Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Happy New Year

To the UPS man who supposedly delivered our packages today: no, you didn't. You might have delivered them to someone else, but you certainly didn't deliver them to our house. Thanks a lot, asshat.

And to our possible neighbors who got said packages, I hope you enjoy our Omaha steaks and my clothes from Victoria's Secret. I hope they don't fit you.

Happy New Year.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Sights

This was our view of Christmas Eve:

From the bedroom:


Racing outside in the frigid cold to catch the last few glimpses:



Trying to be creative:




Brown Christmas? No way!

Happy Christmas To You


Can't help it...I'm a Harry Potter fan, so I liked it in the first movie where they said, "Happy Christmas" to each other. I also like Burl Ives' "Have a Holly Jolly Christmas". So take your pick.

Right now, Wiley is upstairs and I am snuggled in one of his fleecy shirts, keeping somewhat warm (the toes are always cold). We've opened presents, had a fantastic breakfast consisting of blueberry pancakes, sausage and clementines on our china (this stuff is going to get used, jolly golly), and have listened to some Christmas music and even found the Yule Log on TV that Auntie Em told me about. The stockings have been emptied, the cats have batted around their mice, and A Christmas Story has already been watched. It's been a good day.

Have a wonderful holiday wherever you are!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Holy S*#@ It's Cold.

7 degrees above 0 with a wind chill of -12. It's kinda chilly. And inside the house it is as well. We keep the house fairly cold - 65 degrees most of the time. But the windows let in so much cold air, it's probably closer to 58 in the living room. I put a blanket up to try and save my heat. We also figured out how to start the fireplace, so that's been going for awhile and is a nice little burst of heat. It's also very pretty and kinda makes it feel like Christmas. Our Christmas will be a brown Christmas, and I'm ok with that, though I can't say I'm used to it.

This was the weekend we were supposed to go to Chicago, but weather conditions on Friday prevented us from doing so. So no Christkindlmarkt for me, but we did rake leaves yesterday and took 12 bags to the drop-off center. Yeah, I would've rather been in Chicago. Today, my back screams for something stronger than Aleve, and I realize that I've become a lazy fat-ass. No 31 year-old who's in shape would be feeling this pain. So while not a New Year's resolution (I don't believe in them), I believe I will start working the free weights again...amazing how quickly you can turn to mush when you don't use your muscles and how easy it is to drop something that was rather routine...and how hard it's going to be to get into it. Who the hell wants to walk a mile or two when it's -12 outside, other than Jill up in Alaska?

Tonight we are having dinner with some friends. I made my mom's peanut blossoms - you may know them as something different. They're the peanut butter cookies with chocolate stars on top (or Hershey's kisses because those stars can be really hard to find). Sometimes my chocolate stars roll off, but they're still tasty. Being a baker is a curse. No - being a baker without willpower is a curse. Hence the lazy fat-ass comment above. Sometimes I wish I could have someone else's tongue, one who had nothing but the bitter taste buds covering the whole thing. I think I read somewhere that the less sweets you have, the less you want them (so maybe I just need to eat bitter-tasting stuff and get myself used to it). Can anyone confirm this?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Where've I Been?

My loudmouthed coworker today went to my blog and said, "It's been like a month since you updated your blog!" with an exasperated look on her face. So my following of 1 has spoken.

Where have I been, you ask? Eh. Around. Here. There. Not really at the computer. It's hard to write when you don't really feel it. But I will oblige and kinda update you, Dear Reader, on the opinions in my world...not so much happenings, but opinions. That may change as I write.

I'm happy Twilight was made into a movie. I thought the book was fun, and I think Robert Pattinson will be a dreamy vampire. I hate the color of his hair, not to mention the length. That is not sandy-colored to me. And the more I look at him, the more I'm convinced he's related to the Gallagher brothers from Oasis.

Extreme Makeover Home Edition recipients from 2004 are facing foreclosure. I believe General Blather really had the best blog on this from last year, so I won't go into it.

For living in a house that's relatively new (under 10 years old), it really shouldn't be this drafty. I am always cold.

And like Pom, I too have a hard time keeping it clean. Too much shyt, over half of which is not Wiley's and mine, mixed with our shyt does not a happy home make. No room for anything!!

We have decided to stay put for Christmas. Traveling so far in only four days just isn't my idea of fun anymore. Do you know what this means? That's right - shopping for sport begins on Friday, December 26th, so I can find a couple of good deals for next Christmas. Oh yeah. Bring it on.

I'm really tired of seeing Beyonce flounce her shyt on TV and telling me she'd like to upgrade me.

We found lights in a really big bin and put them on the shrubs out front. It's actually a festive-looking house now. Next up? My Festivus pole.

Last night was fun at a friend's house making gingerbread houses. For all the mess that was made, it was actually all cleaned up REALLY quickly. It was fun.

Tis the Season

For getting fat. And hopefully making other people fat as well so then you don't feel so bad about your own weight gain. Today I bring you pictures of peanut brittle. First, the ingredients: 1 cup corn syrup, 2 cups sugar, 1/2 cup water, 2 tsp. baking soda, 2 T. butter, 1 tsp. vanilla, and 2 cups raw peanuts. To make good peanut brittle, humidity should be less than 60%. Just trust me, or say goodbye to your teeth.

I skipped the pictures where you wait and wait and wait for the water, the sugar and the corn syrup to become a boiling pot of silver over medium-high heat. You "spin a good long thread" in the words of my grandmother, which means you dip in your spatula and then hold it up high over the pan and let the syrup ooze down and watch the thread. When it's about the size of a piece of string and is about 2 feet long, then you're ready for the next step, which is adding in the peanuts and turning the heat down slightly.




When you first put the peanuts in, give them a good stir, but don't be discouraged if they all stick together. It takes a little bit of time. You are now cooking the peanuts. Keep stirring them - not constantly, but you don't really want to leave them alone either. After the peanuts are cooked, you add the butter, vanilla and baking soda, and stir like crazy.



This is what the brittle will look like as you're frantically stirring:

("Mad dog! Mad dog!")

Once the butter, vanilla and soda are mixed in, grab your greased jelly roll pan (I use Pam spray) - you really need something with a lip on it - and pour out the brittle.



This is how it will look in the pan:


With your oven mitts, take your brittle outside and let it cool. About 10 minutes after putting it outside, you can insert a knife underneath it to help get it out of the pan when it's cool. When it's cool, then you bring it inside and turn it over on your countertop. I line my countertop with paper towels, but it's up to you.




Then with that knife, take the heavy end and tap the brittle:



Break and break and break, and you have the finished product:


And there is one way to treat your friends and family. Don't fall prey to the peanut brittle you buy in the store. It's not that complicated. Try making it yourself.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Who Knew?

I made peanut brittle yesterday during lunch. I am afforded such luxuries because I live 1 mile from work and I'm required to take an hour lunch. However, it wasn't completely cooled by the time I had to leave, so I brought it in today.

Imagine my surprise that quite a bit of it is still left. My office loves candy. We have no fewer than four candy dishes in our small office, and whenever the candy dishes are full, you'll see most of us scrounging around in the early afternoon for our fix. Maybe they're sweeted out...yesterday we got donuts and I also made the best sugar cookies ever in the history of mankind (in my humble opinion), and those went very quickly.

I wonder what they'll do if I make Divinity. I like my officemates...they're like experimental pets.

Friday, November 14, 2008

This is What I was Born to Do...

Travel. We are in Amsterdam now. Wiley is downstairs having his university paid-for breakfast. Me, being somewhat of a cheapskate and not wanting to spend 10.50 Euros on something I probably won't like (and will grab a pastry later on in the morning), am hogging up all the available internet time I can before Wiley takes his computer.

Amsterdam is lovely. Yesterday the weather was perfect, and I got a lot of great shots. We would have some to show you today, except we were out until 1:15 in the morning with friends who are living in Germany and London, so we went straight to bed. Today, the rain has come back again, which makes me less than happy, as I don't want to cart around the big camera in its bag because I'm worried it's not waterproof. So I'm still deciding what to do. Dinner last night was at an Indonesian restaurant, built around rice. So we had bits of beef, chicken, pork, and there was lamb (but of course I didn't touch it). We met a very nice guy named Max, who looks like he's 12 even though he's almost 30.

I blend in more here than in Sarajevo, and there are just tons of tourists around. Every so often I'll hear a bit of English without any sort of British or Dutch accent.

So today I'll be meandering around, looking for an ornament for us. I was already lucky and found my H&M socks. They come in handy when the wind blows because it's blustery.

That's all for now, folks!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Embrace, People, Embrace

With my handy-dandy Google Reader, I am able to keep up to date with lots of blogs. Even though I no longer live in Kansas City, I still have strong ties to the area. And even though I haven't met so many of the bloggers (I made it to one blogger gathering in August of '07 before moving to Sarajevo), I keep a certain kinship to them.

