Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Note of Thanks

I realized, after I wrote my last post about the new blog template, that I forgot to give props to its designer. Matie Kay Creations has quite a few really nice-looking templates, and instructions on how to install them. For HTML-challenged bloggers (like me), the instructions are a huge help. Thanks!

Monday, December 29, 2008

This is What Happens When I Have Free Time

When I started this blog last summer, I made a vow that I would not use any pre-made templates or graphics. It would be my work, all the way. My "work," which consisted of a plain white background and a header that looked crummy, even though it took me a week to make it. When I signed in to the blog to check comments this morning, it just looked...shabby. Tired. Boring.

Looking at my boring blog made me think about my own wardrobe, and how much I love clothes. I love to dress up. I wear heels that would make a podiatrist flinch. Now, even though I have a sewing machine and the (rudimentary) skills to use it, I would never limit myself to wearing only clothes that I had made. So why was I limiting my blog to "wearing" only designs that I made?

Following that little epiphany, I decided to give my blog a makeover. I spent the morning looking at free blog templates and winnowing my choices down to a couple of decent ones. (I know; I could get a custom template, but "free" was a critical component here.) The early part of the afternoon was devoted to applying the template, futzing with all the settings, and trying to figure out some basic HTML editing. So far, I'm moderately pleased with the results.

I would still like to make a custom avatar or button or whatever you call that little thingy that can appear next to your profile information. Most of the bloggers I read have a photo of themselves, but I am just NOT into pictures of me. (They're all dreadful.) That will be my next project. For now, I have given myself a headache, and I believe I will lie on the sofa and watch Deadliest Catch.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

By Request

The praline cheesecake recipe:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 2 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • 3 8-oz packages cream cheese, softened
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl, combine flour, 2/3 cup chopped pecans, and powdered sugar. Stir in melted butter.

2. Press mixture onto bottom of 13x9 baking pan. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until crust is set and lightly browned around edges.

3. Meanwhile, in large bowl, beat cream cheese with electric mixer on low to medium speed until smooth. Add eggs; beat well. Beat in sweetened condensed milk, granulated sugar, and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Pour mixture over crust. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until set. Cool in pan on wire rack.

4. For topping: in medium saucepan, combine brown sugar and whipping cream. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture boils; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

5. Stir in 1 cup chopped pecans and 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla. Pour topping over cheesecake. Cover and chill for 2 to 24 hours. Cut into small bars.

The cookbook says to cut these really small, because they're so rich, but where's the fun in that? There's no dessert too rich for me--I cut mine into slabs. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas 2008 Roundup

It's over. All the gifts are opened. The relatives have been visited. The food has been eaten (or divided up and parceled out for leftovers, at least). Despite the exhaustion, it was a really good day, so I've decided to share some highlights:

My Family Behaved
Some of my family members (well, most of them) are known for their rather contentious personalities. They usually have at least one major dust-up during the holiday season. This year's came on Tuesday. I was not at all sure that it wouldn't continue today, but everyone behaved beautifully. We had a great dinner, and I laughed so much my face hurt.

The Husband Did a Beautiful Thing
My husband is an amateur photographer, and I think (no bias or anything) that he's pretty good. When we were with his family on Thanksgiving, he secretly took some photos of his brother's newborn daughter. He stayed up until 1 am this morning working on the photo, which was a tight close-up of her sweet little sleeping face, tinted in a really soft black and white. He printed it at 11x14, put it in a nice frame, and it was just beautiful. I could tell that Husband's brother and his wife were really touched. It was a nice moment.

We Have New Dog Toys
We love our dogs very much, but we don't really go overboard with "spoiling" them. They have sensitive tummies, so they don't get many varieties of treats. We don't give them new toys very often, because they can play happily with the shredded remnants of a toy for months. We have new toys for tonight, though. I think it's more fun for us than it is for the dogs.

Good Stuff to Watch
I got a boatload of good DVDS, not the least of which was TWO collections of Dirty Jobs episodes. That's hours and hours of Mike Rowe, to enjoy at my leisure. 'Nuff said.

Praline Cheesecake
I made the cheesecake, so I don't want to appear immodest. I think it's just a REALLY good recipe. This cheesecake is so awesome that I wanted to eat another piece, even though I felt like Monsieur Creosote already. I have leftovers, and it's probably a bad thing for me to be so excited about them.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! I need to go wake the Husband up so that New Dog Toy Funtime can begin. Makes me wish we had a video camera.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

All I Want for Christmas is Some Nyquil and a Hot Bath

Ol' St. Nick has apparently decided that I needed a cold for Christmas. I hardly ever get sick, but when I do, it's always at the least opportune time. (Although there isn't really a good time to be sick, I guess.) Not only do we have the Christmas marathon to get through, but I didn't take any time off work this year. So, come Friday morn, it's back to the office for me. I asked myself this morning, when I awoke feeling crummy, why Santa would give me the physical equivalent of a giant lump of coal this year. And I think I've figured out the answer.

First, some backstory. I was a giant know-it-all when I was a kid. My mom had to explain to me, when I was about eight, that grown-ups didn't really like it when little girls corrected their grammar. If I knew something, I was going to tell you about it in great detail--and you were going to listen. It made me particularly happy to tell someone something they didn't know.

On Christmas Eve, 1976, my mom came home late from a party. She tiptoed into the room where I had climbed in bed with my grandmother to wait for Santa. Since I was quite proficient at faking sleep, she felt free to converse with Granny. And what did she say, you might be wondering? She said, "Where did we put the rest of the toys? We need to get all this stuff out so we can go to bed."

My little six-year-old mind was reeling. I had heard rumors, of course, that Santa wasn't real, but my faith was still pretty strong up to that point. But there it was: clear evidence that the whole thing was a hoax. I wasn't particularly sad (since I knew that I was still getting presents anyway), but I knew that I would explode if I didn't get to share the big news with someone, and soon.

Well, that "someone" was my two older cousins. I told them the next day when we went over to their house for Christmas dinner. They were both still firm believers, and I had to repeat what my mom said several times in order for it to sink in. You know what the worst part of the story is? It's not that I disavowed two of my family members of their notions of Santa--it's that I was filled with unholy glee at the prospect of sharing the information. That was kind of evil.

Now I'm not so sure that he's fake, though. I think he may actually be real, and he's paying me back for the Christmas of 1976. He decided not to keep the walking doll that I got that year (she was awesome!), but instead waited patiently, for 32 years, to exact his revenge. So, despite the jolly image and all the good press, it seems that he might have a bit of an evil streak, too.

Have a Merry Christmas, everyone! I'll be over here snuffling, hacking, downing cough medicine, and trying not to breathe on anyone.

Monday, December 22, 2008

A "Dear Dog" Letter

Dear Patches,

You know you're my little buddy. I let you sleep on my bed (and my lap); put your paws on the laptop trackpad AND the big-screen TV; tear around the house barking like a mad dog for no reason; jump on your sister's head to the point that she probably has brain damage; and sit under the kitchen table staring at me while I eat. It's pretty clear that your humans are crazy about you. But here's the thing: you barfed and/or asked to go outside SIX TIMES last night.

Don't get me wrong--I am sorry that your tummy was upset. But you are somewhat prone to "dietary indiscretions" as the vet calls them. When you eat things off the kitchen floor, and grass from the back yard, you have to expect that it's going to throw things off a bit, gut-wise. So please, for the next few days, refrain from eating things that aren't food, okay?

See, buddy, your humans need all the sleep they can get right now. They are right smack in the middle of the busiest season of the year. For weeks, they've been visiting, shopping, wrapping, cooking, performing in various productions, attending extra church services, and generally running themselves ragged. (In addition to their regular full-time jobs and household chores.) In three days, they are expected to attend another marathon round of visits, including several large meals. All the gifts must be wrapped, food must be prepared, and--this is the really tough part--your humans are supposed to be merry. It's really hard to be merry on three hours' sleep.

