Tag Archives: summer

Ice Cream Trucks and Wino Wheels

Ahh…summer.

The sound of birds chirping, lawnmowers buzzing and music like “The Entertainer” coming from a janky 1980s model white van driven by a creepy older male trying to lure children to his vehicle in order to sell them sugar-laden treats.

Oh yes, the ice cream truck.

As a kid I can remember the siren song of summer and how we would run outside and try to chase after a moving vehicle in order to procure many of the same frozen treats found in our freezers.

But when you think about it, ice cream trucks were  “trendy” ahead of their time. It’s like some marketing genius thought, “Hey! Just thinking out loud here, but how about a food truck marketed only towards kids! Instead of food, it sells nothing but ice cream!”

Running with the idea, they decided to play kid-friendly music on repeat—including completely nonsensical songs like “La Cucaracha”—and drive by the houses right about the time harried parents are trying to convince their kids that eating the spinach on their plate will make them strong like Popeye.

(Popeye. Another theme song they used. Well-played, Ice Cream Man. Well-played.)

Because kids love anything related to sugar and instant gratification, the ice cream men decided to see just how much they could charge before the BBB got wind of their sleek operation.

A menu of carefully arranged the choices was painted on the side of the truck so that there are the plain popsicles or ice cream sandwiches that cost $2—known as “boring and stupid” by most children—and then, right next to them there are the ones shaped like Hello Kitty or Mickey Mouse with candy eyes and sprinkles for $5.

In other words, the price parents would pay for a whole box of the things. Frozen food truck or wizard on wheels? You be the judge.

But I think they’re really missing another gold opportunity with this one. Apparently when you reach a certain age, it’s “inappropriate” to go running out of the house with a five-spot, pushing small children out of your way in an attempt to flag down the ice cream man for a Bomb Pop.

Who makes up these rules?

Anyway, what they need to do is have a second truck creep about 100 yards behind the ice cream truck. Only this time instead of serving ice cream and blasting “The Entertainer,” this truck serves iced adult beverages and streams Bon Jovi through speakers.

Think about it. Parents will LOVE to hear the ice cream man come down the street and happily let their kids spend $4 for a sherbet push-up if they are secure in the knowledge that a drive-by wine tasting is only a few minutes away.

These Wino Wheels could easily expand their reach by parking down the street from ice cream trucks at youth sporting events, making those outdoor soccer tournaments and softball games a little more tolerable after a swig of chardonnay or a beer.

Everyone can enjoy a cold one of choice.

Happy kids. Happy parents.

Cheers to that!

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Patriotic Pyromania

I hold these truths to be self evident, that I love sleeping in the summer.

Well, I also love sleeping in the winter, spring and fall—I love sleeping—but I especially love sleeping in the summer. The windows open, a gentle breeze blowing through, the sounds of nature serving as a gentle lullaby. Minus the occasional manic cricket cackle, I consider summer sleeping quite possibly one of my favorite activities.

In fact, I actually think about these things mid-winter when I’m huddled in bed under blankets in the fetal position with the windows sealed shut and the humidifier/heater going full blast. The promise of summer sleeping—along with the promise of baseball season and fresh green beans— is what gets me through.

So imagine my displeasure every year around this time when my peaceful nights are no more, when I climb on top of the covers only to be jolted out of my meditative trance five minutes later by what is assumed to be either an apparent drive-by or carpet bombing.

I do not live in either a ghetto or a war zone, so that leaves one other option—pyromaniacs celebrating their independence from maturity and common sense by blowing crap up.

After all, what’s more American than purchasing illegal fireworks and lighting them off in the middle of the night—or even the middle of the day—the two weeks before and the two months after the Fourth of July?

I can answer that—just about anything.

 

I’m not anti-fireworks.

I’m not talking about the normal explosives people go downtown to see on the actual Fourth of July. (Although I’m not too into that either. At first I go “oooh, ahhh, pretty” then near the end when the dog is terrified and I’m tired from lack of sleep due to constant booming for two weeks prior to that day, I’m pretty much over it and feel ready for a Valium salt lick.)

I’m talking about the idiots that shoot off bottle rockets, M80s and firecrackers, the result of which could result in either the burning down of my house or torching of my sanity.

