Monday, May 31, 2010

Family Road Trip

I haven't blogged in a while because I've been on a road trip with my twins (Yay!), mother, grandmother, and brother. I understand this would not normally evoke feelings of terror or dread in most people, but then most of you have never traveled with my mother. I love her dearly, but something dramatically dangerous always happens. ALWAYS! She regularly has near death experiences while on vacation. I have been going on vacations with my mother for quite a few years now and, unfortunately, I can not report that these instances are not fabricated. She is just that accident prone.

This is a list of the top mom near death stories!

1. My mother and I went to Peurto Vallarta when I was 19 with my baby brother, then aged 8, and my friend S, aged 18. One of the days spent in Peurto Vallarta was not overly booked with excursions around the town and we simply swam at the beach. I am a decent swimmer, but this is not because of any advanced training, just native skill. I'm not bragging, I just may have had the most common sense out of our group. That is really not saying much. Trust me. I'm an airhead. Really. Really, really. So we were swimming at the beach and S and I hear my mother screaming for help because they had been caught by the current and were drowning. S and I swam out to my mother and brother. I grabbed my brother, told him to float, and hopped back up to the beach. I looked back, expecting to see my mother and S right behind me, and they had not moved one stinking inch! I swam back out to them and yelled, "What the fuck are you doing!?! Get up to the shore!!!" (I was 19. My cursing is much more advanced now. I was just a beginner then.) They began babbling about the current and not being able to move. I grabbed my mother's hand and lead her on a diagonal to the shore. She lived through that vacation and treated me and S to manicures and facials.

2. My mother and her older sister have a propensity for planning overly adventerous vacations. Never mind that they were both in their mid 50's at the time. Or that they were not in fantastic physical shape earned by vigorous physical exercise, or really, any regular exercise at all. So my mother and aunt planned a vacation so crazy that the two of them could not convince any of their combined four children to tag along on the trip. There was a train trip from Texas to San Francisco. (Which was reason enough for me to refuse the invitation.) There was a stay in a hostel. A bus trip with a bunch of hippies through the Yosemite mountains. The near death experience occurred during a hike through the Yosemites. Mom and auntie went on a hike with another member of the bus trip on a beginner course up into the Yosemite Mountains. This should seem simple enough. Follow the green course markers. Don't leave the trail. Don't give your sister ALL of you bottled water just because she's thirsty after drinking all of her own. Don't give your sister all of your toilet paper after she uses her own roll. Don't tell the other hiker to go on ahead and leave the two of you because you are just holding them back. Really. Neither of them can follow a map on hard paper and have gotten lost in their own major metropolitan cities. My aunt has gone three hours south when trying to visit my mother who lived to the north. These two women who lack any sense of direction at all told the only person with them to leave them. They, naturally, were unable to follow the directional signs for the trail and ended up headed into what they were told was an uncharted part of the Yosemite mountains. My mother by this point ended up dehydrated and having diarrhea, hence the importance of the bottled water and toilet paper. By some miracle, my mother and aunt were found by a couple of very experienced hikers who followed the trail based on a hunch and found two exhausted, dehydrated, and stinking women who needed every ounce of help they had to offer.

My mother told us this story as soon as she got home. She got every bit of the cussing she was expecting and more.

3. When I was 13, my mother, stepfather, and brothers, aged 11 and 2, went skiing in Colorado. I started out the trip aggravated with my mother because she was not putting my 2 year old brother in ski lessons. Olympic skiiers start learning how to ski at age 2. Why couldn't my brother? (The Olympics must have been on, or I don't think I would have possessed this tidbit of knowledge.) So, my 2 year old brother and my mother spent 6 of the 7 days when everyone else went skiing just playing in the snow. (Now that I have children who do not live in mountainous states, I can understand her reasoning, but don't tell her that.) My stepfather watched my baby brother play in the snow one day so that my mother could ski. Before you think my (former) stepfather overly cruel and overbearing, this day was probably day 3 or 4 of the trip. My mother managed to take the beginners course in the morning and ski the bunny slope 2 or 3 times before she had her fall. According to her story, it was really more of a tipping over. She decided the fall hurt enough that she began to scoot down the mountain slope. The snow patrol drove by and picked her up, delivering her to the bottom of the slope on the back of a snow mobile. Mom's nerves were understandably frazzled after the fall, so she refused to try her hand at skiing again, choosing instead to spend the rest of the vacation playing in the snow with my brother.

