31 December, 2006

That's It!

I am home from my last shift of 2006. (Dear Lord, please let my first shift of 2007 go more smoothly!!)

Scott is on his way home. (his manager was nice enough to let him leave at 11:30 to get out before the drunks and the tourons)

I don't know if he's going to make it home by midnight, but there's a bottle of champagne in the fridge, and we'll just party like we're on central time if he misses midnight here.

Happy New Year!!!!

Feeling a Little Wicked

So... you may remember that two days ago, I vowed to get out of spend, spend, spend mode and shift gears into save, save, save mode.

Even before I made that ill-fated resolution (is it wrong to give up before the new year even starts?), Scott and I had already made plans to go see Wicked in Tampa for my birthday. In fact, one of my favorite Christmas presents was the Wicked soundtrack, which went into my CD player the next day and hasn't come out yet. (now ChristianMom, don't get all bent out of shape - it's just The Wizard of Oz from a different angle)

Yesterday, I was doing a little online news reading and I came across and article that Aida was playing for 2 nights only over in Melbourne. Aida is just about my favorite show of all time. Let me rephrase since I've never seen it: It's my favorite soundtrack of all time. In fact, in my last job one of the managers asked me to write a little bio about myself as a "who are the people in your neighborhood?" for the intranet site, and it started out with, "Jamie's dream job is to play Aida on Broadway, but since that's obviously not going to happen..." I was heartbroken that I wasn't going to be able to see it in Melbourne.

...until I went on the website for the tour and saw that they're playing a handful of smaller venues all around Florida the first two weeks of January. And I was able to get tickets for a Tuesday matinee (how strange - a matinee? on a Tuesday?) down in Sarasota IN TWO WEEKS! Not only that, but it must not be selling well. We got tickets in the 6th row dead center. I am over-the-moon excited.

Of course, Disney Theatricals sold the rights out, and it's been a little re-mastered by the current producers. For some reason, they've added modern costumes and some other weird touches. But for me, it's all about the music. There are a few clips on their website, and they sound good to me. Of course, no one could live up to Heather Headley. After all, she won a Tony for her performance.

So yes, I am feeling a little wicked about seeing two Broadway shows in one year. But it's been so long, and of all the shows on Earth, I can hardly think of two others I am just dying to see. And as for the money aspect? Well, we bought both sets of tickets in 2006, so I don't think we've technically broken the resolution.

30 December, 2006


Frances made it to 70,000 miles two days ago and I missed it. I caught her at 70,018 yesterday when I got to work. You know, a year ago I thought she'd never make it this far. Having said that, I'll be completely shocked if she makes it to 80,000.

29 December, 2006

It's a Resolution Revolution!

OK, I lied. It's not a revolution. But that was such a snappy title I just couldn't resist! Ahh... champagne-induced genius! Anyway, what's with the talk of resolutions? Well you see, Scalzi's final Weekend Assignment of 2006 implored us, his minions, to make at least one resolution for 2007.

And I mulled it over. I have found that resolving to be physically fit never works. Of course, neither does sitting on the couch in front of the TV eating Triscuits and Easy Cheese. Sure, I'd like to buy clothes in the "normal" section of the store, but is all that sweating really worth it? (short answer: yes. but I resolve to not make a fitness-based resolution)

So I chose a resolution that's even less fun than running on a treadmill: fiscal responsibility. Seeing Scott's and my end-of-the-year pay stubs made me absolutely ill. We are making enough money to home owners. Sure, we have bad credit, but my cousin is a mortgage broker. That's got to be worth something! And so I resolve to sit at the computer, create a budget, and stick to it. While it's not likely that we'll be moving out of here in November of '07 and into a house, I hope to have half of a down-payment saved up so that we can move out of here in November of '08, into a house with grass and maybe even stairs. (the upside to waiting: the Central Florida housing market will have totally crashed by then and reasonable people will no longer be paying $200k+ for a 2 bedroom condo)

Other minor resolutions:
* I resolve to stop having champagne wishes and caviar dreams (or in my case, just champagne dreams)
* I resolve to get a hair cut SOON
* I resolve to wear shirts with sleeves, even to bed!

OK, I admit it, I popped this bottle open just so that I could take the picture and make some snappy "cut the champagne out of my budget" comment. But I'm too buzzed to figure out a place to put it. And it's a lie. Four bottles of champagne have come into my home this year, and we've only paid for one. This baby bottle was part of the gift basket our Sous Chef made me for Christmas. And I must say, it's rather tasty. Of course, it's not as tasty as the chocolate-covered popcorn or the Godiva cookies, but none of the munchies made me tipsy!

So that's my story. Check with me in three months to see how that down payment is progressing.

He's So Dreamy...
For the record, I think it's way to early to start seriously thinking about 2008. Well, maybe not for the politicians. But for me... I just have trouble wrapping my brain around something that far away.

Anyway, woo! I love John Edwards! May Mrs. Clinton not eat him alive.

You Might Call it a "Comedy" of Errors...

...but I don't think it's funny!

Really, why "comedy of errors?" Why not "avalanche of unfortunateness?" Why not, "list of reasons Jamie shouldn't have left the house this morning?"

So you want the story?

First, a little map of my local area:
The blue line represents my normal route to work. It's mostly one lane in each direction, double-yellow lines all the way, and a little out of the way, but the speed limit is 55 for most of it and there's minimal stop signs/traffic lights.
The red line represents the most direct route to work. It's a total of only 4 roads, but full of unpredictable tourist traffic and 12+ traffic lights.
The green line represents the road not taken. The section where this line is separate from the red is a new toll road, which costs $1 to literally drive less than 2 miles. It's a racket, and generally best avoided.

Now I'm ready to tell my story.

I was driving behind a slow truck at the beginning of my travels today. He was in the left lane going about 40 mph (speed limit: 55), but I didn't bother passing him on the right because I was about to turn left onto the back road. When I saw his turn signal pop on, I decided that I didn't want to go 40 all the way to work. Sure, I had plenty of time, but I just didn't feel like dealing with driving behind a slow guy for 20 minutes.

By the next traffic light along the red route, I realized my error. I was at the point of the day where the tourists are all out (really... 11 am... every day... for no apparent reason...) and traffic was sloooooow. I called Scott around 11:20 when I realized I might not make it to work on time. While talking on the phone and driving (you know - 5 mph), I fished around in my purse and found 4 quarters and decided to take the green route.

I had never taken this road before and was surprised how long it was before I ended back on the red route again. The green route saved me probably a half hour of traffic on 192, and I was back on track to make it to work on time.

...until I got onto World Drive and the world, quite frankly, stopped driving. My guess is they were rerouting traffic away from the Magic Kingdom, although I'm really not 100% sure that was the hold-up.

At 11:45, I text messaged Scott (because I had some free time and because talking to him would have only led me to yell at him out of frustration). What follows is the texts back and forth while I am driving less than a mile down the road: (keep in mind, I was supposed to be at work at noon)

(11:47) Me: F ing turnaround
(11:48) Him: Think you will make it in 15 minutes?
(11:50) Me: Sitting under bridge 1. Prolly not.
(11:51) Him: Wow...just not your day for traffic
(11:52) Me: Understatement
(12:02) Me: Ahoy! Toll plaza 100 feet ahead!
(12:03) Him: Holy Crap

I made it to work a mere 15 minutes late. And I was still in decent spirits. But the shift was rough. Things just continued to go this way for the rest of the night. I realized that waking up on the wrong side of the bed won't screw with my karma, but taking the wrong road to work sure will.

28 December, 2006

A Poem

This morning in the shower, this old poem popped into my head. I can't remember all of the real words, so I made some up. Can you spot the new sections?

Monday's Child is fair of face
Tuesday's Child is full of grace
Wednesday's Child is loving and giving
Thursday's Child works hard for a living
Friday's Child is lazy and drunk
Saturday's Child smells like a skunk
And the Child born on the Sabbath Day
is bonnie and bright and good and gay

Personally, I think the kids born early in the week are going to have a much better life than the ones born Thursday-Saturday! And I'm pretty sure there are some hard-core "Christians" out there claiming you can't be good and gay. But that's a debate I shan't stick my toe into, especially since I need to get ready for work anyway.

