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31 December, 2007

100 Miles To Go

In 100 miles (some time this week), my car will be 77,777. And I'll probably miss it. On the bright side, I managed to take this picture today. And for the record, this picture was taken on a stretch of 192 where the speed limit is 45. Gotta love holiday tourist traffic!
Oh - and the thing about this picture that disturbs Scott? Apparently I've only gone 7,000 miles in my car since last December. How does that happen? He drives everywhere we go together.

2007 in Non Sequitor

I had a lot of fun with this last year, and decided it was worth a few minutes to do again in '07.

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, 2007 in Non Sequitor:

So... umm... I was trying to come up with this great post topic, because it's the first one of the year and might be a sign of things to come, but then I realized that I was putting pressure on myself for no reason. I flipped over the calendar this morning and was greeted by four medical appointments and a jury duty. Can you believe it?

I promised my mom I'd put something up here before bed. Well, I had my excitement for the month last night. A big shout-out to Matthew and Kristen who
felt compelled to go down to Key West this week and come back engaged!

Does anybody know what today is? Well, July seems to have come and gone before I had a chance to wallow in the 100% humidity! It's September!

When I'm sad, or when I'm sick, he knows just what to say (nothing) and just what to do (just be with me). Yesterday I went to work at 10 am - which means that after finally falling asleep at 6:30 I got a whopping 1.5 hours of sleep... Here's my little helper monkey... erm kitty... licking stamps.


It seems to me that I spent a lot of time this year being surprised what month it was. Also, the Milo Worship might be a tad out of hand. Oh well - that's me!

30 December, 2007

Circus Interruptus

I had a half hour today filled with absolute glee. I finally got Scott to agree to go to the circus with me when it comes to town next month. I checked the dates on the calendar, and we decided to try to get a group together to go on Tuesday the 13th. I called Cat on my way to work and she was on board. I was all set to send an e-mail to the masses. So I checked the site one more time to find out ticket prices and that's when I realized that January 13 is actually a Sunday. Apparently I was looking at the tiny November calendar instead of the tiny January calendar right in the corner of my full-size December calendar.

...and we don't have any days off during the run of the show. So no circus for me.

28 December, 2007

So Long... Farewell...

Scalzi's Monday Photo Shoot this week should have been simple:

Your Final Photo Shoot: Wave goodbye! Because all good things must come to an end, but I think we can leave on a high note.

Of course, I decided Milo should say goodbye, since he just loves to be exploited! So I set out to make the little monster "wave." Using a fake palm frond as a lure, I taunted him with it until he'd swat at it.

Obviously, I need to work on my framing and my timing... but it sure was a fun little project.

Well John, it's been a pleasure playing along with the Photo Shoots and the Weekend Assignments. And I'm sure Milo has enjoyed the ones he has participated in as well!






Milo 360


Scott gets: State-of-the-art video game system
Milo gets: The perfect sleeping box (albeit with all sorts of packaging still inside)
Jamie gets: Blog fodder.
Everyone wins!

27 December, 2007

Back to Work

Yesterday I finally achieved the golden dream: sleeping in past 9 am. I can't remember all the reasons why, but I know I didn't get to sleep in at all last weekend. And then this week, Monday I went to work and Tuesday I got up to make cookies for breakfast (it was Christmas - normal rules of consumption do not apply). And then Tuesday night I did a shot of Nyquil. And woke up at 11:30 Wednesday morning.

...and then I pretty much did nothing for the rest of the day. I laid in bed with the heating pad alternately over my uterus and under my back. I played on the computer. And I did 3 loads of laundry and unloaded the dishwasher. OK, that's something.

At any rate, I woke up this morning feeling so peaceful and well-rested that it's almost like I had a whole week off. Scott is still sick, and I can feel myself coming down with it. But for this one particular moment in time, I feel good.

**knock wood**

25 December, 2007

Full Circle

other appropriate titles for this post include:

  • A December 25 Post that has Nothing to Do with Christmas
  • Why Scott and Jamie Should Be Banned from IKEA
  • Matching Your Shower Curtain to Your Listerine is COOL
You know with all of those titles, I think I covered most of the story. But here goes anyway...

During our anniversary weekend, I finally let Scott peer pressure me into checking out the new IKEA store in Orlando. We went and test-drove couches and chairs, checked out book shelves, and ended up buying way more than we had any business buying. We bought two little white shelves ($5 each... plus the cost of screws... plus then we had to get a drill at Wal Mart), two bread & butter plates to replace ones that we have broken (though I opted for pink this time. life's too short to have matching dishes!), a pack of different colored chopsticks, and we bought this curtain set in orange.


Why curtains? Well, they actually had them on display in the showroom as a shower curtain. They have a bit of an iridescent quality, and our Nemo curtain has seen better days. We were going to get blue, but then the orange was calling out to me. So we figured the orange would match the Nemo bathroom accessories and my current pouf. Why not?


And then the curtains sat in the bedroom for 3 weeks. They had to be "hemmed" with an iron and magic tape (which they provided - I'm not MacGuyvering this!), and we also had to buy a second shower curtain rod because they have tabs on the back that wouldn't have worked with the plastic rings. Yes, now we have two curtain rods on the shower. So?
I finally got around to hanging them tonight, and I'm pretty happy with the result. It's bright. Like morning threw up in there.

It also gives me major flashbacks to the room I grew up in. Apparently orange is my signature color. Who knew? So here's the picture - taken in the mirror because that seemed to be the way to get the most bathroom in there at once. We need to get a less-clear curtain liner, but that's an easy fix. And for now, it'll do. I'm just going to have to shower with my sunglasses on!

24 December, 2007

Christmas Eve

Today was a good day for me.

(Scott is coming down with his first big cold of the season, and is at work, and is therefore miserable. But since he's not home yet, I'm taking this opportunity to bask in my own holiday joy)

I got up a minute before my alarm clock and was out the door by 10 am. My goal was to be at work by 10, but I didn't set the alarm earlier than 9, so I was pretty sure that wasn't going to happen. I stopped at Chick Fil A for breakfast (and yes, there is a third cup holder in the car for my giant un-sweet tea), and rolled in to work by 11.

Work wasn't quite as productive as I'd hoped. Actually, I got a lot done - just not the things I wanted to get done. Who calls a restaurant on Christmas Eve to buy a gift certificate? I have three names for you! ...but I won't share them.

I got a lot of very cool gifts from the folks I work with this year - home-made cookies and chocolates, LOTS of candy, a gift basket of random yummies, a few gift cards (Target, AMC, or Best Buy, anyone?), and I got the most random and fascinating gifts from one of our servers.

His brother is a famous writer/director who has a new movie coming out soon. And I got a promo t-shirt from the new movie and an autographed comic book of said movie. Yes - autographed! This particular writer/director has die-hard fans. I know a lot of them. And I feel like I am unworthy to possess these items. I haven't even seen the films that made him a cult legend (though I have seen and loved 2 of his more recent movies). Needless to say, as soon as I got to my car I called Scott, who was duly impressed, and Cat, who agreed that I was completely unworthy.

Speaking of Cat, we got together tonight to have some wine, torture some hapless souls in the hospitality industry who had to work so we wouldn't have to cook, and exchange gifts. But not in that order. She got me an electronic game, but we couldn't play because it needed AAA batteries. I didn't know anything took AAA's anymore! So we went to Logan's Roadhouse and had fried mushrooms with horseradish dipping sauce (wow - I never got a horseradish headache before! yum!) and big fat steaks. OK, little steaks. But they sure were tasty! And then we came back here and reminisced fondly about the year we lived together. (yeah - we gloss over the bad parts... life's too short to dwell on the negative)

So yeah, I'm all aglow with yule. Or chardonnay. Either way, I'm sure I'll be back (with pictures!) tomorrow after Scott leaves for work. I hope that anyone who reads this between now and then is having a fabulous holiday filled with good friends and cheer... or at least a good glass of chardonnay!

Happy Christmas Eve!

Dispatches from the Camera Phone

Two completely separate photos. The only thing tying them together is that they were taken from the phone:



This is my desk. With four open bottles of wine. Sadly, none are mine - they rarely let me drink on the job! We had some finicky diners last night who only wanted sweet German and Italian wines, so the server brought me the bottles so that I could put the wines on their menus. These same half-full bottles were still sitting on my desk this morning. Hopefully they'll be gone by the time I get back on Thursday!