Fast forward 10 years. Mom has said for years that she has arthritis in her hip. She has a bone scan to check for osteoporosis. Lo and behold, she had a healed fracture in the hip she fell on while skiing.

Not really a death defying story, this one just illustrates my mothers bad luck.

4. My mother and her older sister (you might notice a trend here) went on a road trip to the most haunted hotel in Arkansas. I was (and am) married, so I decided not to go on the trip. My two brothers, probably aged 24 and 15, along with my cousin B, aged 19 or 20, agreed to go on the trip because it sounded fun, but with the stipulation that they could take their own vehicle and not wait for their mothers. My mother and aunt are infamous for their inability to get within 20 miles of the posted speed limit. This is understandably annoying to teenagers and twenty-somethings. So off the brothers and B went, leaving my mother and aunt to slowly make their way into the mountains of Arkansas. (I really just liked the way that sounded. I have no idea where in Arkansas this hotel is located.) My aunt announced somewhere along a mountain pass that she had to go to the restroom. Immediately. Right then. My mother stopped the car. It was a fairly open stretch of highway. They left the car door open to shield my aunt's face from oncoming traffic. My mother, caring soul that she is, turned her back on my aunt and opened her jacket to shield any unsuspecting passers-by from the sight of my aunt's ass. My mother was expecting my aunt to urinate. Who wouldn't announce voiding intentions other that urinating to the sweet person shielding their most private function? My mother was shocked when she got sprayed with diarrhea all over the back of her legs. Her car got sprayed too. My aunt's response: "Oops!"

Just a side note, if I ever am on a road trip with you and you spray the backs of my legs with diarrhea, I will leave you where you stand.

This was more a death from embarrassment story, but belonged with the mother stories.

5. When I was 12, my mother and I went to Big Bend National Park with my 10 year old brother, my older aunt, and my 6 year old cousin, B. Big Bend National Park is in one of the southern most points of the state of Texas, right across the border from Mexico. We all went on a horseback riding adventure, lead by several park rangers. The horseback trip was uneventful enough, at least when it comes to my mother and aunt and their adventures being uneventful. My mother and brother and I had had our fill of my aunt and cousin, so we did as had been reccommended and walked along the trail that went out towards the west from the hotel. I remember it being west because the sun was in our eyes that evening and the glow of the sun across the desert plants. The train was winding. We walked as far as we thought we could and still get back to the hotel with enough daylight to see any snakes or spiders that might be lurking about. Naturally, we misjudged the distance and were rushing to get back to camp with the sun dipping below the horizon. At one point in the winding trail, there was a short cut that skipped a curve and all you had to do was jump down off of a rock. I remember the drop being about two feet. My mother remembers it being four feet. My brother and I made the jump without any problem. My brother demanded my reluctant mother attempt the jump. She attempted. She failed miserably. Mom jumped, rolled, cut her knee, and found herself rolling in horse manure. Her cut knee was caked in horse manure and we had a good 30-45 minute walk back to camp with her limping all the way.

Because nothing just happens to mom without something dire also happening, mom and her manure caked knee turned into Mom with a raging infection requiring antibiotics to heal the knee. She didn't almost die, but what if there had been a snake or tarantula underneath that rock?

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Blackberry Blaster

I finally got the opportunity to make a delicious adult beverage and forgotto take a picture of the drink just for this blog. Oops!

So here are some of my friends with a drink in hand.

The drink is delicious! The drink starts with Blackberry Lime syrup. Then add as much rum as you'd like and top off with ginger ale.

Blackberry Lime Syrup lineup:

4 cups blackberrys
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup lime juice

Cook the blackberries and lime juice over medium heat about 10 minutes, until all of the berries burst. Strain the seeds out of the syrup. Add the lime juice.

I froze the syrup until I needed the syrup for the drinks.

Do not let munchkins know that you've made the syrup because they will call it popsicles and eat it before you've had a chance to chill out with your girlfriends!


Sunday, May 16, 2010


This is Annabelle. I picked out Annabelle when she was a tiny, rolly-polly puppy. That dirty, rotten, no-good female dog immediately took up with my husband. She acts like he hung the moon. She acts like I am her arch nemesis. Never mind that I am the one that feeds her.

