Sunday, August 30, 2009

Photographic Memory #6 - Seven Years of Bad Hair

Good God, I'm not photogenic. I blame my hair. It takes over any picture, and not necessarily in a good way.

Awww, freckles...

Aaaaah! Curlers!

Enter huge, nerdy glasses:

Why am I wearing a Packers t-shirt in my school picture? More evidence that I have absolutely no sense of fashion...

Seriously. Why did no one tell me my glasses were half the size of my head?


This is why you see so many cat pictures on this site.

You're welcome.

Pet Names

Much to my chagrin, I’ve fallen prey to the stupid habit of creating nicknames for our pets. It’s kind of embarrassing…

Theodore, otherwise known as: Ted, Teddylicious

Connor, otherwise known as: Connor-Bonner, no claws!

John, otherwise known as : Jean Claude, JC, Mr. Cat

Carly, otherwise known as : Carly-Boo, Miss Kitty, CatBob WhineyPants, Miss Whiney

But of course they’re cats so they don’t answer to anything we call them anyway.

When we still had Mo, the guinea pig, I’d sing “The Name Game” on a regular basis.

Mo, Mo, bo bo banana fana fo fo fee fi mo MO!

I also called him Mo-sterina on a regular basis. I don’t think that helped his gender confusion problem. Einstein was sometimes Einstein-erama. Howie was Howster. Barry was Barrylicious. Gus. Hmmm. I don’t know that I called Gus anything else.

In any case, I am crazy. Don’t let me near your pets or children. That is all.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

In My Universe

The rest of last week was pretty boring. We didn’t do anything too interesting. Still kind of bummed to be back, but that’s how it goes I guess. Saturday we did our shopping. We’ll be having someone come to clean the carpets in the near future so we went ahead and bought some new smaller carpet sections to lay on the floor under the litter boxes. The cats have started tearing up what’s there right now. Such destructive forces, they are. We also stopped by JC Penney to take advantage of their early bird sale on pillows. They’re called “The Hunk” and are apparently firm enough to support Adam’s big head for more than a week. Anywho, with the sale price and a $10 off coupon I got in the mail we were able to get 4 pillows for under $7. Sweet, considering at regular price they would have cost us over $50. We’re smart shoppers sometimes.

I ended up taking a nap with various kitties during the afternoon while Adam mowed the lawn and did various other loud yard-related things. At one point I swear I saw him leaf-blowing the lawn. But whatever. I’m sure he had his reasons. When he was done with that he went to replace the sunglasses he had scratched on our trip. After that we headed down to Silver Creek Brewery in Cedarburg so he could pick up a case of blonde root beer. Then we continued on to Falls where we met my dad and Cheryl for dinner at The Bull. I tried the chicken roulade and even after disassembling it and eating just the chicken it still messed with my stomach. Or maybe that was the spinach dip. Or the three bites of cheesecake. In any case, when dinner was over we went back to their house, I tried some of the soy ice cream they had bought earlier in the day (pretty good – I can’t find the chocolate in the stores here but I did find ice cream sandwiches), and then we called it a night so we could get back home. Stupid lactose intolerance.

Sunday morning we slept in a little bit, cat-related disturbances having interrupted a blissful sleep the night before. I made breakfast, we read the paper. We both did some vacuuming, I cleaned my bathroom. I went out in search of edamame (finally found it), soy ice cream (found some as previously mentioned), and kale (found that too!) When I got back we had lunch (fresh corn…yum), I started laundry, made some Kahlua Mousse for dessert, and retreated to the bedroom to watch 10, which had been sitting on the end table for weeks. Interesting movie. Kind of different to see Mary Poppins give someone the middle finger… I still have those last two Oscar movies to get through and they’re on the top of our Blockbuster queue so hopefully I’ll be done with them soon. Adam made pizza for dinner and then retreated to the bedroom while I stayed out in the living room rotting my brain with the Miss Universe pageant. I didn’t even know it was on until I started channel surfing. And when it said that Heidi Montag was performing, I admit my curiosity got the better of me.

