For Amber – TheToad Story

Originally posted in October 2009.

Ahem. The Toad Story in all Its Gory Detail….don’t read if you’re squeamish.

My youngest son has always had a propensity for stashing stuff in his pockets. From the time he was big enough to stuff those chubby little fingers into a square of fabric, his pockets have been an unending source of unusual things – sprockets, odd inkpen parts, legos, nuts, bolts, acorns, matchbox cars, pieces of string, contraband gum and candy, snacks for later, dogfood kibble, screwdrivers and wrenches, sunglasses, homework, spare shirts, balls, transformers, trading cards…all the trappings of little-boyhood. The fact that I thought cargo pants with those over-sized patchy pockets were just too cute when he was little didn’t help with the pocket stuffing situation.

My youngest son also liked bugs and creepy crawlies, and tended to stuff THOSE in his pockets as well, regardless of their willingness to be carried along. I’ve found geckos, lizards, mice, snakes and innumerable unidentified insects in his pockets as I’ve prepped clothing for the wash cycle over the years. Three summers ago, there was toad in the cargo pocket, and I missed it on the way into the washing machine. Toads are definitely not wash and wear. The poor thing probably made it through the wash cycle, since we have a front loader that uses a minimum amount of water. The spin cycle, however, proved to be too much for his warty little self, and all his innards sort of came out his mouth. Gross. Youngest son and his older brother were amazed and impressed with the array of toad organs, and spent a long time examining them while I tried to be nonchalant, pretending that I was not actually allowing my sons to poke around in toad guts. (Honestly, how often do little boys get an opportunity to see the inside of a toad out side of high school biology lab?)

We buried Mr. Toad in the back yard, and I washed the clothes all over again.

EMail Anglea Pea


Friday’s Letters – June 22

friday's letters

Dear Children – I understand that you are still growing, at least you two boys are.  Yeah, you girls are, too, expanding your brain cells.  I also understand that you all expend a lot of energy running, biking, kayaking, playing and simply existing.  However, could you please let the refrigerator stay full for at least 24 hours?  Is it necessary to eat an entire watermelon in one afternoon? In addition to the two pounds of turkey coldcuts, an entire batch of mashed potatoes, two quarts of blueberries, a dozen kiwis, three (or more) sets of popsicles, a party sized bag of tortilla chips, a quart of just made salsa and Costco sized boxes of granola bars and Fruit Snacks?

Dear Constable –  What happened here?  Did you miss the road?  Or are you now patrolling the sidewalk? (Note…yes, that is RAIN you see!!!  We got a few showers earlier this week!)

Dear K – I am so PROUD of you for stopping smoking!

Dear Chainring Tattoo on my Calf – Thank you for fading out a bit more.  At least to the point where I can shave again.

Dear CrossFit Dominic – Why are you so cruel?  Just when I think I have the upper hand and have this working out lifting weights thing figured out, you come along with a crushing workout of the day including a bazillion squats with a 40 pound kettle bell that leave my quads sore for days.  Which reminds me…

Dear Thighs – you may now stop complaining about the bazillion squats, and just let me walk like a normal person.  Sitting down and standing up without wincing would be nice, too.

Dear Leukemia –  please take your stinking hands off of Shelly’s daughter, m’kay?

Write a Letter.  Keep the Faith.

EMail Anglea Pea


Friday’s Letters – June 15

PhotobucketDear Mom – Thank you for sending me the $10 for the animal crackers for Dad from Costco.  Totally unnecessary, but  WOW!! I now have a secret stash in my wallet for an emergency Starbucks Fix or two!  Oh, and I actually wrote you a real letter, on paper, and dropped it in the mail this morning.  Enjoy!

Dear Dust Bunnies –  Thank you for the AWESOME trail ride this week!  You were especially kind to a beginner rider.  I can’t wait to go again.

Dear Crazy Driver at 820E This Morning – Texting and driving is NOT COOL, especially when it distracts you to the point that you swerve over into my lane, totally freaking me out and making me spill coffee!

Dear LC – Hey Dude!  I saw you on the evening news!  You totally rock.  Totally.

Dear IT Department – Thank you for fixing my computer.  Now where did you put my Autocad settings? And the drivers for my ancient printer?

Dear Weathermen – What’s with the overhyped forecast?  Yes, we had hail on Tuesday.  That does not mean that every rain cloud that forms for the next several days is going to drop volleyball size chunks of ice on our heads.