But that's ok, because I think my husband is kind of special too.

Annabelle now has a longer name. She developed glaucoma in one eye and lost her vision in that eye. The boys were understandably upset by her bulging eye. She is now Annabelle the One Eyed Pirate Bulldog.

More on her adventures to come.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Fish Sticks

Several weeks ago, I had dinner at a restaurant in Dallas with my Mom and Aunt. We had an off-menu swordfish dish. It was amazing. It melted on my tongue. It didn't have that disgusting fishy taste. I was intrigued. And then my grocery store started carrying frozen swordfish which looked like it had been flash frozen while still on the boat.

I tried to recreate that fantastic swordfish at home.

And failed miserably.

And I had another swordfish filet that was thawed and really needed to be cooked.

Enter munchkins.

I have discovered that Trip will try any food I put in front of him for money.

I figured if I made the preparation simple, Trip would easily (and cheaply) take the bait to try this new fish.

I offered Logan the same deal, but there was no bribing that rotten, little munchkin.

The lineup:

Swordfish filet, sliced into strips
Lawry's seasoned salt
Olive oil

On a plate, gently mix approximately 1/2 cup of flour, 1 tsp of Lawry's seasoned salt and 1/2 tsp of pepper. Dredge the swordfish sticks in the flour mixture, evely coating all sides.

In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat until hot. Fry the fish sticks about 1 minute on each side, until browned, making sure not to overcook.

Drain on a paper towel. Serve with tartar sauce or whatever condiment your little munchkin likes. Mine ate his plain.

Trip first took the tiniest bites possible of the fish stick. Then I announced that it was bedtime. Trip put his foot down, made demands. He refused to go to bed until he finished his fishstick!

Sunday, May 9, 2010


When I met my husband, his family had a few very well developed recipes. One of those recipes is Mulligan. Wikipedia defines mulligan stew as "an Irish stew, that typically includes meat, potatoes, vegetables, and whatever else can be begged, scavenged, found or stolen." Said stew was also typically cooked in a pot over a fire. The Mulligan cooked by my sweet husband and his parents had evolved a great deal in their family. No longer are any of the ingredients stolen or foraged. Although I do frequently have to beg for an onion or bell pepper from my mother in law!

My sweet husband looks like this when I tell him I'm making Mulligan! Which is reason enough to make Mulligan.

This munchkin smiles for any reason at all! He ate sixteen bites and twenty crackers. Silly munchkin!

The lineup:

1 onion
1 bell pepper
2 cloves of garlic
1-2 TBSP olive oil
1 - 1 1/2 lbs ground beef
1/4 - 1/2 cup of Worchestershire sauce
2 cans of English peas
2 cans of corn
2 cans of Rotel tomatoes
8 oz of cheddar cheese, grated
saltine crackers

Dice the onion and bell pepper. Heat the olive oil in a stock pot and cook the onion, garlic, and bell peppers until golden and soft.

Meanwhile, cook the hamburger meat over medium heat until browned through. Drain off the fat from the hamburger meat. Pour the worchestershire sauce over the meat, cover, and cook for about 5 minutes, until onions and bell peppers are softened.

Pour the seasoned meat over the onion/bell pepper mixture. Open all of the cans of vegetables and pour into the stock pot without draining the liquid off of them.

Put the lid on the pot and leave on medium heat for about 15-20 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.

Stir and the scoop into bowls. Add cheddar cheese. Scoop with the saltine crackers and forego using a spoon!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Fighting demons

My sweet little angels have been fighting for no reason at all since they were in the womb. (Ok, maybe Trip did have a reason in the womb. Logan was taking up all of the good space.) Fighting outside of the womb started when they were about 18 months old. There was usually some sort of provocation though.

Last night though, Logan was sweetly playing a video game on the couch and Trip walked up and punched him for no reason. Trip then looked at me and smiled and punched Logan again! Logan looked up, an aggravated expression on his face and then went back to his game. Trip probably hit Logan four or five more times before Logan ever got into the whole "fighting with my brother" game.

The demons then proceded to have a punching extravaganza right in my living room! I would have stopped them, but the monsters were laughing the whole time!

I have heard that if you let kids fight when they are younger, they will quit fighting when the punches start to hurt. I've also heard that twin boys will get into numerous fist fights for their entire childhoods, possibly part of their adulthoods. I think I'm in trouble.