All of the packages are opened and put away, and it's now time to take a little stock in all of what the holidays had to offer. To sum it up in three words: great family time!
Our holidays started early. On the 19th, to be exact, when we had some friends over for dinner and a little Santa. Our big gift to our families was a little different this year. We are all blessed in abundance and no one really needs anything. So rather than buying a bunch of gifts, we adopted a needy family and bought everything on their wish lists instead. And what makes this even neater is that we all know the family. To say that this family had a really tough 2010 would be an understatement. And to say that this act of kindness really made their 2010 would likewise be an understatement. I think these photos from our evening with them speak volumes.
We enjoyed Christmas Day with Derek's parents. We started with brunch and ended with a delicious steak dinner. It had been a while since we had been to visit them. Terrible to say but life really does get in the way of quality family time sometimes. And that's certainly true of most of 2010. So it was nice to set aside an entire day to enjoy a leisurely visit. They set us up with loads of Frog gear, so we're definitely all set for game day. But I think we had the most fun with the hilariously fun remote control cars. LOL
My family came over on Sunday afternoon. We don't get much time to really sit and visit either, so it was nice to have the afternoon to do some catching up. My nephew provided great entertainment for us all. And he was particularly helpful with opening packages. What....you didn't want that package open, Aunt Susan?? LOL!
And now we count down the days until the new year and the Rose Bowl. Both are just around the corner. Where does all the time go?!
NOTE: I began drafting this before New Year's but was unable to get it finished before we left on our trip. Just in case those of you reading in Google Reader are a little confused.
For the last month or so, there hasn't been much cooking going on at my house. You know what that means?! Yep, we've been eating out. This issue of Things is focusing on all of the wonderful mainstream gluten-free dining options out there and most specifically the restaurants that I've patronized.
Things on the Gluten-Free Menu
Maggiano's has made a number of revisions to their menu to accomodate everyone requiring gluten-free options. EVERY sauce on their menu is gluten-free as Maggiano's has chosen to substitute rice flour for the traditional flours they were using. At this time, you have two choices for pasta: rigatoni or fettuccini. When I was there most recently, I had the chicken scallopini over rigatoni, and it did not disappoint. I was a little disappointed, however, that they don't offer gluten-free ravioli or gnocchi. But you know, I decided that those options will come in time as more of us begin venturing out to eat at mainstream restaurants. I'm exceedingly grateful to Maggiano's for adapting their entire menu to accomodate those with gluten sensitivities!
PF Chang's has an entire section of their menu devoted to gluten-free selections and it's quite extensive. I actually got to sample several of these items at the gluten-free expo that I attended in Grapevine back in September. Until recently, I hadn't had the time to actually GO to PF Chang's and try the dining experience. I must say, it did NOT disappoint. I had the spicy chicken and it was very good. It's light and especially good with the extra-spicy condiments that PF Chang's is so famous for. The waitress was also very knowledgable and kept all of the gluten-free food and condiments (yes, they have gluten-free soy sauce!) separate. Unfortunately, I was too full to have dessert, but I know that it's absolutely divine b/c I had a NUMBER of samples at the expo. *grin* So definitely be sure you save room for that heavenly chocolate mousse, even if you're not gluten free!
Cosa Nostra is my absolute favorite local Italian joint that I have spoken about many times here on the ol' blog. It's a family-run business, and I just happen to know the family. Great people! And even better food!! After finding out that I have gluten sensitivities, I had not been to eat there even though Denisio promised that he could accomodate me. We finally got around to going this week, and Denisio got onto me for not coming in sooner. Apparently, there are a number of faithful patrons who are gluten free and he had already made some adjustments to menu items. My favorite menu items are actually naturally gluten free; they just needed a pasta substitution. The only hitch is that you must provide your own pasta (which they, of course, cook separately to avoid cross-contamination). But you know, that's a small price to pay for TO DIE FOR authentic Italian food! Thanks, Denisio - you rock!!
Pei Wei also has adapted several of its menu items to make them gluten-free, though it's not nearly as extensive as PF Chang's. I took some time off work this week so I could get my Christmas shopping done in the middle of the day and avoid some of the crowds and decided to give lunch at Pei Wei a whirl after picking up their gluten-free menu at the Grapevine expo. I had the spicy chicken and it was just as light as the dish at PF Chang's. Pei Wei also provides patrons with gluten-free soy sauce. And if you happen to have any food left to take home, they send you home with gluten-free soy sauce packets! (Gotta love San-J for coming up with that idea! Brilliant!) So if you're looking for good Asian food on-the-run, then Pei Wei certainly fits the bill.
Jason's Deli launched its gluten-free menu offerings over the summer. I have not tried it myself, but my mom has and was very pleased. They use Udi's gluten-free bread to build your sandwich. (And for those of you who don't know, it really is the best bread on the widespread market if you're looking for something that is close to the "real" thing.) The staff is all supposed to be trained about cross-contamination, and thus far, my mom hasn't had any issues. One day soon, I'll get in there to get me a sammich b/c I LOVE their sweet tea!
TGI Friday's recently announced that they have revamped their menu to include allergen alerts next to all of their menu items so that common allergens are identified, including wheat, soy, eggs, shellfish, peanuts, to name a few. (Read the press release here) I'll have to pop in there soon and check out the new menu.
The Screen Door located in the One Arts Plaza is able to accomodate people with food allergies. I dined there recently with a friend before we went to the opera. When I placed our reservation on Open Table, I made a notation about requiring gluten-free. As soon as we checked in with the hostess, she asked about the person needing gluten-free and told me that she had alerted the waiter. It was definitely smooth sailing and the food was delicious. I had steak with bernaise sauce and mashed potatoes and steamed veggies. Yummo! Two thumbs up all around!
Mickey Mantle's Steakhouse in Oklahoma City also has an extensive gluten-free menu. We visited friends over Thanksgiving and went to dinner at Mickey Mantle's on Friday night. It's very reminiscent of one of our favorite steakhouses here in Dallas - Morton's of Chicago (who has also told us that they can easily accomodate gluten-free diners). I was surprised when I mentioned to the waitress that I was gluten-free that she took my menu and brought me a new one that not only told me what I could have but also told me the things I could not. Sometimes it's helpful to know that things on the menu that SEEM harmless by description really aren't! The steak was cooked to perfection, as was everything else. If you ever find yourself in OKC, you should definitely eat at Mickey Mantle's.
There are many more restaurants joining in the gluten-free movement. And those of us who require these special menu items should do our part by patronizing the restaurants who test out these menus. If we don't, we are likely to lose the number of mainstream restaurant choices we now have, putting us back another 5-10 years. And who wants that?!
The blog's been silent for a while. At least with posts of any substance. So how about a new Things post? This time of the year - the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas - makes me far more aware of my many blessings.
Things I'm Thankful For
I'm thankful to be in a position not to need anything but instead to be in a place where I can meet other people's needs.
I'm thankful for good health. This is so easy to take for granted. I was listening to the radio yesterday, and they were fundraising for Children's Hospital. And it made me think about the number of people who will be spending their holidays in the hospital fighting various illnesses. How wonderful it is to be well!
I'm thankful for wonderful friends. Derek and I are blessed to have really terrific people in our lives. People who listen to us when we whine, who celebrate when we accomplish something, who get mad on our behalves, who give us encouragement when we're down. Where would we be without good friends?!
I'm thankful that we both have jobs that are not as susceptible to fluctuations in the economy.
I'm thankful for family. They love you warts & all. And while we can't pick and choose our family, they can't pick & choose either. And so you learn very early the importance of compromise, forgiveness, understanding, and unconditional love. What invaluable gifts & lessons!
I'm thankful for music. As much as I may complain this time of year about how busy things are and how much singing I do, it really IS my favorite time of year to sing. I love Christmas/Advent music! Something about the music just gives me goosebumps. What a joy it is to get to share that with others! (If you're not busy on Sunday, please come to A Texas Christmas. It's going to be fabulous! And yes, I'm feeling better. Thanksforasking.)
