Sunday, December 19, 2010

If you ever want to see me poke my eyes out...

take me to a Ward Christmas Party.

Seriously, I don't understand what comes over people, but when most walk into the cultural hall for any Ward Party, but particularly the Ward Christmas Party, they immediately forget they have children.  And because these children are now forgotten, they run and scream like wild animals.

All the while, the parents are stuffing themselves with mediocre (at best) food.  Don't get me wrong, the food was likely delicious when it was prepared, but since it is now room temperature and picked over by the 629 people in the line in front of me, it's not as appetizing as it once was.

There are never enough tables set up, so inevitably, the late-comers are hovering in the wings, with plates of food balanced all up their arms (they seriously look like a waitress at the fancy diner that can balance 8 plates per arm--except these plates are paper and precariously tipping).  If by chance you vacate your chair, you've lost it for the night.  Never mind that you got up to reunite the kid screaming at the top of his lungs (because his Oreo(R) fell on the floor) and the rest of his family on the other side of the cultural hall, working on helpings three and four.

After almost everyone has served themselves (in one gargantuan line, since no one thought to set up two separate buffet tables), the evening's MC, who is the self-appointed Ward Comedian, invites the Primary children to come to the front of the Cultural Hall, stand in a single file line in front of the stage, and sing some Christmas songs that no one can hear since the kids just started learning the songs two weeks ago.  Well, ok, there is that one kid that is the super achiever and sings extra loud to compensate for the rest of the kids.  But she is the one that couldn't carry a tune in a wheelbarrow.

About this time, the "real" entertainment begins: the pseudo-amateur performers singing hits, such as, "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus," "Jingle Bell Rock," "Do You Hear What I Hear," and "The Twelve Days of Christmas"--all verses, acted out, with non-singers "singing."  But, the bad/good news is that no one can hear the entertainment, since people won't stop talking to the person sharing the table with them (even though the rest of the year they ignore each other).

And then, there is the serious song, like "O Holy Night" or "Mary, Did You Know," that is thrown in to help everyone remember the true meaning of Christmas, but really just makes everyone feel awkward.  Mostly because the singer had just remembered she had kids three minutes before she took the stage.  And yelled at them to sit down and listen to the people singing.

The great news, though, is Santa makes an appearance.  All the kids line up to tell Santa their wish list.  And then feel cheated since Santa gives out a "prize" like an orange.

As you can tell, I'm not much of a fan of the Ward Christmas Party.

And just so you know, this doesn't necessarily describe any ONE Ward Christmas Party I've been to.  It's more of an observation of how they tend to go, based on several years of attending.  I made an appearance at this year's party, after several years of boycotts.  I think there are several more boycotts in my future.

Friday, December 17, 2010

It's not good to be hungry at 1:17 am

I really shouldn't eat anything.

But I REALLY am hungry.

I guess the good thing is that I want to eat grapefruit.

It could be worse.

Like a gooey chocolate brownie with ice cream and hot fudge.

And just like that, I saved 5,726 calories.

I'm amazing!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Items in mirror may be larger than they appear

The year Darrell and I got married, I decided it was time to purchase a beautiful and fully lighted artificial Christmas tree.  And since I was buying one, it needed to be fabulous.  One that would last for years.

So, I went to the Costco (one of my favorite stores) and found a beautiful 9-foot tree.  Our living room has vaulted ceilings, so it would fit perfectly. 

I picked out the perfect spot for it and was so excited to get it home and start decorating.

If I played it right, the whole house would look like a Christmas catalog before Darrell got home.

I paid for the tree and pushed the flat-bed cart to the parking lot.

The tree was in a box about 6-feet long, which was just going to have to stick out the back of the trunk the five mile trip home.

The only problem was this:

I owned a car that was too small to accommodate the box.

I tried every possible configuration to get that dumb box in the car.

I tried loading the box through the trunk, but it wouldn't fit--the box was too tall to fit in the trunk.

I tried loading the box through the front door, but I could only get it to go perpendicular--from the passenger side to the driver's side.  I wasn't going to be able to drive the car that way.

I turned that box every direction possible, but it was all to no avail.

I spent about 30 minutes trying to get that dang tree in the dang car.

It wasn't happening.

(I sincerely hope there weren't security cameras filming my attempts.  I guess if there were, I'd have seen the film on the youtube by now.)

(I like calling things "the" whatever....the youtube, the Costco, the email.  It goes back to my days in Missouri, I think.)

So, I took the stupid tree to the returns area.  The man working the desk asked what was wrong.

"The tree won't fit in my car.  I just bought it half an hour ago and can't get it in my car."

I told him that I'd be back with a larger vehicle and he could just give me a store credit.

I came back a couple of days later with one of Darrell's friend's SUV.

The Costco was completely out of Christmas trees.

We ended up with a bookcase.

It's a good thing we didn't get that 9-foot Christmas tree after all.  When I got home, I realized we would have had to climb over the couch everytime we needed to go into the kitchen.  My space perception is sometimes off. 

That's why, when we move, we will have to take the bookcase out the window. 

There's no way in hades we will be able to get it out of the room it's in.  You see...we assembled it in our home office and it can only go from the home office to the bathroom.  It's too big to take the corner to get out of either of those rooms.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I really love Annie Lennox

Her voice is fab and this song is one of her best....

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Jury Duty

or...There's got to be a better way to spend eight hours.

About six weeks ago, I got a summons in the mail for jury duty.

This was about the fourth summons I have received in about as many years.

It seems that everytime I get jury duty, I call the day before I'm scheduled to appear and my group doesn't have to go downtown.

Except this last time.

I had to appear at 9:15 (am--like, in the morning!), in downtown Phoenix.  I used to work in downtown Phoenix, so it's not like I don't know what to expect in driving down there.  What I don't remember, is what time I have to leave to be there in time to be on time.  All I knew was that it had to be early.  And I don't do early.

I managed to make it in time, with time to spare, in fact.  I was not happy, however.  It was dark, and early, and cold, and early.

I took a book to read since I knew I'd have some time to kill.  I ended up reading about half of my book, which was good for me.  I'm not a reader.  Ask anyone in my bookclub.  And yes, it's pretty silly to be a non-reader in a bookclub of readers.

I was called in the third group of people to go to a courtroom.  I was juror number 38.  I kept thinking that it would be easy to remember my number, since it was my age.  Except it isn't my age.  I sort of forget my age, which is sorta crazy.  (Not that I forget my age, but that I am the age that I am....I don't know where the last 20-ish years went).

There were sixty of us.  It is rather interesting to people watch the jury duty process.  There are some real weirdos that show up:

There was the unemployed guy who had to be "not-quite-right."  He was too excited to be there.  I guess the $0.44 per mile for the trip was the most money he was going to make in a long time.  He was overly chatty to whoever was near him.  He waved at the attorneys and police officer when we had to look at them to determine whether we knew them.

There was the older lady who related her life experiences in the 1970s when we were asked questions about whether we knew people in law enforcement.

There were ALL the people who answered they had been victims of crimes because their cars were vandalized a dozen years ago.

We got to the courtroom about 11:00 and broke for a two hour lunch from 12 to 2.  The judge had asked us a bunch of questions and there were so many people who wanted to speak about their experiences in private, we got an extra hour for lunch.  When we met back at 2, the people who had met in private informed the rest of us that private meant the judge, the clerk, the bailiff, the court reporter, the two prosecutors, the police officer, the defense attorney, the defendant, the two sheriff's office deputies guarding the defendant, and the person requesting to speak in "private."

From 2 to 3, the judge asked some more questions and then excused us for about 45 minutes.  Upon our return, the jury was selected.  I, fortunately, was not selected to serve on the jury.  The trial was expected to last 2 weeks and the defendant was charged with kidnapping, rape, and felonious possession of a weapon.  I don't think I could stand to listen to the testimony for two weeks.

But here are the good things I learned:

When the attorneys "approach" the bench, the judge turns on a white noise machine that is piped into the courtroom via speakers directly above the jury.  I always wondered how they could talk without everyone hearing it.  It's just something they don't explain well on Law & Order.

The carnitas at the courthouse's cafeteria are really good.  I would take another trip down there for the carnitas alone.