And this picture was taken on the way to work today. This is the inside of my car - with two potted plants in the cup holders. Though it's a nice look, it's not a permanent arrangement. I bought the Chefs, Managers, and the other reservation girls random cacti for Christmas. The Chefs got the aloe, the girls got the little mini cacti, and the Managers got little gardens (3 different plants in a short wide-mouth terra cotta pot). Since the other girls all gave out chocolate in some form, I figured I'd be different. Anyway, I have been taking the plants in a few at a time (still have 2 at home for the girls who are off until January) and these two got a ride in the cup holders.

(and yes, that IS a PEZ dispenser. it's Remy from "Ratatouille" for our head chef. because I'm cool like that!)

23 December, 2007

Driving Tired

I got the following in a Florida DOT newsletter today:

Don't drive tired.
Safe driving requires sharp focus, good judgment and quick reactions. But, those skills are in short supply when you drive while sleepy.

Most drivers admit to being tired at the wheel at least once in the past year. And, at least 100,000 crashes annually are caused by driver fatigue.

When you drive while tired, it can lead to a number of problems.

I'm particularly amused by the "at least once in the past year" part.  I admit to being tired at the wheel at least once in the past day!  Don't get me wrong - I don't think I've ever actually nodded off at the wheel.  But I've had those drive-with-the-windows-down-and-the-stereo-loud nights.  Who hasn't?

The Tree

Obviously this tree is much denser than the old fake tree. How can I tell? We had to buy new balls to hang, and the tree still looks pretty barren! (and yes, the bottom portion is devoid of kitty-tempting dangling ornaments on purpose)


And in case you were wondering, that's Bright House's "Yule Log on Demand" on the TV. The music was terrible, but I needed some non-commercial background noise while putting up the last of the ornaments.

22 December, 2007

Christmas Survey

I haven't done a survey on this blog in forever (since the formation of the now-defunct "Quiz Central" blog), but hey - it's Christmas! And the bonus is I can copy & paste this right into a MySpace bulletin... because everyone loves a MySpace survey!
(via Adventures in Juggling)

Favorite traditional Christmas song: “O Holy Night”
Favorite contemporary Christmas song: "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus"
Least favorite Christmas song: "Last Christmas..."
Christmas song that makes you cry: “I'll Be Home for Christmas”
Real or artificial tree: fake...and pre-lit this year!
Favorite Christmas edible treat: cookies! lots and lots of home-baked cookies!
White lights or multi-colored: white this year
How many Christmas parties will you go to this year: zero?
Favorite act of kindness to perform during this season: hmm... kindness? I got nothing!
Favorite sounds of Christmas: the occasional bell choir performing in the lobby of The Hotel
Favorite things to wear: well, given that it's Florida, I'll go with flip-flops and jeans
Favorite Christmas movie/TV special: The Jim Carrey Grinch movie
Favorite Christmas episode of a TV Series: I got nothing!
Eggnog or hot chocolate: bring on the 'nog
Favorite Christmas book: I once had a coloring book about Noel the Christmas Ornament...
Christmas books on my “to read” list: none really
Peppermint or cinnamon: Peppermint
What’s on the top of your tree: An angel in a red dress. She's out of proportion with this tree though, so we'll probably have a new one next year.
Traditional Christmas meal growing up: It was always breakfast - pancakes or waffles, and of course, more chocolate chip cookies. Dinner was turkey or ham or at someone else's house.
Online shopping or traditional “go to the store” shopping: I sure prefer online, but I think this year was about half and half
Something you received as a Christmas gift as a child that you still have: Christmas ornaments and lots of Cabbage Patch dolls
How many Christmas cards you have mailed so far: around 25. the only other ones I have left are for co-workers
Favorite source for Christmas ideas: probably the internet
Coordinated/themed or hodge-podge tree decorations: hodge-podge
What’s on the top of YOUR Christmas wishlist: I didn't make a list this year.
Roles you’ve played in Christmas plays/programs: I was the narrator in the 1st grade Christmas Pageant, and Elf #5 in "A Cause for Mrs. Claus" in 5th grade. Other than that, it was all choral concerts
Wrapping paper or gift bags: paper!
When do you put up the tree: this year? last Wednesday.
When do you take the tree down: some time between January and May (it was just that one year when I didn't take the tree down. usually it's by the end of January)
Do you have a nativity scene: no
Hardest person to buy for: this year, it's the generic-yet-thoughtful gifts for co-workers and bosses that have me stumped!
Easiest person to buy for: Scott... though I'm sure he could live without the random stocking stuffers I come up with!
Worst Christmas gift you ever received: Probably clothes that didn't fit
When do you start shopping for Christmas: November
Have you ever recycled a Christmas present: No, but I did recycle a few really random wedding gifts into Christmas presents.
Travel at Christmas or stay home: Home is where the heart is
Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer: yes
Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning: Christmas morning. Got that Scott? ;-)
Most annoying thing about this time of year: How darn busy I am at work. Why does everyone want to eat at a restaurant on Christmas Eve/Christmas day? Doesn't anyone stay home and cook anymore?
What I love most about Christmas: the music

21 December, 2007

One Last Weekend Assignment

This is Scalzi's last weekend assignment. How could I miss it?

What are your hopes or plans for 2008? Any big projects for the year? Anything you hope to accomplish or change? Or will you just relax? Because, you know, that's okay, too.

I'm not much of a forward-thinker. So I could make a big long list of things I think might happen in 2008, but I'd probably be wrong. Here's some things I'm contemplating:

  • Scott and I are planning a trip to the Northeast around June. We're going to catch up with some of my high school friends, (hopefully) some family, and spend a few nights in NYC doing touristy stuff and seeing (again, hopefully) 2 Broadway shows. Oh - and get a cheese steak in Philly, Chinese food and pizza in NYC, and a hoagie from somewhere.
  • New job? I'm flip-flopping on this one, depending on whether I'm ticked at my bosses on a given day. The fact is I truly believe I've gotten about as much fulfillment from this job as I am going to. To continue to grow, I'm going to need to move somewhere else. Maybe even somewhere with my own desk and my own phone number.
  • New car! This one is pretty definite. I'm also fairly sure I've decided on another Hyundai. As much as I enjoy Scott's car, it feels like I'm piloting a school bus when I drive it. I think I'm just a compact car kind of gal! I'm going to sell off 2 weeks of unused vacation, sell my stock, and have a decent down payment.

Extra Credit: How was your 2007? I've had better years. I had a few rough months in 2007 that rival Spring semester 2000 when I totally crashed & burned. But I made it through, and genuinely believe the worst is behind me. Cheers to 2008!

Cookie Update

I took almost two dozen cookies to work yesterday, and came home with an empty tin.

I don't think this speaks to the quality of the cookies, as to the fact that I got a whole bunch of people to try one (and the least positive comment on the CP cookies was "they're interesting.") and then one of my managers ate about 6 over the course of the evening. He proclaimed them "best cookies ever," but I think that may have been exaggeration!

I also didn't refer to the corn-poop quality at all. I was calling them experimental cookies, to which a manager from a different restaurant proclaimed them EPCOT cookies: experimental prototype cookies of tomorrow.

I'll bake some more tonight to bring in on Saturday. It's going to be a busy weekend, and we'll all need the sugar!

19 December, 2007

Two Randoms in One Post

First: Check out the world's thickest mattress!

This is our new mattress. In case you were wondering, the old mattress came up to the top of the wrought iron...at the corners! This one is at least 6" taller. And boy oh boy - I can't wait to get a good night's sleep on this thing!

Second: In case you were wondering what a plate full of love looks like, this is it.


I decided to take my experimental corn poop cookies to work, so I made some more PB&J's for Scott to take to work. Going clockwise around the plate, there are the last of the CPC's at the top, then PB&J with raspberry jam, them PB&J with grape jelly, and then you can see one of the PB&J's from the first batch.

It turns out this particular cookie recipe puffs up a little too much for decent thumbprints (first batch), so for the second batch, I rolled the dough into balls and made "belly buttons" with the end of a wooden spoon and filling them with jelly. I'm still not happy with the cookie-to-filling ratio, but I think that just means I need to make smaller cookies. Some day I will get this recipe good enough to give as gifts... along with a loaf of banana bread.

Yes, that is the sum total of my cooking prowess. Thank you for asking!