In conclusion, my furry little fella, I will repeat my request that you try to keep your wits about you when it comes to eating. Here's a good rule of thumb: if it's not in your food dish, don't eat it! That will make things much easier on all of us. No one wants your humans to be zombies on Christmas.

UPDATE: It hasn't even been 12 hours since I wrote this, and the Husband just found Patches eating the plastic wrapper from a slice of cheese. We have no idea where he found it. I'm starting to think that the dogs have developed really dexterous paws, and they're raiding the fridge the minute our backs are turned.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Do You Keep Your Blog Secret?

As I've written here before, I keep up with a fair number of blogs on a regular basis. Some of them are huge, with a massive readership; a couple are family blogs written by personal friends. As I was commenting on some blogs today, I started wondering: do most people tell their family members and "real world" friends about their blogs?

My husband knows that I have a blog, and he is free to read it anytime. I haven't, however, told any of my family members about it, and I don't plan to in the future. Some of my co-workers know, but they have never asked to see it, and I'm fine with that. None of my church friends know about my blog, nor does my closest buddy; the only friends who have ever read it are a couple of former co-workers whose blogs I follow.

I think I've figured out why I like "hiding" my blog. Writing gives me an opportunity to sort through some of the things that bug me (hopefully in a humorous fashion), and sometimes that includes family members or co-workers. It's like having someone to talk to who is completely objective. I like that. It's kind of therapeutic.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Challenging Some of the Conventions of the Holiday Season

Eleven days until Christmas. I'm not a total Grinch, but I don't really get too over-the-top about the Christmas season, either. I love the quiet side of the holiday, and the spiritual aspects: singing carols, candlelight services at church, enjoying the tree and the lights and a nice fire. It's the other stuff that gets to me...constant rushing, pot-luck lunches, family arguments, over-sugared shrieking kids, more family arguments, etc. And there are several other things that, even though they have become irrevocably bound to the Christmas tradition, still bug the heck out of me.

Sexy Mrs. Santa Outfits

You know, this just doesn't make sense to me. I've never pretended to understand men, but I can't even begin to imagine why a guy would want his lady friend to dress up like Santa's wife. For me, these outfits conjure up a couple of possible scenarios, and neither of them is very appetizing. Are we supposed to see Mrs. Claus as a vixen-ish, Desperate Housewives-type, just waiting for Santa to leave town on Christmas eve so that she can hook up with the sleigh repairman? Or should this kind of outfit lead us to believe that Santa and the Mrs. are both swingers, and he just puts on the jolly-old-elf persona for Christmas? Are all the elves traumatized by the things they've seen through the windows on the way to the workshop? Either way: ewwww. I prefer the traditional, matronly Mrs. Claus, with a stout figure, rosy cheeks, long dress, and housecap...and without visible cleavage.

Chestnuts Roasting

Oh, I'm not opposed to the song--it's beautiful. (Particularly the Nat King Cole version.) It's the actual chestnuts roasting that I have a problem with. I have a Turkish co-worker who travels home a couple of times a year. After each trip, she brings big bags of chestnuts in to the office and proceeds to roast them, not on an open fire, but on the stove burners in our breakroom. It stinks. Maybe it's because we're missing the whole open-fire thing, but one bag of chestnuts can funk up the office for days. I'm not one of those people who is super-sensitive to smells, but this odor is strong enough to make me nauseous. I propose that we keep the pretty song, but change that line to evoke an image that's not quite so smelly.

"A Christmas Carol"

I know it's Dickens, it's a classic...I don't care. I don't like it. The first time I read this story, I was probably in third or fourth grade. I was a pretty soft-hearted child, and the pathos of Tiny Tim was nearly too much for me. And then, just as I'm trying to deal with the thought of this poor, cold, lame, hungry kid whose dad has to work for a total jerk, you're gonna throw ghosts into the mix and scare the bejesus out of me, too?!? Thanks a lot, Mr. Dickens. I might be willing to make an exception for the Patrick Stewart version, though, because I love his voice and I think he's kind of hot.

"Twas the Night Before Christmas"

I actually love the poem itself. I get a warm fuzzy every time I hear it. But it brings back bad memories, too. Have you seen the commercial where the little girl is agonizing over trying to learn all the reindeer names for her Christmas pageant? That was me, Christmas 1978, except that my teacher decided I should recite the whole poem. I was a basket case for weeks--I said it in my head, over and over, all the time. I can't remember a single thing about that pageant, other than how hard my knees shook, and how sweaty my palms were. That, and the incredible sense of relief I felt when I finished my recitation. That was a lot of stress for an eight-year-old, and it was just pure luck that I didn't wet my pants from nervousness. If elementary school kids still recite "Twas the Night Before Christmas," teachers may want to consider breaking it up into manageable chunks. It could keep some poor kid from having a breakdown.

These are a few of my least favorite things, as the song (sort of) goes. Feel free to add any of your least favorite Christmas traditions in the comments, if you like. Grinch-itude is always welcome here.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Friday Random

So, I'm still alive. I just haven't felt very inclined to post anything, for a number of reasons. The Christmas season busy-ness has kicked into high gear, for one thing, and I have a ton of things to do (as does everyone else, I know). Also, there have been some changes at my job, none of which were pleasant, and they have left me more stressed and drained by work than I have been in years--I was asleep by 9 pm on at least three nights this past week. But I thought I would take a minute and post some of the tidbits that have been rattling around my head these past few days.

  • Normally, we have most (if not all) of our Christmas shopping finished by Thanksgiving. Not this year! We have completed exactly one (1) person's gift as of today. So I will be venturing out bright and early tomorrow morning with my shopping-hating, crowd-loathing, traffic-cussing, impatient Husband. TO DO ALL OF OUR SHOPPING IN ONE FREAKIN' DAY. We're going here. It will be a true Christmas miracle if we don't kill each other.
  • I am supposed to be in a living Nativity scene at church this weekend. Can I tell you how grateful I am that the forecast calls for temperatures in the 40s and 50s? We have been suffering through below-average temps for weeks, and I was not looking forward to wearing all of my clothing at once, under my angel robe and wings.
  • I've never had a dream about blogging, until last night. And it wasn't even my own blog! I've written several times about JD at I Do Things So You Don't Have to, and how I can always count on her blog to crack me up. Well, last night I dreamed that JD posted a "video riddle." It consisted of three YouTube videos. One was of George Michael in the 80s, singing "Father Figure". One was George Michael today, singing a new song, and wearing his hair in a little top-of-the-head ponytail like Tom Cruise had in The Last Samurai. The other video featured a group of Japanese teenagers who dress up like bats (!) and do a song-and-dance number. In this dreamworld blog post, JD wrote that anyone who could figure out the video riddle would win a prize. I had been working on the riddle for some time, watching the three videos over and over, and I neeearly had the answer...when I was abruptly awakened by a series of rafter-shattering barks. (Patches decided he just HAD to go out and poop at 3:40 am. Thanks, buddy.) I guess I'll never know the answer to the riddle now. Also, I probably should mention that I do not drink very often or very much; the only pharmaceutical I had in my system at the time was Tylenol PM, and only one of those. I just have incredibly weird, vivid dreams when I sleep on my back.
Now that everyone has conclusive proof that I'm nuts, I guess I should get back to the million and one things I have to do. If you live in the area and hear a news story about a couple who got arrested for assaulting each other at a shopping center, it may be us.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Lord, Please Save Me from the Pies...

I am at home, completely alone, with these:

Two warm, fresh-from-the-oven, HOMEMADE pumpkin pies. Oh, yeah. No Sara Lee pies for me, baby...it's homemade all the way. (Except for the crust, because I don't know how to make scratch piecrust.)

