Saturday, August 29, 2009

So not ready to give up summer

I picked this up yesterday while walking the dog:

I like fall, but I worry that this isn't far behind:

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Maker's Mark

Yesterday I took Dad out to the Maker's Mark distillery for a tour. I don't care for the taste of bourbon at all, but it really is a neat tour. I even dipped a couple bottles (in red wax, for those of you who aren't up on your Maker's Mark), one for Fred (next time we see him) and one for a friend:

Here I am preparing to dip:


Dipped (and plastered from the looks of it, although I swear that Dad drank my samples at the post-tour tasting):

The distillery is waaaaaay out in the middle of nowhere. First you drive to Bardstown, and then you drive for about 20 miles down a twisty little road. We saw this amazing mailbox on the way out, and on our way back, I pulled off into the driveway to snap a pic:

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Happy birthday, Annabelle!

Annabelle is 14 today! Her big goal for the day was NOT having to do her APUSH notecards, which she finished at about 10:30 tonight. This afternoon we're going out for pizza with several of her friends, then coming back here for brownies and ice cream (Ben and Jerry's cinnamon bun flavor).

Here are some photos from her early days. This was our first family photo with our adorable new baby girl:

She was one cute pumpkin that first Halloween:

And I am very glad I got this first Santa pic, given that it was many years before she willingly sat on his knee again:

Saturday, August 22, 2009


If you were to wake me out of a dead sleep and demand that I share a happy memory from high school RIGHT THIS VERY MINUTE, the odds are good that whatever I would come up with would have something to do with my association with Shoestring Theatre. Not that I don't have other pleasant memories from high school; I'm sure I do. But the ones from the plays I was involved in with this community theater are the most numerous and bubble to the surface most easily.

I got my start at Shoestring in the fall of my sophomore year of high school, when I auditioned for The King and I and was initially cast as one of the King's children. The director quickly realized that she had an abundance of teen-age girls among the children but not a lot of young women to play the members of the King's harem, so before we knew it, we were transformed into wives.

Makeup for most of The King and I cast was a colossal pain in the butt. Each night, my parents helped me cover my fair skin in pancake makeup. To force my jaw-length hair into the requisite bun, we slimed it thoroughly with KY jelly, slicked it up and into a bun form, and then bent it to our will with an abundance of bobby pins and hairspray. And then we spraypainted the whole mess jet black. Night after night.

I can remember washing my hair in the garden hose outside the theater before taking off for a post-show cast party or trip to IHOP. I also remember the agony of sitting on my knees on-stage for what seemed like hours, waiting for the wives' time to join in on "Getting to Know You." I wouldn't have traded one single minute of it, however, spraypainted hair and all.

The other day, my mom sent me a link to a newspaper article about Journey's End, the amazing animal shelter that the director, Florence Thuot, has been running at her home for over 30 years. The article begins:
GLENWOOD -- Fire got sick and a choice had to be made.

The former champion and dressage horse got an impaction, and Florence Thuot, the founder and owner of Journey's End Sanctuary, had two options -- pay the mortgage or treat Fire.

She treated Fire -- after all, that's what the shelter is known for, providing lifetime care for a menagerie of animals that have been abused, neglected or have some other special needs.

The weeklong treatment cost $1,500, and Fire is once again a healthy 25-year-old. However, Thuot is now two months behind on the mortgage -- one of the shelter's many financial needs with 56 dogs, 240 cats, four horses, three sheep, two pigs, both of whom are on daily medications, and an assortment of chickens and roosters to care for.
Go read the whole article and while you're at it, watch the video as well:

I hate, hate, HATE asking people for money, but it just kills me to think of Mrs. Thuot sacrificing so much on behalf of the animals and being in such dire financial straits. Tonight I'm temporarily getting over my distaste for fundraising in order to help spread awareness of this situation. Please give a little and pass this story on to others who might also feel inclined to help.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


Remember the amazing Cuban restaurant from Monday's post? I can't stop thinking about their sweet potato fries. In fact, when I got home last night only to discover that a spring had popped loose on the bassoon, rather than feeling irritated that I had yet another journey to Louisville in my future, my immediate thought was, "Sweet potato fries!" Sure enough, it was a quickie fix at the instrument store and then Dad and I were pigging out at Havana Rumba.

