30 September, 2007

Who Did This To You?

Scalzi's Weekend Assignment : What's the worst clothing ensemble you can recall wearing? I expect we'll get a lot of bridesmaid and prom night nightmares in this one, but anything's up for grabs, and in deed, if it was something you thought was fashionable at the time and now have come to regret, so much the better. Confess! You'll feel better.
I have just to words to introduce my fashion nightmare: Color Guard. I imagine most of the people who will stumble across this entry went to high school, or maybe even college. I also imagine that a fair amount went to a football game during that time. So you are probably already giggling. Stop it! Whatever you are picturing, mine was probably worse.

The school colors: Orange, Brown and White (fight! fight! fight!).

The fabric of choice: white spandex with orange sequins.

Now in the three years I was in the color guard, we had three different uniforms. The first year was definitely the worst: it was a one-piece white spandex long-sleeve pant suit with orange sequins covering one arm and half of the torso (diagonally). Now those of you who remember marching band probably also remember that color guard isn't a sport and therefore doesn't really attract girls who are physically fit. And did I mention the SPANDEX???

Extra Credit: Are you kidding? Pictures, people!

I don't have any pictures of me in said sparkly ensemble from Hell, but I do have another Color Guard picture. This is a spandex dress (who knew spandex could make puffed sleeves?) with a separate sequin vest. It, by the way, is the least offensive of the three outfits we wore, which might explain why it's the only one with a surviving picture!

29 September, 2007

Here...Sort Of

I'm here. Home from vacation safe and sound. Really though, I just don't have a whole lot to say. This was our fourth Disney Cruise in 18 months, and it was really mostly the same as the last ones. So if you're wanting pictures, or stories, please accept my lack of new text and go back and re-read previous cruise posts.

Honestly, I didn't take any pictures worth actually saving off the camera. And aside from the food at Palo (mmm... lobster ravioli with mascarpone and truffles...) and biking on Castaway Cay (my butt bones still hurt!), it was all basically the same as last time.

I did, however, manage to take this shot on Thursday morning just before breakfast. I'm guessing this is the closest I'll ever be to a rocket launch.

22 September, 2007

The Desks Are In!

I was at work yesterday for 13 1/2 hours (minus the hour I went out to lunch with Scott). This means I was out of the house for about 15 hours. Thank goodness I have tomorrow off to recuperate. I should've been smart like Scott and taken today and tomorrow off.

I absolutely love my new desk. I love the way we have the furniture set up. And I love that every single person who walked in the office yesterday stopped dead in their tracks and said "wow - it looks like a real office in here!" Here's some pictures of the new digs:

This is your view as you enter the office. My desk is in the front, and the other night person will be sitting at the back desk. In the background there you can see the wall of The Boss's desk, Number Two sits just to the right of the picture.

And here's the view from Number Two's desk. Check out all that new file storage space! In a few days when I get back from the mini vacation, I might take a new picture once the other girls move their stuff in (just so it doesn't seem like my desk is the messy one - because I assure you it's not!). I only wish I had thought to take some "before" pictures to clearly illustrate just what a HUGE step up this has been.

Of course, now the office is pretty much broken up into two parts: the nice new part, and the ghetto old part. I think the bosses will probably get real new furniture by the end of the next fiscal year. And all of us need new chairs. For now, I'm just excited to go to work and use my new desk!

note: these pictures were taken with my camera phone, which apparently has a smudge on the lens. though I do enjoy that dream-like quality it gives my work space.

21 September, 2007

Books A Go Go

This is going to be a quickie. I promised myself I'd go directly to bed as soon as I finished burning 2 copies of a rehearsal CD. The second copy just popped out, but I still have 1/2 glass of wine left.

Scalzi's Weekend Assignment: What books do you want to read - but haven't yet? These could be new books, classic books you've just not gotten around to, books you've bought but haven't cracked the spines of, or a book you want to get but for some reason haven't. The salient characteristic is that you want to read it, but just haven't yet.

Funny you should ask! A little over a month ago, I went and bought Sammy's House and two cheap used books at Books A Million. I devoured Sammy's House within the week, but have been saving the other two books for the next vacation. The cheap books are used library books that BAM was selling for $3 each: "The Amateur Marriage" and "The First 48." The first may or may not be a romance novel. The second is a crime drama (with the same title as one of Scott's favorite TV shows - that's why I picked it up in the first place). Another book that I want to read but haven't yet managed to get my hands on: The Lost Colony (darn you Scalzi for publishing the first chapter free online!). And in the "classics you've just not gotten around to" category, I'd like to read Gone With The Wind some day.

