Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Biggest Loser

I'm hooked on The Biggest Loser. I watch it every week, religiously, and look forward to seeing the contestants shrink before my very eyes. I secretly hate it when they start letting them wear full shirts during the weigh-ins because I feel like I don't get as good a picture of how their bodies are changing. That's probably really gross, but I don't care. Maybe it's because I like to know that there are people out there, besides me, with the same "trouble zones." Sue me.

This past week I watched the Where Are They Now episode and was happy to see that a lot of the former contestants have kept the majority of the weight off. I was also pleased to see that a few of them, namely the finalists from their respective seasons, have put a few pounds back on. I feel like when they get to be a finalist, they kill themselves to lose as much weight as possible because they have to be sure that their percentage beats the other finalists. It's almost anti-climactic to me to see them because they look unhealthy and emaciated at the finale because of the dramatic change in their looks from the final taped show to the finale.

Some of the female contestants that they checked back in with are in or approaching their child-bearing years. I felt a little badly for them because they did so well and then got pregnant and gained weight again. Then they had to get their "baby weight" back off. One of them had two small children who were barely walking and clearly had not gotten the weight back off again. Her husband had gained some weight back, too, so at least he wasn't showing her up or anything. (He was a former contestant on her season.)

I'm not saying it's pointless to go on the show during this frame of time, I just think that if I were one of them, it would be really difficult. Here you have lost a significant amount of weight, maybe even to allow yourself the opportunity to have a healthy pregnancy, and then you put it back on for this good cause. Then you have to work twice as hard to get it back off again, maybe to only get pregnant again! I can imagine that it's hard enough to shed weight you gain during pregnancy. The added pressure of making sure that you don't slip back into that unhealthy state might send me right to Dunkin Donuts without ever looking back.

I guess I should just be thankful that I'm not plagued with weight issues. Sure, I don't always love what I see in the mirror and I really hate to work out, but at least I'm healthy and am not on the road to diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic, potentially fatal problems. Although, I suppose I easily could be. After all the season I've watched, I've learned that the weight tends to sneaks up on them.

I'm hoping that, through doing Jillian's at-home workouts, I stay as afraid of her as I need to be to keep me from getting to a point to need to see her in person every day. Though that would certainly be a well-deserved punishment for getting into that situation. I think she probably monitors Bob's weight and threatens to torture him like a contestant if he gains more than five pounds.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Nothing Like a Heartache

Breakups sucks. Let's just get that out there right now. It doesn't matter if you're the heartbreaker or the one getting your heart broken, it's not easy. It's not easy to tell someone that you've grown close to that your feelings have changed. It's even harder to hear, especially when the person that's saying it to you is a kind and decent person and they've never done anything to you that you can be mad about.

Obviously I wouldn't be writing about this if I were happily in love. I'm certainly not happy at this moment, but I'm probably still the other thing.

It seems as though you spend all this time talking and gushing about someone to friends and people you know and you just never expect to have to "un-do" all of that. Worse than hearing that things aren't what you wanted them to be, you end up having to let people know that there's this big gaping hole in your heart so that they either a) know to keep the salt miles away from your open wound or b) unknowingly just poured 20 pounds of it in there.

My first reaction was to remove all reminders so that I didn't see them every time I turned around. The easy part: putting everything away so that you don't inadvertantly bring yourself to tears. The hard part is getting the memories to stay away and, for me anyway, to keep from feeling like a complete idiot for being that gushing, happy, oblivious person.

I've been in some pretty crappy relationships and I've made millions of excuses for those guys. Interestingly enough though, this one wasn't crappy I'm not the one making excuses this time. I've decided that I deserved this relationship. I deserved to finally know what it felt like to have been treated well. I deserved for someone to be thoughtful and caring and concerned about me, where I've been overly all of those things to other people. And I refuse to let anyone, even those that love me the most and want to make me feel better, belittle him or what is no longer.

It is what it is. I appreciate the honesty and can't argue with the outcome. I've learned a lot over the last 10 or so months. I'm certainly a better person for the experience. I just thought it'd end a lot differently. I'll be fine, though. Eventually...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Food, Glorius Food

I love food. If you know me (or have ever seen me), you know this. While I enjoy foods that are good for you, I love the bad things even more. I doubt I'll ever be a calorie counter. I look at the packages and whatnot, but I don't really keep a tally of my caloric intake; I more look at it to see how awful what I'm about to eat is. I will say though, if I get on a roll where I'm working out consistently, I will eat better, though it doesn't always feel like I'm doing any better than I was before. I tend to eat things that are more nutritious, but I'm also hungry more often. I can't figure out if this is because my body just needs more food or if it's because healthier foods aren't as filling. I've never claimed to be a nutritionist and I could really care less either way. If I'm hungry, I'm going to eat.

There are things that I feel like I could eat three meals a day for days on end and never get tired of them. Spaghetti is one of them. I must eat this more often than I realize because I mentioned that I went to an Italian restaurant this past weekend and The Boyfriend knew that I ordered spaghetti without me even telling him. I don't always get that when I go there. A lot of the time, yes, but not every time. I was quite surprised that he knew this, especially considering we've never eaten there together. I guess he knows me even better than I thought!

Sushi is another one. I'm pretty much up for whatever someone wants to order when getting sushi. Spicy tuna isn't my favorite, but I'll eat it. If it has spicy mayo, cream cheese, eel sauce, or any combination of the three, I'm there. Sadly, I don't think I've eaten sushi since The Boyfriend left and I'm craving it. It's possible that I won't have it until he finally gets back either. If that's the case, he may see me grow a snout and hooves right there at the table. (Have I ever mentioned how much sushi we ate on our first date? Neither of us could believe how much food was in front of us, but we tried our best to finish every bite.)

I like a variety when I'm eating, too. Not just with sushi, but with anything and everything. If I have condiments, I need at least two. I have to really hold back when going to Chick-fil-a because they look at me cross-eyed when I ask for barbeque, Polynesian, ranch and Chick-fil-a sauce to go along with my 3 strip combo. Yes, I need all four sauces, I'm not just being a hoarder. Everyone (okay, maybe not everyone) makes fun of me because I line all the sauces up and go in order when dipping. I go from left to right, one sauce per bite and go through this cycle until I'm finished. I'm not OCD or anything.

I know it's some sort of sin, but I happen to love ketchup on my steak. I'm trying to wean myself off of doing this, since I'm fast approaching my thirties and all, but I just really like it. The older I've gotten, the more I've realized that this habit is probably becoming less and less acceptable. When I saw my mom doing it, I thought that if she's allowed to eat ketchup on her steak, so am I. However, if I'm eating steak with someone who has vocalized their displeasure with my doing this, I won't do it in front of them. The chances of me finishing the steak are far lower in this instance, though. So if you're one of those people and you're buying the steak, please be aware. ;-)

My favorite fast casual place to eat has to be Chipotle. In my office, we all have a special place in our hearts for it. It's one of those words that, once said, cannot be forgotten. Because of this problem, we dubbed it The C-Word. It's much easier to eat what you brought from home or something cheaper or healthier if the word hasn't been spoken. Saying it out loud and not eating it is almost a sin. Thank goodness I had it for lunch or else Jillian would be fired tonight and it'd be me, my couch and a burrito bol tonight. Instead, I'll be letting Jillian torture me and wishing I'd just eaten that stupid SmartOnes for lunch.

I'll try to be better tomorrow. Maybe...

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

It's Been Too Long

I don't even remember the date of my last post, that's how long ago it was. And what makes it even worse is that The Boyfriend has posted twice since then! I feel as though he cheated a little because he posted something like two times in three days. But still! No girlfriend should let the posts be up for close to (if not more than) a week before she reads them either. For that, I'm apologetic, but also am blaming that stupid Big Girl Job.

Speaking of the Big Girl Job... A couple of weeks ago, I had to take a last minute trip to San Francisco that really tested how well I am capable of functioning on little to no sleep. I'm sure it sounds all glamorous that I got to go all the way to California, but traveling for work is harder than working in the office. I did get to see a little bit of the city, but mostly in the dark. If you happen to be planning a trip there, I can certainly direct you to San Fran's finest FedEx Kinkos stores. Their employees aren't all that helpful at first, but if you call them in excess of 20 times in a three hour period, visit more than two of their locations and spend the wee hours of the morning with their employees, they start to realize that you mean business and that they aren't going to be able to get away with shoddy workmanship. Just be sure to bring your own personal security. Of all the services that they provide, a bodyguard isn't one of them.