Corn Poop Cookies

(If you've gotten the impression that today is going to be a day-of-many-posts, you are correct. I have a lot to say, and this will probably be my last free time until Monday afternoon)


Today was cookie baking day. I made two separate batches of cookies. There were supposed to be three, but the mini peanut butter cups didn't have a traditional Toll House cookie recipe on the back, and I lost steam before going to the web to find the recipe and copy it down.


I did made some more peanut butter cookie dough, using the recipe in a book because I have once again forgotten to put the family recipe (which, let's be honest, probably came from a different book) some place it wouldn't get lost.


The other batch was totally unplanned. We still had 1/2 bag of peanut butter chips, and the chocolate cookies pictured on the bag just looked so darn tasty I had to try them out. Problem: no cocoa powder. HOWEVER, I did have tiramisu-flavored hot cocoa powder. That's close enough, right? And I needed 3/4 cup and only had 1/2 cup. And as always, I used self-rising flour instead of AP with salt & baking soda.


Obviously, this was going to change things a bit. It turns out that hot cocoa isn't as dark as regular cocoa powder. This means I ended up with cookies slightly darker than normal, with light brown chunks. Yep, corn poop.


They really are quite tasty. The chocolate flavor is very mild. And I think I'd like to try the recipe again using actual cocoa.


I ended up baking 2 dozen corn poop cookies and 1 dozen PB&J (6 raspberry, 6 grape). And I bagged up the remainder of the dough and put it in the fridge. This solves our cookie storage problem, and we can bake them a dozen at a time.


...because nothing covers the smell of dirty cat box like the smell of baking cookies! Bon apetit!

Perfect!

Here's a silly joke that Scott forwarded to me earlier in the week. Between computer problems and complete lack of time, I haven't had a chance to post it.

Oh Christmas Door...

There was a door decorating contest here at The Hotel this month. Actually, the judging isn't until Thursday, so I guess there is a door decorating contest currently going on.


Anyway...


The theme was "think green," and all products used to decorate the doors were supposed to be recycled/reused/recyclable. It's been really cool to see what everyone has come up with. Our HR department has a wreath made of empty water bottles, along with a manger scene with Mary and Joseph made out of water bottles. Someone downstairs made a giant gingerbread house, using bottle caps to frame the windows (they really do look like big m&m's). The door to my office isn't nearly as fancy as the gingerbread house, but I'm still pretty proud of the way it turned out:


There's a "gift" there for every person who works at The Restaurant. The packages are squares cut out from empty cardboard boxes, wrapped in scraps of paper too small to wrap real presents in. The tags are printed on the back sides of old wine lists. And the tree is cardboard wrapped in an old green t-shirt. The ornaments are The Restaurant logo, straight off the back of old menu covers.

It's not going to win any awards, but it is certainly colorful and festive. And I figure that's what counts.

(oh - and the black box? that's our name plates on the door. for the purposes of this entry, I blacked out everyone except me)

15 December, 2007

Managing Chaos

Something happened at work while I was on vacation: the Holiday Season started. Here at The Restaurant, that means high guest counts, gift certificate orders ("will that get here by Tuesday?"), and people offering their first-born child to be moved up on the wait list from #75 to "slight chance in hell."

Last December, we were short-staffed. I distinctly remember coming home in tears at least once a week and proclaiming that December was, without a doubt, the worst month of the year. Well this year we are staffed adequately. And by "staffed adequately," I mean I'm not having to work overtime just so that there is a body in the office. I still wish that Gayle was here. But alas, it's been 8 months, I don't think she's coming back!

Right now I'm operating in a whirlwind of sorts. I stayed an hour late last night and managed to clear off the saved voicemails. I also did everything on my to-do list that didn't involve making a phone call. And my to-do list for today still has almost a dozen things on it. I'm doing my best to not get overwhelmed. And my bosses are (or were yesterday at least) keeping me in good spirits.

I'll probably still be picking up some extra hours over the next 3 weeks. And really, I'm ok with that. After all, it is our busiest time of the year.

14 December, 2007

No Good Deed Goes As Planned

another in the occasional series of "bad babysitter" posts

Yesterday Mike and Reyna asked if we would watch the girls for an hour in the morning so that they could get some shopping done. (I'm not quite sure what kind of shopping one can't do with their kids in tow 2 weeks before Christmas... maybe they were buying ingredients for cookies?) So of course I jumped at the chance to sit for my favorite 4-year-old and her little sister. I love those kids!

As soon as they got here, Autumn made a bee-line for Milo. "A CAT!" Well they have 2 cats, so I know she knows the basics of petting, etc. He allowed her to pet him for about 30 seconds and then decided that was enough and he tried to wriggle (is that a word?) away from her and was in some serious "angry cat" posture. So I discussed the cat with the parents. "Is she going to freak out if he bites or scratches her?" Yes. So they told her to leave the kitty alone, blah blah blah.

After they left, we were sitting on the floor watching Diego (why did Dora the Explorer need a male spin-off??) and Milo came over to say hi. She and I pet him, and when he had enough, he walked away.

Hooray for my wonderful cat!

He reappeared on the top of the sofa a few minutes later and when Autumn climbed up to pet him, she was rewarded with a kitty slap - and scratches on at least one arm. She was brave about it, but was making the "I really want to cry" face. We put a band-aid on the big scratch and settled back in for more TV.

Hey you - wonderful cat - you've been banished to the balcony!

And about a half hour later, after Milo's wailing forced me to let him in off the balcony, he was sleeping in the desk chair, Cadence was sleeping on Scott's lap, and Autumn had apparently forgotten the scratch on her arm. She went over to say hi to Milo and was rewarded for her friendliness with a hiss and another kitty slap - right in the face!

Well, right about the time I was wiping off her war wounds (two 1/4" cuts that looked pretty deep to me), Mike came to collect the girls. I apologized profusely again and again, but poor Autumn got the "we told you not to touch the cat" speech. Reyna assures me that she wasn't traumatized, and that she even told her big brothers about the cat. No permanent damage, I suppose.

So there you have it - my something nice for the Holiday Season. Thank goodness it's over!

Milo Says...


"What's that? The 2008 calendar has already been printed? Sucker!!!"

13 December, 2007

Not By The...



This is what happens when a man whose job won't allow him to grow a beard gets almost 2 weeks off. It's gone now, since he goes back to work tomorrow (and it was itching him like mad). Figures - I was just getting used to aiming my kisses more carefully.



Well, I'm back to work today, and I have just one major question: where did my 7 days off go???

06 December, 2007

A Lovely Anniversary Dinner

Scott and I made our first visit to Artist Point tonight. This is the "signature" restaurant located at Wilderness Lodge. It's good food, from the Pacific Northwest. They have items like buffalo, salmon and venison, along with standards like mussels, scallops, and beef.

Our food was incredible. We pretty much licked the plates clean. We started with venison spring rolls and a big ol' bowl of mussels. The spring rolls had pork as well "so they aren't too gamey." They were delicious, but I didn't taste much besides the pork. And I thought the mussels were the best I'd ever had. They didn't have that dead ocean aftertaste that I find so often in bi-valves.

My entree - halibut with asparagus and fingerling potatoes and a rose beurre blanc - was absolutely to die for. The fish was tender and flavorful, and the accompaniments were cooked to perfection. Scott got the pork chop served with tilamook cheddar mac n cheese. And as soon as he ordered it and the waitress went away, he got all upset with himself because he wanted the tenderloin or the buffalo. I think maybe he had an out-of-body experience right when she was taking our orders. In the end, the chop was good - served on a big ol' bone with a balsamic reduction. The macaroni was not as good as the stuff at Jiko, but it was nice and sharp. I thought the pork was really gamey, but Scott liked it just fine.

And for dessert, he had the apple tart and I had the "coffee two ways," which was a duo of mochaccino bread pudding (tasted like chocolate bread pudding) and vanilla latte creme brulee (which tasted like heaven!).

To be honest, this is probably the second-best meal I've ever had on Disney property. However, I'm not really sure I'll go back.

Yeah, I know people reading this are probably sick of me complaining about lousy service every time I go out to eat, but when you're at a place with $30 entrees, you shouldn't have to wait for drink refills. And you shouldn't be treated like a second-class citizen because the waitress knows she's guaranteed an 18% gratuity. I was so angry about being punished for using a coupon that I genuinely felt for the first half of our meal like I was going to cry. It was only the delicious food that soothed my soul.

Well, delicious food and the fact that I was so happy to be sitting there having an anniversary dinner with my husband. That's the most important thing of all.

oh... so... wrong...

thanks, Janette!

