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Even with all that dirt, Grandpa Bill still loves his Mackenzie!!

This past weekend my entire family went on our annual camping trip. Yes, there were a few members missing but I believe we still had about 25 people there. All in one cabin. Yep, I’m going to say that again. ALL. IN. ONE. CABIN!!!! Haha, you can already imagine the fun, can’t you? But seriously, my family is fun. I wonder if most people can say that? I always tend to get sort of lost in my own little bubble and feel like I’m so normal, but the more I look around, the more I see that I’m the different one. So maybe everyone doesn’t vacation annually with their entire family in one cabin. I guess it’s their loss. Because it truly is a very fun time for all of us.

You see, I grew up camping. Since before I can even remember, my family (including aunts, uncles, grandparents & cousins) has always spent the summertime camping in the White Mountains. Now when we were young, we camped in tents. You know, the type of camping where you can’t take showers and you pee behind a bush. Although, thank goodness my Dad has always been a camping freak and therefore always had the latest inventions…like porta-potties! LOL! I still am not good at the “pee behind a bush thing”. Definitely spoiled. So anyways, growing up…we spent most camping trips at the same campsite. No, I don’t mean at the same location in the White Mountains…I mean at the exact same campsite at that exact same location in the White Mountains. Dad – Camping Freak…remember?!!! I remember us getting there one time and someone was in our spot…yeah, that didn’t go over well. My Dad stalked those people until they left…then we moved camp into OUR spot. Haha, bet those people have never been camping since.

Me & my Mom and sisters, Kathy & Paula

But now, we are all older…and things like showers seem so much more important. Although, I will be the first to admit…I didn’t shower on this last trip. I’m still a believer in the “if you’re camping, you get dirty” thing. But, really with all those people, a cabin is really easier. Especially for feeding all of us. And boy, do we eat well. This year there was an entire table (and several buckets) dedicated to just the snack foods. I think I ate my weight in gummy bears! And Saturday morning breakfast…Egg McMuffins. Yep, and I am the Queen of making the round eggs for them. Maybe I could get a job at McDonalds? Wait…I think my niece suggested that. Thanks a lot Michelle!! LOL! Anyways, I digress, camping with my family is an experience that I will treasure for the rest of my life. This year I think was our 13th or 14th year. So my youngest has grown up doing this trip. This year, we had 3 of the 5 great grandkids with us. If you ask me, my parents are the most amazing people around…getting their whole family together like that every year…just so we can all make fun of each other!

If you're camping...you get dirty!

Dirt at its finest!

So of course, there are certain traditions that we do every year…like The Great Boodini, the biggest fish competition, the Sam Ting joke (yeah, its not really funny, but all my life I’ve never been able to say “same thing” without saying “Sam Ting”) and this year we started a new tradition…Minute to Win It games. Of course, there’s also the Abandoned Cabin walk. Yep, its just what it sounds like. We all go for a walk through all of the abandoned cabins and we talk about ghosts and finding dead bodies…and most times there is at least one “scary moment” when someone screams! Yeah, it sounds dumb…but it wouldn’t be a family camping trip without it.

The Great Boodini!!

So, The Great Boodini. That started so long ago. There are 4 girls in my family…yes I know, my poor Father…and amongst us we have 11 kids (my baby is the youngest of them at 13 now). Those 11 now have 5 kids amongst them. Geez, everytime I think about that I feel so old. Every camping trip, my Father would do magic tricks for the 11 kids. And every year he got better and spent more money on tricks. Eventually he became, The Great Boodini, and the box of tricks was made and I believe the kids even made him a cape and hat. Then, those 11 kids started to become teenagers…and those darn boys…they started to learn The Great Boodini’s tricks. And that pissed The Great Boodini off…so he went into retirement. LOL! But now, last year, he had a reappearance…and now he has a whole new audience to play too. And the little ones, they loved it! And The Great Boodini has learned to ignore the heckling from the crowd of obnoxious older kids (and their parents, LOL). Or maybe he’s just losing his hearing? Whatever, he is a true professional…and I look forward to more years of him!

