Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Ugly Duckling (or My Christmas in July Present)

Late last night, I received a call.

No, not the phone kind.

Walking up the apartment stairs, I was hit by a loud, high pitched sound. First, I thought it was the neighbor's dog (they tend to make A LOT of noise, dogs). . . but those neighbors moved out over a week ago. Hmm. Probably a bird somewhere, or maybe a bat.  So I start walking up the stairs, and there it is again: this loud, repetitive screeching, like an alarm clock gone bad. I'm a naturally curious person. If I'm sure it's not zombies, I like to investigate. So I did.

And I found a baby duck.
He was huddled between a doorway and a trashcan, screaming for his mommy. Poor little fellow. Mom wasn't anywhere around
I didn't even think it was the season for ducklings. We had a nest around Easter, but that was the last of it.

I burst in the door, clutching a still screaming infant fowl. "CHRISTOPHER!!! Guess what! Guess what!"
"What the crap is that?"
I hold out the ball of fluff, beaming, "GOD GAVE ME A DUCK!!!!"
To explain, I've wanted a duckling ever since my first duckling, at age six, was devoured in the night by mysterious monsters. We blame racoons, but it's never been proven, so they're off the hook.

So I put him in the tub to go swimming . . . and then spent most of the night holding him. I probably shouldn't, but I couldn't help it. 
Do you see WHY I can't help it? So stinkin' adorable.
Then we put him to bed on a nest made of old hand towels and a swiffer duster in a tiny cardboard box we should probably have used for packing.

At this point, he's somewhere between hating me and not wanting me to leave the room.
As I typed this, I am imprisoned in the bathroom while he preens and tries not to doze off, huddled on my heating pad under a desk lamp.

Do you know the joyful inconvience of having your only bathroom turned into a duck preservation center?

Pipkin meets the duckling. She's terrified of water, so this is the only time she's allowed in the bathroom I'm a very protective duck mother.
Can I has it?

P.S. Watching a duckling nod off is like the cutest thing EVER.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Secret Lives of Husbands (or The Tale of Chicken Nibble)

Ladies, how many of you find that the more your husband talks, the more you realize you really don't know that much about him? That he's had all of these secret adventures that, for some BIZARRE reason, he didn't think were worth mentioning?

I am so there right now.

I remember my mom telling me that, even after nearly 30 years of marriage, she was still learning new things about my dad, how one year he paid his college tuition in pocket change just to irritate the administration , how he hitchhiked home and caught a ride with a famous football player , how, as a kid, he used to try to turn toads into paratroopers, and other tales of fabulous that have yet to be discovered.
P.S. My dad is AWESOME.

Early on in our dating relationship, my mom began commenting on how much Chris resembles my dad . . . and it's true. Sure, they have their differences, but all in all, I married my dad with dark hair (Ssshh! Don't tell either of them I said that!), So, like Daddy, the hubs has secrets.
And he's a great story teller.
Nothing beats the well-told tale of a secret adventure.

Now, before I tell this story, I need to give some disclaimers:
  1. The hubs is NOT a psychopath
  2. The hubs is NOT cruel to animals . . . except for the occasional hunting trip . . .
  3. The hubs does, however, have a powerful sense of justice
  4. So, if you are animal, mineral, vegetable, and you wrong someone the hubs adores, watch out. He's coming to get you. 
Ok, now keep these in mind as I tell you the story that simultaneously shocked and humored me.

"Chris, there's a bumper sticker that says 'I brake for Oviedo Chickens.' What the crap does that mean? Are they vegetarian? Is that a football team or what?"
"Haha! You don't know about the chickens?"

Ok, peeps, anyone who hasn't lived in Oviedo for generations has no idea about the "famous" chickens. And they probably could care less. The quirks of town pride.

"Well, there are these wild chickens that live in the Popeye's parking lot downtown. Yeah, the fast-food chicken place.  Irony, right? Anyways, you're going through the drive thru, and you have to stop because some hen and her chicks will walk right in front of your car like they own the place. They kind of do--been there for years.  Haha, if one restuarant had no excuse for skimping on good meat, it's that place. Seriously, the meat there had better be super fresh. Ha!"

I didn't know whether to laugh or be disgusted. Seriously, famous chickens? At a restuarant that serves their dead and fried relatives? But really . . . chickens? So famous that they are the icon of the town, on every "Welcome to Oviedo" sign? Chickens?

"Did I ever tell you the chicken story?"
"Well," Chris begins, "I knew this guy . . . who had a cousin he was good friends with . . ."
"You and Joe, right?"
"Stop interrupting and maybe."

So the story goes, that the world's sweetest grandmother, we'll call her M, went to the bank next to the chicken Popeye's and was unjustly attacked.
By a chicken.
Sweet, sweet M, who would never hurt a living creature, went home wounded and bewildered and related her death-defying flight from the viscious man-eating chicken to her grandson Joe. Now, Joe is the kind of guy you want on a road trip--he's witty, laid-back, free-spirited, and impulsive with the knack for turning almost anything into an adventure. So when M told Joe of her wounds, he jumped into action, calling up a posse that included his ever faithful sidekick, Chris. Dun-dun-dun!

Imagine if you will, a handful of teenage boys hopping into Chris's old, giant green Bronco and whizzing off into the night, embarking on a covert ninja mission of revenge.
Against a chicken.
They arrive at their destination and sniff out the offending bird. How they knew it was THE chicken, I don't know, but Chris assures me no innocent birds were harmed in the creation of this tale. No, they only ninjaed the guilty, blood-thirsty fowl. 

