Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Thoughtful Gifts

This one could be subtitled: Why I Appreciate the In-Laws I Have

I have a friend at work, K, who is ten years younger than me but got married about the same time I did, two years ago. She is in no way interested in starting a family at this time, but has been dealing with exactly the same junk I get from people, particularly in our office, who think that it's time. You know, like when one of us gets a cold and feels like crap and somebody comes in and says, "Are you pregnant?"

Um, I'm snotty, I'm coughing up a lung and running fever. I can see where that screams pregnancy.

Anyway, she was opening gifts in front of a room full of people at her in-laws' house over the holidays and guess what her MIL had wrapped up for her? Not one, but TWO matching baby outfits. Seems she'd had a dream a while back that K had twins, so she decided to start shopping for them. Merry Christmas.

Healthy Eating, Part II

So, after eating pasta for dinner last night I go get my cholesterol checked this morning. Would anybody like to take a guess at the results compared to my last check back in February?


You're all wrong. DOWN 31, thank you very much. And that would all be in my bad LDL's, as my good HDL's had only changed by .1, which was an increase. Basically, I rock. I'm just saying. I'm 5 points away from "very low" status. Bring on the raviolis!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Healthy Eating

Greg and I went out for Italian tonight. I ordered my favorite Marsala chicken ravioli. Somehow the waiter heard carbonara chicken rigatoni, which is what I ended up getting. Whatever. I ate it. It was tasty, but it wasn't my 'oli.

But the best part of the meal was at the end, when Greg said, "I'm sure an Alfredo is some type of vegetable..."

Monday, December 29, 2008

Winded Down

No, I didn't fall off the cliff. I've just been a bit anti-social. With the major part of the holiday over I've winded down and hopefully can get back into some type of routine. Maybe.

Greg and I have gone on something of an after Christmas shopping spree. By that I mean we bought new pillows for our bed. Granted, I still wake up from time to time having scrunched down so that I've got my head on the matress instead of the pillow, but I think that may be because I got used to sleeping on my old pillow, which was a lot like sleeping on the flat mattress.

We did buy a few other things, having a fist full of Christmas cash and gift cards. We didn't rack up quite as well as Clucky, but Greg bought the new 1TB hard drive he'd been drooling over. I picked up a 5 quart jumbo skillet with a hat, to replace my old one. I will miss the rusty flavor, but as with the pillow, I'm sure I'll adjust. I also snagged a crafty-supply bucket on sale 40% off, but passed on the cookie scoop. We don't need any more cookies in the house. Really. We don't. Oh, and we bought a new tree, half off at, of all places, Kroger. When your old fake tree starts shedding it's fake needles, it's time to suck it up and buy a new one. Just a little holiday tip for you there.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Gift Jackpot

I adore my Grandma. She's led one of those lives that appear incredibly ordinary but would make a great book about perseverance and strength. She's lived with insulin-dependent diabetes since she was young. The test-three-times-a-day and take-shots-at-least-twice-a-day kind of diabetes.

In the years before he died, my grandfather started slowly showing signs of mental deterioration. One of his irrational and rather unreasonable paranoid ideas was that my grandma's diabetes was aggrivated by the fact that she liked to read her trashy romance novels. Paw got it in his head that when she started reading one she'd forget to check her sugar or eat and it would cause her sugar to drop at night. She wouldn't stop reading, so he started taking matters into his own hands. Every time he'd find one of her books he'd throw it out.

Paw died about five years ago. Since then Grandma's diabetes management has improved quite a bit. She's better about taking care of herself in part because she no longer has to worry about taking care of everybody else. She also reads more books, especially during the winter when she can't get out in the yard much and tends to get lonely. Every year since Paw died I've gone to the used bookstore and bought a stack of 50 cent trashy novels for Grandma for Christmas. Every year she giggles at me and is delighted. This year the used book store had a very small stock of appropriate books, and they had gone up in price. I only found a few to buy and was rather discouraged.

A day or two later I got a message from a local lady on PaperBack Swap. She had a huge pile of books and was desperately trying to give them away to somebody who would read them. I found a few I was interested in and told her if she wanted to get rid of any of her Harlequin-type romances that I would gladly take them for my grandma. The nice lady just stopped by to deliver my books and threw in twenty-five romance novels for Grandma. Jackpot! It's going to be a very Merry Christmas at Grandma's house this year. And since she tends to trade among her sisters, it's a gift that should keep on giving!

I Laughed, I Cried...

A couple of days ago the book I'd been anxiously awaiting from PaperBack Swap arrived in my mailbox. Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog by John Grogan. 'Cause, you know, I have what some in my household believes to be the world's worst dog, although I disagree with that someone and consider him to be a good pup. Anyway, I pretty much read through it in two days, finishing it at midinight last night.

I'm just going to say that I haven't laughed that hard a book in a really, really long time. It's because I'm a pup person, and because I find the stories fully believable. More than once I informed Greg that Casper had to have some lab in him. The behaviors were too similar. Marley is a hoot of a dog.