About the bassoon--it's great! After I picked it up from the instrument shop, I took it over to meet the professional bassoonist and let him go over it with me. He showed me why it is a $1800 instrument (instead of, say, a $4K or $40K--yes, there are bassoons out there that cost that much--one). He was impressed with the restoration job though and said it would likely be a step up for Annabelle from the school instruments she's used to. He played the hell out of it! In fact, I called Annabelle on my cell phone so she could hear, and her first response was, "Oh my god, is that my bassoon or his?"

Because of the spring snafu, she had to wait until this afternoon to really give it a proper workout. She's a little rusty after her summer away from playing, plus apparently each bassoon has its own little quirks to be worked out. She gave it an enthusiastic thumbs up, however. She's got her first lesson of the year tomorrow afternoon, and I know she's looking forward to showing it off to her teacher.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


That's what I say today with every step I take. "Ouch, ouch, ouch!" That wunda chair just about did me in. I hope I'm getting around a little better tomorrow, since I have class again.

After Pilates, I'm picking up Annabelle's new (to her) bassoon and taking it over to be inspected by the lead bassoonist for the Louisville orchestra. I have high hopes for this instrument. It's a tremendous bargain and will allow her to continue to play for now without feeling like she has to mortgage her future to the bassoon.

Then I'll be frittering away the rest of the afternoon in Louisville, since my dad is coming for a visit and he gets in around 6. Mike will be taking Annabelle to her dance class and picking her up--it's very convenient have a second car and driver in the house!

I added Showtime to our cable lineup, and I am now officially caught up on Weeds. Now I have to wait a week between new episodes, just like everybody else.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Wunda-ful afternoon

There was only one other student in Pilates class today, so our instructor decided to take advantage of the studio's 2 wunda chairs. What's a wunda chair you ask? THIS is a wunda chair:

And let me tell you, it is HARD to do! This is the most exhausted I've been after class in a really long time. I felt OK leaving the studio, but I stopped for lunch at a cute little Cuban restaurant I had just found, and when I got up to drive home, it felt like my thigh muscles had disappeared. When I got home I lay down on the bed for just a minute and wound up falling asleep for an hour and a half! I hope I'll be able to climb stairs tomorrow.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Things that make you go hmm

Bottom line up front: Fred is fine. Yeah, there was a car bomb down the street from the embassy earlier today, but he was inside at the time and he's fine. I'm fine too, but a little dazed and bewildered.

The attack happened at 8:35 a.m. Kabul time, which is just after midnight here. I remember noticing that it was just about midnight when I turned off the light and went to sleep. I woke up at 6 this morning when Harvey was playing soccer in my bedroom with a chapstick. When I realized it was Saturday and I could go back to sleep, I started to do just that, but then I decided to take a quick look at my email on my cell phone.

I noticed that I had a few new ones, including 2 from my friend Jen. Because of the tiny phone screen, I couldn't see any more than the names of the senders, and, wondering what on earth Jen could have going on that would lead her to email me twice in one night, I clicked on hers first. The subject line was "fred?" and the message began: "Please tell me that you have heard from Fred and that he is okay."

I figured out immediately that something bad had happened, so I grabbed the remote, turned on the TV, and started frantically trying to find the news. Then it dawned on me that I should go back to my email and see if maybe one of those OTHER emails that I hadn't taken a second look at might have possibly been from him.

Instant relief! Indeed there was one, timestamped shortly after 1 a.m. my time with the body blank but the subject line reading "I am fine . . . was inside at time of explosion . . . check CNN." Whew!

So all's well that ends well (for us anyway--I'm afraid there are a fair number of Afghan citizens who weren't so lucky). I feel kind of stunned though. This summer really has felt like Act 2 of the War College. The kids and I were already used to living apart from Fred, having been practicing for over a year now. But somehow even though I knew he was in Afghanistan, it's almost like I didn't really KNOW it. On some level, I thought he was still chilling out in Pennsylvania--playing softball, drinking beer, and putting the "college" in War College. This might be a longer year than I had expected.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Ohio trip report

Well, I survived the road trip to the concert! The drive there wasn't bad, and I wound up killing time during the concert by going to see Julie & Julia, which I really enjoyed. After the movie, I drove back over to the concert and found a spot to park and wait. The show was over about a half hour after I got there, but it took us another hour just to get out of the parking lot! The drive home sucked, as I hate driving at night, but we made it home by around 3 a.m. Of course, I was so hopped up on caffeine for the drive that it took me a while to finally fall asleep.

