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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Guitar Box

Blondie plays the guitar and has played his favorite one so much that he has worn out some of the frets. He took it to the music store where he bought it to see if they could repair it, and they said they could...if he was ok with an amateur technician grinding and hammering on his $3,000 guitar. Unsurprisingly, he was not ok with that.

It was decided that he would need to send his guitar to Taylor, the manufacturer, to be repaired. He checked with them and they told him to put his guitar in its regular guitar case and ship it via UPS ground in a Taylor guitar box. No problem. We'll just get a Taylor box from the music store, right? No. They didn't have one. We really needed a Taylor box. A box from another manufacturer just wouldn't suffice (even though the information from Taylor said another manufacturer's box would do in a pinch).

There was much hand wringing and fretting about how we would safely ship this precious guitar to the guitar spa for some much needed R&R. I took matters into my own hands and tracked down another Taylor dealer and called to see if they had a box. Voila! They did. I went and picked it up, we packed the guitar, and sent it on its way.

I told Blondie that I felt like we were packing his guitar in a guitar casket in preparation for a guitar funeral before sending it to the guitar graveyard. He was a little uncomfortable with this analogy. He preferred to think of the guitar box as a spaceship that would protect the guitar from vicious alien beams on its journey to the final frontier and back. I asked him to consider how many spaceships he knows of that made it back to earth completely and totally unharmed. Precious few. We hope that the UPS insurance protects the precious cargo if the spaceship doesn't.

Kitty

We have two adorable kitties that have beat the odds and survived on the farm since October. I routinely feed them as soon as I get home from work—if I did it later, they would starve because I would forget. Yesterday I went out to their little pen with my cupful of cat food and this is what I found:



We have a calf! Its mama had twins, and I suppose this was the runty one. He is awfully cute. He is a good calf. I'm sure he will outgrow his kitty pen very soon, but this works for now. I told C. that I want to name him Kitty, since I found him in the kitty pen. Craig thinks that is a bad name since he is a boy. He pointed out that we don’t call Lucy a horse since she is a dog. I told him I would have named her Horsey if she lived in a stable. If he comes up with a better name, he can use it. I’m calling him Kitty.



We made a deal that C. will feed Kitty in the mornings, and I will feed him after work. This will be fun for about the first week, maybe not even that long. I’m pretty sure I’m going to really dislike Kitty a few weeks from now.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Top Ten

It snowed again last night. Most of the time I don't mind cold weather. I am one of the few people over the age of 16 who actually likes snow. But this is getting a bit ridiculous. It has been cold in Oklahoma forEVER. It is cold and windy and miserable. It looks like it will stay that way. We have all been whining (you know you're guilty of it too). We are not used to this. But I have decided to get over my crankiness and find the good in the cold weather. Or at least winter in general.

1. Snowboarding is super fun, and you can only go when it is snowing!
2. There is a possibility I will still have the chance to build a snowman this winter. Snowmen are festive!
3. My dad built a super awesome sled for us when we were little. He pulled us behind a four-wheeler. It was awesome. It is still awesome. It will always be awesome.
4. I love wearing sweatshirts. They are cozy.
5. I also love sitting on the couch, wrapped in my Mickey Mouse blanket. It is even cozier than a sweatshirt. It feels like constant cuddles. Which brings me to…
6. Cuddles. They are better when it’s cold. Sweaty cuddling is gross.
7. Winter Olympics. I love me some Shaun White.
8. I get to wear my Ariat Fatbaby boots. I love stomping through the snow in my boots. I mostly just enjoy saying Fatbaby.
9. It gets dark early. C comes home when it gets dark. In the summer it doesn’t get dark until LATE. In the winter he is home more often.
10. I can get groceries at lunch and leave them in the car because it is better than a refrigerator out there!

Do you have anything to add to the list?

Friday, February 19, 2010

Curtains

I have been inspired by Big Mama and The Nester to make new drapes for my living room, dining room, and kitchen. I recently did some minor remodeling in my kitchen (replaced the outdated wallpaper and popcorn ceiling with understated texture and neutral paint) and had to remove my curtains to do so.

Since I had to take the curtains down anyway, I decided it would be a good time to wash them. I don't launder my curtains very often because they were cheap, so they're pretty flimsy and tend to fall apart even on the gentle cycle. Unfortunately, this was the last wash they could withstand.

My windows have been naked for the past couple of months because I couldn't decide what I wanted to do with them. I knew I didn't want to spend big bucks on flimsy curtains that would just fall apart anyway, so I had pretty much decided I was going to have to make them myself. Which means measuring. And selecting fabric. And cutting. And sewing. Ugh. That's work.

