Archive for the ‘the ones about friends’ Category

So as I was saying, I’m falling for autumn or at least this autumn.

The past week and half the temperatures have hung lazily at 75 degrees.

Each day promises to be the last of sundress weather.

And I am powerless to the beckoning of sunshine. I can no more stay inside than I can go outside when the sun hibernates.

On Sunday we celebrated the last day of summer by not picking apples.

Unless you count the ones that were already on the ground (and the two or three that Ava prematurely pulled off the the tree).

Of course we and our friends drove out to the orchard with every intention of picking a bushel of apples, but apparently we weren’t the only that were enticed by late summer sunshine. All the ripe apples had been picked for the day. So we picked hand-fulls of clover instead.

While this compromise was appealing to little girls who found clover crowns

and clover chains to be a “cute” accessory,

clover brats and baked clover crisp are not very enticing. Unless you happen to be a goat.

Thankfully there was an apple concession stand to save Hungryman and his co-horts from starving.

Or eating clover.

We finished our outing by picking pre-picked apples out of giant bins and eating hot apple crisp.

Perhaps fall is a warm and scrumptious after all.

I think it’s time for me to let go of sweet summer and fall into the crimson hues of autumn.

As for our friends, they are following the sun west to L.A.

I’ll miss them and the sun.

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So remember when I threw down my cell phone in shock and horror?

Well, I haven’t exactly replaced it. For the past few weeks, I’ve been pretending it’s 1996, except I live with Nate and not with Shanel.

And honestly, I don’t miss the phone much. Except the fact that my favorite Shanel is about to disown me. And you can’t really blame her. I was hard to get a hold of when I had a cell phone, and now it’s nearly impossible.

At some point yesterday, Qwest decided to push my backwards plunge seven decades further. Our land line now sound like a fog horn. It’s not just static, it’s seriously loud static. I can’t call you. You can’t call me. You can’t even leave me a voice mail.  Not that I would remember to check it.

HungryMan, who still lives in 2008 tried to call Qwest on his fancy cell phone, but they were “experiencing an unusually high phone volume” and unable to answer our call. Apparently we aren’t the only ones who have lost touch. He sent in a help desk ticket and we are hoping a technician comes soon.

So now I am completely phoneless. It’s circa 1930 over here if you don’t count the internet, which I don’t.

In case of an emergency I will be instant messaging 9-1-1 or running to my neighbor’s house like Little House on the Prairie, except that I don’t live on a prairie and the nearest house is about ten paces away.

I might as well put on my apron and bake a cherry pie. I’d invite you over for a slice, but I don’t know how to reach out.

P.S. If anyone sees Shanel, tell her that I think she’s the best and will call her as soon as I am able!

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Remember when I told you about how HungryMan was flinging our friend, Johnny through the water like Indiana’s bull whip. I witnessed this harrowing event through the lens of our video camera. The jetski-dragging-tubing-fool footage has been hiding out our computer for weeks due to the very poor camera work (me).

What can I say? I was so worried that I was witnessing Johnny’s lasts moments on earth that I forgot to zoom in. I apologize.

So just in case you think that I make up all of the HungryMan’s antics for good blog fodder, here’s your proof in miniature:

And lest you think HungryMan reserves this water torture for dudes only, let me direct you to Exhibit B.

Three years ago, we invited HungryMan’s old roommates from House Fridley and their ladies to come down to the lake. We celebrated HungyMan’s 28th birthday with high-speed boating, piles of burgers, grilled peaches, and a little game he likes to call, “shake ‘n’ bake.”

It’s LOVE in any language.

We are headed down to the lake with the nearly the same gang this morning to celebrate HungryMan’s 31st birthday.

Fortunately for me and my lungs the jetski went into early retirement this spring.

Have a great weekend everyone!!

This post is done, why are still scrolling down? Oh, you want more HungryMan jetski action? You want to see the full version of the Shake ‘n’ Bake video, don’t you? Fine. Here it is.

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I know that many of you have been following the story of little Stellan, the unborn son of my friend MckMama. Thank you so much for praying for them. There were amazing answers to prayers today, and while the road to recovery is still long there is more hope on the horizon. Please continue to pray for them.

I have had the joy of visiting my friend at the hospital, and have witnessed how your prayers and comments are encouraging her. Ava has accompanied me there a couple of times and even applied the last coat of her pedicure.

Her VBS lesson that morning was on serving others, so she was excited to apply that with a shiny, sheer lacquer.

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Tonight little Stellan, the not yet born son of my college roommate, is fighting for his life. His little heart is beating so fast and so irregularly that it can’t survive. He needs a miracle. We are praying that the Great Physician will touch little Stellan’s heart and save him.

If you would like to join the Around The Clock Prayer Vigil For Stellan, please go here.

