Monday, June 29, 2009

Looks Like He Flew American, Too

Thanks to my friend Heather for sending me this video. A real riot!

video

It's a Bird ... It's a Plane ... It's a ...

plane-sized, blood-sucking MOSQUITO & all of its voracious friends! And apparently, I was the main course. *sigh* OMG, you should see me - all covered in itchy bites & whelts in all kinds of unimaginable places. Who knew an elbow or scalp or finger or toe would prove such a tasty treat? Good times ... if you'd like to gnaw off body parts and/or immerse yourself in some kind of anti-itching salve, that is. Why didn't you just wear bug spray? Funny you should ask that. I would have had I realized I needed to bring some, but someone forgot to mention I'd been invited to a patio party (along with all of the mosquitoes in a 50 sq. mi. radius!).

So, aside from being eaten alive, the weekend was nice - busy but nice. Friday I had to clean house. What a drag! But there were lots of hairy deposits on the floor to deal with as everyone has decided to shed their spring coats at the same time. Dori went to the groomer. The cats have dates with the brush. The floor had a date with the vacuum. Happy times for all. (Sounds like a song, no?) Saturday I had a rehearsal in the morning (who schedules a rehearsal for 9:30 a.m.? WHO???), had a grocery list to tend to at noon, a wedding to make at 7 p.m., and a party to hit after that. Little did I know that my "smart, cool" choice of skirt & short-sleeve blouse would be the delight of so many hungry insects at the party we'd make that evening. Yesterday day was a busy day of church activities with a churchwide picnic in the afternoon. I spent the remainder of the afternoon in Kelli's white trash pool trying to keep cool. We opted to hop out once the water got hot, but you'd be surprised how long that takes!

Looking forward to a more restful holiday weekend. But there's a little week in the middle. And more Alaska posts to finish. So y'all come back now, ya hear?!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Terrific News!

Derek had his four-month follow-up appointment with the oncologist on Friday. Each month & each good report, it gets a little easier to breathe that sigh of relief that we're making our way further and further out of the woods. Dr. Hutson said that everything looked wonderful & Derek's results showed him to be the picture of perfect health. The oncologist also stressed that he thought we made the right decision in choosing not to go through proactive chemotherapy but instead choosing close observation and was very pleased with Derek's stick-to-itiveness. It's nice to have that kind of affirmation from your oncologist!

We look forward to another good report next month.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Yahoo!

I finally did it! I'm all caught up. No more moldy messages sitting there, staring me in the face, begging to be read. Google Reader is now empty & ready for current day-to-day posts. Ahhh ... That feels good! Post away, my friends, post away.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Alaska: Day 4

We throw open the drapes this morning in Juneau and are greeted by thick fog, cold temps, and drizzle. Ruh-roh! This calls for serious gear!

After a quick breakfast, we all head down to the pier to meet our early-morning excursions: David, Olga, and I are headed off to mush huskies atop the Mendenhall Glacier; mom & dad are off to get a birds' eye view of the glaciers via float plane; and Derek is off to fish for whatever's biting. We're greeted by heavy drizzle as we get off the gangway and look for our tour operator. We are quickly disappointed to learn that our mushing tour has been cancelled b/c of the thick fog, making it impossible to land on the glacier. Boohoohoo!!! This was the tour I had my heart set on. *sigh* So ... now we have to decide what to do. Believe it or not, the float plane tours are still an option (since they are not having to land anywhere in cloud cover) and there are precisely 4 seats left on the 9:30 a.m. tour. After a quick debate and a little encouragement from mom, we decide to go. You can't beat a birds' eye view of the glaciers! At this point, we have more than an hour to kill before meeting our plane, so the three of us bid adieu to mom & dad and head off to town to walk around.

In the end, mom & dad's float plane tour was cancelled. The planes don't fly if (a) it's not safe and (b) the cloud cover is too thick to see anything. On this particular day, safety wasn't an issue but visibility certainly was. So they headed off to downtown to ride the gondolla & get a look at Juneau from the ridge above and visit the Nature Center. Afterward, they decided to hop a van tour to the Mendenhall Glacier so they got to see it from the ground rather than air. Hard to say which was better, they got closer - from a different vantage point.