Extra credit: Do you usually prefer the book or the movie? The book, of course! My most recent literary disappointment was Bridge to Terabithia, but there are so many more - from Jurassic Park to Les Miserables to Harry Potter - that I can't even list them all! Although I must say, the first installment of Chronicles of Narnia was pretty good.

20 September, 2007

Awkward, Party of 2


I think I may have mentioned that I was checking e-mail and voicemail for The Boss while he was off benchmarking in Europe (for which I was rewarded with 2 bottles of wine and a bar of Austrian chocolate).  About a week into the trip, his e-mail password was set to expire.

So I changed it... to...


Hahahahaha!  I partly did it as a joke.  I mean, I already know I'm the greatest - there's no need to heap praise on myself!  But I wanted a password that I knew I wouldn't forget, and didn't want to use any variation of my own stock of passwords.  Also, Number Two and I discussed changing the password, and he reminded me how easy it would be for The Boss to change it when he got back.

We were all back in the office together today for the first time since The Boss's return.  He made a comment that, while true, the password is a little awkward for him.  So I showed him how to change the password.  C'est facile!  Though I guess some time in the past two days, The Secretary came and got his receipts for his expense report, and she asked for his password and he wouldn't give it to her because he was embarrassed. The poor man prides himself on his business ethics, and I went and made a password that could be construed soooo many different ways - none of them particularly good!

I'm still laughing with tears in my eyes about that.

19 September, 2007

Oh Yeah...

I forgot to mention the best part of yesterday. At the outlet mall, as were walking back to Scott's car from 5 stores away when we noticed a large hispanic family congregating right behind his car. Half of them were leaning on the trunk.

So I told him to hit the panic button on the remote.

Ohmyeffinggoodness! The mom proceeded to grab both her kids and yank them away from the car sooo fast. And then they were all looking around trying to figure out if anyone else had noticed them setting off the car alarm. They were still standing behind the car (albeit 2 feet away) when we got there and loaded my purchases into the trunk. At that point, they all scattered in different directions.

But really folks, why wouldn't you sit on the bench 2 cars away? Or lean on your own car? Or - here's a wacky thought - not hang out in a parking lot with your children? Sheesh!

18 September, 2007

$100 Well Spent

Scott and I hit the outlet mall today. I was in desperate need of new sneakers (the old ones are stained and now holey, leaving me with just the pink hi-tops, which just don't go with capri pants), and was hoping to pick up some more cheap t-shirts from the Old Navy Outlet.

Well, the new sneakers I ended up with were maybe my 6th choice style-wise. I'm still on that pink kick, and these have blue accents instead. But they were the only ones in my size and width. And they are Nike, which has always been ok for me in the past. And they were *gasp* $50! Oy, that's a lot of money. On the bright side, they'll probably last me for 5 years because I never wear them!

And then the unthinkable happened: everything at the O.N. store was 60% off. EVERYTHING MUST GO! Yep - they were clearing out. Luckily, I managed to get some of the solid color fitted tees that I like so much. The choices were pretty picked-over, but I managed to get a new white one, a pinkish-mauve, and a brown v-neck (just like the one I was wearing today). I also got a polo shirt, a tank top, and a pair of casual pants. Grand total: $30. Woo!!! I asked the guy why they were closing, and he said they are turning the outlet store into a regular Old Navy. That's ok with me - they have good sales sometimes too.

After the outlets, we went over to Target and bought a whole bunch of random stuff including Puffs tissues in Halloween boxes, lighter fluid, gum, and a pink dress on clearance for $9! The dress is really really cool. It may not look like it on the hanger, but it's contemporary (which so rarely happens to me - I tend to buy clothes from the Old Navy Outlet!), and so cute and flirty. I thought I could put my white cardigan over it for work, but I tried that on and instantly broke into song, "summer lovin had me a blast, summer lovin happened so fast..." But aside from that, wow! Check out the kick-ass pleats on the bust:

That same pleating repeats at the bottom of the waistband, and the skirt poofs out when I spin around. And in case you were wondering, the dress is more the color of the first picture.

