Thursday, May 29, 2008

Well, aren't you in for a long one?

I suppose I should apologize ahead of time for the length of this blog. I haven't started writing it, and I know it will be long winded, and for that I apologize. But I have so much to cover, so bear with me.

I left last Wednesday for Michigan, doing the 12 hour drive in one fell swoop. I jammed to the radio, drank a whole lot of Starbucks, and despite crazy gas prices and even crazier construction, made it to Michigan before dark. Ericka and I decided to go out to Applebee's because we were starving.

I realized something very important this trip: breastfeeding moms are my heroes. First off, these women are the champions of convenience and thriftiness. Just pop the kid on and you feed him for free. How many kids menus out there offer food that good for no cost? Now, I'm not saying I'm totally sold on the idea when I have children, as I still maintain that my goodies belong to me and my husband alone, but after a week I have a whole new respect and awe for motherhood, and for my friends as mothers. Though I could have done without the dreams about breastfeeding in Iceland, seriously.

Thursday, Ericka and I went shopping before my hair appointment and bought the cutest green top at Maurices (which Little Man promptly drooled on with pineapple spit, but he was so darn cute chewing on my shirt that I was more than happy to let him, I mean, hey, it washes and it brought him joy). I went to get my hair cut and blown out, since I don't bother styling it myself anymore, then my sister, mom, aunt, grandma and I went to Walmart to have a quick family photo taken. Of course, after the first shot, the camera broke. While the photographer was on the phone with tech support, my aunt dragged out her own camera and commandeered the studio. We ended up with some adorable shots we didn't have to pay a penny for, which was good because the camera was permanently broke. I think my grandma's scary Dixie Stampede smile pushed it over the edge (see

Ericka and I walked with Little Man up to graduation, which was outside on the football field. I've never seen a better behaved baby in my life. He was content and happy for the entire thing, especially when Mr. Roland turned around and swiped him up, bouncing him around for the better part of the ceremony. It was surreal sitting behind the staff section, seeing people we went to school with sitting there as teachers, and being old enough to see our teachers play with Ericka's son.

My sister was beautiful. Which says very little, because she's always gorgeous, seeing that she stole all the tall, pretty genes. Twit. I think she'll be happy in college, because she will get to meet all kinds of new people, while still being at a school where some of her family and friends attend. I know she will succeed and go far. One of us has to graduate college, and it won't be me LOL. I also know she's so lucky to have made good decisions about which school to attend and to live at home. I know going to school would have been easier for me if I wasn't working full-time on top of my classes, trying to maintain and pay for a house. I will pop open a bottle of champagne the day my student loans are paid off. Which should be in a couple of months. :)

Friday I went out to dinner with Kelli. We'd talked about doing a bitching dinner, but found we didn't have too much to bitch about. Wow, times have changed, even if we haven't. It's nice to see that she and I have gotten to points in our lives where the drama, while still present, is at a minimum. Never though we'd see the day. Over crab legs we talked about her wedding plans, her house, my husband, my travel, and just plain normal things. And my favorite part about Kelli? We will probably go a couple of months before we talk again, and will pick up right where we left off. Love ya, my bitch.

Friday night I went out to the movies with Zack, Jess, and Ericka. We went to see Prince Caspian, and I got to see just how much of a wuss Jess is. *grin* Definitely not a kid's movie. But I have one inside joke type comment to throw out there: just like back in high school, right? Pump, pump, pump.

Saturday was breakfast with the whole family, which, by the way Jerry, you paid for, as I know you wouldn't have had it any other way. I then drove out to Howell with my sister, mom, grandma, aunt, and Jared to pick up Karalyn's new puppy. Of course, going out to Howell meant doing some shopping, and I found the world's greatest shirts at Guess. On the way home, new puppy Marlo decided to throw up all over my sister. She had to wear my tank top as a skirt until we got home. And I hate her because she pulled it off and looked cute doing it.

Saturday night was bonfire night. I saw so many people I hadn't seen in a long time all in the space of an evening. I loved Tory and Lee's little home on wheels, and met Kasey's husband. Then out to Joana's, and seriously, the kitchen is amazing. Fantastic. Holy cow. Lucky duck. Next time I go up, I plan to heist her bright green kitchen to bake something just for the heck of it.

Sunday was the only unpleasant day I really had, and it wasn't so terrible because I had lots of help. After we took care of some things, my family and I went to the movies, and made up for a tiring day.

I was supposed to leave on Monday morning, but after a chat with my husband, I decided to stay an extra day, then take my time to get home. I booked a hotel in Columbus for Tuesday night, and spent Memorial Day visiting gravesites. Karalyn and I went out to find our grandparent's planters were such a mess that we ran back to Meijer, picked up some perennials and potting soil, and replanted the two pots. We found a full nest of ants in one of the pots, which led to a lot of squealing and completely grossed us out. It still only took us about half an hour, and was a good Memorial Day project for us to do together.