The best part about it was that it wasn't so much just about a dog. It was about the relationship that grows between a dog and it's pet people, and how pets become family. It was an awesome book. But I will admit that I did cry at the end.

Ok, I didn't so much cry as bawl. Like a baby. Like somebody in my own family had died. Like, enough that Greg got worried for a minute. I couldn't talk. I couldn't breathe. All I could get out was, "It's a horrible book! Horrible!" Greg was like, "Um... you were cackling over it for two days, could't wait to finish it, and now it's horrible?" Yeah, he figured it out and just left me alone to finish it. Smart boy.

But no, really, it's an awesome book. I'd read it again, but I'd probably stop before the end and just go with the idea that it never ends. I'd like that best. And for the record, I won't be seeing the movie. Uh uh, no way. I'm sure it'll be funny, but I've read the book. It's too late now.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


From a conversation with my husband this morning regarding his desire for fried chicken, which, by the way, he never asks for:

Me: "Do I need to make you fried chicken? I have some chicken in the freezer."
Greg: "No, you'd burn the house down."
Me: "I would not! I've fried chicken before."
Greg: "No, that's ok."
Me: "I fried chicken a lot before I left home. I never caught anything on fire."
Greg: "I'd just rather you not do it in our house."
Me: "I fried wontons for you the other night! We didn't need the fire extinguisher."
Greg: "But that was in a little small pot. We could have put that fire out. I don't think you need a big vat of hot oil at the house."

Me: long stare
Greg: "You can make friend chicken if you want to."
Me: long stare
Greg: "I'm never eating fried chicken again, am I?"
Me: long stare
Greg: "Or wontons..."

Monday, December 15, 2008

So Close...

I'm one trip to Bass Pro Shop away from being done with the whole Christmas shopping thing. Unless my mom needs me to help her find a couple of things she's still hunting for, which I probably need to call her about before heading to Bass Pro. Otherwise, I'm pretty much done with this.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


There's a lot I could gripe about today, most of them including the our bizarre fluctuations in climate. Instead, I'm having a moment of appreciation.

My 7am faculty meeting that was scheduled for today was moved to noon. I did not have to drive myself to work through the flooded streets at 6am. Appreciation.

Along those same lines, I didn't even have to walk a half mile across the flooded streets in the sleet/rain to get to the office, since my dear, awesome husband dropped me off at the front of the building under the canopy. Appreciation. I wasn't even outside long enough to get cold. (Unlike my sweet husband, who sacrificed himself on my behalf and is now trying to defrost himself while drying his shoes and socks in his office.)

I would rather be at home today, torturing my pup by periodically tossing him out into 5 inches of snow. But in the spirit of taking what I can get, I'll just be happy to be warm and dry in a building where everyone else is cold and soaked.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

More on Squash

It's not just me. Remember when I got all excited about finding a chayote squash at Kroger? Well, today one of the food blogs I read had a post about... yep, chayote squash. Seems it's not well known to those outside of the Latino community (which a commenter had mentioned on my original post) but are quite versatile.

And for the record, I did make a point to visit the Dogwood Kroger to get a chayote a couple of weeks ago when I couldn't find them in Clinton, but last week the little green guy was back at my store. I'm pretty excited. Over a squash. Perhaps I need to get out more. I'm also psyched because my great wonton honey-vanilla sauce copycat experiment, which I don't think I've mentioned yet, has seen great progress of late. More on that later...


When I got home yesterday I had the Sunday paper waiting on the back of Greg's car. I had told Herman not to worry about it at this point, just see if they can find my house before next Sunday, but he hooked me up anyway. Thanks, Herman. And the best part was that I ended up with a duplicate of the good coupon insert. Awesome.

I make this point as a lesson in personal relations. I wasn't happy when I called them on Monday, and the phone jockey I talked to first was kinda short with me in return. When Herman called me back mere minutes later, he was very nice. I ended up talking to him 3 times, and he offered to personally deliver my paper if I ever have another problem (which I would never expect him to do!). His kindness and attention brought out a much better attitude in me, which created a much better result overall. I harbor no hard feelings toward the paper, mostly because of his excellent attitude. When I called back on Monday (for the second time) I was ready to just cancel the whole blasted subscription. Instead I got excellent treatment and was quite pleased. Sometimes problems happen with companies, but the true test is in how the company reacts and treats you while solving the problem.

Now I think I'm going to go find somebody at the CL to send a nice note to regarding Herman. I complain enough when I have bad service, so I make a point to pass on praise as well.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Bahumbuggedness - Failed

This morning I get an email from BFF Lauren:

In an attempt to pull you out of your humbugness and make you smile I submit the following…

You win. Nothing will pull me out of bahumbugness like remembering how much fun I have with my flying Super-Pooka. And yes, I bought him that ball house for Christmas one year. I can't believe how much he's grown since then!

