Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Cartoon Weekly

Here we are at another Hump Day and that means it's time to take a peek at my (sometimes sick) sense of humor. Enjoy!


The guys who write Brevity have an amazing knack for tickling my funny bone.

Granted, this Bizarro is poking fun at "trainers" in the professional sports arena. But after hearing the trainers in my gym talking about supplements and shakes and protein powders, I realized it has much broader applications. Note: I have not taken any "peanuts" from my trainer. LOL!

With New Year's upon us, it seems appropriate to examine the resolutions we might set for ourselves.

After several weeks of cold weather, I find more & more critters either on my lap or on the bed with me. They're particularly fond of places you've warmed up and momentarily left. The quick move to the vacated warm spot is not their way of keeping your place warm for you either. Nosireebobbothankyouverymuch.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas Redux

Here we are. Skating (perhaps literally if the forecasts hold true) on the other side of Christmas. *happy sigh* I don't know about you, but for me, this has to be one of the best Christmases in recent memory. Good food, good friends, good times!

This year, there were no hurt feelings to be dealt with. The holidays make those even harder to assuade, and the whole mess just puts a damper on things. So yay for family cooperation this year! We got to spend good, quality time with all of our loved ones where we enjoyed lots of laughter, good food, and bunches of terrific gifts.

Derek was most surprised by my parents who gave him a Keurig coffee machine. He's now in K-cup heaven! *wink* And I have to say that I'm really enjoying it too. It's nice to make a single cup at a time and not have a mess to clean up. We have oodles to keep us warm for a while!

My biggest gift is a new steam washer & dryer. O! M! G! I LOVE them. You know how I complain about the mountains of laundry I let accumulate? And how it takes me forEVER to get it finished? Well. Not anymore. I'm finished with ALL of the laundry (and I had let a lot pile up to put the new stuff to the test) and managed to do it all on Saturday and Sunday. Amazing! Now I'm digging into the dry cleaning stack to see what can go a bit longer (just needs freshening/dewrinkling). I've tried just about every function on these babies and have not been disappointed. If anything, it's made me realize just how much I needed new ones. Our clothes were not getting clean AT ALL in the old ones as is evidenced by the crusty-arm-pitted shirts that have come out of the dryer. Ick! So if you're looking for new ones too, I can't speak highly enough about the LG line.

Now that the holidays are over and I have a break from Ye Olde Paid Church Job, I can enjoy time doing what I want to do. Naturally, that means I'll be getting crafty. *wink* I'm itching to get started on some long-neglected scrapbooks. Heck, I'm hoping I can catch up .... Hahaha! Nah! Not likely to happen. But I'm pretty sure I can make a nice dent in the piles to-be-scrapped. And, of course, there are thank-you notes to be made & mailed for all of the wonderful holiday loot.

Derek, poor thing, is slaving away right now making that final push before year's end. He's this close to making his quota. In fact, it all hinges on one sale that hangs precariously in the balance. But, in my book, he's had a year to be proud of - he met his personal sales goal, set three back-to-back monthly sales records, and has gotten all kinds of recognition from HQ. I'm proud of ya, babe!

We plan to celebrate the new year with our friends/neighbors with fancy attire, a night out on the town, and a hired driver. Good times will certainly be had by all!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Friday, December 25, 2009

Holiday Greetings




* digital kit provided by The Ettes & Company
* additional elements added using Adobe Photoshop Elements

Monday, December 21, 2009

Record to CD

Anybody have the means to convert a record to digital format? There's this old Christmas album that Avon put out in the late 80s or early 90s, and when I was growing up, we always played it while we decorated for Christmas. Unfortunately, I've lost the tape and the only format you can buy it in these days is record.

Monday Funny

There are two potatoes standing on the street corner. One of them is a prostitute. How can you tell which one is the prostitute?


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Cartoon Weekly

Here are some recent cartoons that tickled my funny bone. Have you seen any that made you laugh out loud?


Derek and I have been seeing our personal trainers for a little over six months now. I faithfully see mine three times a week, while Derek ... well, not quite so often. When I saw this Pearls comic, it made me chuckle & think of an excuse he might give me for why he missed his training appointment. LOL


I think the humor in this one is plainly obvious. Definitely had me rolling!

I think we all know how well I like spiders. When I saw this FMinus clip, it summed up just why the little buggers scare me ... b/c I'm pretty sure they actually do plot my demise. *shudder*

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Advantages to Babysitting

Today I get to stay at home and wait on worker bees. 'Tis the time of year to have some regular winter maintenance done on the house. I was grumbling about it until I realized that I get the whole day to finish the crafty Christmas presents I have strewn about the craft room. Now it doesn't seem so bad to be stuck at home. *wink*

Hope you enjoy this chilly day yourself!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

More Like That

Even though we had places to be and people to see all weekend, the weekend seemed long ... for whatever reason. Weird, if you ask me, but I'm not lookin' the gift-horse if you know what I mean.

Friday we went to Derek's office party at the Big Boss' house. There's been a LOT of turnover this year, which was vastly apparent as we walked in the door and I recognized only two or three faces. Honestly, there have been lots of changes at the company altogether this year and more planned for 2010. Which is why this year's party was at the Big Boss' house and for the first year since Derek's been at the company the party was casual rather than cocktail attire (which I found out AFTER I'd gone out and bought a new dress. *le sigh*).

Saturday we had Christmas with Derek's parents who will be in Florida for Christmas week this year. We cooked dinner for them - something we've been promising since his dad's birthday in September. Better late than never? They enjoyed it, and we certainly enjoyed the visit. And, of course, we enjoyed a little gift exchange too.

Today has been a most excellent day of rest. I did not have to sing, so we enjoyed a late get-up time. We had breakfast with the neighbors - smoked salmon & yummy Starbucks Christmas blend. We're spending the rest of the day lazing about, which will likely involve football, crafting, laundry, and cleaning off the DVR. It's nice not to have to get out of the pjs!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Things: Installment 31

I've told little stories here and there about the funny conversations that go on around our dinner table, but I thought it would be a real gas to examine some things I've written down over the last several months. Taken out of context, these will either be really hilarious or you'll wonder what kind of crack we're all smoking. *grin*

Things Said Around Our Dinner Table
  • If they made a movie about Dan, they'd have to call it a short film.
  • She takes nuts; hold the cream.
  • I can't ride this!
  • No, I will always be a Packer.
  • If someone insulted Dori's weight, she'd say, "I'm not fat, I'm just husky."
  • The only thing you're getting tonight is socks, which gives a whole new meaning to "Just Do It."
  • You need help. You're wii-tarded.
  • And those are the only Rated G things I have for ya.....

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Ho-Ho-Ho

Christmas is gearing up at our house. I finally started dragging out the home decor this week. So things are looking a bit more festive. I still have a box to drag down from the attic. Perhaps I'll get that done this weekend. We've also quickly been clicking away to get all of the gifts ordered. I think FedEx is just about tired of coming to our house by now! LOL! And we've made several trips to honest-to-goodness storefronts (shocking, I know) for several other gifts. Still have a few more stops to make, but the shopping is just about finished. Everything else requires me to stay home long enough to get some crafting done. It's down to the Great Race to Christmas - as it usually is when I decide to MAKE things. Now I just need to get all the goodies wrapped and tagged and under the garland. (We're not putting the tree up (again) this year. Meeko's still a bit too curious about the other things I have out. Can't risk him taking down an entire tree!)

Speaking of goodies, Santa made his stop a little early this year. Today, he informed me that I would be getting a new washer & dryer on Dec. 26th. Whoohoo - no more waiting 2 hrs for the dryer to get things less than damp! Granted, these new gadgets are SO fancy that it may take me WEEKS to get them figured out. But I'm sure I can manage. Heh heh! And Derek will be happy to have wrinkle-free(ish) clothes or at least the ability to get the wrinkles out with steam.

Now ... if I can just get Santa to deliver a couple of big set sales and an ice storm for Derek before the end of the year, we'll be all set. *wink*

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Cartoon Weekly

I've been a little busy the last several weeks, but that doesn't mean I haven't been "clipping" some great things out of the funny papers. Enjoy!


I really loved this Bizarro comic that ran several weeks ago. And it certainly sums up how I feel about Christmas as a retail holiday. The only thing that would have made this even MORE perfect would be if there was a carved pumpkin somewhere in this frame b/c this year the stores had Christmas out before Halloween was even over. Pfffttt!