I left Tuesday morning, with the rest of my storage boxes and a care package of no bakes from Ericka, and headed for Ohio. I spent the day touring the Ohio Caverns and the Air Force Museum, then drove to Columbus for the night. My room got upgraded (thank goodness for gold member status!) and I spent the evening on a giant bed in a giant room overlooking Germantown. Of course, I slept in and took my time with the rest of the drive home.
Ginger's happy I'm home, and I even got her a little present: a camo collar with dogtags. She looks adorable. I swore I'd start my diet once I got home, and the first step with that is to get rid of all the junk food in the apartment. Waste not, want not, so I'm slowly eating it, having two very healthy meals a day and one not so healthy one. And today, after the nice UPS man comes, I'm going to go for a walk. I think. And clean the apartment, since tomorrow they're coming by to do my quarterly inspection.

And now for today's lessons, and there are a few.

1. I am so happy I am not a mom right now. In fact, I'm happy not to even have a dog. I love my friends' kids, and I still desperately want children, but at the moment I am perfectly content with spoiling all of their kids. And dogs.

2. As adults, my friends grew up to be exactly who they should be. Moms, wives, artists, visionaries, soldiers, travelers, hostesses. Though we may have changed and become adults, we're still friends.

3. A woman who cannot bake can still make the most amazing no bake cookies.

4. My family is forever. Despite divorce and remarriage, we can still sit the whole lot of us down for breakfast and have a really amazing time.

5. Driving through the mountains in West Virginia is not good for carpal tunnel, especially when you have a death grip on the steering wheel.

6. There really is such a thing as a happy accident. Especially when it means that what could have been a pretty normal experience turns into a treasured memory.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

In praise of even more random things

Today's new love: Orville Redenbacher's Natural Popcorn, in the buttery salt and pepper flavor. Seriously, why did it take so many years for these companies to discover the wonder of salt and pepper on foods such as popcorn and potato chips?

Right now, I'm adjusting to the quiet. Of course, it's not really so quiet with the pounding neighbors upstairs. I don't think it actually bothers me unless they make a knocking noise, which makes me go check to see if anyone's at my door. If they can put up with my singing Shakira in the kitchen and baking at 2 AM, I can deal with a little stomping around.

I managed to finish up two scrapbook pages, though I feel like I'm not doing as well as I could with them. Of course, I sit back and look back through after they're in the book, and I'm impressed. I'm starting to use bolder colors, and I think I can finally see the pages in my head and put them on paper.

The bold colors thing isn't just in my scrapping. I've noticed it in my apartment and in my clothes. The best example is the lime green pencil skirt I managed to match up with a yellow sweater and some crazy green sandals I had sitting in my closet. I knew having every color of shoes in the rainbow would pay off one day. Though I badly need a shoe store fix. I have the perfect pair of shoes in my head, and now I just need to find them. And I need some new tops. It's about that time.

I am slowly easing back into my organic, fairly meat free diet. My biggest hurdle right now is getting rid of all the junk that has accumulated, because Jere doesn't have to diet and can eat whatever he wants. And I certainly don't want to waste it, so I'm combining healthy things with unhealthy things, which is still better than the way I was eating. Though I really shouldn't be having tater tots for breakfast. But better to eat the carbs in the morning and not right before bed LOL! I made up for it later by having some yummy veggie corn dogs.

I've also decided I'm sick of hauling gallons of water from the store to my home. I'm giving in and buying a pitcher to filter it here, and I found the perfect one. Economic me (yeah, right) even calculated how much I'll save by switching over. You know your life is boring when you get excited over a water pitcher.

Anyway, enough of the boring jabber. Time to settle in.

Today's lesson: Be open minded about new things.You may discover something as simple as a new favorite snack, or as important as your sense of style.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Jerry's birthday card

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Calamari, martinis, and Staunton’s finest

You know, I thought I'd have trouble adjusting to life in the South, but I seem to be doing just fine. I'm making friends, learning all about my new community, and generally loving it here.
For example, my new friend took me out to drink away any sorrows and show me downtown. It was a wonderful night that involved key lime martinis, too much wine, fried calamari (yeah, that's squid), and a ride home from a very sweet police officer. New friends rock. Throwing up squid does not.

When I woke up this morning, I felt my age. Old. Too old to party so hard and bounce back like I used to. My body hurt. My head hurt. And food was not an option. I slept away most of the day, to tell you the truth. It was easier than dealing with the actual hangover. I got up long enough to find Andrea and her husband had gone to get my car and had dropped it off along with the keys early early in the morning. When I woke up at 5 this evening, through the miracle of water and Advil, I felt wonderful and went out for coffee and gift buying. *grin* Starbucks is definitely a good cure.

