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Thursday, December 31, 2009

More Christmases

This was one of the best Christmases I can remember. Christmas is generally not at the top of my list of favorite holidays because I dislike what people turn it into, but this year it was unexpectedly pleasant and enjoyable. Our generous university president sent the staff home at noon on Wednesday, which allowed me some extra time to prepare for the impending festivities. We had a very white Christmas with record snowfalls in some parts of the state. Thankfully, we were blessed with safe travels throughout the storm. We enjoyed the company of relatives we rarely see and lots of relaxing leisure time on the days off work.

I suppose now would be a good time to introduce my boyfriend. It feels very strange to call an adult man my boyfriend, but manfriend sounds creepy, so boyfriend it is. He's very bashful and avoids attention whenever possible. He has, until this point, remained anonymous, but there would be lots of blank spots in this story if I left him out. I have lots of nicknames for him, but today I'll call him Blondie. Ladies might think that's cute, but men might think of Clint Eastwood as The Man With No Name. Either way, it works. Sometimes I might call him MT, how his heart felt without me (I kid); or I might call him The Vulcan, his favorite Star Trek species.

Blondie's family had originally planned their Christmas celebration for Christmas morning, but since I wouldn't be able to spend much time with them on that day, they so kindly rescheduled for Wednesday evening and Thursday morning. On Wednesday evening we enjoyed a delicious meal, served on Mrs. T's fancy china, crystal, and silver. Then Mr. T read the Christmas story and we opened gifts. I received a fluffy blanket from Blondie's parents and a light scarf from his sister. My favorite gift was a lovely pearl necklace, bracelet, and earrings from Mrs. T. She had met the jeweler at a conference and heard the meaningful story of how she equates the qualities of a pearl to the qualities people can use to strengthen their faith.

Blondie's sister (also a blondie, but she I've never seen her wear a crusty poncho) loves the tradition of opening stockings first thing in the morning, so on Christmas Eve morning, we all assembled for breakfast and stockings. The little surprises in Christmas stockings are always so much fun! The boys received butane lighters shaped like shotguns, which I'm sure will provide hours of fun. Everyone got a nifty little Scentsy car freshener. Mine was very appropriate for my personality: Clean Breeze. Blondie's was a good fit too: Simply Irresistible. Everyone also received very fancy athletic socks. I am sure that will help motivate me to stick with my exercise regimen throughout 2010!

When I was younger my immediate family always celebrated Christmas on Christmas Eve and then spent Christmas day with my mom's large family. Now that all of my cousins have grown up and most have families of their own, the schedule is more unpredictable. In recent years we have celebrated Christmas on New Year's Day after the madness of the days immediately surrounding Christmas has subsided. However, this year my uncle and his family from Colorado were able to visit on Christmas day and the day after, so my family made the trip to my granny's house for a very tasty lunch and a game of Dirty Santa.

My granny raised five children, so she doesn't know how to cook a small meal. I have never eaten there when there wasn't more than enough food for our family and all of the neighbors. Everyone has their favorite dish, and of course she tries to please everyone! Some people like the ham and noodles, others like the green beans and new potatoes, one likes the sauerkraut and Vienna Sausages, and Julie and I like the blackened okra. It's not just fried. It's breaded in cornmeal and blackened. You can't order that in a restaurant. If you ask them to burn your okra, they look at you like you're crazy.

After lunch we opened our presents from Granny and played Dirty Santa. This year all of the men received deerskin work gloves, which went over really well because many of them work outdoors and know the value of good gloves! Granny gave all of the ladies necklaces handmade by my very talented cousin. I now have several of her creations; all of them contain black and red beads...I wonder if I might be just a tad predictable!

Later that day I joined Blondie's family at his grandmother's house for the tail end of their Christmas celebration. I had missed lunch, but I didn't miss out on the finger foods and desserts that she put out for people to nibble on throughout the afternoon.

On the day after Christmas, my immediate family got together for brunch and a leisurely day of visiting and playing games. My mom is a very good cook and she made a delicious breakfast. Somehow, every timer she set that morning failed to remind her when things were done (one was my fault) and everything still turned out great. We always wear our pajamas to breakfast at my parents' house and Julie and Mom started a tradition last year of wearing silly socks for Christmas, and since I am defiantly not silly, Julie equipped me with a very silly pair of socks to wear for our silly sock photo. Again, I received lots of great gifts including an iron, an electric drill, and another Scentsy Clean Breeze car freshener. Predictable? Yes.

Earlier that day my dad had gone to do chores and stopped by the local coffee shop to catch up on the morning gossip. One of his friends asked what he had planned for the day and he told him that Santa was going to visit. His friend asked what he thought Santa might bring and my dad told him that he had a wife and two daughters: a vacuum for his wife, a drill for one daughter, and a hammer for the other. His friend warned him that there might be some very disappointed ladies at his house later in the day. My family is very practical, so I must say that Santa was spot on!

I am a big fan of neatly pressed attire and I am sure my current iron is about to bite the dust. I dropped it on my tile floor and busted a large chunk of the plastic off. It still works, but looks pretty rickety. My mom took my Christmas list seriously and got me a replacement. My dad got me a drill because I had borrowed his for long enough that he decided I needed my own. It will definitely be put to good use!

My mom was preparing a tasty looking lunch when Blondie and I had to leave, but we had more Christmas to celebrate! We spent the afternoon and evening with his other grandparents and extended family. I had never met some of these folks, and it was nice to get to know them. We had another good meal and more Dirty Santa, where I acquired a nifty Scentsy warmer, much to Blondie's chagrin. He is not a fan of good smelling things that might make him sneeze. I promised him I would not use any scents that offended his nostrils.

I would say that this has been the Christmas of Scentsy and scarves. Lots of Scentsy items were exchanged this year, and I gave two scarves and received one! I gave Blondie a new wallet to replace the disintegrating one that he has used for the past ten years. He threatened to revert back to the perfectly functional velcro wallet of his high school years when this one wore out and I just couldn't have that. I also gave him a much too large pair of relaxy pants and a very nerdy book. He gave me a lovely pair of cacti which accompanied a very nice note, as well as some curiously strong magnets. Apparently the precariously affixed photos on my refrigerator make him nervous and he thinks these heavy duty magnets will help him to avoid knocking things off. He also snuck a new toaster oven under the tree. It was made very clear that this was not a Christmas gift, but it was mysteriously disguised as one, sitting under my Christmas tree, wrapped in Christmas paper.

Thank you to everyone who made this Christmas wonderful (and worth writing an absurdly long blog about) and thank you to the Special One who gave us Christmas in the first place.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Four Christmases

I had a great Christmas this year! We were able to make it to all four of the Christmases, and still have one coming this weekend. I was starting to get a bit skeptical with the crazy blizzard, but we rearranged and managed to get everywhere we wanted to go.


We started our festivities at C.’s parents’ house on Christmas Eve. They only live about a mile away from us, so it was easy to make it there. We loaded up our little bundle of gifts into the pickup and carefully made our way to their house. The most dangerous part was making it up the steps to their house. But we made it! And we had a fun time. My mother-in-law got me Fiesta dishes. She got me two place settings and some adorable little fruit dishes. I’m not exactly sure what I will use them for, but they are cute and I’ll figure something out!

On Christmas Day we went to my Granny’s house. We loaded up our second little bundle of gifts into the pickup again, and drove along even more carefully. There is never a shortage of people there. We only had half of our group that day, but we had a good time anyway! Granny made an excellent lunch; there is never a shortage of food there, either! She has the best okra ever. Period.


We went to Mom and Daddy’s house on Saturday. One of our traditions there is to dress in our pajamas and wear festive socks. This is a good thing, because after Christmas dinner at Granny’s house, our regular pants are getting a little tight, and pajama pants are very forgiving. Mom knew I was very sad about not having a Christmas tree this year. We normally go on a Christmas tree hunt, and find one from a farm, but this year we got busy and never had time to find one. So she got me a tree! I put it up the day after Christmas, and it is still there. C. is probably going to make me take it down soon, but it’s so pretty I want to leave it there!


On Sunday we loaded up with C’s family and went to his aunt’s house for their Christmas get-together. The grandkids in this family always make gingerbread houses. We had so much fun seeing what kind of decorations we could come up with to make our houses beautiful. Ours had a marshmallow mailbox, complete with a Twizzler flag. I think his four-year-old cousin had the best time of any of us. His house was definitely the most festive.

