Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Nude Crocheting ~ HNT

Nude Crocheting for HNT
Originally uploaded by Dazed81.
This Ain't Your Grandma's Crocheting!

Happy HNT! I am **hoping** that osbasso will send me lots of visitors this week.... Please leave a comment in the Lasso of Truth! Tell me what you think!

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Knitty Gritty

At 2am I decided that it would be a good idea to learn how to knit. Ummm.... yeah, it didn't go so well. Up front, let me tell you that I am left handed. I crochet left handed. While that works great for me, it tends to throw you right handed people for a huge-ass fucking loop. But I was actually taught to crochet by my aunt, who was super cool patient, and didn't let the left handed thing screw her up or dissuade her a bit. We did notice that my crochet slants the opposite direction as hers and most items made by right handers. Did I mention I have been crocheting the same dark purple afghan for like, umm.... oh probably 4 years. It's like SUPER wide so it takes me a long time to get across it once, but I do crochet pretty fast, and I can do it without looking, so I like to Crochet and watch TV. But I go in spurts and I forget that I am even doing it, so my work suffers.

Late last night I had to make a wal-mart trip for moopy's face. I didn't have the right fabric. I needed like a 4x4 inch SQUARE and didn't have any in the right color. I was like "great, gonna buy a 1/4 yard and pay too much for the 4x4 square that I actually need out of it" and wouldn't you know, a PERFECT remnant, khaki/linen colored for Moopy's Face... only 65 cents. wOOt!

And somehow I got to perusing all the craft aisles 500 times each. And somehow I started looking at YARN. And somehow I was looking at knitting books. It all started with those damn red sweaters, and that darn cute pumpkin hat, and this purse.... and I thought "I can do this, Anya will teach me!" Anya can knit and I can crochet. Well, about a year ago, or maybe a while longer, Anya and I decided to teach each other. I taught her crochet, but I never really wanted to knit. I didn't want to get caught up in it when I was still crocheting the same afghan for 4 years. She did show me how to do a round/rosette crochet stitch, which was cool, but every time I want to continue, I have to call her and be all like "come over, I can't remember how to do this!" After crocheting a single crochet for a while, Anya said to me "This takes forever! I would MUCH rather knit!" and my wheels jarred and started turning! aha! I should be KNITTING! That's the problem! My husband thinks the coolest show on DIY is Knitty Gritty, because of the name. He's always like "Look! It's Knitty Gritty!" And to me, it was just one more reminder that I can't and shouldn't knit, because I don't ever finish a crochet project.

Well, at 11:30pm in the Wal-mart aisle last night I gave in. #8 aluminum needles in **pink** and a Better Homes and Gardens "You can KNIT!" book. and at 2am, after retreiving a new skein of yellow baby soft yard from my stash in the lidded antique picnic basket in the attic.... I couldn't even Cast On! Damn it all! At 2:58am I gave up and went to sleep. And this morning the first thing I did... e-mail Anya. HELP! I can't do it without you! And she laughed at me.

Tonight I get to see baby Ava and learn how to crochet. Hopefully.

If I never learn how to be a productive knitter, I will never be able to justify having the coolest glass knitting needles and cases like these....

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Eco Moopy ~By Meagan~

Well, it's technically Wednesday- 1:16am to be exact. I just popped on to post pictures of my "mini-moopy" that I made tonight with Carly's pattern from her blog.

This Moopy is named "Eco Moopy" and it is for my friend Angela. It matches her eco-friendly lifestyle (she's an ecologist and vegetarian) and it also matches her green couch- AND the fabrics are the exact same ones as the patchwork quilt pillow I made her a couple of years ago. I hope she loves it!

This was my first Moopy but it won't be the last, I am already cutting out my next!

Search Flickr for minimoopy and look at all the moopys out there!

Have a lovely evening morning!

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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Little Red Sweaters

I have to say that this is an interesting project, and no matter what your opinion on it, it is for sure a moving and thought provoking tribute and very fitting as yesterday was memorial day. If you know how to knit, I say send a sweater, and if not, please just go see. How cool would it be to see this tree in person, and what an impact this would make on a person just walking past.

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I ran home for lunch today and I almost died got ran into twice on the 8 minute drive there. On Park Avenue West a car crossed over the center line. he/she was not even a car length away from me and suddenly came right over into my lane so that I only had half a lane left. I just about had to jump the curb near park tavern to get out of the way but the driver suddenly started paying attention and jerked back across the center line. Damn.

