Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Almost Ready

The packing is building to a crescendo - it has finally cooled down enough outside to start loading up the car. Tent, sleeping pads, pillows, sheets, blankets, towels, cameras, clothes, life jackets, swim fins, books, crayons, mini DVD player, toiletries, snacks, cooler full of frozen drinks... I will invariably forget something.

I forgot to mention that Dan has been gone at Scout Camp since Saturday noon. We won't see him until we pick him up at the Missoula airport on Saturday afternoon. I hope I'm doing a competent job of packing, but honestly it's better with him gone because I always react so badly to his presence and input when I'm doing something like this. I freak myself out, imagining that he's criticizing me when he's probably just being benignly inquisitive, and am kind of sad to discover that I'm much calmer doing this without him.

Ye Gods!

The drip system is halfway done. I'm registered for Anatomy this fall with a professor I know nothing about - it was either that or "staff." Those were the only two classes that I could possibly make work with my babysitting possibilities. I just had a semi-genius idea! My friend Nancy, who would like to swap babysitting with me, just told me she's not sure she can afford a class this fall. I've just sent her an offer to pay for her class & book if she agrees to not make me drive up to Rancho Santa Margarita and instead will come down to my house to watch E and drop off her baby girl. It will still cost me less than paying somebody to watch E!

The plans for the drive up to Montana keep changing. I like a nice, long, leisurely drive, but Mom wanted to chop a half-day off, so I will roll with it. We leave tomorrow morning, as long as we have no repeats of last summer's vomiting disaster.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Too Hot to Work!

Trying to get the garden ready for me to be gone almost three weeks is NOT fun. I must get up as early as possible to do the outside chores, before the heat threatens to bring out Cranky Mama. I turned the compost pile this morning and added the bedding from the henhouse to it - chicken manure is supposed to speed up decomposition. At the bottom I had real, honest-to-goodness compost. My first homemade compost! I filled up my galvanized bucket twice and moved some over to the vegetable beds. Tonight I will mix it with the remainder of my compost from Serrano Creek Soils and mulch the vegetables as thickly as I can. the drip system is still not done and I haven't even cracked the manual for the timer - I can only hope it's simple or I'll have to beg Elizabeth to water the garden on our rationing days (I'm trying to be a good citizen, insert big sigh here).

I have baby banana melons and a baby canteloupe (charentais)! There are at least 9 pumpkins on the vines now and just at the end of June I finally got the runner beans planted along the courtyard and installed the trellises for them to climb. We'll see if it helps at all with cooling that side of the house. I got the gourd vines in the ground and the stevia bush, but it took some kind of beating and several branches are now broken off. Hope it recovers. I tied up rope trellises for the climbing squash and will do the same for the San Miguel Coral Vine.

i loathe packing. I'm not good at it. That, plus this heat, is slowly making me insane. Feh, I should stop wasting time on the computer.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Dirty, Chapped, and Stiff

We're back from the Annual Clemens Family Beach Campout, in sunny San Clemente! It wasn't much of a vacation, as Dan only took 1.5 days off from work for it. Grrr. However, that is over and next week we leave for MONTANA.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Nap, anyone?

The party went great. It was imperfect but lovely. No children were seriously injured. Hostessing is exhausting. Stephen came down early and was more than just my right-hand man; he was extraordinary. Elizabeth helped a great deal, too. Lots of people came, three picnic packs of chicken were not enough. I think Dan had a good time even though he'll never let on. He prefers to rib me about it being a semi-surprise party, because I told him once that I hate surprise parties. I only hate the ones where you're not expecting anything at all and then you walk in and your so-called friends jump out from behind the couch and give you a coronary.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Panic On the Streets of El Toro

Party tonight. Yard slowly coming together - not pretty, but not horrible. The pumpkin vines have taken off and add welcome greenness to the otherwise barren backyard. Our neighbors are watering their backyard trees and have sort-of-flooded part of my backyard, which irritates me a bit because we are on water rationing now. House cluttered, but a lot can and should be relocated into the garage. Kitchen messy, but there's a lot of food to be prepped later so I'll save cleanup until the end.

