Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Random recovery

When we last left our heroine, well, she wasn't referring to herself as "heroine" last time we left her. Whoever, or whomever, I was, I was leaving for the grand college drop off. This was last Wednesday's new student parade into the field house. It was only ninety degrees outside and there were only about 2,400 kids filing in. At this point, I had pretty much given up hope of actually seeing our boy, despite knowing which sign to look for.
There was just no way he could have been unfortunate enough to be one of the last groups in. AHA! 2-J! n our side of the venue, no less. There he is, right under the 2-F sign!
"Do you think I can just go down there and like, take a picture?" I think so, especially if I just stand near the end of the row while the rest of the class files in. Oh, but when I got to his row, the row ahead of him was empty. (click, click) Hmmm, I pondered out loud whether I could just scoot in and snap a shot. The woman next to me muttered that it was one picture per person, but I wasn't sure exactly whose rules she was repeating. I would soon find out. She told me that if I ventured into the row, to please ask the boy with his head down to look her way and that his name was Eddie. I can be eager to please, so as I sidestepped my way along I paused and said "Eddie, look over that way." He raised his eyes without moving his head and said "I know." Apparently the photo thing was just Eddie's rule. (I laughed, but also cried a little bit in my head for his mom.)
I later realized I had captured Eddie, can you guess which one he is?
This is my son. 
Somehow he aged into this college guy in the twenty-four hours since we had dropped him off.
Now, on with the convocation (Latin for "Mothers grab your tissues"? Oh. My. Gosh. Not bagpipes again! This is a thing? Start to desensitize yourselves to them now!
I won't bore you with any details of our actual departure.

This is part of the care package that was waiting on my kitchen counter when we got home. My dear friend, making sure I balanced my chocolate intake with some vegetables!

The next care package was from the Monkey in the Field. Oh my!
My mother brought this back from Pittsburgh for me, and if you are in that area, I highly recommend! If you are in my area, I might share, but you probably ought to hurry...two squares gone.
The weekend found some highs and lows, or at least one low when the Monkey Near a Lake (because that is where we were) opened a box of Andes. 
Remember when they used to be packaged across the box in the other direction and filled it? None of those cardboard border fillers! They've lost that majestic mountain feeling now.

For fear that I was becoming immune to chocolate, I decided to try some other means of sustaining myself. Apparently I also thought I should photograph a number of them. This is a Pink Floyd.

I wrote the recipe down while watching some television show that had it up on a board at the bar being filmed. The ingredients had nothing in common with the recipes you get when you ask google. It was not grand, nor was it bad, nor was I comfortably numb.


How about some cheesecake and a blood orange brownie and an empty sample sipper of maple beer?
How about a clam. No, I do not like clams, but my need to be distracted was creeping in.
How about a lobster claw? Nope, still don't really care for lobster, but again with the distraction.
I ate SEVERAL other things too, but by Sunday was back to seeking comfort in my peanut m&m jar.

I was cleaning out some of the clutter from my son's room. (Yeah, I know, of course I was.) I found this...

It should have landed in the garbage, right? Why can't I throw this creepy thing in the garbage?

Which brings me to salsa making efforts...which brings me to my kick ass onion goggles!

Oh yes, they work! Awesome! What? You want to know why that pan of brownies and the m&m's are so close? I didn't say I had made a full recovery.


Stacy Uncorked

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Random Reality!

So this is happening…TODAY!
THIS...
…will also be happening today!

My primary concern, in fact the only thing I am focused on, is making sure I know where these two parcels are at all times. 
What important valuable treasures are in these, you say? There is chocolate packed in both the box and the bag. It is supposed to be ninety-one degrees out, so my sole mission is to keep these things safe from melting. Yep, that is what I will worry about.


***Update: I have consolidated the chocolate. It is just in the box now. (Seriously, we have got to leave soon as this waiting around is a bit much!***


Might need the wine this week!
Stacy Uncorked

Monday, August 17, 2015

Ready to be ready

I know you are all used to me giving off the vibe that I am a completely rational human being who has herself pretty well pulled together. Mmmhmm, that's right. Well, today will be a slight departure from that norm as I share a few items from the "getting my son ready for college". The mere fact that I have time to sit here on the computer trying to generate some coherent thoughts tells you we are more than prepared, right? Or...

The final push for getting this traveling college show on the road probably started two weeks ago. I bought the Advil, new socks, toothpaste and other similar necessities, but had more energy to spare. If you recall, my standard strategy for coping with nervous energy is organizing stuff in an attempt to restore some order to my world. Our craft closet now boasts fewer impractical options, my son has twenty-four fewer t-shirts and the school supply inventory no longer looks as though I have kindergartners. One week ago I noticed that I preferred to do my sorting and purging at least on the same level of the house that my son was on, just in case I thought of some pearl of wisdom I had neglected to tell him. "Separate the dark clothes from the light!" I did not want to have to yell from far away. "Be respectful of yourself and other people, and don't be a jerk to women. You do not want your picture with a line through it on the door to a dorm." (Yes, I said that.)

