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Three Pioneer Women Walk Into A Bar

Last Thursday the fourth grade class ventured to spend 24 hours at the historic Sutter’s Fort.  This is one of those field trips that’s a really big deal for the kids, the teachers & by default the parents.  The kids spend most of the school year preparing for their big day.  Each picks an historic character from one of the famous parties that crossed over the Donner Pass to reach California & Sutter’s Fort & they write reports on their character in addition to the state reports & more.  The day of the field trip both the kids & parent volunteers were required to dress in period garb & the kids were transported to the fort by horse drawn wagons.  The kids were in their glory.  And let’s just say that I can rock a braid & bonnet like it’s the latest fashion trend.   Well, not so much, but if you have it you gotta work it, right??

Let’s fast forward a bit.  Parent volunteers weren’t merely chaperones.  We were also characters in the fort & had assumed the responsibilities of each of the tradespeople who ran the fort on a daily basis.  There was a blacksmith, candle & rope making, gristmill, carpenter, kitchen & bakery.  I worked the bakery.  Make some bread?  How hard could that be?? ….

The bakery was an outdoor beehive oven.  Another mom & I had to build a raging fire in the oven & bring the temp to 500 degrees.  (Insert good pioneer moms gathering & chopping wood to make tinder & char-cloth to spark with flint rock to ignite the fire.)  Let me just say that my earlier years of being a Camp Fire Girl finally paid off…

It literally took us FIVE hours to get the dang oven to reach that magical 500 degrees!  Five hours of building the fire, chopping the logs down to coals, then shoveling the flaming coals out of the oven & carrying them to this fire pit to warm a caldron of water.  See, it was too freakin cold for the dough to rise, so we had to make a dough bath in the caldron.  At this point I seriously questioned WTF I’d gotten myself into??  And it gets even better.  Once the oven reached optimal temp (BTW – we had no thermometer so had to take a gander by putting our hand in the oven & attempting to hold it there for 15 seconds.  If you couldn’t do it, the oven was ready) we had to shovel out ALL the coals, dip brooms into water & sweep out the oven til it was nice & clean enough to slap the dough balls in there.  Yeah, that was fun.  Now I know what it’s really like to sweat my ass off over an oven ALL freakin day long. 

Thankfully we had 45 minute break in the afternoon so me & two other moms decided we’d walk a couple blocks to one of our favorite spots to grab a bite of real food.  I have to preface this by saying that Sutter’s Fort is located in the heart of Midtown Sacramento.  Anything worth doing or seeing is, for the most part, in Midtown.  Especially the food.  So down the street we walk, sporting our most stylish period clothing whilst doing our best to smile & wave at gawking passers by.  The restaurant we went to had a line out the door, so we popped into the attached bar next door knowing they had the same menu.  All heads turn when we walk in (because we were just that hot) & I throw my arms up & ask, “What’s a pilgrim gotta to do get a drink around here?!”  Insert hysterical laughter & 30 minutes of gabbing with construction workers at the bar.  And a well deserved ice cold beer.

We returned to our post feeling refreshed & ready to bake.  And I must say, that bread turned out amazeballs!  But not good enough to ever go through that ever, ever again. 😉

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It’s Highly Likelii(.com)

How do you choose new wines?  Unless I’m at a winery I find that I’m less adventurous with my wine selections and I tend to stick with my old faithfuls.  For one, my eyes gloss over looking at all the hundreds of bottles on the store shelves, and I also don’t want to waste money on something that I might not enjoy.

I recently met the masterminds behind the super cool wine recommendation engine Likelii.com. They’re everyday wine drinkers like we are and they wanted to help consumers demystify the wine buying process (can I get an “Amen!”).  I tried out their search engine (think Pandora for wine).  I plugged in three of my favorite wines (or you can simply type in “red” or “white”) and it populated three new wines for me to try.   Can’t wait to try them! Likelii.com just launched their beta and are super eager to have as many people try them out as possible.  You could win $100 in free wine just for test driving their recommendation engine and giving your feedback!  They’re giving out 3 $100 gift certificates between now and the end of the year.  Simply click http://bit.ly/VZM2L6 and you’ll be well on your way to sipping fabulous varietals.  Cheers!

