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Archive for the ‘Hubs’ Category

Pub Crawl

Last week Hubs and I spent a Friday afternoon together.  No work.  Sans children.  Not one “to do” around the house.  (Well, there were some, but we ignored.)  We chose to see a movie that didn’t include animation, talking animals, or mythological creatures.  I’d been wanting to check out The World’s End after hearing it discussed in a film class at my writers’ conference.  And who doesn’t love the idea of old friends getting together for a pub crawl?

The movie was interesting.  I LOVED the idea of old friends getting together to finish a pub crawl they abandoned in their last high school hoorah.  The alien robot part was “meh”.  However there were some really funny pieces and overall it was entertaining.  The moment we exited the theater I start in with “How hard is it to finish 12 pints in a night?  They had all those hours to do it?”

Hubs and I head over to our town’s Irish pub and have a 4:30pm dinner to reminisce the movie’s idea.  The pub crawl idea goes back and forth as I knocked back a couple.  Then there’s a text sent out to my bestie about joining us.  Before we knew it, we were going on a pub crawl.

pub2

With two pints down, the second place and third pint brought smiles.  There is still sunshine in the background.  We also discover my bestie hates beer.  This might be a problem.

pub3

Pub #3 is actually a place where they sell beer by the can.  We hoped Angry Orchard might be a good substitute.

pub4No go.  #4 isn’t really even a pub.  To make sure my bestie had a good time, we needed cocktails.  Even with the lemon drop on the menu, I stuck to my pint.  We also picked up her husband at this stop.

pub5We continue with pub #5 not really being a pub either.  It’s a strip club.  The only one we have in town.  The boys thought it was hilarious for us to go in.  A small town strip club at 6:30pm is a sad sight.  I’ll save you from the picture.

Moving on to pub #6.  This is a beer only place.  They even give samples.  We’re still feeling pretty good.  Maybe a little crazy, but still good.  I’m seven pints in and still thinking “How hard is this?”

pub6

#8 brings more cocktails for the others and one more pint.  This looks like an easy enough picture, but it took about ten takes.

pub7

At #9 we played a little game of match the drink up with the person.  Mine’s easy.  This place is a little music bar.  The opening act was described by bestie as “a bad Elliott Brood.”  The highlight was Hubs busting out in a dance and trying to find a partner.  It was so funny, some guy pulled out his camera phone to record it.  I’m going to guess it’s on Youtube somewhere.

pub8It’s around this time, 11:00pm to be precise, that I start to get a little worried about the fact I have to be up at 6:00am to drive ten hours to pick up my children from their vacation with Grandma.  It doesn’t keep me from keeping the course.  #10 comes with some food and another emptied pint.

pub9We staggered down the street to my eleventh pint.  The amber ale labeled itself the worst beer of the night.

pub10I think in this picture you can see the wear on my face.  Or maybe better described, the haze in my eyes.  The clock struck midnight and encouraged us to get to that last place if I had any hopes of finishing the crawl.

#12 was a dive bar known for the Indie crowd.  Hubs was most proud of the fact he scored himself a free beer from a guy who witnessed his crazy dance at pint #10.  I was most pleased with the fact I finished it with a smile still on my face.

pub last

Learned in this crawl was twelve pints over a night was doable.  Better decision making would’ve told me not to do it the night before a long drive.  When the alarm went off at 6:00am, those twelve beers turned over in my stomach for five hundred miles.  I wished in those moment the World’s End aliens would blank me out too.

For days after I couldn’t hear the words “Pub Crawl” without gagging.  Even though underneath I still loved the draw from walking around with friends with a drinking purpose.  Each place and each new pint brought a different conversation.  We spent hours talking about everything and nothing.  We enjoyed each other’s company like it was our last night of high school.  In the end, isn’t this what a pub crawl is all about?

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Hubs’ Cookie

I like to pile on the “to do” list.  This might have been evident from the long list I created for myself in the last post.  If you’ve read these things for a while, you know I believe there is enough time for everything.  Before I know it I’m writing a blog post at 10:30 on a Wednesday night while everyone is asleep because I’m still baking cupcakes and making flowers out of tissue paper.  Although this thought process keeps me busy, there are times where it can overwhelm.  Not just me, but those around me.  And not overwhelm them with things to do, but rather overwhelm them with my disappearance.

Hubs is very understanding of my many passions.  The downside to them is they’re pretty isolating things.  You can’t get more of a one-woman-show than writing.  You need silence and space to think about people who don’t exist.  When Hubs does try to ask a questions in a free moment from the kids, he runs the risk of derailing the writing train.  And nobody wins in that situation.

