Sunday, December 6, 2009

Snow Pirate's & Psycho Parents

Happy 4Th Birthday to Gavin~Our Snow Pirate.
Alas, I stand convinced: Eric and I are the psycho parents; always planning these great parties even if it nearly kills us!
This year 'bout did us in...following the hosting of Turkey Day dinner, a quick trip to Albuquerque and a totally insane year~ our energy meters were pretty low. So, we decided to keep the party smaller and more manageable than last year...

Well, all that "manageable" crap went out the window when we got nearly a foot of snow and temps in the teens for a week. Schools were closed and/or delayed and all of my childfree time was absorbed. YIKES, parents with December babies have it rough. You can't just toss them into a park with a pizza and we have no Chuckie Sneeze, YMCA or skating rink~so what the hell else do you do? Have a party...at your house or at their school. (Definately under consideration for next year.)

To top it off, all the invitations sent out said "Dress for a Treasure Hunt~Rain or Shine." And the kids did. Gavin talked of little else during the entire week, but the Hunt, and the X he'd like us to use to mark the treasure spot. We had to deliver. Parents are not to smart sometimes. And at a time like this, I was grateful we only have one kiddo! Who is currently in awe with pirates, dragons, scooters, books and puzzles.

We made a huge pirate ship cake~from total scratch~with 12 cups of butter cream frosting. Eric was my hero, staying up until midnight doing all (not just some) of the frosting and then getting up early in the a.m. to plow our driveway! What a great guy eh?

Mema cranked out a pirate flag and I went wacko with ships, a handmade net with fish, jewels, four rolls of streamers and balloons.












Thank goodness, Mema and Papa kept Gavin overnight~so we had time to get it all done. Gavin's eyes were as wide as saucers when he walked into our house; "my party is waiting for me." Ah, it was all worth it just for that moment. I think....Let the party begin!

After romping in the playroom, scavenging pirate trinkets on our activity table and wolfing down a lunch of homemade mac n cheese with Subway sandwiches~Eric announced the hunt. He got all the kids in a circle, even sitting down, to tell the tale of how treasure was buried on our land "long, long ago." They were mesmerized.


All the kiddos, even the tiny tots headed out in coats and boots with sand shovels in hand...ready to find the X Eric had said would be there...somewhere in the SNOW. Little did they realize, the booty was truly buried under a couple feet of the white stuff~thanks to Dad who drew them a map, discussed it and staged the whole bit.
Inside the pile of snow was a true treasure chest filled with candy chocolate coins, candy necklaces, ring pops and fake jewels. The kids were so excited they nearly maimed each other getting into the box! We finally dumped it out onto the golf green because we thought someone was gonna lose an eye!
After the hunt the kids were pretty spent. We inhaled some cake, opened gifts and loaded them up with some big ole goody bags. We really had an incredibly fun day~followed by a very restful evening by the fire. Today, I hit the mountains with friends for me time while the boys rested up from all the festivities.
Can't believe how time has flown by...Our Little Man, has really grown up to be a very descent kid and I am fortunate to have both the Men in my life!

























Tuesday, November 24, 2009

One Door Closes & Another Opens


for Mema and Papa and for those of us who have watched them spend the last few months in the North 40 with us.
Mema and Papa (pictured here dressed as hillbillies for Halloween 2009), have purchased a 3-bedroom, 2 bath brick home in Granbury Texas, outside of Fort Worth. The house is older and sits on a large lot, and Mema and Papa elected to purchase the adjoining lot so they could have some privacy and space. After reading about the town of 50K or so, it seems as though there is a great deal to offer: lakes, a new cancer hospital, a nearby airport, swimming pools and other family-oriented activities. A closing date has not been chosen, but Mom and Dad are anxious to get it done, so I suspect they will complete it all next week. We are trying to talk them into staying through the Christmas season for the actual move, but they are not yet decided. No rush on this end, no rush on that end, since their new house is empty and Tim's will go on the market in the spring. Gavin is very excited about "his" own room and has plans to stay there a full week as soon as he can. I have mixed emotions as having them close has been so handy for us! I am dreading going into the house and having it empty once again. Alas, all good things do end.
Thanks to Mom and Dad for making Gavin's summer and fall so special with all the pretend games and weekends dedicated to all the things a boy loves most; campouts in the living room, bathing nude in the backyard, trips to the park and library and hours of playtime devoted exclusively to him. I truly don't think he will ever forget all the days of sheer fun created by the two of you just for him. It's been like his own little daycare.
For Eric and I, well, words can't say enough. We could simply not have made it through the last six months without your help. Because you cared for Gavin for days at a time, we were able to help Eric's family with many hurdles. I simply don't know how we would have done it all, without you. Not to mention the co-hosting of parties, cooking and housework support all around.
Alas, I think 2010 will start with some real adjustments and the foraging for a Gavin-sitter. No one could replace you two in his eyes but Eric and I will promise to keep having date nights one way or the other. (And no that doesn't include moving or organizing any body's house.) We love you and wish you many blessings in your new digs!
PS: HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO PAPA WHO IS A VERY FIESTY and YOUNG 78 YEARS OLD!