Along with the aforementioned noise pollution, pieces of the blasted things—actual litter— will be found throughout my backyard and neighboring streets for at least the next week.

Perhaps I’m missing something here, but I just don’t see the appeal of spending large amounts of money on things that go “boom” from a shady man on the side of a road in a striped tent blasting “Born in the USA” from his mobile home.

They want loud noises?

Keeping blowing crap up at 2am, causing me to wake up and hit the deck with “Gangstas Paradise” stuck in my head. If they stop over about one minute after this happens, not only will I give them loud noises, but I can guarantee that my language will be colorful as well (“oooh, ahhh, pretty” will not be included.)

I’m not suggesting people have to stick to sparklers, colored smoke bombs and those creepy snake things that completely ruin the sidewalks forever. All I’m suggesting is that they abide by normal explosive etiquette and keep the pyromania and possible arson with a sonic boom soundtrack to the weekend of the holiday.

After all, this is a holiday to celebrate certain unalienable rights—life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

In other words, a good summer night’s sleep.

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The Anatomy of a Garage Sale

Since we’re officially into summer now, I figured it was a good time to revisit my thoughts on the garage sale. I don’t know how it is where you live, but it seems I can’t drive 100 feet without seeing a cardboard sign with an arrow pointing me towards the sale of the century each weekend.

If you’ve never actually put on a garage sale yourself and tried to convince people they need to buy the crap you just don’t want, allow me to clue you in as to just how much fun they can be. I conducted a yard sale myself a couple years ago and feel I’ve recovered enough to talk about my experience.

The Night Before: You stay up late making tiny price tag stickers for all the junk you’re hoping people will buy. You’re naively psychotically optimistic, calculating the total value of your “inventory” at slightly over $5,000, give or take what you can get for those old curtains that came with the house you found stored in the attic.

6:30 a.m. The garage sale is scheduled to begin at 8 am, but a woman pounds on your door and tell you she “likes to get an early start.”  When you walk outside to let her “window shop,” you notice that there are five other cars in your driveway.

6:35 a.m. One of those cars is your crazy uncle—a black belt in flea markets, weekend auctions and roaming the beach with a metal detector—who is there to help manage the situation. He immediately lays claim to a yard tool he forgot he gave you last week.

9:30 a.m. You’ve sold a few things but are already annoyed with the fact that everything isn’t sold and you’re not counting your riches. A shopper offers you a dollar for your lawnmower that is brand new and not for sale.

You ask him to leave.

10 a.m. You look for your uncle and find him drinking Busch Light in a can and offering extras to shoppers for $1 a piece. He tells you he has sold three beers. At 10 a.m.

Noon: You leave the operation in the hands of your uncle/concession seller and go inside to get some lunch. A stranger knocks on your back door and asks to try on some T-shirts for sale, and another wants to know if you have “weenies to go with the beer.”

You ask them to leave.

12:30 p.m. When you return to the sale, you find your uncle slightly manic because he has sold a shovel, a set of garden tools and a hose for 50 cents each. You tell him that they weren’t for sale in the first place. He replies that he wondered why there were no price tags.

You ask him to leave. Of course, he won’t.

2 p.m. A group of college boys will stop by and start trying on some of your clothes in the driveway, conducting their own drag queen fashion show. Your mom will attempt to stuff dollar bills into their bejeweled belts (priced at 50 cents) and your uncle will offer them beer.

They are cute. You will not ask them to leave. In fact, you will give them the clothes, a few other items and several pathetic come-hither stares.

2:30 p.m. You decide things are taking entirely too long and start drastically slashing prices like an overzealous mattress salesman who does his own commercials. In fact, you just start giving stuff away and find that’s entirely more fun, especially because it pisses off your crazy neighbor lady who is trying to sell a holographic palm tree for $50.

4 p.m. You’re done. It’s hard to know what your take is for the day because at some point your uncle apparently sold the cash box. However, you find a dollar your mom dropped during the impromptu frat boy fashion show and seek out your uncle, who is digging through your “junk I’m throwing away” pile.

4:05 p.m. You buy a beer.

4:06 p.m. You vow never to do this again.