Then in Wyanet on my way back from lunch, some guy in a red ford truck was really wanting to back out and I could see that he was looking to his left but never ever checked the rightside, which of course was where I was driving, on the ROAD and I stopped. He started backing. He didn't look. He kept backing. I honked and he looked my direction, with this look on his face like- Oh, does the traffic come from both ways? I was like "oy." And I just smiled at him. Good thing I am paying attention because apparently no one else was.

By lunchtime I had already discussed software firewalls with 3 people, and none of them were at my work, or job related. Apparently there are a lot of people worried about firewalls today.

The hardest thing about work today was the giant leftover, chocolate graduation cake in the fridge that a co-worker brought to share. And I am not supposed to eat. Because of South Beach. Because the doctor said lost 30 pounds. Because it would be healthy. So today I am telling myself that chocolate cake causes cancer. It is the only thing that will (maybe) stop me.

I have been lately wishing (sometimes) that this was one of those high tech and well respected Gadget Blogs where I reviewed a new gadget every couple of days. And not just because I love to review gadgets. But because I want some companies to start sending me free gadgets to review... because I kick ass at that. And I am honest. And I am a good advertiser. Like, why can't they send me an ipod Nano, and maybe a Canon Digital Rebel, and perhaps a new Xbox or a Gameboy Advance. I used to have a lime green Gameboy Color and tons of games and I LOVED that thing. LOVED it. But after moving into my own house I sold it for big bucks on eBay right before Christmas.... because I didn't have time to play it and some child was very happy with all the pokemon games and accessories that came with it under the tree.

So how do I get started reviewing kick ass electronic and computer products? Sony? Apple? Kodak? Start sending your shit my way. I will try anything once. Just email me and we can chat. I promise a great big long review. Promise!

And maybe I could get some Free make-up and some Rice-a-roni up in here. I can review that shit to! Deoderant? Shampoo? Toilet Paper? Tennis Shoes? I can review it ALL! Valvoline? Tires? You name it. You send it and I will review it.

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To Blog, or Not to Blog.....

This morning in the shower, I was thinking about what I might blog about today. I tossed some topics out in my mind.

Does Briana still Love Jenna?

How I have discovered that I can modify knee highs to wear them with flip flops to work and still be following the "must wear hose or socks" rule. mwaaaahahahaa!

Donating Cord Blood instead of banking it.

Thoughts on Chevy Trailblazer, followed by an open discussion.

What a shitty-ass holiday weekend I had in the heat with a cranky husband- and not feeling so hot myself.

Who invented string cheese.

Why **some people** need to talk on the telephone at a volume 10 times that which is necessary so that everyone working within a 5 mile radius can hear how important they are.

Stained Glass.

Finishing the Book Labyrinth by Kate Mosse.

And eventually, what I came up with.... is that I don't feel like posting just yet. So. I will leave you to read my multiple weekend posts, which talk nicely about the weekend that in reality sucked-ass, and was hot, and sucked-ass

.... and I want to leave you with this photo, taken by Ruben aka Broken Lens, my Flickr friend. I love it. Go visit him and tell him I sent you!

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Sunday, May 28, 2006

Don't Try and Stop Me

Meet my new partner in crime. Ortho's "season Long" Grass and Weed Killer. Watch out you SOB weeds. It's all over for you! At around 7:30pm I went outside and I soaked those bastard weeds and grasses in my driveway, around the dog kennel, in the sidewalk cracks, by the front stairs.... Yeah!

Now it can't rain for 6 hours. {**hope hope hope**}

It was super cool and easy to use, there is no unscrewing of the lid, you just pull out the sprayer and unravel the attached hose, and there is a little red attachment piece that just snaps right into that white "flip top" in the cap. You don't even have to pry open the flip top, just snap it in and then flip it open. Great because your hands don't get any chemicals on them. There is a spray and a stream setting which is nice, and I used both. I think the trigger could be a little more friendly, but I suppose they don't want to make it "too easy" for safety's sakes, especially in a home with kids.

Supposed to see full results in 3-5 days with no return grass and weeds for about 2-4 months. Sounds good to me. Now we wait.... and twiddle our thumbs.

