My mom, sister and I (oh, and TK) hung out for a while the other day. We wondered around Hobby Lobby and a couple of other places. I'm not real sure what our intention was, probably just "bond" or whatever. Whenever we're all together someone always manages a comment or two about mom's phone.
Because she keeps it in her bra.
And I don't know why but while she was driving we all hear a *click*.
"What was that?"
--Mom turns the wheel--
"I think my phone is taking pictures!"
"Ewww! Pictures of what?!"
"I guess whatever's in my bra!"
Oh. Em. Gee.
Hey mom don't bust a u-turn, we may all get a media message we DO NOT WANT TO OPEN.

Wedgie Free

"Mom, why do I have to wear underwear that come up to my belly button?"
"Because you're ten and unmarried and that's the rule around here."
"But none of my friend's wear that kind..."
"Well, what kind do they wear?"
"I dunno...the kind that doesn't give you wedgies..."

Lily and I have this conversation almost daily until I give in and buy her some new underwear. I get them home, she tries them on and glory be! Wedgie free!

You know how I know?

"Mom look!"
--shakes her butt--
"No wedgie!!"
--dances around--
"Now wedgie!!"
--lays on her back and puts her ankles behind her head--



Nerves of Steal

Two days ago, the kids and I were walking out of the library through those tall, "unpaid-for item" detectors and Caleb asked what they were for. Being the ever-helpful parent, I explained what they were and how they worked... to my chagrin. Next on my to-do list was grocery shopping. We passed through a set of similar detectors on the way out.
You can guess what happened next, right?
Caleb loudly exclaims:
I don't know why I wasn't tackled by security. Maybe the holiday spirit?


The Next Iron Chef....Me! NOT

I've kind of been in a "make your family healthier by providing more unprocessed foods" mood.
I said, KIND OF.
I've learned a little here and there, but one thing I've known for a while is that homemade chicken stock is THE BOMB and easy to make.
I remember making it a few years ago.
So, I gathered some boneless, skinless chicken breasts, rosemary, garlic and onion, plopped them all in a crock pot and let it simmer all day.
What did I get?
White wrinkly chicken fingers floating in a vat of garlic water.
So after a bit of research (props for Google!) I relearned that you need the bones of the chicken to make stock. Duh. Ok.
So today I bought a whole chicken, took it home, and cut the plastic off.
And remembered why I haven't made chicken stock in five years.
They stick a WHOLE CHICKEN in there, y'all. Like, EVERYTHING. Butt, wings, legs, tail nub, everything!! Oh, and on the package it says to "remove the giblets" before cooking. 
Ugh. The only place it could be is all up in the chicken's business, if you ladies know what I mean.
Barf. I did not plan on being a chicken gynecologist today.
So I opened it up and saw... something... poking out and pulled it and UGH IT WAS A NECK. 
Ack ack ack!!
I figured that wasn't all but in order to retrieve all the STUFF I needed to actually stick my hand in the cavity and FISH IT OUT. 
I needed more coffee.
So I finally closed my eyes and reached my hand in and IMMEDIATELY opened my eyes because your brain makes up some crazy shiz when it has to make it's own image of what you're sticking your hand into. It felt like cold, bony globular BARF that I could NEVER IN MY LIFE compare to anything else. EVER.
So I drug them all outta there and saw that one more was left. I tried upending the chicken and shaking it but that didn't work. UGH.
In again.
Ok. Made it through that.
Then I discovered that the whole chicken fit in the crock pot but didn't leave much room for water, celery, onion, etc. So I was gonna have to take off its limbs and stuff. UUUGGGHHH.
The only thing worse than cleaning out the chicken is having to grasp the slippery limbs and wrench them around in order to break the bones.
So I got that done, and now had a limbless chicken that STILL wouldn't fit in the crock pot.
So I cut the body in half (there's sharp ribs in there y'all and DID I JUST CUT MYSELF?! AHH! INTERNAL SALMONELLA!!!!) and plopped it in the pot with the neck and a wing. I covered it with water and put it on to simmer. Then I washed my hands with straight up bleach (mama don't play no games), soaked the sink, knife, faucet, counter and nearly anything else within a seven foot diameter. 
Then I had to decide what to do with the other half of the chicken.
I didn't have any gallon sized baggies (of course!). But I did have foil and saran wrap. So I wrapped the stupid chicken three times in foil and three times in plastic wrap (always a pleasure to work with) because I didn't want all my hard work freezer burned. UGH.
I contemplated disinfecting everything again, just to make sure. 
But I decided on more coffee and blog.
Aren't y'all proud of me??
I made chicken stock!!!!

