Thursday, December 24, 2009

How does Santa know what to bring for you?

Around my house, asking for gifts is sometimes a bit of a pain.  First, I think it's because I feel like the things I want might be too expensive sometimes and second, most of the time, if I really want something, I just go and buy it myself once I save up the money.

Troy and I do gift exchanges with his family.  We used to do them with mine as well, but we're on a bit of a hiatus because of the economy.  Trying to get ideas out to others in a timely manner was always a bit of a challenge.  Thank goodness for email.  Now we just email our lists to the other family members and we're usually able to avoid duplicates by keeping each other informed of our purchases.  So far it's worked out well.

The evolution of gift-giving between Troy and myself has been interesting.  In the beginning we started with a $25 limit (which I never stuck to :-( ).  A few years ago we raised the limit and he got me a motorcycle manual which was very useful but kind of falls right in line with getting a kitchen appliance as a gift.  Useful, yes.  Romantic and touching, no.  Of course, I fell down on the job last year when I got him pajama pants that he was less than thrilled with.  They weren't on his list, so in his estimation, I should have known better than to get them.

This year I've once again gone "off list" with my gift choice(s).  Troy and I were discussing our (potential) gift purchase for one another and he advised that I should just "stick to his list".  I personally think I've made an excellent gift choice for him this year.  I also think that perhaps gift-giving shouldn't be like fulfilling a requisition order.  I think part of gift-giving is about showing the person you really know them and care for them.

So I gave him a choice.  (He said it was like Monty Hall's "Let's Make a Deal", but I don't remember a goat being anywhere in the room and I definitely wasn't wearing a silly costume.)  I told him his choices were:  1) I could tell him what the gift was, but he would no longer be receiving that gift from me or 2) he could take his chances with the gift I had chosen.  He (wisely) chose option #2.  We'll see how he feels about his choice on Christmas afternoon.

So, how do you do the whole "gift exchange" thing?  Do you have a list?  Do you drop hints?  Maybe you have a better way of approaching this than we do.  If so, I'd love to hear how it gets done.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I need a take out the garbage.

With the exception of a brief stint in college and an even briefer stint after college, I have pretty much lived alone for my adult life.  In the beginning it was a little lonely and when I bought my house, kinda scary thinking about all the ways someone could break in and hurt/maim/kill me.  But after a while, for better or worse, I got used to it.  In the last few years I've even grown to enjoy having the house to myself whenever I want (with the exception of the kitties and puppy).

Living alone definitely has its advantages.  For someone with control issues, it can be perfect.  Sure, I'm the one that has to pay all the bills, but I know that the bills get paid every month.  If I insist that the clothes in my closet be color-coded when I put them away, I can do that.  If I want to leave a few dirty dishes in the sink (rinsed out, of course), I can do that.  After all, I probably use less than one cup and plate a day since I rarely cook.  If I want to stay up late, I can do that.  ...and unfortunately I do all too often.  I must admit that I never close the door when I pee and rarely when I shower.  Who's gonna barge in?  I often burp without saying "excuse me",  cough without covering my mouth and fart without shame.  (Don't judge.)  I've been known to eat peanut butter straight out of the jar, milk out of the jug and chips straight out of the bag.  (You know you would if you could too.)  Yes, living alone is the epitome of freedom and the American Dream.

.....Right up until it's time to take out the garbage.  Apparently I have Filth Fatigue, a Bag Bug, a Garbage Goiter....Trash Trouble.  Oh, the symptoms have been cleared up before and all the trash taken to the curb (thanks to a visit from Dad), but, alas, I experience Refuse Relapse.  I gather it up it the house, take it to the cans on the side of the house during the week, but when Monday night rolls around and I know that I have to take those cans and bags to the curb, it's simply too much.  I tell myself it's dark and that I'll do it in the morning.  When the morning comes, do I take the trash down?  Maybe a bag or two that I gathered that night, but that leaves probably 3 or 4 bags by the side of house.  This happens. Every. Week.  (Don't worry, there's not 10 bags of garbage sitting at the side of my house right now.  Ewww)  So I need a man....just to take the garbage to the curb.

There's gotta be a service for that, right?

Monday, December 14, 2009

This kid's got talent!

This just goes to show that little kids really are sponges.  Hilarious!

It's a few minutes long, but totally worth it!

"Going out with my boots on!"

i ♥ faces "Pets Only" Photo Challenge

Over the last year or so I've encountered some amazing women bloggers and blogs that I have simply fallen in love with.  i ♥ faces is one of those.  This week I decided to participate in their photo challenge.

This is Loo (Little Orange One).  He started life at Troy's family farm a few years ago.  There is always a new batch of kitties running around there, it seems, but this one was different.  He wasn't related to any of the other litters.  He simply showed up one day and started following Troy's sister around as she did the chores.

He wasn't like other kitties.  The others were wild and wanted nothing to do with the humans, but he simply thrived on attention from us two-legged folk.  When I came to visit, I could barely get a leg out of the car before he was rubbing up against me.  He would simply appear out of nowhere offering his love and asking for yours in return.  I could sit on the porch step for hours simply petting him as he relaxed in my lap.

As the winter approached, I couldn't bare the thought of this sweet little kitty trying to fend for himself for food, warmth and safety.  The problem was that I already had 2 cats (and men run screaming from women with more than 2 cats), so I couldn't take him to my house.  Conveniently, my mom's birthday was coming up!  Perfect!

There was just one little glitch in my plan.  My mom was most definitely not a cat person.  Most of the time I think she simply tolerated mine when she came for a visit.  But not to fear!  Why let a little detail like that get in the way?

My plan was to simply bring Loo to her house and say, SURPRISE!  However....Troy thought perhaps I should at least mention my plan to her before simply springing a little creature on her.  Oh...all right.  That Troy's always so practical...(darn it!)  So I told her about Loo and assured her that if she decided in a few days that he was simply not something she wanted in her life, I would shuttle him back to the farm.  No hard feelings.

Perhaps it's his VERY cuddly disposition or perhaps it's because she again has someone who eagerly awaits her return home.  Whatever the reason, he quickly became a permanent part of my parents' house.  To this day, she still marvels at how she became a "cat person."

Go check out the other entries on i ♥ faces by clicking here:

Friday, December 11, 2009

Fabulous Friday Finds -

This Friday I'm totally doing a charity plug!  This is the time of year when those hideous lovely fruitcakes appear in the stores.  Their appeal is a mystery to me.  In fact, I think they are a mystery to most everyone.

So this year, let's regift that fruitcake (virtually)! is a charity site that has been set up this year.  Participants (including you, if you would like) choose the charity of their choice, decorate a fruitcake (virtually), select a goal amount they would like to raise (mine is $500 for the ASPCA) and finally take a wager.  For instance, if I reach my goal, I will volunteer for the Indianapolis ASPCA.  In addition, I'm going to give a package of (yet to be determined) goodies to 3 readers here.

For each item on the list that you complete, you will be entered once.

1)  Go to my personal site and make a donation of at least $5 to my ASPCA fruitcake.
2)  Become a Follower of my blog (or let me know if you are already one)
3)  Leave a comment here.

That's it!  It's quick, easy, painless and it will make your heart feel good this holiday season to know that a few helpless animals are being better cared for.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Things that are fun (when you are a kid)

Today the wind is blowing and the snow is starting to fall. The outside temperature is expected to feel like 8 degrees by 5 PM today. This brings to mind all those things winter things that seemed like great fun when you were a kid, but are definitely not so much fun as an adult.

* Snow days!