26 December, 2006

2006 in Non Sequitur

I just saw this meme over at Fluttering Butterflies, and it looked like it might be amusing:

Take the first sentence of the first post of every month this year on your blog and put them all together. So here you have it, 2006 in Non Sequitur:

Yesterday afternoon, I made myself some lunch, settled into the man chair and flipped on the TV. When I hadn't heard from the transmission guys by yesterday afternoon, I decided to go ahead and call them. Would it be completely obnoxious to throw in a "this time tomorrow..." post?

"April 1st: This is the day upon which we are reminded of what we are on the other three-hundred and sixty-four." — Mark Twain

Scalzi's weekend assignment this week focuses on birds. I've been a fool for Ebay recently. I got an e-mail from an old work friend of mine advertising, "Sing-A-Long Mary Poppins -- the Disney classic that’s now an interactive movie experience! This morning at 8am, sign-ups opened for Candlelight. This morning at 5:40, I woke up to the world falling out from under me. I stumbled on something last night that made me laugh so hard that I made Scott stop watching TV to read it. I learned today that November is National Blog Post Month, or NaBloPoMo. For those of you in Central Florida, don't forget that Magic 107.7 is now running Christmas music non-stop... except for their frequent chat breaks and commercial breaks.

Santa Baby?

Conversation between me and Scott last night upon his reading my last blog entry:

Scott: Santa? Santa had NOTHING to do with that camera. That was all me.
Me: Umm... honey? I'm not a kid anymore. To me, you ARE Santa.
Scott: (indignantly) I am NOT jolly.

That was the biggest laugh I had all day. And you know what? It's true. He's not jolly. He also doesn't wear red, has no facial hair, isn't 1,000 years old, and his belly doesn't shake like a bowl full of jelly. But I love that he thinks the biggest difference between himself and Santa is their state of mind.

Ho ho ho

25 December, 2006

Christmas Booty ( @$$ pictures here!)

Scalzi's Christmas Monday Photo Shoot: Take a picture of a present you've received during the holidays.

Just one present? How can I pick? How about a picture of the booty all piled up in the living room? I think I'll share:(yes, that is a silicone bundt pan filled with Christmas candy with a Santa PEZ dispenser stuck in the middle. I thought it made quite the festive candy bowl!)

And of course, is there anything Milo loves as much as Christmas wrap? I don't think so!
(For those of you on the ParkHopper Calendar subscription list, keep an eye out for this photo in December of 2008)

And here's the imaginary conversation going on in my head right now:

Internet: Why Jamie, how ever did you get such a clear picture of Milo indoors on a cloudy day?
Jamie: Why Internet, that would be thanks to the great new digital camera that Santa left me. And the cats chipped in to buy me a camera bag - which you can see in photo #1 - large enough to hold the camera and a picnic lunch. I'm ready to go on safari!
Internet: And what did the pets buy for Scott?
Jamie: Kilo bought him a bag of black socks, ZoePig bought him Spaceballs on DVD, and Milo bought him a Chia Herb Garden.
Internet: Really? Chia?
Jamie: Yeah, Milo is really into random unexpected gifts... especially ones that come in boxes and involve potential new plants for him to chew on! Of course, they all did better than I did. I bought him a video game that he already had (I should've known - it looked like the most violent one on the shelf - that's why I bought it!) along with some other things he didn't know he wanted!

Well, Internet, it was nice chatting with you. Merry Christmas. I'm off to check out the special features on my POTC: DMC DVD.

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all and
best wishes for a wonderful 2007

- from the ParkHopper family to yours

24 December, 2006

So This Is Christmas (Eve)

We never did manage to get our wreath hung up. In fact, I still haven't dug through the closet to find our stockings. Right now, the only holiday "decorations" visible are the rolls of wrapping paper in a box in the kitchen. There's also a bunch of red & white bags from Target on the floor of the living room.

I keep alternating between being totally ok with the lack of Holiday sparkle, depressed that there's no tree, and shocked that Christmas snuck up on us so quickly! There's still a handful of gifts that haven't been wrapped. One is even still in the trunk of my car. I still haven't done anything for my 4 bosses and two co-workers. And did I mention the lack of decorations?

I hit a rough patch at work tonight. I called Scott and cried about it. Then I talked to my manager about it. I managed to not cry. We're behind on calls going into the busiest two weeks of the year, which lead directly into the AAA rating season, which is bad. Of course. And I told him that our part timer who usually just does menus is going to have to make calls or I was going to have to work a 6th day. That was the point when I almost cracked - offering to work another day of work was almost enough to bring me to tears. That's a pretty good sign that actually working it wouldn't be such a good idea!

I'm exhausted. I think I'm going to forego my morning blog jog for an extra half hour of sleep. Then I can tackle this big work day and then come home and finish wrapping gifts.

Anyway, it's going to be a great Christmas. I can feel it. And I promise no more whiny posts until at least December 26.

22 December, 2006

SO Done

My shopping isn't complete. But I am done. I stopped at Wal Mart tonight on my way home to pick up one thing. I checked the three logical (to me) places store that I thought it might be.

Further proof that Scott won't need to save me a seat in Heaven, because I'll be riding the Hell Bus: While walking past the toy section, I encountered 2 blue-vested wonders chatting. The man was telling the woman that his wife was admitted to the hospital this morning. Literally the first thought that popped into my head was, "is that why you forgot to put on deodorant?" I didn't WANT to think it. I wasn't going around looking for snark. It just happened. And I feel guilty about it. But the man really was ripe.

Anyway, after I checked the three logical places, I decided to swing through another department to see if they had another item that was out of stock the last time I was in. It wasn't. So I went up front and found yet another blue-vested wonder. I asked her if they had the first item I was looking for. She tried to send me to another department, and then I realized that she barely spoke english and she was sending me the wrong way. I tried again, using different words. She says they don't sell said item. I don't know if they do or not, but I was darn sick of trying.

So, nearly crying from frustration, I left Wal Mart, called Scott and proclaimed to him that I am DONE shopping and that he can have the remains of my Christmas budget in cash. But I lied about that. I'll let him pick what he wants and I will buy it. Cash is a cop-out. Sure, it's probably the best gift you can give someone. But it says, "I don't care enough about you to think too hard about your gift."

And speaking of gifts for people I don't care about, I apparently work in a small enough department that people all exchange gifts. Crap. I'm thinking about making mini loaves of banana bread. I only need to do 5 or 6, and I think that the people in Scott's office weren't faking when they ooh-ed and ahh-ed when I made a loaf for them. Does that sound like an acceptable gift?

Of course, this is going to require Scott to run to the store for bananas and eggs and mini loaf pans because, as we've already established, I am not going back into a store until January!

21 December, 2006

I Just Want to Hug Her!

Yep... that's what I said to the boss last night when he asked how Girl Trainee (who shall now be called GT) did on her first day. I actually had her DO some things. And she DID them. She's not working today, but when she comes back in on Friday, I am going to work with her for 2 hours and then set her loose with minimal supervision. That's the plan. We'll see how it pans out. She's not ready to work on her own, but I just don't have time to train her the way I would like.

Sadly, unless she turns out to be a REALLY quick study, we are going into AAA season desperately behind. Our other daytime part-timer is off until the second week of January. We won't be able to make calls this Sunday or Monday (darn those holidays), and our counts are so high it's really tough to make enough calls to begin with.

For this aspect of my job, I just have to accept that this is one of those "the darkest hour is just before dawn" situations. I am already working an extra day. There's not much else I can do, and not much else the others are willing to do. But GT is a quick study and she's actually trying. Plus, I am training her to do things exactly the way I like them done. She's going to be great!

19 December, 2006

Pardon Me...