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A Total Buzzkill

Ahh…spring. Blue skies, the sounds of birds chirping, coming up with excuses to stay outside and watch the neighbor’s hot lawn guy cut grass.

It’s the time of year when I work on my garden/horticultural hospice, when shouting “I need a studfinder!” and “Where my hose at?” while walking into Home Depot can be justified somehow.

Yes, spring has arrived.

The OCD in me takes immense pleasure in dead-heading petunias, picking green beans and pulling out weeds (in both my yard and any other surface that makes me feel twitchy—it’s actually really a curse.)

But the real curse of warm weather—other than blinding a chipmunk with the whiteness of my legs—is the bugs. Oh yes, those tiny little monsters that are bound and determined to make me itchy and bitchy and other adjectives that sound like rejected names for the Seven Dwarfs.

Although I know they serve a purpose, bugs suck—both literally and figuratively. Aside from flying up my nose or sneaking into my mouth, they suck the fun out of outdoor situations by sucking the blood out of my soul, leaving me with un-itchable itchy bumps as a reminder of their intrusive visits to my flesh and to my fun.

I use sprays, creams, zappers and Tiki torches with citronella oil in an effort to ward off their presence, yet I still find myself cursing the little a-holes as I scratch and claw at my bites.

These bugs have balls.

They have no fear.

They laugh at me as I wave my arms around like a crazy person and run around the yard with a 75-cent plastic fly swatter that’s about as effective as hitting a softball with a wet noodle.

Now I get it that when I’m outside I’m on their turf, kind of like how I don’t blame sharks for attacking swimmers. If I saw some guy in my territory wearing a Speedo I would probably get pissed off, too. Don’t blame Jaws.

But unlike almost all other creatures, bugs a) have no regard for personal space and b) don’t seem to understand the concept of private property and think it’s okay to enter an indoor environment uninvited.

The little winged weirdos just waltz on in with their buzzy tune, intent on destroying happiness and beinghectic in the corner of the ceiling or around my head.

When they actually enter my house uninvited—without even bringing a nice fruit basket or maybe some hummus—I will go to the ends of the earth and my couch to make sure they don’t stay for long. Magazines, dish towels, napkins—I’m like the MacGyver of finding something to “remedy” the situation.

bug.jpg

Inside or out, I refuse to let them win.

I might not have balls and I might have irrational fears of weird things like sneezing while driving or developing an allergy to asparagus, but I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing—lighting torches and swatting at the little bastards, all the while reeking of DEET and frustration.

You have been warned, my flying foes, you have been warned.

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Hot and Bothered

We’re in the middle of a heat wave in my area, which by definition means a week of temperatures above 90 degrees with humidity, no rain and a plethora of manic meteorologists taking delight in telling viewers the weather is miserable while they sit inside their air conditioned studios.

I only have one window AC unit, and while I hate feeling absolutely frozen and trudging through snow, I dislike extreme heat even more.

I guess I hate feeling cold and I hate feeling hot—so basically I just hate feeling.

Anyway, my brain is also fried for various reasons—all perfectly legal, mind you—and so this rant will serve double-duty. Like they say, when life hands you lemons, stick them in your bra so people believe you when you complain about boob sweat.

Hot and Bothered

DAY 1. What beautiful weather! Days like these are what get me through the long stretches of winter when I’m stuck scraping ice off my car. Well, minus this humidity. It’s getting a little bit thick.

DAY 2: It’s really heating up out there and no rain is predicted for days, so I should go out and water. However, it’s still nice to sleep with the windows open despite what sounds like a drunken domestic between chipmunks outside.

DAY 3: This isn’t fun anymore. The thermostat in my living room has reached 84 degrees and the birdbath has become a hot tub for small woodland creatures. I can’t crank up the pitiful AC unit even more. I should probably water. Again.

DAY 4: It’s hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk. That is, if you’re into eating chicken excretions off of dirty pavement. Molesting my AC unit is starting to feel a bit awkward, but at least I have an excuse to not wash my hair and run around the house without pants. Considering renting out living room as Bikram yoga studio.

