Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Fun Stuff!

I was reading blogs & jumping around the blog world when I found this blog - Green Twig & wouldn't you know - she's hosting a giveaway!

Head on over there & see if there's something you might want to win!

Personally, I'd love to win this little tea set because it matches some dishes my Grandma has. Fun stuff!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Please, Step Into My Office

Here at my workplace we run a small operation. We just have four drivers, one driver/technician, two pharmacists, & one me - technician/billing specialist/timekeeper/driver. Our work space is correspondingly small. My office is actually the break room, too. My desk is on one wall & the break table is directly behind me. I kind of like this set up because it encourages chats with the guys. I would rather be around folks than tucked away behind an office door. Besides, this way I'm always within five feet of the coffee pot!
My desk however, is not at all what I would pick. In typical computer desk fashion it doesn't have a single drawer of any kind. I don't have a place to hide goodies or tuck my purse away. For years I have just set my purse on the floor beside my desk. Most of the time it's no big deal but when I have a light colored leather or fabric purse, bad things happen - they get dirty.
The other day I got all kinds of smart & do-it-yourself-ery. I bought one of those self-sticking but won't hurt your finish hooks & I stuck it on the side of my desk:
Pretty handy, huh? The only problem is that I stuck it high up on the desk side so that longer handled purses wouldn't drag the floor. In hanging it high I made it impossible for the hook to slide off of it's back piece so who knows if I'll ever be able to get it off. Oh well.

The other thing I did in my office recently I am not so proud of. It involves this shoe buckle:
When you are wearing shoes with buckles it is unwise to sit down with your foot curled underneath of you. I did just that this morning. What happened when I tried to get up was not a pretty sight. Unless you would have had a video camera; I'm sure this little snippet could have made America's Funniest Videos.
I stood up & tried to pull my leg down underneath me. The buckle caught in the cloth cover of my desk chair and two stumbles, one jerk, & one tear later - I was able to stand upright.

Poor chair! I pulled a fairly large chunk of fabric out & left a fairly large tear. Oops.
By the way, today marks the fourth anniversary of my very first blog post. My, how time does fly!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Fashion Report

Last Friday night I spent several grueling hours shopping for a new outfit. I had myself totally worked up about going to dinner in the Big City with Mike, his brother, & a friend. Somehow or other I was really worried that I would be underdressed & po-dunk. I have a few fashion missteps in my past & they were haunting me big time.
So I consulted you fabulous readers. You were empathic. You were encouraging. I drew upon your strength during my grueling fitting room escapades. And I learned some very important things.
First of all, never shop alone. I exhausted myself pacing around, picking things up in multiple sizes, making multiple trips to the fitting room & back. I'm getting tired again just remembering it.
Second of all, my sweet hair styling friend DeAnne reminded me that the clothes are nothing compared to the person you are. She kindly told me to remember that I already had everything I needed to enjoy a nice evening out. She said not to forget that I had been taught good manners; use them. She told me not to forget my smile; an engaging, genuine smile is better than the finest cashmere. She remarked that a good listening ear is one of the best things you can bring to a stimulating conversation; it's better than skinny jeans & the best high-heeled boots.
She is so right.
But I went shopping anyway. And exhausted myself but I think it was worth it.

I loved the soft knit & easy lines of this shawl-ish lavendar sweater. I had to use one of those long-handled hooks to get it down off of the display wall & I'm glad I did!
Underneath the sweater I layered a lacy-top cami & this soft drapey gray long-sleeved T with pleats at the neck. This outfit was all about soft, let me tell you. This t-shirt feels like it's made out of silk, only better.
I will admit that I tried on skinny jeans. I took two pairs into the fitting room with me. One pair was one size larger than my normal size & the other pair was two sizes larger than my normal size. I know they are supposed to be fitted, but come ON. I just couldn't make myself like them on me, even when tucked down into my boots. So I compromised & got these Levi's. They are described as Slender Straight on the tag & surprisingly, I really like them.
And then I finished things off with these fun little ankle boots. They were kind of an accident. I didn't come home with any shoes on Friday night. Mike & I agreed that I didn't have any shoes that really worked with the outfit. So on Saturday I did a bit more shopping & found these. I *heart* them. And they are easy to walk in. Plus they make my big feet appear smaller. I have died & gone to heaven.
Here's the obligatory self portrait. Mike was taking too long & I got tired of waiting for him to take my picture. *grin*
Proof of my shoe love. I don't want to tell how many times I almost tottered over trying to take this one!
Mike was finally ready to take my pic. Am I all awkward arms & legs or what?
And here is Mike all ready for the evening. He totally would not cooperate & let me take his pic or try to take a pic together. Goofy boy.

At more than one point during the day on Saturday I thought our dinner plans were going to be cancelled. We had a bit of a snow storm & no one likes driving any kind of distance in a mess like that. Also, Mike had to work Saturday & they wouldn't tell him what time he would be getting off. First they said he had to work until 4 pm. Our original dinner reservation was at 4:30 so we had to cancel it. Then he got off at 2:30 & we were able to get there in time for dinner reservations at another restaurant at 8:30. It wasn't as fancy-schmancy as the first place, but it was a nice local Italian restaurant. We had wonderful appetizers of Toasted Ravioli & Crab Cakes followed by a Fish Stew or Italian Wedding Soup. For the main course I ordered Fettucini Alfredo while the boys ordered Lobster Stuffed Ravioli. We all shared some Tiramisu & a Cannoli or two for dessert. To say it was good would be to sell it short. It was fabulous. Each dish was served with an orchid for garnish & I couldn't keep myself from saying, "That's so pretty!" whenever they brought something new to our table.

It was a fine evening - good food, good company, & good memories!

I know, I know...

You guys are all white knuckled just waiting to hear what I bought to wear to dinner Saturday night, aren't you?
I'm sorry to say that I don't have all of my pics organized yet, but I'm hoping to have the whole thing written & posted by this time tomorrow, expressly for your reading pleasure.
However, I make no promises. Deadlines, commitments, promises, etc. - all super scary! Especially when computers & cameras are involved. So much that can go wrong...
Anyway, to leave you with just a little piece of Christmas joy, I thought I'd post a pic of one of the ornaments Mike has made lately.

Isn't she a pretty angel? He's made an entire nativity set that goes with her. They all have magnets on the back and work well on the front of a refrigerator. That was our gift to his momma for Christmas. She's getting it early so she can enjoy it before the season is over.

See you soon - fashion tips in hand *grin*

Remembering the Attack on Pearl Harbor

Perhaps it is because I have been privileged to travel to Hawaii three times & visit Pearl Harbor twice, I cannot forget that December 7th is Pearl Harbor Day.

If you ever travel to Hawaii, I urge you to visit Pearl Harbor. I think I should warn you though. You won't have fun. You might not even feel compelled to take any pictures. You probably will be compelled to shed a tear or two. It's not something you would add to your vacation itinerary for the fun of it, but it is something you should make time to do.

Just like anything momentous in history, taking time to learn about it will make you a better citizen.

I suppose that's just my humble opinion.

In honor of the fact that today is Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, I have searched the internet & found this page that has a compilation of Pearl Harbor Attack Facts.

Here are some highlights, facts I found particularly interesting:

1. The attack took place on December 7, 1941.
2. Although the aerial attack was very successful, the submarines failed to finish off any wounded ship inside the harbour.
3. The attack's success surprised the Japanese as much as the Americans.
4. The last part of the decoded Japanese message stated that U.S. relations were to be severed.
5. The Japanese force consisted of six carriers with 423 planes.
6. At 6 a.m. the first Japanese attack wave of 83 planes took off. The air raid lasted until about 9:45 a.m. The entire attack & all of its resulting devastation took less than four hours.
7. Eighteen U.S. ships were hit.
8. President Franklin D. Roosevelt said, "December 7, 1941, a date which will live in infamy," in reference to the attack.
9. Casualties included 2,335 servicemen and 68 civilians.
10. 1178 people were wounded.
11. The day after the attack the U.S. and Britain declared war on Japan.
12. The harbour is on the southern coast of Oahu.
13. All of the planes on the Japanese ships were fully fueled and armed.
14. The attack brought the United States into World War II.
15. The Japanese were interested in the Hawaiian islands since the islands were annexed by the U.S. in 1898.
16. Japanese suffered just small losses.
17. The attack crippled the United States fleet.
18. Because of the unpreparedness of the U.S. military, Admiral Husband Kimmel and General Walter Short were relieved of duty.
19. The attack severely crippled the U.S. naval and air strength in the Pacific.
20. Of the eight battleships, all but the Arizona and Oklahoma were eventually repaired and returned to service.
21. Once the fleet was out of action, Japan would be able to conquest a great area.
22. A U.S. Army private who noticed the large flight of planes on his radar screen was told to ignore them because a flight of B-17s from the continental U.S. was expected at the time.
23. More than 180 U.S. aircraft were destroyed.
24. During the attack the USS Arizona sank with a loss of more than 1,100 men.
25. A white concrete and steel structure now spans the hull of the sunken ship as a memorial.
26. The memorial was dedicated on May 30, 1962.
27. U.S. officials had been aware that an attack by Japan was probable, but did not know the time or place it would occur.
28. Pearl Harbor was not in the state of high alert when the attack started, Anti-Aircraft guns were left unmanned.
29. The main targets for the first wave was the airfield and battleships.
30. The second wave targets were other ships and shipyard facilities.

Events in history like the Attack on Pearl Harbor remind me of how grateful I should be that I know the Lord is in control & that all of the political maneuverings of man cannot thwart His purpose for this world.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A Realization...

I was doing some reflecting this week about blogging. I love to blog. I have fun thinking through ideas for posts. I love taking pics for posts. I enjoy writing posts. I even determine to like dealing with computer stuff I don't understand.

Through all of this mental sifting I did however, come to one stark conclusion:

I am a better blog reader than I am blog writer.

This conclusion is largely supported by the fact that very nearly every day I can find the time to check my google reader & read every post that I have subscribed to.

I don't know what motivates me. Mike would say that it's because I'm nosey. Blogs are a polite electronic way of peeping in someone else's window. He's probably right. I am very interested in people - people I know, people I don't know, people who know people that I know...you get the idea.

When I lived in an apartment house I would quite literally watch through my windows when the other tenants would come & go. I wondered who they really were & what they were doing & then I would make up little stories for their lives.

I obviously had too much free time.

Back to my main point - better blog reader than writer...

This was a bit hard for me to acknowledge. You see, in my dreams I could become another Pioneer Woman. Her website is so FUN! I enjoy just about every aspect of it - even the homeschooling stuff which, quite frankly, is completely outside the realm of my current reality.

So as I was digesting the notion that I am not at all like the Pioneer Woman I realized that several things in my life would have to change if I were going to be like her.

#1: I'd have to find a new husband. Mike is not at all like Marlboro Man. Not to say that he wouldn't look great in chaps & that he doesn't have killer forearms (because he would & he does). Mike just doesn't want to be discussed here except for in the vaguest of ways. He doesn't want me to write a best seller out of our love story (& believe me, it would be a best seller!). He doesn't even really want his pic on here which has made for some interesting incognito photo attempts.

#2: I'd have to get a new camera. And learn how to use it.

#3: I'd need to get a new computer. And learn how to use it. You know, links, tabs, better blog design, photo editing. I don't really do any of that. I think I'd need to take a class? Or several?!

#4: I'd need to have a bunch of kids. They just make everything more colorful. I'd have more stories to tell, more pics to post, just more everything!

#5: I'd need to get good at something like Pioneer Woman is good at cooking. I have no naturally obvious gift to develop & no inspiration.

#6: I need to come up with some cool catch phrases like, "whatever makes your skirt fly up" & a cool nickname like "PW, P-Dub", etc.

#7: We would need to get a dog or some other pet. Just like the aforementioned kids, the pet would just be another great source of content. Mike & I don't exactly see eye to eye on dogs at this point in time, so I don't see this one happening any time soon.

#8: I'd need a cool sign-off. Usually my posts kind of end awkwardly. I feel funny saying good-bye because that seems weird & totally unlike saying good-bye at the end of a letter or email. Sometimes I pose a question to help prompt comments & some interaction, but if I was going to be a super successful blogger I think I would need a sign-off.

So much to think about! And so much to do if I am going to reverse the trend & become a better blog writer than blog reader!

Until I decide to enact some major change, I guess I'll just remain -

Pharm Girl

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Calling All Fashionistas!

Since it has already been established that I need an intervention a la "What Not To Wear", I thought I'd send out a little S.O.S. to my bloggie friends.

This Saturday Mike & I have plans to go to the Big City to meet his brother & a friend for dinner. This should really be no big deal. However, my brother-in-law (a.k.a. 'Stew') is a professional man & he has some distinct ideas of how to do things. First of all, we will not be going to Olive Garden, P.F. Chang's, or even The Cheesecake Factory. I actually don't know the name of the restaurant but it requires reservations & he said it would probably be around $100 for our dinner (OH.MY.WORD.) He lives downtown, the restaurant is downtown, & we will be walking about 11 blocks in the crisp winter air to get there.

Enter my dilemma. Stew has massive fashion sense for a man. He actually has massive city fashion sense for a man. I have no fashion sense, let alone city fashion sense. Mike is easy to dress. Cool jeans, nice shoes, & a freshly ironed button down. He's done. Ready to go. Just doesn't seem fair, does it?

I know that I should probably paint my nails. I've already got them filed down nicely. My regular salon appointment is today so my hair will be freshly trimmed & there will be no grays peeking through.

The real problem (& you have already guessed it, haven't you?), is clothing. I am fairly certain that my normal outfit of layered t's & hoodies will not be acceptable. I know that I should be planning on some black (preferably high heeled) boots, dark rinse skinny jeans, & a tunic sweater of some sort, probably topped off with a scarf. This would look fabulous on a tall, willowy girl.

There are several issues with that imaginary outfit.

First, I am tall. I am not willowy. Amen.

Second, the high heeled boots. Walking 11 blocks? No to the way. And I mean NO.TO.THE.WAY. Plus, I'm 5'10". I don't need any help in the height department.

Third, nobody & I mean NO BODY wants to see me in skinny jeans. Amen.

Fourth, I don't own a tunic sweater. See #2. I'm tall. Tunic sweaters on me just mean that when I bend down I don't have to worry about anything showing.

Fifth, there is no fifth. I have some scarves (or is it scarfs?) & I love to wear them. So I just might end up rocking a scarf.

Help me out here. What should I do? I have a Old Navy gift card & a Fashion Bug gift card.
Any suggestions?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Christmas Progress?

As far as Christmas decorating goes, we don't have much done.
But at least we have one of the trees up.
Yes, you read that right. I said, "one" of the Christmas trees have been put up.
That would mean that yes, we do put up more than one Christmas tree.
Are you wondering how we can possibly fit more than one Christmas tree in a one bedroom house?
It's easy. At least it's easy when one tree is of the slimline, space-saving variety like this one:

It's our refrigerator tree! My mom always gives us a little bag of Christmas themed goodies on the day after Thanksgiving (after a group of about 15 of us shop for 8-10 hours; we are a CRAZY family!). This year her little goodie bag contained this wonderful magnetic tree. It's actually an advent calendar & you are supposed to put up one ornament every day until Christmas. Rule breaker that I am, I just couldn't wait! Had to decorate that tree up right from the beginning! One of these days I'll tell you what it's like to be me, dancing on the edge out here & being such a risk taker...
So as far as Christmas decorating our house, we have a ways to go. Right now our real Christmas tree is buried in a corner of the basement beside Mike's "workshop". It's buried under at least an inch of sawdust. Hopefully by the end of the week we will have it dusted off & shining in all of it's pre-lit white light glory!

However, I can report real progress in the hand made Christmas gift category. I'm not sure when I started this project but I don't think it's been much more than a year ago...it's been a doozy! It was very detailed & just a little bit difficult. But I finished it last night & that means it will actually be given this Christmas as planned!
I still need to decide about matting & framing. This is actually going to be a gift for my dad. I know that sounds a little weird - cross stitch for a man?! - but "Silent Night" is his all time favorite Christmas carol so I'm hoping he will really like this. At least I'm hoping he will pretend that he really likes it!

I had a list as long as my arm of other things I wanted to make for Christmas this year but I'm not sure any of it is going to happen. I have to make a set of corn hole bags for my husband or he is going to bust a gasket. Seriously. It's like he doesn't realize we have a whole 25 days until Christmas...

*I want you to know that "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" is playing on the tv in the other room & just listening to it is making me smile. I could sing every one of those songs by heart...good stuff!

Celtic Thunder & Friends

A few weeks ago my fabulous friend Autumn organized a little concert trip. It was wonderfully good timing because Cody was home, visiting from Hawaii. The last couple of times she has been home I have totally missed seeing her. With Autumn's concert plan, we were all going to have an entire evening to catch up. We all knew Good Times lie ahead!

First of all, any trip outside of our little hometown region over to the Big City must include a stop a Chick Fil-A. If I had the dough, I'd open a Chick Fil-A of my own. I love it that much.
I also love Chick Fil-A enough to make sure that everyone got their picture taken with the cow.

As you can tell by our mile-wide grins, Jess & I love Chick Fil-a & we love the cow. There's no explaining love.

As you can tell from their merely happy smiles, Autumn & Cody are not as enamored as Jess & I. Maybe they just hadn't dug into their waffle fries yet. Those fabulously good waffle fries should bring out a mile-wide grin on anybody!
After enjoying our wonderful Chick Fil-A dinners we all hit the front desk for a soda refill & then we hit the road again, motoring on to the Celtic Thunder concert.
That's when the mishap occurred. Cody & I were in the back seat of Jess's car. We were swapping stories & I was showing her some pics on my iphone. Then the unthinkable happened. Somehow, in my extremely talented way, I hit the straw in my soda knocking it through the bottom of my cup & leaving a nickle sized hole for the soda to flow through. In seconds I was soaked. I had never ridden in Jess's car before; my panic stricken mind couldn't figure out how to roll down the window, open the door, or even yell for Jess to stop. I just remember lots of fumbling, moaning, screaming, & icy wetness all over my lap & iphone. Not good, people, not good.
When Jess realized the disaster that had befallen the light gray upholstery of her back seat, she pulled over & I jumped out of the car.

Alas, it was too late. I was wearing about 24 oz. of diet Coke all over my pants. In places that looked very bad. I was a bit distraught but I just couldn't stop laughing. I just couldn't believe what I had done!
I also can't believe I have posted a pic of my backside. Please don't notice any clear details, such as size. Just look at the Coke stains & then promptly scroll on. Thank you very much.
Here is the evil cup. It obviously had some kind of manufacturing defect. It couldn't even stand up to a straw!

Jess rummaged around in her trunk & found me a trash bag to sit on since the seat was SOAKED. I was in a bit of a tizzy trying to figure out what I was going to do about my jeans. Someone miraculously remembered that we were close to an Old Navy - thank the good Lord! We had just enough time to run over & get a new pair of jeans. Autumn coached me on the way to the store...
It doesn't matter if the jeans are on sale! You will buy them!
It doesn't matter if they are long enough! You will buy them!
It doesn't matter if they fit perfectly! You will buy them!
Perhaps she has been shopping with me before & knows how hard it is for me to commit to new jeans? Usually it's a three-or-four-trips-to-try-on-and-investigate before I buy kind of deal. That's what happens when you are tall, a little chubby & frugal like me!
Jess dropped Autumn & I at the curb, we ran in, I grabbed three pairs, tried on the first pair & a dove descended from heaven, declared this day to be the day for my miracle, & they FIT! I tossed them over the door to Autumn, she ran to the cashier, paid for them, brought them back to me & we ran out the door. The fastest jeans buying experience of my.entire.life.
Jess hit the turbo on her Hyundai & we barely made it to the concert on time. My dry legs & backside were very grateful the other girls were willing to make the Old Navy stop. I would not have survived the cold theatre in cold, wet pants. Never mind the crazy stares I would have gotten.
We had a blast at the concert. Jess & Autumn didn't have tickets near us but we met up at intermission to commentate with one another & decide what needed to be purchased from the sales table.
I know we look super happy here, but it was all totally concert-induced. We did not purchase beer from the bar during intermission. However, the older lady sitting next to me did. She was hilarious with the continual remarks during the second half of the show - pointing out who was the sexiest in the Celtic Thunder group, knocking her empty beer can over & then calling herself a loud old drunk lady. Quite entertaining, let me tell you.
I know you are wondering why we would be so excited about a Celtic Thunder concert. I'm sure you've seen them on PBS & thought - weird! Aren't they the guys that sing cover songs like, "Everything I Do, I Do It For You" by Bryan Adams from the movie "Robin Hood." That's totally not cool.
And yeah, they totally sang that song. And I didn't love it. But the other songs that they played & sang totally made up for it. I love Irish music & I will not apologize for it.

After the concert we hung out in front of the theatre for like FOR.EVER waiting for the musicians to come out & board their bus. This was not my idea. However, it was hilarious. I admit that I screamed like a middle school girl a time or two. Said screaming was in jest; I was not giddy with any kind of crush on the handsome musicians. I didn't even get my picture taken with any of them. But I did take Autumn's pic with one of the guys. Funny how she didn't include that one in the pics she sent me for this post...hmmm...maybe she had it blown up poster size & it's hanging on her closet door!
Cause that's what I'd do with it if I were her *grin*

Thursday, November 25, 2010

I had all of these grand plans to write a super well thought out, praiseful, thankful, grateful post today. I wanted it to make sense (ha!) & be thought provoking.
However, I slept in a bit this morning - ahhhh! I had to forsake my annual Thanksgiving Day run (because we are getting some much needed rain) for a Denise Austin workout - this is my first Thanksgiving with her! - and now I need to hit the kitchen to make the noodles! So since time is slip, slip, slipping away from me, I'll keep this short & nonsensical like most of my other posts! But hopefully I can convey just a little bit of the gratitude in my heart.

1. I am so thankful for my God & my salvation.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son,
that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16
Lately I have been really meditating on what my life would be like if I had never accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior & received forgiveness for my sins. Let me tell you, I can't think about it too much before my heart overflows with gratitude. The path of my life would be strewn with fear, anxiety, poor decisions & bitterness. I would be without hope. I have so much to thank Jesus for; He has been so good to care for me, lead me, & give me peace. Without Him I could do nothing, I would be nothing.

2. I woke up this morning in a warm, cozy home snuggled up next to my husband. Second only to my salvation, Michael is God's gift to me. I cannot remember how I lived before him. Daily he makes me laugh, comforts me with his wisdom & gentleness, challenges me to love, forgive, & communicate in a Biblical way & he shows me the love of Christ. I am very blessed.

3. Mike & I both have jobs. Full time jobs with benefits. In fact, right now we both have a little more overtime than we know what to do with. Our home is warm, our pantry is stocked, we have what we need & a little that we can share. God has provided for us in a wonderful, faithful way. We are thankful.

4. Today we will have dinner with Mike's family & my family. My parents literally live two blocks away & Mike's M&D are only about 5 minutes away. I still have one full set of Grands & Mike has a G-ma. We have so much family to love & fellowship with. It is overwhelming in a glorious way. Sometimes I think my heart could literally burst from the swelling up of love & happiness. Kind of like how the Grinch's heart grows at the end of the story? I have FELT THAT! God is good.

I'd better wrap this up or there will be consequences - no noodles (oh no!) & I will get so emotional that I'll have to have a kleenex up my sleeve all day!

Mike & I wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

So Much For That!

I am by no means fashion savvy. I have to go to work early in the morning. I cannot put together a comprehensible sentence until I have been awake for at least an hour. If I wait until morning to decide what to wear that day I will most likely stand staring into my closet for a full five minutes & still be unable to come up with a workable outfit.
It's just who I am.
I should be on that show, "What Not To Wear."
Sad but true.
In an effort to overcome my early morning mental handicaps (not to mention my lack of time due to hitting the snooze button approximately 63 times), I will generally pick out five outfits on the weekend. Then I iron them all & hang them in a special slot in my closet. Ahh...the joy of planning ahead!
This week I had my outfits all planned & this morning I selected an outfit that seemed fairly well put together, a nice sleek black sweater layered over a cream colored tissue T with crisp dark wash jeans & black shoes. Simple. Solid colors. That's how I roll.
I was even enough ahead of the clock that I could put on some jewelry. I worked in a jewelry store for over five years so I really like the stuff. And I used to really wear it. Not so much anymore, but when I have time I put on a ring (other than my wedding rings which I always wear), a necklace, & some earrings.
So I put on the jewelry, snag my coat & head out the door. All the while thinking I looked just fine.
after I had been at work for a while went to wash my hands. While looking in the mirror I discovered this:

In my right ear I am sporting a beautiful opal stud.
In my left ear I am sporting a beautiful trillion diamond stud.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Out With the Old...In With the New!

My goodness! I have been pinned under a heavy rock of work, stuff, & more stuff! I think about blogging all the time...I just haven't had any moments when I could get my fingers on the keyboard. Right now I just have a short moment, so let's make the best of it!

You girls were right, the glasses were the difference in the last picture I posted. I had been living with these little honeys for two years. I was so ready for a change!

Out with the old (and seriously funky looking peeling transition lens glasses)...

and in with The New!

So far, I'm loving these! I'm actually wearing them again today. It's nice to give my eyes a rest from the contacts every once in a while. I'm so grateful I was able to get a good deal (with my vision insurance) for these hopefully a bit more stylish frames :-)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A Little Trivia For You!

I have been majorly absent from this, my little corner of cyberspace. Life has been hopping & I've not been keeping up. Never fear - I have a list of pics & stories as long as my arm that I will be sharing with you all in the *hopefully* very near future!

Until then...

What's different about me in this picture?

If you don't see me on a regular basis it might be hard for you to figure out. But I'll bet that someone out there will see it!

There are no prizes to be awarded *boo!*

But you will feel very smart if you answer correctly. As least it would if it were me...

Friday, October 29, 2010


1. I'm ecstatic that it is Friday. This has been a very long week for many reasons...my boss is on vacation which does not make for an easy work week...I've got the worst cold of my adult life & on day #8 it is still kicking my hiney...plus Mike has been working late every day. I am practically counting down the seconds until 3 p.m. Literally.

2. I have been plugging "Fernando Ortega" into Pandora every morning while I get ready for work. This week I've only had about 25-30 minutes to get ready because I have been getting every possible moment of sleep. It makes for some interesting hair, folks. Anyway, I like Fernando. I like the music that they link to his. It's soothing. And in my mind's eye, Fernando looks like Yanni. Here is Yanni's pic, probably from the late 80's or early 90's & just how I remember him:

And here is Fernando Ortega. My imagination has been just a little bit off!

Sorry, Fernando.

3. I made a power move at work today. I turned the heat on. When I arrived this morning it was only 55 degrees in the lab. I decided that was my breaking point. Boy, did it smell bad when it first kicked on! None of the guys commented much except to say that it was stinky. However, I just got back from a total of two trips to get my supervisor his lunch (a long, stupid story) & it's feeling a little chilly in here again. Methinks someone has undone my power move. Grrr. A pox on him. Not really but it does kind of provoke me. *ahem*

4. I need a pumpkin pie blizzard from DQ stat. I know that doesn't make sense with my cold-natured-ness but don't question a girl's need for seasonal ice cream treats.

5. Did I mention that this head cold is still kicking my hiney? The overall worst problem is the sinus pressure. Behind my right eye, in my ears, making my teeth hurt...it's intense, people. And it's making me more irrational than usual.

6. Mike has tomorrow off - praise be to God above! He has worked the last three Saturdays & that is a drag like no other. So we have decided that tomorrow we are going to do the mature thing & COMPLETELY IGNORE all of the things that need to be done around the house. We are going to escape town for the day & do completely worthless fun things.

7. I haven't washed dishes since Tuesday. Our kitchen is kinda grody. Just keepin' it real.

8. I think I'm going to bake a pumpkin this evening. That is, if I can find my kitchen under the aforementioned dirty dishes. And if I can make myself create more dirty dishes by baking.
Actually, this whole kitchen cleaning, baking, & then cleaning up again business is looking really iffy...

9. I'm sending a package to Missy in Vienna today. I love sending international mail. It makes me feel kind of cool or urban or international or something.
By the way, I'm totally dorky, hickified, & not at all international. I'm just a regular Josephine.

10. My supervisor is watching tv on his iphone in the other office. I have no idea what he may be watching but it involves a screaming crowd & a warbling Adam Sandler (I think). Weird.

Happy weekend to you one & all!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

An Anniversary of Sorts

Three years ago today Mike & I went on our first date. At least, that's when we think we went on our first date. We segued so seamlessly from good friends to dating that it's a little hard to tell exactly what happened when. But this was the first occasion where I remember him asking me to plan something like a week in advance. I had mentioned that I wanted to see the movie "Dan In Real Life" so he suggested that we get some dinner & go see it the next Saturday night. That was Saturday, October 27, 2007. That was a great, fun night & the beginning of the Rest of My Life.

Forgive me, I just couldn't resist getting a little dramatic *grin*

Two years ago Mike asked me to be his wife. You can read about his proposal here. I was only just beginning to realize how much I loved that man.

Mike has to work late tonight & I am on Day 7 of the worst cold of my adult life. We will be celebrating quietly - a very nice dinner of BBQ Pork Loin, Mushroom & Cheddar Potatoes, & Green Beans. Mike doesn't know it yet but I'm going to rush home from work & put together a batch of his favorite cookies as a surprise. It helps that his favorite cookies are peanut butter & they only require three ingredients. That man is too easy on me!

Anyway, I thought maybe our little 'anniversary' was worth noting. How do you remember your life story events? The first date? The proposal? The first/fifth/tenth anniversary? Please share all your girly, giggly stories - it will be like a bloggie slumber party!

Monday, October 25, 2010

*Sniffle* Sniffle*

I have a cold. It's a whopper. This is no little case of the sniffles. This is not a sneeze every once in a while. This is a full bore, stuffy head, achy chest, take your temperature just to be sure you don't have a fever kind of cold. It stinks.
Earlier today the sinus pressure tried to evict my eyeballs. It was an ugly situation.
This morning I came to the conclusion that I would rather be a stay at home mom with four children under five years old than go to work feeling like I do. A SAHM can stay in her pajamas all day. She can at least attempt to wrangle the kids from the couch. She can call the grands & the aunties to get some help. I can only imagine my boss's response if I showed up my my pajamas with my mom & sister to help me get my work done. There's a little voice in the back of my head (behind all of the congestion) that is screaming that such behavior would not be acceptable. *sigh*
Another thing I learned today is that some people will say anything right to your face. I work with all men. They are usually a fun group. Sometimes we get crossways with each other but most of the time we are cool. Today, however, they were a little too frank with their remarks. I heard all three of these today:

"Did you get any sleep at all this weekend? You look rough!"

"Are you going to make it through the day or pass out on me half way through?"

And my personal favorite:

"Are you just in a really bad mood or do you not feel good?"

I'm taking some medicine & going to bed. Tomorrow will be better. It had better be better!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Our House Smells Like A Pizzeria

I woke up this morning & wanted to hold my nose. I wrinkled it up instead & hit the floor running. I needed both hands so that I could fix Mike's lunch really fast & push him out the door. He has to clock in before 5:30 a.m. & he has to cross a mean railroad track to get to his workplace so he's got to hit the road on time. Investigating why our house smelled like a pizzeria full of pungent garlic cloves was going to have to wait until after he was out the door.
I handed Mike his lunch box, kissed his handsome face, promised him I would pray for him, & watched him get into his car. It's my morning ritual.
Anyway, ritual completed, time to think about the pizzeria perfume hanging around our little abode. I thought back to last night's dinner preparation. My meal planning was just a little sketchy this week. I haven't been home to cook a lot & last night I was really tired. I've got a cold coming on & I was just dragging. So I opted for a somewhat simple chicken & broccoli & rice dish for Mike (it's one of his favorites but I can take it or leave it). For myself, I was going to take some of the chicken & make up a quick couscous & balsamic vinegar & feta cheese creation. It's a fabulous dish but Mike isn't a fan so I figured the perfect compromise was taking place - his easy favorite for him, my easy favorite for me.
Everything was going very well; I was multi-tasking like a professional! For my dinner I needed to crush two cloves of garlic, add some olive oil & chicken broth then put in the microwave to heat to a nice simmer. I pulled the aromatic mixture out of the microwave & promptly dumped a box of couscous in. And then I recoiled in horror, mouth agape. There were some dead bug looking like things in my couscous! Ack! Serious yuckiness!
So the contents of the bowl went in the trash. So sad. I ended up with a smorgasbord kind of dinner, eating two bites of this & two bites of that to finish up some leftovers.
After dinner I looked at the half empty trash can & knew that it would have to be emptied because of the garlic in the couscous mixture as well as some chicken garbage. Both of those items are notoriously stinky if left around any time at all. The trash was disposed of promptly & the kitchen was wiped down & closed for the night.
We went to bed & all was well.
So why does the house smell like a pizzeria today? I just can't figure it out.

Oh well...at least the house doesn't smell like this guy's arm pit! This picture cracked me up. I hope it brings a giggle to your Friday!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

My Mondays

In the Pharm Girl world, Mondays are a little crazy. I think they are crazy for most people who work a regular Monday through Friday work week.

I heap the punishment upon myself by doing our grocery shopping on Mondays. If I want to take part in the good deals at CVS & Walgreens I have to shop on Monday. And if I am going to make two stops, I might as well make them all!

This week I had my list all planned & my coupons all organized before the end of my workday. I was able to leave work & head right out to shop. That always makes me happy. Get it out of the way & have the evening to relax & just be at home...ahhh!

The shopping went well. I even feel like I got it done quickly! Mike checked in with me when he got off work & I told him I was 'only' going to go to Walmart, Kroger, & Walgreens. Usually I hit Aldi & CVS, too. He thinks I'm nuts for making all of those stops. He would just go to Kroger & be done with it. I just can't take the easy road. I must use coupons! I must take advantage of the deals! I think I adopt a warrior shopper mindset. I must crush & destroy the enemy!

Anyway, it was a good, profitable, money saving shopping trip.

Then I got home. We lugged in the haul. I unpacked the bags. And I found this:

My Greek yogurt cup lid had a big puncture in it! *sigh* I had bought it on sale with a double coupon. It was one of my shopping victories (not to mention one of my favorite snacks!). Oh well. No use crying over stabbed yogurt, right?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Weekend's Worth of Good Eats

This past weekend I spent some quality time in the kitchen messing around with a couple of recipes that I had really been wanting to try out. I am a faithful reader of the blog Food Loves Writing. As is usually the case, I haven't the foggiest idea how I found Shannalee's blog but I love it. I love how she ties her everyday musings into the food that she prepares. Her writing is creative & it never fails to draw me in.
Shannalee gives restaurant reviews & she does a lot of cooking that is organic, natural, has weird ingredients, is frequently gluten free, & always interesting.
Am I starting to sound like a commercial or a cheerleader?
Anyway, I like to read her stuff & I like to fantasize about making some of her recipes. This past weekend I knocked out two of them!

First of all, let me mention that October 11th was my dad's 60th birthday. We had a backyard hot dog roast to celebrate on Saturday night. I was kind of in a bit of a hurry to get my kitchen experimenting done before the party. Note To Self: NEVER cook in a hurry. Bad things happen. Interesting things happen. I am simply not very good at multitasking in a hurry. Thankfully I did not destroy anything I was making but I did make us way late to the party when I put the macaroni in the oven to bake & then turned the oven off. I know, I'm brilliant.
The first recipe I tried was actually another one of my brilliant moments. I read Shannalee's post about Coconut Flour Cookies & while I was skimming over the post I kept thinking, I want to make these for Dad! My dad loves coconut. He especially loves coconut baked goods. In fact, my mom was going to make him a coconut cake for his party. I personally think that coconut feels like sawdust in your mouth & tastes like suntan lotion, but my opinion is unimportant. I decided to make these cookies for Dad.

Until I started combining the ingredients I was completely unaware that while these cookies have coconut flour & coconut oil in them, they do not in fact have coconut in them. Oops. The bag of coconut that I bought went to live in my parent's pantry.
Here is the finished product. They look burnt to a crisp but they are really just coated in cinnamon & sugar. They were a little different in texture but had a mild kind of nutty flavor. I liked them; they weren't super sweet. They were especially good with coffee.

My second culinary endeavor was to make some homemade Chunky Applesauce. I've wanted to try making applesauce for quite a while but I have hesitated because I didn't want to make a huge batch. All the recipes I had seen required a lot of apples & a canning process. I just felt like that was a little too much for me to attempt. So Shannalee's recipe for applesauce that only required 5 apples was just what I was looking for!

It took a little longer than I thought it would to cook them down. I had to resist my usual impatience that causes me to cook things on heat that is too high which usually results in things burning or boiling over or even melting random things onto my stove top. Impatience is BAD!
First I chunked the cooked apples up with a potato masher. I couldn't get the consistency quite smooth enough so I got out the blender. I was a little worried because I didn't want to liquefy the stuff. Looking at the buttons on my blender do you think that maybe sometimes we just have too many options?? It's just confusing...

The end result was one super yummy bowl of apple saucy goodness. I've been nibbling on it all week. I get a little dish full & then stick it in the microwave until it is all warm. Then I pretend it's apple pie. Without the crust. Which is sometimes just as amazing as the apple filling. But you know, you can't have it all, all of the time. Unless it's Christmas...or your birthday...or Friday because Friday is the beginning of the weekend & therefore very special...

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Sewer Saga

This time last week we were in the middle of a major sewer line project at our house.

Can I just state for the record that I never, ever, ever want to embark on such a project ever again?

Now that we have that out of the way, here's the whole saga. You might just want to look at the pics & say, "Good enough!" but in case you are interested in details, here goes!

I bought our house 2 1/2 years ago. Since the purchase of our home I have had to have the plumbers come & rout out our sewer line six or seven times because of two large maple trees in front of our house. Their roots are unbelievable. Since we were spending $100 on the plumber each time along with the inconvenience of not being able to use our plumbing, we knew we were going to have to take some major action. Another difficulty we faced is that all of the plumbing outlets of our home (bathroom, kitchen, & laundry) each come out of a different side of the house. In order to access the sewer line to replace it we were going to have to do some major digging. Or we could replumb everything inside the house which would require relocating our basement stairs & cutting a hole in a supporting wall. Oy.

We decided to dig. We figured we could find some cheap labor (ourselves!) & then just pay the plumbers to lay the new pipe.

We had no idea how hard digging would be.

We haven't had a seriously good soaking rain for well over a month. Part of the ground that we needed to dig up was right alongside the alley & had been driven over & packed down for years. So we decided to rent this big guy:

Thank God we did because he was worth every little penny! And no, I didn't drive him or do any of the digging with him. I'm much more of a shovel girl. Give me a shovel & a pick axe & I can make some progress!
We had to dig up all along this side of the house. The pipe was about 3 1/2 feet down.
This was when Mike first used the excavator. His Uncle Steve was helping us (he was a Godsend!). Steve had used an excavator before & he was quickly bored with Mike's slow, careful movements so he hopped up there & took over. Mike was super glad because several times he had almost knocked off the back door overhang. While the guys were working back here I walked over to my parent's house (about two blocks) to borrow my dad's wheel barrow. I felt super cool pushing that thing back home. I probably looked like I was ripping it off out of someone's yard!
This is the spot where most of the problem lies. It's closest to the front of the house & those massive trees. I promise you, if they didn't turn the most beautiful shade of red in the autumn I would go out there & cut them down myself.
Mike is crouched down in this pic so the ditch isn't as deep as he is tall. In this corner where the pipe goes around the house there were three big chunks of concrete covering the pipe. Perhaps it had needed repairs before?
Ahhh! Beautiful! This pic shows the new pipe & where the kitchen joins in & where the new clean out is. See that old terra cotta pipe? Yeah, it cannot withstand tree roots, that is for sure!
Saturday morning we got up & got to work trying to fill in the hole. We had been shoveling for about 45 minutes when it started to rain. I was sad. Very sad. Dirt is heavy to shovel but mud is MUCH HEAVIER. We heaved & hoed for about another hour and a half. Mike's cousin Von came over & helped for a little while & he was such a blessing. We all had so much mud on the bottom of our shoes that we were about three inches taller than normal! We still have some dirt to move. We might work on it tonight. I'm excited. Yeehaw.
These three chunks of concrete were the ones I mentioned above. As we were digging we had to put most of the dirt on our neighbor's property because the sewer line practically runs on the property line. Mike was concerned about leaving it in the neighbor's yard for too long so we went out there Tuesday afternoon to move it. I am no wimpy girl but I just couldn't get it up off the ground. We were struggling with it when a blue truck pulled onto our street & slowed way down. The truck stopped & I got all embarrassed because I thought the person was just watching us for a laugh. Well, the guy got out of his truck hollering, "Miss, put that down! You're going to hurt yourself! Let me help him!" This kind stranger helped Mike move all of the concrete pieces. We were so grateful that the Lord provided help just when we needed it!
Here you can see some of the tree roots that we have been contending with. They are so huge & widespread that it seems like they just want to take over. My mother in law has said that for all of the branches a tree has above ground there are just as many roots below ground. I think she's right.
This is the one place that remains to be dealt with. Unfortunately this is also where we have had the most problems. The bathroom plumbing exits the house here & then turns & runs parallel to this sidewalk. The problem is, the pipe goes under the sidewalk & the sidewalk is about 8 inches thick. Mike was very reluctant to break up the concrete & he ran out of time to try to do it anyway. We didn't fill the hole back in because Mike & Uncle Steve have brainstormed a way to repair it. They just have to have the time to do it. Until then, we are leaving it dug up. In order to keep drivers out of our little ditch we put our trash can in the hole. Pretty funny, huh?

All told, we were without plumbing for about three days. I had scheduled for the plumbers to arrive on Thursday morning & my understanding was that they would be on the job Thursday until they got it done. I went to work that morning very confident that the whole situation would be taken care of that day. Mike stayed home & met the plumbers & talked with them, etc. Based on the text messages that Mike sent throughout the workday, I began to realize that it was going to be no simple fix. The plumbers arrived & discussed the job with Mike. They didn't seem too happy with our digging & that they were going to have to get in the hole & break up the old pipe. They didn't seem to happy about having the job at all. They left within an hour saying they needed to get supplies, go on a couple of service calls & get more help. That was about 11 a.m. When I got home from work at 3 p.m. they still hadn't come back. Here comes the anxiety & frustration! They finally arrived at about 3:45 & they stayed at it until about 5 o'clock. My mom dropped by on her way home from work & while I was talking to her they just left. No goodbye we'll be back at such-n-such time or anything. I was so upset because we still had no plumbing. I'm grateful my parents live close but it's no fun leaving home to take a shower. And since we didn't know for sure when they would be back I got really wound up.
Well, they came back the next day but it was in the late afternoon. Mike & I had a whole house full of company coming for dinner to help us celebrate the completion of the project & to thank them for their help. We had invited his Uncle Steve & his wife Debbie & their two sons, Mike's mom & dad, his cousin Von & Aunt Becky. How was I going to fix dinner with no water? How do you celebrate a project that isn't completed? Some things that we maybe should have thought about before handing out the invites...
Anyway, disaster was averted when they wrapped the job up at about 4:30. I wrote them a check (not the amount we were praying for, but one the Lord knew we could handle - just barely!) & then ran inside to get cooking.
We had a fabulous good dinner & a lot of fun together. Growing up I thought I had the loudest, funnest, craziest family; now that I am married & part of another family, I have realized that my family is pretty normal. When you get a big group of people who love each other around a table full of good food wonderful things happen. We had a blast!
And then I washed dishes in warm sudsy water that exited my sink in a lovely new turquoise sewer pipe; that is my current definition of happiness!