About that. Firstly…hello Britney rip-off. Secondly…totally lip-synched. Thirdly…learn to dance. That is all.

I watched up through the final question (which was kind of confusing with all the translators) and then turned it off and went to bed. I wasn’t rooting for anyone in particular, but wasn’t surprised that Venezuela won. There was a disproportionate number of brunettes. I mean, even Miss Sweden was brunette. That’s just strange. And only one redhead. Anyway, I much prefer a pageant with a talent competition.

This week looks pretty boring. Nothing out of the ordinary going on. Adam’s golfing tomorrow so I’ll probably use that time to go to the library to swap out my books. Other than that it’s inventory prep at work, trying to get a good night’s sleep between a bed-hogging husband and three bed-hogging cats at home. It’s rough.

Trip Damage

So, everything from the trip has finally cleared the credit card. I had to wait to assess the total damage until all the Canadian purchases posted so I could see how the exchange rate (and whatever fees Chase charges) flushed out.

So, the budget for our trip included Gas/Tolls/Parking, Food, Hotels, and Admission/Souvenirs. Since we charged a few meals to our room, my categorization of Food and Hotels is a little off, but we pretty much stuck to budget in total for those two categories - a litle over $3 over budget.

Small beans compared to the $350 unbudgeted GPS and map update replacement. Gah.

We were a little over on Gas/Tolls, but I included the total dollars we added to the EZ Pass partway through our trip and we still have $40 available there so that puts us actually slightly under budget if I only include what we used.

We had budgeted admission fees for Marineland and the Hershey tour, neither of which we did. So the one category we totally blew the budget on - Souvenirs - was a largely unbudgeted one. And most of the souvenir spending was at Hershey. Would that count as food? Heh. We also got reimbursed for the shot glasses we picked up along the way for Chris.

So, overall, not a complete failure. We tried to be responsible, but stupid Jill had to go and ruin everything...

Monday, August 24, 2009

New Set on Flickr

Remember those "Cute Overload" pictures I posted a couple times? Well, the pile on the desk here was getting unmanageable so I scanned them all in and they're on Flickr. I'll add the cute ones as we go for the remainder of the year.

Here's a preview:


Sunday, August 23, 2009

An Honest Question

So, I was watching the Miss Universe pageant. I don't even know why.

In any case, can you tell me if I was the only one who saw Miss Switzerland and immediately thought she looked like John Leguizamo's character in To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Neumar?

I think I have issues...

Photographic Memory #5 - Moo

Aah, the thrills of sticking your head into a hole and pretending you're a cow...

Wait a minute, why am I always the cow?

Well, ok, so I guess I do kind of have a thing for our bovine friends.

Perhaps there's some hope after all...

After months of ignoring my 401(k) I logged on tonight out of curiousity. I, of course, had completely forgotten my log-in information, but luckily their reset system is pretty user-friendly.

People. After an abysmally depressing -33.12% rate of return last year, my rate of return for this year so far is 14.01%. That's a positive number! And my balance is now over $20K! That's a beautiful thing.

Speaking of beautiful things, check out this sunset from a couple nights ago:

Friday, August 21, 2009

I might have lied

This might be my favorite thing from our trip:

Because it's hilarious...

Thursday, August 20, 2009

How do you solve a problem like Carly?

That cat is driving me NUTS!

When we got back on Tuesday afternoon she was unsurprisingly glad to be let out of the room she had been shut in for a week. But then the whining started. No matter where she was, that was not where she wanted to be. Put her on the fridge – the minute you made eye contact she’d whine. Put her in the living room by the legos – don’t look at her or she’ll whine. Set her on the couch – whine. Take her in the computer room – whine. Put her back in the cat room – whine. You get the idea. This was ok since I’m sure she just wanted attention. Fine.