Or that she cloned him...
(Yes, Lauren, I stole those last two from your Flickr.)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Jackhammers in the Mornings

Our new city library is in the works, after almost ten years of blah blah blah about it. I'm elated to be getting a new library. I love going to the library, but our current one is the size of a postage stamp, not to mention old and outdated. The new one is being built directly behind my house. I'm reminded of this every single morning when the construction gears up somewhere around 7am. And yes, they are working weekends. The only upside is that it makes my pup nuts, which does provide me some mild enjoyment.

Last week I saw this link to the new library website in our paper. I went there to look through the gallery pictures and make sure you couldn't actually see my house in any of them. You can't, it looks like they're focused on the other side of the property where the assisted living facility is. However, I can see the construction equipment from my back yard and will be able to see the building once it's done, if I don't go stone crazy from the noise and move before then. We've been debating having a privacy fence put up in the back now that they're serious about building this thing. I'm also debating on having a ladder built in so I can just climb over when I want to check out books.

They seem to have done a good job on the website though. The floorplan looks cool and I can at least keep up with what they're doing via the schedule and pictures they've posted. If I can survive the 500 days of building, I think I'll be quite happy with the finished product.


I'm pretty much ready to go into hibernation for the winter. I need to get over my bah-humbuggedness, but that's easier said than done.

My friend and her husband went trudging through the forrest looking for the pup on Saturday, but with no luck. K said she came out scratched up, soaking wet, and covered in redbugs, but without any sign of the pup. The nice people at the hotel had seen her Friday morning, but still no luck in catching her. Sigh.

In less important, yet still irritating, news, I've gone three rounds (literally) with the Clarion Ledger this morning and want to bang my head against the wall. Seriously, I suscribed to the Sunday-only paper a little over a week ago. I got the first one last week, but nothing this week. They're batting .500. I called yesterday to report it and get it redelivered. No luck. Went out about 8pm last night to find one, no luck. Called back this morning and was told they'd credit my account and redeliver on Tuesday. Because I just love 3 day old news. I've gotten two more call backs since then, one telling me they left it at my door. I'd have tripped over it if it was at my door. I wonder which one of my neighbors got my two papers yesterday. And all my coupons. Really, that's the irritating part. To their credit, the guy that called me back was super nice and said they'd deliver it today, but now I'm wondering if they even have the right house. Sigh.

To top it off, I had a not very nice email from a resident this morning letting me know that my fellows haven't been showing up to give their morning lectures, thus wasting the residents' time and not providing them the educational information they require while on our rotation. One in a string of problems I've had with them slacking the administrative duties lately. Wish I had some authority to smack them around, but I don't. And nobody else seems to care. Sigh.

I'm so done with this week.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

People Who Are Awesome

A friend of mine has been traumatized this week due to the loss of a pup that went AWOL while on a potty break during their holiday travels last weekend. I didn't realize until this morning that the pup got away at a gas station in Newton. When she told me that I immediately thought... hey wait, I know a pup-person in that area...

So I gave a shout out to Clucky, who left work to go look for the little fugitive. She wasn't able to find her, but while canvasing the area she talked to some folks who had seen her and tried to catch her as recently as this morning. My friend was very glad to hear that. They have been very worried about her with the cold weather and can't get back to look for her until the weekend.

Now, I don't think it's much of a shock to hear that I'm a bit of a softie when it comes to critter, and a HUGE softie when it comes to pups. Dog people tend to have this innate concern for any dogs, doesn't matter who they belong to. This little pup had been treated poorly by a former owner and as a result is quite scared of men. It breaks my heart to even think about it and right now I just want to go home and hug my pup. Clucky's a critter person, too and knows that a lost pup needs its people as much as its people need the pup. Thanks, Clucky, for all the help. Kelly and I are bothy insanely grateful. Just knowning she's still there is a huge relief. I owe you. Big. You're awesome.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Week After

I feel like survived the Thanksgiving holiday more than celebrated it. But that's ok. At least I survived it.

And really, it was just yesterday. We were up at the crack of dawn because DON'T EVER LET HOME DEPOT INSTALL ANYTHING. In an unrelated situation, thanks to my father-in-law we think the roof leak is fixed with minimal expense. He did find two soft spots while walking the roof so we'll have to deal with that at some point, which will not be minimal expense. I guess we'll see how well it holds up when the rains come again Wednesday.

Aside from that, there was another mouse issue, which I don't want to talk about because I'm still a little traumatized. Unfortunately for the mouse, it did not survive the Thanksgiving weekend. Sorry mousy. I'm very glad I have a husband to deal with those things because I just can't. Really. I can't.

The bright side is that I got the bulk of my major Christmas shopping done on Friday. And by that I mean I ordered gifts for my four boys online, to be shipped directly to their homes so I don't have to try to get them packed and shipped myself. There will be a few less homeless dinosaurs, airplanes, and microscopic organisms this holiday season.