My hobby when I do have a free moment is to read.  There isn’t much he can do to get in on that action.  He’s tried to ask about certain books, but they’re not his thing.  It usually ends with an excited me saying “you should totally read it.”  He smiles and tries to follow along, but doesn’t have any real interest in the process.  He’d much rather get into political journals or dual sport motorcycle blogs.  Ugh, BOR-RING!

Last, there’s baking.  Also pretty solitary.  For the fun stuff I’m able to include my daughter and we have a great time baking up treats.  When it’s down to business I need space and quiet.  One little mistake and hours of work can be lost.  (Or eaten.)  It’s pretty intense around the kitchen when I’m piping cookies.  Poor Hubs can’t catch a break.

With this kind of life crammed in between two kids, full-time jobs, and his community participation we barely have time to say hello some days.  We give each other passing smiles and quick texts to remind each other we enjoy this life we’ve created together.  And always after baking several dozen cookies, I always make sure there is the last one for him.  It’s the misshapen lump from the final scraps that I mush together and flatten out.  It’s the last one out of the oven and it never gets iced.  It’s plan, kinda messy, and some might even call boring.  They have no idea this is the cookie I love to make the most.  This is the one I make and always think of how much I love Hubs.

hubs cookie

Happy Birthday Hubs!

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Review Under Review

Hubs is my second pair of eyes.  Before each of these blogs go up, he reads them for the little things I may have missed during read throughs.  He also gives me the sideways glance when something doesn’t make sense.  I fire back something about how he doesn’t get my humor and change it later when he’s out of the room.  I can’t let all this fame go to his head.  The posts where he regularly has questions about what I’m trying to do is on the book reviews.  It goes something like this:

<Begin Scene–Sitting at the dining table.>

“I don’t understand this part,” Hubs says.

“Oh, it’s so good.  That’s where the main character fights for her life, but has to ask her mortal frenemy for help or the whole high school will blow up,” I say.

“People won’t understand your reference unless they’ve read the book,” he said.

“I know, but I loved that part so much I wanted to point it out as fantastic.  The author kicked my ass with that scene because the girls were so catty but working together.  I loved it!” I gush.

“Yes, but if you don’t understand the context it doesn’t make a lot of sense.  I haven’t read the book so I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“You don’t get my humor.  Just forget it.”

<End Scene>

What it’s taken me many months and several “reviews” to realize is, I’m not reviewing the book.  I want to tell you what I love about it.  I always knew I focused on how the author crafted the story or sucked me in at page one, but more as a writer than a book review blogger.  The baked treat at the end is my homage for the millions of hours that went into the book.  The treat is not only for the author, but the agent, the editor, and even the publisher.  It’s for everyone who gave a little blood and tears to put it on the shelves.

My “reviews” also gush even though not all are positive.  Even when I wasn’t thrilled with a book,  I would geek out just the same about how a certain character was crafted with subtle details.  I wanted to share the book with the people who it might touch better than me to make sure the author was supported for their craft.

When I reviewed my “review” I realized it wasn’t much of one.  I want people who have read the book to share their opinion.  I want everyone to talk about what their favorite part is or who might like the book, too.  This is more a virtual book club than a review blog.  So that’s why the title will change.  It’s no longer a review, but a little clubbin’ around this side of the blogosphere.

I hope you still will read about the books and decide if they sound like a good fit for you.  Please leave your impressions if you read the book and definitely friend me on Goodreads (Sprunty) so I can read your “review” too.  I guess in the end, Hubs was right.  These book descriptions are for people who have read the book.  It’s also for people who are giving it a go before dropping the coin.  It really doesn’t matter either way.  The only important thing is we don’t tell Hubs he was right.

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Off The Grid

The family and I finally pulled the trigger on the goal we’ve had since the sun started to shine — GO CAMPING!  I’ll admit right from the beginning of this, I tried to get out of it once again.  With a busy work week and household chores piling up, I didn’t want to take the hours out of my life to “rough it.”  But my six-year-old daughter’s eyes welled with tears and she asked how I could cancel on her again.  Of course, I couldn’t.

Anyone who camps knows the first trip of the year is a disaster.  Only made worse when you feel completely unprepared even before you leave the driveway.  But we pushed on with our late start Friday night and made it to the campground with about an hour left of daylight to spare.  We have a pop up trailer, so we needed to work quickly to get everything up before darkness.  My first fear was the small green plants all around our campground.  I’ve heard about a million stories lately about the torment of poison oak.  Since I was raised in California, I have no idea what it looks like.  But I was convinced it surrounded the entire campsite.  My daughter, who was excited to be one with nature, started rubbing all over the trees and leaves.  Her smile beamed as I imagined her body welting up with a horrific itching rash.  I barked “Don’t touch that” every few minutes and hoped it wasn’t poison oak.  Hubs assured me it’s only nature and we needed to get going on setting up.