I'll make sure to get a couple of pictures when I wear it the first time (hmm... maybe next week?). Sure, I have to go strapless. Sure, I have fat arms that are better suited for sleeves. But every girl needs to let her inner diva out once in a while. Right?!?

17 September, 2007

Is It Time for Bed Yet?

I'm tired and my day hasn't even started yet. That's probably not a good sign of things to come.

Oh well - 4ish hours of work and 2 hours of rehearsal, and then I can come home and stare at the TV.

I think I'm just mentally tired from thinking about everything that needs to be done in the next 6 days. Today is going to be one of those "take things one day at a time" days, or my head is going to explode!

15 September, 2007

Shopping for Free Furniture

I can't remember how much I've talked about our office renovation. I know I mentioned putting together our shelves. Well yesterday Number Two and I went over to the warehouse of used office furniture - yes, there is such a place - and were given run of the place to pick out whatever we wanted. Well, we ended up deciding on two gorgeous desks that don't even look like they were ever used. And they will be delivered next Friday.

I am thrilled!

Of course, this means packing up everything off the desks Thursday night and being there Friday morning when the crew comes to pick up the old desks, and when the other crew comes to bring the new ones. Between being out of the office for 2 hours yesterday and having my hands full with other projects on Thursday, I am officially behind on my work. Plus, since I'm not counting on getting any actual work done next Friday, and since I'll be out of the office the following Sunday, I figure I should work on Monday just to get us caught up on everything. Maybe 4 hours before my first Candlelight rehearsal(!!!).

And then The Boss comes back from almost 3 weeks out of the office on Tuesday. I can't even imagine what he's going to say when he comes in. I sincerely hope it isn't, "I hate everything - put it back the way it was," or "no, you can't have the new desks." I might cry. I'm hoping for something along the lines of, "the office looks great. and I brought you presents from Europe."

14 September, 2007

Oh Yeah...

If you were wondering where I've been for the past few days, I discovered Peggle.

Am addicted.

Send help!

No, don't bother, I probably wouldn't answer the door when the help showed up!

Poll Dancing

Scalzi's Weekend Assignment: Make up a poll for people to play with. The poll can be on any subject you want -- it can be serious or funny or silly or whatever (although funny's always, you know. Funny).

Here's the link to my poll. I tried to embed it, but Blogger thinks there is an error with the code they supplied.

I don't need a poll to tell me what's going to win. In the last 10 entries, the ones with the overwhelming majority of comments are pictures of my pets. Oh well... I guess I know who y'all are really here to see. Thanks for tolerating me too ;-)

Extra credit: Have you ever participated in a political poll? I'm going to have to say no. I've never really participated in anything political - except voting.

11 September, 2007

Mugging for the Camera

Scalzi's Monday Photo Shoot: Take a picture of one or more interesting coffee mugs you might have. Because it's my experience that people have coffee mugs with interesting stories behind them. At least, I do.

I think that interesting mugs are things you accumulate over time. Growing up, it was fun for me to pick a mug off the mug tree for hot chocolate or the occasional tea. There were lots of fun ones to choose from. Here in the ParkHopper household, we collect pint glasses and have some cool ones, but we don't have a whole lot of interesting mugs. Maybe that's more a symptom of living in Florida than of a young marriage. Check back with me in 20 years!

Anyway, I do have some interesting mugs:

The mug on the left is a hold-out from my college days (further enforcing the theory that lack of mugs is a Florida thing). I used it back then mostly as a cereal bowl. Obviously, the center mug is current. It's my most recent travel mug purchase, and I carry it to work most days because it brings a smile to my face. Who wouldn't want their imaginary boyfriend on a mug?? And the one on the right is Scott's. He's had it since before we were married. I asked him what the story behind it was and I was informed, "it came with a pair of underwear."

So there you have it. Three examples of the ParkHopper family collection of mugs.

No Celebrity Endorsement Implied

I am by no means endorsing Alltel Wireless. I've never used their product, and can neither confirm nor deny that their customer service is better than the competitors (though it would be hard to be worse that Sprint/Nextel). However, any company that uses a cute, sweet guinea pig on their commercials can't be bad, right?

