Sunday, February 28, 2010

Happy birthday, adored one!

I couldn't let February get away from me without telling you that my baby, my youngest girl, my very last child, turned thirteen years old this month.

This girl has always been my funny, sunny, early Valentine -- she brightens any room with her cheery smile, her goofy sense of humor, and her flair for the dramatic pose.

Of course the important task of the big day was to get her ears pierced -- our traditional rite of passage. Her birthday was also a snow day, in advance of the Blizzard. Since we didn't know how quickly the storm would blow in, we scurried to the mall to git 'er done, rather than journey to Pincurls and the fabulous Lynda Lee.

Another tradition -- dinner and milkshakes at the Silver Diner with Coleen and her urchins -- also went by the wayside, as we all freaked out just a tiny little bit in advance of the storm. People abandoned their cars that day before a single flake ever hit the ground. It was madness, I tell you! Instead, the family celebrated with lunch at Cheeseburger in Paradise.

But even though her day did not go exactly as she thought it would, my sunny girl carried her glad heart and spunky, funky humor with her -- as she does every single day.

The child never met a rubber duck she didn't adore -- her collection is extensive, and includes glow-in-the-dark duckies, multi-colored light-up duckies, ducky pajamas, a quacking ducky trashcan (very loud, given by Coleen as payback for the time I gave the seven-year-old Jolie Blonde an extensive grown-up makeup collection), and -- troubling -- a "devil ducky," who sports cheetah spots, horns, and a very sketchy leer.

The sunny girl is surprisingly knowledgeable about ancient Egypt, and loves the one measly mummy owned by the Smithsonian, with a pure and abiding love. She and I recently traveled north to spend a day in Manhattan, and she almost passed out when she found the Egyptian collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

In case you were wondering, her favorite Egyptian god is Thoth, the god of science and literature. Go figure.

People, I could go on and on . . .

. . . about her graceful way of moving . . .

. . . her sacrificially loving and generous heart . . .

. . . and her loyalty as a friend.

I will just stop -- but you can see why I know without a doubt that I am the luckiest mom.

Here's her theme song, useful for brightening any day:

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Enough is enough!

So on Tuesday, when my Doug Hill warned us of the impending blizzard, Coleen sent out an email. "That's it -- I'm done. I refuse to acknowledge the reality that is before me, and command you all to come to my house for a Cheeseburger in Paradise party. Dress appropriately. Let me know if the bright red Jeep needs to come for you."

Ask me how fast I put on my Bermuda shorts!

And really this was just what we needed -- nothing chases the cabin fever away like the sight of a beach bum in a Tommy Bahama shirt, frying up the burgers in the George Foreman griller. Tommy Bahama really did intend to fire up the charcoal grill on the deck . . .

. . . but that plan didn't work out quite as he expected.
[NOTE: Suck it, jungle of tomato-y tomato-ness!]

This was a potluck summer cookout, so we all brought our favorite summer sides: pasta salad, sliced tomatoes, a bowl full of fresh fruit. I made zucchini fritters -- fabulous, I'm just sayin'!

And what's a summer cookout without cool and refreshing margaritas?! Tommy Bahama kept the blender humming all night.

Most of us have been just the tiniest little bit stir-crazy, so we enjoyed visiting with faces we hadn't seen in a while. I met the daughter of Coleen's neighbor, so I had the added bonus of making a new friend.

The genuine Viking helmet sported a tropical fish for the evening. I really do need to tell you all about the genuine Viking helmet some time -- and about the fish, as it turns out. Some day . . . .

Everyone hated to leave -- partly because we were having such a good time, and partly because it was such a pain in the . . . boots to pull all that winter crap again and head back out into the thirty inches of snow that has been dumped on us this week.

It sure was a fun party, though!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Snapshot: then and now

Way back on Wednesday, you may recall I was telling you about the lovely, lovely snow, and how much we revel in it, during the few snowfalls we are lucky enough to experience. This was a picture I posted, showing you how prettily the snow lay on our juniper bush in the front yard.

Here's the juniper bush after yesterday's action. Yes, I still think it's lovely -- if a bit more stark.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

How is this possible?

Look how beautiful the flowers were at the grocery store yesterday! As you know, I am all about the beautiful white winter landscape we gaze upon these days, but February does tend to make me lose sight of warm weather, and ocean breezes, and feeling the sun on my arms. That all seems too far away sometimes; these flowers do give me just the reminder I need that spring will indeed come, just when we need it.

I am always stunned at these luscious displays of gorgeousness -- right there next to the boxed wine! How do the grocers manage to provide this jolt of summer color in the middle of winter -- and keep the cost down too?

Actually, I suspect I don't want to know the answer, which will involve giant carbon footprints and flower growers in South America who are taken advantage of.

But gosh! Aren't they lovely?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Another snowy day -- and more on the way!

Once again, here in the southern part of northern Virginia, snow fell and blanketed everything with loveliness.

You can imagine why we love the snow so much; we live in a region of the country that rarely receives enough snow to get sick of it. During the course of a typical Virginia winter, it might snow two or three times, but never in any quantity.

Folks 'round these parts do tend to get a little freaky; if our local weather guru (Doug Hill, I sing of your glory) tells us that four or more inches of snow are headed our way, the grocery stores prepare for a stampede of panicked hoarders.

But this winter we have already lived through one Big Snow; this week it has snowed twice more in smaller amounts -- and my Doug Hill is telling me that it appears another Big Snow is on the way this weekend. Actually he used the words, "significant snow event." Doesn't that sound more official and meteorological and stuff?

I must admit that I am one of the panicky shoppers right before a storm. But while all around me are stocking up on toilet paper, milk, and enough canned soup to live through the Apocalypse, I am filling my cart with chips, Cokes, wine, popcorn, and several kinds of chocolate.

And birdseed.