When It Rains, You Get Lemons

This morning I woke up to a nice rainstorm. It was a welcome relief after a rather dry-as-dust-on-Mars August. Of course, that means that drivers out in these parts will be freaking out and acting accordingly. It’s a good thing it seldom snows here. Seriously, the city has shut down over a light dusting of snow before. A dusting that evaporated 20 minutes later. But to give us some credit, we sure know how to drive on highways.

The only bad thing about getting rain is my dog. Lenny, the Labrador mix, doesn’t like getting wet or walking in puddles. This means that sometimes I have to carry the dead weight of a 55 lbs. dog to the lawn and hold her in place until she “goes”. And let me tell you, it is difficult to hold down a dog that wants NOTHING to do with a wet lawn. And you can forget about carrying an umbrella. It’s either managing the dog, or keeping dry. Can’t have both. That means usually I am soaked. Sometimes that gets on my nerves. Now I just take it in stride, because when life hands you lemons, you can then go have some limoncello, right?

italian lemonade cocktail

Italian Lemonade

  • 2 parts Limoncello
  • 1 part Vodka
  • 2 parts Sprite®
  • 1-2 parts Sweet and Sour mix
  • Mint and lemon for garnish

Pour the first three ingredients into an ice-filled highball glass and stir. Add the sweet and sour mix to taste, and garnish with mint leaves and a lemon slice. This is a great drink with which to toast the end of Summer. Or as we in Texas prefer to call it, Summer v. 1.0.

At least it isn’t pumpkin spice, right?? :D


One Year Like Yesterday

It has been a year since my brother-in-law Draco passed away. Time has made it easier for us to bear the loss, and to enjoy thinking of his exploits and funny stories. I think he would have appreciated passing away on the anniversary of Francis Scott Key’s penning of the Star Spangled Banner, too. Draco always did have a flair for the dramatic, though he was careful not to show it. Unless it concerned a martini. Then it had to be the right glass, the right garnish, the right vermouth, even the right pick. He was hilarious.

Sometimes I am caught unawares and the pain of the loss grips me. I was cleaning out a closet and found a shirt he had left behind, and suddenly a torrent of tears let forth, taking me by surprise. Before she left, Eldest’s biggest regret was not being able to wear the bracelet Draco made for her while in basic. And today Texas A&M plays Rice University. He always looked forward to every game, but the Rice games were special, because of the band. Rice’s MOB is rather…. unique, to say the least!

Draco my brother, you are still missed every day. And not a day goes by that I don’t offer up a prayer in Heaven for you and know you are there, looking down and screaming at Manziel to get it together while giving Dallas a scritch. And I promise not to wear any Aggie or maroon stuff. We both know I can jinx it if I do. So, I shall make your favorite dish for dinner in your honor, and we will raise our glasses of lemonade and toast to your memory. We love you…. then, now, and always :)


Spinning Round

I’ve been a little morose and serious lately, and forgot that my job is to entertain my captive audience with Aggie’s exploits. Nothing so exciting as regaling y’all with stories of how I managed to be in three places at once while baking cookies.

Anyway, one of the things that has seriously gotten under my skin lately is home updates. I blame my sister Reno Queen for that. You see, she has been updating the finishes in her home, like lighting and wall decor. That means that she needs to dispose of the stuff she no longer needs, which in turn means I get to enjoy new stuff!!! So I will be updating the light fixtures in the house soon. Of course, since I am getting new lighting for the main areas of the house, I decided I had to get an updated fixture for the bedroom. But as y’all know, Hubby is adamant in having a ceiling fan. I wanted some glamorous bling and set up a fan on his side of the bed, but no. It needs to be a ceiling fan. He really meant NEED. So I looked into a new ceiling fan, and found one with an acceptable amount of bling.

a+r ceiling fanSee?? I love the drum shade that does NOT expose lightbulbs, and look, just LOOK at the glass sphere that gives it just the right amount of bling. I showed a picture of it to my sister, and her response was….. lukewarm. Not her style, she admits, but she agrees that it’s a good compromise for Hubby and me. And if I can’t have a chandelier in my bedroom, at least I have something pretty to look at when I dust it.

Next on the list? The carpeting. Whoever said Berber carpeting was awesome was either drunk, or selling it. So now the new battle begins: tile, or wood? In truth I’m fine with either, as long as I get to set the carpeting on fire :D


We Remember, Always

On this day thirteen years ago, our enemies struck at the heart of our nation.