04 December, 2007

Day Six

Today is day six of my seven day stretch at work. On the bright side, after tomorrow I have seven days OFF!

Yes, I do like days off!

Yesterday I went in late and car-pooled with Scott. And boy oh boy, was it heavenly having an 8-hour shift. It was (almost) over before I got cranky. That's a pleasant change!

This morning I decided pancakes would be the best way to start the day. And since we still have some eggnog (2 weeks expired, but how can you tell when it's actually bad? does it get even thicker?), I mixed that in with the milk. The flavor wasn't as strong as I thought, but they were pretty ok. And pancakes beats frozen waffles any day.

Jamie's Cooking Tip of the Day: eggnog is MUCH thicker than milk, and you'll need more liquid if you don't want crumbly rock-cakes.

02 December, 2007

Deck the Desk

So this is a wreath, hung on the front of my desk at work, and decorated with a string of lights and hollow chocolate ornaments.


Yes, chocolate ornaments.


There's also a sign on my computer monitor (right above the wreath) that says "Please... Don't Eat the Ornaments!"


I hate to say it, but I actually think the wreath is prettier this way than it was last December.


It's cute and festive... and anything is better than plain cinder block walls and fluorescent lights, right?

01 December, 2007

Working with Cats

One of my co-workers put a green "jingle bell" on our office door yesterday.  It's cute, and the bonus is that it jingles when the door opens.

Unfortunately, I learned today that there are about 100 cats wandering the halls of The Hotel.  How else would you explain the jingle jingle jingle every time anyone walks past our door?  I can just hear their inner monologues: "must… touch… shiny… ball…"

It's amusing now.  But does anyone want to start a pool on how many days I can go before taking the bell off the door and hiding it until January?

Tasty Mail?



Here's my little helper monkey... erm kitty... licking stamps. I just didn't have the heart to tell him they are the self-adhesive kind!

Well, I'm sending out about 80% of our cards this morning. Among those not yet mailed: my grandfather, my godfather, a cousin or two, and 2 local friends (hmm... interoffice mail, anyone?).

May the force be with my little Yodas as they pay passage to such far places as St. Petersburg (FL) and Marlton (NJ).

30 November, 2007

Fin

Those of you who know Dora the Explorer will understand why, upon realizing that today is the last day of November, and therefore the last day of NaBloPoMo, I have this stupid song stuck in my head.



And for those of you who have never seen Dora... oh well, your loss! ;-)

It's the song they sing at the end of every episode, changing the verses to fit the plot of the show, and leaving the "We Did It" in place.

If I were doing my own Dora song about this month, I don't really know which of the following exciting bits I would include:

* I got my back adjusted today...

* My high school reunion was cancelled again...

* I cooked dinner twice...

* I bought stamps online...

* The Christmas Cards are ready to mail

We did it!!

Is it any wonder that I was able to keep the blog up for the entire month, when I had such a wealth of fascinating life stories to share?

29 November, 2007

Cookie Monster

I made a batch of experimental cookies last night. I finally got around to making the fluffer-nutter ones I had been contemplating for a while. Originally, I couldn't decide between peanut butter cookies with marshmallow and tollhouse cookies with peanut butter chips and marshmallow. In the end, I went with the peanut butter cookies.

My limited preliminary online research yielded a bit of help: if the marshmallows are sticking out of the cookie (just mixed into the batter like chocolate chips), they will melt and taste of burnt sugar. Well that's certainly not what I wanted! So I made the cookies like small thumbprints, stuck a few mini marshmallows in the hole, and then covered them with another flat layer of cookie dough. The results? I'm pleased.



The majority of the batch are fluffer-nutters. The ones along the bottom are plain peanut butter (so that at least some of the cookies would be edible... you know, just in case), and the crumbly ones on the left are PB&J. Sadly, the squeeze bottle of jelly has portion-control issues and is impossible to control. But they still taste good - that's why we saved the crumbles.

28 November, 2007

Fifteen Down

There is a pile on my desk: 15 envelopes, all with personal messages, addresses, return address labels, and stamps. They are ready to be mailed!

There are two other envelopes in front of me with addresses but no cards. And thirteen others that are completely blank. We don't have 13 more on the list. There's at least 5 - for which I am waiting addresses from Scott - but the others are pretty much in limbo.

In other news, I got 2 sweaters at Target today - one short sleeve, one long sleeve - and I also got a new pair of pajama bottoms. Woo!

Scott and I are making him a palm tree with ornaments and lights for work. We couldn't find any damn trees, so we're making our own. For the cost of supplies, we might have just afforded to buy him a real one. But what fun is that?

And I'm trying to take it easy tonight. I'm working for the next seven days straight. I think I already whined about that, so I won't bother to do so.

27 November, 2007

"I've Got a Package..."

Scott and I saw something at Downtown Disney this evening that pretty much defied explanation. There, exiting the AMC, was the UPS guy. A foursome of pretty young-20's girls stopped him. We couldn't hear the conversation, but as we were walking past, one of the girls whipped out a camera and two of the girls were posed with the UPS guy.



They were having their photo taken with the UPS guy!



Seriously!



So Scott and I were trying to figure out WHY someone would do such a thing. The best explanation I could come up with was that the girls were from a country where UPS doesn't go, but where they could have seen Legally Blonde.



I wonder if this happens to random service people often in tourist areas. Do they go to L.A. and ask a cop to pretend-beat them for a souvenir photo? I guess maybe it's like us idiot Americans who want our photo taken with the Bobbys, the Beefeaters, the Palace Guard, etc.



the UPS guy? That's definitely a first for me!

26 November, 2007

Snail Mail

In a week or two (or maybe less... but let's not hold our collective breath), if you find an envelope in your mail box with Yoda stamps and a return address label that features skeletons playing percussion instruments, that would be from us.

I bought the Yoda stamps because I didn't like the Christmas stamps or the Holiday stamps. And Scott and I couldn't agree on the Eid stamps. So Santa Yoda it is.

"Know what you are getting for Christmas I do! Felt your presents I did!"

As for the return address labels, they match Scott's checks. And they are so old, they have our old zip code on them. But at least the names and the rest of the address are still accurate.

I am addressing as many envelopes as I can today. I ordered the stamps online because I hate the post office THAT MUCH. It was worth the extra $1 and the 3-5 business days. Still, the cards should all be done and stamped by Friday.

Cards in the mail before December? Who am I and what have I done with Jamie??

25 November, 2007

Down the Toilet

I got the following from an article on cnn.com entitled Toilet Conference Eyes Revolution.

To the celebratory rhythms of a percussionist beating on toilets, dozens of government delegates and U.N. representatives began two days of discussions on improving bathroom facilities for the 2.6 billion people worldwide who lack access to proper restrooms.
...
The South Korean government has given strong backing to the World Toilet Association, which has been spearheaded by the country's "Mr. Toilet" -- parliament member Sim Jae-duck. He earned his nickname for improving public restrooms for the 2002 World Cup as mayor of Suwon city.

"The restroom revolution will provide hope and happiness to mankind," Sim told delegates.


If I hadn't seen it with my own eyes, I would have sworn this story came from The Onion.

24 November, 2007

Red Socks

I was throwing in a load of laundry this morning* and got to thinking about that classic sitcom gag: the red sock in the load of whites. And while I was thinking about that, I reflected on my own personal history of footwear and I don't recall ever owning red socks. Even my toe socks, which come in every color of the rainbow, have never had more than a red stripe.

Does anyone own red socks? Do you think people subconsciously avoid red socks because they are afraid of turning an entire load of undershirts pink? Do YOU have red socks?

OK, time for me to get some breakfast.


*notice how I said that all casually like it's something I do every day? "I'm so domestic. Look at the apple pie I baked and the clothes I made from these old curtains!"

23 November, 2007

Hmmph!

They didn't feed me last night at work. They fed me last year. I sort of thought it was a perk of the job.

Guess not.

Oh, and the first half of my day: pretty much mimicked last year. Possibly even worse. But I did get to meet a guy that I was able to get in off the wait list. He gave me a big bear hug. I think Number Two may have tinkled himself a little bit when he saw. I was pretty shocked!

Well, at least Scott got to come over and have dinner with me. That was the silver lining on my otherwise overcast day.

22 November, 2007

Thanksgiving, Jamie Style

Fact: Of all the people you know, I am the last one you want preparing a Thanksgiving feast.
Fact: Of all the people in my household, I was the one who had days off this week.

