Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Day After Earth Day

I read/heard many things yesterday about how to be more green, how you are being more green, how I can be more green, how my neighbors dog is being more green than me, how to actually morph yourself into Kermit the Frog and be the ultimate green, etc. I'm not sure if everyone agrees with this assessment of my character, and I'm not sure how it started, but I think a non-green reputation follows me around, even while I'm singing Hare Krishna and eating flax seed by the fist full. I could have cleared the air yesterday by doing my own post about the many ways I live a green life, but as soon as that publish button was hit, I would have been reaching for my reusable, all natural, made from the poo of unicorns paper bag to breathe into. I just can't bring myself to list how awesome I am. So, in honor of the day after Earth Day, I would like to get a secret off my chest, while also throwing in a thinly veiled attempt to showcase one of the many things I do to preserve this big ball in the sky I live on.

Clint only reads this blog when I let him know that I've posted something new, so it's likely he won't ever see this particular entry, unless YOU tell him, but YOU won't, because I know who YOU are, and I probably know where YOU live. Here's the deal - Clint recycles like a mad man. We fill our blue recycle bin to it's max capacity every week. What this says about us, (mass consumer or very thorough) I'm not sure. Well, if Clint forgets to put it out on the curb Monday morning, we're fated to a Mount Everest of reusable material until he concedes and chucks it all into the bed of his truck and drives down to the bins at the library. He'll actually pick stuff out of the trashcan that I've thrown away, and will yell at me afterwards. Here's my secret: Anything that requires rinsing out that Clint has deemed to be recycle worthy, ends up in the sink as is, thrown in there by him. Now, take a guess who does the dishes. Correct! And do I want to scrub out a 3 day old can of dried Hormel chili? No! So I strategically place it in the trash where he won't see it. I should toss it into the recycling bin in it's present condition, but I have visions of the recycling sorter man/woman/monkey grumbling about how no one rinses their cans out.

On a happier note, Tempe now takes glass and items marked 1-7. Clint almost pooed his pants with the excitement of the news, but stopped when he realized it wouldn't be recyclable.

Friday, April 18, 2008

I hate chickens

I think chickens are stupid. I especially think this one is stupid.


Felicia the chicken is especially stupid.  Felicia is my sister, she’s a chicken, and she’s stupid.

Felicia was the first chicken my mother adopted. Because of Felicia, our (and I hate saying our) mother adopted 4 more stupid chickens, making it a grand total of 6 new stupid chicken sisters. 

By the way, chickens can’t do that kind of math because they’re, wait for it, stupid.  Their names are Felicia, Fattie, Zebra Girl, Red, and Natalie.

We all compete for our mother's affection.  Those stupid chickens have squirmed their stupid chicken selves into our mother's heart.  Currently if any of our mother's co-workers ask how her daughter is doing, she asks them to specify which species they're inquiring about.

Those stupid chickens and their stupid tricks. I know they laugh at me behind my back since they think I’ve got nothing on them.  Opposable thumbs people!!


"Did you fly and catch a piece of bread out of our mother's hand?"
or "Did you squeeze an incredible, edible egg out of your bottom today?"

I turn back around and yell "NO! But I dropped my screaming kids off so she could babysit them for a few hours! She just eats your kids, so (insert raspberry)!" This reminds them that chickens don't have tongues.

Whenever I notice Fattie showing off, I mutter under my breath so only she can hear "Yeah Fattie, it takes real skill to jump 1 foot in the air."  Fattie thinks she's flying; I quickly remind her that stupid chickens can't fly, and since she's a stupid chicken, she can't fly. Sometimes to keep Fattie in check, I'll bring over a tub of KFC and eat it in front of her, slowly, while maintaining eye contact. 

Then there’s stupid Natalie.


Stupid Natalie can't stand the sight of me, so whenever I come over, she hides her face in the bushes, only allowing me to see her back tail. She tells me it's because my smell aggravates her hay fever.  It’s called soap Natalie, try it sometime.  But I know the real reason. She's just sooooo jealous of me. Yeah, she's so jealous she can't stand the sight of me.  I tend to hug her our mother a bit more often when Natalie’s around as a reminder that a chicken can't hug their mom.