I have always admired The Nester's window mistreatments, but never really had the occasion to use them until this point. I think this is the perfect opportunity to mistreat my windows. I have nothing to lose. My windows are naked. Anything is better than bare windows. I am also such a perfectionist that I could not imagine using glue instead of sewing! In this case, though, I'm going to try to improvise. I probably will go ahead and hem the edges of my fabric so that I can wash my mistreatments without fraying, but I don't plan on lining them or worrying too much about measurements.

The Nester says that you should always use fabric you love. However, I decided that I was going to start with extra cheap fabric for this project, whether I love it or not, because who knows if this will work. I found some decent fabric at fabric.com for $1.95 per yard, which I deemed reasonable. I also need to find some ring clips and a nice looking curtain rod for my living room curtains because I am tired of the boring panels there.

I can't wait for my supplies to arrive! I'll keep you posted on the progress of the project.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Wildlife

Last weekend, between the flowers and the necklace, Blondie and I watched some more basketball, which turned out to be an adventure. We had to travel to a nearby town for the games. Such a short drive is usually not notable, but this time we took a "shortcut" through the country.

We ate a quick dinner and left my house just before dark on Friday evening, so we were traveling on unfamiliar roads at dusk. On our way there, we encountered the standard narrow bridges, unmarked curves, loose gravel, and plethora of wildlife found on most country roads.

I was in charge of deciphering the map, drawn by Blondie's dad on a bank envelope. I'm pretty sure it was not to scale. I was also in charge of warning Blondie of any impending doom, like potholes, sharp turns, loose gravel, and deer. My methods are questionable. I tend to not use words when startled. Instead, I say things like, "uh, uuh, UUUH!" Which means, "look out! Deer ahead!"


We first met a herd of deer, minding their own business along the side of the road...and some frolicking across it. Then, we ran across (literally) a bunny rabbit that was in a hurry to get somewhere. We also saw a collection of dead coyotes hung on fence posts. Apparently farmers do this to scare other coyotes away.

On the way home from the game we almost had an unfortunate encounter with a skunk, but fortunately we missed him. However, we did not miss his smell. We had just passed slowpoke when the skunk waddled out in front of us. We managed to avoid actually running over him, but I'm pretty sure the driver behind us got him.

We almost hit another bunny rabbit, but missed him by a hare (I crack myself up).

There's really nothing unusual about seeing one or two wild animals on country roads in our area, but it's rare to have so many encounters in one 40 mile round trip. One herd of deer, two rabbits, a skunk, and a collection of dead coyotes is enough to drive a girl batty. Especially when combined with unfamiliar roads after dark.

I asked Blondie to please choose roads with lines and signs next time.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Camping Cake


Two cake successes in a row make me awesome, right? Maybe not. Or maybe I wasn’t actually successful. In this week’s cake decorating class, we did camping cakes. The finished cakes were very cute. Mine might have been cuter if I hadn’t run out of “grass.” It looked a little snowy in places on my camping scene. A few of my “campers” even sunk into the snow.
This is my fire. I think the fact that it is the same size as the tent makes it more realistic. When was the last time you saw a bunch of boys go camping without a ginormous fire? List time we had a campfire, we had two fires. I'm not really sure why this was necessary, but the guys seemed to understand.

Next week we are practicing an Easter theme. I am picturing a grand basket-shaped cake filled with icing Easter grass. We are supposed to bring candy to fill our baskets. I wonder if they make Jesus candy. It seems awfully wrong to leave Him out of it. This week’s mission: find Jesus candy.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Valentine's Day

I am a very lucky girl. Blondie was very sneaky with his Valentine's Day gifts. He told me that he was going to cook dinner for me on Sunday, so I thought that was going to be my Valentine's Day present. He caught me by surprise by sending me flowers at work on Friday, which was very sweet and unexpected. Sending flowers is very much against his thrifty principles, so it was very special.


Last night before we started cooking dinner, we emptied the dishwasher. When I opened the cabinet to put away the plates, I found the little green box. I gasped. Needless to say, I was surprised again! I didn't quite know what to think. I was thrilled with flowers and dinner. I wasn't expecting anything else.

