Monthly Archives: February 2011

Cinco on Friday

Alternatively titled:  Snippets of events from my vacation that I can’t seem to work into a full post

1.  The one thing I was most looking forward to on our vacation was eating real (i.e. corn) tortillas.  I was so obsessed with this quest that when our group got into the transportation van at the airport and the driver asked where he was to take us, I said “Take me to a tortilla stand.”

And bless his heart, he did.

I must have had that crazy-eyed gringa look about me.

We drove through some back streets of Puerto Vallarta that were definitely not on the tourist map and wound up at a tortilleria that was little more than four walls, a corn grinder, and a hot griddle.  Secretly, I think Mr. CPQ thought I was crazy, but I gave him that “Go in there and get me a toddler, H.I.” look and he obliged, coming back with a steaming stack of fresh tortillas wrapped in paper.  I handed them out to the crowd and we ate them post-haste and there were GROANS OF DELIGHT and everyone rose and called me blessed and I successfully converted the carload over to the corn side.

2.  Apparently, sun-starved Americans aren’t the only ones migrating to Mexico in the winter.  An unexpected treat was getting to see whales and their babies breaching the water in Banderas Bay every day.

It was breath-taking to see and I am now officially obsessed with whales.

3.  Except for when we were crossing the bay by boat one night to go to a folkloric performance on a remote island and the whale jumped in the air next to the boat and I had visions of winding up on CNN as a casualty report.

Though it would have been great blog fodder had I survived.

4.  When I saw the brochure about the folkloric performance and dinner by torchlight on John Huston’s private island, I thought it would be a memorable romantic experience for my beloved and me but in the excitement of doing something fun and unique, I forgot a few things.

A) Islands are in the sea.

B) The only way to get to islands is on a boat.

C) My husband gets seasick. On boats.

D) Rather easily.

Thanks for taking one for the home team, honey.

5.  We made up for that less than pleasant experience the next night by having an outdoor candlelit dinner mere feet above the crashing ocean waves on a decidedly steady, non-moving platform.  The food was delicious but the company was better and the evening was all the more magical with nature’s soundtrack in the background.

Mexico, I miss you already.

Have a nice day.

The sun’s so hot, I forgot to go home

I’ve been humming a little James Taylor today and trying to imagine a happy place of warm sand and sunshine as I’ve navigated through rush hour traffic, waded through a backlog of emails and tried to re-introduce the boys to “Mom’s Rules” after they’ve been spoiled by their grandparents for the last four days.

I think I was missed a little bit by JJ who informed me that his grandmother did NOT know how to wake him up happily like I did.

I have a lot to talk about (which I’ll split up over a few posts) but I wanted to put up a few pictures of our resort.   The hotel was Dreams in Puerto Vallarta and it was, uh, dreamy. The property was located about five minutes south of town and had its own secluded private beach with a beautiful view of Banderas Bay.

The rooms were tastefully decorated in dark woods and Mexican art and beautiful tile work.

Why, yes, that would be a jacuzzi on the balcony.

The rooms had all the amenities you could ask for, but my favorite by far was the mini-bar chock full of real sugar Mexican Coke.

The food?  Did you ask about the food?





I’ve always said that I could eat Mexican food every day of the week and I’m happy to report that after four solid days of tortillas, tamales, and tacos, my love for corn products remains strong.

We drank hot chocolate, ate churros, bunuelos, huaraches, tostadas, flautas, quesadillas, chilaquiles, and guacamole for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and flan and fresh fruit for dessert.

At every meal.


It’ll be six weeks before I can comfortably button my work clothes.

But totally worth it.

Oh, and Taco Bell?

You’re dead to me.

More tomorrow….

Have a nice day.


Knock, Knock…is this thing on?

I’m giving myself 10 minutes to post this morning.  It’s been one of those weeks where my feet have hit the ground running in my orthotic shoes and I haven’t stopped until bedtime.  Everything is fine, but it’s just one of those weeks that’s crammed with appointments and then I had to throw in a couple of unexpected tasks like spend four nerve-wracking hours yesterday trying to get emergency backup sitters for the kids this weekend while Mr. CPQ and I are out of the country because at 8:30 my MIL called to say they might not be able to make it.