I'm thankful for a successful start to my new joint business venture and I'm looking forward to getting back in the sweatcraftroom to create the new line of product launching in January.
You are cordially invited to join the Lake Highlands United Methodist Church Ministry of Music as we celebrate the joy of the season in an evening concert featuring all church choirs, handbells, orchestra, percussion, organ, and piano this Sunday, December 12th at 6:30 p.m. in the sanctuary. Those in attendance will have a special treat as we premiere a memorial commissioned work composed by Rob Landes for soprano, flute, and piano. "Little Lamb, Who Made Thee?" is a delightful setting of the traditional poem of the same name by Robert Blake. (And I also happen to be fortunate enough to get to sing it! (assuming I ward off this cold!))
In one of my recent posts, I mentioned that a friend and I are opening a business. Well, I'm pleased to announce that the doors are now open! Get sneak peeks at our current holiday line and some of the exciting products that are to come. Visit us on the web: on our site or on Facebook. Drop by often - you never know what's in store!
You know that big rambling post I gave you guys last week? The big whiny one? Well, I clearly didn't proofread it too well and what I had intended to be a bit of a funny about giving the blog the cold shoulder ... well, it clearly did not read like that. In fact, if you thought I was saying that I was giving my grandmother the cold shoulder, well, you would not have been alone. So ... for the record, please allow me to clarify what I meant to say. I was NOT giving my grandmother the cold shoulder! I was giving Ye Olde Blog the cold shoulder ... not writing ... you know, going MIA for basically an entire month. I'm really sorry if any of you took offense, and I'm particularly sorry that I hurt my grandmother's feelings! My apologies. *hugs*
My grandmother dropped me an email the other day that went something like (I'm paraphrasing), "I can't keep up with you on your blog if you don't write anything. So I'm emailing you instead." Well, there's no denying the truth in that one, now, is there. Let's just be honest, I haven't felt like keeping all of you in the loop, so I've given the blog the cold shoulder. Be offended if you want, but that'sthetruthscout'shonor.
Quite honestly, I started this post TWO WEEKS ago, if that tells you anything about my motivation as of late. Between you and me, I've been a little blue. Ordinarily, I think I would classify myself as a Glass Half Full kind of gal. But the end of October wasn't full of its usual joy and November hasn't necessarily been much better.
For those of you who are interested, click below for the Reader's Digest version. (Though some may dispute that the info's actually been digested.)
Ten years ago today, I married a knight in shining armor. Or perhaps he was a living saint. Whatever you'd like to call him, he married me for the person I was - warts & all. And trust me, there were, and still are, plenty of warts! Today's post is a tribute to ten years of marriage. It's had its ups and its downs, its good times and its bad times, its joys and its sorrows. But in the end, here we are. Ten years older. Ten years wiser. And ten years still married!
Poem adapted from "Anniversary Love Sonnet" by Joanna Fuchs "When I Fall in Love" recorded by me and played at our wedding
Coming down off the show high, well, I'm a bit of an emotional mess. I'm glad that it's over. I'm sad that it's over. I'm a little anxious to get on with the next project. I'm glad to have nothing to do. So that's what this week's Things Series is all about.
Things You Should or Shouldn't Do After Completing a Big Project
You should definitely enjoy a day or two of doing absolutely nothing. It's very cathartic!
You should enjoy a long-overdue Girls Night Out - i.e. margaritas and shoes for our bunch. (On tonight's agenda!)
You should not, under any circumstances, read sappy love poems in search of the perfect one for your anniversary card! You will, most certainly, get teary-eyed if not shed a for-reals tear.
You should definitely not say goodbye to one of your closest friends before he leaves for active duty. You are in no state to handle such things. Tell him to come back next week and try again. (If only...)
You should not avoid housework. Those dust bunnies have built megaplexes in your absence. They must be stopped.
You should not wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat after dreaming about choreography. Enough already. You rocked it!
You should get crafty. I don't know about you, but a little ink on the fingers is good for the soul!
You should catch up on your long-neglected DVR. Your husband will thank you for freeing up the space he needs to record his very important cartoons.
You should definitely start working on your husband's anniversary gift. Particularly since you now know what you have to live up to in the expectations department!
You should do some laundry. The sniff test won't help you now.
You should enjoy time with friends. Kick back. Have a few. Chat. Giggle. Sing karaoke. You know, live a little!
That one little word sums up the entire weekend rather nicely. Two successful shows, a birthday, a surprise, and lots of friends and family. I am truly blessed!
Thank you to everyone who supported Side by Side by Sondheim in some form or fashion. Without each and every one of you, the show could not have been a success! Thanks to the other singers and accompanists who spent countless hours rehearsing. Thanks to Daon for your patience and tireless effort to turn us into Singers Who Can Move. Thanks to the behind-the-scenes folks for taking care of all the little details. Thanks to those of you who attended the performances or who, in absence, gave a donation. But most importantly, thank you to the spouses/significant others who loved and supported us through this tiring (and sometimes frustrating) process.
Aside from performing this weekend, I also celebrated another birthday. And on Saturday night, Derek surprised me after the show. For those of you who don't know Derek, he cannot buy a gift and hang onto it. It burns a hole in his pocket. So this year, he gave my gift to a friend to hang onto so he wouldn't be tempted to give it to me early. He (very easily) coerced friends and family to participate in surprising me after Saturday's show. Aside from a birthday this month, we will also celebrate our TENTH wedding anniversary. So he gave me beautiful roses and got down on one knee and proposed all over again. For those of you who know our original proposal story, this one was proper! *snicker* It was truly a very special evening.
Today, I've enjoyed a day of rest. I haven't done much of anything that I didn't want to do. Unless you count that trip to the DMV to get a new driver's license. *giggle* But that was actually pretty painless - in and out in 20 min. and that was AFTER going through the line twice because I neglected to complete a new form where they just about ask you what brand of underwear you wear. I even managed to avoid doing any household chores, though I should probably at least reconsider the laundry since I have no clean underoos for tomorrow. I kid. Kinda. *chuckle*
From the bottom of my heart, thanks, everyone! This was a spectacular weekend!
I'm pretty noidy about cleaning out my Google Reader. I know that comes as a shock to most of you! *snicker* Needless to say, most of this week, I've had more important things to do than read all of the blogs I follow. Here's what happens when I ignore GR for just two days....uggggh!
Since I'm in full-on show mode, the next several weeks of Things will be dedicated to all things Side by Side. You: But is there really that much material? Me: Of course! Plus, it's my show & I can plug it again (and again) if I want to! *wink*
Things Overheard in Rehearsal
No, Susan, your other left!
Well, if the divas don't want to sing it, of course they'll give it to someone else!
I won't lie, those shoes scare me a little bit.
You look a little stiff.
Just call me the dancing penguin.
I just pulled a Susan.
But my hips don't mooooooove like that.
Pardon me a moment, I have to go cry in the hallway.
Tim, you can just stand there for this part. *Tim all but dances a jig*
The last time I worked with a choreographer, I made her cry.
You want us to stroke his arm?
I swear that my lack of enthusiasm has nothing to do with you.
Dori went to the groomer today to blow out her summer coat, which has been coming out in serious clumps all over the house for several weeks. They decided to dress her up today instead of giving her a bandana. She's not impressed ... in fact, she wouldn't even look at the camera!
This week we're gonna take a look at all of my nicknames. There have been quite a few through the years. Some are still in use, while others have gone on to the Place Where Dead Nicknames Go. (I have no idea where that is.)
Things People Have Called Me
Mrs. Johnson - My grandfather called me this. I have no idea why, but I gladly answered to it.
The Sus - This nickname was coined by my neighbor Kelli and has been adopted by our friend Bubbles.
Tinygrasshoppa - A group of my guy friends in college came up with this one. I can't really remember how it got started. But I can tell you that it must be said with your BEST accent. lol
Susan E. - My Granny calls me this. Most often when she has a point to make but sometimes when she just wants to get my attention.