Sadly though, the odds aren't in my favor. There are 5 of them and one of me. On our mother's birthday, they all like to get together and pool their chicken money and buy one big expensive gift, while on my own I have to outwit and outspend those stupid chickens. I threatened to call CPS (Chicken Protective Services) to file a false report of excessive pecking.  Then they’d have to be farmed out (farmed out, get it?) to other coops for a few days until the matter is resolved. 

And do you see what's going on here?


The girls retaliate by talking to my kids.  "Question the boy, and then we can REALLY screw with her head," Zebra girl says to Fattie.
So Fattie acts all loving and motherly and says "Ohhhh booooyyyyy! Come here boy! Be a good boy and come here to Fattie! Oh, that's a good boy. You are just sooooo cute boy! Does your mother tell you that boy? Does she tell you what a good boy you are? What's that boy.........she doesn't? She yells at you and calls you a tird? Boy, come here to Fattie and tell me all about it. Now, boy, in order for me to help mommy not yell at you anymore, Fattie needs to know if mommy has any self-esteem issues we can exploit. She does? What are they boy? Ohhhh, she doesn't like her toes, does she? Oh, that's a riot boy! You're such a good boy for telling me. Now boy, don't tell mommy we had this little chat, okay? That's a good boy."

So then Fattie goes and tells Red what their nephew told her and they hatch (hatch, ha ha) a plan to provoke me.


"Oh, hey Jaylee, hey, whew! We didn't see you up there," they say, bumping into me on purpose, trying to act breezy.
"How's the weather up there?" Red asks.

"Hello Red and Fattie, how are you both today?" I ask them civilly, because I really do try.

What I really want to ask is "So, you ever wonder what's really in those 11 herbs and spices?" Someday.

"So, ummmmm, I like your shoes Jaylee, are they new?" Red asks.

"Yes, they're new, why?"

"No reason, just that it seems a shame to get them all yucked up in the backyard. You never know what you'll step on out here. Between our feathers and feces, you could really get yourself into a pickle, and then you'll ruin your new shoes!" Fattie says.

Red interjects, "Yeah, Jaylee, maybe you want to take off your shoes so you don't ruin them. That way if you step in something, you can just rinse off your feet instead of having to throw away your super neat new pair of shoes. You can be cool like us; we don't wear shoes." As tears are streaming down her stupid chicken beak, she lays an egg from the strain of not laughing.

"No thanks, I'm good," I say, still not sure what's going on.

"Okay, but if it's because you're embarrassed of your toes.........." and Red can't even finish her sentence for fear of a chicken heart attack

Fattie's wing is covering her mouth as she feigns a coughing fit, and Natalie, who overheard the entire conversation, is laughing her head off while her nose is still stuck inside a bush.

I hate those stupid chickens.

Look at their stupid house.


It has diamond windows.  I NEVER got two diamond shaped windows with chicken wire stapled to them. Mine were just plain square ones with a screen. Those stupid chickens are spoiled.


I ALWAYS make sure they see me take their stupid chicken eggs home with me. I sadistically laugh and say "I'm gonna go home now and make myself a daughter and son omelet!"


Our mother has no idea her children squabble amongst each other. We make certain she is witness only to our politely strained conversations about the current price of oil. But our bickering begins as soon as he turns her back, and then they tackle me and attempt to peck my eyeballs out, as I reach into my back pocket to pull out my retractable cleaver.


This is the only moment of peace I get after visiting with my "sisters" (gag). I kick them away from the door and shove it closed on their chicken lips.

I hate those stupid chickens.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Tales from the lunch room

I don't particularly enjoy the narrated "I said and then she said and then I was like and then he was all......and then we were friends" posts, but I'm breaking my rule (my therapist needs to tell me why I continually preface what I'm about to say). I realize that many interesting conversations take place involving children, so it's quite natural to want to share. Today I had the pleasure of volunteering at Emma's school during their lunch hour. It was a lot of fun coupled with a lot of drama. Here are a few of my interactions with the little devils, I mean angels.