Luckily the dog and cat were outside or I would have had to bathe them in bleach.


Panty Raid (Guadalupe Gilmer's first post)

In the mail quite a few weeks ago I received this shirt

and a short story booklet about an adventure of this Texas river legend from my Grandfather. I think I get my story telling skills from him. 
So I decided to start a series on this here blog, called The Adventures of Gilmer.
Or, $hit that happened while I was wearing the above T-shirt.
So without further ado, I present Guadalupe Gilmer's Panty Raid.

Every weekday morning after I drop the kids off at school, I run down the street to have coffee with my Granny. I've blogged about her before; I like old people. She lives in a retirement center (NOT A NURSING HOME!). A retirement center is a place where you can live after you retire. According to Granny it's  an apartment complex where you live surrounded by wrinkled, crotchety geriatrics waiting to die from a variety of illnesses. CLEARLY not a place for HER. She's not old, crotchety or geriatric, really. She's a 22 year old trapped in an 82 year old body.
People who live in the center die at a rate of about three a month, more or less, I don't keep accurate death tolls. Too morbid. And as my cousin Lauren aptly described the situation, "They're like a bunch of buzzards that hover around a dying resident, waiting to take possession of their belongings once the hearse clears the parking lot." Indeed. I've SEEN it. 
Sadly, Granny's dear friend passed away recently after a long battle with cancer. She was such a sweet lady. Granny was reminiscing about her friend one day as we were visiting Lauren and her newborn oh-so-cute chubby baby girl. She mentioned that when she and her friend arrived at the viewing, they were the only ones there. So they went up to see how good a job the mortician had done on their friend's body. What a way to shop for your future expenses, eh?
So they walked up there and inspected her. As in, CHECKED TO MAKE SURE HE INSERTED HER GOOD TEETH. As opposed to.... the wooden ones? I dunno. 
They also looked to see how well the artist had covered the shunt site on her chest.
Now, I'm assuming the dearly departed wasn't wearing a bikini.
So that meant they had to... um... LOOK UNDER HER SHIRT. 
They said he did a good job.
By the end of this adventure everyone around the table was red-faced and dying from laughter and probably embarrassment. I'm pretty sure Granny asked us to do a postmortem inspection because, you know, if you pay thousands of dollars for someone to make you look undead they better do a damn good job. I started to imagine Granny coming into my room as a ghost in the middle of the night demanding a refund from the funeral home because her bouffant wasn't as good as the girls at the cosmetology school would have done.
Such is my life.
Lauren's doing that inspection with me, by the way.
Then we're gonna go chug martini's until Granny's ghost appears.

Back to the Panty Raid.
After the funeral and appropriate waiting period (about 18 hours) the residents of the retirement center began to gather around their friend's apartment, waiting for the survivors to begin passing out or selling the deceased's belongings that they had silently called dibs on while visiting their ill friend. Friends leave with anything from recliners to canned goods to hundreds of mini bottles of lotion and body wash. Or their panties.
You knew I was going there right?
Not by choice, mind you.
So one morning I go to Granny's and sit down with my cup of joe and Gilmer and I start reading the newspaper when Granny comes into the living room:
"Hey Tally, I went up to (the friend)'s apartment and got a few things that her daughter was throwing away. She gave me a WHOLE WAL-MART BAG FULL of her panties. Now I washed them all REAL GOOD and they're laying there on the bed. You go in there and pick out the ones you want; I've already picked out mine. They're good panties, a little big for me but they're those expensive silk kind, you may not like them but I like them."
How do you respond to THAT?!
BESIDES choking on your coffee?!
I can't even think of what to write after that. 
Gilmer and I just kinda sat there dumbfounded. 
Then I politely declined.
I'm pretty sure Gilmer had a good laugh, first because of the situation and secondly because he knew I would have to answer because a screened image on the back of a T-shirt can't talk, you know.
I know that the generation that grew up during the Great Depression recycle, reuse and hoard. But really?

The Gilmer shirt is dirty, need to go start a load of laundry.