So imagine my surprise and annoyance when I read some people's posts about the election. People who I consider acquaintances, even though we've never met face to face, are being taken to task for their choice in President. I get mad when I read that Logtar's friends haven't stopped ridiculing him for picking the "Yes, We Can" man. (In case you've been living in a cave, that man is now President-Elect.) Heather ends her post with "Yeah, I voted for Obama. What of it?"

It really shouldn't be this way, people. It's ok to have a difference in opinion, but for Cher's sake, keep it civil. There shouldn't have to be any defending of one's choice. In life, when one person loses, you still congratulate the other team for winning. It's called good sportsmanship, and it also applies off the field. Former coworkers did this in the 2004 election. One gal was severely ticked off that W. was re-elected, but with a smile on her face, she went to the reigning Republican gal on the floor and said, "Congratulations." Even though they were on opposite sides of the fence, they were still civil and courteous and were still able to talk politics without getting nasty or thinking negatively about the other person.

Is the new guy going to screw up? Sure. I know people are just salivating at the mouths waiting for the first slip-up, but, um, this is your country too, and like it or not, this is your president. You don't get to complain just because you can say, "I didn't vote for that guy". Feel free to complain about the situation, whatever it will be, but remember that your friends are your friends and treat them as such.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Yeah, Yeah, Vote.

This post is not about voting. I told you to do it already. No, this post will be short and sweet.

I was looking over Wiley's Amazon wish list today, and there are 9 other Wileys out there. Wouldn't it be kinda fun to get something that's on someone else's wish list and send it to them? Yeah, I know - you don't know this person. Why spend money on someone you don't know? But especially for someone who wanted more information on something, like trains or what to eat when you are allergic to everything, a book in the mail from some anonymous person just might brighten someone's day.

In other news, I found out today that an article on our wedding that was featured on a blog was published in the Chicago Sun-Times. Neato, huh?

Monday, November 3, 2008

Mondays Stink.

There was a fire at a pet shop today in Bloomington. The official tally hasn't come in, but some animals didn't make it out of the fire alive. Some puppies were saved, but no word on the cats. And from down the hall, I hear, "Cats are a dime a dozen." "Cats are mean." Blood beginning to boil, I called down to them that they're not mean and to keep quiet.

I know some people are "dog people", and some people are "cat people", some favor reptiles and others fish, but lives were lost here. Not human lives, but lives of animals that through no fault of their own, were extinguished. Does it matter so much what a creature is? Can't we focus on the fact that those little individual furry lives are gone, be they reptile (so much for fur), feline, or rodent? Yes, there are many animals in the world. Lots of cats, lots of dogs, lots of birds, even chinchillas, and sure, other animals will fill those spaces should the pet shop remodel and reopen. But it's a little insensitive to say that it doesn't matter that a cat is dead and to save all the dogs because their lives mean more. That's bullshit.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy 'Weener!

I know I said I would post pictures of Halloween costumes from last week's party, but frankly, I haven't seen the pictures we took ourselves at home, and the party itself was a bit lackluster. It was a week early, and it started early. Knowing that my new group of friends are not quite punctual, we got there 3 hours after it started, and stayed for about an hour and a half. Wiley and I went as Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox, but most of the 15 people who were there didn't realize that I was an ox. It didn't help that someone there had the horns I wanted but was too stubborn to buy. ($10 for horns? Outrageous.) But the couple of times someone looked at me, they guessed I was a member of the Blue Man Group. As my boss said today, "What's the problem with that? You're still not you, right?" Um, thanks. Remind me to get you the Ass of the Year button for Christmas.

Dejected, Wiley and I had a birthday party to attend tonight for a friend whose birthday is on Halloween. We'd been watching a lot of the Sopranos lately, so we got it in our heads that we could be Tony and Carmela. Wiley could wear a white t-shirt, PJ bottoms and a robe, and I could wear something from my everyday work outfit. Whaaaa? I don't really think I dress like Carmela...I certainly don't own anything animal-printed (think of her plastic vest). But sometimes I look at what she's wearing and think, Hmm, that could've come from Casual Corner. So then I got really depressed. It'd be easier to go as Adrianna. I have lots of boots and even a really short skirt.

Apparently Wiley and I share one thing in common - we both tend to get our juices flowing when the pressure's on. At 1:30 today, it hit me. We try to go as a couple when we dress up...one year it was Mario and Luigi, one year it was him being a cheerleader and me being a football player...so I thought that next year we should be Tweety and Sylvester. But I went down this path, and thought, Why not be Elmer Fudd and Bugs this year? So I told Wiley, who was wayyy less than thrilled that we're still messing around with costume ideas the very day of Halloween. At lunch, we ran to Factory Card Outlet, and, while I don't think of them first for cards, they had a lot of kick-ass costumes, and I found my bunny ears (which were really donkey ears because Bugs is grey and white and all the bunny ears there were white and pink), picked up some whiskers, some white face paint, and some big-ass hands (think Mickey Mouse), and I was good to go. At home, I borrowed Wiley's thermal pants and put on a grey shirt. Then we pinned on a shower puff to my butt and I painted my face and off we went. Wiley had pants and a hat and shirt and picked up a toy rifle. We were a hit, and our party was a lot of fun. We had lots of food, a little wine, and I have lots of pictures I can use as blackmail.

As we were driving home, we saw tons of young college kids, and I gotta say, the whore store in the mall was a big hit because we saw lots of little sexy costumes. I'm hoping to get there tomorrow to score some wigs at half price.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Makin' Punkin Soup

This is the pumpkin soup Wiley made with the remnants of our punkin from Friday night's carving. Put in some wine, some cream, some chicken buillion, mash up the punkin with some onion, add some nutmeg, caraway, salt and pepper, garnish with pumpkinseed oil and roasted pumpkin seeds, and you have a very tasty soup.





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Watching Those Receipts

Today during lunch I ran over to Hobby Lobby to take a look at a few items. After I got to my car, I checked my receipt to see if I got my 40% off and 30% off my items. Of course, that's a negative, Ghost Rider. I didn't have any more time during lunch, so I went back after work to get everything straightened out. I walked in and went straight to the only cashier that was open, who happened to be the exchanges/returns cashier. I got in line behind one lady after it seemed someone else disappeared. A minute later, another lady was behind me, and I mean RIGHT BEHIND ME. Most people have space bubbles with strangers. This lady was ready to date me, she was so close. The only time strangers have been closer was at a concert when women were humping my bum to get closer to the stage. She stayed with me throughout my entire transaction, not noticing or completely ignoring my looks that told her I didn't need her so close she could count my nose hairs. I realized that maybe she was in line, but then went to look at something and then when I got in line and she lost her place, this was her passive-aggressive way of getting back at me. Whatever. IF YOU LEAVE THE LINE, YOU ARE NO LONGER IN LINE. Deal with it. It took the cashier about 3 minutes to mess with my stuff.

But what really grinds my gear-skiy, as Meesha would say, is the fact that you have to be a super-sleuth with your receipts. At Hobby Lobby, they don't scan any items. They look at a price on the item and then look at their price sheets. Or, in my case today, don't look at their price sheets and charge you whatever they want. Paint rung up at lunch was $1.00. Tonight, before my 30% off, it was $.50. I ended up getting over $5.00 back because I was diligent. But imagine how many people don't do that. Businesses end up getting lots of extra money this way! Some do it on purpose...(some Dateline episode I watched way back when did an expose on this)...and some don't. I don't think the chickey today paid attention. She had a lot of people since she was the only cashier. At a place like Hobby Lobby, where it seems everything is marked down every single day, and it's constantly changing, if you're not watching your receipts, you're not watching extra money being thrown away.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Carving Pumpkins

Tis the season to carve pumpkins
Fa la la la la, la la la la
For those little children munchkins
Fa la la la la, la la la la
Here we go with scary faces
Fa la la la la, la la la la
Then we take them to the races
Fa la la la la, la la la la.





Friends came over tonight and we carved pumpkins. Mine is on top; they're a bit more political.
They all turned out very well. Next post? Halloween costumes!
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Saturday, October 11, 2008

I'm Being Haunted.

And I'm not alone. Wiley got an email from a friend who we met in Sarajevo. She is a tenured professor on the East Coast, and a fellow violinist. She sent an email saying that she couldn't get Sarajevo out of her mind. She missed the places to walk, the availability to travel on the weekend on the spur of the moment, the chatting, and the pace of life. In short, she said it was perfect.

Wiley and I have talked about this off and on - about how we miss certain things about Sarajevo. If I could do it all over again, I would traipse all around Sarajevo in October, even while being sick. Because now I know that October is the last good month of the year! I admit that there were some maddening things about Sarajevo...like lines being nonexistent. But they were pretty minor, and there were ways around it - like going to the store when no one else was around. Smokers everywhere is a little harder to get around, but then we just wouldn't go into the sweet shops. But it was relatively peaceful. And at times I find myself wistful. I want to go back.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Home Again, this time as a Newlywed.