WTC with flag

That day, a campaign against terror began in our people with steady resolve. We began to gather together not just to mourn, but to begin to understand why. Our mistake was thinking that this was some complex act of war, when the truth was they just want us dead. A political ideology cleverly disguised as a religion decided that it cannot let those who do not believe the same ideology exist. War had been declared against Western Civilization. And so, we went to war.

We took the fight to the root, and began a long campaign on two fronts. And we were not alone. Countries who not only lost their own in the attacks but who also saw the potential danger of ignoring the seed of evil now flowering in that desert joined us in the fight. WE WERE NOT ALONE. For a time the world understood that this was an act against civilization, not just one country. And we fought overseas, and at home. We fought the rising tide of fear and distrust, as well as the inevitable slide into ignorance and complacency. And through it all, we stayed strong in the face of indifference and political expedience.

Thirteen years later, the fight that was declared “ended”, though not “won” has flared again with the help of inaction and political correctness. The fear of offending has paralyzed many to the point where they declare that these people are not terrorists. We now have to win wars by winning the heart and minds of people who have been indoctrinated to kill the infidels. This war is not over, it is not ended, and certainly it was not won. Terrorists are still declaring war on us, and killing our people, instigating a genocide and even killing those who they believe not to be muslim enough. And so I ask, when will our government learn?

They want us dead. And they won’t stop until the Western World stops them. Completely.


Sunshine and Puppehs

I’m sorry I haven’t written lately. I am now a “band parent” and no longer in control of my destiny. Well, as a mom I’ve never been in control, but at least I was able to pretend most of the time. On top of that, I am still feeling lonely now that Eldest is gone. I shouldn’t whine since quite a few of my friends are in the same boat as I am, or went through the same thing she is going through. But lately I have found it more difficult to feel cheerful about anything. As usual, the social-site-with-faces keeps me entertained, but I can’t be a slave to it, no matter how attractive that can be. Internet meth is what I call it. I have been so mopey that Hubby offered to let me buy a Lolita™ wine glass, and I turned him down!!!

Yes, yes I did.

So, I am trying to cheer myself up. Eldest’s goods arrived yesterday, so she is adjusting as expected. And my friend Erin sent me a huge box of old Reader’s Digest™ condensed books for me, so there will be altering in my immediate future. I really SQUEE’ed when I opened the box. Of course, I have to find a place to store them, but that’s a small matter. I have an attic. And I think there is room under my bed. Maybe.

So for now I am cheering myself up with small things like taking walks and enjoying the sun and thanks to XBradTC, with lots of puppehs.

twin puppies

Yes, I SQUEE’ed again.

Anyway, time to go give my doggies a cuddle and maybe start folding some books. Or paint something. That’s always fun, as long as I don’t get paint or glue in my hair :)


Worst Case Scenarios, Part MCMLXXX

It always happens, no matter what we are doing or where we are travelling.

Hubby has the ability to think of 55 x 10³ things at once. It’s a gift and a curse. It does not matter if we are out having ice cream at Baskin Robbins™. In the middle of a delectable bite of Cherries Jubilee, he will ask any one of us a question involving a possible, but highly improbable scenario. It was no different yesterday on the way back from visiting family.

Hubby: Suppose we are on the way home, and suddenly you see a mushroom cloud go up in the distance. What would you do?

Me: Are you serious right now?

Hubby: Yes. What would YOU do??

Me: Uh, well… take my family away from it??

Hubby: And then what?

Me: Pray.

As an after thought I would also go beyond a place of high elevation to let the radiation rain off. But I was a bit groggy from dozing off in the vehicle. Once I was awake, we developed the “WWYD” scenario, to the flip side.

Hubby: What places would the bad guys send a nuclear bomb, and why?

Eldest: Well, high population areas, like major cities.

Me: Hmmmm…. San Andreas Fault, and Yellowstone.

Hubby: Damn honey, you are evul.

Me: Well, yeah. Oh, and add the TVA while you’re at it.