Fun times.

I started going down the list of sitters, neighbors, and friends and had my parents on stand-by in Oklahoma to drop everything and fly out for the $2,000 last resort option when my in-laws called back to let us know they were back in the game and you cannot imagine the relief I felt to not have to stress about farming out the kids in six-hour increments to five or six different people over the weekend.

Note to self: Have back-up plan cemented well in advance next year.

Today is laundry, cleaning, and packing.  I wasn’t planning on dressing any more formally than shorts and flip-flops, but I did find these pants at J. Jill earlier in the week that I thought were cute and resort-like, and they’re going straight from the shopping bag into my suitcase.



And yes, I got the “Capris?” and the scrunched up nose from Mr. CPQ.

And yes, I smacked him.

Have a nice day.

Monday Musings – The Valentine’s Edition

1.  I’m a simple girl when it comes to Valentine’s Day.  A card with a handwritten note inside makes my heart happy.

But to be clear, I’ll never say “no” to jewelry.

2.  We’re celebrating a low-key Valentine’s Day because the boys are at the age where they’re a little bit touchy if you even mention the words G-I-R-L and/or L-O-V-E.

I can’t tell if it’s because they like girls or if they’re still mortified by them.

Whichever it is, my sweet boys seemed to appreciate that I didn’t get all mushy on them this morning.

And that I let them eat four pieces of chocolate for breakfast.

3. I’ve always shared love with others but it wasn’t until I had children that I truly learned to accept love.

Those moments when they wrap their arms around me and whisper an unbidden “I love you, Mom” are unfathomably precious.

4.  I remember our first Valentine’s Day as a married couple.  I came down with a fever at work, left early for home and crawled into bed.  My husband came home and thought he’d do the loving thing and let me sleep since I was, you know, SICK, and yet when I woke up at 9:00 that night, I managed to be horribly snarky and mean because he hadn’t planned a romantic dinner out for us.

Bless his heart – he couldn’t win for losing.

And clearly, not my finest hour.

5.   Flash forward fifteen years and he still shows me he loves me by letting me sleep.

And I’ve never been more grateful.

Have a nice day.

Five on Friday

1.  Sadly, I must report the temporary shelving of one of my New Year’s resolutions.  I have stubbornly refused to acknowledge the searing pain in my left foot for the past few months and have continued to train for a half marathon but for the past few weeks the pain has progressed to the point where I am hobbling most of the time.  I have a general distaste for seeing any medical professional for any reason whatsoever so my husband had to pull out the old “Submit, woman!” and told me to go to the doctor to get it checked out.

So I did.

And now I’m the proud owner of night splints.

And orthotics.

And a jumbo bottle of naproxen that is to be my constant companion for the next 4-16 weeks.

And I am officially barred from doing any weight-bearing exercise until my foot is healed.

I am bummed beyond words because it wipes out four and a half months of training and if I’m really honest, I’m dismayed at the prospect of losing muscle tone and gaining back the weight I’d lost but I’m trying to keep my chin up because he said if I followed his instructions to a T, then I’ll be back in my running shoes in a few months, and the best part, I’ll be completely pain-free.

2.  Normally I’m a pretty private person except for getting personal beauty treatments at mall kiosks in full view of other shoppers, blogging on the internet, getting quoted in the newspaper, and sharing pictures of my hair in foils.  I think the limits of my privacy were tested this past week when I dropped into my nail salon for a quick eyebrow wax and my tech invited her visiting BFF into the treatment room with me.

The whole time I was in there they were speaking in their native language and although I’m sure they were comparing notes on the latest fashion trends, it was hard not to think they were talking about me especially since the conversation seemed to get very spirited right after the tech took one look at my brows and said, “Oh, you’re definitely overdue.”

