Saturday, December 31, 2011

Friday, December 30, 2011

A Ride in the Subie

Boxing Day is not only Sister Photo Shoot Day, East Coast or West Coast Style . . .

No, as everybody knows, Boxing Day is also Let's Take A Ride In The Subie Day!

I drove; my happy band of reprobates joined me.

The Subie is no Westy, but she's a solid, dependable, zippy, excellent little machine.

Even with the reprobates.


That's better, Dowd.

MB took over the camera in the back seat, and had her own little photo shoot with Mistah.

Mistah looks like he's suffering from a little Ellie / Aunt Kitty / Chapel Hill Girl Droopy Eye Syndrome.

Aw, there's my little Schleckah.

As the shenanigans went on around me, I kept my eye on the prize and on the road, I kept my focus and I kept my hands in the perfect 4- and 8- o'clock position, and showed my passengers some of Milford's famous sights . . .

Oooh, Stonebridge!

Oooh, a werid Santa-hat guy!

C'mon! Hop in!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Jacquie, regurgitated

Tasty title, huh? The night before I left on vacation, I told Ellie that if my guest bloggers didn't pan out, I'd throw something up for today's post. Cue barf jokes, because we're very mature. 

This post is not especially good, but it has the most hits of any post I've ever written! Score one for Jane Fonda. I share it as a shout-out to the resolutioners, who will sign up for the gym tomorrow and undoubtedly try to take my spot.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Let's Get Physical

I work out at the gym.

I had that little spell with running, but my preference has always been a 60 minute class at the gym with loud music and a motivating instructor. My affinity for the guided workout was born in the basement of my childhood home with her:

You've just gotta love Jane Fonda. Look at her hair! Her horizontal stripes! The perfect angles of her toasty warm legs! She had it going on.

Then there was a period of time when I worked at the YMCA, and had the chance to participate in real live aerobics classes. I fancied the low impact variety, and I rocked my footless tights and colorful leotards.

During college, I joined Family Fitness here in San Diego at a rate of $14 per month. That, my friends, was a lifetime membership to what is now 24 Hour Fitness, a membership that I have maintained by making those $14 monthly payments for the duration, even that one time when I forgot to go for 5 years.

As a new member back in the late 80s, I discovered the appeal of Step aerobics, but my girlfriend Aline and I were humble about the dizzying scope of our badassness. In fact, we showed off quite a lot of that ass badness wearing leotards that shot straight up our cracks, with bike shorts underneath. Then I got distracted by marriage and pregnancy, and slowly but surely the bad of my assness turned into the fat of my assness. At some moment of blind optimism, I procured a step of my own and a bunch of newer videos that promised to transform my various jiggly bits into steel. But then I had another baby and I just stayed jiggly, and happy with my babies and my snacks and my beer.

Right around the time that my youngest turned two, the wife of a local morning radio talk show host that I listen to dropped dead of a heart attack. They had two young kids. She was 39.

I went back to the gym.

Many things had changed during my hiatus, but many more had stayed the same. The fashion, thankfully, had become more about comfort and function than asscrack. I got back into Step, and it was a great way to improve my health and get out of the house for a couple of hours at a time. I kept up with my champion skill at snacking and beer drinking, so I stayed jiggly. I was jiggly-fit, though, damn it.

I maintained the status quo for several years before finding the motivation to lose weight. I’ve been significantly smaller for a couple of years now. Although I do have a pretty little gut roll that really likes me, and comes back to visit quite regularly. In fact, I’m pretty sure the little cutie is planning to stow away inside my pants for the upcoming visit to Connecticut.

But I digress. What has NOT changed at the gym is the weird subculture of the people. There’s the guy who struts around the front of the room talking loudly, greeting people by name, and just oozing cool confidence. I once saw him stocking the shelves at Albertson’s, and there was an audible thump as my worlds collided. There’s also the issue of territory in the Group X room, and the politics of saving steps, and maintaining the proper distance between your step and your neighbor’s. I’ve recently added kickboxing to my gym repertoire, and the space issue there is even more intense without the step itself to mark your real estate. And people are kicking and punching in there!

And there is the issue of how to deal with newbies. We’ve all been there at one time, obviously, but we regulars block those memories out as soon as we get the hang of whatever class we are learning. We go to our spot and we do our thing, we watch ourselves in the mirror and steal glances at the beautiful or hideous bodies around us. We are conspicuous in our horrified chagrin when someone passes gas, so everyone will know that we would never do that. We send silent supportive vibes to the newbies so as not to attract attention to them. As long as they stay out of our way, we will pretend to ignore them while laughing at them deep down inside, where it counts. If we don’t make eye contact, they can’t be certain that we see them. Just like the story my parents love to tell about how Ellie once walked across the room during their cocktail party with her hands over her eyes so no one would see her.