We had a great time this year. It always makes me sad when Christmas is over. It is always stressful to figure out our schedule for Christmas, and it feels like we are driving all over the entire state, but it is worth it to see all of our family and friends. Now I’m looking forward to New Year’s this weekend. More friends, more food. What more could you ask for!?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas Tour of Homes

I am participating in The Nester's Christmas Tour of Homes this year. She is a talented decorator who inspires me to nail holes in my walls, paint stuff (not white), and hot glue stuff to other stuff. That is so not in my nature, so it is a big deal for me to step out on a limb and just do it!


Standing inside my house and looking at my Christmas decorations, I think everything looks pretty nice. However, looking at the mediocre photos I took, I realize my Christmas decor looks a bit lame. But...that's what this blog is all about, so bring on the lame adventures!

The first photo is a picture of the outside of my house. Several of my neighbors have Christmas lights on their houses and the neighborhood looks really nice. I'm sure my across-the-street neighbors would be a little skeptical of me lurking in their yard while I photographed my house at night, but it is impossible to get a photo of my entire house without practically standing on their front porch. Then, I would end up with their mailbox in the foreground of my photo. I know this because I have done it...but not at night. I decided to forgo the whole house photo and not trespass. You get the idea. The rest of the house looks exactly like this, only...more.



Next is the cute little table in my kitchen nook. This nook really isn't large enough for anything useful, so I keep this table there "just for pretty," as Julie would say. This table was a wedding gift to my grandparents many years ago. My grandma used to have a large lamp on it in one of her bedrooms. It's not very sturdy, so I would never use it for anything very heavy. I put the green placemat here just for Christmas, but it complements my curtains, so I could leave it here all the time. I don't remember where the Thomas Kinkade book came from, but I won the red candle and bowl as a door prize at a luncheon a year or two ago. I keep the candle there all year, and since it's red it goes perfectly with my Christmas decor. I added the red and green frilly stuff as an afterthought. I think I found it in my Christmas wrapping supplies. Please ignore the fake green plant. I know the Nester would not approve.




Here you see my dining room. My living room is not large enough to accommodate my Christmas tree, so I always put it in the dining room. This works well because there are two windows in that corner, so when I open the blinds, you can see the lights from outside. It looks very festive! I have white candles in crystal candlesticks on the dining room table year round, but I added more candles for Christmas. More candles = fancy.



This is a close up of my sewing machine table, which is right next to the front door. My little teddy bears lean on my graduation photo year round, along with the dried eucalyptus from one of my grandma's funeral flower arrangements in the glass vase. Normally I cover this table with a tablecloth, but for the Christmas season, I replaced that with another green placemat. The photo on the left is of Julie and me with Santa Claus. My mom gave each of us framed copies of that photo for Christmas one year. There's another just-for-Christmas candle here, too. The bell ornament on the doorknob was also a gift from my mom.



For more, less lame, home tours visit The Nester! Merry Christmas!

Happy Birthday To Me!

Yesterday was my birthday and it was wonderful!

My granny’s birthday is actually on December 11, so some of our extended family got together at her house to celebrate on Saturday. Julie had baked a cake and some cupcakes…but the cupcakes didn’t make it. It was so windy when we picked her up at her house that three of the cupcakes blew away before she made it to the car! Here is a photo of Granny and me with our birthday cake:



Yesterday I went to the Christmas program at church, and then had lunch with my parents. Then I spent the afternoon making Pioneer Woman’s cinnamon rolls for a work meeting tomorrow. While I was baking the cinnamon rolls, I received an email from Jacky from The Sweetest Petunia telling me that I had won the exciting giveaway on her blog. I finished my cinnamon rolls just in time for my birthday dinner at my parents’ house.

I have been experimenting with wheat flour in my baking and it makes a very dense bread. I haven’t quite figured out how to completely substitute wheat flour for white flour. My cinnamon rolls were very tasty this time, so I think I’ve found a good ratio. I brought a batch to work this morning and most of them were gone by 9:30.

I am very excited about Jacky’s giveaway! I have never won an online giveaway, and since it was on my birthday it was even more special. My prize was a $30 store credit from Gussy’s Esty shop. Gussy makes adorable ruffled bags and I have been wishing for something from her shop for quite a while. I chose to spend my $30 credit, plus the $25 birthday money from my granny, on a Gus For Work.

I can’t wait until it arrives! I bought a new purse in July, and since it was so pricy, I promised myself I would not buy another purse for a whole year. However, this is not a purse, it is a bag. Plus, I only bought half of it. This is going to be just perfect for toting around all of those items that are just a little too big to fit in my purse.

My mom made a delicious dinner last night. She always cooks a special meal for our birthdays and last night she made hamburger steak with mashed potatoes and gravy. That is one of my favorite meals. She worked extra hard on a French vanilla birthday cake, too. She didn’t have quite enough candles, so I guess I will be 24 this year since that’s how many candles come in a package!

Mom also gave me a very cozy pair of slippers that I had been wishing for. They are just perfect for wearing around the house on my cold tile floor or going outside at night to feed the dog. I already threw away my cruddy old giraffe slippers.

Thank you to everyone who made my birthday so special! It really was a wonderful day.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Work With What Ya Got

Kelsie and I got in the Christmas spirit and did some decorating around the office today. Decorating the office can be dangerous sometimes because so many people have so many different opinions of what "pretty" consists of. I am of the opinion that just because the tacky bow is in the box does not mean you have to use the tacky bow. Notice there are no tacky bows in the photos. However all we had was a giant box of spizzerinctum, so we didn't have much to work with.


I started about a week ago with my desk. I love my little snowman box that I won in Dirty Santa last year. I really love the miniature mittens I found at K-mart this year. They are adorable. One pair is happily dangling from the corner of my computer monitor. It makes me feel festive.



Next Kelsie decided that he hallway needed to feel special. We never turn the lights on for some reason, and it needed some holiday cheer. So we lit it up. That's right, we zig-zagged the lights in the bathroom hallway. One of the ladies in my office said it looks like the entrance to a club. Maybe we should put disco balls in the bathrooms. That would be unexpected.


We also finally got the office Christmas tree put up. We first had to find a space to put it. Every corner of our office is already filled with cubicle walls, filing cabinets, tables, spare chairs, and any other piece of office equipment you can imagine, so finding a place for a Christmas tree was a challenge. We finally decided to leave the back branches off and shove it up against the other side of my cubicle (you can see my pretty decorations behind the wall). We had the pretty gold ornaments, and we decided to get candy canes, a bow, and the tree skirt at K-mart. The tree skirt is actually a pretty table cloth I found for half price, and I made the bow after looking at the pre-made ones and deciding it didn't look that hard. You should also take notice of the pretty silver and blue garland I made from things I found in the box of spizzerinctum.


Isn't my bow gorgeous?


We decided we could go into this Christmas decorating thing as a profession. We are going to call ourselves "Work With What Ya Got Christmas Decorating." I think we're going to make big bucks.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Cold!

It is freezing! According to my outside thermometer it is 11° F.

I am lying on the couch, wearing my flannel pajamas and wrapped in a fluffy blanket. Roscoe is curled up on the floor to my left and Maynard is sleeping on the back of the couch to my right.

Last night I let Roscoe sleep in the garage because it was so cold. He always gets excited when we go out to the garage because he thinks that means he is going to go somewhere in the car. I’m sure he was disappointed last night when I didn’t put him in the car.

This morning I did not want to put him back outside in the cold. Mainly because I didn’t want to have to go out in the cold myself!

When I went out to the garage to get Roscoe this morning, he was sound asleep in his cage (I keep it in the garage and there is a little rug and a toy in there, so he likes to go in there) and he came reluctantly when I called him inside.

He wasn’t very excited about going back outside. I had to give him fresh water because his was frozen, and it was frozen again this evening when I went out to bring him inside for the night.
I hope this frigid weather doesn’t last or Roscoe is going to get spoiled and I'm going to get frostbite!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Deck the Halls

I got in the Christmas spirit this weekend! I decided that it might be the last nice weekend to put up Christmas lights. And judging by the weather the past few days, it looks like I was right. C. was off working, so I crawled out the second floor window armed with lights and shingle clips and decked the house with lights. I think it turned out well.

I hope it turned out well. This year I’m going to win the radio station’s Christmas decoration contest. Last year I just knew I was going to win until a last minute entry who will remain unnamed took it all away from me. I risked my life by crawling around on our roof, while he just put some painted plywood decorations in his yard. There were hardly even any lights.

