or angry and in-your-face.

The key to the phenomenon apparently lies in the idea of territoriality. Drivers with road rage tend to think of public streets as "my street" and "my lane" - in other words, they think they own the road.

First of all, I don't want to know how much grant money the government mindlessly doled out for this pointless, inane study. Seriously...I don't. It would probably give me some sort of tax payer rage.
Second, let's talk bumper stickers. I fail to see that the minivan driver with the "My son is an honor student at Smith Elementary" sticker exhibits the same degree of rage as the pickup truck owner with "My kid beat up your honor student" plastered on his bumper.

It just seems wrong to paint all personalized plates and stickers with the same brush. Take the small business owner, for example. A pest control worker with BUG GUY on his plate is probably just trying to advertise his company.

Q and I personalized our license plates a few years ago, and I don't think we're prone to road rage. Well, he's not, anyway. Besides, the plates were my idea. I thought they were cute. He just went along with it as an affordable way to make his high maintenance wife happy.
And then there's Q's family. Many of them have had a personalized plates at one point. And they're the most mild mannered bunch out there.

But perhaps some of the most famous personalized plates belong to the Ewing family from the TV show Dallas. All cars featured a EWING license plate followed by a number that loosely corresponded with the driver's place in the family.
The Ewings were definitely a spirited bunch. They may have even had a road rage incident or two among them (I know of one involving Pamela and a Jeep full of good ol' boys). But I find it ironic that most anger-fueled member of the clan--Ray Krebbs--drove around with standard issue Texas plates on his truck.
My conclusion: not all angry drivers personalize their cars and not all people who personalize their cars are angry drivers.

Staycation Highlights: Day 4 (Tuesday)

Today we went to the Golfland-Sunsplash in Mesa. Through her business, my mom was able to get free passes to any of the three water parks in the Phoenix area. Even though we live barely five minutes from another water park, we chose Golfland because it had more attractions than the others. Besides, we had never been there before. Part of being on vacation is trying new things.

We decided to make the Golfland trip today because it was Free Tube Tuesday. Between that and the free passes, our only expenses were a $6 locker rental and $12 for lunch. Sadly, we probably paid more in gas to drive there and back.

Below is a video of Q and Lucas going down the slides. Good thing we have a waterproof camera.

In the evening, Lucas had his drum lesson. Afterwards, we had dinner at Rubio's Baja Grill (one of Luke's choices). The boys were hoping for Japanese food, but we were all too tired to enjoy such an extravagant meal. Besides, none of us were dressed for a trip to the sushi bar and we still smelled like chlorine and Coppertone.

At Rubios, I was looking forward to some of their roasted chipotle salsa. In fact, I was craving it. But this particular salsa has been temporarily discontinued. Stupid tomato recall!
We also got the car out of the shop. All it needed was a new pipe and hose for the power steering system--a $90 repair. We got off cheap. But still, it's not a vacation without some sort of car trouble!

Back at home, we just crashed. National Lampoon's Vacation was on again. CMT is getting more mileage out of that film than the Griswolds got out of the Wagon Queen Family Truckster.

After two days of wall-to-wall entertainment, we need a vacation from our staycation. Tomorrow might be a lazy day.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Staycation Highlights: Day 3 (Monday)

--Q got up bright and early to drop the Dodge off at the shop. Afterwards, he stopped at the store and bought dounts for breakfast. No vacation would be complete without a donut run.

--Afterwards, we kicked back and watched Lucas' and my new favorite show: Cash Cab.

--For lunch we ate at one of Kyle's chosen restaurants; Cousins' Subs. I noticed that their receipts remain unchanged. On our way out, Q informed the guy at the counter that we live in Arizona, not Arkansas. We'll see if the error is fixed next time we eat there. Cousins' is across the street from...

--The Brass Armadillo Antique Mall. Lucas was on the lookout for some old musical instruments. No dice, but he did spot nine washboards. I think my son has aspirations of starting a jug band. I didn't buy anything either, as all the Fiesta was overpriced. $28 for a Cinnabar bud vase? Puh-LEEZ!