Winning 3rd place with:
3rd grade boy - "Can you tell those girls in front of me to stop turning around and burping at me?"

2nd place goes to the crying 3rd grader:
I see her from the other side of the room and I seize the opportunity to cheer her up, hoping she's just sad because her mom packed red jello instead of green. Wasn't so.
"What's wrong?" I ask.
"I blub blub blub when blub blub because blub blub wanna blub blub blub blub trouble," she blubs.
"Sorry honey, you're going to have to speak up a bit," I say.
"I'm trying blub blub because I blub blub don't blub want to be blub blub anymore," she blubs again.
At this point I bend over and put my ear up to her mouth, and I listen reeeeeal hard.
Mind you, this is a 2nd grader.
"I'm trying to make sure I don't turn into the girl that I was in the cafeteria line," she cries.
"And what type of girl was that?" I ask.
"The cafeteria lady yelled at me because I took a juice," she says.
"What's wrong with taking a juice?" I ask.
"I wasn't supposed to because I didn't pay for it," she explains.
"Well, it's okay because you didn't know you weren't supposed to take it, right?" I say.
At this point she starts wailing.
"I STOLE it and I don't want to be a stealer. I'm trying to change so I'm not a stealer anymore," she says.
"okay.....," I say, "wellllll....... ummmmm.......you can be anything you want to be if you try really hard, okay sweetie?"

1st place winning scenario -
I see a lonely 7th grade girl sitting all by herself and I go sit by her and strike up a conversation about school. I ask her about where all the other grades sit.  "The 6th graders sit here, the 7th graders sit there, and over there is where the popular kids sit," she says, rolling her eyes.  I honestly say the following - "One thing to remember is that it doesn't matter if you're popular or not. All that matters is good grades and that you did your best. Once you graduate high school, you're all alone in the world and the only thing you bring with you is your brain. It doesn't matter that you didn't get invited to sit with them at lunch, all that matters is that you apply yourself, because being popular is silly and meaningless."

cricket, cricket, cricket

"Soooooo, you weren't popular either?" she asks.

The answer was no, but I remained silent.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

My Gullible Sub-Unit

I shouldn't take advantage, but she makes it so easy. On Sunday driving home from church, Emma and I were alone in my car, sans the screaming toddler. We were having a pleasant conversation about the middle east crisis and butterflies. She told me she's of the opinion we're occupying Iraq solely for the oil, and I told her my favorite butterfly was the pretty one with the spots. Anywho, I reached over and tried to hold her hand. She jerked her hand away and asked what I was doing. I explained that I enjoy holding her hand and that we don't do it enough. Since my right hand wasn't being used to supply the animal in the back his steady stream of raisins, I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to hold her hand while I was driving. She didn't want to hurt my feelings by coming out and telling me she plain jane didn't want to hold my hand, so she announced she would do eeny meeny miny moe to decide if her hand would reside in mine or on her lap. She knew right where to start to make sure it ended in her favor.

"Oh, you're not it!" she said happily.

Well, I would not have it. 

"Emma, didn't anyone tell you what today was?" I asked.

"It's Sunday!" she said.

"Yes, it is Sunday, but it's also opposite day." I said.

"Ohhhhh, I didn't know it was opposite day." she said.

"Yes Emma, the 2nd Sunday in the month of April is opposite day. Everything that happens today will have an opposite outcome."

"Ohhhh, no one told me that today was opposite day." she said, defeated.

So, she dutifully put her hand in mine and for the last 47 seconds of our car ride home, we held hands.

The next night at dinner, she looked at her plate of salad and chicken pot pie, and yet again employed eeny meeny miney moe to decide which side of the plate to start with. Unfortunately, her finger landed on the pot pie (remember, the item the finger lands on is 'not it').

"Mama, is today still opposite day?" she asked, hopeful, since she's not a fan of salad.