Oh, and I've eaten about a quarter of this, just trying to get it into the container:

The Husband and I both love homemade cranberry sauce, but both of our families prefer the serve-in-the-shape-of-the-can, jelly kind. So, I cooked up a batch of the good stuff for us to have with our leftovers. I could eat the whole thing in one sitting.

We don't host Thanksgiving dinner, so my work is pretty much done. I have to make a corn pudding tomorrow morning, and then just concentrate on trying not to eat so much that I become ill. My office had a breakfast potluck on Monday, and I'm still feeling the effects of it. That + two huge meals tomorrow = BLEURGH. I'll probably be rolling around on my bed in misery by this time tomorrow.

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday...try to be nice to all the family members, keep the Rolaids handy, and remember that we have a month to lose all the weight we gain tomorrow, before the Christmas portion of the Eating Season. Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Paradigm Shift in Household Chores

A few days ago, JD at I Do Things So You Don't Have To wrote a post about a visit to her mechanic. (Hilarious, as always.) Many of the commenters, including me, were women who noted that they would prefer that their husbands take care of anything involving cars. That blog post got me started thinking about the division of labor at my house, and the major paradigm shift we went through a couple of years ago.

When the Husband and I first moved in together, we divided the chores pretty evenly, with a few exceptions: I did not want to have anything to do with cars or repair of broken items (because I don't know what I'm doing), and killing bugs (because I'm a wuss). He complained bitterly about the bug-killing thing, particularly when I would wake him up to get rid of a spider, but he dealt with it.

When we built our house five years ago, our street was still partly un-built, and we spent the first winter waging war against mice. The Husband and I seldom argue, but we had a full-blown dustup over a dead mouse; he expected me to remove a carcass from a trap, and I refused. My reason? "You're the man. You're SUPPOSED to do things like get rid of dead mice." He didn't appreciate that answer, but he could tell I wasn't budging on touching the dead mouse, so he did it. The next winter, we were delighted to find that the mice had relocated to someone else's house, and we thought our dead-critter removal days were over. Boy, were we wrong.

Shortly after we moved into our house, we adopted two male Cocker Spaniels. They are great dogs, but they proved utterly useless in the Great Mouse War of '05. They would just sit and watch the mice run across the floor, cocking their heads, while I was screaming and freaking out, knowing that the verminous little monsters were going to poop in my cabinets. When we adopted Abby from the shelter in the fall of 2006, we assumed she had the same disinterest in critters that the first two dogs displayed. Boy, were we REALLY wrong.

You see, Abby only looks like a cute, spotty, little nose-kissing sweetheart; she's actually a cold-blooded killer. She started out with birds, mice, and moles in the backyard. Each time she killed something, I would have a fit and call the Husband to dispose of the carcass. And each time, he would get angrier at me for refusing to dispose of the carcass. Then came the Day of the Rabbit.

It was a weekday. I had gone home on my lunch hour, as usual, to let the dogs out and give them fresh water. When I let them out, I noticed that they all ran to the same spot in the yard, barking furiously. Never a good sign. I stepped out onto the patio and saw that they were chasing a rabbit. I was well aware of Abby's prowess at killing (she can snatch birds on the wing, if they are flying low), but I never dreamed that she would be able to catch a rabbit..until I saw the way she was pursuing it. While the boys were simply running around and around after the bunny, Abby was crossing its path, making tighter circles with each pass. I started to have a really bad feeling about Mr. Bunny and his chances of getting out of my yard alive. I tried to call Abby off, but she was completely focused--and then--POUNCE! And SHAKE!! And bye-bye, bunny.

You need to understand at this point that I absolutely love animals. I cried like a baby once when I ran over a bird, even though I'm terrified of birds and don't want them anywhere near me. So, the thought of the dead little rabbit in my back yard broke my heart. And freaked me out, when I realized that someone was going to have to get rid of it. I called the husband at work (in another city, 40 minutes away), bawling. Here's a rough transcript of that conversation (keep in mind, I'm sobbing the whole time):

Husband: Okay, Abby killed a rabbit. I'm at work--what do you want me to do about it?
Me: I don't know.
Husband: I can't drive all the way home just to pick up a dead rabbit.
Me: Are you sure?
Husband: Are you crazy?
Me (sobbing even harder): I don't think I can do it.
Husband (annoyed): You have to. The dogs can't go out again until the rabbit is taken care of.
Me: (sob)
Husband: You're going to have to get a grip. Stop crying, get a couple of grocery bags, and go out there and pick up the rabbit. Tie the bags closed; throw them in the Herbie; go in and wash your hands; and call me when you get back to work. I love you. Bye.
Me: (sob)

It was awful, but I followed his instructions. And since then, I seem to have gotten...braver, somehow. Abby has continued to kill things, and I have cleaned up dozens of carcasses, without crying. (Except for the bird that she swallowed whole, which is a blog post in itself). At some point, I decided that, if I could clean up carcasses, I could kill bugs, too. Imagine the Husband's surprise when he asked me (following a series of thumps and bangs in the kitchen) what I was doing, and I answered, "Killing a spider." I've even killed a couple of really big ones! I'm kind of proud of myself, to be honest. But I still refuse to have anything to do with the car, except for driving it. A girl can only take so much.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Sir Dance-A-Lot is on Fire!

Woohoo! Go, Lance! He and Lacey TOTALLY kicked butt tonight, including Brooke's. Both of their dances were great--technically correct, and full of fun. It was so cool for him, particularly because his grandpa was in the audience. I will be REALLY surprised if he doesn't make it to the semifinals.

(Sorry. It's almost over..and I'm aware that I have a problem. It's just so much fun to watch.)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Um...Am I Supposed to be Doing Something?

It's going to be a busy week, so I thought I should sneak in a quick blog post while I have a minute. Our drama team at church is putting on a play next Sunday, and I have been assigned with preparing some photos and a PowerPoint presentation to run along with the play. It's not difficult stuff, just time-consuming, so my evenings will be busy. There was something else I needed to do for the play...what was it again?

Oh, that's right. I need to LEARN. MY. LINES. The play is in six days, and I have no idea what my lines are, even though there are only five of them. Yep, five lines, and I can't learn them to save my life. Each time they come up in the script, it's like I'm hearing them for the very first time. What happened to my memory, anyway?

When I was young, I had a near-photographic memory. I was actually accused of cheating on a history test once because my answer was phrased exactly the same as the text in the book. The teacher didn't believe me at first when I told him that I remembered things based on how they look, and I could "see" the text printed on the page in my memory. (He eventually let it go, although I don't think he ever trusted me after that.) It was great--I didn't have to write myself notes, make lists, etc., I just remembered. Everything.

Unfortunately, I kind of went a little nuts in my 20s, and killed a ton of my brain cells. I didn't notice the effect right away; everything still seemed to be working okay, until the past couple of years. Now, in my late 30s, some parts of my memory are still fine: song lyrics, birthdays of people I haven't seen since the 80s, those types of things are all still there. Important things, however, are gone. I have to write myself notes for everything, and I can't even remember five stinkin' lines for a play.

Luckily, lots of the other folks on the drama team have memory problems, too, so they are pros in the art of cheat-sheet-concealment. After discussing my problem with them at practice on Saturday, I think I have a plan. Since I can't trust my faulty memory (especially in a high-pressure situation), I'm going to copy all of my pages really small and tuck them in the sleeve of my costume. Ta-da! No more worries about embarrassing myself in front of a couple hundred people by forgetting what I am supposed to say! I just have to remember to write myself a note so I won't forget to put on the costume.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

My REAL Laptop

For my birthday in August, I received the gift of wireless Internet access from my wonderful, generous aunt. The same wonderful aunt who, several months ago, had also given me her old laptop when she got a new one. My plan, all along, was to have everything set up so that I could start a blog; I wanted to write in the evenings from the comfort of the couch, and still be able to watch TV. (My desktop computer is upstairs, away from the TV, the kitchen, and the door that the dogs want to go out of every few minutes.) My lovely Husband, who is also a Computer Guy, set it all up for me and it works like a charm.