Have you ever driven while trying to hold a chicken? Or drive while someone tries to hold a chicken in the backseat?
Neither have I, but Chris tells me it's not fun. That the bird is loud and refuses to be still, that it pecks, flaps and attacks with its large, sharp talons (I dare you NOT to think of the Napoleon Dynamite quote right now).  So the boys decided to solve the problem with great resourcefulness and ingenuity: they applied a leather belt to its neck.
To me, this screams instant death to a creature with small hollow bones and delicate constitution. I guess the guys thought that it would serve as more like a leash? or a gag? I don't know. Somehow, they were surprised that after it went LIMP and silent and was consequently tossed in the trunk, that it turned out to be dead.
No kidding.

Not that the chicken's death foiled their plans. No, they continued to drive out to the middle of nowhere, in the dark, to a restuarant famous for housing a live twelve-foot gator.

Let me interrupt for a moment. Anyone who KEEPS an aggressive, carniverous reptile twice the size of a grown man is insane. I'm of the opinion that meat-eaters THAT big in close contact with humans should be shot on sight. In isolated unhumanized portions of the world, sure let them live. But don't keep them as pets and or mercifully relocate large aggressive creatures to places like Lake Jessup where there are 10,000 of the monsters lurking in the water, waiting for some unsuspecting meatbag to come within reach. Ugh. Hate gators. "Now," you say, "Remember, they're more scared of you than you are of them."
I'm sorry, but that's complete and total bull. I'm dinner. Are you afraid of your cheeseburger? No? I didn't think so. I'm the cheeseburger, and I'm bloody terrified.

End soapbox. Back to the story.

So here they are, a handful of teenage guys, intent of revenge and blood (that's the BEST kind of revenge, right?), and there it is: a monstrous mound of scales, muscle and teeth, floating in its tank, lethargic and, as every massive creature is, hungry.
Really, monsters never stop eating right? There's ALWAYS an appetite.
The guys found this out the hard way when they tossed in the chicken carcass. The plan was to throw in a LIVE chicken and enjoy the show of thrashing, screeching, blood, guts, and feathers.
Yeah, not so much.

Turns out the gator wasn't hungry. Wasn't even remotely interested in the meat floating next to its snout. Dead flesh? Who wants to eat it dead? Warm, pumping blood that's where it's at. Stupid teenage humans.
I'm assuming that, if it were capable of thought, this is what must have been going through the reptile's head . . . but I'm very likely wrong.

After the initial shock of the incredible BORING state of the situation, and hovering, hoping, for some action, the guys realized that the evidence of their crime was floating around in clear sight.
And so they ran off into the night, laughing.

Has your significant other or a friend ever revealed the story of an unexpected, secret adventure? 

Monday, July 25, 2011

Miscellany Monday

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

Last night, I realized how utterly exhausted I am. How did I realize this? I fell asleep on the hub's shoulder while he was playing video games with his brother-in-law at his new house. I was so asleep, in fact, that I didn't wake up when he removed me, remained unconscious as a shelf was being banged into the wall, and stayed in a hiberatory state until he managed to, somehow, wake a very disoriented me up.
That was before 9PM.

See, I really haven't had a day off since I started my summer job. Maybe one. Just one. But it's been work, meetings, small groups, moving, packing, painting, cleaning, cooking, errands, visiting non stop. For someone who's used to having at least ONE sit down day of the week where I don't leave my home, this is bittersweet--sweet in that I feel like I actually have a life, but bitter because I don't get to recharge.
We have run out of laundry so many times this month, it's not even funny. The reason? I'm hardly home long enough to eat, sleep, and finish a load.

And the hubs, who has so stepped up to the plate helping with housework, is utterly baffled by our completely normal if not primitive washing machine.
True story.

The Cottage
I am either boring you to death with these updates or building your expectations so high that the eventual revelation of this perfectly normal little rental home will be the letdown of the summer . . . (sort of but not really like the climax of the last HP book oh so many summers ago . . . but our house isn't quite that important ;])
BUT I am THRILLED with all of the paint colors, the addition of new office furniture to my study, and the new rug we bought to add some warmth to the tile floors in the great room.

And the acquisition of pest control materials.
This is an all-out war, peeps. Me against them. Two Legs versus More Than Two Legs. I have size and chemical warfare on my side, they have massive numbers and infiltration skills on theirs. I'd say we're about even. So long as I keep the kitchen spotless and make sure the hubs puts all of his midnight snacks away, I should be able to avoid a insectiod seige.
Here's hoping.

To Hang or Not to Hang
Like I said in a previous entry, Chris revealed last week that he has the head of a deer carcass he'd like to mount over the mantle.
Yeah, no.
As much as I'm all about his display of manhood and shooting skills, I'd really rather the first thing you see walking in my door not be a furry head. I'm hoping the message my living room sends you is "Please, have a seat and a cup of tea" and not "WE KILL THINGS!!!!"

See my problem?

At first announcement, the hubs politely agreed when I said, "Please no, man cave only", but then my brother came in. Someone--I'm afraid it might have been me--let it slip that there was a tiny debate about where the dead head would reside.
Did you know that men in groups of two or more are as opinionately dangerous as women in a group of the same size? And that when presenting an opinion to a lone woman, she is surely defeated before even speaking?
I just may have a carcass over my fireplace.

To help soothe the wound, Chris said he usually had the head wear his afro wig and would be willing to pair the two again.
I'm not sure whether this should excite or frighten me.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Friday Favorites

friday favorite things | finding joy

So Close . . .


Can I get an Amen? Amen.

Is it a bad sign that, for the past two weeks, every time I sit in my cubicle, my head feels light, my body gets hot, my mouth dries out, and my stomach hurts?