I think my light display might need something else. Maybe some evergreen garland around the porch poles with some big, red Christmas tree balls hanging from it. Possibly some gigantic gift bows or a festive wreath. Maybe I should paint some plywood. It needs more depth. But I’m cheap and not that crafty. Any suggestions?


Monday, November 30, 2009

Trees

We had beautiful weather this weekend, so on Saturday I did some sprucing up of my yard. I trimmed dead foliage from my good plants...and just threw away some really dead plants. I swept the porch and tidied up the garage.

While I was working outside, a nice man from the electric company came upon my porch and handed me a flyer with lots of handy information about herbicide and tree growth regulation and pruning. He casually mentioned that my backyard trees were getting a little tall and that his company would be coming by to treat the one closest to the power lines with this magical tree growth regulator that would delay its growth, which will prevent it from causing damage to the power lines and will prevent me from having to get it trimmed as frequently. This also supposedly results in healthier, greener trees. Sounds like a win-win situation to me!

Now. I have two matching trees in my backyard. You know how I feel about things matching! I thought to myself, "hmm...if they treat one tree, but not the other, one will grow and the other won't. (duh) Then they won't match anymore!" Oh dear. This just won't work. They have to match!

So. I called the company this morning. I was nice. I'm sure people generally aren't nice when they call the electric company about their trees because they think the herbicide or tree growth regulator or pruning is going to damage their trees and they have to stand up for the poor trees. You know, because the electric company is out to get them. The electric company is just a bunch of tree-haters and they are conspiring against homeowners everywhere to eliminate all trees from our landscape. Whatever. Anyway, I called the company; I was nice. I told Tamara that the nice man had said he was going to regulate the growth of one tree and I wondered if he could do both. You know, so my trees will always match. Tamara said that she would tell him to treat both trees.

Now, how long do you think it will take for me to discern whether or not he treated both trees? How many years does it take for there to be a noticeable difference in the growth of a tree? Will I ever know?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving

Now that Thanksgiving is over, Christmas is practically around the corner! I have really enjoyed my Thanksgiving break. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It is just like Christmas, but without all of the stress and pressure and greed and materialism and stuff that Christmas shouldn’t be. I already have my Christmas decorations up, and in the past few days I have eaten some delicious meals, done some shopping, and gotten plenty of rest.

I was off work on Wednesday and made a trip to OKC to run errands and do some shopping. I was in search of the perfect jeans, which I did not find. On Thursday I enjoyed some great meals with family and friends. I tried not to overeat, but it’s pretty much impossible on Thanksgiving. Yesterday I did some shopping with my mom and got to visit some family members who are visiting from out of state.

I did all of my Christmas decorating last weekend because I am hosting a party at my house next week and I didn’t want to have to decorate over the busy Thanksgiving break. I put up my Christmas tree, hung up the evergreen wreaths, and got out all of the Christmas knick-knacks. I generally have a fierce aversion to knick-knackery but I make a tiny little exception at Christmastime. I haven’t put up any outdoor lights—I’m not sure if I’m up for that this year. I may just hang some lights in my windows instead.

My trip to OKC on Wednesday was pretty nice. Stores were already starting to get crowded, but it wasn’t unbearable. I got my traditional Hallmark Christmas tree ornament, bought a lovely Christmas gift for my mom, found a great sale at my favorite store, and got to visit with some friends who live in the area.

My family got together at my granny’s house on Thanksgiving Day. My mom’s brother and his family from Colorado made it down, so it was very nice to see them. My mom has three sisters and one brother, so it is always quite crowded at my granny’s house on holidays. We had a delicious meal—Granny always tries to cook everything that everyone likes, so there is more than enough food for the entire town. My favorite is her fried okra. I know that’s not a traditional Thanksgiving dish, but I like it any time. She breads it with cornmeal and then fries until it is black in her cast iron skillet. Yum!

Yesterday I slept in and then my mom and I did a little shopping, but we didn’t try to hit any of the Black Friday sales. I did find some jeans, but that’s pretty much it. We got to have lunch with my aunt, Granny, and family from Colorado. Then, later in the evening, that same crowd gathered at my aunt’s house for supper. Those impromptu get-togethers are always a lot of fun. Listening to my dad and uncle talk about old times (they used to work together), watching all of the little kids play, and catching up with my cousins who live so far away is nice.

I’m not planning much for the rest of my break, but I know things will come up. Those are my favorite things. I do know this will be the last opportunity to relax before the hustle and bustle of Christmas begins. I have lots of parties and events planned. I’m looking forward to the office Christmas luncheon, the church cookie exchange, and a few December birthdays, including mine.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Hoodlums

Today Kelsie and I were discussing the pros and cons of having children. We are both having a perfectly wonderful time being selfish and doing whatever we want without having to stop and consider what we are going to do with the kid.

In this discussion, I came up with a theory. Babies, toddlers, and even little kids are cute. They are cuddly and say funny things. In this process of “being cute,” they trick you into loving them. Yes, they trick you. Because when this kid turns six, it is going to become a miniature hoodlum. This is when the kid starts talking back and means it. They understand what they are saying is disobedient, which somehow makes the little hooligan happy. They have to be cute when they are tiny so you can still have a reason to love them later. It is especially true when they turn 13 and become full-blown hoodlums. You can close your eyes and think back to a time when they were still cute and cuddly.

Before anyone has children, they should be required to sit down and make a list. You have to number your paper from 0 to 18 (higher in some cases), and write down the good qualities for each year they are alive and under your guardianship. Zero through six are easy, those are the cute years. It’s the later years that are harder. This is because when some people decide to have a baby they forget that this baby will someday turn into a hoodlum teenager. For good measure it might be good to divide your list into columns labeled “good” and “bad.” Maybe the “bad” column would dissuade potentially bad parents from having children at all, effectively ridding the world of hoodlums all together.

It’s just something to consider.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Fruit Salad Fail

This Sunday, we had a Thanksgiving Dinner/Baby Shower at our Church. For the dinner, we were supposed to bring a soup or salad for the potluck. I live 30 minutes away, and logistics are a problem with traveling that far with soup. Not only would I have soup sloshed all over the back seat of my car, but it would get cold by the time I got it to the Church. I decided to bring fruit salad.

I found a yummy-sounding recipe online and decided to make it. Fruit salad is easy; you just chop up a bunch of fruit and throw it in a bowl. There is really no need to practice on a fruit salad recipe, right? The recipe calls for halved grapes, peaches, mangos, and a can of apple pie filling. It sounds yummy, don’t ya think? Fruit covered in cinnamony goodness. So I cut my grapes in half, chopped up my peaches and mangos, and threw them in a bowl. It looked a bit squishy, but still appeared to be tasty. So I open up my can of apple pie filling and throw it in with the rest of it. This is when it started to look not-so-good. Then I mixed it up. Now my fruit salad looked completely unappetizing, more like mushed fruit salad covered in snot. Nobody is going to eat snot-covered fruit in a potluck. People only like pretty food. It didn’t take long for me to decide to dump the snot-covered fruit in the trash and make a quick trip to Walmart for pre-made fruit salad.

The pre-made fruit salad looked very yummy. I don’t know why I didn’t go that route in the first place! I’m not sure why I was worried about it anyway. Someone brought some wonderful chicken noodle soup that was way better than fruit salad of any kind. My poor little fruit salad wouldn’t have stood a chance if I had carved a watermelon basket, filled it with gourmet fruit, and had pyrotechnics for effect. The chicken noodle soup still would have won.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Winter

Well…it’s winter. Not officially. But, it's cold. And in my book, that's winter. I successfully avoided using my heater and air conditioner for the entire month of September. And I only used my heater a couple of times in October. But it looks like winter has come.

I had lunch with my friend who is a general manager for an electric cooperative and I asked him how business was doing. With the economic downturn, many customers are not paying their bills, but in addition to that, last year’s mild winter and this year’s mild summer have really affected their revenues. No offense to the electric company…but I’m hoping for another mild winter!