"Sorry Emma, it's not. Only the 2nd Sunday of April is opposite day. Now eat your salad like a good girl." I said.


Thursday, April 10, 2008

Laundry Pile-Up

Do you ever feel overwhelmed with all the laundry you have to take care of? Am I the only one with laundry that argues back when I try to reason with it to put itself away?

Laundry baskets

Monday, April 7, 2008

Our Little Slice of Heaven

Before I open the curtains for the world to see the glory that is our backyard, I need to do a little prefacing. This was no small feat. It took YEARS to accomplish. I'm sure our neighbors comment to each other about it. So please, the next time you see Clint, let him know that he's done a fantastic job. As a reminder, here is the front of our house again. In no way does it measure up to the backyard.


We used a lot of leftover material to create our sanctuary. Being green has always been close to our hearts (stop snickering), so I hope you can use some of our tactics to implement in your own design. So, without further ado, I present to you Heaven on Earth.

First up on our tour is a grassy knoll that we created using the left over sod from our front yard renovation. It requires very little water (or none) and no maintenance.


We've got plenty of trees with ample amounts of shade. Seriously, we've got shade oozing out of our ears. My favorite time of day is 3:00 pm in the middle of July. I'll sit underneath that baby and sip my hot chocolate, because let's face it, you can't beat that canopy.


Ooh, you'll love this and beg Clint for the blueprints. This is our rock climbing wall. We used the leftover material from our old sun room. Folks, it was so easy to create this. I even helped a bit. Just a few tappity taps on a 40 year old brick wall, and the thing will practically build itself.


This is our acupuncture pit. What...... you've never heard of an acupuncture pit? You're missing out. Any time I'm under stress, have a headache, want to test if that tetanus shot I got last year was really worth the $20 co-pay, I just roll around and immediately forget what my problems were, am devoid of my headache, and have a great time using my lock jaw to impersonate a monster and scare Emma's classmates.

(if visiting our house, please bring a copy of your child's updated immunization card)


Here's our tree house. Our kids use it to hide in when they need some alone time, or when I'm at my wits end, I'll throw them out there and lock the door.


Notice to all with heart problems: Please look at your own risk!

Here we have our spooooooky forest. Sometimes Asher will be out back, and I will have no idea where he is. And as I'm quite skittish myself, I hate when I have to go in there to look for him.  I requires me to put on a headlamp, lace up my sturdy Merrell hiking shoes, zip up my North Face (it's chilly in the forest), and grab my bug repellent.


Next up is our obstacle course. I think the picture speaks for itself. Nary a man has completed this course and lived to talk about it. Men training for the Iron Man have been known to use this layout.


I'm not sure what this is. I think its scrap from our old bathroom. Geez Clint, clean up after yourself for once. You can't just drop things right where you stand. Get up off you butt and walk it over to the trash!


Here's our sitting area, complete with ergonomical chairs, fresh out of the barrel drinking water, and specialty styrofoam and cardboard stacking blocks to keep the kiddies busy.


And last but not least, this is our aviary. Anywhere from 0 to 1,754 birds visit per day. Every species is represented at our patented state of the art bird feeding device. We've seen pigeons (oooooh), hummingbirds (aaaaaaah), and unidentified bird #3.


I hope you've enjoyed the tour and aren't too jealous. If interested, we rent out the backyard for parties, bar mitzvahs, singles ward dances, company leadership retreats, etc. Please stop by and visit us any time.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Gender Issues

What Asher does when he's out with dad

Asher on machine

Asher on back hoe

Asher on Mower

What Asher does when he's home with mom

Asher Makeover

Asher all dressed up

Asher in hat

I just can't help myself.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

I'm torn about this post. My opposition specifically has to do with the discussing of myself.  I enjoy other blogs where personal information is shared since it gives me an insight into that individual, along with fodder to tease them with. But why the frickty frack do I have such a hard time coming to terms with creating a post about myself?  I need convincing that I'm neither vain nor self-important if I choose to discuss myself.  Please bear with me.  In the mean time, I'm going to (hopefully, maybe, we'll see) promise that this will be my last apology about the fact that an up-coming post is all about me.