I rearranged the cat room back to normal, meaning I put all the litter boxes and food back in the one room and cleaned up the office. So when Carly decided to wake me up every two hours on Tuesday night I was not happy. I couldn’t just throw her (gently) in the cat room and shut the door. So I dealt with the repeated disturbances. But when she started doing the same thing last night (I hadn’t even fallen asleep before she started jumping on me) I found it hard to be nice. I moved two litter boxes back into the office, grabbed the big food bowl and water dish, and shut Carly in the cat room. Then I went back to bed, hopefully cat-prancing-on-top-of-me free.

At around 5 this morning Adam wakes me up to ask how long Carly has been in the room. All night. That’s how long. I need my sleep. He went and brought her back into our room.

Yes, to some extent I feel bad that we shut her in a room for a week. But she had food, she had water, she had litter. She had some toys, she had the cat scratcher. She had a window. And when she insists on being annoying all night long, I think I’m ok with putting her in there some more. In reality, I don’t think it really makes a difference to her. I mean, she spends her days on top of the fridge, coming down for a little while when I come home for lunch. If I thought it was really that inhumane I wouldn’t do it. But for now, I’m going to try having her sleep by my head, but if she wakes me up before 3, she goes in the cat room for the rest of the night.

< /rant>

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Vacation Day Six. Finally.

Tuesday morning we were up bright and early. We had free passes to their breakfast buffet but we were worried with all the conference people at the hotel it might be swamped if we went too late. We got there a little after 7 and had no problem with crowds. We didn't eat much - didn't want trouble on the road - and then we went back, packed, checked out, headed out. The trip back was pretty uneventful. We hit Chicago around the same time as on our way out. It was a breeze again, little traffic, minimal stopping. We stopped at the same truck stop by Mars. We stopped to pick up lunch at Wendy's and were home just after noon.

The kitties were...indifferent. JC was kind of crazy, Carly couldn't stop whining, but Connor and Ted didn't seem to notice. Eh. I unpacked, started laundry. Cleaned up and re-arranged the cat rooms back to their normal configuration. We went grocery shopping.

Today was back to normal. Whatever that is.

To end this summation, the stupid souvenir I couldn't resist from this trip:

And now it's fudge time.

Vacation Day Five

Monday morning (our anniversary!) we had ordered breakfast from the hotel's menu. It was a bit pricey, but once we saw how much food came, we were ok with it.

The falls were lovely in the morning as well.

But we had places to go... So after we ate we packed up, checked out, headed down the road. We drove across Ontario, coming back into the US at Sarnia. Once again, a little bit of a back-up at the border. Not quite as long in this direction. The customs officer was not too hostile. He was a little suspicious of why we would be going to Kalamazoo, but he let us go without a problem.

Somewhere along the line on our trip out I'd seen a sign for Frankenmuth. I'd remembered they have this awesome fudge so we decided to make a side trip to "Little Bavaria" before heading to Kalamazoo and our hotel. We parked behind the fudge kitchen (yum) and went to the Bavarian Inn for lunch. I had chicken, Adam had sausage. Once again we were a little wary of the price until we saw how much food we got. Bread, soup, pasta salad, cucumber salad, coleslaw, cranberry sauce, and ice cream. Wow. I took some of mine to eat for lunch the next day (but then forgot it in the car so I had to throw it out. Boo.) After lunch we stopped at a few shops on the way to the fudge place. Did I mention we got fudge? It was buy three, get one free. So we got four. I haven't eaten any of it yet, but I'm going to cut some off when I'm done with all these recap posts.

After we got our fudge we left Frankenmuth and drove another two plus hours to our hotel in Kalamazoo. After sunny, hot weather for our entire trip it started to rain about ten minutes before we got to the hotel. The parking ramp was across the street and we walked over via a skywalk. We checked in and unloaded. We had a jacuzzi suite with a kitchenette (we decided to splurge for one night.)