With this cold weather, comes the threat of flu season. I know we’re already in the midst of a flu epidemic, but so far I have been able to steer clear of the pesky flu bug. I have a pretty healthy immune system, rarely get sick, and always take my vitamins. I can’t stay away from people because I work with the public, but I’ve been washing my hands a lot and trying to remember to frequently disinfect my office doorknob, light switch, phone, keyboard, and mouse. I don't have time to get sick, so I'm going to continue this regimen of OCD behaviors and see how that works out for me.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Middle of Yesterday

We had excitement this weekend! Lisa and I are season ticket-holders at the local theater. We are fairly new to this, but so far we have loved the plays. We went to see Clue, the Musical last season and we were hooked. It was fun to pick out the people we recognized; we weren’t aware we knew people with such talent!

This month's play was The Middle of Yesterday. Honestly, I wasn't too excited going into it. I thought it might be a little dull, but we had season tickets that we didn't want to waste! My opinion was quickly changed! The main character was Kilby, who is a World War II veteran with Alzheimer’s who lives in a nursing home. He interacts with some characters who are in his memory, and others who are in the present day.

It was an excellent story that had both sad scenes and humorous ones. Watching him struggle with wanting to go back to his past while the rest of the world was in the present was sad at times, but they definitely knew when and how to include humor. I especially enjoyed the part where Kilby devoured his beloved Egg McMuffin. I hope the actor who played Kilby likes Egg McMuffins! If not, he did a great job hiding it!

The actors were great. I didn’t know our little Podunk town had such talent! Kilby was supposed to be a much older man, but he was played by someone in his 50’s. His shuffled walk and shaky mannerisms were perfect. Kilby’s son, Steven, was also played by someone who is much younger in real life than his character. I’m sure it was scary to see what the next 20 years have in store for him! It is amazing what hair and makeup can do! The nurse was one of my favorites. If she isn’t a nurse in real life, then she missed her calling. She looked and acted the part very well. If I ever have to be in the hospital, I want her to be my nurse! She was so sweet and patient. She must be similar to her character in real life, because she never strayed for those qualities!

The Middle of Yesterday still has one weekend left for anyone who is interested in going! I definitely recommend this play to anyone who is looking for something different to do this weekend. Tickets aren’t much more expensive than going to a movie, and it is a break from the normal routine. Let me know if you would like more information!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Cleanser Haze

I thoroughly cleaned my toilets on Sunday. Yes. I know that’s very exciting and noteworthy. That’s why I’m blogging about it.

My town has hard water, and while I clean my toilets frequently, a ring of minerals still accumulates at the water line. Ugh. I decided that it was time to attack the evil mineral deposits once and for all, so I turned off the water supply line to the back bathroom toilet and flushed. Then, I sprinkled Comet in the toilet bowl and let it set while I was at church.

When I got home, I scrubbed and scrubbed and still couldn’t get the ring to completely disappear. I decided I was going to have to step up my game, so I broke out the CLR. I rinsed away the Comet, so as not create a dangerous chemical haze by mixing a Caustic Soda Cleanser and an Aqueous Acidic Cleaner. Then, I dried the toilet bowl so the CLR would stick and sprayed on my CLR solution. I let it set, and re-applied periodically.

While my CLR was supposedly working its magic, I tried the Comet trick on my front bathroom, with about the same level of success I had even when I let the Comet set for hours, and then followed up with CLR. I waited and waited so the CLR would have plenty of time to work. Then, when I couldn’t wait anymore, I scrubbed and scrubbed.

If I had paid better attention in high school chemistry, because I certainly didn’t take college chemistry, I would have known that acids break down minerals and bases break down organic materials. (Or something like that...I wasn't paying very close attention to the free remedial chemistry lesson I later received courtesy of Professor Smarty Pants himself). Apparently, the only good my Comet did was act as an abrasive. And I don’t think CLR is an acidic enough match for my hard water. I'm going to have to try something stronger than elbow grease and mild acids. Like hiring a maid.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Sawyer Brown

I was being a wonderful, helpful sister (I might give myself too much credit for this) by substituting for Lisa with Wednesday Night Kids' Bible Quizzing. On the way there I heard that the local radio station was giving away tickets to a Sawyer Brown concert. I love Sawyer Brown! So I called in and won some free tickets! Woo!

C. was busy with work, so he couldn't go. So I texted my wonderful bestest friend at 10:00 Wednesday night to see if she was available for a country concert the next day. She is wonderful because she hates country music and she agreed to go with me anyway. N. is probably the coolest person I know and can have fun doing almost anything.

What made this concert awesome is that it was at an Indian casino in the middle of nowhere at 7:30 on a Thursday night. Not exactly a prime location or time, but like I said, I love Sawyer Brown, and who can turn down free entertainment?! So on our adventure N. and I got lost took an unplanned tour in a crusty part of town to get to the casino. I blame MapQuest. Once we finally arrived, seeing as neither of us are experience in casino layouts, we couldn't figure out where this concert was being held, so we had to stand in line at a customer service-type desk to figure out how to get to the concert. That's right, the big white tent in the parking lot didn't give it away. The girl at the desk was nice enough not to make fun of us.

But, in spite of getting lost (twice), Sawyer Brown was a really fun show. There were lots of people that got a bit loopy. The dancing was interesting--especially the dancing by the lead singer on stage. His moves aren't the smoothest I have ever seen, but it makes the show entertaining. I had a really good time, and hopefully N. did too, even if country music isn't her thing. I was a bit sad that they didn't play Perfect World. My favorite line in that song is "We went to the sonic and we rode around town with the radio up and the windows down," which is exactly how C. and I spent our weekends in high school. But they did play most of their other popular stuff.

Now I just need to find a way to get free Brad Paisley tickets in January!

Lipstick

Yesterday I found my lipstick swimming around in my purse...topless! Everything else in that compartment was pink with embarrassment.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Business and Pleasure

Last Friday I took two of my students to a training workshop in Oklahoma City. This was good, basic business training as an introduction for participating in a business planning contest. I went because I needed the continuing education hours and the students went for a legitimate excuse to skip class and for the free lunch. Smart kids. They’ll surely succeed in business and life.

This workshop was a brain trust of the best and brightest business and technology students from universities across the state. Common sense was absent, but there was plenty of book smarts to fill its void. We learned some good business theory, but exchanged questioning looks when the speakers presented things that we know don’t work in practice. I won a pen for knowing the answer to a question. Apparently my question was easier than some because some answers earned travel mugs, which I would have rather had.

Last weekend I went back to Oklahoma City on Saturday to see an art exhibit at Science Museum Oklahoma, which turned out to be incredibly lame. The first clue should have been that the girl at the ticket counter wasn’t even sure where the art exhibit was. Some of the museum staff were dressed in Halloween costumes. The most disturbing one was a girl dressed up as a giant bottle of mustard. She said that her hot dog had gone to lunch. The best part of the day was lunch at a cool burger joint, which made the trip worth it. No giant mustard or hot dogs to be found there.

I had a good turnout for trick-or-treating Saturday evening. Julie lives on a farm and never has any trick-or-treaters so she always comes to my house to admire the cute kiddos and pass out treats. When I was growing up, my family lived in town on Main Street, so we always had lots of trick-or-treaters. Now that my parents have moved to the farm, my mom misses the kids coming by. My cousins usually bring their kids and this year my neighbor kids, a knight and a princess, came to trick-or-treat at my house and then went to my parents’ place. I think they were more interested in giving the dog treats and petting the cat than in their candy loot, but my mom enjoyed seeing them.

I am having company for dinner this Friday, which is very exciting for me. I love cooking for guests! I have had busy days at work this week, and then I have been teaching a class in the evenings and haven’t been home so I’m afraid my house won’t be up to its usual standards of spotlessness, but I’m sure no one will mind. I just have to make sure to clean my toilet because my neighbor’s daughter once thanked me for cleaning my potty. Apparently, her mother had told her that it is ok to touch my toilet, unlike the ones in public restrooms, because mine is clean. Now, every time this child visits, I feel a compulsion to make sure the toilet is, in fact, clean. You know, just in case she wants to touch it.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Pumpkin Torture

How many ways can you torture a mini pumpkin? My friends and I found 60. I'm sure ther are many more.






Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Farm Cats

Last week was C. and my second anniversary. After our disastrous drive home from Mississippi, you can see why C's gift to me was four new tires. It may be extremely unromantic, but it's a great gift and I'm not going to complain about it!

A friend from Church needed to give away some kittens. A perfect gift for C! Since they were free, ya know. The mama cat had so many that she got frustrated and ran away. It was time for the rest of them to go! So on our anniversary, C. took me to have Mexican food (where I carefully ate just enough that I could bring home leftovers--then left the box on the table in the restaurant), then we went and picked up kittens! I was so very excited. They are the cuddliest kittens you ever held.