As a kid ---> Growing up in northern Indiana, these were always great fun. We would wake up early to listen for our school delay/closing on the radio (long before individual phone calls and text messages were sent out). This was always a trick since I went to a private school and just because all "Allen County Public Schools" were closed, that didn't mean we were included in that. When we had the day off, we would spend it bundled up in our warmest clothes and go sledding down at the park. We would go up and down that hill for HOURS! Then we would come back home, grab some hot chocolate and go back out. It was very fun. And even though it was probably really cold outside and I know our cheeks were very red when we came in, it didn't seem so cold.

As an adult ---> I'm not a teacher, so there is little to no chance that I will ever have a free day off because of snow. Even if we have snow, the policy is basically that you should be at work if you can get here. If you don't come to work, that's counted as a vacation day. There's no such thing as a free lunch, ya know! Somehow all that snow that was great for sledding is REALLY not so great for driving on. Or shoveling off of your driveway. And I have to disagree with global warming because now winters are REALLLLLYYY cold!

* Cookies! Candies! Sweets galore!

As a kid ---> The time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is full of sweets and presents, plenty of food and lots of time to play.

As an adult ---> When you're an adult (and have been obese your whole life), the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is like a mine field. Every day there is a chance for you to nutritionally blow your foot off. Ugh. Working in an office makes it ten times worse. If there are usually treats in the company kitchen once a week on a regular basis, you can count on them being there 3 times a week during the holidays. It's best just to avoid the kitchen all together, I think.

* Gifts! Gifts! I {heart} Santa!

As a kid ---> What kid hasn't sat on Santa's lap wishing for a pony or a doll house or a model train. Christmas is all about the TOYS! I remember getting out the JCPenney catalog, turning to the toy section and drooling over all the pretty, shiny, plasticy toys. I dreamt they could all be mine. {sigh} And when you're a kid, that seems like it might actually happen. Even if that thought only lasts a moment.

As an adult ---> Perhaps I'm a Scrooge, but gift giving and getting has lost some of its appeal. Perhaps it's because I already feel overwhelmed by all of my possessions. Perhaps it's because finding that perfect gift for the one you love seems really difficult (given that you have a budget). Or unfortunately it's because all of those toys you want as an adult are a lot more expensive.

bah! Humbug!

Monday, November 23, 2009

When is enough enough?

When I was in my 20s (and even in my early 30s), my dad and I started a tradition of doing the Black Friday shopping at the crack of dawn. I have to admit that despite not being a morning person, it was fun. Dad and I don't really have a lot of activities together, so it was nice that we had found one. We'd be up and at'em EARLY in the morning. We'd scour the flyers Thanksgiving day after we'd stuffed ourselves with turkey. We'd plan our route and be in line at the stores around 5:45. We were ready for the 6 AM open. By the time everyone else was up and starting their day, we were already back home. Mom would usually have breakfast ready (she's the best) and by 11:00 AM we'd each be ready to stake out a couch and settle in for a nap.

Ahhh, good times. {sigh}

Those days of a sane(ish) shopping hour are obviously behind us. While watching TV tonight, I saw that several stores will be opening their doors on Black Friday at 4:00 AM.

I'll wait while that sinks in.



That's not even borderline. That's full-fledged, transfer-my-citizenship....crazy! Maybe it's consumerism gone horribly awry. Maybe the stores are in a panic because they think the economy is in the crapper. Whatever it is, let's take some advice from Susan Powter and STOP THE INSANITY!

Because I can't say it any better...I simply share....

Check out this post. It's hilarious.

Unless you like Sarah Palin.

Although if you do, you probably stopped reading my blog a long time ago.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Perhaps I have some anger issues

"What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say."

I have the Franklin Covey "Simplicity" refill for my daily planner and this was today's quote. Oh, how appropriate it is!

Before I tell you why I wanted to throttle someone last night, I think a little background information is on order.

First of all, if you know me, you will probably agree that most of the time I am not one to lash out at others unexpectedly or without due cause. Secondly, I bowl every Wednesday night except during the summer. I have been doing this for about 7 or 8 years with the same group of people and most of the time I thoroughly enjoy it. Third, just about every week one or more of us orders food from the bowling alley's cafe. They serve your standard fare from pizza to burgers, hotdogs and even salads. The problem is that in the past we've had some problems with their technology and service. They used to have touch screen kiosks where you could order your food and they would bring it out to you. Unfortunately they haven't been maintained properly and are so old that they can no longer get replacement parts for them. Consequently this year they've started distributing blank order forms for us to fill out and give to the food runner (most of the time a teenage boy or girl). Okay, they have had some technological issues and are trying to find a work-around. Fine. There is also the problem that sometimes for those food runners, this is their first job and getting the meals to the customers in a timely manner is perhaps not their highest priority. Oh....and apparently teenage boys believe that if you have a pair of pants on, you don't need a napkin. Right? Right. These issues with the cafe have caused much consternation over the past few years since we feel like, as a bowling league, we are the bread and butter of the alley. They should be sure to make sure serving us is a top priority. I don't think we're asking too much of them.

My coming unglued last night revolves around the fact that different members of our team have different ways of dealing with our frustrations with the cafe. For instance, a few months ago, G asked to speak to the manager of the cafe hoping to resolve some of these issues. The first words out of her mouth when he came to find out what she wanted? "So, is your cafe in business to make money or just to piss people off?" Apparently she has never heard the phrase "you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar." Needless to say, at that point the manager crossed his arms and his body language said he was no longer listening to a word she had to say.

Fast forward to last night. We were part way through the second of three games and hadn't seen the food runner even though they generally show up some time during the first game. One of the young men who works at the front counter came down to the lane next to us. Before he could even attend to his purpose for being down at the lanes, G starts in on him with (I'm paraphrasing), "Where is the waiter? He should have been here already....blah blah blah." The young man says he will send someone down right away. G's response is to not let up. She goes on and on about how ridiculous this is and that she wants to have another talk with the manager and to tell him that the lady who bowls on Wednesday nights who is always mad wants to have a word with him. (I'm SURE that sent him running....the other way!)

Meanwhile, I am hearing all of this and I'm starting to get mad. This kid didn't cause the problem, so why is she taking it out on him? For goodness sake, this young man doesn't even work in the cafe! I go up to bowl (and mess up because I'm getting angry). When I come back, the waiter that has been summoned arrives with menus and order forms in his hand. He sets them on the table and I proceed to fill out my order (this is seriously NOT rocket science and takes me no more than 30 seconds). G, on the other hand now begins to berate THIS kid. She's ranting at him because he's "obviously not been trained right". Then I guess that he asked her to fill out an order form so that he could get her order in. Her response was to say that if he wanted a tip, he would fill it out for her. His response was to simply stand there. (Oh! Did I mention that this is the first time I've seen this kid? So I'm guessing he's been at this job for less than 1 week.) She then said to him, "Do you want a tip? Well do you?" Still no response from him.

At this point I couldn't take it any longer. I was REALLLLLLYYY fuming about the way she was treating him. I stepped in and said, "Hey, G. How about we NOT berate the waiter has come to take our order and who just started for problems that 1) have been going on for years and 2) he has no control over?" She vehemently disagreed and said that she felt she was not wrong to blame him and that it was ridiculous for her to have to fill out the order form. While we were arguing, the kid turned on his heels and left. I called after him, but either he didn't hear me or he didn't want to hear me. So, I ran after him (with my completed order form) and asked if he would please take my order. He was very nice and polite and said that he would certainly take mine but that he WASN'T coming back to take HERS. I told him I certainly didn't blame him.

