Put a Smile On Your Face

Friday, December 31, 2010

My belated Christmas gift for whoever reads this: a list of random things that make me laugh.

Bunnies in paper cups. 

I have no idea why they're in cups but seeing their little noses move immediately took me back to the days when I had a pet rabbit (RIP, Dusty- best bunny ever) and how his little nose felt.  So cute! 

Catalogue Living.  Always good for a laugh.

As is Damn You, Auto Correct!


And while we're on the SNL topic...

And finally, Drunk History.  I needn't say more.

I hope everyone had a fabulous Christmas!!

Given to Fly

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I have no idea what the deuce is going on, but our house has been invaded by dozens of house flies in the last week.  The first night, I killed 6-ish.  Then the second night, I lost count but at least 8 were slaughtered.  The next morning I killed another one.  L came home Thursday night and saw at least 3 and I killed 3 more.  We don't know where they are coming from or why, but it is so gross!!  Our best guess is that either they are coming in through the chimney (the flue has been open because we've had fires in our fireplace lately due to the cold weather) or that they are getting in through our windows (the seals aren't great on all of them).  The weirdest part is just that there are so many of them.  Sick.  But at least they've been easy to kill!  Rolled up newspaper is my new best friend.  If anyone has any ideas about why and how in the world these gross, unwanted guests are getting in, let me know!

Sweet dreams are made of these

Monday, December 20, 2010

That's the base of our tree.  Now see that big box with the ornaments on it in the front?  It's actually not a gift.  It's just there for looks.  BUT!  It does have some fun contents inside...

I went to a cookie exchange on Saturday that was hosted by one of my JL friends.  I had planned to make these cookies, but due to my not reading the invitation correctly, I ended up not having time to make my cookies as planned (I thought the start time was really the end time.  Awesome).  So off to the bakery I went to pick up some substitutes!  I opted for some lace wings and some fresh ginger snaps, and you better believe I tried to pass them off as mine by plating them on one of my serving platters, but eventually I ended up spilling the beans.

This was our spread once everyone arrived:

Our hostess provided gift boxes for everyone to take their goodies home in.  This is what I ended up bringing home:

Let me tell you, they are quite tasty.  The bourbon balls and rum balls are particularly potent- I wish L was here to eat those because they're a little too strong for my taste, but they are still good, so I'm sure I'll eat them anyway.  I have no idea how I'll eat these all before I head back to Texas for Christmas!

Sunday Morning

FYI, this was scheduled to be posted the week before Christmas but it didn't for some reason.  Sorry!

With L already in Texas for Christmas, I was left to my own devices for most of the weekend.  Obviously that means I needed to go shopping and get a pedicure.  To be fair, I was honestly on a shopping quest that focused specifically on trying to find my sister's Christmas gift (she's very hard to shop for this year because apparently there's nothing she wants, nothing she needs, and I just gave her an entire outfit for her birthday on October so I don't want to repeat with more clothes for Christmas).  My goal was simple: find my favorite vendor at Eastern Market and find some awesome jewelry for her.  L and I tried to do this very same thing last weekend and we were met with a big fat failure due to the gross, rainy weather.  I got up Sunday morning and was out the door by 10:45 and on my way to the Hill.  As luck would have it, it was a beautiful day (albeit cold) and I scored a free parking space.  Things were looking good!!  I raced into the flea market area only to find that my guy was not there AGAIN.  I mean what the deuce!!  They're there every weekend, and usually they are there in spite of bad weather.  Something was up.  I heard someone talking to another vendor about the Holiday Market, so I quickly looked it up on my phone and decided I'd hit it up next to see if it might hold something fun for Sister.  After a quick run-through of the rest of the vendors, I hit the road and moved downtown for further treasure hunting.  Once again, luck was on my side- I found a parking spot pretty quickly and lo and behold, MY VENDOR WAS THERE!!  Of course he was.  Seriously, he has the best jewelry.  It doesn't hurt that his display method is great, too.  It's all done by color, so if you've ever seen my closet, you know that's obviously that's right up my alley.  Anyway, Sister's gift was scored, at long last.  (For the record, she does not read my blog so this isn't spoiling anything.) 

Anyway, it was pretty cold and I'd neglected to bring a hat or scarf with me, so after perusing the entire Market area, I decided to hoof it back to my car.  I parked about 3 blocks away and on my walk back to the car it was pretty windy, so when I saw the new-ish Forever 21, I decided to go ahead and go inside for a minute or two to warm up. 

UM, LET ME JUST TELL YOU THAT THIS IS THE BIGGEST F21 I'VE EVER SEEN IN MY ENTIRE LIFE.  I mean we're talking flagship/NYC-big.  It's 3 stories and- wait for it- IT'S ACTUALLY CLEAN.  I was fully expecting to be met with the same feeling I'm met with when I go into the stores in Tysons Corner and Northpark, which is basically the feeling of having just committed the worst mistake of my life.  I mean, I could actually see what was on the racks.  Nothing was on the floor.  It was all organized.  It was great!  I didn't buy anything, but I did spot a couple of items worthy of sharing.  First, this cardigan would be perfect for Aggie fans going to the Cotton Bowl in  a few weeks:

I saw this t-shirt in the men's section. 

I immediately wanted it for 2 of my younger cousins and their dad/my uncle.  The three of them arrived at Thanksgiving with all sorts of ridiculous facial hair due to their "No-Shave November" pact.  Just picture a middle-aged man, roughly 5'10", with dark hair, and a rounder physique and Joseph Stalin's mustache.

Never in my life have any of my family members had facial hair.  That's not to say they've never sported it, but it just hasn't been during my 30 years of life.  That made for quite the surprise when my uncle walked in with the 'stache.  No one knew about No-Shave November except for his 3 sons.  For the 2 that participated in NSN, they basically just looked like creepy child molesters.  They shaved after showing off their "beards", so the only one in our annual Thanksgiving Day Family Picture with facial hair is my awesomely crazy uncle.

Anyway, for all you F21 lovers out there, if you come to D.C., hit up the location downtown at 10th and G.  You won't be disappointed.

