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Friday, October 29, 2010

Halloween!

Yesterday afternoon we got a whim to dress up for Halloween at work. Fridays are a good day for a little silliness. I had a busy evening planned yesterday, and none of it involved going to a store to get costume supplies. My choices were a fisherman, because I already had most of the accessories from my costume a few years ago; a firefighter, because I could steal everything from C.; or a farmer, because I could steal everything from C's toolbox. I decided it wouldn't be any fun to be a fisherman, since I had already done that, and it seemed like a safety hazard to take firefighting supplies out of a fire station (probably illegal, too). I decided on a farmer, because that was easiest!






This is the stuff I came up with. They are all essential farmer supplies. I already owned the Carhartt jacket. It is quite wonderful and cozy. C. is too cool to have a cap with a mesh back, so I settled for his non-air conditioned John Deere hat.

I stole an ear tag from his stash. I am apparently heifer #119, however I didn't think the whole world needed to know C's full name and phone number so I flipped it to the boring side. Another essential item is fence insulators. For all of you non-farmy people, that would be the two funky shaped yellow things on the right side of the photo. They are the handy little gadget that holds a wire on a fence post.

I was surprised C. let me leave the house with the next two things, because they actually are essential to his everyday work. However because they are so very essential, I'm pretty sure he has at least a few backups of each item. A good pair of leather work gloves are very handy to have. I put this pair on for an office photo and immediately after the photo I had to go wash the grimyness out of my fingernails. C. also sent me with his favorite pair of John Deere pliers. These are his "good" pliers, so I'm being very careful with them! It would be a tragedy if I lost them!

I am fully prepared to go tag a cow or build fence after work. I probably need to return the parts of my costume to their spots quickly after I get home or else C. might put me to work!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

13 Items, 8 Bags


The purpose of this blog post is to showcase the inefficient bagging technique of the Wal Mart cashier who served me today. I purchased 13 items, and he used eight bags; 10 if you count the produce bags my lettuce and bananas were in.

I could not quite figure out his style. Why does the lettuce get its own bag, but the bananas don't? Could he not put two packages of chips in one bag? Did he think the pickles would contaminate the milk? I admired that he put two boxes of granola bars, the aluminum foil, and the hair gel all in the same bag. That makes sense. But do the Cheerios really need a bag of their own?

P.S. I know I bought a lot of junk food. Don't hate. I can assure you, those Cool Ranch Doritos are not for me. Yuck!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Recovery

Fortunately, Blondie is feeling a lot better today. I left him in bed this morning with two phones by his side, a bottle of Gatorade, a cup of Jell-O, and a package of crackers. I told him that I would call at 9:00. I called about 9:15 and he was up because he knew I was going to call and he was getting ready to eat some oatmeal.

I called again at lunchtime and he was up playing computer games. I told him to eat some of the soup I had left for him in the fridge. I slaved over the can opener for a good 30 seconds and I didn't want my efforts to be in vain.

Yesterday in a moment of lucid conversation, I told him that I had made him two batches of Jell-O, but his mom would have done that and made homemade chicken soup. I felt bad. But then I looked at my house. It's semi clean. Still not completely recovered from the wedding festivities, but I accomplished a lot yesterday afternoon in the time it would have taken to make homemade soup. I didn't feel so bad anymore. Until he told me that not only would his mom have made him soup and hovered over him all afternoon, she would have also taken him to the ER. I guess a good wife would have loved him enough to seek legitimate medical treatment.

I kindly reminded him that the results would have been the same had I taken him to the ER. Except he would have had to sit on a hard chair in the cold ER for three hours before a doctor saw him and prescribed the same Phenergan I gave him after I tucked him into his comfy couch and handed him the remote and forced liquids all day. Maybe I should charge extra for my superior customer service. Do you think his insurance would cover that?

