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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.