We originally made reservations at the steakhouse in the hotel, but when we got there and found there was pretty much nothing on the menu I'd want, we cancelled those and went to the bar & grill downstairs instead. I had chicken chili (spicy!) and a baked potato. Adam had prime rib. Yes, prime rib at a bar. And I'm told it was pretty good. A large group of loud youngins was seated next to us partway through our meal. They were semi-obnoxious. Luckily we finished soon after they ordered their food. We stopped at the coffee shop on the way back up to our room for a smoothie and shot glass.

We put the smoothies on ice and filled up the jacuzzi, ready to relax. But when we pushed the button nothing happened. Adam called down to the front desk and they said they'd send engineering up. Luckily there was enough time between the call and the guy showing up that neither of us were caught...uhm...unclothed. The maintenance guy was very nice. He tried the breaker, took the circuit board out, replaced it, but no luck. It was broken. And due to a conference (AMEC? Some relgious group) they were totally booked up. So, no jacuzzi, but we got a credit on our account that pretty much covered our dinner. They handled the problem very well, I think. So, with the relaxing soak cancelled, we watched some tv and called it a night.

Vacation Day Four

On Sunday morning we checked out of the hotel (which also had a fridge) and headed over to my mom's before she went to church. We finally got a call back from Adam's co-worked Ed about lunch while we were there saying good-bye. We packed the rest of the cake and some blueberry muffins for the road. We were back in the car around 10. We headed up to Buffalo. We met Ed and his wife at The Anchor Bar.

They all had wings. I had pasta. And salad. What can I say - I'm a misfit. I prefer food that's "prete a manger" (imagine there are accents there.) We had some good conversation although I think the two guys talked about work too much which, in turn, led us two girls to talk about how the guys talked about work too much. Heh. After we parted ways we headed up to Canada. We hit some traffic at the border. It took maybe half an hour to get through. The customs officer (or whatever) was pretty nice, didn't hassle us too much. We had planned to stop at Marineland for a few hours but when we drove past it looked way too busy to mess with. We instead went to our hotel - another Radisson, in the Fallsview area.

We were too early to check in, so we took a map and headed down to the more touristy areas in search of souvenirs and cigars. We parked and walked down by The Secret Garden area (where we had lunch with the family last time we were here.) It was so hot. I think the temp I saw was 93. With very little breeze to help out I was dying almost immediately. Adam wanted his cubans, so we made the trek up a hill to find the store. The first one we spotted didn't take credit cards. Before we tried to find another one I demanded we stop at Smoothie Planet. Strawberry smoothie in hand, we found a second store that sold cubans and took credit cards. After that transaction was complete we waved "hello" to the falls and went back to the car. I managed to use profanity in front of a young girl when I saw the line for the elevator in the parking garage. Whoops. A ridiculous parking fee and a wrong turn later, we found our way back to the hotel and checked in. We opened the door to this view:

Amazing view, since we thought we had booked a cityview room. We had dinner at the Tony Roma's in the hotel. Yes, I know, there's a Tony Roma's in Green Bay, but people. It was hot. We were tired. And grumpy. And it was late. So Tony Roma's it was. The service was pretty horrible, but I had a honey mustard chicken sandwich (well, actually just the chicken) and a baked potato. Adam had a brisket sandwich. Pretty good, but nothing spectacular. After dinner we called it a night. I couldn't get any decent pictures of the falls lit up at night. Boo.

Vacation Day Three

Saturday morning we were up before the alarm went off. The hotel didn't include breakfast and their in-room options were ridiculously expensive so we skipped those. We packed up and headed out around 7:30. It was very foggy. We ate our leftover sandwiches for breakfast as we wound up and down and around the hills and curves of Pennsylvania's roads. We were annoyed by some State College yahoos for quite a bit of the morning (hello - it's called "cruise control") but managed to make pretty good time up to Jamestown. We made a stop at a convenience store just before the state line and we both commented on the strangeness of tanning beds at a gas station.