The rest of my afternoon was spent watching Christmas movies, addressing Christmas cards, and then meeting Mrs. FBI for a pedicure, which was one of the stranger ones I've ever had.  Apparently their hot water was out so they had to heat water up in tea kettles and pour it into the tubs of each pedicure chair.  There was also another customer in the salon who had the worst collagen-injected lips ever.  And she was mean to the salon employees.  That's why I don't feel bad saying she had bad lips.  She was just too much across the board.  Note to all: pedicures are tricky to get when there's snow on the ground.  Do you tough it out and just wear flip flops back to your car, do you put your shoes and socks back on that you wore in, or do you wear booties that they'll give you?  If you're me and Mrs. FBI, the answer is you tough it out and wear flip flops all the way back to her apartment (which is only about 2 1/2 blocks away, but at 6:00 on a cold, windy Sunday evening, it doesn't seem close). 

City sidewalks, busy sidewalks, dressed in holiday style

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Union Station is a place L and I have become quite familiar with over the last 8 weeks or so.  L has been working in NYC again since the last week of October (he got a week off for Thanksgiving and another week in November) and he's been taking the train to and from New York.  It tends to take the same amount of time but usually has fewer problems than when he's flown (somehow there's always weather delays!).  I thought I'd share some shots of Union Station at Christmastime.  It's a very pretty building on its own, but it's even prettier with the decorations.

The station at night in December:

Sorry the lighting is so off!  But don't you love the wreaths??  So pretty!

And a shot of it last Thursday night after it had snowed all day long:

Signed, Sealed, Delivered

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year.  It means decorating the whole house, it means picking out gifts for my family, and it also means one of my very favorite things: lots of mail.  Specifically in the way of Christmas cards.  I have no idea why I like getting them so much, but every year I save my favorites and keep them in a big bowl on one of the shelves in my living room.  I've done this for years for no apparent reason.  I can only guess my love for Christmas cards is due at least in part to the fact that up Mom was always a huge proponent of sending them, at least until my sister and I graduated college.  Since then, she's sent them out at random, and that's mostly due to the fact that it's hard to get the entire family to agree to be in the same place at the same time and all look festive and be able to stand taking more than about 2 pictures (Dad is decidedly not into photography, mostly in regards to photographs of himself).  L and I missed out on sending cards last year (thank you notes took top priority when it came to outgoing mail), mostly due to time and money constraints since we'd just moved and were still basically unpacking, so no pic of us from our wedding! It would've been fun, but we just couldn't swing it. So now we're making up for lost time!

I've been scouring the internet for the past few weeks looking for the best possible card options.  I have a pic selected to use (not my fave, but in light of the fact that L was only home for 43 hours this weekend, hauling it off to the National Tree to snap some more was not high on his list of things to do, so when you get yours, don't judge my hair), but I haven't quite decided yet what design I want to use.  Enter Shutterfly's blogger giveaway!  They have way more designs and options than I've been able to look through so far, but I love the idea of a folded card like this; something a slightly different, like this; or something traditional, like this.  I have several others earmarked but I figured I'd just give my little virtual audience 3 and not ruin the real selection (which has yet to be made- I need to keep playing.  And probably I need to take my picture to work tomorrow and touch it up with PhotoShop).  Also apparently I have a thing for red, which is weird.  One of my favorite things is that Shutterfly offers an option of sending the cards to you so that you can address and stamp them yourself, OR you can pay a little extra and Shutterfly will do it for you!  Part of me loves to hand-address envelopes (it makes them feel more personal, in my opinion), but the idea of being able to point, click, and take care of it in one swoop is pretty awesome.
Side note: I've also been playing around on the rest of the Shutterfly site and if I don't hear back from my wedding photographer soon about the status of my wedding album (it's only been 7 months since I submitted my picture choices), I may just make my own book through Shutterfly. 
And with that, it's time for me to finish playing, make some decisions on this matter, and call it a night.  Hope everyone has had a great weekend and that you're busy planning your own Christmas cards!!  Merry Christmas!

Electric Youth

Friday, December 10, 2010

As previously discussed, the weather here is definitely chilly.  We decided to get a wee space heater for our bedroom since our 21-year-old heater isn't exactly efficient in heating our home.  I had it on this morning while I was blow drying my hair.  Apparently what my 60-something year-old house doesn't prefer is to run both my tiny space heater and my fancy-shmancy hair dryer (it's an Elchin and worth every penny if you're in the market for a new hair dryer).  Without any warning, with my hair 3/4 of the way dry, all the power went off in my bedroom, with the closet being the one exception.  Thrilling.

Luckily, I had already dressed and done my make-up.  And I also happened to already know where our fuse box is.  **Notice that I said fuse box and not breaker box.**  There is a difference, which I learned today.  A breaker box is what you probably have in your house.  It's the kind that has what looks like industrial-sized, black light switches that you flip when you blow a fuse.  This is what I've had in every house or apartment I've ever lived in.  It is NOT what we have here.  This is what we have here:

Uh huh.  I mean, what the deuce is all that?  Not a switch to be seen.  Just buckle-looking things (up top, which gave me a bad feeling when I tried to pull on them) and round colors at the bottom that were neither buttons (I tried pushing them to no avail) nor able to be pulled out.  Even after reading all the notes on the door to the fuse box, I still had absolutely no idea how to resolve my no-power problem (the only instructions weren't really instructions- just a note stating that a certain kind of wire was okay to use, but no instructions as to what wires should be replaced or how to replace them, and of course L is still in New York and not due to come home until Friday night.  Waiting for him to return and help me figure it out wasn't exactly an option. The one piece of helpful information I found was that the fuse I blew not only covers our bedroom, but also the hallway, the front porch, the living room, the dining room, and the kitchen.  SUPER.  Why the guest bedroom, the bathroom, and the office all have their own fuses is completely beyond me.  The office and bathroom are both tiny.  I promise they don't need their own fuses, but then, what do I know?  I didn't have much time to debate about solutions, though, as the whole thing had already eaten up 10 minutes of my morning and my hair still needed to be dried.  I relocated to the bathroom and finished getting ready for work, then snapped a pic of the fuse box, grabbed my MagLite so I'd be able to see when I got home, and headed off to work. 

