6.7 miles

Check out this loot! I'd been led to believe that the goody bag for the 3M Half Marathon and Relay was the best on the running circuit in Austin and I must say that I was not led astray. The bag was a glory to behold as each item pulled out resulted in another "oooh!" or "looky! more Post-its!" from my giddy self. The girl at RunTex seemed to be just as excited for us, "It's like going to The Container Store!". Tape, glue, flexible fabric bandaids, earplugs, Post-its of every shape, color and size. Oh, and a cool shirt. Worth the training and effort RIGHT THERE.

I was less excited when I had to get up and venture into the cold at 5:30 am. Happy though that I wasn't having to coordinate a helmet, swim cap, tri-suit, etc...So easy. Get dressed. Make a PBJ for breakfast. Leave.

Wait for an hour at the relay exchange point. Indoors - heated, and with friends. CCC looked like she could have gone the whole distance when she dashed up and sent CC and me on our way. We whiled away the time avoiding slippery banana peels (who planned that one?), maneuvering among the herd of people, and wondering why folks need to carry their own personal 4 water bottles when water/gatorade is offered every 2 miles? There were mariachis, bagpipers (in kilts! but that was on the first leg...lucky CCC!), people with cow bells to complete the feeling of being in a herd, lots of encouraging supporters, and accordian players in lederhosen. What fun!

It was a bit disappointing that the relayers didn't rate a medal at the end. They could've given out a medal that looked like those friendship charms with the zigzag cutout down the middle with "Re" on one side and "Lay" on the other. But I suppose I wouldn't want the side that says "Lay". People might get the wrong idea.

I liked the running. Maybe more than the bike ride. Guess I'll just have to do some more of both to figure out which I like better.



The Pawn in this Crisis: A Box of Earrings

This situation actually took place a couple of weeks ago, so don't bother alerting the authorities. I was reminded of it when I finally got around to downloading my photos. This box is the hostage to which I'm referring. I was the hostage taker. Big E was the victim from whom I attempted to extort money in return for information leading to the whereabouts of this box of earrings.

You see, Big E has a long history of misplacing items that were once in her possession and in Sadistic Parenting Fashion I was attempting to do something I've obviously failed to do up to this point called "Teach her a Lesson". The nerve.

No casualties were reported during this seige but I do believe that Big E felt she was being unfairly targeted with such harsh treatment. After all, her holes might close up! How was she supposed to find a 12"x 12" box of earrings in this vast cavern of a house or the pit she calls her bedroom? Nevermind that I found the box in question after a 5 minute search and rescue operation. I assured the box I would not forget it's location but that in an effort to prevent future episodes of Dislocation I would have to leave it there for the time being. Patience in the short run to ensure long term stability.

I taunted Big E with the fact of my knowledge and my willingness to part with said information for $20. Ransom was declined and she spent 30 seconds looking absently around the room waiting for the box to fly to her via her mental summons. When that tactic failed she followed it up with 30 minutes of whining about her Mean Mommy and the grievous harm I was causing to her bare and empty lobes. When THAT tactic failed she promptly forgot a box of earrings was missing and went about furnishing her Webkinz World.

Days passed and eventually the box was located by Big E. Oh Yeah! We were playing Makeover in the loft!! Silly me!

I do believe there was a Lesson Learned. Mostly that Mean Mommy wasn't going to cover her @ss when she decided she was too lazy to deal with her own belongings. I guess that's lesson enough for the moment.



I'm sitting here in the wonderfully warm, melancholy, but beautiful, afterglow from watching Atonement. I read the book a few years ago and admit to spending the first 150 pages not that interested but loving the writing. For the rest of the book, I was not entirely clear on what exactly was really happening and still, loving the writing. Despite my initial indifference and subsequent confusion, I could not stop reading. By the end, I had made sense of it all and it was heartbreakingly fabulous. I know I won't sleep well tonight. I usually avoid media that conjures this feeling in me because, after all, I want to be happy. The translation from book-to-movie was most impressive. That's saying something, right? Even Keira Knightly was good. Now THAT'S really saying something. (Not a fan...did you notice??) And James McAvoy? Perfection. I think my heart will break every time I see him for the rest of my life.

I've just had so much goodness these last few days that I feel awash in it all. First, I've been reading The Pleasure of My Company, by Steve Martin. What a fantabulous book! I savored every single WORD of this book and found myself rereading paragraphs and pages because they were so dead on. So meticulously right. I will never look at a lightbulb or curb with the same carefree attitude. Maybe I'll even attempt an e-less blog post?? Yep, he was a quirky character.

Saturday we watched Juno. Loved this movie. I went into it never having seen a preview, read a review, not having an inkling to the subject matter whatsoever. Remember? I live in a bubble. Very little makes it inside. So glad Juno made it. Clever, clever writing and Ellen Page is a lovely, talented actress. Way to make me feel old...she was born the year I learned to drive. And witty? Killing me with the clever.