Lucky for us, by the time 9 a.m. rolled around, the clouds had cleared to the north where we would be flying to see the glacier fields so we were a "go" for our float plane tour. We got to watch the planes come in, which was really cool in case you've never paid much attention to float plane landings. (Again, I'm easily entertained! (And happen to love airplanes.)) It didn't take us long to get loaded up and on our way. They had a really cool narration (kinda like going to the museum & getting the headsets) for our flight tour that told us about the region & its history (wish I'd had my notepad to write down some of that info!!). The sights were just ... stunning! All in all, just breathtaking. Hard to describe really. And pictures really don't do it justice, but it'll have to do. And perhaps you'll get the idea.

After our tour, we headed back to the ship for lunch and were fortunate enough to beat the big rush to get back aboard, which also meant we beat the big rush at the restaurant too. We met up with everyone else a bit later. Once again, Derek was foiled in his attempts to bring home "the big one." But he saw wildlife again (more eagles) and enjoyed hearing the captain's stories. Mom & dad enjoyed their impromptu tours, as well, and we passed the afternoon exchanging stories & sharing photos as we sailed out of Juneau on our way to our next port of call by way of the Sawyer Glacier.

Not long after we set sail, the captain informed us that we wouldn't be sailing through the pass to the Sawyer Glacier b/c the ice field had filled in making that fjord virtually impassable. Instead, he charted a course for the Dawes Glacier, which he believed to be more beautiful anyway. This is the afternoon that we saw the most wildlife at one time: seals, sealions, bears, oh my! Needless to say, this afternoon we got an eyeful of beauty as far as the eye could see - from wildlife to stunning vistas.

And thus there are lots of pictures of today's sites to share with you. Enjoy!



Once we were sailing back out of the fjord away from the Dawes Glacier, we went back inside for a little warmth & to prepare for dinner. We all went our separate ways for dinner that evening for no reason in particular other than we couldn't really decide what we wanted to eat. Derek & I enjoyed French cuisine in Le Bistro. Mmmm .... escargots & rack of lamb. Yummy! The only downside to our dinner reservations? Our restaurant was on the interior of the ship so we missed a lot of wildlife sightings. Can't win 'em all!

Things: Installment 25

I've already talked quite a bit about our latest cruise, but I thought it would be fun to give you a few extra tidbits. And away we go.

Odd-n-Ends About Our Alaskan Cruise
  • When one doesn't keep up with Google Reader while on vacation, you have more than 450 posts awaiting you on your return. That's a lot of daily reading in a week, don't ya think?! Nevermind the daily posts will keep piling up each and every day until I get caught up. (As of yesterday, I have still have 150 in queue!)
  • It's not that hard to burn through 250 minutes of internet time while on vacation b/c you're using the s l o w e s t internet connection since the days of dial-up! But hey, I'm sure you guys enjoyed the photos & video last week while we were actually sailing, so it was worth it!
  • You get great towel art in your stateroom every day. We had the BEST room stewards - we got TWO critters each day. (I'm easily impressed. *wink*) No worries, you'll get to see all of our friends soon enough.
  • We had no fewer than 10 pilots throughout the cruise. Did you know the captain doesn't actually pilot the ship? Apparently there are specialized boat pilots who take care of that. The fjords and waterways we were sailing were tricky to navigate as they were narrow(ish).
  • Once again I learned that winding mountain car rides are not so great for me - though we did narrowly escape any ... ahem ... incidents on the aformentioned mountain descent.
  • Speaking of incidents, there were several serious ones on the ship. One required someone to be evacuated via Canadian Coast Guard. One required our restaurant to be closed - with all us of inside - while a person was loaded on a stretcher and a hazmat team cleaned up the area.
  • Staring at the pile of laundry that awaited me once the suitcases were unpacked, there's something to be said for taking a cruise where shorts & swimsuits are the main articles of clothing required!
  • Everyone should have great neighbors who watch your house, tend your critters, bring your mail in, water your plants, and mow your lawn while you're gone!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

FAME

I am SO going to see this movie! Who's in?????

Alaska: Day 3

We're in our first port of call: Ketchikan. Today, the boys are going fishing for salmon while the girls are going on a Jeep adventure. Whoohoo!