California Vacation

And now, for a photo montage of our two week vacation to California!!
First of all... we drove approximately 4,032,993 miles round trip and more than, I dunno, 80 miles makes Talia  grumpy traveler. Sorry. It's just who I am. I turn into a bitchy, whiny, sore, annoying personage of myself. Not proud, but not gonna deny it either. How did James, Nana, the kids and I pass the time?

The kids fought. The. Entire. Time.

Nana slept most of the time.

James and I were up front. James drove the whole way.

We drove west because that's how you get to CA from TX. We began by traveling through New Mexico and Arizona, which pretty much looked like this...

.... and this.

I didn't take many pictures because the duct tape only allowed me minimal movement... when I was a good girl.

All of a sudden, the temperature dropped fifteen degrees and we were in California!! 

(going through the mountains)

Our first stop was Oceanside, James' old stomping grounds. After checking in at the hotel (which was surrounded by Bird-of-Paradise!) we headed down to the pier on the beach.

May I take a moment to say... the Pacific Ocean is effin' cold!!

Walking along the pier....

... we encountered this guy. I think he was from Pier Security. He was grumpy. All he did was perch on the fish cleaning sink and wait to be tossed some guts. Eww.

The kids had fun playing on a seaweed island that washed ashore. Like, a for-real island. This HUGE clump of seaweed washed up. It was cool. 

This was a small chunk that broke off the main chunk.
James and Caleb spent a lot of time looking for these ugly buggers.

After a couple of days, it was back on the road again to our KOA camping grounds near Lake Isabella. It was located in the mountains.....

Our cabin was sooo cute! And it had mattresses and air conditioning!!

While we were there, we went boating on beautiful Lake Isabella.

 We visited the Sequoia National Forest and walked the Trail of One Hundred Giants....

.... which turned into the Trail of Twenty-Eight Giants because it started to rain.

This is the root system of a giant that toppled over, pulling itself out of the ground. It was about 5.5 feet tall and 10 (?) feet wide!

We also visited the California Hot Springs Resort, which is a naturally hot stream that is piped into a swimming pool for your enjoyment.

 It. Was. AWESOME.

By the way, mountain driving takes about four times longer than regular driving due to all the curves and cows. I kid you not. The road is barely wide enough for one vehicle and at every other turn there's a STINKING COW blocking the way. I would have taken pictures of being in the mountains, but it's kind of like Las Vegas: you're too close to get scenic shots.
Speaking of Las Vegas.....

 We stayed at the Stratosphere!

 View from the top of the Stratosphere, with Lily's head in front of the window looking down.
Way, WAAAY down.
Uncomfortably way down.

 The Lake of Fire thingy at the Mirage.

 Volcano in the Lake.

 Mandalay Bay, where we visited the Shark Reef Aquarium.

Inside the MGM Grand Hotel we ate at the Rainforest Cafe, which was cool but really dark and noisy. I suppose the idea is to make you think you're in the rainforest (I'm brilliant, huh?), but it was so dark and foggy you could barely see the huge aquariums beside you. Nothing like eating your mahi mahi with some neon blue Finding Nemo fish starting at you.

My favorite hotel/casino?
Caesar's Palace baby!!!

 Where there are floors of water fountains....

...and skies of glass and clouds!
And a whole restaurant of DESSERTS! Only desserts! Only CHOCOLATE desserts!!
And Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Bvlgari and Gianna Versace boutiques.
Yeah. I took my south-Texas flip flopped self into the Gucci store where I laughed at the prices of purses and belts and was stared down by three-piece suits who were probably close to calling security. Pay $798 for a purse?! L.O.L.!!!

We stayed for five days and still didn't make it to all the casinos. I really wanted to visit the Venetian, where you can take actual gondola rides. Sigh. But we did visit....

Caesar's Palace
MGM Grand
(they had a lion habitat inside the casino!!!!)
(Meh. Not my kind of thing.)
Mandalay Bay
Circus Circus
(Old with BIG cockroaches! But an indoor roller coaster as well!!)
(Here we saw two  exhibits.... Click the links!! Titanic was awesome!!!)
(Awesome buffet! It's like two miles long with an ISLAND of desserts!!)
and Treasure Island.

We didn't go inside all of them, but we did walk by and/or see their outside performances.
Ahhhh.... Vegas. Oh yeah!