So this year, we decided to add a night of Minute to Win It games to our schedule. My youngest looked up a bunch of games, made all the notes, bought all the supplies and ran the whole shebang! And it was a blast. We seperated into 2 teams…the Bad Asses and the Tight Asses (yep, I keep saying, my family is crazy). All I have to say is…it was HYSTERICAL. Yep…my family finds amusement in the silliest of things…mostly making fun of each other….so a night of stupid games where you’re putting panty hose over your head, yeah that is classic shit for us! Ahhh, the memories. And years of embarrassing stories to follow!

Looking nice Bill!

Alex & Taylor stacking dice!

I guess it’s hard to explain my family. I mean, to me I think we are just hilarious. From my Dad’s stupid jokes to our ability to make fun of each other on a non-stop basis…the rule growing up was, “whoever is not here is who we talk about”. But, since just about everyone is there at camping…we just make fun of my Dad. I mean, he really is an easy target. And if you can’t laugh at each other, who can you laugh at. Every year, of course, the guys spend most of their time fishing…while us girls sit up at the cabin and make fun of the guys. Hey, whoever’s not there, remember?!! But last year, my Dad brought up this singing fish. You know, that really annoying fish plaque that moves and sings. Yeah, funny…as long as you don’t have to listen to it for days on end. And so began a new tradition of whoever caught the largest fish had to take the fish plaque home (it has been, for some reason unbeknownst to me, named Frankie) and it must be displayed in the winner’s house for every one to see. Yep, and believe me, it is a rule that is enforced. My poor nephew won last year and I think he had just moved into his first apartment by himself. If that’s not a great way to turn women off, I don’t know what is. Sorry Christopher! LOL! So this year, not only was Frankie prominently displayed at the cabin all weekend but the winner also received a little poem my Dad wrote (yep, get the idea, he’s goofy) and for the rest of the year…the winner’s vote counts for 2 votes at any family decisions. Seriously, I can’t make this stuff up. My family really is that funny. Apparently we make family decisions…because I’ll tell you, that seemed to be an important part of winning. So, those boys set out to catch the largest fish…longing for Frankie (and the double vote power) and by Saturday afternoon, one of my nephews was in the lead with a 15 inch trout. And then Saturday evening came along…and along comes…GIRL POWER!!!! My nephew’s girlfriend (yep she’s family now) on her first shot at it, comes back with a 15 1/4 inch winner! Yah…we girls now have more power in the family decisions. Watch out boys! Next year we might just make you all watch Steel Magnolias!

Victoria's Winning Fish!!

Papa presenting Frankie!

I didn’t set out to write this long of a post. I guess it shows that when it comes to my family, I just can’t say enough. Some of my greatest memories of growing up are from camping…and I am so happy that my girls will be able to say the same thing when they are older. And hopefully we will still be getting together in the White Mountains every summer…for a weekend of laughter, bad jokes and a lifetime of embarrassing stories about each other!

The 2011 Summer Camping Crew!

Dear Lord,

Today I’m asking that you give me just one moment of silence.

No, I don’t mean keep the kids quiet (although that would be nice too), no what I’m praying for is one day of silence from the turmoil in my head.

You know, the thoughts that keep me up at night.

Images of past experiences…the fear of what lies ahead, the struggle of just facing the next day.

The sad thoughts of failing as a mother.

The pressure from having to compensate for an absentee father.

The pain I feel for them for having an absentee father and the worry about the sad thoughts that must go through their heads when they think of him.

I know, that’s a lot God…but I think that I’ve done my share of good. At least I hope I’ve done my share of good.

If I haven’t, I promise I will try harder.

Just please…please give me a moment of silence.

Amen.

About a year or so ago, I was diagnosed with this silly little thing called Eosinophilic Colitis. All the symptoms that led up to the diagnosis are not really fun to discuss but lets just say I got to a point where I was thinking maybe I should just skip eating and just get my nutrition from Dr Pepper being inserted via IV, since the wonderful DP seemed to be the only thing that didn’t bother me. Now I had no idea what this Eosino-whatever was, but after lots of goggling and many doctors appointments…I finally got some perspective. Try the Dr Pepper IV!! Haha! Actually, the truth is, the colitis is inflamed by allergens. So, apparently, after much work and eliminating and then reintroducing things into my diet, I discovered that I need to avoid; wheat (gluten), dairy, egg, soy, shellfish, fish, and peanuts. I also learned along the way that I’m allergic to pineapple and sugar substitutes.