First up, the girls' tour. We hop on our tour bus for a quick ride to the Jeep barn to meet our tour guides. They divide our big group into two smaller groups. Half of us will start out with the canoe ride while the other half will start out off-roading in the Jeeps. We head out with our tour guide Brian on a bus ride through the Tungass National Rain Forest - yep, it's a rain forest b/c they get upwards of 13.5 feet of rain each year - to meet up with our canoes on Lake Harriet Hunt. Once there, we get geared up in some sexy parkas & life vests before loading up in the canoe - the whole group in one canoe, mind you! Brian took a liking to our little girly threesome and affectionately called us The Trifecta. We were lucky enough to get to be in the front of the canoe (where you do the least amount of work!) - Olga being the hood ornament. (Though I can't swear that we were too lucky since we always had to contend with about 6 inches of water while getting in the darn canoe. Tricky to keep your ... everything dry, let me tell ya!) We paddled across the lake in the rainy drizzle to a little campsite in the woods. We hopped out of the canoe for a quick tour of the forest where we learned about skunk cabbage (a bear's best friend after a long winter w/out a poo!), nurse trees (dead trees that serve as "incubators" for baby trees and vegetation), moss, fungi, and other fun facts about the rain forest ... before having a nip of smoked salmon & homemade clam chowdah cooked over an open fire. Then we hopped back in the canoe, paddled back across the lake, handed off our sexy rain/canoe gear to the Jeep group, and loaded up for our off-road Jeep adventure. Mom took the wheel for the first part of our spin through the national park on an old logging trail. Up the mountain we climbed - tumble bumble pell mell through the woods. We had stunning views of waterfalls and the surrounding mountains as we bounced up the trail. (For a small taste of our fun but bumpy ride, have a looksy at the video. NOTE: that is not our tour guide that you hear on the radio but his faithful sidekick (a/k/a The Annoying Kid).) We were firmly instructed not to dodge a single pothole b/c (a) the Jeeps are made to take them and (b) the trails have "soft shoulders" which basically means that the edge of the trail essentially drops off the side of the mountain. (I don't know about you, but I didn't think rolling down the side of the mountain sounded like any fun!) We had great fun watching the old fart in front of us b/c (1) he was as pokey as a tortoise and (2) he really liked to dodge every pothole and check out the soft shoulders on those trails, though surprisingly he never went rolling off down the mountains! The views at our stops on the trail were really spectacular, and the pictures certainly don't do them justice. We switched drivers about halfway through our ride - Olga chose to remain the navigator. We were disappointed not to see any wildlife on this tour, but we saw plenty of "evidence" - anyone for some poop? (Sorry, inside joke! *grin*)

Now for the boys' tour. Which was a "three hour tour." Hahahaha! Actually, it was a bit longer than that. The boys were joined on their fishing trip by a girl who was the only one to catch anything - a small, young salmon just barely in the legal "keeper" range. Derek did get a nibble on his rod, but by the time anyone realized it, the chance to set the hook had passed them by. They did see wildlife on their ride, so at least they had something to show for their trip - a few great pictures of eagles.

After the girls got back to town, we gave the boys a buzz to see if they had made it back from their fishing trip. They had & they'd gone back aboard ship to drop off their gear and shed a layer or two of clothes. But they were currently on a quest to find dad, who had mysteriously disappeared and wasn't answering the room phone or his cell so they were going to hang around for a bit to see if they could catch up with him before coming to meet us on the pier. Eventually, Derek & David gave up their search & came and met us as we were walking through town to find the restaurant that had promised mom a yummy gluten-free chowder. We found the restaurant but weren't able to eat there after all. So we walked through downtown for a bit of window shopping & goofing around before heading back aboard ship for lunch. Oh, and we did finally find dad! *wink*

We watched from our balcony as Ketchikan slipped away and we headed for Juneau. We passed lots more beautiful scenery that afternoon, though I'm not sure any of us managed to take many photos. Perhaps b/c we all caught a few winks?? That evening, we had dinner in Endless Summer - the Mexican restaurant. While there, we got to watch a stunning display of humpback whales breaching. Unfortunately, we weren't able to get any photos. The windows in this particular restaurant had an odd curve to them that distorted the photos we did try to take. *bummer* Still, it was an awesome thing to witness! After dinner, David, Olga, and I went to the magic show which was fantastic! And it's not just that I'm easily entertained. This guy was good - really good. Not to mention he was a pretty good comedian too. His slight-of-hand trick was amazing - and that's just all you could say about it!