The good news is that, come Wednesday, it’s all over. It has been a great opportunity, and I am so grateful . . . but I’m ready to be in my classroom again. Work on my feet, interact with people, projects that feel like they really matter.

And no 401(k) forms.
I never, ever want to see another one ever again unless it’s my own. Please and thank you.

The Cottage

My brother is awesome. Can I just give him a shout out? Because he’s AWESOME.
He gave up last weekend to help us move some things, paint, and play Donkey Kong Country Returns with Chris (it’s their thing right now). So, now, he’s coming over AGAIN to do more of the same . . . and come with me to IKEA to get furniture for my study. And he’s bringing us more boxes.

Because, after tomorrow, it’s one week, peeps. ONE WEEK until we move. The yard will need some work, and the exterior will need a new coat of paint, but the cleaning and painting inside has spruced it up beautifully. It’s small, it’s not brand new, but it’s lovely.

And, in one week, I get to call it “home.”

There's a Rumbly in My Tumbly

You know when you’re in grade school, and your favorite subject was lunch?
Totally there, right now.
I so look forward to lunch breaks on workdays. Why? Because the hubs always packs me something lovely. It’s a great surprise, and he’s always so sweet to do it. Some days, I even find little notes scattered around the apartment reading, “Lunchbox! Don’t forget! I love you!”

Oh pitter-pat, pitter-pat goes my little heart. Even when it’s too early for my body to admit being conscious, his little notes make me grin. Not smle, but grin--you know, where your whole face lights up and looks like it's going to break because your lips are spread so far? That I-just-might-explode-in-a-good-way look?

It’s the little things in life, folks.


Yesterday, I wrote nearly 2000 words for my book. Today, I’m writing more. It’s like my soul was in drugged sleep, and now it’s coming out of the coma . . . and it’s excited. The world’s a big place filled with mystery and adventure, again, and I get to write it all down.

Lucky me. Seriously.

I started writing this book when I was 12, finished at 16, and then had eight years of re-writing writer’s block. Oi. But, maybe now, just maybe, I can finish it.

Those words were rough—really rough—but ideas are being born as words again. I’m excited about it again.

Life is good.

Etsy Blog Giveaways

I am just now discovering these and golly wolly, love them!
I never expect to win anything, but hey, why not allow myself to maybe be surprised, right?
Latest giveaway love? Yellow Bird + Yellow Beard is hosting a lovely jewelry giveaway with Maie Dae. If you haven't checked out her shop, you should. I'm in LOVE with the e.e. cummings necklace (love me some e.e., mmmhmmm, yes ma'am).

Right now, these lovely earrings are the token prize.

Click here to view additional rules and enter yourself! It's open until midnight tonight!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Awkward and Awesome


My Casual Wardrobe
I recently read that, at my age, I should no longer be wearing t-shirts, using chapstick/lip gloss, or wearing high tops. I should have graduated to sleek skirts and blouses, lipstick, and high heels.

There’s a problem, however:

A). I have the HARDEST time finding “sleek” clothes because my body is not sleek. It has definite curvature. It’s hard—not impossible but not easy—to find stylish professional clothes that fit . . . or I can afford.

B). I HATE lipstick. Even the nude colors. I feel like I just painted a neon sign on my face so all people see are lips. Yuck.

C). I hate heels. Just hate them. I own a pair for “wardrobe emergencies,” but that’s it. I have a coworker that wears stilettos EVERY DAY. I don’t know how she does it. At all.

My credibility in the fashion world is pretty much non-existant . . . but I try . . .

My Credit Card and Related Sometimes-Hobby

I’ve mentioned before that the hubs likes to game in his free time. One of his favorites (though, shockingly, not his most played this month) is World of Warcraft. He loves it so much, that, while we were dating, he applied for a WoW-themed credit card. You see, if he earns so many points a month, he gets to play the game for free.

So now, my card, too, boasts a colorful homage to a night elf druid. I won’t explain, but click here and you’ll get the idea.

When I hand my card to the clerk at checkout, the shy, awkward boy suddenly lights up, beaming at me with eyes full of hope. You see, there are significantly fewer females in the gaming-nerd species, and the open admittance is like a blazing siren of hope that they, too, can obtain a mate that understands them. “You’re a gamer?! Really! That’s awesome! I wish my girlfriend would play with me!”
“Haha, yeah, I play with my husband sometime.” (at the “H” word, their eyes dim a little, but, hey, I’m a vessel of hope, that still counts for something)

Confession: in an effort to better relate to and bond with the hubs, I started picking up gaming terms. Now, my gaming-nerd lingo usage is more frequent than Chris’s. Oops.


Do you have any idea how many compliments we receive and cool people Chris and I meet because of our get-up?

Cult and nerdy classics instantly bring people together . . . kind of like sports fans, in a way.
Wear a Zelda t-shirt, and fellow nerds flock to you. You’ll strike up conversations, exchange compliments, relate your love of the game, and then, if you haven’t become friends, you go on with your day smiling because you experienced a joyful connection with a total stranger.

My Beatles t-shirts are always great conversation starters, as are Chris’s collection of Star Wars and Nintendo shirts. Do you know how many people start talking sushi with me when they notice my sashimi studs, or talk music with Chris when they see him in his Pink Floyd tee? Do you know how many friends I’ve made wearing my Invader Zim shirt?

I may be behind on the times; I may not even look as cool as I think I do (that’s probably the case).
But I look like me.
And people find that approachable. They find a kindred spirit. I like that.
So, maybe, I’ll never stop wearing my themed t-shirts. I know Chris won’t.

Do you have any outfits or accessories that make you feel connected? That allow people to approach you because of common interest?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Awkward Soap Box, Lips, and What's in a Name?