Well, the house is quiet except for my cat who is cleaning herself and seemingly snorting at the same time. I suppose I would too if I had to lick all that fur to make it gleam. In a nutshell, we're back and married.

It was all such a blur.

We arrived Wednesday night, and made baskets for the rooms on Thursday morning. Then we delivered said baskets. It was revealed to me later that some friends of mine thought they were from the Red Apple and that they were not free. Thank goodness they talked to me before they left so they were able to eat their goodies and take their baskets with them.

I know we did more things on Thursday, but for the life of me I can't remember. Oh, yeah - we met with the photographer, had some dinner, found the aunts that were lost in the hills of Arkansas. Thanks to a nice little wreck on the main highway, they decided to detour without the help of TomTom, and they got very very close but at the end, needed a little help getting in.

Friday was more basket stuff, and meeting with the officiant to go over exactly what we wanted in the ceremony. Then we headed out to the dam site where our little cookout was held that evening. We had BBQ sandwiches, potato salad, baked beans, and coleslaw, and of course, three types of dessert - chocolate brownie something, which was great, peach cobbler, which was pretty good, and strawberry shortcake, which has to be the best I've ever had. This was one of the views of the lake:


This is part of Greers Ferry Lake. Awesome. Just awesome. As you can see, the night could not have been any prettier.

Saturday morning, you'd think that there'd be a lot of running around to do, but Wiley's parents and sisters did most of the running around, delivering baskets. They decorated the interior of the reception site with flowers, candy bars with special wrapping on them, our cookie cutters, and rose petals and rocks, and it looked like it was straight out of a magazine. I'll never be able to convey to them in words just how appreciative I am for all they did for us to make this a wonderful weekend. So as they worked their tails off, I had a massage and then took some friends out on the lake. Some friends were very gracious and drove us around in their boat, and we had leftover BBQ sandwiches sans the BBQ sauce. (I guess I was a little preoccupied.) After that, then it was off to get ready for the big show. At 5, my bridesmaid showed up to help me in my dress. Up until that point I was walking around in my slip and strapless bra. At 5:30, the photographer, who had been taking pictures of everything and everyone but me, stopped in to take a few pictures while the finishing touches were added (a little hairspray here, a necklace there). At 6:00, it was show time. But Wiley's sisters, who were to get me, were absent. I started pacing, and the beginning of panic set in. What if they changed the plan and I forgot what it was? Maybe I was supposed to go out there by myself. at 6:03 I sent a text message asking if they were coming to get me. At 6:04 (by my watch), they knocked on the door and out we went. Apparently, at the same time, Wiley was inside looking at his watch, telling his best man, "If they don't get Melinda soon, she's just going to show up on her own." So enter music, and the bridesmaid runs down the aisle. Well, not really, but I let it be up to her how fast she wanted to walk. Apparently marathon-walking is her style. Then her music played for a little bit, and I was given the push to walk forward in view of everyone. Thinking that I was another bridesmaid, the music kept on playing. The room is L-shaped, so half the people could see me standing there, and half could not. The bandleader finally realized that the bride, she is wearing red, and started my song. While I didn't marathon-walk, I probably walked a little faster than I needed to. But hey, I'd been standing in front of half the room for nearly a minute (which really felt like eternity). As I walked by, I smiled, and promptly stepped out of one of my shoes. "There goes my shoe," I whispered to my friend who drove the boat today, and she giggled and I stomped my heel back into my shoe and carried on.

Unfortunately, the groom was backlit, so I was unable to see his reaction to me. I hope the photographer got it, but when I could finally see him, he was all smiles at me.

I know all of you have been DYING to see my dress, so here it is with me in it:


Now, I realize that upon posting this, most of you know what my face looks like, and this would appear to be nothing more than a gratuitous boob shot, but I assure you, that is not the case. I like a little anonymity for those two or three readers who do not know what I look like (or do not remember what I look like).

But, because I'm feeling generous, I will give you a shot of the back of me as well as the buffet table and beautiful floral arrangement:

Look - short hair!!

So we get up to the front, and we have our ceremony, and as we're doing our vows, I start to tear up just a bit, but thankfully was able to keep them from rolling down my face. Messing up makeup was not an option. I'd worked way too long to get those fake eyelashes to look natural.

After we were pronounced husband and wife, the music started. We kept this a surprise from everyone but knew it would be the perfect way to end our ceremony. We played the Peanuts theme song, and it hit exactly the right note. Everyone recognized it and started laughing, which made us laugh, and later, the keyboardist for the band said if he knew, he would've played it for us.

We ran outside to get photos, and missed a few shots that I really had wished to get, but then we got back inside, said hello to everyone, sat down for just a moment, then got back up to cut the cake. I wish I had a picture to show you, but I don't have one just yet. But it was four square layers, one layer each of raspberry, chocolate, red velvet, and carrot. It was perfect. There were compliments on it all night long, with raspberry coming in as a favorite, if not the favorite, as it was the biggest layer and we didn't have much left at the end of the night. After the cutting of cake, a few toasts were said, and then it was time for the first dance. We chose "The Way You Look Tonight", and you'd think I'd be nervous being out there all alone with Wiley, but the man can dance. Sure, he stepped on my dress a couple of times, and I was a little worried, but apparently it looked a little comical because we heard loud laughing from the crowd. Maybe they heard me tell Wiley that he was on my dress. "We didn't practice with you in your dress! I don't know where my feet are supposed to go!" I guess that's the downside to not seeing the bride in her dress before the ceremony. But that puppy wasn't going anywhere. I was in that dress, and nothing was getting out.

We danced and talked with friends and family and shut the reception down a little after 10:30. All in all, it was an absolutely perfect wedding. The decorations were beautiful, the flowers could not have been more like what I wanted (and I really wasn't sure what to expect except that flowers are always beautiful because we'd done most chatting over the internet and had an illness to deal with in-between meeting for the first time in July and the wedding), and I didn't freeze under all that attention.

So thank you, Dear Reader, for reading about the wedding from the bride's perspective, and to all of you who read this and showed up, we are so happy you were able to join us. We know it was a long way to travel, but we can't tell you how much we appreciated seeing all of you. To the best man and matron of honor, you both looked great, as did your spouses, and I appreciate Sewing Momma lacing up my dress. You two kept Wiley and me calm, and I think we each got to bond. Technically I guess I'm related now to the best man! Neato! To Wiley's families, as stated above, we can't possibly show you how much we loved everything that you did for us (but we tried), and to the Mother of the Golden Children, who made all the invitations, notecards, labels for the water and candy bars, programs, who tried to cut rocks, all while dealing with two children under 4 and planning a child's birthday party to happen the next day, and to the sisters who helped decorate and keep the florist's wits about her and to calm a nervous bride just before walking in, thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you.

Friday, October 3, 2008

tomorrow.

Tomorrow's the big day. Everything's turned out well so far. More details to follow! Maybe even a picture!!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Because the Razorbacks have Diehard Fans...

...they were nice enough to move their game on October 4th to 11:30 a.m., so the people who were conflicted about going to a wedding or going to a game can technically do both!

Unfortunately, the Razorbacks are pretty bad this year, what with a new coach and a green team. Their fans still love them, but wow. It's a tough time to be a Razorback fan.

And since we all know they'll lose, you can leave your frustrations at the door. Let's not dwell. Instead, let's enjoy the day for what it is - a glorious wedding starring Wiley and yours truly!!

(P.S. - if any Razorback players are reading this, help a girl out and win, would ya? Kthankssomuch.)

Friday, September 26, 2008

The 8-Day Update.

Tan fading a bit. Oh well. I'll go maybe two more times and then that'll be it. Wiley looked at me once and said he actually liked me with just a bit of color. He liked it better than he thought he would. You learn something new everyday.

I found some great makeup at Sephora. I went in just thinking I'd talk to them about colors, and the next thing I know, I'm sitting on a chair and they're applying the makeup to my face to see how it looks! I got some Lorac foundation and some bronzing powder in Hot and Spicy, which really does wonders for shaping your face and making your cheeks pop out (and not in that bad Pat Benatar way). I also found some Urban Decay eyeshadow primer called Primer Potion, and this stuff is awesome. No creasing of the eyeshadow and no fading of the eyeshadow = perfect for a wedding!

Figured out how to do my hair, and I'm very happy with it. I still look like me.

Flowers have been ordered, a massage has been scheduled, and now I'm trying to figure out what I might do with the people who will already be in town on Saturday. Maybe a boat ride around the lake. Or just roaming the grounds of the inn (very spacious and pretty, especially if there are some leaves that are falling and are crunchy under your feet). Whatever I do, I'm told I'm not allowed to see Wiley until the ceremony, which bites.

