Saturday, March 31, 2012

Just Between Clowns

Today's tale unfolds 3 years ago.  It was a white elephant Christmas Party at friends. We were the recipients of the most God awful clown.  Made from seashells.  We're talking SCARY clown.  Think USPS commercial.  Yeah, like that scary. 
He's a little worse for the wear because he has some MILES on him.  He may have originated in Key West, but he has found himself in a game of "hide the clown" for the past 3 years.  I had two personal favorites:  having taped him to the bottom of a table and having taken a picture of him and replaced one of the pictures in a family collage with it.  It's always best if one DOESN'T find it right away, but if you're not there for the finding, you just might end up with it BACK in your house.

Last summer, another clown started making an appearance.  The first time was at our house and scared the bejesus out of the husband because it: was big...bigger than the other by a good foot, was gold and black and just hideous,  was completely unexpected.  So, Mr Seashell Clown now has a partner in crime.  Because of its size, it has become more challenging finding hiding places for it (where it WILL be found) but we can be a determined bunch.

Then, we returned from Mexico to find Mr Seashell clown just inside our garage door, a blow up clown in our mudroom, a clown poster of pin the nose on the clown taped to our bathroom window and all those "clown noses" placed strategically around the house.  So, yes, we now have a new level of play.  My motto?  Bring it!

As luck would have it, my MIL was a collector of clowns (which explains A LOT) in the 90s and, after redecorating several years ago, had a plethora of clowns just waiting for a new home.  Can you say JACKPOT?  Yeah, me too!

On their return yesterday from vacation, our friends were met with one obvious surprise:

Yes, MIL actually dragged that paper mache clown back from Mexico years ago. Then we "hid" 14 other clowns.  To hear them tell the story of how they realized that there were more t clowns than simply the hideous paper mache one, they were eating at their counter and one (the one in the wine rack) happened to be right in their line of sight.  THEN they glanced around and it became obvious, that they had been invaded.  And their locations?

 This was taken through the bubbled glass.
If you count, you will see, one clown is still yet to be found.  And you have no idea the GLEES I get from that.  No, it is not hidden anyplace inappropriate.  I'm sure that by this morning they will have found it. And if not, I hope that I get to be there when they do.

You also have no idea how this whole experience made me giggle.  ALL.NIGHT.  I keep wanting to say.."WE WIN" but I think instead, the ante has been upped.  We will not be surprised to come home to a live clown sitting in our living room.  OK, I'll be a little surprised.

All because a clown said "hide me".

Sunday, March 25, 2012

One Directi♥n

Oh, yeah baby.  You read that right.  Today was THE day.  Probably the day that will live in my girls' memory FOR-EVAH.  And it all started 2 weeks ago, when I heard a spot on our local radio station informing the masses that One Directi♥n was going to be at Mall of America for a meet and greet.

My girls have been following them for about a year, since they appeared on Britain's X-Factor.

You say "One who"?  Well, let  me introduce you to the newest boy band, One Directi♥n (my girls use the heart...that's "their" thing):

So, the way the story unfolded was to be part of the MAG you had to go to MOA and purchase the One Directi♥n CD (ONLY) at Best Buy and you would get a wrist band.  Well, silly me STUPIDLY assumed that they would be selling the CDs for at least a couple days before they ran out of wristbands and NO I was not going to rush to MOA to buy the CD. And they sold out before noon the day they went on sale because OF COURSE they did.  But, my SIL will FOREVER hold the title of ROCK STAR aunt for going to MOA and standing in line for 4 hours to obtain 5 CDs and 5 wristbands.  THEY WERE IN!

Well, maybe. Because the "rules" were, they would begin signing at 1(30) on Sunday and they could quit whenever they chose to quit.  Even if there were people still in line with wristbands.  I questioned my girls...what if that is you?  Would you lose faith in them?  They said no, and NO they would NEVER do that to their fan base (OH, to have that kind of faith).  But, just in case, they slept, on the sidewalk (with their aunt...yet another reason why she is a rock star) outside the MOA from midnight last night, being let into the mall at 530am to stand in line there.  Luckily they ended up about 100 girls from the front of the line.  I went to church and showed up at 1245 and immediately "found" them (from the 4th level).
Yes, they wore matching shirts, ones they had made special.  The front read:

The back, I thought was unbelievably clever (lifted from Tumblr) (and yes, I cropped the P):
The rotunda at MOA was WALL TO WALL girls:
Each of the 3 levels were 3 deep in girls and the funnel went all the way back to SpongeBob.
I was pretty amazed that there was the order, if not silence, that there was.  I fully expected to see tons of pushing and shoving but NOTHING.  When the group arrived, the crowd went crazy, noise wise, but nothing unexpected for THOUSANDS of teenage girls. Slowly the girls started being funneled across a table where the boys sat:
Our girls were the third row back and it didn't take them long before they were almost there:
And then they were there.  They weren't allowed to hug but they each got high fives from all of them:
The girls made up a tshirt for the band that said "Minnesota ♥ One Direction" and they each wrote a message on the back.  Mostly corny(well, they thought clever) lines from their songs.