Tomorrow we're due in Juneau & I'm super excited about mushing me some huskies!!!





video

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Cutie Head Moment #5,752

Today's Cutie Head Moment is brought to you today by Hanes Her Way.

So I was walking down the sidewalk this morning on my way from my bus stop to my office building. Believe it or not, downtown Dallas is pretty busy at 7:15 a.m. Anyway, as I'm making way, I notice that I'm getting lots of stares from passersby. Granted, I'm all dressed up today - and looking pretty cute, if I do say so myself - b/c we're having a meeting with a bunch of politicians. So I'm feeling pretty confident in my choice of outfit.

But then, this one guy walking towards me really gives me the stare down. Not one of those, "hey, there's a cutie" stare downs either. He has one of those smirks that tells me that somewhere in my outfit I have a malfunction. Naturally, the light changes and I don't really have the opportunity to check this out without a whole street full of passing cars noticing. A bit of quick thinking tells me to take the arm with the light jacket draped over it and put it up across my chest and grab hold of my purse. This covers all possible angles of a wardrobe malfunction - from zipper to buttons. About halfway up the next block, the traffic on the street finally clears, so I take a quick peek and realize that the two top buttons on my blouse have come unbuttoned & I am quite literally flashing my lovely new bra to the whole world. Fabulous! I quickly get the buttons back where they belong - no one else on the street being the wiser.

And I now know why I was getting all those looks as I was walking up the block! I hope it made somebody's morning!

Alaska: Day 2

Today we're sailing as we make our way to our first port of call. And that means we have to find something to keep us occupied all day. *grin* We decided to have breakfast together in the morning. It was a lovely morning and mom & dad had already seen whales. The rest of us were sleeping & missed it! After breakfast, Derek and I went to a presentation on emeralds. I like to go to these informative sessions about jewelry. I find them fascinating. Perhaps I missed my calling as a geologist? LOL! Derek cringes at the thought of them b/c it usually means I decide on my next collectible gemstone. haha!

Later in the morning, we both had massages at the spa. We've never taken advantage of the spas on the ships before. Quite frankly, now I'm wondering why! It was wonderful. By the time we were finished in the spa, it was time for lunch. The rest of the afternoon was spent lounging about watching the world go by before getting ready for dinner. Mom and I decided to go to another gemstone presentation right before dinner b/c we were supposed to get a coupon for a free one-carat sapphire. Unfortunately, our dinner reservations didn't allow us to stay long enough to get the coupon. *sniff*

This is the first formal night on the cruise and we all opted to dress up. You get photos taken, after all. We had dinner at one of the ship's specialty restaurants - Cagney's Steakhouse. Honestly, I've had better steak at home, but I think we're pretty spoiled here in Texas! That being said, there are plenty of good steakhouses right here at home who've managed to overcook my steak. Still, it was a wonderful dinner full of good family time and plenty of laughter. I swear, sometimes you can't take us anywhere!

That evening, we went to a show in the theatre. Derek wasn't interested in going. Musicals aren't really his thing. So he hung out at the pub while the rest of us went to the show. Overall, it was pretty good ... for ship entertainment. I've heard better singers in Dallas, but again, we're pretty spoiled here with some really fabulous theatre companies!!!

We called it a night after the show as we'd all be getting up early to meet our onshore excursions in Ketchikan.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Alaska: Day 1

So today we're up early to catch our 7:45 a.m. flight from DFW to Seattle. I don't know about you, but I haven't seen 4 a.m. in a LONG time! We made it just fine though. Only a minor snafu coming through security. Someone may have forgotten to put his pocket knife in his checked baggage. *ahem* But I won't say who that someone is.

So ... once dad gets his bag searched and his knees wanded (oh yes, poor dad had to go into the box of shame, as we started to call it, everywhere we went b/c his new knees won't clear a metal detector), we made our way to the AA Admiral's Club. We wouldn't have gone except that we were expecting to have more time there & had already paid the fee for the fourth person to go in that day. Besides, the bathrooms were nicer than the ones in the terminal. We enjoyed our 20 min. of quiet and then headed back to our gate to board the plane for Seattle.