--I LOVE this little pink dollhouse. It was priced right at $45. If I had a daughter, I would have bought it.

--Lucas playing a game of Rotary Phone Races.

--After the antique mall, we stopped at Cold Stone for ice cream. And then...

--We went to Laser Quest for a couple games of laser tag. The boys had done this before with friends, but Q and I never had. This had to be the highlight of our day. At the conclusion of the first game, our family took four of the top five spots. I placed second in both games. The scores below were for the first game. But by the time we left, Kyle had the highest single game score of the day.

--Back at home for a little down time before...
--Q and I went out on a long overdue date night. I picked up McDonald's and a DVD for the boys. Then started the evening with dinner at this uber-trendy pizza restaurant.
Afterwards, we went to the movies to see Sex and the City. Or as Q calls it: "that show with the redhead, the tramp, the girl from Melrose Place, and the main chick". That's right, Dear. And there's also the bald guy, the gay guy, the bald gay guy, the redhead's husband, and the guy from Law & Order.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Staycation Highlights: Day 2 (Sunday)

--Q opened his Father's Day gifts--a Fiesta Pie Baker in Cobalt and an Individual Baker in Sunflower. He likes the Fiesta bakeware better than Pyrex, Corningware, or anything else. And I'm more than happy to indulge him. We also got him a the season 4 DVDs of Mission: Impossible.

--We went to the Waffle House for a late breakfast. I sometimes get cravings for their food.

--Back at home, Q watched an episode of MI. It looked strange watching Mr. Spock in a fake beard pull a gun on a stewardess.

--After a few hours by the pool, Q went in to watch a baseball game. Kyle hung out in his room. Lucas and I watched National Lampoon's Vacation. Again. I REALLY need to buy a copy of the DVD.

--We went to dinner at a place called My Thai. The name may be a corny pun, but the food is tasty. I highly recommend the honey glazed shrimp.

--After dinner, we wanted to go play pool. The first place we went to--Uncle Charlie's American Grill--is now out of business. So we drove to a nearby bowling alley to use their table. But we were greeted with a sign stating that only patrons over age 21 can enter the bar/billard room. D'oh!

--The Dodge was making funny squeaking sounds while steering. When we got home, we were greeted to a big honkin' fluid spill on the floor of the garage. Double d'oh! Staycation Day 3 will begin with a trip to the shop.

--After the sun went down, we went to the neighborhood park to throw baseballs.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Staycation Highlights: Day 1 (Saturday)

--We drove to Arcosanti for live jazz, art exhibits, and Indian fry bread. We had a nice time, but it was too hot to stay for the entire day.

--On the drive back to town, we did some loose activity planning the week. I told the boys that they could each choose two restaurants for us to eat at over the course of the vacation. Lucas chose Peter Piper Pizza and Rubio's Baja Grill. Kyle picked In-N-Out Burger and Cousins' Subs. Aim high, boys.

--We stopped at the outlet mall in Anthem so I could check out the offerings at Gap Outlet. Their selection and sale prices aren't what they used to be. I left without buying anything.

--By late afternoon, we were back home, and in the pool.

--For dinner we went to Peter Piper Pizza. I was feeling generous so I bought the Pizza & Play Pack with 60 game tokens instead of the 40 we usually get.

--At home, we stayed up late and watched one of Luke's and my favorite movies--National Lampoon's Vacation. My favorite part is when Clark and Ellen are singing "Mockingbird" in the car. They're almost as good as James and Carly.

Friday, June 13, 2008


A few months ago—even before it reached $4 per gallon—I was fretting over the price of gas. It was then that I proposed to Q and the boys that we try something different this summer. I suggested that we spend our vacation at home. And they were all for it. Especially after I cast some dark shadows over the traditional plane or road trip:

--Air travel is an expensive, uncomfortable pain in the @$$.

--Not only is long distance car travel is inconvenient, but it's no longer economical.