My hero of the day is one of my co-workers.  He's definitely in his late 60s/early 70s, and he's done everything in his life from serving in the military to working on a farm to working in Corporate America.  I knew he'd have knowledge of some kind to help save me from a night of eternal darkness.  He laughed when I told him I had no idea how to do anything with what my fuse box had presented me with and explained that all I need do was unscrew the blown fuse and replace it with a new one of the same size and strength.  So after work I stopped by a hardware store and picked up a new fuse and after flashlighting my way through the house a la a burglar straight out of The Pink Panther or Scooby Doo, I successfully changed the fuse and VOILA!  We're back in business!  So now I know how to work an old-school fuse box, and you, my dear readers, do, too.  The only down side is that I definitely missed this week's episode of Vampire Diaries, which is obviously tragic because those guys are my Thursday night eye candy.  If you don't watch, you're in luck- there's a week-long marathon next week- you can thank me later for that info- to kick off their winter hiatus (sadness!).  But hooray because that means my summer favorite (and apparently L's), Pretty Little Liars, will be back in a matter of weeks.  Woo hoo!

The Fixer

Friday, December 3, 2010

L's and my version of Texts From Last Night (except they're from Wednesday morning and about Tuesday night):

Me: How's my man this morning?

L: I am great.  How's my sweet lady?

Me: Sleepy but okay. 2 concerns: 1) I can't find my blue topaz JA ring I always wear. Don't know if I put it somewhere bizarre @ home or lost it @ gym.  2) I went to

Me: find the box in the attic w/ the stockings & tree skirt last night & there's a potentially dead but MASSIVE jumping bug on top of the box & you won't be home to deal w/ it for another 8 days so that means I need to do it. My life is wretched.

L: Wow. That is a whole lot of drama to happen in 15 hours, especially since you slept for 8 of them.

L: Wretched was a funny word to use

Me: Well I'm glad it made YOU laugh. I know it's a little bit dramatic but it's appropriate. You know my fear of bugs. This is partly why we got married.

L: No, this is party why YOU got married. For me, this was a quirk that I (happily) accepted about my partner.

Me: I love you.

L: Funny. And I love you too.

I had a very ridiculous 24 hours between roughly 9 p.m. Tuesday and 9 p.m. Wednesday.  L and I got home from a week-long Texas Thanksgiving bender at 2:30 a.m. Saturday night/Sunday morning, which meant we slept as late as possible on Sunday, which meant we had less time for L to help me pull boxes of Christmas decorations out of our attic on Sunday night before he left to go to NYC for 2 weeks.  We didn't get to everything on Sunday night, but we did get The Tree down on Sunday and sort of put together.  (It only took 72 hours, but it's fully decorated now and fulfilling its annual Christmas Destiny.)  Monday night I dismantled The Tree (it was leaning) and then put half the ornaments on it and set up my Nativity scene.  Tuesday night, I finished putting the ornaments on it and then went back up into the attic to look for my box containing our stockings, tree skirt, and a couple of other random items I knew were missing.  And that's when I encountered one of the things I fear most in this world: a massive bug.  It clearly had jumping capabilities- it had those same legs that crickets and grasshoppers have that you look at and just KNOW that the bug they're attached to could jump once and get tangled in your hair as it attacks your face.  And it was sitting on top of the very box I needed.  Panic set in. 

See that Rue La La box?  The gross jumping bug was right on the top seam. 

At first, I was momentarily paralyzed with fear.  The bug wasn't moving, so I wanted to believe it was dead (or did I??  That would mean I'd be forced to deal with carcass removal... sick), but I have a history of thinking large, scary bugs are dead and then they magically come to life again when I try to move them or kill them.  I've learned my lesson there.  Those little sh!ts are sneaky.  So I took another box within arm's reach and gently slid it into the RLL box to see if the bug reacted.  Being the evil, deceitful bug it was, it didn't move.  So I bumped the box again, and then again... the bug sort of turned on its side, but not in a, "What the hell is going on here??" way... more like, "I'm riding on a bus and the old man sitting next to me just died and we took a turn and now he's leaning on me and I'm freaked out," kind of way.  L is my Fixer of all situations relating to bugs.  Since he wasn't home to Fix, I did what I do best in these situations (because you better believe there have been multiple, which I will share sometime soon): I pulled a Scarlett O'Hara and decided to forgo my desire for stockings at the moment and figure out how to handle the bug another day.

And somewhere in the midst of this, my blue topaz James Avery ring that I've worn pretty much every day for the past 11 years went missing.  No idea how.  This is a pic of the ring I pulled off the JA website:

Mine is the same, but the stone's a little more cloudy because I haven't cleaned it in a while.  I'd taken it off at work to put lotion on, but I knew I'd had it when I left the office.  I knew I'd had it at the gym because it was annoying me that I hadn't taken it off when I was using the weight machines, but I didn't remember consciously being aware of it on my hand when I left the gym.  I'd unpacked several boxes of Christmas decorations, I'd tried to pick up dinner from Corner Bakery (denied because their credit card machine was down)... I looked all over the house and couldn't find it.  I was thrilled. 

L fell asleep early on Tuesday night and therefore we did not talk before bedtime, so that's why he got the series of fun texts about the whole evening on Wednesday morning.  He thought it was hilarious!  I got home last night, resigned that I needed to deal with the bug but determined to do so.  OF COURSE when I went back up into the attic, the bug carcass was gone.  I didn't (and still don't) know if I should be excited and relieved about this or concerned... I'm glad I didn't have to deal with it, but that means that that bug is one hell of a faker OR that something ELSE that's BIGGER than the bug is up there and that IT took care of the bug.  This is not totally out of the realm of possibilities.  Our house was built in the 50s and we DID have a mouse incident in our kitchen last spring (it was immediately resolved- no further problems since).  I am doubtful that we have any extra roommates residing in the attic because I think we'd hear them, but who knows.  What the deuce eats big bugs that jump??? 
On a truly positive note, I found my ring with all the strings of Christmas lights I'd unpacked and left on the dining room table.  I don't remember taking it off but I guess I must have!  I think I'd feel it if the ring had just fallen off. 
Oh and by the way, if you're not doing Rue La La, you should be.  To join, click here.