Husband bought me that because I have been in such a pissy-ass mood today. He has no idea but I am still pissed that he left me last night to go back to Joe's. P-I-S-S-E-D. And also pissed that he said he would get up at 10am and he woke up at 12:45pm. Yeah. I was so pissed that we were planning on going to Menard's and I decided at the last minute to stay home. I was reading my book "labyrinth" by Kate Mosse (deemed the female DaVinvi Code) and I get tired so I fell asleep in the AC from 3pm-6pm when he came back with weed killer in tow and new stuffed toys for the dogs. I woke up and made myself a Taco Salad for my first meal of the day (6:30pm, even though I have been "up" since 8am) and watched some Mind of Mencia and some Family Guy reruns.

So, since it is Sunday it's my regular Grey's/Housewives night where I clean house and do laundry and dishes, but I don't want to do any of that since I don't have to work tomorrow. But it's too hot to walk just yet, and my friends are all either far away or totally sitting on their asses in their own AC. My parents and sister are crashed in front of the Nascar race... so it looks like it will be another night of laundry and dishes. Bah Humbug. Maybe I can do something crafty. I dunno. I just feel so cranky and unmotivated. Jobs like killing (weeds) are good for my agression right now I think. I probably need to find more agressive jobs... I just don't feel like "attacking" the housework will do it for me. Well, maybe after I have calmed down a bit I will be more likely to go for it. Who knows.


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Cookout and Hosta transplanting.

Yesterday after lunch we attended a cookout at Evan's grandma Marie's. We were celebrating Aaron's 35th birthday. Aaron is Evan's cousin, and he and his wife Brenda came up with their daughter Anya who just graduated pre-school.

The cookout was nice but I have to tell you it was HOTTER than HELL yesterday. The humidity was so high, if you moved you were sweating. I sat on the couch in my skirt and bra for an hour before we left, because I couldn't bring myself to move or put on a shirt in case I sweat through it before we even left. We didn't turn the air on, we were trying to be brave. It didn't last long. It was 90 at least, and with the humidity I don't even want to guess how hot it felt.

We were scheduled to eat at 1, and we had our food in tow, and when we got there, we were waiting for a while for everyone to arrive, some family members got sidetracked installing window AC units for grandparents who were needing some relief from the heat. So even though everyone arrived by about 2:30 or 3, we didn't eat until almost 4, which was agony to someone who hadn't eaten for about 24 hours... but at least we had munchies, and I brought veggies, which I could eat, and there were cheese and crackers. For lunch/Dinner I had italian beef with no bun, broccoli salad, and fruit salad. And I was full. It's hard to eat when it's so hot. I had a couple of glasses of Sangria and then some 7-up.

It did finally cool off a bit later, but not much. When we got home from the cookout at around 6:30 I instantly stripped down and laid on the bed under the ceiling fan. After about an hour and still sweating, and not being able to move, I turned on the AC. I couldn't take it! And then Evan called and said we were going to see the DaVinci Code with John and Amethyst, (see the next post) and it was much easier to get ready for the third time that day without sweating my ass off. After the movie we went to a little siesta at Joe's, where they had a fire. Everyone was much younger than me (as usual) and I was just out of place (as usual) so husband took me home, and much to my annoyance, went back without me. So I was in bed at 2:45am.... and awake at 8am. WTF! Then I couldn't sleep because I was so pissed that he was in the spare bedroom rolling his sweaty ass all over the clean bedding, and so I got up and decided today would be as good of day as any to move my hostas. So I got dressed in a tank top and shorts and proceeded to sweat my ass off for 1.5 hours in the heat- it's already 90 and excessively humid at 9am. Ridiculous. Thank god the air is on. If it quits, we are moving.

First I dug up 8 of the 12 Hostas that I wanted to move. Then I came inside and washed my hands and took a 10 minute breather. Then I asked husband when he was going to get up (just to make the point that I was awake and doing manual labor at 8am even though I went to bed at 2:45 and so that he could remember that he is a slacker and I am kicking ass without him.) He whined and moaned and finally growled 10am (waking up my husband is like filing Freddy Kruger's nails.) What can I say, I am a glutton for punishment.

So I went back outside with renewed energy (aka pissed that my husband didn't seem the least bit fazed by my digging in the 9o degree heat and pissed that he was probably oblivious to the heat while lying in the AC in his boxers) and dug 8 holes and planted 8 hostas. By the time I was done with that I was sweating so bad that it was burning my face so I came inside, washed my hands, cranked up the AC and downed a bottle of water. I tried to call my mom to chat about the hostas, my hostility, and the DaVinci Code movie, but instead I ended up waking up my dad who then couldn't find my mom. We both suffer from husbands who think it is their destiny to sleep in, although I have to give my dad some credit, he does work 2nd shift and drive an hour to work each way. But still. I went to bed at 2:45 am and I was up at 8.