The security measures made me laugh.  I walked through a metal detector and then was "wanded," front and back.  I then had to lift my pant legs high enough for the security officer to see my ankles.  Because I wouldn't think to put a weapon around my calves.

It gets DANG cold in the courthouse.  Either that or I get cold easily.  Ok.  I get cold easily.  But that is nothing new.

I'm going to do my best to stay on THIS side of the law.  The other side doesn't look as fun.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Readers, I need your help!

I'm trying to decide on a second pie for Thanksgiving.

I'm making a pie crust recipe that makes enough crust for two pies.

And cutting the recipe in half is unreasonable.

So, what pie (other than pumpkin, since that's the no-brainer) should I make?

Leave your answer in  the comments. 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

I'm a serious slacker

Since I have insomnia, I've been checking out some of blogger's newer features.  I found where you can read all the comments left on your blog in one location.

So, I was reading them and came across some classics.  I have some great friends--thanks to you all.

And then I came across several that had me confused.  So I checked out the original posting.

It was a list of ten things that make me ridiculously happy.

And I asked my readers (that's you) if any one would like to write their own list for me to post on my blog.

Several of you responded.

And I forgot all about it.

So, if you are still interested (or interested for the first time), let me know.  I will do it for real this time!

And, yeah, I still have a large stack of thank you cards that I never sent out from my wedding. 

Six years ago.

I love Thanksgiving

And the food.

Here's this year's line-up:

Roasted turkey, brined for about 24 hours.  Delicious!
Turkey gravy, made from the turkey drippings (that sounds yucky) instead of a brown powder.  My mom's coming and can help me figure out gravy once and for all.  (I'll have to write a separate post about the mauve gravy I made).
Homemade cranberry sauce.  It's actually so, so easy.  Who knew?
Mashed yukon gold potatoes.  With butter, sour cream, butter, salt, butter, pepper, butter, and butter.  Not lo-cal.
Homemade cornbread dressing, made from homemade cornbread.  Yum!
Glazed and candied sweet potatoes.  No nasty marshmallows, though.
Sauteed green beans with bacon, shallots, and sesame seeds.
Raspberry pretzel jello salad.  This year I have get to share.
Homemade rolls with Irish butter.  Oh-so-delicious.
Homemade pumpkin pie with caramel whipped cream.
Fizzy cranberry cocktails.  Or mocktails, really.

There may or may not be other things, but the above items are the required ones.

I'll have to post the recipes on here so I can find them easily.

I can hardly wait!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

You know you are lazy.....

When making rice krispies treats is too much work.

So you buy the pre-made, sheet-cake size rice krispies treats.

Really?  'Cause it's too hard to make them?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Am I bigger?

Or is everything getter smaller?

A half gallon of ice cream is now only 1.5 quarts.  If anyone was going to notice that one, it's me.  I used to eat ice cream two or more times a day.  That was back in my teen age years when I was as thin as a rail and thought I was ginormous.  Maybe I should start thinking that way again.

The toilet paper rolls are shorter.  They have the same number of sheets, but the rolls fit so easily on the TP holders.  Remember when you had to squish the roll to get it on there?  No more.

Five pound sugar bags are now four pound sugar bags.  I was at the store looking for the five pound bags, which don't exist, and kept seeing the small bags and the big bags, but not the medium bags.  

Women's clothing.  I have worn the same size for several years, even though I can't wear the clothes in the same size from a couple of years ago.  Do they really think we are stupid?  Ok, we aren't stupid, just vain.

I know why retailers do this.  They want to trick us.  Either get less than we used to for the same price or feel "good" about ourselves since we "still" fit in the size we love.  But seriously, are they really tricking anyone?

I would rather pay a little more and get the same amount I used to get. 

Now, I have to buy two of something to get the amount needed for a recipe.  And I have too much. 

Or, even worse, I have to do hard math to figure out how to cut every other ingredient back by the same percentage.  That hasn't worked well for me yet.

Clearly women's clothing is smaller than it used to.  Size 2 was the smallest less than 20 years ago.  Now there is a triple zero.  REALLY?  What next, negative numbers?  Or worse yet, IMAGINARY numbers?

Just be honest with me.  Is that too much to ask?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

It's possible I won't sleep well tonight

Look what I found just before going to bed tonight....

Yeah.  It's a super creepy scorpion.

I now think that the bed is full of them and I won't get to sleep for hours.

I captured it in a glass (one of the only things they can't climb).

I researched on the internet the best way to kill them.

Apparently stepping on them and squishing while turning your foot is the best.

But not when you are wearing flip flops.

I chose to flush it down the toilet.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Random rant

I really hate it when I send an email to someone to just give a quick update on a project and the response is an attack on me and what the other person read between the lines. 

The lines that didn't even exist.

Now, I know that email does a poor job of conveying tone.  But there wasn't even any tone I tried to convey.

I sent a, "Hey, a quick reminder about XYZ and a suggestion" email and I got a, "I already know what you told me, don't tell me what to do, and furthermore, you made me mad the last time we talked and I'm going to tell you off now."


Saturday, September 18, 2010

Have you ever been to Joe's Real BBQ in Gilbert, Arizona?

 It's DANG good!

We went there for dinner tonight.  We chose the walk-up window.  That's right, the walk-up window.

We were both tired and decided to get the food to go and eat at home.  And pretend we made dinner.

We ordered and sat on the bench outside the walk-up window, waiting patiently for our food.

Because they were super busy, it took awhile.  Like twenty minutes.  In 100 degree weather.

They called, "Darrell, your food is ready!"

Darrell jumped up and went to the window.

But before he had the chance to get our food, some lady who had ordered about three minutes earlier, talking on a cell phone, pushed her way to the walk-up window.


You read correctly, my friends. 

She stole.

Darrell asked the girl at the window if she said "Darrell" or some other name.

She said, "Darrell."

He told her that our food was stolen by the lady that just took the food.

Sidenote--To the girl at the window: Is it too hard to notice that the lady you JUST took an order from is claiming food that isn't hers?

Back to the story:

Everyone in line was agog.  Joe's did make up our food relatively quickly.

But I'm hoping she ordered far more than two turkey sandwiches, cheesy potatoes, macaroni and cheese, and corn.

Or better yet.

That she is allergic.

By the way...her name is Cheryl.

And apparently, the world revolves around her.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

I'm stealing from my sister

A couple of weeks ago, I drove (actually rode since I can't drive a standard transmission car (I KNOW!  Forty years old and can't do it...unbelievable!)) to Colorado Springs, with my sister Julie.  She moved from Tucson to the NYC.  We stayed at Jennilyn, my other sister's house.  You know, my sister with the only grandchild.  The cutest niece on the earth!  My other sister, Emily, flew into Colorado Springs and drove with Julie to the NYC.  Emily is a fabulous photographer and I stole this photo of my from her blog.

I was amazed with what she must have done with photoshop to have a photo of me turn out so relatively nice!

Thanks, Emily!  And Julie!  And Jennilyn!  And Malena!  What a fun couple of days!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Money for nothing....

and the chicks for free.

Do you remember that Dire Straits song?

Well, I found a website that will give you $15--that you spend on FABULOUS merchandise they sell--just for signing up.

Pretty amazing, huh?

It is One Kings Lane.

Sign up, and enter my email address in the optional "I was invited by" field (darrellandsteph at cox dot com), and we both get $15.

Then you can refer people and the whole world gets $15.

You can redeem your credit right away, or anytime in the next six months.

But if you see something you like, snatch it up. The offers are only available for one day and once the product is gone, it's gone.

I still don't like Apple, but

Darrell won an i-Pad and it's sort of fun.

Except it uses i-Tunes and we all know how much I hate that!

Best of all, Darrell is really good at sharing.

Thanks, babe!

Friday, September 3, 2010

What kind of geek are you?

There are gleeks.  I sorta fall into that category.

There are computer geeks.  I SOOOO don't fall into that category.  There are two IT guys at work that I single-handedly keep employed.  I have nearly run out of memory on my computer (which is the third one I have had in less than two and a half years of employment there).  I have files on my computer that need to be transferred to the server.  But they are so big that the server would crash if they were transferred.  I know it SOUNDS like I know what I'm talking about, but I don't.  Because....