Awwwwww! They all catch on eventually, just like Ellie must have.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Boxing day west

Well, as everyone knows, Boxing Day is Corey Sister Photo Shoot Day. But it just so happens that this Boxing day was also photo shoot day for another set of sisters.

This we'll call Boxing day west, Balboa park style. With hats. And flowers. And a few solo shots thrown in for good measure.


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Very Dowd Christmas

On Christmas, since Mom bailed on us and went to Hawaii, harumph, her local daughters needed to get together, if for no other reason than to marvel at Mom's audaciousness at leaving us behind.

Luckily, MB and her man The Dowd were already hosting his family for Christmas, and so Mistah and I jumped right in . . .

. . . and found ourselves right in the middle of A Very Dowd Christmas.

The Dowd women look pretty great bookmarked by a couple of Corey women, don't they?

Aw, our illustrious and inimitable hosts.

We had a lovely time, it was a wonderful party, the food was outrageously delicious, MB and The Dowd were nothing but gracious and generous and hospitable, and the whole Dowd Clan was a pretty excellent substitute family.

But the best part? Well, as everyone knows, Boxing Day is Corey Sister Photo Shoot Day, and we made the most of it . . .

Thanks for the wonderful time, MB and MD!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Autumn comes back to play!

Last time my girl Autumn wrote a blog post for me, it was in response to a text I sent her from an airport in Hawaii where we'd just been rebooked on a new flight and had thus earned a bonus day. Autumn was my 11th hour hero! This time, I asked her for the post about a month ago, and I'm so thankful that she delivered... at 2 am this morning. Love that woman.

So.  I have 14-year-old. AND a 12-year-old.  I'd like to point out the teenagerness of those ages.  SO. I have two teenagers.  And frankly, I'm not really enjoying the vicissitudes by which teenagers run their lives.  Not one bit. 

And so I'm not putting them in my Christmas cards this year.  I would, but I can't get them to look good, be happy (or just not angry), cooperate, or wear anything decent at the same time.  Also, they wanted $5 each to sit for the photo. Really?!?!!  

Here they are.  How freaking cute are they here?  Adorable and laughing at their funny mommy.   They even let me put them in matching clothes for crying out loud.  Excited for Christmas and Santa.  One of my favorite Christmas cards.  I didn't know it, but this was bliss.  Let's look at another Christmas card picture.
Loved each other. LOVED me. Cuter than hell, no?

There it is.  Again, with the kind of matchy-matchy that make Christmas cards so awesome and mommies so happy. Liv let me do her hair for this picture. WITH patience and gratitude. And Conor had absolutely no problem putting that old man sweater on.  Only took 15 minutes to get this picture (minus hair time) into 

I could put up picture after picture, just like these.  It used to be so easy.  Maybe a little hassle, and always a little late because my name is Autumn Houston.  But totally doable. 

BUT, as aforementioned, I now have two teenagers and it is not easy.  Not one bit.  Borders on impossible, actually.   Oh, I've tried this year.  In fact, Olivia let me do her hair twice on two different occasions, albeit with angry outbursts from both parties, in hopes of taking said Christmas card picture.  However, after we made her beautiful hair more beautiful, and whilst I was getting my camera ready, she dabbled in very much, too much much make up.  It wasn't worth the argument, people. I didn't care at this point.  And Conor wouldn't get out of bed because it was only noon.  Only our precious Coco kitty was cooperating. 

You get the idea.  It wasn't happening.

Here is a sample of the types of photos I'm able to capture of my teenagers:

These are lovely.  Is that a gang gesture?

This was so close to being a cute picture.  Conor was just about to acquiesce.  I just knew it.

Nah.  He wasn't.

So, this year, Coco gets all the glory of being the Houston representative for Christmas.

Right, Coco? Right.

Merry Christmas all.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

May your days be merry and bright . . .

Merry Christmas, Everybody!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Pinkies up

I've blogged about my work parties before. Some of them got a bit crazy -- cases of wine in the limo and such. But this year, well this year we were highly civilized. Completely evolved.

We attended high tea at the Hotel Del Coronado.

And I must say, it was lovely.

Stunning, really, isn't it?

Mmm, Champagne, with fresh pomegranate juice added table side

Every one of those little finger sandwiches were delectable. (Well, except the ham, perhaps.) And the tea, of course, was delicious. Each of us pouring our own chosen brew from our own ceramic tea pot. Mandarin Orange for me please.
Next, this tower of treats arrived. Although they called them 'petit sweets.' Of course they did.

Ben, it appears, is going to try the blueberry tart

I tried most everything. It was hard to pick a favorite. So I didn't. But I will say the chocolate opera, lemon curd, and ginger sugar cookies were among the best of the best.