Now, when I say allergy…its more like an intolerance (except with a few items), the point being…if I eat one or more of the items, I won’t necessarily die. However, there are times I felt like that would feel better! LOL! Seriously, in the beginning, it was easy to avoid these things. I mean, the very first day without those things in my diet I felt amazing. I had more energy, my stomach didn’t feel bloated and painful. My sinuses were better and my eyes were less itchy. And I definitely spent more time out and about and less time in the bathroom (TMI?). And in the first month, I dropped 20 lbs. Hell yeah, that felt good (although honestly, I didn’t really need to lose that much, but it did feel good). And I’ve noticed, the longer I avoid these things…the stronger the reaction seems to be when I do eat them. How do I know that? Well, now a year or more later…my brain says…eat a muffin…it won’t kill you…remember? Ugh!

So, the truth is. On occassion…and believe me, there are better days than others and there are definitely things that trigger it…I cheat. I said it…I CHEAT!!! Now there are a couple of things that really aid in the cheating. (Right now I’m going to pull the old politician or athlete trick and blame someone or something else for my cheating problems, like Tiger and Weiner)! First, the fact that I know if I eat a piece of bread my throat isn’t going to close up and I’m not going to die, definitely starts to weaken my willpower. I mean, if I knew it was going to kill me, I would avoid it. That’s a no brainer. Second, I’m a stress eater. And eating a salad with balsamic vinegar and olive oil on it when you’re stressed just doesn’t quite frickin do it for me. Am I right? Any stress eaters out there right now agreeing with me? Yeah you know what I’m talking about…when you’re stressed, you eat chocolate cake. Or a Big Mac. Or chocolate cake with a Big Mac, as an appetizer. Yeah, that makes me feel better…until about an hour later, but whatever!

Third, here’s the biggest reason for cheating (and no, its not because there is so much access because I’m rich and famous and Twitter is so much fun, that was Tiger’s and Weiner’s excuses) it is so DAMN EXPENSIVE to eat healthy. Seriously, why does the economy or whoever is in charge of pricing the fricking groceries make it so much more expensive to eat fruit and vegetables than frozen pizza’s and burritos? Seriously. That. Is. A. Huge. Issue!!! No wonder we have so many obese children out there…are you reading this Michelle Obama…it is a hell of a lot cheaper for a mom to go buy her kid two 69 cent tacos from Taco Bell then to make them chicken, rice and steamed vegetables at home. That is a big problem. And in these times, when money is tight for everyone, its scary to think of the health disasters we are creating for future generations by making healthy eating so inaccessible. Sad. It’s very sad.

I’m struggling financially a little bit myself right now. I’m single. No support from anyone but myself to raise these 2 teenage girls. I’m trying to get my own business going and its tough. Really tough. But I’m lucky. See my parents come up once a month and take me and the girls to Costco and stock up on groceries for us. I cannot tell you how grateful I am to have such amazing, understanding and helpful parents. Without them, the girls and I would be like so many others…struggling to eat a decent meal every day…especially a healthy meal. But, even so, even with this food…it is still hard to eat healthy. Why? Because someone thinks muffins should be cheaper than fruit. And really, why can you buy a 2 quart tub of butter for less than you can buy an 8 ounce tub of vegan butter? Yes, I said it, Vegan Butter. And if you haven’t tried it, you shouldn’t knock it. See, its the only butter I can have…so it is yummy! But Costco doesn’t sell vegan butter. Or gluten free waffles. So, I have someone buying me groceries to help me out. What am I supposed to do? Say no thank you because I can’t eat that. Hell no. I take it and I love it and I’m grateful for it. And then I eat a damn muffin for breakfast!