He may think of a metric ton of stuff at once, but I hone my focus to a singularity for effect. It’s a gift, not a curse ;)


In Defense of the Ice Bucket

A new fad for charity has gone viral in social media. The Ice Bucket Challenge has been going on for about two months, but it has just been in the past two weeks or so that the challenge has skyrocketed. It has helped to raise money and more importantly, awareness of Lou Gehrig’s Disease, also known as ALS. Between July 31 and August 18 of 2013, the charity had raised $1.8 million dollars. In the same time period of 2014, they have raised over $42 million. The rules are simple: first, accept the challenge, and pour ice into a bucket of water; second, you pour the bucket over your head; third, you challenge others by name to do the same. You donate a certain amount if you do the challenge, but if you choose to pass on the challenge (as some have done), you must donate a larger amount. The point of this challenge is obviously to raise money for research, so both challenger and the challenged should donate. That’s the bare bones of the whole thing.

Now to my rant.

I have been following along on social media a certain trend, if you will. Some people deride the challenge as being a “waste of water”, and a “chance at 15 minutes of fame”, and even “selfie grandstanding”. Others think the challenge is stupid because it’s not “jackass” daredevil enough. I have seen friends of friends say that it is better to send bottled water to Africa than to do this challenge. I have seen friends complain about it filling their media feed. Well, my turn to say something.

WHAT THE HELL, PEOPLE??

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Every day for a month we are inundated in pink. PINK!! And I don’t mean her music, either. Every organization, from the NFL to Hollywood to airlines to grocery stores to every single thing wears or decorates in pink to “bring awareness” of cancer. Hell, you can get a Kitchen Aid® mixer in a special shade of pink just for that campaign. They wear pink to “support awareness”. What the hell does that do? Who DOESN’T support awareness?? Putting a pink ribbon on everything doesn’t mean a thing. Most people are not aware that when they buy a pink ribbon pencil or a pink ribbon apron that the money is not necessarily earmarked for a breast cancer research foundation like the Susan G. Komen Foundation™. In fact, most of it isn’t. Only certain things specifically endorsed as having its proceeds go to a foundation are earmarked. But people still do it, and charities (plural) raise MILLIONS towards research. And yet some of the same people who complain about the Ice Bucket Challenge have no problem with Pink October. Seems a bit hypocritical to me.

Look, I’m not saying you have to do the challenge. I’m not saying don’t send water to Africa. And I’m certainly not saying you shouldn’t donate to breast cancer research. What I am saying is, no harm, no foul. You don’t like it on your feed, adjust your damn settings and quit complaining. Social media doesn’t belong to you. This has done more to increase donations to a worthy cause than anything I can recall. I do think that whole “it wastes water” is a bunch of hooey, seeing as most of the water ends up on a lawn in most videos. But it makes you seem rather small when you complain about a challenge that is harmless to you and to the participant. My grandmother-in-law passed away from ALS, and a very good friend of mine has lost family members to it, and now her mother has it. Unlike breast cancer, ALS cannot be treated so research is vital. Taking the challenge is a way to show others that you aren’t afraid. If you would rather donate directly, as we do every year, go to the ALS Association website.

And enjoy the fact that you can help, and cool off at the same time :)


Nothing Is Ever Lost

As usual, I have big plans. BIG plans. The kind of plans that require hiring some movers for a day.

I’m a dynamo but even I have limits, especially when it comes to moving a sleeper sofa down a flight of stairs.

Over the course of the next month, I will be moving Son upstairs into his own domain. He will now have his own bathroom, gaming area, study area and a nice full sized bed. Oh, and his own closet. Because he has a loft bed, the only room that had the high ceiling to accommodate it is the study, which has no closet. So, he was using the hallway closet to throw all his clothes and shoes hang up his stuff. This is how he felt when I informed him of my plan:

freddie mercury meme

Anyway, in the course of preparing the upstairs for his eventual move, I decided to start organizing all of my craft stuff, as I have been intending to do for the past year. Look, it is a certain fact that messy people are very creative, and I tend to live up to that standard. As I began to organize my clutter, I began to “find” things which I had “lost”.

  • Two pairs of earrings
  • My mom’s old brooch
  • Our tickets to the 2006 World Cup Semifinal match between Italy and Ukraine*
  • Four jars of gesso
  • One pair of socks
  • Several graduation announcements of family members
  • A coffee mug
  • Three hair clips and two scrunchies
  • My stash of 80’s cassettes

(* Yes, we had tickets to the semifinal match. Unfortunately, we also had non-refundable tickets to Paris, and since we were leaving for the US the following Tuesday, Paris won out. Before anyone freaks out, I offered to give up the trip to Paris for Hubby, and he decided that it would be more fun to tour Paris than to sit in a crowded stadium. So there.)