Sus - Gosh, I've had this nickname forever. I have no idea who first coined it, but it's been adopted by friends and family alike & is the nickname by which most people refer to me.
Suzie Q - My childhood choir director, Ms. Becky, first coined this one. Several of my dear friends (hiya, Rachel V.) and coworkers still use it.
Goose - My dear friend Patrick came up with this one after I started calling him "Chicken."
Snuzan - My youth director Glenn gave me this nickname and still likes to use it every once in a while.
Midget - Derek's best friend from TCU gave me this name after which I started calling him Fat Man. Hey, all's fair!
Girlfriend - Derek's Pappaw first called me this. I think it was because he couldn't remember my real name but knew I was Derek's girlfriend. It became a bit of a joke after that.
Roomie - My college roommate Rachel still refers to me by the nickname she created for me all those many years ago while we lived in C-Town. (And when you go through what we went through together, you earn the right to call each other whatever you want!)
Midget Cricket - I actually don't know who first called me this. Maybe I gave it to myself? But I don't think so. Anyway, Derek & Skeet call me this everytime I drive the truck b/c, from behind, it doesn't look like there's anyone in the driver's seat.
You can call me by any of these and I will answer. BUT, under no circumstances should you ever, ever, EVER call me Sue!!!!! I just might come after you with a kitchen knife. Seriously.
As you can see from my clear remiss in posting, I am most definitely in "show mode." Every moment of every day is spent working on some part of the show - from working on music to learning choreography to making cue books for the behind-the-scenes folks to assembling props and stage pieces, there really is no end. It is an all-consuming project, making it quite difficult to even think about anything else. I go to bed thinking about the staging for the more subtle pieces or choreography for a number I'm struggling with. I wake up in the middle of the night with some new idea or fear or *aha* something I'd forgotten. And then I get up and do it all over again the next day.
You: But, Grasshoppa. Why? It doesn't sound like any fun.
Me: ... Because I love it. For the sheer joy of doing it. For the challenge. For the growth that always comes from an endeavor like this one. And it really is fun. Still, there's a reason I have a "day job:" quite simply, as much as I love music, I could not pursue it as a full-time gig because it is too all-consuming. There would be nothing left for anything else. And I have lots of anything-elses that I enjoy doing when I'm not singing.
And I've done some of those anything-elses in the last several weeks, too. Labor Day was pretty low key. I worked in the home office some more. We had some friends over to watch football. I scrapbooked and made some cards. And I did have a rehearsal, but it was a fun one - we danced with umbrellas. In the front yard. The neighbors were entertained. But no one left us a tip. *sniff* Last weekend was (mostly) taken up with my high school reunion for which you will get to hear some hilarious stories later. Hmmm....maybe I can get Derek to do a guest post?? *hint, hint* That would be an entertaining tale of hillbillies and yuppies meetin' 'neath the ol' country pine at the Best Western!
I'll do my best to pop in a few times here and there over the next several weeks. But as the time to cram things in the noodle draws (too) quickly to a close, don't get too concerned if I go off the radar again. I'll meet ya back here on the flip side.
Curtains Up for Side By Side By Sondheim Musical Revue
Side by Side by Sondheim, a musical revue featuring works by celebrated Broadway and film composer Stephen Sondheim, will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 9, and Saturday, Oct. 10, in the Sanctuary of Lake Highlands United Methodist Church.
This popular production features Sondheim songs from productions including A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, West Side Story, Follies, Evening Primrose, Gypsy, Anyone Can Whistle and Pacific Overtures. Although a gifted composer and lyricist in his own right, Sondheim collaborated with the likes of Leonard Bernstein, Mary Rodgers, Richard Rodgers and Jule Styne, producing some of the most memorable and entertaining songs in musical theater.
Featured performers will be Chancel Choir Soloists Susan Fox and Whitney Dewell, along with baritone Tim Marks. The ensemble will be accompanied by dual pianos played by Scott Ayers and David Morgan. Other cast members will include LHUMC Chancel Choir members Janelle Krumbholz, Staci Mannix and Mary Nell Tripp, with narration by Robert Temple. The show was choreographed by Daon Ward.
Tickets for Side by Side by Sondheim are $10 each for adults (13 years and older) and $5 for children (12 and younger), with a family maximum of $25. Tickets sales begin Sunday, Sept. 19, in the Narthex and the Refreshment Center prior to and after the Sunday school hour and after 11 a.m. worship services. They also will be sold from 5:30 p.m. till 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays in the Refreshment Center during the dinner hour at Wednesday Night Live! Or you may purchase tickets online through the church website: http://www.lhumc.com/.
Proceeds from Side by Side by Sondheim will benefit the LHUMC’s December 12 production, A Texas Christmas, featuring all church choirs. “Stephen Sondheim’s works are witty and wonderful,” explains Rev. Nicki Lyford, Minister of Music. “Bring your family and your friends and your neighbors, and enjoy an evening of memorable entertainment and fun.”
On the eve of my fifteen-year *gasp* high school class reunion, I thought it would be fun to walk down memory lane and see how much I've forgotten ... uh, I mean, how much I can remember. And just provide some general trivia. There will be a quiz later.
Things About High School
I graduated with 220 of my fellow classmates. That is about half of the number we started with as freshman.
I was in the photo that graced the front-page of the paper the following day. (Thanks to my aunt who happened to be the Staff Photographer at the time. And I suppose b/c I was sitting in the front row with the rest of the National Honor Society.)
I was 7th in my graduating class, just as I was when I graduated from 8th grade. (Yes, we have a junior-high graduation ceremony and name valedictorian and salutatorian, as well as the top 10.)
I can still sing and know all of the words to both the Fight Song and the School Song (as I proved to myself on the way to church last Sunday morning).
My brother and I have class reunions the same year - we graduated 5 yrs. apart.
My brother and I also graduated on the same day five years apart - May 26th.
Because it's been really quiet around the office for the last several weeks, I decided to take some personal time the end of last week. I was tired of just complaining about the wreck that we call a Home Office and decided to actually do something about it ... other than just move the piles around. So, how about we take a look at some of the (bizarre) things I've found stashed in the office?
Things I've Found While Cleaning Out the Home Office
Poultry seasoning - I kid you not! I'm guessing that this fell out of one of the bags that Derek took camping. Why was that bag in the office? Your guess is as good as mine.
Business cards - about 500 of Derek's, to be exact. Why on earth they're not in the box they came in beats the heck out of me. I'm sure they fell off the bookshelf at one point and no one (ahem) ever bothered to pick them up & put them back in the box.
An unopened bottle of baby oil - Um. I'm not even sure what to think about this find.
Computer programs - Which isn't so bad until you consider that they were all for PCs and we're a 100% Mac household!
Bills and statements from closed accounts - I really thought I'd purged all of the stuff from accounts we no longer have, but apparently, I missed a whole box of 'em.
Bills and statements from 2000 - Seriously, I think I can dispose of these now, don't you?
Old photos - I found some of my senior pictures, some photos from church camps in the late 90s, our engagement photos, and some of Derek's old photos from Disney, just to name a few. It was fun to walk down memory lane. They're now all in one box together to peruse again another day when I want to remember "the good ol' days."
A bottle of vitamins - I think Derek was hiding them from me so that I'd think he was actually taking them.
College scrapbook - I think I kept everything from my college days. I have papers that I wrote, newspaper clippings, certificates for making the Dean's List, rosters for civic organizations, notes from my roommate, etc., etc., etc. Man, I'm a packrat!!
Cards - Cards from wedding showers, from wedding gifts, from birthdays, from anniversaries, from holidays. Cards, cards everywhere! I won't lie, I looked at every single one of them & decided to keep some of them.
My baby book - My mom went on a cleaning streak at her house several years ago and brought me boxes and boxes of things that I'd left at her house or things that she'd found in the cedar chest that she thought I'd want. Clearly my mom liked documenting things as much when I was little as she does now b/c the entire book is full - not a single page left blank. So if I wanna know the first solid food I ate, it's in there. First word - check. First birthday present - check. First tooth - check.