As the days went by, I noticed my tendency to hover was increasing. I was running out of areas in the house to tidy up that were in close enough proximity to my children to be a casual observer. I did leave to run a couple of unnecessary errands just to give them a chance to breathe. Make no mistake, I rarely stop being aware of how ridiculous I can be.

Now here we are in the final countdown, and I found myself sitting on the couch skimming through old cooking magazines before throwing them into the recycle pile. Oh, I was on the couch because that is where my son was sitting, of course. 
Those are recipes I may never try on the right, but they take up much less space than the magazines did!
Dont' let the noise canceling headphones fool you, I am sure he could hear the cacophony symphony of his mother's voice. That computer and phone certainly weren't distracting either. This was QUALITY TIME!

I just had to cram as much togetherness in as I could...and as many m&ms into my mouth as possible.
I had to see as many facial expressions of his as I could...even if they were skeptical and slightly impatient ones, aimed at me no less.
I had to listen to him breathe...no, I didn't. Okay, maybe I did.

Magazines older than both of my children and the most recent Cooking Lights were from 2007. 
Look, I had already reclaimed half of a shelf, but now had empty magazine holders.

Just as I felt a calm starting to come over me, there were so many magazines that the recycle bin was too heavy to lift. How was I going to get rid of the magazines? 
As if I cook interesting meals.
People keep telling me that my son will be fine, and I kind of believe them. All selfishness aside, it is me that I worry about! After days of randomly getting choked up, yesterday culminated in full blown tears. It wasn't like I was sitting dwelling in a pile of sadness, but rather was just trying to go about my day with waterfalls down my face. I hid out in the shower for a little while, then with towels for a little longer. Speaking seemed to have some direct correlation with the amount of saltwater escaping me, which became evident when my mother called. (Totally not her fault as she was only trying to make dinner plans, and she made up for it with chocolate.) I did eventually stop leaking, but there is a chance I may have just been dehydrated. 

Today is a new day...to sit on the couch, a respectable one cushion away. He just asked me why I was looking at him...because I can! You don't think he'll mind if I wear my cape tomorrow, do you? Superpowers and a hankie (eww) all in one?





Saturday, August 15, 2015

Part 4 - The slightly less than grand finale

We were running out of time for the porch guests to stay once they had their fourth of July gathering. (Granted every day had become a festival of fun out there.) Nobody wanted to host a graduation party with the help of the swooping poopers. Plus, the rest of the porch had been taken over by spider webs and I had not billed our event as a nature field trip. The power washer was waiting in the garage, ready to eradicate everything but the flowers. The birds did decide to leave the nest…

"We fit just fine in here!"
 "This flapping is exhausting!"
 "Well, I don't want to stay by myself, and this place is getting disgusting!"

…but then used us just for lodging at night. No thank you! So, the nest was removed the second week in July, with little ado since it was daytime. However, as evening fell, their plans were going to need to be FOILED!
 Um, move along now...
 Creepy red eyes! (And not easily frightened!)


Once again, you can see that I have learned no lessons about sending someone else out to be on foil duty. Granted you can also see that practice is not nearly perfect in deterrent techniques either.

"Check out my bright shiny perch!"

"I don't know, it's a little scary."
"Ooh, you're right, this is nice!"

The birds decided that aluminum siding was not going to make a decent nesting material, so they found room at some other inn on subsequent nights. They did still stop by to make sure I hadn't changed my mind though...

As far as the continuing metaphor...We are now in the final phase of getting our oldest ready to leave the nest on Tuesday. I hope he maintains as strong of a sense of home as these crazy birds did. Um, well, now I just feel badly since I made those birds depart. Sheesh. Well, anyway, my son told his friends' mother that I was all set and ready for him to leave. I had no idea I could possibly be up for an academy award this year. Pass the peanut m&ms...

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Part 3 - The waiting IS the hardest part

It seemed like the more these birds grew…
…the more vigilant their guardians became! (Oh, and the more disgusting their nest and our porch floor got.) 
Here a swoop…

…there a swoop…

…Everywhere a swoop, swoop!

I just couldn't get used to the dive bombing. Even when I expected the ambush, it would come within much closer range than I anticipated. One day I was talking to the neighbor and did my usual ducking, then asked her how close the bird had actually come. Her response was "within four feet". That may not sound close, but have somebody throw something near your head at that distance. Plus, are you one of those people who ducks when you are in your car and "nearly" hit a bird? Come on, admit that you do, despite there being any rational reason to do so. Keep in mind that we have that reflex even when protected by steel and glass.

I was talking to a friend through her car window, that was parked in our driveway.  (She was smart enough to take cover.) A bird flew in between the modest space between us. A few days later, I was descended upon again and my husband reported that the top of my head was eighteen inches from the bird's path. They were closing in!