About a third of the way in to the flight from Phoenix to Orlando, one of the flight attendants came over the loud speaker and said "Ladies and gentleman. If there is a doctor or nurse on board, please press your call button." If you know me at all, you know that at the sound of this I was on red alert. It turns out that a lady sitting a few rows in front of me was, for lack of a better term, blitzed. Evidently, she couldn't talk and when she tried, she would just end up spitting. Being the expert lip-reader that I am, I was able to make out a flight attendant saying that the lady had taken too much medication and had too much to drink. She wasn't bad enough off for us to need to make an emergency landing (which probably would've made this post 10 times more exciting), but she did have paramedics waiting for her once we got to the gate. With the assistance of a couple of them, she walked off the plane and made it safely to a wheelchair just inside the airport and that was the last I saw of her.

I'm still trying to get back into the groove of normal life. While my suitcase is unpacked and put away, my apartment still looks as though an F5 tornado went through it. I finally managed to clean my desk up yesterday because I simply could not function with the mess any longer. It's Tuesday and I haven't written my letter to my brother yet this week. And my attempts at working outs are a joke.

I'm taking any suggestions that anyone might have for how to turn things around quickly. I'm also accepting applications for live-in maids.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Things

I'm not always the best at realizing things that I love or that I'm truly thankful for, large and small. I think, like most people, I find it easier to point out the things that I don't love. So I've decided to make a list of both. It may be a little premature, since Thanksgiving and Christmas are still several weeks away, but perhaps it's good that I'm thinking ahead for once.

I may post again later to add or change or update. It's just how I'm feeling today.


I Absolutely Love:
*Baking... pound cake, carrot cake, cookies, you name it
*Getting my hair cut... especially when there's color involved
*Shoes... pretty, high-heeled ones
*The Boyfriends scruffy beard. I just want to reach through my monitor and touch it!
*Being (not even) 5'2"... people generally feel a need to look out for or take care of short people
*My nose
*The feeling of accomplishment after surviving a Jillian Michaels workout
*Sushi
*The excitement and happiness that oozes from my brother's e-mails
*Standard time... as in when the sun sets early in the evening
*Haagen-Daas chocolate ice cream... I could eat an entire pint by myself
*Sleeping on clean sheets for the first time
*Surprises... giving and receiving
*My dad's laugh when he gets really tickled and can't stop
*Hymns... easily my favorite 20 minutes (collectively, give or take) of church
*Doing or saying the exact same thing as my mom at the exact same time... especially if my dad's there because it drives him crazy
*Kevin on a rampage... it's just so funny
*My little family (Mom, Dad, Coley)... love, love, love them
*The Boyfriend... how can I not?
*Black clothes... all articles, seen and unseen
*General Conference
*My mom's chocolate cake... it's to die for
*Wrapping gifts... it's therapeutic for me
*Coca-Cola Classic... it's just so delicious
*Blog-stalking
*Tombstone pizza... especially with Coley after a football game
*Vacation days

I Don't Love:
*Taking out the garbage
*Making my lunch to take to work... why is this so tedious?
*Waking up early... especially for work
*Working out
*The number on the bathroom scale this morning
*Green peppers
*Raw onions
*The silence from my mom that screams disapproval/unhappiness/disagreement/discomfort. She'll never say it because she'd rather I make my own decisions. But I feel it, which makes me feel horrible.
*Diet soda, any flavor - Coke, Sprite, Orange... it's gross and feels like it coats my throat
*Dr. Pepper
*Lizards
*Putting away laundry
*Good-byes... even if they're only temporary
*Being ignored
*Wikipedia... it's not a valid source

Monday, October 12, 2009

Oh, Stop!

As all three of you know, I'm an admitted blog-stalker. I've probably mentioned this before. Practically every day during the week, I make my rounds to all of my peeps that I love to watch from a distance. In my attempts to not be so creepy, I will admit to the author that I stalk them if I happen to see them. If I don't ever see them, I don't have that opportunity and I'm sorry if they wonder who I am. If one of them is reading this right now, then we can just call it even, right?

Anyway. I happen to read a blog that I found while creeping around and it's as public a blog as I have ever been involved with. It gets awards and has contests and whatnot, but it's also fun to read and there's a little Gospel tidbit in there every once in a while. (It's
here if you want to take a peek.)

Just now I was reading a post about how kids are always proud of themselves and rarely complain about a compliment. They usually will agree with you before thanking you for it. Somehow as we grow up, we are more hesitant to accept compliments and it becomes difficult for us to do. She asked a simple favor, to smile and say thank you the next time one receives a compliment instead of discounting it, and it made me think that that's something that I should work harder on.

The Boyfriend is great at this. He's very quick to agree with a compliment you give him. He'll probably even correct you if your compliment is lacking (i.e. "You like good today." "No, I look dang good today!"). You would think it could get annoying, but I happen to love this about him. There's no shortage of self-esteem there, but it's not over-powering and we often joke about whether we need to roll a window down to make room for his ego.

He's not shy about complimenting others, either. Okay, I can't make that general a statement. What's more accurate is that he's not shy about complimenting me. I should really be more grateful for that. There are tons of people out there who take never say a positive thing to their significant, even replacing compliments with put-downs. Instead of complaining him how fat I am (which he hates) I should just do something about it and be satisfied with the knowledge he's happy with me just the way I am. This doesn't mean that I'll stop complaining about the hateful Jillian Michaels her heinous hour-long work outs.

Baby steps, right?

P.S. I love getting a hair cut and got one on Saturday. While I wanted to look like this (bod and all, let's be honest!):



I ended up getting two inches trimmed off the ends. I only got a trim because The Boyfriend likes my long hair. (Imagine that! I get that he LIKES it long!) And frankly, I like that he likes it long and I'm okay with keeping it if it means I get to keep him.

I did learn something this weekend, though. If I ever want to cut my hair crazy-short and have him not go into cardiac arrest because of it, the time to do it is when he's studying for mid-terms. He was non-responsive to my attempts at trickery and said it was just hair and would grow back eventually. This is completely uncharacteristic because two short months after we started dating, I couldn't even complete the sentence "I'm thinking about cutting my hair..." before he yelled "No!" Yes. He yelled. The end of that sentence was to be "to my shoulders," but he wasn't taking any chances. That was a fun night... :-)

Monday, October 5, 2009

Ahhh Memories

Yesterday afternoon, while e-mailing back and forth with Jen (to make the day go by faster, of course), I was reminded of what great memories I have of my prom and homecoming experiences from high school. Please don't misunderstand me. I went with the people that I wanted to go with, but other surrounding circumstances didn't make for as magical an evening as I had envisioned.

I was asked to prom my sophomore year by a senior who used to "keep me company" while I waited for my mom to pick me up from school every day. When he asked me, he said it so non-chalantly that I looked at him, made a face that probably said "What kind of crack are you smoking?" and said "No!" without even hesitating. I really thought that he was just joking around, but I was wrong. Regardless, I didn't go with him and I think he also stopped stalking me after school because of it.

My junior year, I was finally asked to homecoming by a certain blonde-haired, blue-eyed surfer boy that (practically) the entire female population of SHS was lusting after. At the time, I thought he was pretty hot myself, though I don't think that I was all that into him. I like to think I was just testing the waters to see if I could land a date with someone way out of my league. After much negotiation performed by a mutual friend, he finally got the balls to ask me. Why he took so long, I'll never know. Obviously I said yes and we went with Jen, her date, and Michelle.

We had a decent time and I have pretty pictures to laugh at now, but I don't remember too much about the evening anymore. I do, however, remember that I was starving after getting my hair done and ate a Big Mac late in the afternoon. This resulted in me not being all that hungry when we went to dinner, so I probably only ate one quarter of the dinner that he paid for. I also remember him being mad at his mom because he wanted to drive her nice, newer model Camry, but she made him take their older car with an air conditioner barely worked. And when we got home after the dance, we opened the door and my parents, aunt and cousin started yelling "Wet paint! Wet paint! Be careful!" They decided to paint the foyer while we were gone.