I decided some tunes in the warm night air would help me shed my city angst and start relaxing.   One problem.  The trailer battery was dead.  Panic!  Hubs started checking everything electrical and it was a no-go.  I looked down to my phone with only an eighth of a battery left and thought “this is the end of the world.”  Hubs dug through some supplies and found a battery-powered lantern which had enough juice to click on.  As the sky turned to a faded purple, we prepped for bed and I turned off my phone.

The next day the kids woke up ready for their camp breakfast.  I purchased a new coffee pot for the trip and pulled it out of the box only to realize the water in the trailer ran on electricity.  No electricity, no water.  (Are you sensing the zombies might be on their way?)  I pushed on with the head strong idea “There will be eggs for breakfast.”  This would’ve worked, well, if I had actually packed the eggs.  Twenty minutes later, $20 bucks dropped on a couple fishing lures at the general store, we sat in a small cafe ordering a very expensive camping breakfast.  As if on cue to accentuate the morning, my son spilled a cup of water across the table.

When we got back to the campground, I had a choice.  Enjoy the trip for what it was or keep telling myself how everything was not how I planned.  Hubs took the kids on the river to fish and I got a half hour on the WIP with a cup of warm coffee from the new pot.  When they got back, my daughter and I played a board game while my son read his latest book.  After lunch, the kids and I went on an amazing hike along the river and threw rocks into the water.  The only time I turned on my phone was to snap some shots of it all.

Fishing lesson

Boy finishing his latest Riordan book.

Yes, that’s Payday. A classic.

Our view on the hike

At the end of it all, everyone had a pretty good time.  We even made plans for next weekend to do it all again, only a little more prepared.  The lack of electricity and distractions helped us make the most of our day time and we went to sleep at a reasonable hour.  When I asked the kids why they like camping so much, their answer was simple, “because we get to spend time together.”  (Yes, that’s the sound of my heart swelling.)

There is something to be said for things not working out how you planned.  This is a good reminder when I’m working towards something so hard in my writing life.  I’ve spent so much time on it.  I don’t want anything to go wrong.  I want it so bad.  But nothing works that way in life.  That’s what makes it the interesting ride it is.  But when you get to spend time with some pretty cool peeps, read a great book, and see some beautiful scenery, it can’t be all that bad no matter how badly it’s off course of what was planned.

*Even though there were no zombies in this story, Hubs and I did discuss our plan if the outbreak occurred.  What else are you supposed to do when there’s no internet?

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My year end look back usually takes a month later to actually occur.  It gives me plenty of time to get out of my funk about what I didn’t accomplish and focus on what I did.  This year end has been completely different.  I’ve been rattling on to everyone who will listen about what a fantastic year I had.  Maybe it’s because I already went through my funk.  Or maybe it’s because the year was pretty kick ass!  Here’s why (with pictures of course!):

Mikel and Me:

How could I ignore the fact I was able to meet Mikel Jollett not once, but twice, this year?  Of course I couldn’t.  I get the most hits on this little ole blog from “Mikel Jollett Author” and “Mikel Jollett Girlfriend.”  Boy, those people must be very disappointed to see my face and bubble art.  But back to Mikel and me.  Sure, the first time we shared a moment; his face beamed with charisma.  The second one…not so much.  Either way, it’s one of those surreal things.  I mean, if you would’ve told me I could have the opportunity once this year, I would have been ecstatic.  I was fortunate to get a twofer.  It doesn’t mean I’m done with him yet.  He will be on the resolution page (coming soon) as well.

Meredith Barnes Kicks Ass!

OMG…Isn’t she fabulous?!?

The year started with a chance encounter with Meredith through her blog because of winning a tag line contest.  What it turned into was a defining moment.  I really can’t go on enough about how much I adore her.  Yes, you people who deal with me face to face already know because I gush on a regular basis about her awesomeness.

There are times where I read blogs about writers doubting the humanity of agents.  This is a completely foreign concept in my mind.  They have always been gracious, friendly, and they pretty much bend over backwards to be helpful.  Does it mean they signed my work?  Or begged me to send my grocery list because all my writing is that awesome?  Of course not.  Does it mean I have the utmost respect for them?  Sure the hell does.  Meredith is a fine example if you need one.

Cookie Love:

Bears

If 2010 was about cupcakes and cookie pops, 2011 was about the flood cookie.  I’ve watched Martha Stewart do it for years and made a few attempts before with terrible results.  With some wild hair one weekend, I was determined to figure it out.  I learned a lot in the process, most of which I was able to apply to writing and this blog.

Beautiful Music:

Snuggling up with Luke from Atomic Tom.  (Oh, he didn't know we were snuggling.)