In his note, Blondie referred to the phial of water containing The Light of Earendil that Galadriel gave Frodo before embarking on his quest in The Fellowship of the Ring. He explained that he did not have any star light, but the best he could do was a carbon copy to remind me of him. The little green box contained a diamond (carbon) pendant necklace. I don't know which was more beautiful: his words or his gift.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Valentine's Cupcakes




I’m learning to be the best cake decorator ever. My first cake wasn’t that exciting. Maybe I will eventually post pictures of the progression of my abilities. Recently I ran across this contest online at the Thyme For Food blog for Valentine’s Day cupcakes. This contest came at a great time, It gives me a chance to practice! My entry is plain, but I’m new at this! I’m pretty proud of myself. I even used strawberry extract in my icing instead of vanilla. It's really yummy. Who even knew they made strawberry extract? I didn’t, until today! I'm not sure how C. and I are going to eat 24 cupcakes, but I'm pretty sure the girls in my Sunday School class will be glad to help us out.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Sweaters

I did something unforgiveable yesterday. I bought two sweaters. But they were on sale! For $15!

I have a weakness for sweaters and coats. I don't know why. I can't stand to be hot. In fact, pretty much anything that touches me makes me sweat. I don't invest in nice blouses because they won't last and I have to have my suits dry cleaned after each wearing. For some reason, though, I really like sweaters. I mean, the word sweat is in the name! What's wrong with me?

I always fall prey to the allure of the sweater. Then I regret it. Julie has implemented a rule that I am not allowed to buy any more sweaters. Ever. Then I implemented a rule that she is never allowed to buy any more ugly shoes. She ignores my rule, so I ingore hers.

When I told Julie that I bought two sweaters and she admonished me, even using my middle name. She pointed out that I just spent $30 on something that is just going to make me stink. But I don't care. They were on sale!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Pop's & Oklahoma City Museum of Art

This weekend Blondie and I had a “surprise date,” which means he planned everything and didn’t tell me what we were doing. We went to Pop’s for lunch, which is a cool restaurant/gas station/tourist trap on Route 66 in Arcadia, then we visited the Oklahoma City Museum of Art after lunch.

We enjoyed lunch at Pop's. Pop's is located in a very architectually unique building along Route 66 near Lake Arcadia. They have a giant soda selection, along with very good fountain drinks and tasty burgers. Blondie and I have been trying to avoid drinking pop for a little while now, so when he mentioned that the place where we were going had very good pop, I kind of figured out where we were headed.

We beat the Saturday lunch crowd and had a very enjoyable experience. I ordered a regular cheeseburger and a Dr. Pepper and Blondie had a big, sloppy double onion burger with a Coke and a chocolate shake. I really liked their pickles, which were served next to the burger and not on it. Blondie is allergic to pickles, so he gave me his, which was an excellent bonus. The burgers were served with mayonnaise, but Blondie added mustard, ketchup, and barbecue sauce to his, which made it extra sloppy. He had to eat it with a knife and fork.

After lunch we visited the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, which has a lovely glass exhibit by Dale Chihuly and a temporary contemporary art exhibit by Jason Peters. One part of the Jason Peters exhibit is a sculptural installation in a very dark room. At first I wasn't quite sure whether the darkened doorway was actually part of the exhibit, and I certainly didn't want to enter a room that was off limits...and potentially scary! We (I) decided not to enter. However, as we were leaving that part of the museum, we found the doorway where you exit the dark exhibit. It was equally dark, so the musuem worker lurking in the shadows caught me by surprise. I even screamed a little. He assured us that it was ok to enter, and we did. It turned out to be pretty cool, but I was a little nervous.

I really enjoyed our surprise date. Blondie and I always have fun, but this day was especially nice and I appreciated all of the thought that he put into the activities!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Eye-rolling Attitude

A few nights ago, C. and I went to a local restaurant with friends. I have an excessive amount of single, guy friends. This night, as with most other nights, I was the only female in a party of five. This usually results in great service. In the days before C. had a wedding ring to ruin it, waitresses often gave us free Dr. Peppers in hopes of improving their tips. This isn’t quite as common now.

I will admit that there was some confusion while we were trying to pay. We ran into some people we know, and while most of my group was chatting, I decided to pay while the lady was at the register. While I was trying to explain to the cashier what was our part of the bill (wouldn’t it be easier just to put orders on separate tickets?), we got extremely confused. Part of the confusion was my fault, but mostly it wasn’t. The entire time she rolled her eyes, tapped her fingers, and sighed to illustrate exactly how irritated she was. I managed to catch myself before I made a rude comment about how rolling her eyes wasn’t going to make this process any less confusing. I remembered that we come here often and I really enjoy eating food without spit in it.