09 September, 2007

Part of This Balanced Breakfast

I just got through explaining to Scott that chocolate-covered caramel corn is actually a complete breakfast. (do you even have to ask why I was explaining it? of course not! I had extra after I finished loading up the container for the pot luck, and I was munching on it when he woke up)

The Fruit Loops commercials "complete breakfast" used to include toast, a glass of milk, a glass of juice, and a banana, in addition to the bowl of cereal. That's great, but the dairy, fruit, and starch food groups were there without even including the cereal. So next time kids, just have a peanut butter and banana sandwich with your glass of milk!

....or just have some of Jamie's Special Breakfast Mix:
* chocolate = dairy. calcium builds strong bones!
* pop corn = both a vegetable and a starch... and when was the last time you had a vegetable for breakfast? see! it's a health food!
* peanuts = protein. and better for you than bacon
* Pair this with a glass of fruit juice, and we have a complete meal!

Of course, I believe I have perma-chocolate under some of my finger nails. But that's the price of healthy eating! (and yes, I plan to supplement with a bagel in about an hour)

Poor Mrs. Bush...

Her husband couldn't even take one day off from ruining - oops, I mean running - the country to be with her while she had surgery.


And in completely unrelated football news, I was sad to see that Notre Dame scored during Penn State's first possession this afternoon. However, that was the only TD that ND scored, and PSU totally killed them 31-10.


And in completely unrelated work news, batch #4 of caramel corn has been chocolate drizzled (except where the ziploc bag busted and the chocolate plopped out - there it's pretty much smothered) and is setting up on the stove. I'm looking forward to my contribution to the pot luck.

07 September, 2007

Most Improved

It turns out the candy thermometer was all this recipe needed to bring it to life. It was so good I was burning my mouth picking off pieces as Scott was smashing it out onto the parchment paper. Actually, the candy thermometer wasn't all that changed. Obviously, there's chocolate drizzled on the top (way less than the recipe called for... but I wanted to have lots of chocolate when I do my hypothetical batch for the pot luck). And I also doubled the caramel recipe and used the same amount of popcorn. Oh - and I had Scott mix the popcorn into the caramel. He has the magic culinary touch!

I was telling Girl Chef about my harrowing experience with the first batch, and she looked at me and told me to go to Publix and buy brownies from their bakery. Oh, how I was wounded! The last pot luck, I wanted to bring something made by professionals, and was told that I had to make it myself. And we all know how that turned out! So then I was absolutely determined to make this work. And I think it did. I'm bringing this batch in to work today, mostly so that she can taste it, and I bet it doesn't last through pre-meal. (of course, I'll probably eat 3/4 of it!)

ASIDE: I don't think I mentioned that Girl Chef recently came back from her benchmarking trip to NYC bearing gifts! I couldn't believe I actually got anything! She brought me a little container of caramel corn from Thomas Keller's Bouchon Bakery. Anyway, that stuff was the best caramel corn I've ever had - it's so rich and buttery, one tiny bite satisfies my sweet tooth. My stuff isn't that good, but it's also not as rich, so you can eat giant handfuls of it. Plus, it's drizzled with chocolate!

AND BACK-TRACK: Anyway, when I was making this stuff last night, I asked Scott if he thought our family members would mind if I made this instead of pumpkin cheesecake for Thanksgiving this year. And then I had a revelation. We're about 90% sure we're moving into a two bedroom apartment when our lease is up (November 30). (and please, Mother, don't get any grand-maternal jolt from that sentence... we just need more space) This means the weeks before are going to be filled with packing, throwing away, and not filling our fridge with leftovers. I think maybe Thanksgiving this year will fall somewhere between then and Christmas. Or maybe in January. Or we can all just go out for pizza or Chinese!

06 September, 2007

Office Update

(or Why Jamie Smells Like a Horse)

Our office renaissance continues. The new taller & deeper shelving unit was delivered a few days ago, and Number Two and I put it together and loaded it up tonight. The office looks so much neater already. Not ones to sit on our laurels, we immediately launched into the next phase. This included him ordering another matching unit for another section of the wall, and me using a box cutter on many many many pieces of poster board.

See, we have a whole bunch of posters of various wine regions (Alsace, Burgundy, Bordeaux, Italy, and Napa to name a few of the 10+) taking up space in the office, and Number Two decided we should hang them up in some of the empty wall space to "decorate" the office. Well, the poster board is 2' x 3', but the actual posters mounted on the board are closer to 1.5' x 2'. So I'm trimming off the excess poster board. I got 3 done before I left tonight, and should be finished in the next few days.