Snuggling up with Luke from Atomic Tom. (Oh, he didn’t know we were snuggling.)

This may tread dangerously close to Mikel and me, but I had a record year for concerts with a total of 5!  The amazing part is the fact I live in a small town where no one dares to mark on their tour map.  This year I saw Atomic Tom, Cold War Kids, The Airborne Toxic Event (2), B-52s, Human League, and Men Without Hats.  It was epic.  I Safety Danced hard core.

Urban Girl:

My Rockin' Docs

My Rockin’ Docs

After ten years of living in Oregon and barely making it out of my county limits, I headed for the big city and Urban Girl was born.  Work trips and concerts traveled my hipness to Portland where I dined on fancy food, walked the streets like a pro (hey, wait a minute….), and drank micro brews with the best of them.  In a drunken stupor mid-day, Hubs and I walked into a Doc Martin store and I strolled out with these bad boys.  Hey-oooo!!!!  Portland is one of those things I commit to doing again this year.

Ze Blog:

The accomplishment I’m most proud of (and have you to thank) is the fact I have blogged the entire year.  I don’t have a schedule and I’m no where near my blogging idol, Tawne Fenske, but I’ve kept at it pretty steady.  I’ve incorporated my love for stories, baked goods, and Mikel Jollett to create something I am really proud of.  This place is me.  It’s what I do.   It’s who I am.  It’s what I love.

Mi Familia 2011

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It’s true.  Safeway is running their damn free sandwich campaign again.  It almost makes me not want to go in to get a sandwich until it’s over.  I certainly can’t take Hubs.  If you don’t remember why, read here.  Enough said.

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Hubs and I returned yesterday from a car ride consisting of fourteen hours trapped together over the span of two days.  Needless to say, we had plenty of time to talk.  It’s always interesting to get details from his day that I may have missed before (or the ones conveniently left out.)  Here is a story he recounted:

Hubs went to Dairy Queen the other day for lunch.  On his way out of the restaurant, he saw a young twenty something primping her hair before getting out of her small sedan.  With her upturned nose and a pushed out chest leading the way, she was pretty darn confident in her awesomeness.  As she walked to the door, there was no inclination she even knew Hubs existed in her universe.  With uninterested eyes and a sneered look of annoyance, she whipped past him through the door without a second thought about the fact he was holding it open.  When there was no “thank you” or smile acknowledging his good deed, Hubs turned around to bring her back down a couple pegs.  He barked,  “You’re welcome!”

Now at this point of the story, I’m with him.  Who the hell did she think she was?  Was she implying she was too good to even notice the nice gentleman around her?  Or was she worried if she gave a smile or a nod, he would take that as interest and start in on pick up lines?  Sure he’s a thirty-something dude who is almost old enough to be her dad, but doesn’t he deserve some respect?  Anyways, at this point of the story, I’m ready to go back to DQ to give her a couple choice words about how she’d be lucky if he groped her ass. 

But then Hubs continued where he left off:
As if awakened from a trance, the young girl turns around and bats long eyelashes over her wide eyes.  “Oh, I’m sorry.  Thank you for holding the door.  I’m really sorry.”  Hubs’ heart melts a little and he believes her apology to be sincere.  He lets the door fall behind him to close and walks over to his motorcycle.  He hesitates before putting on his helmet and realizes he may have taken it too far and crossed the line of jerk to prove a point.  To right the wrong, he mounts the helmet back on the bike and heads back inside to apologize. 

With no one manning the counter, Hubs leans over to try to find the young worker in the kitchen area.  When he finally sees her, she’s surrounded by co-workers.  One is rubbing her arm while another wraps her arms for a reassuring hug.  The young girl speaks to her two friends with her head tilted down.  It only takes a moment before she breaks down in tears.  Unable to get their attention to apologize, Hubs walks out without saying a word.

So, who is in the wrong?  Who is the one you have sympathy for when it’s all said and done?  Was Hubs pointing out her rudeness the final straw that broke the camel’s back on her awful day?  Or did she really think she was better than him and only acknowledged he wasn’t when confronted? 

Stories are always about the teller.  There is a point of view which defines how the reader will see the events.  The narrator’s thoughts, emotions, and beliefs are engrained in the recounting of the details.  In this story, we see it from Hubs’ POV.  It begins with his insistence on sticking it to a girl who thinks she’s better than him, but ends with someone who could’ve made a situation worse by not giving someone a break when they needed it. 

It’s hard to tell the reality of the situation because you have to trust the narrator to give you an accurate picture.  The problem with doing it whole-heartedly is knowing when they aren’t reliable.  It comes down to the skill of the author to give you the message they want you to know.  It could be true or it could be false.  But that’s the beauty of stories.

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