...while I slip into a diabetic coma. In the store today, I made an impulse buy: a bag of Tollhouse chocolate-caramel chips. And I decided that I would make cookies. You know, actual cookies made with butter and sugar and eggs... not the ones that come pre-mixed that you just put on a baking sheet. These ones were made with love.

Unfortunately, I loved them a little too much. And now we have a counter full of cookies and I have a tummy ache. But oh WOW are they some tasty cookies!

Since I'm nearly comatose, I thought I would cop out and share some more cruise pictures - these are some of the long-awaited snorkel pics. Enjoy!

What you can barely see in this picture are the thousands of fish we blindly swam into. I had a little panic attack, realizing that we were vastly outnumbered, and if they all of a sudden decided to become people-vores that we'd be effed. Once the panic wore off, it was pretty incredible. Aside from two or three other people, we were the only ones out that far in the lagoon. I bet most people don't get the opportunity to get that close to a whole school.

Scott went down to shake hands with the Mickey statue. I, however, have a strict policy of keeping my snorkel above water.

Note to self: saying "cheese" for an underwater photo will only get water in my mouth. Even still, I really like this picture. You can even see a hint of panic in my eyes. Honestly, it does scare me, breathing through a straw. But I love it.

These certainly weren't the prettiest fish we saw, but they were definitely the closest. Please tell me I'm not the only one utterly fascinated by this.

Anyway, here's one more picture. This is the hammock we actually managed to claim on the adult beach. And this is me in said hammock, pretending to enjoy my tropical drink and not shiver. It was rainy and cold and windy, and those pants weren't nearly thick enough to keep me warm. But at least the weather looks a little better in the picture!

Still No Newsletter

I forgot to grab the disposable camera when I left on my exciting journey of oil changes and gift purchases. So perhaps we'll remember it tomorrow when Scott and I go out yet again to shop until I drop.

I do have the newsletter text written. I need to have my editor check it out for objectionable content and glaring omissions. I just haven't decided what pictures to include, and whether to put them in with the text (logical, but a pain in the @$$) or at the bottom of the page, or in slide show format.

Anyway, after my morning at Target, I came home and wrapped and wrapped and wrapped. The result? One measly box of gifts. There are five different wrapping papers visible in this photo, and one more you can't see. Obviously, the collection is red-heavy right now. We're going to have to stock up during the post-holiday clearance sales. We also need ribbon. (couldn't load up all of the boxes into the box with bows on all of them... that part comes on Christmas morning)

So anyway, that (along with ridiculous amounts of TV watching) is how I spent my day. I feel productive.

18 December, 2006

Blowing a Sneeze Out of Proportion

I admit it right up front. This bothers me more than I know it should. And yet still I am blogging about it. It's happened before and slid out of my mind, but this time it stuck and is festering.

When my boss sneezes in our office, there is a whole chorus of "bless you"s from everyone in the room. It's as if we have all united for a common goal: to wipe the nose of our lord and master (notice the lower-case letters. I'm not even implying that anyone believes the boss to be a deity).

Tonight, it was just me and Number Two (that's what we decided to call the junior manager, right?) in the office. I sneezed, and immediately after you could hear a friggin' pin drop.

This really bugs me. He's already established a precedent of acknowledging sneezes. But apparently I don't rank high enough to be blessed by him. What does that say?
* You aren't worth polite pleasantries
* I don't respect you
* I ignore your noisy interruption of my e-mail reading

I'm not saying that Number Two isn't a nice guy. He and I have some fun together. And he's even starting to understand when I can and can't drop what I'm doing to do something for him. But this really speaks to me about the kind of person he really is. There's a pretty popular school of thought that if you want to know what type of person someone is, watch how they treat their waiter... or anyone else of a lower rank. And I think he is focused upward instead of outward. It's probably going to burn him some day.

And besides, it's just plain rude to not acknowledge when someone sneezes. And now that I have gotten that off my chest, I am going to bed.

17 December, 2006

Holiday Newsletter

Scott and I have gotten two holiday newsletters this season - one from a friend with three kids, and one from a friend with... umm... an XBox. I love holiday newsletters. My cousin Jenny (yeah, I called her Jenny) has put out a great one ever since her first daughter was born. She's got a new infant now, so I'm not really sure if she's doing one this year (or if I have been bumped from the list for never sending out cards of my own).

Scott asked if maybe we should send out cards this year, but I don't think that's wise. Sending cards out this late only says to people, "you should have put me on your list." Besides, I'm lazy. Next year we'll send them out - on November 1. And we'll watch the number go WAY higher than the 4 or 5 we've gotten this year.

I do plan on doing a holiday newsletter and e-mailing it to everyone we care about. If I get my butt in gear and get our snorkeling pictures developed on Monday (yep... that's the hold-up), then I can slap it together on Tuesday.

Come to think about it, it's been a pretty eventful year, even without my dental escapades. Off the top of my head, I own my car, I have a new step dad (may he not be evil), 3 separate vacations, my new job, guinea pig, Lion King...

I think that might be enough.

16 December, 2006

Let There Be Prints

I bought myself this nifty photo printer a million years ago. Then it took a while to unpack the box. Then I couldn't find the power cord for a month. Then I didn't have time to deal with the whole set-up thing. Then I set it up, only to find that I had lost the software CD!

So yesterday in a short-lived fit of genius, I went on and downloaded the software. I say short-lived because as the software was unzipping itself and installing on my computer, I grabbed the small box that I thought held my photo paper and found myself staring at the stinkin' CD!

And this morning I decided I MUST have prints. So now I have ten photos of our last cruise. And I'll have ten more when I unpack the box that the free bonus pack of paper and bonus print cartridge came in.

And now that I'm in business, I guess the best Christmas/Birthday/I Love You gift for years to come will be copious amounts of photo paper!

By the way, I was planning on going in to work early today and only staying a few hours. I still plan on only staying a few hours, but I'm obviously not going to get there earlier than noon!

15 December, 2006


It occurred to me today that this is my fifth Christmas with Scott.


And this is our fourth married Christmas.


And so far I've only bought three presents for him.


Between now and Christmas, I have two days off.


I only have one of those days off by myself.


Today I actually ended up home for most of the afternoon by myself. I decided that, although I would love to cough up phlegm on the jerks at wal mart, I just wasn't up for that kind of excitement. I'll do a whirlwind shopping tour on Monday, followed by a whirlwind of wrapping gifts.

And the wreath? It's still in the pantry. I haven't figured out how to light and hang it, since none of the places I wanted to hang it have a stud. And it's probably a little too heavy for drywall. Oh well, if all else fails, I can just rest it on the floor and give the cats a Merry Christmas. least that will give me plenty of fodder for the 2008 calendar!

14 December, 2006

Golden Globe Nominations

The movie Borat was nominated for a Golden Globe. I'll admit that I didn't see the movie. And I can't think of any other comedies or musicals that got dissed. But I'm sure there was something! This has got to be the "what were they thinking?" nomination of the year.

Of course, the comedy actor nominations for this year really made me scratch my head: Sacha Baron Cohen, "Borat"; Johnny Depp, "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest"; Aaron Eckhart, "Thank You for Smoking"; Chiwetel Ejiofor, "Kinky Boots"; Will Ferrell, "Stranger than Fiction" Kinky Boots? That's a real movie? I'm pulling for my boyfriend Johnny, of course.

On the TV side of the Globes, Ugly Betty was nominated for comedy series. Now I watch that show religiously, so I feel I'm qualified to say this: the show isn't very good. I love America Ferrera, and support completely that she was nominated for best actress. But the show itself is a knock-off of a telenovela, and has the cheesy night time soap opera thread running through.

And Studio 60 was completely overlooked. That show has some of the best writing on TV (aside from Gray's Anatomy... which did get nominated) and a terriffic ensemble cast.

Anyway, just thought I'd share my opinion. I'll be going back to my bagel now.

13 December, 2006

And What Did YOU Do Tonight?

