Bachelorette Shocker!

July 28, 2009

Wait a minute.


Am I missing something here?

“Bachelorette Shocker: Emotions Fly as Jillian Harris is Forced to Choose One Guy.”

Oh my. You mean she couldn’t choose two of them? Or three? You mean she can only agree to marry ONE PERSON? What a shock. Who would’ve thought that the Bachelorette must eliminate her pool of men down to just one lucky guy? What a surprising twist to the show’s original premise.

Personally, the only positive thing that ever came out of that show was Trista and Ryan. Both The Bachelor and The Bachelorette lost all credibility for me after several seasons of people agreeing to marry, only to break the engagement two weeks after the final episode airs and they are no longer contractually obligated to pretend to be together.

Don’t get me wrong, you certainly can’t blame someone for not committing to marriage after only knowing the other person for a reality show TV season. But it seems, at this point, that it's just a glorified dating show. There are no consequences if they don’t really marry the person they choose. I think the show would be a lot more fun if they were contractually obligated to get married and stay married for at least a year. It would put a whole lot more weight on the final decision.

They should do that next season. The headline could read, “Bachelorette Shocker: The Bachelorette is Forced to Wed the Guy She Agrees to Marry at the End of the Show.”

Shake, Rattle, and Roll

July 15, 2009

I thought we were having an earthquake today. I was sitting at the stoplight waiting for the green, when I heard a loud rumbling noise and the air freshener hanging from my rearview mirror started to sway.

It was not an earthquake.

It was a young-ish "gentleman" driving something resembling a 1987 Cadillac with ridiculously large rims, the windows rolled down and – apparently – a stereo system juiced enough to make the dash on my half-ton pickup rattle.

I’d bet $20 bucks it has hydraulics, too.


July 14, 2009

No disrespect to the deceased here, but I'M TIRED OF HEARING ABOUT MICHAEL JACKSON.

And really, CNN, this news is on par with global warming and the plight of our troops in Afghanistan???

(Even my googly-eyes are shocked).

The Finale: Camping Miracles

July 13, 2009

Next to our campfire, left behind by the previous campers, was a giant log. Someone had obviously dragged it there, with the intentions of burning it, because there was a tie strap still twined around it. They had gone to a lot of trouble to get that giant log next to the campfire, but never ended up burning it.

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(can is for scale)

We had a theory. We figured they had been sitting around the campfire late at night (there was almost definitely alcohol involved) and two or more of them had decided that burning a giant log was the thing to do. In their late night fervor and alcohol-muddled reasoning, it seemed like a brilliant idea. They set off, tow rope in hand, to go collect a giant log. Probably by the time they got back two hours later, stumbling along with a giant tree stump dragging behind them, their friends were all asleep/passed out, and the log-draggers lost their enthusiasm and went to bed themselves. The next morning when everyone got up it suddenly did not seem like such a brilliant idea. So the log was left next to the campfire, for us to find.

The boys took one look at it and said: “Lets burn it.”

We were all highly doubtful that the log would actually burn. Especially after the Great Flood of 2009, in which the log was not covered to protect it from the rain.

But since there weren’t going to be any fireworks this Fourth, we decided, “What the heck, let’s go for it.”

The boys were in charge of the log burning, as it was their idea. They were more than happy about this. We decided that we would wait until the night of the Fourth, as sort of a celebratory thing. A bonfire tribute to Lady Liberty and a grand finale for the last night of our camping trip.

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(working out the logistics of moving the log)

In yet another camping miracle, the log not only burned, but made a perfect campfire. It was rather hot, at first (we all had to move our chairs back about five feet), but it burned steadily and without the constant need for more fuel. We could enjoy it and not have to ever get up for more firewood.

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Slowly, the evening slipped into night. An almost-full-moon came out, shining silvery through the trees and the mist, coyotes howled in the distance, classic rock played quietly on the radio, and everyone sat around an effortlessly burning campfire in perfectly temperate weather. And as beautifully as it began, the Fourth of July came to a close.

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Camping, Part II: It’s So Easy, a Child Could Do It

July 09, 2009

One of my best friends has a fantastic recipe for Monkey Bread. She happened to mention in passing that she would like to make Monkey Bread during the camping trip, but was stuck on how to cook it without an oven.