Lucy hates the kitties. She patiently waits outside their pen for one to escape, then she promptly chases it up a tree. I suppose it is good practice for when they are bigger and no longer need a pen. She thinks that she is much cuter than they are and does not understand why we think we needed to add kitties to her yard and put them in her Dogloo (which she has not used one single time, by the way).

The moral of this story is that I live on a farm. With a dog. And other critters that run through our yard in the night. Now the farm has three little kitties. And these three little kitties have survived a whole week! I am so proud of us for this accomplishment. I think this might be a record for us.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Fall Break Weekend

Last week was fall break for those of us who work in educational institutions. Julie and I, along with our mom who is a teacher, had planned to visit our aunt DW during the break. Fortunately, our dad was able to get enough of his farm work done that he could leave for a few days, so he came along. We were visiting his sister, after all!

Our aunt lives in a suburb of Memphis, TN. We made it there by suppertime on Thursday and enjoyed a nice home cooked meal of ham and beans and lively conversations with the family. Our cousin SH lives in another nearby suburb and she had brought her husband and three adorable boys.

On Friday SH had an appointment in the morning, so we went to her house to look after the boys. We played with trains and listened to stories. When the parents returned, DW and SH took us to the cute little home decor store where they work. We shopped for a bit, then SH had to go to parent teacher conferences at her oldest son's school. After parent teacher conferences, we all went out for a barbecue lunch, which was mighty tasty. After lunch we drove into Memphis for a windshield tour of Graceland. Some people in the car blinked as we drove by, so we had to turn around and make another pass.

On Friday afternoon we returned to DW's house and when we got out of the car, we noticed that Julie's front driver side tire was severely worn. Daddy replaced it with the spare and we were relieved we had brought him along!

We attended a our cousin's son's little league football game on Saturday morning. We weren't expecting winter temperatures in Mississippi in October, but that's what we got. Everyone was bundled up in hats and coats and blankets, but the kids had a great time. This little league football team takes things very seriously. There's a draft at the beginning of the year and there are even cheerleaders!

After the football game, we drove to Tunica, MS to experience the wonders of riverboat gambling and gluttony. We gorged ourselves at the expansive buffet, and then wasted some money on the slot machines. Well, I wasted money on the slot machines. My parents won some! My mom, who had never gambled before, put $1 in a slot machine and pushed some buttons. Out came a little slip of paper that said she had won $30! Later, my dad put $1 in a similar machine and won $20. I, on the other hand, did not have such good luck. I'm not a fan of slot machines, but I like to play roulette. Unfortunately, I lost my entire $20 of budgeted gambling money.

There is an outlet mall near Tunica, where Mom spent her winnings on a new purse and I bought a pair of what Julie calls "clown shoes." I think they're pretty cool. They're Adidas sneakers with blue and hot pink trim. Clown shoes, or not, they're extremely comfortable, which is all that matters to me. That evening our cousin took us to another shopping mall, where none of us bought anything anywhere except Bath and Body Works.

We planned to head out at 8:00 Sunday morning, but hit the road 15 minutes ahead of schedule. I love traveling with my family. We're always on time! We tootled along just fine until we reached Oklahoma City and experienced an unfortunate blowout of Julie's front passenger tire. Thank goodness we had the rickety reject from the driver side! Again, thank goodness Daddy was along. He replaced the tire and hit the road again. Needless to say, Julie ordered new tires the next day!

Overall, we had a great trip! We were thankful we made it there and back safely, and had a great time while we were there. We don't get to see these relatives very often, and it is always nice to see them. We're excited about their plans to come see us this summer. We hope they check their tires before leaving home!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Necklace?

We had a fun time visiting family out of town this weekend. One of our lame adventures was a shopping trip with our cousin to a super-cool mall. One of the stores had a matted pile of pretty, beady goodness on a little plate. At first we thought it was just a lump of prettiness. Later we realized that it was in strands. Necklaces for only $6! After some frustrating untangling, Lisa and I both chose one, excited about getting a great deal.

Lisa was walking away to continue her shopping, when with great disgust she said, "Julie, this is NOT a necklace. This is a eye-glass holder!" She was right. The little rubber grippies should have given it away immediately. Unfortunately we were too dense to notice right away. Lisa dropped hers back on the plate "like it was poison" (her words, not mine).

I understood that it was an eyeglass holder, but I still loved it. I could do a little tinkering and no one will ever know its true purpose. I decided I needed it anyway.

This morning I got two pairs of needle-nose pliers and took off the rubber grippies. Now it's just a necklace. I think it's cute. I love it. I think Lisa gave up too easily. What do you think?


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Dog Blog

When I went to Julie's house Sunday evening for the hot dog roast, her dog Lucy was already loaded up in the back of the pickup and ready to go. Julie and C have a great hot dog roasting spot in a secluded area of their farm near a pond. Lucy is trustworthy enough to go along and stay nearby, but Roscoe isn't quite as reliable.


Roscoe is a beagle and can't help but follow his nose. He is a true hound dog; always tracking something. You rarely see him without his nose on the ground and tail in the air, zigzagging around snorting out the trail of some unfortunate creature.


I frequently take him with me when I visit Julie because he loves sniffing around the cowlots and barns and even the pastures surrounding their house. Sometimes he he is so wrapped up in his "work" that he can't hear anything else. He's never very obedient about coming when called, but he is even worse when he's trailing a critter.


Sunday night, I left him at Julie's house while we went to the campfire spot. I knew he was familiar enough with that area that he would find his way back there after an evening of chasing rabbits. When we returned, he was nearby. I could hear him yelping occasionally, which he does when he's chasing something good.


Julie and I took a flashlight out to the pasture by her house and found him chasing something small, probably a cat or a rabbit. We called and called but he wouldn't come. I decided to leave him there for the night and pick him up on Monday. I have left him overnight before. I usually just leave his cage on their deck and they find him snoozing there in the morning.


Sure enough, Monday morning C found him dozing there when he left for work that morning. Julie said he had already gone-a-sniffin' by the time she left for work, but he always comes back. When I arrived on Monday evening, Roscoe greeted me excitedly and was ready to go home. When he realized I was not there just to pick him up and take him directly home to his bed, he tried to follow me inside the house, but he had to stay outside.


When I was ready to leave, I went outside to find Roscoe curled up inside his cage. I got him loaded in the car and when we got home, he went inside the house and fell asleep on his rug right away. There was no running around and sniffing things or drinking the cat's water or playing with toys. He was beat. I petted him for a while and then took him outside and put him to bed. He ate and drank quite a bit and I thought he would go right to sleep, but a few minutes later I heard barking from the yard. I guess he got his second wind and was ready for another hunt.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Pumpkins and Schnetke

This weekend was the big Pumpkin Festival in a nearby town. Mom and I went and braved the conditions. We didn't know we were being brave until we were at the Pumpkin Festival. I was wearing a sweatshirt and she was wearing a little windbreaker. Our attire was perfectly appropriate for the car ride, but it was a bit colder outside than we were expecting! We hurried through all the vendors. Since neither of us are big wearers of bold, chunky jewelry, there were very few booths worth spending extra time in the cold weather. We did find one booth that interested us. They were selling schnetke. We were pretty sure we needed some schnetke. We were right. It was sooo good. Now I wish I had bought extra schnetke to put in my freezer. For now I will have to ration it. I suppose I could learn to make it for myself. That would definitely be a lame adventure. Probably a messy one too. We would have to post photos. Anybody want to come to my schnetke-making party? Preferably, anyone who already knows how to make it.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Weekend Recap

This weekend was action packed and fun filled.

On Friday evening Julie and I got together with some of our cousins at Julie's house. For the past several months, we have made a habit of getting the group together once a month at rotating residences. This month was Julie's turn and probably our last opportunity this year for cooking out. We had hamburgers and hot dogs, but ate inside because it was too chilly for a picnic.

We tried playing the game "Would You Rather," wherein the player whose turn it is, is required to predict which of two options the group would rather choose. Then, the group discusses and reaches a consensus and if the guesser predicts correctly, he advances. Unfortunately, our group plays fair and is easy to predict, which makes the game very not fun. We resorted to our old standby, Apples to Apples, which always elicits groans from the crowd, but always results in fun.