My boss cracks me up. He photographed not only the historic blurb about Victorian tea at the Hotel Del, but also filled in the 'keepsake' section with all our names and what we talked about: yep, kids, pets and TV, now that's what one talks about at tea. Right? Pinkie up!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Christmas Miracle

A couple of weeks ago my sister-in-law Kelly asked me to copy our Christmas music for a party she was having. "Sure," I said. "I'd be glad to!"

I'm just that kind of sister-in-law.

So I looked for our Christmas music, which we've had for years and must have played when we were last here for Christmas in 2009.

I couldn't find it.

I looked in the Christmas boxes, I looked in with our other music, but those ol' Christmas CDs of ours were nowhere to be found.

Now, I must admit, I'm not a huge fan of the genre. Most of it makes me want to off myself. But we do own some pretty good Christmas music -- or, I guess, did, since it seems to be gone forever.

Hmmmmm, maybe I did shitcan it all back in 2009. Which, frankly, is fine with me. But it didn't do Kelly any good.

But I was able to come up with two CDs for her. One that was in our computer:

Sugar Plums: Holiday Treats from Sugar Hill, which is really the only Christmas CD anybody ever needs, because it is awesome . . .

. . . and . . .

Christmas with The Rat Pack, which MB burned for me last year.

Kelly thought she was getting about 10 CDs and she got two. Hey, whaddyagonnado?

I casually mentioned my plight to my family in an email and guess what happened?

No, Santa didn't deliver -- he's busy these days, you know.

No, my two favorite Mixologist Elves pulled through: my sister MB and my brother-in-law Mr. Can-O-Beans.

Just look what they sent me:

Christmas (aka MB Christmas Mix 1)

Christmas Music (aka MB Christmas Mix 2)

A Very She & Him Christmas

Christmas, Chris Isaak

X-mas Mixie Poo 1

X-mas Mixie Poo 2

It's A Christmas Miracle, 2011 style.

(And Kelly, I've got you covered for 2012.)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Mary comes back to play!

I'll be out of town for the holidays, and my eyeballs will be filled with wonders too rich to sully by casting them upon any electronic screen. So please enjoy a visit by our friend Mary! It's not her first rodeo here on Me, You, and Ellie, and now she's back to regale us with more hilarity. When Mary sent me this post, I replied: "I wish my kids were as scared of me as I once was of my mom." It's not that she was scary, per se.. it's just that we didn't really consider any option other than to do what she said. When I get back from vacation, remind me to figure out how to be more like Mary's as my mom.

I am one of five children.  A child of the ‘70s where we were often told to “go play outside!” and  knew that meant “don’t come back ‘till dinner.”  My father was a pilot for United and was often gone for days at a time which meant my mom ruled the roost (well, she ruled it when he was in town as well)!  If she told us to do something, we did it, and usually right away!  She didn’t care to hear our opinions on the matter.

One day, when my dad was out of town, my mom asked told my brother and I to pull some weeds in the backyard.  I was probably 10 or 11 making him 7 or 8.  She gave us one of those large, black garbage bags and a small shovel and we knew not to come back inside until the job was done.  It must have recently rained because the dirt was soft and the weeds came out pretty easily, however, they came out with large clumps of dirt attached.  Being kids with tunnel vision and hearing, we didn’t remove the dirt clods (she said “pull the weeds” after all….).  When we were finished clearing the area and filling the garbage bag, we tried to pick it up but couldn’t.  It was HEAVY!!!  I mean, it would NOT budge!!  So we went inside and told our mom we couldn’t move the bag of weeds.  She looked at us like we were aliens from another planet and said: “What do you mean you can’t move it?!?!?  Put it with the garbage cans!!!”  (The garbage cans were located on the side of the house towards the front yard.)  Knowing better than to talk back, we retreated to the backyard while mumbling our grievances under our breath.  I don’t recall how long it took for us to devise a plan, but eventually we found a large piece of plywood and we were able to roll the bag onto the plywood and then drag and push the whole caboodle over to the cans.

Days later, when my dad was back in town and it was trash day, he went outside to put the cans on the curb.  I don’t know what transpired outside but he came back in and said to my mom: “What the hell is in that garbage bag?  I can’t even lift it!’ 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

O tenenbaum

Tis the season. Whether a silent night or a sunny day, it's that time of the year. Festivity and frivolity aboud. Shoppers scurry to and fro. Kids anxiously wait for Santa, and you see trees, trees everywhere.

Snow covered Dr. Seuss trees

Blue tinsel penguin trees

Sea shell-clad trees

Trees in homes

Trees on cars

Trees suffering Santa seranades

But the very best tree I've seen? The one that beats all?

This one. Cheers!