In Sickness and In Health

Blondie and I just returned from our honeymoon yesterday afternoon. We decided to get married the weekend before fall break so we could have the long fall break weekend for a little trip. Since we had gone to California in June and Blondie doesn't get many days off during the school year, we decided to go to Tulsa for the weekend. It's not too far away, so we didn't spend a large chunk of our vacation time on the road and it's just out-of-the-way enough that neither of us had ever really been there. We had been through there many times, but it had never been a destination.

We left on Wednesday afternoon and made it to Tulsa in time for dinner at McNellie's. They have $3 burgers on Wednesday night, so I took advantage of the special deal. Blondie had the Landlord's Cottage Pie, their version of Shepherd's Pie. The food there was good and the atmosphere was fun.

After we returned to our hotel, I started feeling a migraine coming on (yes, it was a legitimate headache...I wasn't trying to get out of anything), so we went to a nearby Walgreen's to get some painkillers. While we were shopping for pills, there was a pharmacist standing nearby, so we asked her what she recommended. She suggested that I try BC Powder mixed with a glass of Coke. I hate Coke, but she said Dr. Pepper would be fine too. I wanted to see how the BC Powder worked without additional caffeine, so I just mixed it with tap water. This resulted in a grainy texture which was difficult to drink. Blondie made me drink the whole thing...and soon regretted it.

I don't throw up. I can count on one hand the throwing up incidents in my life. Well. Maybe two hands now. I won't go into detail; I'll just say that I threw up. On my honeymoon. In a hotel room. And Blondie is a good husband.

Thursday was better. We went to eat breakfast at the Blue Dome Diner and enjoyed a walking tour of the historical downtown buildings. We had planned to eat dinner at Elote because the Elote Luchador Wrestling Federation competes there on Thursday evenings. We thought it would be a fun experience to see the competition, but we had just missed the end of the season. Since there would be no wrestling that evening, we just ate lunch there instead. That was the best food of our entire trip. We had white queso with salsa and chips, I had a chicken burrito, and Blondie had a beef burrito. Everything in their food is fresh and organic, so the mood of the restaurant is unlike any Mexican restaurant we had ever been to--I'm pretty sure there's no lard used there. While we were downtown on Thursday we also enjoyed some interesting shops and wished we could have tried more of the restaurants.

On Friday we toured the historic Philbrook Museum of Art. This museum was formerly the private residence of oil baron Waite Phillips and his family, but was later donated to the City of Tulsa. My favorite part of the museum was the garden, where there were both formal and informal areas. While we were there I ran into an old friend from college, who I hadn't seen in at least six years. After visiting the museum, we enjoyed a picnic lunch at Woodward Park and finished just before it rained. Later that evening we ate dinner at Full Moon Cafe, where the food is average, but the entertainment is excellent. On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings they have a "Dueling Piano" show. We thought the show started at 8:00, so we got there around 7:45 for dinner. After we looked at the menu, though, we found out that the show didn't start until 9:00. We ate slowly and ordered dessert. The wait was worth it. The show was a lot of fun!

We visited the Gilcrease Museum on Saturday. It started as Thomas Gilcrease's personal collection of American art and artifacts and has grown to more than 10,000 works, the largest collection of western American art ever assembled. That evening we ate dinner at Kilkenny's, another Irish pub. We were glad we went to McNellie's first because this place was even better. The atmosphere was loud, but not obnoxious and the food was excellent. Since it is October, they had a special Oktoberfest menu, so we had German cuisine instead of Irish. Blondie had a pork shank stew and I had beef goulash. Both were interesting and different. We agreed that we liked both dishes even though they were not what we expected and not how we would have prepared them.

Things started going downhill on Saturday night. Poor Blondie started feeling puny and ended up throwing up a few times throughout the night. He wasn't feeling any better on Sunday, and I'm sure the car ride home didn't help. I got pretty good at stopping quickly on the Interstate. When we got home he took some Phenergan that he had from a previous trip to the ER for nausea. He drank Gatorade and ate Jell-O all afternoon and was feeling better until the Phenergan started wearing off. He didn't go to school today, and I hope he is feeling better by the time I get home. I left him some more Jell-O and chicken noodle soup. If that doesn't make him feel better, I'm out of tricks.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Bird Interruption



I forgot to bring my book to work with me yesterday. This meant that I had to kill an hour because I can't stand spending my lunch hour at my desk. It reminds me too much of work. So I decided to have lunch at Sonic, where I could spend my hour in uninterrupted peace.
Unfortunately, my peace was interrupted. A bird decided to join me for lunch. I hate birds. They are creepy, and flea-y, and bouncy, and fluttery (in a bad way). They are just icky.
This bird happily hopped all over the menu board, completely distracting me from my corn dog and forcing my to roll up my window in fear of him diving through to really freak me out. I cracked the window a tiny little bit just to take a photo.
I cut my time at Sonic short and headed to Stage, where I found no peace, no good deals, no cute shoes, and no birds.
After the bird incident, remembering to bring my book was not a problem this morning.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Wedding Day

Today is the big day! I'm so very excited. All of the decorating went perfectly yesterday, the rehearsal went smoothly, and the rehearsal dinner was a success. I just got back from getting my wedding hairdo this morning and the countdown begins!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Wedding Decorations and Roadkill

I took off work today and tomorrow to give me plenty of time to get all of the decorating done for the wedding at a stress-free pace. Unfortunately, my plans got changed just slightly.

Yesterday afternoon I found out that there will be a funeral at the church tomorrow morning, with a luncheon for the family afterward. I had originally planned to get most of the decorating done today so we could just put on the finishing touches and relax tomorrow, but no such luck. As it turns out, we will have approximately three hours to decorate before the rehearsal is scheduled to begin. I have a feeling we might be coming back to the church after the rehearsal dinner to finish up.

I'm willing to work around the funeral; there's not much that could be done about it, after all. I'm just thankful that it was no one in either of our families who passed away. To make things go more smoothly tomorrow, Julie and I took most of the wedding stuff to the church today and stored it there so it would be ready when we are able to start working.

On our way to and from the church, we met the truck that paints lines on the highways. The church is only a few blocks from my house, so we encountered it several times. On one of our trips, we saw that the truck had brilliantly painted over roadkill. I couldn't pass up the photo opportunity:


I hope to have some less disgusting photos to post next week!

In addition to carting all of the wedding paraphernalia to the church today, we went to town to get some things at Wal Mart and run some other errands. I got to pick up Blondie's ring from the jeweler and I had my ring cleaned so it will sparkle at the wedding on Saturday. The fact that Blondie will actually be living at my house has finally settled in. Today at Wal Mart, I bought Cheerios and raisins. Those are two things I would never purchase for myself.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Wedding Cakes

Since Julie is practically an expert cake decorator, we had planned for her to make the cake for my wedding. However, after we realized how much other stuff there would be to do that day, we decided it would probably be better if someone else made the fancy cake.


I have a friend from work who has made several birthday cakes for her kids as a hobby, but had never done any "professional" cake decorating. I thought that if she can create a cake shaped like Yoda, she could probably handle a simple, three-layer wedding cake. She is nervous, but I am confident her cake will be beautiful.

Julie and I did make all of the sheet cakes for the wedding reception. The cake Tiffany is making won't serve all of our guests, so we are going to have sheet cakes to be served after the fancy cake runs out. I baked 20 cakes on Saturday! I started baking cakes at about 8:00 am, then after her race, Julie came over to frost them. We finished by about 5:30. It was a long day, but we accomplished a lot! We used 20 cake mixes, 5 dozen eggs, 48 ounces of canola oil, four cups of Crisco, eight sticks of butter, six cups of cocoa, eight teaspoons of vanilla, 32 cups of powdered sugar, and however much milk it took to achieve the right frosting consistency.

I baked two cakes at a time I had already had several done when Julie arrived, so once she got there, they were ready to be frosted. According to Julie's cake decorating teacher, if you remove a cake from the oven and immediately put it in the freezer, it will be moister. I cleared out enough space in my kitchen freezer to store two cakes, so they went straight from the oven to the freezer. Then, after they cooled a bit, I dumped them out onto cake boards and moved them to the big freezer in the garage.


We had a pretty nifty assembly line going. My mixer was set up on the bar for mixing up the cake batter, and Julie's was set up in the corner for mixing frosting. Julie made the first batch of frosting while I mixed cake batter. Then, she got to work frosting the cakes I had stored in the freezer.


After all of the cakes were baked, I started helping Julie frost cakes. I would smear the frosting on to get them covered, then she would smooth it out and make them look presentable. We didn't ruin any, so we have 20 frosted cakes ready to be served at the wedding! Of course, neither of us has enough freezer space to store 20 cakes, so there are eight stored in my freezer, eight stored in Julie's freezer, and four stored in our mom's freezer.

I have decided I don't ever want to work in a bakery. It's a lot of work. Baking cakes isn't really all that bad, but mixing up all of that frosting is a huge mess! However, my house did smell very lovely for a couple of days, and every time you opened the refrigerator, you would get a little whiff of the chocolate cakes stored in the freezer next to it.

Monday, October 11, 2010

I Am the Champion!


That's me! #161. I haven't been labeled with a number involving sports since the 6th grade. Even then I was chosen last. I'm going to start signing everything "Julie K. #161" like everyone signed my yearbook in high school. If you'd like, you can even start referring to me as "161". I am willing to answer to it.

C. and I were in a 5k race on Saturday. Before we were even invited to be on our bank's team, I had been jogging on an almost daily basis, just to avoid that jiggly feeling that comes after sitting on the couch too much. I was fairly diligent about practicing, not because I cared about finishing in a good standing, but more because I didn't want to embarrass myself by passing out halfway through the race. I didn't really care how well I finished, I just wanted to make it across the finish line. After we were asked to be on the team, C. started jogging a few times a week to get in shape for the race. His daily work prevents him from having that jiggly problem. I think he secretly wanted to be the first one to cross the finish line, pumping his fists in victory as his chest broke the finish line tape.

I went into it with two goals:
1. Finish in 35 minutes (I know that's nothing special, but I like to set realistic goals)
2. Run across the finish line (as opposed to dragging myself across, wheezing and gasping for breath)

I enjoyed jogging in the race. The course was fairly flat, which is extremely unlike the path I am used to taking. My daily path is a fairly steep hill for the first half, then downhill for the second half. That hill really wears me out! On a normal hilly day, I take quite a few breaks to walk, but I managed to jog a good portion of the course on Saturday. Maybe I just didn't want to damage my pride by walking when everyone else seemed to be running. I especially looked forward to the halfway point where there was a water table. I wanted to be one of those cool marathon runners that splashed water in my face, then threw my cup into the nearest yard. Since I'm not a cool marathon runner, I slowed to a walk to take water from one of the nice ladies, took a few sips, then politely sat it on the curb not far from where the water stand was. My proudest moment was passing three people in the last few blocks of the race. That was super fun. I deemed myself the winner at that point.

I was very pleased with both of our results. They give you two times, one is your "gun" time which means your time starts when the gun goes off at the beginning of the race. The second is your "chip" time, this one starts when the little plastic chip that is attached to your shoe crosses the start line. We were pretty far back in the crowd at the beginning of the race, and it me 10 seconds to cross the start line after the gun, which means my chip time is shorter. I prefer to say that I finished the race in 34 minutes, 39 seconds (as opposed to the 34 minutes, 49 second gun time that decided the official results). They divided the women and the men, and of 101 women, I placed 35th. They also divided us by age group. In my 20-35 age group, I was 14 out of 41.

C. is a punk. I don't like racing against him. He went jogging maybe ten times to prepare for this. Maybe 10. He finished the whole stinkin' thing in 27 minutes and 49 seconds. He was the 32nd man to finish out of the 65 who raced. And the was 9th of the 18 in his age group. Next time I'm in a race I have decided that he can't come.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Furniture

Blondie decided a while back that sometime before he moves in we would need to get my carpets steam cleaned to eradicate every last trace of my precious/filthy cat. I found a guy who does steam cleaning and scheduled an appointment. Fortunately, he was able to come the day I left for San Antonio so I wouldn't be there when the carpet was drying. However, that meant we needed to move all of the furniture sometime before that. No problem. Except we don't have any free time!

We needed to move everything--and I mean everything--from the smallest end tables to my two-ton entertainment center so the steam cleaning guy could get to every nook and cranny. Thankfully, Blondie's dad came to help us move the heavy stuff the first time and I was so proud of them for not breaking anything!

We moved everything on a Thursday because in the next few days our schedule was packed: homecoming football game on Friday, personal shower and luncheon on Saturday, shower at church on Sunday, then leaving for San Antonio on Monday. The next weekend I was just returning from San Antonio on Saturday and I honestly can't remember what I did on Sunday because there's nothing written on my calendar. Maybe I slept.

The initial move was two weeks ago! Blondie and I (and his brother) just moved all of my furniture back to its proper locations yesterday after living with everything stacked in the dining room for two weeks. We didn't really intend for all of the furniture to remain piled in a huge mess for that long; we just didn't have time to move it back!

I'm so glad everything is back to normal! Stuff is no longer stacked precariously at risk of being knocked over as I stumble through the house in the dark, feeling my way around things that aren't where they belong.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Redneck Tow Rope

My friends and I fully admit to being rednecks. But sometimes that's the only way to have fun around here! And now that we have a boat, we will most likely have lots of opportunities to look dorky, but I'm sure we will have a great time doing it!

Yesterday, I told you about our first adventure at the lake. It was a last-minute trip, which didn't allow for much preparation. We actually already own a tow rope, but most of our "boat supplies" were at our friend's house in his boat. He lives about 15 miles in the opposite direction of where we were headed, which makes it pretty inconvenient to stop and get a tow rope for the water skis.

So the boys dug around in the barn to see what they could find, and this is what they came up with:



You might not be able to tell from the lousy camera phone photo, but this is not what a normal tow rope looks like. They are usually made out of soft, squishy materials that float easily. This particular "tow rope" is made from regular Atwoods rope they found on a shelf, strung through a piece PVC pipe they cut to be the handle.
They were actually quite pleased with their rope, and even saved it to use in the future. However if I ever attempt to ski, I intend to use a rope that wasn't made for typing up random farm equipment!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The "New" Boat!

On a spring break trip to my best friend's grandparents house long, long ago, N. and I got to go go for a ride on her grandparents' boat. Despite it being horribly cold and windy, we had a great time and vowed that we would someday be "lake trash" and spend all of our free time in a boat on the lake.

Fast forward quite a few years, while C. and I were dating, and he would always declare how Sunday afternoon would be so much better if we had a boat. We have both wanted a boat for a very long time. But boats have always been very expensive, and pretty much a huge waste of money.

C. always thoroughly scours the local free classifieds, searching for good deals. He rarely finds any, until a few months ago when he saw an ad for a boat in a town nearby. He decided that this was his chance to spend his future Summer Sunday afternoons at the lake. It's not fancy, but it floats! And that's the main requirement for a boat. It needed a few minor repairs, and after what feels like ages, the boat was finally lake-ready this week. Sadly, it was the last day in September, the beginning of Fall, and just a bit too chilly for the average person to spend an evening at the lake.

C. decided that it would just be just disgraceful to park the boat in the barn, forcing it to wait through three entire seasons before taking it out and playing in the water. And not only would it be disgraceful to leave the boat in the barn, but we had been waiting years to finally have a boat.

We decided to be tough, put on a sweatshirt, and take our boat out on the water. In order to put a boat in the lake, you need two handy people: one to back the boat trailer into the water and one to drive the boat off the trailer. I am handy in neither of these activities, so we brought a friend who was incredibly helpful in acquiring this boat. And he needed to go to the lake, since his super awesome wife bought him a pair of water skis for his birthday earlier in the month. That's right, he had intentions to actually get in the water.

We had so much fun driving the boat around the lake for the first time. Our friend even managed to stand up on his water skis on his first try! I was very impressed with his skiing skills. When C. saw how much fun he was having, he decided to take a try, too. All we had was a camera phone, but we even have proof that the boys were in the water.



They decided they want to go back this weekend so they can say that they went water skiing in October. We had so much fun at the lake. I'm already looking forward to next Summer. I plan to be at the lake as much as possible!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Phone Manners

Talking on the phone is about one of my least favorite things to do. I am much more of an email kind of girl. I don't like to interrupt people by calling their phones. In fact, until recently, I almost never called anyone's cell phone unless it was a dire emergency.

When our dad got the first cell phone we had ever seen, it was very special. We grew up with a rotary phone, so any phone with buttons was neat-o. And this phone was in a bag! Mounted on his dashboard with Velcro! He needed to be able to hear it when he wasn't in the truck, so he wired it into the horn so it would honk when the phone rang. As I think about that, I wonder if it honked when the phone rang as he was driving down the road. That might be embarrassing in town. You can't really explain that to the cars in front of you at a stop light. "Oh, don't mind me, that's just my phone ringing! I wasn't suggesting that you should run that red light."

If he was working cattle or welding or building fence, he would hear the horn honk and run toward the truck. You can imagine how annoyed he would be if you called frivolously. He would drop his work and, worse yet, the honking would scare the cattle. We eventually developed a "code" of calling and letting it ring twice, then hanging up and calling again so he would know it was one of us. You can imagine the annoyance if we called just to let him know that supper would be ready at 6:00. It's not really worth dropping what you're doing to run to the truck just to find out that supper is going to be ready at the same time it's always ready.

For this reason, it is imprinted onto my soul that cell phones are for emergencies only. In fact, my dad only gave out his cell phone number to trusted family and business associates who would not abuse the privilege of knowing such sacred information. My grandma never had his cell phone number. She didn't use good judgement when determining whether something was a normal situation vs. an emergency situation.

I do realize that it's quite common to call someone's cell phone in a non-emergency situation in 2010. In fact, I know lots of people who have dropped their home phone service in favor of having only cell phones. It works for lots of folks. I'm still not a fan of cell phones, though, because I think they encourage rude behavior, but I do acknowledge that they're a fact of life.

I talk to clients on the phone a lot, and I have an unofficial policy of never calling anyone before 9:00, accounting for time zones. Personally, I think any decent human, especially someone with professional aspirations, should be awake by 9:00 on a weekday morning. I realize that's a pretty general assumption, but it seems like a fairly reasonable time to me. I also try to avoid calling people after 9:00 pm. People with children cringe when the phone rings just after they have put the kids to bed.

I try to be considerate when using the phone, and I would appreciate the same courtesy in return. However, I have learned that is rare. Today I called a professional acquaintance to discuss a legitimate business matter, and left her a voice mail. Thus, I assumed she would call me back at her convenience. Ahhh...I love voice mail! I don't actually have to talk to anyone, and they still know what I needed to tell them. Perfect!

She called me back immediately thereafter, but pretty much ignored me the entire time we were on the phone. Apparently she was just getting out of her car at her house, had just reached the front door and a potential garage sale customer arrived. The garage sale isn't today; the customer just wanted a preview. At the same time, this acquaintance was trying to let her dogs outside and found that a relative had made an unannounced visit and was waiting for her inside. I was the fourth person she was trying to communicate with at one time. That's not going to work. Don't call me back unless you can actually talk to me! It's one thing if I interrupt your family dinner and you answer the phone, but it's another thing completely if you call me while you're distracted.

Speaking of interrupting your family dinner with a phone call, if your children are screaming, your dogs are barking, you're eating dinner, and trying talk to me at the same time, you're not focused enough on any one thing to accomplish anything. It's rude, ineffective, and stressful. If you can't talk, don't answer the phone. Also, if someone else calls while we're talking and you would rather talk to them, don't put me on hold. Just tell me you have to go. We'll talk later.