And then...they were done.
The question many days will it take before we are able to peel the silly smiles off their faces?

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Observations from a 16 Year Olds Birthday Party

Aside from providing two movies, one scary one funny, and a plethora of food for what was 15 15/16 year old obviously underfed and malnourished girls, the role of birthday girl's mother is pretty much non existent.  There is no picture taking, no gift opening watching, nothing other than a silent presence (sorta) lurking in the background.  Not seen, or heard, or acknowledged, but there.  Somewhat like Paranormal Activity.  Since this seems to be my new role, I am relegated to providing only my observations:  the good, the bad and the OMG ARE YOU FREAKIN' KIDDING ME.

First observation would be in the OMG ARE YOU FREAKIN' KIDDING ME category...when I heard the number of girls she wanted to invite:  15. And while initially only a small portion were to sleep over, I ended up saying just let them all (yes, I know...weak moment).

Second observation would be that 15 16 year old girls have learned that their voices DO have a volume control and apparently they are willing to use said volume control.  Without being asked.  I'm going to call that a good.

Third observation is related to spacial planning.  Our basement family room, which compared to our upstairs, combines the kitchen, hallway and living room, really does not have the floor space for 15 16 year old girls.  It MIGHT have the space for 15 11 year old girls but I can state firmly and irrevocably that THAT will not happen.  Not EVER.  Because I happen to know that observation number two does NOT apply to 11 year old girls.

Fourth observation: 15 pairs of shoes, even summer shoes, is STILL a boat load of shoes.  I would choose a different method of entry to our house than the front door, should YOU host 15 girls.  Just sayin'.

Fifth observation:  15 16 year old girls might just rival the amount of food 15 16 year old boys will eat.  Party food, per her request included: bruschetta, massive quantities of shrimp salsa,  double batch of spinach dip, strawberry cheesecake bites (found on pinterest and a HUGE success), a 3 lb bag of Skittles artfully presented in a large Margherita glass, and walking tacos for the inevitable midnight feed.  The oreo blizzard ice cream cake?  Well, they forgot about that  last night so they ate it for breakfast this morning, so I am off the hook for the chocolate chip pancakes I was going to make.  YEAH ME!

Sixth observation:  setting up the trampoline for the year might have seemed premature (even though it WAS 81 degrees yesterday), but it was in fact a GREAT idea.  Oh, and apparently the bladders of 16 year old girls are MUCH more resilient than those of, say, women my age.

Seventh observation:  brothers, especially older brothers, are sometimes a handy convenience in the event that uninvited guests show up and you do not want to be the "bad cop".  I kinda think older brothers secretly relish the opportunity to play "bad cop".  That, however, was just an opinion based solely on observation.

Eighth observation:  sometimes...SOMETIMES, younger sisters (not youngest sisters, but younger ones) aren't ALWAYS the pond scum we believe them to be.  Like, when they bring down all the fixings to the taco bar and set it all up, then leave you and your friends to enjoy it without having to put forth any effort.  Musta been a leap year.

Ninth observation:  youngest sisters..they'll ALWAYS be pond scum.  Well, until they're like 16.

Tenth observation:  my daughter has some pretty awesome friends.  I am a firm believer in being able to judge people by whom they associate with and I found not a one of these girls lacking.  Her friends are all smart, athletic, driven, beautiful, funny, and polite girls of high character.  And know what?  I'm going to take FULL credit for that. Because like attracts like.

See...even when you think it is all about her, I can make it all about me.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Wading Through the Political Process

As is fairly typical with the things I do, when I do something, I tend to do it with gusto.  And today's post has spades.

Last month, Minnesota had its Republican caucus.  This was so completely foreign to me but I have become more and more concerned with the misdirection in which this country is headed, I could no longer remain a spectator.  Edmund Burke says it best: "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."  So, I volunteered to be a delegate for the Scott County GOP Convention.  It was held Saturday.  Grab some popcorn, I'm about to offer my observations of the political process.

When I arrived, I'm fairly certain I had that whole "deer in the headlights" look about me.  I knew pretty much NO ONE there and I wasn't sure where I was supposed to be.  So, I took my clue from the lemming and just pushed myself into the crowd and moved into the auditorium.  There, I looked for my precinct; there were signs on certain seats for your precinct.  Which I found, after climbing over numerous people (you're welcome) and recognized a few people from our caucus.