So now we just cross fingers and hope that no pimples emerge and hope that we can still fit into the dress with no problem.

Warning to Pet Owners

Thanks to Spyder for posting this.

http://www.snopes.com/critters/crusader/cocoamulch.asp

Reprinted in part:

Over the weekend the doting owner of two young lab mixes purchased Cocoa Mulch from Target to use in their garden. They loved the way it smelled and it was advertised to keep cats away from their garden. Their dog Calypso decided that the mulch smelled good enough to eat and devoured a large helping. She vomited a few times which was typical when she eats something new but wasn't acting lethargic in any way. The next day, Mom woke up and took Calypso out for her morning walk. Half way through the walk, she had a seizure and died. Although the mulch had NO warnings printed on the label, upon further investigation on the company's website, this product is HIGHLY toxic to dogs and cats. Cocoa Mulch is manufactured by Hershey's, and they claim that 'It is true that studies have shown that 50% of the dogs that eat Cocoa Mulch can suffer physical harm to a variety of degrees (depending on each individual dog). However, 98% of all dogs won't eat it.' This Snopes site gives the following information:

Cocoa Mulch, which is sold by Home Depot, Foreman's Garden Supply and other Garden supply stores, contains a lethal ingredient called 'Theobromine'. It is lethal to dogs and cats. It smells like chocolate and it really attracts dogs. They will ingest this stuff and die. Several deaths already occurred in the last 2-3 weeks. Just a word of caution, check what you are using in your gardens and be aware of what your g ardene rs are using in your gardens. Theobromine is in all chocolate, especially dark or baker's chocolate which is toxic to dogs. Cocoa bean shells contain potentially toxic quantities of theobromine, a xanthine compound similar in effects to caffeine and theophylline. A dog that ingested a lethal quantity of garden mulch made from cacao bean shells developed severe convulsions and died 17 hours later. Analysis of the stomach contents and the ingested cacao bean shells revealed the presence of lethal amounts of theobromine.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Football.

Last night we had Girls' Night, which included chocolate lava cake, spinach and artichoke dip, strong martinis and gossip. And then the conversation drifted briefly to sports. Blame the alcohol, but I am now on an intramural co-ed flag football team playing Wednesday nights at 10 p.m. That's evening. About the time I try to go to bed. 15 days before my wedding.

Anyone remember Marsha Brady's nose right before prom? Let's hope that doesn't happen to me.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Throwing in the Towel.

I have a cold. I've acquired the unwanted ability of making people mad without knowing how I'm doing it. I have 17 days to get rid of 3 pimples and try to keep what little tan I have. I'm done. Broken. Not taking it anymore. Pass the booze, please.

If you need me, I'll be under my covers, in my darkened room, sleeping, giving up on the world.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Eh.

Been busy. But I have a moment to vent.

First, kids are stupid. At any age, they are stupid. Tonight on my way home in the dark, a girl is walking in the middle of the street, though the sidewalk is just 4 feet to her right.

Indiana time is slow time. At green arrows, there is easily a car length or two between each car. I guess when you're used to driving in a big city, all that space equals extra time that's being wasted. This leads to frustration, which is further compounded by said stupid kids who have huge SUVs and don't know how to drive them.

And last but not least, we are moving the last of our stuff out of our storage unit. Some asshat today came into the office wanting to get in, and found out that I was renting the office next door. He didn't have a key to get in, and I didn't have mine, but I don't want people looking at my stuff anyway. So then he asked if I could have a key tomorrow that he could pick up. I originally said ok because I was completely thrown off guard by this guy who took up the I-have-a-cobb-up-my-ass-and-shouldn't-be-talking-to-you-peons, but then I got angry, so I called the property manager, who said I didn't have to give him a key because I was rightfully renting it for the next couple of weeks. So tomorrow, I get the joy of being an asshat right back, but I'll be much nicer about it. And maybe after I'm done for correcting his way of talking to me, he'll thank me for taking that cobb out of his butt.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

You Know....

It's a great day when the gynecologist you've never met before, whom you're about to get very personal with, takes a look at your chart and says, "Are you interesting in losing weight at all?"

Monday, September 8, 2008

Updating the Few Readers That Are Still With Me.

I should be doing laundry, or making a grocery list, or at least getting the phone to have nearby so when Wiley calls, I can go get him, but instead I'm trying to catch up on my 125 posts I've neglected to read (don't you people have anything else to do) and posting what's been going on.

Wiley and I raced to KC on Friday so we could pick up our rings and my last cat, Deeder. We ended up not getting Deeder because her momma wanted to keep her, so my fat cat, who used to resemble a black panther and now resembles a black bear, is no longer mine. Rewind and Dixie aren't complaining, and I'm ok with the decision, but at the time, I was sad.

I got my hair cut and highlighted, and talked to my stylist about how to style my hair. She gave me some hints and tricks, so this week, next week, and the week after will be spent playing with my hair to attempt to make it look like the picture I found ages ago. With short hair, there weren't many pictures to go around. But I like what I found.

Saturday night we went to Abuelo's for food with a small group of friends, only it turned out to be a surprise wedding shower. Wiley pretended to get sick at Barnes & Noble so I didn't beat the guests there (I have this thing about being just a bit early or on time), so we got there "late", but that was just so everyone would have time to get there and get seated. Wiley herded me in and said, "They're over here," and I look and see 13 people seated who shouted, "Surprise!" It took a bit to sink in that they were there for us. Everyone did a fabulous job at keeping me in the dark. I really like surprises so this was great. We had Hitler's sister wait on us. "Ok, listen up. This is how it' s gonna be. I'm going to take care of the front tables. This waiter here's going to take care of the back tables. No one's allowed to change seats. Follow my orders and we'll get along just fine." Since I missed the spiel, I of course got up to talk to the guests, which flustered her when it came time to taking our food orders. And then she said she'd split the checks for us, but didn't, and then the manager came out and told us that their first concern is to get the food out hot and fast, and if customer service has to take a backseat to that, then that's ok with them. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Abuelo's, you let me down, especially when you forgot my pappas con chiles (taters to you lay people). But I did appreciate that Steve Buschemi's twin did some magic tricks for us, and he called me Mary. We had a great time though, and it was so fun to see people I didn't think I'd be able to see on this trip.

So we both have our rings, and they look smashing. It's going to take awhile to get used to rings. Mine is quite heavy, but Wiley's looks great on him, and it's tight enough that it hopefully won't go flying off into the class when he gestures.

Sunday was spent driving back and then trying to do a couple loads of laundry. Lots of laundry to do when you move.

Meesha, I wasn't able to post on your blog, but if I got it right, you had a birthday, so happy birthday! We celebrate because then we get cake. And you should wear your age with pride. I'll believe that just as soon as I get some wrinkles taken off my face, hahaha.

Pom, the last I read about you, you were happy that other babies had icky baby neck. It sounds a little gross, but babies do not, and are not, squeaky clean all the time. Just as long as she's not attracting wildlife, I think you're ok.

Heather
, glad to hear your mom seems to be doing better and you don't mind playing the Hurry Up and Wait Game. The float trip is hilarious, and if I'm back in KC sometime when you do your float trip, I'm totally there!

Cara, keep practicing saying President Obama. You saying that gives me hope.

Wow, got some vertigo going on now, so I'm going to try and eat something and hope it goes away in time to get Wiley.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Happy Days!!

I found my library book! No fines for me, thank you very much!!!

And now that the biscuits aren't burned, it's time to go back. But you don't realize until you tan that your stretch marks don't and the white will be forever singed in my memory...tan leg, shockingly white stretch marks. At least when I had absolutely no color, they blended in. You win some, you lose some.

At Last.

Got my friend from the airport. Went to the storage unit and got my towel, a bin, a can of mandarin oranges, and a ziploc baggie for the smelly cat poop, and now the bed is calling. Wiley has had a bit of a rougher night. They got started late today, and so at 11:30 or so, finally got to their hotel, only their hotel wasn't pet-friendly. So an hour later, they finally found a hotel where they could keep the dog. Hotels.com screwed up, as they thought the original hotel was pet-friendly. Oops. So Wiley has a little over two hours of driving tomorrow, while I work at my other job and then try to figure out where my library book is that's due on Sunday. I hate having overdue books, and originally it was on the desk before we moved. Now it has sprouted legs, and who knows which bin it fell into.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Biscuits Are Burning.

In more ways than one. 37 days to go until the wedding. 37, Dear Reader. And for those of you who haven't sent in your RSVPs, GET MOVING!