We went to see The Lion King tonight in Orlando. Considering I've wanted to see the show since it opened on Broadway (and listened to the soundtrack a million times... up until it was stolen from my car last year), I walked in with some pretty high standards.

And I was completely blown away.

The only thing that really disappointed me was the behavior of the people immediately to my front, back, and left. Popular shows bring out people who don't know how to behave in a live theater setting. They talked every time there's wasn't a big ensemble dance number.

But the show was incredible. Here's a collage I picked off a website. The pictures don't really tell the story, but you get a pretty good feel for the visuals.
I'm practically speechless. And I'm really tired. So please consider the above worth more than the 1,000 words I'd be spitting out. I give the show JJJJj out of JJJJJ.

12 December, 2006

It's Beginning to Look...

...a lot like Christmas!

Scalzi's Monday Photo Shoot: Show off your Christmas tree and/or Menorah and/or other seasonally appropriate holiday centerpiece. So if you celebrate the Solstice or commemorate Kwanzaa, or, heck, just plain like them all, you're covered. We're focusing on this year's decorations, so recent pictures are preferred. But if you haven't gotten all set up yet, you can reach back in your archives.

We decided early in the season that since our vacation in the beginning of December was going to mean either a) leaving the cats alone with the tree, or b) only having the tree up for 3 weeks, that we would do a wreath instead. And I still haven't put it up. But that doesn't mean I don't have any holiday decoration photos to share! If there's one thing about the holidays I really look forward to, it's the Disney decorations. Sadly, I haven't gotten any photos in the parks yet this season. But we did see the holiday decorations at Vero Beach and the Disney Cruise Line decorations. Here are a few pictures from the past month:

11 December, 2006

Quote of the Day:

"We're not going to need the ice."

Allow me to put this quote into proper context:  There I am, sitting in the chair in the endodontist's office, where I had been for nearly 40 minutes before the nice man with the rubber gloves even walked in (What?  Rant?  Me?  Never!), and he wants to take a look at my tooth to see what's going on in there.  He taps on a few teeth with his mirror-on-a-stick, and then sticks his thumb in my mouth and starts pressing on my teeth.

NOTE: this one tooth has only been livable because I figured out how to avoid serious pain: no chewing on that side, no big smiles, no projectile spitting (which was a bit of an issue while snorkeling), and I even had to stop brushing the outside surface of that tooth (not such a big deal - it was all composite material anyway, and there's always Listerine).  With these precautions, I had scaled back to 2 or 3 doses of Motrin a day.

So this dentist straight out of Little Shop of Horrors pushes my bad tooth with his thumb.  I'm fairly confident that I levitated out of the chair at that moment.  And then I heard him say to the hygienist, "We're not going to need the ice."  Apparently he believed that I did, in fact, have a raw nerve.  And if he didn't believe me then, he would 30 seconds later when my eyes welled up with tears and I started sobbing - not "ouch that stung a bit" crying, but heaving, hyperventilating "youreallyhurtmemuthafucka" tears.  I was crying so hard I embarrassed myself.  So the nice man reclined my chair and pumped my mouth full of Novocain.  They decided that they'd squeeze me in for the root canal right then and there, so that I wouldn't have to drive all the way back to downtown Orlando (did I mention that that's the only place within 50 miles of my house that's covered by my darn dental HMO?) another time.

We moved to another treatment room, and then Doogie Howser, DDS came in and introduced himself to me.  And there, in the endodontist office, I had another "you know you're old when…" moments.  Yep, I'm fairly confident that I was older than my dentist.

And after 40 minutes of drilling, probing, stabbing, clamping, and filling, I was done.  The whole process was surprisingly non-traumatic.  Dr. Howser was very blunt - this is going to hurt for a while.  He's got me taking 3 Motrin every 6 hours, whether it hurts or not, until Friday.  He also wrote yet another prescription for vicodin, which I'm most likely not going to fill.  I still have more than half of the pills from last month's bout of mouth pain… and the stuff only makes me loopy.

I had a cookies & cream milkshake from Chic-Fil-A for lunch, and I have blended veggie soup and yogurt for dinner.  Since I haven't been chewing much on that side of my mouth anyway, I figure I should be able to eat solids again tomorrow.  I certainly hope so, because there's taco casserole in the fridge with my name on it!

By the way, this little episode has made me my own hero.  When you tell someone, "I had a root canal this morning," they generally throw a puzzled glance your way and say something along the lines of, "and you're WORKING?"  Honestly, the Novocain has long since worn off, and I'm an hour from my next pill popping session, and I'm in less pain now than I have been in a month.  Dr. Howser said that, too.  He says it'll hurt worse tomorrow or the next day.  Even still, the pain is a little easier to handle mentally when you know it's ultimately going to go away.

Special thanks go to Mr. ParkHopper, who not only woke up at 8:45 this morning to drive me to Orlando, but also sat in the waiting room for 3 hours, took me out for "lunch," dropped me off at work, packed and delivered my dinner.  Am I lucky or what?

Umm…I'm wondering if either my real dentist or this place I was at today would e-mail me a copy of my post-canal x-ray.  I'd love to put a Christmas light border on it and e-mail it to everyone I know.  That's almost even better than the Gatorland picture from September!

10 December, 2006


I must be really sick - my temperature is 98.8.

Actually, I don't feel terrible. I have a little bit of congestion, a little bit of a cough, a bit of sore throat, and a bit of an ear ache. Mostly though, I'm overwhelmingly tired. I know that my body is waging an internal struggle of epic proportions right now, and I feel like I owe it to the body to sleep as much as possible.


Tomorrow I have a dentist appointment in downtown Orlando for which we are leaving home at 9 am. Then I'm working 2-10:30.

Tuesday I'm off (this will pretty much be my catatonic day until...). We're going to see The Lion King with some people Tuesday night. Who? Umm... I think Chris and Cathi. I don't know who else.

Wednesday and Thursday I'm working my normal 10 hour shift.

Friday and Saturday I'm off (payment for working Mon & Weds). But Friday we're going out with Bob and Janet before Scott leaves for work. This, of course, means waking up before noon. I need to Christmas shop, but it surely isn't going to be on a Saturday. I don't have a death wish!

I work Sunday normal hours, and am then off Monday (Christmas shopping?) and Tuesday. Wednesday our new girl starts and I'll be training her plus doing my job every Weds/Thurs/Fri for the immediate future.

Somewhere in there, I think there were a few holes I can fill with rest and orange juice and soup. Fingers crossed!

08 December, 2006

The Much-Anticipated Slide Show

Here it is!

And now, I need to get ready to face the real world.

07 December, 2006


I thought this was a good way to start talking about the cruise - with the one major change since March. The pirate ship above is the Flying Dutchman from Pirates II. It's Davy Jones's ship, which spends most of its time below the surface, along with its crew of undead sailors in various states of transition from man to sea life. Anyway, it is now anchored at Castaway Cay. I took about a dozen pictures of it between 3 cameras. The picture above was taken with my camera, which we all know doesn't do details. But the detail work on the ship was pretty overwhelming.

And as you can tell, we ordered a nice overcast day to make the pictures even more ominous. Actually, the weather that day pretty much sucked. We did get in an hour of snorkeling, but as we got to the adult beach, the weather was windy and gray and chilly and drizzling. The bright side: we got a hammock. The unfortunate part: we huddled under a towel attempting to stay warm and dry. We lasted about a half hour. Then we went to the big BBQ for lunch and back to the ship for a nap.

There were lots of naps during this trip. That would be a direct result of Scott waking up every day at the crack of dawn (or before). We upgraded ourselves to a stateroom with a veranda, which was pretty sweet. The clouds kept us from seeing a sunrise, but we did catch a mediocre sunset on the last night.

More to come. And if I can shake the sleepiness out of my head (there was no nap... I had some taped TV to catch up on) perhaps I'll put together a little slide show for another entry. For now, here's a picture of the two of us, on our 1,096th evening as husband and wife.