'Tis the season for FOOTBALL at my house. And that means lots of excitement .... and yelling at the tv. This Pearls comic really hit the funny bone in that dept.


And this one is for all you cat owners out there. I know you'll appreciate it! I imagine my guys having this very discussion after we've gone to work or to bed.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Without {Much of} a Hitch

Whew. That's about all I can say at this point. To say that the last week was a whirlwind is a vast understatement. Seriously. But when all is said and done, the whiz-bang of time was all worth it. B/c my kids did splendidly. Kids who have never before been heard singing in church sang solos. SOLOS! It was precious. And everyone loved it. For me, the icing on the cake was the singing that I got to do. The cake, though, that would be the kids. But since we've mentioned the icing, the remainder of the weekend singing went splendidly. There's supposed to be a recording. If I manage to finagle a copy, I'll try to upload some snippits. But I make no promises!

This week? Well, I think I've earned a much-deserved rest, don't you? And that's exactly what I plan to do. Rest. Oh, and maybe a little laundry. Cause. You know. It's kinda turned into a mountain ... again. Funny how that always happens. *wink* Meanwhile, I'll try to keep you entertained with a few long-thought-out posts (which basically means that I've had them in the pipeline longer than I'd care to talk about and they may not be funny anymore ... you know, with the context gone & all).

Friday, December 04, 2009

We Interrupt This Broadcast....

to bring you a TOTAL FREAK-OUT MOMENT! Ack, I have a sore throat!!!! And I have to sing FOUR TIMES ON SUNDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!

We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

Monday, November 30, 2009

P.S.


For any who may be interested, the big to-do with chamber orchestra, harp, organ, and 75 voices is this Sunday at 6:30 p.m. at Lake Highlands UMC (9015 Plano Rd). I'm singing a wicked-hard piece with organ, harp, and viola (that I had to translate myself from French into English). The concert is FREE.

The Piper's Calling

I don't know about you, but I had a great Thanksgiving. Got to dote on my nephew, enjoy an inveritable feast with friends, and get started on my Christmas gifts. And I got my fill of my favorite foods - dressing & pie. Mmmm mmmm! I felt justified in having some every day since I worked out twice during the holiday. A few pairs of jeans are now telling the tale ... but I'll just wear the stretchy ones this week. Heck, maybe I'll just wear my fleece pj bottoms. If only I could "work from home!" LOL

You won't hear much from me this week. I have rehearsal every night but Friday, and that's date night since I won't otherwise see my spouse for more than 5 minutes this week. Sooooo ... for all intents and purposes, I'll see you guys on the other side of Pearl Harbor Day. Have a great one!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Things: Installment 30

This year, in particular, it seems most appropriate to dedicate a(n early) Things post to Thanksgiving. 2009 was a pretty crummy year for us, quite frankly. But in the midst of loss and fear, there are still so many good things to appreciate. And how much better it is to dwell on our blessings rather than our hardships! You quickly realize that even the crummiest year is laced with love.

Things to be Thankful For This Year
  1. I am very grateful that Derek's cancer was caught early, treated with surgery alone, and he continues to get excellent reports at his oncology visits. Each month is another step to greater odds that he will have no future recurrances.
  2. We both have jobs that we enjoy and that are (mostly) recession-proof.
  3. We enjoyed an excellent summer vacation - an opportunity to steal time away from busy lives and enjoy each other and our loved ones.
  4. We are blessed with many dear friends with whom we enjoy dinners and get-togethers and mini-vacations and late-night chats. Our friends are priceless beacons in good times and bad, and it's hard to say where we might be without them. Each one is a precious, irreplacable gift.
  5. We cannot help but miss our friend and neighbor Boo who passed away so suddenly a few months ago. But how blessed we are to have known him and been touched by him - a great man, a true friend!
  6. I continue to grow in my music. Not only does my voice continue to warm and grow and amaze even me, but I am now learning to instill my love for music in the singers of tomorrow. Teaching children is certainly a challenge, but I am reminded of my own beginnings in choir - how my director formed and shaped me and truly began my love for vocal music. I am eternally grateful to Ms. Becky for that. I hope to pass that gift on to the children in my choir.
  7. My nephew Oliver, though a few weeks early, is growing and thriving and is already a heart-stealer! We look forward to watching him grow and change over this next year.
  8. I am thankful for my mom who is celebrating a birthday this Thanksgiving Day. Happy birthday, mom!
  9. We're thankful for the time we've gotten to spend with our friend Dan who will be shipping off to a new duty office next month. We are SO sad to see him go but look forward to keeping in touch and seeing him on vacations. And we really hope that he is able to return here in a few years. Our block is definitely going to be a little lonely without him.
  10. We are thankful for ALL of those service men and women who give of themselves to serve and protect This Great Nation. It is their heritage of sacrifice that affords us this opportunity to be thankful.
Simply said: we are full of thanks for the innumerable blessings so richly bestowed upon us by our Heavenly Father. And we pray His blessings for you!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Great Race Begins

The marathon cooking spree has begun. My dear, sweet husband braved the likes of Kroger AND Wally World at 4:30 p.m. yesterday to get the last-minute things I need to make the Thanksgiving goodies. What a trooper! And what a lifesaver, I say! Otherwise, I was going to have to make those stops myself after my rehearsal last night. And I don't know about you, but I'm not all that up for grocery shopping at 10 p.m. Pfffttt!

Instead, I came home and baked a cake. My mom's birthday cake actually. Her birthday is tomorrow (gobble-gobble), but we all have obligations elsewhere so we opted to crash my brother's house and have a party today. (Truth be told, we all intend to fight over Oliver, but that's neither here nor there. LOL)

After I get home from the birthday shindig, I'll start the baking for tomorrow's feast with the neighbors. Gotta get that cornbread made today so it's good & crumbly tomorrow morning when I make the dressing. Mmmm mmmmmm! Have to get up super-early to do that b/c I decided it would be a great idea to schedule a session with my trainer tomorrow morning. Tell me, who does that?! Crazy people like me, I guess. Heh heh! In preparation for my great carb-loaded gorgefest tomorrow, yesterday's training session was more like a torture session. Nice. I suppose I'll thank her at some point. But let's just say, I'm not thankin' her today! Nope. More like, cursing her name. Ha! I just hope my abs aren't still sore tomorrow 'cause that'll really cut into the room I can make for all that dressing and punkin pie! But let's keep that between us. *wink*

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Freight Train to Epiphany

I managed to cram this last weekend full of as much fun as I could stand. It was, after all, my last weekend off until January. This week officially begins the race to Christmas. I hate to think of it that way, but in the life of a church musician, some truths are held to be self-evident. The fact that Advent tends to be a blur & whir of activity is just one of those.

As I sat in a final planning meeting for the children on Saturday, I realized just how much we have left to accomplish in ONE REHEARSAL! I felt a little like Chicken Little running around with my hands over my ears screaming, "the sky is falling! the sky is FALL-ING!" But I've learned a) to never underestimate the ability of children to learn things at the last minute, b) to never underestimate the element of surprise, and c) to come up with a game plan for the punt. I'm hoping my kiddos work on music while they enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday so that I am thoroughly surprised at our rehearsal next week. But I've also gone through our music making the plan to cut & slash pieces down to something workable. You know, just in case they enjoyed the turkey a little too much.

And after I got done worrying about my choir, I got to move on to my own music. Which, by the way, I haven't worked on but, oh, an hour or two. TOPS. *sigh* Not exactly the way I like to go into the Advent season - grossly unprepared. But this year has been a learning curve for me. Who knew directing children could be so time-consuming & life-sucking?! LOL! So aside from working on tons of Christmas projects over the break this week, I will also be ear-torturing the neighbors. I guess it's a good thing most of them will be gone. *wink*

So what did I do for a little distraction from all of this (now most-obvious source of) stress? Went out with friends, of course! And Sunday I saw New Moon. You may remember how thoroughly disappointed I was with Twilight. Well, clearly the studio listened to the complaints from the fan base b/c they stepped it up on this second one. The screen play was better. The special effects were better. The acting was better. The editing was better. I still maintain that Kristen Stewart is a TERRIBLE Bella! Ugh! She pains me, people! I hated every scene between Bella & Edward. They're just too .... awkward. BUT the scenes between Bella & Jacob? Now those were believable. Probably her best moments in either film. I was a little sad to come away from the movie totally rooting for that relationship. And let's just talk about Jacob for a minute, shall we? Mmmmmm, mmmmmmm - yummy! The entire wolf pack was some definite eye candy. And to quote one of my girlfriends, "I feel kinda dirty lusting after a 20-year old. But man!" Seriously! And let me just say, the wolves scared the bejeesus out of me. So score one for the computer graphics guys. You hit that one dead-on. So, if you're a fan of the books and were disappointed with the first movie, this one is worth seeing. I hope the next two show this much improvement!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Little Help From Your Friends?