Moving on, I was planning a mini Thanksgiving of sorts to take to work today. I was going to make sides - sweet potatoes, Stove Top and a green vegetable - and buy a rotisserie chicken from Publix. Well it turns out that I wasn't the only one with that plan. When I got to Publix around 4:00 yesterday, they were out of chickens (except fried, and I just couldn't do that).

But we had chicken breasts thawing in the fridge, and I volunteered Scott to cook them when he got home from work. So I baked the sweet potatoes, nuked the Stove Top, and made broccoli casserole (lest the meal get healthy). And then Scott and I decided to not even bother with the chicken. There's a pot luck at his work today, so I know he won't go without meat, and I don't really care one way or another whether there's meat on my plate.

Oh yes - and there's pie. I bought a blueberry cheesecake pie at the store too. That's what I'm having for breakfast.

H a p p y T h a n k s g i v i n g ! !

21 November, 2007

Happy Holidays(?)

It must officially be the holiday season. (did I say that last week already?) I passed three separate major accidents on the same road today. Each had EMS/FD on scene, and each had at least one lane closed.

Public Service Announcement: If you are the one driving, let someone else hold the hot casserole on their lap. This is a recipe for disaster!

In other holiday-related news, both The Hotel and The Apartment Complex are having their annual holiday party on the same night: Thursday, December 6. Really? Couldn't do it on Friday because...?

Oh well, I wouldn't have gone to the apartment one anyway. But the Hotel one required notification of allergies on the RSVP, so I'm guessing there's going to be real food. Oh well... I hear I have dinner plans that night already. ;-)

20 November, 2007

Talking to God

About a month ago, I asked my mom to pray for someone on an e-mail listserv that I belong to. She said she would, but that God would listen more if it came from me.

You know, I don't feel like I have that kind of relationship with God. I mean, I acknowledge that he exists (but can't quite bring myself to capitalize the "h" there). But we don't chat regularly. And I hate to be one of those crappy friends who only calls when they need something.

Well, I've had a lot of very personal Crap-with-a-capital-C in my life recently. I don't want to talk about the details here, but trust me - it's lousy. And hard. Really really hard. So this morning when Scott was driving me to the chiropractor, I was thinking about my Mom, and hoping that she was praying for me. And I remembered what she said.

So I asked God to please let all of my Crap-with-a-capital-C work out the way I wanted it to. And if I couldn't have it the way I wanted, then to please make me be ok with the way everything does sort out. And a little while later, I realized that I was at peace. I was calm like I haven't been in quite a while.

I guess that means God is looking into it. And I figure the best thing that I can do is to not make the situation worse by trying any irrational quick-fixes. My emotions are running really close to the surface, and it's really hard for me to quell those knee-jerk "fight or flight" responses. But that's what I feel like I need to do. Lots of deep breathing, and re-reading the Harry Potter books to escape reality a little bit.

Today's cliche: it's all in God's hands.
Tonight's activities: reading with Milo on my lap.
Tomorrow morning: back to the chiropractor to see how I handled my adjustment.
Tomorrow afternoon: pedicure with Cat.

Hocus Pocus

I don't really believe in chiropractors. Don't ask me why - maybe because I've never been to one before. Maybe I don't think that back-popping is really a science.

So I went to the chiropractor this morning, and I'm no more convinced. Maybe that's because they haven't done anything to me yet. I had some x-rays taken, which will apparently be evaluated at the doctors' meeting this afternoon, and then I'm to go back at 5:30 for my first real appointment.

I wonder if I'll have to pay another $20 co-pay.

Update:
No co-pay. But they did tell me that the part of my spine from my head to my shoulders is curved almost the exact opposite way it's supposed to be. I'm still skeptical. I told Scott I feel like when you go to get your oil changed and they show you a brown blob on a piece of paper and tell you you need the super-deluxe $100 magic potion. So if there is something really wrong with me, I'm happy to let them crack me back into place, but I'm not as concerned as maybe I should be. On the bright side, the parts of my back that do hurt are just fine. Go figure!

19 November, 2007

Ouch!

I had to leave work early last night because I seem to have developed a pinched nerve in my lower back.

It hurts to sit. It hurts to go from sitting to standing. And it hurts to stand for more than a minute at a time.

I'll be laying on my back in the bedroom watching TV if anyone needs me.

sigh

18 November, 2007

French Toast A Palooza

Yesterday morning, Scott got up at the same time as me and made French toast for breakfast. But this was no ordinary French toast. He made two varieties, and I had trouble choosing a favorite.

The first was peanut butter & jelly, made like a regular pb&j sandwich and then dipped in batter and cooked on the top & bottom. Then he stuck them in the oven to make sure the sides were cooked as well. It was really good. But we both agreed there wasn't quite enough jelly.

The second was made with just bread - but with eggnog in the batter. It was quite tasty, but since we hadn't put butter or syrup on them, not quite sweet enough.

Oh - and he cut up pineapple to go with it. How lucky am I?

Today I'm having a glass of cranberry juice and then probably toaster waffles with cream cheese. Still, I know I'll have a good lunch break today at work!

17 November, 2007

The Drive to Work

My drive to work was full of blog fodder:

* Drove half way to work behind a Mustang with Nova Scotia tags. Tell me PLEASE why there are Canadians driving on my back roads? I avoid 192 and take the long way to avoid the tourists!


* Saw a man on a motorcycle standing with one leg on the seat and one leg in the air behind him like an ice skater. Oh yeah - and the motorcycle was on just its back wheel and going probably 50-60 mph at the time. He was showing off for the other 30 bikers hanging out in the median.


* Saw this in my work parking lot and thought it screamed for "Caption This!"

It's a group of men in business casual attire studying a cement mixer. C'mon... you know this is encouraging you to make a comment. My mind is full of them!

Hello, Kilo

I couldn't think of anything to say this morning, so I figured I'd just take a picture of Milo in all his feline glory and post it. Milo, however, had other ideas. He wanted to rub his face on the camera lens. He wanted to rub his face on my feet. He wanted to attack his brother. But he did not want the mamarazzi exploiting him.

So here's Kilo.

Sadly, I couldn't get this picture 30 seconds earlier when he was rubbing his face on the top of the paper shredder. Oh, the caption fun we could have had!

16 November, 2007

Productive

Scott and I tried something new this week: we cooked 3 separate dinners on Wednesday to make lunches with for the rest of the week. We've both gotten into bad eating habits, mostly pretending eating Aramark food was a good idea. So this week we are eating:

* angel hair with shrimp and asparagus,
* pork chops with mushroom risotto and mashed sweet potatoes (yes, it is a little carby. we like carbs!), and
* baked ziti with sausage, beef and mushrooms. (and salad)

It was actually pretty fun. The angel hair was my dish, and I did the risotto and helped with the sweet potatoes. Scott did everything else (plus my asparagus). And since we were reusing the same pots, clean-up was remarkably easy.

And so far, so good. I ended up not even eating my packed lunch yesterday because there were meetings at work with pizza and subs. On the bright side, this means my lunch for today is already packed. And Scott said his shrimp yesterday was muy tasty.

I told Scott perhaps next week we could think about healthier options. We'll see how that goes. Frankly, this is a HUGE step in the right direction and I'm proud of us just for this.

15 November, 2007

Do You Really?


I know - it's blurry and small. But take my word for it - this magnetic car ribbon says I (heart) my cat, and is covered with pink & blue paw prints.
You know what? I love my cats too. But I don't feel the need to advertise that on my car. And come ON. I thought that the ribbons were supposed to be an advocacy thing. Support the Troops. Save the Boobies. Autism Awareness. So does that mean this ribbon is advocating man-cat love?
ewww!

14 November, 2007

It Must Be The Holidays

Jones Soda has announced both a Christmas pack and a Hanukkah pack of goofy-flavored sodas this year!

The Christmas pack will feature such flavors as Sugar Plum, Christmas Tree, Egg Nog and Christmas Ham. The Hanukkah pack will have Jelly Doughnut, Apple Sauce, Chocolate Coins and Latkes sodas.


(thank you, CNN.com)

I'm fairly intrigued by the egg nog, sugar plum, jelly doughnut and apple sauce flavors. However, drinking a Christmas tree soda ranks right up there with eating an ear wax jellybean. I think I'll pass!

13 November, 2007

What About My Airplane Ticket?

oh wait... I wasn't planning on going.