We arrived at my mom's house with no problem. Although we did drive past it the first time. We checked the place out and then headed to The Home Depot for faucet parts. When we returned my mom made lunch for me and herself while Adam went to work. Then the day turned into somewhat of a comedy of errors.

First, Adam's pipe cutter broke. So we went to a nearby (although not the closest) True Value to replace it. When he got the pipes cut he realized the compression fittings and flexible tubes he bought were different sizes. We had originally been trying to get shut-offs but couldn't find the right size. Somewhere along the line we switched hoses and forgot to switch them back after abandoning the shut-off idea. Whoops. So Adam ran back to the True Value to get the right size hoses. He got back and then realized he had gotten FIP to FIP instead of compression to FIP. So my mom and I went back to the True Value again to get the right ones. But they didn't have the right ones. So we got some different compression fittings instead hoping that they'd fit with the hoses we already had. When we returned we found that the pipe end of the new compression fittings were too big even though I had questioned the guy at True Value and he assured me they were ok. *deep breath* So Adam and I went back to The Home Depot to return the wrong hoses and get the right ones. Finally Adam was able to get everything hooked up. We turned the water back on and immediately water began spraying all over underneath the sink. In addition, water had been leaking into the basement this whole time. After some tinkering he discovered the sprayer was loose and once that was fixed everything was as it should be.

So, it took a whole lot longer than it should have, but eventually the leaky faucet was replaced. Whew.

After all of this we were all hot and sweaty. In an effort to find some place cool to hang out (for free) we went to the Ice Arena across the street from our hotel (a Best Western this time. We were originally going to stay with my mom, but the area was having a heat wave and she doesn't have A/C.) There were figure skaters competing or qualifying for something. We watched a few and then Adam got bored. We walked over to the Cherry Lounge for dinner. I had some chicken noodle soup and a chicken salad pita and Adam had a gyro sandwich. Once again we managed to be in the area when the Bills had a pre-season game. After dinner we went back to my mom's house, picked up the stuff we had left there before, had some cake

and called it a night. We watched some football and then went to bed.

Vacation Day Two

We were up at 7 on Friday morning. This was the only day we actually slept until the alarm went off. We showered and went down to breakfast. Like most places these days there were the waffle machines. They also had eggs and sausage. I opted for a bowl of frosted flakes. The apple juice was gross so I threw most of it out. While we packed things back up we kicked around some ideas as to what we should do for the morning. We weren't due at my aunt's house until lunch. We decided to go to the Pittsburgh Zoo for a few hours. I found it on Jill, our GPS, and we headed to the car.

When we hooked Jill back into her mount in the car she died. Again. We'd previously had some trouble with her, but last time we could just hit the "reset" button and she'd recover. This time I held the "reset" button and tried to turn it back on a dozen times while Adam got gas. No beans. So, change of plans. Instead of lions and tigers and bears, we'd have Walmart and Target and Best Buy. (Oh my.) We found a new unit at Best Buy and bit the bullet. It's a widescreen model with traffic updates. Yeah, whatever. This one's named "Samantha" and she sounds kind of uptight. I know, I know, it's a voice on the GPS, but we talk to her. A lot. It's only natural to project human characteristics on her.

Anywho, after all that hullabalu we headed over to see my grandma and grandpa. We arrived just before my aunt Marilyn departed in a flurry of "I'm so late and will see you later." We chatted with my grandparents until Marilyn returned with my cousin Lori and her daughter Harley. My uncle Paul showed up a little while later. We had a nice lunch, caught up a bit. I neglected to take any pictures though. Bad Martha.

After lunch we headed back on the road - destination: Hershey. It was more than a hop, skip, and a jump - about 3 1/2 hours. We stopped by the hotel we were staying in in Camp Hill (ie Harrisburg) first. We hit a little traffic and then a lot of waiting to check in at the Radisson. Apparently there was a math teacher conference at the hotel over the weekend. We got checked in, unloaded some stuff to the room and headed to Hershey.