3. I was pleased to find a new swimsuit from Lands End yesterday.

4.  Today was our first sick day of the year.  Travis started heading downhill mid-week with a slight case of sniffles but this morning he’s in full-blown miserable mode so he and I are hanging out together.  I’m sorry he’s under the weather, but I kind of enjoy having the company at home this morning.  He’s an easy patient.  As long as he has a computer, a toy train in his hand, and an endless supply of Corn Pops, he’s happy.

5.   I went to the dealership yesterday to get the oil changed in the Suburban and didn’t realized that I didn’t have my wallet until it was time to check out.  I gamely tried to offer 75 cents scrounged from the bottom of my purse plus two soy sauce packets from my last ill-fated visit to Hibachi Grill but the service cashier, in a quite unfriendly tone, informed me that she was allergic to MSG and then just sat and glared at me.

What was she to do?  Where was she to go?  She was out on her fanny.  So over the bridge from Flushing to the Sheffield’s door….

Sorry, had a little Nanny moment flashback.

ANYWAY, I told her that I would need to run home and get my credit card to call in the number and she sighed and told me that would be fine but as I was walking out the door she muttered “I hope you don’t have an accident on the way home.”


And for the bonus round, fresh off the week when his AARP card arrived in the mail and adding insult to injury….

6.  Mr. CPQ was at the office water cooler talking to one of his consultants about how difficult it was to keep a fitness routine while traveling.  The consultant told him he had a set of exercises PERFECTLY TAILORED for C.

The title?

Yoga for the Golden Years

Have a nice day.


Old Mother Hubbard

I’m in Week 3 of the annual Clean Out The Pantry Game and starting to see a lot of white space in the cabinets and the freezers.

Yes, multiple freezers.

I’m Southern and it’s in my DNA to cram extra appliances in the garage.

Mid-January I took inventory of the food I had in reserve and put together a two-week menu plan, and this past Sunday I went back through what’s left and found at least another week’s worth of dinners although I’m sure the upcoming canned sardines tossed in whole wheat pasta will go down in history as The Worst Meal Mom’s Ever Served.

For the most part, I’ve stuck to the plan to buy only the essential fresh items (produce, eggs, cheese, etc.) and my grocery bills for the last three weeks have been $10, $50, and $13, respectively.

Clearly, the $50 week was when I sent my husband to the grocery store for milk and bread.


We’ve had a lot of soup (white chicken chili, chicken tortilla, French onion, to name a few) and cornbread (guess who found out she had FOUR containers of cornmeal in the cabinet) but the weather’s been cold and no one has complained too loudly except for the night I served seafood gumbo and the kids discovered that okra, in its original state, comes without breading.

I was able to stay on plan even during the Super Bowl – I combined frozen spinach, a small jar of marinated artichokes and a package of cream cheese for a chip dip, opened a tucked-away specialty jar of olive spread to serve over baguette slices (made the bread from the fifty pound sack of flour I bought last fall),  and used one of the six jars of hot sauce from the pantry to toss over the chicken wings.

We’re about ready to wrap up this plan for the year because next week the in-laws are coming for a visit and by that time I’ll be down to storage bags filled with mystery freezer-burned product and the green bean casserole that no one touched the first time and yet I felt compelled to freeze it and try, try again.

Suddenly, that sardine pasta doesn’t look so bad.

Have a nice day.

Glory Days

There are rites of passage that we anticipate and celebrate.

The first double-digit birthday.

Getting our driver’s license.

Turning 21.

Graduating college.


The birth of the first (and in our case, first, second, and third) child.

And with these rites of passage, there is much rejoicing.

Until this occurs.


Have a nice day, because Mr. CPQ isn’t.

Monday Musings

I had a delightful weekend that involved eating and talking, eating and talking, eating and talking.

In other words, it was perfectly typical.

Saturday morning I met some life-long friends from Guatemala for breakfast and we spent two fun hours catching up our respective lives.  From there we went to a food tasting in downtown Wake Forest to support a friend/teammate of Mr. CPQ’s who was launching his new BBQ sauce.

Then Saturday night I attended my first ever recently neutered pet party at June’s house where I got to meet a bunch of neat people and hang out with all the Gardens’ pets and eat delicious food and even sit in the famous Angry Chair for six seconds before Francis hissed at me.