In honor of looking even more fabulous, I've decided to do a little bit of the fake baking. After going three times at 5, 8 and 11 minutes each, I finally got a little color. And then yesterday, I think I got a bed with new bulbs because I went for 12 minutes and managed to burn my back, my biscuits and even the twins. This morning the red had left the back, but not the front so much. And after contorting myself this way and that to make sure I'm getting evenly colored (can't really call it a tan right now, after all - less-than-pasty-white is as far as I can go), I noticed last night that along my spine was a nice bright white mark. WTF?! This morning it was less noticeable, but seriously, WTF???

Tomorrow Wiley goes to Princeton for two days while I move for hopefully the last time in the next ten months. Unfortunately, all of the cleaning I was going to do this weekend has to be aborted because the mom and baby changed their plans and will still be there. It's difficult to clean someone's house while they're present. Even if everything is cleaned, it's still not done by me, and I prefer to do it myself. So the weekend will instead be working at my friend's office and staying out of their way as much as possible, although since they will be without a car, I will be "on-call" just in case. Joy.

And my friend returns from India tomorrow night at 11 p.m. I will be greeting her at the airport. What was I thinking?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

And Then Life Bites You in the Ass.

So yesterday's post seemed a bit trivial when I got wored that a former coworker of mine has been diagnosed with cancer. You go in for surgery to help your bowel become unobstructed, and the next you know, you have cancer instead. What a doozy of a surprise.

Feeling completely helpless, I have been able to mobilize a friend into being my legs in KC. I've found a DVD of KU basketball online that I'm going to order (because she is a huge KU fan and I suspect already has this DVD), and my friend is going to drop off a portable DVD player, as the rooms are not equipped with these. She's groggy and heavily medicated right now, but hopefully by the time the DVD arrives, she will be awake and able to somewhat watch it if she chooses.

And then after that, nobody seems to know. Seems trivial, getting her a DVD when she's facing a battle for her life, but I don't know what else to do. As my friend Cara says, if you're a praying fool, then do it, and if not, root for the Jayhawks.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Annoyances.

I'm not one to really diet. I've done so in the past, to my detriment. My mother was a dieter all the years that I knew her. And I never wanted to be like that.

However, upon returning to the U.S., there were lots of things I ate that I probably shouldn't have, and now my belly bulge is back, and it brought its cousins with it.

So today I decided to follow the South Beach Diet plan, which I've had moderate success with in the past. And of course, today we had a staff meeting with pizza. Four different kinds. And breadsticks.

Not to mention that my office is a veritable hell for people with weak willpower, such as myself. Candy dishes abound with Starbursts, Hershey's kisses and Miniatures, butterscotch discs, and Sweet Tarts.

But I screwed up my willpower, and ate my vegetables while everyone around me gorged on some mighty fine looking pizza.

So what do I find when I get off work?

Wiley ate a bagel.

Now, perhaps this wouldn't be a big deal to you, Dear Reader, but I was furious. First, we decided to do this together. Second, my willpower is really quite low. So I need the support. But I felt betrayed. How can I get support from someone who says, "I was hungry, and it was offered to me, and I wanted to eat?" I'm still mad about it. Yeah yeah, humans aren't perfect, and all that jazz, but it's not even the end of the first day.

Meh. You hear me, Wiley? Meh.

The Ring.

This weekend was a big blur. We went to Kansas City to order Wiley's ring
and to check up on mine, and here is the finished product:

Isn't she beautiful?

Yes, yes, she is. And yes, I realize it's not a diamond. What it is, is a simple platinum band with a sapphire in a half-bezel setting (those are reflections on the side of the sapphire, no diamonds or anything like that). It couldn't be more perfect for me. Wiley's ring is hopefully going to be coming in a couple of weeks...it will be tungsten carbide, so a little darker grey than what you normally see in a guy's wedding band.

I would write more, but I have to get to work.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

There's No Hole in My Bucket...

You know, I didn't mind Wal Mart in KC. But here in Bloomington, I despise it. I needed to take a friend's car out for a spin to make sure the battery isn't dead, so we decided to go to Wal Mart in search of a 5 gallon bucket. We are going to make our own laundry detergent courtesy of The Simple Dollar. But do you think we could find a bucket at Wal Mart? It took quite awhile, and when we found it, we found the last one. And the lids are sold separately. So tonight, after getting home rather late from a friend's house, we will attempt to make the detergent. The start-up costs are a bit much - $5.30 for the bucket and lid, $3 for borax, $2 for soap, and $13 or so for some Arm and Hammer washing soap. I think it will be great fun, so long as a hole does not appear in my bucket, dear Liza.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The End?

It could be a startling revelation: I may no longer be able to eat cake. We had a going away party for our friend Kyrgee, and perhaps mixing hard cider with cake was the wrong way to go. I tried eating a leftover piece yesterday and it tasted awful. I may have screwed up my love of vanilla cake, which is a pity because I love loving cake. Must try chocolate cake to see if I still love it. If not, I hope Angel B's doesn't close since they won't be getting my business anymore.

I hope it doesn't come to that. But perhaps this is a good thing, 53 days from the wedding....

Saturday, August 9, 2008

We are Deer Whisperers

Last night, Wiley and I went for a walk. I took him on the Clear Creek Trail, a place he'd never been in his 5 years here! While we were walking, Wiley asked me what else there was to see besides the sidewalk, trees and grass, and I told him that sometimes you can see geese, and just at that moment, he stopped me because he saw a fawn. He was about 30 feet away, and we stopped, and he looked like he was going to run, but I tugged on Wiley's arm and we turned away and started walking. So what did he do? He bounded after us. But we kept walking, and looked over our shoulder, and he kept bounding a little at a time, swishing his little tail up and down. I've never been followed by a deer, and had he been bigger, I might've been a bit alarmed. He kinda reminded me of my dog, Cricket, because he had such big ears and they were tuned on us. A biker was coming from the other direction, and his tires on the pavement made a noise that scared the fawn back into the brush, but then farther down our walk, we saw another one cross to the other side of the trail. No, we don't have much to look at on the trail, but sometimes you glance around and notice that nature is also observing you.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Catching Up.

Lots has happened here in Bloomington in the past week. We have moved the cats from Temp House 1 to Temp House 2, and the transition apparently has not gone smoothly. Rewind and Dixie have been placed in a lovely room with a window, but there's another cat in the house, who is rather possessive of her digs. Rewind, being the little aggressive shit that he is, makes guttural growls that could replace the demon in The Exorcist, and has frightened the somewhat-aggressive residing cat into the basement. I'm tempted to pull him out just to make sure his health doesn't deteriorate. Into the storage unit for him.

We got Wiley's suit, and it looks smashing. I waited and waited for the sale to grab his shirt - who wants to pay $45 for a shirt? Anyone? Sorry, if you do, I don't get you. I don't want to pay $45 for a shirt. So I didn't. And I got it on sale! And two ties too. Today he took the pants in to be hemmed. I still have to take my dress and slip in. He's ahead of me.

Still waiting on the sample bouquet from the florist. Apparently her dealers don't have the goods in stock to make a silk bouquet. Aren't fake flowers around all the time? Especially to replace the ones in the pots that are dying because it's so damn hot??

Invitation responses are flowing, and more people so far are coming than are not. None of my family members have sent in their cards. Don't you know that you're coming? Hello?? Auntie Em?

Wiley got shorn today. He won't need a haircut again until after the wedding. His head almost looks normal-sized right after he gets it cut. For those of you who don't know him, he has a ginormous head. I used to joke with him that I felt sorry for his wife.

We'll be in KC on the 16th to see some friends and order Wiley's ring. Think I'm looking forward to the 8 hour car ride? Think again. Oh, yes, I look forward to some Oklahoma Joe's and Corner Cafe and Abuelo's, not to mention those friends, but man, do you know what's between Indiana and Missouri? That's right - Illinois. Slow driving. And more of the same that's in Indiana and Missouri: cows, tall grass, and road kill. Mm mm good.

We found the TV show Weeds. Love it. I'm going to miss cable. Having it for this month has been nice. There are these channels that play nothing but music. Have you ever?! Yeah, I know, get in the 21st century already. No! I'll not be a slave to my belongings! I chuckle as I sit at my laptop and Wiley sits at his. Sigh.

Can't win them all. Oh, but I did finally beat Wiley twice at racquetball. Fairly. And finally. I rule.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Can't Wait For Sunday.

Sunday is a day where I have absolutely nothing that I have to do for anyone else. No work. No going anywhere except to feed the cats. Nothing.

I wish it was Sunday.

Aside from that, yesterday was the last day I ever have to deal with that shitty duplex. Funny how in only 4 months opinions can change. I went from being so ecstatic that I'd found a relatively inexpensive place to live to not being able to wait to move out (crappy landlord and flooding certainly helped darken the mood about my living conditions - and let's not forget to give Cornhole Joe an honorable mention, though he moved out of his duplex about a month ago).