I am also the geek that can remember things that I am told.  Unless it is important.  I have about forty years of useless information stored in my cabeza.  I remember that William Harvey was the first physician to accurately describe the circulation system and properties of blood (thank you college science--twenty-two years ago!).  But I cannot for the life of me remember to charge my cell phone every night.

I am not a comic book geek.  I just.don't.get.them.

I'm not a science geek.  Even though I remember the whole "Harvey thing," I really don't care about science.  The last science class I took in college was Astronomy.  You're thinking, "That sounds like a cool class...looking at stars through telescopes."  That's what I thought.  Nope.  Tons of math.  I didn't get it.  I dropped the class the day of the final.  I probably had a 3% in the class.  Definitely NOT a science geek.

I'm not a technology geek.  I don't have to have the latest gadget.  I've had my cell phone for over two years, even though I was eligible for an upgrade more than a year ago.  I choose my phone based solely on its ability to have "Charlie's Angels" as a ring tone.  And I can't remember how to use most of the 5,627 functions my phone has.

I'm not a math geek.  If you were to look at my report card from 11th grade, you would think I was a math geek.  I took Algebra II that year.  And had a 113% in the class.  But it was the second time I took the class.  I thought I liked math and wanted to take it all four years of high school.  I switched high schools between my sophomore and junior years and there were different math tracks.  I had to retake Algebra II to take Trigonometry.  So I more than aced Algebra II the second time.  Not so much the first time.

I'm not a music geek.  I like many genres and am not tied to only one style of music.  I like music that is old and music that is new.  I think that a music geek isn't so much the person who is really "into" music as much as the person who is only "into" one type of music.  That's not me.

I'm a map and navigator geek.  I love looking at maps, charting the course, being the direction-giver.  I hate mapquest and other web-based navigation systems.  I've been misled too many times.  I do, however, like GPS.  I especially like teasing the GPS lady (have you noticed they are always ladies?  The ONLY ladies that men will ask for directions?).  I will purposely turn the wrong way, just so the GPS lady can tell me to turn around.  I like to keep her on her toes.  When I was eight, I was pretty pleased that I could navigate my entire family, including grandparents and uncle, from our house in North Little Rock, Arkansas, to the Arkansas Territorial Capital--eight miles away (it SOOO seemed further)--a couple of months after attending the museum on a school field trip.  Yep.  I'm.that.good.

I'm a grammar geek.  But don't get me wrong...I'm no professional.  I'm merely an amateur grammar geek.  I do it for fun.  At work, I'm required to write legal reports.  I try my best to be a grammar geek, but I truly leave it to the professionals. Seriously.  We have editors whose sole job is to read reports from me and my co-workers to ensure we have used grammar correctly.  And so, as an amateur, semi-professional grammar geek,

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Why I love it when Darrell goes out with the guys

Or, Breakfast for Dinner...

I am of the school of thought that sometimes there is nothing better than breakfast for dinner.

And what's not to love?

It's easy, cheap, fast, delicious, and filling.

Plus, I hate mornings so much, I never have a "proper" breakfast.

Darrell, however, is firmly entrenched in the opposite viewpoint.

Breakfast is only an acceptable option before 9:30 in the morning.

And not before 5:30 in the morning.

I've tried the, "Darrell, it's 6:00 at night, so it's earlier than 9:30 tomorrow morning.  We should have breakfast for dinner."


So, basically anytime Darrell goes out with his friends for dinner, I know EXACTLY what I will eat for dinner.

BREAKFAST!  (Cue angelic singing).

This very scenario played out this past Friday.

I made myself some Oatmeal Pancakes--some with blueberries, Buttermilk Syrup (Lucinda, for introducing this most delicious elixirs, I hex you!  I'm sure it is responsible for several of my current pounds!), and bacon.  I was going to throw in some hash browns, but got too full on the above.

Last night, as we were trying to decide what to eat for dinner, Darrell suggested Dunkin' Donuts.  I told him that we can't eat donuts for dinner.

To which he replied, "Why not?  You just ate breakfast for dinner last night.  And donuts are a breakfast food!"

I think I'll break him yet.

Here are my favorite recipes for the Oatmeal Pancakes and Buttermilk Syrup.

Oatmeal Pancakes

1 1/2 cups rolled oats

1/2 cup flour
2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 cups buttermilk
2 eggs, beaten

Combine dry ingredients.  In a separate bowl, whisk buttermilk and eggs and then combine with dry ingredients.  Mix until combined, but don't over mix.

Cook pancakes on hot griddle.  I used a quarter-cup measuring cup, which will make 12 pancakes.  This recipe can very easily be cut in half (which I do...I can't eat 12...not even 6 pancakes).

Normally when you use buttermilk, you are supposed to use baking powder, but the baking soda in this recipe works.  Thanks to my mom, I remember that you DO use baking soda when using buttermilk.  DUH!

Buttermilk Syrup

1 1/2 cups butter
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
3 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp baking soda

In a large saucepan (larger than you think you'll need, since the syrup will foam up in the end), combine the butter, buttermilk, and sugar.  Bring to a boil, stirring regularly.

Remove from the heat and add vanilla and baking soda.  It will foam up now.  Stir to combine.

Try hard not to sit in front of the TV and eat this like soup.

I always cut this recipe into a third.  It's really good and if, by some crazy miracle, you have any left over, keep it in the fridge.  I'm told it keeps for a couple of weeks.  I haven't tested this theory yet.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Why webmd is my best friend...

I am one of those crazy people who, after reading a magazine article detailing the "disease of the month," am convinced I have it.

I can answer yes to the questions about Every.Single.Symptom.

And so, I'm a bit of a hypochondriac.

But, I always alleviate my worst fears by going to my trusty friend, webmd, and seeing that there is nothing to worry about.

The good news is that I never have any of the usual illnesses.  Nope, strep throat, sprained ankle, and sinusitis are not my body's ailments of choice.

The following are just a few of the diseases from which I have suffered over the years:

Numerous ear infections.  As a full on adult.  The kind where my ear drum has burst.  Several times.  No wonder I feel I am partially deaf.

Kidney stones.  Although it's been over a decade since my last bout (knock on wood!), the pain is HELL CRAZY!  And there is nothing that makes it feel bearable.  Most of the time I have been forced to drive during the pain.  To all those who say miracles have ceased, I say: I drove over 20 miles in the middle of unimaginable pain.  And no one got hurt.

Bursitis.  I don't know why.  I don't know how,  But I developed bursitis in my right shoulder just before turning 30.  I couldn't move my right arm.  Try dressing without the use of your dominant arm.  Needless to say, I tried to drink very little until the pain subsided.

A sprained wrist.  I know that it doesn't sound that strange.  But I sprained my wrist while riding an inner tube being pulled by a boat.  I hit a big wave and came crashing down into the water.  However, the pain didn't manifest itself for 3 days.  Poor Darrell was practically interrogated by the ER staff, to ensure he did not beat me. 

A bunionette.  No, it's not just a little bunion.  It's a bunion on the other side of your foot--with your little toe.  It hurts like crazy and I have to wear these crazy devices to help cushion my shoes.  I'm too young for the podiatrist!

I'm sure there are more, but I don't want to bore you with the crazy details.  Suffice it to say that years of watching shows like ER and Emergency! have helped me with self diagnosis. 

I don't know if that is a good thing.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

New look

I don't know if you noticed, but I changed the look of the blog.

I didn't have much choice, since the site I got the background from removed the graphic from wherever it was saved on the web.

So, I went with one of the new blogger backgrounds.

I spent thirty-nine seconds making up my mind.

Hope you enjoy.

I'm off to spend time with Darrell and eat a rice crispy treat.

Or two.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Life's little lessons

I truly believe that we each have many things to learn in this life. 

Some of these lessons must be learned here, with a physical body.

If we don't learn these lessons, we will be forced to repeat the mistakes.

One of those lessons I repeatedly make and refuse to learn is this:

Eating too much cookie dough makes me sick.

I don't think I truly learned my lesson today and will eat it again. 

Maybe even tomorrow.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Seriously good music!