When I got back to the lane, our argument was obviously not over. We went back and forth with me being angry that this kid is being blamed for things beyond his control and G saying we would just have to agree to disagree. WTF? This is like blaming kids born in the 80s for the Cold War. It just seems unreasonable to me.

By then I was so mad that I once again messed up when it was my turn to bowl. When I had finished, I changed into my street shoes, excused myself and went outside to walk around for a few minutes and cool off. I felt like it was either that or punch G in the face. When I returned there was definitely tension in the air, but I think that was a better outcome than physical violence. Needless to say there were very few words exchanged between us for the rest of the night.

When I relayed the story to Troy later on, he said good for me and that obviously therapy was doing me some good. In the past, I probably would have not said anything and instead would have stewed about it for the next month. He says he thinks this is a better solution. I'm not so sure everyone else would agree. What about you?

An aside: Aren't you glad you asked, S?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


On this windy Wednesday morning, I am wondering "Why?"

* When you are waiting for an elevator and the button has already been pushed, why do some people insist on pushing it again?

* Why do I keep expecting people to change when they've continually shown they will not?

* Why does nothing rhyme with "orange"?

* Why can't we keep from doing those things that will harm us in the long run?

* Why am I afraid of mice when I know they won't really hurt me?

* Why didn't I realize a long time ago that I'm a grown woman and I don't have to lead the life prescribed by all the people who think they know everything?

* Why is saying "I love you" so hard? Why is it so gratifying when you do?

* Why do I do the thing I shouldn't and not do the thing I should?

Just a few of my random thoughts.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Container conundrum

I have a drinking problem. I admit it.... and admitting it is half the problem, right? Oh, mine is not a problem of excess drinking, however. Mine is a quandry I think few others encounter.

Somehow liquids in containers with small openings seem to multiply. Let me explain. We have a very nice perk at my company. We have a virtual smorgasboard of drinkable liquids at our disposal. Our choices of FREE beverages include: at least 15 types of coffees (complete with creamer and your choices of sweeteners), 3 types of hot tea, orange juice, lemonade and no less than 8 variations of sodas. It is an embarrassment of riches. Luckily I am usually able to contain myself to 1 coffee in the morning, 1 tea in the afternoon and usually a soda with my lunch.

At the end of the day, I clean out the mug that I use for the coffee/tea, so 90% of the time I finish the hot beverages that I take from the kitchen. Sometimes they are even still hot! However.......about 90% of the time, I don't finish the soda and end up dumping 1/3 - 1/2 of a can out the next day. I hate that. I hate being wasteful.

Recently, for some reason, I started pouring the soda into a cup (I think it was because the top of the can was icky one day). The result? I drank all of the soda! Holy cow! It's a miracle! Since then I've noticed that if I empty the can into a cup, I drink it all. If I don't, I don't.

Is this odd? Is it a case of out of sight, out of mind? Have I discovered some sort of connection to an untapped diet coke reservoir at the bottom of my can?

The world may never know....well unless you chime in and let me know what you think the answer is!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

A follow-up to Halloween Part #2

The other day I talked about what a great time I had at Troy's family farm during our hayride and campfire. Thanks to Troy, I now know what the poem was that his mom recited from memory. It's "Little Orphant Annie" by James Whitcomb Riley:

LITTLE Orphant Annie's come to our house to stay,
An' wash the cups an' saucers up, an' brush the crumbs away,
An' shoo the chickens off the porch, an' dust the hearth, an' sweep,
An' make the fire, an' bake the bread, an' earn her board-an'-keep;
An' all us other childern, when the supper-things is done,
We set around the kitchen fire an' has the mostest fun
A-list'nin' to the witch-tales 'at Annie tells about,
An' the Gobble-uns 'at gits you
Ef you

Wunst they wuz a little boy wouldn't say his prayers,--
An' when he went to bed at night, away up-stairs,
His Mammy heerd him holler, an' his Daddy heerd him bawl,
An' when they turn't the kivvers down, he wuzn't there at all!
An' they seeked him in the rafter-room, an' cubby-hole, an' press,
An' seeked him up the chimbly-flue, an' ever'-wheres, I guess;
But all they ever found wuz thist his pants an' roundabout:--
An' the Gobble-uns 'll git you
Ef you

An' one time a little girl 'ud allus laugh an' grin,
An' make fun of ever' one, an' all her blood-an'-kin;
An' wunst, when they was "company," an' ole folks wuz there,
She mocked 'em an' shocked 'em, an' said she didn't care!
An' thist as she kicked her heels, an' turn't to run an' hide,
They wuz two great big Black Things a-standin' by her side,
An' they snatched her through the ceilin' 'fore she knowed what she's about!
An' the Gobble-uns 'll git you
Ef you

An' little Orphant Annie says, when the blaze is blue,
An' the lamp-wick sputters, an' the wind goes woo-oo!
An' you hear the crickets quit, an' the moon is gray,
An' the lightnin'-bugs in dew is all squenched away,--
You better mind yer parunts, an' yer teachurs fond an' dear,
An' churish them 'at loves you, an' dry the orphant's tear,
An' he'p the pore an' needy ones 'at clusters all about,
Er the Gobble-uns 'll git you
Ef you

I'm definitely going to try to get "The Road Not Taken" memorized this weekend. I'll let you know how I do on Monday.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Fabulous Friday Finds - Coupon(ing)

Ok, I'm sure I'm nearly the last person on Earth that doesn't do this, but I have discovered couponing. I'll wait while you stop rolling your eyes and laughing hysterically at me.

Don't worry. I have time.

Anyway, when I was in high school, my part-time job was as a cashier at a local grocery store. I wasn't running my own household at the time and sometimes would roll MY eyes when my mom would ask me if something, like hamburger, was on sale. What did I know? I was a teenage girl. Who has time to pay attention to those things when there are cute bag boys to flirt with? What I did sometimes pay attention to and notice were those women that came to my lane with their massive carts of groceries and saved a LOT of money when they used coupons. I used to wonder why everyone didn't use them!

Then I grew up, went to college, graduated and started making a little money. All of those coupon savings suddenly vanished out of my mind. I think I figured that grocery store coupons were really only good to use if you had a family to feed. No family = no need for coupons, right? Apparently wrong.

Lots of people have this couponing down to a science. Like the people at and (she even has a system you can use too!) I may not have the knowledge these women have built up, but I have something they DON'T have. I have a mom who works as the manager of the coupon department for a major grocery distributor. Sweet! One quick email to her and I had almost more information on the ins and out of coupons than I could have imagined.

So, over the next couple of months I'm gonna try out this coupon-clipping gig and set a goal for myself of spending no more than $75 a month on groceries. I'm hoping that includes all of the kitty/puppy food my little farm goes through. Wish me luck and let me know if you have any couponing strategies that work for you!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Halloween Recap #2

The fun fall activities continued the next day. Troy's oldest sister and her three kids were staying at the family's farm in southern Indiana for a few days, so we decided to take the opportunity to go down for the day and visit.

When I first started dating Troy (nearly 6 years ago! Oh my!), his nieces were just 4 and 10 months and his nephew was only 3. They've grown into adorable little people in the intervening time. I don't have any nieces or nephews of mine own and since I'm single, kids sometimes wear me out. That is certainly not the case with these three! I would be happy to claim them in an instant! In fact, a few months ago, Sophie and William, the two older kids, were being kind of mean to Annabelle, the youngest, and suggested that since the economy was kind of hard right now, perhaps they should sell her off to make ends meet. She was hurt, obviously, but I assured her that I would pay any price for the opportunity to take her!

We had a wonderful visit with them all. First, Troy's mom made us a lovely lunch when we arrived. I'm always amazed at how she can make it look so easy to throw together a meal for what seems to be an army! There are always lots of people showing up around meal times.