On Saturday I attended a strange play called Kid Simple: A Radio Play in the Flesh. In this play, an adolescent inventor creates a machine that can hear inaudible things, but the invention is stolen and the young inventor embarks on a lame adventure of her own to track down the machine, which can be dangerous in the wrong hands. It was science fiction/fantasy/cartoon and I am pretty sure I did not get it, but I'm not sure if it was meant to be gotten.

On Sunday afternoon my family attended a 50th anniversary party for my dad's cousin and then in the evening Julie and C hosted secluded a hot dog roast where warmed our hands and feet over the fire and cooked hot dogs the way they were meant to be cooked. C's friend got a little too close to the fire and nearly melted the sole of one of his boots, but he felt the heat in time to avoid any serious damage.

C had brought some empty buckets which make good seats around the fire. One of them contained some rotten potatoes, which interested Julie's dog Lucy. Lucy also found a turtle shell and probably some other dead things. She loves dead things. She is constantly dragging dead things into Julie's yard and leaving them as gifts.

So. If experimental theatre is action packed and dead things are fun filled, my weekend certainly was both!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Sensible Shoes

I dislike wearing sensible shoes. Sensible shoes are comfortable, but unattractive. And you can't wear unattractive shoes with attractive clothes. I have issues with things going together. I wear black shoes with black pants and brown shoes with brown pants and I just don't wear blue pants at all because I don't know what color shoes to wear with them. I wear dress shoes with dress pants and skirts and I wear sneakers with jeans. My clothes and shoes have to be on the same dressiness level.

I have a whole closet full of businessy black pants that should be worn with black pumps; they are the appropriate style and length to be worn with heels. However, I can't stand to wear high heels every day. They hurt my feet. I have bad feet. I would go into detail, but I am pretty sure no one wants to hear about my podiatric issues. The only appropriate place to talk about your feet problems is in the podiatrist's office. And then, only if someone asks.

Since I select my clothing based on the shoes I want to wear, today I am wearing a pink polo shirt and brown khaki pants with my spiffy brown Nikes. While my Nikes are cool as far as sneakers go, they're not particularly professional looking. I wish attractive shoes were more comfortable!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Mini Pumpkins

I went to the grocery store today to buy one thing. I needed potatoes...well, I wanted potatoes for potato soup. I wouldn't have even gotten a cart, but I saw the display of mini pumpkins from the door. I needed the mini pumpkins. I also needed some mini gourds. As well as an extra pretty white pumpkin. I sadly left the bundle of mini corn on the display. It called me as I drove my cart away. Now my desk at work is pretty. Soon my house will be adorned with mini pumpkins too!

Do you think I can carve the mini pumpkins into mini jack-o-lanterns?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Missing Chrysanthemums

Fall is here! Along with the enormous displays of chrysanthemums outside every grocery store. I love them. They are so pretty. They are also very easy to take care of, you can’t kill them. That is a quality I need in a flower. If it is fragile, it will die under my care. I had restrained myself from getting a pot of my very own. Not only from self-control, but I don’t really want to haul a pot of chrysanthemums through the grocery store, and I’m not really sure how the check-out people feel about me asking if they can look up the code so I can get a pot on the way out.

On Sunday, C. and I finally took a trip to the fancy, new Walmart. We saw aisles full of wonderful things. But the best thing? They had an entire garden center filled with various sized pots of chrysanthemums! I don’t feel so strange about toting a pot of chrysanthemums around Walmart! I chose a lovely pot of yellow chrysanthemums (with lots of unbloomed buds, just like Mom taught me). I proudly hauled my chrysanthemums through Walmart, then put them out to beautify my back porch.

Every morning when I would leave the house the chrysanthemums would be toppled on their side from the wind. Same thing every day when I came home from work. Poor things. They are a bit top heavy, and I had neglected to put them in a fancy, sturdy pot. But they were still pretty, even sideways. Yesterday, I drove up to the house and didn’t see my chrysanthemums!

As I walked up to the house, I still didn’t see them. My chrysanthemums were missing! I walked across my yard, and looked behind a tree and in a hole, but my chrysanthemums were gone! They had blown away! Stupid Oklahoma wind! I could only hope my chrysanthemums would take root somewhere along the road and become wild where they would beautify the country. That’s not really true. I was just mad my chrysanthemums blew away.

I stomped into the house, angry because I had wasted $4.50 on a pot of chrysanthemums that had lasted three days, but wait! There they were! Safely on the kitchen table! C. had rescued them! He had brought them inside where they would be safe from the evil, destructive, chrysanthemum-ruining wind. He had even watered them and saved them from the destructive (but not evil), chrysanthemum-ruining plant-tending habits of me. I was so happy that I didn’t even complain that he had used a good plate to catch the drainage.



Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Your Favorite Pens

We asked for photos of your favorite pens, and we even got a few replies. Here they are:


Shawn

I love this pen because I got it for free. It has the perfect feel in my hand and when I'm out if my office I hide it in a very secret place so no one will get it!!


Kelsie
My favorite pen is sadly not a free free one. However, they are pretty cheap and they last FOREVER! I think it is a Pentol R.S.V.P. You can find them a many different colors and tip sizes. My favorite is the fine tip... it just writes cleaner.
Don't forget to e-mails of your favorite desk drawer! Photos will be posted Friday!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Puke

My dog Roscoe tries so hard to be a good dog. He knows two tricks: sit and heel. On days when we don’t take a walk, I sometimes let him out of the yard to play. He has a routine. I open his gate, he runs directly to the back door, whines and scratches at the door, and when he sits quietly, I let him in. He drinks some of the cat’s water, trots to the front door, sits, and then I let him out. I’m not sure why he thinks he has to come through the house to get to the front yard, but that’s what he does.

Usually, the first thing he does once he achieves freedom is find a place to make his mark. That is sometimes my across-the-street neighbor’s tree. I know it’s a little tacky, but he’s a dog. That’s what dogs do. Once when he did this, my neighbor happened to be at the mailbox getting his mail and I saw this incident unfold in slow motion. Roscoe bolted out the front door, found a good spot, and lifted his leg. My neighbor saw him and then he started hollering and flapping his mail at Roscoe. I didn’t really know how to respond. On one hand, I felt like I should be ashamed that I let my dog behave in such an uncivilized manner and should somehow attempt to stop the unfortunate series of events at hand and apologize profusely. On the other hand, I thought my neighbor was being awfully silly for freaking out at such a tiny little thing and that he should just let the dog do its business. I know Roscoe is not the first dog to pee on that tree.

When Roscoe and I go for walks, I’m never exactly sure what the rules are regarding dog…business. I live in a pretty rural area. Roscoe and I walk around the perimeter of town, where one side of the street is inside city limits, and the other is not. I don’t feel guilty about letting him deface the edge of a pasture where cows are doing the exact same thing. I certainly don’t let him poop on people’s lawns, but I don’t mind if he pees on utility poles or fire hydrants.

Sunday night Roscoe and I didn’t go for a walk, so I had let him frolic about the neighborhood for a while. When I let him in the house after playtime, he seemed completely normal. I was standing at the entertainment center doing something on my computer (I keep my laptop there because that’s where my speakers are plugged in) and I heard slurping. That’s an unusual noise to hear in the living room, so I turned around to see him eating puke! I said, “oh, Roscoe, don’t eat that!” and then I thought…wait…where did that come from? I never even heard him puke.

I took him out to the garage right away because I didn’t want him to be in my way while I cleaned it up, or, worse, to throw up in the house again. Then I had to strategize. How does one clean up puke? I mean, more serious puke than just a hairball. I’ve cleaned up a hairball. But never full-fledged puke. I decided this occasion called for a spatula. Roscoe is such a sweet dog. He tried to puke on his rug, but he pretty much completely missed. He puked right next to his rug. I grabbed the trash can from the kitchen, held my nose, and scooped up the puke with the spatula. It took several scoops. Fortunately, it didn’t stink too badly. I only almost threw up three times. Then, after all of the puke was safely disposed of, I broke out the Resolve triple action. Thankfully, when I saw that I was running low a while back, I had stocked up. You never know when you might need a fresh supply of carpet cleaner! I spritzed the last drops from one bottle and then dispensed a healthy dose from the brand new bottle. I sprayed, waited, and scrubbed. I’m pretty sure you would never be able to tell there was puke there, but I will always know. I will forever walk around that spot now. Oh, and I scrubbed the spatula. Twice. Then I put it in the dishwasher to be sanitized.