--The idea of spending $100+ per night for lodging doesn’t appeal. Especially since our house is bigger and more comfortable than any hotel room. The only good thing about staying in a hotel is the pool. We have one of those here, too.

So we decided to take a home vacation. Apparently, this idea has become so popular that a new word has been coined—staycation. During the next week, we will partake of leisure activities and visit some of the attractions that central Arizona has to offer.
Our staycation starts on Saturday. And except for a few organized activities, we are playing everything by ear. On Saturday, we are driving to Cordes Junction for the Juneteenth Festival at Arcosanti. We also have tickets to Thursday's D-Backs game.
The rest of the week is wide open. We will go to the movies, Golfland-Sunsplash, bowling, Castles N' Coasters, and anywhere else we think of. We will also spend a few lazy afternoons out by the pool.
For a staycation to work, we need to have a few simple ground rules:
--Q is taking the entire week off work. His laptop will only be used for watching YouTube videos, checking baseball scores, and other pointless Internet surfing.
--There will be no chores done. I will spend Friday sprucing up the house so it will at least start the week clean. The only exceptions will be pool maintenance and scooping out Jango's litterbox. Bad things will happen if those jobs are neglected.
--No chores mean no cooking. We will eat out in a different restaurant every night. This is something you do on regular vacation anyway. On the other hand, if Q feels like baking a batch of brownies, I won’t cry foul.
--There will be no pressure. On a regular vacation we run ourselves ragged trying to visit every single attraction before it’s time to go home. If we don’t feel like doing something one day, it’s no big deal. The bowling alley will still be there next month.
--I might let this blog go quiet. While I do enjoy it, keeping you people entertained is very time consuming. :-)
The idea of a staycation was mostly prompted by our desire to save money. Airfare, rental car, and lodging eat up most of the average vacation budget. By eliminating those elements, we can afford to spend money visiting local attractions and enjoying leisure activites for which we never seem to have time.
But it's also driven by our desire to relax and have fun without all the hassles attached to long distance travel. We won't have to haul around luggage, sleep on lumpy hotel mattresses, or worry about getting lost in a strange city. A staycation is offering us the best of all worlds.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Thursday 13: Going Places

Below is a list of thirteen places I've been this week:

1. On Sunday, Q, the boys, and I went to the movies to see Iron Man. That was the longest Audi commercial I've ever seen.

2. Afterwards, we went to Ray's Pizza for dinner.

3. On Monday, the boys and I stopped by my mom's office to pick her up.

4. From there, we all went to the Verizon store to pick up Kyle's phone.

5. After that, we went to MOTO for lunch.

6. On Tuesday, Lucas and I made an increasingly rare trip to Jamba Juice.

7. Then we went to Target. Lucas used a Christmas gift card to buy baseballs and Mentos. I bought fun stuff like toothpaste, batteries, and Jet Dry.

8. On Wednesday morning, I took Kyle to the orthodontist to have a loose wire replaced.

9. Then we went to Target to pick up something I forgot on Tuesday's trip.

10. Then we stopped at the credit union.

11. Afterwards, we went to Macy's to pick up Q's Father's Day present. I spared Kyle a walk to the other end of the mall to Dillard's. But we did go to...

12. Trader Joe's. I'm pissed that the one item that prompted the trip was out of stock: green chili and cheese tamales. At least they had the shredded beef ones. Q and the boys will be happy.

13. And then we went home.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Separated at Birth?

Wet Lucas and Wet Beavis.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Cell Out

Yesterday, Kyle got his first cell phone. I had been reluctant to take this step, but my resistance was futile. In a few weeks, Kyle is flying to Portland, Oregon to visit relatives in that area.

And he's flying alone. Someone, please toss me a Xanax.......NOW!

Anyway, I vehemently refused to allow him to take this trip without a cell phone on his person. And Q agreed. At first, he was going to let Kyle borrow his phone. He's logged like seven airtime minutes in the last few weeks. He wouldn't have missed it.