Then it was time for the kiddos to show me the new batch of kittens! It's a farm, of course, so there's ALWAYS a new batch of kittens to be tamed. Thankfully the kids are always willing to do their part. (Whether the kittens like it or not.) There were 5 or 6 in the litter and they had named them all. I'm happy to see them so willing to get attached to these frail creatures. I find myself not wanting to feel anything for them because they live outside on a farm where any number of things (disease, animals, etc) can snatch their little lives from them. Perhaps I'm too soft but the mere thought of that breaks my heart.

It was while we were in the hayloft checking out the kitties that William decided to share that he "had a secret". He wasn't allowed to say anything, but he knew what they were having for dinner. Let's just say it didn't take much prying from his two sisters for him to reveal that we were all going to go for a hayride and have hotdogs over an open fire. There were shouts of "yeah!" all around.

When Troy's youngest sister and her husband had loaded all of the provisions on the trunk and the wagon with bales of straw, we set out for a big area on their farm that they use for such occasions. The kids, Troy, his mom and oldest sister all bundled up for the ride. Thankfully Troy is a real boyscout and brought along an extra hat, gloves and coat for yours truly. I may be a lot of things, but sometimes prepared for the weather is not one of them. I would have been miserable if it were for him thinking ahead. Thanks, Troy!

An additional passenger on our hayride was Miss Sasha (Fierce) herself! Now, you didn't think I had actually left the adorable bundle of fur at home, did you? This was her first hayride adventure and I think she handled herself VERY well. She got into the wagon (aided by a sizable boost from Troy) and simply laid at our feet while we rode along. She even did really well with the kids. Being kids, they wanted to pet her in their little kid way. She just laid there and let them have at it. I'd say that's a major accomplishment since kids are generally the focus of her barking.

Once we arrived at the site, we set out the camp food and got to cooking over the open fire. We enjoyed hotdogs and brats with all the fixin's. William thought it was an especially good dinner since he said, "Yea! No vegetables!" It got even better when the s'mores stuff made an appearance. Yum! With the exception of one marshmallow that accidentally leapt to its death off of my stick and one marshmallow that was nearly turned into mallow napalm, the fireside dessert was definitely a hit!

As the sun set, Troy's family took turns singing songs and reciting poems from memory. I know it probably sounds a bit cheesy, but it was actually really nice. These aren't things that my family (extended or otherwise) would EVER think of doing. It really made me wish I had already completed #38 (Memorize Robert Frost's "The Road Less Traveled").

I wish I could remember the poem that Troy's mom shared with us. I'll look it up and get back to you. ;-)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Halloween Recap #1

I have a new affinity for Halloween. Growing up we didn't really get to trick-or-treat for too many years. I think it was a combination of the whole tainted Tylenol scare and the fact that my mother was COMPLETELY overprotective. (Of course, if I had kids I'd hope not to be the same way, but since I take my DOG to daycare, I think there's little chance that I wouldn't be a worry-wart as well. I digress.)

Oh, we had kids come to our house all dressed in their costumes asking for candy and Mom once threw a pretty great Halloween party complete with treat bags, bobbing for apples and an amazingly scare maze all set up in the garage. To this day, several of my friends still say that that is one of their most vivid memories of their childhoods. (Sadly, that year I was supposed to be a ballerina - the secret dream of little fat girls everywhere - but my mom was so busy with preparations for the party that I attended wearing jeans and a t-shirt. Hmm...some pink tulle and tights. Doesn't seem that difficult. I'm still discussing that one in therapy. Again, I digress.)

My parents live in the suburbs - the home of front porches that consist of a huge garage door - so they didn't really do much decorating for the holiday and the trick-or-treating time consisted of opening the door whenever kids rang the bell. I had no idea that it could be any different.

That was until I moved into my house. I moved in at the end of September and that first Halloween I made the mistake of going away for the evening. I didn't even have a pumpkin out as decoration. I did remember to turn off my light so at least the ire of my neighbors wasn't taken out on my house. The next day I received a "talking to" from the family next door. Apparently in my neighborhood, Halloween can be a big deal. Up and down the street most everyone sits out on the front porch to greet the ghouls and goblins. Many people even have little fires in chimneas. It is very cozy and a great way to really become a part of the neighborhood. It has really become one of my favorite holidays for this very reason.

This year I decided to really get in the spirit. For a very long time I was a real humbug about decorating because I am the only one to put it all up. Then I am the only one to take it all down. And for a while, as far as Christmas decorations went, I was the only one to see them. I thought that was a lot of work to do and I didn't really see the reward in it. This year (aided by Wellbutrin) I decorated with a huge straw bale (courtesy of Troy's family's farm. Thanks to them!), several little gourds, Halloween votive holders and (for the second time ever, I believe) I carved two pumpkins. I think they turned out pretty well for being an amateur.

This year I also made a rule that I wasn't going to give out candy to "kids" I thought had probably driven themselves there and could possibly hold down a job. I know. I'm a fuddy-duddy. What can I say? But we have the problem A LOT in my neighborhood. However, I changed my tune when these three young men showed up in their spotless suits, ties and gangsta' hats. They offered me "protection" in return for some candy. The tallest one then opened a briefcase for me to deposit the candy into. It was hilarious! It also turns out that they are 8TH GRADERS from a local catholic school. One of them was 6'3"!! What are they feeding those kids?!?!?

Friday, October 30, 2009

Fabulous Friday Finds - "Puppy Size"

I must admit that I am not one to forward on emails. I don't participate in those "get to know your friends" emails. I don't send on "warnings" that come out by email (especially if they haven't been checked through I'm as big a fan of cute cuddly puppies and kitties and babies as the next person, but I'm trying to live a simpler life and that means not cluttering the inboxes of my friends with useless information and electronic "paper clutter."

Ok, with that being said......

My mom sent me this email a few weeks ago and it has been on my mind ever since. Since it's something that I can truly feel and understand and becaues I think it's so endearing, I present it to you this Friday as my Fabulous Find:

Puppy Size

'Danielle keeps repeating it over and over again. We've been back to this animal shelter at least five times. It has been weeks now since we started all of this,' the mother told the volunteer.

'What is it she keeps asking for?' the volunteer asked.

'Puppy size!' replied the mother.

'Well, we have plenty of puppies, if that's what she's looking for.'

'I know..... we have seen most of them, ' the mom said in frustration...

Just then Danielle came walking into the office. 'Well, did you find one?' asked her mom.

'No, not this time,' Danielle said with sadness in her voice. 'Can we come back on the weekend?' The two women looked at each other, shook their heads and laughed.

'You never know when we will get more dogs. Unfortunately, there's always a supply,' the volunteer said.

Danielle took her mother by the hand and headed to the door. 'Don't worry, I'll find one this weekend,' she said.

Over the next few days both Mom and Dad had long conversations with her. They both felt she was being too particular. 'It's this weekend or we're not looking any more,' Dad finally said in frustration.

'We don't want to hear anything more about puppy size, either,' Mom added.

Sure enough, they were the first ones in the shelter on Saturday morning. By now Danielle knew her way around, so she ran right for the section that housed the smaller dogs. Tired of the routine, mom sat in the small waiting room at the end of the first row of cages. There was an observation window so you could see the animals during times when visitors weren't permitted. Danielle walked slowly from cage to cage, kneeling periodically to take a closer look. One by one the dogs were brought out and she held each one. One by one she said, 'Sorry, but you're not the one.'