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Spooky Shit My Kid Does

It all started about a year ago.  One night at about 3am I open my eyes to see a shadowy figure staring down at me, breathing heavy, not saying a word.  I scream a blood curdling scream that would make Jamie Lee Curtis jealous.  In the process I manage to scare everything else that was once sleeping in the house and I realize that the heavy breather was in fact my seven year old daughter. After I grab my heart to make sure it’s still beating inside my chest, I ask her if she’s okay.  “Sorry I scared you, Mommy.  Can I use your bathroom?”

Sigh… Yes.  Feel free to use my bathroom.  Not sure why the one next to her bedroom wouldn’t suffice, but one doesn’t think to ask these questions at such witching hours.  One only hopes they can fall back to sleep after having such an intense adrenaline rush.

“Thanks, Mommy.  I love you.”  She tucks me in, kisses me on the forehead & goes back to bed.  In the morning she doesn’t remember a thing.

The next night at about 3am I’m again woken up by a heavy breathing, shadowy figure lurking just inches above my face.  And once again it scared the crap out of me.  “Mommy, can I use your bathroom?” she asked in her sweet little girl voice.

“You don’t have to wake me up to ask to use the bathroom, honey.  Is everything okay?”  She turns around & looks at me with this creepy, straight face and says in a very subdued tone, “Sorry, Mommy.  I didn’t mean to scare you.”  Then she slowly & calmly walks off to my bathroom.  OK, this was becoming reminiscent of a bad horror flick.  Should I sleep with one eye open?  How long is she breathing over me before I actually wake up?  Is she even awake & aware of what’s going on?

Hubby’s response:  He’s glad she’s not doing it to him because “that is really freaky”.  Thanks a million, babe.  Glad you got my back.

The strange 3am visits continued night after night but eventually she remembered coming into my room & waking up.  So we’d talk about it the next morning.  I’d ask her why she doesn’t just use her own bathroom.  She’d say she didn’t even think about using her bathroom.  Really?  Because you have to walk past it to get to my bedroom.  I tried closing the bedroom door & locking it but she’d knock.  UGH.  So I surrendered to the fact that I would need to invest in some serious under eye concealer and work on being more patient in my sleep deprived daze.

Oddly, she doesn’t wake up at 3am or exhibit this strange ritual at anyone else’ house.  She’s saving it for mama :-/

This nightly pattern continued for over a year.  Felt like an eternity then one morning I realized that I slept all night long.  Hallelujah!  The clouds parted & the angels sang.  Was the curse broken?  But alas, that very night she resumed her special little visits.  This time, however, I acted like I was still sleeping.  Which resulted in a very prolonged staring session & heavy breathing, like two inches from my face.  I could literally feel her breath.  She sat there for several minutes, then quietly walked off to use my bathroom.  The light was on & the door was shut for a few minutes.  What the heck was she doing?  She flips off the light & comes to my side of the bed to kiss me goodnight.  “I love you, Mommy” she whispers then retreats to her room.  She never flushed the toilet.  So as soon as the coast was clear I ran to the bathroom to check.  She never went potty.  Did I just say “potty”???

OK this is just too weird.  She must be sleep walking, right?  But she remembers it the next day, but not always.  She’s otherwise a normal kid.  I think.  OK – don’t over analyze.  Kids to weird things.  Why does mine have to do it in the middle of the night?

Eventually the ritual subsided dramatically.  She’s down to only about once a week, but now she strokes my hair until I wake up which is still super creepy.  So I’ve got that going for me.  And the hubby wonders why I spend so much at the salon these days.  You think these grey hairs on my head are a coincidence??  I think not.