Dear Ravelry and Knitty – Stop distracting me. That is all.

Dear Summer School – Thank you for being so kind to DirtBike.  He’s getting the hang of Algebra!  Happy Dance Time!

Dear Neighbors on the East Side – I am so sorry for all the damage you are dealing with.  While I am shamefully gleeful that the hail didn’t hit us this time around, I feel for your losses and the utter chaos you’ll be living in for the next several weeks.  Take a deep breath, stay calm, and deal with the insurance companies and cleanup one moment at a time.  I promise it will all work out. The roofs will be replaced.  The cars will get new glass and the dents pulled out flat again.  The trees will grow new leaves.  The world will be all right once again.

Write a Letter.  Keep the Faith.

EMail Anglea Pea



I’m a huge fan of Just Me, Drazil and Sheniqua, and I’m playing along with her Bring Your Own Crazy. It’s five little questions you can answer in your own blog to give your blogging brain a break.

Copy, paste and enjoy!

1. Name a Valentine gift you would NOT want to receive.

Whoa – back the truck up here.  Why would anyone turn down a gift of any kind?  It’s a gift! A surprise!  Somebody was thinking about you! That being said, I’d love to receive a Valentine’s gift of any kind. Mr. Pea?  Not so great on gift giving. He leans towards the practical, techie stuff – rarely anything romantic, frilly or fun.  I suspect I’ll get the dishwasher repaired as a Valentine’s gift. Which is really okay, because there are a lot of people living in my house, most of whom only wash the dishes by hand with a lot of grumbling and whining, including myself.

2. What’s your vacation personality? Do you act/eat/talk/do things differently or completely opposite from when you are not on vacation?

Vacation? Uh, yeah.  Doesn’t happen very often.  That house full of grumbling dishwashing teens?  They eat a lot.  Traveling with a crowd can be very, very expensive. When we do go on vacation, though, I am pretty much the same as I am at home.  Laid back and smiling because those same teens are so absolutely silly when they’re set free from the constraints of school, chores and other activities.

3. Describe yourself in 5 POSITIVE words.


4. Do you have any phobias or irrational fears or dislikes?

Heights!  Oh lordy, I’m afraid of heights.  It’s a great source of amusement to those teens when I’ll try to be brave and go up on that tower thingie at Six Flags.  I usually end up screaming.

5. Repeat question: Summarize your week in blog land and in real life.

It’s been a long, difficult week at the Pea House.  The Architect has been sick, Princess Pea is edgy waiting for the ONE college acceptance letter she really wants, Mr. Pea and I have been dealing with work demands and stresses and did I mention that the dishwasher died?  It’s been limping along since last summer, but it’s finally and totally dead. Just another kitchen annoyance to go along with the semi-functioning oven. Oh!  And the cable box bit the dust, too.  They’re sending us a new one, which is two days late. AND – the bathroom heater blew up this morning.  Literally blew up, with sparks and everything.  Just so you know, our home ISN’T falling apart and yes, we’re all okay.  The things that are giving up the ghost are at least fifteen years old or older, because Mr. Pea and I are frugal types who don’t replace appliances for style or aesthetic purposes – they only get replaced when they are dead beyond our own ability to repair them ourselves.

Blogland threw a gem in my lap this week.  Josie over at Yum Yucky mentioned keeping a journal of all the stuff she DOESN’T eat. I love love love that!  I spend a lot of time  berating myself for the indulgent things that I do eat, and that is just too danged negative. I do NOT need any negativity in my life, especially from inside my own head.  I need  to praise myself for what I’m not eating, instead.  Like this:


I am seriously going to set up a blog to record what I don’t eat. Thumb my nose at the temptation and the evilness of food pushers. Seriously…stay tuned.

Bring Your Own Crazy.  Keep the Faith.

EMail Anglea Pea


Conversations With the Inner Brat – Crazy

Why do you keep doing this?  I mean, you’ve been doing an excellent job of maintaining for months, but you haven’t lost any more weight.

I know, Olivia.  It stinks.

Seriously!  You just got out of an hour-long class where Mr. Bryan made you swing weights, do squats and a bazillion push-ups. You also have bruises on your arms from the kettle bells, and all that work isn’t making you any lighter!