I have so much to get accomplished these next couple of days between scrapbooking for my sister's open house and baking cookies and doing thank you and address change cards. I'm glad I'll be keeping busy, because I really want to get into a normal routine, but I won't be able to do that for another week at least. After that I'll figure it out.

Well, I need to see if I can get some sleep, even if I did sleep the day away.

Today's lesson: There's something to be said for those warnings about not mixing your liquors. And something very convenient about the location of sewer drains outside of bars.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Fish and throw pillows

I really hate cleaning. I spent my entire childhood cleaning (not to rip on my mom, as she'll be the first to tell you she's calmed down over the years when it comes to dusting and vacuuming). Everyday when I got home from school, there was some set of chores to be done. Not a bad thing when you live in a normal sized house, but when you live in a gigantic converted funeral parlor, it's a lot of ground to cover. And a house of that magnitude takes a contribution from everyone to keep clean, so I spent a good chunk of after school time cleaning one thing or another.

I've heard many people say they were scarred by certain aspects of their childhoods. I'll be the first to admit my childhood was far from idyllic, but I'm certainly who I am because of it. But cleaning today made me realize I have a few scars that I'm not sure will ever go away. Though if these are the worst of it, I think I got off pretty darn good.

1. I hate the vacuum cleaner. I loathe it. I hate getting it out, and while I don't particularly mind the pushing it around part, I can't stand when I have to use the attachments on furniture. We had this huge blue sectional couch, and my mom had a million throw pillows, so when it came time to vacuum the couch (a necessity when you have two kids, or the crumbs will overtake you), there were a million little pillows to vacuum and rearrange. This also explains my aversion to large couches and throw pillows.

2. While I keep a can of Pledge under the sink, I rarely take it out and use it. I spent so much time dusting furniture that the smell of Pledge triggers a sense of dread. It wasn't that there was a mass amount to pledge, but we had these wood tables with glass tops, so you had to Pledge the wood and Windex the glass, and if you got Pledge on the glass, you had to basically start over. And I know Elisa's laughing at that, because I do believe she has that table in her living room. I am so repulsed by the scent of Pledge that I bought a feather duster instead. Which also has the benefit of making me feel like a sexy French maid each time I use it.

3. My dad went on a fishing trip with some church friends one time, and this has caused two scars at least. The first being the large fish he caught that we had to eat for weeks. It had tiny little bones in it, so now I'm constantly afraid that eating fish will cause me to swallow little bones. The second is that while camping on this trip, there was a tornado that knocked over our pop-up camper and dragged it several yards. The tornado would have taken it completely had the camper not been hooked up to a hose. I hate tornadoes and storms. That is partly why I don't camp. And why I hide in the closet whenever the wind starts.

4. After many Sundays helping my dad with his paper route (you know, one of those ones you drive to do that has hundreds of customers), I can no longer stand the smell or feel of newsprint. And I love the Sunday paper, but I have to set it across the room and go get one section at a time, then lay it out in front of me and turn the page while holding onto the teeny, tiniest corner. This process also involves coffee to overpower the smell.

5. I can never own any glass tables. I know I covered one particular table earlier, but this goes into glass tables in general, especially dining tables. They never, ever, ever get clean. It's a waste of Windex to even try. When Jere said he had a solid oak table, I rejoiced. My parents had a glass table, and I would always try to clean it after dinner. After my little sister had eaten and smeared food all over it.

6. Church basements creep me out. Our church's basement was always cold, and occasionally a bat would sneak in and fly around. I used to walk over to the church and practice piano, and I can remember how freezing and eerie and quiet it was. Actually, I didn't know about this particular feeling of dread until we walked into my sister-in-law's anniversary party at her church a couple of weeks ago, and the room reminded me so much of our old church basement that my skin started to crawl.

7. After years of my mother perming and teasing my brunette locks, I am now scared to death of big hair. The early 90's did not look good on me.

I laugh at that list, because these innocuous things aren't anything but normal childhood experiences that burst into full-blown, ridiculous phobias as I aged. Not to mention these scars as I call them are attached to fond memories of my parents as I was growing up. My mom with the tables and the couch and the throw pillows and the cleaning, well, they're simply a testament to her impeccable taste. Seriously, the woman can look at a white room with 70's shag carpet and make it into a masterpiece, a talent I sorely wish was genetic. And even though I really do blame my dad for my hatred and fear of fresh fish (sorry, dad), I also know he's the reason I love coffee, sourdough pancakes, multi-vitamins, Dan Seals, talk radio, my pocket knife, singing, and cowboy cookies.

Today's lesson: It is amazing how even the tiniest piece of your childhood can shape who you become. I thank my parents for my talents and quirks, even if I still wince when I see someone with giant hair (a problem compounded now that I live in the South).

Monday, May 12, 2008

The joy of curtains

I can't believe how much has gotten accomplished around here in the past two days. My photo collage is hung, and my room is basically finished. The security alarms are installed, as is a new lock on the storage door (with the blessing of apartment management, who were appalled at our storage being broken into). Pictures are being hung. We bought curtains for two rooms and they're already up, and my sweet husband went out and bought another set because I said they didn't look full enough. We replaced the pillows on the couch (actually, I bought funky new ones only to hear the old ones were 'his grandma's', and he gave me the puppy dog eyes, so we'll have to find a compromise there). Put together a lamp in the office. Put up the bird feeder. Spoke with the newspaper delivery man about finding a secure place to hide the Sunday paper, as it's been stolen three weeks in a row. Managed to move the foot lockers into a closet. And organized over a thousand DVD's. Minus the clutter and petty theft, this place is a home.

Tonight I get to go back into my element, and that is baking. I'll be sending a little care package to Jere's co-workers, as they miss me and my cookies. So right now I'm waiting for some butter to soften while I watch Jon & Kate. Between watching that show, Kari's blogs about morning sickness, and the woman I watched trying to get her three young kids through a buffet line last week, I'm pretty happy not being a mom. My cat's needy enough.

Actually, Mother's Day was nice! The weather was crap, and I had to hide in the closet when the thunder started, but other than that, it was ok. I got a quiet day with Miss Ginger, played piano until the lightning scared me off, and my husband bought me four travel DVD's, four discs worth of BBC movies, and four pounds of pasta. Oh, happiness! And in honor of this special, special day, I donated to one of my favorite organizations. Which made me grin, fall over laughing, and completed the holiday. And I got to give the gift of alone time with Jerry to his mother, which was completely worth it.

Today was so busy, but after the hours we spent in Walmart, we went for Chinese, and I ate myself into a Hot Wok coma. I've searched so long for a place where the food is as good as the restaurant I used to eat at in Big Rapids, and I've finally found it! Yes, it's terrible for me, but so so good. They even have the perfect little crunchies for my soup. Very important.

But mostly, I enjoyed a low-key, chilled out day with my husband. We slept in and laid in bed forever, did some projects, and he let me do a little online shopping. And he even entertained my idea to buy tater tots and ranch dressing while we were at Walmart, even though he didn't quite understand it (seriously, high school buddies, you remember tots and ranch, right?).

Well, I've written a blog about nothing, and I should probably start on some cookies. Night, y'all.

Today's lesson: A novel idea can turn a day completely around. Whether it's an odd bit of philanthrophy or a strange craving from a distant high school cafeteria.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Way behind

I hate when I forget to blog. I know not many people actually read these, but there are a few who do, and they're the people I want to tell absolutely everything to. Good or bad.

So here I am. Behind on my blog. I skipped over a vacation. Which wasn't so hot, anyway. Don't get me wrong, we had fun in Myrtle Beach, but we left early because the air conditioner leaked all over the carpet in our room. I did get a good piece of writing done that I'm pretty proud of, and will put on here at a later date, when it's fully edited. I also got to have my first Hooters experience. I wasn't as impressed with the wings as I thought I'd be, but our waitress was the anti-chipper and didn't flirt with my husband, so I left her a huge tip.

Everything is getting unpacked here, though at a very slow rate. I think we've lost our motivation. My things are pretty well finished, but we've run out of space. I did get some black and white photo projects done for my bedroom. Hopefully I get those hung up sometime this week, and can post some pictures of my room. And that's the only room you'll get, sorry to say. The rest of the apartment still screams bachelor LOL. I did, however, manage to get my own bookshelf, which is already full. But hey, that's my one bookshelf compared to his five.

We got to see Miss Ginger's new veterinarian when we dropped her off for boarding, and I was so happy with what I saw. First off, it's cheaper. And everyone at the front desk was so sweet. The icing on the cake is they take American Express. Hotel points, baby!

Jere and I went shopping on Friday to cheer me up (I don't know why I needed cheering, but I was a damn grump!). I bought new bras, and my dear husband patiently while I tried on twenty different kinds (of which only three fit). He waited while I bought pants and skirts and sweaters, though ran off for a bit to preserve his sanity. He's a good guy. *grin*

Last night, we went to dinner with a friend of his and her husband, and even though I'm anti-social and don't do well, with new people, I had such a great time. And I made a new friend. Since most of the people who read this have known me since high school or earlier, you all know how hard that is for me. Not only do I have a new friend. My new friend has friends. I may just survive down here after all. (Kelli, Kari: I'll give you more details via email later!)

Though I miss my northern friends. :( I will be home in a week and a half!

Today's lesson: It truly is possible to adjust to a new city if you put yourself out there. Of course, it's still possible that while putting yourself out there, you'll get lost because you haven't updated your GPS in a year.

One last little brag...a picture of my piano! Elisa, show this to dad! I managed to build the heavy thing all by myself.