So, to have watched two such enjoyable movies and to have just finished a book that entertained me so thoroughly all in one weekend is almost too much for me to bear. That must be why it's gushing out of me so forcefully...I just can't keep it inside lest I burst with the goodness of it all! I apologize for the vomitorium of Good Things According to Bubble girl.

Worry not...I'm sure the cynical, negative, pessimistic me will be back tomorrow. But tonight. It's all good.


It's all in the marketing

On a recent, blustery day:

Big E [with contempt]: Little A, you still have hot chocolate all over your face.

Little A: I know! I LIIIIIKE it there. It makes all my boogers taste like chocolate! Geez!

It is a relief and comfort to me to know that he will no longer need to force himself to choke down plain flavored, dried-up, crusty wads of mucous. I've been concerned that he wouldn't be able to fortify his Super Powers by consuming enough of his own dried up drainage.

I wonder what other flavors he'll be interested in adding in the future? Gatorade Blue Ice? Cinnamon and sugar? Pizza? I foresee a whole Jelly Belly-esque line of flavored snot. We'll call them clever names like Banana Booger or Cinna-Snot. Mmmmm. Want some?


Shupe. Jentren = 6 points

Yes. We are nerds. When our family gets together it's a race between my older sister and I to see who can rustle up a game of Boggle first. Not just any Boggle.....Super Boggle. AP came across the giant 5x5 grid a few years ago and introduced us to the glorious wonderment that is a 25 letter Boggle game vs. the puny, ridiculous 16 letter regular game.

Then *gasp* she LOST it. There was a semi-veiled accusation that perhaps I had it? I see where the loyalty lies. So now the pressure was on. I just HAD to have one of my own. Looked. Everywhere. Ebay had nothing. Craigslist. Nothing. Amazon? Nuh-uh.

I had long given up hope of ever finding one until I was perusing a used toy shop looking for legos to feed my vacuum cleaner....I mean, for Little A's birthday when I came across Boggle Master, circa 1992. The owner of the store thought I had spied a rat based on my squeal of pure joy and the way I snatched it off the shelf and hid it under my jacket lest the one other person in the store who was selling her daughter's Polly Pockets would want to fight me for it. I usually run very quickly away from conflict but we're talking Boggle MASTER. You understand.

Bubble Girl's Boggle Success Strategy. Rest the box on top of your head for a few seconds before the round begins to let the letters imprint. This works especially well if you've had wine. Also, creative spelling comes in handy. Throw out a semi-believable definition and you're in business. This works especially well if your opponents have had more wine than you. Reading historical fiction about 18th century Scotland helps too. You wouldn't believe how many archaic, old English words there are and those who haven't been properly schooled on their Olde English are at a distinct disadvantage. Och, aye.


Say Cheese!

What? For meeeee?? Was it my birthday again already?? I had completely forgotten! You shouldn't have...but I'm sooooo glad you did!!

Oh, you know. I try. Every now and then I get it right.

And right it is! Thanks, Bubble Boy! The Internet can look forward to many a photo taken with my very own camera!


Heeeere's Jonny!

Usually this time of year would have me marking the countdown to the '24' season premiere and speculating endlessly about what Jack Bauer might have been up to lo these many months of off-season. What potential world devastation would face Jack and CTU this season. But thanks to the friendly and caring big media conglomerates the season probably won't happen and we're stuck with a ridiculous reincarnation of American Gladiators instead. I never got into that show back when it was original and I was undiscerning in my television viewing, so I don't expect I'll be taken up with it now that I can actually perceive the excessively high levels of Cheese Factor.

We're obviously getting desperate in this house. Bubble Boy is currently watching Resident Evil. Quality zombies, gore and impalations. And my! isn't Milla Jovovich a lovely? That skin! You see how I have time to blog. Otherwise I'd just be pausing the movie just trying, trying to see one tiny pore or imperfection. And you know? It wouldn't be there. I don't need that.

But things are looking up...

Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert have been forced back to work by the kind souls of big media and as much as I feel badly that they've been put in that tough spot, there's that little part of me which craves entertainment and is so glad to have them back in my home. But I feel that I'm betraying the writers by watching. How will the media giants ever be pressured to negotiate if they're still getting ad revenue? It's a bit of a conundrum and I'm not sure I'm strong enough to do the right thing. In fact, I know I'm not. I'm weak and hungry for my news parody. Like, did you know? There's still an election going on! There are faint memories of glimpses of words like 'caucus', 'debate', 'primary' or 'emotional outburst'.

And! Oh!! Did YOU remember there was a WAR going on? And the US is a part of it?? Seriously. Because to watch The Today Show this morning, you'd not have known it. As I plodded along on the treadmill I was privileged to see The Today Show spend a minimum of SEVEN MINUTES of primo news time (the 8:06 - 8:13 am slot) on....can you guess??