Something happened to me between my junior and senior years. I was no longer capable of landing the hottest guys in school and was left to fish in the band pond. Don't get me wrong, I dated the head bandy - the drum major. (Go big or go home, right?) He was nice enough, I guess, and it took little convincing to get this guy to ask me to homecoming. We had a decent time and started dating shortly after homecoming (and when his Mono cleared up.) Sometime between Valentine's Day and prom, he broke up with me. Yes, folks, I got dumped. Via instant messenger, too!

He was such a winner, though, that he asked me to prom even though we were no longer dating. I only said yes after one other person (that I definitely didn't want to go with) asked me and my dad gave me a really hard time about how I'd "regret it" if I didn't go to my senior prom. So several days after the initial invitation, I agreed. That, my friends, is when the real shenanigans ensued.

He asked what color my dress was so that he could match, or so I thought. When I said gold, he decided he wanted to wear something silver. When he asked where we should go for dinner, I suggested a seafood restaurant in Cocoa Beach on the river. He simply said "No." I wanted to scream "Well why did you even ask, then?!" We ended up going to an Italian restaurant where our server scrawled her name upside down, in crayon, on the butcher paper that served as our table cloth. There were little kids running around in shorts and t-shirts. While eating dinner, he suggested that we go bowling before going to the actual dance. He said it kind of sarcastically and as though he were testing me somehow, so I just said "I'll bowl in this dress. And I'll win, too." So we did. And I did.

The real kicker was his getup. I was slightly annoyed that he had no interest in renting a tux because that's generally what people do for prom, if not a nice suit. He was having no part of that, despite my not-so-subtle hints and enlisting the help of one of his friends. He arrived in black pants and a black coat with shirt on that was half white and half black. The piece of fabric behind the buttons was some weird pattern, too. But that wasn't even the worst part. The absolute worst part was the white top hat that he decided to wear. Without any mention of it to me beforehand, mind you. My dad still laughs nervously when we talk about this. And all he can say is "She was pissed. I didn't even know what to do about it."

To this day, I wonder if he purposely left my corsage at his parents' house so that we'd have to go by their house to pick it up and they could see, with their own eyes, how badly he was torturing me. He later told me that he looked for white cane, but couldn't find one. I told him that it was a good thing because I would've sent his happy behind home. Alone.

Anyway... All of this was brought up yesterday when Jen and I were discussing how great I have it now. Of course, The Boyfriend always thanks me for "setting the bar so low" for him. As if I did it on purpse. Clearly, I didn't, but I do have a better appreciation for him because of all the winners that came before him.

Jen summed it up pretty well by saying, "It's going to take a lot to recover from the top hat and tails debacle of 2000, but if anyone can bring about redemption, it's the Double R."

I'm pretty sure he already brought it. On our first date. It wasn't that difficult to do.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Four Year Itch

The company that I work for is pretty generous in it's vacation-giving. You get two weeks when hired, along with a couple of floating holidays and sick days. When the calendar year that your third anniversary starts, you get three weeks. I happen to be on the more positive end of this because my anniversary is in September. Last year I hit three years, so I was pretty excited about an extra week to use.

Prior to getting three weeks, I was a bit of a hoarder when it came to vacation. I didn't really have anywhere to go, since my family lives an hour away, so it wasn't all that necessary to take a week off to go visit them or even to take longer weekends. I ended up just saving my time and taking a couple of weeks off around the holidays. Last year I, inadvertantly, did this again. I was to be off for practically a month, including the time that the office is closed for the holidays, but was assigned a meeting that took up two weeks of my vacation. They were kind enough to let me carry over my remaining days (normally, we have a use-it-or-lose-it policy), but the catch was that I had to use it by the end of March.

In the beginning, it seemed like a daunting tasks to take over two weeks of vacation in the first quarter, especially considering I was pretty busy. Lucky for me, things got cancelled, The Boyfriend made his grand entrance, and my brother was getting ready to leave, so the days started dwindling. I think I went almost two months without being in the office for a full week. Needless to say, it was fantastic! And the days off didn't stop at the end of March, either. I just kept taking them; sometimes with a purpose, other times willy-nilly. It became a personal goal to take every single day that I've earned this year.

Right now, with three full months left in the year, I'm left with three and a half vacation days half of a sick day remaining. All but the half sick day have been planned. I don't really have anywhere to go right now and I don't regret how I used the countless days I've already taken, but I'm wishing that I had some more time available to me. I'm chained to my desk!

Perhaps it's because I haven't done much in the way of work this year. I'm considerably less busy this calendar year than I was last. Isn't that obvious? And when I'm not busy, I just simply don't want to be at work. If I had things to do, it would be much easier for me to get out of bed every morning and drive to work. I'm also thinking it has something to do with the fact that I've been in the same position, doing the same things for the last four years.

Sure, there are projects that I'm hoping to get assigned to, but there's no guarantee that I'll actually get them. I've taken on a "new role" and more responsibilities, but I'm not being compensated for it... "yet." I just feel like I'm going through the motions and I don't like it. I'm ready for something new - a change of scenery or something. Even the new things that I've been put in charge of don't seem to be interesting. Maybe I'm just not putting the effort into that I should...

I'm not entirely sure what to do about this. If the truth be told, I've got it pretty good here. I've got the most seniority (if that even applies) in my position and a decent reputation. And come January, I'll have another three weeks of vacation to figure out something to do with.

But January is sooooooo far away...

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Klutzy? Not Usually...

Today I'm meeting Kev and his little brother (not blood, like from the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization) at Blizzard Beach and then heading to Melbourne afterward. Because of all of this, I had to pack my stuff to spend the night. I got all my stuff together and I thought to myself "I'll just run my stuff down to the car and then put on my sunscreen and then head out." No big deal, right?

Perhaps it wouldn't be a big deal if I hadn't been prancing around all morning in just my bathing suit. Thankfully, it's modest. In fact, I had a pretty tough time getting into it, thanks to the built-in corset made of spandex and elastic.

Right now, I'm pretty glad that nothing is moving anywhere in this suit because I took my chances with not putting anything on over my bathing suit to run my stuff to my car. I figured it's not even 10 a.m. yet, no one that's going to care what I have on will be up this early on a Saturday morning. I get to my car and the guy parked next to me must've been drunk when he got home because he's parked at an angle and I could hardly open my back door while holding my stuff. Obviously I'm in a rush here because, well, I just look silly. So I finally stuff my belongings into the back seat and make my way back to my apartment.

As I'm walking, I'm looking at my shadow to and thinking "Why is it that when you know there's nothing covering your shoulders, it looks like you're naked in your shadow?" Yes, these are things that run through my head. I was also trying to make sure that my posture was as perfect as possible so there were no unsightly bulges escaping from my bathing suit. I wanted to at least appear as though I were a trained swimsuit model to and passers-by.

Ask me how many times I've climbed those stairs in the last four (and change) years. Ask me how many cases of water I've carried up said stairs without a problem, like it's a pillow. Ask me how many times I've had any sort of spill on those stairs.

Two. That's how many times I've come close to eating it. Until this morning.

Yes, as I got to stair number 11 (of course I count them - every time. you don't?) something happened. I don't know what it was, but it wasn't good. Perhaps the combination of counting and sucking in and walking gracefully was just too much. My brain overloaded, one of my feet miscalculated the distance to step number 12 and I was going down, down, down.

Why is that when you trip, the other foot doesn't realize that something's amiss and just stay put? Why does the other foot keep doing what it was orginally d0ing? Shouldn't they work as a team, always aware of what the other is doing and ready to compensate when their partner goofs? I think they should, but obviously this isn't the way it works. It's one of lifes cruellest jokes.

I was able to catch myself and have no injuries to report... yet. On the way down, all I could think about was how I didn't want to scrape my knees and then have to be at a water park today. I should've been more concerned with whether or not I was about to flash an innocent bystander because of a wardrobe malfunction. The good news is that the bathing stayed intact. In fact, I didn't even have to readjust once I pulled myself back up off the stairs as quickly as possible.