Cold As You

Monday, November 15, 2010

The cold weather arrived in full force on November 1.  My windshield has looked like this every morning:

That means the ice scraper has already been pulled out for the season.  Booooooooooo.  Gonna be a long winter, folks!! 

By the way, the weird spot at the bottom of my windshield is from the defroster being on.

Hear You Me

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Just a word to the wise and/or anyone who may come to our house: we have a carbon monoxide detector hanging at shoulder-height in our hallway.

Do not try and be cute and do a "sorority composite pose" for your husband (or me or L or anyone else who may be here) against the wall that the detector is on while you are waiting on him to finish getting dressed so you can go to brunch.  If you do, it will likely cause the cover of the detector to jiggle the battery inside, which will cause the alarm to go off at full volume in your ear.  This will not be comfortable.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

L and I had several friends over on Saturday to watch the A&M take on OU.  L smoked a brisket and some chicken wings; I roasted carrots, found a recipe for hearty baked beans (from the Junior League of Denver's Colorado Colore) to put my own spin on, and made Hostess with the Mostest cupcakes (from Pastry Queen Parties).  A visual of our spread:

We had a great night!  The Ags came out on top (a big surprise to the 5 of us from Texas) and the food was great.  Two of our friends introduced us to a new drink called a Peach Cobbler and it was the perfect fall drink for a chilly night.  I forgot to take pics, but each drink consists of warm apple cider, a shot of vanilla vodka, and a shot of peach schnapps.  I'm not usually one for warm cocktails, but it really hits the spot on a cold night.  Thanks K and C for introducing it to us!

I Wish I Was in Dixie Land

Sunday, November 7, 2010

L and I celebrated our one-year wedding anniversary a couple of weeks ago.  Knowing my love for home renovation and house flipping, L planned a little 1-night getaway to Richmond, Virginia: home of Young House Love bloggers.

Okay, so I'm kidding on that last part.  I mean, we really did go there, and that really is where the YHL couple lives, but that is NOT why we went there (and I am not that into home renovation or flipping).  L and I each have lists of places we want to visit and Richmond was on both of ours, so L studied up and planned the trip out.  We got up early Saturday morning, hit the open road, and he didn't tell me where we were headed until we were heading south on 395!  He knows I love a good surprise.  While in Richmond, we opted to explore the Museum of the Confederacy and adjoining Confederate White House where Jefferson Davis lived during his tenure as President of the Confederacy.  After that, we made our way over to Cary Street to peruse the shops and then rounded out the afternoon in another area called Shockoe for a little sustenance.  Then we checked into our hotel and we were just going to relax- we had about 3 hours to kill before dinner- and take our time getting ready for our 8:00 dinner reservations… until I realized I’d left my shoes at home.  I was wearing brown cowboy boots that day and everything I brought for dinner was black.   Plus, it was a nice restaurant, so even if my cowboy boots had gone with my clothing options, it wasn't the kind of place where girls can role in wearing dirty, old cowboy boots and a dress or skirt and not stick out like a sore thumb!  So off we went to try and find the mall where Nordstrom, Macy's, and Dillards all are.  We never made it, but that's because eagle-eyed L spotted a DSW on the way (apparently that mall is not actually in Richmond; we'd been driving for 20 minutes already and it was still a handful of miles away).  L and I were quickly reminded why we usually don't shop for me together (I like to peruse ALL available options, whereas he often picks the first thing that meets his needs), but I got down to business and quickly scoured the store, which resulted in me finding 2 options to bring back to the hotel to try with my various evening clothing options.  Dinner was at The Dining Room at the Berkeley Hotel (very good, although L had a sinus infection and wasn't feeling great).  Sunday morning we got up and had a great brunch at Strawberry Cafe before heading out of town. 

Given the pitiful state of my camera, I didn't take many pictures.  In fact, I only took 3.  I give you my shots of Richmond:

Isn't that the best-looking fall sidewalk??  I love the colors of the leaves.  So picturesque.  The homes lining this street were so quaint with big front porches and siding of various colors.  You can tell they've been around for a loooong time by the architecture, the lead panes in the windows, and the fact that there's only about 3 feet between every house. 

Now, for my other 2 pictures.  As we walked down Cary St., I saw a cute little veterinary office that seems so friendly!  I mean, it's called PAL: 

And then I saw the sign on the street:

I'm all for controlling the pet population, but the way they just put it right out there caught us both off guard.  I assume all they do is spay and neuter pets, but really, I have no idea.  I'm sure Bob Barker would be happy.  In all seriousness, it looks like a charming little vet, so if you live in Richmond and own a pet, why not check them out. 

Anyway, it was a fun way to celebrate our anniversary and now we can check off Richmond on our list of road trips! 

They did the mash! They did the monster mash...

Monday, November 1, 2010

Last night was Halloween!  It's one of my favorite holidays.  I have no idea why.  I didn't partake in any Halloween decor or festivities last year because I was squatting with my parents during the month of October (Mom didn't decorate because of the wedding) and then we were driving to Virginia on Halloween day/night.  Consequently I was super excited to pull out my Halloween decorations this year!  Except then I remembered I'd streamlined my collection before I moved, so I didn't have as much as I'd remembered.  What's a girl to do but add to it?? 

I could have added a LOT.  I was very inspired by glam Halloween decorations.  But in light of the fact that while husbands appreciate festiveness, they don't understand spending the money on them the way wives do, I kept myself in check.  Here were some of my highlights of this year's decor':

Casper, who has been part of my family's decorations since roughly 1984.  He was always one of my favorites as a little tike.

