Wednesday, October 31, 2007

We have a celebrity in our midst!

Yes, it's the always-fabulous Hannah Montana!

And this get-up cost me a grand total of $1.

She already had the shirt ($4 from The Childrens Place) and skirt ($5 from The Childrens Place) and the boots ($3 from my favorite local resale shop). The scarf is mine, and all the jewelry is hers.

And we contrived this get-up about 7:00 p.m. last night.

She came home from school and I met her and Jason at home to change her into it, because the dance teacher told them they could come dressed up today. Also in her class: a Barbie cheerleader, a 1920's flapper girl, and a harem girl.

And y'all, as we were driving to the studio, I had a flashback of the whole gypsy-in-church episode from my six-year-old Halloween year. I thought, "What if I misheard the teacher?"

But I didn't mishear.

And it was alright.

And my daughter feels like a million bucks.

I can feel it, can you feel it?

(Wasn't that in a song by somebody a few years ago, like Marc Anthony?)

Girls - have you ever had one of those times that you could just feel it?

And by "it" I mean "Aunt Flo," "Your Little Friend," "Uncle Red."

You know what I mean. Don't make me say it.

I was having one of those days yesterday.

Part The First

Our heat isn't working. Yes, the pilot light is on. Yes, I can hear the thermostat click when I turn the temperature up. No, there isn't any warm air coming out of the floor furnace.

Which, thanks to global warming, isn't so bad during the day, but at night, it's pretty chilly. And Jason hasn't been able to figure it out, and today (when he could've been looking at it) he's at the auction doing inventory.

And I'm one of those "I want this fixed now!" types, and it isn't. And when I get up in the mornings, it's cold, making it harder for both AM and me to get going.

(And what's funny about this, is that last Wednesday when I came home, it had apparently gotten so cold in the house that the heat kicked on all by itself, putting that awful burned-dust smell throughout the house. And now, when Jason has vacuumed the thing out, it won't work.)

Part The Second

After I saw last week's tour picture, I took matters into my own hands and ordered a set of two bras from QVC.

Now, I've been ordering from QVC for a long time. Even though they tell you 7-10 days, I usually get stuff in about 5.

Not this time.

It took a whole week, and I was pretty frustrated with the tracking information that told me my stuff sat in Nashville for three days. You know, that's only four hours away. I could've driven up on Saturday and picked them up.

That way, I would've known a week ago that THEY DIDN'T FIT.

I'm sending them back today for a different size. It isn't that I mind so much the expense of return shipping, and I've notified QVC that they're coming back and what I want in return. It's just the thought of waiting another week or two to get them that's driving me up the wall!

Part The Third

Anna Marie joined the children's choir at the local First Baptist. The pastor's son sits at her table at school, and she saw him get on the "choir bus" every Tuesday and wanted to go, so she's going.

When I went to go pick her up, practice was over and they were playing on the playground. When the teacher opened the gate, she ran (barefoot) down the sidewalk, crying that she didn't want to leave Brady. (I did tell her that if she acted up, she wouldn't come back next week). I finally got her out of there, and took her to find a pair of black Mary Janes. She was supposed to be a pirate today, and she needed a pair anyway.


Part The Fourth

There are only a couple of stores in our town that sell kids shoes, and neither had any in her size! It was so frustrating, especially when she kept saying she just wanted tennis shoes, and I pointed out to her that she already has two pair.

After an hour of this, I was pretty exhausted.

Part The Fifth

In the spirit of the season, we were going to have a harvest party in our class at church last night. I got the Veggie Tales video "Where's God When I'm Scared?" from the library. Except I then remembered that the VCR in the TV in that room doesn't work, and in fact still has a tape stuck in it.

So, I went to Dollar General, and they had a DVD copy for $4! Score!

But, the DVD player doesn't work either.

Jason brought his laptop for us to use, but it froze up and I had to restart.

We finally got to watch the movie.

Part The Sixth

I had purchased a pre-made cookie decorating kit, with pumpkin-shaped cookies, candy, and icing. Yay!