We got to Chocolate World, parked, and headed inside. It was busy. The tours and tasting were so crowded we decided to skip them. We wandered around the souvenir/chocolate area for a bit, picked up some t-shirts, chocolate and the like and high-tailed it out of there.

Too many people, not enough A/C. We were there for less than an hour. So parking was free! Yay. Then it was back to the hotel. We had no idea what to do for dinner so we played some GPS roulette. I told it to find restaurants along our route and I randomly picked one. It was the West Shore Plaza Restaurant. It's a diner in a strip mall. With outstanding food. I had a Sicilian panini (turkey, provolone, tomato) and chicken orzo soup. Adam had a crab-stuffed flounder and some clam chowder. Excellent little place with a staggeringly huge menu.

After dinner we went back to the hotel (which DIDN'T have a fridge) and unwound. I think we managed to stay up a little later, but I wouldn't swear on it.

Vacation Day One

We left home around 6:30 on Thursday morning. We decided to skip Starbucks and ate breakfast at home before we left (I am never going to get to use that giftcard!) Adam also brought along a 6-pack of 5 Hour Energy shots to substitute for coffee. I did a final cleaning in the cat rooms, we made sandwiches for lunch, made sure the oven wasn't on, and took off.

We made our usual stop at the truck stop by Mars Cheese Castle. We hit Chicago around 9:30. It was a bit slow for a little while, but pretty much no big deal. There wasn't really any construction delays this time at all. Amazing. We hit the Indiana State line around 10. The EZ Pass transponder was a good investment. It worked at all the tollways except for those in Ohio (although it looked like they were in the process of installing the equipment so perhaps that will change soon.) Indiana and Ohio are so boring, with not much in terms of scenery. We stopped at a travel plaza to get gas and answer nature's call. We ate lunch in the car so we didn't have to stop for that. I did give into an urge and buy a chocolate chip bagel from Panera at one stop in Ohio. It was good.

We got to our hotel in Mars (ie Cranberry) in good time. We stayed at the Super 8, which was surprisingly nice. It had recently been renovated (as evidenced by the "wet paint" sign on our door as the varnish was still a little tacky.) It had a fridge in the room so we could empty the cooler for the night to keep things fresh. We unloaded and then walked across the street for dinner. It was a goal of mine on this trip to eat at places we can't eat at locally, and definitely no fast food. Tuesday night we went to Lone Star. We used to have one in Appleton but it closed a while back. I had their soup (chicken pot pie), salad (wow, tons of dressing. Left most of it uneaten), & potato combo and Adam had a steak & shrimp combo. The Steelers happened to have a pre-season game that night so after we returned to the hotel we watched a little bit of that. But the combination of getting up at 5am and losing an hour along the way ended up with us going to sleep at like 7. Sad.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Snap Back to Reality

We're back from our trip. I'm working on a more decent write-up, but for now you can find the few pictures we took here.

(PS. Identify that song!)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Photographic Memory #4 - In Which I'm Sneezing

By a bus:

In South Carolina:

I guess I don't have the best timing... but we all knew that, right?


What did you think of that, Catherine?

Ooh. Nevermind.

I should probably tread lightly here. I think she still has that very unflattering picture of me in a swimsuit. (Not that there would ever be a FLATTERING picture involving me and a swimsuit, but this one is especially hideous...)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Have a Nice Trip

Last night was our last summer IMA board meeting. We’ve got pretty much everything confirmed for the year. A little shuffling with the last two meetings, but they’re far enough away it’s ok if they’re not in stone. It looks like it will be an interesting year. We’ve got someone from the Timber Rattlers coming in to talk about franchise accounting, someone from the Packers coming in to talk about how they counsel new players about their finances. We’ve got someone from Goodwill coming to talk about their fraud fiasco a few years back. (Ironically(?) enough the person who stole the money was a member of our chapter. You know, before she got sent to jail.) Some Information security, some Lean, and we hope to get someone from the state in to talk about where Wisconsin’s part of the stimulus is ending up. We’ve got our usual suspects as well – tax updates, ethics. Nice variety. Hopefully we can get people to show up at the meetings.