I so loved this song when I was little--like 3 or 4.  It looks like I was in good company.

This is a really great cover.  You won't be sorry you watched it.  Except Dave does give Obama too much credit.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Dear Charmin,

Did you really think I wouldn't notice that your rolls are smaller?  And I'm paying the same amount?

Dear Monsoon,

Where are you?  I can draw you a map if you need one.

Dear Roly-Poly Bugs,

Please stop coming into my house.  There is no food for you, so you die.  And then I have to clean up after you.  Really...just stay outside.

Dear Vending Machines at Work,

Can you stock something that is pseudo-healthy?  My Cheddar Sun Chips and Peanut Butter M&M lunch yesterday probably were the best choice there and it still couldn't be called a good choice.

Dear Curtains Hanging in the Home Office,

Do you think you can clean yourselves?  I really don't feel like taking you down and driving to the cleaners.  Is it too much to ask for some help around here?

Dear Dairy Queen,

Can you honor my expired BOGO Blizzard coupon?  I totally forgot I had it until 15 minutes after you closed on the day it expired.  You'll have a customer for life.  :)

Dear Bunionette,

Can you go away?  I know that's asking a lot since bunionettes are like kids...once you have them, you have them for life.  But I would really appreciate wearing *cute* shoes rather than *comfortable* shoes every once in a while.



PS-Roly-Poly Bugs, if you worked out some sort of agreement with Scorpions that you will come into my house instead of them, please know that the welcome mat is out.  You are much better house guests.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

How lame is this?

About eleven years ago, when I was 13 ('cause I'm only 24!), I bought a fabulous dress at one of my favorite stores...the clearance Dillard's.  It was a fabulous deal and I was so excited to wear it to church.

Now, this was back in the "olden days" when I could actually wear almost all the clothes in my closet, unlike today, when I can wear almost nothing in my closet.  This is an important part to the story that I tell.

As I was getting ready for church, I was anticipating how great I was going to look in my new dress.  All the compliment I would receive.  The success that would be mine, just from wearing this new dress.

As I was putting the dress on, I noticed an odd accessory that I hadn't seen the day before, when I purchased the dress.

It was one of those dang security tags with ink in it!

I couldn't wear the new and magical dress to church!

Whatever was I to do?

I surely couldn't remove the tag, since my beautiful dress would be ruined.

Could I pull off wearing the dress, hoping no one would notice the tag?  No.  Prob'ly not.

So, even though I had a massive closet of clothes--all appropriate for church--I decided my best bet was to skip church that week.

And so I did.  And that is about the lamest excuse for ditching church I have ever heard.

What's your lamest excuse?  Or do you go to church even when you have a truly justified reason to stay home?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


Even though it's sort of melancholy, this is one of my favorite songs. 
One of the songs that I forget about until I hear it. 
And then I play it and play it and play it.
Take a listen and let it become a favorite of yours.
Me, I'm a part of your circle of friends
and we notice you don't come around
Me, I think it all depends
on you touching ground with us.
But, I quit. I give up.
Nothing's good enough for anybody else
it seems.
And I quit. I give up.
Nothing's good enough for anybody else
it seems.

And being alone
is the best way to be.
When I'm by myself it's
the best way to be.
When I'm all alone it's
the best way to be.
When I'm by myself
nobody else can say goodbye.

Everything is temporary anyway.
When the streets are wet --
the color slip into the sky.
But I don't know why that means you and I are
- that means you and....
I quit -- I give up.
Nothin's good enough for anybody else it seems.
But I quit. I give up.
Nothing's good enough for anybody else it seems.

And being alone
is the best way to be.
When I'm by myself it's
the best way to be.
When I'm all alone it's
the best way to be.
When I'm by myself
nobody else can say...

Me, I'm a part of your circle of friends
and we notice you don't come around.


Monday, July 5, 2010

iTunes Sucks, part three



I understand that you work for a corporation that has your hands tied. I, too, have worked in the customer service industry and understand your frustration and difficulty in helping clients the way you would like to. I appreciate your help, but unfortunately iTunes and Apple were so inefficient in getting back with me, over $200 was stolen from my account for unauthorized purchases. Had I been able to talk with a real person when I discovered the $1 charge, I could have prevented this fraudulent activity. I fortunately was able to limit the purchasing power of my debit card, even though I was unable to close the card over a holiday weekend when my bank was closed.


I address the company for which you work below and do not wish to detract from the help that you were able to provide me.


Do not pass the blame for your company's inability to protect consumers from fraudsters. Let me tell you that I have not shared my password, responded to any "phishing" emails, or used the same password for multiple online accounts. I do not appreciate being told that I am responsible for someone else's criminal activities. Your company has made promises of account security it is either incapable of or unwilling to keep.


I appreciate that Apple was able to determine from MY investigation that "It appears that your account information was modified without your authorization." Thank you, Captain Obvious!


I have reset my password, but REFUSE to provide ANY account information to your company, since even after I limited the ability to use my own bank account, fraudsters were able to download further unauthorized purchases, including "The Fart Machine." My account information even reflects that I OWE you $25 for such downloads. Let me tell you that not only will iTunes never receive a penny from me, Apple will also never receive a penny from me. I will not purchase an iPhone (not like I would be able to use the telephone feature since it appears to be more useful as an app-machine and cannot receive a telephone signal--one would think that a telephone would be able to, but apparently not. Further, not even your company's CEO can use the dumb thing, as shown here: I will not purchase an iPod (I have one that has gone unused for eighteen months since it is so inconvenient to use and my Napster-to-Go account is cheaper, more user friendly, has not been compromised, and allows for contact with people). I will not purchase an iPad (my five year old "inferior" MP3 player has more memory than your iPad. A netbook has more capabilities than an iPad. Plus, the name is stupid--really? It sounds like an Apple sanitary napkin). And just like the general public, I did not purchase your other "ground breaking" products, such as the Newton and Apple TV. They appear to have taken off like wildfire--and we all know how much the general population loves wildfires.


Please provide me with user-friendly directions to de-activate my account as I will no longer need Apple's services.


John, I certainly appreciate your help and hope that you are adequately compensated for working at a company that values its privacy, but not the privacy of its most important asset--its clients.





PS-Please feel free to forward this email to your manager so that the company's problems can be addressed. I will forward this email to my contact list and I'm sure they will be happy to spread the word.

To my blogging friends: Beware!  The same thing happened to my sister and numerous others according to a quick google search.  Feel free to link back to this to help others prevent the same fate.

iTunes responds

Hello Stephanie,


My name is John, and I am an advisor with the iTunes Store Support team. I would first like to apologize for the delay in responding to your inquiry. This is certainly not the customary wait time for a reply from iTunes Store Customer Support. We have been experiencing higher than expected volumes, and your patience is greatly appreciated. Please note I will be escalating your request, so if you have any other questions or concerns, you can reply to this email and it will come straight to me.


I understand that you have found several unauthorized charges on your account and you have not been able to sign in. I can certainly imagine how eager you are to get this resolved and I would be more than happy to assist you with this today.


It appears that your account information was modified without your authorization. This can happen for a number of reasons, most commonly due to "phishing" emails, sharing passwords, or using the same password for multiple online accounts. I have restored your account information and your Apple ID is "blahblahblah". You will need to visit to reset your password so you can sign in.


Please review the following article for help in identifying legitimate emails from the iTunes Store.


Identifying legitimate emails from the iTunes Store


For the time being we have disabled the account to prevent any further unauthorized purchased. To reactivate the account we will need you to reply back with the following infomration:


-Billing address on the account


As well as one of the following


-last four digits on the credit card on the account -a order number for purchase made on the account -the title of an item purchased on the account


I urge you to contact your card issuer as soon as possible to inquire about canceling the card or account and removing the unauthorized transactions. You should also ask them to launch an investigation into the security of your account. Under the circumstances the iTunes Store cannot reverse the charges for those purchases without chargeback orders from your card issuer.


I have disallowed it from being used on the iTunes Store. If you wish to place orders using a different payment method, you can add one to your account by following these instructions:


1) Open iTunes and sign in to the iTunes Store.

2) Select "View My Account" from the Store menu.

3) Enter your password and click the View Account button.