This is an excerpt of an e-mail I just got:

Hello Class of 1996!

I am sorry to say, but we will be cancelling our "make-up" reunion that was scheduled for Friday, November 23rd, 2007 at the Indian Springs Country Club.
The advertising of this year's "make up" reunion was not up to par...and for that, I apologize. I am certain to do a better job in future years.

If you are in touch with others from our class, please advise them that the reunion is cancelled.

A reunion with much more advanced notice will be planned in the future....I truly hope that this does not discourage you from future planned reunions because I'm sure once we get the date, a lot of notice, and most likely a less expensive ticket, we will be able to have a great event.


I admit, I giggled. But I'm not actually happy about it. I mean, I really would have like to attend - if they weren't expecting me to fly on the busiest travel weekend of the year and then pay more than I paid for my prom tickets. And I know that at least a little bit of work was put into the 10/11 year reunion.

Oh well... I guess there's nothing left to do but wait for the 15.

12 November, 2007

In the Mood

Scalzi's Monday Photo Shoot (which I'm actually doing on a Monday!): Make a moody picture. By which you can use mood lighting of some sort, or possibly arty black-and-white, or whatever you need to in order to give the shot that certain moodiness. It's hard to describe, but you'll know it when you see it, I'm sure.


It's amazing what fog adds to a picture: romance? mystery? anonymity? Well in this particular case, it was just bringing the camera from the AC of our stateroom to the hot & humid balcony that made the lens fog up. But the effect is interesting.

(By the way, yes that is that dress. It worked great that evening. Sadly, it met its demise in the dryer when we got home. I don't even think a professional dry cleaner could get the pleats back the way they are supposed to be!)

I Think I Might Be A Democrat

Agree
Immigration
Stem-Cell Research
Health Care
Abortion
Line-Item Veto
Energy
Marriage
Death Penalty
Disagree
Iraq
Taxes
Social Security

-- Take the Quiz! --


I can't remember who my #2 was (some other obscure democrat), but #3 was Obama, #4 was Giuliani, and #5 was Clinton.

Thanks for the link, Mommy Dearest!

11 November, 2007

Fun With Digital Cable

Last night, I found myself searching the "on demand" programming on my digital cable. I realized before that the free movies they offer are free for a reason - mostly because they are from the 1940's or they just suck.

So I skipped the movies.

Somehow I ended watching Autumn Leaves on Demand. It was a whole bunch of 30-second clips of pretty vistas and yellow trees tied together with some easy listening music. I thought it would be soothing. Instead, it was so bad I just sort of stared at the TV wondering when it would end. And then Scott came in and I made him watch it too.

Then we skipped to some other Central Florida on Demand programming. And we found possibly the Holy Grail of stupid: You on Demand. We watched kids cracking lobster claws, some little girl's dance recital, a terrible jazz band, and two teenage boys who made their own TV show. It was like Funniest Home Videos, but without the funny. Sadly, I can't embed their video here, but here's a sample.

I did want to share a video today though, so here's one courtesy of The Onion:

Ninja Parade Slips Through Town Unnoticed Once Again

10 November, 2007

Stupid Strike

As you may have heard, TV writers are on strike. This means no new episodes of The Daily Show or Colbert Report for a while.

Yes, I am sad.

Another unexpected issue for me: Grey Matter, the Grey's Anatomy writers' blog, is no longer being updated.

Poop!

09 November, 2007

Now That's What I Call Thorough!

Dear Jamie,

Thanks for recently contacting Netflix Customer Service by phone. In order to serve you better, we would love to hear how we did.

I am satisfied with my Netflix Customer Service experience
I am unsatisfied with my Netflix Customer Service experience

Thank you!
-The Netflix Team


Yep...two whole choices. I can tell that they really care.

08 November, 2007

Dispatches from the In Box

This NetFlix debacle is, I believe, finally over. But that's not what I thought 10 minutes ago. I had the following e-mail this morning in my in-box:

Dear Jamie,

It appears that you accidently* returned one of your personal DVDs or CDs in a Netflix envelope. Rest assured, we will send your disc right back to you.

If you haven't already sent back the Netflix movie you intended to return, please include it with your next return along with a note including your name and email address so we can match the movie to your account.

-The Netflix Team


Umm... you mean the personal CD that you sent to me? You're going to send it back?!? But it's a Backstreet Boys song. I don't want it!

So I called customer service to figure out what was going on. The nice man (Derek) who answered my call assured me that it was an automated message, and that they had already processed the return and a new movie is on its way to me. Let's hope he's right.

Any bets on whether or not that other CD is being returned to me after all?

* I cut & pasted that right from their e-mail. Apparently NetFlix doesn't have spell check.

07 November, 2007

Time to Break Out the Big Dogs

...err, Big Cats

I couldn't think of anything to say today, so I decided to go to the archives to see what I was talking about this time last year. Apparently, November 7, 2006 was an election day. And I voted. I also posted a picture of Milo. And then had quite the comment thread.

Since I didn't vote this year (though there was some election drama in Mascotte), I thought I'd skip right to the gratuitous cat photo.

Has anyone else ever noticed that his milk moustache is so lopsided? Not that it matters... he's still my beautiful baby. He also got really mad at me when, after snapping this photo, I tried to take a picture of Kilo. He yelped and jumped down to where I was as if to say, "excuse me, did you forget who the STAR is?" Who knew he was such a diva!?!

06 November, 2007

No Joy

Yesterday was a pretty slow day for me. Thank God! Recently my Mondays have been filled with car appointments and other nonsense, leaving me with no day to just... be. I did have Candlelight rehearsal last night. That was about the extent of my excitement.

We are at the point now in rehearsals when they become less fun. Instead of running 3 songs a night, we run 3 songs, and then run the rest of the songs that need work. This pretty much guarantees that we will sing the first line of Joy to the World at least 5 times. Why? Because the choir (non-auditioned) has a talent level I'd rate as moderate. And the bone head who arranged this song thought it would be a great idea to have this moderate group of singers do a down scale a capella. It's almost always flat by the time we get to the word "world," and painfully so by the time we get to "come."

Needless to say, Joy to the World no longer brings joy to my world. I checked YouTube, and couldn't find one single clip of this particular song. That speaks to me about the popularity of this particular tune. But since I was on the site anyway, I found O Holy Night. Sure, the video is blurry, and taken from behind a pillar, but the audio is ok. Enjoy!


05 November, 2007

Unexpected Song

Well that was interesting!

I just went over to the TV to play a NetFlix movie I've had for a few weeks, and I got quite a surprise when I removed the disc from its sleeve. There was no DVD in the sleeve - there was a CD-R with handwriting on the front. It says, "I love you like a fat kid loves cake. Musical Clue!" And the ! is dotted with a heart.

Seriously.

I didn't want to risk exposing the computer to some malicious hacker with girly handwriting, but I just had to know what was on the CD. So I put it in the stereo in the bedroom (you know - the one with 1/4" of dust on top that hasn't been used in about a year). The CD had one single track: I Want You Back, which I believe it by the Back Street Boys.

I wish I knew the story behind the disc. Was there a break-up? Did she try to surprise him with the disc by hiding it inside a movie sleeve, and then accidentally drop it in the mail? Did he send it back as an act of rejection? Is the movie I tried to rent really worth re-ordering?

Oh, the intrigue...

04 November, 2007

Bits and Pieces

And now, here are two completely unrelated thoughts:

I saw a snake on the sidewalk outside our building yesterday morning. By the time I noticed it, it was already partly in the bushes. But judging by the thickness of the part that I did see, I'd guess it was between 3 and 12 feet long. Probably closer to 3. The crazy part is that I was totally less scared of that snake than of the stupid roach in my bathroom! Now, a snake in the bathroom would be a completely different story!

Tonight is our annual $350/plate dinner with a guest chef and guest winery. Both of my bosses are planning on being in at noon. This in itself is stressful enough. I don't get anything done when they are in! Plus, last year, I had to re-print the menus 3 times because the wine guy kept changing his mind. Everyone has promised me that tonight will be smoother. I'll believe it when I see it.

03 November, 2007

Happiness Is...

Watching your boss freak the hell out when the food critic from the local paper checks in at the podium of The Restaurant under a fake name.

tee hee

Brand Loyalty

I stopped at Walgreens on my way home from work last night to pick up a certain female product that I was woefully out of. I was so pleased when I saw that the magical coupon machine spit out a $3 off coupon for the same product with my receipt. That's huge savings!