So ... today, my friend & neighbor Mike had a little wardrobe malfunction. Unfortunately, he didn't realize his mistake until he arrived at the office.


BUT ... Mike's coworker, friend, & neighbor Skeet came to the rescue. Granted, I'm pretty sure Skeet was just making fun of Mike. But still. A little help from a friend is always nice! hee hee!
My question is this: how do you mistake shoes that have COMPLETELY different toe boxes? Same style, different color. I totally get that. But talk about different ends of the spectrum there, Mikey!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Cartoon Weekly

Another week of the Hump Day Ha-Has. Enjoy!

Is there anything more annoying than a traffic snarl caused by some moron who was on the phone? I didn't think so. The punch line for this joke ... not annoying though!

This F-Minus pane just tickles my sick-and-twisted funny bone!

This Pearls Before Swine strip naturally appealed to the ag. geek in me!

Monday, November 16, 2009

A Cheesehead? Really?

"Why on earth would a good Southern girl like you be a fan of the stinkin' Green Bay Packers?" If I had $1 for every time I heard that one, well .... you know.

I would actually be remiss if I led you to believe that I'm a diehard-bleeds-green-and-yellow-paints-my-face-on-Sunday Packer fan. *I hear my U-per family gasping right now* When I was old enough to really express an interest in following football was about the time that I really got to know my UP Michigan kinfolk. Wanna talk about diehard Cheeseheads??? They're the epitomy, let me tell ya! So they "schooled" me about football and that, of course, meant that I had to be a Packer fan. *wink* But let's face it, I got in on the beginnings of the Favre years. What's not to love about that? Seriously?! He rawks!!!! (And, yes, I am a tad bit bitter about the whole "retirement" thing. So let's not talk about it, k?)

Now that I'm hooked on football, I need a team that's easier to follow at home 'cause, you know, Greenbay doesn't get a lot of air time down here! That's when I started watching the Cowboys. In fact, I didn't miss a single game for SIX years. I got to where I could call the plays even while listening to the game on the radio on the way home from church - I knew the playbook so well. I made my guy friends proud! haha

BUT I became disenchanted with the 'Boys, and pro football in general if we're being honest, long about six years ago or so and now don't follow them as much anymore. (Shoot, I don't follow anyone anymore, let's be honest!) Scandal after scandal is hard to stomach, ya know? And then the coaching just "gone off and went to hell" (to borrow a terrible hick phrase from my youth). Quite frankly, it makes my blood boil most of the time to watch them play. Such stupid play calling. Terrible tackling. Geez - I've seen high school teams play better. HIGH SCHOOL! And don't even get me started on J.J.! *Pfffft*

So ... when the 'Boys play the Packers? Well, these days it's just kinda hard to choose.

Winds Are A'Changin'

Whew. Last week was a whirlwind. Was it for you, too? Funny how weeks with holidays in the middle seem longer. There's nothing worse than a week with two Mondays! Agreed? I told you life wasn't going to slow down once the recital was through. Now it seems like everything is in fast-forward from now till Christmas. What is it with that?!

I spent the first part of the week putting together decorations for a baby shower I co-hostessed. (Say that a few times fast!) They turned out super cute and everyone loved them. And, of course, I don't have access to the photos right now, so I'll have to remember to come back & upload them later ... note to self. And we all know how great I am at that! HA! The short of the story is that it was a nice party and baby-to-be got some really terrific loot.

On Saturday, I attended another shower for my friend at a posh high-rise apartment in Uptown. FAN-CY! We were a little worried mom-to-be wouldn't get to be there since she's been having some blood pressure issues, but she got special permission to attend the last of her baby showers before going on indefinite bed rest. For me, it was fun to get to meet some of her other friends and see a few of the ones I know myself. In particular, I finally got to meet a blogger I've followed for several years. And, yep, she's just as cool in person.

The rest of the weekend went on without fanfare. You know, the usual. Although, I am pleased to say that my Packers managed to continue the Cowboys Lambeau Losing Streak. (But in all fairness, both teams played like crap and the refs were pretty one-sided. So all you Cowboys fans, don't go gettin' up in my face just b/c I'm a little pleased that the Packers didn't totally suck this week!)

Oh, and before I forget (shhh, those of you with Google Reader), how about that cold weather we woke up to thsi morning?? Can you say AWESOME!!!!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Finally Home


Oliver went home on Friday and we couldn't be more excited. Although, I have to say that I'm a tad disappointed but only from the standpoint that he's no longer 5 min. away from me! What's an aunt to do? *wink* He's doing really well - adjusting to his own schedule, eating and eating, and finally opening his eyes and looking around. He had his first bath today and really enjoyed it. Wonder how long that will last? LOL!

I hope to get to go visit soon, but I'm letting everyone else get it out of their systems since I got to see him so often while he was in the NICU.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Hooray for Oliver!

Here's the latest info on little Oliver's progress (thru emails from mom):

8:46 a.m.
I called to check on Ben. He's doing really well. They are taking out the other umbilical IV today. He may get the feeding tube out. The nurse said maybe in a couple of days he will be ready to go home but first they room in. I wondered if they were just going to boot him straight out of NICU to home. So I'm glad about that step. Olga went to her dr yesterday bc her face was drooping on the left side. She has Bell's Palsy. They see a neurologist today for a second opinion but Dr. Potter was pretty sure and started Olga on prednisone. Poor thing, this hasn't been a walk in the park for her. We are going over this evening.

10:27 a.m.
David just called and they are in a room with Ben. He was so excited. They are snuggling on the bed. When they leave, he goes back to the NICU. They will spend the night and MIGHT go home tomorrow, late in the day. He has lost weight though so it might be Thursday. Olga is providing all his food and will try breast feeding each time. So that is really good news. He's going to check on visitor policy now.

Whoohoo!

Congrats to Derek who closed his very first opening order yesterday! I'm super-proud of ya, babe!

Monday, November 09, 2009

Good Gravy!

Know what happens when you don't have time to read the posts in your Google Reader for a coupla days? You have, like, 200+ to wade through! Good grief! Why haven't I been keeping up? Well, let's just go through the events of the latter part of the week, shall we?

My nephew Oliver was born on Wednesday evening. He was a little early and had a rough start. They transferred him to a neighboring hospital with a Level 2 NICU about 2 a.m. Thursday morning to monitor him more closely. I got that call on my way to work Thursday and turned right back around and went home to sit with my mom & brother at the hospital all day. That day, they gave little Oliver some drugs to boost the ol' lungs and put him on the ventillator so he could rest up. He was off the vent by Friday and is improving every day. He got a little jaundiced so he spent yesterday under the bili light. We're hoping he gets to come home this week.

Friday and Saturday I had rehearsals for my recital. Throw in there a baby shower for a dear girlfriend (hey, sweet Rach!), a recital, some dinners with the neighbors, and several trips to the hospital to visit Oliver and you have the weekend in a nutshell.

I hope this week is a little quieter....

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Oliver Bennett Foster

Nov. 4, 2009
5:56 p.m.
6 lbs 6 oz
19 inches

Oliver Bennett is clearly a little man set to be in charge as he made his triumphant entry into the sunshine ... three weeks early! He is currently in the NICU getting a little jumpstart to the lungs but is responding very well to treatment and might be on his own tomorrow if he continues to improve. What he wants most is his mom and dad sitting by his bedside as he is clearly most settled when they are there. The rest of us can't hold him right now due to H1N1 precautions, so we're really hoping little Oliver continues to be a determined little Foster and goes to the "big" nursery SOON.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Cartoon Weekly

This week's cartoon selections are of a personal nature. As in, they apply to me personally. And they're pretty darn funny, too.

I have to agree with Rose in this one. If only I could train him to pick up his socks! But hey, I suppose there are worse things to be found lying about the house, no? LOL!