This had better not be a preview of what my day is going to be like. The next time I find myself going down, I'm staying down and playing dead. Someone better be standing by, ready to perform mouth-to-mouth.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Cankles

Whoever the genius was that coined this term should be knighted or something. I probably only feel this way because I don't have them. I do, however, worry that sometimes it appears I do. I shy away from shoes that have straps around the ankle because I feel as though I look like I have the dreaded cankles. It's no secret that I love shoes and it pains me that this irrational fear keeps a ton of cute shoes out of my closet!

I saw an a link to something (I wouldn't call it an article, really) that talked about cankles. It described what they are and how to deal with them if you have them. Evidently some people have actually had surgery performed to correct them. What exactly could that entail? Does some plastic surgeon go in and remove fat from around the ankles? It doesn't seem like there would be much that they could do because there's a lot of bones and whatnot down there. But I'm no anatomist.

Accordingly to this website, there are also exercises that you can do to help reduce the size of your cankles. In fact, a particular gym had an entire class devoted to shrinking cankles!

I can think of a few people that could use a referral to either the cankle doctor or that gym. Maybe they like their cankles, you say? Well, good for them! Anklets don't.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

You're Kidding Me, Right?

I saw this article today about a woman who gave birth to a 19 pound baby. Thankfully, she had a C-section. I really doubt it would be possible to deliver a child of that size naturally. At least I hope it isn't.

Then I wondered... Could that happen to me? How do you not know you're carrying a child that large? How do I keep this from happening to me?

I think that fat babies are cute. The fatter the better, actually, but this is a bit much. If I were that woman, I'd probably be filing a malpractice suit against the medical professional(s) who didn't see that coming. Surely they could tell, when the woman looked like she had a bass drum under her shirt, that something was amiss with this pregnancy.

I (naively) thought that I'd be married by the time I was 20, have my first child by 22 and be done having kids by 30. Clearly, my life took the path of spinsterhood. The reality is that I'll be lucky to be married by the time I'm 30 and there will be no carts before the horse. I suppose I'm okay with that. I don't really have much of a choice, do I?!

My biggest issue is my awareness of the complications and problems that can occur. Even things that are normal and should happen make me wary. It's not a good thing. I'm much better off living in oblivion. Especially when it comes to things like the giving birth to a three-year-old.

So what's my proposed solution? This:


Dear TLC/Lifetime/Discovery Health Channel,
Please cancel all shows involving child birth, child rearing, and families with multiples/copious amounts of children. You're giving me ulcers.
Love,
Me

(And please don't point out the obvious. I know that I could refrain from watching these shows, but my curiosity gets me every time. If they simply didn't exist, I wouldn't be tempted!)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Summoned

Several weeks ago I received a jury summons in the mail. At first glance, I had the same reaction that everyone does. After I thought about it, though, I got kind of excited. Unfortunately the excitement didn’t last. As it got closer, I started to hope that I wouldn’t have to actually report. I had a lot going on at work and I tend to not enjoy doing things that I’ve never done before. (Firsts are hard for me. I’ve probably mentioned that before.) But I figured it's probably going to be an experience, so if I had to go, I'd at least have a story to tell later.

The instructions said to call after 5 p.m. on the day prior to your report date to see if you would be needed, so I did. The recording announced that juror numbers 1 through 715 would need to report the next day; all others were excused. My number: 496. Awesome. (Side bar: Can I just tell you how many people told me to just not go? Every time someone found out that I had to go to jury duty, they said "I got the summons, but I just didn't go and nothing's happened to me." I'm not sure which would be worse if I just didn't show up: potentially being held in contempt or my mom being mad at me for skipping out. She hates rule breakers.)

I arrived on time, parked my car on the 7th level of the garage, as instructed, and followed the crowd of people who were carrying their summons. Mine was in my purse because I prefer to blend in to my surroundings and not stick out like a sore thumb. Thank heaven for people less superficial than I! Once I was in the courthouse, getting through security was relatively easy. The line was long, but moved quickly and there were no hold ups. Even checking in in the Juror Assembly room was relatively painless, but I already had my eyes peeled for weirdos.

It didn't take long to find someone that was a little off. While standing in line to get checked in, I looked up and saw a man carrying an industrial sized cooler. It was one of those construction worker lunch coolers like this:

My first thought was "Maybe he doesn't expect to be here for long and has to go straight to work." Then I saw the real reason for it. As he got closer to me, his little daughter came into view. She couldn't have been more than 3 years old. My next thought was "Who brings their toddler to jury duty? And what are you going to do with her if you get chosen? Surely she's not permitted to go into the courtroom with you!" I think that child care services may be available at the courthouse for people who are serving, but I'm not positive about that. Regardless, getting a stranger at the courthouse to take care of my child would be the very last option that I would take. Perhaps this was a last resort for him. I don't know.

After receiving instructions (via a better than average video, clearly filmed in and around the Orange County Courthouse) they started picking people. I have to say, the whole process is quite interesting. Basically, a deputy comes down to the assembly room, tells the people working behind the counter how many jurors a judge has requested and they put this number into their computer. They then receive a print out of that number of jurors that have been selected by a sort of lottery system. They read off your juror number and first name and you go to the front of the room. They do one last quick check and then the group gets their instructions from the deputy on what's about to happen. It's quite efficient, I must say.

My next weirdo encounter was when they were calling up the third or fourth group of jurors. I was waiting to hear my number, but it didn't pop up, so I went back to reading my book only to be interrupted by some guy yelling "Whoo hoo! 4 A!" I looked over and saw him practically running to the front of the room as if Johnny from the Price Is Right had just called his juror number and told him to "Come on down!" Once he had everyone's attention, he continued. "I'm excited! It's my first time!" People then began to snicker and I have no doubt that the deputy was thinking "I love a clown."

Unfortunately, his antics didn't end there. After the deputy gave instruction on how they were going to get to the fourth floor (via the elevator, because it would be faster than the escalator and lessens the possibility of losing someone) and asked if anyone had any issues, Bozo chimes in with "I'm afraid of heights." The deputy pretty much denied any sort of special privileges and said something to the effect of "It won't take long to get up there." Making sure to get the last word in, he relents. "I'm just kidding." I was hoping that the deputy was start to cuff him and get him half way out the door before saying "I'm just kidding." No dice.

Shortly after all of that took place, a judge requested 40 jurors. As soon as I heard how large this group was going to be, I knew my number was up. Sure enough, number 496 was on the list. Once we got to twelfth floor, we were greeted by a sherrif and told that we'd be called in shortly. I just happened to look out the window and noticed a sparkling white building with a single spire sitting all by itself on the horizon. I quickly realized that it was the Orlando Temple. I'm not sure that anyone who is unfamiliar with it would question what it was or even notice it. I was happy to see it and recognize it for what it is, though. Something else, that I'd never seen before, caught my eye. It was a huge cross. I have no idea where it's located in this city or who it belongs to. Perhaps some other juror recognized it and was pleasantly surprised by it, just as I was by the temple.

We finally got in the courtroom and the judge started giving us instructions and asking questions. It was funny to hear some of the reasons that people thought they wouldn't be able to serve on the jury, if chosen. It was even funnier when the judge, in a really nice way, let them know that their excuses weren't valid enough for him and they weren't going anywhere. The only reasonable excuse that I heard was in response to why someone would be unable to hear the case and make a decision based solely on what the attorneys had presented. It was a sexual assault case, on a child under 12, and one juror said that she'd been sexually abused as a child and it would far too difficult for her to have to hear it. This was the only instance that the judge seemed to make any sort of allowance for, but she still had to wait with everyone else for the selection process.

Hearing the charges read aloud, with the defendant sitting less than 15 feet directly in front of me, was weird. I didn't feel unsafe in any way, but hearing how graphic the description of the charges were, it made me uncomfortable. I think something would be terribly wrong if someone didn't feel uncomfortable hearing that type of thing. Interestingly enough, the guy didn't look like some hardened criminal, as one might expect. He looked terrified, and rightly so, to be sitting there in front of 40 people who would potentially be deciding the fate of the rest of his life. I almost felt badly for him when a lady behind me (who had a response to EVERY question that the judge asked - you know the type) said that she didn't think she could hear the case because just hearing the charges being read made her extremely uncomfortable and she thought that it was just disgusting that someone could do something like that. I felt badly, not because I thought what he did was in any way acceptable, but because he probably already knew this (at least I hope he did) and had to listen to someone telling him how disgusting his actions were and how dispicable she thought he was. Had he looked like he enjoyed doing what he allegedly did or like he was being inconvenienced by having to be there, I may have felt differently.