4) Click the Edit Payment Information button.

5) Select the card type and enter the card number, security code, and expiration date.

6) Click the Done button at the bottom of the page.


If you suspect you are the victim of identity theft, consider following these recommendations:


- Contact the fraud departments of any consumer reporting company to place a fraud alert on your credit report.


- Close the accounts that you believe have been used without your knowledge.


Thank you for being an iTunes Store customer. If you have further questions regarding this issue, please don't hesitate to reply. Have a great day.


Best wishes,



iTunes Store Customer Support

Dear itunes,

You Suck!


I don't really use you, but since Napster sometimes doesn't have the song I need and you do, I have an account.


So, on Friday, when I got an email receipt for the purchase of some stupid game that only works on iphone, I figured something was up.  You see, not everyone in the world thinks that the iphone is the best phone out there.  Some of us actually use our phones as telephones and think that coverage and the ability to not drop calls is important.


I decided to log on to itunes to do some investigation.  I couldn't remember my password, but since I have a few in my arsenal, I decided to try them all.  However, none worked.


No problem, I said to myself.  I will click on the "Forget Password?" link and straighten things out.


Au contraire, mon frere!  There are two options to retrieve your password: A-Request it to be emailed to your email address on record; or B-Answer the secret question and reset your password.


Easy-peasy.  I clicked to have my password emailed to me.  Afterall, I DID get an email receipt, so clearly the itunes yahoos have my address.  Nope.  I did not get an email, even after waiting longer than the 5 minutes promised.  So I clicked on the same button.  Several times.  No luck.


Ok, so let me answer the secret question.  What is your birthday?  Super easy, since it was just two days earlier.  Apparently not.  I could not even get that answer correct.


I then spent 25 minutes trying in vain to contact itunes customer support.  There are three ways to make contact--telephone, email, and chatting.  Guess what you have to do to even get the phone number or initiate a chat session?  Your password.  NICE!


I finally was able to email the dorks at itunes.  The good news is they will respond within 48 hours of receipt of my email.  The okay news is they sent me the following automated message:


Dear customer,


This is an automated reply, but an iTunes Store representative will review your request and send you a personal response, most likely within 24 hours.


While you are waiting, you may wish to review this article:


iTunes Store: Best practices for protecting the security of your account


Please do not reply to this email message. It was sent from an address that cannot accept incoming email. 


Thank you for your patience.




iTunes Store Customer Support

Message Subject: iTunes Store Account and Billing    

Follow-Up: xxxxxxx


The bad news is it has been nearly 72 hours since that time.  And no response.


I guess the nice people at Apple are too busy explaining to iphone 4 users why the telephone they just bought has such an ineffective antenna that they cannot use the phone to place or receive a call.


Or the ipad owners why they cannot connect to the internet unless they purchased the most expensive one on the market and then only if they are in a internet hotspot.  Good luck downloading anything if you are not at a Starbucks.


Apparently hijacking a user's profile, password, email address, and secret question and then using the profile to purchase stupid games is merely a problem best left to the FAQs.

PS--Because it has taken you so long to respond, I'd like to thank you for the additional $200 in charges that have been incurred.  I'm betting the scammer changed the email address and you have since responded to him.  You are freakin' idiots!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


A-Diapers don't need to look like they are made of denim.
B-You won't look like #1 when you #2.
C-A kid in a diaper doesn't look chic.
D-If your poo is blue, you've probably eaten something you shouldn't have.
E-There is no way to look cool when you poo.

Seriously....who writes this crap?

PS--Darrell saw this while watching "World's Most Dangerous Group" on MTV--a documentary on NWA.  You know...the band that started Gangsta Rap.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Bread in Five Minutes

I have a real love affair with good bread.  I could easily eat it with every meal. 

Or FOR every meal.

Tonight I almost did that...ate bread and water for dinner.  I through a couple of slice of turkey in to "round" out my meal.

This is a recipe that I've seen on multiple blogs and heard great things about.  But I was a little frightened to try it.

Thursday night, for Relief Society, we had a demonstration and I decided to try it today.

Here is the recipe, adapted from the book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day:  (My adaptations and comments are in italics)

You will want to mix the ingredients in a large-ish bowl that has a lid that isn't airtight.  The girl who demonstrated this used a plastic ice cream bucket--like the kind my friend Ginger uses for a salad bowl.  :)
  • 3 cups lukewarm water
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons yeast
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons kosher or other coarse salt
  • 6-1/2 cups unsifted, unbleached, all-purpose white flour,
         measured with the scoop-and-sweep method
  • Cornmeal for pizza peel
1. Warm the water slightly: It should feel just a little warmer than body temperature, about 100°F. Warm water will rise the dough to the right point for storage in about 2 hours. You can use cold tap water and get an identical final result; then the first rising will take 3 or even 4 hours. That won't be too great a difference, as you will only be doing this once per stored batch.  I made this before I left for church and didn't know I had the cold water option.  I will definitely try cold water next time to lengthen the rising time and not fret about rushing home. 

2. Add yeast and salt to the water in a 5-quart bowl or, preferably, in a resealable, lidded (not airtight) plastic food container or food-grade bucket. Don't worry about getting it all to dissolve. I used a container that was too small and ended up with a little bit of a mess--it, however, was easily cleaned up.  Although you don't have to dissolve the yeast and salt, I would try to prevent any lumps.
3. Mix in the flour—kneading is unnecessary: Add all of the flour at once, measuring it in with dry-ingredient measuring cups, by gently scooping up flour, then sweeping the top level with a knife or spatula; don't press down into the flour as you scoop or you'll throw off the measurement by compressing. Mix with a wooden spoon, a high-capacity food processor (14 cups or larger) fitted with the dough attachment, or a heavy-duty stand mixer fitted with the dough hook until the mixture is uniform. If you're hand-mixing and it becomes too difficult to incorporate all the flour with the spoon, you can reach into your mixing vessel with very wet hands and press the mixture together. Don't knead. It isn't necessary. You're finished when everything is uniformly moist, without dry patches. This step is done in a matter of minutes, and will yield a dough that is wet and loose enough to conform to the shape of its container. I used a wooden spoon and it wasn't difficult at all, but next time I will use my Kitchen Aid. 

4. Allow to rise: Cover with a lid (not airtight) that fits well to the container you're using. Allow the mixture to rise at room temperature until it begins to collapse (or at least flattens on the top), approximately 2 hours, depending on the room's temperature and the initial water temperature. Longer rising times, up to about 5 hours, will not harm the result. You can use a portion of the dough any time after this period. Fully refrigerated wet dough is less sticky and is easier to work with than dough at room temperature. So, the first time you try our method, it's best to refrigerate the dough overnight (or at least 3 hours), before shaping a loaf.  I didn't do this, but if you haven't really made any bread, this could be a good idea.
5. The gluten cloak: don't knead, just "cloak" and shape a loaf in 30 to 60 seconds. First, prepare a pizza peel by sprinkling it liberally with cornmeal  to prevent your loaf from sticking to it when you slide it into the oven. If you don't have a pizza peel, use a cutting board.  Use a lot of cornmeal, the more you have the less likely the dough will stick to your surface.  Cloaking is sprinkling the top of the dough liberally with flour...probably a quarter cup. 

6. Sprinkle the surface of your refrigerated dough with flour. Pull up and cut off a 1-pound (grapefruit-size) piece of dough, using a serrated knife. Hold the mass of dough in your hands and add a little more flour as needed so it won't stick to your hands. Gently stretch the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go. Most of the dusting flour will fall off; it's not intended to be incorporated into the dough. The bottom of the loaf may appear to be a collection of bunched ends, but it will flatten out and adhere during resting and baking. The correctly shaped final product will be smooth and cohesive. The entire process should take no more than 30 to 60 seconds.  I decided to bake all the dough, which ended up being 3 loaves.  I should have baked one. 

6. Rest the loaf and let it rise on a pizza peel: Place the shaped ball on the cornmeal-covered pizza peel. Allow the loaf to rest on the peel for about 40 minutes (it doesn't need to be covered during the rest period). Depending on the age of the dough, you may not see much rise during this period; more rising will occur during baking ("oven spring").   Since it is summer in Arizona, I let my first loaf rise 20 minutes, my second loaf rise 40 minutes, and the final one to rise 60 minutes.  There wasn't a huge difference between the first and the last--I could have baked two at a time.

7. Twenty minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 450°F, with a baking stone placed on the middle rack. Place an empty broiler tray for holding water on any other shelf that won't interfere with the rising bread.

8. Dust and slash: Unless otherwise indicated in a specific recipe, dust the top of the loaf liberally with flour, which will allow the slashing knife to pass without sticking. Slash a 1/4-inch-deep cross, "scallop," or tic-tac-toe pattern into the top, using a serrated bread knife.  I forgot to do this on one of the loaves and it split on the bottom, so I highly recommend this step.
9. Baking with steam: After a 20-minute preheat, you're ready to bake, even though your oven thermometer won't yet be up to full temperature. With a quick forward jerking motion of the wrist, slide the loaf off the pizza peel and onto the preheated baking stone. Quickly but carefully pour about 1 cup of hot water from the tap into the broiler tray and close the oven door to trap the steam. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the crust is nicely browned and firm to the touch. Because you've used wet dough, there is little risk of drying out the interior, despite the dark crust. When you remove the loaf from the oven, it will audibly crackle, or "sing," when initially exposed to roomtemperature air. Allow to cool completely, preferably on a wire cooling rack, for best flavor, texture, and slicing. The perfect crust may initially soften, but will firm up again when cooled.  I added about 3 cups of water and had to add more between the second and third loaves.  The water spatters quite a bit, so be careful!

10. Store the remaining dough in the refrigerator in your lidded (not airtight) container and use it over the next 14 days: You'll find that even one day's storage improves the flavor and texture of your bread. This maturation continues over the 14-day storage period. Refrigerate unused dough in a lidded storage container (again, not airtight). If you mixed your dough in this container, you've avoided some cleanup. Cut off and shape more loaves as you need them. We often have several types of dough storing in the refrigerator at once. The dough can also be frozen in 1 pound portions in an airtight container and defrosted overnight in the refrigerator prior to baking day.

I hope you enjoy this bread as much as Darrell and I did.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Friday Night...Date Night

Darrell and I are really into having a Date Night every Friday night.

We do all sorts of fun and exciting things. 

Let me give you the highlights of tonight's Date Night:

But first, a little background: I peruse my local Freecycle bulletin board.  There is typically a bunch of junk available that even Goodwill won't take.  You know.  Moving boxes, Barney VHS tapes, cans of chipped beef that may or may not be bulging.  Junk.  But this morning, I noticed a headboard from Pottery Barn was being offered.  For Free.  I emailed the lady and waited to hear back.  And waited.  And waited.  Finally at 1:30, she emailed and told me I could have it if I came and picked it up at 6:30.  Score!

So, back to the date night:

Darrell and I left at 6:10 to pick up the headboard.  We drove my car, since it is an SUV rather than Darrell's four-door car.  The lady lives in a townhouse really close to us and the unit numbers are hardly visible from the parking lot.  We found the place because the headboard was outside, waiting for us.  We had to maneuver it into the car, since it was both too wide and too tall to fit in perfectly.  Good thing I grabbed our never-used-until-tonight bungee cords.  We had to roll down one of the windows and bungee the lift-back door "closed."  I took side streets home, but we made it.  Safe and sound.  The headboard is a little dusty and looks like it came from a house with dogs, so it's in the garage so I can give it a good vacuuming tomorrow.  But here is what it looks like:

Fancy, huh?

After we (meaning me) changed our clothes, we headed out.  As we were making our way to the car, I remembered I noticed some wasps building a nest in the bushes in front of our house.  They have done that in years past, and I wanted Darrell to exterminate them tomorrow.  Darrell decided that teasing the wasps would be more fun, so he told me, "Go start the car, so we can escape quickly."  I got into the car and Darrell kicked the bush as if he was punting in the Super Bowl to win in a last seconds attempt.  He then ran to the car as if he was being chased by a swarm of killer bees.  The wasps' nest lay in the middle of our grass.  "I think we need to go to Ace Hardware to get some wasp killer," he told me.

We went to the local Ace Hardware, where he picked up wasp poison and an air filter for the air conditioner.  We buy the expensive ones since they tend to help with Darrell's allergies.  He's allergic to dust, desert plant pollens, and most pets.  While we were there, I decided to get some paint for some projects I have lined up.  There may or may not be future posts related to the paint (It completely depends how successful or UNsuccessful I am).

We took the paint and wasp poison home, since we didn't really want to leave them in the car and the 100+ degree heat.  Yes, even at 7 in the evening, it's 100+.  Darrell just took the stuff into the garage, while I waited in the car.  Very near to the bush that was kicked thirty minutes earlier.  As I sat there, I observed a couple of wasps, flying around the bush, looking a little confused.  I know that sounds weird, since 1-I couldn't see their faces; and 2-even if I could see their faces, they probably don't have very expressive faces.  But they were flying all around the bushes as if they were looking for their home.  I laughed and re-told the story to Darrell.

We next went to the Costco!  We got a cart and bought produce and Greek yogurt and Fiber One bars and razors.  Then we ran into some friends (hi Ginger and Mary!) and chatted for awhile.  Apparently, the Costco is high on the list of romantic places to be on a Friday Night Date Night.  We picked up some food at the food court, gassed up the SUV, and drove home.

We ate our pizza, salad, and fro-yo while watching Friday Night Lights a la DVR.

Oh the romance!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

I'm going all Al Gore on you

I only sorta do my part to save the earth.

I recycle.  Some times only because I have run out of room in my garbage can and will fit more stuff in it if I "recycle" some of the other stuff.

I try not to waste water unnecessarily. I strategically space the cleaning of my floors by several weeks.

I let my grass grow really high.  It produces more oxygen and consumes more CO2 that way, right?

I sometimes go a couple of days without driving my car.  When I completely don't even leave my house.

I installed those pesky new fangled light bulbs.  And only gripe about them every OTHER day!

So, I am going to share with you one way that I really want to be green:

I hate. Hate. HATE. phone books!  With all my guts!

It seems I get a new one every month or so.

I have a hard time that these companies can actually make money printing and distributing these things.

I know.  I know...they sell advertising space, which pays for the stupid books. 

But really, who uses them?

Besides people born before 1967?

I guess that sorta answers that question.

But I have a sneaking suspicion that they will go the way of dinosaurs.  And it will only take as many years for the book to die as it has been since dinosaurs roamed the planet.

So today, in my blog reading, I came across this link.

Go to it NOW.  Post Haste!

For there you will enable yourself to never receive a stupid phone book again.

You enter your ZIP code and it lists all the companies that provide you will reading material for the next decade or two. 

Follow those links and enter your info to opt out of the insanity.

If you are anything like me, though, you will have a little tiny bit of regret.  "What if I suddenly need the phone book to find xyz?"

"Just use your cell phone's handy phone book feature," replies the smart side of my brain.

Don't ever say I don't love the environment now.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Step One: Open mouth; Step Two: Insert foot

Back in the olden days, when I lived in Tucson, I worked at an auto insurance agency.

It catered to people who needed to purchase insurance to comply with the state minimum requirement, but did not have a good record with insurance (either due to not paying it consistently or not have a good driving record).

I was what I liked to call an unlicensed agent.  I did the same work the agents at the office did.  I just didn't sign my name to any of the policies.

I gave people insurance quotes.  I took applications, both by phone and in person.  I processed payments.  I referred customers to the claims department when accidents occurred.

So I came in contact with people all day, every day.

I don't know about you, but when I have a routine, I can sometimes make people think that I am truly interested in our discussion.  Especially when I am not.

This was SO the case with my job as the unlicensed agent.

As I took applications, I had to ask people about their jobs.  Since it took about 15 minutes to complete the application and the employment part came up pretty quickly, I could usually count on talking about their occupation for the remaining time.

Do you like your job?

Oh, I have a friend who does that, too!

How long have you been doing that?

Now, for the most part, I could convince them that my questioning was genuine.  There were a few jobs that I didn't pull it off well, though.  You like "entertainers" (which was the politically correct term for exotic dancers).