We had a smooth ride into Seattle and the best seats on the plane for views of Mt. Rainier. Spectacular! We grabbed our luggage (who's idea was it to pack so much stuff????) and headed for our ride to the pier. My, oh my, was that interesting! Thank GOD we had reservations b/c there's no TELLING how long we would have had to wait otherwise. As it was, we waited about ... gee, how long was it? An hour and a half, I guess? To catch our shuttle to the pier. Once we finally got a van, we got there lickety split tho.

Check-in was a breeze ... mostly. Poor dad had to get wanded again. And we had a snag checking our luggage in with the cruise line, but that was poor planning on the cruise line's part. Who makes a line full of people with all their luggage split into two lines only to put them back into one line at the baggage belt???? After depositing our luggage, we were on the ship in no time flat - like 5 min. actually - enjoying a bit of bubbly and some lunch. After lunch, our staterooms were ready so we checked out our rooms & dropped off our carry-on luggage before sailing away from Seattle on our way to our first port of call though we aren't due there until Monday.

There was a bit of excitement in the middle of the night, though Derek & I slept through it. Apparently, someone was injured and had to be taken by boat to a hospital onshore. The Canadian Coast Guard met us in the middle of the night. Mom & dad got to see everything from their balcony.

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Great Luggage Saga of 2009

So ... the trip went off without a hitch. Until we landed at DFW, that is. That's when everything went south. Aside from the fact that it took almost 40 min. for the first bags from our flight to make their way up to the carousel, we should have been forewarned that things were about to get ugly when we saw a sizable group of passengers from the previous flight queued up at the customer service stand - all with very unhappy looks on their faces. But alas, we did not heed the warning. Instead, we were pretty pleased to see our bags start popping up in the first group up from the ground. One. Two. Three. And so on. Quick inventory of everything we'd pulled off the carousel told us one bag was missing: Derek's rolling garment bag. The line of bags being burped up the shoot came to a quick halt. The same bags that had been circling the carousel since we'd arrived in our baggage claim area continued to make the rounds. Fifty. Sixty. Seventy times around.

And the line at the customer service desk grew. Grew to include Derek. And this is where it gets ugly. We're now more than hour on the ground. Derek's the third(ish) person in line. The customer service agent is clearly no help as those speaking with him continue to get more & more agitated. There were many raised voices, hands thrown up in disgust, eyerolls to family members across the baggage area, and phone calls to stall family waiting in pick-up lanes. One hour and 45 min. after we'd landed, Derek is finally speaking to the agent. When it was all said and done, Derek had to describe his bag and give account of every item inside "in case we have to open your bag to verify it's yours" in order to get a claim ticket. This was after he out & out refused to go chasing all over the airport looking for his missing bag as the agent insisted. This was after he had asked no fewer than FIVE TIMES to have a supervisor help him. One would think this was the end of the line but it would take a total of TWO HOURS to get the claim finalized. We left the airport more than THREE HOURS after our flight landed all b/c this yahoo in baggage didn't have a brain between his ears. To say that we were tired and beaten down by the time we left is beyond an understatement!

Oh, but it gets better. Keep in mind that he reported a BLACK ROLLING GARMENT BAG missing. Sunday afternoon, Derek checks the status of his missing baggage. American claims they've found it, and the courier is due to deliver the bag at any time. Sure enough, the doorbell rings. The bag has arrived. The courier presents Derek with a BLUE ROLLING CARRY-ON BAG. The same blue rolling carry-on bag that we watched go round and round and round and round the carousel for the three hours that we waited to get his damn missing baggage ticket. Even the courier knew before he left DFW with the bag that this was not Derek's bag. But interestingly enough, this bag mysteriously had a flight tag that had Derek's info on it. Nevermind all of the other tags on the bag had another woman's name & info on them! What?! That means that the stupid agent in that baggage area retagged the bag after the fact b/c there's no way that bag originally had Derek's tag on it b/c we put the AA flight tag on the bag BEFORE WE GOT OFF THE SHIP (through the ship's Easy Fly program)! So Derek refuses to take delivery of the bag and is instructed by the courier to call American Airlines to report the mistake.