After visiting Stellan’s mama at the hospital tonight, Ava heard that she had received more bad news and was upset.

“Mama, is Baby Stellan’s Mama crying?”

“Yes, honey.”

“Is it the crying in her heart or the crying down her face?”

“Both, sweetie. We need to pray for her.”

“And for Baby Stellan.”

Please join us in praying for this sweet babe and his lovely mama. It is our deepest hope that we will meet little Stellan on this side of Heaven.

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Goodbye Online Dating. Hello Online Play Groups.

After months of reading about sweet Julia and thinking, “Oh, that sounds just like Ava” or writing an Ava-antic and receiving a comment about how “Julia does the same thing,” the pint-sized virtual friends met.

My pal MckMama and her sister threw an all-out birthday bash inviting seasoned friends and blogger friends to The Meadows, an enchanted piece of this earth that she calls home.

The men threw their weight around the lake on two supercharged jetskis, churning up enough water to make the neighbors peer out their bay windows to see if a seaplane landing strip had been redirected to their wake-free lake.

HungryMan challenged his long-time water rival Johnny to Interstate Tubing, pulling him white knuckled across the lakes at speeds that exceed highway limits.

The girls huddled around the dock stupified at Johnny’s ability to withstand severe water torture and horrified at HungryMan’s utter disregard for life. Surprisingly, there were no other takers for tube ride pulled by Hungryman. Even Ava refused to ride on the jetski with her daddy. Shocking, I know.

I spent the afternoon catching up with dear college friends and former roommates,

(back: Kristi, MckMama, Me, Yvette. front: Shanel, Becky)

and meeting blogger friends that I have only read about.

(Hilary, Angela, MckMama, Me, Tiffany, Kristi, Yvette & Cosette)

While I was being kindly chastised for taking “too many breaks,” Ava and Julia were forming a friendship that hitherto had only existed in the comment section of their mamas’ blogs. I found these two skipping down the stony path while comparing swimming suit stripes. They were both eagerly awaiting a piece of the princess birthday cake. It was clear that the two were quickly united in their keen sense of summer fashion and sugar-laden sweets.

Ava didn’t want to leave all her newly acquired friends until she heard she was going to ride in Shanel’s car.

“I have always wanted to ride in your car!” she squealed as she grabbed Shanel’s hand.

Shanel opened the rear door and Ava peered in, announcing, “It’s not dirty at all!”

Thank, Ava. Really, it’s not my fault that you insist on carrying out two purses full of crayons, polly pockets, notepads, flash cards, chapsticks and who-knows-what each time we go out to the car. I cannot be held responsible for all the treasures you store in the creases of the back seat.

As we pulled away, Ava stared up at stylishly streamlined dash that makes a VW so hip and said, “Oh Shanel, your car is so beautiful!”

Apparently her good taste extends beyond new friends. Here’s to beautiful friendships and many more parties at The Meadows.

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The ice cream lovers have left the city in search of the perfect cone.

We packed the four scoops in Heather’s van with HungryMan, baby Ilsa and more than our fair share of luggage.

We’re headed south to more lake county in search of new adventures.

Preferably adventures that end with a crispy cone and not a emergency vehicle.

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Remember when little Rapunzel was locked in the bathroom tower?

Thankfully, the Great Knight was on hand to scale the ladder and rescue the frightened princess.

Today, the nefarious bathroom captured another young victim and there was no Great Knight or even a ladder to help the poor, distressed child.

So, I did what any good mama would do when a child is locked in her bathroom, I slipped a fruit strip under the door and dialed, “911.”

“911, emergency services, what is your emergency?”

“Um, there’s a little girl locked in my bathroom and she can’t turn the lock to get out.”


“The bathroom’s on the second floor and there is no way to get the door open from the outside. My daughter locked herself in there before and my husband had to climb a ladder up to the window to get her out.”

“This has happened before?”

“Yes. Um, yeah. I always tell children not to lock the door, because it is so hard to unlock. My cousin’s daughters are visiting and I must have forgotten to tell her.”

“So she’s locked in the bathroom?”

“Yes. I was wondering if maybe the fire department could bring their ladder here and get her out.”

“You need the fire rescuer to climb up to your bathroom to rescue the child?”


Surely, I’m not the only one that read stories about how firemen rescued cats out of trees. And if they can employ their ladders for cats in trees, it can’t be too far a stretch for them to aim that ladder at a window barring in a scared little girl.

Sure enough, the fire truck came and in just enough time for me to tuck away clutter, find my camera and hide our defective smoke detector. We are a safety first family.

Six fire fighters rushed up my stairs to assess the situation. They found one crying girl squarely locked in a bathroom and three other little girls coloring notes to slip under the door to her.