As luck would have it, we were released for lunch and when we came back, the defendant had decided to accept the plea deal that the state had offered him. It turns out that the family of the victim decided that they didn't want the girl to have to testify and open up this old wound that she'd been working so hard to heal. I'm not sure how old she is now, but she was under 12 when the incidents supposedly happened. She was there and I did see her and she didn't even look old enough to drive. It was really quite sad. Hopefully they can all get the help that they need to get through this horrific situation. The judge even mentioned that he's much better off with the deal that he took because, had he stood trial and been found guilty, he likely would've spent the rest of his life in jail. He's only 23.

For the most part, the whole experience wasn't as awful as I thought it could have been. I was certainly glad that I wasn't chosen and that I didn't have to listen to all the gory details of the case that the state was trying to prove. I'm still trying to forget the language used to descibe the charges. The Boyfriend was disturbed by what I told him and I said it as nicely as I possibly could. (Too bad I wasn't able to snap a picture of that face with the webcam!) If I happen to get summoned again, I won't be as opposed to going as I was this time. I mean, I'm an pro now!

And perhaps it was nice to be driving home at 1:30 in the afternoon, instead of being chained to my desk...

Friday, September 4, 2009

Are You New?

I normally don't post twice in the same day. Today is a rare occassion.

So half of my hour and 15 minute drive home was through pouring rain. This is nothing new to me because I've lived in Florida the entire 27 years I've been on this earth. You just expect those summer afternoon thunderstorms. You plan on them. It may not rain, but if it does, you really shouldn't be all that surprised. It's just the way it is. Like the wind blowing in Chicago, I would assume.

Two things really get under my skin while driving: breaking on the highway and driving with your caution lights blinking in the rain. Luckily, there weren't too many people breaking today, but there were plenty of people with their caution lights on. At one point, I was wishing that there was some way that I could call these people on their cell phones and just say "Um... do you have a flat tire? Is your car over-heating? Do you need to pull off the road for some reason? No? Okay, well then turn your caution lights off, you idiot!"

It wasn't a secret that it was raining. There wasn't an accident ahead. We were, in fact, traveling at about 50-60 mph. It was just a constant rain. Everyone could see at least four of the cars ahead of them. There are times when it's raining so hard that you can't see the person's tail lights in front of you. There are times when you have to slow down to 30 on the interstate. This was not one of those times. I swear that I could see at least 6 people at one time with their caution lights on. And all with Florida plates. Go figure.

When I got off of I-95 at my exit, the traffic light was completely off. Surprisingly, everyone was doing pretty well at treating it as a four-way stop. I was pleasantly surprised. We all must've been paying attention in Driver's Ed! Then I got to the the traffic light on the east side of I-95. The people that I encountered there clearly did NOT pay attention in Driver's Ed. One car took it's turn and three cars behind them took that same person's turn. Again, I needed their cell phone numbers so that I could educate them on being a curteous, if not semi-intelligent, driver.

Thankfully, I made it home safely. Construction, rain and all.

My Favorite Season

I'm a girly girl, always have been, but I love football. My uncle was the head coach at the school that my parents graduated from. So after moving to Melbourne, we'd always go to the games, to support him (I assume) and spend time with family on the weekends. (This is probably part of the reason that I don't think it's abnormal how often I go to my parents' on the weekends.)

I remember having to sit in the stands with them, but always wishing I could be hanging on the front fence at the bottom of the stands with the other "big" kids or, even better, playing under the bleachers. This was not something my mom and dad allowed me to do, perhaps because I was like 5. But it was fun to sit in the stands and see my uncle walking the sidelines and my cousins on the field either cheering or being a ball boy.

As I got older and started going to games at my junior high or high school or my brother's games, I came to realize that there's something about the lights, the smell of fresh cut grass, and the distant sounds of the band making it's way to the field that cannot be replicated. This combination is something you only find at a football game. To this day, the football field is one of only two places that I'll eat a hot dog by choice.

I was in band in junior high and high school and, while I loved playing music and that aspect of my affiliation of the band, I hated that I was trapped in that cordoned off section of the bleachers. We did not have the option of only playing during the regular school day. If you were in band, you had to be in pep or marching band unless you were a cheerleader or football player. And in high school, you couldn't do both at all; it was one or the other. I wanted so badly be be able to go the games and sit with my friends and be able to just hang out. I would pray for a rain out so that I could change and go meet my friends at the game, but that rarely happened. Looking back on it, it was a good experience for me. My high school's band was one of the best (if not THE best) in the district, when our football team was at the opposite end of the spectrum. When the football team was destined for a losing season, the marching band was always a success and I enjoyed being a part of that.

A little part of me also misses "having" to go home every weekend because Coley has a game. He would always call and ask me if I was coming home for the game, already knowing that I was. I loved being close enough that I could sit in the stands for once and watch the game. I was almost as heartbroken as he was when he found out he couldn't play anymore. He loves the game and luckily had coaches who loved having him around. They let him help coach during his senior season, so that he could still be a part of the team and letter, and even asked him to do come back the season after he graduated.

When I got to college, my love of football season continued. Being on campus at FSU during the fall semester is an experience all it's own. And while I was far from ready to be out on my own, I loved game days, whether the games were home or away. In fact, I remember watching the Florida State - Miami game in my dorm room with my rooming during my first semester. She's from Miami and had friends that were 'Cane fans that were watching the game back home. It was all but in the bag for us when she started making phone calls to rub the loss in their faces. I blamed her when we lost. (We still made it to the National Championship that season, though, for all you haters out there.)

I'm writing about this nonsense for two reasons. One is because I'm going to Tallahassee next weekend to see Florida State play Jacksonville State and I'm ecstatic about it. The other is because this weekend is the start of college football and my 'Noles are once again facing those 'Canes. Monday could prove to be a very interesting evening since The Boyfriend is a 'Cane. (I'm almost certain that he kept this from me for as long as possible so that I wouldn't hold it against him. It was probably part of his "hard work and dedication" scheme.) I think we're both aware that it'll have little impact on our relationship. At the end of the day, a football game isn't going to make or break us. It's probably a good thing that he's so far away, though. The potential for him seeing a very ugly side of me is very much there. I'm passionate about my team. What can I say?

So now all three of you readers know where I'll be Monday night at 8: In my apartment, wearing my best FSU gear, both televisions tuned in to ESPN, logged in to Skype and ready to send sweet nothings to The Boyfriend regarding our beloved teams.

You can also bet that I'll be keeping Coley abreast of all the important football scores while he's gone (except Florida). He probably won't care much, but I think he'll appreciate knowing how Georgia is doing, at least. I'm secretly hoping he forgets all about the Gators. They are pretty forgettable...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I'm A Liar.

Yesterday I told my mom that I’m used to my brother being gone. When I checked my e-mail this morning before work and saw an e-mail from him, with the subject line reading “Silencio old man,” I realized that I’m not used to him being gone at all. I miss that kid like crazy. Maybe I’m just used to missing him.

I knew I would be running really late if I read his e-mail right that minute, so I decided to wait until I got to work. Currently, I’m sitting at my desk at work writing this and I have yet read his e-mail. Partially because I know that if I read it, I’ll forget all the things I wanted to blog about (I’ve been thinking about this since I walked away from my computer this morning) and because I have a meeting in 29 minutes and I want to wait until I can enjoy it.

I literally laughed out loud when I saw the subject line of his e-mail. If you’re not familiar, it’s a line from Juno, which we have watched together almost as many times as I’ve made him watch Dirty Dancing against his will. The first time I saw Juno was with my mom. That was kind of weird experience and definitely one of those times where I wish I had screened the movie before being in the same room as her for it. It’s not that it’s horrible, but I definitely felt awkward a couple of times. Anyway… The next time I saw the movie was the night before Coley and I went to Nashville to visit our cousin. It was then that I discovered that Juno gets funnier every time you watch it, which is why we have watched it as many times as we have. I know this to be true also because The Boyfriend has grown to like this movie in the same way. (I want to say love, but that’s a stretch and he’ll call me on it.) So over time, we just end up repeating silly lines from the movie. And I always, ALWAYS forget just how sad the ending is. But then again, I rarely make it to the end without falling asleep or simply turning it off because 1 a.m. comes and The Boyfriend has to go home. And I love it anyway.