You know there has to be problem, though, or I wouldn't be writing about it. The problem? My REAL laptop is not a computer at all. It is a 35-pound, buff-colored Cocker Spaniel, who believes that my lap was created for the sole purpose of providing him with a napping spot. Every evening, whether I'm using the computer or not, he stretches out across my belly, and will not move. For anything. I'm actually typing this AROUND the rotten mutt, and he has the audacity to bat my hand away from the touchpad with his paw every few minutes, because it is too close to his whiskers. People who don't have pets (and maybe some who do) probably wonder why I put up with it.

Here's why:

I just can't resist his little face, that's all. And he totally knows I'm a sucker.

Oh, there are also two more dogs, and I'm a sucker for them, too. So, if I don't write a blog post for a few days, it's not because I don't have anything to say. It's just that all three of them are on my lap, and there's no room for the computer.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Exhibit #4,876 in My Case Against Bugs

So, I had to go to a nearby small town today for a meeting. The meeting was completely pointless, and a waste of time and gas, but at least the scenery on the way back to my office is really pretty. I had good music playing, and I was all set for a nice drive back--until I felt a tickle on my leg. It was a SPIDER! On my leg!! And I was in heavy traffic!!! I commenced my usual bug-flinging routine/fit, until I was pretty comfortable that I had flung it out the window. Whew. Okay, back to the music...gorgeous day...beautiful leaves...AAGGHH! Spider on my HAND!! More wild hand-flinging, some unintelligible ranting, and it disappeared--under my seat. At every stop on the way back, I was checking under my seat (and on my arms and legs) for the cursed monster. Man, I hate bugs. And the worst part? It's still in there!

Friday, October 31, 2008

The Gym Class Chronicles, Part 2

At the end of my last gym class recollection, I had just administered my vault-routine coup de grace (although not on purpose) to a spunky student teacher. I managed to finish 8th grade gym class without any other major mishaps, but it was still far from a good experience. Let me put it this way: there was a kid in my class who had CP, and used crutches to walk. He used to get picked for teams BEFORE me. I was always the very last one. Ninth grade was blissfully free from gym class, and I was in heaven. I had a great time that year.

Imagine my dismay when I found out that gym was a requirement for sophomores! My teacher was a lecherous basketball coach whose sole goal in each class was to meet the maximum possible number of cheerleaders sitting on his lap. Since most of the junior varsity cheerleading squad was in my class, and Coach H. was therefore well-occupied, I learned the fine art of making up excuses not to "dress out" for class. While my mom was pretty strict about academic grades, she had suffered through gym classes herself, so she was usually willing to sign an excuse note. (I had a lot of "back problems" that year.) My friend Richie and I managed to dress out just enough to keep a "C" in the class; the rest of the time, we sat at the top of the bleachers and made fun of all the suckers who were down there on the floor, sweating and getting yelled at.

When I was forced to participate, it was often a nightmare, as usual. Our class was combined with another group of sophomores for most activities, and their teacher was pure, unadulterated evil, in the form of a cheerleading coach. She yelled at me, in front of the whole class, because I screwed up a complicated football play, even though I had never played (or watched, for that matter) tackle football in my life. Coach V. was vicious. Once when I presented her with my (fake) excuse note, she yelled, "You big WEENIE! My girls cheer with BROKEN ARMS!!!" Of course, I did not say what I really wanted--which would have included my opinion that most of her "girls" spent a lot of their time acting like idiots, so I wasn't too surprised that they would cheer with broken arms.

My biggest clash with Coach V. took place on the school's running track, and it involved a pole vault. Specifically, she wanted me to pole vault over a bar that appeared to be about eight feet off the ground, and, remembering the disaster of my last vault, I flatly told her no. Having mustered up the courage to refuse the pole vault, I also disabused her of the notion that I would be participating in the hurdles. Couldn't these people see that I was not only short, but fat as well? How the fudge is a short fat girl supposed to jump over anything that hits above waist-height? The laws of physics simply do not work that way.

I guess Coach V. wrote me off as a lost cause after the Track & Field unit, because she (mercifully) left me alone for the rest of the year. Toward the end of the year, I had what became my best gym class moment ever. We were working on the square dance unit, which was something I could actually do pretty well. (Do high school kids still learn square dancing, I wonder? Is it just a Kentucky thing, or do kids everywhere learn it? I thought it was lots of fun.) When the teachers matched us up with partners, they told us we would dance with the same person throughout the entire unit. I promptly ended up with a guy named Dennis, who was easily one of the ten most objectionable people I've ever met in my life. He saw that I (the fat, unpopular girl) was going to be his partner, and erupted in a stream of compliants so bitter that Coach H. finally gave in, and picked another partner for Dennis. My face burning, I hoped that my next partner would be at least a bit more gracious. I heard Coach H. say my partner's name, but I couldn't believe it until he walked over to take my hand. His name was Jeff, and he was the cutest, most popular guy in the 10th grade. I saw all the girls looking longingly in my direction, and said a silent prayer that Jeff would be as nice as he was good-looking. You know what? He was even NICER than he was good-looking...and he was really good-looking. He was sweet, friendly, funny, and unfailingly polite, and we had a great time dancing together. I doubt that he ever knew how much better he made a chubby, nerdy girl feel, just by being kind for a few weeks.

We weren't required to take gym class after sophomore year, so I was able to eliminate that little slice of hell from my life. Some people continued to take "Advanced PE" all the way through senior year, which could, I believe, serve as evidence that they were certifiably insane.

Happy Halloween...

If that's your thing. I haven't really been into it since I got past trick-or-treating age. Don't get me wrong: I don't have anything against someone else getting into Halloween. For me, since I'm extremely lazy, it just seems like too much trouble. The Husband and I aren't party people, or dressing-up people; we don't have any kids to dress up and coo over; and handing out candy with three barky dogs behind a pet gate is just torture. (For the kids, as well as me. The dogs sound so much like the Hounds of Hell that they made more than one little kid cry the last time I handed out candy.)

I know lots of people dress up their pets, but my dogs are just not the kind of animals that take well to costumes. Patches can't bear for anyone to touch his paws, and acts like we're killing him if we try to put anything on him besides his collar. Abby is way too spastic--all I have to do is hold a grooming implement, like the brush or ear wash bottle, near her, and she goes into her 10-minute rendition of what the Husband and I call the "Curly Joe Shuffle." She gets down on one side on the rug, with her ear pressed into it, and spins around as fast as she can. (It's really comical.) Sebastian believes that he is above other, mere mortal dogs, and dressing up would be completely beneath him. He's the master of the disdainful look.

So, the Husband and I will be having a quiet Halloween evening, and that's just fine with me. I'm just hoping our house doesn't get egged--we had a multiple-attack egger a few months ago, and scraping that gunk off the bricks was no picnic. Hope you enjoy whatever you have planned for Halloween!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Apparently, A Post Title is Required

I read a lot of blogs every day, and comment on most of them. Some of my favorite blogs use the CommentLuv plug-in for their comments section, which is great. It links the title of my last post along with my comment, which is a nice way to bring traffic to my blog without me having to actually pimp it too much.

I think I discovered a flaw in the CommentLuv system, however. My last post did not have a title, and, consequently, I left a series of comments at several blogs today with no link. Bummer. I'll make sure every post has a title from now on.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Well, the group dance was really cute. Lance, Warren, Lacey, Cheryl and Cody looked like they were having a blast. Lance and Cody both did a really good job. And Derek! Good Lord, that boy can dance.

I didn't know Carrie Ann was a Fly Girl. I used to watch them on In Living Color every week, wishing I could dance like that. In case you're wondering, I can't.