DAY 5: Up at 3 a.m. to go for a walk and mow the grass because it’s already 112 degrees by 6 a.m. Screw it. The grass isn’t growing anyway and if it spontaneously combusts, there’s a chance a hot firefighter will be called to the scene.

DAY 6: GOOD LORD, IT FEELS LIKE AN OVEN. The 5-foot walk from my door to the car soaks me in sweat and my yard is starting to turn brown. I should water. I should straddle the sprinkler and ignore all those looks from the neighbors. I should move to Alaska.

DAY 7: Still sweating. Still bitter. The trash in the garage smells like decaying rats and all I’ve put out there is an empty almond milk container and paper towel tube. WHY DOES MOTHER NATURE HATE ME?

DAY 8: I’m in hell. No, seriously. Between this heat and people saying, “It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity” and taking pictures of the thermostat on their car dashboard, I must be in hell.

DAY 9: Grocery shopping almost leads to a speeding ticket because I have to get home before the food that I bought melts in the car. I refuse to water the grass. Screw the flowers. In fact, screw nature.

DAY 10: The words “cold front” are used to describe something other than my mood and it’s finally in the low 80s. Relief might just be in sight, but my pants?

I make no promises there. 


Before I go, two  quick things. First, you have until Friday to enter my giveaway for $50 of cool Knock Knock stuff. Even if you don’t enter, the comments on that post are gold. You people are gold, I tell you!

Second, I’m honored to be part of another big HUGE giveaway with a bunch of other fabulous ladies.

summerreadinggiveaway_zpsa7c38b8c

As you can see, the loot includes six books, a gift card and other fancy (free) things. So in between sympathizing with me about the heat and entering my giveaway, head on over to Robyn’s at Hollow Tree Ventures and enter to win all the fabulous prizes.

Stay cool!

Why I Don’t Have a Cooking Show

This was the temperature in my air conditionless living room this week, which meant there was no way the oven was going on.

temp

Well, let’s be honest.

The oven doesn’t go on the often anyway. If something requires more than five ingredients, I’ll usually pass and default to my usual rotation of several different plant-based meals and snacks.  

My criteria? It has to be easy and healthy(ish.)

Fittingly, the Studio 30 Plus prompt this week was “A Taste of Summer,” so even though I can’t take good pictures, I figured I would share a few of the things I whip up when it’s warm—and even when it’s not.*

Breakfast

When it’s too hot for a warm bowl of oatmeal, take it to the fridge/freezer and your problem is solved. This also makes an easy take-along breakfast for those of us who eat at work.

oatmeal

 

Simply use the same ratio of oats and liquid (water, milk, Vodka—I won’t judge) that you would use for stovetops oats and combine them in a container. Stick it in the fridge for a couple hours or the freezer for 10 minutes. When you’re ready to eat them, add in your fat (tahini, nut butters, etc.) and whatever else you prefer—fruit, spices, etc. and you’re good to go.

I did not post a picture of these because a) you know what a bowl of oatmeal looks like and b) mine are never pretty. 

Lunch

If you’ve read this blog for more than a week or skimmed over my “About” page, you know that a majority of my favorite foods are green. This quick lunch combines a couple of them and requires only two or three ingredients as a base, but feel free to improvise and pile on the goodies.

avosandwich

All I do is take a whole avocado and smash it up, toast two pieces of bread, add the avocado and some spinach to the bread and put it all together. Because of the magnitude of this sandwich, I usually cut it in half and then eat it open-faced with a fork and knife (because I’m fancy.)

Great additions include a mild cheese, hummus and various spices.

Dinner

Rice is a staple for me and I always have a batch in my fridge to use throughout the week.

This little number comes together by sautéing vegetables in a pan until softened, adding chickpeas until slightly toasted and then adding in the rice and spices. Once it all comes together, I dump it in a bowl, add in butter and proceed to inhale it with digestive delight.

I put this under “dinner,” but I take variations of this one to work for my lunch just about every day. You could sub in tofu or meat for the chickpeas, swap the rice for pasta or even throw it all into a big salad.

Unlike my culinary creativity and preferences, the possibilities are endless.