Have you ever noticed the peculiar labels on certain *ahem* products?
In the drugstore, one happened to catch my eye, reading “Proven Pregnancy Protection.” What? Is pregnancy a disease now?
“What’s up with you?”
“Ugh, sorry. I’ve been stricken with a bad case of the infant-producing flu.”
"Dude! Don't give it to me! Keep your baby flu to yourself!"

Or . . . maybe pregnancy is a weapon now . . .
"AH!!! BABY BOMBS!!! It's a good thing I have these, or I would be a goner! Phew!"

See what I mean?

How about “Family Planning Approved”? At least that has a more positive connotation and makes it sound like you’re attempting responsibility in fertility and not avoiding leprosy or an explosion of weaponous children.
And I’m off my awkward soap box now.

Note to self:

  • Never again tell hubs you’ve bought new all-natural chapstick that you’re really excited about.
    One, the man could care less, even if it does make your lips “kissably soft,” devoid of most chemicals, and, oh yeah, makes you smell like fresh lemon bars (um, yum!)
    Two, He’ll respond with, ‘You know, chapstick and I aren’t really on the best of terms” and then he’ll wipe off your kisses like he’s six again.
  • Also, try not to mention that the fact that a paint color has a pretty name is a plus. He’ll laugh at you. I’m sorry, I can’t help it that I like words, and some words sound prettier together than others. Bottom line, if it’s a lovely color, that’s all that REALLY matters, yes . . . but wouldn’t you rather say, “I painted my room Moonlit Pool” than “Yeah, I chose to paint it Stinky Swamp Barf Fungus.”
    I mean, come on: you wouldn’t want to admit you chose Stinky Swamp Barf Fungus, would you?

    . . .  Now I really wonder what a color with a name like that would look like . . .

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Face of Fear

Peeps, last night I looked fear in the face.

And I ran inside and slammed the door.
No, I would never make it in the zombie apocalypse.

As the place is now prepped for paint, this weekend we began work on the cottage. The bro helped me move all of our unable-to-unpack-for-almost-two-years boxes. I can now see the floor of our closet. You never realize how much you miss a floor until it makes its reappearance after a long absence. Sunday, Dad, bro, and the hubs came by to help the MIL and myself spruce up the place. Chris and I make a mean wallpaper-stripping team, and Dad and Matt painted my new study.

The paint was brighter and bolder than anticipated, but I think I’m in love. Yes, I must certainly am. Spunky paint. That’s what it is. Spunky.

The hub’s man cave will be awesome once the paint’s finished. It’s gone from “gameroom” to “man cave.” Why? Because I was told last night it will hold the hub’s long lost buck trophy.
Yeah, a dead deer head on a plaque.
I’m totally ok with this—like it even—I just told him it wasn’t going over the mantle. Please and thank you.

All this to set you up for last night.
With the fear.
Oh gosh, the fear.

We dropped by the cottage after dinner to finish up a couple of projects, and in a moment of satisified thoughtfulness, we both looked out the window.
An army was waiting for us.
Usually, I look out the windows the only bugs zipping around are lonely strays or a lusty love-bug harlem.
But this.
Oh my.
I had never seen so many. Drawn to the light through the window like honey, swarming masses of moths and tiny flying things gave themselves concussions as they threw themselves at the glass, desperate to reach the shininess.
It’s a good thing I’m not squeamish.
Because, you see, this is going to be my home in a week and a half. I better get used to it. And develop deadly aim with the all-natural-but-supposed-to-kill bug spray. S. Pete the Bug Slayer. It could work.

We decide to leave, open the door, and are met by total darkness. There are no street lights around the cottage. We are in the woods, and it is BLACK outside. And, unfortunately, our cars are not waiting for us at the door like happy puppies. No, they're several feet away, encased in bug-ridded darkness.
So I take a hesitant step forward, eyes straining, trying to decide whether I should run for it or take my time, feeling my footing on unfamiliar ground.
Chris, being ever so intelligent, opened the door and switched on the light to porch.

And there it was.
Staring me in the face.

It was the biggest spider web I had ever seen, spanning the entire porch. Huge. Unrelenting. The steel of the bug world. Right in front of me. I was inches from death by hysterics.
Sitting in the middle was a fat spider, speckled, maybe the size o a quarter, sitting gluttonously on his little throne like an arachnid godfather. He knew he ruled the world, he knew that he, so small, controlled my every movement. He spun on those jointed, spindly legs, mandibles twitching, all eight beady eyes staring me down. Vicious little creature. His Napoleon complex was well deserved

All of this I process in a single second.
The next, I opened my mouth, and the wailing . . . oh dear, my wailing put Macaulay Culkin’s Home Alone screams to shame.
I jumped backwards, and managed to squeak, "I'm going inside."
 So I did, like a coward, and  hid while my knight in shining armor vanquished the horrific foe. Still, my stomach was in knots, my skin crawling with imaginary creatures, thinking, "Good God, one more step ONE MORE and . . . oh my . . . oh dear . . . I can't think about it without wanting to scream again."

Chris poked his head in the door, smiling.
He was victorious.
Fear was dead.
Or else sulking in the grass, mourning his destroyed structure of glory, planning his revenge. “You talk about vengeance."
Yes, yes I do.

That’s why I darted to my car whimpering.
It’s already begun.
You see, there were cobwebs trailing my care this morning.
Fear has followed me home.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Friday Favorites (or Things You Learn at the Summer Job)

friday favorite things | finding joy

Interning at this 85-year-old family business, I find myself going away with a little more knowledge than when I came in.

Because, really, I didn’t come in with much.
At all.