No clue how many people are coming. Invited lots of friends, both secular and churchical. Hope we all mix well! Bought three "picnic packs" of chicken thighs and drumsticks this morning, they're marinating right now in tikka masala and citrus garlic. About 15 ears of corn, 18 lbs of watermelon, 13 lbs of papaya, yellow and black plums, cameo apples. Kim's bringing pasta salad, Elizabeth is bringing a rice dish of some kind. Hope I have enough cups and plates. Just realized I don't have enough cutlery, wondering if I can get away with not providing much - chicken can be eaten with your hands, right? Ha, I'll have to get at least some forks.

Dan knows we are having friends over tonight, but doesn't know it's for his birthday and has no idea how many people I've invited, but seeing me prep 20 pounds of chicken this morning should have raised a red flag. Crud, I never ate breakfast.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009


I settled on a vibrant coral. I got haz-mat orange. I now have a toxic chicken coop! There will be a new quart of paint in the future, but probably not until after I am back from Montana. Until then, the side yard will be lit at night with the soft glow of the fluorescent hen-house.

On to Montana. The really bad news is that we have a pinion bearing that has worn out in the rear axle of the Suburban. If I could fix it myself it would be $126, but I do NOT know how to do that, do not really have time to do it even if i could, and we do not wish to part with the approximately $900 it will cost to have it professionally done. SO we will now be driving to Montana in my Mom's minivan, which I do not want to do but I don't see any other option. My station wagon only holds five.

Now I have to go make a pot of pappa alla pomodoro for the Relief Society dinner tonight. I almost had to be a model in the "fashion show" tonight, but thankfully I dodged that bullet. Then I have to go back to frantically cleaning the house and yard in case people actually show up tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Hale & Hearty

Is it "party hearty" or or "party hardy?" In a way, they both make sense.

Anyhoo, I'm having a wee (neither hearty nor hardy) party for Dan on Thursday night. He kinda knows, but I don't think he realizes how many people I've invited. Wanna come? There'll be BBQ, s'mores around a fire, and a big side yard for the kids to injure themselves in! If I forgot to send you an invite on Facebook, consider yourself invited. Dan gets home around 6:30 but you can show up any time you please.

Sunday, July 05, 2009


Today is Daniel's birthday! We had pie at my mother's house yesterday to celebrate and of course watched the fireworks. Chino allows "safe & sane" fireworks but many fine citizens believe this means they are also free to set off roman candles, bottle rockets and all manner of illegal sky-exploding chemical cocktails. While I tut-tut, I also enjoy the illegal shows, so again we see my hypocrisy knows no bounds. We sat out in the street with many of the neighbors who've seen me grow up (my parents bought that house in 1985) and set off our own legal explosions while enjoying the blatantly illegal show somebody was putting on the next street over. Many mosquitoes joined the party as well, judging from the small red mountain range growing on my back today.

Daniel has elected to bake his own birthday cake today, which I think speaks volumes about the quality of my baking (I make a rad fruit pie, though). The boys gave him gifts from their own toy collections and Paul even gave Dan some of his foreign coins, which says L-O-V-E. I gave him pretty much nothing, because he wouldn't tell me anything that he wanted. So this week I will get him the totally unromantic gift of new pillows, because we have had our down pillows since we got married and they have pretty much lost all of the poof by now. Don't worry, he never reads this, so as long as you keep your stinking mouth shut it will be a surprise.

This Saturday is the first day of the Annual Clemens Family Beach Campout. I am unspeakably tired of San Clemente State Beach and Dan semi-agrees with me. We have agreed that he will lobby for the idea of changing location next year. We will almost certainly lose; inertia requires a lot of force to overcome and I don't think we carry much weight in these matters. But we will try. We were thinking maybe one of our mountain lakes (Big Bear, Arrowhead, Silverwood) but heck, I'll settle for even a different beach.