Then I realized that the coupon wasn't for my brand. So I threw it out. Bummer, huh?

02 November, 2007

Flickrvision

Can't stay and play today. But you simply must check out Flickrvision if you haven't already. I'm a bit addicted really.

Basically, it's a world map that updates every second with a new photo being uploaded to Flickr by people all over the world. It's fun seeing other people's random vacation/party/vanity pictures just appear before your eyes.

Anyway, check it out!

01 November, 2007

Boo!

(the Halloween wrap-up)

Yesterday I went to work at 10 am - which means that after finally falling asleep at 6:30 I got a whopping 1.5 hours of sleep - to train New Girl for a little while. I was supposed to be there until 4, but ended up leaving her in the care of M at 2. I'm sure she survived!

When I got home, I was supposed to take a nap, but that didn't happen. I did lay with my eyes closed for a half hour, but the 2 Chik Fil A iced teas (large) that I drank in the morning were causing my brain to go a mile a minute.

We went over to Mike & Reyna's for a party that ended up being just us and their crew. And we had a blast. We all took the kids trick-or-treating, with Hunter as a whining ghost, Conner as Spider Man, Autumn as Cinderella, and Cadence as generic princess (read: fancy dress and head band). I was dressed as me in pigtails, Reyna was Autumn's lady-in-waiting (carrying her candy bag), and once the baby got fussy and Mike was carrying her, Scott was pushing an empty stroller down the street, so I started calling him "Bad Daddy." Then we had all sorts of fun contemplating the fun to be had with an empty stroller...

- pushing it in the path of an oncoming car and screaming "MY BABY!!!!!!!"
- back-tracking past the houses we had already been to and asking if they had seen the baby
- and then Autumn jumped in the stroller and we could no longer contemplate pushing it in front of a car.

Trick-or-treating as a grown-up is actually sort of fun. After every single house, Conner would run back from the door with his bag above his head and yell, "I got CANDY!" He seemed genuinely surprised. We were also shocked at how consistently the boys would get one piece of candy and then Autumn would get a handful from the same people. Her bag at the end of the night probably weighed 50% more than either of the boys'.

And after all that, we got home around 10 and I was still up until 12:30. Yep - I'm a glutton for punishment! But as you might imagine, I sure did sleep well last night!

31 October, 2007

600th Post - How Appropriate That It's A Rant

Blogger tells me this is my 600th post. Seems a great milestone to be all retrospective and proud of my little blog. But it's after 3 am. My legs hurt. My heart hurts. And I'm still not 100% sure I'm not going to cry. (don't worry - it's just adrenaline - sounds much worse than it is)

------------------------------------------------------

An Open Letter to the @$$HOLE Downstairs:

I wasn't kidding. Next time, I will call the sheriff's office. And in case you didn't hear the words I was screaming when my husband clapped his hand over my mouth, I called you a son of a bitch. Do you know why? That's what I call people who wake me up at 1:30 in the morning with their floor-shaking thump-thump music.

Yes, I jumped up and down in the middle of my dining room. And when that didn't stop your music, I jumped up and down even harder and longer in the middle of my living room. And then the music stopped. But I still can't believe you had the audacity to knock on MY door and tell ME that I was inconsiderate for stomping on your ceiling (I'll just assume that's what you meant when you said "you don't gotta be stompin on my ceilin.").

I'm not going to stomp any more. The fury-filled-adrenaline-rush-jumping-and-stomping-spree left me with sore feet, and I have random muscle cramps in both legs. But I have used this sleepless time constructively. I found the non-emergency phone number for the local Sheriff's Office and posted it for easy reference under my computer monitor. Your floor-shaking loud music hardly seems like a reason to call 911, but it is against the law, and I'm sick of playing nice.

We have called the apartment managers on five separate occasions to complain about your loud music. You haven't listened to them. Maybe you'll listen to the cops.

-------------------------------------------------------

Why is it so hard for people to understand that apartment buildings aren't sound-proof booths? I am so sorry I ever thought unkind thoughts about Mia and her boyfriend having loud sex on weekend mornings. I would give anything to have the door-slamming aerobics instructor back. And I am incredibly disappointed that we didn't upgrade to a two bedroom (in another building) when we renewed our lease for another year.

Here it is, now after 3:30 in the morning. I have to be up at 8:00 to go into work and train for six hours. Yeah, definitely not going to make it through the next 18 hours without crying. I'm so damn exhausted and I still can't sleep. And it's definitely too late to take anything. Oh well, at least the Tylenol seems to have helped a little with the leg cramps. Maybe I'll get two or three hours of sleep before the alarm goes off.

27 October, 2007

For the Love of John

Scalzi's Weekend Assignment this week took me a few days to ponder:

You know, I just had me a thought. I've been doing these here Weekend Assignments for, what? Three and a half years now? Every Thursday, posting something to amuse you and give you something do post about over the weekend. And what do I get in return? Well, yes, I get paid. In cash, even. But where is the love? Where is my amusement? Where is my fun? Damn it, when do I get mine? Huh? How about now?

Weekend Assignment #189: Amuse me, damn it!Yeah, that's right. You amuse me for a change.

Tell me a joke. Tell me a story. Show me a funny picture. point to a good online video game. Suggest a good book or movie. Link me to a diverting YouTube or AOL Video, like those soda/Mentos fountain things (but not that, I've already seen those). Anything, people, just as long as it's amusing. You know, something you think I would like. Like what, you say? Well, you know. Surprise me.


Well John, as I was just sharing with my other three readers (hi Mom!), I'm getting ready for NaBloPoMo '07 (which you totally need to share with the rest of your "By The Way..." crowd), and did some Internet trolling for blog fodder. I found this article on cnn.com (originally in Mental Floss, but I can't find it on their site) all about the best drinking stories in history. Here's my favorite:

In 1609, the Dutch sent English explorer Henry Hudson westward for a third attempt at finding the fabled Northeast Passage. A near mutiny forced him southward, and upon reaching land, he encountered members of the Delaware Indian tribe.

To foster good relations, Hudson shared his brandy with the tribal chief, who soon passed out. But upon waking up the next day, he asked Hudson to pour some more for the rest of his tribe. From then on, the Indians referred to the island as Manahachtanienk -- literally, "The High Island."

And not "high" as in "tall;" high as in "the place where we got blotto." Most people would agree that Manhattan has stayed true to the spirit of its name ever since.

Still not amused? Fine... then I leave you with a video from this summer's Encore Choir performance. This is my beautiful and talented friend Scherezada's solo - the Maria part in the song Tonight from West Side Story. The video was taken by her mom, so you can't see the whole choir and orchestra backing them up... but we were there. Check out her rocking that high C!


It's Baaaack!

I've been thinking about my blog history in the past 2 months. It's been crappy. And I've been thinking about ways to get myself motivated to blog more often. And then it hit me: November is NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month)! Not only have they updated the site this year, they've actually made it into a social networking site, like Facebook for bloggers (here's my profile page). I signed up for NaBloPoMo and joined two groups - cranky bloggers and Florida bloggers.

It's true that I haven't had much to say, so I'll probably be talking more about current events or games or just putting up pictures of my critters, but you never know - I just might come up with a gem.
Here's an example of things to come:

If today were in November, I'd probably do a blog entry about my terrible broken nail, accompanied by fuzzy dark pictures taken before and after I trimmed it down closer to the actual break. Ouch! Stupid box of kitty litter!
I bet you just can't wait for November 1!

Taking Down the Terrorist*

* Terrorist in this case is defined as anything that terrifies me

Last Monday night, Cat came over to drink crappy wine. Oh - did I say crappy? I meant Crapple (which for some reason isn't listed on the website for the "winery" that makes it). We watched Saved! (oh how I love that movie) and caught up on old gossip topics.

While Cat was here, I visited the bathroom and was about to leave when I discovered the world's largest roach (actual length: somewhere between 1 inch and 3 feet) chilling out on the wall right next to the door frame, waiting to fly at me as I exited. I was trapped! So I did what any clear-thinking person would do: I grabbed my can of spray deodorant, stood up on the edge of the bathtub, and grabbed the mop that lives in the bathroom. Well, after I sprayed the terrorist, he started to run towards the corner. That's when I started in with the mop. I jousted with the terrorist until he fell off the wall and into a canvas bag. Then I banged on the bag a few more times, despite losing visual contact with the target. I knew that I had hit it with the deodorant, and at least made contact with the mop, so even if it wasn't dead I was pretty sure it was fatally wounded.