Roscoe seems fine. After I got the puke safely cleaned up, I put him to bed...outside. I didn’t yell or punish him. He didn’t mean to throw up on the carpet. He just overate. I don’t know what he overate, but his tummy must have been pretty full because the volume of the mess appeared much larger that what I would think his little tummy could hold (and apparently it was)!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Interactive Blog - Favorite Drawer

We all have a drawer at work that houses our handiest stuff. It is the one where we keep our most prized possessions. Even if you are a full time parents you have a drawer where you keep the first aid kit or the box of emergency bribe cookies. We want to see your favorite drawer! E-mail us a photo at lameadventures@gmail.com. We will publish your favorites on Friday!

Lisa

I’m pretty ashamed to show my office junk drawer to the world, but here it is. There’s the standard tape, stapler, staple remover, letter opener, scissors, binder clips, business cards, etc. Those business cards are duplicates. I keep one copy of everyone’s business card in my Rolodex, but I have some duplicates that I keep on hand in case I need to refer a client to a colleague. I store those in this drawer. This also gives you a little glimpse into my Chapstick obsession. The white one is the one currently in use, but as you can see, I have two waiting in the wings for when the current one runs out. I also have an assortment of over the counter drugs and hand sanitizer. I’m counting on that hand sanitizer to get me through swine flu season unscathed. You might be wondering what the little lapel pin backs are there for. I stick the lapel pins to my bulletin board, but I keep the backs in this drawer…just in case. I don’t know why. The pins just seem incomplete without them.

Julie

I work with the general public, and the public is generally grimy. So I keep a stash of cleaning supplies. Specifically disinfecting supplies. My Kleenex are even the antimicrobial kind. I couldn't actually tell you what that means, but it sounds healthy. I was banned from Lysol quite a while ago. Apparently I was giving people headaches with my obsessive spraying. But with our current Swine Flu craziness, I have unbanned myself from it. I do try to keep it confined to my own cubicle. Everyone else can get sick!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Cologne Overdose

How much cologne is too much cologne? In most articles about job interview etiquette, you will read something about not wearing cologne at your interview. Shouldn’t that carry over to professional environments in general? I mean, if you shouldn’t wear cologne to a job interview, should you really wear it any other professional appointment?

I realize that people’s tastes vary. I can live with that. I can tolerate the scent of cologne that is not particularly appealing to me…as long as it does not suffocate me. Last week I received a visit from a person who always wears strong cologne. I could smell him coming. Generally when people visit my office, I close the door, but this time I chose not to because I thought it might help the fumes dissipate. I was wrong. It didn’t help. Even after my guest left, his essence lingered. My eyes watered. I had to open my window and work at the front desk while my office aired out.

Sometimes I wonder what inspires people to bathe in cologne. I don’t wear perfume very often, but when I do, I apply sparingly. I don’t want the perfume bottle manufacturers’ research and development efforts to have been in vain. I figure they have carefully calibrated the atomizer to dispense the perfect dose of perfume in a single squirt. There’s no need to second guess them. Leave the science of perfume application to the professionals!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Real Housewives

Hello, I am LB Fries, or you can call me by my street name of “Pound Fries.” It has a nice, urban feel to it. J

When Lisa asked me to be a guest blogger, I believe that she assumed I would want to write about subjects that are very deep, and have a social conscience feel to them. Nope, I want to write about TV! Namely, I want to write about my secret passion in TV…the Real Housewives Series on Bravo.

The current Real Housewives edition that is on Bravo is the Real Housewives of Atlanta, and by far, it is my favorite. Whenever I have had a bad day, week, heck even a bad minute, if I find one of these episodes on, I immediately feel better after just a small time spent watching. Why? Well, let me explain.

First, I believe the Atlanta edition of this series personifies the old saying of, “Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.” Really, I believe these women, who were introduced in Season One as friends, are actually as one of the ladies put it, “associates”, who can turn on each other at any time.

You must see this for yourself to understand. One episode centered on the ladies having a “pole dancing” party in the basement of mansion. This was actually a “how to” party, so that the ladies could learn, or in some cases, brush up on their skills. Believe me; it was pretty evident who had seen time on the pole before. Everyone tried to be supportive of each other, but when one lady actually flipped on the pole, and landed at the bottom in the splits, you had the feeling that professionals were in the house. Lo and behold, it was discovered that a couple of the ladies had been strippers in a past life...perfect!

Another episode centered on one of the ladies, Kim, trying to launch a singing career. Although this is in Season One, you have to take time to find the video of her voice lesson with one of Atlanta’s leading voice teachers…priceless! When I say, she couldn’t carry a tune in a paper bag, I am not exaggerating. However, in Season Two, Kim records a single, with the help of one of the other ladies, Kandi, who was a hip-hop artist in the 90s. Kandi does her magic with a synthesizer, and hey, we have a song suitable for any dance club! In staying true to the theme of the series, Kim then turns against another housewife, who had volunteered to sing back up, to help calm Kim’s nerves. Kim explains this by saying, that now that the song sounds fabulous, it should be all her and no one else in the spotlight. This is followed by a sign of nothing but karma coming back to bite Kim, she falls off of her 4 plus inch heels, and hurts her ankle. Yes, paybacks are not good!

The current episode includes the ladies displaying photos in which the depict “alter egos” of themselves. Well, let’s guess some of the alter egos, shall we? I know this is a stretch, but a few of the alter egos were strippers, mistress, and surprisingly, a drunk driver. The drunk driver, to me, is the signs of a social conscience peeking through, but in the tradition of the Real Housewives series…not much is made about this statement.

For fun, or if you need something to take your mind off the events of the day, tune into the Real Housewives of Atlanta. Believe me, you will actually hug your family afterwards and thank them for being so normal. J

Pound Fries

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Introducing Pound Fries

This Friday we will have our very first guest blogger here at Lame Adventures. I know, I know. It seems a little early to bring in the replacements, but I’m here to tell you, this will be quite a treat. I’m pretty sure lbfries is going to win over our vast readership of seven dedicated individuals with her charming personality and brilliant wit.

I had showed the blog’s homepage to another friend of mine, who asked, “who is Pound Fries?” after reading the list of contributors. Pound Fries? What? OH! I get it! Actually, lbfries is just her street name, but Pound Fries kind of stuck, so from now on she will be referred to on this blog as Pound Fries. Every time I think of it I picture that Chuck E. Cheese Whack-a-Mole game where you smack fuzzy rodents on the head, but instead I see crinkle cut fries popping up and being pounded with a mallet. Or, inspired by my recent state fair visit, deep fried pound cake.

Pound Fries is a friend and coworker of mine at the university and when I told her that I was starting a blog, I asked her what I should write about. Doesn’t every blogger blindly start a blog with no topics or ideas in mind? I thought so. Pound Fries had many exciting suggestions, none of which I knew anything about. Great. Not only am I unprepared to start a blog, I’m also unqualified.

One of her suggested topics was The Real Housewives of Atlanta and I had to admit that I don’t even own a TV… and even if I did, I wouldn’t have cable. So, at that point, we determined that Pound Fries would be our resident TV junkie. Stay tuned…

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Favorite Pens

This week we decided to do a photo post about our favorite pens. Everyone has one! You know, the one that causes you to tense up a little when it is momentarily lost under a sheet of paper. What is your favorite pen? Send us a photo and description of why you love it at lameadventures@gmail.com and we will post them next Wednesday!


Lisa

This is my favorite pen! My credit union gave it to me for free! I use it for everything. I love that the ink flows so smoothly, and in such a skinny line. I wish I knew where to obtain more. Knowing that this pen will eventually run out of ink and I don’t know where to find a replacement stresses me out a little.


Julie

My favorite pens are the freebies that you can steal from the bank (or apparently in this case, a Comfort Inn). I love them because they waste ink so generously. I love pens that write in thick, dark lines. I always hide these pens in a desk drawer when I know I won't be at work for a day or two and there is a chance of someone using my desk. I don't think anyone would purposely steal my pens, but I don't want to take any chances!

Monday, September 21, 2009

OSU vs. Rice

This was a super exciting weekend! My husband's wonderful boss gave him tickets the the OSU/Rice football game. We took some of C's friends who graduated from OSU. They showed us around campus and we even got to eat Hideaway pizza.