Wait for it. It gets better. It takes him more than 20 min. to get the customer service rep on the line to understand that the bag that was delivered was not his. And get this. She claims that there is no description of the bag or its contents in the system. What?! It took that stupid carousel agent an HOUR to get that typed in the system. Part of the information - at least the fact that the bag was supposed to be black - was even on the courier's paperwork. But American suddenly has no specific information on the missing baggage. And better yet, they've deleted his missing bag claim from the system since they'd supposedly found it & couriered it to him! So in order to get the ball rolling again, he had to ALL OVER AGAIN describe the bag and its contents. Can you say pissed? "When can I expect to know something about my bag?" Check our system again in two hours to see if your claim has been renewed. It can take up to 48 hrs. "What happens if you are unable to find it?" Oh, you have to wait 5 days in order for American to consider your baggage lost. Then you'll begin the long chain of phone calls to file a claim for reimbursement. Oh. And that'll cost you your firstborn.

But wait. It gets better. About 8 p.m. his cell phone rings. It's clearly a call about his missing bag, but he mouths to me that it's not American who's called. Nope. It's United Airlines Baggage Department at Washington-Dulles Airport. Did you read that? ... United Airlines. Washington-Dulles. "We have your rolling garment bag. It has no tagging whatsoever. No flight tag or i.d. tag. We're not sure how it ended up on one of our flights. We did, however, find your business card in the built-in tag slot on the back of the bag." Somehow TWO forms of i.d. had been removed from his bag. Fishy? Sure sounds like it to me. So ... United can't send the bag directly back to us b/c they do not have the open claim for the missing bag. Instead, they have to fly it to AA baggage claim at DFW for them to route the bag for courier delivery & close out their open claim.

The CORRECT bag arrived on our doorstep today. We have yet to check the contents. I hope they're all there b/c it'll get REALLY ugly if a single item is missing!

SIDEBAR: Derek called AA corporate to complain about the ridiculousness of this situation. He talked to several bigwigs who were very unhappy to hear the details of this debacle. They asked him to file an official complaint against the agent working our baggage claim area. He's supposed to receive a phone call once his complaint is processed. I won't be holding my breath!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Home Again

We're all back home. We got in later than scheduled last night due to a luggage incident. We shall call it The Great Luggage Incident of 2009. To top it off, we also had a parking snafu that I will simply call The Parking Guy is a Great Big Jerk. I'll rant more about all that later.

Altogether, it was a terrific trip! I highly recommend it to anyone interested in seeing Alaska. After I spend the next few days recovering, I'll begin posting the daily summaries of our trip. You're in for a treat! (As you can see!)

Friday, June 19, 2009

We Saw Orcas!

The larger whales have been pretty elusive this trip. We've seen them but never when the camera was handy or when we were in good places for photos. Yesterday, however, we watched a pod of orcas feed off the coast of Prince Rupert, British Columbia. I took a very short (and kinda bumpy) video - enjoy!

video

Things: Installment 24

Today is my brother's birthday so I thought it would be fun to tell all of his secrets. Uh, I mean, all of the good things about him. *wink*

Things About My Little Brother
  • My brother and I are exactly 5 yrs, 7 mos, and 21 days apart.
  • I once made my brother eat cat food and drink pond water. True story! (I like to think that I prepared him for his Academy hazing days early. LOL!)
  • We were never in the same school at the same time.
  • David and I graduated from high school on the same day - 5 yrs apart.
  • David is the classic underachiever. He could have graduated in the top of his class but instead he chose to skid by b/c being a skimmer was easier. *wink*
  • We both raised broilers as ag projects - me for 4H and him for FFA. He made significantly more money in this endeavor than I did. It seems that placing at the Houston Livestock Show (more than once) is much more lucrative than placing at the Hopkins County Fall Festival Livestock Show.
  • My college friends and classmates figured out David was my brother before he even opened his mouth. Apparently we look alike????
  • David and I were members of Golden Leos.
  • We also both majored in agriculture, though neither of us work in the field.
  • I'm proud to count my brother as a friend and couldn't be prouder of him! *muah* Love ya, bub, and happy 27th birthday!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

And We're Off

Well, we are now on our way to the airport to head off to Seattle to meet our cruise ship. We'll be sailing Alaska this next week. And we're really looking forward to the beautiful scenery, cool weather, and the chance to recharge.