It was the last cage on this last day in search of the perfect pup. The volunteer opened the cage door and the child carefully picked up the dog and held it closely. This time she took a little longer. ' Mom , that's it! I found the right puppy! He's the one! I know it!' She screamed with joy. 'It's the puppy size!'

'But it's the same size as all the other puppies you held over the last few weeks,' Mom said.

'No not size..... The sighs. When I held him in my arms, he sighed,' she said.. 'Don't you remember? When I asked you one day what love is, you told me love depends on the sighs of your heart. The more you love, the bigger the sighs!'

The two women looked at each other for a moment. Mom didn't know whether to laugh or cry. As she stooped down to hug the child, she did a little of both. 'Mom , every time you hold me, I sigh. When you and Daddy come home from work and hug each other, you both sigh. I knew I would find the right puppy if it sighed when I held it in my arms,' she said. Then, holding the puppy up close to her face, she said, ' Mom, he loves me. I heard the sighs of his heart!'

Ok, now go and hug your kids and husband, friends and pets. And when you do, remember that what matters is the sighs of your heart.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The first 100(ish) days

Last Friday (October 23rd) was day #100 of my second bucket list. Perhaps it's time for a review of my progress. Shall we?

The Good:

5. Eat sushi once a month. {I know - it's my burden to bear, but I'm muddling through. ;-) } So far so good on this one. I just need to find some time in these last few days of October to grab myself a Canadian Roll from Ocean World. YUM!

13. Feed 3 expired parking meters. So far, I've done one. I have plenty of time and I pass about 100 of them every day on my way to/from work, so I'm not worried.

16. Hug 50 people. With 25/50 under my belt, I'm doing really well, but I need to remember this one is on the list more often.

17 Buy tickets to and attend a charity dinner - COMPLETED 09/17/2009! The church I attend had a fish fry in September and I enjoyed the fish very much. It wasn't what I had originally thought of when I came up with this list item, but it definitely fit the bill.

18 Send flowers anonymously 3 times (1/3) - Check this one out HERE.

20 Donate 1,000,000 grains of rice through (92,180/1,000,000) - So far this one's not that bad. I'm a little bit behind, but it's not that labor intensive and donating a couple extra grains of rice a day is a pretty easy thing to do. Have you done it yet? Check it out.

21 See my parents at least once a month (4/34) - Mom and I try to get together once a month anyway to scrapbook. They generally come down to my house, but I've been up to their once so far too. Not bad. I'm right on schedule. This one's really important I think because if you think about it (which I try not to), I probably don't have THAT many more visits left with them. If I see them once a month and they live for another 20 years (they are both around 60), that's only 240 more times. If that represented the number of days in a year, I would only have 8 months left with them. That's clearly not long enough.

25 Help build a house for someone - I'm totally doing this one tomorrow on a Habitat for Humanity project. Yeah!

39 Read the whole Harry Potter series (0/7) - I'm about 1/2 way through the first book. Perhaps this one should be in the "bad" category for the lack of progress I've made?

45 Get at least 10 official followers on my blog (10/10) - COMPLETED 10/24/2009!!! SCORE! When I first put this one on here, I was sure it would be really difficult to complete, but I get to cross it off already!! I love my followers. I especially love Kelsey Dahlin for putting me over the top. Why don't we try for 100? Haven't joined yet? Well I still have a few open slots, but they're going quickly! ;-)

50 Write myself a letter on Day 1 to be opened in Day 1001 - COMPLETED 7/17/2009. Done, but I still have to find it. Dang it.

56 Pray for those I love once a week (15/144) & 57 Pray for those I don't love once a week (15/144) - still praying.

69 Find 3 new musical artists whose music speaks to my soul (1/3) - I'm really, really, really pleased about my find in Cari Ray. You should totally check her out if you haven't done so already.

70 Buy flowers once every month (4/34) - I've been quite pleased with my selections so far. That reminds me that I haven't shown you my lovely picks for August, September and October. Gorg!

84 Moisturize daily (106/1001) - I'm so moisturized, I practically squish when I walk. Well...maybe not..

97 Buy a Wii - COMPLETED 7/22/2009 - The Wii is by far the coolest gaming system ever. I {heart} the super hula hoop. Seriously. Too much fun!
The Bad:

8. Collect 100,000 pennies (8,600/100,000). I was doing REALLY well on this one for quite a while because I raided all of the pennies from all the people I knew. Any suggestions on how to get more? They do still dribble in and the bowling team is a HUGE help! Thanks, "Clean Slate".
{EDIT: Last night when I got to the bowling alley, I had a red velvet bag from one of my team members. It held over 900 pennies! Sweet! Now instead of being about 2000 behind schedule, I'm only a little over 1,000. That's a big boost for me!}
28 Learn all the state capitals (40/50) - Ugh. I'm right on top of that, Rose!
66 Place 100 inspirational notes around me to inspire me (5/100) - I actually have done a few of these, but I need to do a few more and of course, I need to share with you what inspires me.
90 Take one picture every day (106/1001) - I don't think I've actually taken one picture every day, but I've definitely AVERAGED well more than 1 picture per day. I think that still counts. I guess that's beauty of it being MY list. I get to make up the rules, right?
The Ugly:
58 Get rid of 101 items I own (3/101) - I am REALLY frustrated with the amoun of stuff that I have in my house and despite busily cleaning out drawers and cupboards and closets galore, I haven't actually gotten RID of the things yet. They're all just packed in boxes so far. They. Must. GO!

79 Walk 8,008,000 steps (603,000/8,008,000) - Ok, so it's LOT harder to catch up than it is to fall behind on this one. You would think I could catch up on the weekends, but instead all I want to do it lounge and I end up getting 4,000 steps in that day instead of 8,000. I am currently {gulp} about 160,000 {GULP GULP} steps behind. EGADS!
So that's what the first 100(ish) days look like for me so far. I'm really looking forward to helping with the house tomorrow. I'll let you all know how it goes!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Fabulous Friday Finds -

Hello all! I apologize for my absence the last few days, but my office staff and I are in the throws of moving to a new space and I've been swamped before, during and after work trying to get work done while weeding out stuff (I do so love doing that) and packing what's left into boxes to be moved by the movers on Saturday. Stay tuned for pics of the new space. My old cubicle was VERY utilitarian and a bit messier than I would like, but I'm using this opportunity to have a clean slate and a fresh start. I've been inspired by all of my new, crafty blogger friends, so my new space is well on it's way to being very girly and non-officey.

So, today's Fabulous Friday Find:

Recently Troy has really gotten into some survival research. Either it's a man thing or he's anticipating the worst is right around the corner. In any event, he's gotten me thinking more and more about #92 and #93, which are to make emergency kits for my house and car. In doing research, I stumbled upon a great resource. has everything you need to know about preparing yourself, your family and even your pets for the aftermath of an emergency situation. They have everything from a list of what you need in terms of food, water, first aid kit, medications and copies of important papers.

With the cold winds of winter right around the corner, I think this is a great resource for getting my supplies together. Check it out if you have a moment. You may not live in a disaster prone area, but that's no reason to be unprepared.

Also check out these great 72 hour kits prepared by another blogger. She makes it look so simple and easy!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Cari Ray - updated

I just wanted to send out an update that the Cari Ray concert on Saturday evening was wonderful! I had originally found her through a friend on Facebook. What I didn't realize is that the friend I discovered her through actually went to high school with her here in Indiana. So, I am only two degrees of separation away. Sweet!

The concert was an opening event for her new CD "Always On" (a MUST have!) and contained a great mix of her own music as well as AMAZING covers of songs by Cheryl Crow, Lucinda Williams and Indiana's own John Mellencamp. She was upbeat, witty, funny and at times, self-deprecating.