I promise another post before the end of the day. Right now, my body is compensating for the lack of ocean movement by rocking me back and forth in my chair. I think my inner ear must be confused.

Anyway, we're home. We had a wonderful time, and took many pictures. I promise some of those today, too. Of course, the ones taken with the underwater camera will have to wait for a while. You know - they have to be *gasp* developed and then scanned if I want to share them.

I've been awake for nearly 4 hours. I'd say that calls for a nap.

02 December, 2006


Are 9 pairs of underwear enough for a 4-night cruise?

Well, a few days ago, I promised you a story of underwear, and now I'm going to attempt to tell it in 10 minutes or less.

While at wal mart, I picked up a pack of undies that were really soft. I also picked up a bunch of other ones - but I hadn't tried this particular "chiffon" type before. I got home and commenced Operation Unwrap and Wash, removing all of my new undergarments from their bags, boxes, hangers and tags. I wasn't really paying much attention to the actual products coming from the packages (really... it's underwear... how interesting could it be?) until I noticed that the "chiffon" pack had writing on the inside cardboard that the undies were wrapped around. I'm sorry to say that I failed to save that cardboard, but the wording said something along the lines of

These panties will fit you. They have some remarkable 360-degree stretch mechanism that makes this possible. And they won't give you a wedgie.

Funny...that's not what you usually see INSIDE the package! And that's when I noticed the panties. I couldn't stop laughing. Then Scott turned around and HE started laughing. Seriously? These things are supposed to fit my @$$?

Kilo shown for scale. I think we'd all agree that he is large, but not as large as I am!

So of course I tried them on. All they fit. But what if the security people on the cruise think I'm some sort of pedophile for travelling with kids' underpants?

01 December, 2006

Good? No. Plenty? Yes.

I brought my candy box in to work last month and filled it with candy corn (gotta love those post-halloween clearance sales!). After 2 bags of candy corn, we went through m&m's, reece's peanut butter cups, and more m&m's.

I put a little sign up over the box that had a great quote from Charles Schulz: "All you need is love, but a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt." When I put the peanut butter cups in, I added a warning on bright orange paper that said, "WARNING: Peanut Butter Cups may contain peanuts. duh!" People loved it.

Well, one of our servers made a crack today about the empty candy bin (it had been empty maybe 30 minutes, after the boss ate the last 6 m&m's). She asked if she had to bring her own from home, and said that was the only reason to come in the office*.

And so I had to punish her. The only candy in the office to fill the bin with were Good & Plenty. Does anyone out there besides my mom actually like these things? So I used the G&P's to fill up the bin. The boss said I needed to make a new warning sign for them. So I did. It has the Good & Plenty logo embedded in the phrase,

"This candy isn't very GOOD...
But there's PLENTY of it.
So eat up!"

I am betting that, unless someone dumps them out and replaces them with something good, they will still be in the bin when I get back from vacation. I guess they'll be happy to see me return after all!

*Note: it was light-hearted kidding -- she wasn't being nearly as snarky as it seems typed out.

Happy December!

For those of you in Central Florida, don't forget that Magic 107.7 is now running Christmas music non-stop... except for their frequent chat breaks and commercial breaks.

Honestly, I keep flipping onto the station (I actually set another radio pre-set button for this one), and every time they are either in commercial or it's Delilah talking to people about their miserable existances. I have yet to hear an entire song!

And I think my Christmas CDs are packed with the rest of the decorations that haven't come out yet. Oh well - I'll just have to listen to my latest compilation CD ("Jamie's Mostly Showtunes CD") for a little while longer.

30 November, 2006

Practically No Time At All

I'm a little scattered today. Bear with me.

I have three more shift left at work this week. In theory, this would be 30 hours. But I am really going to bust my butt on Saturday to get everything done and leave early. I did an OT shift yesterday, making enough calls so that we're calling 10 days in the future. Our goal is 7-10 days, and this means that even if my vacation replacement doesn't make any calls we won't be behind when I return. I feel very good about that. Plus possibly the best news of the day is that the part-timer that "we" interviewed has accepted the position and starts with us the week before Christmas. Baptism by fire, I guess!

Scott and I have actually started packing. I'm rather impressed with us. Although this was a necessary step, since only he has off the day before the cruise and he's not really an expert at packing (for our Vero trip, he packed three shirts - a t-shirt, a polo, and a sweater - and it seemed he wore at least two of those every day!). I even have my dinner outfits picked out. The two really remarkable things about this are: I'll be wearing skirts or dresses every night, and NONE of these are outfits I wore on the last cruise.

Among items not yet packed are a bathing suit I bought online - 2 sizes smaller than my actual butt size because spandex stretches - that's still too freaking baggy! So we're going to wash it and dry it in the dryer to see if that helps. I also bought a ton of new underwear that have yet to go through the wash. There's a post coming on one of these. Too funny for words. But I have to take a picture to get the full effect. And a few pairs of pants - khakis and jeans and stuff - need to be washed before we can pack them.

I feel like we're in pretty good shape (packing-wise, not physical-fitness-wise) and won't be running around like crazy on Sunday morning.

Today is the last day. And I did it! At least one post per day for the entire month of November. I deserve a cookie. I wonder how many of the participants actually made it through?

29 November, 2006

MY Weekend Assignment

I am convinced that Scalzi's Weekend Assignment has been custom-made for me! Do you enjoy traveling? Not the arriving and being where you're going, mind you; I'm asking if you enjoy the actual act of traveling from one place to another, by car or train or airplane or whatever. What I'm asking is if you enjoy the journey as much as you enjoy the destination.

The short answer is YES. But what fun is the short answer?

I love journeying. I recently suggested to Scott that we drive up to Atlanta for a three-day weekend - one day there, one day at the aquarium, one day back. He didn't go for it.

Frankly, as much as I cower at the thought of being a passenger in a vehicle tailgating another (or screaming at someone through the open window... or cutting someone off and then slamming on the brakes just to prove that your penis is bigger. which is all strictly hypothetical, because my husband is a good driver and would never do anything like that), I love to watch the world go by. I love weird city names, lame tourist traps (c'mon... what could be better than 600 miles of South of the Border billboards lining I-95??), and all of the associated rest stops filled with funny hats and knick knacks. We did a lot of driving vacations when I was a kid. I had the whole back seat filled up with books, activities, pillows and blankets. To me, it was like having my own tour bus. And someday I'd like to meander along Route 66.

I also love flying, and riding trains, and even have some fond memories of Greyhound rides between State College and Philly during college.

And of course, my favorite type of vacation is cruising. There's nothing in the world quite as amazing as going to sleep in the middle of the ocean and then waking up in another country. And the best part of a cruise for me is standing along the rails and watching the water woosh by.

Extra credit: Any more travel planned for 2006, or are you home for good for the rest of the year?

Funny you should ask! In fact, this time next week I'll be somewhere in the Atlantic enjoying a romantic dinner with my husband on our three-year anniversary. And trust me, on a cruise whose only international destination is Nassau, it's ALL about the journey, not the destination.

28 November, 2006

Pretty Things

Scalzi's Monday Photo Shoot: You know what you think is pretty. Show us. It can be a person, a place, or thing, just as long as the primary reaction you (and hopefully others) get from seeing it is, my, that's pretty.

My first instinct was to pick a picture from our cruise last march, like the one above. This is the snorkel lagoon at Castaway Cay, filled with tropical fish, interesting "sunken treasure," and a gazillion children. Incidentally, this is where you'll find me in exactly one week!

But then I realized that I've been focusing too much this week on the future. Why not share something pretty from TODAY? So that's what I'm going to do. Although I'm sure most people would agree that Scott and I don't have pretty feet, our toenails sure look pretty! (My nail color, by the way, matches my bathing suit.) We spent the day out and about buying things like sunscreen, shorts, and pet food. And we got pedicures. Life is sweet.