Sometimes, when the person had a particularly interesting job, I would really get into the Q&A session and jabber on for much longer than the application process should have taken.

But other times, my mind would be on cruise control and I would say the first thing that came to mind.

Like, "Oh!  My roommate is an illegal alien!"

To the Border Patrol agent.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Move over, Aaron Eckhart....

I have a new pretend boyfriend.

Rupert Penry-Jones.

Sigh.....Isn't he delicious?

But never fear.  I'm still madly in love with my handsome husband, Darrell.

Friday, June 4, 2010

You may want to bookmark this posting

For those days that you just don't think your life can get any worse.

Watch this and remember that things aren't as bad as you think.

 'Cause you could be that guy!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Jagged little pills

Well, let's all thank my mom for reminding me of two wonderful stories from my childhood.

The first is from when I was about six years old.  My mom was introduced to the wonderful world of Shaklee.  For those who are unfamiliar with Shaklee, it is similar-ish to Amway.  Just not so pyramid-ish and more based on vitamins rather than cleaning supplies.  Although they do sell cleaning supplies.

My mom decided to buy vitamins and get us all healthier.  But, this was the 1970s, when salaries were much lower and my mom was frugal.  She could either buy the adult vitamins or the children vitamins.  She opted for the adult vitamins.

The adult vitamins were rather large and covered in a dark green coating.  Similar to an M&M.  Have you smelled an adult vitamin recently?  Not good.

Since I was only six and my sister was only four, we had not yet mastered swallowing pills whole.

My mom gave us each a pill and told us if we chewed it quickly, it would be gone before we knew it.

Do you remember when you were a little kid and were given something to eat that you didn't like?  Did you chew and swallow it quickly?  If you did, you were smarter than I was.

I remember chewing slowly.  I remember chewing slowly with a horrified look on my face.  I remember chewing so slowly, extra saliva formed.  I remember chewing so slowly, with so much extra saliva, that I drooled excessively.  (I most certainly had no intention of swallowing that nasty tasting saliva.)  Dark green drool.  I'm sure I looked quite similar to a vampire.  A vampire that sucked green blood.

I think my mom must have figured out the error of her ways when both Jennilyn and I were crying, drooling green gunk, and refusing to swallow.  She let us spit out our very expensive vitamins. 

Later that week, we got Flintstones. 

Fast forward a couple of years.  I still had not mastered the art of swallowing pills whole.  Jennilyn had.  However, she also suffered from far more ear infections than I had, so she had more experience.

One day when Jennilyn was suffering from an ear infection and had been prescribed Actifed (a pill the size of half a Tic Tac), my mom decided it was high time I learned to take pills. 

She took one of Jennilyn's pills and told me that I was going to swallow the pill.  I retorted, "But I'm not sick.  I shouldn't take the pill."

My kind mother replied, "It's not a very strong pill.  It won't really do much to you."

And so I learned to swallow pills whole.  My mom does not believe that she would have given me a pill without my truly needing it.  You will see...she will leave a comment to that effect.  But this is a true story.

I only wish she would have taught me two years earlier.

Roommates--the long and the short of it

I've had my fair share of roommates.  Some may even say I've had more than my fair share of roommates.

My first roommate, besides my parents for I'm guessing a few months, was my sister Jennilyn.  We started being roommates shortly after I turned four.  I think.  That was, after all, a long time ago.  Maybe it was shortly before I turned five and my brother Todd was born.  But it seems like it was a few months earlier.  Jennilyn is my longest roommate to date.  We shared a room consistently until I moved to college.

I then had Lynell, Susan, and Tami as roommates.  And as far as first time college roommates, we did pretty well.  We had our ups and downs, our bumps along the way, but what we really had was fun!

The next year, Lynell and I shared our space with Maren and Rochelle.  A friend, Bronna, lived on our couch for several weeks while she healed from a broken knee cap.  Somehow we were convinced she was better off with us than in her apartment.  Maren moved out the second semester (it may have had something to do with the fact that I didn't go to bed before 4 am and she had all early classes).  (I KNOW, so odd that I was a night owl back in the day!)  For most of the second semester, it was just the three of us.  About a month before school ended, a girl, whose name I don't remember, moved in with us.  I remember Tami called her Q-Tip the year before because of her hair.

My next roommates were while I was on my mission.  In the MTC, I had three--Shelley (my companion), Jill, and Sister Nielsen (I can't remember her first name--give me some time and it may come back to me).  We were roommates for only three weeks, but had a fabulous time.  I recently reconnected with Jill via Facebook and she has a great photography business.

Over the next eighteen months, I ended up with so many roommates/companions on my mission, it seems unreal.  But here goes:
Elizabeth--I was her last companion and we were together for one month.  It was pretty tough being new and paired with someone really ready to go home.  But I learned a lot from her.
Nicole--We were together from mid-November to mid-January and had so much fun!  She also was getting ready to go home, but the difference was night and day.  We had some pretty crazy experiences that I still think of fondly today.
Alisha--We were together just a few days.  Unfortunately we were split up when another companionship needed to be re-assigned.  She was a good companion, who I learned from.  (Anyone noticing a pattern?)
Lucy--This girl made me laugh.  We were together about three months and had fun.   Sometimes too much.
Liza--She joined Lucy and me for a month.  She was the yin to Lucy and my yang. 
Lori--She helped me go from city girl to backwoods country gal.  We had too many adventures and she cracked me up!
Nichole--She really tried my patience.  Unfortunately, we didn't see eye to eye on many things and I wasn't the best at compromise.  We were together about 6 weeks until we were split up in the middle of the month.
Wendy--She was one of the hardest workers I was with.  I loved being with her since she taught me to just get out and do it.  We were together about three weeks, but it was a great three weeks.
Jen--She hurt her knee something ferocious and she and I moved into the mission home so she could heal.  I loved the time we spent there...being with President and Sister McGrath was wonderful and I was in a "four-some."
Sydney--She was a part of the four-some and was a great worker.  We partied every day.
Kelsey--The last of the four-some.  She was hysterical!  She was from Chubbuck, Idaho and pretended it was a metropolis.
Lori--Yep, Lori again!  This time was a three-some and it was hysterical every minute.
Sandy--She was a "mini-missionary."  She was just shy of 21 and from the area.  She spent 6 months as a missionary and I spent two and a half months with her.  She was a great calming influence.  When she wasn't being just as crazy as the rest of us.
Shawna--She was another difficult companion.  But I did learn from her.
Sydney-Again.  And just as much fun.  We were companions the last three months of my mission and I am so grateful for her influence to keep me going.
Cathy--She, Syd, and I were companions for a couple of months and we had the best of times in the 'hood known as East St. Louis.  She was another worker bee!

I had another couple of sisters that were roommates for a couple of days, but I won't count them.  We don't want to go overboard!

A few months after I got home from my mission, I moved into an apartment with Allison, Jen, and another girl, whose name escapes me.  Things went well for about six months, but then they started to go down hill.  Allison left to go on a mission and I was about 4 years older than the other two girls.

So, I moved in with Arlissa, Sandy, Sarah, Stephanie (yes, a roommate with the same name), and Tracy.  That was a great apartment and I can't think of any real issues we had.  It was only for about 6 months, but it was a good six months!

Arlissa, Tracy, and I moved into a house that we watched for the summer.  It was sort of odd since the owner lived there off and on during the summer and her daughter, son-in-law, and grandson lived there with us.  Some times a little awkward, but mostly a good experience.

Stephanie and I moved into an apartment and searched for another roommate or two.  Arlissa moved back in with us for a little while, then Angelica.  Angelica spoke Spanish as her primary language (and very good English) and was a DJ on a Spanish radio station.  One night she called and told us to listen to the radio.  She called out her roomo-matos.  I felt famous.

Stephanie moved out after graduating and Lucero moved in.  She also was a fluent Spanish-speaker (and not-so-great English-speaker) and I found out after she lived there for awhile that she was in the US illegally.  I'll have to tell you the story about my brush with the border patrol while we were roommates another time.

A few months later, I moved in with Arlissa at her grandparents' home.  She lived with her younger brother, Clar.  So I had my first boy roommate.  He worked construction and was gone or asleep whenever I was home, so it was almost like he wasn't there.