Enough already! Don't look at me like that, just move on with your lives!
 Yes, the coast is clear, just fly! Believe!

Well now wait a second, there was that nagging metaphor again! Were they really ready to be on their own? Had they truly outgrown the nest? Hold on, in a related metaphorical story, look at how they were squawking at their mother, as if almost ungrateful for the protection, love and food...
…and the mess they were making, and the pouting?
Yes, it was surely time for them to move on. 

As far as the waiting being the hardest part? Perhaps not in terms of suspense, but more just being done with it. Part four will be the finale. (The grandness has yet to be determined.)

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Part 2 - Moment of weakness

So where were we before I got distracted by random things, like a Tuesday or something? Ah yes, there was a nest. Two skimpy pieces of foil in one corner did nothing to hamper a day's effort in the other corner. So. Much. Progress. Ugh. I have no problem taking down mere foundation efforts, but to take their whole nest down? They must have called upon the rest of the neighborhood swallows to get that barn raised in the hours I was away that day. I tried not to appreciate the craftsmanship. Oh, how I tried. Unfortunately, while I was so busy trying to distract myself from the muddy masterpiece, my mind wandered...

Were there some parallels to be drawn between this mother bird staring me down and my own life? Didn't all mothers want a safe place to raise a family? Weren't those moments fleeting before our babies left the nest?

"She's cracking! She's cracking! Her son is going away to college this year and she is losing it!"

Maybe this barn swallow mother wasn't the only one who'd gotten a bad rap for being abrasive at times, in her efforts to protect her offspring. So misunderstood.

"Did she just turn down her husband's offer to take the nest down? Oh, we have got this!"

Anybody concerned about my well-being at this point in time yet? See that nest up on the left? Just for a point of reference, that is our front door frame along the right edge of the picture.
Now you can fully appreciate the proximity of the toxic pooping and swooping to our well worn path. Perhaps you have not embraced my moment of weakness, but honestly I have not either. Maybe I longed for last year when my the mama robin's eggs hatched. Their journey to their clumsy departure was fun to watch. I had seen a nest in that bush above earlier in the spring, but must have missed the main event. Imagine my dismay...
...when I found a second nest, now abandoned due to the new nuisance neighbors I had allowed to move in. Ugh. I am a horrible landlord who neglected to do a comprehensive background check. In a lame attempt to ease my mind, I climbed up on a ladder to see if anything was doing in the swallow nest...
...fine, a couple of sweet spotted eggs and that grassy interior decorating was relatively cool. I decided to check back a day or two later...
...acceptable. More eggs and some extra downy fill. In fact, this nest looked comfy and roomy enough for five more eggs, blue eggs! (No, I did not relocate anything.)

The porch was staying surprisingly clean, but the dive bombing was at an all time high protecting those little speckled eggs. Not only did we have to seek cover from the parental winged units, but they had other comrades in the neighborhood who were available at a moment's notice. Fozzie and I were followed and heckled a distance of over three houses away for having the nerve to walk out our door. Just hatch already!

"Shut up! I am here already!"
And with that, we had to put up with even more of their crap...literally.

Plus, I was having a hard time getting any decent pictures, sooooooo I had to risk life, limb and eyeballs by climbing my ladder, holding my camera up as high as I could, hoping to take a picture of whatever was going on...
...or not going on. Angry birds - Real Porchlives Edition. How about a different day with less poop and more bird?
Meh.

Stay tuned for what I will try to make the final installment. Wait, I take that back. I might have more videos than I thought. Yep, that's right VIDEOS!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Gooey Random

I just witnessed, first hand, the power of the Coolatta. I was busy pretending to be busy doing some organizing in the basement. (College departure is two weeks from today so you know I have to find some part of my universe to restore order to. The basement was a poor effort.) It was nice and cool down there though, so at least I was comfortable if not productive. Walking back upstairs slapped a bit of warmth and mugginess into my face, while the thermostat read 75 degrees. (I also was met with the news that Kermit and Miss Piggy have decided to end their relationship. My daughter has her finger on the pulse of news.) 

Powers of suggestion (no need to say whose) caused my son to embark on a Dunkin Donuts outing. Upon his return, we all sat on the porch watching the rain, and the temperature drop, while drinking our frozen fruity beverages. That rain sure was cooling things off. I had to come inside because I was chilly and ended up putting on a long sleeved shirt, as I walked by the thermostat that now reads 76 degrees. Hmpf, this is kind of a boring discovery, but since I took the trouble to type it up, I might as well leave it in with the random. Let's move on…

…to another temperature related phenomenon! Don't hide your bag of gummies in a secret compartment of the car so that you don't eat them all at once on a road trip. There is a chance you might hide them so well that you forget about them and then…
…Oh no! A glob of randoms!!! That hunk of melted togetherness could be some sort of metaphor for my brain when the random gets to be too much!

Stay tuned for Part 2 of the Barn Swallow Shenanigans! (Part 1 is here if you missed it.)



Stacy Uncorked