Yeah. That’s what I had for breakfast this morning. Yep. I’m still hurting. And it’s 3pm. I know. We also bought bell peppers, mushrooms, romaine lettuce, and grapes at Costco and I could have made myself something. But that muffin sure was easier and it was so frickin yummy! And that comes to my final point. To eat healthy…you have to make everything yourself. Healthy food doesn’t come in a can or plastic container (at least not usually). So you have to cook. You have to prepare and cook everything. And then that means I have to do dishes. Even worse, I have to listen to kids say, when is dinner going to be ready, I’m starving! Ugh, impatient little buggers! Anyways, it seriously is a lot of work to prepare healthy food for yourself and your kids…and I’m thinking somehow, somewhere, someone has got to make healthy eating easier and more affordable. Or at least get me a dishwasher!

So, have I bitched enough yet? Maybe, but I think that what I’d really like to do is start sharing recipes and money saving grocery tips with all my friends and fellow mom bloggers and tweeps (Can we say Extreme Couponing). Also, more importantly, share healthy meals that kids will eat and enjoy. My kids complained a lot in the beginning of the changes. But what I’ve learned is that if they don’t see me add Rice Milk and Vegan butter into a recipe…they have no idea. As they say, what they don’t know, can’t hurt them!

So, I’m going to create a page for healthy, quick recipes and healthy eating/cooking tips. And I would love to get suggestions from all of you! So let me know what you’re eating…and I’ll add it to the page! (Email me your ideas and recipes at functioningdysfunctional@gmail.com and make sure to include your blog/twitter name).

I’m sort of embarrased when I see that my last post was on May 26th. Seriously? What the hell have I been doing? I mean, its not like I’m out there making the big bucks…so really, what have I been doing? Raising 2 teenagers…check. Taking care of 3 dogs…check. Making sure 2 birds and 2 hamsters have water and food…check. Making meals…check. Doing laundry…check. Cleaning house…check. Working some lame ass part time worthless piece of shit job…check. Drinking…NOT ENOUGH!

Okay. So I’ve been a little busy with every day life. But really. Blogging is the best relief for my everyday, sorry ass, life…so what the hell have I been doing? For days I’ve been saying that I’m going to write and yet, I find myself never doing it. I have a problem with that. When my life gets crazy and things are not really going well…I sort of hide. I become a recluse. I stop talking to people. I stop doing things that make me happy…because then reality sets in and it just makes me miserable again. Ugh…IS IT EVER GOING TO BE MY TURN? I’m being serious here. Whoever is in charge of this fucking thing…when do I get a break!

Okay. I vented. I feel a little better. I find that when you’re feeling shitty about yourself or your life or job or whatever, it helps to look around and see that others have it shittier than you. So you should probably just stop your whining. So, today I looked at my searches. You know. The things people search that bring them to my blog. Haha and yep…suddenly my life did not seem that flippin bad. Since tomorrow is my 6 month anniversary of when I started my blog, I thought it would be fun to see some of the sorry ass people that have gotten sent my way.

I don’t want kids, is that why I’m single” – If you’re a man(and lets face it, a man typed in this search)…yes…that and you’re probably just an idiot.

Teenager rule book” – If I had that, these effen teenagers wouldn’t be running the show over here. In fact, I think I’m going to go search that one myself!

What do I do if I’m dating a disfunctional man” – First. Learn to spell. That will help you attract better men. Second, I can spell and I attract the biggest losers around. So don’t come looking for your answers here people!!

I am looking for a mickey mouse t-shirt that says – your not the boss of me” – Hahahaha really? What the hell? How did that get you here? And who would wear that? I hope its for your kid and not yourself, weirdo. And it’s you’re not your. Geez what is wrong with people!

Picture of a night mask with a monkey face” – LOL! This is so funny. Because I have one. And I have a picture posted. Here. See, I’m an idiot and that’s why I’m single. Hey, whoever searched this…I stole it from my daughter…I would not buy one for myself. It’s a joke. A joke!!!

Givers and takers” – I think my dad must be learning how to use the computer! Dad – do not read my blog. You will not like it!!! Just saying!

Friends who are disfunctional around birthdays” – Does anyone know how to spell these days? Seriously? It’s dysfunctional people! I would know…I am as dysfunctional as they come. And to whoever searched this…if they’re dysfunctional around your birthday…they are dysfunctional all the time…run! Find better friends! (Note to self: take your own advice)!