After thinking about watching Juno with Coley, my mind just started to wander through great memories that I have of him. I think my favorite memories of times that we’ve had were made after he graduated from high school. It was at that time that we had finally gotten to a point in our lives where we’d both reached the same milestones in our lives, albeit years apart. He’d finally become an adult and was more than just my little brother. I finally started to see him as a real person and as my friend. This is also about the time that he realized that I have “blonde moments” every now and again.

Here are some highlights:

For some reason, I was talking to him about making pound cake and I told him that it would have to bake for 120 minutes. He didn’t let it slide for even a second. “Really, Jacquelyn? A HUNDRED AND TWENTY MINUTES?” Oops. In my head, I was picturing a clock reading 1:20 (80 minutes) so instead of saying an hour and twenty minutes, I said 120. I’m certain that he’ll never let me forget that. And if he does, by some miracle, forget that it happened, The Boyfriend will gladly remind him… seeing as how Coley told him about this little slip up. And he told him WAY too early in our relationship, if you ask me. Thank goodness he didn’t think “This chick is stu-pid.” and take a hike. No. Instead, he asks me every time I make a pound cake if I’m going to bake it for 120 minutes.

A new Thai restaurant opened on A1A and we drive past it just about every time we go anywhere. I’d had this thought go through my head nearly every time we drove by the place, but never voiced it… Until one day Coley and I were riding together (our parents may have even been in the car with us) and I finally said aloud “That place is weird. It just doesn’t make any sense. ‘Thai Chinese’??? Isn’t that a little contradictory? Why would they name a place that and have Thai and Chinese food?” I wish I’d had a tape recorder to capture the tone of his voice when he said “It doesn’t say Thai CHINESE, Jacquelyn. It says Thai CUISINE. Put your glasses on. Gosh.” I can’t pass by that place without saying “Thai Chinese!” out loud. It makes him really mad.

We LOVE fountain drinks. We will all pile into the car and drive to McD’s or BK for a fountain drink even if we have bottles or cans of soda in the refrigerator. Last Thanksgiving, we did just that, only when we got home we realized that the drink order was messed up. We were missing a drink or one was wrong or something. Either way, Coley and I decided we’d go back to McD’s to get whatever we needed (and to get out of the house for a few minutes. It’s a pressure cooker in there on holidays.) As we’re getting close to our house on the way back, I look in the driveway and don’t see my dad’s truck. I started to say “Where did Dad go?” but stopped myself when I realized that we were IN HIS TRUCK. Coley quickly picked up on what I was about to say and looked at me like “You’re smarter than that.”

I made the mistake of telling Coley about one of said moments that I had by myself. I’d gotten a gift card for Easter and when I looked at it, I thought to myself “Hmm… I must have told my mom that I wanted something specific from Bed, Bath & Beyond. It’s out of character for her give me a gift card for house wares.“ It took me a couple of months to actually get around to trying to use it and I searched all over Bed, Bath & Beyond for what I might’ve told my mom that I needed or something that I really wanted. I decided on a Cuisinart Waffle Iron and took it to the register to pay. When I was told my total, I handed over the gift card like it was my job only to be told by the sales person “That’s for Bath & Body Works.” I politely paid for the stupid waffle iron, instead of saying “Well then I don’t want it!”, leaving, and returned the sucker to a different Bed, Bath & Beyond at the next chance I got. I thought Coley was going to die laughing at me for being such an idiot and my mom said “Jacquelyn. I will never give you a gift card for house wares. EVER. I hate getting that kind of stuff as gifts and won’t give them as gifts either!” Now, every time we walk by Bath & Body Works, Coley asks if I want to check out the waffle makers. And when we pass a Bed, Bath & Beyond, he asks me if I need some soaps or lotions (which they do have there, by the way.) And for my birthday this past year, he got me the same waffle iron that I returned. I’ve used it once.

The moral of this blog post is that I do miss my brother and I will never be “used” to him being gone. I’ll only get used to missing him. I can’t wait until he gets back so that I can hear him bring up these little moments, instead of just reading about them in his e-mails and letters. I might even look forward to him warming up on the guitar by playing those stupid little warm-up ditties that make me want to pull my hair out. Especially when I ask him to go in another room and he just plays louder while staring at me with his eyes as wide as they can possibly get.

He’s a little brother. And he’s good at it.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Give Me A Break

Last week I had the pleasure of being off of work and away on vacation with my parents. My mom was barely pregnant with me when she and my dad purchased a time share in Ft. Myers Beach, FL. Here’s what it looks like today.


I’m sure little has changed since they bought it. It’s never looked any different to me, that’s for sure. Oh wait, it used to be painted an eggshell color with a brown roof and trim.

We haven’t been there since the summer after I graduated from high school. We didn’t realize it had been that long until we tried to think back to the last time we’d been there. A lot of the things that we used to do were still available. The pier wasn’t wiped out by Hurricane Charley back in 2004, which was good. Well, if it was, we didn’t know and they’ve re-built it.


We did as much relaxing as is possible when you have four extra visitors for a minimum of two nights of your stay. My mom’s parents came to join us, along with two of my cousins. Sleeping arrangements were less than desirable, but we made it work and we were rested enough to drag ourselves out to the pool each morning after donning sexy bathing suits and lathering up with sunscreen.


I think we went through at least 6 bottles of sunscreen. Mind you, these are the new spray bottles. I have never been a fan of sunscreen, but I fry crispy after only being out in the sun for 15 minutes. I hate to have to put it in my hands, to rub it in, the smell… just everything about it. I’d like to kiss the person that came up with the idea of sunscreen that you don’t have to put in your hands. I was still initially put off by the potential odor, but was able to find a brand with a tolerable stench. (I have a really good sense of smell. I smell some things for hours after they’re gone and get headaches from smelling weird things. Once I was standing with my back to someone, that I didn’t even know was there at the time, and I said “It smells like… an everything bagel.” Next thing I know, there’s a guy saying “I work at Cory’s Bagels. Sorry about that… But good nose!”)

All in all, it was nice to be able to be away from work and out of town where you can’t be sucked in to doing mundane things like cleaning and running errands and the feelings of guilt for not doing them. We certainly laughed a lot, with a majority of it being at the expense of my nine-year-old cousin. I sort of feel badly for her, but then again I really don’t. I remember being the young one and everyone have fun at my expense. It’s all part of life. And she might’ve brought some of it on herself when she expressed her fear of Charles Manson and continued to act like she was more afraid than she really might’ve been when we continued to tease her about him and his hippies coming to find her. I think she was genuinely mad at us when we gave her a hard time about being pregnant. Clearly, she isn’t, but it’s not hard to convince a nine-year-old that you think she is. The funniest thing may have been my mom telling her “Don’t go home and tell your Dad a bunch of stories about us. If you do, he’s going to call me and then who do you think he’s going to believe more, you or ME?” My mom is normally the one who dispels all rumors and clears the air of any potential lies floating around. It was quite the shock for her to be one of the bad guys for a change. I loved it.


I took the girls home Wednesday evening, when I had planned to head back to my parents’ house to say good-bye to this guy.


I’ve been trying to determine if seeing him leave was easier or harder than leaving my brother at the MTC back in April. All I can come up with is that it’s just different. The most obvious difference is that he’s not my brother. It was hard to see my brother go because we are really close, but I had The Boyfriend to mop up the puddle I might’ve been and to entertain me and otherwise occupy my time. And thank goodness for that or I might've gone crazy.

The bottom line is that I’ve enjoyed the last six months or so more than I could’ve ever imagined. In the beginning, I didn’t think it’d be that big of a deal for him to leave. I knew it was coming and that was that. I never anticipated us getting so close and his impending departure never seemed all that real. Oblivion has been the overall theme, for me at least, since we started dating. He not only saw, but planned out much of what’s happened. It’s all worked out quite nicely, if I do say so myself. I happen to love surprises and this has been a pleasant and drawn-out surprise for me. I am loving every minute, especially the ones when we’re together.