Today I had (yet another) doctor appointment. I’ll be so glad when I can go back to yearly rather than six monthly. Cross your fingers for good results… Anywho, when I called at 8:30 (appointment was for 9) I was told the doctor had induced someone earlier this morning and was still doing rounds at the hospital. They told me to come in for 9:45. Whatever. So I show up at 9:40 and sit in the waiting room (being stared at creepily by some old guy) until 10:15. I get taken back, weighed, blood pressured, etc. When the nurse told me the doctor would be right in I was hardly optimistic. I thought ahead this time and brought a magazine with me up onto the exam table. I made it all the way through the February issue of Self before the doctor showed up. Although I admit I did skip the article on the new incarnations of denim… I give her props though – once again it was a lightning-fast procedure. If only they could get the wait time down to, well, less than an hour. I left around 11:20, picked up some lunch, and went back to work. As usual, my blood pressure was a little high so she gave me this card and I need to periodically test it myself to see what’s normal for me. Fun stuff.

Tonight we prep for our time away from home. I’ve got some cleaning, some packing. We’ll be leaving bright and early tomorrow morning so hopefully the cats behave themselves better tonight than they have the past few nights. Here’s our itinerary:

Thursday: Neenah to Cranberry.
Friday: Visit with grandparents and Aunt Marilyn. Cranberry to Hershey. Eat chocolate. Yum.
Saturday: Hershey to Jamestown. Visit with Mom. Adam to tinker with tools.
Sunday: Jamestown to Buffalo. Lunch with Adam’s co-worker (apparently we’re going to the Anchor Bar.) Buffalo to Niagara Falls. Marineland.
Monday: Niagara Falls to Kalamazoo. Fancy-Schmancy hotel for our anniversary. In Kalamazoo. Yeah. I know.
Tuesday: Kalamazoo to Neenah. Decompress. Hug kitties.
Wednesday: Back to work, and apparently everyone else in the department will be on vacation so I’ll be stuck catching up and covering all at the same time. Welcome home!

We don’t have a lot of time constraints for this trip. Most of it is a “we get there when we get there” thing. We’ve got Adam’s sister to take care of the furry ones, and one of our neighbors to mow the lawn if it gets out of control. Hopefully it all works out.

I’ve got a random day off next month, a morning off for IMA in October, and then a few days off before Christmas and that’s my vacation for the year.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Photographic Memory #3 - My Sister's Cat

This is my sister's cat - the orange dude on the bed, that is. (By the way, I wasn't really that messy. That's some of the crap I brought back with me from my trip in France in 1998. I must have been unpacking when I took this picture.) I think his official name was "Pumpkin" but we all just called him "Kitten."

He never liked me much. I don't know why not...


I guessing he also didn't like it when I watched The Lion King and lifted him up like Simba. My bad.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Healthy Choices

In an effort to eat better, I’m trying to branch out. Tuesday night I tried out turkey bacon for the first time. I’m not jumping for joy about it, but it wasn’t totally horrible. Adam ate all the leftovers so apparently he was ok with it too. It definitely isn’t a dead-ringer for the real stuff, but perhaps an occasional swap out would do some good. I also picked up a couple Larabars last week. I got the peanut butter cookie and apple pie flavors. The peanut butter one, not so great. But the apple pie one is mighty tasty. It says it has raisins, but I didn’t notice them at all. I’ve had the Soy Joy bars before and if you can get past their dense and dry texture they’re not bad. The Larabars are much more moist to begin with and, though they’re also kind of dense, I found them much easier to deal with. Lastly, I finally got around to trying the free Kashi frozen dinner I got a while back. I got the sweet and sour chicken. It wasn’t bad at all. If they weren’t so outrageously expensive I might swap Lean Cuisine for Kashi. It had their 7 whole grain pilaf, chicken, beans, peppers, and edamame. I’ve been wanting to get on the edamame train for a while. They look kind of like lima beans but don’t really taste like much of anything. I could probably sneak them in somewhere (like my hiding lentils in sloppy joes) but Adam seems to resist a lot of things. He says he doesn’t like them, but he eats them anyway. I’d welcome any other ideas anyone might have.