Continuing on.

We had the pleasure of attending Tasha's birthday party at the zoo. When we stopped to eat lunch, all of the children began to play by the lake at the water's edge.  Asher was getting dangerously close to the water's edge while trying to get a better look at the sun bathing turtles.  I picked up a turtle and brought it back a few feet for the kids to see at a safer distance. That sucker ran lickety split back into the water. The kids thought it was a riot, so I did the same to all the other unsuspecting turtles who were sunning their cold-blooded bodies. We cheered for each turtle as it ran back towards the water and yelled with jubilee as it plunked back into the lake.

This experience was pleasurable for me because it reminded me of fond memories I have as a child. When I was around 6 years old, my mother was dating a man who belonged to the Arizona Herpetological Society, which meant that her and I also became due paying members. The society met at the Phoenix zoo monthly, and it's primary goal was to see to the well being of all things reptile. George the boyfriend was a reptile freak, which, alas, meant that we also became reptile freaks (my mother was already an animal freak, so it wasn't a hard jump to make).

We had a menagerie of reptilian personages in our tiny house.  I'm flooded with memories if I'm visiting a house that contains a reptile, and not because of the cute, spiny, scaly animal, but because of the smell. If you've never smelled a reptile in captivity living in an 800 sq foot house, you're missing out. It STINKS! I quickly became used to the smell, but I'm curious to know what my friends thought when they visited. All of our available wall space was covered with glass aquariums. During the only time I bothered to count, we had 15 snakes and 21 turtles.  Here are a few for your viewing pleasure...

Map Turtle
named so because of it shell markings

Map Turtle

Soft Shelled Turtle
They spent most of their time buried underneath the sand. I handled them very carefully because their shells are basically just thickened skin.

Soft Shell

Musk Turtle
Kinda fugly looking

Musk Turtle

Red Eared Slider
This is the primary species found at the zoo. In fact, I think that's where we caught most of our turtles. We would hunt after hours.

Red Eared Slider

Mata Mata Turtle
A bit frighting to look at, but it was one of my favorites.

Mata Mata

Boring Old Spotted Turtle


Burmese Python 
Ours was named Kenny. He was over 12 feet long and ate everything from rats to baby rabbits and ducks. LIVE baby rabbits and ducks. He also managed to escape from his cage several times. If he wanted to, he could have killed me in my sleep.

Burmese Python

Reticulated Python 
 Dolores was about 10 feet long and also escaped from her cage several times.  The morning after one of her escapades, we noticed one of our Nanday Conure parrots was missing.  Several days later, guess who had green feathers in her poo.

Reticulated Python

Golden Tegu Lizard 
Blanche had a foul temper and frequently bit our hands. 

Golden Tegu Lizard

 Desert Tortoise
Beloved Frank. Illegal Frank. I LOVED Frank. He ate lettuce from my hand.

Desert Tortoise

Below is a picture that could have landed my mother and George in jail. It's illegal to have a snapping turtle in captivity. This is George and his brother holding Ned our Snapping Turtle.

Large Snapping Turtle

Just kidding. 

Here is an actual picture of Ned. It's the only real picture I have of one of our pets. His jaws could have bit a finger off.  He ate goldfish and catfood.

Ned's  face

Ned's  mouth

Our last featured pet was the only warm blooded animal we owned.  


Conveniently, her name was Violet.  We gave her baths like we would a dog. She was de-scented, but she still smelled of ferret. When she ate, like any well mannered skunk, she would sit upright on her bum with her legs in front of her and nibble on pieces of cat food (a re-occuring theme in our house) that her tiny paws held up to her mouth.

So there you have it. I hope you home schoolers can use this post as a biology lesson. One more bit of interesting news - the Herpetological Society was also responsible for going to people's houses who had unwanted vermin on their property. There were several occasions where my mom and George brought home unwanted rattlesnakes, which we in turn played hostess too for several days.