27 November, 2006

Conversing with My Husband

Actual telephone conversation between myself and my husband as I was driving home last night:

Me: Have you been to the Hess station since it reopened?
Him: No
Me: It's cool - they have hand sanitizer and other cleaning stuff inbetween the pumps.
Him: Oh yeah. By "no" I actually meant, "yes. I filled up there last night on my way home."

He's so weird!

Honestly, the station is really cool. They have these state of the art pumps (with a separate pump for each grade of gas). And the little island where the squeegees are has pumps of hand sanitizer, plastic mitts (in case you REALLY don't want to touch the pump?), and some kind of wipes. Hand sanitizer seems like a total no-brainer. I think that's pretty good customer service. I wonder why more places haven't installed anything like that.

26 November, 2006

One Week

One week from today, we'll be reenacting this scene:

I think that glorious thought calls for a countdown ticker. Don't you??

25 November, 2006

Extended Family

I know that I have some family members out there who read my blog. I don't know how regularly they are here, but every now and then I'll be somewhere and mention something about my life and I'll hear, "oh yeah, I read that in your blog."

Somehow this makes me paranoid. I really don't care if completely random strangers know if I'm not happy with a family member, but gossip travels rather quickly in my family and I know that saying anything like I'm about to say is ultimately going to get me in trouble. Eff it. If you can't be honest with your family, who can you be honest with? And so I'm going to rant:

If I have not heard from you in the past five years, it is not appropriate for you to call me and leave a voicemail asking for free or cheap theme park tickets. If I have e-mailed you, and it took you three months to write back ("oh and by the way, we're coming to town! can you help us out?"), you are going to get nothing from me. If you call me and leave a message and I don't call you back, TRY AGAIN. Don't have your mommy e-mail me and ask me to play nice.

I have mentioned
before that I feel like the black sheep of my family. I flat-out refuse to have my cog in the extended family wheel be the one that's ignored until someone wants to go on vacation. Send me a damn Christmas card. Drop me an e-mail every six months. At least pretend that you didn't have to ask someone else how to get in touch with me so that you could solicit something from me.

And thus endeth the rant. Obviously my feelings have been a little hurt and that's something I'm going to have to deal with. But I know this too shall pass.

24 November, 2006

5-Star Thanksgiving

One word to describe the first half of my work day: SUCKED. If I had more of a word allowance, I might add a few more: sucked hairy monkey balls. Despite the fact that I was there to hold her hand through half of Wednesday, our part-timer seems to be leaving more and more work for me to clean up on Thursdays. I don't know if things are really as hectic as she says, or if she's just taking advantage because she knows I'll clean up the mess.

Of course, once I got that mess cleaned up and I realized that I wasn't going to be making any phone calls, the day fell into a comfortable rhythm - busy, hectic, but full of good cheer and happy people. And I wore a skirt. People seem to think I look good as a girl. Don't get me wrong - skirts are too much of a pain to do on a regular basis, and I fully intend to wear khakis tomorrow - but maybe I'll wear a skirt again for Christmas.

And in case you were wondering what they serve at a froo-froo restaurant on Thanksgiving, how does Roulade of Sonoma Turkey with Foie Gras-Cornbread Stuffing and Sweet Potato Purée sound? Well, it was one of the best dinners I've ever had. And I brought half the turkey and stuffing and most of the haricot verts (ok, green beans) home for Scott. Sadly for him, I licked the plate clean of the sweet potatoes and the fresh cranberry sauce.

I sent an e-mail to some of my old work friends this afternoon, wishing them a happy Thanksgiving and hoping they were all fat and happy (except for John, who is still a little anorexic - I wished a pumpkin-flavored rice cake). John sent back such a funny reply I just had to share it:

Thank you for the sentiment. I despise pumpkin, though. It's a squash. Squash is not an acceptable component of any dessert. We don't eat broccoli cake nor do we eat green bean pudding, so whose bright idea was it to turn a squash into a pie?

On top of that…Thanksgiving is too close to Halloween, but not nearly far enough away, for me to be wholly convinced that the same nasty pumpkin that we gutted in mid-October and let rot on the front porch with a candle inside didn't end up on a crust with some allspice.

He's got a point. I hate it when he does that!

23 November, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving anyone out there who wasn't eating turkey at my house on Tuesday. Not that you *can't* or *shouldn't* have a happy Thanksgiving... But it's really just another work day here in the ParkHopper household. (is it wrong that I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a hand-out at work today??) At least Scott's area is having a potluck! Anyway, it's time for me to scrounge for leftovers to take to work.

Maybe next year I'll use a picture other than this emu for my Thanksgiving entry. Probably not... I do love it so!

22 November, 2006

Mornings Are Evil

I have officially worked afternoon shifts for too long. I worked 9-5 today and have been falling asleep on the couch since around 6:30. And so here I am, trying to toothpick my eyelids open just to stay awake for Top Chef.

Hmm...Top Chef or 12 hours of sleep? I like sleep...

21 November, 2006

Please Pass the Tums

It's all over... except for the leftovers.

What's truly great about the amount of food in the fridge is that we sent everyone home with extra food. AND we pawned off some other leftovers on Mom and Michael. And I snagged some of Janette's sweet potatoes. I think that'll be breakfast tomorrow. Since Scott and I are both working, we're going to carpool. I'm setting my own hours - I only wish that his hours weren't quite so early. At least we'll be home in time for dinner.

And for anyone who might be wondering what I'll be doing two weeks from today, I'll be eating burgers at Cookie's Barbeque.

20 November, 2006

Adventures in Pie Making

3:15 - finally get started no-baking pies after morning out with Scott, stop at Publix (**shudder**), and crazy drive surrounded by rock trucks

3:35 - finished coring, peeling, and "finely chopping" 1 1/2 apples (recipe calls for 1, but I "cored" an awful lot out), rinse cranberries, pop one into mouth only to find out that cranberries are the most sour food EVER!

3:37 - mix apples, cranberries, and other ingredients in saucepan, wait anxiously for boil (because immediately after the boil I have to turn down to simmer or else!)

3:40 - let cats out on balcony to enjoy beautiful fall weather

3:43 - Milo cries to be let in, so I let him in.

3:44 - Milo cries to be let back out, so I open the door and he looks up at me as if to say, "are you CRAZY? it's cold out there!" Kilo, with his orca-like insulation, remains on the balcony.

3:53 - add entire "optional" tablespoon of sugar to cran-apple recipe, realizing that cranberries have NO place in civilized desserts. remove fruit from stovetop to cool.

Start pie #2

3:55 - realize cool whip for pie #2 was supposed to be thawed. go watch last night's Desperate Housewives, come back later!

Start pie #2 again!

5:20 - start whisking cream cheese, milk, and sugar for bottom layer of pumpkin pie, realize that perhaps the fridge-temperature of our apartment wasn't warm enough to soften said cream cheese

5:30 - marvel that the lead story on the 5:30 newscast was the mouse infestation of Apopka. that's right - there's officially no news tonight in Orlando!

5:38 - give up on "silky smooth" texture for pie bottom, decide that cottage cheese is close enough.

5:45 - finish goo for second layer of pumpkin pie, dump on top and smooth

5:47 - get creative and decide to plop the leftover white goo in the middle of the pie, like a delicate cloud of whipped cream in a sky of pumpkin

5:48 - realize "delicate cloud" looks more like a plop of cottage cheese

5:50 - pour cooled fruit mixture (I tasted it - it tastes like apple pie!) on top of bottom layer, which is made of plain yogurt, sour cream, sugar, vanilla extract, and lemon extract (and tastes just like vanilla yogurt!).

5:55 - take picture of pie triumph

6:00 - blog

Still to Come Tonight:

I promised Scott I would make the cornbread for his cornbread dressing (which we "Yankees" would call stuffing). The benefit for me is that I get to turn the oven on. My hands may warm up a little during the baking process!

I need to clean the cat box. Fa la la.

I should clean up the crap all over the apartment. Need to find some empty boxes to stow stuff for 24 hours...