I was glad I didn't have to get up and be terribly productive this morning. I don't know how Mike made it through a day of school on only 3 hours of sleep, but he did! (Of course, then he came home and took a 3-hour nap.) He says it was definitely worth the pain though to see the show he never expected to see.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Coffee, coffee

I've been out of the house at spouses' coffees for the past 2 nights. Basically this just means 2 evenings of hanging out with cool people, eating great food. I don't think I've ever actually had coffee at a coffee.

If you're Annabelle's Facebook friend, you may have noticed that she had to return the middle school's bassoon to the band director because--surprise!--a new 8th-grade bassoonist has arrived. (In fact, he is going to be living 3 doors down from us. What are the odds of THAT happening?!) This is really cool but left us in a momentary jam without a bassoon. Finding a bassoon is just not that easy, unless you happen to have several thousand dollars lying around that you really don't need.

I called the principal bassoonist for the Louisville Orchestra, the same guy who set Annabelle up with her bassoon teacher, and explained our predicament. He gave us a contact, and I called today. We will be renting a used wooden bassoon with an option to buy, and he should have it ready for us next week. It's currently being overhauled. It's a great price, AND if we do decide to buy, we get a 20% discount. So, yay!

There will probably not be any blogging tomorrow. In fact, if there IS blogging, it will go something like this: "I cannot believe I'm driving to Cincinnati and back tonight!" Yes, I will be playing taxi-mom for Mike and a couple of his friends, who are going to go see Blink-182 in concert. Basically, I will drive 2 and a half hours to sit around for several hours (maybe I'll go to a movie?) before driving 2 and a half hours home.

Mom made a new Mad Men me:

She said I picked the wrong nose (hardy har har!) in mine. She might be right. I do think I look thinner in hers, which is nice. I must be wearing my 18-hour girdle in that one.

Monday, August 10, 2009


I went to a new (to me) optometrist in Louisville today. I got my most recent glasses last October, but ever since about April or May I have felt like my vision is going dramatically downhill. It turns out I have old eyes, which I think is patently unfair. I've worn glasses since fifth grade! I should get a free pass on this reading glasses BS. Maybe it's karma from all the times I've picked on Fred for the same condition: "Would you like me to hold that across the room for you so you can see it, dear?"

The proposed solution: RGPs (Rigid Gas Permeable contacts) of the BIFOCAL variety! I'm mortified, but I hope this will prove to be the magic bullet. I'm tired of not being able to see, and I'm told these will sharpen everything right up.

In other news, I am a goddess when it comes to Bejeweled Blitz on Facebook:

At least until tomorrow when the scores re-set and it'll be like it never happened . . .

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Hooray for naps!

I chaperoned the high-school dance until midnight last night and spent today recovering. I did help Mike sort through of some of his clothes, but my big accomplishment was taking not one but TWO naps.

Because I spent so much of today sleeping, I really have nothing interesting to say. So here's a picture to show you how big Harvey is getting:

If Eddie looks less than amused, it's because that's HIS food Harvey is eating.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Running with scissors

Today was the official ribbon-cutting for the new high school, and Mike and his friend Karissa were chosen to do the honors:

I should be getting pictures of the actual cutting from the photographer who was there from the Turret. I'll post those if and when I get 'em.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Just can't wait for the new season of Mad Men!

I've been going through some old pictures from the early 1960s. Here I am, hanging out with my good friend Betty Draper (her husband is an ass, but my, is he ever easy on the eyes):

And here I am bringing Fred a drink and the paper when he walks in the door from work. 'Cuz that's just the kind of woman I am:

(Go here to Mad Men yourself!)

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Blogging from bed

I haven't had my computer with me in bed for at least a week now. I did something monumentally stupid and tried to watch Weeds for free online and picked up some sort of nasty virus. I decided to rescue my data and reformat the hard drive, and it's taken me a while to get everything put back together. In fact, for some reason I can't connect to my own network, so I'm borrowing a little bandwidth from the neighbors in order to post this.

