Thursday, June 19, 2008

"Ooh!" was my original title for this....

Now?  More like "This was a bitch."  Finding the images were fun...
adding them into Blogger?  


I started this two days ago and am determined to complete it.

For this one, you type in the answer into Google Images and pick your favorite one from the first page of results...and you must choose from just the first page.  No cheating!

1. Your age on your next birthday:

2. A place you'd like to travel:

3. Your favorite place:

4. Your favorite object:

5. Your favorite food:

6. Your favorite animal:

7. Your favorite color:

8. The town where you were born:

9. The town where you live:

10. Name of a past pet:

11. Name of a past love:

12. Best friend's nickname:

13. Your screen name:

14. Your first name:

15. Your middle name:

16. Your last name:

17. Bad habit of yours:

18. Your first job:

19. Name of grandmother:

20. College/grad major(s):

The End!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Ohio blogging

Somehow, our reasonable 11-hour trip took us more like 14...but we made it, late last night, safe and sound in our Red Roof Inn. Some thoughts on the trip:

  1. Illinois is still miserably dull.
  2. If Indianapolis is in any way cool, we saw no part of such hipness during the half-hour or so we were trapped in construction-causing traffic going through it. Rotting old warehouses, storage facilities, and repair centers of every shape and color were the highlights.
  3. Woke up early this morning (Sunday) to go to the Paul-Dazet house and surprise Meme and Papa. I was so looking forward to that moment!
  4. Went to a rock-n-roll church for the first time. Paul pastored and was very natural, and Mark's speech was raw and touching. I had to bury my head in Neil's shoulder at one point.
  5. The Big N' Tasty at McD's makes for a delicious mayo/onion fillet.
  6. Always bring a cooler on a trip when you're not sure if the hotel has an in-room fridge even when the website says king rooms do come with it. (Damn you, tiny-print "where available" line!)
  7. The Dazet's patio overlooking their backyard and creek far down is incredible. We had a great time tonight just sitting out there and chatting, all seven of us.
  8. Resisting Stacy's white chocolate blondie brownies with white chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream=willpower I didn't know I possessed.
  9. Ditto, to a lesser degree, for the cheesy garlic biscuits at Red Lobster.
  10. I totes forgot to call Dad this evening--I kept saying all day "Oh, just wait til after dinner when I know he'll be home," but then once at the Dazets, all plans went out the winder. At least I was the first post on Joe's wall. Currently trying not to be jealous that he got more birthday posts than I did.
  11. Idea on the road: next week, I'm making a salad with blue cheese dressing, topped with more buffalo crispy chicken strips. Oh I am excited! (Neil would like ranch and no buffalo sauce, thank you.)
  12. I got absolutely nothing read this trip except a few pages of EW from two weeks ago. That's okay though. I'm allocating an hour or so a day to reading from now on.
  13. Ooh, I just heard thunder! Unless that's a plane. Are we near an airport? Anyone?
  14. I failed at oopsie-roll making before we left--disappointing, as I had intended on bringing some with me so I could eat my McD's without a knife and fork. But I know exactly what I did wrong. And I think Dad can help me correct it. Thank god for him.
  15. We decided that rather than stay here one more night and leave early Tuesday morning, that we'll leave sometime tomorrow evening and drive for some hours and then stop. I like this idea--I like driving at night tons more than in the morning, and it'll make the main driving day a little more bearable.
  16. I just checked Youngstown weather for tomorrow, and it said there would be a few showers. also gives a helpful tip above the forecast which reads "Fix damp basements." As if you could just get that done real quick before the few showers predicted for the day, I guess. "Honey, it's gonna rain today, so I'm just going to pop downstairs and fix that pesky leak slowly coming through the cement surrounding the entire basement. Won't be a minute."
  17. Betsy just wrote a long juicy e-mail offering to gift us with gorgeously decorated cookies for the informal reception! I am so thrilled--I wasn't looking forward to dealing with the Cake Question, since we'll have such fabulous Em-cuppies the week prior, but this solves that problem beautifully. Thanks, darlin' B!
  18. Our hotel keys are unlike anything I've ever seen. They are in the shape of an actual key, sort of, but the thing you stick in the lock is just like a little card--not unlike a flash drive.
  19. The ice machine is about two steps away from our room. Awesome for keeping the cooler stocked conveniently; less awesome when it's accessed at 3:00 in the morning by ice moochers similar to ourselves.
  20. Stopped at a Meijer store somewhere in Ohio yesterday. I wanted pickled stuff (no luck), but found a no-sugar/carb chocolate dipping sauce I can't find in Columbia. I can't ever see that store without being reminded of Awful Urbana.
  21. I can't wait to try some new recipes when I get home!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

It's flying by!