The roach never reappeared that night. Scott looked for it when he got home from work (a 16 hour shift, mind you) and didn't find it. For the last few days, the giant industrial size can of RAID has lived on my nightstand, just in case I got attacked in the night.

Fast-forward to last night. I got home from work and headed straight to the bathroom (as is my custom - I loathe employee bathrooms). After peeing and changing into my pajamas, I was standing in front of the sink brushing my hair when I spotted something behind me. Now, since I've been seeing phantom roaches in every shadow ever since Monday, I didn't immediately panic. I turned around and there he was - my nemesis - at the top of the wall in the corner of the shower - the opposite corner from where I had last seen him. And then I panicked.

The plan came to me almost immediately. I closed the shower curtain, ran to the bedroom to get the RAID ("why oh why did I ever take it out of the bathroom???") and ran back to the bathroom. I sprayed the RAID up into the corner for a good 15-30 seconds until the roach started twitching and fell from the wall. He landed on the top shelf of the corner unit in our bathtub and I could hear buzzing and twitching as he bounced around between Scott's bottles of face wash. And then I closed the bathroom door and waited for Scott to get home.

And this time, the damn roach stayed where I left him. He had wedged himself between the shelf and the wall, and was still twitching when Scott flushed him down the toilet (apparently it flipped off Scott and yelled something along the lines of "I'll be back..." as it was swirling towards the sewage treatment plant). Then I felt bad because Scott had to wash the RAID off of all of his various containers. But at least I warned him that he would need to do it.

I still did a full bathroom inspection this morning before I got in the shower. It seemed the sensible thing to do. And I probably will continue to do so for the next few days. Because that's how you stop terrorists: vigilance and 1/2 can of RAID.

26 October, 2007

Vehicular Homocide

I killed a bird yesterday on my way to work. In the air. The damn thing dive-bombed my car. My reflexes worked - sort of - I ducked. Sadly, the top of my car didn't duck with me. The bird hit the top of my windshield. I heard the thunk and looked in my rear view mirror in time to see it drop from the sky and thrash around on the street. I lost sight when the car behind me drove over it.

I suppose it's possible that it was just a glancing blow, and that the bird was stunned for a second and flew away once it was out of my sight. It's more likely that it died. Either right there in the middle of the road (dear God, please don't make me drive over my own victim) or it managed to get out of the road and die some place more peaceful.

Right after I hit the bird, I called Scott. I wasn't sure whether to laugh or cry. No, it's not funny. The bird would have been alive if not for my car occupying that space in the Universe at that time. But seeing it drop out of the sky in the mirror - it was straight out of a bad comedy. But make no mistake, I was upset. Imagine my surprise when my darling husband's first response was, "aww... the poor little bird."

Oh well, I might take the other way to work for a few days, just until my conscience is a little clearer.

24 October, 2007

Service

I realize it is ironic that I said that whole thing about not blogging because I didn't have anything nice to say, and then coming back today to rant. But heck- at least I'm trying.

Yesterday Scott and I went to a chain restaurant for lunch (not mentioning any names, but think birthstone + day of the week). We were seated at a table in the bar area (the only people seated in that section) and I think our waitress was the bartender. She was a little slow, but not worth complaining about.

We both ordered the salad bar, ordered an appetizer, and ordered burgers. Our appetizer was delivered by the food runner, who mumbled something along the lines of "here's your food" before running back to the kitchen. Scott still had a few bites of salad left, and finished that before starting on the appetizer. So imagine our surprise when, less than two minutes later, our burgers came out. Delivered by the same runner who had just left our table. AND she cleared my empty salad plate and Scott's completely untouched appetizer plate, leaving him to eat his appetizer off of his salad plate.

I brought this to the attention of the bar-tress, who asked if we still wanted the appetizer (umm... YEAH!) and apologized and said she'd tell the manager. A few minutes later, a girl dressed in jeans, a restaurant-logo t-shirt, and a restaurant-logo zip-up sweatshirt came out to apologize. I saw this girl a little while earlier, and assumed she was a busser by the way she was dressed.

So anyway, they didn't care. I thought that at the very least they would have knocked a few bucks off of our bill. This chain is one of my favorites (mmm... love those mini burgers), and this particular experience isn't going to stop us from going back. But I'm not so sure I'll go back to that location any time soon.

Life is too short to settle for bad service. Right?

17 October, 2007

New and Interesting

Yesterday Scott and I went over to the Magic Kingdom for some much-needed corn dog nuggets and Dole Whip. While there, we took in the newly-renovated Haunted Mansion. Every single scene in the mansion has been refurbished, with some major and minor tweaks along the way. It was amazing!

We also took the little boats over to Tom Sawyer Island (the line for the boat was the longest line we encountered all day). Yes, we went over to the "glorified playground." And we had a lot of fun. There's a barrel bridge, and we had fun making it bounce and shake as much as possible while going across. We explored the dark caves, and went to the fort and shot pretend guns at the paddle boat.

I was pretty impressed that, even in places we've been hundreds of times, we can still find new adventures.

That's an important lesson in the real world, too.

Inner Child Alert!

So umm... this must be the most g-rated panty post ever!


Sadly, I need a little help coming up with a clever Sesame Street song to go with the photo. I was thinking of "who are the faces on your underwear?" to the tune of "who are the people in your neighborhood?" but that's lame.

By the way, Wal Mart also had Care Bears undies in grown up sizes, but I couldn't name the bears, so I thought I'd stick with what I know. I only wish that the Elmo ones were Big Bird instead.

12 October, 2007

Why? Why? Why?

Here's a screenshot of part of my computer this evening during my lunch break at work. Let's play a guessing game. Who can guess why Jamie might be annoyed (or shocked, disgusted, disgruntled... take your pick) with CNN.com?


If you guessed because the LEAD STORY on the main page is about ticket scalpers dashing the hopes of 10-year-old girls who want to see Hannah Montana (a fictional Disney Channel character) in concert, YOU WIN! What's the matter? Has actual news stopped happening?
Also, I'm quite sad to report that also on the main page is a link to this story, about how my favorite PSU football player has been accused of rape. Please, let it not be so.
(by the way, that story is still the lead on cnn.com as of right now. sheesh!)

Politics Before Breakfast?

This can't be a good idea!

So... guess what I saw on the AOL News page this morning. Nope, nothing to do with Britney, Nicole, Paris, or Lindsey. Apparently Al Gore now has a Nobel Peace Prize to go with his Oscar* and his Emmy.

It's great that he is having the best 8 years of his life. It's great that he cares about the world around him. You know what would be even greater? If he were sitting in the White House doing all of that caring. Damn you Katherine Harris!!!


*yes, I know the Oscar wasn't really his. But that's not the point.

10 October, 2007

Park Hopping!

Scalzi's Monday Photo Shoot: Show us a picture of you or family/friends on an amusement park or carnival ride. Roller coasters, tilt-a-wheels, Ferris wheels or even carousels work. Usually I like picture as fresh as possible, but in this case I think it would be a little much for me to expect that you would go out and pay admission to your local amusement park just to snap a picture. So pictures from your archive are more than welcome.

I thought I was going to have to sort through DOZENS of pictures for this one. As it turns out, of my zillions of Disney photos, only a handful were actually taken on rides, and most of those aren't worth taking the trouble to scan and edit. So here's just a few:
This is my nostalgia picture. It was taken a whopping 10 years ago (January 5, 1997 according to the back of the photo) on the Skyway ride at the Magic Kingdom. I just love the fact that not only was this picture taken on a ride that no longer exists - the old lagoon where 20K was is behind me. They filled that in a few years ago and now there's a Pooh-theme playground on that hallowed ground. Also - and I admit that this might only be interesting to me - does anyone else think that ring on my middle finger looks an awful lot like my engagement ring? This one actually had a Mickey-shaped "diamond" in the middle, but I did a double-take when I found this picture.


Taking pictures on Cinderella's Golden Carousel is a dorky ParkHopper family tradition. Scott is generally pretty good sport about it.

No, your eyes don't deceive you. This isn't a Disney ride. This is from Hershey Park. I don't know the name of this ride, but it's some sort of torture contraption. It's a combination of Ferris wheel and teacup ride. And my Aunt Becky (and Scott) decided to spin us really really fast. There's something very wrong about spinning AND going up and down at the same time.