This one seems particularly appropriate given that my recital is on Saturday, don't you think? And, yes, I do believe in aliens, thanks for asking. *wink*

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Someone Like Me

I know I've mentioned this before: ever since I was a little girl, I've had a fascination with bugs. I kept collections of them in jars in my closet. Bugs of all shapes and sizes, I found them all very interesting. (I really should have been an entemologist!)

I'm a big fan of the Grow Lively blog. Here is a perfect example why


this week, Leslie wrote about bugs. She's fascinated by them too! Of course, she writes about all kinds of things other than bugs, but she does make frequent mention of them. Go check her blog out sometime!

(Incidentally, this is one of many bugs that was in my collection. They're really cool critters, just in case you ever wondered. Kinda scary lookin' in real life, even for bug-lovers, but way cool.)

Halloween at the Opera

"So, what did you do for Halloween?" I've been asked that about a million times this week. "I went to the opera," I'd say. Probably not a very typical thing to do on Halloween, huh? But that just happened to be the night our season tickets fell. So I got dressed up (nicely, of course) and drove my friend to the opera house.

"What did you think?" That's probably the second-most popular follow-up question to the what-did-you-do-I-went-to-the-opera discussion. And since you've all asked, I'll give it to you straight.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Cartoon Weekly?

Well, it's not a cartoon, but it's still pretty darn funny! Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Save the Date: Uptown Broadway

In conjunction with Lake Highlands U.M.C. Music Ministry's Festival of Music Series, soprano Susan Fox, mezzo-soprano Whitney Dewell, and selected chancel choir members, accompanied by the talented Scott Ayers, will present an afternoon program – Uptown Broadway – on Sunday, November 8th at 3 p.m. Come hear some of your all-time favorites and a few new ones too. You are sure to leave with a spring in your step and humming a tune!

Sanctuary, Lake Highlands U.M.C.
9015 Plano Rd., Dallas, TX
Sunday, November 8, 2009
3:00 p.m.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Afternoon Funny

Derek & I were shootin' the breeze on the phone this afternoon:

D: The vet's office called a little earlier. Dori's dry food is in.
S: That's good. She was almost all out.

{A little later}

D: Well, I'm at the vet now.
S: Are you goin' to get tutored?
D: Hahaha, you're real funny!

Bwah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! I crack myself up sometimes, I'm just so darn funny. (And for those of you who have no earthly idea why this is funny, "tutored" is the word we use in front of the critters when we're talking about going to get "fixed.")

Thursday Round-up

The last week has been another busy one. The weekend flew by in its usual fashion - way too much to do and not enough time to do it all. I got laundry washed & dried, which was an accomplishment. However, it remains on the loveseat in a crumpled heap. Wrinkled clothes anyone? *Ooo, ooo! Me, me!* What is it with me & the laundry? It's definitely a hate-hate relationship. It's one of the many reasons I'm thankful for a very roomy walk-in closet. I can leave a mess in the floor, close the door, and no one is the wiser. Well, I guess you are now. *wink*

Sunday, I was gone all day long. It was a marathon day really. I sang two services, dashed out to grab lunch, and headed back to the church for an afternoon planning meeting for Advent music for the kids. When you look at the calendar, it's hard to believe that we're but a mere six weeks from the start of Advent! *shudder* We wrapped up the meeting to attend a recital - one piano, four hands. It was amazing! Unfortunately, I had to duck out of the recital a tick early to run a rehearsal. Ya know, I'm not a great conductor. It's not my gift, know what I mean? But I can muddle through when necessary. It was definitely muddling, let me tell you. When it was all said and done and my day had finally ended, I went home and crashed on the couch. And I do mean crashed.

I'm not sure if I've mentioned here that the "big boss" is retiring at the end of the month. That means there are lots of parties and gatherings, and, of course, I've been roped into putting together a little scrapbook. In my spare time. *snicker* Actually, of all of the books I've done for people retiring from my office, this one has been the easiest to put together. I decided that simple was better on this one. I hope that's the right call. *shrugs*

Throw in the middle of all that a little working out and time in the practice room working on recital music and time in the craft room scurrying to get some last-minute cards made and you are now all caught up. So ... basically, I've been consumed by laundry, music, and memory books. What about you??

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Nine Years Ago Today


We said, "I do."
Happy anniversary, babe -
I love you!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

German Shepherd Rescue Closing

On October 31, a German Shepherd rescue group called Camp Wolfgang (Ennis, Texas) is closing down because of family issues. The folks at Camp Wolfgang do not need or want donations; they simply MUST place all of the dogs. They have nearly 200 dogs that must find a foster or be adopted before October 31, or they will have no choice but to euthanize them all. I am shocked by this and I hope you are too.

All the dogs are vetted, spayed/neutered, micro-chipped, and well cared-for, and many have had training. Adoption fees are $75.00 for individuals or free to verifiable rescue groups.

Current dogs: (approximate)

120 German Shepherds
2 Akitas
1 Anatolian/Great Pyrenees
4 Purebred Rottweiler
1 Great Dane/Lab
1 Boxer/Mastiff
1 St. Bernard/Akita
1 WolfDog
45 Other mixed breeds

If you cannot help by fostering or adopting, YOU CAN STILL HELP!!! Please copy and forward this information to everyone you know. If we all forward this, chances are good that many of these dogs can be saved! If you know anyone who can adopt, accept a dog into their rescue, or help place these dogs, please contact Neisha Livengood, Kennel Master at Camp Wolfgang.

Neisha Livengood
windigo1966@yahoo.com
wally@campwolfgang.com
campwolfgang@yahoo.com
phone: 214-755-1627
Camp Wolfgang
6234 FM 879
Ennis, Texas 75119
www.campwolfgang.petfinder.com

Thanks to everyone for anything you may be able to do to help these dogs.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Cartoon Weekly: 3

Welcome to this - the third edition - of Cartoon Weekly where we examine my (sometimes sick) sense of humor. And off we go....



Here we are with a throw-back to childhood. Any of you remember the Care Bears? Oh how I begged for them for Christmas and birthdays. I had Sunshine Bear, which is kinda funny given that I am NO cuppa sunshine in the mornin'. I also had/still have Care Bear sheets. While lots of junk from the 80s is making a comeback, I haven't seen these guys yet.

This Rose is Rose cartoon seemed particularly fitting given all the hulabaloo over health care going on right now. (As you can see, I prefer the humorous approach to serious issues. *wink*)

Bizarro has done it again. This cartoon series never fails to make me laugh at the mundanest of things - much like Seinfeld. I do believe that this one made me spew my morning tea on the particular day it arrived in my Google Reader.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Wrangling Kids

I would like to thank all of you who have weighed in on my dilemma with the kiddos in my choir. You have all provided some wonderful insight and ideas. Adn I have discussed many of these with the Minister of Music, who has worked with children for many more moons than I. She was pleased that I had come to her so that we could formulate a plan to use both when the two choirs are together and when they are separate. Consistency is likely going to be the biggest key to our success.

To begin with, we are going to employ a Time Out box in both rooms. A child will get one warning about no-no behaviors. Any subsequent misbehavior will land them in Time Out for as long as it takes for them to sit still and quiet at which time they will be allowed to return to the group. We have not had to employ any type of disciplinary action before now, so we are hoping the introduction of the Time Out box will be successful. Perhaps we won't have to use it very often. BUT at least there is an acceptable means of employing discipline should it be necessary.

I am also proposing that we begin a reward-based program in November. It will be a two-fold program. The children will be divided into teams (a mixture of ages on each team). They will receive points for good behavior and lose points for poor behavior. (Think Harry Potter & the different school houses.) At the end of the semester, we have a party; the winning team will be served the special treat (usually cupcakes or sundaes) by the losing team. In addition, there will be weekly awards for individuals. Each week at the end of class, the kids will select a Nice Neighbor who will get a special reward (like a pencil or toy or something) for being kind and helpful to others.

So we are both addressing misbehavior and encouraging good behavior. I think that this two-fold system has some promise.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Awesome Birthday

Wow - what a fabulous birthday weekend I had! I just can't say enough about how wonderful my friends & family are - each and every one of you made this birthday super-special; THANKS!