Wow, I need to stop and appreciate this summer before it leaves me completely. I'm sure things will be saner after this weekend--it will be a tough drive, but with a wonderful destination.

In the meanwhile, my massive to-do list...

(I don't expect to do all these things this week. They're just suggestions to what I should be working on. Starred entries are absolutely necessary this week.)

1. Call Munchies people; SF Music Box people
**2. Write card to Grandma & e-mail K & B
3. Online: Desperate, Bachelorette, Ugly, Paper
4. DVR: last season of Bach & 'Ettes 
**5. Write packing list before Friday afternoon
**6. Pack for trip
**7. Call Macy's & GO on Thurs or Fri for dad's gift
**8. Pay Sprint bill (phone)
**9. Go through closet bottoms for packing possibilities
10. July 2: Tickets for Sweeney & Bee @ Jesse (contact AGA) online
11. Check each week for Rent Fox tix in summer '09 (checked 6/11)
**12. Cut out restaurant coupons for trip
**13. Get some canned caffeinated diet soda for trip
14. Implement small note-taking notebook by computer
15. Finally finish newspaper bag (almost there!)
**16. Finish photos of all eBay items (Just a goal)
17. Begin list of weights & measures for items (use measuring tape too)
18. Find out what shows Roger's in
19. Call Steve re Roger, song, Mike Straw
20. Get a good start on a wedding timeline
21. Renew license (through the mail?); get personal prop. tax receipt & copy of insurance card
22. Finish Mad Men & Rock EWs; Grinnell mag
23. Read more Julia. When done, pass on to Dad.
24. Catch up with Fly Lady
25. Look for Stephen Fry HP cds
26. PBS updates?
27. Tape card decks (done:)
28. Finish Undeclared DVD (3 commentaries & last episode)
29. Find a LC chicken salad & grilled salad recipe online
30. Cut out crosswords for Dad
31. Re-implement planner
32. Starting Wednesday 6/18, work out four times a week regularly
33. Make omelettes, oopsies, & cauliflower with Dad
34. Copy books-on-cd to CDs
35. Read & send PBS book
36. Make Summer Goals list
37. Pick up B.C. soon
38. Begin incorporating regular chores into daily schedule (vacuum, dust, floors, clean fridge, e-mail folders, window ledges, surfaces, go through clothes & shoes for laundry needs)
39. Emily: July 7?
40. Begin to complete work at night
41. Dryer-lint cleaner?
42. Financials 6/20: Pay Joe; bills; grocery shop
43. Check out Katy Place exercise room; walk to Clover's; walk to Dad's
44. Keep track of puzzles printed for Dad on blog
45. Begin work on guest list
46. Look through new Anti-Bride Guide
47. Lily: Dress? Gardens? (Em: same)

**Menu: Jambalaya/sausage; Pierogies; Chicken/asiago brats; Salmon burgers; Salad w/ crispy chicken; crispy turkey?

Happy 100th Post! seems only yesterday when I was in the early 70's.

So, wow. The past week has been busier than I ever could have imagined, considering I figured it would be a walk in the park being off work and all.

I continue my housewifery duties, making the bed every day, keeping the sink & counter dirty-dish-free, and making sure all the 'hot spots' (surfaces that attract clutter like Heather Locklear to bass players) are cleared--in our case, the dining room table, the coffee table, and the top of the storage bench in our bedroom.

I went to my *very first* professional conference last Wednesday, which I'd like to tell you was filled with higher learning and where interesting and helpful contacts were made. Instead, the highlights came when I got a new shirt and the Anti-Bride Guide at the outlet mall. Tan*Tar*A's a bitch to get around in. Where do they get off putting their resort like ten miles down a twisty, five-mile-an-hour road? And once you're in it...I mean, it's any other Holiday Inn. On the upside, they put a 256-MB flash drive in our conference bag. Saved me $2, MOBIUS! Thanks.