But then when we went to decorate them, I found out the icing was powdered and needed butter to be mixed in! Boo! Who ever heard of such a thing? We had no butter at church, so I ran to Wal-Mart. Which was of course a complete madhouse, being the night before Halloween and all.

We finally got to decorate the cookies.

Everything I tried to do last night was going horribly wrong, and Anna Marie kept coughing in my face and interrupting when I was trying to talk to someone, and by the time we headed home, I knew. I just knew.

It was on its way.

I could feel those hormones coursing through my veins, making me completely insane.

I wanted to rip someone's head off and spit down his or her windpipe. One of those moments - you know you've had one too.

And as I lay in bed last night, I had this song running through my head:

It's just one of them days, when I wanna be all alone…

Guess what my male friends called that song (by Monica) when I was in college?

The PMS song.

Guess my subconscious mind knows something's up too.

Monday, October 29, 2007

There's no such thing as a free lunch

But there is such thing as a free coffee maker.

(Well, you'll have to pay shipping and handling, but $15 for a $70 machine, plus pods and a canister, isn't half bad.)

Heather had this post a few weeks ago, and I decided to try it. You go to this link and fill out a survey, and they tell you by email a few days later whether or not you qualify. Then, if you do, you follow the link in the email they send you, pay your 15 bucks, and in a few days a shiny new coffee maker will arrive on your doorstep.

I qualified (obviously), as did my mother. I've been using mine for about a week and a half now, and I love it. LOVE it. I had a Black and Decker model that my mom got me for Christmas a couple of years ago (along with one for herself) and it was awful. Both machines leaked water everywhere on the counter, so I couldn't fill the tank up with water the night before (when I was thinking clearly) and get my coffee in the morning.

I then got a new and improved version of the Black and Decker when I found one on sale a few months ago, and it didn't leak water, but it didn't give a great cup of coffee either.

This Senseo, though, has two advantages: 1. The coffee comes out two places, so you can either get two cups at once or one that's placed in the middle, and 2. It makes this cool foam on top.

Oh, and it doesn't leak water all over my countertop.

It came with a bag of dark roast pods. They're really, really good. I've been having two cups worth in my big coffee mug, mixed with a pouch of diet hot cocoa, every morning. Because I get up so much earlier than Anna Marie, it helps tide me over until I eat breakfast with her. That also means that I'm not eating breakfast at 6 a.m. and falling out from malnutrition by lunch time.

So, go on. Follow the link. Try your luck for a free coffee maker.

(And, if you already have one, I think it'd be neat to get another one for $15 for gift-giving season. Just a suggestion!)

Sunday, October 28, 2007

S-U-N-D-A-Y night!

Yeah, that title worked better last night, when it was Satuday night, and I first thought of it.

But I was too lazy to get up out of bed and get the laptop out.

Besides, we were watching Torchwood in our room, and it was very creepy and suspenseful. My husband really has turned me into a SciFi geek!

It would've been a perfect time to blog, too, since Anna Marie was at mom's and my washing machine was humming along doing my laundry.

I would've talked about how I spent 2.5 hours on the floor of the Senatobia Elementary School gymnasium on Friday, playing "hot potato" with a bunch of 5- and 6-year-olds. Because, even though it was a Friday, a deadline day no less, I took off and went to volunteer at Anna Marie's fall festival.

I don't think there was another kindergartener left in the free world. They were all in that gym, broken down into only slightly more managable groups, rotating among the game stations.

I could've also blogged about going to the Fun Food Fair at my friend LaJuan's church on Saturday. It's their Ladies Guild's (I think that's what they're called) big fundraiser every year. They had food from Belize (Anna Marie's Spanish Teacher, Ms. Michelle), Slovakia, and Mexico (another kindergarten teacher from the school), along with Cajun cooking. They also had lots of sweets (which Jason ate, but I didn't), face painting, a silent auction, and a raffle.

Jason and I had these little taco-like things from Ms. Michelle called salbutes (chicken, topped with a cabbage-based salad, on corn tortillas). It was delicious! Turns out, she owned a restaurant when she lived in Belize. Cool!