Britney Spears. And Dr. Phil and his intervention. I realize morning news shows have to strike a balance between news and fun, life stuff to appease the ever growing numbers of disengaged masses. But even so, isn't that something more suitable for The View? Or Ellen? Or at least the last fifteen minutes of the hour? 'Nuff said on that lest I get caught up in the Great Britney Debate.

After much pointless rambling about everything from Milla Jovovich to American Gladiators, the point IS, Jon Stewart is back. Yea!


Houston, aka Lair of the Masses

Why does anyone choose to live in Houston? Everyone I've known who has lived there in the past did so under pressure. Law school. Work. Parents lived there. Got out as soon as the gettin' was good. I understand why.

I ask myself this question every time we visit Houston. Which has some wonderful museums. My favorite being the Houston Museum of Natural Science. But our destination last weekend was the Johnson Space Center. The one and only request from BB's cousin visiting from Belgium. Little did we know that every other biped in the Houston Metro area was also planning a visit to the Space Center. And they brought strollers.

I basically blacked out in an effort to protect my inner self from the onslaught of people and awoke at various points to find myself rocking uncontrollably in one corner or another. Luckily I pulled myself out of the abyss to locate Little A after he had become dislocated from our group for several minutes. Loooong minutes of my life in which gory and horrible thoughts of pedophiles and spooky clowns filled my brain. I also came up for air long enough to snap (scream?) at BB a few times (or more). Sorry 'bout that. I think we all know how I am with Crowds.

I finally made the arduous journey once again into BB's domain to swipe some of the photos he's taken of the last couple of weeks. Christmas saw the introduction of two new Webkinz. Too bad the Webkinz being registered.site has only been working about 3% of the time since Christmas. Guess their servers weren't quite prepared for a billion new pets in cyberspace.

We had time to kill on Saturday evening so we headed to the aquarium at Moody Gardens. Where I pondered what Rotisserie Penguin would taste like. Quite good, I think. I'll take a wing.

BB and Kids got in some valuable Astronaut Training. Storm troopers kept us safe from the Empire and the tram ride to Mission Control was a cold one. But I managed a smile.


Pink Slip

Dear Roomba,
We regret to inform you that as of today we will no longer be utilizing your services. After an initial euphoric phase of excitement, elation and joy we have grown disheartened in your performance. After serious deliberation we have reached the decision that your operating performance falls short of the minimum standard that would justify your not-insignificant start-up costs. We also feel that your services would be better appreciated in an environment that houses no furniture, corners or hallways, children, cracker bits, or lego pieces.

Please understand that this was not an easy, whimsical decision on our part. Vacuuming is a tedious pain in our @$$ and we were bound and determined to make it work if it killed us. We thoroughly enjoyed the entertainment value of watching you putter around the house and bounce off walls and furniture. And the getting caught up in the chair legs under the dining room table thing is a hoot. We began to think of you as the pet we didn’t have, but better, because you didn’t shed everywhere, bark until all hours, jump on the company or poop in the yard.

Be that as it may, in the end we feel that ample opportunities to learn the terrain and prove yourself were provided and we were not seeing you make the progress needed to encourage us to stick it out. We'll keep you in mind once upgrades to Version 6 have been completed.

Best of Luck,
Bubble Girl and Family

Squeezing in a Happy New Year

Didn't think I was going to let the New Year pass without some kind of recognition? Even if it is Jan 2. Even if I have been busy from dawn 'til dusk. Cooking. Cleaning. More cooking. It's a good thing I enjoy the cooking. Not so much with the cleaning. How many dishes can one family plus two mess up in one day? It's the pots and pans. Lord! with the pots and pans! My hands are cracked and bleeding. I'm not exaggerating. The blood is probably going to ruin my keyboard.

In between the hours at the sink and stove I've managed to fit in some fun game time (Settlers of Catan is RISK for the less battle-minded, like me). And I finally made it all the way to Phase 10, so I can finally mark that off my list of things to do before I die, thank God. I do love me games, but Bubble Boy is less of a game fan. You're *so* competitive, he says. He honestly doesn't see that it's HE who starts throwing the verbal right hooks while in his offensive stance anytime we sit down to a card game. Really? I'm the competitive one. As he's rubbing his hands together with an evil grin on his face and laughing his evil laugh. Bwa-ha-ha! You're going down, Suckah!


Moving on...
Ending our annual New Year's Eve Hibernation we emerged from the cave to say goodbye to the year That Was and to ring in a new year of hopes and dreams with friends over great food and fun. The little Bubbles joined us and were tear-free the entire night until we got home when Little A informed me he hadn't eaten dinner. What?! I say. There was food on every horizontal surface all night long. Good food! I smelled chips on your breath! There's chocolate on your face! Must I feed you every single meal? Big eyes. Sad face. But no dinner, Mommy. So I slapped together a PBJ and it became The Highlight of his first 5 years. He ate dinner after midnight! Can you even believe it? He went to bed as happy as could be.

It must be a sign it's going to be a great year. Here's to hoping!