Recognize this little place? I'll give you a hint...
Awesome! But what's NOT awesome was the wrapped-around-the-block line to get inside. Yeah. We didn't go in, so sue me. Chum Lee and the Old Man probably weren't there anyway.

 And on we go....
We were pretty tired now, so my behavior in the car was particularly horrible.
Our next attraction was the Hoover Dam.

 Coming up on Lake Mead....

....and going over the dam.
Didn't stop.  Didn't get out. Didn't collect $200. That's why there's a link, people.
Our absolute last stop before hitting the Texas state line was at the Barringer Meteor Crater near Flagstaff, AZ.

(Not my picture, BTW.)

And thus ended our two week, multi-mile, cash-sapping family vacation!!


Eight Years

Eight years ago today, I married this guy.
The most amazing, supportive, loving, attentive guy on planet Earth.
He is an awesome Dad, a great officer, a wonderful friend, and excellent husband.
I love you ! !

(By the way, 2011 minus 2003 is eight, right? Okay. Good to go.)


Another, Shorter, Lag of Blog

This time my lack of blogging has nothing to do with my laziness.
This time, my son spilled water all over the keyboard.
Not all of the keys work.
So unless you would like to read the tale of Granny's recycled panties or our vacation to Las Vegas without the use of the letters L, M, B, G,A or punctuation, you'll have to wait until our new laptop comes in next week.
See you then!!


More Money, More Problems

In my previous post I mentioned that we were now $109K in debt because we bought a house.
What I forgot to mention is that if we pay this off in 30 years at the fixed 4.5% interest rate, we will actually be paying $230K ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
difference between rent and mortgage: $230
between the old water bill and new water bill: $20
old electric bill and new electric bill: $100
That adds up to an additional $450 in expenses, all with a ZERO increase in income.
I'm using my $200 per month from babysitting for groceries.
SOMEHOW we have accumulated $440.45 on our credit cards.
The interest on one card added up to $1.32 on one and $5.63 on the other.
AND I'M MAD ! ! !
I have NEVER paid interest on a credit card before, and this $6.95 is haunting me.
I'm reading up on strategies to get out of debt, success stories, frugal families and their frugal habits, gardening, homemade shampoo, and extreme couponing. 
I know, I know.
Even Dave Ramsey says that a home mortgage is the only "good" debt to have. But I still can't help but roll around in bed trying to decide if I should sell my plasma to help whittle away at that $440.45 ON TOP OF the $109K. 
BUT... God is getting us through this! We just received a check for $60 from our former apartment complex when they originally wanted $1400 for replacing the carpet (long story). And we've also received another check for $55 from the balance of our cable account when we cancelled it. We also received another check for something that I cannot remember right off hand. James will be getting a 3.5% raise in October and I will receive the balance of my financial aid then as well. Our electric bill is $30 lower than last month and I switched our home and auto insurance so our mortgage payments will go down. 
By the way, our mortgage will hereby be referred to as "Mort."
More later. Got homework.


Wow. Long Time No Post ! !

Since my last post we've been kinda sorta busy.
Caleb turned seven. Lily turned nine.
James is still a police officer and loving it.
I have seven more classes to go and I'll be graduating with an Associates in General Studies.
We bought a three bedroom, two bathroom house.
We love it!!!
(I've never been $109,000 in debt.)
(I'm tripping out.)
We adopted a transient. His name is Hunter.
It's been over 100 degrees for most of this summer in Texas!!
I hate it.
I still babysit.
My nephews are still adorable.
We took a two week vacation to California and Las Vegas. 
Be jealous.
And... that's about all for now!!


Top Ten For Today

Top Ten Things I've Been Doing Since My Laptop Died

1. Read a few books, notably:

The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven
Between Shades of Gray
Half-Broke Horses

2. Finished this semester of college. Only six more classes to go!!
Biology 1 and 2
English 2
Government 2
some learning framework thing

3. Caleb graduated to the Wolf rank in Boy Scouts!!

4. Lily is making great grades in school!

5. James loves his job!

6. I folded all the laundry today!!

7. We're in the process of buying a house!!

8. Uummmm.....

9. I've run out of stuff to list.

10. The End!

Long Time No See

Wow! It's been a long time since I've written on my blog!!