And my very favorite one – “arnold schwarzenegger soundboard and its not a tumor” – Bwaaahaaaaaa! Tears in the eyes funny! I bet you were a little disappointed when your search led you here…to a post about my weird conversations with my children and the childish ways I behave while “parenting” them. Haha…that one really makes me laugh. And why, really why was someone searching for that?

Oh boy. That was kind of fun. I could go on. There really are some strange…yet sad, searches going on out there. Makes me wonder…what is the stupidest thing that I’ve searched? Hmmmm, that could be another post!!

So, I guess the world didn’t end after all. Because here it is Thursday and I’m still here…with a hell of a lot to do since I put everything off last week thinking I shouldn’t waste my time on laundry and dishes since it would be a moot point after Saturday. Moot point my ass! Now its just piles of clothes and plates and glasses in my house. That idiot that predicted the world was ending should have to come to each of our houses and get us all caught up. IDIOT!!! Thanks a lot!

On the flip side, I guess I’m pretty glad I’m still here. I mean, now I have more time to get on my bucket list that I made. Cause that’s really going to happen. I did have a great night out Friday…celebrating the end of the world. Only to wake up with a very bad hangover…and at one point I recall wishing the world was really going to end. LOL!

So, I guess now that I have a little more time, I might actually put some more thought into my bucket list. And maybe even try to accomplish some of them. Haha, or just think about accomplishing some of them while I sit on my butt with a martini! Whatever, the point is, I still have time…or at least I have until October 21st now.

Who is this idiot that keeps setting deadlines for me? JERK! Apparently he’s never enjoyed just sitting on his ass with a bottle (or 2) of wine and some pizza watching 12 hourse of a Criminal Minds marathon (which is exactly where I’ll be Monday, thanks to ION and thanks to the world not ending). And notice that I assumed the idiot is a man!

So, apparently the world is ending on Saturday. Man, just like me to wait until Thursday to realize that I am sooooo not prepared. Can we push it back until next Saturday? No? Okay, guess that’s asking a lot. So, all this talk of the end of the world has got me thinking about all the things I haven’t done yet, but definitely want to before I’m gone. Not little things like the laundry (mainly so I will have clean panties come Saturday) but those big things…you know, like “take over the world” big (of course, can mark that one off since there won’t be a world come Sunday apparently)! Anyways…here’s the short list of my bucket list…(and maybe, just maybe, someone wants to push this thing back a week or two so I can get this all done)!

1. Travel to Austria to see the Lippizan Stallions at the Spanish Riding School. (This seems weird to start with this one, but I’ve dreamed of this ever since I was a teenager riding my own Andalusian).

2. Get my college degree.

3. Move to the mountains and raise horses and dogs.

4. Go to Paris! See if I can remember any of the 5 years of French I took in high school and college. LOL!

5. See my daughters marry amazing men who will treat them like Princesses and live long, happy, and healthy lives. (That’s not asking too much is it)?

6. Go on a girls trip to Vegas with my 3 sisters. No GUYS!! Husbands stay home!

7. Have a million dollars. (If someone would just give it to me that would be best, working for it seems like a lot of work)!

8. Start my own charity to help loving pet owners help pay for vet bills, food and grooming for the pets they devote their lives to.

9. Run my own fashion magazine.

10. Go to the CMA’s (Country Music Awards for those of you saying, the what?).

11. Pose in Playboy! (Seriously, I have wanted to do this since I was in college. I truly believe it would be the hottest I could ever look)!

12. Own a pair of Christian Louboutins. Or 100 pair, either way!

13. Buy a convertible BMW!

14. Learn to sing.

15. Fall in love. Real love. Everlasting, unbelievably amazing love. Yeah, that kind of love. Fall in that kind of love.

Wow, this list really is kind of lame. Apparently, I haven’t thought much about it. Maybe I’m just a big dork, but really I’d like to think its because I am very satisfied with my life and what I have done and seen so far. And maybe, just maybe, if the world really was ending on Saturday, I really wouldn’t have any regrets. (Except maybe that Playboy thing)!!