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Jaunts & The Haunts

Back from our recent jaunt from Denver-with many funny memories and a yearning for the amenities of the city!

We had a busy social calendar, lodging with Candice, Gavin's' Godmother, celebrating Gary's 42Nd birthday with the entire Collin's Clan, including Great Grandma (Gigi) from Edmonton, and the ringing in of our 11Th wedding anniversary! Wow, now that's a weekend. Imagine, our shock to find stores open after dark, people exercising everywhere and walking to their dinner, to get groceries and hit their neighborhood park. All of this was within walking distance and you could survive easily without using a vehicle-unlike where we live---NORTH 40! Needless to say, we loved the city...and the departure from the sticks.

















We scored on the lodging situation, taking over the entire lower floor of Candice's trendy, modern bungalow home. Eric really loved the shower, with a variety of shower heads and Gavin and I lived in the hot tub out back. Gavin did not want to ever get out, so he educated himself on how to pee off the hot tub deck! Neighbors loved it, I am sure. (White trash is visiting, heads up.)

We had to get out and hit the town, sans the kiddo. So the Grandma's put Gavin to bed and we walked to many of Candice's haunts-local wine store, very generous with tastings, then the Sushi Den, full of young people and amazing food. Len and Karen Sanchez (Len, Candice and Eric all went to high school together) joined us and the chatter about old times and stupid things they had done together was priceless. Then with a nice buzz, we walked back home. Ah, so nice, no friggin cars to get into and no toddlers to feed! My first entire meal in awhile! Other jaunts included a trip to the Denver Aquarium, where Gavin vibrated his way through the entire venue, visits to an upscale toy store, fabric store, Candice's sister, Cicily's house, and a long walk through her lively neighborhood stores with their dogs to keep us moving.



Speaking of jaunts, a very memorable one for the weekend included, the tour Gary gave us of the Craig facility-WOW-very high-end and lively. But not as much fun as watching Gary school Eric at a blow dart game in the rec room-handing him his ass the first game. The two of them are closer than I have ever witnessed and the locker-room humor was contagious. Craig continues to be top ten in the country for a reason. (For more detail on Gary's progress-which is phenomenal-check out his site http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/gcollins).


Last, but certainly not least, we spent Sunday afternoon relaxing. The a.m. was spent with Candice, who then cared for Gavin the remainder of the day and evening, while Eric and I hit Vesta to celebrate our 11Th wedding anniversary-alone. The food was unforgettable, but time to ourselves was priceless. Not sure why Eric hangs around with me. I think and hope he has a learning disorder, and continues to for many, many years to come. LOVE YA E.

Special thanks to Candice for making us feel so at home and for working Gavin's mind with puzzles and puppets!














The HAUNTS

Halloween was so much fun this year because we hand picked a neighborhood the kids could actually walk; houses are smaller, closer together and don't involve a 12 percent asphalt slope, like the rest of the Village in which we dwell! You can't just walk out and trick or treat here, half the homes are for vacationers only, the other half are on five acre lots and the others, well, you don't want to visit! So, we did a nice potluck at Godmothers rental home right in town and then opened the door and had the perfect loop for all the kids...The even was sheer chaos with all the kids rambling around and having such a great time. Will definitely do this again. Thanks to Megan, Becky, Eric and Alice for making it happen. Special thanks to Candice for giving up her rental to the onslaught of toddlers and kids! To rent her house visit it at http://www.vrbo.com/ (702 Wingfield)! She is a great lady.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Chaos at The Collins' Corral

Picture the Pioneers of the West, minus the herd of cows, the hemorrhoids and the ability to hunt for food; this was our corral during the past two weeks. Instead of cows, we have been herding cats (family) and Gavin who both seem to be keeping us busier than one-armed shooters.