See, the hubs and in-laws don’t talk about “the company” much. Every once in a while, I’d hear something, but it was like hearing people speak Chinese—you knew a few of the words from your child’s favorite PBS shows but the rest was complete gibberish.

My first assignment as an intern was to spend my day reading newsletters from the past twenty years.
Nope, not even kidding.
Do you know what it’s like reading twenty years worth of “and this is how the celery’s doing”? Sure, there were other things: radishes, cooling and packaging plants, employee announcements, real estate . . . puppy birth announcements.
Yeah, I’ll never get over that last one.

After that, it was writing articles on farming, auditing employee forms, archiving and summarizing past newsletters, writing company-inspired trivia, and scanning mountains of old company and family photos. Needless to say, after being here for almost two months, I now know more about the company than Chris does . . . and it’s owned by his blood relatives.

I learned . . .
  • Farmer’s like to pose with their crops.
    Sometimes rulers are involved. “This season, Celery is THIS tall! We’re so proud!”
    Sometimes it’s beside competitor’s crops or crops before new growing method and whatnot. For historical records, comparisons, and all that.
    Sometimes, they also like to pretend it’s a candid photo. “Oh yeah, squat down in the celery field and look thoughtful! No one will know you’re posing! So natural!”
    Kiddos, you’re not fooling anyone.
  • Florida farmer haircuts bear a huge resemblance to the male haircuts peppering the Mississippi population surrounding my alma mater (good grief, I can’t believe I just called it that haha). Need an idea? Justin Bieber but with more comb-over-esqu swoosh than styled straightening. Yup.
  • There is SO MUCH paperwork. Good golly. But I guess that’s across the board with any company. 
  •  If you don’t immediately deal with said paperwork, it builds to a monster mound of impossibility. So you give it to the intern to deal with.
  • History matters. A lot. The office building proudly displays old labels, posters, family pictures. Nearly every individual office holds a large portrait of “the three seniors” (the sons of the man who first started farming celery in this area of Florida). Family history is important  . . . but there's a fine line . . . somewhere . . .
  • Any time you’re uber bored, I could recite the family history for you . . . but I won’t . . . not now, anyways.

In my spare time, my time trying to keep my brain a pulsing, living, thinking part of my body, I browsed Google like a madwoman

I learned . . .
  • You can kill and prevent bugs in your home and pets without heavy chemical-based products (natural plant oils, garlic, and diatomaceous earth help A LOT . . . I’ll let you know how that goes)
  • Eating dirt is good for you. Well eating diatomaceous earth is.
     Supposedly, it helps clean your digestive tract, clean plaque out of your veins and arteries, and gives you softer hair, stronger nails, and a cleaner complexion. Oh and it gets rid of intestinal parasites. Not something I’m worried about right now, but, hey, why not?
  • Light colors and vertical stripes make a room look taller and larger
  • If you have a brown roof, use warm colors like yellow . . . which is why we’re painting ours a deep, neutral green. Most likely. We may be too tired to bother.
  • The world’s tiniest insect, a Trichogramma Wasp, lays its eggs inside the eggs of other pests and is excellent pest control. They also cost near $50 via Amazon. Hm, not paying that much for a bug, sorry.
  • I get sick to my stomach even seeing pictures of roaches. YUCK
  • That there are several different kinds of scrapbooking glue
  • It’s difficult to find anything but full-length curtains online. I have little windows, and need little curtains, peeps. Please?
  • People who review products are either really positive or bitter and grumpy.
  • The images from the new 2012 Amazing Spiderman look fabulous. And, I’m sorry, but Andrew Garfield is adorable. *SQUEEZE*
  • I send WAY more emails now than I ever have before. I’m desperate for human contact.
  • Robert Patterson is distantly related to Vlad the Impaler . . . aka Dracula.
    You know, Mr. Patterson, if you weren't you, this would probably make you pretty cool . . . but now, I'm a little creeped out.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Awkward and Awesome

  • Going to Wal-Mart at 1:30 AM for the first time in years . . . and realizing you're the only person NOT in college or high with the munchies. Ours were just sincere munchies, no drugs involved. What a strange concept.
  • Finishing auditing every full-time employee form, transferring the spreadsheet, singing "hallelujah" because you're finished . . . only to discover that now you have to scan and label EVERY SINGLE INDIVIDUAL MINUSCULE FORM.
    Brain, prepare to meet your doom.
    Bored to death is a strong possibility, here.
  • Blanking out at a drive-thru because your brain is so wasted from said auditing. Seriously, staring at names and dates has sucked my intelligence dry.
  • Finding a picture of a company board member who looks shockingly like a young Alec Baldwin
  • Emotional Food-Poisoning . . . see previous post ;]
  • Sitting silently in the car with two people arguing, one of them crying . . . over shopping.
    What do you say to that? Try to just make yourself as invisible as possible? Take a side? Redirect the blame, "Well, I think it's the furniture's fault. Oh yeah. That chair is way too full of itself! Charging that much? Ridiculous. The floral pattern has gone to its head! . . . er . . . legs?"
  • Helping a friend move and discovering that she owns more clothing than I thought a non-celebrity could possibly possess. Golly. I have a bruise from all the hangers
  • A critique of your paint colors choices for a home exterior that goes something like "Ew! That doesn't go at all! It clashes with the grass!"
     . . . wait . . . that's really criteria? Really? You're not joking? The grass?
  • Finding typos in a website article you wrote . . . and discovering that the editor didn't catch it . . . and now it's stuck there on the world wide web for all to see. Boo.
    And a semi-negative comment on said article from a reader. >.<
  • Feeling like an eighteen-year-old again because college was the last time I went to Wal-Mart at 1:30 in the morning . . . to pick up the midnight DVD release of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Score.
  • Speaking of which . . . Deathly Hallows II anyone??? So excited! Disappointed that I can't go to the midnight showing, though. What a cool premiere! One of these days I'm determined to go to one of these cultural movie premieres--you know, the ones where people go in costume. How fun!
  • Even though the work is dull, working with really nice people . . . who want to take me out to lunch on my last day :] And that pay check that helps pay the bills and save up for our move.
  • Finding out my last day of summer work is on a Wednesday and not a Friday, giving me a FOUR DAY WEEKEND before teacher orientations start.
  • After said emotional vomit, seeing the benefits of honesty, like a husband who cleans the dishes and brings home boxes for the move.
    Then finding support and encouragement in family and blog-world friends :]
  • Showing a couple of other family members my soon-to-be exterior color, and listening to their support and approval of the color.
    And laughing at the grass comment.
    Again and again.
  • An upcoming weekend with my brother, who is awesome :]
  • Fun meetings with last year's middle school teacher about my upcoming year. Plus she's just plain cool.
  • Having not one but two articles featured on a new website.
    And having the editor defend the article, ever so slightly.
I wish I could think of things that are more amusing . . . but like I said auditing. It kills.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Emotional Food Poisoning (or How to Make Your Husband Beg For Mercy)

Wow what a week.

And it’s only Wednesday.
Darn it.

You know, for the past two weeks, every day has felt like Friday, and not in that good, “Friday! Friday! Gonna get down on Friday!” way (thank you, Rebecca Black). No, it’s the “Dear God, it must be over now. It HAS to be over. So tired, so achy, exhausted . . . wait, it’s Wednesday? Crap.”

You peeps know what I mean? Yes? Goody.

This weekend was an odd combination of enjoyment, work, and emotional break-downs. Such a lovely combo. Would you like fries and tissues with that? Super-size your order for an extra headache?

Exhaustion, stress, and bottled fears suddenly exploded like your Science Fair volcano.

Oh yeah, and hormones were in the mix. Dandy! Bloating, break-outs, and breakdowns—my favorite!

I’ll never say hormones are the complete cause of drama: they’re more the baking soda to my vinegar. I don’t even realize everything I’m trying to ignore until I’m too tired, the elephant is too big to sweep under the rug, and doggone it, hormones start sprinkling in. A tooth in the key of unlocking the “let’s tear all the walls down simultaneously” syndrome. Again: Dandy! My favorite.


It was bad enough that Chris and I made an emergency ice-cream run at 1:30 am. I don’t believe in comfort food, and I try not to keep sweets in our larder, but if I didn’t get ice cream right then and there, my soul would wither.

It’s bad enough that the next night, I had a miniature relapse. The day after that, I was fighting sobs in my cubicle. So Chris, to prove how much he cared and how sorry he was for not being more helpful and involved, cleaned the entire apartment and took me out to dinner.

There were just too many emotions and fears to contain any more. It was food poisoning of the mind and heart . . . and they would not stop vomiting. Yes, it’s just that gross.
And, FYI nothing is more terrifying than a woman experiencing emotional vomit. The rage, the tears, the complete lack of a mental and emotional filter. Just a woman unloading every thought and feeling.  Something you can't fix until the storm blows over. It's every man's nightmare.

You know, despite my dramatic tendencies, I used to have a great deal of emotional control—a tearless ice queen, even. After I started taking the pill, I cried at the drop of a hat. I caught myself tearing up during my baby sister's viewing of "Pooh's Heffalump Movie." THE HEFFALUMP MOVIE. What the crap? You’d think being off the pill for three months would bring emotional balance, but no. I’m still a mess.

It took this weekend to realize how utterly panicked and stressed I am about moving.
About teaching a new grade this year—even if it is in my area of expertise, first years teaching a new grade level is scary to begin with, scarier when you’ve already had a first year somewhere else.
Bewildered at how to juggle the move, the school prep, the housekeeping, the cooking, and the full time job.
Ashamed of the mess in my home and my physical state . . . oh and the stress-induced cystic zits on my chin. (Why do I have to wear my stress? And not like a t-shirt but like bloody Olympus Mons on my face?)

I discovered that I felt really, really alone, like I had to do everything by myself, and the pressure was killing me. Chris was busy with work, too, so why bother him with silly things like the dishwasher, packing boxes, and cooking dinner? Well, I bothered, and he has delivered. Sometimes it takes a nasty little stretch for both of you to realize how out of balance things had become and how necessary true partnership is.

The good news is we've had a day and a half of normalcy. YAY!!!!  It can only go up from here, folks!

Have you ever had emotional-food-poisoning kind of days? How did you get through it?

Friday, July 8, 2011

Friday Favorites

friday favorite things | finding joy

"The times they are a-changin'!"
First: the fact that I found this song: Awesome. It was on an old mix CD Chris didn't want any more, so  needing more tune-age in my life, I gave it a new home in my car. Love it.

Secondly: I felt the blog needed a facelift. A minimalist facelift. As someone who usually loves color, I think I'm pretty pleased with the new layout. Yes, yes indeed I am.

Thirdly: I have about three week until teacher orientation starts . .  .AAAAAAAAAAH!!!!!!
Yeah, that's pretty much what I'm feeling inside. The realization hit me Tuesday at work "Oh, July, you lovely month you--my last month auditing all of these forms, scanning old documents, and doing . . . OH GOSH LAST MONTH!!! School starts next month!!! And I . . . oh merciful mother in heaven!"

Yeah, that's pretty much how it went down in my brain. We're trying to keep the panic at minimal levels. No idea where to even start with this . . . and work 40 hours a week . . . and clean . . . and keep the hubs fed, as it seems he is only moderately developed in this ability of turning raw meat into an edible meal. He claims he's well skilled, but I'll believe it when I see it, Mister ;]

This Picture

I found it in the middle of scanning photos of members of the family business. See that fellow in the teal polo shirt? That's the hubs around age 7 or something.
Oh my goodness, how I squealed. Isn't he just awkwardly adorable?
The other players are his grandfather (who hasn't aged a day, I swear) and his cousin, Douglas (who has aged, thank goodness).

Chris has a habit of either forgetting or hiding old pictures of himself, so I'll take what I can get. I'm not too proud to scrounge and beg, especially when the results are so stinkin' cute.

I think I need a new book . . .
Preferably this one.
Watched this televised version last night on Netflix instant play on a whim. Not my favorite movie, but fascinated by the characters.
Side note: oh my goodness golly wolly. I did not know they could put scenes like THAT on public television anywhere but Europe. Shocking. Awkward. Not at all what I expected from PBS. O.O
And no, that is NOT why I want to read the book. Sheesh.

 I have not felt such conflict over a male character since . . . well, golly, maybe ever. I like Byronic heroes,  (V from V for Vendetta anyone? Phantom of the Opera??) but with Heathcliff it was "Aaaw, poor Heathcliff! Stupid Heathcliff! Evil Heathcliff! Poor, poor Heathcliff!" I could not make up my mind. Flip-flop-flip-flop every other scene.
True romantic conflict, people. You don't see that any more--not really as conflict, but as the idealized emo relationship. Ugh. Don't get me started on Twilight. Please don't. 
At least in Wuthering Heights, they want you to KNOW this relationship is MESSED UP.

Mmm Byronic heroes, so delightfully fictitious.

Looks like I'll be revisiting the other Bronte sister, as well, as soon as my books are out of their boxes and on shelves (can I get a "Heck yes"? Two years without them. TWO. BLOODY STINKIN BLINKIN. YEARS.)

The Cottage
Current renters move out this weekend.
This means clean-up and painting projects can begin next week (oh please!)
And then moving in as soon as possible.
Good golly, I cannot believe it's here already. O.O

I do watch the news . . . sort of . . .

I don’t know if any of you have been following the Casey Anthony trial and verdict.

I won’t bore you with too many details because, quite honestly, if you know then you know and if you don’t, that’s ok—a great deal of it was as much or more of a media-fest than a case for justice, it seems.

In summation, three years ago, a Florida toddler went missing for a month, but her mother never reported it. Soon after they FINALLY reported her missing, authorities found little Caylee’s body hidden in the woods behind her grandparents’ house; evidently she had drowned some time ago. Fingers pointed to her pathologically lying mother, Casey.

Tuesday, , Casey was announced innocent of charges of murder, manslaughter, and child abuse due to the lack of hard evidence. She was however found guilty of lying to the police.

The general populous of Florida (and beyond) was outraged. People are calling it the OJ Simpson case of our time.

It’s interesting watching the online responses. I think I’ve narrowed it down to a few groups
  • Disgusted Mother – “How could anyone let a child killer walk free? And innocent for child abuse?! No ‘mother’ doesn’t report her baby missing for month. Sickening!”
  •  The Outraged Taxpayer – “We pay for her jail time, we pay for her trial, and all for NOTHING?! UGH!!!”
  • The Politically Frustrated – “Innocent until proven guilty? SERIOUSLY?! She's totally guilty! Good to know our system works. NOT!”
  • The Politcally Pleased -- "Innocent until proven guilty, and, really, there's not enough evidence. Good to know the system works."
  • The Religious Justice-Seeker – “In the end, she answers to a Higher Power."
  •  The Casey-Lovers – “WHOO-HOO!!! Innocent! I love you, Casey Marie Anthony!”
  • The Chillaxed – “Guys, life goes on. Stop freaking out. Good grief. Banter banter banter. Blah blah blah. Get over it.”
  • The World-Aware – “All this for one child? Really? Where’s the outrage and media about the sex trade? The thousands of OTHER missing children? The AIDs epedimic?”
All of these make sense in their own way.
Well, except for the Casey-Lovers.
That I just don’t get.
At all.

I'll admit, I was pretty shocked at the verdict, but I understand, to a degree, why they gave it. While there's little to no doubt that Casey was somehow involved, the small amount of evidence and vast amount of speculation can't prove it.
I already hate the news media. I understand the importance of being informed, but having to watch those neat, trim, over-powdered newscasters chirp out the latest tragedies as if they care makes me ill. Maybe they do care, but, golly, it just comes off as fodder for ratings and paychecks. I haven't watched news on the TV in nearly two years. I read it online.  Facebook is also an excellent news source, for local gossip, political advances, and international scandal--someone posts something interesting, I Google it, read it, and voila! informed citizen.
But that's off topic.
I really just wanted to remember this. I remember hearing about a man named OJ in the grocery store, a clerk proclaiming, "Free OJ!" and my mom thinking she meant free orange juice. I wish.
I was sitting at my cubicle summer job, reading, auditing, or typing something, when a cubby neighbor turned up her radio, and everything became even more silent than usual. As the juror read each proclamation, my heart dropped a little more, my brow furrowed a little deeper, while the other cubby neighbor gasped, "No way! No way! That's awful!" with every sentence.

That's where I was when the great mass-media proclaimed the verdict for Casey Anthony.
Where were you? How did you feel about the verdict?
Or do you even know what I'm talking about? ;] lol

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Teacup Conversations Episode VIII: The Impediment

According to Christopher, I have a speech impediment.
I'll bet you money you'll never guess what it is.
Go ahead: Guess!
I can't say the "s" sound in plural forms of words ending in "s" or "st."

"Chris, on your way home from work, can you stop by the grocery store and pick up a pack of chicken breast?"
"Hmm? Oh yeah, I have those."
"No, breast-S!!! You said the singular but you meant the plural. Chicken breast-S!"
"No, I said the plural. Breast."
And it goes on for about five more minutes. And no, really, we're talking about chickens.
Then there the morning drives when I fuss about spandex-laden cyclists ruling the roads. "Ugh! Cyclist here are crazy!"
"You mean cylist-S?"
 "That's what I said!"
"No, you didn't. It's cylclist-S! CYCLISTS!!!"
You get the idea. I sit there giggling uncontrollably, and Chris finds himself in that odd place between laughing and frustration with my befuddling impediment: the inability to speak plurals . . . such an easy concept, not grasped but slaughtered in my fumbling hands . . . er lips.

It brings back flashbacks of when we were dating and Chris came to the harsh realization that I am incapable of saying "poem." Apparently, I say "pome." Which, you know, is awesome as a lit teacher. I'm ruining the next generation. Golly.

That was the nice thing about first grade--they worshipped my every word.
When I confessed I couldn't say "poem" correctly, they quickly assured me that I was . . . and that my husband was obviously the one really saying it wrong. Hmm, who'da thunk it?
One day, I forgot my lunch, so Chris popped into the classroom to bring it to me and watch the kids light up (they thought he was a celebrity, living-proof that teachers exist beyond the classroom).
"Hey, say poem!" one little boy blurted out.
"Uuuuh poem?"
"Ha! You said it wrong! Mrs. Bocci says it right!"
We were both trying really hard not to laugh--Chris at the silly innocence of children, me at the sweetness of  almost-victory (I get those so rarely)

Do you have any funny speaking habits?

Oh and P.S. Guess who was featured on an up-and-coming healthy living website
C'est moi!
Thank goodness all this obsessing over decorating plans has come to some sort of fruition, even if it's not monetary. :] I'll be posting mini-articles with decorating tips each week for a few weeks. The site is fabulous and definitely worth a look waaay beyond my home decor article. I feel so hipster now. I think I need to don big, vintage pair of glasses, a scarf, and a glass of organic almond milk. So hip.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Friday Favorites

friday favorite things | finding joy

What to Wear
Working for an agricultural company (or “ag” as they call it . . . I’m starting to pick up on the lingo, here, folks), jeans are totally within dress code. Um, can I get a “Heck yes!” going on in here?
Not only jeans, but plaid shirts, big belt buckles, cowboy boots, country accents, and hunting trophies as wall décor are also accepted if not encouraged.
And no, though I love plaid, these are not really pieces of my wardrobe.

Oh, and P.S. Three day weekend any one?? Oh golly it's been too long. Three day weekend, my soul needs you. I've missed you so . . .

“Just singin’ in the rain! What a glorious feelin’! I’m happy again!”
It has rained every day since Monday.
Sometimes it starts in the late morning, but mostly as I’m leaving for work. I get a nice mini shower on the way out to my car. Is it strange to say I love it? There’s something about slate-gray skies and raindrops I find beautiful and invigorating. Maybe I should move to Seattle where it’s always raining. Anything involving water—rain, the sea, rivers, even the bathtub (seriously, what beats a bubble bath and facial mask after a long day at work?)—fill me with awed joy. I need this earthy wetness in my life. The desert would wither me.
I always knew I should have been a mermaid.

The Upside of the Downside
The nice thing about having plank-straight hair is that it dries straight on those mornings when you’re running late and you pick make-up over hair-do, so you leave a properly painted but sopping mess.
Well, most of it’s straight. It seems that my lifelong craving for curls has fused itself into one very tiny section, which flips out with such great fervor it’s either charmingly endearing or infuriating, I can’t decide.

The Health Saga Continues
I’ve discovered that climbing stairs burns about 10 calories a minute.
Now guess what I’ve been doing at work for five minutes every hour.
Yep, that hot, sweaty, unconditioned staircase is now my best friend. And, no, it's not open--there are doors closing it off from the top and bottom stories, so I don't look like a complete freak trotting up, down, up down, and up again.
Keeps me awake, allows me to move (otherwise I seriously feel my bum spreading like melted butter . . . gross . . . how do you all-day desk job people do it???), and burns a few calories. This also now enables me to nibble on the donut holes they’ve brought in three days this week. Glory.

I will continue to highly recommend the Cook This, Not That cookbook collection. I’ve made several recipes out of it, now, and we’ve loved every one of them. Delicious, healthy, and easy, so it's all are pretty much addictive. Maybe I should post a couple so you understand the awesomeness. Just motivate me to make my recipes more photo-worthy, and I'll get working on that.

Oh, and P.S. if you haven’t already, check out my friend Ande’s revamped website, Broke and Healthy. She’s added several new sections so the site now goes beyond cooking. She is accepting articles from her readers with tips on eating healthy, exercise, weight loss, family activities, recipes, and home décor, so if you have anything you’d love to share, she'd love to hear from you!

The Cottage
I'm going to do it.
I'm going to ask for help from some fabulous, artistic, decor-savvy family friends to see if I can't solve this paint puzzle.
Quite frankly, I'm stumped--I keep finding colors and designs I like, but then I have such severe doubts that I'm choosing something that will turn out all wrong. Ugh. I know it's only a rental, but, still, if I have the freedom to redecorate how I please, then, bloody, I'm turning that house into a home one way or another.

What are your Friday Favorites?