So now we have exploded in true Wiley fashion at our temp digs, which we will try to put away this weekend. (Spices spices everywhere!) And the cats have been moved to their temp digs, and so far have done ok, but Dixie didn't eat much last night, and I'm sure she's hungry this morning.

And now that we have a bit more time for other things, we have started playing racquetball on a fairly regular basis, which is fun and sorely needed to make sure I fit into that dress. Wiley beats me every.single.time. And I missed the day in school when being a good sport was taught. So I use every tactic I can in order to distract him. Recently it's been singing "When the moon hits your eye like a big (and then I put in some odd word here), that's amore." I was able to keep ahead of him for most of the game, but when he decides he's had enough he hits these super power shots - low and fast that I have no hope of returning. But I'm working on it. I study him while he's playing and try to pick up what I can. Someday, I will beat him!!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

We Made It.

As true to my word, we arrived at 8:00 a.m. at Budget Truck Rental and surveyed the lot. Plenty of trucks had been dropped off overnight. Someone else came by, looked at the sign, noticed they didn't open until 9, and left. I planted my butt 3 feet in front of the store door and greeted Elizabeth 15 minutes later when she walked up. Half an hour later, another couple showed up, and five minutes after that, another person showed up. When one lady arrived right at 9:00, she said, "There's already a line? You've got to be kidding me." No, ma'am. Apparently most of us had been called yesterday and been informed of the first-come-first-served-your-reservation-don't-mean-squat-to-us spiel, so we were all ready to go.

The big stuff, as I call it, was moved into the truck, and out of the truck, rather effortlessly. That's probably because Wiley and GinnTacos loaded it, while I looked at their bad pack job. (We didn't need to pack it to the top, as most everything else had been moved. Seriously!) Everything we took over to the new house was put into the garage, and it fit. We thought we might be able to rearrange the bins, bed, desk, dresser, chairs, and ottoman after the actual owners of the house had vacated in order to get our car into the garage, but I don't really see that happening, and I'm ok with that. (We'll see how I feel in December when I go out to a freezing car!)

So now we are at the Temp House. Yesterday as we brought a few things over, people were already here, watching baseball. It was kinda awkward and I wonder if they'll be walking in on us (I doubt it, but I'll still make sure the doors are locked to give me a little notice if someone walks in.)

And now it's the beginning of Shark Week on Discovery! Not having had a TV with cable for the past 5 months, I've developed an appreciation for it. And I got to watch a shark give birth, which sounds kinda gross, but it's very cool.

So it's back to the old house to clean up, move the last remaining things, and feed the cats until later this week when they go to their new temp home. Then to the grocery store for cake. I can't fight this feeling anymore.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Maybe Buying a Truck Would be a Good Thing After All...

Budget Rental Truck called me at 8:00 this morning, not identifying themselves at all. Originally, when I heard the message, I thought my florist was calling me telling me she was unable to make my bridal bouquet, but after listening to the message again, I realized that my reservation for a truck was in vain.

We made this reservation in May. We called earlier this week to confirm. So getting a call today was a little surprising. I called back.

"I'm sorry but we don't have a truck for you today," Elizabeth, the harried Budget Truck gopher, said.

"That's interesting, and unfortunate," I said, "if I had had a reservation for today. However, my reservation, that I made in May, and that I confirmed earlier this week, says I'm picking up a truck tomorrow."

"I show your reservation for today."

"Well, I guess your computer made a mistake because I have the confirmation email that says Sunday, July 27. So are you going to have a truck for me tomorrow?"

"I don't know," she said. "Our reservation center overbooked us (register my shock) and didn't shut down when they should have, and since we don't know when people made their reservations, it's first come first served. But I'll call you later this afternoon and update you."

Did she call? Of course not. So I called her 5 minutes before closing.

"So," I said, "if I show up tomorrow morning, and I'm the first one there, then the first truck that comes into the lot tomorrow morning should be my truck, right?"

Silence. Then a tentative, "I guess I could do that..."

I pressed, "Well, that is the first-come first-served way of doing things, right? That is what you mean, right?"

Is she used to dealing with idiots?

"I'll be there at 8," I said.

"We don't open until 9," she told me.

"I'll still be there at 8. I'm going to be the first one there, and I'll pick up the first truck on the lot tomorrow. I'll be outside while you open the store."

I've never been one to be somewhere so early that I can see people open the store, and I'm sure that it makes them uncomfortable. When I worked retail and people would be milling about outside for their BOGO fix, I hated the fact that I could see them and they could see me readying the store for the day's excitement. Didn't they have something better to do?

However, it seems that reservations mean nothing to Budget. And it's not like we have a truck or trailer that we can borrow at our whim. So I'll be putting on my curb-kicking shoes and getting my butt to the rental facility early, and I'm planting my butt right in front of the store door.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Where are all the Good Humans?

Do you remember a time when somebody said they'd do something, and they'd actually do it? When someone's word actually meant something? I miss those days.

My landlord called me a liar. He likened me to the Boy Who Cried Wolf because I told him the oven was emitting a funny smell, and now smoke, albeit white, light smoke, not something to fill up the entire house, even after he supposedly looked at it. "I'll come over Sunday," he said. I emailed and texted him late Sunday. No response. I emailed Monday, asking if he was coming on Monday. "Well, the AC worked every time I came over to look at it (which was a lie because the first time it acted up, he was here and called the repairman himself), and it worked every time the repairman came (when he came a few days later and somehow the AC repaired itself). And I came over last week and didn't smell or see anything (the guy has told me he doesn't have a very sensitive nose), so I don't know what to do..."

Hmm..let's ponder. You're the friggin' landlord and you don't know what to do? You take care of your property. You fucking show up when you say you're going to, asshole. You actually come over WHEN I'M HOME so I know you're not making it up when you say you came over. You investigate the issue more than just turning a knob and standing there for 30 seconds (if you really did come over). You don't tell my fiance that I'm the tenant who cried wolf. Where would that get me? I'm trying to be a responsible tenant so YOUR property isn't damaged, and you reward that caution with a backhanded "By the way, I think you're a liar" by comparing me to a boy in a story who wanted attention? You are a slumlord, and I feel sorry for the people renting this after me. Karma's going to bite you in the ass someday, and when it does, I am going to have one hell of a smile on my face.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Ponderous

While I was washing my face tonight, I looked at my hair. I got it cut quite short at my last appointment with a brand new stylist, and she definitely gave me my money's worth. I' m pretty sure I won't have to have it cut again before the wedding.

But as I looked at it, I noticed highlights. I thought this was odd, considering I haven't been outside all that much. And then it dawned on me.

Those aren't highlights. They're white, not gray, hairs. Stark white.

It's time to start the all-over coloring.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Hot in the City

Well, after 9 hours in the car yesterday, I finally made it to Arkansas to see my Wiley.

For those of you who have iTunes, you can download an audiobook called The Alchemist - very good story, about 4 hours long...it REALLY helped me pass the hours by in the car (especially when the AC started blowing water vapor into the car and I thought I was going to end up on the side of the road).

Today has been wedding, wedding, wedding. We got a sample of our bottom layer - very tasty - and decided on the other three layers. From there it was over to the hairstylist, where my hair was teased and done all up like it would be for the wedding. Pretty good, but we'll see what I can do once I get the headband (any ideas for something that DOESN'T look like a tiara?). After that it was dropping the engagement photo off at a store in town and checking out the china and flatware I'd only seen online (I have great taste), then on to lunch to sample the BBQ we'll be having at our Friday night feast (if you like pork, you'll like this, but I got chicken strips and those were also excellent), and then on to the florist,who unfortunately didn't have anything for us because her computer crashed and her images were all on there. But we went through price and she said she'd make a sample bouquet out of artificial flowers so I could see the colors together. Out: terra cotta roses. In: Chinese red roses.

Now it's on to see the officiant, and then off to try to find a nice black suit.

But not before I grab one more sliver of cake.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

it'shereit'shereit'shereit'shere

The Golden Egg arrived today. I heard a door open. A man's voice said, "Hey there." The secretary up front answered in kind. "Have a nice day," the male voice said. And with that, the door closed.

Deflated, I went back to work.

Five minutes later, the door opened again, and a male voice said, "This was in the back of the truck. Looks a little beat up." My ears perked up. It had to be my dress.

My little red light on the phone lit up. "It's here."

I bolted the 12 steps to the front of the office and looked at my package. Poor wrap job. Can see inside. Where the hell is my dress? I rip open the package, and sure enough, there's my dress, all folded up and ready to be worn.

I tried to try it on in the bathroom, but with a corset back, that's difficult to do when you're the only one. It's not like putting a bra on, where when you were a kid, you were so inexperienced that you had to fasten the damn thing in front of you and then twist it around and then put the twins in. So I waited until tonight, when I could go to a friend's house, and she pulled and strung the lace in the eyelets, and a half hour later, I was strapped in and not going anywhere. It looks fabulous. I'm going to be one hot bride.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Tracking.