Her back-up band she dubbed the "Loaners" because most of them were on loan to her. My favorite member of her back-up band was the lead guitarist. First, he was a very skilled musician, but my friend Rachel and I mostly got a kick out of the fact that he was wearing what appeared to be a plumber's shirt complete with name badge. We joked that it looked like he had come in to fix the toilet and got pulled up on the stage because they needed another band member.

A small venue like this (an auditorium that probably seated less than 250) is always my favorite place to see a musical artist because it's much more personal and intimate. It's a chance to see the artist in a way that simply can't be seen on a jumbotron at your nearest stadium. For me, music is personal and the venue should be too. That was even more true for her encore number, Lightning. She performed it acustically with the lights turned down low and the audience in the palm of her hand.

The evening was perfect. I had a moving experience at the concert, a lovely drink afterward with two of my friends that attended the concert and great hopes that Cari Ray will make a big splash on the world-wide music stage soon.

If you want to see her for yourself and didn't get a chance to come out Saturday night, you can see her again this Friday at 8 Second Saloon here in Indianapolis. She is opening for Doug Stone.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Fabulous Friday Finds - Cari Ray

I've spoken before about how music really moves me. I'm not sure if it's my tendencies towards being melancholy or just that I'm deep and introspective (I'm guessing the first one), but I LOVE to find music and musicians that hardly anyone knows about. Mostly the music I am drawn to Troy (lovingly) refers to as "music to menstruate by" because they generally consist of a chick and a guitar. (He really needs to expand his horizons.) I've tried to find artists that speak to my soul in other genres, but they just don't do it for me the same way.

Through the beauty of Facebook, I stumbled upon such an artist the other day. (Since #63 on my list is also "Find 3 new musical artists whose music speaks to my soul", it's nice to know I'm making progress.) Her name is Cari Ray and she's actually sort of a local gal. She's having a CD release concert on Saturday night here in Indy and come hell or highwater, I will be there! I don't care if I have to go alone.

So far, my favorite song of hers is "Close to the Pain". Here's a sample of the lyrics:

The closer I get to the spotlight the closer I am to the pain
I cahse off the stories I lean on and stare down the truth that remains
I know that I had to come this far to go back to places I've been
I'll come back with keys to my freedom and burn up my wings flying in.

Check out her music here!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

My own superpower.

If I was a superhero, I would be Fat Girl!

Let me explain. I don't want to be fat. No. I've pretty much had that one mastered for about 30+ years. I only want the ability to be fat whenever it is inconvenient not to be fat.

I've never really had to worry about relying on my looks to get me through life. I think the few boyfriends I've had in my life chose me in spite of my physique. Certainly it wasn't because of it. I'm pleasantly (ha!) rotund. I have an overabundance of womanly curves, but generally not in a good way. But because this has been the case for all of my life, I have adapted. I became smart and witty, a good listener and an excellent storyteller (I think anyway).

I thickened my proverbial skin by continuing to go to school dances as a youth even when no one asked me to dance and the night always ended in tears for me. When I was a teenager and in my 20s, I had crushes, but I learned to not expect any kind of affection in return. I wasn't one of the girls that boys swoon over. Over time, I learned to think of myself devoid of any kind of sexuality.

And that's not all bad. Somehow it allowed me the freedom to interact with men on levels I might not have otherwise. In high school and college, I was able to hang out with all of the smart guys without that pesky sexual tension getting in the way. I now have a great group of guys that I play poker with now. For better or worse, it's amazing the side of men that you get to see when you're just "one of the guys."

Some of those things changed about 6 years ago when, for about 5 minutes, I lost weight. No longer could I blend into the crowd. If I wore a skirt when I walked the 4 blocks to my car from my office, I invariably heard a plethora of catcalls. For a girl who has always been fat, that's unnerving. It made me uncomfortable and I didn't know how to act.

So, unconsciously I put the weight back on. It was my protection from a frighteningly sexual world. But now I'm tired of being wrapped in this protective layer of fat. I want to be thing and pretty....but only sometimes.

That's where the superpower comes in. In my dreams, I would be able to transform into Fat Girl in the blink of an eye. I could get up in the morning, dress my skinny size 6 body in cute clothes, enhance my gorgeous face with make-up, spritz on my favorite scent and be ready to face the world as a knock-out. I would get the attention of that man in the file room who's caught my eye. That man I flirt with as I walk my dog would ask for my number. But when I walked those 4 blocks to work or passed a construction site of men or stopped at a truck stop to get gas, I could magically transform into Fat Girl. Because Fat Girl also has the power to be invisible. Those construction men wouldn't see me. Those truckers wouldn't notice me at the pump. I could walk to work unaccosted.

Until that happens, I guess I'll just keep wishing for a skinny suit.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

"Harry Potter", here I come!

I love it when the universe conspires FOR me!

So, I was recently checking out the blogger of the day on SITS, when I saw on her sidebar a "Harry Potter" reading challenge. Sweet! It's on my list to read all the books in the series anyway, so this is great! Now I get to have a community to share it with.

Have I mentioned lately how much I love this whole internet blogging community thing?

It really is an amazing blessing to me.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Fabulous Friday Finds - The Secret is in the Sauce

Recently I've been doing a bit of web searching and a few weeks ago I found "The Secret is in the Sauce". It's a website devoted to connecting women bloggers with one another each day. Every weekday they have a featured blogger who is Queen for the day. On a daily basis about 400 bloggers check in and check out the Blogger of the Day. It has been an amazing way to connect with women I might otherwise meet. It's even been a source of inspiration for me to keep getting my house (literally and figuratively in order).

So, if you've got a few minutes go over and check them out. I'm certain you will not be disappointed. You'll probably even find some new soulmates. I know I have.

In the meantime, I'd love your input. I'd like to be featured as a blogger of the day on their site at some point. In order to do so, I have to submit three of my best blog entries. I'm kind of partial to some of them, so probably not a very good judge as to what are my best. I'd love to have your input. I've listed some of my favorites below. Take a look and let me know which 3 you think I should submit. Thanks for your input and I truly thank you for reading my thoughts and helping to make me feel so loved.

1. My weight loss woes

2. Donate my hair to Lock of Love

3. Strawberry Picking

4. Goodbye Sisko

5. Sasha!

6. An organized craft room

7. My reduction surgery
follow-up on the surgery

8. My motorcycle win!

9. The physics of wind on a motorcycle

10. Why I love motorcycling

11. The voice of God

12. Nostalgia

Thursday, October 8, 2009

An homage to Sasha on her birthday!

My bowling team rocks!

Oh, lovely bowling team, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways...

1) There are always adventurous stories of second graders, golf games and band excursions to hear at length.

2) The chance to keep up with old friends on a weekly basis is always a good thing.

3) Despite my lust for blood of the other team (read: need to win), you still love me and invite me back every year.

4) When I suggested we all pay a small fee (just 25 cents) for those games when we don't measure up, you didn't scoff at me and instead played along.

5) Every week when I arrive, I am showered with your generous donations of the pennies that you have gathered with me in mind! (This week was 450+ pennies! Sweet!)

but most of all....

I love you because..

for the first time in 7 years......

we are in FIRST PLACE!!!!!! Waaahooooooooo!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Fine art and french fries? NO!

Recently I was watching TV and saw a story that said they are planning to put a McDonald's restaurant inside of the Louvre. WHAT?!?! Are you kidding me?

Don't get me wrong. I've occasionally been in the mood for a filet o'fish. I'm even a big fan of their french fries...unfortunately. But, how about we NOT taint all that is good and right in the world in terms of the great art and majesty contained in the Louvre with our filthy American food choices? France is about fine dining and delicate palates, right? Shouldn't there be a line where capitalism and our growing rears not have a place?

What's next? The golden arches above the Great Wall? How about one in the tower of London? Oh, I know. I'm sure SOME wing of the White House needs a fast food selection. Perhaps the chefs would enjoy a night off.


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Motorcycle Bench Redesign

As promised yesterday, I have returned with pictures of the bench that I redid. I hate to break my arm patting myself on the back, but I must say I really like the way it turned out and it's about 1000 times better than it previously looked. It was a bench that was previously at my parents house (about 100 years ago when I moved into my own place). I tried a long time ago to redo it and, as you can see in the befores, it did NOT turn out well.

I house most of my motorcycle gear in this little bench, which works out perfectly. (I just better not buy any more gear!) It sits in my bedroom, which is pretty much the only room in the house that I haven't completely redone. I wanted it to fit into the decor in there, which is very ....tan... blah. (I swear I will do something about that at some point, but for now it is tan.) I also wanted to make sure that if I was going to move the bench into another room, it would work anywhere else in my house as well, so I went with the tan paint color.

I love spray paint. I discovered it about 6 months when I used some rustoleum on my front and back screen doors. Hmm... $3 for a can of paint or $300 for a new door. THAT was an easy decision.

I was going to use some fabric I already had around the house, but I spotted this really great brownish-red vinyl on the clearance table at Jo-Ann's and I knew it would be perfect! A few decorative upholstery tacks on the front and viola! A new bench. I really like it....a LOT!

I would like to thank Sarah over at Thrifty Decor Chick for inspiring me to start fixing some of my decorating issues around my house!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Weekend recap

I hope you all had a lovely weekend. I certainly did.

Saturday morning, Sasha and I went for a 1 1/2 hour walk (9000+ steps! yeah). We visited a couple of garage sales where I picked up a few picture frames for #1 on my list. This is the third time I've found some like this and I think I'm liking the idea of a kind of hodgepodge of frames on the wall when I'm done. Well, I'm liking it in theory. Let's hope my perfectionistic tendencies don't get the best of me and make me think of it as looking cluttered when it's done.

After our walk, we ran some errands. I headed to Lowe's. I've been reading some of Sarah's posts over at Thrifty Decor Chick and so I've been feeling the need to do some home improving. The two projects I had in mind to start right now were: the kitty box closet and an old bench that I have.

The kitty litter box(es) are in a small closet that has a wood floor. Read: kitty box + wood floor = bad for the wood floor! So, I decided to get a small hand sander, sand down the floor, refinish it and then cover it with some vinyl flooring so that when the kitties "color outside the lines", it will no longer ruin the floor. When I went to the flooring department at Lowe's and asked for some remnants, the sales guy showed them to me. I hemmed and hawwed because they were marked $25 and were way more than I needed. I wasn't THAT concerned about the $25, but I will thrilled when he said, "These aren't doing me any good here. How about you take it for $5?" SOLD! Sweet! I'll post pictures when I've completed it.

The bench that I wanted to redo holds all of my motorcycle stuff. It's a LOT of stuff. How did Troy end up with an entire motorcycle closet (that I organized and made for him) and I have a bench? hmmmm... I digress..... Anyway, the bench... It's a bench I remember having at my parents house when i was younger. It was an ugly dark brown and I tried (miserably) to repaint it about 5 years ago. I've been disgusted with the way it looked since then and so I decided to give it another go. This time I got some tan paint and I'm going to upholster the seat with some fabric that I already have at the house. So, the total cost of the "new" bench should be less than $5. Nice! I'm hoping to finish it this week and I'll show you how it turns out.

Saturday evening I joined my girls at Elaine's house for a Chick Flick Film Festival where we enjoyed "Confessions of a Shopaholic" (nothing like the book, but very cute), "Atonement" (what a complete downer! and how thin is Kiera Knightly?!?!) and "Chocolat" (who doesn't love Johnny Depp and chocolate on the same screen?) We enjoyed lots of chocolate goodies and I even made a fruit bouquet! (pictures to come, I promise) After all, SOMEONE has to bring something healthy, right?

I didn't get in until late Saturday night, so I slept in a bit on Sunday morning. By Sunday afternoon Sasha and I went to see Troy before he headed off to work. It's nice to get to see him for a little bit and Sasha does LOVE her Troy!

When we were done at Troy's we headed over to the dog park so she could get some exercise. It was a gorgeous day and the park was packed wit probably 40 dogs and their owners. Sasha usually runs off to play and forgets that I am even there. This time I decided to wander around and see if she would notice. The park is a HUGE fenced in area. I had made it about 1/2 way around when she looked up from playing to see where I was. She scanned the park and eventually found me. She came RUNNING at me. (I love that). A few minutes later she went back to playing and I made it back around to the entrance. This time when she looked up to see where I had was, she had a hard time finding me and I saw what it must be like when a child loses their parent in the store. If a dog can panic, she was. She even went to the gates and looked out. I wonder if she thought I had left her. With my heart breaking for her, I called her name and once again she came RUNNING for me. This time she went to play again, but she started checking on me a lot more often. Apparently she didn't want to lose me again. I'm horrible, huh? Of course, I would never leave her. She is the best dog in the world, after all.

The funniest thing to watch was when this miniature greyhound would approach a big group of BIG dogs (including Sasha who just thinks she's big), bark a couple of times to get their attention and then RUN away with all of the dogs chasing her. Let's just say most of the dogs didn't stand a chance of catching her. It was funny the first time, but hilarious the second time. I guess if you're a mini greyhound, it FUN to be chased.

I left the park with a (gloriously) pooped puppy and we enjoyed the rest of the weekend curled up on the couch watching some TV.

It was a very good weekend.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Fabulous Friday Finds - Lolita Margarita Glasses

Last week's inaugural Fabulous Friday Find was all about my inquisitive nature and my desire to enjoy the great outdoors in the form of Ken Burns' documentary on the National Parks.

This week, I'm thinking ahead to my girls' day coming up on Saturday and all the fun we have.

Each month a group of my girlfriends and I get together for a book club. Reading the book is optional. It's simply an excuse for us to all get together and enjoy each other's company. Every fall some of those same girls and I take a trip together. We've gone on a cruise, to a delightful 3 bedroom "cabin" in southern Indiana and last year we decided to fly out to Dallas to catch up with some old friends.

Twice a year we try to expand the group and invite our extended group of girlfriends to a "Chick Flick Film Festival". We wear very comfy clothes, bring our crafts, stuff ourselves with all sorts of wonderfully prepared foods and adults beverages and pass around tissues as we watch cheesy chick flicks. This is just the sort of places where the Lolita Margarita Glasses would fit in perfectly.

While we were vacationing in Dallas last year, I happened upon these margarita glasses and fell in love with them! There are also martini glasses if that is more to your liking. They are each hand-painted in all sorts of designs to fit any occasion from a birthday bash to a wedding day to ringing in the new year with style! Each glass also comes complete with a different drink recipe painted on the bottom. Just make sure to write it down before you start pouring the drinks!

While, in my opinion, they are a bit pricey at $24 each, I think they are a perfect splurge for a present for one of your BFFs. It's a great way to tell her you thinks she great fun to be around!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

A conversation overheard....

I don't mean to impugn anyone's character, actual conversation I heard while walking in front of the city/county building on my way from my office to my car:

"Yeah, I was up on 6 counts of battery, but I beat 'em. I beat those m*#*er f*^#*ers."

Perhaps if you have to phrase your comment about your innocence in terms of "beating" the rap, your innocence should be further questioned.

It's just a thought. I could be wrong.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A mouse in my house!

I have lived in my house for 8 years and since I'm a single person, I'm usually pretty good at keeping the place clean. Unfortunately, having 2 cats and a dog have taken their toll over the last year and I find I would much rather play with the animals than wash dishes, scrub the floors and dust. Don't get me wrong, it's not to the point that the authorities need to be called, but it's much less tidy than I would prefer.

So.....last night I noticed that Sasha kept sniffing under the stove. She then moved down the hallway. She first sniffed under the door of the coat closet. When I opened it up to see what she was looking for, there was nothing there. So, she moved onto the door to the linen closet. Again, I opened the door. Nothing there either. I finally concluded she was either chasing a spider or a dusty bunny. At this point, either was a possibility. A few minutes later I rounded her up and carted her off to sleep in her crate.

Then when I was doing my nightly chores of teeth-brushing and contact lens-removing, I noticed that now Phoebe was sniffing under the door to the linen closet. Odd. I walked over and opened the door to see what was there. I still didn't see anything, but she was VERY interested in getting behind the whicker basket that holds all of my cleaning supplies. So whether curiosity or a spoiled cat got to me, I'm not sure, but I decided to pull out the basket and see what she was after.

I expected to see a spider or a cricket. Frankly, I often feel bad for the ones that foolishly make their way into my house. It would be more humane for me to just smash them with a shoe rather than make them go through the torture of being repeatedly picked up and spit out by Phoebe. She loves nothing more, I think.

Anyway, I digress. I slide the basket out of the way and see a little mouse about the size of a small golf ball huddled up in the corner. He seemed petrified (if a mouse can be), but at that moment I think I was MUCH more freaked out then he was. Flashes of cockroaches and mouse infestations went flying through my mind. This was the epitome of my lack of housekeeping skills. I screamed at the top of my lungs. Luckily Troy was there and came running to my rescue. He was sure that I had found one of the cats or the dog dead at my feet. Instead when he turned the corner and found me in a sobbing, frantic state, I can only imagine the things that went through his mind!

He assured me that he was there because of the cold weather we've been having and not because my house is toxic. He told me I need to calm down and asked me to get a shoe box. I retrieved one for him and then locked myself in my bedroom (with a towel under the door for safe-keeping) as he very bravely scooted the shoebox trapped mouse across the wood floor and out onto the front sidewalk.

When he was all done he told me I could come back and showed me the mouse cowering on the landing outside my house in a near comatose state.

My hero!

Now my only option is to scrub every inch of the house from top to bottom. I better get started. It's a big house for one person.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

You be the judge...

VEEERRRRY creepy or be the judge:

Last night, despite having spent her day running around with other puppies, Sasha was in quite a mood. Generally speaking, after a day like that, she's exhausted and spends most of the evening either napping next to me on the couch or lounging in the lazyboy. Not last night.

Perhaps it was the downward change in temperature. Perhaps it was the wind whistling outside. Perhaps it was the rose bush branches knocking on the picture window. Whatever it was, she was restless and insisted that she wanted to go for a walk.

Most of the time I try to make sure our walk is over before it gets dark, but since the days are getting shorter that is seemingly becoming more difficult to accomplish. So I slipped on some shoes, bundled myself in a sweatshirt and grabbed her leash. We were off. She probably would have been happy with a stroll up and down my street, but since I had steps to get in anyway, I opted for a longer route. We usually cover my street and the one just east of mine. Occasionally we go into the next neighborhood over. We very rarely walk the street just west of mine. Perhaps after last night I know why. I was in the mood for a change of scenery and since it was getting dark quickly and the western street is not lit as well as the eastern street, we went west.

As we strolled, the smells of falls surrounded us. The winds whipped around us and the leaves crunched under my feet. I thought about the fact that it was eerily quiet and that October and Halloween were quickly approaching. We had just made it to the southern portion of the street, which is void of nearly all street lights and house lights when I noticed a flickering light up ahead on the porch of the house we were approaching. I thought to myself how homey that seemed that someone was getting into the autumn spirit. We passed a big hedge and crossed into the sidewalk in front of the house. It was then that I noticed, through a small opening in the porch, a man sitting on the porched eerily lit by the flickering candle light. His hair was grey. The area where his eyes should have been were mere shadows. He was wearing what appeared to be a black cape. (The reasonable, rational part of me says it wasn't but still.....) He sat there in perfect silence slowing stroking his fingers across the head of an equally silent dog that sat beside him. It felt like a scene right of a scary movie.....or something set up by one of those haunted houses you can visit in October. I was freaked out!

I usually nod a greeting or say hello as I pass other people in my neighborhood. I couldn't make myself do that this time. I was frozen with fear.

I urged Sasha on and we (quickly!) proceeded down the street. About 3 minutes later we were headed back up the street (on the opposite side!). As we passed the house, now from a safe distance, I looked over to see if the man was still there. There was no sign of him! There was no candle. No dog. With one lone hall light on in the house, it didn't even appear that anyone was home. At that point, we nearly ran home. Now I know why I never go down that street!

So, you be the judge.....creepy occurance or just my crazy imagination?

Monday, September 28, 2009

Knowing when to say something

We are all human beings and as such we interact with one another and form relationships and attachments. Sometimes we are automatically linked to another people like our parents and siblings. Other times we form relationships with people because we enjoy the same activities, have similar political views or simply live near one another.

So, my questions are: What are our responsibilites in these relationships? How much should we involve ourselves in these relationships and the actions of the other person? What can/should we expect from the other person?

Maybe it depends on the relationship.

For instance, what are a parent's responsibilites towards a grown child? I'm sure that if we asked 100 people we could get 100 different job descriptions for a parent. Since I haven't polled 100 people and since this is my blog, we're gonna go with my definition for discussion purposes. For me, a parent is a caretaker and a leader for the child. For the most part, parents are given 18 years in which to shepherd their children in the way that they think is right. That means being there for them.

Really there.

Not just being in the room.

That means asking hard questions and sometimes answering hard questions. It means teaching them that fighting for the things that they believe in is important and crucial and okay. It means saying it's okay for them to say they don't know the answer and helping them figure out where the answer might be found. It means telling them when you think they are doing something that is going to harm their bodies, minds or souls. It means saying "I'm not happy with your actions, but that doesn't mean I love you any less." It means realizing that some day (maybe a lot of days) they are going to disagree with you and probably not do the thing you think they should. They (probably) aren't doing it to hurt you. They are not you. You are not them. It's their life, but you're supposed to BE there for it. Whether they are 6 or 16 or 60.

I think the same goes for our spouses and siblings and friends. Until we all develop the ability to hear one another's thoughts, we need to speak to one another. If we care about that person, we should say something. Your girlfriend probably doesn't want to hear if you think the man she's dating is bad for her. Your spouse probably doesn't want to hear you're unsatisfied with your love life. Your sibling probably doesn't want to hear that they've made choices in their life you disagree with. Those are scary things to say/hear. After all, that could mean the end of a relationship. But if things are broken, they don't get fixed by ignoring the problem.

So perhaps sometimes I say too much. Perhaps sometimes I should be more aloof and guarded. Perhaps I should just mind my own business. Unfortunately I don't see me doing that any time soon. Hopefully those who I have relationships with know this about me and love me in spite of it. Hopefully they know I love them because I tell them - because I am THERE for them mentally and physically - because I care enough to argue with them.

I'm very thankful for those people in my life who do the those things for me. I don't always want to hear what they have to say, but hopefully I am learning that just because we don't agree doesn't mean they don't love me. Hopefully I am letting them help to make me into a better person.


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