Banana Soft Serve

This isn’t ice cream, but it is a healthy frozen treat that can hit the spot when you’re too lazy or cheap to actually go to Dairy Queen.

bananass

Take 2-3 frozen bananas and toss them into a food processor. Let it process for about five minutes, stopping every so often to scrape down the sides. As each minute passes, the bananas will get light, fluffy and take on a creamy texture–sort of like soft serve ice cream.

I pimp it out with Sunbutter or a few Newman’s Own Oreo-like cookies, but you can throw anything into the mix. After all, it’s bananas—healthy fruit!—so that completely negates any candy you might add.  

If anyone questions this logic, that just means more for you.

*This list is not conclusive by any stretch of the imagination—even mine. While the items below are nothing new or revolutionary and can be found anywhere on the Interwebs—or in your pantry/fridge—they are easy and healthy and make me happy.

Win-win!

What are your favorite easy tastes of summer?

CSI: Pond/Fountain thing

For the past couple of weeks I have been enjoying the soothing sounds of a gentle waterfall. No, I have not neglected to fix my runny toilet once again, but rather I speak of the fountain/pond in my backyard oasis.

We—and by “we” I mean my mom—got it running once again with the help of a new pump and some elbow grease, and the gentle tinkling of the streaming water has been providing a relaxing background as I swat off the bugs of summer.

Well, that went down the crapper.

pond1

The damn things sprung a leak—again—and has since emptied itself out to reveal a new spot for annoying white fuzzies and tree debris to congregate. I’m not quite sure why it happened, but I would like to blame something other than the fact that it simply sprung a leak.

Enter CSI: Pond/Fountain thing and the short list of suspects.

The Diva Chipmunk

When I left for work the other morning, there was a chipmunk frolicking near the crime scene. Due to my excitement at getting to work at 6:30 a.m., I failed to inform him that I was not running a private spa for small woodland creatures. It’s possible that if he chose to swim laps with unpedicured nails, the liner of said pond could have been torn.

However, I feel the small woodland creatures enjoyed the pond as much as I did and doubt this was an impulsive act to display disappointment in my failure to supply little fuzzy robes, acorn appetizers and complimentary slippers. I have eliminated all diva chipmunks as suspects.

The Masked Menace

While I have a soft spot for small woodland creatures, I have no such feelings towards large bastard raccoons that destroy my birdfeeder and refuse to fear me.

coon

The first time I looked out my window and saw this thing climbing up the stairs, I thought it was a bear. (Never mind the fact that we don’t really have bears in my area.) This beast is huge, and when I ran out flailing my arms and making crazy sounds, it simply moved one step lower and looked positively bored. I swear I heard it sigh before slowly retreating, only to return the second I went back into the house.

So while I would love to nail this sucker to the wall for the crime in question, considering there is no food involved, I don’t think it would have the motivation—other than to piss me off.

Ernie the Gnome

With Ernie, jealousy could most certainly be motive. Uncle June gets a fair amount of mini-face time on the blog, whereas Ernie only appears in warm-weather situations.

ernie

It’s very possible that these feelings of inferiority could have manifested themselves into a vindictive act of vandalism, but alas, he would have been destroying his own little humble abode. I feel he must be eliminated from the suspect list as well—along with the turtle.

Long Shots

I thought about blaming the neighbor kids, seeing as they have been wandering around the neighborhood with their improvised nunchucks and potent pellet guns. But they haven’t really ventured into my yard since I moved in, at which point in time the  little mouth breathers rode their bikes across my front lawn and dug holes in my backyard because the old owners apparently allowed that.

I calmly told them that I didn’t allow that behavior and was not above installing an invisible electric fence to prevent a repeat occurrence. I then added that both Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy had died tragic deaths as a result of their reckless excavation and bicycle operation through my yard.

With that said, they now call me “Miss Abby” and only come over when selling overpriced products for various Scout troops and cults they belong to.

So they’ve also been eliminated as suspects, leaving me right back where I started from—an empty pond and empty leads. But this investigation has not been for naught, as I’m thinking the neighbor kids might be included as possible allies in the war against the raccoon.

coon2

Let’s put those nunchucks and pellet guns to good use, shall we?

*No animals were harmed in the writing of this post, nor will they be harmed in the future. I can’t speak for any psychological damage that may have resulted from finding out the Tooth Fairy is not real.