Did you hear that the traditional nativity scene that is usually displayed at the Capitol will not be displayed this Christmas season? The Supreme Court has actually ruled that there cannot be a nativity scene this year and in the future!

Apparently, they can't find three wise men and a virgin anywhere within the D.C. area.

There was, however, no shortage of asses to fill the stable!


Thank you! Thank you very much!

*Sorry for the cheap blog entry... But you have to admit it is slightly humorous. My mom sent me this joke via e-mail and when I first started reading it, I was like, "Why is she sending me this bullsh!t political crap?" As I read further, I kind of smiled to myself and decided to share it with all of you...


Umm... My eyes are up here!

You know, women always complain about men who stare at their chests when trying to have a conversation and I'll be honest ~ I've had my share of men (and women, for that matter) who are distracted from my wit and intelligence by my bust.

Now, being pregnant, I'm faced with a different problem. I've been left with even more generous cleavage than before, but for whatever reason people are way more interested in my growing stomach than my boobs.

I can't get a person to look me straight in the eyes when they are talking to me!

I'll be walking down the hall at work and I see people taking a sidelong glance at my tummy to see if Sparky is making his presence known yet. Discriminating judgements are made, I'm sure to compare my progress to the other woman at work who is expecting, although she is a month ahead of me and expecting twins. People comment that I'm not "showing" too much, but compared to her, I hope I'm not!

I've noticed that this is somewhat contagious. At the mall yesterday, I found myself inspecting almost every woman's waistline, even those not obviously pregnant. I'm amazed at the number of young women with protruding tummies, which probably wouldn't be too noticeable, except for the teeny shirts that they wear with accompanying muffin tops.

I've decided that those people who know that I'm pregnant can obviously tell a difference, but the general stranger on the street probably just dismisses me at this point as a woman who needs to cut back on the Cheetos and do a few extra sit-ups. At 20 weeks pregnant, Sparky is halfway done cooking, and I know that being able to hide the fact that I am pregnant is quickly going to evaporate.

C'est la vie. :o)



A nine-year-old came up to me this morning in tears. We distributed progress reports a few weeks ago and she still didn't have hers signed and returned to me, which meant a loss of game time during home room.

She told me about how her family is now living in a hotel room. They had been staying with some friends, but a neighbor reported that there were too many people residing there, so they had to leave. Her mother and mom's boyfriend and their combined four kids are now staying in a single hotel room.

This nine-year-old explained to me how her mother spends her father's child support payments on rent and cigarettes, but they never have money for new clothes. The last new shoes that she had were bought by her paternal grandmother. She told me that she thinks that she would be more responsible with the child support payments than her mom is.

She is concerned about her five-year-old sister's teeth. She said that her mom doesn't make her sister brush her teeth and she thinks they might be decaying from all the juice boxes. Her mom only buys mint-flavored toothpaste and her little sis doesn't like that kind, so her teeth go unbrushed.

The baby sister has asthma, but that doesn't stop mom and boyfriend from smoking in the house. Now, the whole crew is in a single room. Not a lot of circulation for that cigarette smoke.

She's already decided that when she turns 14, she is going to move in with her dad. She told dad that they are staying in a hotel room and he is going to talk to an attorney... He talked to the attorney the last time they were homeless, but, for some reason, was unable to do anything about it. Her mom's boyfriend has said that he will live in a paper box before he lets her and her sister move in with their dad.

It broke my heart to hear her story. I think about how lucky Dave and I are... No matter what happens between us, our child will never have to go without new clothing or a place to call home.

I'm going to stop at Walgreens this afternoon to pick up some bubblegum flavored toothpaste. I'm not really quite sure what else there is to do.


A "Sparky" by any other name....??

Dave and I have been searching and searching for the perfect name for our baby, and in order to help us with the search, I bought a book of baby names. The book has everything: All types of names, the origins of the names, the meaning, and notable celebrities (both famous and infamous) who have the name.

Plus, every few pages they have a list of names of varying topics, such as popular names in other countries or names that were the most common in different decades over the last 200 years. However, some of the categories are a bit far-fetched, at least to me...

For example, "Notable Names from the Music Industry":

Now, it takes a brave person to name a child Axl, Elvis, or Bjork. But our personal favorite from the list (which has now become a top contender in our baby name search) is P. Diddy!

Another favorite list of ours, being the drunks that we are, is the "Baby Bottoms Up" list, which of course features names based on types of liquors.

We think that naming our baby Glenfiddich or Merlot might be seen as a little "uppity" (if you know what I mean), but we are seriously considering Bud (middle name of Light).

And finally, for the parent who believes that a troubled youth builds character, I bring you the "Pharmaceutical Names" list:

Yeah, because any child named Cialis or Viagra is destined to become a serial killer. Or a porn star...

Who knows? "Sparky" may just end up sticking in the end. Considering that if the baby was born right now, his (or her) name would probably be P. Diddy Hermes Morris.