C. finally made it to the register, and her attitude completely changed. She listened to what he had to say (he had to tell her what number he ordered, I had no idea) with patience. She calculated the bill quickly. The entire time, I was the one standing there holding the credit card! I was obviously the one leaving the tip! (or not…if we ever get her again)

It has always amazed me how men get so much better service, while I just get an attitude. Patience is part of my job; for nine hours a day I smile and act polite while people feel they have the right to use whatever obscenities they feel are appropriate for the situation. I’m really good at keeping my patience while others lose it at me. I would appreciate the same respect from other people, especially when I have done nothing to deserve a sour attitude. But do you think it would maybe be ok to tell her to quit it with the eye rolling next time? Probably not…I suppose I will be good.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Ice Storm, Part 3: A Photo Essay

I kept myself entertained during the ice storm by taking photos of my mundane activities throughout the day. I will spare you the details of how I changed the light bulbs and used my Roomba to clean the bathroom, but here is what the world looked like from my house:

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If you read my post about Dr. Pepper and Fritos, I mentioned that I cleaned every bit of laundry in the house. I think the appropriate term would be a “laundry binge.” I had a giant pile of laundry, and I thought it would be fun to do a makeshift time lapse slideshow of what it looks like when piles of laundry shrink. C. thought it was silly, but I thought it was super fun:

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High School

A couple of weeks ago Blondie took me to my very first "school events." He is a high school teacher and his school's basketball teams were playing in a tournament. He took me to the games on Friday and Saturday and it was quite an interesting experience!

He never tells his students much about his personal life. He has an image to maintain. He likes for them to think he is a robot who eats, sleeps, and breathes math. He is by no means a normal person with a family and hobbies and a life. His lack of disclosure only makes the students more interested in his secret life as a regular person. Well, it makes the female students more interested. They all have a huge crush on him. The boys don't care one bit. Alternately, if it were a female teacher in question, all of the beans would have been spilled long ago.

At the game on Friday evening, we sat directly across the gym from the girls' bench. I thought nothing of it because we weren't close enough to the floor to be noticed. Wrong! High school girls have eagle eyes when there's good gossip to be spread. The texting frenzy began. The teacher who keeps the stats for the girls' team texted the other teacher we were sitting with to ask who I was. The girls needed to know. They were so distracted from the game that Blondie would be blamed if they lost. Thank goodness they won!

We arrived early for the Saturday afternoon game to watch Blondie's alma mater play. This time we sat on the opposite side of the gym on the front row. When his students started started to arrive, the girls congregated on one end of the gym and there was much whispering and giggling. Soon, they walked by single file and looked us over as they passed. Unfortunately, they hadn't planned their exit strategy and once they were on the other end of the gym they didn't know what to do. They eventually walked back by and eyeballed us again. One of the girls developed the nerve to come over and sit down beside us and ask him about me. Of course, he never gave her a straight answer as to my identity. Later Blondie got up to get something to drink and he stopped and talked with them on his way back. According to him, I have been cheerleader approved.

Of course, there was an intense interrogation at school on Monday, and only one student had negative things to say about me. When I was actually in high school, no one was jealous of me. Now that I'm an adult, though, all of the high school girls want to be me! It's kind of a strange feeling. I think it's pretty cute that all of the girls are so curious about Blondie's romantic interests. I'll enjoy it while it lasts.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Alarm Clock Issues

Last night before I went to bed, I had to reset my clock because my electricity had gone out at some point during the day and caused it to get off track. I glanced at my watch and reset the clock. Then I reset the alarm to wake me up at 7:00. I need to leave for work at 7:30 and it takes me about 20 minutes to get ready. (I have a pretty low maintenance morning routine.)

This morning I was sleeping comfortably and woke up naturally and glanced at the clock. It said 7:08. Uh oh! I had set the alarm for 7:00 pm instead of 7:00 am. No problem. I can easily make up for 8 minutes. I got up, got ready for work, then looked outside. It was still dark. I looked at a different clock. Apparently the passing glance I gave my watch the night before was not adequate. I had actually gotten up at 6:08! I hadn't overslept at all.

Not only had I set my alarm for 7:00 pm, I had also set my clock for an hour earlier than it actually was. I already knew that it was a bad idea to be setting my clock when I was tired, but this is just ridiculous.

You know what I did when I realized I was completely ready to leave for work at 6:23 am? I got back in bed. Fully clothed. And I reset my alarm for 7:20. Then when it woke me up again at 7:20, I snoozed for another 9 minutes. Because I could.

Now, tonight I have to remember that my alarm is set for 7:20 and I need to change it to 7:00 to avoid being ready too late instead of too early!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Ice Storm, Part 2: Ice/Icing

Sunday was also a rather exciting day. Our water started running very slowly Saturday night. We decided it might be a good plan to fill containers with water. This could be the end of running water. We were right. When I tried to turn on the faucet Sunday morning, nothing happened. Luckily we were prepared!