Is it Friday yet?

In all honesty, I don’t really remember too much about what we did last weekend. I know we went shopping at Younkers and got a new waffle maker and a Panini press. I know there was the everyday shopping for the week. We stopped at the Oakridge Farm stand and got a bunch of fresh veggies. Other than that… I think I spent a lot of time reading or napping. I did make the dessert that Adam wanted though. And I fixed the rip in his dress pants. So, a success on some fronts.

This week has been a long one. Late day on Monday (I left around 5:45), early day on Tuesday (was at work before 6:30). Month-end is relatively under control so things are back to semi-normal. In addition to closing out the month, I’ve also got to keep in the back of my mind that I’ll be out of the office for almost a week pretty soon. Perhaps I should start to scale back on the “tornado hit my desk” look. *sigh*

Speaking of our vacation, perhaps we’ve chosen the wrong direction to go. I mean, there seems to be an awful lot of violence right in the areas we plan to be. Hopefully this isn’t an omen for things to come. Then again, our area isn’t getting a lot of good press these days either. (Very classy, ladies.)

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Photographic Memory #2 - My Gay Prom Date

Ok, so I admit that title is kind of misleading...

Confession #1 - He wasn't REALLY my prom date. He only agreed to come if we went as a big group.

Confession #2 - He hadn't yet realized/admitted he was of a homosexual persuasion. That wouldn't come for a good three plus years after this picture was taken.

Confession #3 - I'm totally not wearing a bra. (Ok, so that really didn't need to be said, but you'll see why I got that out there in just a minute.)

So, welcome to junior prom, April 1999. That's me there in the purple dress and my gentleman friend is Joel.

We started the evening out with some snacks at (I hope I'm right! I can't remember!) Alicia's house (??) (PS - I love that cat blanket!)

Had a wild and crazy time at the dance (OMG Robert, can't you take a picture without freaking out?)

And then came back to my house to hang out (some of us quite literally) and sample some of the wine my underage self had smuggled back from France the summer before. Who's bad? (Hi mom!)

But let's get back to the more interesting part of this whole thing. I met Joel at church, where I had decided to join the youth group in order to, well, meet boys. I'm shameless. It's a long and winding road, the whole Joel, Martha, Sara thing, so I'm not going to get into it. Suffice it to say that being a teenager is sometimes unnecessarily dramatic. I wish I could go back in time and tell myself that so much stuff JUST DOESN'T MATTER. But I can't, so here I am.

Anywho, after I stopped going to church, Joel and I still kept in touch. In the fall of my sophomore year at UWO I got a phone call from him. In a not-at-all direct way he let me know that he had broken off his engagement (to a girl I went to elementary school with and could not stand) because he had fallen in love with her best friend's (now ex-)fiance - a man. Juicy! What drama!

I was not at all suprised by this revelation. I had questioned him about it previously and had managed to offend him so thoroughly he stopped talking to me for a few months. I'm not sure what set my gay-dar off, but perhaps it was his appreciation of my kick-ass white Spice Girl platform shoes and his endorsement of "girl power"

He came up to visit me a little while later and we went to sing karaoke at Park Central. Coming out was definitely good for him - he looked healthier and was a snazzy dresser. Unfortunately I couldn't find any pictures of that...

We've kind of lost touch at this point. Last I heard he was raising dogs in Elkart Lake or something.

For me, he'll always be the first guy I turned gay. And a excellent quasi prom date - what a dancer!