I Was Not Raised on a Farm

Driving up to Ojai this weekend I passed a field and as I drove by, I did a double take and screeched to a stop. A cow was lying in the dirt with her neck twisted at a terrible, unnatural angle.

You know how sometimes a dog or cat will sleep right on its neck? That’s what this was like, only more extreme. It looked like a hitman cow had come up behind this one and twisted her neck.

I made a U-turn and parked. As I passed the cow she looked horrible. I wanted to avert my eyes but couldn’t look away. I tried to find the farmer to let him know his cow was in bad shape. As I walked closer to the field, I met a man working at an auto repair business next door.

“Look at that cow!” I said.

He informed me (and I guess he knows cows plus cars) that cows lie down to sleep or rest. You learn something new every day. I googled “do cows lie down to sleep” when I got back in my car and learned they lie down up to 16 times a day.

I can’t think of a time I’ve ever seen a cow lying down before, especially not out in the middle of a dirt field on a hot day. So I’m glad to report the cow made it (she was standing back up by the time I left and her neck looked normal.)

It was a little embarrassing but I’d do it again.


10 Lessons I Learned about Tennis (and Life) from Playing on a Ladies 40+ League

1. When someone offers to spray your back with sunscreen, say yes. Even if it’s cloudy or 8 a.m. Just say yes.
2. Don’t make assumptions based on gender, age, dress, weight, or anything else. You just might have your ass handed to you by a 73 year old in polyester tube socks and a fisherman’s hat.
3. A body in motion tends to stay in motion. Don’t sit down between points, games, or sets.
4. Capitalize on momentum when you’re winning. Take a break and mix it up when you’re losing. Change ANYTHING you can think of because what have you got to lose? You might keep losing, but you just might start winning.
5. Don’t burn a bridge in anger or frustration. Today’s enemy might be tomorrow’s doubles partner.

How I feel about a third set on a hot day

How I feel about a third set on a hot day

6. The ball is always, forever, 100% coming back. And it’s always, forever, 100% going in. Don’t assume otherwise until it happens.
7. Eat breakfast. Drink coffee. If you’re playing a third set, have a banana.
8. Don’t fake stretch for the ball or fake run for it. Commit.
9. You had sunglasses, a hat, a sweatshirt, water bottle, and a phone when you got to the courts. If you feel like you’re probably forgetting something, you are.
10. I was going to end with one about toenails but I’ll leave that to your imagination. Instead, #10 will be: SMILE! You are 40+ years old with kids and responsibilities and you got to play tennis today.

Water Bitch

Before I signed up for our local tennis league I was warned that “some people” can be a little snotty.  Everyone who gave me this warning was careful to quickly follow it up with, “Oh, not anyone I’ve ever played against, just in general there are snotty people out there!”

And I can quite truthfully say that I played the winter season on my ladies 40+ team and everyone was really cool.  The local team is fabulous, and our opponents were all very down to earth and pleasant.

So I was almost excited to personally encounter a full fledged bitch today.  When people talk about how “some people” can be snotty, I forever will have a story to whip out about meeting this previously mythical snotty person in the flesh.

So here’s what happened.

I should preface this story with telling you that Scott brought back a cute little mini bottle of Fiji water from somewhere.  It was probably a hotel or airport lounge, or it might have a been a conference.  Anyway, what’s important is that adorable, delicious looking bottle of Fiji water sat on his nightstand for three months.  Every time I walked past I considered taking it, but didn’t.  Scott was obviously saving it for some type of special occasion.

Scott was out of town this week and I knew I had tennis in the morning.  I figured three months is three months, he’s never going to drink this cute little water, so I brought it downstairs and set it on the kitchen counter next to my tennis snacks for the morning.  Each kid who walked past wanted that water but of course I defended it.  (With the effective white lie, “That’s DAD’S water!  Don’t take it!)

This morning I drove out to Upland, a  city nestled in the foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains, for our early morning match.  We’ve played the Upland ladies many times before and they are always lovely.  My opponent today was no exception.  We chuckled.  We bantered a bit.  We had a generally good time.

A few minutes into our game, though, I realized I’d forgotten my water in the car.  (Yes, the adorable little mini Fiji.)  The Upland Tennis Club has water coolers beside the courts, but today, they were empty, and our assigned court was far from the parking lot and clubhouse.

On a table next to the water cooler, however, was a plastic banquet style pitcher filled with water.  On the court next to us, another women’s league was playing, and the lady I like to call “Water Bitch” was standing, watching her fellow Upland Tennis Club friends play the Riverside Victoria Club team.

She saw me  walk over to the cooler, grab a cup, and try the cooler.  Nothing came out.  She saw me look at the pitcher of water on the table.  Finally I asked, “May I have some of this water?”

She looked at me, looked up at the sky and sighed, then said, “I guess you can have some if you don’t take too much.”

Now I was really confused.  Does WB have a wry sense of humor with deadpan delivery?  Because that sounds like something someone might say as a joke, not something a host would say to the guests they are welcoming in for a fun day of recreational ladies tennis.

Also ironic:  a few minutes before this interaction, I actually had been worrying about having to drink tap water, because in general I’m very skeptical of it, and when we lived in Riverside for nine years I grew very scared of drinking that crappy water, and how Upland just seems like a place where the water would be suspect.  And I had an adorable, teeny little bottle of water that flew on a plane all the way from Fiji sitting right there in my car.

So as I absorb this woman’s, “I guess you can have some if you don’t take too much,” (with one of those teeny little paper cups that fits in the side of a water cooler; seriously, is this lady insane?), I start to say, “Oh, don’t worry, I don’t ever drink much because I hate to feel it sloshing in my stomach,” but I only got to “I don’t ever…” when she SHUSHED ME.  As if I was speaking too much, or too loudly?