My mom has a theory that sports brings out the worst in people. I think she's right. It amazed me how many people yelled out criticism from the audience. Especially considering the fact that OSU was comfortably winning throughout the entire game. The guy behind us was especially rude. At one point he yelled, "at OSU we have to take the ACT to get in." How does this apply to football, you ask? I'm not really sure. Apparently ACT scores affect your ability to play football. I'm sure there is research on this, but I'm not looking it up. Later we heard him say that the entire Rice football team is probably smarter than OSU's smartest guy. I wonder what this guy's ACT score was. Probably not very high. Later, after the Cowboys made a bad play he yelled, "this game couldn't get any worse!" Er, yes it could. OSU could be losing. But they weren't. They were winning by at least 10 points. Apparently OSU wasn't playing very well. I'm not sure what "good" football looks like, but I do know what a jerk sounds like. And given the choice between good football and nice people, I choose nice people.

I think this is why our parents never encouraged us to play sports. Now please don't assume that they filled our heads with anti-sports ideals and discouraged us from dreams of being the next WNBA star. They would have happily driven us to practices and games where the coach would yell belittling things to us and other parents would yell their own bits of criticism from the stands. But I'm pretty sure my mom knew I couldn't handle that type of confrontation. The coach could have patted me on the head, handed me a piece of candy, and told me to run faster next time and I would have thought I was in huge trouble. I have never understood the point of being yelled at for playing a game. Shouldn't sports be fun?

I was very proud of Rice. They are my new favorite team. They managed to score one field goal in the first half. Later they even got a few touchdowns. Their little group of six cheerleaders ran in a circle with their Rice flags in front of their meager fan section when they scored. Their owl mascot even did push ups! Push ups in an owl costume complete with a giant owl head and owl feet cannot be easy. He was my favorite part of the game. I want to be friends with the owl. That might be difficult considering I don't even know what state Rice is in. I suppose I should find that out if they are my new favorite team.

Friday, September 18, 2009

State Fair

Yesterday I represented my employer and alma mater at the state fair. The university has a booth there each year and asks representatives from various departments to work there recruiting future students and greeting alumni. Yesterday was the first day of the fair, so I expected things to still be fresh and clean. But it’s the fair. One can’t expect too much.

My shift was scheduled to begin at 6:00. I left the office at 4:00, about an hour early, so I would have plenty of time to park, walk, and grab something to eat before I was to report for duty. Unfortunately, I encountered a serious traffic backup due to an accident on the Interstate. I was able to exit and take a back road for a few miles and avoid some of the mess, but I had already wasted precious time. When I arrived at the fair, there was another traffic jam, so I decided to just park far away and hike. Even though it wasn’t actually raining when I got there, it had been raining so the “parking lot” was pretty soggy. There were some cars stuck in the mud, but I carefully avoided the muddy spots and found a nice, clean spot on the grass. A bonus of attending the fair on the first day!

Another bonus of attending the fair on the first day is that it is Dollar Day! This means exactly what it sounds like it means. Admission is $1. Now, the regular fair clientele isn't the classiest group, but you can imagine who comes out of the woodwork for dollar day. My experience in the public relations booth was fairly uneventful this year. Last year I met some pretty interesting characters, but this year the crowd was pretty tame. I did meet the artist who designed our clock tower and the same lady who wanted to take our mascot home last year stopped by to try to take it from me again this year.

I had my annual state fair corn dog…two, actually. And some questionable lemonade from the hospitality room. I never knew there was such a thing! There is a secret lair where fair vendors can partake of free drinks! Each booth is given two hospitality room tickets at the beginning of the fair (not to be re-issued in case of loss or theft, so keep them in a safe place!) that vendors must present to get into the room. It’s serious business. The hospitality room supervisors carefully inspect your ticket and write something in code on a clipboard. I was glad to play their game, though, because they saved me big bucks on refreshments.

The fair is supposed to close at 9:00 on weekdays, but my booth partner and I saw no signs of traffic slowing down at that time. We were both tired, so we went ahead and straightened up the booth, vacuumed the carpet, and stashed the laptop at 9:00. As I was leaving, there were still people walking toward the gate. I’m not sure what goes on at the fair after it closes, but I doubt it’s something my parents would approve of. I found my car, waded through the mud to get to it, and then strategized on how to get out of the boggy parking lot. I cranked up the four wheel drive, crossed my fingers, and drove toward the opening between two parallel-parked cars. Fortnately, I made it without incident. I got home around 11:00 and hit the sack immediately after scrubbing the state fair off of me with antibacterial soap.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Minimum Requirements

There should be minimum requirements to be allowed to leave the house and go into public. It is a combination of attitude, cleanliness, and clothing. If you do not meet the minimum requirements, then you should not be allowed to interact with other people.

Attitude
It shouldn't necessarily be required that you to go out of your way to brighten the day of those around you, that's not your responsibility. You don't have to be excessively nice, that would actually be rather annoying. But it should be required that you put forth an effort not to ruin the day of others. This includes being courteous to strangers instead of yelling and cursing at them.

Cleanliness
Sniff your pits before you leave the house. Are they fresh? Good! Proceed to your activity for the day. How do your clothes smell? Like an April breeze? Great, the grocery store is calling you. Have you brushed your teeth today? How about your hair? Everything in order? Wonderful! You have passed the cleanliness test! Continue about your normal business.

Clothing
Pants are required. No exceptions. You should also be wearing a shirt. If you are wearing a sweatshirt, then it should have a t-shirt underneath. Don't approach me with your sagging pants and bare-chested sweatshirt and ask me for help. It's distracting. And not in a sexy way. Also, while proper foundational garments are required, you get bonus points if I can't see see them, and some people need bonus points.

If you keep these simple guidelines posted by your front door you should be fine. I reserve the right to make fun of you if you don't follow my rules. If you have any questions, feel free to ask. If you have any suggestions, feel free to comment!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Trespassing Opossum

The title of our blog is suitably accurate for my first blog post. For some reason, an uncharacteristically high percentage of our adventures involve rodents. I'll tell you the story of my sister's mouse sometime (because I know she certainly won't!) but for now, you're going to hear about my opossum.

Several days ago, I returned home late in the evening to find that my garage door was about 1/4 open. That's not an unusual occurrence because my garage door opener is roughly 30 years old and performs about the way you would expect an appliance of that age to operate. I saw that there was a cat lurking nearby, but I just hoped it had not been there long enough to make itself at home.

I thought nothing more of the incident until a couple days later when I noticed some...evidence...on my garage floor. I blamed the long absent cat and swept the floor. Then, the next day, I came home late again and thought I noticed some scurrying in the back corner of my garage. I thought it might just be shadows, but I had to check just out of curiosity.

Sure enough...there was something furry back there! I have a metal rack with several shelves and there is a box of oak flooring planks on the bottom shelf. I looked back there and saw something furry disappear into the box and thought, "a kitten! That cat had babies in here!" and almost reached for the cute, furry little kitty...until it occurred to me that a three day old kitten wouldn't be big enough to run around yet, especially if its mother had been gone for three days. I pulled back my hand and went to grab a flashlight.

The light of my flashlight revealed not an adorable kitty, but a significantly less adorable opossum. Still cuter than a badger, but not something I would like to host as a permanent resident in my garage. I had to figure out how to get rid of the rodent without touching it, so I gently pushed the box off the shelf and onto the floor where there was plenty of room to work. Then, I used a yardstick to carefully push open each flap of the box. When I finally had the box completely open, the opossum stared at me for a moment, and then bolted. I tried to snap a picture of the little critter before it disappeared, but I missed. I did get a picture of it before I moved the box, though.

I suspect the opossum survived during its stay on cat food, but I doubt the box of floor planks made a very comfortable bed. I'm sure it was ready to move on to greener pastures by the time I caught on to it's unauthorized residence in my garage.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Welcome!

Friends, Family, and Random Lurkers,

It all started with a puzzle and a dream. We were hanging out at Lisa’s house, and as her house is very unentertaining, we were doing our best to assemble a jigsaw puzzle (a picture of an air show, if you’re interested). As we were sorting and connecting pieces, we decided this would be a very entertaining blog topic. At the very least, it could be a blog topic—even if we were the only ones who thought it was entertaining.

It all erupted from there. As most people know about us, we are obsessive planners. We came up with plans and a system; themes and ideas. Now we just have to wait and see if our system works. We hope you enjoy our Lame Adventures!

Lisa and Julie