A new centerpiece addition on the dining room table, contents of the bowl from Pier 1.

New candles (orange from Pier 1, black glitter- which you can't really see- from Michaels).

Also, in case you are wondering, $28 will buy you the orange spider web candles and the pillar candle and surround acorn mix from the center piece pic, along with some a 4-pack of tapers and one lone orange taper from Pier 1.  Just in case you ever wanted to know how many candles that would buy you.

Glittery pumpkins.  Sorry the picture quality isn't so great.  There's a black one right next to the orange one.

And here's my kind of lame-o attempt at a jack-o-lantern.  A word to the wise: carving with a semi-dull paring knife is just not that easy and it won't yield fabulous results.  That's supposed to be a cat and a moon.  Next year I will be purchasing a pumpkin carving kit. 

Also, we were both excited about trick-or-treaters.  Sadly, our door was only knocked upon about 5 times, and one of those was 2 teenage boys (I don't think teenagers should be trick-or-treating).  The good thing is that all the kids were cute AND none of them noticed that my cat-o-lantern's front paws were oversized (due to my dull paring knife accidentally cutting off the little foot divider for the front legs)! 

We didn't dress up this year.  However, if I had, I know what I would have been: a cat in a cone of shame.  This requires a little bit of a back story.  On Friday night, my right eye started bothering me.  Very painful, very red, and very watery.  Definite crustiness when I woke up Saturday morning.  Luckily I still had some eye drops from a similar problem from 2 weeks prior.  Obviously, eye problems of this nature means no contacts.  Due to a multi-month bout with Pink Eye 8 years ago, I also know that when people see gross eyes, they tend to cringe and not want to hang out with you.  Thus, an eye patch (preferably of the pirate persuasion) would have been necessary.  And because I've been a half-assed pirate before, I knew I wouldn't want to be that again.  What costumes do I have on hand that are easy to wear and pull off?  Obviously a pair of cat ears and a tail.  So, to make it fit, I decided to add a cone around my head.  I would have looked similar to this, except black and without gloves:

Photo from whydoesmycat.com.

Except we didn't dress up.  So no cat in a cone of shame for me.  Maybe next year???

Jesus, Take the Wheel

Thursday, October 28, 2010

This is my car, Audrey, on the day she and I became partners in conquering the road:

We've been best friends for 5 years.  Except for finicky shoes (read: tires), she and I have never had any fights.  We just get along splendidly.  She's been worth every penny I paid for her.

This is the story of how she made my Wednesday morning insane.

I noticed on Tuesday during my commute that my engine was running slightly louder than normal. It was weird, but everything else was fine, so I decided to see how it ran today and if it was still doing that, I’d take it in to get checked out. I got in the car Wednesday morning and it was fine, so I was happy about that and went on my merry way to work. So like 5 minutes into my commute, I notice that my XM radio is going in and out. Sometimes that happens like if I’m underground in a parking garage or a tunnel or something, but not usually when I’m driving down a regular road. Plus I take this road every day and I always listen to XM (LOVING THE NEW PEARL JAM STATION!!  Channel 39 if you have XM) and it’s never done that before. I thought maybe it was just acting up today b/c it was super rainy the night before and early Wednesday morning, though, so I decided to see if the regular radio would work. FM was fading in and out, too, so I knew something was up. I turned the radio off and kept driving and made a note to call the dealership as soon as I got to work.

Remember how I just said it had rained the night before?  Consequently I also was trying to use my wipers every so often to clear the windshield b/c of water that was getting splashed on them from the road.  The wipers were acting weird- super noisy (not normal) and SLLLOOOOOWWW. Anyway, like a minute after I turned off the radio, all these bad indicator lights started lighting up on my dashboard, so I started to kind of freak out a little b/c I was only about halfway to work, I was pretty far from the dealership, and L is out of town for work this week so he wasn’t exactly available to come rescue me and provide manly advice. I ever-so-wisely decided to keep driving at a slower pace in hopes that I could just make it to work so that I could park in an uncovered spot and have a tow truck meet me there. I kept driving (you better believe I was absolutely white-knuckling the steering wheel the whole time) and suddenly amidst all the bad indicator lights, the dials on the dashboard (like RPMs, speed, gas, etc) suddenly ALL went down to 0, like what it looks like when the car is totally turned off, but the car was still on and the lights on the dashboard were still on. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I present to you exhibit A:

See those red and orange lights on the right side of the MPH dial?  THOSE ARE THE BAD ONES.  Also note that the dials are all pointing down and that the blue circle shows NOTHING in it.  That's not good.  The car was in drive when I took this, although I was at a stop light.  Also, for the record, I took this as pictoral proof of what was going on so I could show it to the dealership when I took Audrey in to get a physical.