Class is fun, Olivia, and it was only eighty push ups. I’m building some core strength and toning my muscles.  Don’t my biceps look great?

So what.  

We can’t give up. We have to keep fighting.

Fighting!  Like hitting and biting and scratching? I can do that!

I’m sure you can, Olivia, but there will be no biting and scratching.  It messes up teeth and manicures.  Hitting?  You can do that, but only with punching bags or for practicing self-defense with Mr. Bryan if he’s wearing the padded suit. Or for bad guys if we ever meet them.

But you said Fighting!!  I’m mad about all this work and I want to fight. Kick. Scream. Slap someone silly.

It means we will be persistent, Olivia.  Stubborn, mule-headed.  We will keep on eating sensibly and exercising until we are the healthiest us we can be. No matter what the scale says.

Olivia, Leading the WayOkayFine.  You’re crazy, you know.  Why the heck did you go and sign up for a 50 Mile Bike Race?  It’s off in the middle of nowhere on unmarked country lanes.  I’ll have to be the guide and we’re going to get LOST!

Come On, Olivia!  You know The Architect really wanted to do this race, and because I’m a responsible parent, I signed up with him.  We’ll go out this weekend and drive the course to be sure it isn’t too terrible. Besides, I’m pretty sure Mr. Pea will come along and play Sag Vehicle while The Architect and I race. Oh, and there’s always GPS!!

Be crazy brave. Keep the Faith.

EMail Anglea Pea



I’m a huge fan of Just Me, Drazil and Sheniqua.  I need a Friday topic to keep me inspired for weekly blogging, so I’m playing along with her Bring Your Own Crazy. It’s five little questions you can answer in your own blog to give your blogging brain a break.

Copy, paste and enjoy!

This week’s topic?  The Holidays

1. How do you feel about NY resolutions? Do you make them? Do you forget about them quickly? Do they help you?

Love them.  I make them every year – at the beginning of December.  Just because I’m a type A personality. I don’t forget them quickly, and yes, they do help me stay focused.

2. Did you put up a Christmas tree? How many? Is it still up?

Of Course!  We have a ginormous Christmas tree in the living room. My living room ceiling is ten feet tall, and the angel’s halo brushes up against it.  There are thousands of ornaments, more than twenty-eight years worth of collecting and creating.  There’s also a small tree in the sun room.  They are both down and packed away – *sniff*.  It’s so sad to take them down every year.

3. How many total Christmases did you choose to have to attend outside of your home?

None!  Christmas to New Year is the Pea Family’s recharging time. We spend Christmas Eve with our most wonderful friends, then we come home, unplug from the world, tackle big house projects and enjoy each other’s company until after New Year’s Day.

4. What are you most looking forward to this year?

Goal Weight! Mountain Biking! Kitchen Remodel!  New Flooring!

5. Repeat question: Summarize your week in real life and in blogland this week.

Real life has been a bit draggy.  It’s hard to come back to work and concentrate after several weeks of celebrating the holidays.  The upside is that the weather has been spectacular – warm and sunny, perfect for getting some outdoor exercise! This week also ushered in the E2E Challenge, another fourteen week journey building healthy life habits.

Bring Your Own Crazy.  Keep the Faith.

EMail Anglea Pea



Hot Hot Hot
image courtesy jef maion

If you’ve seen or heard any sort of weather report in the last few weeks, you know it’s been a particularly hot summer for the midwest states. We’re still sweltering here in north central Texas, but thanks to Tropical Storm Dan swirling around down there in the Gulf of Mexico, we may not actually get to 100 today, only 99.  Ninety Nine is still pretty darned miserable, and tomorrow is back to broiling, AND the predictions for next week are up to 110 and higher regular temperatures…with extra humidity thrown in for insult because of Dan.  Dan couldn’t bring us clouds or rain, just humidity. Stupid Dan.

ONE day? Seriously?

Here’s my take. We’re already over-baked, and the entire state is drought stricken and dry as melba toast. Our lakes levels are quickly dropping, so pretty soon we’ll be fighting over water rights.  The only thing going for us this summer is the idea that we may break all temperature records for all time! So why blow it for just one day that is still so hot and humid it’s ridiculous? If I were the official thermometer reader at the DFW station, I’d go out there, see 99.8 degrees as the official reading and think to myself “That’s close enough” and then write down an even 100.

Just because.

EMail Anglea Pea