Healthy, healthy, healthy! Yup, that's me. I've revamped my life as of late. It's been a whole year since I got regrettably drunk, lost all my things (wallet, house keys, cell phone, dignity, etc.) and had bartenders calling my parents at 2:00 a.m. out of concern. I don't do that stuff anymore. No way. Not me. Nosirrreee, Bob. I'm living the clean life now ... even if I have to borrow other people's lives to do it.
Can't recall if I've mentioned this but I signed up to become a Big Sister and mentor young'uns. I've acquired a stash of random knowledge and by god, someone should benefit. The first thing I'd like to teach tomorrow's leaders is to not drink exotic cocktails, stash your purse behind an amp and then forget where you put it.
So, after a very extensive screening process (FBI, CIA, DMV, my mom, my boss - they talked to everyone) I finally landed a kiddo. Her name is Velrene, she is 10-years old and she is delightful!
We had a our first 'date' on Friday night and, at her mother's suggestion, I took her to the Ringling Bros. Circus. It was fun but in one fell swoop, I got a whiff of how expensive it is to parent. Velrene wanted a snow cone and I was happy to oblige until I learned it costs NINE DOLLARS. "What?!" I yelped, "what is it? Frozen shaved gold???" Holy cow. I had no idea how rigged kid entertainment is. I mean, I knew about Disneyland but geezus ....
We enjoyed the circus, Velrene and I. All the dancing and high-wire acts were great. However, neither of us were comfortable with the tigers and elephants, they didn't seem too happy. (PETA was handing out 'informational' comic books outside which confirmed my suspicions.) Velrene really liked the dog tricks though and I, of course, loved the horsey stuff.
The ride home was pretty hilarious. Commenting on my hippie/redneck music choices, she asked point blank: "Why do you listen to this weird music? Don't you listen to hip-hop?" Uh-oh, my street cred was about to dissipate.
I then tried to locate some hip-hop on the radio and the more I struggled, the harder she laughed. Since my dork-dom was already revealed, I just went for it. Settling on a classical music station, I asked her, "What about this? Is this hip-hop? Does this work???" I reminded Velrene that it was her job to educate me on modern music since I've evidently stopped noticing. She just shook her head and laughed harder, looking at me like I was the funniest alien she'd ever seen. Darn whippersnapper.
On Saturday, I headed out to the pumpkin patch with the Higbee Family (see above). As with most of my friends, I've known Amy since kindergarten. At Bancroft Jr. High, we were famous for our matching night owl tendencies; Amy and I felt strongly that slumber parties were not for actual slumbering, they were for obsessing over boys and giggling into the night. Anyone who felt differently had best sleep with their bra on, lest it be frozen by morning. That one of my oldest friends lives in nearby Parker, well, it makes me feel less disconnected from my past, even if we rarely get together. Some friends are like family, y'know?
This is my second annual pumpkin outing with Amy, her wonderful husband, Mike, and their three adorable children: Michael, Charlotte and Nathan. We picked out pumpkins, ate funnel cake and climbed the occasional tree. Auntie Heather, always playing the Annie Liebowitz/Mary Poppins role, tried to be useful as much as possible. Michael and I even rode some bungie thingy for EIGHT dollars albeit the satisfaction level was much higher than had it been a ball of flavored snow.
I always learn so much hanging out with my friend's families. Child rearing looks hard but rewarding. Spending time with kids is loud and messy but it also feels like my soul is getting a shot of B12. I get that same feeling hanging out with horses, also stinky and expensive but not as loud. Still, the horses don't generally run up, squeeze your thigh and tell you that they love you. They tend to step on your toes and sniff your hair, which is as much affection as you can hope for.
Today, just to keep the Norman Rockwell groove going, I made homemade grape jelly with the incredibly yummy Concord grapes that grow in the backyard. (Not my doing - the feller that built the house planted them in the 50s.) Here's Michelle, another childhood friend that visited last week, picking them, as ordered to by me. Yes, that's right, I make my house guests do manual labor, pay them nothing and disallow union organizing as well, so there.
I grabbed an Internet recipe, called Mama Iva for luck and put on Grandma Myrtle's apron for ancestral insight. I don't know if I did it right but I made a big giant mess, stained my hands (and a few other things) purple and ended up with nine jars of the stuff. It'll be a day or so before I can test my success.
All this hearty down home doins' has made me impervious to my usual temptations. For example, I met a yummy man today and he was making googley eyes at me. So, how does the man make his living? He pans for gold, of course! He bought a map and everything! I couldn't hop in my truck fast enough. I'm trying to avoid trouble these days instead of give it my phone number.
Yup, I'm still attracting all the weirdos so nothing's changed there. I think I'll stick with kids and horses for awhile. In the long run, I think they are less mess.