Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Thirty-one years ago ...

April 24, 1981, Rick and I went on our first date. For some reason, we've always made a bigger deal out of this date than our actual wedding anniversary. Maybe that's because we were married on Valentine's Day and it's always a busy day. Thirty-one years. Gosh, that's a long time.

Our first date was during the annual Ojai Tennis Tournament. If you click on the link, you'll see that it starts today and has been going on for 112 years. I don't think they still do it, but back in the 1980s they used to have a local dance for the tournament. It was generally held at the local high school, and that's where Rick and I went on our first date.

I remember that dance very well, even to the clothes we both wore. I also remember Rick asking me about a necklace I had on. It was a little, gold heart on a thin, gold chain. He asked who gave it to me and I remember hearing a bit of jealousy in his voice. That faded away after I told him the necklace was given to me by my mom.

The picture above was taken the day Rick graduated from high school, just about two months from that first date. As you can see, my heart necklace was replaced by one Rick gave me. It says "LOVE" and has a tiny diamond in the letter O. I still have it. To be honest, I hate this picture because Rick's brother-in-law was trying to make me laugh. I have a monkey-face thing going on. However, it's one of the first pictures we had taken as a couple.

Thirty-one years and we're still together -- much older, but still together.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Snow White

The boys and I are studying Snow White this week. By studying, I mean we're reading different versions of the story, comparing them, and doing some simple crafts. Now Snow White seems like an awfully girly thing to study, but my boys don't mind. They can pick anything apart and make it rude and crude. We read the Disney version today and were laughing how the seven dwarfs protected Snow White even in death, only for her to split with Prince Charming in the end. What about the dwarfs? Can't they live in the castle too? The boys can always find something to poke fun at, such as how willingly Snow White bit into the apple and how quickly the evil Queen died. We'll read the Grimm's version tomorrow and compare the two.

As a kid, I always liked the Disney version of Snow White. Rick often calls me Snow White because of all the little, forest animals I seem to attract. I thought of this just today when I was sitting on the deck and a little squirrel came right up to me. He was just a few inches away and of course I had to talk to him. I'm weird. Snow White is my mother-in-law's favorite movie and Disney princess. As much as I enjoy Snow White, I'd have to say my favorite was Sleeping Beauty. Not only is she prettier, but she sings way better. There's nothing really attractive about Prince Charming either. Prince Phillip is way more handsome. Well, when it comes to animated princes, that is. It's interesting how both princesses are tricked by an evil woman and fall into a deep sleep. A hundred year nap sounds kind of nice.

Anyway, it's a light-hearted study for the boys, so it's nothing major. We're going to Walt Disney World in a few more weeks, so this is a fun way to gear up for that. Last week we read different versions of Pinocchio and finished it off by watching the animated film. We'll probably do the same for Snow White. I picked her this week because Snow White's Scary Adventures is closing down at the Magic Kingdom. Neil normally skips that ride, but has agreed to go on it one time because he knows it will be gone forever. I think it was one of Walt's favorites, so we just have to ride it one last time.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

2nd Birthday

I have the most amazing daughter. Nichelle touched up these pictures for me. They were full of scratches and marks. I can't work PhotoShop nearly as well as she can, so I'm always amazed at the things she can do with the program.

Judging by the cake, this was my second birthday, which would have made it February of 1967. The first picture shows me with my brother and sister. Mike is five years older than I am and Sharon is four years older. This birthday was probably a very hard time for my family because my dad had just died in 1966. To be honest, I'm surprised they even had a cake for me.

I used to have some information about my father's death, but I must have it packed away someplace. Oddly, I can't find anything about it online, which I find disturbing, but not too surprising. A lot of the things I was told about my father when I was a kid was either incorrect or simply untrue. Sometimes it just leaves me scratching my head in confusion and disappointment.

Thanks for fixing the pictures, Nichelle! It means a lot to me.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Cool Beans!

Neil and I decided to check out the Salvation Army after school today. Neil loves that place and can spend just as much time there as I can. In other words, a lot of time! Nathan likes it also, but Rick hates it. I think we were in there two hours today just looking around at all the junk.

I found this great hardcover book called Time For a Rhyme. It was written by Ellen Wilkie and illustrated by Sharon Kane. It was published in 1966 by Rand McNally & Company. I love these old books, and considering they cost anywhere from a dime to a quarter, it's really hard to pass them up. 