Boxes - All because I thought I might need to keep them for warranty purposes. In hindsight, not. so. much. So all of those puppies went to the recycle bin. From old cell phones (like my first one that I bought in 1999) to Wii equipment to iPods (that are now defunct) to iPads (both of them) to ... well, you get the idea.
Old cell phones - Several of which were broken. Why on earth would I save phones that don't even work? But know what else I found? Those handy little cell phone recycler bags. Zipped those puppies in there and sent them to wherever those things go. Thank you, Sprint!
I think this gives you a pretty embarrassingly clear idea of the kind of crap I like to keep hanging around for years beyond its shelflife. Well, let me be the first to tell you, NO MORE! (And you all can remind me of this the next time I purge the office and give you a similar list of junk that I've ratted away for safe keeping.)
I intended to write several posts ... over the weekend, earlier this week, yesterday. But, well, I just didn't. So there. Here's what's been going on, for those of you who have any interest. And if you don't have any interest in the sordid (boring) details of our lives, you should just click "mark as read" and move on. ha!
I took a coupla days off the end of last week. It was super quiet at the office, and I knew that this week would be crazy since we closed out FY09-10. Plus, Friday was a holiday (thanks to good ol' LBJ) so I didn't have to take personal time for that day. What did I do with my time off? Well, I'd like to tell you that I did something exciting, but I don't think cleaning out the home office counts. (However, cleaning out the home office did provide some good blog fodder, so come back tomorrow to check that out.)
I spent Thursday afternoon, all day Friday, and part of Saturday morning working in there. While I didn't get the home office put back together, I made HUGE progress. Like ... the closet is finally empty! (And if any of you had seen what the closet looked like before, you'd give me a big ol' pat on the back for gettin' that thing empty!) I managed to move a big four-drawer filing cabinet from the garage & get it in the closet ... all by myself. Gotta love the invention of the appliance dolly! And now said filing cabinet is beginning to fill with all of the stuff I intend to keep, like Derek's work stuff, tax returns, manuals (for everything under the sun ... yes, I'm weird like that & keep them all ... hey, you never know when you might need one), etc. etc. etc.
In the process of the office clean-up, I filled three big polycarts w/ junk. Plus, we filled the back of the truck with empty boxes (not all of which came out of the office but a good portion did) and made a run to the recycle center. Which, by the way, was an adventure in itself. City of Garland, do me a favor - empty your dang recycle bins once in a while! Lordy but that was ri. di. cu. lous!!
Now that the closet is finally empty and I've sorted through all but two of the boxes that we'd stashed away in there (some, I'm ashamed to say, had not seen the light of day since we moved into the house ... wait for it ... in 2003!!!! Sheesh!), I'm well more than halfway to a useable home office again. Oh blessed day, how I long to greet thee!
The rest of the weekend went by in a blur. We went boating with some friends on Saturday afternoon and then had them over for dinner & football. (Ugh. The Cowboys are suckin' this year! I think I'm gonna have to find a way to keep up with my Packers instead.) Sunday was the first full rehearsal for the show, and it went smashingly well. I can't tell you how excited I am! Wickedly good talent, if I do say so myself. It's gonna be a must-see. Really. So make your plans to come see it. Have I mentioned there will be dancing?? Choreographed by my friend??
Last night ushered in the new year for children's choirs. Oy! It's gonna be a challenging year. While I have quite a few 2nd graders to be good leaders, I have equally as many kindergartners. Very young kindergartners. Which means that I hold their attention for ... oh ... about 10 seconds. So that drastically alters how I'll conduct rehearsals this year. I'm still working out the finer details, but I can tell you that it's definitely gonna take My Thinking Cap to figure out how to keep us on track.
And that, my friends, sums up another exciting week.
So ... in order to get my blood pressure meds refilled recently, I had to go visit my PCP. You may remember me whining about that in this post. ANYway, on that same visit, I also got orders to have some routine labs run since it had been a while since we'd done any. The nurse had to draw a ridiculous amount of blood, IMHO, to cover all of the labs that my PCP ordered - liver, kidney, thyroid, diabetes, cholesterol ... there may have been more. I've blocked it all out now. I finally called in today to see if the results were in. Long story short: I passed with flying colors. Well, except for that vitamin D. That was a bit on the low side, so I'll now be adding that horsepill supplement to the regimen. Oh joy of joys.
Wanna know how good the numbers looked? I suppose I'll induldge those (few) of you who may be curious. Here's a comparison of the last round (that I documented) and the most recent:
Total Chol - 181
Tri - 79
HDL - 61
LDL - 101
Total Chol - 180
Tri - 107
HDL - 61
LDL - 98
Since I've begun the arduous task of learning choreography for my upcoming show, I thought it would be fun to have a post all about dancing. Let the chassé-ing begin!
Some Things About Dancing
My first foray into learning any type of dance moves came very early, like before kindergarten, when I started twirling. I was part of a twirling studio and we went to various competitions around the state and competed. A little "Duck Dance" anyone??
Then there were the awkward years of junior high when we had dances, yet no one danced. Why? Probably because we were too afraid of making fools of ourselves. That changed in high school when we all said "screw it" and danced like the white folks we really were. lol Which basically means that we looked like flailing chickens, but we had a great time anyway.
And then in college, I got "serious" when I discovered the wonders of swing dancing. The Charleston, Lindy Hop, East Coast and West Coast styles ... I loved them all (and still do!). I even went to workshops to learn new techniques and tricks. And dragged my best friend along with me. Jarrod was such a good sport! And it was wicked fun.
There was a group of us in college who would go to Dallas every week to swing dance. The Red Jacket and The Sand Castle were our favorite haunts. I was sad to see the mainstream craze die out just after I moved to Dallas permanently.
I received my first "real" dancing injury while swing dancing. Fell on my head trying out the "death drop." I swear I heard tweety birds when my head hit the ground!
And I received my second, more serious, injury also while swing dancing when I tore my achiles. It was a microtear, but it was still very painful and still meant 8 weeks on crutches. And sadly, I never went back to swing dancing after that.
While I would say I was pretty good at swing dancing, I've never really claimed to be a good dancer. Exhibit A - the sad tale of my first theatre dance audition. Laughable, to say the least.
I know very few actual step names, unless they're somehow related to swing dancing. In fact, the only classical one I know without thinking about it is included in this post.
My hands and my feet often do exactly what they're NOT supposed to do. Right, Daon? lol
I have to write down choreography in order to learn it and remember it. Even the simple steps. This is something that should be done AS you're learning it. Don't ask me why I know this.
Come see the show in October and judge for yourself whether or not I pass or fail at dancing. Either way, I know I'm gonna have a rockin' good time! (Show info over --> there in the sidebar)
So I had an interesting evening at the gym yesterday.
You: What's so interesting about the gym?
Me: Well, I learned something.
You: Oy, this is gonna be a good one!
For the last several months, I've been on a different training schedule - one hard hour a week rather than two. Yesterday, we switched back to our regular three-day-a-week schedule & bumped up our Tues. session to an hour instead of 30 min. I typically do about 20-25 min. of cardio before my weight training, and yesterday was no exception.
Knowing that I was doing a full leg workout yesterday, I took the elliptical at an easy pace - only doing about 1.6 mi - for the 20 min. or so that I was up there. A casual stroll by my standards. Then we hit the legs really hard. We bumped up both weight and reps on everything, and about halfway through, I was really feeling it. Dadgum, my legs were burnin'! And man, was I tired! Pathetic.
Now 45 min. in to my session, I'm on a set that alternates one of the hamstring machines with oblique drops. I do fine on the first two sets of the machine, but on my second set of the oblique drops, I got this sudden wave of UhOhIDon'tFeelSoGood. At the time, my trainer was telling me a story, and I was doing my best to focus on what she was saying at the same time I was focusing on PleaseDon'tPuke.