Anna Marie, being much less adventureous, just had nachos.

Then I could've talked about how I went to Pickin in the Park afterwards, a concert put on by our local arts council. In a park. Naturally.

Maybe I could've taken pictures of Anna Marie's dinner, which was the chili I made topped with a "cheese face" - pieces of cheese arranged in the shape of a face on top, of course. It started out as a way to get her to eat the chili, and now it's a tradition.

Last night, she said, "I'll never get too old for a cheese face!"

But now, I'm just really tired. We had church, and then praise team practice, and then a staff meeting, and by the end of the afternoon, I was exhausted and had a splitting headache. I curled up on the couch and tried to let the meds kick in. Which they didn't. So the headache persisted into the dinner hour.

Luckily, Jason saved us all from starvation by cooking.

And now, I'm watching Thursday night's episode of Ugly Betty on the DVR, because I used my computer-show-watching-time to catch up on Pushing Daisies.

And now that the weekend is over, I get to wake up tomorrow and do it all over again.


Thursday, October 25, 2007

Official Thursday Weigh-In

You know, a few weeks ago my friend LaJuan (who recently joined WW) told me I needed a new ringtone.

I've been using Brick House ever since I moved here and got a new phone, nearly five years ago.

It's been monophonic, polyphonic, and, for the past few years, the real deal.

My ringtone has grown up along with the cell phone industry.

Anyway, she pointed out to me that I am no longer built like a "brick house" and therefore a change in tone was necessary.

(Well, technically, I'm still "Mighty Mighty" but I try to no longer "let it all hang out.")


Tonight, I finally did it.

No, not the ringtone change. Well, yes I did, but more on that later.


I lost 1.5 this week, to take me down to 156.5 and a total of 80.5 pounds lost!

What's more, I haven't had a gain in about a month!

I actually thought I'd never make it. I wanted to be here in June, but it just wasn't to be.

But I'm here. And it feels good.

Oh, back to the ringtone.

I'm every woman . . .

It actually goes back to my college days, when it was cool among my set to put a song on your outgoing message. Jason and his roomate had If I Were a Rich Man and then said that if they were rich men, they could afford a secretary, but they were poor college students, so this machine would have to suffice.

And I, I had this song - and then informed my callers that while I might very well be every woman, and it (whatever "it" is) might be all in me, I was not omnipresent and so could not be there to answer my phone and wherever I was at the same time.

(I was such a smart alek back then - it's a wonder I had any friends to call at all.)

It was love at first sight

I can't believe I'm saying this, but I'm hooked.

On Pushing Daisies.

Really. No joke.

I was flipping through last night, and came upon it, and I thought, "Hmm. This looks interesting. I think Linda (a.k.a. Doodlebugmom) thinks it's cool. I should check it out!"

(Alright, so that "a.k.a." stuff was for your benefit. I didn't really think that part last night.)

And it really was Linda's recommendation that made me think to watch - I was skeptical before her endorsement.

And somehow, even though we spent the few minutes we watched laughing out loud, Jason turned it off and started watching something on the DVR.

How dare he?

Anyway, I watched on this morning. I think that network is becoming my favorite for its quirky "dramadies." First Ugly Betty and now this. What will they think of next?

I've just watched this one episode, but it was pretty easy to figure out what's going on. I'll go back and watch the others when I get a chance.

For now, let me leave you with the tidbit that sealed the deal with my devotion to this show:

They Might Be Giants! Can you stand it? I can't - I love that song!

I'm so looking forward to getting a chance to watch the rest.

And then pray to the good Lord that no one gets a wild hare and decides to cancel this show.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

I've discovered the answer to my weight-loss woes.

Plastic surgery!


If I could afford it, I'd go under the knife.

Jason and I were watching one of those medical shows the other night - the kind he is obsessed with, and I just tolerate - and I had an epiphany.

There was a man who'd had gastric bypass surgery, and had lost 160 pounds in one year. Naturally, he had lots of loose skin left. So he had a tummy tuck and something done to his chest (whatever that might be called.)