I can almost smell the turkey!

19 November, 2006


Scalzi's Weekend Assignment: It's time for Thanksgiving dinner! Which do you prefer -- white meat, or dark meat? Explain your answer. Because it seems that most people have a preference one way or another, and sometimes they can get testy about it.

I believe that each meat has its strengths. On Thanksgiving day, I like pretty slices of white meat on my plate. Of course, I'm not sure if any single piece of turkey ever makes it into my mouth without at least one of the following dolloped on top: mashed potato, sweet potato or cranberry sauce.

For sandwiches, casseroles, and all that jazz, I prefer the little chunks of dark meat. They are also the best ones for reaching in the fridge and shoving in your mouth when no one is looking. :o)

And lucky me - I get to enjoy this feast two days earlier than the rest of the world. Gotta love the hospitality industry!

Extra credit: Being Thanksgiving, note one thing you've been thankful for in 2006.

I'm thankful that Scott and I are FINALLY able to go on vacation on our honeymoon... three years late. The year we got married, we were broke from moving and paying for a party for everyone we knew. The next year, I had a $700 hospital bill to contend with. The next year, my car had a $1500 breakdown. Now we get to sail away into the sunset together. (this doesn't mean I'm not thankful for our health, or the love of our families, or any of that stuff. I figured I'd stray from the standard cliche answers)

18 November, 2006

No-Baking for the Holidays

Somehow our guest list for Thanksgiving on Tuesday is now sitting at an amazing SEVEN. Last year, it was just me and Scott in our own little food orgy. Now we'll be surrounded by family. That's great, in a non-traditional sitting-around-the-living-room-floor sort of way.

My original plan was to make the no-bake (because have YOU ever tried to get near the oven on Thanksgiving?) pumpkin cheesecake I made last year. It was oh-so-tasty, and Scott and I have been jonesing for one since about September. With seven people, you need more than one pie though, especially when the pie is so tasty. And I figured it wouldn't be proper to have two of the same pie. So I did an AOL search for "no bake pie" and came up with a gajillion recipes. Blueberry? nah. Pumpkin? got that covered. Cranberry Apple? hey... now we're talking!

Unlike the pumpkin pie, which requires no more culinary skill than "measure, stir, dump, chill, slice," this pie requires a little chopping, some boiling, and some adding sugar "to taste." (mmm... I wish to taste a lot of sugar!) I feel that I am up to the task, and am sending Scott to the store for the ingredients.

I think Pie Day will be Monday, although my schedule keeps getting tighter and tighter. Wish me luck!

Sucking Slightly Less

This picture has nothing to do with anything. I just wanted to throw it out there for all the world to see. And to remind me how nice it was to be on vacation.

The dentist (who, by the way, I still love, despite the fact that he was wearing Florida Gators scrubs today) says I might have a sinus infection pressing on the nerve of my tooth that's still "riled up" from what he did to it last month. Or there might be a little infection in the tooth causing the pain. So he gave me a prescription for a week's worth of amoxicillin (yogurt... must remember to buy more yogurt...), and a new pain prescription.

The sad thing about Hydrocodone - you can't take it at work. But there's always Motrin for the day time.

Work was a little better too. I still haven't made any confirmation calls this week, but I only have seven saved voicemails left from my days off, and have dealt with all of the calls that came in during my shift.

On the bright side, we (yes, we - although I only got to ask one question) interviewed one lady for the open part-time position on Thursday, and I think the boss has another interview on Tuesday. The one that I got to speak to was nice, professional, and didn't have that vacant look accompanied by a string of drool that NG always had. I'm a big fan. I guess it's unrealistic to expect to have someone hired and trained in time to help with the holiday crush (it's already started), but my hope is to have someone hired by the beginning of the year. I might even ask to go back to a five-day week. I love having a 3-day weekend, but the OT days I have been working are really starting to take a toll.

So it occurs to me that this pain pill I took before I started this entry may have kicked in. I've been writing paragraph upon paragraph in my mind, but none of it has come out onto the computer screen. I guess that means it's time for bed. Sorry I couldn't wait up for you, honey. I'm a little stoned!

17 November, 2006

Reality Sucks

Yes, it's true. Work on Thursdays is always a little rough because I have to clean up the messes created on my days off. They were nice enough to save me 20-30 voicemails, they failed to call to confirm a reservation for a party of six that ended up having two vegans in it (our chefs can prepare an awesome vegan meal, including dessert, with a day's notice. these people got a fruit plate for dessert).

To top it all off, I haven't mentioned it before, but one side of my mouth has been giving me trouble for about two weeks. In that time, I've been popping ibuprofen like it's candy. And of course, this has started making an impact on my stomach. So I called the dentist yesterday and set up an appointment for this morning at 9:30. I'm hoping that it's the nerve on the one top tooth that I got worked on before that's somehow getting rubbed and is sending pain messages to the bottom jaw. And even if it is, I doubt this is going to be a pleasant trip. He's going to shoot my mouth with that damn cold air and it's probably going to make me cry.

...and then I get to set off on another fun-filled day at the office.

16 November, 2006


As I previously mentioned, Scott found a new favorite beverage while we were down at the beach - the mojito.

Personally, I didn't see the charm. It's just rum, simple syrup, mint leaves, and a little fizzy water. I prefer my alcohol fruit-based.

...although I guarantee that in 5 hours or less I'll be sitting at my desk wishing that I could get my hands on a mojito, or anything else to take the sting out of the first day back to work.

15 November, 2006


It is with deep regret that Mr. and Mrs. ParkHopper announce that they have returned from their mini vacation. What did we do?

  • We sat out on our balcony and watched the waves (see above)
  • We napped, listening to the waves
  • We walked on the beach, occasionally getting our feet wet in the waves
  • We read books, listening to the waves
  • We slept with the balcony door open, lulled to sleep by the sound of the waves
  • We realized that each of us thought the other had fed the cats (they're fine... and they were oh so very glad to see us!)
  • We played a 9-hole round of mini golf (both of us were over par! sheesh!)
  • We ate... lots
  • We filled a bag with seashells
  • We went in the jacuzzi
  • Scott discovered the Mojito

    What we didn't do:
  • We didn't leave resort property
  • We didn't do anything work-related
  • We didn't swim (ocean temp. was 72. it felt nice on the feet, but I wouldn't have wanted to stick my whole body in it!)

    The resort was absolutely beautiful. And as you may have already guessed, we pretty much spent our time 90% relaxing, 10% doing other stuff. Maybe 10% is too high an estimate! I guess I can understand how people are willing to live on the coast, despite the risk of hurricanes. It's pretty spectacular.

  • 14 November, 2006

    Life's a Beach!

    I'm at the beach. Of course, it's November, so it's not really a traditional "beach" vacation. The important thing is that I'M the tourist. I'M the one asking stupid questions. And I'm NOT the one catering to some dumb tourist's every whim.

    Try not to miss me too much. I'll be back tomorrow.

    13 November, 2006

    All My Bags Are Packed...

    I hope I packed enough!

    Milo is in charge until we get back.

    No wild kitty parties,
    No peeing on the carpet,
    No sneaking into the bedroom and eating ZoePig.

    ...and while it looks like the weather isn't too favorable for swimsuits, I might actually get to wear my green suede jacket.

    12 November, 2006

    That's What I Get...

    I dreamed last night that I had my stomach pumped. I hadn't been poisoned or anything - I had just eaten too much and I asked to have it done. I figure this is my subconscious reaching out and slapping me to say either

    a) beware Thanksgiving, or

    b) no more Taco Bell at 11pm.

    I think I'm going with b.

    11 November, 2006

    Winner, Party of 2

    Scott and I had quite a week in the world of silly contests. I won a copy of the Desperate Housewives PC game (I can't wait to sleep with John the hot gardener! What? That's not the point of the game? Darn!). And Scott won a $5 gift card from Kohl's.