I turned 31 on Thursday, and I did absolutely nothing all day. I slept in, watched The Bachelor, and picked Neil up early from work. We went to Daddy's for KC Strip, and he even made me mashed cauliflower! He made enough to last me several servings, and it's the perfect mashed potato substitute. I am doing so good, seriously. Lil & Steve called a couple times each, and I got like twelve Facebook wall posts. Say what you will about rocks to have a birthday on there.

Saturday, Dad, Neil & I went to Art in the Park. We walked around the booths (in very muggy climes that threatened storms, but not enough to be my favorite weather), and I chose a pairing of red metal lizards, whimsically spotted and striped, to put above Sean's cage. Next year I'm getting this one painting of cartoony veggies to put in the kitchen. I love veggie paintings. And I want that Fiestaware one too. Which reminds me, I need to find Em's "Tomato/Tomahto" mixed-media canvas...I adore it so.

Soon after, Neil and I left for Springfield to see (mainly) Ben, Candice, and Kristy. We checked into our hotel, an Extended Stay (which seemed nice), showered, and made our way over to the Borks' for that evening's gathering. Kristy attacked Neil as soon as we went in (the first of many such moves), which I try and convince myself I'm not that bothered by, and seeing B & C was like old times. I can't imagine getting along better with such a couple as they. I can see us all still friends in ten years, despite relocation plans. After several hours of girlie chat and entirely inappropriate gay-themed banter between Neil and Ben (he's shooting my man a tonguey look here:)

...we went back to the hotel. Not before I fell in love with Lloyd, the dog enamored with Neil above. I never fancied myself a Dachsund lover, but after this little dude and Oscar, I just may be.
Anybloop, we soon discovered why the Extended Stay was so willing to accept my dirt-cheap Priceline offer. The bed was hard as a rock (and who ever heard of just one queen bed in a room?) and the sheets smelled juuuuuuust like they hadn't been washed from the last smelly inhabitant. My back and shoulders hurt so much when we got up the next morning.

We decided we probably wouldn't stay the next night, though the room was paid we used it as a kind of home base during the day. While Neil helped the Ben contingent move all afternoon, I worked on my freelance in the room. When he was done, everyone was going to Lambert's (Famous For Throwed Rolls...seriously, that's how they answer their phone), so we met them in Ozark. Everyone was kind of sad/apathetic; it wasn't the most entertaining meal I've ever had. We stopped by the apartment to officially tell Ben goodbye, since he hadn't come to dinner, and marveled (worried for?) the hundreds of animals (a variety of species of turtles in at least a dozen tubs, each with multiple roomies; homing pigeons in a ginormous glassed-in ferret cage; one cat; and a very tall box filled to the brim with deli dishes full of squiggling leopard geckos) ready to go.

We headed home, and I kept caffeinated so I could make it safely. I figured since Neil moved all day, and I basically read, I should take over the driving so he could sleep.

Yesterday, I shipped off my manuscript, and stopped at Dad's to catch up and to get my mail. My dresses arrived! I tried one on when I got home. It may work, but I'm not sure. Somehow, I'm not that worried about it. I think because things haven't calmed down recently in other areas, and I haven't had any time to worry about the wedding, I'm pushing all dress-related concerns to a "non-priority" file. It would have been awesome had the dress been perfect, but I'm not panicking that it wasn't.

Tonight, I made "breaded" chicken nuggets and cheese curds (well, cubes...they were cheaper). The kitchen was a freaking wreck when I was done, and I'm not sure the effort was worth the product, but Neil said it was delicious. And it was nice to know I can have buffalo chicken when I really, really want it. I used Hooters brand wing sauce. I feel like the instructions on the lid ("Remove lid before pouring," "Refrigerate after opening [in a refrigerator]") would have been a lot more clever if the jar hadn't had the label "Hooters" on it. Yes--I'm judgmental, especially on things that deserve to be judged.

This week is a hiatus in between travels. I am avowed to tackle many things, which I'll detail in a subsequent blog post.

Let's hear it for ONE HUNDRED again, folks. Woot woot.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

My First Day As A Housewife (...well, not officially)

Whoa, today was NUTS!

