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**

    03 November, 2006

    More on Voting

    (or "Moron Voting," depending on how you look at it)

    Today I spent a half hour with the 2006 Voter Guide to Proposed Constitutional Amendments. There are 8 proposed amendments to Florida's constitution. Of those, two have already been removed, leaving me six to decide on.

    I read the amendments when I got my sample ballot in the mail, and the verbiage left me bored and drooling in 3 seconds flat. So I was glad to see that the Voter Guide not only has the complete amendment, it also has a "what it means" section as well as pro's and con's. It helped. So here's how I'm voting:

    #1: State Planning and Budget Process: Long-range budget planning is a good thing. YES!

    #3: Requiring Broader Public Support for Constitutional Amendments or Revisions:
    "Florida's Constitution is the easiest to amend in our nation. In recent years, ballot initiatives have become a vehicle for well-financed special interest groups to protect their interests via the state’s most sacred document." I think that 60% of the voters is perfectly acceptable. YES!

    #4: Protect People, Especially Youth from Addiction, Disease, and Other Health Hazards of Using Tobacco: Smoking is bad, but taking $57 million out of the budget away from real education and roads hardly seems worth it. NO!

    #6: Increased Homestead Exemption: I refuse to support any amendment geared toward the elderly. I am a middle class resident who can't afford to buy a house, and you want me to shell out money so that a low income senior can stay in theirs? Let them move into an apartment. NO! (of course, this one will probably pass because the state is so overrun with retirees)

    #7: Permanently Disabled Veterans' Discount on Homestead Ad Valorem Tax: On the surface, this seems like an amendment I would support 100%: "This is a chance to give thanks to veterans who were wounded in combat serving our country..." But then it gets ugly: "...partially or totally permanently disabled veteran who is age 65 or older who was a Florida resident at the time of entering military service..." How can I support a measure that discriminates against the kids who are coming home now missing limbs? NO!

    #8: Eminent Domain: This one basically stops the government from snatching up your land and then turning right around and making a profit on it. Sounds good to me. YES!

    I have my sample ballot all filled out and ready to go. I can't wait to go get outvoted by the old conservative republicans next week!

    People in Glass Houses...

    ...shouldn't pay for gay sex.

    I'm wishing my husband the Bible scholar was home so I could find out where "judge not, lest ye be judged" came from. That's from the Bible, right?

    Anyway, Scalzi said it all better than I could have.

    I only wonder how people who are so grossly hypocritical can stand to look at themselves in the mirror. It simultaneously makes me weep for humanity... and want to giggle a little at the expense of the religious right.

    Rocking the Vote

    Scalzi's Weekend Assignment asks us to... Recount the first time you voted in a local, state or national election. For this, primary voting counts, too. If you want to share who you voted for and whether they won, that's cool, but if you feel like you want to keep your political affiliation unstated, that's fine too.

    Amazingly enough for someone who was involved in journalism in high school, and then student government in college, I was completely uninterested in voting in the "real world."

    In 1996, I was probably in the less than 1% of the Penn State population that was too young to vote. Everyone around me was able to get out and vote and get their sticker, but I, wee lass of 17, wasn't eligible. I felt like I had been left behind by the rest of the country.

    In 2000, I just didn't care. I had been an "adult" in the workforce for all of 6 months. My legal address was with my mom, a half-hour drive from the place I actually lived with my dad, and I didn't even have a car to get to the polls. Vote? How? I wasn't even registered!

    (of course, when I got my Florida driver's license, I told the lady at the DMV that I wanted to register Democrat. Imagine my surprise when my Republican card arrived in the mail. gah!)

    And then came those dark days following the 2000 election when I stared at the TV and kept thinking, "I've missed the ONE opportunity in my life where my vote would have actually counted."

    Never again!

    The first time I voted was in the 2004 primaries. I couldn't tell you who I voted for. But the "I voted" sticker is still on the computer monitor. I also voted for "the guy who isn't George Bush" in the 2004 Presidential election. It seems my ability to pick the winners is pretty bad. John Edwards didn't get to be the Democratic candidate (although that was decided before our Primary). John Kerry didn't get to be president. And I'm pretty sure my picks for Water Board and School Board lost too. But it didn't matter. I said "this is a democracy - I have to take part." And I did. I stood in line at the fire station and I made my choices.

    Extra Credit: Are you voting next Tuesday? Hell yes I'm voting! And this time, though I doubt my choice will become Governor, I'm content to be part of the people uniting against sending Katharine Harris to the U.S. Senate.

    02 November, 2006

    Adoption Awareness

    November, in addition to being NaBloPoMO, is also National Adoption Awareness Month.

    I am very aware of adoption. I've got six(?) cousins who were adopted and an adopted baby sister. And I'm reminded every day because three of the blogs on my sidebar are by adoptive/adopting parents:

    Laura at Adventures in Juggling has four daughters by birth and an adopted son. She's had Daniel since he was a tiny baby, and he's now almost five.

    Karen at the Naked Ovary became a mom a few months ago when she flew to China to meet her daughter.

    And Erin at Jesus Was Not a Republican is in the process of adopting an infant from Guatemala.

    01 November, 2006

    Happy November!

    I learned today that November is National Blog Post Month, or NaBloPoMo. Of course I signed up. I blog almost every day anyway. Although there's a reason I don't blog every day. Sometimes I just run out of things to say. Look for a random picture or other stupidity on those days.

    Plus, I'm going on vacation to Vero Beach (two nights in an oceanview room for about $150 - it's like a warm-up for our "real" vacation in December) in a couple weeks. So I guess I'll have to pre-post some entries, since I don't have a laptop to bring along.

    Today we have to go all the way out to the Florida Mall area to get this stupid insurance inspection done for my car. Geico, by the way, is not my favorite company anymore. They may have saved me a bunch of money, but the aggravation of filling out my life story in triplicate may actually have been worth more than the money I saved! We're going to hit the mall to find new work shoes for both of us, and I want to swing through the department stores to check out the clearance racks. My favorite black dress pants recently tore right up the butt and I need a replacement pair. And then we have to go grocery shopping too.

    Sounds like fun, doesn't it? Gah!