However, I was not prepared for making cake and icing for my cake decorating class. At 5:00 I decided that running water would not be coming back that day and I would have to do my best to make cake and icing with what I had sitting in pots and pitchers. I started with icing. It was a powdery mess. It would have been a powdery mess with or without running water. My bowl was too small, and my patience was already running low. I eventually finished with great pride; it actually tasted RIGHT! I don’t like white icing, it is gross, but it was RIGHT!

With great satisfaction, I scooped my icing into a Ziploc bag and put it in the refrigerator. The next challenge was to clean the icing mess off my bowl, spatula, and beaters (ya know, the mixer attachment things). The spatula was fairly easy, the beaters weren’t quite as bad as I expected (although I ended up killing at least three trees with all the paper towels I used), and the bowl was just gross. The cake mess wasn’t as bad as the icing mess, because you HAVE to lick the bowl and the beater. Yellow cake batter is yummy. So with great pride and lots of frustration, I made cake and icing without running water. I learned that dipping a paper towel in a pot of water is not an effective cleaning method. But I did it!

This morning I skated across my driveway to load my cake and icing into my car (I go to the class right after work, it would be quite a detour to go home first). We were discussing whether or not we will still have class tonight. After checking their website, we discovered that the technology center that is hosting the class is closed today. But I made cake and icing with no running water! I worked so hard! I DESERVE to ice my cake. We really wanted to play with our icing without instructions. However we also figured out that one batch of icing costs about $10 to make and I’m not wasting it! I suppose I can save it until next week.

Delightful Winter Weekend

I had a delightful long weekend! All last week we heard forecasts of severe weather for Thursday and Friday, so I was prepared for the nasty ice storm we experienced this weekend. It doesn’t snow much here, but we do sometimes get nasty ice storms that stall communities for days. We get precipitation that freezes to our trees and power lines, then strong winds cause them to break.

When I woke up on Thursday morning, I looked outside to find a wet driveway, but nothing serious. I thought, “no big deal. I can make it to work.” I left at my usual time, but by the time I got about halfway there, the highway was starting to ice pretty badly. By the time I reached my office, the parking lot was slippery and people were discussing the precautions they were taking. We found out that the university was closing at noon, which made me wish I hadn’t even made the trip in the first place.

My office closed its doors at about 10:00 and we headed home. The school was also closed on Friday, so I enjoyed my relaxing four-day weekend. I have had water and electricity throughout the whole event, but my Internet service did fizzle out on Thursday. Since I was not without power, I was able to do lots of chores and cooking over the weekend. A friend had brought me some tasty chili on Wednesday, which really hits the spot on a snowy day! Then I made chicken enchilada soup on Thursday and invited my neighbors to join me for dinner. I made Italian potato soup on Friday, ventured out for pizza on Saturday, and made peanut butter Ritz cracker cookies yesterday. I got all of my laundry done (just in case the power did go out) and since there was no Internet to keep me entertained, I did some cleaning too.

The life of luxury can’t last forever, though. Today I had to go back to work, which was a major disappointment. The residential streets are still icy, but the highways are clear. I am supposed to travel for work tomorrow...I'm not sure how that will turn out.

Ice Storm, Part 1: Dr. Pepper and Fritos

What a crazy, icy weekend! The weatherpeople said it was coming, so we were well-prepared. I made an emergency trip to the grocery store for Dr. Pepper and Fritos. C. can't survive a regular weekend without Dr. Pepper and Fritos, much less an icy weekend.

It was already snowing when I went to work on Thursday morning. We made a good case with our area manager, and she let us leave early so we could make it home safely before it got really icy. I was glad, because clean underwear are a necessity when you are at risk of losing electricity, and I badly needed to do laundry.

I was a good little housewife for a day and washed all of the dirty laundry in the house. I did NOT want to end up at a laundromat. I’m not sure which would be worse, trying to get to a laundromat on the ice, or wearing dirty underwear. And you sure can’t wear dirty underwear to the Laundromat, ya know, in case you have a wreck and the paramedics have to see your dirty underwear.

After all my stress about having to wear dirty underwear, we never completely lost electricity. I was worried a little on Saturday afternoon. It went out at 1:30 and I sat in the cold, boring house all afternoon. I had left my book at work in my rush to get out the door, and I have a strict policy against starting a new book while I am in the middle of another one. It turned out that an oilfield truck had gotten stuck, and his rescuer truck slid off the road into an electric pole. Stupid oilfield. The electricity eventually came back that night, at the expense of the other poor people who had been without it for days for valid reasons, not some moron who slid off the road.

So apparently in my house, you need three things to survive an ice storm: Fritos, Dr. Pepper, and clean underwear. What does your household need?