The peonies are blooming, yesterday and today they have been opening in a mad frenzy. It's bizarre. So much yard work to be done but based on the weather, it will all have to be early am and late pm grooming. So now I am blogging and trying to cool down and not be pissed off all day that husband is sleeping like a freaking baby. Story of my life.

Cookout photos here.
Peony and Hosta photos here

I still have to rearrange some of the hostas that are where I dug "up" the moved hostas. They need to be split and rearranged to fill the gaps... and there are about 5 more to move. But not today. Maybe tonight or tomorrow am.

Oh and at the cookout, my ever policitically correct and ultimately tactful brother-in-law said to me "Your yard looks nice, but you really need some round-up in your driveway." Oh really, I hadn't NOTICED and there isn't a chance that I have been telling my husband that for a mOnTh and there's no chance that every year since we moved her 6 years ago when the damn drive gets sprayed it is ME that does it. Not a chance. Really B-I-L? I Never even noticed. But the real deal is that we need more white rock, and desperately have for two years now and I have been begging and pleasing and saying I will pay for it and keep getting told "no" or "we will see." So the fact that I have to spray roundup weekly is just like splitting open your head and asking for a fucking band-aid. Sometimes, it takes every fiber of my being to not go fucking BeZerK!

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Boyd's surgery scheduled.....

Blogger etiquette says I should break this up into several small posts. Well, we will see.

Saturday we took Boyd to the vet at Green River Veterinary Clinic for his "second opinion" on the supposed tumor which I continually said looked like a Colon polyp. Dr. Smith and Paula were both so nice. Dr. Smith took the time to pet Boyd and kind of Bond with him before examining him, which I thought was nice.

He did a rectal exam and immediately found that his glands were full on one side again, and then found the "mass" which he looked at and said "It's a polyp!" and I was like (to myself - see, see see! my Almost 4 years in healthcare and around the endoscopy unit and my free Medical Terminology Classes paid off!) and then he went on to describe his recommended method of treatment. He said instead of doing surgery, with an incision, in such a sensitive area, we should probably think of strangulation methods instead. He said that inside the rectal cavity is an area highly prone to infections and healing in there would be difficult and could pose problems that would be dangerous to Boyd's health.

I know when he said strangulation I was right with him, my years in agriculture and as a farm kid with cattle, we used (and still do) a method of castration that includes a rubber band at birth and eventually it just falls off. Now to you city folk, this must seem alarming, and to you PETA people, just plain go away. It's actually the most painless and uncomplicated method of castration. So anyway, sidebar.

Boyd will get put under, then they will make a tourniquet around the polyp, and it should fall off and shed itself, due to lack of circulation. And all of this is "outpatient" and he can go home the same day and return in about 10 days for a follow up exam to see if it has shed itself. Next came our discussion about price. $35 for anesthetic and $150 for surgery. That's all under $200. We decideds not to send the sample away because doc agreed with me that even if it was cancerous, we wouldn't want to put him through chemotherapy. Dr. also thought that from the type and size of the polyp, that it isn't the invasive type and is likely not cancerous. He said that we should remove it, both for comfort, and because if it is cancerous and we just leave it, it will spread and cause a quicker death and more problems.

So his price quote was about 1/3 that of the other veterinarian office. And his demeanor was great, and his office staff and vet assistant are great, and so ladies and gentlemen, we have a new vet! That makes us an official family of Vet whores. So June 5th, Monday, Boyd goes in for surgery at 8am.

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Friday, May 26, 2006

Long Weekend, Straight Ahead!

Hello boys and girls! I am SOOO happy it is Friday! And a long weekend to boot! First I want to direct your attention to my new sidekick, Dee-Jay from Oklahoma. Believe it or not, I have been where she lives! I figured it is probably about 6 or 7 years ago that I visited Altus with my friend Angela- we drove there to stay with Carrie, who was stationed at Altus AFB at the time. So, very cool. I rented from Dee-Jay a couple of weeks ago and I am glad to have her here. Go visit her!