Anyway, when the bad lights started I KNEW without a doubt that something was really, really wrong and was praying I’d get to my building before the car blew up or something. Side note: my office is in the middle of an area that is notorious for having HORRIBLE traffic b/c lots and lots of people and constant construction- 2 major highways and the inner loop all intersect around the area and they in the midst of building a Metro rail and station (for example, you can start out in the center lane and suddenly you’re in the far right lane, then after another light you’re instantly in the far left lane… basically someday there’ll be like 6 lanes in each direction or something but right now there’s only 3 at most at any given time and the lanes that are open change from time to time- the outside ones are all blocked off in various areas b/c of construction, hence the inconsistency). I’ve driven past people before that were stalled out and thought, “That sucks and I hope it’s never me!” because it’s just a disaster for everyone else when that happens. Anyway, to get to the point, I didn’t make it to work. I was waiting at a red light and the lights on my dashboard started going in and out, and just as it turned green and I started to go, my Audrey decided she wasn't having any more of the whole "driving" bit and she shut down. And would. not. re. start. Not even a little bit.  In case you are wondering, that results in panic, specifically, to me.  I was totally being that idiot car who was MAJORLY blocking traffic- I was right at a point where the toll road merges onto the road I was on so there’s a dedicated lane for them and then 2 other lanes… I was in the left lane but not quite to the turn lane for the light I was at. So I turned on my hazards but after about a minute the left side quit working (thanks to my dying by the second battery) so it just looked like I was trying to change lanes. GREAT!  What's a panicked girl to do in this situation?  Call her husband (obvi- b/c L can totally help from 5 states away).  Then I realized I should wave to the car behind me to go around me (she figured it out somehow) since she would clearly not get to her destination by staying behind me. L didn’t answer on the first try, so then I called my boss to tell her what happened and that I’d be late. Then I called my insurance company to see if they would cover a tow truck (they’ll reimburse a portion of the fee I was actually charged- which was an excessive amount that L referred to as a racket this evening and that my dad yelled about when I told him about it tonight) and while I was on the phone with them, the nicest man ever stopped and offered to help me, but then we couldn’t get the car into neutral (because of the lack of any kind of power) to be able to push it into the turn lane and out of the way. Right about that time the best cop I’ve ever met pulled up (cops regularly patrol the area because it’s so ridiculous) and after we told him what was going on, he pulled up in front of me, turned around, and tried to jump me. That got the battery to work a little but the car still wouldn’t turn over, so we threw it in neutral and they pushed my car out of the way. Then the cop called a tow truck for me (lesson of the day: tow trucks respond to cop calls faster than if it’s just a civilian calling) and was nice enough to wait with me until the tow truck arrived. The car got towed to the dealership and I got a loaner from them.  I finally got work only about 2 hours late, which wasn't too bad considering how far away the dealership is from where I work. 

If you're wondering what is wrong with Audrey, doctor/dealership informed me that I will most likely be the proud new owner of a new alternator (which, by the way, is not common apparently this is uncommon in girls like Audrey- usually they don't need new ones), a new battery, and new battery connectors (they over heated when the battery got fried, and it got fried because the alternator was bad.  Don't you just love a good contageon or domino effect??). My heart skipped a beat when my service guy told me what it's going to cost, but I guess that's part of being an adult and owning a car. As I said earlier, I've never had any problems with Audrey before this. Everything else has been general maintenance/normal wear and tear. I also know Audrey and I will continue to be BFFs for many years to come (I love not having a car payment!), so we'll gladly pay for some new hardware for her to keep her around.

Honestly the whole thing could have been a lot worse. It wasn’t raining anymore when my car decided to stop cooperating. Mike (the nice man) could’ve just done what I’ve always done and thought, “That sucks!” as he drove by (going in the other direction) instead of stopping. The cop could have been a jerk or just not waited with me for the tow truck (which came amazingly fast AND he got my car loaded faster than I've ever seen a tow truck load up a car), and the dealership could have run out of loaners, so all in all, for having car issues, it worked out well. Like to the point where I want to write thank you notes to everyone that helped me. I wish I’d gotten Mike’s last name or maybe his license plate number or something to find out where he lives! Oh well. I’ll just have to pay it forward.
And in completely unrelated news, one of my dearest, oldest friends got engaged earlier tonight!  Congrats K&D!!  I am so excited for you both and I can't wait to celebrate your big day with you!  Hooray for an awesome end of a crazy day!

Do You Remember the Time

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

For approximately 15 years of my life, I was a huge fan of making mixed tapes/CDs.  LOVED. THEM.  With a passion.  What I love now is rediscovering these old gems and listening to them.  Some have titles.  Some are just blank.  I really love finding untitled ones.  The anticipation of wondering what will be on the compilation, how it'll start, and then trying to remember what will come after that first song is just so fun for me. 
Back in the day (read: junior high, high school, college, and my first year or two post-college), I was the queen of mixed tapes, which eventually transitioned into mixed CDs.  I have no idea what started this love, but you better believe that once I got my first real stereo in 7th grade, I was all about making mixed tapes. Source music came from tapes and CDs I already owned and sometimes also from the radio.  I listened to the radio in the morning while I got ready for school and at night when I did my homework.  I was such a little music freak. 

When I got to high school, I had to get ready for school at school in the locker room because I had drill team/dance line practice in the mornings.  We always had a radio of some sort going and it was usually the seniors that were in control of what was played.  Sometime during my junior year, I was given the honor of being in charge and obviously I just stayed in charge during my senior year.  I made mixed tapes for the locker room, for my friends, and obviously for my car.  The tapes for the car were absolutely a requirement because you better believe that my maroon-ish brown, 2-door, ’82 Century Buick did NOT have a CD player.  Actually it originally only came with a radio but my sister installed a CD player when she had the car, which she then gave to her then-boyfriend in exchange for a tape player from his Jeep.  Yeah, I was pissed.  Thanks for the love, sis.  Anyway, tapes were a necessity for those times when the radio just would not cut it. 

College came and with it, an Exploder with a 6-disc CD changer (go hard or go home, right?) AND a roommate with a CD burner (so novel at the time) and a dorm room with high-speed internet access to Napster.  (Yes, this was before you had to pay for Napster and all the lawsuits that were so rampant in 2000.)  Oh, the good ol’ days.  The immediate access to Napster and CD burners meant mixed CDs were created for myself, Sarah, and pretty much everyone we knew.  You better believe that my freshman year roommate (one of the many Sarahs in my life!) and I thought we were SA CUL because we had a CD burner!!  Funny to think that's a standard part of any computer now.

Anyway, I'm the nerd who still has (almost) every CD I've ever purchased or burned for myself, although I rarely listen to CDs anymore. But recently, I decided to flip through 3 of my smaller CD cases to see what was in them. I'm loving re-discovering albums I'd forgotten about and also trying to remember what was going on in my life when I burned each CD. For some of them, I can immediately recall the year, my mood, and specific events going on in my life, and I'll know what other songs will follow the first few on the CD. Others are a surprise and I'll have to wait and see what I filled the disc with. 

Don't get me wrong- I do love my ipod and most of the songs and albums I'm rediscovering are actually on my ipod, but I have so many songs on it that never come up in the shuffle mode that I'd forgotten they were there.  Plus, there's something about a mixed tape/CD that I still just love that a playlist on my ipod just doesn't quit recreate for me. 