I had no idea I had so many jars of gesso. I suppose I kept thinking I had used it up and went out to get more. But I was elated to find my mom’s old brooch. I remember her wearing it to special occasions when I was little. I thought I had lost it in the move back to the US and had mourned its loss. And imagine my surprise to find my stash of cassettes. CASSETTES, PEOPLE!! There is something so satisfying about listening to a cassette that you have played so often, it is warped. Yes, I still have cassette players, and even a turntable. And now I have an urge to go listen to Warrant and Def Leppard. I’ll even wear a scrunchie while I blast “Animals” on the cassette player while I finish cleaning my craft area.

Who knows? Maybe I’ll find my UHF videocassette :D


On Being a Pollyanna

One of my favorite Disney films is Pollyanna. I love watching it, even at this stage in life. Hubby thinks it is too simplistic, but in its defense it is tailor-made for children. As usual, Disney deviated from the original story in order to give the impression of a happier ending. But the simple lessons override that.

Stop feeling sorry for yourself.

Mrs. Snow (Agnes Moorehead) plays a cantankerous hypochondriac with the belief that she is not long for this world, and is determined to make everyone around her as miserable as she feels. After many tries to make her feel better, Pollyanna explodes and informs her that she should be happy that so many people do care, instead of complaining about insignificant and surely non-existent maladies. Simply, no matter how bad things are, there is always someone who cares for you.

Don’t shut yourself from the world.

Mr. Pendergast (Adolphe Menjou) is a hermit. He wants nothing to do with humanity, and wishes to be left alone. When he catches Pollyanna and Jimmy skulking around his house, he tries to scare them away, only to find that by putting Jimmy to work, he finds a lonely soul to fit his. Simply, one is never truly alone in the world.

The Greater Good is neither great, nor good.

Aunt Polly (Jane Wyman) is the town paragon, her father having founded it. She thinks of herself as the pillar on which everyone should rely. She controls the town to honor her father, and refuses to let it change, thinking she knows best. SHE will pay for this, and SHE will pay for that, but in return people have to be grateful, and she also expects the town to adhere to her personal beliefs, which includes controlling the church itself. It takes Pollyanna’s accident to make her see what love and charity really are. Simply, one should do acts of kindness for others, not for oneself.

Always find a reason to be glad.

That was her jones. Pollyanna always looked for the good, or the best, or the happy in people, in places, in things. She had an awful dress, but was glad it wasn’t boy’s trousers. Her father had asked for a doll in the missionary barrels, but received a pair of crutches. She was glad she didn’t need them. Simply, there is always a silver lining.

Sometimes we are bogged down with unfortunate events, sad news, things that are out of our control. I used to be full of worry and angst over the minutiae of every day. Did a payment go through? Did I answer that email? Is the water filter working? One day my daughter (she was 8 years old at the time) asked me why I was always so unhappy. And then my husband asked why I was angry all the time. I hadn’t noticed how my state of mind affected everyone around me. And then I remembered this movie, and found a reason to be glad. Oh, I’m not happy all day. I’m Puerto Rican, after all. But I do find something to be happy about every day.

And that makes all the difference :)


Still Here, Sorta

These past few days have been a bit more hectic than usual. Eldest is getting ready to start her new adventure as a sailor, Son is beginning his senior year in high school, and Little One is in marching band. Meanwhile, I am slowly coming to grips with the fact that my baby is leaving in less than a month, so I have been reorganizing the house.

Room, by room.

It’s not easy. I keep finding baby photos, kids’ art, love notes, hospital ID bracelets (don’t ask), and sundry items detailing every year of their lives. I also found a pair of earrings I had been missing since 2009, so I have that going for me. Still, I need to find a better way to organize all of the mementos.

(We interrupt this post in order to pick up my new ceiling fan from Lowes, so have a funny.)

ruining games lol

Hopefully I will be back in the groove of spilling all sorts of weird crap entertaining y’all with my boring life exploits. Maybe. I am toying with the idea of moving Son to the upstairs and making his current room an office-slash-craft room. And perhaps I may get a formal dining set for the dining room, which currently holds the mouse cage and two kennels.

*sobs*

I just want my house to look normal. And don’t tell me that’s a setting on the washing machine. I watch HGTV.

So, lots on things on the horizon, mostly in the vain hope to keep from becoming too anxious over Eldest leaving home. And getting Son ready for college. And having to deal with Little One not being a baby any more. That usually calls for a box of Hostess™ Cupcakes. Thank goodness they are back because otherwise it would be a box of wine :D


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