“Monkey bread?!” I said, “Monkey Bread?! I will *make* you an oven out of a cardboard box and some tinfoil if that’s what it takes to get monkey bread on this trip.”

As it turns out, you actually can make an oven out of tinfoil and a cardboard box. I downloaded the instructions from a “Camping with Kids” website, and they looked simple enough. I mean, if a ten-year-old can do it (with adult supervision of course), I figure we’ve got a decent shot at making it work.

The basic concept is that you cover the cardboard box with tinfoil and set it over your baking pan, trapping the heat from the coals and cooking your food. You use four soda cans, half-filled with water, to elevate the pan over the fire. Because there’s not actually any flames (just coals), and your box is covered in tinfoil, theoretically, the cardboard will not catch on fire.


The boys were skeptical. I knew that if this didn’t work (and we gave ourselves about a 50% chance) my friend and I were going to be mercilessly teased for the remainder of the camping trip. That whole phrase, “I got the directions off a website for kids. A ten year old could do it.” would come back to haunt me.

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Well, the most amazing thing happened.


It took about an hour over the fire, and out came a perfectly cooked pan of monkey bread.

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The box didn’t catch on fire. We didn’t burn the monkey bread. We didn’t burn ourselves. It was delicious. Both the monkey bread and the victory, which we could then wave in the faces of all our skeptics.

We were gracious in our victory, however, and let them eat some.

Camping, Part I: Because Matches Aren't Good Enough

July 08, 2009

Sometimes my husband surprises me. Like, when we’re getting ready to start the campfire and he brings out the blow torch.

Yes really, the blow torch. We are so classy.

Thus, please enjoy my pictorial essay on How to Light a Campfire With a Blow Torch. Somebody should post this on WikiHow so I can get my 15 minutes. (Well, maybe not, because it’s probably a bad idea for people to be running around our national forests with blow torches. Smoky the Bear would be crying himself to sleep.)

Step 1: Get firewood

No… scratch that.

Step 1: Go to ATM and pull out $100, because that’s about how much you’ll need to buy wood in the middle of the desert.

Step 2: Get firewood

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Step 3: Gather together your materials.

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Step 4: Put the wood inside the fire ring. Keep the beer separate from the other materials, so that you can periodically hydrate while working hard at making the campfire.

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Step 5: Break out the blow torch. Light wood.

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Step 6: Get another beer, since you’ve finished the first one. Then sit back and relax.

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Camping: an Introduction to our Fourth of July Adventure

July 06, 2009

For the Forth of July, Chris and I planned a camping trip with four of our friends (and their 3 Chihuahuas). The average temperature in Phoenix that week was 110 degrees Fahrenheit, and Southern California was hitting the 100’s, so everyone was ready for some 75 degree weather.

Due to thunderstorms clouding the skies from LA to Phoenix, we opted to drive instead of fly the plane. (Read: small aircraft and thunderstorms do not mix well). Aside from a brief moment of panic when the air conditioner cut out in the middle of the Mojave desert (it came back on) the drive was uneventful.

Our camping destination was Knoll Lake up on the Mogollon Rim. For those of you who don’t know, the Mogollon rim is part of the Colorado Plateau (the same plateau that makes up the Grand Canyon), and although it’s only a few hours north of Phoenix, at 7500 feet elevation it is decidedly cooler.

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Because getting to the lake requires about an hour of driving on gravel forest roads, it’s more secluded than some of the other lakes in the area. It also offers dispersed camping, which means two things:

1) You don’t have to pay for a campsite (yay, tax dollars!)
2) Camping spots are primitive - but also private and woodsy

Basically, there’s a bunch of clearings off the road with fire rings. You find one you like (that hasn’t already been claimed, of course) and stake your territory.

After a little driving around, we came across the Best. Campsite. Ever. It was one of the last dispersed campsites down a dirt road that branched off the main access to the lake. We were only about 3 miles from the lake (a 10 minute drive), there were no campsites within sight of ours and virtually no traffic came this far down the access road.

I will regale you with some pictures.

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And don’t forget our new tent, the Taj Mahal. I’m not kidding, this thing has CLOSETS. Yes, closets. We saw it on sale for $40, and considering our old tent had holes in the ceiling (NOT fun when it rains) we jumped at the chance for a fancy new tent.

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Once camp was set up, it was time to build a fire. And for that, you will have to read the next blog post: Because Matches Aren’t Good Enough.