Keep away from my brisket sandwich, mister!


Faithful Reader Laurie’s Cute Clogs

I went by myself to the party which is a pretty big deal because parties where I don’t know more than one person are not my strong suit because I’m not so good with the chit-chat, but I sat next to a friend of June’s who was just a delight and we got along famously and talked for most of the evening so everything turned out just fine and I didn’t have to excuse myself to the bathroom and lock the door because I didn’t know anybody.

Not that I’ve ever done that.

It was a back-up plan.

I don’t think I committed any major faux pas (can that be plural?) but I did leave the party with one question which I will pose to you today.  If you are a female and you are invited to a non-work/business party and you are introduced to another female that you’ve never met, do you shake hands with that woman or do you just nod and smile?

I won’t tell you what I did in case I’m wrong.


Have a nice day.

Would you like a little whine with your cheese?

This week I have:

1) Tried on a swimsuit.

2) Gone to the dentist.

3) Talked to attorneys

4) Played (and won) this little game I call “Stump the Java Programmer”

5) Neglected my blog.

I didn’t enjoy any one of these experiences.

Especially the swimsuit one which turned out to be almost as painful as the dentist.

I have too many balls in the air right now and it seems for the last few weeks that something keeps getting dropped.   Usually, it’s the blog.  Work is back in full swing and they’ve asked me to go full time.  My commitment to helping out on a church-wide conference is starting to demand more focused attention.  My household responsibilities haven’t changed and they’ve been neglected to the point where I wasted an entire beautiful day doing FIFTEEN loads of laundry just so we’d all have clean undies to wear.




It’s just a busy season right now but I’m trying to put some structure and order around my schedule so that I can get back to doing the things I love to do.

Like discussing spa treatments for the lady parts.

Men, don’t click that link.

To my blog peeps, sorry I haven’t been reading and commenting.  I’ll be back soon, I promise.  In the meantime, know that I think of you often and if there’s anything you think I need to know, send me an email because I hate being left out on all the juicy gossip.

Love y’all.

Have a nice day.

For Steve

My brother sent me an email last night with a not so subtle reminder that it was Monday and I had not posted anything to the blog and since he’s the oldest and I generally like to obey my elders, I am obliging him today with his VERY OWN POST.

Oh, he’s getting nervous now.


Steve is twelve years older than I am which means that by the time I was old enough to start remembering things, he was leaving the nest.  I have a few fleeting memories of our time together as children but judging by family pictures we got along famously.

Steve was a typical kid – he loved to tinker around, play outside, tear everything apart but most importantly, he loved to beat the living daylights out of his younger brother, Paul.  They were best friends and bitter enemies, all wrapped into one gun-toting package.

Long time readers of this blog know of the great love I have for all my brothers and I will not embarrass them by gushing because it’s very easy for me to do.

I want to spare them from running into friends at the grocery store back home who will say “I read what your sister said about you” which would mortify them to death so instead I’ll just post their baby pictures because that’s not mortifying in the least.

I will, instead, simply state that I love my brothers because they’ve always loved me.

They’ve loved me enough to buy me a radar detector.

They’ve loved me enough to teach me how to shoot a pistol.

They’ve loved me enough to show me how to punch someone without breaking a hand.

They’ve loved me enough to threaten bodily harm to any stinky old boy who would dare break my heart.

What’s not to love about these guys?

I’ve learned different things from all my brothers but from Steve I’ve learned to have a curiosity about life and to be fearless about trying new things.

He wanted to raise ostriches, so he did.

He thought having a Christmas tree farm might be kinda’ neat, so he planted one.

Drag-racing?  Sure!

Learn to build a computer?  Let’s send off for a book and build one!

Start your own business?  Why not?

Watching him shrug off self-doubt and jump into life has been so encouraging to me to try new things without letting fear of failure hold me back. It’s one of the many ways that he has influenced my life and though I’ve told him that before, I thought I’d embarrass him by telling the rest of you.

I love you, Steve.

This’ll teach you never to bug me about posting again.

Have a nice day.