My dress left its point of origin in Ohio on Thursday. It sat in another part of Ohio until today. Then it showed up in Hodgkins, Indiana. Google Maps said, "WTF? There's no Hodgkins, Indiana." Kinda funny when Google Maps spazzes like that. An hour later, my dress showed up in Hodgkins, Illinois. A half hour ago, it left Hodgkins, Illinois.

Yeah, I'm a little anxious to get this thing...it was only promised to me a month ago! And I'm a bit worried that I've not seen any pictures of it yet, which is not what was supposed to happen.

So, if this doesn't work out, anyone got a spare wedding gown?

UPDATE: Now my dress is in Davenport, Iowa. I do not understand why it keeps going north and west from where I am. Anybody know exactly how this UPS ground shipping works?????

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Twiddling.

A day can go so slowly when you are waiting for something to happen. I'm waiting for Wiley to call and tell me he's landed, but his last flight of the day has been delayed. In an effort to keep myself preoccupied all day, I've picked blueberries, taken a nap, talked to family (though I would've done that anyway because during the weekend my minutes are free), done a little online shopping, watched various movies and episodes of Nip/Tuck, ripped off a toenail that had it coming, read pages from a book, and checked to see if I knew anyone new on Facebook. It's this last preoccupation that has prompted me to write.

High school wasn't exactly a glorious time for me. I fared pretty well - was a cheerleader for a couple of years, played volleyball, dated a guy, was the principal 2nd violinist, seemed to have a fair number of friends....but I have only kept in touch with a handful, and I really could care less about the rest. My best friend and I had a parting of the ways, my mother died, my father continued his quest down the bottle, and I ended up living with my grandparents, who were cool, but I missed having a shower and air conditioning. But hey, I got a cat.

I noticed quite a few of my former friends on FB, and I'm faced with the option of pretending they don't exist or perhaps contacting them to see if they want to get back in touch. Many of them have children now, though some don't. One of them has what looks like a nude picture of Magnum P.I. as his picture, but I honestly think it's him. Many of them stayed in town, which is something that puzzles me - not just about my classmates, but people in general - I was never one who wanted to stay in my hometown. Jiminycricket, I'd been there for 22 years. Time to get out and see the world! You can always go home and visit - but to stay? Maybe I have it backwards and should've stayed home and visited the rest of the world.

And while I'm looking through their pictures, I wonder where some of them are (as the profiles don't say), and when looking at others', that competitive drive stirs.

Where does this come from? Here are people I haven't seen in well over 13 years (ohmygawd), probably will never see them again, yet there's this little voice that says, Well, look at what some of them have done. What about you? Look at your pathetic number of friends! Loser!

Can someone please shut this voice up? Apparently my booze of choice isn't working.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

The Day Before

In 15 minutes, I will wake Wiley up for the last time this year in Sarajevo. He will be on several flights tomorrow, navigating through airports and security, to come back to the U.S. It is very bittersweet.

I enjoyed my time abroad, even though I had my share of difficulties (language barrier, not a fan of lamb, stinky, slow trains and long busrides to get anywhere else in Europe). I enjoyed hearing about Wiley's adventures, though I hated the fact that I wasn't still there with him to experience everything first-hand. And I have an online diary of our relationship, which is always nice to reread.

On the other hand, after a couple of months, I got tired of the online relationship. Bloomington isn't the same. I miss my partner. We're facing a move at the end of this month (this will be the third time this year I've moved, not including one more at the end of August into our new digs), and Wiley's muscles will be a welcome sight. It'll be nice to snuggle up again, or take a nap, in Wiley's arms.

So tomorrow, while he is fighting sleep and stressing out that his 2 bags may be over 50 pounds each, I'll be stressing about him making his connections and if he was able to take his carryon and personal item on board with him. I hope to sleep late and then to work to keep my mind somewhat distracted until he arrives safe and sound at the airport near his parent's home. And then in 6 days, I get to claim him as mine again.

This week better go fast.

In the meantime, Scribblings from Sarajevo will probably undergo a few changes, maybe take a hiatus, as neither of us will be in Sarajevo for quite some time.

Time to wake the man.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Envy.

Look at my blueberries. I picked over six cups today. That makes 12 cups in my freezer. Do you want some? Are you jealous of my berries? Mmmhmmm, I think so. I know that look. I know you are. You want my berries.
Tough noogies.

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Good Old Fashioned Fun

What a way to end the day. Almost upon accident, I stumbled across information that Lifehouse was going to be playing at the Bluebird here in town. Without a moment's notice, I grabbed a ticket. The last time I saw them was in 2001 at the Murat in Indy at a radio show. The worst part of the evening was when Jamie Lynn Siegler, who you may know as Meadow Soprano, came out and sang a song. She was the first voice behind the Levi's commercial where the low cut jeans were in and belly buttons were coming out. Atrocious. But I digress. My main reason for going was to see Lifehouse. Loved this band.

And in 2008, I'm still very much a fan. I took a hiatus from banding after my stint in 2001, and while I'd always kinda kept up with Lifehouse, one of their songs released just didn't really strike the right chord with me. But then I heard their new single from "Who We Are" and thought, Hey, this is catchy in a good way. So interest was renewed.

I got to the bar at 7:45 or so and there was already a small line formed. I got behind a couple of gals and stood there, one big alone loser. Luckily another loser was behind me and we quickly became winners while waiting for the doors to open. Since we both came by ourselves, we decided to go ahead and stand next to each other. Seeing the band was not a problem.

The first band was called Absentstar, a band out of Chicago. Skinny jeans are in, and I just don't know why. I could tell Derek, the lead singer, had on boxers because they bunched. Guys, here's a hint: we don't really need to see that. And while you're at it, having legs smaller than me does not win you points.

Turns out the guys are actually pretty nice, and a few of them grew up in Bedford. I've heard Bedford is kinda like Raytown...so I stay away. Looks like they'll be back at the Bluebird in a week or so, so maybe I'll catch them again. The music was good, but the words were difficult to understand.

And then there was Lifehouse. I'd never seen the new bassist, Bryce, up close. The boy is tall. And blonde. And really thin. Not my type except for the tall part.

I have to say that I just love seeing a band in a small venue. You get to be so close , and you're all huddled together to be as close to the stage as possible. There's just something about it. See more pictures here.

Thanks much for coming to Bloomington, guys. It was a great time. I made a new friend, I got some new music, and I have crickets to keep me company all night long. Crickets, Dear Reader, are friends that visit you after the amps have been put away and the screaming has subsided. Crickets will stay with you for a couple of days. Eventually too many crickets lead to hearing loss, as I'm going to experience sooner than later. (Yes, Auntie Em, I had earplugs - at home. I forgot, and yes I really did.)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Lid, She Is Off

Need to vent.

Why is it so hard to let go of friendships that were false from the start? I have known someone for a period of years (about 8 or so), who I thought was a pretty good friend. Then I got divorced and I think it kinda creeped her out because all of a sudden, I stopped being invited to her house. Around the same time, I found out that this person had been talking about me behind my back (yeah, I know, in this world that's hardly a surprise), but what she said was such a surprise that I literally burst out crying. This was someone who I thought was a very good friend - who was close to me. I let her into my home and let down my guard, and she put a knife in my back.

Time has passed, but I am somewhat unable to let go. I remain cordial because we still share friends, but I really just want to tell this person that I know what she did and it hurt me, and that while everyone else thinks she's the bee's knees, I know deep down that she's not a nice person. But of course, if I ever do mention this, first, she won't remember doing it, and second, she'll go running around to people again talking about my confrontation with her. So in the end, suck it up Melinda and just go on about life and forget about her. Ruminating doesn't change the outcome. That still doesn't make it easy to forgive and forget. Or just forgive.

I feel better.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Pluckin

Friends are gone for the summer, but in their wake, they left six blueberry bushes that need picking. Tonight was my first assignment, so I went over at 5 and for half an hour, crowded around these berry bushes bigger than myself and went to town. I probably picked 5 cups' worth. Now they're washed and freezing in a single layer in the fridge. Soon it will be blueberry streusel coffeecake time. I go back in two days.

And I'm taking one helluva big bowl.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Starry Night.

I love Wiley's friends. I had an idea to have one last get-together for J&A before they go to Europe for two months and come back newlyweds. So I made a pork tenderloin with rosemary and plum sauce, rice pilaf and my Oreo cookie salad. Other people brought salads and meats and spinach dip, and it was all very tasty. I think we all feel very fat.

It would seem to certain people that I'm not shy. I've recently been called meddlesome, albeit in a good-natured way; and outgoing. And while I suppose my stories of meeting and talking to people on plane trips is not your idea of a shy person, in large social situations, I can be. Tonight, I got there late, which is unusual, but unexpected visitors dropped by as I was making a mess of my kitchen and my clothes. No problem, they hadn't started eating. I joked and laughed and talked to most of the people, and then I sat down.

Maybe sitting down is the problem. Before I knew it, I was just a listener with nothing to contribute. Sports this, political science that, little convos here and there, and I'm not an active participant. One is talking about her wedding plans, and then the other is talking about what they're planning to do in Prague. While I enjoy hearing snippets of everything, I feel left out.

So I went blueberry hunting. J&A have a wonderful garden with ripe, fresh, untainted blueberries. And we chatted about this and that, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Then we came back to the group and they chatted, and I listened, and at 11:15, I decided I should go home so I could get up and work tomorrow. I said my goodbyes and gave hugs and decided when I'd be back to blueberry hunt, when J walked me out.

J is a very interesting man. College tennis player, super smart, very personable, has just about anything you could ever need at his house that you can borrow at any time...like a kayak, and a weedwhacker. But we've never had much occasion to talk. I suppose I feel a little tongue-tied, though I don't know why. Tonight, it seemed he let down his guard a little bit, and let me inside. We chatted about weddings, about families, about work, and a half-hour later, I'm home, with fresh blueberries and a feeling inside.

I think it's happiness.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Hauntings

It's been roughly four years or so since the breakup of my first marriage. Someone at work was quite surprised when she found out I was married. "You?" she said. Yeah, I know, cute little inquisitive thing like myself, sometimes described by another as meddlesome, with a big smile and flashy eyes, is a divorcee. Just goes to show you we all have our skeletons, and nothing is as it seems.

It wasn't until talking to Wiley later today that I realized sometimes I am still haunted by my ex. I never really saw it while we were married, but he was quite a control freak. When I still talked to him, of course I could see it, but it's funny how much you get burned when you're close to the flame but you never realize it's happening until you move away from it. While I was married, nearing the end of the 8 years we'd been together, but not knowing it at the time, my ex told me he'd lost respect for me because I had no goals. And because I'd "gotten fat". I'll let that one go for now. But as for the goals, he was right: I had no goals. To me, I see goals as too far in the future - and if you focus too much on the future, you lose sight of the present. I'm currently reading Never Eat Alone, which is changing my view on goals, slowly. But I can see that it still affects me. I want people to be proud of me. I want people to respect me. I think I didn't get enough of that when I was a child that I still crave it now, sometimes ferociously. I worry that Wiley won't continue to love me because I haven't figured myself out yet, that I don't have goals that are concrete. Through tears and snorts on the phone because one nostril fills up quicker than the other (this is something that I must've had before going to Bosnia but never noticed until I went there, got infected, and came home thinking it'd go away, and surprise, it hasn't), I unleashed my thoughts to Wiley, who patiently listened to my snorts in his ear, rather loudly at times because when you have on headphones and a mic is right next to your face, it's a bit difficult to regulate, then told me that he wanted to give me the space to figure myself out and the ability to do so without any pressure from him. (And that my ex beat me down too much.) "All my friends go through this," he reassured me, to which I hiccuped, "At my age?" and he chuckled and said, "Close enough."

Puffy eyes are mostly dry now (must remember to get cucumber packs ready for the wedding just in case a tear is shed). Thanks, Wiley. I love you so very much.

Yay Me

Two months at my new job.

16 days until I see Wiley again.

One bookcase sold.

Life is good.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Island Memories

When I was 16, I was lucky enough to go on vacation with my parents to the little island of Kauai. Granted, vacationing with parents when you're 16 never really sounds like fun, but I got to go to Hawaii, while Iowa was dealing with winter, and frolic on beaches. I went horseback riding in a sugar cane field that led to a sandy white beach with crystal blue water. I got to go to a luau and watch hula girls and guys dance and play with fire. Some guy in his 20s thought I looked cute while feeding peacocks and gave me his phone number. (What, I was going to give him mine? Ha. I knew how to play the game.) While it was only 70 degrees and the locals were wearing jeans and sweaters, we were wearing swimsuits and shorts and laying out near the water. We went just a couple of years after a hurricane blew through, and the island wasn't up and running yet. People were living in the condos we were staying at because they had nowhere else to go. I thought it was kinda fun to have roosters wake me up at 5 am. In Hawaii!

And I don't know why the memory struck me tonight, but I remember going to the grocery store with my mom. It was just the two of us - my dad and his mom were back at the condo, and friends who had come with us were off on the island doing their own thing. I marveled at a $5.00 gallon of milk. Paradise, it seemed, came with a cost.

While we were getting in line, a man with a small red basket of items came up to us and asked my mom to help him pay for his groceries. She faltered and said she couldn't. He said, "That's ok," and then left, leaving the basket near the front of the store. Mom immediately regretted her decision and told me to go running after him to find him, and I tried, but when I got outside, he was nowhere in sight. I found it a little odd. He wasn't more than 10 seconds ahead of me, and the parking lot was large, but he was just gone. Vanished.

After my mom passed away a few short months later, I thought about this incident. In addition to this oddity, not long before my mom passed away, she told me of a strange dream, only she swore it wasn't a dream. She said she woke up in the middle of the night, and a cloaked figure was standing at the foot of the bed. She called out my name because I was the only other one in the house (Dad was sleeping next to her). The figure didn't move, didn't say a word, just stood there. She told me she hid under the covers, and when she looked again, the figure was gone.

I wouldn't say that I was superstitious, but after she died, I really started to wonder at these two phenomenon. Was the man in Kauai an angel testing her to see how nice she was and if she passed the test, would she have lived? Who was the cloaked figure? Another angel, deciding it was definitely her that was going to be next?

More likely than not, the guy in Hawaii was probably someone who just happened to look at a lady who had a kid and thought she looked nice enough to help him out. She was; she just thought of my dad and how mad he would've been if he knew she spent money to help a complete stranger, and having to deal with a mad alcoholic is no way to spend a vacation.

The cloaked stranger likely was a dream as well, but you know there are times when dreams feel so real (like every night as I'm going to bed and I dream a spider is spinning a web down to my bed), you're convinced you were awake.

Is there a point to this story? Not so much. But if you're looking for one, stop being a schmuck and be nice. Help someone out, especially someone who a) could really use it and/or b) doesn't expect it.

No Corn for Me

With the floods this year, corn is nearing $8 a bushel. That's quite a lot for roughage. I shan't be eating any this year.

What is booming, thanks to the floods, are the mosquitoes. In Iowa, there are 7 times more mosquitoes this year than last year.

Know what this means?

I ain't going home.

Shovel, swat and swim. This is not a good year for my little home state.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Packing Up The House

So Wiley and I decided it was time to unload some of our stuff. While I think I've done a pretty good job of throwing out his stuff merging our things, more can go since we're moving into a fully furnished house in a few months. So Wiley sent out a general email to friends, and I figured this stuff would be gone by the time we left this place. The same day, he started getting bites for things, so now I'm in ultra-pack mode to clean out bookcases and a microwave cart. Who knew people moved so quickly??

And the mice seem to have come back in droves. So far, there are 7 holes in the dirt around the foundation. Thankfully, over 30 bins are out of the house, so there's really not much the buggers can get into.

And Rewind eats spiders. Ew.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Dancin' in My Home

Yesterday: sunny.

Today: sunny.

Tomorrow when I last checked: sunny with a stray thunderstorm.

Thursday: sunny.

Friday: sunny.

Today, I could hear the creek, but I could not see the creek. The temperature was in the high 70s with a good wind...it was the kind of day where you would stay outside and then get sunburned because you never realized just how much sun was actually hitting you.

Glorious. I will take my rays of sunshine and the drying out of the Earth for as long as it is possible. Hopefully the Midwest can stay dry so the swelling of the rivers can go down or at least give the people some time to fill as many sandbags as possible to help the levees.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Amazing.

A cornfield that's not yet under water.

My sister took this picture near Waterloo, Iowa. Perhaps the beginning of a tornado?

Friday, June 13, 2008

How Many Ulcers Can You Get In A Season?


I echo Cara's sentiment. I'm so done with this weather. Today it poured while I was taking the business mail to the post office. I thought, Here we go again. Some roads flooded a bit, but not as badly as before. But now, anytime it rains, I think that this is it, my house is going down in water, and it's a race with the devil to get home to save the cats.

And now Cedar Rapids is full of water.

I can't even get home to help - tons of roads are closed.

The Cedar River is going to crest at 15 feet above flood stage.

People joked about building Arks. Jehovah's Witnesses came to my door. Wiley asked me, "What are you doing tonight?" I told him I'd be watching the Weather.com channel and running to my front door to assess the rising water in Clear Creek.

It's been a fun night.