Maybe Dave and I need to take this name thing a bit more seriously.



I haven't had the opportunity to visit NYC since I was in my early teenage years. But, the memory of seeing the WTC buildings as part of the skyline is etched into my memory. The memory of seeing them come down is seared there, too.

I have a lot of family that lives on the East Coast and I am proud to say that I have a connection with the work that is currently being done at the WTC site. Two of my uncles and one of my cousins works for a company whose purpose (as I understand it) is to prepare construction sites with the underground infrastructure needed to support the buildings that are going to be built there.

I know that there has been a lot of criticism of the fact that nothing has been built on the site since 9/11... However, they've definitely put the pressure on the contractors now - the contractors are being fined $300K per day for everyday that they are not finished after January 1, 2008!

My uncle John recently posted a bunch of pictures of the job site on our family website. I thought I would share them here with you.

From left to right: Uncle John, a friend, Cousin Max, and Uncle Pierre.

A cross made out of steel beams from the original WTC. I like the NYPD car in the foreground.

One of the original signs for the PATH train station at the WTC. Apparently, a lot of these types of items are still being stored at the site. Definitely has a sobering effect.

This truck was so loaded down with scrap iron, I-beams, re-bar, and sheet metal that it got stuck in the mud and had to have a little help from a friend to get out. I thought this was kind of symbolic.

Dave and I are going up east in the week between Christmas and New Year's this year. We may have time to take a day or two down in NYC; it would be very cool to have the opportunity to see this site... We'll see what happens.


Can't Believe We Missed It!!

Being (the self-named) Queen of all holidays that shouldn't probably really be holidays, I bring you:
National Alpaca Day

Yeah, that's right! Although it should be National Alpaca Weekend, since it falls on September 29th and 30th. Two whole days! To celebrate alpacas!

I can't wait 'til next year! I'm going to make everyone a National Alpaca Day Advent Calendar, so you can count down the days with me!!


Football Fun

The weekend began with a road trip along with the fam to Columbia, Missouri to watch the Mizzou Tigers take on Western Michigan. My little bro is a frosh up there. Notice his first college injury...

That Guitar Hero game is a bitch.

Here's a pic of me, doing what I do. Don't mind the tiger ears...

This was the first time that I'd been to a Mizzou football game and the energy made it a really exciting experience. The weather was absolutely beautiful and it was so cool to see practically an entire city converge to support their team. The stadium, of course, was packed.

We drove back Sunday night, crashed for not-quite-a-full-night's sleep, and woke up at the crack of dawn to meet and tailgate with friends for the St. Louis Rams' game.

Nothin' like chili at 8:30 in the mornin' to get you goin'... Well, that and some Bud Light.

Diana, chillin' by the tunes on the tailgate.

Don't ask what is happening here.

Or here, for that matter.

Our seats were definitely in the nosebleed section, but there really isn't a bad seat in the dome. We were able to see all the action! The game was a nailbiter 'til the very end.

Not that everyone in our group would know that it was a nailbiter, though... Some (unnamed) members of the group left the game at the beginning of the fourth quarter because the stadium stops selling beer at that time. They ditched out and went back to the cars to drink... I have to admit, I was disappointed...

But, maybe I just take my football a bit too seriously. :o)

Once we made it back home, Dave and I hung out with Paula at the house for a while until Miss Ella arrived home. Paula decided to take a little nap in Ella's playhouse... Maybe that had a bit to do with the leaving the football game early, if you know what I mean. Love you, Paula!!


Photo Essay... Because I've Got Nuthin' Much to Say

Mmmm.... I made this peach pie with a real homemade crust for the Labor Day weekend festivities. It was the first time I've made a pie from scratch and it was gooo-ooood, if I do say so myself.

Dave and I saw this car on the highway. The back window says, "Be jealous, I'm a MILF." Now I hope that I can be as hot of a mama as Paula, but if anyone freakin' proclaims this on the back of my car after I have the baby, I'm kickin' their ass!

That ain't no little smokie! It is a mutant! Aaahhhhh!!!!!

FYI - Next Wednesday is International Talk Like a Pirate Day, and the mania is spreading. This weekend begins the Second Annual St. Louis Pirate Festival... Argh!

Tell me the logic of this: The Gap Rewards program used to give you 1 reward point per dollar spent. After earning 200 points, you recieve a $10 coupon to use on your next purchase. The new program gives you 5 reward points per dollar spent and after earning 1000 points, you recieve a $10 coupon to use on your next purchase.

Now, I'm no mathematician, so could somebody please explain to me how this is a benefit?

Dave and I will be embarking on an all football weekend... Mizzou game on Saturday, Rams game on Sunday. I'll be sure to update you next week!


Shop 'til I Drop

I'm not a huge fan of going to the malls. I don't like running around to stores and having to get in and out of the car when the weather is extremely hot/cold/rainy. I hate trying on clothes... I'm never really happy with the way the clothes fit and it just (in general) pisses me off.


I loooove catalog shopping. If I get a catalog in the mail, I love flipping through it and ear-marking the pages of items that I like. For me, it is often like window shopping... Most often, I don't order things, but I can look through a catalog a good three times before I get tired of it cluttering up my house and I have to throw it away. I just remembered a catalog that my mom used to get that I love, so I just went onto the website and requested a catalog to be sent to me. Now I'll forever be on their mailing list, and I love it.

So, if I don't shop in the stores and I only fantasize about items I find in catalogs, where do I shop? I admit it: My downfall is Internet shopping.

I have my credit card and debit card numbers, expiration dates, and validation codes memorized. I can point and click my way into thousands of dollars worth of merchandise. (Well, that is, if I had thousands of dollars to spend on merchandise.)

I love getting home from work a seeing a package of new merchandise sitting on my front porch, waiting for me to peel back the lid of the box and find the treasure inside. I love the convenience of it. Nevermind that if something doesn't fit and I never return it; I probably wouldn't return it even if I'd bought it directly from the store.

Amazon.com is my vice. And Gap.com. And Victoria's Secret.com. And most of all... E-Bay. E-Bay can get me into trouble.

What about you? What is your favorite mode of spending money??


Public Service Announcement

As a teacher of gifted students, I see the kids that get "left behind" by the euphemistic "No Child Left Behind" act. This is what happens when politicians get to make educational policy ~ they create something that sounds good for a sound bite without really understanding all the true effects that will occur down the line.

Read on...

From the San Diego Union-Tribune, Wednesday, August 29, 2007. See http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20070829/news_lz1e29goodkin.html

Gifted children are being left behind

By Susan Goodkin and David G. Gold

With reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act high on the agenda as Congress returns from its recess, lawmakers must confront the fact that the law is causing many concerned parents to abandon public schools that are not failing.

These parents are fleeing public schools not only because, as documented by a recent University of Chicago study, the act pushes teachers to ignore high-ability students through its exclusive focus on bringing students to minimum proficiency. Worse than this benign neglect, No Child forces a fundamental educational approach so inappropriate for high-ability students that it destroys their interest in learning, as school becomes an endless chain of basic lessons aimed at low-performing students.

These predictable problems were reported as early as 2003, when The Wall Street Journal warned that schools were shifting their focus overwhelmingly toward low achievers. Expressions of concern from distressed parents and educators of gifted children have come in increasing numbers ever since.

No Child is particularly destructive to bright young math students. Faced with a mandate to bring every last student to proficiency, schools emphasize incessant drilling of rudimentary facts and teach that there is one "right" way to solve even higher-order problems. Yet one of the clearest markers of a nimble math mind is the ability to see novel approaches and shortcuts to attacking such problems.

This creativity is what makes math interesting and fun for those students. Schools should encourage this higher-order thinking, but high-ability students are instead admonished for solving problems the wrong way, despite getting the right answers. Frustrated, and bored by simplistic drills, many come to hate math.

Talented writers fare no better in language arts education. Recently, a noted children's author recounted her dismay when fifth-graders attending one of her workshops balked at a creative writing exercise. She was shocked to learn that the reluctant writers were gifted. The children, however, had spent years completing mundane worksheets designed for struggling classmates and thus rebelled at an exercise they assumed would be yet another tedious worksheet.

One suggested revision to address these concerns is "growth modeling," which tracks the progress of all students, including those already scoring above proficiency. But as long as No Child requires that every student reach proficiency by 2014 and it continues to focus only on grade-level material, teachers will lack incentives to appropriately educate students who can master their grade's curriculum well before spring testing. Nor will growth modeling prompt schools to provide an enriching curriculum that goes beyond the basics.

The response of many parents to this situation was summed up succinctly by one of our numerous friends, colleagues and family members who have pulled their children from neighborhood schools: "We've learned that the real solution is called 'private school.'

"Perhaps if more policy-makers sent their children to public schools, they would address these unintended but disastrous consequences of No Child. Rather than trying to rectify this situation, however, many politicians advocate a voucher program that would only encourage more parents to desert public education.

Some politicians justify vouchers with the Orwellian claim that taking money from public schools to pay private tuition will improve the public schools by forcing them to compete for students. This claim is absurd given the uneven playing field between public and private schools.

Most obviously, private schools can reject any student who would require extra time from teachers. Thus it is left to public schools to handle children with behavior problems or severe learning impairments, and non-English speakers. Until private schools receiving vouchers are required to accept all applicants, vouchers simply allow them to cherry-pick public school students, giving them an insurmountable competitive edge.

Ironically, the private schools to which President Bush and his allies are so anxious to hand public funds are also exempt from the standardized testing these politicians declare to be the critical measure of educational success. Private schools need not impose upon their students the drudgery of preparing for and taking weeks of standardized tests and can offer an enriching curriculum beyond the basics without worrying about No Child sanctions. Given these one-sided constraints, no one could honestly claim that vouchers do anything but drain resources from the public schools this act was supposed to improve.

In adopting the No Child law, Congress finally addressed the shameful neglect of students in failing schools, particularly inner-city schools. Now it must address the fact that the requirements it imposed are driving away many of the concerned and involved parents critical to our ailing public school system.

Goodkin is executive director of the California Learning Strategies Center, a Ventura-based education think tank. Gold is a lecturer and consultant on strategic issues in negotiation.

Another great article on this topic: Time Magazine's Are We Failing Our Geniuses?


Is it bad that I laughed?*

This morning, I was presenting information to third grade students about the Chess class that I am teaching this semester.

Towards the end of my little talk, one child raised his hand with a comment:

"My dad was a national Chess champion. We have all sorts of trophies and awards."

"Great!" I replied. "Maybe he can come and be a speaker in our class one day."

"Oh, no..." he said. "My dad died when I was three."

Oh. Uh.... Okay... Well, then I guess he wouldn't be able to make it into our class to speak to us, would he?

I mean, what do you say to that with over one hundred third graders staring at you...???

*I didn't laugh at that moment... But afterwards, a couple of the other teachers and I did have a good giggle... and not at the expense of the kid... Just at the fact that the situation happened at all... I mean, what are the chances??


Does anyone have any Pepto?

When I found out I was pregnant, I thought I was pretty much aware of all the dietary restrictions I would have to abide by for the next nine months or so.

I immediately voluntarily quit drinking caffeinated beverages and suffered slight withdrawal headaches for a couple of days, but, hey... this is for the baby, right?

I also gave up on steak with any tint of pink in it; the first time I ordered a steak, it wasn't cooked enough, so I politely asked for the waitress to have the cook throw it back on the grill for a few more minutes. When the steak was returned to me, it had the distinct rubbery taste of having been nuked in the microwave. Yum...

Then at the first doctor appointment, the nurse practioner suggested that I stay away from all fish. Not just the fish like shark, albacore tuna, or tilefish that contain high mercury content, but every type of fish - you know, just to be safe.

(She did, however, give me a prescription for a fish oil supplement, since DHA is good for a developing embryo/fetus... How's that for irony?)

I was then admonished at work for eating a roast beef sandwich for lunch. Apparently, lunch meat has nitrates, which are bad for the baby.

At the most recent doctor appointment, I was instructed to avoid any foods that have partially-hydrogenated oils. This includes most peanut butter and microwave popcorn.

Lucky for me, though, I don't really feel like I'm being restricted from much of anything, because although the food that I'm "allowed" to eat is an ever-dwindling list, none of it is appetizing, anyway. Or, if I do find something that is approved by the pregnancy diet, I eat it and then barf it up. Just thinking of eggs or ice cream makes me feel swirly.

I'm glad Mac & Cheese is on the approved list, because that is about the only thing that sounds digestable to me these days...

One fun side note, though - - I am experimenting with the various flavors of Freezoni's and Smoothies at the local QuikTrip. They make the whole vomiting experience lots more exciting, to see what those bright colors (pink, lime green, purple) make the rest of the food look like on the way up!!!


Go on... Click the "Play Button"

You'll be glad that you did...

Thanks, Aly... Priceless!


Goodbye, Harry...

I finished reading the final book in the Harry Potter series yesterday...

I bought it about a week after it came out and was too busy to start it until about a week ago, but once I opened it I couldn't put it down. Plus, I had to finish it before the students get back to school because they are not good about keeping secrets about the ending.

All I have to say is... "Brilliant!"

I've loved every page of every book. I'm not really into fantasy, but, I've always enjoyed great children's literature. One of my favorite authors of all time is Madeleine L'Engle, author of A Wrinkle in Time. But let's be honest: This series was never just for children.

I love how the characters really grow throughout the series. Instead of a series where the characters are a static age in time, never changing, you watch Harry, Ron, and Hermione experience life from pre-adolescents to young adults. They are real characters with flaws that change throughout, as are the other secondary characters in the series.

But, the part that amazes me the most is that J. K. Rowling was able to arc a wonderful, detailed, intricate story over seven novels. Details that seemed insignificant in Book 3 come back in the epic's close to tie together a wonderful tale of adventure and mystery and love.

I read my little brother's copies of the first five books and own the hardcover first edition prints of numbers six and seven. I am now on an EBay mission to find the others to add to my own collection. I can't wait to share these new classics with my own child...


Mama always said...

Direct quotes from my mother:

"I love my kids, but if I had it to do over again, I wouldn't have any."

"Don't have grandkids on account of me."

"I'm almost free!" (referring to the fact that my youngest brother will enter college this fall)

"After you have kids, your relationship will change... Everything will be different."

And with these words of wisdom from my mother, my mind begins to race. What have Dave and I gotten ourselves into? What if our relationship does change, similar to how my parents' did, losing focus on each other and growing distant? What if I end up feeling trapped by the baby, unable to pursue my own goals, because I can't find a sitter? How will I watch my child suffer through the growing pains of life, forced to stand idly by, unable to do much other than offer my feeble advice?

I know that these are selfish concerns and that becoming a loving parent is ultimately an altruistic act. I assume that other mothers-to-be excitedly anticipate the arrival of their babies, spending their days decorating the nursery and buying toys and clothing... But perhaps, some of them have some of the same worries and concerns...?

Here's a basic breakdown of my feelings about having a baby:
  • 50% excited about starting a family with Dave
  • 20% worried about something going wrong with the pregnancy/baby
  • 20% unsurity of whether I have what it takes to be a good mother
  • 10% concerned about whether the food I ate at my last meal is on the approved pre-natal food list

And, I'll be honest... Although my mother has been very supportive, I wouldn't say that she is "thrilled" at the aspect of me having a baby. She has called to see how I'm feeling and make sure that I'm doing all right... She even bought me a copy of the "What to Expect" book. But, I can hear her voice echoing in my mind all the time - and I worry... what if she is right?


I Can't Promise Anything...

...but I will try not to become a complete and total "Mommy Blogger."

I won't titillate you with tales from the ob/gyn and I swear I won't share every little sh!t (I mean, poop) that Baby Morris makes.

I'll reserve those stories for my friends in person (ahem, Dr. Mike and Paula, since we've heard our share of your stories) and I'll keep them on my baby's website. (Speaking of which, if you'd like to read all about the first week of pregnancy, please feel free to click here and read all about it.)

But I have to tell you, I'm pretty excited. As somebody whose never felt the "need" for a child to complete my life, the prospect of becoming a parent with somebody who I love as much as I do Dave is pretty thrilling. (Scary, too... Okay, terrifying... But thrilling.)

In the meantime, though, please participate in the poll on the right sidebar: Do you think that Baby Morris will be a girl or a boy?


Some New *bLiNg*... and more!!!



Even those of you who officially don't watch clips on people's blogs should click on these, especially the first one... What an exciting time this is going to be!!

And, yes, I've already begun a website... Click here.


Traveling the World

Okay... Well, maybe not the world, but having just returned from Mexico, we are now (at 2:40 a.m., and well into our second bottle of wine) visiting a good friend of Dave's (also named Dave, only the last name is Steele) in beautiful Youngstown (okay, Poland) Ohio...

God, can I just tell you that hanging with two voiceover guys is freakin' the time of my life!!!! Dave Steele is now playing samples of his voiceover work for (my) Dave... And examples of his outtakes, which, I have to admit, are pretty funny.

(Hang on, I need to refill my glass of wine. We quickly went through a bottle of Marquee Shiraz and I'm now finishing off the last bit of Gnarly Head Old Vine Zin... After the eight hour drive, not counting the time change, wine is a welcome relief.)

So, I apologize for not keeping up on commenting on other blogs and updating my own. Summer has been a wonderful experience so far, and I have been spoiled. Instead of reading blogs and the Internet, I've been gardening and reading. Since we left for Mexico, I've finished Middlesex (recommended by Blogarita), The Starter Wife, and The Memory Keeper's Daughter. Next on the list: The Devil Wears Prada. All of these are compliments of (my new addiction) to Bookmooch.com.

Okay, the boys are now listening to the narration of Dr. Suess' How the Grinch Stole Christmas (in which I narrated the part of Cindy Lou Who) that Dave and I made for Ella (Dr. Mike and Paula's baby) and Dave Steele just opened an $800 bottle of Grand Marnier that he told us was for his (now 5-year-old daughter's) wedding. Goind to be a fun (and rather intoxicated) weekend. Beautiful.

Thinking of you all now... I promise I will be around over the next couple of days to read and catch up on everyone's blogs.

Word... To your motha...


Loving Summer...

Happy 4th of July...

Since we've been back from vacation, I have stayed in vacation mode. Lackadaisical and unconcerned, I went the entire day yesterday doing "stuff," yet still managing to be almost entirely unproductive. Don't you love those days?

I'm messing around with trying to make a DVD for everyone of our photos from Mexico... Anyone have any experience with the Studio Ten Pinnacle program? Progress is slow going for me because my tolerance for frustration is pretty low. (Plus, I'm a procrastinator.) I'm not sure if I'm having a direct problem with the computer, the program, or the way the program installed itself on the computer.

Other big news... I've been accepted to go back to school to earn (a second) master's degree in Counseling and Family Therapy. After this master's, I'll be able to work as a licensed professional counselor with kids and their families plus I'll be halfway to earning my doctorate and being able to call myself an actual "psychologist." Hopefully, I'll be able to open my own practice one day. How cool would that be? I'll be starting classes in the fall and can't wait. I'll be taking classes and still working full time, so I'll be having a pretty busy schedule.**

Other than that, not much is going on. I'm going to try to make the rounds to everyone's blogs to catch up on what all has been happening lately.

**Dave is the greatest guy in the whole world! He has been so encouraging and positive about the whole idea of me going back to school and the application process... How lucky am I??


Back to the real world...

So, the vay-kay was a blast... And now we're back, to somewhat gloomy, although equally as hot and humid, weather. While we only saw a few drops of rain in Playa del Carmen, it poured for much of the day yesterday and is still looking like rain today.

And because I know that everyone really loves to look at other peoples' vacation pictures, here's a little photo essay of our trip

The waiting shots of tequila!

Parts of the beach outside our hotel weren't exactly the greatest for swimming... Ouch!

The view from one of the upstairs bars we stopped at in downtown Playa del Carmen.

Did you know that the second largest barrier reef in the world is located off the coast of Mexico? It is great for snorkeling...

Every night at the 24-hour beach bar, we were greeted by these Mexican racoons. They had no fear of humans.

The trip was a success... We actually made it through with no injuries while we were out of the country! That isn't to say that we didn't try... And so we return, tanner (or redder) to our normal lives.

I can't wait to do it again!


Please Leave a Message After the Tone...

Wednesday is the departure day for our trip to Playa del Carmen, Mexico.

One full week of our toes in the sand and cocktails in our hands.
One full week of friends. (I'm sure I'll know more about them than I ever wanted to by the time we return home.)
One full week of no cell phone, no working, no laundry.

Life is beautiful.


Last night, Dave, Dr. Mike, Paula and I figured that there probably wouldn't be any good Chinese down in Mexico, so we opted for take out for dinner. Dave performed his ritual of assigning the fortune cookies, using his mystical powers.

The cookie that he gave to me HAD DOUBLE FORTUNES!! Two little pieces of paper were stuck to each other inside the same fortune cookie - I'd never seen that before!

Here they are:

I don't think I've ever had a fortune that was as accurate as those!

Sorry if I don't blog while I'm gone, but I'll fill you in on all the details once we get back. (Although Dave is insisting on bringing his laptop, so there may be a posting here or there to keep you updated on our progress.)

Here are the lyrics to Kenny Chesney's "Beer in Mexico" - - the anthem for our trip. This song has been going through my head consistently for the last three weeks.

Starin' out into the wild blue yonder
So many thoughts to sit and ponder
'Bout life and love and lack of
And this emptiness in my heart

Too old to be wild and free still
Too young to be over the hill
Should I try to grow up
But who knows where to start

So I just ...
Sit right here and have another beer in Mexico
Do my best to waste another day
Sit right here and have another beer in Mexico
Let the warm air melt these blues away

Sun comes up and sun sinks down
And I seen 'em both in this tourist town
Up for days in a rage
Just tryin' to search my soul

From the answers and the reasons why
I'm at these crossroads in my life
And I really don't know
Which way to go

So I just ...
Sit right here and have another beer in Mexico
Do my best to waste another day
Sit right here and have another beer in Mexico
Let the warm air melt these blues away

Maybe I'll settle down, get married
Or stay single and stay free
Which road I travel
Is still a mystery to me

So I'll just ...
Sit right here, have another beer in Mexico
Do my best to waste another day
Sit right here and have another beer in Mexico
Let the warm air melt these blues away

Down in Mexico ...


How'd They Find Me??

I admit that I blog is more tame than others. I don't use a lot of foul language and most of my stories are PG-13 at their worst.

So, why am I getting searches on my blog for:

Eat Dung Stickers?

and Cause of Masochistic Infatuation?

These are the most recent of strange searches and (after a long night of margaritas and tequila shots in preparation for our trip to Mexico) I can't remember any of the other funny searches that have shown up on my Sitemeter.

Any odd ones for you recently?


My Newest Internet Obsession

Anyone who knows me knows that I love to read. I will devour most any type of book and once I get started reading, it is hard for me to force myself to quit reading to do any of the other things that daily life requires.

I am also a book collector. I prefer to buy my books than go to the library to borrow them. I like having my bookshelves crammed full of Stephen King and Wally Lamb, J. D. Salenger and Madeleine L'Engle. Plus, going to the library often costs me more than just buying the book in the first place; I've actually been known to have library fines totally over $83 - no joke!

Enter BookMooch.com. Brought to my attention by fellow blogger Caroline Bender, I am totally hooked. This site allows me to post books that I am willing to give away to fellow bibliophiles, while "mooching" books that I am interested in reading from them. For each book that I post in my inventory and each book that somebody mooches from me, I am awarded points. I, in turn, use these points to get the books that I want to read.

The only cost is postage. The person who is giving away the book pays for postage, but I figure the couple of bucks spent there is recouped by the money that I don't have to spend on shipping and handling from buying the book off eBay or buying the book new at the store. Plus, if it is a book I love, I can add it to my collection instead of having to return it at the end of two weeks.

I've already sent off five of my own books and am awaiting the first two that I've requested. I'm excited to have some new summer reading... Anyone have any recommendations of great books that I should mooch??


Exciting News...

....and of course, by exciting, I mean the news isn't exciting at all. As a matter of fact, I don't even really have any news to share. I just put that posting title up there to try to convince you (and my ego) that my life isn't as boring as this post is going to make it seem.


Summer ends up being the time for me to catch up on all the chores that have gone undone throughout the rest of the year. The first project that I tackled last week was to clean out and reorganize the laundry room:

Our laundry room ends up being the "catch-all" for stuff that we aren't quite sure where it should go. Or, if it is too cold to bring something out into the garage, it ends up in there.

Just so you know, although the cabinets are closed in the "after" picture, they are clean. Practically bare. But, the difference looks more dramatic between the two pictures with them closed.

I think I feel pretty successful about the whole thing.


Today's project is that I have to go to my mom's house and go through all the stuff that I've collected there throughout the years and decide what is worth keeping and what I need to throw away. Mom is putting the house where I grew up on the market and she needs all extraneous materials out. I chose today to do this project since Mom is out of town and she won't be there to harass me about what I'm keeping and what I'm not.

Honestly, though, I'm a little bit resentful of the fact that I have to do this chore at all. I feel... strange... that the house that I've lived in since I was five years old is no longer going to be the house that we go to for family dinners and holidays.

Am I crazy to feel this way? I feel sad and somewhat angry and... I don't know. Just pissy in general about the whole thing. Do your parents still live in the house you grew up in? Did you feel the same way when they sold it?

I guess I'm just not really a fan of change.


So, I guess that's all I got. The next post will be more exciting. And, I promise not to post pictures about cleaning out my mom's basement, all right? I was just pleased with the whole laundry room thing, so lay off, okay?


Take Me Out to the Ball Game

Ahhh, baseball. Getting out of work on a Friday afternoon, heading down to the stadium, and tailgating (in the hot sun!) with some beer and burgers before heading in to watch the World Champion Cardinals play the Los Angeles Angels. Could life be any more perfect?

Look at this cool grill that friends Mike and Diana brought for the cooking of said tailgating food stuffs. Thanks, Dr. Mike, for this find. It did a damn good job of grilling up the burgers and dogs!

Speaking of hot dogs... (Photoshop, anyone?)

This is my dream job! Every time these guys run out onto the field, I'm like, "Man, I could totally do that job!" Hang out at the stadium, schmooze with the players, watch the games, and have the all-important job of smoothing out the infield dirt.

Do you think that these are the same people that get to drag out the tarp for rainouts? Does anyone have any connections at the stadium that might be able to get me this job?

Another one of the highlights of baseball for me is the search for the freakish triple peanut. Dave found the only one of the bag last night. Luckeeeee!

Although we lost the game, we scored runs in each of the first four innings and were up 4-0 going into the fifth. Duncan, Pujols, and Stinnett each hit homers; each time, we were jumping up and down cheering, and the bald guy in front of us (who reminded me of Bill, in more ways than just his haircut) gave high-fives all around. I love that!

Just so you know, I do actually pay attention to the game. Kip Wells had a respectable start, but when you rip through half of your bullpen in a single inning and still give up six runs, it is kind of hard to win a ballgame. Oh, well. As you can tell, we had a good time anyway!


Tag, I'm "IT"

Sista Smiff tagged me to complete this meme. I'm not sure how or why she picked me, but I'm willing to take the opportunity to have somebody provide a blog topic to me...

Rules of the game: Quickly write 8 random facts/habits about myself. Then, tag eight more people to play.
  1. Sista Smiff was talking about her acrylic nails and that she had to get rid of them for nursing school. I also have acrylic nails and have consistently had them for about six or seven years. I started getting them while I was waiting tables; my nail polish would chip and my brittle nails would break and peel. The acrylics are way more durable. However, I always have them very short and people often ask me if they are my real nails or not. I'm not a fan of having daggers off the ends of my fingers. My favorite nail color: OPI's "I'm Not Really a Waitress."
  2. I looooove Kraft Macaroni & Cheese. Mmmmm.... Just thinking about it makes my mouth water.
  3. However, I'm trying to lose a few pounds right now and I can't even remember when the last time I indulged in some Mac & Cheese. As a matter of fact, right now I have an unopened box of Samoa Girl Scout Cookies in the pantry. They've been there for months; normally those won't last longer than 24 hours around me. Dumb diet.
  4. I always said that I wasn't really interested in getting married and/or having kids. But, then I met Dave... I am amazed at how simply finding the right person can completely change your mind about such a big decision. I think we would be great parents together...
  5. My mom is in the process of selling the house where I grew up. The whole thing is very strange to me. We built and moved into the house when I was five years old. Where will my mom live? How will we have family barbeques in a backyard that isn't the one where my sister and I played hide and seek? My little brother was born when we lived in that house... I'll be honest: I am not a fan of her selling that house. But, life must go on, I guess.
  6. I like to take naps. As a matter of fact, I'm feeling a bit sleepy right now. I plan on taking a nap at least five of seven days a week throughout this summer. *YAWN*
  7. I am addicted to my Webkinz pet, Daisy.
  8. In exactly two weeks, I will be on the beach in Mexico, cocktail in hand, feet in the sand. Life is beautiful.

I'm not going to tag anyone, but if you need a blog topic, feel free to take this one. I always enjoy learning random things about my blogging friends!


Greatest Culinary Invention Since "Sliced Bread"

How many times have you had the fabulous idea of roasting marshmallows and making s'mores?

Simple enough, right? The problem comes when you are trying to manage two pieces of the graham cracker, the chunk of chocolate, and the gooey marshmallow. You have to smoosh them all together into one tidy little sammich. Doesn't always work that way. More than once, I've ended up with burnt fingers and a 'mallow on my foot.

Problem solved! In an ingenious solution to this age old problem, a friend figured out a way to combine the graham and the chocolate:


Easy, breezy, beautiful! Just as tasty, with hardly any muss or fuss! I love it! I highly recommend that you try it the next time you're at a bonfire....


We're Having a Baby...

.... a baby tomato, that is!!! (Scared ya, didn't I?)

Isn't it cute? Kind of like the first ultrasound, here is the first photo of our baby tomato plant. We also have a couple of red and green pepper plants, but they weren't being very photogenic today. They take after their mother...


Dave and I had fun this last weekend at a fabulous party for our good friend, Dr. Mike. It was a western theme, so everyone was dressed as cowboys and cowgirls.

Except me. Always having to be different, I went and found a Sacajawea/Pocahontas costume. I stuck a yellow feather in my hair and was ready to party. It was a great time.


The past month has been crazy, and eliminating blogging was one of the easiest ways to cut down on my self-imposed stress. But, now it is summer, and I'm going to have more free time over the next two months than I've had since before I was in high school. The time will be spent blogging, cleaning, reading, and sitting around at the pool.

It is a beautiful thing. I'm already glad to be back!


Crack is Whack...

No, this is not me, but it is my cousin with her daughter. No photo shopping needed for this funny shot... Gotta love my family for posting this on our family website. With family like ours....


Blogging Blahs....

Sorry for the lack of posts lately.

I've been making sure to stay away from the computer while I'm at work... Amazing how it cuts down on my productivity when I'm obsessed with posting on my blog and reading and commenting on everyone else's. Then, when I've been getting home, the last thing I've been feeling like doing is taking the time to sit down at the computer and write a post.

Plus, I've had a complete and total drought of any potential topics to write about. Except for American Idol - I could blog about that, except for the vow that I made that my blog wouldn't turn into a weekly Idol update.

I'll try to come up with something interesting to post by Friday. In the meantime, hang tight.


Musical Montage

When I was in seventh grade, the only thing I wanted for Christmas was a CD player/boombox. Sixth grade had been the year of the coveted I.O.U. sweatshirts... Seventh grade, however, I needed a CD player. Everybody else had one and my life would probably end if "Santa" didn't deliver.

Santa did deliver, though. I got my CD player. Santa apparently also spoke to my Aunt Janette, who sent me my very first CD's.
  1. Mariah Carey's Unplugged
  2. Toad the Wet Sprocket Walk on the Ocean single
  3. Gloria Estefan's Greatest Hits

I listened to those three CD's over and over and over, until I saved enough money to buy myself a CD: Blind Melon's CD, featuring No Rain.

God, life was good.

I still can sing all the words to Gloria Estefan's Rythym is Gonna Get You and Aunt J is the only reason I know that Mariah Carey's version of I'll Be There was originally done by the Jackson 5. I heard that Toad the Wet Sprocket song on the radio yesterday, which is what reminded me of the first CD's I ever owned.

Do you think the music that a person owns says a lot about that person? I'm not sure what this says about me...


Happy, happy birthday to my love, Dave... He's the greatest person in my life and I can't wait to spend the rest of our birthdays together! 'Appy Bert-day, dere, ah, Bab... Oh, I mean, uh, Dave!


What's Wrong with this Picture?

While out for our birthday co-celebration this weekend, we saw this sign on the table...

Is it just me or isn't a PINT equal to 16 OUNCES?

Basically, they want to charge you $5 for 18 ounces of beer. Gee, but, uh, I think I'll pass on this steal of a deal!

I guess if you're drinking enough, you wouldn't realize the discrepancy.