Deep, calming breaths.  Deep calming breaths.  Keep it classy.  No water?  For your guests?

Come to Temecula and sure, we don’t always have unlocked bathrooms, but that’s out of our control.  You know what’s IN our control?  Gatorade.  Thirsty?  We can offer you blue Gatorade, or red, or sugar free.  You want water?  We don’t have a cloudy plastic pitcher of water.  We have bottles of water in a nice cooler that you can use to wash down orange slices, or watermelon, or a handful of delicious salty snacks.  We keep it classy.

I walked to my car.  I came back and gave Water Bitch a “cheers!” motion with my cute little Fiji bottle which, let me tell you, was absolutely delicious.

I won my first set but lost the second 0-6 because I was composing snarky Facebook posts about Water Bitch in my head.  (Maybe she did it on purpose, like psychological warfare!  And I totally played into her hands.)

But then I won the third set and our team won the match overall.  So take that, Water Bitch!

Meet the New Grossman Family Mascot

blue tailed skink

A few weeks ago Scott rescued this little guy out of the pool.  He dried off, recharged his solar battery pack, and was off.

Since then, Scott was stretching in the backyard after a run and noticed he was back.  Yesterday, I saw him too.

So we either have a family of blue-tailed skinks, or one very grateful skink.

Mean Dog Mom


And here’s the Tosh.0 version – also hilarious:


I am currently loving pet “fail” videos.  There was one last night where the dog was trying to catch a taco in his mouth.  I also enjoy a good video compilation of dogs unintentionally doing backflips while trying to catch treats.

So I’m kicking myself for not keeping a video camera at the ready 24/7 here at home.  The other day, Mo and I were sitting outside in the backyard enjoying some sun and relaxation.  Mo is definitely a sun worshipper.

Most days, Mo’s girlfriend Pussycat’s parents come over and take him either to the dog park or to a nearby wash where they run around and wrestle.  This is Mo’s #1 favorite thing to do in the entire world and he explodes with excitement when Pussycat’s dad rings our doorbell.

So anyway, Mo was basking in the sun.  I went inside to grab something from the kitchen when the doorbell rang.  Suddenly Mo flew past me in a watery splash.  Then he was gone, off to the wash for a day with his lady-friend.

As I walked to the backyard I couldn’t figure out how Mo got wet, since he’d just been sitting out in the sun a moment before.  Suddenly I was in CSI/accident reconstruction mode as I discovered telltale splash markings around the corner of the pool.

He had been so damned excited at the doorbell that he ran at top speed from his lounge chair to the front door and fell in the pool!  He fell in the deep end and I’m sure he was completely terrified and shocked but again, because I’m a mean dog mom, I really regret not having it all on video.  Next time, next time…

Losing My Mind

I was tired today.  I went to the gym (yay, me) but man, was I tired.  I am not at my sharpest when I am fatigued.

First off, there’s a set of gym steps that nest.  I think there are six or seven of them.  One of the trainers was working with a client near the stack and his phone and notebook were sitting on the top so I didn’t want to just start grabbing at them.

I tried to slide out the step I needed, which was the shortest one, but it wouldn’t fit.  I tried horizontally.  That didn’t work.  I tried it vertically.  Hmmm….that didn’t work either.  Is there another way other than horizontally or vertically?  I tried a “fourth dimension” I created by sliding it kind of sideways and by this point the trainer (ie the one I didn’t want to interrupt or disturb) had stopped training and he and his client were  both staring at me, fascinated.

Finally he lifted the entire stack and freed my little step.  Yay.

Then after my workout I headed to my car, where I was disappointed to find my fob clicker thingie wasn’t working. This happened once before, and it was super annoying to go into the dealership to have everything reset.  Ugh.  I hate when these annoying things happen.

I clicked.  I tried the door.  I clicked again.  I tried a different door.  Nothing.

Finally I decided the only way was going to be to use the actual key as a key, but man, I must have been hungry or possibly even light headed after my workout because I couldn’t even get the key into the door lock.

But wait a second….who left those glasses on my car seat?  And whose travel mug is that?

Yup, I was trying to unlock someone else’s car.  The capper?  It wasn’t even a Honda Odyssey. (It was a Toyota Sienna and in my defense they do all kind of look the same.)

So am I tired?  Distracted?  Sleep deprived?  Possibly losing my mind?  A little of all of the above??!

Happy Smells Like…

roses 4

It was a lot of work, but we managed to get several bare root rose plants into the ground this winter.  Every day I’d check them for signs that something, anything, was about to happen, then suddenly last week four of them started blooming!

This one is “Scentimental” which has a deep, spicy fragrance.

roses 5

We tore out some small trees/large shrubs (“trubs”?) which needed a lot of regular squaring off and other upkeep and put in roses instead.  Plus the type of roses I chose thrive in low water which is good for a severe drought.

roses 6

These iceberg roses are very hardy and low water/low maintenance around Temecula.  I am experimenting with planting them in full sun vs very full sun.  We’ll see!  You can tell this one is going to have tons of blossoms soon.

roses 3

This one is called “Knockout.”  It’s a little ho-hum right now.  Give him some time.

roses 1

The last one that’s blooming now is “Julia Child,” and it’s also very fragrant:

roses 2

We aren’t usually super handy around the house.  We aren’t that couple who are going to spend a weekend doing a Lowe’s/Home Depot project.  That’s why I optimistically ordered these roses directly from the David Austin company in the fall knowing they’d land on our doorstep in the winter and we’d have a planting window of a few days.

So basically I tricked myself (us!) into digging lots of holes.  And I’d do it again.