Enough on this.  I'm off to bed.  But hopefully this inspires you random readers to go dig up an old mixed tape/CD and see what story it tells you! 

Country Grammar

Thursday, October 21, 2010

I've been watching my slew of bad television over the past few weeks and listening to podcasts on my ipod at work and I've come to notice something that DRIVES. ME. CRAZY: incorrect usage of pronouns.  Yeah, I just nerded out on you.  Actually, this is something that my former English teacher of a mother first alerted me to and since she did, I can't stop hearing it everywhere.  It is like nails on a chalk board to me and I have to agree with Mom that it makes an otherwise smart person sound so dumb.  Worse, it starts to sound correct, which leads to the dumbing down of America and that causes Oprah to have whole shows devoted to the state of the public school system, which causes my teacher friends to get all up in arms and the cycle just continues from there. 

Examples of what I'm talking about: "Him and I are going to the movie."  Or try, "Kate had dinner with L and I."  OMG.  Stop using objective pronouns in the subject of a sentence and stop using subjective pronouns in the object of the sentence!!  With that, I share a lesson with whomever it is that reads this blog that my mother shared with me years and years ago:  read or say the sentence with both pronouns individually, and know that it's okay to change the verb to match a singular subject if need be.  Examples based on the sentences above:  Him is going to the movie (uh, no); I am going to the movie (thumbs up).  Kate had dinner with L (hope it was good); Kate had dinner with I (idiot). The lesson here is that IF IT DOESN'T MAKE SENSE ON ITS OWN, IT'S NOT RIGHT AND IT DOESN'T MAKE ANY MORE SENSE WHEN YOU ADD THE ADDITIONAL PERSON IN THE SENTENCE.  And just because lots of people say it incorrectly does NOT make it right.  It's no different than using the apostrophes on plural words (horrid) or mixing up spellings of words (your vs. you're, their vs. there, etc.).  So take my mom's little tip and learn it, use it, love it. 

Oh and you're welcome.

And now I'm off my soap box.

On a completely unrelated topic, after walking into a bathroom stall tonight and interrupting a half-naked (from the waist up) 4-ish year old child while she was crawling from one stall to another, I have decided that I believe that children should not be allowed to use public restrooms by themselves unless they are of elementary school age.  A mother shouldn't have to come in to the restroom to check on her kids.  If your child can't reach the faucet handles on the sink without help, they need a parental escort.  That way the restaurant and fellow patrons don't have to deal with the bathroom stalls getting locked from the inside out while they aren't occupied. 

Just saying.

Oh, the Lord is good to me and so I thank the Lord for giving me the things I need: the sun and the rain and the appleseed. The Lord is good to me. Amen.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

If you're a camp friend, you recognize that one.  My roomie from my freshman year of college is here this week!!  We had dinner at the house last night and another high school friend of ours, Neredith, and her husband and daughter came, too.  This was our dessert:

 That's an upside down apple cake.  I'm so pleased with how it came out!  It was tasty, too.  Cooking Light, you have redeemed yourself.  (There was an unfortunate incident from the same issue that involved apple-turnip soup.  Note to all: do NOT make that soup.)

Viva Las Vegas

Monday, October 11, 2010

4 friends all turning 30 within 30-ish days of each other.  3 nights filled with great food.  Too many pictures to choose from.  1 amazing room we called home during our adventures.  A pictoral recap:

(View of the Grand Canyon from my plane)

Our hotel (Aria, in case you were wondering)

Our high-tech room

The super-sweet bathroom

Cocktail time with the best sidecars we may have ever had.

Frozen Hot Chocolate split 4 ways never hurt anyone. 

 Mystere, pre-show.

Mystere keeps it classy by serving champagne in plastic cups, complete with lids.

Cool light fixture at Lavo

Happy 30th birthdays to all of us!!

All in all, a fabulous trip that was both relaxing and fun.  Aria was fabulous, so we all highly recommend staying there.  Special bonus that I'm so proud of myself for doing: I played craps for approximately 30 minutes while the cleaning crew was working on our room and I ended up winning back all the money I'd lost the day before.  Woo hoo!  I was on such a roll.  Literally.  (Okay that was super lame, but I couldn't resist.  Sorry.)  Anyway, we had a great time and I can't wait to do it again!  Hooray for fabulous friends!!

Luck Be a Lady Tonight

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Or, more accurately, luck be a lady yesterday.  Or possibly even Thursday night.  I'm not totally sure when the luck actually happened.  The luck I speak of would be this:

Woo hoo!  Hooray for winning fun stuff!  That's the second time in 2 weeks that my "I'm feeling lucky" feeling has been SPOT. ON.  (The previous time won me $154 on my Vegas trip that I still have yet to write about.  Champagne and Sprinkles- I need to get some pics from you.)  That was the perfect way to start my Friday morning, especially after a long work week and a Thursday afternoon commute home that was 3x longer than it normally is (thanks to a major ambulance/car collision).  But it redeemed the end of my week.  Check out Freckled Citizen's blog here

Now if only A&M and Baylor would both pull through with wins and make this household even happier...

Wasting Time

Monday, October 4, 2010

I'm working on a post for you about my whereabouts over last week (and thus why there were no new posts) but I'm dealing with some picture issues.  In the meantime, I'll tell you a few completely random things.

First, I'm watching Babies while I write this and at 10 minutes in, it might be the cutest thing ever.  So relaxing to watch.  There is no dialogue. 

Note: it's a good thing I live in America.  I'm far too modest to live in the village where the African family lives.  That said, the African babies are by far my favorites.  Adorable.

Second, if you ever need a miracle cleaner for your kitchen/bathroom/home, I was just reminded how much I love Bar Keeper's Friend. 