Oh - but back to the shelving unit - it was a pain in the @$$ to put together. It required a hammer and lots of muscle power, and the shelves are nothing more than 3/8" particle board, which caused me a bunch of scrapes and gouges as I installed them.

Another facet of work is also really exciting to me right now: the search for the new part-timer. Apparently I write one helluva job description. Last time (before I worked there), the job was open for many months with no applicants. This time, our one-week posting yielded about 7 applicants. Number Two got their resumes today, and they actually seem (gasp!) experienced (double gasp!) maybe even competant. He isn't sure what the approved time-line is for scheduling interviews, and is worried he'll have to do it before The Boss returns from Europe. Either way you slice it, I hope that I'll be included in interviews again. I was when we hired G, and if there's a choice to be made, I ought to at least know the players involved.

So work was eventful today. And though I need to buckle down and get some serious calling done in the next three days, I'm not stressed about it. And did I mention that help is on the way? And that the office project is more than 1/2 way done? I'm so excited I could just pee myself!

05 September, 2007

Not Quite Idiot Proof

So it turns out caramel corn isn't really that easy to make. We have a pot luck coming up at work on Sunday, and I have a chocolate-drizzled caramel corn recipe I wanted to try out.

Good thing I tried it out!

Batch #1 never even got off the ground. After adding all the ingredients, the pot came to a boil before I was ready for it and I burned the peanuts. Yikes!

Batch #2 didn't burn. But I learned that when they say "large pot," they mean it. I was supposed to stir the popcorn into the pot, but there was too much corn to even attempt to mix. So the popcorn wasn't covered evenly. And then it didn't get crunchy. I ended up with something that was really tasty, but was more like a Snickers bar with popcorn than Cracker Jacks. We ate almost all of it in giant sticky handfuls over the cookie sheet.

I was thinking about making a third test batch today, since we still have almost a whole bag of already-popped corn getting stale in a bowl on the counter, but Scott is sick (food poisoning... but not from this!) and I don't want to risk burning another batch of caramel (doubled, for greater popcorn coverage) and having to evacuate him from the apartment. Maybe I'll try the microwave or (gasp!) actually using the cooking thermometer.

Any other pot luck ideas? If nothing else, I'll just have to fall back on peanut butter-banana bread.

04 September, 2007

Affirmative CATion

After yesterday's ZoePig love fest, Milo wanted in on the action. It just so happens that his picture slides nicely into this week's Monday Photo Shoot: Present a picture that clearly shows a particular emotion. Happy, sad, thrilled, bummed, anything in between.

In this picture, Milo is clearly tolerating us. He allows us to use his favorite napping spot (the man chair) when we want. He permits us to pet him. And he was kind enough to look straight at me when I took this picture.

(if only he knew what a ridiculous position that is to sleep in!)

02 September, 2007


I got a call from Rose and Gary yesterday afternoon saying they were in town and wanted to come have dinner at The Restaurant. So I booked them a table and then ran around to everyone who would listen telling them, "we picked up a two-top. it's my favorite aunt and uncle. whee!" (in my defense, at least half of the people needed to be told that we added the extra guests. and I wanted to make sure they got a good table)

Well, I think it's safe to say that they had a good time. The sous chef (who was running the show) hooked them up with tastes of some extra items, and the servers treated them like gold. I set up a kitchen tour for them, since a) Aunt Rose has some culinary background, and b) that way I could say goodnight to them without going back into the dining room. And then the sous chef came over and told them how wonderful I am and the manager told them the place would fall apart without me. I think I'm still blushing.

It turned out to be a really great night for me. And like I said, I think they enjoyed it too.

01 September, 2007

A Fun Quiz You Must Take!

Sure, the quiz is titled "What Kind of Liberal Are You?" Sure, it's on a website called Sure, most of you aren't liberals at all. But you should still take the quiz and see what you come up with.

C'mon... it's only 7 questions... what do you have to lose?

How to Win a Fight With a Conservative is the ultimate survival guide for political arguments

My Liberal Identity:

You are a New Left Hipster, also known as a liberal, a Netroots activist, or a Daily Show fanatic. You believe that if we really want to defend American values, conservatives must be exposed, mocked, and assailed for every fanatical, puritanical, warmongering, Constitution-shredding ideal for which they stand.

And yes, this is TOTALLY me! Most accurate quiz EVER!

News Flash

It's September!

How the heck did that happen?

We now return you to the rest of the blog.