But then my mom informed me that she was planning on buying Kyle a phone for his birthday (he turns 14 in August). When I told her about his upcoming trip, she offered to give him his present early.

Kyle and I went to the Verizon website to view their phone offerings. He had a Motorola phone picked out. But once we got to the store, he found a better one--a Samsung Alias that includes a QWERTY keyboard. Let the texting begin.

And that's exactly what happened. Since yesterday, Kyle's phone usage has consisted of 12 talk minutes (half of which was us testing the phone) and 56 text messages. In fact, he sent me a text then called less than a minute later to see if I got it! Those messages would have cost 20 cents each, but my mom added an unlimited in-network texting add-on to her bundled plan (most of our friends and family have Verizon phones, too).

At $10 per month, that package paid for itself last night.

I'm now convinced that Kyle's new phone is a good thing. He has independence and freedom. And I don't have to call every house in the neighborhood trying to locate my son when he isn't home by dark.

The new phone is also teaching him about budgeting. While Kyle can make any calls he needs, I implored him not to run up Grandma's bill with overage charges. And he seems to be listening. When he called me to check in, Kyle was anxious to get off the phone because he didn't want to use up his minutes.

I just hope the cell phone doesn't become Kyle's primary means of communication. For one thing, I won't be sending him text messages to let him know that dinner's ready. And I will not allow him to turn into one of those insipid teenage washouts who blindly run a cell bill up so high that their mom had to take a night job. If that happens, Kyle will be the one waving at passing cars in a taco costume.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Summer Reading

I also ordered a copy of Architecture and Design, 1970-1990: New Ideas in America. I thumbed through this one at a used book store. It has some great photos of buildings from the Deconstruction Momevent. I can't wait to get it.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

One Word

In lieu of a Thursday 13, I'm doing a survey that I found on Seangstm's blog. I added a few more near the bottom.

You can only answer with one word…

1) Where is your cell phone? PURSE
2) Your significant other? QUINTON
3) Your hair? GORGEOUS
4) Your skin? PASTY
5) Your father? DIED
6) Your favorite thing? DISH
7) Your dream last night? TOOTHLESS
8) Your favorite drink? PEPSI
9) Your dream/goal? DEGREE
10) The room you’re in? LIVING
11) Your ex? WHO
12) Your fear? GUNS
13) Where do you want to be in 6 years? GRADUATED
14) Where were you last night? HOME
15) What you’re not? SUBTLE
16) Muffins? BLUEBERRY
17) One of your wish list items? IRONSTONE
18) Where you grew up? PHOENIX
19) The last thing you did? WALKED
20) What are you wearing? PAJAMAS
21) Your TV? SAMSUNG
22) Your pet(s)? JANGO
23) Your computer? LAPTOP
24) Your life? COLORFUL
25) Your mood? INTROSPECTIVE
26) Missing someone? SURE
27) Your car? MUSTANG
28) Something you’re not wearing? HAT
29) Favorite store? ANTHROPOLOGIE
30) Your summer? QUIET
31) Like someone? YES
32) Your favorite colour? PINK
33) When is the last time you laughed? DINNER
34) Last time you cried? RECENTLY
35) Favorite TV judge? ALEX
36) Favorite pig out food? OREOS
37) Something you do too often? CUSS
38) Something you don't do often enough? DUST
39) Who will/would re-post this? PAT
40) Whose answers are you anxious to see? CRAIG

It Happened Today

We knew it was coming. The gas price in our neighborhood has officially topped $4 per gallon.

Incidentally, this picture was taken at about 2:00 this afternoon as I was coming home. When I passed the station at 11:00, the per-gallon price for regular unleaded was only $4.02.
Later, I saw this shirt at CafePress:

Monday, June 02, 2008

College Prep?

I walked into the dining room and found Lucas drinking his root beer from a funnel.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Sunday Dishes: Harlequin Platter

Harlequin Oval Platter in Chartreuse. $6.50 at the Brass Armadillo Antique Mall in Phoenix.