The kids are over halfway done with their first week of school. There have been a few minor bumps, mostly in getting Annabelle's schedule finalized, but I think we have the kinks worked out, and they seem happy enough.

I went to Pilates today, which was kind of lonely without Annabelle along for the ride. On the drive home, I called Fred on my cell phone, which is kind of novel for a deployment. He has a regular US number that rings in his room, but I never got a chance to try it out before, as the time windows where we are both awake and he is in his room are incredibly narrow. Stupid time difference.

My Netflix delivery arrived today: the first 2 discs of the season of Weeds that I was trying to watch when I screwed up my computer in the first place. I am going to go watch a couple episodes now.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Stupid weather

I would write a post griping about how Annabelle and I needed light jackets to walk the dog tonight, but Louisville is under water in a lot of places, so I guess I can't complain. Mom called today to see if I had gone up there. I wondered why she was wondering about that, and she said, "Turn on the Weather Channel!" Oh. My. This is NOT good.

I spent a lot of today helping Annabelle straighten out some stuff with her schedule, and in doing so, I figured out the answer to the question of whether I should take all 3 classes I signed up for. The answer is hell, no! In fact, I might even just take the one core course. Sure, in a TV sitcom the kids would all pitch in to enable Mom to go to school or to work or whatever, and it would be loads of frolicking fun. Heck, the Partridge kids started a rock band to keep the family afloat after Mr. Partridge died! But no, as I was running around today taking care of this it dawned on me: "I'm THEIR back-up. They're not mine." Mike is going to be busy applying to college and for scholarships, and Annabelle has a pretty rigorous course load this year. The last thing I need to do is drag more stress into the mix. So thank you for helping me noodle that one out! I will think of you guys, my vrey wise readers, every time I have a free moment to go to lunch or take a Pilates class.

Monday, August 03, 2009

First day of school

As of today, both my babies are high-school students. This is their last first-day-of-school together (sniff, sniff). Here they are heading out to catch the bus this morning:

I guess I neglected to take pics on their very first day of school here at Knox. Maybe because I didn't think it would stick and we would wind up homeschooling again? But here are shots from 3 years ago to show you how much has changed:

Some seniors (not saying who!) did some decorating at the school last night (click to see better, especially the panoramas):

I have spent the morning working on the computer. It hasn't always been easy though:

The kids will be home in an hour and a half, and I can't wait to hear how their days went! I have cookie dough in the freezer so that I can surprise them with hot, fresh cookies. They will think I've been possessed by June Cleaver.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

End of the season

I am so not ready for summer to end! The kids go back to school tomorrow, and I swear it's like the weather knows it. Our high today was 80. Hello, global warming? Where are you?

I have been busy, busy, busy the past few days. My planets, stars, whatever must be in perfect alignment, because I have been Getting Stuff Done. It's like I'm playing tennis with Life, and each fuzzy ball that sails my way, I calmly smack back across the net. Laundry? Smack. Cooking? Smack. School supply shopping? Smack, smack. I can't get too cocky though. Tonight I was thinking about how uncharacteristically on top of things I've been lately, and then I picked up a load of dirty clothes from the basement floor and stuffed it into the dryer. Then I stood there and thought, "No, wait, that's not quite right."

This evening we had our neighborhood back-to-school BBQ, which was nice. The housing office donated hamburgers and hot dogs and let us block off traffic on my street. We lined picnic tables and chairs up and down the street and had a nice little block party.

I spent the past hour or so removing belt loops from Annabelle's pants. Under the new dress code, you have to wear a belt only IF your pants have belt loops. Going beltless is Annabelle's way of refusing to let The Man get her down.

Last night I took Annabelle to Bardstown to see Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. My review is decidedly mixed. I had never seen the show before, and it is definitely not one of my favorite Andrew Lloyd Webbers, but the cast did an amazing job of it. It was at an outdoor amphitheater, which I knew going in, but it never dawned on me that the whole flipping thing would be uncovered! Everybody else knew though, and had brought rain jackets and umbrellas. We had a brief rain delay in Act 2, but they finally made it all the way through the play. I tried to sit there and pretend I was laid back. But really? I just can't spend $20 per ticket AND drive an hour each way and then have to worry about getting rained out. My nerves can't take it.