My Sis and Bro-n-Law, Carla and Doug, stayed a few days last week and are here this week wrapping up their three-month journey across the United States. Traveling largely in their more than twenty-year-old Mazda truck, so loaded the bumper is dangerously near the ground. Honestly, I have never seen so much shit rammed into a vehicle in my life. The entire picture is reminiscent of the Grapes of Wrath. Outer appearances suggest they are homeless, pioneering through life in this truck. Not surprisingly, they have received a few perplexed glances when Doug recently requested it be "valet parked" at a recent upscale hotel stay. Alas, they are just purchasing, storing and hoarding items for their return to Moondance and completion of this hurricane season.

During the Scott's visit we have been experiencing the old West with apple picking, quick-draw gun shooting, a trip to the local Western Chuckwagon, lots of home-cooking, comfort food and white trash entertainment. Through it all we have drawn a few conclusions;

1) We would die if we had to rely on Doug or Eric to shoot and kill anything worth eating.


2) Gun holsters are not flattering or useful on women who are short and pear-shaped.

3) Based on direct experience, Gavin is certain Carla is ill-equipped to drive an ATV. So are the owners of the ATV!


4) Arrival from long road trips wreck havoc on our septic system.

5) Playing ghost only requires a pillow case and ear-piercing screaming.

On other fronts;

The Martha in me (the non-incarcerated part) has the house all decorated for Halloween~a month ahead of time! Eric and I really get into the holiday and Gavin gets such a kick out of it. We had bat shaped pancakes for breakfast, pumpkin bread for snacks at school last week and plenty of ale to ring in the Harvest Moon. We are going as pirates...should be fun watching Gavin stab kids with a plastic sword. ugh.

Took a hike with friends to 10,555' on Sunday and it was fall around. The leaves had begun to carpet the forest floor and the elk nearby let out a bugle or two just for us.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Our Weekend Flashback




Yep, we managed to get our feces compacted enough to squeeze in a long weekend at Elephant Butte Lake and then a one-niter in ABQ at a hotel.
Typical Collins' chaos, Gavin and I towing the trailer, Eric coming much later in the same day. Thankfully, our friends, Jim and Tawona, are more organized and kid-free. They arrived at the Lake and found a nice spot for the whole fam-damily. With their 5Th wheel, our two vehicles and later on our boat, it looked like an auction! We took over the whole spot, got beds made up and watched the dutch-oven Champions take over for supper prep. (We brought sides.)

Ever seen the movie Lonesome Dove. Well, that was us all over. Watching them cook in cast iron ovens over a fire was Old Gus at his finest. I got to tell you, it was the best meal of BBQ ribs, mac salad, garden veggies and then apple cobbler I had ever had...anywhere. Both of them have won national competitions for these dishes and now we know why. I betcha you could smell that cobbler cooking for miles. Poor idiots next to us were probably eating dogs. Needless to say, we loved every pound we gained. Gavin was out like a light without a peep and we sat around telling old tales of prior lives we had each lived. I laughed so hard, my cheeks hurt. It was quiet and very peaceful all around.

Shotgun start, pancakes and the boys headed out to our boat shed to unearth the Regal...that has been there an entire year, sight unseen. The boat is nearly new and in very good condition, but was found a little grimy with a dead battery. So, once the boys got a new battery we sat off to enjoy the Lake, minus water-skiing cause of Eric's broken finger. (long story.) We met more friends on the Lake and watched Gavin go solo on the tube all three days we were there. Eric learned how to surf and did really well. He picks it all up so easily. I got to drive the boat and tan my butt, while diving in at random to cool off. We wrapped up the day with smores, a great fire and a sound nights sleep, less my snoring! Next time, we'd like to buy a knee board and some ski's for me so I can really hit the water. (Eric is a class-act slolemn sort of guy, I just eat water.)
J and T offered to drive our truck and boat back to Ruidoso for maintenance, while we three bandit's towed the trailer and a very tired kid to ABQ to see Uncle Gary. (We have great friends eh?) Gary is entirely transformed since our last visit. He is really just like his old self, (less 65lbs), thoughtful, sarcastic, overwhelmed by mobs of people and ready for the next step in his rehab process at Craig Hospital in Denver. Gavin made new artwork for Gary's room, while we surfed the web, shared pictures, movies and books we brought along. We cracked jokes, enjoyed the lunch Eric brought in and watched the older folks shuffle by...don't think they see many toddlers so Gavin was a big hit. After swimming in the hotel pool and hot tub all morning, Gavin and I were spent. Eric drove the clan back to Ruidoso while we slept...
Wrapping up a great whirlwind of a weekend...













Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Sandwich, the Shovel, the Summer

We have had such a tumultuous summer we have often felt like staying in our cave until winter arrived~reverse hibernation. However, that would reflect an entire lack of courage, character, coping skills etc. Thus, why not sandwich some really good stuff, in between the challenges i.e. stale bread? Actually, we have found that even during tough times, life does find a way of rolling along. Many others are facing greater challenges all around us, so let us not bitch. We too must roll even though it may be a little slower and less wild and crazy than the pre-parenting days. Roll we have...


First was the dry-run, or our first time to bust out Grandpa's ole tent trailer. We spent a bit of cash having her looked at by a pro and then planned a trip, very close to town, until we knew what was involved. We had no owners manual so we were shooting in the dark each time we hit a button! So, fully stocked on Diet coke, beer, some pre-made meals, two old mutts, and a poop shovel, we set off to Bonita Lake. If you know me at all, you already know, I do not stay in designated camp grounds (my idea of hell). I could care-less about a shower and a shitter. I want peace and quiet and have no desire to listen to someone else's kids or adult conversation. Our kid makes enough noise all by himself!

So, we passed all the crowds crammed into the campgrounds like cockroaches and found a nice meadow a couple of miles away from the hub-bub. No showers, no potties, just our dirty butts in the great outdoors. Ah, the smell of good old human B.O. and a couple of foul dogs! Of course, that meant, teaching Gavin, how to take the much necessary crap in the woods. Mom's old lesson: shovel, check, plastic bag, check, tp, check, hand wipes, check. We headed up the hill and I showed him what the strategy was...avoid the weeds (never know if it's poison ivy), stay away from rocks (snakes, wasp nests etc.) and don't leave your t.p because the earth can't digest it. Gavin was a little nervous the first time, but all the events afterward, resembled a 3.5 year old pro. I think Gavin even gave Eric a few pointers! The trip was really peaceful, we all slept well (and late), ate well, hiked and enjoyed getting away. We made some friends who joined us in badminton, soccer, checkers etc. despite the Spainish/English language barriers. Two more camping trips are planned for the Fall with friends to finally use our ski boat and do some fishing. I imagine Tim is pretty happy to see us farting around with all his old toys.

Our Social Calendar;

Other outdoor family time has included raspberry picking with Mema in the Hondo valley and apple picking today-two huge boxes of Golden Delicious. The plan is to make a butt-load of turnovers...this week, yummm.

Gavin attended a friends bday party-come dressed as a Super Hero. We had nothing. Stores don't even have Halloween garb out yet...so Mema was the Hero. She whipped up the entire costume in one afternoon. Thank gosh. I don't have the patients or talent to sew...Gavin would have been screwed...

Eric and Papa have nearly finished up Gavin's custom built playset. (Sand comes this week, ladder to trap door pending.) Gavin loves it and is on it every afternoon. I can see him directly from the kitchen so the location is perfect. He picks green beans from our garden and eats them while racing down the slide.



Last but not least, our garden continues to produce AND THE HOOPHOUSE WAS APPROVED BY OUR Homeowners Association (read, retired people who like to enforce to many rules.) So, after the first frost, we shall finish what we started in May. Nights are in the low 50's, days are in the 80's so tomatoes and peppers did not produce well. But the squash, watermelons, green beans and pumpkins are going strong!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

We Ain't Right Reunion 2009

Time for our annual Warren-"We Ain't Right Reunion" at my brother Phil's and his lovely wife Danette's in Pasco, Washington. We all swarmed upon the Columbia River valley last week and lounged around their mansion-of-a-house like locusts; we fed, we drank, we swam, we fed, we drank, we swam. Not sure why they so kindly offer their home each year to more than twenty of us, but am so grateful they do.



