Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Kites Without Lights

I will admit, when it comes to Christmas, I am somewhat of a Scrooge.  Getting the decorations out & then having to put them all back up just seem like more trouble than it's worth.  If it wasn't for the Gruesome Twosome, I wouldn't even bother with the tree (although with our current hurricane-esque destruction from the renovations, our tree might not make an appearance).  I also detest hearing Christmas music before Thanksgiving.  That just ain't right.  However, there is one Christmasy thing that I look forward to every year, Kitty Hawk's Kites with Lights, which is the Saturday after Thanksgiving every year.

Kitty Hawk Kites is located right across the street from Jockey's Ridge (a huge old sand dune), which looks like this during the day:
Taken while waiting on Pey in the bathroom.  That kid is the most hydrated kid on the face of the planet.
We had already visited KHK earlier during the day so the girls could rock climb on their indoor climbing wall.
Sometimes I'd be willing to pay the operator to just leave them dangling up there for a while.  You know, for my sanity's sake.

We headed back that way around 5, or just when it was starting to get dark.  We parked and walked all the way up to the top of Jockey's Ridge, which in the dark could very well be a event on Fear Factor (trust me, I have seen the rusted out tin cans and the abandoned putt putt course in the daylight and it's a tetnus party just waitin' to happen).  We successfully hauled our butts all the way to the top just to find out that there was no wind.  None.  In the area renown for it's wind (yes, the Wright brothers flew here because of that wind), we had nada.  No kites.  No lights.  Only the dangerous trek up the ridge and possible hepatitis.  The one thing I look forward to & it just wasn't happening.Bum-mer!

At least I got some great shots from last year.  Here's what Kites with Lights should look like:

Guess that will have to hold me over until next year.  Maybe in lieu of the tree, I'll just string some lights from the ceiling and call it a day.  That way I don't have to worry about cleaning the living room--the lights can just hover over the junk!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Insanity (Or The Things We Do For Love)

You all know that I ain't exactly right.  I have never been accused of acting rationally.  Ever.  Unless it was tossed out as an insult to try to get me "spun up" (as J likes to say).  In fact, my senior year quote was "Why be normal?".  See, if I was normal, I would have kept my butt at the OBX with my family and my Kindle yesterday (and by family, I should mention how good my grandmother's cooking is).  However, I am so far from normal, I decided that it would be "fun" to spend 10 hours round trip in the car with J to drive back inland to Greensboro in order for him to keep stats at the Page football playoff game.

Yes, 5 hours there.  5 hours back.  PLUS the 4 hours of sitting in the cold.  With 6,000 people I didn't know.  To watch a game where Page was decidedly the underdog.  I didn't want J driving back after the game by himself, so I threw my Kindle in the car and rode along.
My vantage point.  Not pictured, my Kindle, to my left.

J in action.  Still not sure how he categorizes a tackle by a "shipload of Pirates"
My father in law & I prepared to storm the field after the game.  Well, as much as a  65 year old man with a hip & knee replacement can storm.
'Nuff said.
The good news?  Page won 41-27.  HUGE upset.  They are now going to play for the state championships next week.  Even better news?  J was so pumped after that win that he managed to stay awake the whole drive home & I didn't have to take the wheel at all.  His radio choices were questionable, but hey, it was 4am, so whatever kept him awake.  I will give him credit for fetching me a large mocha, with a extra shot this morning.  It's the only thing keeping me going right now.

Here's to next week and hopefully many more "Pirate....FIRST DOWN!!!  ARRRGGGG!"

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Lulu's 11th bday

As hard as it is to believe, my Lulu turned 11 yesterday.  In my mind, I'm still the carefree, young, hip 16 year old and I'm having a hard time reconciling that I am indeed the mother of a preteen.  Given that fact that she is almost wearing the same size shoe as I am, I have to wake up and smell the coffee.  My kid is growing up.

This year was an odd birthday arrangement.  J had to go out of town on business, so we had to stretch the festivities out over the course of a few days.  Although Lulu missed her dad, she was quite content with the prospect of having more birthdays, more cake and more presents. When she's my age she'll want less birthdays so we are letting her have her fun while it lasts.

Before J left, we took her to her favorite place, Fuji Japanese Steakhouse.  We tried to get the waitress to do something for the celebration, but apparently the waitress thought we were trying to scam a free dessert so she ignored us.  We went over to my inlaws for cake and presents afterwards.