“Her name is Cate!” I yelled at them as they scampered back down the stairs to retrieve their ladder.

How many fire fighters does it take to climb a ladder?


Three to hold it and one to climb it.

Apparently they take safety a bit more seriously than HungryMan.

Which is probably why that lock is still on our door.

Safety aside, HungryMan and his fire fighter counterpart have the same through-the-window technique.

That’s if you don’t count the flip-flops.

“Hi Cate,” yelled the brave fire fighter. “I’m coming in this window and then I’m going to unlock the door for you.”

Hurray for the hero! She rescued a child and she didn’t even have to carry an ax or hose. Or face a cat with claws.

After little Cate was safe in her mama’s arms, Ava dispensed suckers to celebrate.

The same suckers that were thrown to her from a fire truck during a parade in front of our house.

Because everything in my home must have a poetic end.

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Back in the day when I rode northbound for twenty-four hours in the back seat of my parent’s station wagon to visit my Minnesota cousins, my Aunt was always looking for ways to keep us here a little bit longer. And she was brilliant at it.

My dad would have just finished playing tetris with our suitcases, sealing the hatch and strapping us down to our plaid seats when his sister would wander over with a steaming cup of coffee, lean into the window, and work her magic. Within moments my brothers and I would be running free while my dad went in to fill up another cup of coffee and my mom devised another shopping trip to the mall.

My Aunt could convince nearly all her siblings to stay at least for supper. She walked from packed car to packed car, releasing cousins from Texas, New Mexico, and North Dakota. Like caged animals we would spring from our seats and rip through their green lawn, tickled with our freedom and ecstatic at the prospect for more time together.

Following in this great tradition, my cousin Heather and I began hatching plans as soon as the midnight bells began to the toll on our last day together. Her husband, Fred, was starting a new job on Tuesday, so there wasn’t much time for extensions. We squeezed and squeezed the timetables, but only one hour would drip out here or there. It was hardly worth the effort and our hands were getting sticky. I crawled in my rain-saturated tent that night knowing that tomorrow there would be no last-minute unpacking.

The morning sun brought relief from the rain and hope.

“Rachel,” Heather said as we washed the sleep from our eyes. “Fred’s thinking about maybe renting a car and driving home, and then he would come back on the weekend and get us.”

“What? Are you serious?” I said, putting down my washcloth. Her husband had just devised the most elaborate extension in the history of our family.

“Yeah, it was his idea.”

“Well, he can take HungryMan’s car.”

And that’s how I involved my husband in our schemes, by depriving him of his automobile.

Yesterday morning, Fred started off on a nine hour trek home, which he will repeat in reverse on Friday. If that doesn’t say, “I love my wife,” I don’t know what does.

Except maybe the fact that he’s driving HungryMan’s car while listening to HungryMan’s ipod on HungryMan’s stereo.

There are now ten little feet hopping around my house in anticipation of trips to the beach and the museum. While Heather and I are dreaming of nap-time when we can retreat to the couch with a cup of chai and devise our own trip to the mall.

Because clearly, it’s for the children.

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On Cinco de Mayo, we celebrated Shanel’s birthday with a New Mexican fiesta. Ava taped up balloons and wrote out name cards, while I rolled enchiladas and smashed up avocados.

As I was smothering the corn tortillas with red enchilada sauce, I thought about the first time I brought New Mexican fare back to the college dorms. I remember Shanel and our friend, Kristi examining the freshly made tortillas with great concern.

“What are these brown spots?” Kristi asked as she examined the packaged. Shanel took it from her and declared that my tortillas were moldy. I grabbed the package back, turning it back and forth in my hands in great confusion. The tortillas that had been hand-made at Roberto’s the morning before appeared as flawless and delicious as possible.

I looked back up at their concerned faces and realized that these two Midwestern girls had never seen authentic tortillas. They didn’t know that tortillas spit and sizzle on the frying pan until they are covered with a little brown spots. All the tortillas they had consumed where bleached to a crazy, white perfection.

I’m not sure what they thought of their first New Mexican meal, but I can tell you that Shanel throws back the hot stuff like a seasoned gringa. And her request for her birthday dinner was “your enchiladas!” To which every member of my family said, “Amen.”

Being the little hostess that she is, Ava decorated Shanel’s white-on-white cake with sprinkles, sprinkles, and more sprinkles. According to these too, there is never enough sprinkles.

Ava was on then on-hand to help her blow out her candles.

She also wrapped up a “surprise” present and stashed it at the bottom of Shanel’s gift bag.

Oh, what is it? What could it be?

Ah, a stick of sidewalk. Precisely what every condo-dwelling chica needs.

Oh, wait, Shanel, do you know what “chica” means?

Can anyone help the birthday girl out?

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