Dori's gone to camp and we've left the neighbors house/cat sitting. Hopefully there won't be any weather news to report while we're gone. We've done the best we can to batten down the hatches just in case tho - both cars are in the garage, anything that might fall over has already been laid on its side, etc. No chance to check the roof before we left so we're hoping we came out unscathed - we sure don't want to come home to wet ceilings! We did get the fence fixed before we left tho. (Yay! And thank you, Edgar (JV Lawncare), for coming out in a jiffy & working late into the evening!) It's a relief to know that the world is no longer our backyard!

I might post a few things while we're cruising, but I make no promises. I'll definitely post a trip summary sometime after we get back. Have a great week!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Things: Installment 23

I think it's interesting to examine your life at one particular moment. Like, what do you like today? What are your current pet peeves? You know, things like that. So let's start by looking at the current list of faves.

Things I Like Right Now
  • Butterfinger - and anything containing Butterfinger (like a Butterfinger Blizzard!!!) - is on the top of the list of favorite sweet treats.
  • I love, love, love acrylic stamps. They're so much easier to use than the wood-mounted ones - not that I've given up on those. I'm just sayin'.
  • I'm a paper whore. Yep. I said it. I collect paper. Not just scrapbooking paper either - though you should see that collection. Nope, I'm talking about paper in general. (I REALLY need to clean out the file cabinet and/or stuff to be filed! That pile could choke a horse or squish a small person if toppled.)
  • Google Reader. It is my friend. How else could I follow 100+ blogs a day???
  • The new patio. We put that in in the fall and have not looked back. Instead, we've spent many wonderful evenings out on the patio enjoying good company with great friends. I have dreams to expand this outdoor space some day. I mean, who wouldn't love to have an entire outdoor ROOM?!
  • My Mac. Gone are the days of freezes & system crashes & reboots. Oh, Mac, how I love you!
  • And while we're talking about Apple products, let's just throw in the iPod on this list. Now all of my faves are at my fingertips. Gone are the days of mixed tapes - replace those with Playlists instead. And given Derek's ridiculous iTunes habit, I have more songs to choose from than I could listen to in a lifetime. You think I kid!
  • Grey's Anatomy, Fringe, NCIS, and Numbers round out my list of favorite, must-not-miss shows on t.v.
  • Cruises. They're still our preferred method of travel. You unpack once. Your hotel and meals are paid for - not to mention pretty fab, at that! And with all those cruise points on our credit card, we've been cruising for free the last several years. Can't beat it!

So what's our your list? I'd love to see.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Open Letter

Dear Bad Driver:

In the future, when lights are blinking, you should (a) assess the intersection while you are stopped at the blinking red light and (b) look for pedestrians who are trying to cross the street. This morning, you were clearly in a hurry and chose to do neither of these things. Lucky for YOU, the PEDESTRIAN* was paying attention when she made her harrowing trek across the street in the pouring rain. Had the pedestrian not been paying attention? Well, let's just say that both you and she WOULD HAVE HAD A VERY BAD DAY!!!!!!! Seriously! You would have run her over. And at the speed you were traveling, I'm not sure she would have survived it. I hope you shit your pants when she screamed at you as you passed within inches of her, you jackass!+


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* Oh yeah, that pedestrian was ME!!!
+ Had I thought of it quickly enough, I would have thrown my umbrella across your windshield. Damn! Why didn't I think of it sooner?! You needed that little lesson in driving responsibly, you jerk!

Oh, The Weather Outside is Frightful

OMG - the storms we've had over the last 12-ish hours have been ridiculous! And by ridiculous, I mean crazy/strong. When it finally gets light (and quits pouring & zinging) this morning, we may finally know the grand sum of damage done to our house/property.

We know with certainty that we have to have a significant portion of our fence replaced BEFORE WE LEAVE ON SATURDAY EEK! (photo coming once the rain lets up to take one) 70+ mph downdraft winds snapped the posts off at the ground last night. I've never seen anything like it. I don't remember the wind blowing like that even when Ike came through last year!

Whether we have roof damage is still up for debate. In a small break in the storms last night, we went out to assess things. Without getting on the roof, we can't say with certainty whether we'll need any shingle repair. But I can say that there are a few places that, at the very least, look suspicious.

On the upside, we got both cars in the garage before the storm hit! AND we did not lose power for any length of time, which is seriously an act of God if you know anything about our neighborhood.