Arlissa and I moved into an apartment and it was only us for several months.  We met a girl Carey at church and invited her to move in with us the same day.  She moved in probably two days later.

About a year later, Arlissa moved out of state and Carey and I moved in with Ruth (my birthday twin--just five years younger).  She bought a condo and we decorated like crazy.  Painted, wallpapered, re-upholstered.

Ruth decided to sell a couple of years later and I became roommate-free for the first time in SEVERAL years.  It was great for the eighteen months it lasted, but I was happy to find my next roommate.

I bought a house and decided to get a roommate to help share expenses and all my extra room!  Stacey moved in and we had a good time.  I think I wasn't quite ready for a roommate, so it didn't last long.  But Kira moved in and stayed for a little more than two years.  Maybe partly because for half of that time, she traveled for work and was out of state.  :)

Kira moved out just before I married Darrell, who has been my favorite roommate.  I think he's a keeper and I plan to never get rid of him.

So, I guess roommate number 39 is a charm!

Editor's Notes:  Sister Nielsen's name came to me on my way to work....she is Jody.  And my third roommate after my mission was Sherry.  I remembered that one on the way home from work.  I knew I would remember eventually.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Overheard at the Taco Bell

Darrell and I decided to go to Taco Bell for dinner tonight (surprise, surprise).

When we arrived at the drive-thru, there were something crazy, like four cars in front of us, and the line was.not.moving.

We decided to dine in.  For two reasons: A-It would be a little more romantical; and 2-It had the possibility of being faster.

We park and walk in.  Good news for us...only one person in line in front of us.  This should be easy.


The lady in front of us has a huge paper bag--you know, the kind with handles that so many of the mall shops give out when you buy thirteen items.

She is ranting and raving that she went through the drive-thru and lo and behold, the Taco Bell employees got her order wrong.  Again.

Now, at this point, I wanted to speak up and give her an "Aye" or "Amen, sister!" since just about every time we go through the Taco Bell drive-thru, we are shorted some item.

But, as I listened closer, she was going off about how she asked for extra sauce packets and she only got 5.

Oh the horror!  The outrage!

Yes.  She went through the drive-thru, drove all the way home, sat down to eat (apparently after throwing away the bag her food came in), discovered she didn't have an excessive amount of hot sauce, found a bag from a recent-ish shopping trip, climbed in her car, drove BACK to the Taco Bell, got out of the car, and asked for a manager, all so she could complain she didn't have enough hot sauce.


Like you don't have a drawer full of it from any of your previous trips through the drive-thru?

I don't know about you, but I always end up with WAY more sauce than is needed.

So the kind Taco Bell manager explains that if she wants an enormous amount of hot sauce, she needs to ask for more.

To which crazy sauce lady replies, "Just last week we went to McDonald's and got the 50 pack of Chicken McNuggets [which, BTW--I didn't know adults ate those!] and they would only give us 4 packs of sauce."  Apparently someone needs a sauce intervention.

The TB manager then apologizes profusely and re-makes her entire order (drink included) and gives her a bag with no-lie 75 sauce packets.

Crazy sauce lady then tells TB manager that she doesn't need that many.  She only needs enough for her food that night.

Well, all I'm saying is that maybe if you kept a little extra around the house, you wouldn't have to make a scene at the Taco Bell about not having enough sauce.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Winner, winner! Chicken dinner!

I'm one of those goof balls who is following a million blogs.  Most of which are far superior to my little blog.  Some are even written by professional bloggers. 

I have this routine every night where I sit down, log into Google Reader (which has saved my HOURS!), and peruse the blogs that I follow.

Some are blogs I love, some are blogs I like a lot, others are blogs I only tolerate because every once in awhile they have something of interest to me, and then there are the ones that are train wrecks--I honestly am repulsed, but can't stop looking.

Well.  One of the things I almost always do is enter giveaways.  As most of you already know, I'm sorta a sucker for anything free.  I think I would take a free ten pounds if someone offered it to me.  Come to think of it, I may have already taken a few people up on that offer.

Anywho!  I have been the lucky winner of two prizes:
A yard of beautiful fabric from Aunt Spicy (I still have to make something fun with it).
And a cute handkerchief from a long-lost friend Trevlyn.

Well, I got an email today that I won a giveaway from Gabrielle at Design Mom.  It's my biggest yet.  (Besides the multiple ten pound prizes).  I won $50 of merchandise from Cardstore.

I'm so excited. 

I feel like I won both showcases on The Price is Right.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Want to know a secret?

I really enjoy being creative.  I don't always succeed, or at least not exactly the way I planned.  But most of the time, I enjoy the process.  I'm not necessarily the person who can take four pieces of apparent junk and turn it into a masterpiece.   Or even the person who can create something from nothing.  But I can copy what someone else has done.

Now here is my problem.  Every night, around 11:15, I start itching to create.

I HAVE to do something NOW.  But, since it's super late, and I should be sleeping, and Darrell is already asleep, and I don't know exactly what I want to do, and even if I knew I probably wouldn't have the supplies, I don't do anything.  Which causes me hours of anxiety. 

Which is one of the reasons for my insomnia.

Once I start thinking about creating, I can't stop. 

So, does anyone have an idea for a quick, quiet, and quite fulfilling project I can do tonight? 

I want to get to sleep before 3.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Dear hundred degree plus days,

Hi.  How are you?  I haven't seen or really heard from you in about six months.  I hope you have enjoyed your vacation.

I know you are due back soon, but really, when your friend ninety-six visited on Sunday, I was reminded that you are here for such a long time. 

You see, although you come to visit every year in the mid-Spring, I never have quite prepared sufficiently for your return.

Here is what happens:

  • After you pack things up here, the cooler air comes to visit.  I'm able to go outside and spend some quality and quantity time out with nature.  I even can wear my long sleeves without breaking a sweat.  This is autumn in the desert.
  • And then along comes winter.  And although some may say that winter never really lives here, it does come for visits.  And it even is cold sometimes.  And because we have grown so accustomed to your visits, we have a difficult time enjoying and tolerating winter.  Jack Frost really is not the most welcome guy in town, except for a few days around Christmas.  After Christmas, we are ready to wear our sweaters only as decoration and run the A/C in the car, rather than the heater.  People from the North come to visit since it reminds them of their summer and they run around in shorts.  We look at them as if they are crazy, since it is cold. 
  • Around mid-January, rainy season starts.  We have cold and wet days, that chill us to the bone.  We love to make soups and warm breads on these days and cuddle up by our TV.  These are the days that we think of you longingly.  It's so cold in the buildings at work, the store, the movie theaters, and pretty much everywhere else.  It's the one time in the year that going out to the car doesn't warm you up.  Some people even wear coats.  But since it only lasts a few days and provides us with much of the rain we need, we only gripe a little.
  • In late February, the warmer days appear, ushering in Spring.  Flowers begin to bloom.  Trees regain their leaves.  It really is a beautiful time.  However, the pollen permeates the air.  It blankets the out-of-doors and everything in it with a fine yellow dust.  Eyes run.  Noses sneeze.  People both love and hate this time.  It is too beautiful outside to stay indoors, but too allergy-rific to stay outdoors.  
  • Then, sometime in April, you start to test us.  You send friends--like ninety-six-- to see how well your return will be received.  Is it too early?  Do we want you as a visitor for a day or two or are we ready to have you move in for the longer haul?

Once you return, I do love you so.  You demand that the pollen go on hiatus.  You really get things warmed up here.  Some days, when it's really cold in my office, I look forward to sitting in my car, with no A/C, just feeling your warmth emanate to my soul.

I especially love seeing the heat waves and mirages you create on the hot asphalt.  And it's fun to walk from the cold buildings to the warm car and sink into the asphalt.


I'm not joking.

And then you heat up the pools just enough that it takes the sting away.  And I go for a dip in the water, just to cool off.  Yeah...those are good times.

So, and I don't mean to be rude, but if you would like to, you can stay on vacation a while longer.

I am quite enjoying this run of the eighties.  And I promise, if you postpone your return, our reunion will be even more joyful than you can imagine.