I can't think of a whole lot to say today, but I will start with the weekend. First thing Saturday, at 9am, we have a visit with Dr. Smith at the Green River Veterinary Clinic in Walnut, Illinois. Dr. Smith will be meeting Boyd and will give him the once over so that we can have a second opinion on Boyd's potential tumor/polyp. When I called Green River Vet Clinic, I spoke with Paula who was BY FAR the friendliest receptionist I have ever talked to over the phone. Turns out she is also a vet assistant and accompanies Dr. Smith on rural large animal calls. That instantly gave me a huge amount of respect for her. Being from an ag background, and having cattle, I understand what it takes to be a veterinarian and even the vet's assistant. Especially for farm animals. Paula also has a coonhound like our Hadley, so I was excited and we bonded over that. She was more than happy to give me background on the vets, and their experiences, personalities, and specialites... and I didn't even have to ask. I was so pleased with Paula and her phone etiquette, that if I am as pleased with Dr. Smith, I could see us switching vets after this visit.

I just really want to get good quality vet care from people who love animals, without paying more for my dogs than I do for myself. The difference in "office visit" costs with a vet is $14 between the two clinics. $14 difference just to see the vet. That cost alone is fabulous. When I used to go to Bureau Valley Veterinary, I liked their costs... I even liked their care until I started to see a different vet with every visit, and I felt like they weren't reviewing the dogs charts or had no idea what their past symptoms were. That kind of care wasn't essential to me when all they needed was vaccinations and a yearly checkup, but once Boyd started to have seizures, and when the calcification in his spine started, I got scared. I switched vets because I knew that I would get more attention to detail and more concern at the Animal Care Clinic. I knew that it would cost more, but I felt it really was worth it. And I think the care they have given is exceptional, and I can't ever say that I have been treated poorly, everyone is nice and patient and answers questions.... but now I find myself in a situation where I can't afford their services, and my dog may suffer because of it. The cost difference really hit home when I realized that BV Veterinary charges $3 to trim a dogs nails and Animal Care Clinic charges $9.50 for the same service. YIKES!

I am on a neverending quest for good veterinary care with reasonable prices. Hopefully Green River Veterinary Clinic will provide me with that. I have heard endless good things about their practice and about Dr. Smith himself. His son went to school with my husband, and Dr. Smith used to go hunting with my father-in-law.... and he does all the veterinary work for the Walnut Sale barn, so he had worked with my cattle before. And it gives me a good feeling to be dealing with a small town vet. Husband was the first smart one (followed by my mom) to mention that we could get a second opinion and a second price quote on Boyd's surgery, and both recommended Walnut... So we will see on Saturday.

Saturday afternoon we have a "memorial day" cookout with Evan's family in Princeton. We need to get something to bring with, we were asked to bring veggies, but that is so BORING! I like to be inventive and take dips and all kinds of good things... so to be restricted to veggies seems so.... I dunno. So tonight I will be perusing my recipe books to pick out a dip that can go with veggies and then probably going to get ingredients so that I can whip something up.

Sunday, I have nothing planned, and I have Monday off work... weather permitting I will probably move and or split some Hostas. They have gotten so big between the garage and house, they are easily 2.5-3 foot in diameter, and they are overcrowded now. (they are about double what they were in size two weeks ago, in this picture!) Some will go out front along the bushes and in front of the section of fence, but only on one side of the house, because the dogs will wrap around them if they can reach them while on their tie-outs. SO probably move some hostas, and maybe move some other plants. Lots of them have re-seeded themselves, and some perennials have gotten so big since last year that they need to be moved towards the back so they aren't blocking everything else. And then there is the matter of the pond... Ugh. I need to buy sand and rock before we can put that back in, so it may be another week until I can afford to do that too. But the pond needs to get put back in. The wildflowers in the ditch are really coming along now, won't be long and we will have blooming! I can't wait to show you pictures of that! There are some pictures of the ditch on Flickr, from last year, late in the season when most everything but the Black-eyed Susans were done blooming. We use a mix from Lafeyette Nursery, of native Prairie grasses and Native Wildflowers.... and it is BEAUTIFUL! We get so many comments on the ditch! Some people early on say "why don't you mow that ditch" and they think it is all weeds - until it starts to pop with color and bloom! Then It's like "WOW!" And every year they get better as they get more established and continue to reseed themselves. This year I will have to take great care to get really good pictures when It is all blooming. Last year was only year two, and it really took two years before it got well established.... and last year with the wedding and the remodeling, I almost forgot to take pictures altogether! This year will be better!