Neil found another hardcover book from 1971 called Christina Katerina & The Box. It looked pretty interesting, so we got that one as well. I just looked it up on Amazon and the hardcover is running from $18.97 to $34.95. For a quarter, I think we got a bargain. I never know what I will find there.

Other cool finds for Neil was a book on golfing techniques. It's an adult book, but he and Nathan are really into golf right now, so maybe they'll learn something from it. Neil also found a kid's book called Picture This, Fun Photography and Crafts. He loves taking pictures and this book has lots of cool ideas. We also found a picture book on pirates and the 5th grade health book we needed for school next year. Pretty cool, if you ask me.

I also found a pair of Old Navy cargo pants for two bucks -- can't beat that. They're a size smaller than what I've been wearing, so that's even better. They're a little loose around the waist, which is weird because I don't think I've lost any more weight. Neil also found some little Star Wars figurines he and Nathan collect, along with a vest for GI Joe. Even GI Joe got something.

And finally, I'm all into red plaid right now. If you've been reading my blog for awhile, you might remember how I've complained about in the past because my mom used to make me wear red plaid a lot when I was little. I always hated it and felt like such a dork. However, I guess you're never too old to change your mind about such silly things.

Red plaid is cool, or maybe even a little, red hot. I'll let you figure out why.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Springtime in Montana!

Some mornings you just have to wake up and laugh. It's funny to think I was sitting in the sun in that chair only yesterday.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

And the winner is ...


I am terribly sorry in the delay of picking a winner for the pirate CD. I know I said I'd do the drawing on Tuesday, and here it is already Thursday. Please accept my apology for that. I haven't been online all that much this week, between school and a nasty headache I've been dealing with.

However, congratulations to Stef for being the lucky winner of the Disney Pirates of the Caribbean Swashbuckling Sea Songs! It's a great album and I hope you and your family enjoy it as much as I do.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Bangs or no bangs?

I wear a lot of make-up, obviously. I've been wearing it for a long time, probably longer than most people I know. I started wearing it regularly when I was in junior high. I'm not fanatical about it. I can go out without it, although I don't usually. It's just fun for me. I consider myself pretty low-maintenance when it comes to girlie stuff. I don't go to the salon to get my hair done and I'm not into massages or spa treatements. In fact, I'm 47 and have never once had a professional manicure, not even for my wedding. I did my nails myself. I don't know if that's a deprived life ... or a good one.

I do, however, enjoy playing around on the TAAZ make-over website. That's a lot of fun because I can try out different shades of make-up that I wouldn't normally buy. It's also a lot cheaper. Most of the time my bangs get in the way of trying the hairstyles on the website. Today I was goofing off with my camera and pushed my bangs up. I was too lazy to get up and get a headband, which is probably less than ten feet from where I'm sitting. So I pushed them up and snapped a picture. Now I'm sitting here pondering if I should let my bangs grow out. I've had bangs for ... well, like forever!

I decided to skip the movie-star hairstyle and just save a picture with darker make-up. When I see these pictures, I realize how washed out the browns make me look. This top picture probably isn't the best because it's late afternoon and I haven't touched anything up. However, the darker colors are so much more dramatic. Rick has never liked the browns that much. I can really see the difference here. Ironically, the colors I picked on TAAZ today are ones I already own, so it really isn't that big of a change. Seeing them side by side is kind of bizarre. And now of course, I'm sitting here pondering if I should get rid of my bangs. I guess if that's the biggest thing I have to worry about today, then things just aren't too bad.

Also, don't forget about my drawing on the blog post below for a chance to win a CD of pirate songs for kids. I'll choose a winner on April 10th. All you have to do is leave a comment with something that relates to pirates. I hope you all have a wonderful Easter Sunday tomorrow. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

It's a Pirate Parrrrrrty ... and a contest!

Those of you who know me well know that I'm really interested in pirates. I don't particular like what they did (and still do) because they were ruthless, violent people. I am, however, fascinated by the history of pirates, especially what is considered to be the Golden Age of Piracy. I have many books on piracy and am currently reading one by Nigel Cawthorne called A History of Pirates. To me, it's fascinating stuff, although brutal and heartless.