The doctor told his wife that they'd taken off 20 pounds of skin.

20 pounds!

That's what I have left to lose - and even though I didn't lose this weight overnight, I bet I've got 20 pounds of skin hanging around here somewhere!

I mean, getting my boobs lifted should take care of at least 10, and then there's that "dunlap" (you know, my belly dunlapped over my belt). That'd be good for another 10, I'm sure of it.

Not to mention my upper arms - man, I could come in under goal!

Now, to get a second job to pay for it all…

Monday, October 22, 2007

She's making a list…

And checking it twice!

No, it isn't Christmas yet, no matter what the stores want us to believe.

I have so much to say from this weekend - and so much I really want to forget - that I thought I'd just take dear Susie Q up on her tag.

Because I'm all kinds of lazy, and I need a bit longer to sort through my weekend.

Jobs I have had:

Babysitter, fast food worker, daycare teacher, tutor, office assistant, office manager, retail worker, editorial assistant, soup kitchen manager, college professor (yes, me!), and news editor.

(I won't include that three-day stint as counter help at a cut-rate dry cleaners, because I'm trying to block that out of my memory.)

Movies I could watch over & over:

Ferris Bueller's Day Off, The Princess Bride, The Wizard of Oz, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, How to Marry a Millionare - oh, I'm sure I could think of more if I thought long enough!

The *Secret* TV shows that I watch:

Clean House, Dr. Who (Ok, that one's not so secret, is it?), Are You Being Served and other Britcoms (thanks to my dear husband), America's Most Smartest Model (I love Ben Stein!)

I have lived:

Tennessee, Texas, Mississippi, Georgia, and South Carolina.

Favorite Foods:

Chocolate, Mexican of most any sort, mashed potatoes, and peanut butter.

(Man, I guess if my favorite foods included "lots of salad greens" I wouldn't have nearly the weight problem that I do!"

Favorite colors: Dark blue, brown, lime green

Places I would love to be now: Home in bed. No question.

Names I like but would not use for my children:

Andrew, Trusty, and Madison - I had Andrews and a Trusty give me major problems at the daycare, and there are way too many Madisons in the world these days!

So, gentle readers, there you have it. Let me leave you with a little picture that was taken this morning, of a tour group from one of our high schools:

Yes, that's me in the front row. Yes, that pose makes me look heavier than I am. Yes, I really need a new bra! Yes, those kids did ask some inappropriate questions, such as how much money we make.

And no, they did not really want to be here. Makes two of us today!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Official Thursday Weigh-in



I lost a half pound this week!

I could scarecely believe my eyes when Ms. Carolyn wrote down my new weight.

I was so stoked!

It's so nice to finally have some good news to report!

For those of you keeping track (and I guess I could put some fancy schmancy thing over on the sidebar) that's 158, a total of 79 pounds lost.

Seventy nine.

I'll not jinx myself by saying how close that number is to a certain other number I'd like to see soon.

So very, very close.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

My good deed for the day

Did you know that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month?

(That's a rhetorical question. Of course you did. Even Anna Marie noticed all the pink stuff that had inundated Target on a recent visit.)

Back to my point.

Here's another question: do you eat frozen dinners?

(That's probably rhetorical too. Most of us fall prey to enjoy frozen dinners from time to time.)

Well, a few weeks ago I stumbled onto a site called Heat, Eat, Review. I can't remember how, and that's really not the important part.

The important part of this post is that for every 1,000 visitors to this site during the month of October, they will donate $1 to breast cancer research.

(There is also a link there to some really, really cool insulated lunch bags from Lean Cuisine, which only cost $9.95, and of that $5 is donated to the Komen foundation.)

So, to sum up: Visit the site. Get some dough donated to this worthy cause. Maybe even order a spiffy new lunch bag.

Look at all the good you've done today. Wasn't that easy?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Yet another food review

It must seem like all I do is eat.

And blog.

But most days, I really do get things accomplished. Productive things. Things that escape my memory for the moment, but I'm sure they're there somewhere.


Time for another installment of Melissa's Product Reviews. In the past, I've talked about Van's Egg Rolls, and Diet A&W Root Beer, and Boca.

This time, it's green tea.

Lipton Green Tea with Mandarin Oranges. In a cute little pyramid-shaped bag!

I was in Wal-Mart this morning to pick up something for lunch (I have a book club meeting at noon) and I remembered that we also needed bread at home. And on the bread aisle is the tea. And in the tea section is this stuff. And I was in need of some green tea. So I left the store with some.

After paying, of course. I'm tempted to say too much ($3.14 for 20 bags) but this is good stuff.

Really, really good stuff. Especially for someone who lives in a sort of good-stuff-free parallel universe.

With whole leaves of tea, and bits of dried citrus fruit. When you put the tea bag in hot water, what was a sad little collection of floatsam and jetsam at the bottom springs forth into life, and suddenly the whole bag is filled with lovely tea leaves.

I'm trying to drink more green tea. For one, I like it. For two, it's supposed to have all sorts of good-for-you properties, not the least among them is an increase in metabolism.

And we can all use a bit of that, can't we?

So, I give it, um, what kind of rating system can I use?

How about snaps, as in Pea Snap, Anna Marie's nickname?

Ok, on a scale of one to five, I give these tea bags five snaps!

Oh, snap!

Monday, October 15, 2007

The (second) best thing my Mother-In-Law ever did

(Besides giving birth to Jason, of course...)

She introduced me to Carmel Apple Pops.

They're probably the only thing that we both like. And I'm including Jason on that.

I know they're available year-round, but I usually just buy them this time of year.

One POINT of carmel-ly goodness. Mmmm.

I bought a bag yesterday to keep in my desk drawer when I need a little "something."

A little "hit."

A little "fix" of sweetness.

Now, if they could only make something in chocolate that accomplished the same thing, we'd really be in business.

And no, Tootsie Rolls don't count.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

We're cooking now!

Actually, I should say, I'm cooking now.

Some of you may know, some of you may not, but I'm no cook.

Growing up, my mom wasn't much of a cook. Not in the sense of, say, her mother. It wasn't entirely her fault, though - her mother never let any of her girls help her out in the kitchen. We had lots of (baked) pork chops (I didn't know it was possible to fry them until I met my mother-in-law!), spaghetti (Ronco noodles with Ragu sauce), and chili (ground beef, three cans of Bush's chili hot beans, a can of tomato paste, and a bean can full of water).

Maybe the occasional baked chicken breast, meatloaf, or some vegetable beef soup.

Really. There may be more, but that's what I remember. My dad is very, very particular about his food, and if my mom cooked something he hadn't approved, he wasn't very nice about it.

But that's another story.

There are four of us kids, and my mom didn't have an "outside job" so she did all the cooking. All of it. Once in a while, she'd tell me to do something with the chili or spaghetti, but there was no "assigned dinner night" for any of us. Amanda learned to bake, but all I knew how to cook was chili and spaghetti.

When I went to college, it was Ramen noodles, Kraft Mac and Cheese, or eating out.

Then I went and got myself hitched. I had a husband, one who was used to his mom cooking these huge old-school meals.

Every day.

She made her own spaghetti sauce, the kind that had to simmer all day. I told him before I said "I do" that ours would come from a jar. He was surprised to taste that store-bought sauce could be edible.

I did change my chili habits, thanks to our pastor's wife. She introduced me to Chili Magic - open up the can, add a can of diced tomatoes and meat, and heat through. It makes much more manageable quantities of chili for my small family than does my mom's monster recipe.

One of the other things I "learned" to make after I got married was Hamburger Helper. My dad doesn't like casseroles, or things like Hamburger Helper, so we never had it.

It came in a box. It was pre-measured. I already had mad ground beef-browing skillz. I was set!

We also got into those skillet meals, the ones that come frozen with vegetables and sauce and you add your own meat.

If it came in a box or out of the freezer, I could make it.

But now - I'm using actual recipes! I'm making actual meals, meals that don't consist of chicken grilled on the George Foreman with frozen veggies in the mircowave!

What has brought about this food revolution?

Sam Zien. The Cooking Guy. He has a show on Discovery Health called Just Cook This.

I feel like I'm cheating on Alton Brown. Valerie, don't tell!

But Sam's stuff is so simple. And either relatively healthy, or easy to modify.

I've cooked two of his recipes in the past week, and have the ingredients for a third in my fridge right now.

Monday night I made tortilla soup. I left out the avocados and tortillas for garnish, and used canned chicken instead of one from the deli, but it was really, really good.

Last night, I made chimichitos. I got low-carb tortillas that were one POINT each. It called for 8" tortillas, and I accidently got the 6" kind, but it just meant that Jason and I had two each instead of one. The leftover tortillas are going to be for chicken tacos. Sam's recipe calls for shrimp, but Jason isn't a big shrimp fan (and I already have chicken) so we're having chicken.

Jason is not NEARLY as picky as my dad about food. And he doesn't throw a fit if I make something he doesn't like - it's wonderful! He just gently lets me know if there are any improvements I could make.

For instance, I know he doesn't like mushrooms or onions, so I don't put them in his food. And last night, he said that next time I should add black olives to the chimichitos.

Oh, and cheese, because I'd forgotten to get some at the store.

So, move over Rachel Ray. There's a new chef in town.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Official Thursday Weigh-in

Neither a loser nor a gainer I be this week.

(Arrgh! Don't I sound like a pirate? I was trying more for a line from Hamlet about not borrowing or lending. But, whatever.)

I stayed the same, at 158.5, which is OK by me. I was off of my schedule this week, but I could only hope that the massive amount of walking I was doing would help keep me on an even keel. And I guess it did.

Add to that the fact that my "friend" was "in town" this week, and I think we aren't doing too badly.

I'm not even going to talk about that short-term goal of mine, because last time I did that, I think I GAINED.

And we don't need none of that 'round here.


Get a glass of tea.

This could be a long post. Sorry this has taken me a while to get up.

But -

Monday was Pink Palace day, and Tuesday we went to the auction to have lunch with Jason, and yesterday I participated in a mock-emergency exercise at the local college.

So here I am. The one that you love.

And here are the Pink Palace pictures.

No, I didn't take this one - I couldn't get this close to the mansion. Can you see the pink marble? It's really beautiful. This is the "old" part of the museum. I didn't get a picture of the front entrance in the newer part. It's just boring brown brick.

Contrary to what I'd expected, Jason sprung for us to see an IMAX film - Deep Sea. Since I couldn't take pictures during the film, you'll have to take my word for it that it was spectacular. Here, Anna Marie is barely able to contain her excitement before the movie starts.

Anna Marie looks into a microscope for the first time. I figure this must be what it was like for Einstein.

It's a mastadon! How funny is it that Anna Marie turned to me and said, "Mom, you've got to get a picture of that!"

The faceless mannequins! The very ones that scared me as a preschooler! Can't you just feel the creepy? And I just noticed - that one on the right has a sleeve missing! Maybe if I'd noticed it at the museum, there would've been some explination close by. I think I was too distracted by the creepy.

They didn't seem to bother Anna Marie much. Maybe if I'd seen them for the first time when I was six instead of three, things would've gone better. The really, really bad one is around the corner, in the Yellow Fever exhibit. She's apparently a widow, all dressed in black, in a corner display case. I've never actually gotten close enough to read her story. She's almost as bad as the lead - yes, I said LEAD - coffin in that same area. It's in an alcove to itself, with a weird purple light shining on it. It looks just like a Pharoh's coffin, because it's in the shape of a person.

Turn-of-the-century toys. Anna Marie noticed the blocks right away, because they're almost exactly like some she has.

Moving on.

This is a huge, very detailed scale model of a circus. It's supposed to move, but right now it's under renovations by students from the physics department at the University of Memphis. Why physics? I have no idea.

Did you know that the founder of Holiday Inn, Kemmons Wilson, was from Memphis? And that the very first Holiday Inn was here? And how many of you remember these old signs?

Since the founder of Piggly Wiggly, the first "modern" grocery store, was the same guy who built the mansion, there is naturally a replica of the first Piggly Wiggly inside the museum.

Clarence Saunders, who built the house (and the Piggly Wiggly) died pennyless before he finished the mansion. I think it had something to do with the stock market crash.

Speaking of the mansion, its exhibit space is mainly dedicated to life in the 1920's and 1930's, when the house was being constructed. Talk about suffering for beauty's sake!

Did anyone really think this would help?

(Oh, and notice the lack of faces. It's like a theme or something.)

And these are costumes from the Cotton Carnival. It's a celebration held every January in Memphis. It used to signify the end of the cotton harvest (and that everything sold for a good price). Now, it's mainly a charity focus. There are "secret societies" that host parties all month long, with club names like the "Crewe of Hathor" and other mythological-sounding titles. These costumes are from the 1950's and 1960's, and I think they rock!

Whew! I'm tired, aren't you?

And now, I look forward to the next couple days off - whenever that might be.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

All I want is a couple days off!

With apologies to Huey Lewis, of course.

And guess what - I seem to be set up to get them!

I've actually taken two whole days off from work - in a row! I'm so excited!

Anna Marie is having fall break on Monday and Tuesday, and instead of trying to find someone to watch her on Tuesday while Jason is at the auction, I decided to give myself a bit of a fall break too.

Because, dang it, I deserve it! Elections and magazines and lawsuits, oh my!

I've just been giddy thinking about it.

And as hard as last week was, with all my meetings, I just kept thinking, I get two days off next week. If I can just survive and put this paper to bed on Friday, I get two whole days off!

It's almost unreal. And that's sad, folks, that I get this excited over two days off in a row.

Little AM spent the night with Gramma tonight. She looked like a little street urchin, because she'd been playing outside in the dirt and had some on her nose, and I hadn't gotten around to washing her face yet.

Tomorrow we're headed to the Pink Palace Museum in Memphis. Jason also wants to hit the IMAX theater there. Anna Marie's never been to an IMAX movie, and the one that's playing is one of those "under the sea" jobbers, so I think she'll be suitably impressed.

I know I was, when we saw a similar film in Chattanooga on our honeymoon. And so was the little boy sitting next to me that day, about six years old or so, whose dad kept telling him that the sharks were going to get him.

I don't think I'll take that tack with Anna Marie. If she has nightmares about sharks, guess whose side of the bed she'll end up on.

Yeah. Mine.

Hopefully, she won't be as freaked out about the faceless mannequins as I was when I was a kid.

Just a couple days. . .

Friday, October 05, 2007

Well, I never…

Never have been called "fabuolus," that is.

Heather at Desperately Seeking Sanity has nominated me for a "Fabulous award!

How sweet!

I've been called a lot of things in my life, but I have to admit, fabulous is not one of them.

Thanks Heather - now I'll have that High School Musical song in my head all day!

Now, to pass it on - because that's what the truly "fabulous" do - share the wealth -

Valerie, of course. She's got a cat named Elvis. And a nose stud. What could be more fabulous than that?

Oh, and she's a great writer/listener/crafter too. Lest I forget.

Susie Q! She's got a FABULOUS sense of style. Really. I want to go visit her and have tea and crumpets - whatever those are - with her in her cozy little cottage. And Grace can keep Anna Marie occupied while we visit.

It all sounds just perfect, doesn't it?

Steff is fabulous because she gives of herself every day to educate the next generation. How cool is that? Plus, she has a tattoo on the top of her foot, and I'm pretty sure that would be a VERY painful place to get stuck!

Oh, who am I kidding? You're all FABULOUS!

Learn to take a compliment, ladies. You've earned it.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Official Thursday Weigh-In

I wish I had some witty repartee to keep y'all in suspense.

I really do.

But it's Thursday.

And I've been working hard today.

And I'm working late tonight.

And I lost a pound!

(Back) down to 158.5.

I guess the knuckle-down approach worked, but since I've been here before, I'm kinda nervous about next week.

But at least I'll always have Thursday.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

I want my L.L. Bean

Rather, I want the L.L. Bean lifestyle.

I want to like to be outdoorsy.

I want to like to go camping.

I want it to snow so I can buy some snow boots! And a parka!

It's hard to go camping here - in the summer, there are the heat and the bugs, and in the winter, it's too dang cold, without the benefit of the snow.

And I want a weekend, preferably lakefront, cabin, that I can decorate with all sorts of outdoorsy materials. Candle holders out of pinecones? No problem!

Maybe that's part of the reason I got Anna Marie's backpack from there. Not only are they well-made, but they give that certain "air" of sporty sophistocation.

I want to be one of "those" people, with North Face jackets and caribiner clips that they really use for rock climbing and bike racks on the tops of their vehicles.

And the disposable income to finance that lifestyle and the free time it requires.

I want to like being outside - I really do!

Maybe if I had the acoutrements, I would like it more. Sort of like making yourself exercise because you paid for a gym membership.

I want my L.L. Bean.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007


Yes, she is six.

(That's her giving Rose a "bath" at Build-A-Bear. Don't worry, there's no real water, just the sound of it and some brushes. And yes, she's supposed to do that before she dresses the bear, but in all the excitement over finally getting A GIRL we sort of forgot.)

(Oh, and what's that on her arm you say? It's a "temporary" tattoo she bought from the high school cheerleaders. TWO WEEKS AGO. It's still there, as is the other one on the other arm that's been there for THREE WEEKS. Yes, we bathe our child. And it's getting harder and harder to convince her, and ourselves, that these aren't the real deal. If I could scrub her arms as she slept at night, or rub alcohol on them, without waking her, by golly, I'd do it.)

Anna Marie woke up before her alarm this morning. I heard her stirring around, talking to herself, and went in.

"I can't believe I turn six today! I stayed up all night long (um, no, she didn't) and waited until the sky was blue outside so I would know I was six.

If you want to get technical about things, she wasn't born until 2:48 p.m. So, technically, she's not six. But who was I to tell her that?

She told me about a bazillion times this morning that she was going to get a Happy Birthday visor at school today.

And, can you believe, I baked these:

All by myself.

I know, the all-by-myself part isn't so surprising when you see them.

Yes, I could've gotten store bought cakes - and I like nothing more than a load of buttercream so sweet you can taste the sugar with your teeth. But I'm trying to set a better example. So these are made with Devil's food mix, and pumpkin and a half cup of water in lieu of the eggs and oil.

They are blow-your-head-off good.

For the frosting, I got the whipped kind - both because it had fewer calories than the other tubs, and because I figured it would be easier to stir in the food coloring.

I was going to buy the coloring and mix my own orange, and then on the Wilton aisle, I found actual orange gel coloring.


It cost a bit more, but it also eliminated the pressure on me to get the red/yellow mixture just right.

And we know I'm all about less pressure.

I was trying to figure out how to frost the tiny morsels, when Jason breezed through the kitchen and said, "Why don't you put the frosting into a ziplock bag, and cut a tiny hole in the corner, and pipe it on?"

Again, brilliant.

He's been watching Alton Brown, you know.

I've never, ever baked cupcakes before, and I learned a couple of lessons (i.e., even if you have silicone bakeware, and you use no-stick spray, you still need cupcake liners, you cheap slacker.)

To keep the cupcakes from tumping over in transit, I cut strips of cardstock and put it between the rows. I still had a little tumpage this morning, but the cardstock helped mitigate the damage.

Anna Marie doesn't know that I'm coming to eat lunch with her today. And after school, she has a few presents to open - a scarf knitted by Aunt Manda, a "Dance Dance Revolution" mat from Gramma (which, by the way, I've been wanting for myself) and a Leap Frog cylindrical math-game-thingy from us.

Because we're all about the learnin'.

She also got Rose already, as well as a new fall wardrobe.

She's six now. Six years old.

And time is going way, way too fast.