I decided I wanted to make it completely productive, so after seeing Neil off to work with his little bagged lunch (okay, and taking a nap so I'd be fully energized), I began my first duty--the BRISKET. This was a new undertaking. I'd Crock-potted before, but this was slow-roasting, for eight hours, with beer! After about my seventh phone call to Dad about another detail I wasn't sure how to do, I was ready. I put the ginormous brisket into the glass pan (soooo much easier to wash, y'all), stabbed it with a knife over and over (is it frightening that I found that action totally satisfying?), covered it in two bottles of beer, sprinkled it liberally with worcestershire sauce, then smashed some garlic cloves and cut some onions to stick in the stab wounds. I covered it with tin foil, and with fingers crossed, slid it into the oven. (Not literally, okay? That pan was heavy!)

It was six hours before I realized I forgot to turn on the oven.

(Just kidding!)

No, it cooked up reallllll nice, and smelled delicious all day long.

All day long while I was being crazy productive. I boiled two dozen eggs (12 for pickling, 12 for devilling), and actually put the pickling recipe together (I used PICKLING SPICES, people! Pickling spices!) and proudly put my spanking-new airtight container into the fridge to pickle for 8-10 days. The vinegary the better, so I think I'll wait till ELEVEN!! Too crazy? Let me know.

I vowed to do one hour of eBay work, and one hour of manuscript reading, but once I got started organizing the boxes and boxes and boxes of Oz stuff, I spent a lot more time with that. I soon realized I'd need a lot more room than the dining room table to spread out, and figured Neil wouldn't be too open to giving up our bed as an Oz Staging Area.

Our second bedroom had become a lot more crowded since we moved all my scrapbooking stuff in there, so I decided I'd do some consolidating and piling to the ceiling to make a big space in the middle for eBay things. I worked all evening sorting through tubs, stacking them according to weight and size, and fearing for my life when too-tall stacks threatened to fall. I finally got it done, though, and was able to spread out everything I needed to on the newly exposed carpet. It's Oz City in there now! (Or, I guess, Emerald City. Would be more appropriate. Durr.)

I forewent (is that past tense for forego?) working out at the ARC for rearranging the second bedroom, and I think I got more of a workout lifting and going back and forth than I would have on the Tread-Climb, and withOUT the creepy guys checking out how much time I have left on the digital read-out so they can know when to stalk the machine close to when I'm supposed to be done. (My favorite is when it says I have, like, a minute to go, so they stand right behind the machine and wait, and the time slowly ticks down... 4..3...2.....1.....Annnnnd....
Five minutes of cool-down! Yessss! It's almost as good as when someone's following you in their SUV as you walk back to your car at the mall during Christmas season, and you drop off your armloads of bags and turn right back around to go inside. Does that make me a bad person, though? I can try to change.)

Then I served up a brisket dinner for me & Neil, and we ate it in front of a brand-new The Mole! The host was wooden, and the contestants completely unlikeable, like across the board, but it was *great*. Nothing compares to Anderson Cooper, of course, but no one could follow that. Could I have a thing for silver foxes now? I feel like I might. There's one on The Bachelorette, too.

Right after the show, Lily called and we had a good long talk. She had "Missing columbia and kwood" on her Facebook status the other day, and I stared at that for a really long time, sounding it out. "Kwoooooood? Like, 'clued' in baby talk? What?" I asked Neil what "kwood" meant, and he said "What town is Gilbert from?" and I felt so stupid. Because she even told me that she was missing Kirkwood. Anyway, Lily's cute, and she gave me the idea to maybe sew sleeves on my dress if I still wanted them. I love it.

I only read about 40 minutes' worth of my manuscript today, but I got soooo much other stuff done that I'll forgive myself for it. Plus, it's pretty good, so it's going fast anyway.

And now, I deserve to watch my Golden Girls on Lifetime between midnight and one. They are always here for me. I'd travel down the road and back again for them. If I threw a party (invited everyone I knew), the biggest gift would be from them.

So I collapse on the couch, switch it to 42, and settle in....