Friday I got to see my bestest gf Jamie. Getting to spend time with her was such a wonderful birthday treat. Funny thing about us: no matter how much time has passed since we last spent any significant time catching up, it's like it was yesterday. And we can waste away gazillions of hours talking and laughing and ... well, just being us. We've lived within 100 miles of each other for a coupla years now, and we're just now getting around to actually seeing each other in person. Which is particularly funny when you consider that we've spent most of the last 10 yrs separated by several states and even an ocean at one time and now that we live so close we can't get it together!

Saturday I went shopping with my neighbor friend Kelli. I had some North Park Gold and some coupons to spend. We had a terrific lunch at The Cheesecake Factory. (Have you tried the (seasonal) pumpkin cheesecake? OMG - to die for!!!!) And then we headed to North Park for some shopping. We both came away with lighter wallets and some terrific finds. We returned home to the boys who had been out picking up goodies for my birthday dinner. And what a fabulous dinner it was! They tried out a local butcher shop that they'd been eyeing for some time. Oh my, those were the best steaks I've had - so flavorful and tender and, of course, cooked to rare perfection. And Kelli made the yummiest au gratin potatoes. The boys grilled some asparagus for our "something green" - one of my rules for a healthy dinner. We paired our meal with a bottle of Freemark Abbey cabarnet that we picked up in Napa back in '07 & have been cellaring. It was such a terrific compliment to dinner! To top it all off, we had tiramisu from our favorite local Italian joint run by my friends from back home. Couldn't ask for a better day!

Yesterday part of my family came to church with me, where I sang The Lord's Prayer as a special surprise for them. Then we headed home for a family birthday gathering. My brother & SIL came over, along with my aunt & uncle and their four kids who I haven't seen since the summer. I made two roasts, and we had the usual fixings. Mom made a fabulous GF strawberry cake - by far the best strawberry cake I've ever eaten. YUM-E! It was a wonderful afternoon of visiting with family. And mom & Granny hung around after we sent the rest of the family on their way and did the dishes that wouldn't fit in the first load of the dishwasher (I was happy to wait for it to finish & load the rest, BUT when good help offers...) before heading for home themselves.

All in all, turning 33 wasn't so bad. In fact, I'd say it was smashing!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Happy Birthday


Happy birthday to me (cha-cha-cha)
Happy birthday to me (cha-cha-cha)
Happy birthday to me ....
I can't believe you're thirty-three!!!!!











Super-cute chicken illustration by Anna Wight

Friday, October 09, 2009

Open Letter

Dear Starbucks:

You have rained on my parade. Stolen the sunshine from my cloudy day. Snuffed the wind beneath my wings. I go to treat myself with a (high-calorie) birthday drink and am sad to discover that you no longer offer the Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate. Why? WHY?

Starbucks, I don't think I love you anymore
SF

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Got Pointers???

I can't recall whether I've ever officially announced that I am now one of the children's choir directors at ye ol' paid church job. So. Yeah. I'm now a children's choir director. (You: Are you kidding?? You don't even LIKE kids! Me: I know! But I kinda have a soft spot for this lot.) My choir consists of about 15 children in grades K thru 2nd grade.

I came into the program as an adjunct, for no better word, last fall during Advent. It was sold as a temporary gig, but it became quite obvious that the program had grown such that a full-time second director was necessary. So I wasn't surprised by the invitation to stay on as an assistant for the remainder of the year. I rotated between two choirs following whatever schedule had been set out by the director for that rehearsal time.

The younger choir responded so well to me that the director decided to make this my full-time obligation this year. When I began as an assistant, I was terrified. But that didn't hold a candle to the idea that I now had an ENTIRE choir ON.MY.OWN.OMG! I had no idea how I was going to entertain, much less teach, these kids ANYTHING - nevermind a SONG or *gasp* songS. But these kiddos have a real love for music and absorb songs like a colony of sponges. In our first rehearsal, we learned not one but two songs and by week number two had them both down pat. So we've been adding motions over the last several weeks. I really couldn't be more pleased about that.

But here's the dilemma. I have some real behavioral problems in this group. I have a helper who is an absolute Godsend. But sometimes, like this week, there needs to be one of us for every child just to keep their attention focused on the task at hand and away from using their neighbor as a punching bag (yes, that goes for the girls too)! Those of you who work with kids this age (5-8) know what I'm talking about. So, here's my question to you, how do you do it?? Big question no. 1: How do you lovingly correct behavioral issues? No. 2: How do you enforce the rules? No. 3: How do you gain their attention and keep it?

If we can figure out some way to address the behavioral problems in a way that is deemed acceptable in a church environment, I think the attention problem may solve itself. Or I'm hoping it will. I don't recall having this problem last year with these kids. I'm not really sure what has changed. We have a few new faces, but otherwise the group is the same. Perhaps now that I've been there for a year, they feel more comfortable challenging my authority? Last night, I tried coming dressed in my "big people work clothes" in hopes that they might see me more as a teacher and authority figure. But that seemed to make no difference over the casual attire I'd worn for the several weeks prior.

One thing that may be playing a role is that we do not have a parent in this room this year. Just my helper who is in high school. And they see her more as their play-buddy from child care. So that could explain part of the problem. The one week we were fortunate to have a parent in the room, the kids did a little better. Also, the kids are coming from a "Bible study" just prior to choir rather than family dinner in the gym w/ their parents. Perhaps this study time is not structured enough.

Overall, what I would really like to see is a sense of respect for authority regardless of who that authority is - whether it's me or the other director or a parent. We just don't have that respect this year.

So ... weigh in on this. What do you think? Any suggestions?

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Cartoon Weekly: 2

It's time again to take a glimpse into the ol' noggin and see what makes me giggle. Are you enjoying this series so far? Shall I continue? Or is it a tosser?




I really love this one from Bizarro. Perhaps because my friends all swear that I will one day become "the cat lady." LOL! But this is just a clever spin on the adage, don't you think?







I make this joke with Derek now - that he would get more exercise if I took to hiding the remote. But this is an even better idea!


The dog and I are the only people willing to eat lima beans at our house. And Dori can be caught doing a similar happy dance when I make them. Funny!

Monday, October 05, 2009

It's Beginning to Look ...

a lot like fa-ll ... everywhere you look!

I'm loving the crisp mornings and the cool afternoons. Can't say that I'm all that wild about going to work and coming home in the dark, but hey, you take the good with the bad, right?? And I'll take the nice weather and lovely colors any day. You know who else is excited? Dori. Yep. She's all a-wag these days. Say the word "walk" in front of her and she all but wiggles right out of her skin.

All in all, it was a very nice weekend. I went to a stamping party, got to visit the parents at their house for a change, came home to a clean house thanks to my sweet husband taking it upon himself to clean the kitchen and vacuum the front of the house where we hang out the most, made the trek to Sam's for some necessities, visited with a girlfriend I haven't seen in a while, caught up on the laundry, and put out the Halloween decorations. I didn't get around to washing my car, but I guess that worked in the end, wouldn't you say? What with all the rain we're supposed to get this week. *wink*

I also got some time in the practice room. I always manage to program some tough stuff on my recitals. And this one coming up in November is no different. It's going to be lots of fun, don't get me wrong, but I have LOTS of work to do. Despite the fact that I've pulled four songs from rep I already know. Still lots of room for improvement on those. And a few of the new pieces are particularly challenging. It should be a great program though, so mark your calendar if you haven't already!

Friday, October 02, 2009

Things: Installment 29

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Since this is the first Friday in October, I'm dedicating this week's post to to the topic.

Things About Breast Cancer

Today is Lee National Denim Day. According to their website, it is the single largest one-day fundraiser for breast cancer research.

Today I'm wearing jeans in honor of Lee National Denim Day, as well as pink in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

The Susan G. Komen Foundation is the single largest grassroots network of survivors and activists and has raised over $1 billion for research since its inception in 1982. It is also the single most recognized source of fundraising for a cause.

I am one of millions who has been touched by breast cancer. My maternal grandmother is a 32-yr survivor. My paternal grandmother is a victim.

I have not had a BRAC analysis. For now, I do not intend to.

I am due for my first mammogram in 2 years - when I'm 35.

It is estimated that 1,910 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009.

A healthy lifestyle and regular exams are key in prevention and early diagnosis. So think twice about eating that fast food so often or making an excuse to skip the gym day after day. Choose health over convenience.

Most importantly, get regular physicals and do regular self-exams. It saved my grandmother (and Derek). It just might save you too!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Cartoon Weekly

I have grown up with a love for the "funny papers." I remember when the funnies were a big deal. At our house, we would fight over them every Saturday night after the paper came.

Print media is dwindling in popularity and gone are the days of lots of our favorite comics ... in print anyway. But I follow several of mine online now. I've decided to run a weekly post dedicated to a mixture of some of the ones I follow. I hope you enjoy a glimpse into what makes me giggle each week. *wink*

(Click 'em to go big)



I love this cartoon b/c it reminds me of the times I've asked my grandmother how to make some of her secret family recipes. There are always some "special instructions" that make all the difference.









Bizarro is such a fun read b/c it reminds of Seinfeld with its funny twists on the mundane. For instance, in this one, who's ever thought about what the bed is thinking??











FMinus is another quirky little comic that puts a fun spin on everyday things. This one ... a whole new meaning to a popular phrase.

Monday, September 28, 2009

We Can Wiirk It: Week 2(ish)

Here we are. Another week gone. And another week into posting about our progress. Wanna play? Here are SarahK's rules:


I’ll post something every week, and you can join in in the comments or send me a link to your post on your blog, and I’ll link back to it. Here’s what I’m thinking we’ll post about:

Positives:
Something healthy you’ve done for yourself this week, food-wise
How many days you exercised this week, and you can detail what you did for exercise if you wish
Any bonus healthy things you did for yourself
How much you lost this week (If you gained, you can include that in the negatives section, unless your goal is to gain weight)

Neutral:
Current weight (if you wish to share it)
Goal weight (if you wish to share it)
Number of pounds you’d like to lose or gain

Negatives:
How much you gained this week.
Something bad you did to your body this week. Only list one thing, let’s not focus on the negatives.

Something you want to improve for next week (besides weight):
Put your goal here.



Okay, let's get started.

Positives

  • I only ate out once for lunch.
  • I worked out with the trainer 3 days this week.
  • Bonus healthy: I walked the dog several times on top of going to the gym.

Neutral

  • I would like to see my measurements change. Next measurement: Oct. 9.

Negative

  • I only did cardio twice. That's far from the goal of 5 days a week.

Something to improve this week (besides weight):

  • I would like to get to the gym even on days when I'm not meeting with the trainer. That would bring me to 5 days a week (giving 2 days of rest on the days that I sing).
  • I would also like to get back to having a menu plan so we're eating healthier on the whole at home.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Things: Installment 28

I kinda fell off the wagon in posting the Friday Things lists, but my friend Gayla (hey, girl!) gave me a great heave back on the wagon this week. Ready?

Things I've Come to Realize

1. I’ve come to realize that my job … is a real blessing. I have a wonderful family of co-workers, terrific bosses, lots of flexibility in my schedule, and tons of support. It's a great place to be!
2. I’ve come to realize that when I’m driving … I totally zone out (me too, Gayla). Sometimes I get home & don't really remember driving at all.
3. I’ve come to realize that I need … to work on my attitude. It's gotten a bit snippy over the last coupla years.
4. I’ve come to realize that I have lost … some really good friends since college. It's so hard to keep up, isn't it?
5. I’ve come to realize that I hate it when … things are out of my control.
6. I’ve come to realize that money … is a big responsibility, but it's nice to have enough to help friends in tough spots.
7. I’ve come to realize that certain people … are unchangeable.
8. I’ve come to realize that I’ll always … be overprotective of my little brother.
9. I’ve come to realize that my sibling … really does want the best for me.
10. I’ve come to realize that my mom … has always had my best interest at heart.
11. I’ve come to realize that my cell phone … is my 24-hr roadside assistance.
12. I’ve come to realize that when I woke up this morning … I was happy when I realized it's Friday!
13. I’ve come to realize that last night before I went to sleep … I was grumpier than I should have been.
14. I’ve come to realize that right now I am thinking … about a bunch of projects that need to get done this weekend and music that needs to be learned.
15. I’ve come to realize that my dad … will always be my number one guy.
16. I’ve come to realize that today … is another chance to be a better person.
17. I’ve come to realize that tonight … I have to work on abs w/ the trainer.
18. I’ve come to realize that tomorrow … is always a gift.
19. I’ve come to realize that I really want to … be the type of friend who leaves a lasting mark - a legacy worth remembering.
20. I’ve come to realize that life … is fleeting and we should cherish each day as an opportunity to do good.
21. I’ve come to realize that this weekend … is going to be full of projects.
22. I’ve come to realize that marriage … isn't easy but is worth the work in the end.
23. I’ve come to realize that my friends … are a Godsend! I depend on each one of them more than they will ever know. Thank you for being a part of my life!
24. I’ve come to realize that this year … is quickly drawing to a close and there are so many things left on the to-do list.
25. I’ve come to realize that maybe I should … get a grip about some things I'm struggling with.
26. I’ve come to realize that I love … teaching music to children.
27. I’ve come to realize that I don’t understand … Americans.
28. I’ve come to realize my past … is what has shaped me into the person I am today - warts & all.
29. I’ve come to realize that parties … with friends always make for lasting memories and great stories for future generations.
30. I’ve come to realize that I’m totally terrified … of failure - always have been, always will be.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Postal

Wanna know the top reason that I believe workers "go postal" at the office????? Because two days a week for a good solid six months, they get harassed when going through the building's security checkpoint!!! Nevermind, these are the SAME security guards who have been running these checkpoints for the same said six months in question. And nevermind that the contents of the worker's bag(s) have changed little, if any, in that same six months. And nevermind the number of times those bags have gone through the security checkpoint with so much as even a second glance by those same security guards. Yep, it's enough to make even JOB want to hose down the lobby with a spray of bullets! I'm just sayin'.

Monday, September 21, 2009

We Can Wiirk It

You may remember this series from many moons ago. I actually started it in collaboration with SarahK over at MountaineerMusings. Well, she's back on the wagon, and I believe I've mentioned that I've been back on the wagon since May. So here's the dealio - straight from Sarah.

I’ll post something every week, and you can join in in the comments or send me a link to your post on your blog, and I’ll link back to it. Here’s what I’m thinking we’ll post about:

Positives:
Something healthy you’ve done for yourself this week, food-wise
How many days you exercised this week, and you can detail what you did for exercise if you wish
Any bonus healthy things you did for yourself
How much you lost this week (If you gained, you can include that in the negatives section, unless your goal is to gain weight)

Neutral:
Current weight (if you wish to share it)
Goal weight (if you wish to share it)
Number of pounds you’d like to lose or gain

Negatives:
How much you gained this week.
Something bad you did to your body this week. Only list one thing, let’s not focus on the negatives.

Something you want to improve for next week (besides weight):
Put your goal here.



Okay, let's get started.

Positives
  • I only ate lunch out twice this week, and both days I chose something healthy at Quizno's (a grilled chicken salad & a turkey sandwich).
  • I worked out with the trainer 3 days this week & did 30 min. of cardio after each training session.
  • Bonus healthy: I officially upped my training days at the gym to 3 days each week taking advantage of a special anniversary promo.

Neutral

  • I'm not giving my weight simply b/c my aim this time around is to tone & build muscle rather than to lose weight. Since I began training in May, I have gained 5 lbs. of muscle. Whoohoo!
  • I would, however, like to see my measurements change. I'll give monthly updates on that since the trainer measures at the first of the month. Next measurement: Oct. 9.

Negative

  • I ate pretty crappy over the weekend and felt terrible yesterday as a result. The tummy isn't all that fond of the fried foods anymore! (But those fried pickles sure were good going down! *for shame*)

Something to improve this week (besides weight):

  • I would like to get to the gym even on days when I'm not meeting with the trainer. That would bring me to 5 days a week (giving 2 days of rest on the days that I sing).
  • I would also like to get back to having a menu plan so we're eating healthier on the whole at home.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Joys of Public Servitude

Quite regularly, I thank my lucky stars that I do not have to work the front counter at my office very often. Number one, I'm not what you would call the "ideal" person to be dealing with the public. Number two, there are some scary characters that appear in our office.

Those who do regularly work the counter tell all kinds of horror stories about the stinkies, the drunks, the grossies, and the out-and-out crazies who come to our floor. And I have actually seen the Blue Man that they so often talk about. I kid you not: this man is quite literally blue from head to toe. Like ... dead man walking kind of blue. Creepy!

This week, however, we had a lady who absolutely takes the cake in weird, gross, and ick! Wanna see? Are you sure? Absolutely sure? You better be b/c you can't erase this from the eyeballs once it's there. Still curious? Alright. Just remember, I've warned you!

Click here to see

This, my friends, is a lady who wants to be in the Guinness Book of World records for having the longest fingernails (a record currently held by this lady). She has been growing out those beauties for 40 years. Count 'em ... FORTY! Her hand is actually now deformed, if you'll notice, and no longer usable for anything other than a nail holder. Should she decide to give up her quest for World Record Nails, it's not as simple as one might think. She can no longer cut those babies on her own. Nope. She has to go to the hospital to have them cut or even trimmed. Why, you may be wondering? Well, b/c the nerves and blood vessels have grown down into those long nails. You know how you're not supposed to let Fido's nails get to long b/c the "quick" grows along w/ the nail & then you risk cutting it and causing great pain & bleeding? Yeah. Well. Same goes for us if we let our nails grow to crazy lengths. Mind you, it takes a lot longer for this to happen to us than it does for Fido. But still. Imagine having to go to the hospital for a manicure. And speaking of manicures. Notice those fangs of hers are painted. What nail salon do you think would come within 10 feet of those things?! I'm doubtin' any. What about you?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Jeepers Creepers, We've Been Invaded!

One of the (many) downsides to hot, dry Texas summers is that the critters often start coming inside in search of both water and an escape from the blistering sun. Everything from rodents to arthropods begin to infiltrate domestic domiciles.

This summer, our house was no exception as all manner of ants began peeking their heads out of various hiding places in search of food and water. We didn't think much about them at first b/c there were only a few who would run around for half a day and then disappear for days on end. One morning though, Dori was very agitated about her food bowl. We thought it was b/c it was empty. But upon further investigation we realized that Dori was upset b/c her food was covered in ants. Derek took care of the army of ants in Dori's food dish with wasp spray, of all things, and we didn't see anymore of that particular type of ant for a while. But we were also careful to move Dori's food bowl everyday and to pick it up if she didn't finish eating promptly.

Ants can crawl around on my cabinets and just generally be pesty without raising the alarm, but when you begin invading the family food supply, well, you've just declared an act of war. So I called out the big guns - Dad and Demon. Dad came over and sprayed the exterior with the kill-all nuke. We opted not to treat the inside b/c of the cats and dog. In the end, this would be our fatal error.

For about five days after the mushroom cloud cleared, we saw nary an ant in the house. It seemed that our resident formicidae had been eliminated. Little did we know that they would soon wage an indoor assault so vicious that we would resort to all manner of "earth-friendly" eradication methods, including but not limited to spreading freshly ground pepper on every surface on which they trod. Each day the enemy sent out battalions of invaders in greater numbers. It wasn't until they besieged the freezer that we finally put up the white flag of surrender. We called ABC Pest Control - enemy, beware!

The folks at ABC were nice as could be. I just wish they didn't have to do a consultation visit before they treat. I mean, when someone calls you and says "HELP - we've been invaded!" it most certainly means that they need your service not just your advice! But whilst we're on the subject, here's how our consult went:


Dude: (As he walks in the kitchen) Oh my .... you have ants!
Me:
{REALLY?! I just thought I'd have you come out and tell me if I'm crazy}
Me: I wasn't kidding when I told the receptionist we had a lot of ants.
Dude: (As he's shining the flashlight along the Great Wall of Ants traipsing across my kitchen) Wow ... Oh my ... WOW! I've never seen this many in a kitchen before!
Me:
{Huh, me either}
Me: I know. That's why you're here.
Dude: I'm gonna pull some strings and get someone to come out and treat this afternoon.
Me:
{You better, dude, b/c I might just have to club you if you don't! I'm tired of getting a glass of ants every time I try to get a glass of water from my fridge!}
Me: That would be great!!!


It was an all-day affair, but in the end, we did have our house treated the same day. But this would not spell the ultimate end of our six-legged invaders. While they dwindled in number that day, they did not cease to send reinforcements in the weeks to follow. On the upside, the troops were no longer marching in formation to surround us. We had blocked all but one path of assault, but they used it with gusto. Naturally, it was the path to the fridge, the little vermin. Each time I went for a glass of water, I continued getting six-legged floaters. Each time we got ice from the freezer, we were met with frozen foe. I resorted to covering the water spigot with self-seal sticky wrap and a rubber band for extra sealage. Take that, foul demons! Of course, each time we went for water, the sticky wrap always got the last laugh, as I'm sure the ants did, as well. It wasn't until they had the gall to begin moving their nest, queens & eggs and all, that I decided we had no choice but to wage a second assault.

So ABC came out a second time. Wouldn't you know the sorry little b*****ds retreated to the foxholes while the guy was there to inspect?! But that did not deter us from planting a mine field. This time we would not be satisfied with merely laying slower-acting powdery poison. No sirree. This time we would lay a trap so foul we knew the enemy would be unable to resist - we put out The Gel. Think Sleeping Beauty, except permanent.

Ah yes, my little formicidae came piling out of the lairs in which they lay hidden. They tackled and elbowed each other in search of the heavenly honey that wafted on the breeze like a temptress from the sea. They lapped up the delicious poison. Some were so greedy in their lust for it that they actually drowned in it and their carcasses had to be carried away by others to make room for the line of hungry others waiting for a turn at the trough. After taking long drinks, they dutifully carried extra back to the minions waiting for dinner in the nest. That's right, my pretties. Share with everyone. There's plenty to go around!

They annihilated one solitary mine. There are many others waiting for any stragglers who may still be hungry. But I can tell you that in one short evening we finished them off. We've seen nary a tiny crawler since. Ah, sweet victory is finally ours!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I'm Back

Today was a very sad day. We buried our dear friend today. It was a lovely service where we remembered a kind, caring, giving man who was taken before we were ready for him to leave. While we are sad to have lost him, we are also comforted to know that Boo has gone to his Heavenly reward and that we will one day see him again.

I appreciate your allowing the silence on the blog this last week. In sadness, I could not really think of anything appropriate to blog about. I have a few posts that I delayed publishing during this time, but I have now moved them to publish over the next several days. I think you'll understand why I've waited.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Bobby "Boo" Stenline (1958-2009)

Bobby “Boo” Stenline, 50, of Rowlett, TX, passed away Friday, September 11, 2009. He was born September 18, 1958, in Wylie, TX, to Travis & Elvirgue (Willis) Stenline. Boo lived in Rowlett most of his life. He loved his family and was the best brother-in-law. Boo had a charming personality, a contagious laugh, found the good in everyone, and was always helping people. He was a good cook and celebrated Christmas and Thanksgiving dinner all year long. Boo was a maintenance manager and a member of New Heights Family Church in Garland.

He is survived by his wife of 17 years Ginny (Love) Stenline of Rowlett, TX; son Marcus Dunn & wife Keisha of Garland, TX; daughter Tandrea Stenline of Rowlett, TX; granddaughtersDestiny and Janya Dunn; brothers Fordie “Sam” Stenline & wife Mary of Garland, TX and Travis Stenline & wife Janie of Point, TX; sisters Dorothy Williams, Verlene Price, Odessa Stenline, and Donna Stenline, all of Rowlett, TX and Mary Osborne & husband Eld. Cecil of Garland, TX; and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends. Boo was preceded in death by his parents; first wife Betty Stenline; and daughters Tawana and Crystal Stenline.

Funeral services are set for 11:30 a.m., Wednesday, September 16, 2009, at Mt. Hebron Missionary Baptist Church, 1233 Hwy 66, Garland, TX, with Rev. James Herndon officiating. Interment to follow in Rest Haven Memorial Park. The family will receive friends Tuesday evening at Rest Haven Funeral Home in Rowlett from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Stunned

I have several posts in various stages of being finished. But it just doesn't seem appropriate to put them up. They're too light-hearted. And that just doesn't fit today. We lost a very dear friend this morning. Our neighbor Boo is gone. It just doesn't seem possible. We're all in shock. Please pray for the Stenline family.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Whirlwind Weekend

This weekend has been a whirlwind. Actually, the entire week has been a whirlwind come to think of it. From voice lessons to funerals to rehearsals to directing children to personal training to more rehearsals to parties to church services. Whew. After I got home from church today, I put on my pjs and called it done. Watched some football, took a nap, watched some more football, got fed up with the Cowboys & opted to watch The Vampire Diaries I had recorded earlier in the week and now I'm ready to call it quits.

Back to regular blogging next week!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Much-Deserved Kudos

So ... to get the ol' pen a'flowin again, I thought it most appropriate to start off with several (late) much-deserved Atta Boys. I may (or may not) have mentioned that Derek is having an average year saleswise. Not that that's a bad thing. Basically, he's right on track with last year. Unfortunately, that doesn't work so well when your company decides to up your annual number better than 20%!

Well, in July, all that hard work & pavement pounding paid off when he had record sales. $121k, to be exact! On top of that, he closed the deal to be sole-source vendor for his biggest client - a deal he's been haggling for better than two years. Even better? There's a possibility that he might break his July record THIS month! *knock on wood*

But wait. It gets better than that. Today, he got his six-month clean bill of health. Cancer's still in remission.

Basically, my husband's a Rock Star! Love ya, babe!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I'll Be Back

Just in case you thought I'd disappeared altogether, well, I haven't. (You: Darn! *LOL*) The last two weeks have been C-R-A-Z-Y at work. Surprising, I know, but true. But I have both snapped out of my funk (hallelujah!) and have seen work get back to a more normal pace (hooray!). So......I have quite a few things running around in the ol' noodle that I'm working onto 'paper.' You're in for some entertainment, let me tell ya! Just hang tight another day or two whilest I get my desk back in order & actually try to remember how to pick up my 'pen.' *wink*

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Online Petition

Several months ago I bragged on Starbucks for offering a gluten-free muffin. Well, they've gone and pulled the muffin with nary an explanation nor a forewarning. I find it rather short-sighted of them, quite frankly, and so do many others. In fact, there is an online petition currently up asking Starbucks to bring back the Valencia Orange Cake. It takes more than a few months for a new product to catch on and Starbucks didn't give this one a fair shake. Wanna make some celiacs really happy? Sign the petition to Bring Back the Gluten-Free Cake!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Funky

As in ... I'm in a funk. So "this is the funk, the whole funk, and nothing but the funk" to borrow a lyric from DC Talk. I thought working out was supposed to release endorphins that are supposed to make you happy?! Whoever said that is a big, fat liar b/c my workouts have done nothing for my mood lately. I'm just generally grumpy. For no good reason. All that being said, I'm not really feeling very bloggish. So for any of ya who give a monkey's uncle, posts are likely gonna be sparse here for a bit.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Things: Installment 27

I realize I didn't share many pictures from my adventures at TwiCon last weekend, and there may be a few of you who want to see more. If not, well, you can skip this post, k? (If the photos & captions are all wonky, well, sorry. You can only tinker w/ a post so long before you just throw up the ol' hands and walk away!)

Things We Saw at TwiCon: A Photo Essay



The cast of the Hillywood Show








The Twilight Guy (Kaleb Nation)








A real Quilleute tribe member








The hands of Twilight, Kimbra Hickey







How about the stars?
(Peter Facinelli, Jackson Rathbone, Alex Meraz, Kellan Lutz, Billy Burke)








Crazy fanwear








Funny door decorations








Crazy costumes








This is as crazy as our fanwear got! *wink*







What made the crazy lines worth it!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

TwiCon '09: The Year We Stood in Line

Overall, TwiCon was a very positive experience. In short, we had a good time. Were there hiccups? Yes. Were there things that could have gone better? Of course. It was, after all, the very first TwiCon ever, so naturally there were issues. But I have to give props to the staff for addressing issues as they arose and for doing their absolute best to make the experience a positive one. All in all, I would say they succeeded - at least from our standpoint.

All that said, here's the recap:
Daon & I got to the hotel a little later than we intended b/c I couldn't get away from the office. (Shocker, I know. But I was busy.) Needless to say, those 30ish minutes made a big difference. This picture doesn't even begin to show you just how many crazed fans were already in line when we got there!

But that was nothing compared to the TwiCon registration line in the conference center! OMG - I was SO not prepared for the sheer number of bat-ass crazy women with whom we were going to be spending our weekend. One thing going in our favor: our last names did not begin w/ A-D. THAT, my friends, was the line from hell - literally wrapping around the building several times. I had about 10 people in front of me, and Daon had fewer. Granted, it still took us a while even with so few b/c there were lots of things to check & re-check before walking away from the table: like, do you have the fee-based tickets, autograph tickets, meet-n-greet tickets, etc. And the autographs were a whole other can of worms (and several lines for which people lined up at 3 a.m. WHAT? Yeah, that's what we said!). But we did ultimately get all of our tickets.

So Conference Day 1, after standing in line for autograph tickets, we went to our first breakout session which was about the folklore involved in the Twilight series. We heard interesting facts about vampire lore from around the world. But our favorite part was the Quilleute tribe member who debunked the myths & told some great stories of her people. (Not a single story from Twilight is actually told by their people. Not a single one.) We then headed to the panel discussing the "female role" in the series. The panel was comprised of three self-proclaimed feminists who were later joined by a psychotherapist. They had interesting insights into the book - none of which I agreed with but were still thought-provoking. In the afternoon, we heard about the biology of Twilight. Being an ag major, this panel was particularly interesting to me. I have to be geeky & say that I had actually pondered how some of the events were biologically possible. And it was interesting to see that a panel had drawn many of the same conclusions I had.

In the evening, we went to the 100 Monkeys concert. (For those of you who don't know, this is Jackson Rathbone's band.) Headlining were The Mitch Hansen Band and National Rifle. The music was loud. Meh - that's about all I can say. I'm sure the acoustics in the ballroom weren't the greatest for "the experience" and I may appreciate all of them better in different settings. So I'll reserve judgment and simply say that we had an okay time. (People-watching was certainly entertaining!)

Saturday was a pretty crazy day, and after standing in lots of lines the days preceding, we weren't really sure what to expect. I mean, we were dealing with a panel Q&A AND autographs with the stars. (Yep, you guessed it, that meant more lines.) And we were expecting the fans to be pretty ruthless in their pursuit for close-ups. Thankfully, the powers that be had the same idea and they had a plan of action. The 2700-seat ballroom was seated in number order based on when we registered for the conference. Daon and I happened to score lucky numbers 93 and 100. Seating still didn't go exactly as we'd hoped. For whatever reason, they chose not to seat the center section until groups 300-400, but hey, we were pretty dang close & got some great shots. I even got a short video ... that is, before the powers-that-be realized they had forgotten to tell everyone that video was prohibitted (thus, I don't feel in the least bit bad about sharing with you the video I was able to capture before that announcement). By far the Q&A was my favorite part of TwiCon. (Well, I could think of only one thing that was better: getting to full-on HUG Peter Facinelli ... OMG! *swoon* The nicest guy EVER! And Daon says he smells good too.) The cast clearly has great rapport and they weren't afraid to cut up in front of their fans. We both felt that the Q&A was way too short but there were lots of things to fit in that day. We still got lots of good answers & had some great laughs. We were dismissed from the Q&A to the autograph lines. That was bedlem, let me tell ya. Looooooooooooooooooooong lines. But the stars were so good-natured & friendly that it was all worth it.

[Wanna see more? Visit Kaleb Nation]

We had tickets to the meet-n-greet with the stars. We were SO excited about this - just 250 of us had the opportunity to mix and mingle. Well, in the end, it didn't quite work out as we'd hoped. We didn't actually get to meet all of the stars b/c of time constraints. *sniff* We did shake hands with Jackson Rathbone (before he was shooed to the next table by his handler) and talked to Christian Serratos. Everyone else ran out of time before they got to us. BUT Peter wouldn't let his handler shoo him out of the room as quickly as the others. He lingered saying "just one more table." While he didn't actually get to sit & visit with us at our table, we did hang around long enough that we got to hug him & tell him thanks. All in all, I have to say that they all came off as genuinely nice people who clearly wanted to interact w/ the fans. That was refreshing.

That evening, TwiCon hosted the Volturi Masquerade Ball. Everyone was encouraged to dress the part. There were some stunning dresses. There also some equally interesting costumes and masks. This was people-watching at its finest!

And that was it. TwiCon closed with no fanfare. We simply slipped away unnoticed - just as the Cullens tried to do but with much more success.