He’s going to be a great doctor. And tan, I think. Very tan.


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Witches and Weirdness


Today at church, I was wearing these shoes (only they were Navy blue, if you really wanted to know):


The Boyfriend made a comment about the pointiness of the toes and the spiked heels, saying that I was going to scare the 4-year-olds that I was to teach for my mom. He said that they reminded him of the movie "The Witches." We both laughed about how that movie was really creepy when we were young, though I never made the same connection with the shoes. I actually thought no one would say anything about the shoes because my brother is gone and he's the only one who ever says anything about my pointy shoes. He thinks they're "intimidating."

After talking about the movie, it reminded me of a story that I'd read as a little girl and when I described it to him, he'd never heard it. I told him I was going to find it online and did. There is a disturbing reading of it with pictures on YouTube, but I refuse to post the link because of the comments made on it. If you want to find it, that's on you. I'm not advocating the comments, only the creepiness of the voice that compliments the story itself so well.

The Green Ribbon by Alvin Schwartz
Once there was a girl named Jenny.
She was like all the other girls, except for one thing. She always wore a green ribbon around her neck.
There was a boy named Alfred in her class. Alfred liked Jenny, and Jenny liked Alfred.
One day he asked her, "Why do you wear that ribbon all the time?"
"I cannot tell you," said Jenny.
But Alfred kept asking, "Why do you wear it?" And Jenny would say, "It is not important."
Jenny and Alfred grew up and fell in love.
One day they got married. After their wedding, Alfred said, "Not that we are married, you must tell me about the green ribbon."
"You still must wait," said Jenny. "I will tell you when the right time comes."
Years passed. Alfred and Jenny grew old.
One day Jenny became very sick. The doctor told her she was dying.
Jenny called Alfred to her side. "Alfred," she said. "Now I can tell you about the green ribbon. Untie it and you will see why I could not tell you before."
Slowly and carefully, Alfred untied the ribbon and Jenny's head fell off.


What would possess someone to write such a story, for children no less, I'll never know. It certainly left an impression on me, as it's a story that has always stuck with me. Unfortunately. And now it's probably going to stick with you, too! Sorry about that... Sort of.

What was really funny, though, was that the only little girl that I had in my class said "You have witch shoes on!" Within about three minutes of me sitting down next to her. Thankfully, she wasn't afraid of them. In fact, she told me that her mom has witch shoes, too. You've got to love the honesty of a 4-year-old.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Just My Luck

I am a creature of habit. I do the same things, in the same order, day in and day out. It mostly stems from my OCD. Once I figure out the most efficient way for me to do something, I stick to it. And I am ALWAYS trying to figure out the most efficient way to do something.

I also like to use the same products. It annoys me a bit when they change the look or color scheme on my shampoo bottle between purchases. I feel like I’m new standing there in the aisle looking at every bottle like I’ve never purchased this particular product before. “First times” are also somewhat of an issue for me. I’m much better when I know what to expect. Although I’m learning to fly by the seat of my pants more and feel like I’m handling it quite well.

I have a certain product that I’ve come to enjoy from Bath & Body Works and I am starting to run low, so naturally I dropped by during lunch today to re-stock. Much to my dismay, the sales girl told me that they discontinued the product. I’m devastated. The girl that checked me out was kind enough to point out that there would be an 800 number at the top of my receipt and I could call to express my love for the product and there’s a chance that they might bring it back. I thought, that could be a good start.

When I got back to work, I was talking to a co-worker who worked at B&BW for a little while and she said that they keep these “discontinued” products in a warehouse and you can order them over the phone. Imagine my excitement! So I called and talked to a really nice girl who tried her best to help out. Unfortunately, the product wasn’t coming up in her system, but she said she’d send me a list of outlet stores that might carry it; she just didn’t have a product listing for them. So when I get said list, I might be calling all over the country to find this product.

Rest assured that if someone tells me that they have this item, I’ll be buying at least a half dozen. And I really would’ve appreciated them putting them on sale or given some sort of warning that they were going to take it out of the store. I feel like stores should provide their customers with this valuable piece of information so that they’re prepared. I would’ve gone to every B&BW that I could think of and cleaned them out!

I really hope I find my needle in the haystack, but for now, I’m using sparingly and testing replacements.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

I'm Going to Make Some Man Really Fat One Day...

After all that searching for the Raspberry-Limeade Cake, there was just no way that I could not make it, especially since I had a great deal of time on my hands. So while my parents painted the outside of their house, I slaved away over every kitchen appliance known to man.

This cake will definitely not be going into the regular rotation, as it took the better part of five hours to make. I certainly performed functions that I had never and don't normally when baking and I've come to realize that while I do enjoy baking, I enjoy baking things that are relatively easy to make. For example: I love the carrot cake recipe that I have and if I ask anyone who's ever tasted it what kind of cake I should make, that's generally the first thing out of their mouth. The problem is that it takes a really long time due to the chopping of carrots, the mixing of ingredients themselves, the bake and cooling time, and then (the best part) icing it. I usually make it over three days because it's almost too much work for one day.

So back to the reason for this post… I looked over the recipe a few times and tried to come up with the best plan of attack. I made sure to read the most applicable portions of my Cuisinart manual so that I didn’t chop my fingers off. I wish that I had gone with my gut and put my frozen raspberries in the refrigerator instead of back in the freezer after getting them home. The manual says that you can puree frozen fruits and vegetables, but it doesn’t tell you that it’ll leave them in a big frozen clump. That was my first hard lesson. The second, still regarding the raspberries, was that the directions “strain mixture and discard solids” are a lot easier said than done. Those seeds are teeny-tiny and they don’t separate easily. Needless to say, my filling could’ve been a lot smoother.

Once the actual mixing of the filling got going, it was pretty smooth sailing. I’m going to go ahead and attribute some of the soreness in my right arm to having to whisk the mixture while it heated on the stove for eight minutes and then having to whisk the butter while it melted into the mixture. The rest of the soreness is most certainly from the Wii, but that’s a whole other story altogether. So once the filling was being refrigerated for at least two hours, I moved on to the actual cake.

The cake itself was pretty straight-forward. The only “new” skill that I learned here was how to use a zester. Yes, it is a very simple task. But it takes a long time to produce just a little bit of zest and I was quite nervous that I was going to end up zesting my fingertips and/or knuckles, so I was concentrating really hard. I am pretty sweet, but the cake didn’t call for a tablespoon of Jac.

I have to say that I did a pretty good job of separating out my batter into the three separate pans. If you know me at all, you know that I’m completely OCD and you won’t be surprised to know that I thought, more than once, about pouring the batter into a measuring cup to see how much I had total so that I could divide it evenly for all three pans. I resisted this urge and eyeballed it. Thankfully, I had my hearing aid in was right on the money. (Sorry. No one but The Boyfriend will get that, but I couldn't resist.)

With the cakes in the oven, all I had to worry about was making sure that they got done and weren’t over-cooked. It really freaked me out to find that the tops of all three cakes were exactly the same color as the batter when they were completely cooked. I’m so used to off-white batters turning a golden brown that I was quite perplexed when I tested them. I’m still a little confused by it, but it must be because of the limeade or something. It’s really not worth worrying about now because I know they were cooked. And I’ll certainly know for next time.

They cooled surprisingly quickly, so I figured there was no sense in putting off making the icing. By this point, I was ready to be done with this thing. The icing was pretty easy, too, but as I was measuring out the confectioner’s sugar, I remembered that Paula Deen’s icing recipes make about twice as much icing as what is actually needed. I thought about cutting it in half, but I couldn’t find the common denominator for all of the different measurements, so I just made what she said to. (Again with the OCD.) When I expressed this concern to my mom, she shrugged her shoulders and told me to use all of it. This is how much the recipe yielded:


I am glad that I made all of it, however, because this is what was left over:


This is likely due to the three layers of icing that I put on it, but who’s counting? And by the way, if you ever want a fun variation on a cream cheese icing, find the recipe for Cream Cheese-Limeade Icing. It’s fantastic. My mom kept the leftovers to use on sugar cookies. My dad is obsesses with sugar cookies with icing on them.

