Archive for November, 2008


It’s Saturday, which means the holiday weekend is already half over.

Some notes about the last two days:

  • The new table was a splendid success. All 8 of us easily fit together and though it seemed like it only took us 15 minutes to clear our plates, it was worth it.
  • Thanksgiving dinner is MUCH easier when two people split the work. My mom and I did just about everything, except carve the ham and turkey which was my husband’s job as “man of the house.”
  • Xmas is less than a month away, which means it’s okay to hang lights and decorate the yard on Thanksgiving day, like we did, but it is still not okay to have Xmas stuff up two days before Thanksgiving, like our neighbors up the street did.
  • My mom and I spent hours scouring the ads for some “worth it” black Friday deals. We were disappointed, but also relieved that we didn’t have to get up at 4 a.m. and instead went out at 9 a.m. I still bought everything I wanted (gifts for the hubs) and made it back in time for lunch with the boys (hubs and step-dad).
  • We realized that Blu-Ray isn’t worth it. I asked my cousin to bring his PS3 to our house so we could see what a Blu-Ray disc looks like on our 1080p HDTV. The picture quality improvement isn’t worth the $200-$400. Instead, we bought new audio/video cables for enhanced DVD quality. Maybe when the price drops to say, $100, we’ll consider it again. I’m also still debating ordering U-verse so I can take advantage of HD channels and total home DVR.
  • My dog is spoiled, and it’s not my doing. Beware of excess treats when your parents start using the term “grand-dog” or “grand-pup”.
  • This family goes through a lot of wine around the holidays. And only three of us drink.
  • Today will be filled with more family togetherness as I make the rounds with my mom to visit her high school BFF and my great-grandma before helping my grandparents put up their tree. That last part wouldn’t be so bad if the tree wasn’t as old as me, but much moldier.

Have a wonderful and relaxing rest of the weekend!

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Twilight: The Verdict

As predicted, I saw Twilight on Saturday. I also forced my husband to go see it with me. This was probably mistake number one. Never take someone to a movie if all they do is complain about how bad it is BEFORE they even see the movie! It doesn’t matter if it is the best. movie. ever. They will hate it, just out of principal.

So we went to an afternoon showing. The theater was only about one-third capacity and we were running late. Fortunately, I didn’t miss the Harry Potter trailer.

Having read (and LOVED!) the book Twilight, I was extremely skeptical about the movie. Movies never live up to the book. And the reasons I love the book – the emotion portrayed by Bella’s words, the way she describes Edward and her love for him, the FEELINGS – are all very difficult to express on screen. Reading Twilight is like reading someone’s journal. Someone’s very private, very personal journal. In fact, I had to read it when I was alone because it just felt awkward reading her deep, emotionally-charged words in the presence of others. (Maybe that’s weird. I don’t know.) And watching the movie with my husband (an outsider! who doesn’t understand! who doesn’t see all the emotion and love between them!) was much the same way: just awkward.

Then came the special effects, which, in a word: bad. The scene where Edward steps into the sun? Boring. My husband turned to me and whispered, “That’s it? I don’t get it?” I just shook my head. I wanted to justify pieces of it, but I just couldn’t.

The cast on the other hand wasn’t bad. The main characters were just right for their parts, but I was a little disappointed in the choices of Bella’s friends. Jessica and Mike were basically how I imagined them, but not the other two. And the ending pretty much sealed the deal for a sequel. So all in all, I liked it, but for those that didn’t read the book but see the movie, you may never understand the hype. The movie doesn’t do the book justice. There’s no way it could.

Now let’s talk about Edward. When I read the book, Rob Pattinson was not who I imagined as Edward. At all. I watched his part in Harry Potter, and caught some of the TV interviews he did while promoting Twilight. I was not impressed. His hair was messy, his eyebrows looked like caterpillars…meh. My husband even made comments like “THAT’S the guy all these girls are going crazy over? Huh.” We were perplexed.

And then we saw the movie.

“I bet that guy can get some booty,” said my husband as we left. For those of you that don’t know, that’s his way of saying a guy is attractive without coming out and saying he’s attractive.

By the end of the movie, I was swooning right along with the teeny-boppers. Which, by the way, swarmed me on our way out of the theater. It was seriously us and about 30 13 year old girls. That’s it. My husband looked around us as we left and laughed while telling me I was a big dork because we were the oldest people in the theater. Whatever. I’m used to being dorky. I embrace my dorkiness.

Anyway, I don’t know what changed during the movie, but now as I’m finishing New Moon, Rob Pattinson’s is the only face for Edward that I see. He’s absolutely beautiful in this movie and I feel a little dirty for crushin’ on a 17 year old. But then I remember that he’s really 22 and that makes it all okay.

 Did you see the movie? What did you think?

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Gather Round the Table

For the last three years, I have hosted Thanksgiving. My parents come in from Tennessee/Kentucky/wherever they currently live and my grandparents, aunt, and cousin make the 45 min. drive north to my house. One year my in-laws and nephew came for turkey day too. Needless to say, we have a full house on Thanksgiving.

I love hosting. Up until three years ago, I dreaded Thanksgiving because it always meant being at someone else’s house, eating someone else’s food, and I was bored out of my mind because there were already “too many cooks in the kitchen” for me to help with anything. And I don’t really like football. The only problem with me hosting Thanksgiving, is this:


This photo, from my very first year of hosting Thanksgiving dinner, demonstrates the small size of my kitchen table. With only four chairs, we would stand around the food to say grace, then everyone would grab a plate and silverware and go around loading up their plates buffet-style. Then they would go grab a TV tray and sit on the couch. The guys didn’t complain, but after my mom and I had spent the better part of the week preparing for the meal, it was sort of disappointing that we couldn’t all eat together. 

But this year, things will be different. Behold my new kitchen table!


Finally, we’ll all be able to sit together for Thanksgiving dinner. I don’t know that it’s normal for one to get so excited over a piece of furniture, but I’ve been talking to it for the last 24 hours, telling it how pretty it is and how much it’s going to love living here because we love it so much. And last night, before bed, I think I heard my husband tell it goodnight.

What are your plans for Turkey Day?

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Twilight Mania

I’ve been reading a few posts from bloggers that went to the midnight showing of Twilight last night, and I have to admit, they have me jonesing to get out and see this flick NOW. I love, love, love the book and had planned on going to a late show tonight, but I’d like to actually be AWAKE when I see the movie. And after the week I’ve had, I can’t promise that my eyelids will be cooperative at 11 p.m. tonight. So some time tomorrow, I’ll drag my husband with me into the swarms of salivating teenage girls who are probably there watching the movie for their second or third time. I can’t wait!

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Now, it is done

Remember when I told you guys about our little summer project? The one where we tore down our old deck and rebuilt a new one…all by ourselves?

Well it took another month, but we finally had a nice weekend, oh about a month ago, where we had a chance to stain it.

Couple of notes about staining decks.

1. Wear gloves.

2. Wear clothes that you don’t mind throwing away immediately afterward.

3. Number 2 goes for shoes as well.

4. Once you start, you can’t stop. Or else you’ll end up with a deck of multiple stain tones.

For comparison, here’s the before:dscn23331

And here’s the after:


Champ asks that you please forgive his muddy paw prints. img_0020

I love fall. And I love the view of fall from my back yard.


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Oooh, shiny!

I’m not really a gadget kind of person. I like to keep up on the latest technology (actually, sometimes it’s my job to keep up on the latest technology) but I rarely incorporate it into my daily life. I have a flat screen HDTV, but I only subscribe to basic cable (which is completely idiotic, I know). I have an iPod nano, but it’s two years old and can only play songs. No video. Not that I would use the video capability even if I had it. Like my husband, who has a newer video-capable nano, but leaves it sitting in the drawer untouched for months. I have a digital camera, but it’s nothing fancy. I think it can record video, but I’ve never tried. I don’t own a video camera. And the most sophisticated computer I’ve ever had is my Dell laptop, which work provides for me. Then there’s my phone. My basic, standard LG flip phone. I can call people just fine, but the camera is crappy and texting people is a major pain in my arse. It pales in comparison to my husband’s Blackberry Curve with GPS and e-mail capability. Out of curiousity, I’ve tried using it before and to tell you the truth, it’s a little overwhelming. Which is why I’ve never really minded keeping my money in my pocket instead of spending it on useless toys. So then why in the world did I walk into the mall tonight on a work-related assignment and find myself walking out with an iPhone?

Yep. That’s right. I’ve joined the ranks of the tech savvy. I am now the proud owner of a baby iPhone. I think I’ll name him Earl. Earl the iPhone. Has a nice ring to it, no? Ha! Get it? Ring? iPhone? Hahaha!

I’m sorry. I apologize for my nerd jokes. I blame Earl.

Anyway, I have an iPhone. And it’s pretty fuckin’ cool, if I do say so myself. I spent the last half hour setting up my email and watching YouTube videos in compete and utter amazement. I also tested the camera.


Hubby had these little guys waiting for me when I came home from work last Friday. Now that I have this iPhone, I’ll probably need to pick up a little surprise for him. He’s been a little down all night. I think he’s suffering from iPhone envy.

So tell me, are you a tech geek? Do you have a fancy phone? And if you have an iPhone, tell me why you love it (as if I need any more reasons).

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Tick Tock

I haven’t blogged in a week. This isn’t usually my style, but lately, my mind has been occupied with all things work related. I know I always say how busy I am with work, but honestly, I didn’t expect “busy” to turn into “holy shit I don’t even have time to eat/pee/breathe until Chrstimas” kind of busy. But alas, that is the case. And unfortunately, at the end of a 12 hour work day in front of the computer, the last thing I feel like doing is sitting in front of the computer to blog. Like I am right now.

But, I feel like I have so many things to talk about. Like the weather, and the impending holidays, and getting my free panty from Victoria’s Secret, and how busy I am at work. Wait, did I say that one already? Oh, right.

That look on your face implies that you are not as excited about my chosen topics of discussion. What if I told you that free panty was a low-rise binkini? in WHITE? Sex-ay, yeah? Very exciting, yeah?

No dice? Well, that’s the best I’ve got.

Unless you want to hear me complain about all the people my age who are now sperminated. The pandemic is now spreading to my blogger friends too. And while I am so happy for all of them, the pressure is on. Now just relax (she says to herself), because we are no where near ready to be parents yet. However, that has not stopped the baby-bug from arriving and lurking outside my front door. I’m already sensing a change in my attitude toward babies. I’m definitely not cooing at passing strollers or stuffing sweaters under my shirt and cradling the bulge (ahem, Monica), but I know something is different about me. I find myself thinking things like “Well, if we accidentally DID get pregnant right now, it would be so bad. We have plenty of room in our house for a baby. We would just clean out the upstairs spare bedroom and put the crib in the middle, long-ways against the wall. We would get some curtains, and move the dresser into the corner for all the little onesies and baby socks..and…and…OMG just stop right now.”

So you see, I’m not all out jonesin, but the clock, she is a tickin’.

Which has caused me to once again refocus on one of my favorite hobbies: VACATION PLANNING! Because nothing is a greater distraction from babies than the promise of being able to go somewhere warm and drink margaritas till you puke.

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A Proud Moment

I woke up before 6 a.m. to  head to the polls and cast my vote. I had only voted for President of the United States twice before, and both times, I voted for someone that did not win the election. I was beginning to wonder if a vote from me was the kiss of death for a presidential candidate.

Tonight, however, it would seems as if my luck has changed. Tonight, the person that I waited for more than two hours to cast my vote for, was named President Elect of the United States of America.  Unfortunately I’m not sharing this historical moment with my husband in person. Instead, I’m sitting in a hotel room in Madison, Wisconsin, listening to cheers from what I assume to be happy students from the nearby college campus. I am overcome with emotion – pride, hope, relief, joy…tomorrow is a new day.

Yes we can.

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Hey remember that trip I took to Europe at the end of September that now seems like eons ago? And remember how I was kind-of-sort-of writing about it? Yeah, me neither.

But, my archives tell me that I did. And there are pictures I’ve been meaning to share with you. And since I have nothing else on my mind except this dag-gone election, I need a distraction. Humor me.

So after Malta, we boarded the ship, changed into our swim suits, and basked in the warm sun until dinner time. Some time around 10 p.m. we went out on the deck and noticed glimmering lights off the coast of what we could only assume was Sicily. Then we noticed lights on the other side. We were sailing directly into the straight that separates Sicily from the tip of the boot of Italy. One of the coolest moments of the trip was when we passed through with Sicily on one side and Italy on the other – our first glimpses of Italy. Because it was dark, I don’t really have any pictures to show you, but believe me, it was quite beautiful.

The next morning, we docked in the Port of Naples. Figuring we had outsmarted the cruise ship tours by keeping our money in our pockets and taking advantage of the local tours on the double-decker buses, we decided this would be our plan for nearly every stop from now on. So we got off the ship, looked around for a double-decker bus, and…we were completely lost. There were a bunch of Italian cab drivers wanting to charge us 100 Euro to go to Pompeii and back, which wasn’t a very good deal in our minds, but no bus so we took off walking. No map, no translators, just two stupid Americans in Naples, one of the most mob-controlled cities in all of Italy. Fantastic.

After panic had set in, I spotted a familiar red bus and we booked it as fast as we could in that general direction. A short time later, we were happily riding around Naples, taking in our first views of Italy.

Castel Nuovo.

And us, with Castel Nuovo.

I like to take pictures of random side streets. You know, to capture the essence of the city.

I think this was the outside of the Italian equivalent to a shopping mall.


And this was on the inside.

Our tour took us to the outskirts of Naples for some gorgeous coastal views.

Like this.

And this. That’s Mt. Vesuvius on the right.

Once our bus tours were over (we took two), we decided to try and make the trip out to Pompeii. We were told it was just a 20 minute train ride on the express train, so we needed to hop a bus to the train station and then take the train to Pompeii. Easy enough, right?

Perhaps, for anyone else, but not for us.

We walked to the bus stop, purchased tickets, and got on the next bus. As we arrived to the train station – the last stop on the bus route – the bus-ticket-collector-guy made his rounds. We showed him our tickets and though he didn’t speak one word of English (or refused to) he pointed out that our tickets were not validated. Oopsie. We tried to apologize, and a couple of women on the bus explained to him that we were Americans and didn’t know we were supposed to validate our tickets when we boarded. Still, he made us stay on the bus and after a very frustrating 10 minutes thanks to our language barriers, we realized he was fining us 34 Euros. That’s about $60 US dollars. For a $2 bus ticket. And we paid for both. “Welcome to Italy, here’s your complimentary shakedown.”

This left us feeling pretty bitter, discouraged, and practically robbed, but we tried to make the most of it and pressed on to Pompeii anyway. That asshat was not going to ruin our day, even if he kind of already did. We were going to see Pompeii damnit! We were determined.

We boarded the train, which was much like boarding the New York subway – smells, trash, graffiti, and all – and arrived in Pompeii a short time later. It was getting kind of late in the day, and with barely any cash left on us, we had to use an ATM. Which meant fees, but we had no choice. The ticket counter only took cash. With the bus incident still fresh in our minds, we decided not to pay for a tour through the ruins, or pay extra for one of those self-guided head phone tours. We were trying to make up for lost money, and we were also in a hurry, so we grabbed a map and went on inside. Though we had absolutely no idea what we were looking at (map turned out to be only in Italian), we were stunned by what we saw.

Mt. Vesuvius in the background.



Bodies mummified in ash.

What was truly amazing was the fact that so many of the paintings and wall murals were still in tact. The colors were still vibrant, and for something that was technically buried in ash close to 2,000 years ago (79 A.D. to be exact), I was astonished.

See? The image, though it was from the poorer part of the city, is still in remarkably good condition.

And for those who didn’t pick up on the “action” from the above picture, that was an image I snapped from inside the whore house. I’m dead serious.

I told you I like taking pictures of random city streets. I call this one “Streets of Pompeii.”

After an hour and a half wandering around Pompeii and not even seeing half of it, we made our way back to the train station. The ride back was much longer (45 min. vs 20 min.) because we weren’t on the express train, so we didn’t make it back a little after 6 p.m. We needed to be back on the ship by 6:30 and our map looked as if were weren’t that far, so we just decided to walk. Well, the map lied. We were a good mile and a half to two miles from the ship and without a cab in sight, so we had no choice but to take off running. We ran past an old guy who started laughing at me in my skirt and flats (thank gawd I was wearing flats and not sandals or heels!). I was really starting to hate Naples at this point. As we entered the boardwalk, the crew started clapping like we were marathon runners approaching the finish line. And to be honest, I felt like I had just run a marathon as sweat poured down our faces. We were about 10 minutes late, and just as my second foot step on the boat, they pulled up the plank and closed the gates. Phew, that was a close one!

So Naples? Not my favorite. But Pompeii? Totally worth the headache. If I ever go back, I’m skipping Naples altogether and heading to Sorrento or hopping a ferry to the island of Capri. Some people on our ship did that and had absolutely no problems with bus conductors taking their Euros.

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I like soda pop

Is it sad that one of the most exciting parts of my weekend involved the discovery of Sierra Mist Free Cranberry Splash?

It is? Ok then let’s forget I ever said anything.

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