"Wait," I say to myself (although it could have been aloud), "Tom Cavanagh, of NBC's 'Ed,' was never a guest star on the Girls. I've seen every episode twelve times. I know my guest stars. And come to think of it, this looks a lot more like a scary scary movie than the sunny pastels of Miami and Blanche's living room and lanai. Oh CRUD! This is a scary movie!" [scrambling sound as, overcome with panic, I grope for the remote to change it to 52---and the sweet, always safe sounds of the Food Network.]

What the heck is a scary movie doing in the place of my midnight tradition??


I guess I'll just do my Tuesday NYTX, take a shower to wash off the grime of this day, and get to bed.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Summer begins

...And with it, a new to-do list! Much more extensive/time-consuming than others, because I want to make every day count here. And what better motivation is there than to gray or color out a finished duty, for all to see?
  1. Online: Desperate pt. 2, Ugly Betty, Bachelorette
  2. The Mole: Monday, 9 PM, ABC
  3. Read all papers in Star Clipper bag
  4. Read more of Julia?
  5. Pickle eggs
  6. Process tubs (Done: a lot!)
  7. Finish Manuscript
  8. Type report & send MSS off before we leave on Saturday
  9. Show Joe how to feed Sean
  10. Drop of Salvation donations
  11. Get Driver's License (Tue)
  12. Catch up with Fly Lady
  13. Hair cut?
  14. Look for Stephen Fry HP cds
  15. PBS updates?
  16. Keep up with Bachelor marathon on DVR (Sun, Mon, Tues, Wed, Thurs, Fri, Sat)
  17. Work out 4 times this week, at least (done:)
  18. Work on wedding timeline
  19. Tape card decks (done:)
  20. Call Roger
  21. Write K, S (THURS!), & B
  22. Make devilled eggs
  23. Do a photo session w/ eBay items
  24. Begin a list of measurements/weights for items
  25. Finish Undeclared DVD (3 commentaries & last episode)
  26. Make a Diet File
  27. Find a LC chicken salad recipe online
  28. Put Disc 3 back into queue after it arrives
  29. Do financials after Neil's paid
  30. Conference Wednesday @ TanTarA
  31. Pack for Springfield
  32. Menu:
  • Brisket (Monday)--french dips for Neil
  • Turkey fillets (Tuesday) w/ mashed potatoes for Neil
  • Wednesday--conference. Quick dinner?
  • Thursday--steak @ Dad's
  • Friday--ARC/Hardee's?
  • Sat-midday Mon: Springfield

My Favorite Girl, and other things

1. It is unfailingly funny to me when people use the term "son" in an ironic fashion. Like, whenever two dudes are talking. Even if they're frat boys! I don't know why.

2. When I think about the upcoming NKOTB concert I finally have tickets for (YAYYYY! by the way), the song title in this blog is invariably in my head. Even though I never really liked it. It's Jordan, after all.

3. We have 8 bags of half-eaten chips on our table from the guys who think people won't eat anything else at parties. Come on, folks, where are the lettuce wraps?

4. I was up until approx. 5:30 this morning/last night, but forced myself to get up after about 6 hours because I do NOT want to start the summer sleeping til noon each day.

5. This firebrand guy on Twitter is diggity-DANG hilarious. How'd you find him, em? Is he a Twitter Legend or somethin'?

6. I need to find some salt & vinegar pork rinds. Stat.

7. I read 60 pages of my manuscript last night....yay for productivity! It isn't horrible, so far.

8. I have a secret. I do online surveys for money, and every time, they swear us to secrecy about the content of the survey. But I *cannot* hold it in any longer. GRANOLA BARS!!! HGTV!!!! DIGITAL CAMERAS!!!! WASP REPELLENT!!!!

9. Speaking of, I killed a flying bug in our home today. Without Neil's help! I am officially a Woman.

10. On Wednesday, we received another Undeclared Netflix. I returned it, unwatched, to get the next 90210 DVD. I feel guilty about that. And by the way, my queue on there takes for-e-ver to load.

11. I signed up for this "Fly Lady" daily e-mail I learned of in "Organize" magazine (OMG, you guys, that's the best magazine since Budget Living!), but now I'm afraid to check my Yahoo account because instead of getting one email a day or so from her, there're now days and days of fifty e-mails a day from it.

12. I don't have to work again for two months! And Dad's making steak for us on Thursday. Woo-woo!