So that's the weekend, and I hope that everyone else has a great time and relaxes and enjoys time with family and friends. What better way to recognize those who died for our freedom, than to celebrate it. Happy Memorial Day!

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Thursday, May 25, 2006

Nude Bathtub HNT

Scrub-a-dub-dogs. Husband giving the dogs baths.
At least SOMEONE is naked in the tub this week :)

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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Penelope Salad Tastefully Simple

Well, today I left work 2 hours early (that's 5pm for me) and went to a Tastefully Simple party in Sheffield. I bought lots o stuff, like Garlic Garlic, Key Lime Pie Mix (2), Tuscan Cheese Ball Mix, Wheat Beer Bread, and Fiesta Dip Mix. Yum.

Then Mom and I stopped at 6&34 so that she could have a beer and I could grab a salad for supper. (more on salads later) and then we went to her house where I worked on her computer for a while and saw Penelope, the calf. Although Penelope is a boy... that's what dad calls him... don't even ask.

When I got home Evan had gotten groceries and put them all away. SO I decided to blog a bit.

About the whole "salad" thing. The Indianapolis trip made me feel so bloated and icky. I tried to eat as good as possible and stuck to the south beach phase II the whole time, but eating out every meal and living in a hotel room and sitting in class all day doesn't do much for slimming down and ease of digestion. Even though I did walk on the treadmill in the hotel one night and went for a walk outside the second night, it wasn't the same.

So when I got home I have been pretty strict with myself, and besides the occasional ice cream, I am about as close to Phase 1 as you can get. In the time since I have gotten back, every meal in the past week (except two dinners) has been a salad. That's all I have been eating. And I have started a pretty heavy walking pattern, of an hour a night, very quick paced with the arm movements, and even though halfway through I am feeling it in my legs, I keep pushing. The iPod is really helping... and walking by myself without anyone to talk to me or dogs to entangle me helps too. So every single day this week I have walked 1 hour a day.

I am still hanging around 17 pounds lost, but I have lost more water and that bloating feeling that I had gained along with my 3 or so pounds from Indianapolis. The doctor's goal for me is 13 more pounds, we are hoping by July. That is totally do-able. But I really need to kick up the excercise, which I feel I am doing. - to get past this plateau... And I can do better. So if I can lose 13 more, that will put me at 30 pounds lost since I started South Beach on February 23rd (my mom's 50th birthday.)

I uploaded lots more photos to flickr... of Penelope, of family, and of Easter. So go on over and check them out.

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Wednesday What-Nots

Want a peek into my day? Check out my calendar, my purse, my mousepad, and my keyboard. What better things have you got to do?

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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

HDA Certified! Yeah!

It's official! Today I took my HDI Helpdesk Analyst Certification and I passed! Yippee!

The test was harder than the HDA Bootcamp pre-test that I took last week in Indianapolis. I got a 91% on the pre-test, with 86 questions, and a 85% today on the actual exam, with 65 questions. The pre-test took me 25 minutes to complete anmd grade, and that was reading each question twice. This actual certification test was 75 minutes timed, and I answered all the questions, then went back through and reviewed those I had flagged, and then went back and reviewed the whole first half of the test, and it only took me 30 minutes. It seemed like FOREVER but it wasn't very long really.

The hardest part of the exam was finding the testing center. First I had to find the street in downtown peoria, then a parking spot, then the College, then the right college building, and then the right suite within the building, and then the right person within the suite. It wasn't easy.

There were lots more questions on self help and automatic call distribution than I anticipated. And if I hear the term "management" in any way, shape, or form this week, I will scream. Incident Management. Problem Management. Business Continuity Management. Project Management. Change Management. Argh! And each one with a definition just a couple of words different than the last.

Well. I am glad it is OVER and glad I am CERTIFIED and proud of myself! Yeah! My first IT Certification. In the past through work I have been able to take courses but nothing that works towards a certification. And if it has worked towards a certification, the test costs have been my responsibility. It's my personal opinion that many employers think that paying to certify someone in IT is like slitting their own throat, making that employee marketable to a competitor. Whereas just educating them and not covering the cost of the certification is another story. It benefits the organization without making the employee marketable. That's a shame... but it is my past experience. But I also know that certifications are a far cry from comparing to a person with experience. I have met many many people in the IT Field who are certified and educated out their ass, but they can't compete with the hands on experience and troubleshooting that I have experienced. The great thing to find is a mix of both.