I did not have to do any cutting of the cakes to even them out for layering, thank goodness. They actually cooked pretty evenly, so I was relieved about that. Here’s what it looked like once the filling was complete:


And I’m a big fan of the show “Amazing Wedding Cakes” and I’ve started crumb-coating my cakes that I ice so that they look prettier. (Relax. I just like covet their talents. I’m not in the market for a baker, much less a wedding cake.) It adds a little bit of time to the process, but I love looking at a cake that doesn’t look like it’s covered in fuzz. This one wouldn’t have mattered much, though, because of the lime zest in the icing. Here’s a picture of the crumb-coat:


This is a picture of the cake after layer number three of icing. I’m assuming that this is what it would’ve looked like had I not been as ambitious as I was.


And this is a picture of the finished product:


I might have gone overboard with the garnish, but I thought it turned out really nicely. So nicely that I just had to take a picture of the inside once it had been cut.


And a picture of a piece of it on a plate.


I probably shouldn’t do this, but here is a link to site that I did NOT take the recipe from. I was hoping and praying that my cake would look at least moderately better than theirs. I can’t say what the issue might have been and their cake may very well have tasted twice as good as mine did. But we’ll never know and, quite frankly, I doubt it.

I will never have my own cooking or cake decorating show, but no one has told me to find a new hobby… yet!

We Know You're Not A Terrorist, Just Bring Your BBQ On The Plane

Edwin McCain plays at the House of Blues in Orlando twice a year, around Christmas and the 4th of July. Since at least December of 2006, Kevin and I have been to see him every time that he's been in town. Obviously we enjoy him or we wouldn't keep going back. We even joke about how he tells the same stories at every concert.

This past weekend he was in town, so we (of course) had to go. Obviously I wasn't about to leave The Boyfriend at home by himself on a Friday night, so I asked him if he wanted to come with us. Kevin was perfectly okay with it, but did warn that if we "got all lovey-dovey during our song" he would have to be like the annoying little brother and separate us. (Kevin is still getting used to not being number one in my life.) To save someone from being the third wheel, Kevin brought a friend of his from work.

The day before the show, we were trying to firm up plans and decide if we were going to meet for dinner beforehand, where we would meet, what time, etc. and I called to find out what time the show would actually begin. When doing this, I found out that Sophie B. Hawkins would be opening for Edwin McCain, which was a pleasant surprise. Usually it's someone that we've never heard of and we suffer through it just because we, more or less, have to. Kevin had no clue who she was, but The Boyfriend was pretty excited that he knew a song or two of hers, so we made plans to be there to see her as well.

Dinner was good. Kevin showed stupid pictures of me that should've been deleted off of his camera a long time ago but, in general, the evening was progressing well. Now, I must tell you that Kevin and I always, ALWAYS have a problem. We always get involved in some sort of shenanigans that are not our fault. It's like the crazies are attracted to us. This night was no exception and we were so pleased that we had someone else to witness these things.

When we walked in, Sophie was already singing her one hit, "As I Lay Me Down to Sleep," so I was a bit disappointed that we missed the one song of hers that I knew. It was a good thing that she added about 10 minutes on to the song of her just improvising lyrics that we could barely understand. I think The Boyfriend even asked me if I could understand what she was saying. Of course I couldn't! Partly because she was speaking so quickly and partly because of the way she was "singing."

It only got worse from there. She kept whipping her hair around and had I had a hair tie on me, I would've thrown it up on stage for her to use. At the end of practically every song, she went into this whole improv thing that she started. The only thing that I can really remember her saying was something along the lines of "We know you're not a terrorists. Just get on the plane and bring your bbq with you and we'll have a good time this weekend." It was out of control. She also announced that she had a baby seven months ago and having this baby has made her very forgetful. That was evident when she thought she was going to sing one song and her band started playing another. Maybe having said child is also why she was lying on the stage for a good thirty seconds... while still singing. Oh, and there was an awkward moment or two when she was doing some sort of suggestive jiration, followed by turning around and shaking her butt for the crowd. I can only assume that that's why she has to sell her own t-shirts and CDs after the set. Everyone that she had working for her couldn't take the erratic behavior and quit.

I really think she was on something.

Thank goodness Edwin was fantastic, as always. He's got a great voice and is good with the crowd. Frankly, just hearing him sing "I'll Be" and "I Could Not Ask For More" makes him worth every penny for me. I love that song and hearing it live is 10 times better. If he put tickets for his next show on sale right after that song, I'd buy them right then, without thinking twice about it. And we behaved ourselves, so Kevin didn't have to get between us. I'm still waiting to hear what he really thought of the evening. I'll be getting that scoop later on.

Edwin actually ended up coming down into the crowd and was probably 10 feet away from us. On his way back up on stage, The Boyfriend gave him a pat on the back. As soon as I saw this happen, I knew what the next words out of his mouth were going to be. "I'm never washing these hands again!" How teenage-groupie of him!

All in all, the night was a lot of fun. I can't complain about Edwin and I certainly can't complain about spending any amount of time with The Boyfriend. And I don't think I'll have to drag him out the next time Edwin rolls through town either. They just need to leave Sophie at home.

Monday, June 29, 2009

This Better Be Good...

I am a woman possessed.

Friday night, while killing time (read: goofing off) with The Boyfriend before a catching a movie, we went to Books-A-Million. We weren’t looking for anything in particular, but found ourselves in the back of the store where the magazines are kept. The Boyfriend was immediately mesmerized by something involving baseball, so I looked over the chick section a bit. I happened across an issue of Cooking with Paula Deen and started leafing through to see what sort of tasty goodness she was peddling this month. A certain recipe caught my eye and I made a mental note to look it up online when I got home.

Yesterday, I remembered this recipe and decided to try to find the recipe online, but quickly discovered that Paula has decided that this recipe isn’t free. She certainly mentions it on her Cooking with Paula Deen website, but only to say that the recipe is on page 66 of the May/June issue. How thoughtful of her, right? How hard could it be to pick up a copy of the issue? I’ll tell you.

I went to Publix, thinking “Surely they’ll have her magazine. Publix is the place in the South to grocery shop, so how could they not have the Paula Deen magazine?” They didn’t. I then looked at Target, which had the July/August issue, but not the May/June. Fail. Winn-Dixie didn’t have it either, which was really no surprise, mainly because the one by my apartment is about two steps above a Cumberland Farms. Next, I figured I’d try Barnes & Noble. Unfortunately, they’re so efficient at Barnes & Noble that they already had a whole slew of the July/August issues out and the left-over May/June issues are on their way back to the publisher. What they’re going to do with them, I’ll never know.

I even went so far as to call the Books-A-Million where I originally held a copy of the magazine to see if they were less efficient, yet much more my speed, and still carrying the old issue. No such luck. Although, the person I spoke to on the phone was quite pleasant and even wished me luck in my search.

So I’ve been reduced to getting, what feels like, a bootleg version of the elusive Raspberry-Limeade Cake recipe. I found it on a blog or two, but couldn’t bring myself to give a random blogger enough credit to get every measurement and step of the process correct. They certainly didn’t scan the page and put it up on their blog and the picture that they posted of their finished product wasn’t quite as alluring as Paula’s. Not that mine is going to look any better, but still. I eventually found a cooking/baking website where people could post questions. Someone had requested it and another person posted the recipe. This website seemed to be more legitimate than the others, so I'm going with it.

I’m hoping beyond hope that this person is experienced at transcribing lengthy recipes from magazines onto computers. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve been known to say that something needed to bake for 120 minutes instead of an hour and 20 minutes. You know, 120 - 1:20… It made perfect sense in my head, so zip it!

I’m also a little nervous because it’s a layer cake and I’m not so good with the layering. I’m going to do something I’ve never done before and attempt to cut the top of each layer so that they’re flat before stacking them. And I’ll be using my Cuisinart food processor for the first time. (All those blades really freak me out.)

So we’ll see what happens this weekend. At this point, I’ve gone to way too much trouble to give up. If only finding the magazine had been as easy as tracking down a great pair of shoes in my size. I certainly went about it with the same voraciousness!

If it doesn’t turn out, I’ll still have her Sour Cream Pound Cake recipe… Wish me luck!