So much for the "live blogging" thing...it was fun, but much more time-consuming than I thought it would be. I also have three very disgusted dogs on my hands. My TV time is usually when they get to stretch out on my lap and go to sleep, and I've had the computer in my lap all night. They won't be any happier when they find out I'm getting ready to wash their ears...
9:18 pm - The lead-up to the group dance... the rehearsal footage is hilarious. It looks like so much fun! I would love to do something like that. Unfortunately, there is no part of being a 38-year-old secretary that involves dressing up in a sparkly costume and doing a hip-hop dance with a bunch of celebrities.

A random thought: does this show stockpile double-sided wardrobe tape? Kim's costume looked like it could have fallen off in about 10 different places, and there were no visible straps or anything. I'm just sayin'.
Warren's score: 25. Not bad, but Lance is still leading.
9:11 pm - Time for Warren and Kym. He continues to amaze me with how well he can move, since he's such a huge guy. He has a great attitude, too.

Nice samba, but I'm afraid the judges are going to think Warren didn't have enough to do. MF pays compliments; Carrie Ann loves the "acting" part, and so does Bruno. I didn't see the mistakes they mentioned, but I'm not a pro.
9:04 pm - Cody's samba was NICE. He has really come a long way from the first couple of weeks--they looked great. Carrie Ann loved it, Bruno is critical, Michael Flatley's so-so. That's a shame, I thought the judges would have great things to say.

And Julianne just danced with appendicitis or something--amazing! I have stayed home from work for a headache.
9:00 pm - Julianne and Cody did an incredible jitterbug last week, I'm interested to see what he comes up with this week. He was being really serious in the rehearsal footage--he must have felt bad for Julianne, since she was sick. As an aside, Julianne looks about 10 years younger without all that makeup.
8:58 pm - Cloris's score: 15. Ouch. I think this will probably be her last week.
8:48 pm - Good grief, it's Cloris and Corky. Seriously, the woman is an incredible comedienne, but the schtick has gotten really tiresome. I won't say any more about that, because I'm trying to be (mostly) kind here.

It must be kind of frightening for Corky, flinging an 82-year-old woman around like that. I would be thinking, "Okay, this is the part where she's gonna break a hip. You come to work, just like any other day, and suddenly you've killed an old lady." Corky deserves a medal.
8:40 pm - I was on the phone, so I couldn't hear the judges' comments. Mr. Flatley awarded a 10, though, so Brooke still scored 28 for the week.

I'm really looking forward to the group dance!
8:31 pm - Looks like Brooke had a mishap during last week's jitterbug. I really don't dislike her--it's just that I like Lance SO much, and I think she's pretty much locked in as the winner.

Well, of course she looks perfect, injured foot and all. She does seem to be taking it easy, though.
8:26 pm - Susan Lucci seems like a really nice person, but I just haven't been able to get into her dancing much. Everything is so...cautious. Better than I could do, certainly (particularly since I think she's over 60), but there's not much excitement there. Let's see what the judges say: good comments from Carrie Ann; criticism about timing from Bruno; nice words from Mr. Flatley. Meh. Score: 23.
8:19 pm - Bummer, no 10s...but 27 is a huge improvement from last week. Hopefully they will be safe, and I won't have to vote again. I'm sure it costs a fortune.
8:13 pm - That oughta get Lance out of his scoring slump--great job, guys!!! Bruno loves it. Michael Flatley is very complimentary. Carrie Ann loves it. Score! Hopefully they will see at least one "10" coming their way...they deserve it.

live blog, cont....

8:09 pm - Maurice and Cheryl scored 21. Not bad, although scores in general seem to have been running higher over the past couple of weeks. Lance and Lacey are next!

I've Been Threatening It...

So, I have the laptop out, and guess what's on TV? That's right...it's my favorite guilty pleasure, Dancing with the Stars. I think I'll give that "live blog" thing I threatened to do a couple of weeks ago a shot. I'll post comments throughout the show, or until I get tired of it. Please forgive me if you hate this show, I just can't help myself.

8:03 pm - Good Lord, they have Michael Flatley as a guest judge. I loved Riverdance so much, but he's just a really annoying little fellow. This should be interesting.

8: 05 pm - Gosh, I wish I was as flexible as these professional dancers. Cheryl Burke moves like she has no bones. I think Maurice may be a little too stiff for the waltz--he seems to do best on fast dances.

The Awesomest Thing

My very own blog was quoted on Blogtations! I've been reading Blogtations for a while now--I found several of my favorite blogs there. My little quote is now hanging out with quotes from some really great writers, and I am truly honored. I started this blog because I like to write, and I like to make people laugh, and I have a lot of odd stuff floating around in my head and no one to share it with. My plan all along has been to sign up with humor-blogs.com, but I've been either too busy or too lazy to do it. So it came as a real surprise to me that anyone, other than a couple of personal friends, was even reading this blog, let alone quoting it. Now I just have to figure out how to post the nifty little badge thingy. Thanks again to Quote Hunter and Blogtations!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

More Things About Me

A while back, I wrote a list of odd, random facts about me, and said I may add to it at some point. Well, here you go:

16. I have never, in my whole 38 years, had heartburn. I like to think that I have some sort of super-esophagus that is able to defy all acid reflux.

17. If you live in Kentucky, you're kind of expected to be into horses...but I think they're terrifying. My grandfather was a blacksmith, my uncle was a mounted police officer, both of my aunts work in the equine industry, and I'm surprised they haven't disowned me yet.

18. I can't do math. I don't know what the problem is, but I can't do it. It makes my head hurt just to think about numbers. I got 11 out of 35 on the math portion of the ACT.

19. While I can't do math, I know all the lyrics to roughly a million songs. It seems like God decided that all the brain space that normally gets devoted to math would be used store the words to songs like "Safety Dance."

20. I have never had surgery (other than wisdom teeth), spent a night in the hospital, or had stitches. I made it nearly 34 years without a broken bone, then stepped in a hole and broke my ankle.

21. The thought of having a massage or pedicure freaks me out. I don't like for anyone to touch my feet, and I definitely don't want to be naked in a room with a stranger. My aunt offered to get me a certificate for a massage during a really stressful time a few years ago, and my look of horror was enough to put her off the idea.

22. If I could have any job in the world, I would be an opera singer. Singing makes me happier than just about anything, except the Husband and my pups.

23. I have seen every single episode of Seinfeld, Friends, and The X-Files. Yes, even the last two seasons, which were crappy.

24. Someday I hope to be on a (good) game show. I have taken the Jeopardy test four times (one in person, three online). I tested and auditioned for Weakest Link--I took and passed three tests, and made it through a mock game. The show handlers told me they would call me within six months, but the show was canceled a month or two later. I think I could totally win the million dollars on Don't Forget the Lyrics.

25. I do not consider coconut to be a valid food product fit for human consumption.

Hopefully these little lists are amusing, if nothing else. I am working on an idea for a "real" post, but it involves some scanning, and I've been too busy this week to do it.