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~*~Altered Journal Debut~*~

Fourscore and Seventy-thousand days ago, I talked about mod-podge and starting my altered journal. I promised to post pictures and never did... well today is your lucky day!

Check it out! All the pictures are HERE on Flickr if you want more...

Pictures below in this order: (Click to make them GIANT)
Front Cover... Inside Front Cover... Meagan's Brain Diagram... Back Cover
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Monday, May 22, 2006

Socially Unacceptable. Misfit. Outcast. fReAk.

I miss me. I know that I am in there. And I intend on finding me again. I don't care what you say. I am going to be me.

I don't like to be told what to do. At all. Of maybe even more important, I don't like to be told HOW to do something.

I have always been that way, as long as I can remember. My parents were very conscious of raising me to have my own voice, my own opinions, and to be able to express them. Both of my parents are creative and artistic, my dad can draw just about anything, and he got that from his grandpa Joe who died in 1974 before I was even born. My mom is crafty in all kinds of ways, and creative. As an only child for the first 4 years of my life, my mom and dad were my friends. I lived in the country and I didn't do the whole 'day care' deal and I really didn't have a babysitter besides my aunt or grandparents. I spent my time reading books with my mom and working on crafty projects. I helped in the kitchen or drew and colored pictures, or played house... or fashioned crafty things our of pipe cleaners and googley eyes.

I know that the vocalizing of my opinions was the source of many a frustration for my parents, my dad especially. But that's the way they started me out. And they could rest assured that I would not let someone else make decisions for me, and that I would be immune to most peer pressure... because I thought for myself, and I thought out loud, and my opinion was the one that mattered. I had a theory about everything, from the way that we should color eggs at easter to the right way to make a mud pie. I don't ever remember being indescisive or needing direction. I am the perfect example of someone who knows where they are going. Literally and figuratively.

I don't really know that I was the rebellious type. I didn't do things just to piss someone off. Although I did do things to prove that no one could tell me what to do. For the most part, if all the other kids were wearing it, I was not. This started in junior high when I really didn't have a choice. We weren't made of money, but all the other kids had all these name brand tennis shoes and those stupid starter jackets and I didn't have any of that. At the time it was the subject of many woes, but eventually it turned out to make me more creative with secondhand things.

In high school, particularly when I became a junior and a senior, I was expressive in the way that I dressed and I did what I damn well pleased. I wasn't a slut. I didn't dress slutty. I didn't sleep around. But I dated someone who was socially unacceptable. It could have turned out to be the biggest mistake of my life, but it didn't... and my mom knew better than to tell me that I couldn't date him... because if you tell me I can't, I will go out of my way to prove that I can and I WILL. When all the girls were spending the spring of 1994 looking for the perfect prom dress, I was searching for the perfect camoflauge fabric to make a prom dress that would match my black jungle combat boots from the military surplus store. My boyfriend's grandma made my dress, with a cute little black jacket to go over it. She also made me a camoflauge garter with black lace, and I wore authentic marine dog tags and "tank girl" earrings made with rubber o-rings and hammered metal. I got my picture in the paper, dancing at the prom. All for that camoflauge dress. When I saw Tank Girl, I identified with her heavily. To me, just about everything could be seen as funny. I wasn't scared of anything, I was probably too young to know any better. That movie said a lot to me. And Gwen Stefani's early look was so much like Tank Girl, at the time she quickly became one of my favorite singers... and I still admire her today. I liked that she could dress how she wanted, say what she wanted, and BE who she wanted, without being a whore and a drug addict like Courtney Love. Wouldn't Gwen make a kick-ass tank girl? My junior year, I spent every morning before school combing red koolaid through my hair in streaks. Mom wouldn't let me die my hair, but I could comb red koolaid through for the desired effect. I combed thrift shops and basements for old clothes. I bought a metal pacman lunchbox with a missing handle and used a piece of leather for a strap to make it into a purse. I wore funky rings and baggy jeans. I had chuck taylor tennis shoes in about 5 colors, and Cool t-shirts and terry cloth polo shirts. I was as far from the "cookie cutter high school girl" image as I could be. I wasn't "dark" and I wasn't "gothic" and I didn't buy my clothes at Hot Topic because there WERE no stores like that back then. And I don't really care for the goth look. It was almost never original. I have never wanted to commit suicide or be a drug addict. It has nothing to do with that. And goth is too much of a "poor me" thing. And not only that, it would look pretty ridiculous on a 27 year old.