It's raining cats & dogs this morning, which means (a) I'm gonna get wet taking the dog out to go potty b/c I can't just let her out now that we have a backyard opened to the world and (b) I'm gonna get to work wet & will likely have harrowing tales about the commute/walk from the bus stop. It's also lightning like CRAZY and I'm seriously scared to even take the umbrella but do not have enough rain gear to stay even remotely dry without it. At least the trees, buildings, and monuments downtown are taller than I am so I stand a chance of not becoming BBQd. (No need for short jokes, thanks.)

Hope all of you weathered the storms alright. Updates at 10.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Open Letter

To the "security guards" in my office building:

YOU ARE STUPID! About as smart as a box of rocks. Maybe even a herd of sheep on their best day. Which is why you are working here in the first place. (But I digress.)

Rather than accosting the people you see every. single. day., who obviously work here b/c why else would you see them every. single. day. at. 7:15! Pffftt!, perhaps you should consider establishing a consistent set of policies and ACTUALLY FOLLOWING THEM!

"Employees should wear their i.d. badges to expedite processing," you said a year ago. And yet when i.d. badges were/are clearly displayed, employees were/are still harrassed about items in their bags. So we quit wearing the badges b/c they obviously didn't/don't make a damn bit of difference.

And what? NOW you'd like to claim my i.d. badge is important?! *insert world's BIGGEST eyeroll* This morning:


Smart Security Guard: What electronics do you have in yo [sic] bag?
Me: I work here. {Thinking: And you know that since I've walked through your line Every. Day. This. Week. and told you that on Monday, not to mention showed you MY BADGE that day too!!!}
SSG: Well, if you clearly displayed yo [sic] badge, I wouldn't have to ast [sic] you wha's [sic] in yo [sic] bag.
Me {as I was walking away}: I WOULD display my badge if it made any difference!!!!!!

So, "security," if you re-opened that "Employee Only" line that you thought was SO STUPID and if you actually make the "Employee Only" line something other than a joke (i.e. quit harrassing the employees when they take advantage of said line), then we will all gladly display our i.d. badges. And what do you bet that our lives will be much easier b/c you'll no longer have employee meltdowns when they go through security every day?!

Kthnx

Friday, June 05, 2009

Things: Installment 22

'Tis the time of year to celebrate our parents what with Mother's Day in May and Father's Day in June. So I think it'll be fun to do a little post about them. Here we go....




Things about My Parents
  • My parents have been married for 35 yrs. I don't know about you, but to me, that seems like eons! Then again, sometimes I shake my head in surprise to think it's coming up on 9 yrs for us.
  • My mom didn't go to college until she was in her 30s when she went to nursing school. Up until then, she had odd jobs while being a SAHM.
  • My dad took some night classes here and there but never got a college degree. He worked for the State for 30 yrs, working his way up quite literally from the bottom to the top. Dad's now "retired." (Tho I use that term very loosely!)
  • My dad actually has TWO retirements - one from the State and one from the Army. He retired from the National Guard just after Desert Shield (during Papa Bush's presidency).
  • Mom is currently school nurse at a large 4A high school, though she will tell you her favorite job was as a labor & delivery nurse. (YUK!)
  • I cannot think of any major events that my parents have missed. They've been to every concert, recital, graduation, ceremony, birthday, holiday ... rain or shine.
  • Though they don't share too many hobbies, both of my parents love, love, love to fish! Several years ago, they bought a bass boat & have had great fun hopping around from lake to lake chasing after "the big one."
  • None of my parents' parents or siblings has ever been divorced.
  • My mom is the one who first got me interested in music. We listened to music all the time when I was little. I begged to learn to play piano long before I was 5; my mom made me wait until I was 6. She taught me the first year or two and then I took privately until I was in high school.
  • My dad has been my "sound guy" for about 25 yrs. He took over the sound at church when I was in elementary school and has been running it ever since. I wish I could bring him to Dallas to my current gig!
  • I got my pack-ratting abilities from my dad. Just ask him how far back his Popular Science collection goes!
  • They're both pretty doggone handy when it comes to household stuff. So good crafting abilities & general handiness came honestly, though not necessarily in heaping helpings as I still call them often for *HELP* w/ projects!
  • All in all, I couldn't ask for better parents & am thankful for them each & every day! *muah*

Monday, June 01, 2009

Happy Birthday!

Please join me in wishing my DH a happy birthday! Hope you have a great day, Deet!