The big day of her bday was a full out assault of epic proportions.  The frogs were hopping with anticipation.
See what I did there--frogs?  Hopping?  I amuse myself

I went to her school, armed myself with celebratory Krispy Kremes and ate lunch (actually I sat there while she ate.  I survived school food the first time--not willing to chance it again).

Krispy Kreme.  Finally something tasty in the cafeteria.

I ran off to the mall to get her cookie cake (yeah, my kid doesn't like traditional cake on her birthday) and ran back to get her.  My mom and grandmother came up for the festivities.  Since J was out of town, we decided to make it the girliest of girlie celebrations.  We went to Ulta, the bastion of all things girlie.  I gave her a basket and turned her loose.  Thank heavens they didn't have big rolling shopping carts like the grocery store, or else I'd have to take out a second mortgage.  I had also just made a large Sephora purchase for myself the day before, so I wasn't tempted to add on to her basket.  Well, I was, but I knew it's not my bday (Geez, ok.  So I admit.  I did make a run to MAC across the street, but just for one tube of lipstick.)

How did a kid who loves pink be born to a woman who loves red??

We went for dinner at our favorite pizza place--Sticks and Stones.  We could sit wherever we wanted (we were there at senior citizens early bird hour) and just happened to pick a table with napkins decorated with "Emma".  It was meant to be.

Back at the house, she opened her loot and cut into her cookie cake.

A special thanks to Coach K for her most memorable gift--his 903rd win, giving him the winningest record in collegiate basketball history.  Thanks for that!  Much appreciated!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Beauty Test Dummies

Apparently the planets are in proper alignment today.  Mercury in retrograde and the house of Venus rising or something like that.  As we all know, I have several addiction problems--coffee, Duke basketball, Ewan McGregor and lipstick.  Lots of lipstick.  Red lipsticks.  I could never work at Sephora, because I would spend all my paycheck and then still owe them.  Plus, I'd probably scare customers in my repeat chanting of the Lord's Prayer, at least the "lead me not to temptation" part.

Shay and Carrie, friends I met through Robin the Abandoner, have started a beauty/makeup blog Beauty Test Dummies .  These two are smart and sassy AND huge Duke Blue Devils fans--what's not to like?  With my makeup *problem*, of course I was uber excited to read it.  Insight AND wit--what's not to like? I wrote Shay to let her know how much I enjoyed reading it & told her that if they ever needed a guest contributor to let me know.  Hey, I'm unemployed at leisure and I have time to spare these days.

At that point, Mercury and Venus got together and cosmic karma smiled down upon me.  Shay replied to say that I could contribute as much as I wanted!  It's like Christmas in November!  I get to put my makeup product junkie habit to good use AND get to write.  That's tantamount to Coach K asking me to write my thoughts about my Blue Devils or Ewan asking me to write reviews about his movies.  Huge!  Gigantic!  Gigantically huge!  When I make a trip to Ulta and MAC tonight, I will hold my head high because it's all in the name of research to help edify the masses.  Right?  Right?

Now if only I can find a way to justify my Starbucks addiction......

Monday, November 7, 2011

Johnny Cougar Mellencamp

This year J & I have been fortunate in that we've been able to go see one of our favorite singers in concert twice.  Let's face it, John Mellencamp ain't getting any younger so we have to take full advantage while we can.  Even his core fan base skews sharply to the AARP crowd.  Kinda ironic that a guy who used to be called "Cougar" has female fans that are too old to even be considered "cougars".  "Snow leopards" perhaps, but well past "cougar" age.
Vintage Cougar--the shirt, not me.

With the Sound and the Fury stashed with the sitter, we were off for a night of some serious rock 'n roll (well, as rock 'n roll as you can get with the rocker on the front porch kind of crowd).

Photo taken by Lulu--ergo the up the nose angle.
We weren't in a big hurry to get to War Memorial Auditorium, as Johnny Coug has replaced an opening act with a documentary of his life on the road.  We'd already seen the film in Columbia and since I'm highly unlikely to see a movie without Johnny Depp in it twice, we did what every couple without kids do--went to eat a meal without interruptions and/or fighting (that is, the kids fighting, not us).

Once we got to the auditorium and had our tickets scanned, this was the sight which greeted us:

See, I told you this crowd was old.  The auditorium wasn't willing to roll the dice with waiting for EMT's to come from an ambulance waaaaay outside in the parking lot--they had gurneys in the lobby.  

Other than getting stuck behind the only two women in the whole balcony section who insisted on standing up and flailing about like she was caught on a barbed wire electric fence, the show rocked.  Yes, the Coug is a grandfather, but he sure doesn't look like one (at least not from our seats).  He played the entire two  hours.  He started off strong with "Authority Song" and kept it going until he ended with "Cherry Bomb".  He's not a chatty kinda guy, but that's ok. I come for the music.  I'll watch The View if I want to hear chit chat.  He played old songs, new songs, good songs and a few that I consider bad songs.  I think I may have developed a crush on his fiddle player, Miriam.  Watching her play almost inspires me to break out my own fiddle and figure out how to play it again.  Almost.  

This pic reminds me a lot of our Anthony Bourdain pic.

I'm glad to know that the Coug got my memo about playing my favorite song "Key West Intermezzo", as he added it to the set list since we'd seen him last in SC.   He apparently got other memos from his "Snow Leopard" age fans, as he turned around a lot to give the audience a glimpse of his grandfatherly backside.
Strong opener--"Authority Song"

Good show.  I hope he makes it back a few more times before he retires.  I won't hold the whole Meg Ryan dating thing against him (Seriously?  The "I fight authority" guy dating America's Sweetheart??)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


When I was a kid, I was the same thing every Halloween, a witch.  Every single stinking year, I wore the same old green rubber mask with the fake curly hair.  However, I tossed my mother's old pink ruffly piano recital dress which she wore when she was 12 over it for good effect and donned her tiara she had won for being queen of some festival--bonus, portions of the tiara were held on by scotch tape (I guess being queen was rough).  Yes, I was a witch, but a stylish one!  Even back then I had my priorities right--fashion at all costs!

The Gruesome Twosome would never be happy to throw on a stinky mask year after year.  In June they start scouring Costume Express with the same kind of zeal usually demonstrated by their mother in the lipstick section of Sephora.  They have ambitions of epic proportions.  Problem is, the costumes come with grandiose price tags and flimsy materials.  Gone With The Wind burning of Atlanta scene goals paired with a burning of a match in the backyard kind of budget.  In other words, I'm not spending $40 for a costume.  Well, not for a costume that isn't going to be worn at a dance recital.  Wait--dance recital costumes?  Brilliant!!!  We have a ton of them AND they're already paid for!!!

Pey was going to wear her elephant costume from May recital. Perfect!  No alterations needed.

She's posing like her nose is the trunk, not wiping her nose on her sleeve.  Promise.
Lulu had seen a pic of the Queen of Hearts and decided she wanted to do that.  The problem was that I had a LOT of work to do.  Here's what we had to start with.

Yeah, a blank slate.  This had been a Christian lyrical costume.  Snow queen, maybe.  Queen of Hearts, no way.  So we went to Hobby Lobby and stocked up.

Lots of tulle, ribbon, scrapbooking paper, a Christmas decoration (which was 40% off--score!) and a black tshirt.  Lots of sewing (with the sewing maching at that!), lots of fabric glue and lots of ugly words when the elastic wasn't co-operating, and a mere 2 days later and we have this:

Back, without the collar.
Yes, I watch a ton of Mad Fashion and completely borrowed Chris March's collar idea for Jennifer Coolidge.  The collar made with the Christmas decoration & accordion folded paper was my favorite part of the whole costume.  It made Lulu easy to spot with the balls bouncing all over the place.  Poor kid couldn't turn her head from side to side, but it looked impressive.  In retrospect, I should have incorporated flashlights into it, to be closer to Chris' original, but then I'd have to buy a neck brace for her to wear today from the aching caused by wearing 10 pounds artificial illumination.

Here they are together:
Turns out that as long as the Sound & Fury are busy getting candy, they actually get along!  We trick or treated for over an hour--no fights!  Even better, both costumes held up the whole time.  Maybe my sewing skills aren't so bad after all--HAHAHA!  Sounds like I'm "April Fooling" it at Halloween :)

Now for the fun part--raiding their candy stash while they are at school.  Bwahahahaha!