But in high school, I did what I wanted. And in college too.

When I went to college, I pierced my nose and I had a hell of a time with that. Back then, that was unacceptable, especially on a girl. Especially in small town Illinois. My dad grounded me for 30 days. He was so pissed. (even more pissed than that time I came home with the shirt "If mean people suck than nice people swallow" and he burned it after the first time I wore it.)

Eventually, I grew up and got a little more tame. I learned to conform and to appear as the "accepting" individual and I learned (when necessary) to keep my mouth shut as much as possible. Just because I had an opinion didn't mean I needed to share it, right? Alot of this helped me to move to where I am today. Knowing who I can trust with my real self. Only being expressive at the right moment. But at the same time, little pieces of me have always been there. And to people who have just met me, they sneak through at the strangest of times.

People often laugh at something I said and then say sarcastically- "Tell us how you really feel!" I am not one to mince words. And as I move closer to the dreaded 3-0, I find that I care less and less about what I am "supposed" to do, and less and less about how I am "supposed" to behave, and what is acceptable to think and say, and more and more centered around what I want to do. After all, you only live once, right?

Supposed to work full time so I can become rich and pay for a house and a car and all that jazz? Hmmm. What if I don't want to? Supposed to wear black dress pants or khakis to work because that's what everyone DOES? Brown eyeshadow? What if I don't want to? What if I want to wear a fake ponytail and sequins? What if I want to wear patchwork skirts and green tennis shoes? PURPLE and GREEN eyeshadow. What if? What if I want to be myself and what if I want to be comfortable in my own skin? WHAT IF I DON'T WANT to look like everyone else! What if I don't want to look like I shop at Bergner's and what if I don't want to look like I deserve a promotion to CEO. Who gives a shit. I never wanted to be a CEO anyway... I want to be a web and graphic designer. I want to be creative so why Can't I dress that way?

I am starting to feel like all of this conforming is stifling me. It's stifling my creativity, It's stifling my opinions. And I hate it. I hesitate to call it rebelling. Who am I rebelling against? Society calls it rebelling. I would really just like to be myself. And I would really like to be able to be myself so that my kids are able to have someone to look up to and the courage to be themselves someday. I am so sick of "cookie cutter" kids and their "cookie cutter" parents. You know how cool it is when you meet someone "different?" Someone who is an individual?

I think most of the people whose blogs I read, and most of the people who read my blog, were very much individuals at some time, if they aren't now. And some of us have gotten caught up in corporate america or what a soccer mom is supposed to do, and we forget ourselves. There are lots of things that make me "Me". Is it the jar of sour gummy worms in my office or the pokemon figures on my desk? The fuzzy leopard slippers I keep at work? The giant gerbera daisies that I clip to the handles of my file cabinets? Some of it is. Is it the horrible mess I can make at home when I am working on a craft project? Is it the Drawers full of kids toys that I keep hidden in the house? Is it my crazy-ass mix of magazine subscriptions- Better Homes and Gardens, Smart Computing, and Playboy? Is it my license plates? Is it Half-Nekkid Thursday? Is it my love of dogs and fish and gardens? Is it my stubbornness and my talking too loud? Is it the quirky sayings that fly out of my mouth, like "Christ on a Cracker"; "Savior on a Saltine"; "I don't give a Flying Fuck"; and "Hotter than a whore in church"; or my description of everything as "fabulous!" Is it my tendency to get home and rip off my underwear and bra after a confined day at work? The way I howl and chase the dogs around the house like a giant dog track? The books I choose to read? My love of flip flops? There are so many things that make me "me." And what is a shame? There are probably only 12 or so people who I communicate with today that are allowed to know the real me. Because the real me is either socially unacceptable, or frowned upon by someone somewhere. So there is an "alternate" meagan running around who can be a little bit of the original and a little bit of what is acceptable to the masses.

What makes you, "you" and what do you supress because it isn't acceptable by society, or by your employer/church/friends? If you could be "you" all the time, what would you do differently? What would I know about you that I don't know now? Go on, spill it..... Be yourself.

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Sunday, May 21, 2006

Unhappy Endings... Piss me off.

Can there BE no season finale happiness? Oh the scandal! