Monday, October 31, 2005

100 things you probably do not know about me

100 things you probably do not know about me. (this idea is courtesy of Tina)

1. I hate celery. With a passion. The one food that I severely despise.
2. My degree is in Agribusiness Management, with Certificates in Beef Science, Swine Science, and Animal Nutrition. I also took a semester of Horticulture and Landscaping and have a very green thumb.
3. I can’t swim but I can float forever on my back. But panic insights in water deeper than 4 feet. It all stems from my 4 years of swimming lessons, in which I barely made it out of the baby pool because I wouldn’t put my face in the water.
4. I have eczema. In the winter I use a steroid lotion to keep myself from getting itchy red circles. It took doctors and dermatologists 3 years to diagnose it.
5. My great grandmother was a Hortz from Sheffield, Illinois. The EF Hortz American Legion is named after the first of her two brothers who died in WWI.
6. I once worked in a 7-generation (old) garden in Princeton Illinois, owned by Mary Win Walter-Norris. It boasts the Original “Yellow rose of texas” that came from Texas YEARS ago before it spread across the US, and also grapevines from the white house when Thomas Jefferson was president.
7. I sold Pampered Chef for 3 years and had three recruits. I love to cook and have almost everything in their catalog. I also bake bread from scratch and decorate cakes for family.
8. I can’t hardly resist talking.
9. I can type incredibly fast, way faster than I can talk… and I talk fast!
10. I know how to setup a secure wireless network. You think yours is secure? I betcha it is not.
11. I write incredibly straight. When younger, I had an obsession with writing over a ruler, to practice straightness.
12. I can recite the names of all the presidents of the united states in order…. And have been since I was really young (8 or 9 maybe?). I had a ruler that had them all listed, and I used to practice in the bathtub with the ruler stuck to the wall.
13. I have something of a photographic memory. I memorize license plates of people that I don’t even know, and mentally match them with their color and model of vehicle. Then when I pass a car in the dark, I read their license plates and can likely tell you the color and model of the car. I can also tell you all the previous models and colors of cars they have owned if they kept the same license plates. I am also a database of hundreds of phone numbers, account number, passwords, and extensions.
14. I have over 200 passwords to remember, either as a part of my job, as pin numbers, or through online bill payment and account management.
15. I have 7 email addresses, all of which I check on a daily basis.
16. I have had beagles my entire life, since I was born, with the exception of one cocker spaniel who bit me in the face when I was 6 and gave me a bloody nose that about made my mom get rid of the dog.
17. I bite my nails. I always have. I can’t stop. I have tried anything and everything.
18. I get incredibly bad motion sickness. I never throw up. Car sick, Air sick, and ESPECIALLY sea sick. I have a jumbo bottle of dramamine that I rely heavily upon. I can’t read or even look at someone else reading in the car without taking dramamine.
19. I love to read. So many different types of books. Everything from DH Lawrence to VC Andrews to Emily Bronte to JK Rowling. I am a huge fan of chick lit. I love recommendations for good books. And I read very fast.
20. My first kiss I was 16. And I slept with the first person I kissed. And he was my first boyfriend. But I did love him (then.)
21. I love peanut butter. When I was little they thought I was allergic to it. They made me stop eating it and I thought I would DIE!
22. My sister and I constructed tree houses on the ground.
23. We grew up on a centennial farm with 400+ acres with MANY groves of pines that my great grandpa, grandpa, and dad planted when my dad was small. The farm is called Osage Ranch.
24. I had my own cattle that I paid for with my own money by the time I was 14. I started my own cow/calf operation with a handful of cattle (mini-operation) and won Section and District in FFA.
25. I won awards at the Section/District/ and State Level in Safety in FFA.
26. I was the first ever President of the Bureau Valley FFA Chapter.
27. At 24 I was the president of the Bureau Valley School Foundation Board. Everyone else on the board was 40 or older.
28. I LOVE Seafood. Lobster, Crab, Scallops, Calamari, Shrimp…. YUM!!
29. I eat Tuna fish at least every other day. I love it. On toast, with cheese, or plain. Just add mayo and I am happy.
30. I spend over $100 a month on scrapbooking and stamping.
31. I can weave my own baskets. I have made 10 baskets in the last 4 years.
32. I am left handed. I play guitar, and write left handed. I play all sports and cut with scissors right handed, because that is how they taught me in school. I still walk like a left handed person, which makes me a total clutz at sports.
33. I like to crochet.
34. I like to draw.
35. I like to paint.
36. When in High School I won the Senior Artist of the Year award. It was of course my senior year and my first year to ever have an art class, as there weren’t any offered in previous years.
37. I have been married for almost 3 months but I have been with my husband for just over 9 years, and we have lived together for 5 years.
38. Until I was 18 I had never been anywhere but Illinois, Missourri, Iowa, Wisconsin, Nebraska, or Kansas.
39. My mother’s parents died when she was 5 and 15. I only have one set of grandparents.
40. My 2 best friends live in Utah and Near Chicago. We see each other only a couple of times a year.
41. I firmly believe that the telephone works both ways. Anyone who claims otherwise is on my shit list.
42. I hate liars. I almost never lie. I am brutally honest.
43. I hold a terrible grudge. If you did something to me years ago, I will not forget it. In fact, I am probably waiting for an opportunity to get you back for it. And I don’t forget.
44. I love to can tomatoes.
45. I love to eat tomatoes and mayo on toast. It’s a BLT without the LT and it is a necessary snack. Although I also love BLT’s.
46. I am proficient in Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Acrobat, Macromedia Dreamweaver (Studio MX 2004) and Front Page. I can also code HTML, but I hate to.
47. I hate to vacuum.
48. I hate to wash dark clothes, because it consists of Evan’s wardrobe of 500 black and dark blue t-shirts, and it takes me 20 minutes to hang up each load from the dryer.
49. My hair is stick straight, although I have a cowlick in my bangs.
50. I keep my toes perfectly manicured at all times. I have been told I have a model’s feet, although I have had a pitchfork through one, lost both big toenails 2 times, and have broken three toes. They always bounce back.
51. When I was 19 I got a sulfuric acid burn on my right ankle. It was so serious it ate my shoes and socks off my feet and ate my jeans off to the knees. I was rushed to the ER and I almost had to have skin grafts to repair it. This happened when I was a loss prevention security/hazmat officer at a warehouse for a hardware store. Someone speared a pallet of drain line opener with a forklift and while I was cleaning it up I slipped and fell into a puddle of it. Neoprene gloves saved my hands from being eaten.
52. I have never had stitches because when I needed them I refused to let the doctor look at my injury unless he promised me no stitches. I was about 5. That was back when he did “fix-ups” out of his home after hours. He promised and I got butterflies.
53. I have never broken any bones besides toes and fingers.
54. I have never had a cavity and my teeth are perfectly straight. My dentist loves to bring the whole office in to see my teeth at each checkup.
55. My mom is a breast cancer survivor, in remission for 5 years. It was detected during her first ever mammogram. And that mammogram saved her life.
56. I have arthritis in my lower back, most likely as a result of the double whiplash I suffered when an older woman rear ended me 4 years ago. I was stopped at railroad tracks for a train. I had just made the very last payment on my car and she hit me so hard she pushed me into the car in front of me, bent the frame in two places, and totalled the car. It took months of chiropractic care to recover.
57. Evan has one brother and I have one sister. She is 4 years younger than me, but 5 years in school.
58. I was the youngest person in my class.
59. Evan’s and my birthdays are exactly 1 year and 6 days apart. Mine is November 24th and his is November 30th
60. Evan’s dad and my mom have birthday’s two days apart. February 23rd and February 25th. (Take Feb. 23rd, add nine months, then look at number 59- you do the math!)
61. Fall is my favorite season.
62. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday – because it is often my birthday! (this year it is)
63. I played the saxophone from 4th grade through my senior year. I played Alto, but also occasionally soprano, tenor, and baritone. I have the same saxophone that was my mom’s, and her father played also.
64. I actually went to Band Camp in 6th grade
65. I was a girl scout for 10 years. My mom was a leader from Brownies till Juniors.
66. I have never been to a concert, but I saw Restless Heart perform at the Kansas City National Rodeo when I was in high school.
67. I had never flown until our wedding trip to Canada. Flying was one of my biggest fears and I conquered it.
68. I spent months as a hired hand on a horse ranch. I cleaned hooves and stalls and saddled them but I refuse to ride them. I had a bad experience when I was in high school on a neighbors horse and now I firmly believe they are too far off the ground.
69. My dad’s cousin had her ear bit off by her own horse. He bit it off right through her hooded sweatshirt and she had to have it reattached.
70. I could drive a motorcycle by the time I was 7. I had a Honda 75 dirt bike and my own helmet. Before I could touch the ground I rode with my dad, first in front, and then in back.
71. I could drive a snowmobile when I was 7 and smowmobiling is my dad’s hobby and favorite pastime. We had an arctic cat Kitty Cat when we were little.
72. I learned how to drive a stick in a old pickup with a gooseneck trailer – because my employer sent me into town to pick it up and I didn’t know it was a stick. I learned the hard way… driving through town. And I never killed it once.
73. My mom is the coolest mom anywhere ever on the face of the earth.
74. My dad makes me pay him back for everything, down to the penny. Always has, and probably always will.
75. My sister owes me $125.00 and has since May. Besides that no one owes me money.
76. I am not afraid of lizards or fish or most small snakes. I kept salamanders as pets as a child and had a pet bullfrog named Jeremiah when I was 4.
77. I am deathly afraid of needles and for 10 years I passed out when they took any blood.
78. I Hate gory horror movies but am unaffected by shows like ER and CSI. The ER tolerance began when I actually started being around the OR for my job.
79. I do not go to funerals. I have only been to 6 in my life, and three of them were relatives, and two of them were friends, and one neighbor. I don’t do well with death. I get this from my mom. I had never seen a dead person until I was 17.
80. I like to video tape my dogs.
81. I love to take pictures.
82. I actually find Richard Simmons sweatin with the oldies to be motivating.
83. I had a pet coon named Rocky when I was a kid. My dad saved him after his mom died and left him alone in a tree on our property. We nursed him with bottles and fed him apples. He liked to ride on the lawn mower. Then he went back to the wild.
84. I spent hours trapping baby bunnies under clothes baskets in the yard when I was a kid.
85. I used to dig up mole tunnels to see if I could find the mole. Once I did. He was dead. It was the coolest thing ever.
86. I used to write my own mud-pie recipes… the vital ingredients were mud, water, pine needles, and rocks.
87. When my sister was little, we got flavored toothpaste from the easter bunny. She refused to taste hers, so I squeezed it in her mouth while she was sleeping and she threw up all over her blankets.
88. My sister and I used to play Church and post office in the basement. We had elaborate setups, and costumes. My sister delivered the mail wearing a motorcycle helmet and leather coat and a jumbo tide detergent box as a mail bag.
89. I have a big stamp collection.
90. I am a hoarder, I have always collected things, like Strawberry Shortcakes, seashells, rocks, blanket bindings, lightening bugs, Christmas bells, barbies, disney movies, and pottery.
91. I had never been to any restraunts besides like Hardees, McDonalds, and Pizza Hut until I my friends and I could drive.
92. I used to harass my ex by taking all my guy friends in college into A&W where he worked, and they would place their order and change it like 5 times on him, always in front of his boss.
93. I pierced my nose when I was 17. My dad grounded me for 3 months and that is when Evan finally asked me out, after dating for almost 7 months, because he finally started missing me.
94. My destiny is to go to Tuscany and drink wine and make Tortellini and bread with tiny italian women.
95. I know how to make tortellini. It’s awesome.
96. I hate bad storms and tornados. Two years ago someone videotaped one, on the ground, going through the field which is right behind my house. I was home alone, under a table in the basement with both dogs and a flashlight. I was scared out of my mind.
97. I’m not afraid to call the police. I have done it before and I will do it again.
98. I took a police officer to court when I was falsely accused of speeding. The officer never showed and I won. My ticket was dropped. I had built a case, complete with photographs and witnesses.
99. My first car was a 1981 baby blue Monte Carlo named “Spot.” He cost me $1000.00
100. I hide carmex in every pocket, purse, drawer, and nook and cranny I own. I probably own like 400 tubes if I could ever find them all at once.

Boo-Humbug and other Tales from the Scales ~ and why women try to do it all.....

Boo-Humbug. This year I screwed up. This is the first Halloween in 26 years that I have not worn a costume. Not once. I feel badly. I feel sadly. and I feel like Scrooge. I just didn't have time to get one ready, money to buy one, or really the desire. With the living and dining room gutted, and the rest of the house cluttered and stacked and dusty from ongoing remodeling (4 months down, probably 1 to go) I really was't even able to get halloween decorations up. I did decorate the front porch a bit, and outside the front door quite a bit. I carved two pumpkins, and cooked pumpkin seeds. I drank all the pumpkin spice cappachino, Culvers pumpkin shakes, and Tanner's apple cider I could muster, and also ate Dairy Queen Pumpkin Blizzards, Tanner's Apple Cider Donuts and Caramel Apples I could fit. And I gained 7 pounds doing it. But I didn't have a costume. Not at work, not at home, not during trick-Or-Treat. GASP! Does this mean I am OLD! NOOOOOOO!!! Next year I will come back! Of course next year at this time I had better be pregnant. So I guess that means I could be a pregnant nun or something. Although I can never ever see why I would want to dress up as a nun, or pay money for a habit (besides a scrapbooking habit... ha ha) Any suggestions on a good pregnant costume are welcome.

The weekend was fab. We ran all over hell. Self inflicted. Firstly, we had a wedding reception on Friday night. Evan attended but I did not, I had too much other stuff going on, and not enough warning to block off time because our invitation must have gotten eaten by that mailman, since it never arrived. Although they swore they sent us one. Well, who knows.

Saturday I had to get up early. Anything prior to 8am is early for me. I usually get up at anywhere from 8-8:30, since I usually work like 9 or 9:30. So I got up early and enjoyed a free donut from Casey's in Wyanet, it was their 25th anniversary. Then on to Princeton to work, to do my weekend duties (which I cannot discuss here in case I disclose any "operations" of my workplace, which I also may not mention by name or industry) and then on to a 9am Cardmaking class, which I busted my ass to get there 25 minutes early so I could leave 25 minutes early. I got 16 Christmas Cards made in the short time span of 2 hours. Then I hauled ass back to Wyanet to meet Evan and we packed up the car and headed for Macomb.

We stopped at McDonald's in Monmouth, which was THE Most messed up McDonald's I have ever been to. It had the two lanes to order from, which then merged to one. Well, it was lunch hour, rush crowd, and there were about 22 people in the two lines, and we waited for FIFTEEN MINUTES to order and then get our food. It was silly. And of course the girl who took our money had the NASTIEST fingernails. It makes me cringe. I hope they don't let her touch food with those hands. I guess because it tasted so good, that must mean that there was something funky in it.

So at about 2pm (1 hour late) we arrived at Evan's cousing Amy's for a Stampin Up party. I spent lots of $$ on new supplies and made three cute Christmas cards. I am a CARD MAKING MACHINE!

That night we are Chinese Buffet and then Evan and I went to Wal-mart, our home away from home, and then stayed at his Brother Kyle's. Sunday we had donuts for breakfast, and a nice drive home together, then I had to go back to the "undisclosed place of employment" to do the "undescribed duties which have been assigned to me" and then I washed my car, and went home to prepare for Trick-Or Treat.

I cleaned the front porch. I opened bags of candy. I changed clothes twice. I sat down with all the candles and jack-o-lanterns lit and a GIANT basket of Candy, and began to read The Bitch in the House a book written by 26 women and edited by Cathi Hanauer. It is primarily stories of women who find themselves so far from the 1950's "angel" in the house.... and are juggling careers, motherhood, housework, hobbies, and husbands... and find that instead of an angel, they have become "the bitch in the house." It is so far, really quite fabulous, and I can easily read and relate to it. I don't read well while distracted, but I seemed to make it through three mini-stories while chatting with trick-or-treaters... so that should tell you how good it is.

Any woman my age (any woman who is not a lazy slob) will tell you how it feels to be pulled 100 thousand directions, have a husband or boyfriend whom you feel does NOTHING or not nearly enough to help you, and many with children will tell you how it feels to singlehandedly raise them while their husband sits on the couch or on the internet. I have to appreciate this book, especially when other women tell you their stories, and how we got outselves into this mess, and how in the world can we possibly get ourselves out, without killing someone in the process. It's all about asking for help and teaching our spouses how to do things. Essentially don't be a martyr. And that won't solve all our problems, but it will help.

I grew up in a sort of feminist way. I can do ANYTHING that a guy can do. I can do ANTHING I want to do. I can work and be a mom. I can work in agriculture. I can make the same money for the same work. I can have a nice clean house and dinner on the table and a loving husband. I can have it all. The part that they forgot to mention.... is that I will be crazy.

I learned pretty quickly that I was banging my head against a concrete wall. I can do anything. But I won't get respect from everyone for doing it, and I won't be given the same treatment and the same paycheck for doing it. I think the first time I really learned that was while working at Kasbeer Farmer's Elevator. I was doing bookkeeping and sampling and weighing in all the trucks, and selling grain to the river and giving prices to farmers. I was busting ass there. And one day, a farmer, in all the best intentions, said to me "I think that you should go to school. You do really well for this, and if you went to college and got a degree, you could be more than just a secretary." I was crushed. I was not just a secretary. I was barely shy of a grain merchandiser/bookkeeper/manager. I waas juggling everything. I HAD A DEGREE IN Ag Business Management and Three certificates in animal sciences. I was NOT a secretary. But did I make coffee? Yes. Did I answer the phone? Yes. Was I cute in a skirt? Positively. was I making $8 an hour to do everything. Absolutely. Looks damn well like a secretary to me? How about you?

So I switched industries. I would always be the secretary in the eyes of old farmers everywhere. They loved me. I could talk to them about everything. I knew the grain prices, and what happened in Brazil. I knew the state of traffic on the river and I knew the moisture of every farmer's corn for 20 miles. But I was young and cute and I liked to chat and make them coffee - and I was after all a woman. So that made me a secretary. I tried not to take offense... but how could you not? Those men had no idea that I had vaccinated pigs and castrated cattle. That I had put up a grain bin and taken out test plots with a weigh wagon. They didn't realize that I had done their soil testing last year and while on the 4-wheeler had made all new maps of their fields with new waterways included and old fence lines removed. They had no freaking clue. I was just that cute girl in the skirt with a hot cup of coffee. Secretary It is.

Now, in the computer industry, and with web and graphic design... I am accepted as an equal. I am considered intelligent and my ideas are welcomed and praised. People think (assume) that I have a computer degree when I do not. This time the assumptions are on MY side instead of against me. People call me a Guru. They plead for my help and I leave them beaming and appreciative. This is the way I want my life to feel. I want to be recognized as helping someone, making their lives easier. This is the industry I should have started with. However, by not going through agriculture, I would have thought "what if" and I would have never learned the lesson that no matter how determined you are and how hard you work, there will always be someone who doesn't appreciate you and doesn't understand. There will always be someone who thinks you are a secretary.

I should have learned that when I interviewed for a sales position with Mike Boney in Aledo. I was offered the job but something just didn't feel right. It was my dream job in agriculture, but it just seemed off. Maybe it was that their main concern was that every farmer's wife would shun me. They wouldn't appreciate a cute little blonde stepping out of a big truck to sell something to their husbands. As if I were there to have sex with every crusty old farmer in the county, instead of be the best damn sales person I could be. Did they ever think that those women might just say "that chick is awesome. She'll keep my husband in line and take stock in my opinion as well." Maybe it was that the guys in the shop at the business were more worried about if they could say a bad word in front of me or post a nudey calendar in their shop than if I would do a good job. It was an eye opening that I saw.... but just ignored. Turned down the dream job because I was in disbelief that such a "man's woman" like me, who could curse and party with the best of them, was causing them such worry. It wasn't worth it then, and it really isn't worth it now.

Sometimes I wonder if all this feminism really got us anywhere. As much as I love the 60's and 70's, it may have screwed us over royally. Circa 1950, we had to cook and clean and raise the kids. We stayed home all day and got laundry and dishes done. We packed lunches and baked cookies. Now we have to work full time and demanding jobs, our income is absolutely necessary- the changing economy demands that we work. And we still have to be pregnant (and are made to feel guilty for it, because we can't work and deliver and nurse a baby at the same time, yet our income is necessary), nurse babies, make dinner, do laundry, dishes, and clean the house, plus we are the brownie leaders, the PTA members, the field trip chaperones, and the 4-H sponsors of the world. We are run ragged. We are too exhausted to enjoy what we have and we spend more time screaming at our husbands to help us than we do loving them and just getting the hugs that we so desperately need and deserve. All for a job, that I would give up in a second to be a full-time mommy and cuddle my children. We fought so hard for something that we don't all even want. And now we are stuck with it. Like an army of super mom clones. All Alone.

When will men realize that they need to support the women who are carrying their children, nurturing and loving them, and help. Pick up your underwear. Put the dirty dishes in the dishwasher. Do a load of laundry, or at least take it to the laundry room without being asked. Do ANYTHING without being asked. Take out the garbage before it is so full it falls all over the floor. Does your wife look stressed? rub her back and her neck. Ask if you can take the kids somewhere and give her a moments peace. Ask her what you can do to help. Tell her you love her. Is that too much to ask?

Friday, October 28, 2005

"Little Chicago", Princeton Illinois

Well, if there is one thing I could do well, it would be food critic. Unfortunately, there are barely enough restraunts in Princeton to pacify everyone, let alone in the Illinois Valley. Today, eleven of us ordered takeout from the newly opened "Chicago Style" Restraunt, named "Little Chicago" that used to be Johnny Ray's Ribs.

Now, we all had high hopes and were very excited. Now first, let me say that this is the first week they are open. They likely have some issues to iron out. Okay, I downplay. They have a shitload of issues to iron out. Firstly, they messed up our order. We ended up having to go BACK and tell them that we were missing two orders, at which point they got snotty and didn't believe us. We had only gone .25 miles down the road when we realized and we turned right around. Then when we finally got orders, and got back to the workplace, we discovered that another whole meal was missing. Then we called to get that meal and mentioned that we had already been there twice, and could they please have someone bring that last order to us? After all, it was their mistake, our 30 minute lunch was practically over, and there are 11 people, each of who know at least 10 other people, and who work with 400 other people who could easily be told how badly the situation was.

So we were told that the boss would call us back. 30 minutes later, the boss had not called back. 3.5 hours later, the boss has not called back. Nor has anyone else from the business. We were not given a ticket or receipt. We assume that we were not only charged for a meal that we did not receive, but that we had one co-worker who did not receive her lunch at all. We all felt terrible.

Then there is the food. Bad service is one thing. Bad food is another. Combine them, and you have a very very volatile combination. We had both.

I had a chili dog and mushrooms. Now, firstly, everyone's food was packaged in styrofoam and was cold. I have had food packaged in the identical styrofoam containers (recently from Sullivan's foods, which is AWESOME, but that is another review altogether) and that food traveled from Wyanet to Princeton and then out in the country to a FIELD during harvest - and it took about 15-20 minutes.... and it was SO hot it was fabulous. Now this food was cold. Not just like lukewarm, but COLD. It was not good. My hot dog was still warmish, but the chili nd melted cheese on top was cold. Like cold cold. The chili was very blah. These were not Chicago Hot dogs. These were like "bought at Wal-Mart in a 12 pack" hot dogs. I can make better hot dogs at home. ANYONE can make better hot dogs at home.

Now the girls who had Chicago Style dogs said they were okay, and the price was right, but they were ALL cold. The 3 girls who had tacos were severly disappointed. There was almost nothing IN the tacos. The two who had cheeseburgers said the meat didn't taste like hamburger and I watched them THROW AWAY uneaten halves. How can you mess up a burger to the point of unedible? (Just ask Schoonerz bar and grill in Princeton) Had the third cheeseburger we ordered actually ARRIVED, she likely would have thrown it away too I suppose.

The girl who had a hot beef (like loose italian beef) said that the meat was dry and that the "homesliced fries" were not freshly homesliced as advertised. Her comment was that she "can not recommend this to anyone."

So, overall.... if you want is straight. The food was cold. Tasted badly, and the order was misfilled. The staff didn't believe us when we said we were missing food and they never returned out phone call. One woman didn't even get her meal and we believe we payed for it. We were not given any receipt or ticket. We were unable to see if we payed for it or see what we were charged for each person's meal.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Angry. All Day Every Day.

Is it Friday yet? Argh! My frustration level just keeps climbing. Especially when dealing with an overload of things to do and no desire to do any of them.

I had a realization last night that although we will hopefully have a living and dining room before December, we won't have any FURNITURE in them, except two old brown recliners, a DVD shelf, a TV, and a floor lamp. That leaves the dining room completely empty. No table and chairs, no buffet, no hutch or china cabinet. EMPTY! It sucks royally. I know exactly what I want. But I have no money to buy any of it.

We both just needed new winter coats, I have gotten too fat for all of mine and Evan hasn't had one since 1993. Seriously. That is when he got his last winter coat. It was his black Nike stadium jacket and we both still wear it. Silly huh? Well I bought two new Carhartt jackets that are black, they were on sale at TSC. I bought mine first, not sure that evan would want one, let alone one identical to mine, and when he tried mine on, he loved it. So we have two, freshly washed, and ready to have the JA logo screen printed on the back. We will get that done at Breedloves in Kewanee this weekend.

Then I bought a straightener for my hair since mine wasn't working anymore, and I won't even VENTURE to tell you what that cost.... and add in my haircut and color, WOW! But that was from my allowed spending money that comes out of my check, so all was okay.

Plus we have to get new stickers for BOTH cars this November, which means the check needs to go out the beginning of the month. Argh. I can't even remember where I put the papers. Guess I will have to clean the office, which is under piles of crap from the living and dining room. Icky.

I did get groceries at Aldi's to save money, but I was still out of foundation and they didn't have bottled water at Aldi's. Then we can't cook well in the kitchen since it is full of dining room stuff, so I have eaten out a bit this week. Bad meagan. Getting fatter and poorer every second. And more tired. Exhaustion. Sheer exhaustion. I tried to do laundry last night and it just made me ANGRY! I changed the sheets on our bed, fed the dogs, all that jazz. I can't wait till our house is back to normal.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Britney Spears Freaks over baby Photos.

You know.... Britney Spears is a dumb ass. She may be hot, and beautiful, but anyone who would marry trailer trash Kevin Federline has issues. The fact that she could have a great selection of men (or could she, maybe she's so annoying in person, that is the problem? No man wants her?) but she picked him? I mean he has BRAIDS in his hair for gods sake. What a joke. Just looking at him infuriates me.

So she had this baby, too soon, with this guy who is too gross, and they posed for a photo shoot for people magazine, with the baby. Then the next day brit freaks out crying to her people that she has "sold out the baby" and she pulls out of the deal. Then some pictures of the baby, and of the family and brit holding the baby, leak out on the internet, and she threatens to sue anyone who sells, posts, or publishes them, so they all disappear. Oh for god's sakes. Why don't you just go all Michael Jackson and make your kids wear veils in public? Are you never going to go anywhere with the baby? Will the baby never leave the house? Apparently not, since her first public appearance showed her and kevin out and about, with her body all back to before, and her belly showing all slimmed down, and stupid kevin with his braids and too baggy shorts and old tennis shoes. Gag. I really actually feel badly for her.

Then there are all the stories of the two nannies/nurses that Britney scared away, making them come running the second the baby would cry, and making them clean toilets when the baby was alseep, causing them to tell her to kiss their asses. What the hell? I am sure these things could POSSIBLY not be true, but don't they sound especially possible with a spoiled rotten rich girl too young to have kids with a man who is irresponsible and dresses terribly? Is Kevin's style rubbing off on Brit. Probably.

What disgusts me most about this, is the fact that I just saw the documentary on Jonny Kennedy last night, and his story has to fight for publicity, when every single stupid little thing Britney does gets full coverage. Let me just say- she is not worthy.

P.S. UPDATE: 10/25/05 I found some residual pics still online....

Sunday, October 23, 2005

The Boy Whose Skin Fell Off

Tonight I saw the documentary "The Boy Whose Skin Fell Off" the story of the Life and Death of Jonny Kennedy, a man born with the genetic skin condition Epidermolysis Bullosa. It was aired on TLC. Click the TLC link to watch a preview and get upcoming schedules. I wasn't wanting to watch it, but it was so compelling I couldn't turn away, and I am glad that I watched. Everyone should see this documentary!

  • From the Debra website "EB - Epidermolysis Bullosa - is a genetic condition where the skin breaks at the slightest touch, causing painful, open blisters and wounds. EB can mean a life of extreme pain, disability and, at its worst it is fatal in infancy. People with severe EB are likely to contract a fatal skin cancer. DebRA provides specialist EB nursing, funds extensive medical research and provides counselling, welfare, respite and advocacy. "

The documentary was unbelievable. I don't think I have ever seen anything like it on TV. The documentary begins with Jonny, dead in his wheelchair and then his coffin. His own voice declares something like "that's me in the box." To see Jonny's pain and suffering, and his sense of humor, sarcasm, and outlook on not only life, but death.... it was quite a different experience. I was sad for Jonny and his family, amazed at all of the diseases that are out there which we know nothing about, and overwhelmed with emotion at his thoughts on death, planning his own funeral, and making his trip to the Prime Minister on his death bed. Amazing man.

One thing that I found myself thinking again and again.... how in the world do parents deal with it? I can not even begin to imagine having a child born with a genetic disease or a physical deformity. We all take for granted that perfect little baby with 10 fingers and 10 toes. If I were to be honest, I would have to say that if I were pregnant with a baby that had a defect as such, I would want to terminate. I know that there is "anti-abortion" and there are people who say you should take what god gives you but I don't know that I could take it. Because I am thinking about having kids before much longer, I just can't believe how much parents of these children go through, and although that may seem selfish, I am also seeing the quality of life, or lack thereof, that the children have. How could you watch someone that you love go through a life of pain and suffering, and be the object of stares and questions. What sense of normalcy is there? I feel guilty for thinking that I couldn't handle it, especially when looking at these strong mother's and fathers. But then I hear Jonny's mother say that if she KNEW jonny had that condition, she WOULD have terminated her pregnancy. That his suffering and pain is too much for him to bear, and too much for his family to bear. Then I feel relieved that even Jonny and his mother recognize that no one should have to go through what Jonny and his family have been through. And that termination is not something to feel ashamed for.

If anyone were reading this blog, I am sure I would have LOTS of comments on this one, especially from the catholic pro-life activists. How dare they say that they know what is best for someone in that position.

Overall, I was releived when Jonny was finally able to let go, to feel that his work was finished and that he had learned what god had put him on earth to learn. It amazes me that he lived that was for 36 long years, and his mother is a saint. Wow is she ever. She made it through all the pain and caring for Jonny. Amazing woman indeed. How this disease has gone unrecognized by the public eye for so long is beyond me. The hope for a cure is a big one.


I don't WANT to do anything. Yesterday Evan mowed the yard and trimmed the bushes out front. I vacuumed and mopped, cleaned and dusted the front porch, new bedroom, and bathroom. Everything was coated in a thick layer of dust from the gutting of the living and dining rooms. Icky. My first time mopping the hardwood floor, I used the swiffer wet jet with the wood floor solution, and the cleaning people use murphy's oil soap. The swiffer is a good "in between" mop, I likeit. I really need to do the same to the office and spare bedroom, but I also did like 6 loads of laundry yesterday, and I have like 4 more to do today. I REALLY do not want to do it at all, so maybe I won't. Our kitchen Looks trashed, it is full of all the glassware from the cupboards in the living room and I can not even find a place to set anything. But I am really not in the mood to spend my entire weekend cleaning. Oh well. Maybe I will just skip it. I could at least clean off the craft table, that would be a good starter, and proceed with the laundry to be finished later.

This afternoon we are carving pumpkins at mom's and having chili and grilled cheese. Yum! I need to get my pumpkin carving kits out and also saddle shoes for mom's halloween costume.

Oy. Tonight I also want to go to work for a couple of hours and get some graphics designed for a project that I didn't have time to get to last week. Plus it is Grey's Anatomy and Desperate Housewives Night. Can't miss that- But it setup to TIVO just in case.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Uber Productive

Tonight I am proud of myself. Considering that we did our software update at 2am at work, and I had to be in at 6:30am, I am still kicking. I never get up before 8, or I am shit for the day. No matter when I go to sleep. I did well today, got LOTS done. So I was off early, and that allowed me to get lots done at home. I cleaned out the bathroom closet, which is HUGE. I gota huge garbage bag of toiletries and out of date medicine.... things I needed to just get rid of. I gave a giant container of toiletry samples (Biolage, Nivea, Avon Anew, Burts Bees, etc) and hair scrunchies, headbands, and hair picks to the neighbor girl. Hopefully she can use them.

I threw out all my old PC software boxes, I only kept one out of like 14 software titles. And that was because I plan to resell it as I don't use it. I also cleaned out the Freezer (the top of the fridge, not the deep freezer in the basement, it's clean already) and got another garbage bag of old food. Icky. So overall I am totally on a roll. I took about 10-12 loads of stuff up to the attic and am down to about 3 boxes and some stuff that needs a home down here. Hopefully I can start getting a handle on "down here" tomorrow night, since sucky baseball will be on and that means no "Reunion" or "O.C."

Evan's cousing Doug is visiting over the weekend- so I need to get some things a new home, or at least a Temporary Home so he has a place to sleep and put his things. I also need BADLY to get laundry done. I don't know what to wear to work if I don't- today I snuck by with illegal jeans because of the software update... but tomorrow I will be screwed. And I also need to get clean towels for when Doug gets here. We have some, but not nearly enough.

It's only 8:3o but I feel myself starting to wind down. I love having a dumpster in our driveway, it's a great purging/organizing/cleaning opportunity.

:) Night all... sleep tight

Tina in Prague, my alter ego?

Here I go again... Blogging about what I should be doing. And did I mention I hate the spacebar on THIS Keyboard. I could move. I do have two more computers on my home network, and then my work computer. Nah.

The living and dining room have been prepared for "gutting"- all the trim is down and the windows are covered. The giant dumpster has arrived and soon the destruction will begin. I am always anxious for them to get down to the bare walls. Goodbye plaster and lathe.

I really need to finish emptying the two rooms. I have a pile of crap that needs to get carried to the attic. Crap that men look at like "why do we even OWN that" i.e.: beads, crocheting, books, empty boxes for computer software (I am with the men on this) and things like leftover Pampered Chef Consultant supplies, and misc pea coats and picture frames, spare pillows, lamp shades, magazines, baskets, and an old iron gate that hangs on the wall. It is a bizarre grouping, things that I feel might go up to the attic and never come back down again. Lost in the masses of totes and shelves and things forgotten.

Ugh. It's like moving without going anywhere. Pack and empty rooms, things in boxes and totes.... But we don't leave. We don't WANT to leave but jeez, we sure could.

Tina ran across my blog (SO Glad she did), which caused me to run across hers, I presume she cornered me through Miss Doxie... and I love Tina's blog already. Here she is in Prague, a translater, and tiny... and it all seems romantic and exciting and I wish I could GO there and be in prague and hear all about everything while drinking a hot drink outside. But I don't really KNOW her so that just makes me the chunky IT chick in Illinois, remodeling her house and feeding her dogs. Totally NOT in Europe and totally NOT tiny with a neat cup of espresso. Bummer. She's out there looking for the right person, and I have found mine, yet I feel like I am her, just all turned around, and maybe she is part of me all turned around. Like Tina is Meagan if she were skinny and tiny with dark hair and no husband, off to see Europe. I would kill to see Italy, most anyone knows that is my destination of choice. Go Tina Go! Be what I can't be.... and blog all about it.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Religion. This ought to get some goats.....

I personally do not have a big opinion on this one way or another. I generally do not discuss religion with others because it is a literal "hot button" and I don't believe it is anyone else's business what I believe. I also don't believe that republican southern baptists, or anyone for that matter, should shove their opinions and beliefs of god down other people's throats- whether it be in the government or everyday life. That is what I always groan when they teach you in church to run around spreading god's word and when I cringe when a Jehovah's Witness comes walking towards my door. However- this time I wanted to share this email I received. If you want to believe in god, you don't need the government's permission, and their decision to say "god" in their day to day transactions or post the ten commandments really doesn't affect me at all. So I am not saying that I care one way or another, because I certainly don't. Actually, I frequently wish that the US were like other countries in the way of being tolerant of all people, because we are all just that, PEOPLE. I also believe that we (all cultures) are all believing in the same exact god, because I believe there is only one god. I just believe that every culture interprets god differently, and names god a different name, and gives him a look that they are familiar and comfortable with, and it is man's interpretation of god that causes the problems we have, not that there is more than one god and that someone else's god is "WRONG." But that is just my opinion. But not matter what you believe, you almost have to agree that this email makes a good point!

:) Meagan

So if the US government determines that it is against the law for the words "under God" to be on our money, then, so be it.
And if that same government decides that the "Ten Commandments" are not to be used in or on a government installation, then, so be it.
And since they already have prohibited any prayer in the schools, on which they deem their authority, then so be it.
I say, "so be it," because I would like to be a law abiding US citizen.
I say, "so be it," because I would like to think that smarter people than I are in positions to make good decisions.
I would like to think that those people have the American Publics' best interests at heart.
Since we can't pray to God, can't Trust in God and cannot Post His Commandments in Government buildings,
I don't believe the Government and it's employees should participate in the Easter and Christmas celebrations which honor the God that our government is eliminating from many facets of American life.
I'd like my mail delivered on Christmas, Good Friday, Thanksgiving &Easter. After all, it's just another day.
I'd like the US Supreme Court to be in session on Christmas, Good Friday, Thanksgiving &Easter as well as Sundays. After all, it's just another day.
I'd like the Senate and the House of Representatives to not have to worry about getting home for the "Christmas Break." After all it's just another day.
I'm thinking that a lot of my taxpayer dollars could be saved, if all government offices &services would work on Christmas, Good Friday &Easter.
It shouldn't cost any overtime since those would be just like any other day of the week to a government that is trying to be "politically correct."
In fact....
I think that our government should work on Sundays (initially set aside for worshipping God...) because, after all, our government says that it should be just another day....

Another one...

Ran across this on what appears to be the blog of michelle- who I don't know, but enjoy just the same, "know what I mean"

1. Nervous habits? nail biting probably the most

2. Are you double jointed? I wish. I am the most unflexible person on the face of the earth (physically I suppose)

3. Can you roll your tongue? Yes

4. Can you raise one eyebrow at a time? Not.

5. Can you blow spit bubbles? Yes! but why?

6. Can you cross your eyes? Yep.

7. Tattoos? No

8. Piercings? 2 in each ear and a hole in my nose where it was pierced when I was 17, so that would be 10 years ago already!

9. Do you make your bed daily? Wll, I was going to say Yes, because that is my newfound thing to "do" except this morning I was awoken quite pleasantly and I just plain ignored the making of the bed before I left.

10. Which shoe goes on first? Right.

11. Speaking of shoes, have you ever thrown one at someone? Yes.

12. On average, how much money do you carry? money as in cash? None. Maybe loose change.

13. What jewellry do you wear 24/7? Usually 4 earrings, but I take them off when sleeping, and same with my wedding ring, so I don't know about that 24/7 crap. Plus I take off my ring when doing dishes or washing my hair (it get's caught) and when cooking alot.

14. Favourite piece of clothing? Zip Front Hooded Sweatshirts or Sweater- Currently my Roots Canada Sweatshirt which I got on our wedding/honeymoon in Vancouver.

15. Do you twist your spaghetti or cut it? Twist. But do see my previous post on the science of bent spaghetti. Quite interesting.

16. Have you ever eaten Spam? The email kind? Yes. The canned kind? no.

17. Do you use extra salt on your food? no. Unless it's really bad cafeteria food, or corn and green beans, I love salt on them.

18. How many cereals in your cupboard? 5 plus oatmeal

19. What is your favourite beverage? Water. All the way, hands down.

20. What is your favourite fast food restaurant? Culver's - Ultimate Grilled Cheese!

21. Do you cook? I LOVE to cook, (hence my Pampered Chef History) and Last night we had a rosemary herb roasted chicken, Cheesy au gratin potatoes, and Rice.

22. How often do you brush your teeth? Every morning, often twice because I can't remember and I check to see if my toothbrush is wet, I try to at night.... and often do after a lunch of onions or garlic.

23. Hair drying method? I use a hair dryer. Do others use different contraptions that I don't know about?

24. Have you ever coloured/highlighted your hair? Consistently. I love change.

25. Do you swear? Yes.

26. Do you ever spit? On occasion.

27. Animal? Dogs

28. Food? Tuna or Ramen Noodles

29. Month? October/November

30. Day? Thanksgiving or Halloween

31. Cartoon? Oy. I love cartoons. I don't know which! Now I tend to like Adult Cartoons, like Simpsons, Family Guy, Futurama, and Aqua Teen Hunger Force.

32. Shoe brand? I tend to like Sketchers.

33. Subject in school? Whoa. Art or Agriculture. Although I also liked History and English (the reading kind)

34. Color? Yellow or Orange.

35. Sport? Blah. I do enjoy Hockey.

36. TV Shows? Desperate Housewives, Gray's Anatomy, CSI Miami, Reunion, the OC, and ER.

37. Thing To Do In The Spring? Garden.

38. Thing To Do In The Summer? Head for the AC- Camp if the weather is tolerable. Go fishing.

39. Thing To Do In The Autumn? Decorate. Prepare to Host thanksgiving. go to Tanner's Orchard.

40. Thing To Do In The Winter? Snowmobile. Make Snowmen. Shovel Snow.

41. In The CD Player? I have an iPod. But in my car CD Player, I cycle a few things. Dazed and Confused soundtracks, Gwen Stefani L.A.M.B., and Big and Rich.

42. Person you talk on the phone most with? Mom

43. Reading? 1000 days in Tuscany by Marlena DeBlasi, Bringing up Boys by James Dobson.

44. Do you regularly check yourself out in store windows/mirrors? I totally try to ignore it, but it's like a car wreck... and I always hate what I see. I am like "Damn, that's me? That's really cramping my style!"

45. What colour is your bedroom? I can't remember the exact name. It's a creamy color. Freshly painted and moved back in on Wednesday night last week.

46. Do you use an alarm clock? Yes. But I ignore it more than I use it.

47. Window seat or aisle? Window

48. What's your sleeping position? on my tummy, I have since I was a baby, but it isn't so easy to sleep on your stomach when you are Stacked. I make do.

49. Even in hot weather do you use a blanket? Yep!!

50. Do you snore? Hubby says so.

51. Do you sleepwalk? I did when I was a kid. Badly.

52. Do you talk in your sleep? I used to when I was a kid.

53. Do you sleep with stuffed animals? No, live ones.

54. How about with the light on? I can not STAND sleeping with the light on.

55. Do you fall asleep with the radio or TV on? NO. Can't take it. Sometimes wear my iPod to bed but wake up enough to turn it off before I crash out. Although I have had some scary incidences of Dog jumping up on the bed while I have headphones on and eyes closed and I fReAk out.

56. Last interesting person you met? Around here, it is rare to meet new people. Really rare. I couldn't even tell you who I last met that I liked. It's been that long.

Chocoholic Good Morning to me!

Well! Yesterday I successfully ate 5 Hostess Cupcakes. It was bad bad bad. Not sure what prompted that, have never done that in my life (really, I am not lying to make myself look good) but I had a box of them and they were SOOO Tasty. Oy.

Then I also had some Peanut M&M's. Guess it's time for me to excercise. Especially since all I wanted for breakfast was a Take 5 candy bar.

Last night I did move most of our furniture onto the front porch, two recliners, two end tables, two speakers and a floor lamp. Then I took down all the curtain rods, all the curtains, all the mini blinds, and the grapevines and grapes that were would around them. I also packed up or picked up stuff, so there is really a minimal amount of things in the living/dining room right now.

I slept really well, just woke up once by Evan at 3:30 and then again at 7:30 by Hadley growling at the garbage truck. He hates the garbage truck. Sometimes we yell at him, but at the same time, I am glad that he barks at strange things and people, because he has a scary bark, and I do feel protected by him, although he hasn't had to play "attack dog" yet.... Plus he is a dog. What good is a bark if you can't use it? I have to remember these things. I like to let them howl and bark now and again, it's good for them!

I am trying to get an article on MSN to come up, about good marraiges and for some reason it isn't coming up. That is probably one of the first times I have had problems on MSN.... strange.
There we go. It was a good article. Sounds familiar to me, and it's nice to read something that a MAN wrote about marraige for once. Usually it's all women's point of view.

Neat Blog- just pictures.... but good ones.

Mike's Blog- this actually links to an archived page, since his dog (at least I think it is his dog) is very pretty. But the whole blog is there to check out.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Adventures in Everyday life

What a weekend! And it is only 10am Sunday. Friday night I drove to Peoria just to go to the Scrapadoodle Store. There is a MIMI tote (scrapbooking tote company) that I really wanted before my birthday, so I could go to classes and to KB's scrap day, and to the convention in Peoria, and potentially to the Horn Campus Scrapbooking Retreat in Macomb the 2nd weekend of November. Scrapadoodle was an awesome store. I got a few little things and the tote, which is the tool tote in Lavendar and chocolate, and I LOVE it!

Saturday morning I went to a Class at Jesse Ross's, and we made stacker books. It was awesome. Then I went to Wal-Mart to pick up my 1 hour photos, I had submitted them online the night before so I would have something to scrap at karen's. Then I picked up some macaroni salad, hostess cupcakes, hersheys' miniatures candy bar mixed package, and oil for my oil change today. Then straight to KB's house for a scrapbook day with my co-workers, and their children.

We had a great time, K made fabulous potato soup and grilled cheese, and we had lots of snacks. I got 10 scrapbook pages started and finished, and some pictures sorted. I also made another stacker book, this time larger in size, and taught everyone else how to make one. It was a nice day.

When I got home circa 9pm CST, I had tons of stuff to unload, all the scrapbook supplies, stuff from Wal-Mart, and the mail that I had gotten that morning, which included a giant Pampered Chef box with my new fall products. I got the professional roaster with rack, the easy view measuring cups, the new fall lef and stripe towel set, the Microplane Grater, Cranberry and Butternut Simple Additions Spreaders (2), Turkey Recipe Cards, and the Simple Additions Striped Rectangular Platter. Oh Happy Day.

I also had two Eddie Bauer Sweaters arrive in the mail, and although they were fabulous in person, the were just OK tried on, and the turtlenecks drove me nuts, plus they were itchy wool. So considering they were $74 a piece, they were certainly not worth it. The quality and fabric was nice, but not overall worth $74 each. So I packed them right back up to return them. What sounded like a good idea at the time seems in hindsight a silly mistake.

So today I was all ready to sleep in, since Evan spent the weekend in DesMoines with Nathan, and the dogs annoyed me to high hell. At 7"30 am, Haedley decided to abandon his doggie bed on the front porch, and sit a bedside vigil. Toenails scratching on the floor, I asked him to LAY DOWN about 500 thousand times and finally about to strangle him, I found that he had somehow gotten under our bed (tight squeeze) and could not get out. The futile scratching of toenails was getting him no traction, so at 8am I was wide awake, dragging him out from under the bed by his collar, and letting them outside. Argh. I lay around till 9am, trying to sleep, with no luck. So I got up and started to thaw a 5 pound chicken, and took a bath. So much for sleep.

Evan should be home this afternoon, and although I have a shitload of stuff to do, namely laundry, dishes, moving the entire living and dining room out, getting my oil changed, and trimming the bushes outside.... I have decided to do this instead. But I can only type so long, and the house is calling me.

Friday, October 14, 2005

pongour falls, and other things we never heard about in school.

You know, sometimes I get incredibly upset when I think about what I learned in school. We had to learn so much about the US Government, about US History, and we took physics and algebra (at least I did) and geography and biology. How often do we use all of that everyday? And I also am acutely aware of how our education is so narrowly focused on the history of the US (in a way that we are approved to hear about) and the lack of history and current education on other cultures, religions, beliefs, and landmarks.... not to mention the history of other countries. The only time we learned anything about another country was if that country crossed out path, like Japan at Pearl harbor. Only learned about Spain because of Christopher Columbus. Not to mention the only thing I really learned about Vietnam was from movies like Platoon and Forrest Gump. Really. That is so lame. That you can get more "real" education from movies, which are usually trumnped up and fictional, than you can in school. I do recall learning about Cinco De Mayo and other things about mexican culture, but only because I took a year of spanish. It's a real shame that there aren't required courses to teach us about other cultures, their ways of life, the things they believe in, their histories and their legends. It really bugs me. It bugs me every day. When I learn that Pongour Falls in Vietnam is a beautiful spiritual place, with monks chanting in the water and pilgrims coming from far away to witness the 7 layer waterfalls. All this I stumble across on the internet. And learning about the Korean war and the DMZ because Carrie LIVES there for god's sakes. I mean, who was supposed to teach me that Ho Chi Minh City is Saigon? How many times have I heard the words "Ho Chi Minh City" in a movie and never knew that is Saigon? Never even knew it is a real place! I always thought it was a fictional anime type place. How do we get through high school knowing NOTHING about a world outside the US borders? I don't get it. It's a sad, sad shame. How do I learn about the landscapes, food, cultures of places like Pienza in Tuscany and cities like Venice and Rome by reading books by Marlena DeBlasi, Watching The travel channel, and going to restraunts like Verucchi's? How do I get through high school knowing only that Venice is a city on the water with Gondolas, in italy, the country shaped like a boot? I swear that I learned more about the "real world" in my 10 years living in it (and thanks to my husband, who has seen every movie and every history channel special, flown to france, etc.) There should be more required reading in high school about other cultures.... more information on travel and history.... MORE I SAY! It makes me want to travel, especially since I have conquered my fear of flying, and see other cultures, other countries. I just want to LEARN! To absorb! I don't want to be afraid of going other places and meeting other types of people. I sometimes feel like the US Likes us to be afraid, to only feel secure within our boundraries.... especially with the terrorism. It's difficult. When we went to Canada, we saw nothing but welcoming, generous, smiling people. Eager to hear about us... where we were from, why we were there, were we enjoying ourselves? Is this the way the USA looks to outsiders? I seriously doubt it. Have we put ourselves in this class that prevents us from having that culture? I am just shocked sometimes at the one sided thoughts we have, and at the redneck people we turn out here in the good ol usa. We really need to be more open minded, and more educated about other cultures and countries. I remember once chatting with a man from Egypt online. He was my age. When he asked me what I knew about Egypt, all I knew was pyramids. The Nile. Cleopatra. I was totally ignorant. And he was furious. He asked if I thought that Egypt was still pyramids and did I think that he went to work on a camel? I honestly had never once thought of what Egypt is like. Not once. And that is so embarassing.

Molly Shattuck- 38 year old Baltimore Ravens Cheerleader and Mom of 3

Well, this is inspiring. There is hope for me yet. At this point I figure I will never ever be skinny. I have not really ever been "skinny" in the ideal sense of the word.... like when I was "skinny" I was a size 8. I am tall. I am built. I will never be the size 5 and I don't plan on starving. But this woman has to prove that you can be physically fit even with 3 kids under the age of 7. I see those hot moms everywhere, but I always figure it's genetics. Maybe it is.... and I am not the lucky one with the good genes. But I am wanting to share with you the story of Molly S. - who is 38 years old, the wife of a billionairre, living in a mansion, with 3 kids. And she just became a Baltimore Ravens Cheerleader in the NFL in August. When she tried out, the squad thought she was 24. Well, she's 38. Some places portray her as a "trophy wife" (second wife of the Billionairre, in 1997) and that she has "paid help" and never has to lift a finger. However, she said in an interview that she had been a college cheerleader, and had never tried out for NFL because she moved to baltimore, and there was no NFL team there. When the Ravens arrived, she said she didn't try out because she was always either pregnant or nursing when the tryouts came around. Do trophy mom's breast feed? Doubtful. How many trophy mom's would want their kids to be in their swimsuit shoot with them? Sports Illustrated ended up not putting the picture in the actual calendar, but they did the shoot with the kids and mom in their swimsuit. She said that a babysitter comes to the house two nights a week when she goes to practice, and that she misses putting her kids to bed those nights. I would say that rich trophy mom's have a "nanny" and probably don't put their kids to bed because they are too busy socializing. So, although I am generally not a fan of cheerleaders, I have to say, this woman impresses me and it is inspiring.

Links to Molly Photos and Stories:

Cheerleader Group Photo

Baltimore Sun

Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Photos with kids

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

The Anticipated Return of pumpkin spice cappuccino!

Well, work brought back the seasonal pumpkin spice cappuccino, which thrilled me to death. I ate Taco/nacho bar for lunch today and that barked back at me most of the afternoon. It tasted fabulous, but with IBS you pay for fabulous.

Last night Evan and I took “PG” to Verucchi's Ristorante in Spring Valley. It was fabulous. “PG” picked out a cabernet, and although I am not usually fond of red wines, I was okay with it. It didn’t have that “church wine” sting that I am so accustomed to. We drank two bottles. Actually more THEY Drank two bottles, I had about a glass or two… hard to tell when they are topping you off when you aren’t looking. I had never eaten at Verucchi's, even though I had tried a million times, ever since I had worked with Barb (Verucchi) DeAngelo at the Ace Hardware Retail Support Center in Princeton. We had tried The Feed Store in Malden, not open on Tuesdays. Then on to Zearing, but I learned they no longer serve food at Petticoat Junction. Then on to Lanuti’s in Ladd – closed on Tuesday, and Rip’s the same. Softails doesn’t serve on Tuesday nights and by that time we were in the Valley, so to Verucchi’s it was.

I went home and went straight to bed. Let the dogs inside and climbed under the covers with the warm wine surrounding me. Ahhh. I slept well.

Tonight we are moving into our bedroom finally, as the work is completed. I will be fixing someone’s computer at 7pm, I hope it won’t take long so I can run home and get things moved about and ready for bed at a decent time. I love this fall weather. I could sleep a major portion of the morning all curled up under the quilt with Evan and Dogs all about. But I do have to do the whole “bring home the bacon” deal, so Hi-ho, Hi-ho, It’s off to work I go. I desperately need to get thinner or buy more new clothes. I thought I was going to start yesterday, but then there were pumpkin pie shakes flashing on the Culver’s sign. Then today there was free taco/nacho bar and the new pumpkin spice cappuccino. I just can’t win! Friday is a Sundae bar. How will I ever make it?

goodnight, john boy

goodnight, john boy

Thought this blog was worth a vist. I enjoyed my time there. hope you do to.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

mmmm.... Culver's Pumpkin Pie Shake....

Today I thought I would be "good" and try again to lose that 50 pounds that's been on my ass for a year or two now. I was on my way to buy a McDonald's salad. I love their Chicken Bacon Ranch Salad. Well, I drove by Culver's and their sign said "Pumpkin Pie Shake" and I about slammed on the brakes. I went to Mc Donald's and got my salad and then BACK to Culver's for a shake. I got a regular size. It was all smooth and creamy and tasty. It had a whipped cream swirl on top sprinkled with pumpkin pie spices and cinnamon. Yum! It was like a pumpkin pie through a straw. It made me crave my Blue Ribbon winning "Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars" and Beck's Pumpkin cappuccino that shows up in their stations each fall. I was like Homer Simpson witha donut.

Later I discovered that for the calories in the Shake, I could have had TWO Butterburgers with Cheese. If that ain't the luck, huh? But it was a tasty PMS treat if I do say so myself. Would I do it over again? Yes, but this time I wouldn't even waste my money on the salad. That shake was like a heavenly meal on it's own. Cheers to Culver's.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Moving Nowhere. But Packing Just the Same.

I can't believe I haven't blogged in 8 days! Whoa! Is the novelty of a new blog location wearing off? I think it is just BUSY in the normal sense of the word.

Our bedroom is ALMOST Finished and I spent a good majority of my weekend doing laundry, picking up in the laundry room, cleaning my empty closet and getting everything back into it, and going through clothes to throw out, counting them to get a receipt for taxes (donating them) and then folding and bagging them for giveaway. And I was packing up everything in the living/dining rooms so that we can evacuate those rooms by next week. And did I mention it was :cleaning day: today? I have my cleaning people, who I love dearly, who are lifesavers, fabulous at what they do, and extremely tolerant of our house that is all torn up. They come every other monday, and that means that every other Sunday I am like a whirlwind of "picking up." Especially when everything is "displaced" by the remodeling and all my clothes were in cardboard boxes and laundry baskets.

So yesterday I started at 10:30 am and picked up, rearranged, organized, and did laundry until exactly 2:00am (monday morning). I did take a 1 hour nap when I got a headache from someone burning garbage.... and also ate supper. I Tivo'd desperate housewives and then was able to watch it AFTER Grey's Anatomy, while I folded laundry and in between loads. Pausing and recording and rewinding TV is a fabulous thing. I can get so much more done! Plus I can fast forward through commercials, so that a 1 hour show ends up being a 45 minute show. Talk about time saving!

Anya and I went to an auction on Saturday, at Evan's Aunt Marchelle's house. There was Longabeger on the auction, and the only basket that I wanted was the basket that I actually have wanted for a few months now. You can buy it brand new for about $85.... and then add in a liner and a protector with woodcrafts divider, and you might be up to $15 to $125.00 I figured I'd pay as much as $95 for the whole shebang- it was in good shape, albeit a 2003 basket (Large Desktop) and "Christy Jo" ended up bidding up to $120 on a basket that is 2 years old and valued at that brand new. It was so silly. When the bidding finished, Anya said "That has got to be the single most stupid thing I have ever seen." Refering to "Christy Jo" paying retail price of a new basket for a basket on an auction that was almost 3 years old. Not to mention the unlikeliness of the liner being THE LINER that you want, so most likely having to purchase a new liner on top of that. I agreed wholeheartedly. I bought a large flower pot for $1 instead, and was very pleased about it. Anya bought a #8 crock for a great price, and I carried it home for her.

Then we went to Sherwood where I bought a Cool large bowl and some carved wooden balls. Anya saw a trunk she liked. Then we ate lunch at Subway. When I got home, I went to the Wyanet Locker and got some ground beef and a ham, and then went home and concocted Chili in the crockpot for supper. Evan was off moving Beef in with Shana. When he got home at 7pm we ran to Menards in Peru and got some supplies for the house, light switches and outlet covers, new smoke detectors with lights, and 1/4 round trim. Furniture leg coasters and felt to protect the new (old) floors.

Friday night I went with my mom to Wal-mart and to Sullivans. Bought new Norton Antivirus and a Firewaire cable for my Mini DV Camcorder, and also three new long sleeved t-shirts and a sweatshirt. Got some meat at Sullivan's and the chili fixins. When I got home Evan had the stuffed pork chops and the garlic mashed potatoes just finished. YUM!

So although the weekend was not 100% relaxing, it was certainly 100% productive, and a good slice of fun or relaxing thrown in for good measure. I was supposed to be in Chicago (or I should say NEAR Chicago as to not infuriate the "Downtowners") and visiting Angela and enjoying ourselves at Pete's... but had to reschedule due to a "double booking" error on Angela's schedule. Oh well. We will do it again sometime.

That's all folks!

Sunday, October 02, 2005

The package that FedEx Charged me $151.00 to ship

Well, today is certainly a mixture of emotions. I received lots of mail, since I hadn’t really checked it in about a week. Renewals for both of our license plates, Bill for Car Insurance, Bill for Water, Bill for payment on my laptop.

Then a bill from Fed-Ex. While we were in Canada getting married and honeymooning, we did shopping; we bought gifts to bring back to the US for family members, souvenirs, etc. We knew that if we tried to put them on the plane, the box they were in would probably be destroyed (they ripped a wheel off my brand new luggage), we didn’t have extra luggage, and we would have to pay extra to get it on the plane to get it back, so we got the brilliant idea to use my fed ex account number and ship it back.

We shipped it International Priority. I filled out all the customs forms; I listed each item in the box separately and claimed how much it cost. The box weighed 10 pounds. We thought it would arrive in 3 business days, according to Fed Ex international Priority standards as listed on the bill of lading that I filled out, and as listed on their website. That would mean that it would arrive before our reception on the 20th, and also in time to give the gifts to Evan’s brother Kyle, and Angie and Carrie, since Carrie is in Utah and Angela near Chicago, and Kyle in Macomb.

Well, of course, the package got held up in Customs and they thought I was importing goods for RESALE, because there was over $700.00 CAD of products inside. Then I ended up playing phone tag with Customs agents for 5 days, every time I talked to them there was a new “form” I had to fill out and fax to them that basically told the exact same thing as I already had filled out, except declaring the goods as “personal use” and not for resale. I had to relist each good AGAIN on another form. Ugh. And I had to list what each item was MADE of. Fabric/Leather/Metal, etc. Although most of that was already listed. Who would have thought that a sweatshirt could be made out of anything besides FABRIC? A leather sweatshirt? Not. They could have easily opened the box and saw what was inside for themselves instead of making me fill out 100 forms to tell them what the clothing was made of.

So anyway, finally got through all of that, and were told that it was being released from customs and should arrive AT OUR HOUSE most likely by 1pm on the 20th, THE DAY OF OUR RECEPTION. So while I am at the reception site, Evan is at home waiting for the FedEx box that really doesn’t arrive until 10:38am on Monday, the 23rd of August, exactly 3 days after the reception, 1 day after Carrie flew back to Utah and Kyle and Angela drove home. AND 6 days after the package left Vancouver. SO I called FedEx, because in my mind, it was not delivered in a timely manner according to the International Priority (3 days) and instead was delivered in accordance with regular fedex ground times. So I tried to see if they would just be charging us for FedEx International Ground and Not FedEx International Priority. No chance. You see, according to FedEx’s fine print, which I can only find while searching their website for 30 minutes, Delays in Customs are not their responsibility. And therefore they can charge me whatever they want. They can in fact even charge me more surcharges because of it.

So my bill arrived today. It cost $151.17 USD to ship a 10 pound box from Canada to Illinois, in 6 business days and with LOADS of haggle, hassle, and paperwork. Thank You FedEx.

I am still requesting a price change, but I highly doubt FedEx will do anything for me, the average customer, now looking at a shocking $151.00 bill. Instead I am sure they will site all their “policies” and the fine print available on their website.

In other FedEx news:

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