Mom introduced me to this years ago when I had a gross stainless steel sink that I couldn't get clean enough (sorry if you love stainless steel sinks.  Then again, if you have one that you love, it's probably much nicer than all the crappy ones I had in my apartments in college and in Austin).  This stuff gets rid of rust in stainless steel sinks with minimal elbow grease and a regular sponge.  If you have a porcelain sink, it gets rid of the gray marks that metal utensils and cast iron cookware can leave behind.  And it does so much more, too!  I highly recommend.  Our sink looks brand new, and I can assure that it is most definitely not.  Also, this stuff is like half the price of other similar cleaners.  Oh and most importantly, in no way is this a paid endorsement.

And now I'm off to finish watching the cutest movie/documentary ever. 

Throw Your Arms Around Me

Monday, September 20, 2010

Long ago I realized that, much to my own dismay and annoyance, I am a magnet for people who desperately need friends.  Seriously, it's inevitable.  I'm in a crowd of people... whoever is having the hardest time fitting in will immediately hone in on whatever frequency I emit that says, Friend to all.  Don't get me wrong- it's nice to be liked and all that.  But it just. never. fails.  My friends have laughed at me for this reason countless times.  I will admit that it has resulted in some long-term friendships on a few occasions, but I had to fight to get beyond the qualities of these individuals that I initially found so irksome.

After Saturday, I can now say that apparently I'm giving off more vibes than just my standard Friend to all.  I had to get up early and go to a Junior League meeting from 8-12 on Saturday (and who doesn't just LOVE the Saturday morning 6:35 wake up alarm that came with it?) and I took the Metro in.  Because I am brilliant, I plotted my trains online the night before and knew I'd take the orange line in and have 3 minutes to switch and get on the red line at 7:47.  Everything was running on schedule.  I was on my game.  And then, as I stood looking at the headlights of the approaching train way down the track and saw the blinking warning lights on the grounding, a homeless woman approached.  At first she just asked what time it was, and my aforementioned brilliance was given a moment in the spotlight as I announced that the train that was coming was on time for its scheduled 7:47 arrival.  And then... she asked for a hug.  I literally had no idea what to do.  I'm not comfortable hugging people I don't know.  I don't even always want to shake their hands.  Plus, I live in a world where I've been taught to be incredibly cautious.  Don't leave your purse unzipped in crowded places.  Don't talk to strangers (obviously I'd already ignored that rule).  Don't take candy or food from strangers.  Don't get in cars with people you don't know.  The list goes on and on.  These are rules all kids are taught from early ages, but as an attractive female (yeah, I said it- I'm attractive.  I have a healthy self-image), society tells me I should be more cautious.  So back to the story.  Homeless lady asks for a hug.  Do I do the nice thing and give her a hug?  Do I cringe and recoil and say, "No, thanks!" and run?  I weighed my options at lightening speed and decided to go in for the hug and keep it brief.  I figured that, being homeless and all, it probably has been a long time since anyone offered her a hug.  Hugs are good for you.  And the train was coming so I knew I could cut it short by getting on the train.  So I kept my purse super close to my body (because of course I immediately wondered if she'd try and slip something out of it mid-hug) gave her a 1-armed hug, she put her head on my shoulder, and then I pulled away and jumped on the train. 

It felt like candid camera or some kind of weird social experiment.  What will the girl in the nice if not somewhat weird but nice outfit (another story for later) do if she's approached by a homeless person??  I guess I passed the test. 

I'm still wondering what made her pick me out of the crowd of people on the platform.  I can only assume I now have an additional sign that indicates I'll give free hugs. 

Don't Drink the Water

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

L and I are a little late to the party, but we recently found out about a game that I am LOVING the idea of.  If, like me, you were in college at the turn of the millenium and you're a girl, you're probably familiar with malt beverages such as:

Smirnoff Ice,

Skyy Blue,

and Bacardi Silver.

(The only reason I remember this one is because I still have a random key chain- currently attached to our spare house key- that looks like a bottle of Bacardi Silver, compliments of a night out at Carney's.)  Back in the day, these were a step up from wine coolers and served as a nice alternative to beer for anyone who hadn't yet acquired a taste for it and wine, which we weren't yet sophisticated enough to drink at a bar (I cringe at the thought of what wines the bars I hung out in college would have served).  I only remember drinking these up until my junior year.  Perhaps that's due to the fact that I turned 21 that year and could get into bars that served mixed drinks instead of just beer and the aforementioned malt beverages... So anyway, they were cool and had their 15 minutes of social relevancy, but not so much anymore.  I honestly can't remember the last time I had one or saw someone drinking one anywhere.  When I think of Smirnoff Ice, I just remember the tarty-sweetness and the carbonation.  It's just not a taste I prefer to go back to at this point in my life.

But on to the new-found game.  It is currently being played amongst young 20-somethings and is called "Icing."  The only thing I can compare it to is the game that the male staff members play in the movie Waiting.  (Side note: if you haven't seen that movie, it is funny and worth renting.  Plus there's the bonus of Ryan Reynolds being in it and he is quite attractive.)  The goal of icing your unsuspecting friends is to get your them to look at a Smirnoff Ice.  When they do, they have to drink it.  Why is this funny?  Because as I previously mentioned, I have no desire to drink the same adult g beverages I drank prior to being able to legally purchase them.  If I were to show up at a party with a six-pack of any of the beverages pictured above, I'm completely certain I would be greeted with puzzled looks and ridicule.  (My friends are great like that.  We do hold each other accountable for our bad decisions.)  So if you happen to get iced and have to drink a Smirnoff Ice, another fun rule is to institute a drink of shame.  One of L's co-workers told L that in his group, they make each other "shame drink" by forcing the drinker to down the whole bottle while on one or both knees. 

Obviously if your group of friends plays this game, you start to get wise to the game, which prompts the need for my favorite part of the game: creativity.  For example, hiding a Smirnoff Ice in a friend's purse and then calling her cell phone so that she digs through her purse and finds the bottle.  The possibilities for hiding bottles or playing switcheroo with a beer bottle are endless. 

This game comes at the PERFECT time: football season.  I encourage all of you to go buy a 6-pack of a malternative (malt-alternative) beverage and ice your friends at your next casual social gathering!  I guarantee it will garner laughter and lots of fun.  Happy football season and happy icing!!!
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