As the convention got started, well, I quickly got the feeling that this was going to be a whole lot of "hurry up and wait".  The agenda had us adopting the rules (Roberts Rules) and of course, having done this (I assume) several years in the past, the rules weren't STILL quite right.  So the process of amending the rules, debate on amending the rules, equal number of for and against debaters, followed by a reading of what COULD be an amended amended rule, then a vote confirmed my suspicion that I was in for a LONG day.

The first issue that surface, after a portion of the rules were adopted dealt with the new congressional lines having been drawn and a portion of our county having been drawn out of "our" congressional district and into another congressional district and "they" weren't happy about having to attend two conventions so they wanted autonomy.  Then the debate began in earnest.  After all the debate, the request was withdrawn, the remainder of the rules were adopted and we broke for lunch.  So the morning was spent adopting rules that had already been set in previous years.  This was my second suspicion that today was going to be longer than LONG.

When I returned from lunch (I went home), we again took up the issue of the group wanting to break away from the county and re-debate all that.  Then, once that issue was put to rest (they won their autonomy by one vote, which had to go to a written vote which extended the process), my now comrade in votes leaned over and asked me if I had it to do over, would I volunteer to be a delegate and I only paused briefly before responding yes, that it is important that I experience this process.  The next order of business was the election of new officers, which again, I thought would go quickly but, again, I was wrong. Speeches, written votes...OY!  

While votes were being tallied, we moved onto the business of amending the Republican Platform language. O.M.G.  The process began all over at which point I turned to my "partner in crime" and informed him that yes...I wanted to change my answer.  And we laughed.  And we silently seethed and sat through yet another drawn out process.  One that I understood the need for but was anxious to see completed.

THEN...we finally got to the process (by now it is after 3pm) of electing delegates for the Congressional District 2 (CD2). And this is where things got "interesting".  I had gotten a phone call the day before asking if I would consider running for CD2 delegate.  I had briefly considered it, wanting to see how far I could actually make it (and how far I wanted to make it), and had decided no.  But  now I was being ASKED to run.  And here is why.  The next county over, I was told, had "slated" for a certain candidate.  I had no idea what this meant and as it was explained to me that a group of delegates from the caucus had gotten together "off line" and had planned to vote for ONLY delegates for the CD convention who they knew would ONLY vote for their candidate.  Thus, stacking the deck, so to speak.  Sadly (IMO), I found out that delegates from our precinct were also involved in slating (for the same candidate) and I agreed to run for delegate.  I had a lovely speech hitting all salient points of why *I* was the perfect candidate for delegate:  funny, articulate, eloquent, worldly, derisive, and self deprecating...ALL PERFECT qualities (IMNSHO) one wants in a congressional delegate.  However, I had only 30 seconds to deliver my symphony of virtues because that is all the 218 ( read that correctly...more delegates ran for a CD delegate than didn't) were given (and I'll be honest, I am fairly certain that I was cut off at 15 seconds.  I had my husband time me after the fact and I was WAY further along then when time was called.  But if you want to call that sour grapes, that's ok too) and I stood in line (being candidate number 176) for WAY longer than I would have preferred.  I happened to luck out because I had a candidate for our state representative (this is a shout out for Tony Albright) in front of me and we kept each other well entertained through our hour long plus wait in line for our "30" seconds of fame (or infamy).

After that, I selected the candidates that I wished to have as delegate (and yes, I chose myself, because even though I didn't get to deliver my entire speech, I knew how good I am), handed in my ballot to the precinct (acting) chair and tapped out.  It was 545pm and I felt like I had given all I had to give.

I spoke with someone on Sunday  morning who stayed around until 830pm and found out that I had lucked out...I had NOT been chosen for delegate (WOOT! so my April 21 date was free and clear!)  That was the good news.  The better news was that our county had NOT slated for "the other" candidate.  WOOT, WOOT!  Yes, a double WOOTER.

A stunning Saturday (it was 68 you KNOW how often it hits 68 degrees in Minnesota in March?) spent in a high school auditorium to learn "the political process".  Was it worth it?  I'm not sure I'm prepared to answer that.   Had it been a typical early March day in Minnesota, I'd say yes, it was worth it. (Go ahead, call me selfish.  I'm OK with that).  But I can certainly see why people would have NO interest, WHATSOEVER, in going through this process.  Even if you thought it was for a good cause.  Because even when things are for a good cause, there is always the chance that you will lose.  I guess it's a chance you have to take.

So, at the end of the day, when you stop and look at what's at stake, I guess I'd have to say, yeah.  I'd do it again.  I wouldn't necessarily like it.  But I'd do it.  Because it's the right thing to do.  And it goes back to Edmund Burke.