On an unrelated note, but keeping with the "random" theme, my 20-year high school reunion is this weekend. I'm not going--I think they are charging $50 a person for the dinner, and I'm WAY too cheap for that. There's also a "meet the families" picnic on Saturday, but it's just the Husband and me, no kids, so that seems kind of pointless. (Somehow I don't think any of my former classmates would want to meet my three unruly beasties while they are showing off their little darlings.) I know there are people who have loads of fond memories of their high school days, but I'm not one of them, so I don't mind missing the reunion at all. Although, if I were going, I would have one thing to feel good about: since I was fat until my early 30s, then did Weight Watchers, I'm MUCH thinner now than I was in high school. At least I know no one could say thatI had let myself go.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Insert Obligatory "DWTS" Commentary Here

It's become my Tuesday thing, I can't help it. Here are my thoughts from last night's show:

  • I really fear for Lance after last night's tie score with Cloris. I know that her fan base is HUGE (heck, I'm one of them), but I think Lance has the potential to be a great dancer if he just gets a few more chances to show it. He's such a cutie, it's a shame that that "worst dancer in N'Sync" thing is still hanging over his head! And I don't fault Lacey--she's a really good choreographer, I think she's just having some trouble pinning down what the judges are looking for, since she's new. I told myself from the beginning that I wasn't going to waste money voting, but I just had to send a text for Lance last night.
  • HOW did Maurice Greene do that backbend? Were these stars just in pretty good shape to begin with, or do the pros have some kind of amazing training secrets? The way Cloris was doing leg extensions last week, it looked like she was WAY more flexible than me. And she's 82! It makes me ashamed of my laziness when it comes to exercising.
  • Okay, okay, Brooke is good. I grudgingly acknowledged her samba last week, but there was no denying that jitterbug last night. She is really good.
  • What about little Cody Linley?! I thought his jitterbug was great, too, but I was kind of nervous for them at first. In the rehearsal footage, it looked like he wasn't strong enough to pull off all those impressive lifts. I was afraid he was going to drop Julianne on her head!
  • What was up with Corky's pants? My sister called me, simply cackling over his sparkly high-waters. Very strange wardrobe choice.
As usual, I won't be watching the results show tonight, because of Fringe. Thanks to ABC's excellent website, however, I can catch the full episode tomorrow night. Very nice work, ABC. All fingers crossed for Lance!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Best-laid Plans, etc., etc.

I had planned to do a sort of "live blog" last night during Dancing with the Stars, but I felt like crud, so I just lay on the couch and suffered through most of it. Here's what I would have said if I had been liveblogging:

  • Rocco may not be the best dancer, but I think he's pretty hot--pink shirt and all. Monday night was probably his last performance, and I'm sad...I'll miss his gorgeous smile.
  • Go, Lance!!! Tied with Brooke's score of 26 points! Lance has been my favorite all along, since I liked N'Sync so much. (I know, I know. Boy band, I'm too old for that, yada yada yada. I loved them, and I don't care who knows it.) The goth makeup was a bit startling, but I thought he and Lacey did a great tango. I can't wait to see what kind of choreography she comes up with for the west coast swing, since she was some kind of champion in that category.
  • I haven't understood the obsession with Brooke Burke up to this point, but she did an awesome samba last night--she looked like one of the pros. I don't know if it will be enough to make me root for her, but she did a good job.
  • I want my abs to look like Kim's. (What abs?!? This falls under the heading of "complete and total fantasy," by the way.)
I won't watch the results show tonight, since Fringe will be back on, but I'm ready to see Lance move up on the list!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Victory is Mine!

I won my battle with the sewing machine...for this round, at least. It was probably the half-glass of wine I drank while I sewed--that always seems to help. The pants are hemmed, and the Husband said the leg I did looked just like the factory-hemmed one!

Note that I changed the avatar for my profile. I was getting tired of the stubby little Weemee, even though I am kind of stubby. This one was created on meez.com, and the body model I used was "Booty Betty." Pretty accurate, but not very flattering. She's also fairly chesty, but there weren't many options in that area. I guess no one would pick a flat-chested avatar.


Our Internet service at home is fixed! I have another idea for a long post, but it may take a day or two to get it together. I am currently locked in a battle of wills with my sewing machine and the blindhem stitch-foot-thingamabob. Last night it took two books (with illustrations) just so I could understand how to fold the pants to START sewing the hem. I bought a pair of dress pants at Plato's closet that had the hem out of one leg...and I am SO thankful that it was just one leg! I don't know if I could have handled the stress of doing this blindhem thing twice.

Amy and Holly, if you happen to be reading, I am super-sorry I haven't responded to your comments! I didn't have my options set up to notify me by email when someone leaves a comment, and I usually don't read things after I've posted them, so I didn't know you had commented. I changed my option so it will notify me now. I miss you guys, and I check your blogs every day!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Link Love

A few weeks ago, I added a list of some of the blogs I read here, in order to try and help spread the word about some of the great writers out there. If you're a personal friend, and I didn't include your blog in that list (Hi, Amy and Holly), it's not because I don't think your blog is good! It's just that I'm hoping to get added to the list at Humor Blogs soon, and I didn't want to put your personal blogs out there for everyone to see, without your permission.

So, with all that explained, I would like to spotlight what is quickly becoming my favoritest site on my blogroll:

I Do Things So You Don't Have To

JD is hi-freakin'-larious. I feel kind of a weird kinship with her, because we have several odd little tics in common: fear of birds, a tendency toward explosive and unstoppable sneezes, and a burning hatred of public toilets, among others. In addition to all the stuff that has made me double up laughing, I've learned a lot from her site, since she posts helpful blogging tips as well. I like the site so much that I've read through the complete archives--including comments--twice. Oh, and that's another thing: when you post a comment, JD answers, which is just too awesome. I had never read a blog where EVERY comment gets a response. In short, I think everyone needs to go to this site immediately and read every word. It's just that good.

Friday, October 3, 2008

#$*@ Blogger!

I spent the last two hours writing my first "real" blog post, but it went all wonky when I tried to post it. We still don't have 'net access at home, so it will have to be next week. Please try to contain your disappointment.

How Gym Class Scarred Me for Life

I am not athletic.

You might think, when you read that sentence, “Oh, she can’t be that bad. Most people have SOME athletic ability.” Well, you would be wrong. I have NO athletic ability, which is part of the reason why I believe I was scarred for life by public school gym classes.

Elementary school was not so bad. We played fun games; the other kids hadn’t gotten all competitive yet; and the teachers were pretty tolerant. Seventh grade gym class was bearable because I had an incredible teacher. (Beth Art, if you ever read this, thank you.) She was kind and understood that not everyone is athletic—all she asked was that I tried to do all the activities. My junior high years were not the best of my life, and Ms. Art helped me through some pretty tough teenage stuff. I thought (and hoped, and prayed) that maybe, just maybe, all my future gym teachers would be like her. Boy, was I wrong.

I started eighth grade in the fall of 1983, chubby and awkward and horribly shy, with dreadful white-girl-afro curly hair and all the wrong clothes. (There were NO good products for curly hair in the 80s, and my family didn’t have enough money for the “right” clothes.) It was there that I met Torquemada the dreaded Coach C. He was the exact opposite of my beloved seventh-grade gym teacher. He thought everyone, regardless of shape, size, or level of coordination, should be able to play all sports equally well. And he had absolutely no tolerance for anyone who couldn’t. Coach C. and I made it about halfway through the year with just a few minor skirmishes—I protested about some of the things he asked me to do, and he said some nasty things about my lack of athleticism, but it wasn’t in my nature to really make trouble with a teacher. That is, until we began working on gymnastics.

In all my previous years of gym class, the gymnastics equipment was pretty harmless: everything was low to the floor, and designed so that kids weren’t flinging themselves off into space and breaking their heads on a regular basis. That all changed in eighth grade: we were using regulation competitive equipment, which meant that the balance beam was four feet off the floor and the vault was almost taller than me. We were also expected to learn actual gymnastics moves and routines. I had never done well in gymnastics (fat and uncoordinated is a bad combination for performing complex airborne stunts), and I knew, when I saw that equipment, that this would all end very badly. I struggled through the uneven bars and the balance beam without too much trouble, except for landing on my head when I tried to do a round-off dismount from the beam. Then my group moved on to the vault.

The vault was set up with a springboard in front of it, and Coach C. assigned each of us a different stunt to perform. When my turn came, he told me I was supposed to hit the springboard, do this on the vault:

…then do a somersault in the air, and land on my feet. He could see my short fat self standing in front of him; did he really think I could do the splits on the ground, let alone while flying through the air? I gathered up every ounce of courage I possessed, and told him I just couldn’t do that. Coach C. looked at me coldly, and told me that, “failure to complete this exercise will result in an “F” for the entire unit of study.” This particular “unit of study” would comprise my entire midterm grade. I had never earned anything below a “C” on a midterm or report card in my life—I couldn’t ruin my GPA over a stupid gym class!

Up to this point, I have neglected to mention the student teacher we had working in our class. She was tiny, cute, and super-perky; I’m sure she had been a cheerleader from the moment she exited the womb. All the boys loved her, and she flirted with them like crazy. (Which is kind of gross now that I think about it, because they were all about 13. And she was in her 20s. Ewww.) On the day that I came face to face with the vault, she had been assigned to stand next to the landing mat and grade the class on our performances. Remember this fact, because it will be important later.

Resigned to my fate, I watched my classmates perform their vaults. While there were varying degrees of success displayed, no one did really poorly. When my turn came, I squared up to the “run” up to the vault, and ran as fast as my chubby, stubby little legs would carry me. I remember my feet hitting the springboard, and the realization that things were about to go horribly wrong. I didn’t manage to do the splits, or even get my hands squarely on the vault; I did, however, somehow propel myself OVER the stupid thing. At an incredibly high rate of speed, with no control whatsoever...directly toward Ms. CuteandPerky. I remember seeing her face, and the dawning knowledge of what was going to happen. She looked kind of like this:

And then, I fell on her. Yep—right, square on top of her, in front of everyone in the class, in a tangle of arms and legs. My considerable bulk had pinned her tiny, petite frame to the mat completely, and she was somewhat dazed. We managed, somehow, to extricate ourselves and get up. I stammered apologies and tried not to cry, and she tried to look like she wasn’t pissed that her hair had gotten messed up. It was so mortifying that I don’t even remember what grade I got for my “vault.” I just wanted to get to the locker room and escape the nightmare.

After that disaster, the rest of the gymnastics unit was mostly uneventful. Of course, all the horrible popular boys in the class did not let me forget my utter humiliation, but I would have expected no less of them. I managed to scrape by with a “C” for my midterm grade, somehow, and I was thrilled to have it.

As part of my "research" for this post, I learned that the regulating body for competitive gymnastics determined that the traditional vault was too dangerous, and had it redesigned to look like this:

Apparently, a couple of gymnasts were seriously hurt on the old vault, and someone decided that this thing would be safer. It still looks like some kind of medieval torture device to me, but what do I know about it? Once I was out of high school, the closest I've come to gymnastics is watching it on TV. Anyway, I have lots more stories of gym class horrors, but I’ll save those for another day, since this post is now approximately five miles long.

EDITED TO ADD: This was actually posted on Tuesday, October 7th. Again, Blogger is nuts. I don't know why the font is different on one of the paragraphs, since it all looked the same on the "preview" screen. Hopefully everyone is too busy laughing at my misfortune to notice the screwed-up aspects of the post.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Still no Internet access at home, and the Husband does not seem too troubled about it. Aside from the fact that I hate paying for a service I cannot use, I need to be able to get online at home. I missed Lance and Lacey's dance on episode 2 of DWTS last week, and I need to catch it on YouTube! It was to my favorite Cure song! So, if anyone at Insight happens to read this, please please please fix our cable internet service. I'm dyin' here.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Hello? Is Anyone Out There?

Our home network has been down for the past couple of days, so I may not get to post over the weekend unless Husband can isolate the problem. Here are some random thoughts for the end of the week:
  • You know your house is really filthy when you're actually looking forward to cleaning it. I positively hate dirty bathrooms.
  • I have had some kind of weird cold/allergy/sinus thing going on for a while now. It ruined the past three Saturdays by making me feel rotten and exhausted, and I am really tired of it. In fact, that's why the house is so cruddy...I haven't felt like cleaning it.
  • TV is really messing with me. I haven't watched any network shows regularly since I got bored with CSI a few seasons ago. At the end of the last season of Dancing with the Stars, I kind of got interested in it, and decided that I would watch it this season. It's a fun show, and I'm really enjoying it. That being said, I have also discovered Fox's new show, Fringe, which is just awesome. And, of course, I must watch my fella Mike Rowe on Dirty Jobs. So, for the first time in about 10 years, I actually have lots of good stuff to watch on TV. What's the problem, you ask? THEY'RE ALL ON AT THE SAME TIME, that's the problem. And we're way too cheap to have tivo or DVR. It's just not right to force a girl to choose between Mike Rowe and anything else.
  • As far as DWTS goes, I'm rooting for Lance Bass and/or Misty May-Treanor; The Husband seems to have developed a violent crush on Kim Kardashian. I think she's the only thing that kept him from running screaming from the room during the last show. (He's been forced to watch TV with me, since he can't get online to play his games.) He actually made it through two complete episodes, which indicates either 1) he was really bored without Internet access, or 2) the lure of Kim Kardashian in a skimpy outfit is pretty strong. We'll see if he tunes in on Monday.
  • The major part of my job involves attending Planning Commission meetings, taking notes, and transcribing those notes, plus an audio recording, into a set of minutes. We had an 8 1/2 hour meeting in August--and I had to relive every moment of it. It took me a month to finish the minutes, and I am SO relieved to have that monkey off my back.
Well, I guess I should wrap up, since I'm technically supposed to be working. Here's hoping that we have Internet access at home before Monday.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

If You Want to Have Some Fun Tonight...

Try squirting a syringe full of medicine into a dog's mouth...that's how the Husband and I spent a large portion of our evening tonight. Patches, the dog in question, has a nasty habit of eating things out in the yard that aren't necessarily food. So, one trip to the vet and $120 later, we have three different meds to dispense several times each day. Oddly enough, he'll eat all kinds of crap out in the yard, but he clamps his mouth like he has lockjaw when I come at him with the syringe. So, Husband pried his mouth open, I squirted in medicine, and then I popped in a marshmallow to get him to swallow the stuff. We managed to get almost the whole dose in there, and I only had to wipe down a couple of the cabinets. And the floor. And my hands, and legs, and Patches' chin. Would it be too much to ask to make the stuff bacon-flavored?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Was I Supposed to Post Something?

Oh, that's right. I promised a summary of our fascinating weekend. The Husband was still under the weather, so I did all the yard work Saturday morning. Three hours of strained-shoulder-muscle-torturing fun. We are out of line for the weedeater, so I trimmed ALL the way around the back yard fence with the little garden shears. (I think if I did that more often my hinder might be in better shape; all that bending is murder on the butt.) I was pretty much done in after that, but the yard looked pretty good. Now we just need a couple of days of nice, soaking rain to keep our little landscaping investments alive until winter. Someday, I'll post the story of the week of vacation we took to work in the back yard--or the Bataan Death March of Landscaping, as I like to call it.

Sunday was church, lunch, and church again for choir and drama practice, then massive culinary failure. I was supposed to make a dish to bring to our work lunch on Monday, so I found a cobbler recipe in the church cookbook that looked easy and tasty. It was one of those deals where you put the batter in the pan first, and the fruit on top, and the batter "comes up" over the fruit, somehow, when it bakes. I had some doubts about the process going into it, and it turns out I was right. Even though I followed the recipe to the letter, it was a huge FAIL. The batter never "came up," even after more than two hours of baking. I ended up with a pan of hot fruit, covering about an inch of doughy batter. I don't cook much, but I do a fair amount of baking, and I had never had a recipe just...not work before. It was pretty depressing, and I went to bed late because of it. Luckily, we had plenty of desserts for the lunch, so it turned out to be no big deal.