My trainer must have known something was amiss. In a matter of minutes, she had asked me if I was okay, asked me when I ate last, and when I answered "lunch," ran to the snack counter for a protein bar which I took without even reading the label because ... well, at that moment, not passing out and/or puking in the gym was preferred to whatever ramifications I might suffer later if said bar contained wheat. About halfway into the beloved bar of chocolate heaven, I felt much better. (And no, it didn't contain wheat b/c my trainer is awesome & read the label for me!) Crises averted - no puking OR passing out!
So let this be a lesson to you: if you know you're in for a hard workout in the evening, be sure you have a snack about 4ish! Duh!!
I would love to come at you with something a little more ... interesting, but unfortunately for you, I'm still on a whining kick. So if you're looking for rainbows and unicorns, you might just want to step aside and read the next pole at the train station 'cause I'm in rare form today.
Things I Have to Whine About
While the story of the a/c replacement/repair is still fresh on our minds, I thought I would add a little tidbit that I neglected to mention in my previous rant. We've been in our house 7 yrs. Most a/c units have 10 yr warranties - ours being no exception. So we stood to have at least a 3 yr credit towards the new attic unit. *clap, clap* *sarcastic laugh* Um. Yeah. Funny thing about that. When they ran the serial number, it turns out that our particular unit is 11 yrs old. Yep. You read that right. ELEVEN YEARS OLD!!!!!!!! I pitched a major hissy fit, as you can imagine, because WTH, dude. Let's just say that the rest of the rant looked a little something like !@#$%^&*. Needless to say, no credit towards the new unit. *sigh*
My allergies are on full tilt again. I either toss & turn all night or I sleep like a rock only to wake up and feel like I haven't slept at all. And there's the crusted-shut eyes and the ooky stuff in the schnoz. BUT it's a little bit better than a few weeks ago (for those of you who got tired of my whiny posts on Facebook). Not that I'm whining any less.
OMG, can it get any HOTTER?! You: hello, Captain Obvious, we know! Me: But I want to whine about it, and it's my blog so I'm gonna. *sticks tongue out* Besides, when your thermometer says something like this (see photo), who wouldn't want to whine about it! Yes, my friends, that says 108. And I had been driving for a while so it's not like it was me sitting in my boiling garage or anything. Oy! (Photo too small for you? Click on it)
Then, this morning I went to see my PCP b/c he wouldn't call in a refill on one of my scripts at the pharmacy unless I came in to see him. I hate those visits b/c they're a waste of time. Sure, sure. I understand that it's standard, but can't I just "phone it in??" When I scheduled my appointment, the receptionist said, "we'll get you in and out since it's just a routine visit." You know, I should learn to buckle my seatbelt and hang on for the ride when I hear things like that from a doctor's office b/c that phrase right there is sure to tack on AT LEAST 45 min. So for that 5 min. that I spent with the doc, I spent a total of 60 min. in the exam room waiting. And for those of you who know me, waiting is not something I'm good at. At all. Good thing they took my blood pressure first thing!
And for some icing on that dr. visit cake, I saw the creepy Pony Tail Guy from my building when I was at the hospital. And not just once but going both in & out of the building. AND he almost ran me over in the parking garage. I could've gone all year without seeing that guy!
And to make matters even better, after the marathon at the doctor's office I pull into the train station right as the train is pulling in. Which basically means that there was no way in hell I was going to make that train. Which meant that I would have to wait another 20 min. for the next one. Ozone day be damned, I'm driving to work! And I like driving to work (and paying the ridiculous fare to park) about as much as I like waiting.
You know that show I'm scheduled to sing in October? One of my accompanists pulled out of the show. Now I'm scrambling to find a replacement. Do people answer their emails and voicemails anymore? Or is business now conducted only through Facebook? Lordy.
It's almost too hot to go to the lake. But then we would miss great photos, like this one, of us piling into the truck with our intertubes. Nice! (Good thing Kelli doesn't read my blog, huh? *wink*)
Or, in the alternative, How to Spend a Ridiculous Amount of Money Without Really Trying. Background. July 15th was going to be one of those days. Derek calls me mid-morning to tell me that the a/c was blowing moderately cool air and the house was getting warmer by the minute. He calls the repair company we contract regular maintenance service with and they say they can make it out sometime that afternoon. The great sit-and-wait game may now commence.
Around 11ish, I get the long-awaited phone call from my mom telling me that my grandfather had passed away and would Derek agree to be a pallbearer. I hang up with her, after miraculously holding my sh** together, and call Derek only to lose it when I actually get him on the phone to break the news / pose the question to him. Nice. I just love falling apart at work! But it couldn't be helped! So we make plans for me to head to East Texas that afternoon, where I would spend the remainder of the weekend helping with the arrangements and just generally "being there" for my mom.
The a/c repairman comes a little after lunch. There's good news and bad news. Good news: your compressor is fine. Bad news: you have a freon leak & I don't have time to do the full repair today. It took 5 lbs. of freon to refill the unit & get things cooling properly. "This should last you until Monday when I come back." For $250 plus a service call, IT BETTER!!!!
Fastforward. I head to East Texas early Friday morning. Saturday morning my brother is scheduled to move (a whole saga unto itself) and I've asked Derek to help him since none of the rest of us would now be available to be the moving crew. Like every good BIL, he dutifully helps my brother swap houses in the heat. He gets home mid-afternoon, and soon after, my cell rings. "It's hot in here again." My response. Um. Yeah. Well. Not really suitable for reprint. Let's just say it was something like, "YOU'VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!!" Another call to the a/c company. Another service call. Another round of freon. "We'll just add this one to the repair bill for Monday." Oh. Gee. Thankshowkindofyou!
Fastforward. Repairman comes to fix the bloody unit on Monday. "I've got good news and bad news." Gee. Where've I heard that before?! *insert monstrous eyeroll* Bad news: it's not just one freon leak; it's five - one large leak, a medium-sized one, and at least three small ones. There's no way to repair it; the only option is to replace the entire attic unit. Good news: this fixes your problem with the heater pulling too much amperage. Oh. Right. The proverbial two birds with one stone thing. Am I supposed to feel better? 'Cause... Not. So. Much. Especially after I hear what it's gonna cost me. *cough, hack, gag* wewon'tevengothere
So ... yes, I will take some cheese with that whine. And perhaps I will have that while riding in the waaaaaaaaaa-am-bu-lance. B/c dude. This was So. Not. In. The. Budget!!!!!
Is this thing on?? I've always wanted to work that into a post. *grin* I'm sure the few of you who are still subscribing to posts have been wondering what happened to me. The ol' blog has been silent for well over two weeks. I'll give you the Reader's Digest version: my grandfather passed away on July 15th and I just haven't really felt like writing. BUT lots of things have been happening in the last several weeks, and I've had the posts ruminating. So "we're back in the saddle again." Hold on, though, it might get a little bumpy!
I will be starring in a full-scale Broadway show this fall. I would love to see you in the audience!
Side by Side by Sondheim
Saturday, October 9, 2010 - 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, October 10, 2010 - 7:30 p.m.
Reserve tickets by emailing:
LHUMC, Dallas Map
So we've had many discussions about the proposed backyard project. We've hemmed and we've hawed. We've flipped and we've flopped. And when push came to shove, we made a decision. And, of course, it all hinged on finances.
When you're planning to undertake such a huge (and expensive) project, it goes without saying that it has to be affordable without hardship. When the "ballpark estimate" from several companies came back roughly in the range of $60-70,000 for our "dream set-up," well, let's just say that was a wee bit more than we had anticipated. And after some preliminary inquiries with our preferred lender, it didn't take long to see that now is just not the right time.
Does that mean that we won't do another makeover on the backyard? Nope. In fact, the outdoor kitchen is still on the table. BUT after much discussion, we both came to the conclusion that we have a nice set-up right now and can take the next year or so designing the ideal outdoor kitchen, which is the affordable part of the whole plan. The pool? Well, we'll stick with the blow-up version for now. *wink*
So ... with that decision firmly made, we put another option back on the table.
So ... you may have noticed my absence from the ol' blog-o as of late. No reason in particular. Just haven't sat down & taken the time to catch you up on things. So I'll take this edition of Things to bring you up-to-date. You'll see that you haven't missed all that much. *wink*
Things We've Been Up To
A couple of weeks ago, I went to the Rangers game with some girlfriends - a girls night at the Ballpark, if you will. We had a terrific time. Despite the fact that the Rangers tanked on their winning streak. And despite the rain (score on those seats under cover!).
We happened to go to the Ballpark on a night with fireworks scheduled after the game and it just happened to be the night that the fireworks were set to Michael Jackson tunes. The show was spectacular! And we got to park for FREE. Extra bonus!
We finally met with a couple of pool contractors (a couple more to go) about the possibility of adding an outdoor kitchen & pool out back. It's becoming pretty clear that now is not the greatest time to undertake such a huge project. But we'll see how it shakes out once all four contractors have weighed in. I suspect the outdoor kitchen will likely happen since it's not ridiculously expensive. Oh, it's expensive but just not eye-popping, jaw-dropping expensive. (Honestly, I would much rather save all that cash for traveling anyway, YKWIM??)
The 4th holiday was relatively quiet. I had sushi with the girls on Friday. Derek spent most of the weekend working and I spent the rest of the weekend catching up on housework. A little boring perhaps but it was nice to have a quiet weekend with no place to go. It was also my last weekend at Ye Olde Church Job until mid-August. We didn't attend any 4th festivities. But we did cook out with some friends on Monday.
This week has been pretty quiet too. In fact, Tuesday I fell asleep on the couch at 7. Pathetic! But my allergies are on full tilt again and that always makes me extra tired.
Right now, as I type this, I'm waiting on a repair person to fix our garage door. Apparently when the door closed last night, it was for the last time. It's so broken that it can't even been raised manually. Bummer. Hopefully it's a simple fix that isn't too expensive. I don't relish the idea of buying a new garage door, but I suppose there are worse things??
We don't have much on the agenda for this weekend either. Derek's on call as are two of his big cutters so he'll likely be working again. I have grand plans to get in the home office and do some serious cleaning/tossing/purging. We shall see how that goes. I gotta find our tax info for the last two years. I'm hoping that the bottomless pit in there hasn't eaten it! *wink*
Things I Love About Summer - A Photo Essay
(click on the links to go to the original posts)
It's time for some of my favorite critters to start hatching. Did I ever tell you about my childhood collection of the cicada "shells?" Oh how I loved plucking these babies from the trees (or wherever else they chose to hatch)!!!
These lovely jewels (rainbow beetles a/k/a great horned beetles to some a/k/a doodoo rollers to the rest of us (I kid you not!)) are also summertime roamers. We don't see many (if any??) of these in The Big City, but I used to see them a LOT on the farm. Fascinating little buggers.
Another summertime fave of mine. Used to watch these guys buzz around while fishing in my grandparents' pond. Dragon flies are so entertaining. Have you ever really watched them?? Good times!
For the most part, I can say with absolute certainty that I don't really miss The Country Life. I like living in The Big City. Close to everything I want to partake of, whether it's shopping or eating or enjoying leisure activities. I certainly don't miss the malodorous wisps of Dairy Barn floating on the summer air. BUT I DO miss the smell of fresh-cut hay. And I'm sorry, but you just can't find much of THAT here in The Big City!
Oh how I LOVE home-grown tomatoes. Is there anything better than a yummy E. Texas tomato fresh-sliced & covered with salt & pepper? I can't think of anything myself.
And while we're talking about vegetables, I love summer veggies cooked on the grill. Oh my! Don't get me wrong, we grill veggies all year, but they're so much better when you can get local-grown squash and zucchini and cook it fresh. Delish!
Wanna know my other favorite thing about summer??? I get to look up all of the cool creepy crawlies in the Texas Field Guide to Common Insects. LOVE!! (And it just happens to be available online now. Score!)
Several of my co-workers took me out for a little appreciation lunch yesterday. I got to pick the restaurant so I suggested one of the restaurants that mom & I have talked about trying for quite some time - Kozy Kitchen. It's received quite a bit of press over the last several years and particularly in the gluten-free community. You see, one of the owners/chefs in the restaurant has gluten sensitivity, so 98% of the menu is gluten-free or has gluten-free substitutions. They buy local, farm-fresh ingredients - everything from fresh seasonal farmers market veggies to grassfed beef to free-range chicken. They bake all of their gluten-free bread in-house, and every dessert at Kozy is gluten-free. I opted for the beef burger on gluten-free bread with grilled summer vegetables. The thick burger was cooked to perfection and the bread held its own against the tomato and thick sandwich. The seasonal veggies, consisting of summer squash, zucchini, onions, a variety of bell peppers, finger-thin asparagus pieces, and mushrooms, were well-seasoned but a tad al dente for my liking. But that didn't stop me from eating most of them. *grin* We opted for the Oh My God cake for dessert, and OMG was it good!!! It's a chocolate cake with layers of peanut butter mousse, a brownie center, topped with cream cheese frosting, powdered cocoa, and fresh-shaved white chocolate. It was surprisingly light and even more delicious than even I could have anticipated. We took some macaroons to go and I had one later in the afternoon. It did not disappoint either. It was delectably crunchy on the outside and soft, sweet, and slightly gooey on the inside. It was like having the perfect (coconut) truffle.
I give Kozy Kitchen 2 BIG thumbs up, and I cannot WAIT to go back & try their gluten-free breakfast menu (which is served every day until 3 p.m.)!
The weekend went by in a whirlwind for us. What about you guys?
Saturday was my brother's birthday. My SIL planned a surprise party for him, and it was Derek's job to keep David occupied all day. They played golf & had a late lunch and then Derek took him home to meet his fate. LOL! Poor guy, he was all hot & sweaty from playing golf and was looking forward to a shower & a nap. Little did he know what awaited him. But he took the surprise like a champ and enjoyed the festivities with friends & family.
I headed from the surprise party to an outdoor wedding that I was hired to sing. You know, the thing about sunset weddings is that they're better when it's not so damn HOT! Lordy, lordy. We about melted into grease spots until the sun sunk below the horizon and even then it was steamy. But all survived and the bride & groom are now happily wed.
I got a reprieve from Ye Olde Church Job on Sunday so I spent most of the day cleaning house. It had been a while since I'd cleared out the dust bunnies, and OH MY. They were no longer bunnies. They were two-ton gorillas with attitude! But me and the Rainbow beat those puppies into submission and all is well with the world again. haha
The inlaws came over later in the afternoon to celebrate Father's Day. We enjoyed a wonderful steak dinner compliments of Chef Derek and a lovely visit. They were finally able to see some of the improvements we've made to the house, and they really loved them. We've been thoroughly pleased with the patio and the new floors, and it's always good to hear when other people enjoy them as much as we do. Of course, we didn't get to enjoy the patio to its full potential that evening b/c it was so bloody hot (the patio gets the hot western sun). So we'll definitely have to have them over in the fall when the weather is nicer.
Albeit a busy weekend, it was great to get to spend it with both dads.
So last week's post generated some interest in what kind of exercises my trainer has me doing. I thought it might be interesting to take a little looksy at some of my harder workouts from the last year that left me *ow, ow, ow-ing* the next day.
Things I Do in My Workouts
Legs 09/26/09 (3 sets of ea.)
Step-ups: 1 min.
Lunges around gym: 1 lap
Box pushes (10 lb weighted box): back/forth twice
Box jumps: 15
Sit-ups w/ bar: 20 w/ 8 lbs
Wall sits: 30 sec.
Squats w/ bar: 20 w/ 8 lbs
Calf raises: 100
Leg lifts: 30
Back & biceps 10/20/09 (3 sets of ea.)
Rear fly: 15 w/ 5 lbs
Back flutters: 25
Arch ups: 20
Good morning sunshines: 12 w/ 40 lbs
Standing obliques: 30 w/ 10 lbs
Bicep curls: 15 w/ 10 lbs
Assisted pull-ups: 12 w/ 125 lbs
Chest, triceps, & abs 11/20/09 (3 sets of ea.)
Tri pull-down: 15 w/ 20 lbs
Elevated push-ups: 12
Jumping jacks: 25 w/ 2.5 lbs
Bar push-ups: 15
In & outs (abs): 25
Alt. crunches: 20
Reg. crunches: 50
Legs 04/30/10 (3 sets of ea.)
Leg press: 12 w/ 140 lbs
Wall sits: 30 sec
Step-ups w/ punch: 15 w/ 5 lbs
Squat w/ press: 20 w/ 5 lbs
Box pushes (70 lb weighted box): back/forth twice
Kneeling leg curl: 15 w/ 10 lbs
Jumping jacks: 25
Hip adduction: 25 w/ 50 lbs
Hip abduction: 25 2/ 65 lbs
Hip raises w/ bar: 10 sec w/ 25 lbs
Back & biceps 06/03/10 (3 sets of ea.)
Bicep curls: 15 w/ 10 lbs
Bent over row: 12 w/ 60 lbs
Ball throw: 25 w/ 10 lbs
Plank w/ lat raise: 10 w/ 5 lbs
Assisted pull-ups: 15 w/ 120 lbs
Chest, triceps, & abs 06/17/10 (3 sets of ea.)
Bar pushups: 15
Skull crushers: 12 w/ 30 lbs
Pec fly: 12 w/ 30 lbs
Jumping jacks: 20
Shoulder press: 12 w/ 30 lbs
Tri pull-downs: 12 w/ 25 lbs
Plank: 30 sec/ 45 sec/ 45 sec
Leg lift (incline): 15
So ... what do you guys do in your workouts???? Let's commiserate. *grin*
So ... one of my fellow bloggers Tess is on a Health Kick. And after squeezing myself into my swimsuit by means that are appropriately known as the Swimsuit Wiggle Shake Shuffle Readjust the last two weekends, I must admit that I have quickly joined her. With the ol' Swimsuit Dance displaying vividly in my mind, I thought it would be fun to see where I was when I started training more than a year ago compared to where I am today.
Now. Before I put all of this out there, let's be clear about one thing. I may be thin, but there are a multitude of sins hidden under my clothing. So don't go straight to the I Can't Believe She's Even Going There eyeroll. Safe to say that it's gonna be a while before this bod goes anywhere other than the backyard blow-up pool in a two-piece!!! Jiggles & cellulite ... nuff said!
Today's Cutie Head Moment is brought to you by .... The Traveling Sewing Kit: Never leave home without one!!! So have you ever had this feeling that there was just a little too much wind blowing up your skirt?? Yeah, so my walk from the bus stop to the office building this morning was a bit more "aired out" than I would have liked.
It all started with my choice of wardrobe. I put together this cute little number with a knee-length pencil skirt & cute tweed jacket & some of my favorite animal-print heels. Now, the skirt has a slit up the back. I knew this when I put it on. When one wears a pencil skirt, there naturally has to be a slit in some part of the skirt to allow freer movement. Otherwise, you look like a penguin waddling around with your itty bitty baby steps. Anyway, point is the skirt has a slit up the back. I think you can see where this is going, but for your entertainment, let's continue, shall we?
Aside from said slit, this particular pencil skirt has this annoying tendency to ride up a little bit as you walk b/c of the way that it's cut to sit at the hips and b/c it's got a little stretch to it. So you have to watch The Ride, as I like to call it, otherwise you look goofy with your skirt creeping up to your boob pits from its appropriate place at the hips. I, of course, got to stand at every stop light this morning to wait for it to turn, which should have been a good thing, right? I did my little Get Back Down Here skirt adjustment ... in a casual kinda way so as not to draw attention to the fact that Yes My Skirt Is Riding a Little High Thankyouverymuch. Still, things felt a bit ... exposed, but sadly that didn't really register at the time.
So I get into my building, go through security, walk through the office lobby, talk to the security guard, and head to my desk all the while thinking, gee, something just Doesn't. Feel. Right. So I put my stuff down & decide to check things out. And that's when I realized ... the slit in my skirt is no longer the 4 inches it was intended to be. Oh no, it had come unhemmed ANOTHER 4 inches. And oh yeah, you guessed it, my arse was clearly & plainly visible for all the world to see. Nice. And how many people did I see on my way from the bus to the office this morning?! Again, I'm just thankful that I listened to that Little Voice in my Head that said, 'You really should wear the little boy shorts today.' Of course, I was thinking that was a good idea from the standpoint of my tendency to have Shoe Mishaps. Little did I know that it would save me a tiny bit of humiliation once I discovered that I'd been airing my arse to the world!
And that's why I'm very glad to a) have a sewing kit in my desk and b) have a vague knowledge of how to fix my Slit Up to the Cheeks problem. The slit in my skirt is now back to its appropriate length ... if not a wee bit shorter, you know, out of an overabundance of caution & all. And now you have yetanother ridiculous story to tell about my crazy wardrobe malfunctions which ultimately lead to my flashing the entire world. You're welcome.
Various & assundary things have kept me from sitting down to write about everything we've been up to in the last two weeks. And since things aren't going to slow down at least for another week or two, I figure there's no time like the present. Right?
We have to go back to Memorial Day to get you all caught up. Gosh, has it really been that long? Whew. We made the most of our long weekend. Derek played in a charity golf tournament on Saturday morning and then we headed out on the boat w/ my brother, SIL, and nephew that evening. We had a great time tootling around Ray Hubbard and just getting to visit. Since Derek's birthday fell on a Tuesday this year, we opted to have his annual birthday bash over the long holiday weekend rather than the traditional weekend after his birthday. So...twenty(ish) of our closest friends came over on Sunday for a cookout. Lord, was it HOT! But the beverages were cold and we had a good time anyway. It's always nice to spend time with family & friends - some of whom we had not seen in a loooooooooong time. Monday we loafed around & did a whole lotta nothin. And I spent part of the afternoon in the white trash pool with Kelli. Did I mention that it was HOT?!
Last week went by in a slow blur (is that possible?) and we were already at the weekend again. My brother & Derek played a round of golf on Saturday. They left bright & early (before 7 a.m.!) while I spent the day at a scrapbook convention in Arlington with my mom. Oh my. That was an experience! Never have I seen so much product all in one place. Impressive. I actually exercised some pretty good self-restraint. I know you're surprised! (And so is Derek!!) *wink* It was bloody hot on Sunday so I got out my own white trash pool for the first time this summer and Kelli & I sat and soaked in the nice cool pool all afternoon. And that led to conversations about how our yard would be perfect for a pool & since we are already planning on building an outdoor kitchen/entertaining area wouldn't it be perfect to do both at the same time. So yeah, we're considering the idea. But I make no promises, people!
I admit it. I'm doing a total give-up this week on a topic and totally stealing this idea from my friend. I thought it would be fun to see if I, too, have interesting friends. Can you figure out who they are??
Things About the People I Know
A singing CPA who has scuba dived in just about every major body of water on the planet
Spent a year in Italy
Part of orthopedic practice specializing in podiatry
Dating a multimillionaire
Lived in Spain
Gave birth to twins in Naples
Met Rob Pattinson
Has almost as many shoes as I do & just happens to wear my size (in both shoes & clothing...score!)
Will trade wife for good IPA
Is a classically trained pianist
Has been published in a scrapbooking magazine
Leaving on six-week tour of Europe
First-generation American with a voice (and the looks) to launch ... well, you know
A retired professional gymnast
Geneticist who worked on breast cancer research at UT Southwestern
You suck! I realize this is nothing new. You're very well used to hearing that by now. But it doesn't make it any less a fact. You're cancelling my favorite Friday night show: Numb3rs. No more Colby. No more Don. No more interesting math facts. Why???!! I realize that ratings have slumped a little, but it's not a true reflection of your fanbase. And you left so much of the storyline hanging. Why not wrap it up? Or at least wrap it up a bit neater. I mean, it's not like you didn't know this would be the last season. I'm sure you probably knew from the get-go this season.
I don't hold out much hope for any type of quality replacement. About the only things you have going for you now are NCIS and NCIS: Los Angeles. Sink those two shows and you're sunk!
Today we wrap up our 4-week series on Celiac Awareness Month. Celiac disease and gluten sensitivity have been getting lots of press lately. So I thought I'd link you up to all the latest news.
Things In the News (Celiac Awareness Month)
The National Restaurant Association met this week. For the second year in a row, they have done special sessions on celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. As a general rule, the NRA (not to be confused with The NRA) does not allow special interest topics to be repeated, but they felt that the need to educate the restaurant industry about the growing concerns for those with food allergies outweighed their long-standing No Repeats Rule. The Celiac Chics have a great post about the special panel discussion. It's clear that the NRA is taking this seriously. (And it's about time!!!)
USA Today had a special insert several weeks ago. This 16-page insert gives the general public a (very) brief overview of celiac disease and all of its ramifications - from general health to eating out to coping - and even highlights a few celebs with the disease.
Did you know that many of the pro athletes affected by gluten sensitivities have banded together, in conjunction with the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, to form Athletes for Awareness?
Did you know that many sports venues are now accomodating those with food allergies by having dedicated vendor locations for allergen-free food?
There are a number of celebrities who are raising awareness, including Elizabeth Hasselbeck (The View), Keith Olbermann (MSNBC), Sarah Jane Smith (LPGA), and AJ Clemens (USSA).
I hope you've enjoyed this brief foray into the world of gluten and that you've learned a little something along the way! Thanks for tagging along
This Cutie Head Moment brought to you today by Sex and the City 2. So I saw this fantastic pair of shoes on a website commonly known around our house as My Shoe Crack. These drool-worthy shoes, known as The Charlottes, were a part of a line-up being featured prior to the SATC movie premier. As soon as I saw them, I knew they had to join My Collection. They arrived in all their glory on my doorstep on Wednesday night, which means I had to wear them immediately. *wink* These are knock-out in person and are really comfortable too, not to mention easy to walk in, which is geat considering The Trail of Tears that I must walk from the bus stop to my office building each day. So here I am. On said Trail. Tottering along in my sexy shoes and super-cute Charlotte-esque outfit. Along the way, I'm having this funny conversation with myself about how nice and clean the sidewalk is today and isn't that nice since it means there aren't any tiny rocks or acorns along the way for me to slip on and how I might actually get to the office today without having some kind of not-so-graceful incident involving said obstacles. I'm making my final crosswalk when it happened. Oh yes. You know. I had an epic fail in The Walking Department. Just as I was stepping up from the street to the sidewalk in front of my building, my left ankle did Its Thing. That thing where it just mysteriously goes all cattywompass and in the process I do a little wobble-stumble just barely catching myself before I fall and I'm pretty sure that the guy passing by, who casually asked if I was alright with the biggest smile on his face evah, probably caught a glimpse of my oh-so-cute Charlotte-esque undies. (At least I was wise and chose the boy shorts rather than The Usual, which let's just say doesn't cover that much!) Thank you, sir, and have a nice day.
Today, we're on post No. 3 out of 4 in honor of Celiac Awareness Month. As I've mentioned before, I came into this gluten sensitivity thing armed with lots of knowledge about living gluten free since my mom was diagnosed with celiac disease two years ago. But for those folks who don't have first-hand knowledge, where do they find educational resources?
Where to Find Educational Resources for Celiacs & Gluten-Sensitive Folks
I'm sure you aren't in the least bit surprised when I tell you that the internet can be a great source of information. Word of warning, however, it can also be filled with a lot of junk. So be sure you're consulting reputable sources rather than just clicking on the first link that pops up in your search. I recommend starting with The Mayo Clinic or The Celiac Disease Foundation.
Many, many doctors and researchers have written books about both celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. A quick search of Amazon revealed this list, but there are many more.
For the foodies, there are lots of gluten-free cookbooks on the market. A quick search on Amazon provided these results. There are also many sites on the internet that are recipe repositories, like GlutenFreeda.
There are innumerable blogs devoted to gluten-free living. These blogs are often sources of new gluten-free product announcements, recipes, product reviews, product recalls, research articles, etc. I follow quite a few of these blogs myself, like this one, this one, and this one.
And last but not least, there are doctors who specialize in gluten sensitivities. There are quite a few here in the DFW area. Both of the support groups in our area have recommendations for local physicians. And if you don't mind traveling, CDF also has a list on its website.
As you can see, there are many resources available to educate you about celiac disease and gluten sensitivities. So there's no need to stumble around in the dark.
You've probably heard me refer to Dori as the Million Dollar Dog. And while that's a bit of an exageration, it's safe to say that we've spent a lot of money on her. What can I say? I treat my animals like children. If they're sick, they go to the doctor. No questions asked. No dollar value attached.
Dori's actually been in fairly good health the last several years. We've had some minor hiccups here and there - like some skin conditions, ear infections, and hip issues - but overall, she's not had any major illnesses to speak of.
I'm not sure if I've raved enough about the procedure Dori had on her hips. But let me just say that it was The Best decision we've made to date! She gets up & down without pain. It's like she's a new dog. We're still not to the 90-day mark, which is when we should see the maximum benefit from the injections. But as well as she's doing now, she'll be like a puppy if she continues on this course!
The biggest hurdle we've been facing of late are some skin issues. She had this spot come up on her side, and honestly I thought it was ringworm b/c it looks like a classic case. But the cultures we sent to the lab several weeks ago came back negative for ringworm. She's had several bouts of staph on her tummy, but this place on her side looks nothing like that. Honestly, we're all baffled. I wonder if it's not another manifestation of her nasal allergies. Some dogs will develop skin conditions as a result of allergies. And she's certainly been sneezy this spring (who hasn't?!!). The vet's sent off yet another culture in hopes of growing something so we know how to treat it.
Then this week, she started limping. I thought she'd hurt herself in one of her freak-out sessions on the new floors. (She does perfectly fine most of the time, walking normally just like she does on the tile, but for some reason, she sometimes take a notion to be afraid of the new hardwoods. Have no idea what that's all about. We just call her Neuro. LOL!) I examined her leg and didn't seem to find anything, so we just decided to keep an eye on it. Well, the limping became more pronounced, and I finally took a look at her paw. Sure enough, I found this growth on one of her pads. We mess with her feet regularly (to help when she visits the vet), but somehow we'd missed this huge bump. There were no obvious signs of trauma, like she'd step on something or cut it. Honestly, it looked like a plantar's wart to me. So back to the vet we went.
After x-rays ruled out calcification or a metatarsal injury and an exam ruled out a trauma, we were in a bit of a quandry. The vet thought it could be one of three things: 1) a disease that manifests in dogs with liver conditions, 2) a bunion, or 3) a tumor. And that left us with several treatment options. We could give Dori an antibiotic in the event that it was just an infection. But none of us were sold on this idea since there was not an obvious puncture wound, and a bone infection was not indicated. Our other option was surgery to remove the growth.
After much discussion, we opted for surgery. In the end, I'm glad we did b/c that gave the vet a bird's eye view of the problem. Turns out, there was a puncture wound, but it was not clearly visible until the foot was opened. Apparently, Dori stepped on something, though there was nothing in her pad to indicate what, and the wound got infected. There were bits of grass and debris way up into the pad. The vet cleaned the interior of the wound really well and filled it with antiobiotic, so Dori should be good to go in no time. She spent the night at the vet, much to her buddy Meeko's shagrin, and will be coming home this afternoon.
We'll be in charge of wound care for the next two weeks. That ought to be fun. But we're just glad that it turned out to be nothing too serious. And thank goodness for pet insurance, which should cover a lot of the costs!