Whenever I see something pirate-themed, it easily gets my attention. You can guess that by the photograph above. That was taken last May when we were at Walt Disney World with my in-laws. My MIL really wanted to do the Pirates and Pals Fireworks Voyage. It was a lot of fun. We started off at a reception area where they made us put on these silly bandanas. Then we literally pillaged the food area that was filled with massive amounts of loot, including treasure chests bursting with chocolate gold coins. After we stuffed our booties -- I mean, our faces, which probably went right to our booties -- we got our picture taken Captain Hook and Mr. Smead ...

After the reception, our group boarded a boat and headed out onto one of the lakes to watch the fireworks show. It was a lot of fun and the crew members really got into it. There were contests for the kids. Nathan won a pirate-themed backpack and Neil ended up with water pistol shaped like a pirate's flintlock. When we returned to shore, we were greeted by Peter Pan himself, who I might add, was quite spastic. I suppose any grown man running around in green tights would have to be a little spastic.

Of course, Disney is an awesome place for any pirate fan. Not only is there the pirate voyage, but there's also the beloved Pirates of the Caribbean ride. That's always been a favorite of mine. I went on that ride when I was a baby at Disneyland, possibly right after it first opened. I honestly believe with all my heart, that that ride is my very first memory. I still remember seeing the skull & cross bones up on the wall above the tunnel. I couldn't have been more than a year old. Bizarre. Oddly, I didn't get into the movies when they first came out. I waited and saw the first two on DVD when they were released. By the time the third and fourth came out, I was hooked and went to the theaters to see them. Of course, the boys and I had to stop and get this picture while we were in Downtown Disney one night ...

It's a little blurry, but you get the idea. Nothing better than a bigger-than-life sized Captain Jack Sparrow! Besides reading books about them, I'm also really into pirated-themed music. I especially love pirate rock. One of my favorite bands is called Pirate Jenny. They're don't perform or make albums anymore, but if you check iTunes, you'll see they have some awesome songs. They later formed a children's pirate band called Captain Bogg & Salty. I have all their music as well. I don't think they're active right now because they recently signed on with Disney and now do the music for Jake and the Neverland Pirates. I couldn't be happier for these guys to have made it big like that, but I have to admit, I still love their old stuff a lot.

So anyway, this brings me to the reason for this long, blog post -- pirate music! Awhile back, I received a copy of a Disney pirate-themed CD. It's called Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean Swashbuckling Sea Songs. I already had a copy of it, so this extra one has just been sitting in my dresser unopened. I'd like to give it away to someone who might enjoy it as much as I do. Keep in mind these are kid's songs and they're all pirate-related. There are some great songs on this CD, which came out in 2007. To enter the contest, all you have do is leave me a comment on this thread telling me something pirate-related. It can be a movie you like, a book you've read, a favorite song, a dream -- anything, just as long as it relates to pirates in some way. Then I'll randomly choose one winner exactly one week from today on April 10th. Good luck to everyone who enters -- ARRRR!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Stupidest thing I've read in awhile ...

I love camping. I've been camping since I was a little girl. Rick and I have been camping for almost as long as we've been together. Fortunately, it's something we've continued with all these years. We started out in tents, moved to a tent trailer, and now camp in a 28' long travel trailer. This is our set-up pictured above. It's hardly roughing it, but we still enjoy tent camping every now and then. I have to admit, I like my bed better than the ground.

I was just reading the news online and an article about camping got my attention. The first part was okay because it talked about ways to make camping more enjoyable. It reminded people to bring air mattresses, bug repellent, and stuff like that. However, one of the paragraphs was absolutely mind-blogging. I mean, it was completely stupid. This is what it said ...

It's not always the wife or the girlfriend who is leery about pitching a tent in the woods; this can apply to men too! Make your camping trip an event and invite a group. Good company can make all the difference. Check out the campground's alcohol policy and, if you get the thumbs up, come prepared for a good time. This will make campfire story time much more interesting. If your campground does not have electrical outlets, make sure someone brings portable iPod speakers and crank up the tunes.

What the hell is that all about? If you have to bring gobs of alcohol to have a good time, then just do us all a favor and STAY HOME! If you have to crank up the tunes and you just happen to be camping next to me, I'm going to complain to the campground host. I mean, what an absolutely stupid thing to say. I go camping to get outdoors and to enjoy the sounds of nature. The last thing I want is a group of drunk, idiots camping next to my family with their music blasting. You know, every now and then I read something and think to myself, "Are people really that stupid?" I guess they are.