Let's see...anything else? Well, I found a new TV show that I like. Anyone who knows me is aware that I have basically given up on television in recent years, except for Dirty Jobs and Mythbusters on the Discovery Channel. However, I am willing to admit publicly, on this blog, to liking the new show Fringe on Fox. Husband and I watched the pilot during the cobbler debacle on Sunday night, and the first regular episode last night, and it's really good. (BTW, I realize that this blog can hardly be considered "public," since I'm pretty sure no one reads it. But the Husband and I are basically hermits, so this is about as public as I get.) The show is intense, and kind of creepy, and funny in spots, and I will definitely continue to give it a shot as long as it maintains that level of quality.

Part of the difficulty I have with blogging is that I never know how to end my posts. Do I say goodbye? Peace out? Maybe I should come up with some kind of tagline. We'll see. Anyway, goodbye and peace out for now.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

New for Fall...

I've updated my WeeMe (the little photo avatar thingambob in my profile) with fall fashions. Can you stand the excitement? Of course, it's supposed to be nearly 90 degrees today, but I can dream.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Hooray for Friday!

This has been a LONG week. Butt-smokin busy all week, some VERY crabby emails from the boss, a couple of large work screw-ups, and a downright hellish day on Thursday. Plus, the Husband has contracted some kind of Bubonic Plague-cold that's had him shlumping around the house like a zombie. But! I get to go home at 4:00 (no overtime allowed), and we have a pretty light schedule for Saturday. We were planning to go wander around at Raven Run, but the forecast is for rain and 86 degrees. I don't really mind the rain if I'm already grubbing around outside anyway, but I doubt that Husband wants to be out in that heat with his cold, and I don't blame him. So I'm not sure what we'll get into.

I finally made a start on sewing the new purse, but I realized that sewing is one of the things that really hurts the strained pectoral muscle. It only took about 1/2 hour at the machine the other night to make me run for the Tylenol PM bottle. Maybe I should dose up on the Tylenol PM to keep the shoulder from hurting, then sew like a fiend until I pass out? Of course, my sewing is not the greatest anyway, I can't even imagine what kind of cracked-out quilting I would do if I was high on Tylenol PM. The only bad thing about sewing my own purse is that I want to switch purses NOW, and it will probably take me at least another couple of weeks to finish.

Off to finish up the last couple hours of my work week. I'll be sure to post the fascinating details of how the most boring couple in the world spent their Saturday.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Seven Years

So many people have written so many wonderful words about this day. I doubt that anything I could write would do the gravity of the day justice, so I'll just say this: the anniversary of 9/11 fills me with gratitude.

I'm grateful for the brave men and women who ran into the towers as they fell, and diverted a doomed airplane, and rushed into the burning Pentagon building.

I'm grateful for the brave men and women in our armed forces, who travel thousands of miles from home and family--knowing they may never return--to defend my freedom.

I'm grateful to be able to work, drive a car, shop, and visit my friends and family. There are countries in the world where, as a woman, I would be stoned, imprisoned, ostracized, or even killed for doing those things.

And finally, I'm grateful to live in a country where I can worship my God any way I choose. There are countries in the world where proclaiming oneself a Christian, or owning a Bible, is punishable by death.

Praise be to the LORD, for he showed his wonderful love to me when I was in a besieged city.
Psalm 31:21

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

My ?? Things

I have seen this "100 Things" deal done on several blogs, and it's usually pretty interesting and funny. I can't make any guarantees about that, and I'm not sure I can come up with 100 things, but here goes.

1. I am terrified of birds and bugs. Those are not the only things I'm scared of, but they make the least sense; I mean, what can they do to me, really? But they still completely freak me out.
2. Cat scratch fever is not just a rockin' tune by the Nuge. It is a real medical condition, and I nearly died from it when I was three.
3. With a couple of exceptions, I prefer a good action movie to a chick flick any day.
4. I have lived in the same city my whole life, but in 18 different houses. We moved a lot when I was a kid, which probably didn't help the whole "shy and nerdy" thing very much.
5. I could live on fruit and sweets--breads, vegetables, and meats are all great, but I must have fruit and dessert to survive.
6. During my junior year of high school, I worked at Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream to earn money for a class ring. I spilled an entire mop bucket full of water in the walk-in freezer one night, and unintentionally created a teeny skating rink.
7. I hate for my clothes to be wrinkled, and I iron and starch everything. If you see me at Kroger in sweatpants and a t-shirt, I've probably ironed them.
8. I am an idiot. I gave up a full-tuition college scholarship...and now I'm going on my 20th year of employment in administrative/clerical work.
9. Autumn is my favorite season, because it reminds me of falling in love with my husband.
10. I can't sleep without covers. Even when my family lived in a 100-year-old house in the country with no air conditioning, I had to be covered with at least a sheet.
11. I made an appearance on a local TV talk show in December of 1975. The host chose several kids from my kindergarten class to appear on her Christmas special, and I was one of them. I don't remember anything about the experience except what I wore.
12. When I got my first pair of Nike sneakers in fifth grade, I thought they were so cool that I slept with them on top of the dresser so that I could see them when I woke up. (They were white leather with a red swoosh and blue trim on the soles.)
13. I met Sally Field at a hotel in Georgia. I didn't know who she was while I was talking to her; my mom had to explain to me later that she was "the lady from the Smokey & The Bandit movies."
14. I had scarlet fever when I was five. My grandmother and I were quarantined for about a month.
15. My grandmother, cousin and I took a Greyhound bus from Lexington, KY to Houston, TX, and back in 1982. It was a very, very, very long trip.

EDITED TO ADD: Blogger is completely insane. I was typing away, and all of a sudden it just...posted my entry, with no prompting from me whatsoever. I will complete this list in another entry. (I know you will be waiting with bated breath.)

Saturday, September 6, 2008

It Could Be Worse...

After another couple of days of struggling with CorelDraw and Blogger, I've managed to come up with a header that I don't completely hate. Clearly, I'm going to have to haul out the old HTML book and learn some code so that I can create a cute background and make some other changes. This will do for the moment, though.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

In Which I Discover Just How Little I Know

So, there I was, thinking that I do pretty well with computers. Not that I don't know my limits, but I felt pretty confident that I could come up with my own blog template and use it without too much trouble. To say that I was wrong would be an understatement. I have struggled with graphics programs and Blogger for nearly a week now, and all I've been able to come up with is a crummy header, stuck on a template that I can't seem to get rid of. So, if anyone happens to read this, please excuse the way it looks. Hopefully I'll be able to figure this mess out soon.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Random Wednesday Observations

  • Four-day weeks sometimes seem much longer than regular weeks.
  • After 3 1/2 years of working at my nice, peaceful, low-stress job, my cheese is about to be moved. I came here from a horrible work environment, and it helped me appreciate this great job even more. Now things are about to change (for the worse, I'm afraid), and I'm pretty bummed about it. As usual with work stuff, there's not a darned thing I can do about it.
  • The worst part of sewing is the measuring and cutting. That old "measure twice, cut once" thing apparently doesn't apply to math morons like me. I measured three times, and still cut wrong. Fortunately, it was the lining fabric for the purse I'm making, so at least it won't show on the outside.
  • A strained pectoral muscle is really painful, and takes a while to heal. It's been two weeks, and I still can't stand to raise my arm above my head, or pick up anything that weighs more than five pounds.
  • You know the weather has been dry when you strain a pectoral muscle, trying to shove the sprinkler spike into the Sahara-like ground in your back yard.
  • It's hot, and humid, and I want it to go away. That is all.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Okay, well...what to write for a first post? I'm not actually a writer, so don't expect too much. This blog will probably consist mostly of all the odd thoughts and ideas I have that my husband has gotten tired of hearing. (Which is most of my odd thoughts and ideas, really.) I like silly photos and other Internet goofiness, so I may share some of those, too. Hopefully I will be able to update at least a couple of times a week. Let's see where this thing goes!