Everyone gets their own bed, espresso-or iced latte-upon request, choice of four bathrooms, pool, hot tub, basketball court and enormous manicured lawn. Oh, least I forget the huge boat for fishing, water skiing, etc. If you get drunk enough, you are certain you are at some resort in Mexico. We tested this theory, repeatedly. Eric loved the theater room for naps and violent flicks parents don't normally get to watch.
My personal goal was to relax and attempt to eat the most seafood possible in six days. We had two feedings worth really mentioning; Anthony's for an all seafood happy hour without kids and a huge home cooked seafood platter of salmon, razor clams, squid, trout and other things I never identified but ate happily. We were stuck like beached whales and loving every minute of it. Thanks to my Niece Jen and Nephew Kohner for preschooler sitting!

We had a swarm of kids so Gavin played and swam during his every waking hour. At night we shoved the kids into the theater room and blasted them with a Pixar flick. Gavin was so tired and overstimulated he crashed every night-hard, plus napped really well all week. A crowd like this and so many kids is a great deal for a country boy. He did not want to leave but also missed his digs at home.

Memorable memento's:

Carla and I hauling ass to the nearest gas station to use the toilet while Phil's septic tank was pumped-shitters full!
Laughing my ass off while Doug shot water through a water noodle from his mouth, through his crotch and out near his butt.

Watching my Dad get up early, go with the flow all day, and stay up late playing dominoes-every night.


Watching Gavin swim all week, largely on his own accord, like he had been in a pool all summer.

Getting a chance to knee-board once during this summer and not crashing or getting injured.

Playing modified baseball called "over the line" introduced by the Scott's.

Getting a recent updated list of all our genetic defects from Carla. Thanks sis. Hammer toe is the new addition. gross.

Watching Gavin open all of Carla's bday gifts-happy 52ND girl!


















Sunday, July 12, 2009

Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot


Finally, it feels like summer at 7000'. We had rain and cool temps most of June, so it seemed like Spring was having a hangover! So, when the thermometer hit 90 degrees we were happier than a litter of ten-pecker-ed puppies. Time for the pool, the play set, margarita's and our first harvest from the half-assed hoop/greenhouse!
Friday night was fun as we headed to some friends for a nice dinner party and took the kiddo to Mema and Papa's for an overnighter. When we dropped him off he hit the pool and he never looked back at us. I think he would stay with them a week, easily, before acting up. Mom said he was perfectly behaved. No shock there. He is only a turd with us! What the hell shall we do when they move??? ugh.

Off to the pool on Sunday while everyone else was at church. (We owe ya God.) We got Gavin a Coast-Guard approved vest with a cool grommet attachment to swim shorts. I must tell you, it worked really well and was recommended to me by a swimming coach. He was swimming and kicking like crazy and even went a few strokes on his own. If you know a Mom with a tot, tell her about them as they seem to learn to swim much faster. They beat the crap out of those wings and floats etc. We had such a great day with him.

I know you will be stunned, but our HALF-ASSED HOOP HOUSE is producing veggies! We let Gavin and Mema have the first pick of mesclun lettuce, spinach and pak choy. We have been eating it right from the garden (Gavin could care less about the dirt) and each night for supper. Time to share with the neighbors. Eric designed and submitted our site plan so maybe we will get this thing built before summer escapes us!

Last but not least, we had a great Fourth of July with a small town parade, lots of loud fire trucks, pounds of hurling candy, a greasy burger and sparklers for Gavin. Thank goodness we were drinking! Watching a 3-year-old with a sparkler isn't really good for the blood pressure! But, since no fireworks are EVER allowed in our entire county (National Forest), we felt compelled to improvise. Needless to say, we laughed so hard we nearly peed our pants. Gavin and Eric were both spastic. This coupled with a birthday cake, streamers and balloons for my Mom's birthday made this particularly memorable.

Thank you for your thoughts and prayers for Gary, Eric's brother and only sibling. By the Grace of God he is really improving dramatically. We have set up a separate blog for his transformation (www.caringbridge.org) and will keep both this one and that one, updated. (To view Gary's website type in gcollins and hit "visit website.") Hugs to all. I am off to get the garden dirt, chlorine and other unmentionables out of my butt crack. (All good pics are via Eric's magic with our new camera.)




































Sunday, June 28, 2009

Gary Collins - Our Miracle Man

Alas, we can breathe a sigh of relief after holding our breath for nearly three entire days and through two surgeries. Can you here the relief from here?
We feel so blessed to tell you that after a very frightening and anxious three days our Miracle Man is recovering steadily, albeit slowly, in the UNM Neuroscience ICU in Albuquerque. Gary suffered from a sub-arachnoid hemorrhage and subsequent stroke.
The American Stroke Association has a great website for information if you would like to read more about his condition. Bottom line, it is the most severe type of stroke and it has been graded as a grade 4 on an upward scale of 1 to 4.

Gary collapsed on Thursday, June 25Th while delivering wine to a valued customer. As God would have it, he was not driving, but was instead with people who were quick on their feet and got him an ambulance and the care he needed. (Every second of oxygen being deprived to the brain was crucial.) Thank gosh for great customers! After the first surgical attempt to place a coil in the aneurysm, the team determined they were unable to reach it due to its location. Thus, the second surgery to go through the skull and clamp the rupture. The second surgery went quickly and without a glitch. Gary was out early and stable. As luck would have it, UNM just became accredited as a stroke trauma center so the team, the expertise and the care has been tremendous thus far. Gary will likely be in the ICU for 2-3 more weeks to assess his rehabilitation needs and insure he is ready to move into the next phase of in-patient rehabilitation. Once his brain begins to heal, 7-10 days, we will have a firmer fix on the amount and type of rehab required. Until then, we are planning, praying and grateful for the fact that he is here today. Geri, Gary's Mom and veteran RN, has been and will continue to be a great asset to him and the families overall efforts to support him.

We saw his eyes open briefly for the first time on Saturday afternoon and he was able to respond to a variety of commands. His left side is lagging behind, but this may be a temporary condition. Once the nurse yelled in his ear, he faintly said hello and then went back to sleep. He was later able to tell Geri, I love you. So, after three days of sheer fear we sure are feeling happy and extremely tired! Thank you to our neighbors for watching the dogs and my parents who diligently follow our routine and keep Gavin so happy and utterly content. Big thanks to all the Jennings, Chris (Gary's stepmother), Kate and Little Richard, who were right there beside us praying over Gary through thick and thin. We have such a great extended family, who has faced and endured so much over the last 1.5 years. (Next year, nobody is allowed to get sick, injured or the like!)
Many of his friends, co-workers and customers as well as wine-club aficionado's have called to ask how they can help. Right now, visitation is pretty restrictive. However, that should change in the next 7-10 days. So, keep in mind, he loves to read and watch science fiction, as well as animation, and listen to classic rock. Thankfully, he will have many years left too do all these things he loves...
In closing, I suspect the remainder of this year will involve many changes for Geri, Eric, Gavin and myself and I am certain challenging days lay ahead. For today, however, we are over-joyed. And in reality, all we really have is today anyway, right? More updates on Gary next week...thank you for your thoughts, calls, emails and prayers.

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Blur-The Booze-The Babes-The Bait...

Beware, this is a very lengthy post. Relax, stop rushing around and enjoy.


Our continual stream of weekend visitors and company has left us with great memories, several sets of dirty sheets and the expected disappearance of most of our liquor! Damn company anyway. They eat, they drink, they leave. We are so popular-you'd think we were centrally located or something...hell no.

The Warren contingent believes that "after three days, company starts stinking, just like fish." But, we can cram more activities into three days than a Vegas show. Alas, these stints of visitors becomes a large blur of days that have melted together like butter in the summer sun. I think being hungover and slightly sleep deprived contributes to the "blur", but mostly it is the ability to just screw off and ignore all the chores and crap around you for a few days. Thank gosh, my schedule-deranged middle sister and her family showed up from Cheecago to entertain us.



Becky, Dave, Ryan G. and Ryan's sweetie, Paige (sp) spent 4 days and nights in the boonies with us and managed to survive. Wow, you can actually see the stars here, listen to the deafening silence at night, and watch the elk and deer graze on their evening meal. We hit the racetrack, where Mema kicked ass, winning 5 out of 5 bets in a row. The rest of us got a buzz (no, not the minors) and watched those amazing animals fly by with uncanny grace. I was dragging since I had just returned from Montana (see Tidbits below.) Alas, the G family was just what I needed to find my second wind. Half the crew crashed here while the other half crashed at the Seniors house. Nice having so many beds...I think! We cruised out to Mescalero lake to fish, but the wind was howling, so we settled for miniature golf where Gavin had a blast, losing his golf ball and climbing all over the water falls, boulders etc. Improvise and you will always find something to do despite the crummy weather. The older kids had some redneck fun on the ATV (all adequately supervised and micromanage by Becky of course.) After much eating, more eating and a farewell dinner at the Old Road, the G clan headed back to the Windy City. Now, the house is really quiet-maybe too quiet! Thanks for the Welcome Blur...

Tidbits and Bylines: On other fronts we have become theeee social butterflies. This of course energizes Eric but I myself need some SERIOUS re-charging.

Eric's 20-Year Reunion: During the G visit we spent the remaining waking hours at Eric's 20-year high school reunion. Friday night cocktails, Saturday family picnic, Saturday night the big dance and dinner. Sunday we crashed hard. We had a great time and had the fortune of my Mom and Dad too toddler-sit during all the hububaloo. We actually closed a bar, after Eric shook hands with the now, two time indicted Governor of New Mexico. Eric was hoping to talk to him about funding our waste water treatment plant: what a dork, cute, but a dork! Who the hell talks about poop at 2 a.m.? (Now, you understand why he excelled at Sales!) not. Eric's old girlfriends are successful and lovely. So how they hell did he end up with moi? Lucky girl I am, lucky girl.

Drive-By to Missoula, MT: I snuck up to Montana for a really quick drive-by to surprise my old friend Kathy V. Her family helped me plan the scheme but the weather in Portland was REALLY bad so I arrived a day, yep an entire day late. Lightning was wild, all planes diverted to Seattle and I crashed in the big city of Spokane. When I arrived at Kathy's cubicle during working hours, she was in total shock. The trip was really brief, but so packed full of good times with family and old hangouts...I forgot how extraordinary Montana really is too behold. Take your kids there, they will never forget Glacier.


National, (Get Drunk) and Fish Day: The boys fished to commemorate National Fishing Day, with worms, pink marshmallows (Gavin later told me they were not for kids to eat, but for fish to eat, cause they were nasty and stunk bad.) Gavin gleaned a fish from a buddy who was catching his limit, but most were put back. A canoe ride was the big hit for the day, but apparently, Papa could not ride since the boat was small. So instead, he helped Gavin begin to understand the workings of a pole. Try teaching a preschooler how to fish and realize you should have had a beer before the lesson! They just want a fish, they don't want to wait for some damn thing to eventually bite some stinky bait. Who has that kind of time anyway? Took three Dad's to manage two kids, thank gosh they were not drinking and I was not present!

Brown Family Reunion: My Mom's family had a brief weekend reunion at my Aunt's here in town with most of the Browns' appearing, including kiddo's. Food was great and everyone was really cheery. The group is definitely slowing down but the 42 games were still rolling along. Seemed weird without Uncle Doug. However, we did not seem to miss Aunt Kay! Linda was an impeccable host and she is doing very well.

Definitely not a Project Manager: Ah...I know it is killing you to know, what the hell is up with that hoop house thing? Not a damn lot, that's what. Since I neglected to inform the Home-Owners Association of the project, they have asked us to defer final building pending approval. So, we planted our garden in the hoop that has no plastic cover: who needs that shit anyway, right? Thus, we are fighting all the things we had hoped to avoid: wind, cool nights, pissed off tomato plants etc. All this, just so the geriatric committee out here, who is all volunteer I might add, can determine it's architectural integrity and sight plan worthiness. Please Lord, let me die before I get this annoying to anyone. Wish us luck, maybe we will still see some veggies after all! (All the plants are up and have blossoms, but some are looking like a train hit them!) Gavin remains optimistic and my parents and sister, ever the innovators, used enough masking tape and stakes around the base, that it looks like it was built by the blind! God bless them, they are of the diehard Warren Clan.