    In other news, I'm on the downward slope of my whopping 5-day work week. This is great, because we're going to wake up Monday, pack our bathing suits and my bottle of champagne, and drive off into the sunset. Hmm...we're going east...I guess that means we'll be driving off into the sunrise. And since we'll be travelling in the middle of the day, let's just say "driving off away from here!" And of course, it's November. The bathing suits are more of a symbolic gesture.

    10 November, 2006

    Childrens Books

    From Scalzi's Weekend Assignment: share your favorite book from when you were a child, say, when you were eight or ten years old.

    The Dollhouse Murders, by Betty Ren Wright, changed my life. It's just a silly kiddie-horror book about a dollhouse that helps solve an old murder (or something like that...), but it's the book that forever made me a reader.

    I picked up this book from the library cart in third grade*. Before that, I'd get the picture book about horses or the the thinnest book I could find on another topic. Reading just wasn't my bag, baby!

    About 2/3 of the way through the book, I vividly remember running into the kitchen and grabbing my mom's hand and making her feel my heart - it was pounding out of my chest! Who knew reading could be like this??? From that moment on, I tore through all varieties of "kid lit" - Sweet Valley High, R.L. Stine, and so on. I had become a reader. And I still am to this day.

    So while I can't say this was the best book I've ever read, it will always be a childhood favorite.

    *the school was under construction and there was no library. Instead, the librarian came around with a cart, much like prison.

    09 November, 2006


    Let it be known that I love my cat. I tolerate most cats, but I have a special bond with this kitty. That being said, I think cats are the strangest creatures on earth. I mean, if I slept in this position, do you know how many aches and pains I'd wake up with in the morning?

    08 November, 2006

    Election Night

    I love election night. I love attempting to watch TV and finally giving up and watching the results scroll across the bottom of the screen. I love that somehow the TV news people are able to project winners with just 1% of the precincts reporting. I also loved the hour-long "Midterm Midtacular" on Comedy Central. It was a beautiful night of television.

    And on this particular "morning after," I love that we are back to having a two-party government. We can now get back to appropriate checks & balances. It will be interesting to see what ends up happening in the Senate in the days to come. I smell recounts!

    Locally, my choice for Governor got his tush handed to him. My Senator won (duh!), and I split the rest pretty evenly. All six of the state Constitution amendments passed, which is half disappointing. I'm glad, though, that the amendment to change the majority needed to pass future amendments passed (albeit with a majority that wouldn't pass with the new restriction!).

    This will probably be my last politics/election post of the year, unless something crazy happens. We now return to stupid pictures of my cats, already in progress.

    07 November, 2006

    Caption the Cat - Democracy Edition

    As always, please leave a caption for Milo in the comments.

    This picture, by the way, was a bit of a moral victory for me. Scott said he didn't think the cat would sit for a picture with a sticker stuck to him. He sat for four. I also got him to jump up on my lap to take the picture. Who'sAGoodBoy??? And yes, I had to add the text back onto the sticker - the flash totally washed it out. But the actual sticker was affixed to the cat.

    Today was particularly full for a Tuesday. We got up at the butt-crack of dawn for our 8:30 eye doctor appointments, stopped at Cracker Barrel for breakfast (service was slow... and Al Sharpton hasn't yet returned our call), VOTED, played a round of mini golf at Winter Summerland (I lost by 2 because I choked on holes 16 & 17), and went grocery shopping.

    Our polling place is the fire station. I had to stand in a line three-deep (behind my husband - damn that same last name - and an amazon woman who looked like she could snap us both in half) to sign the register, but then got to go right to the voting machine. I really wish those touch-screen things spit out some kind of paper receipt. Maybe then I'd trust it a little bit more.

    It turns out that Scott and I voted the same for Senate, a few of the local and state offices, and five of the six amendments. That means we didn't cancel each other out and my vote actually counted. Somehow that just tickles me.

    I hope everyone else out there went out and voted... especially the Democrats. And I CAN'T WAIT for the special live hour-long Daily Show/Colbert Report tonight. woot!

    06 November, 2006


    This week, Scalzi's Monday Photo Shoot was a little perplexing: Take a picture of something that relates to your name. It can be your first name, or your last name, or of your middle name (we're not picky). Even nicknames work. And since this is AOL, if you want you may use your screenname as well. Basically, if a name relates to you, let's see a picture of a representation.

    I decided to go with my AOL screen name. Why? Well, I'm not in the habit of broadcasting my last name or my maiden name. And what am I going to take a picture of that says "Jamie," besides a picture of myself?

    And so I present my graphic representation of Jamie24601. Of course, the "Jamie" part is me. The 24601 is a reference to the prisoner number assigned to Jean Valjean in Victor Hugo's Les Miserables. I suppose I could have taken a picture of me with the book, but the CD case was much more convenient (and lighter)!

    I made up this screen name during my last semester of college. I was in a funk (ok, deep depression) and felt as though I was being unjustly persecuted by the world surrounding me. So I adopted a name that was a subtle slap in the face to everyone who was ticking me off. So subtle, in fact, that in the years that I have had this address, less than five people have ever gotten the reference... or at least commented on it to me. Sometimes people assume that 24601 is my zip code (sorry, I don't live in Amonate, VA). And my Aunt Rose once referred to me as "Jamie90210."

    I got my first Les Mis tape when I was in the 8th grade, and it is still one of my favorite soundtracks. I saw the show once in Philly and was incredibly disappointed. And I saw the movie that came out a few years back. They took some creative license at the end and Valjean lived and walked away into the sunset. I almost gave up on Hollywood after that! The novel, in all its unabridged glory, took me two years on and off to finish. It was well worth it though, and I'm so glad that I own it.

    By the way, this picture also answers the question of what my hair would look like the next day, with no special hair product or anything. Slightly scary, I know, but it was quite nice to spend all of three minutes blow drying it this morning!

    Oh No!

    I guess it's a good thing we went to Gatorland when we did!
    A massive fire at one of Central Florida's oldest attractions, Gatorland, engulfed the park's gift shop and damaged other surrounding offices and structures, including the well-known alligator mouth entrance Monday, according to Local 6 News.

    (photo and text courtesy of

    This picture is the best I've seen. That, of course, is the giant gator mouth you have to walk through to get into the gift shop. Well, had to walk through...

    They say that the only animals killed were the creepy-crawlies they kept in the gift shop. And the firefighters did a great job keeping the fire from spreading down the old wood boardwalk through the primary gator enclosure.

    As much as I thought Gatorland was a cheesy little roadside attraction, it was something I enjoyed. I hope they're able to rebuild and reopen.

    05 November, 2006

    Yep...It's Gone...

    And there you have it, folks. Me, minus ten inches of hair. It turns out I had enough hair left that I *could* have gotten a bob, but I had already steeled myself for a bad haircut so I decided to get one anyway.

    As you might be able to tell, the picture of the front of me was taken in the salon, all fresh and bouncy with "product" in my hair. I took the picture of the back when I got home, after Beth and I putzed around the Magic Kingdom for a while. The back looked so cute - all flippy and fun - when I first got it done, but my hair holds no style. It just flat-out (har har) refuses to do anything but straight.

    I don't hate it, but I certainly don't love it. On a scale of 1-10, I'm sitting comfortably at a 4. It'll be interesting to see how I feel about it tomorrow when I actually have to attempt to style it myself.

    One Month!

    ...and where will YOU be one month from today?

    04 November, 2006

    Hair Today...

    ...Gone Tomorrow!

    It's official - Beth and I are going to get our hair chopped tomorrow. (yes, tomorrow. I have wonky days off this week due to a trade with a co-worker) I've already steadied myself emotionally for the inevitable bad haircut. It's only hair, and of course it'll grow back. And it'll be nice to have a 5-minute blow-dry in the morning. And my shampoo/condititioner usage will be cut in half. And Locks of Love is a worthy cause deserving of 10" of my hair... much more worthy than the bathroom drain!

    So here's my hair on it's last day of longness, complete with red line approximating how much I'm going to lose. **gulp**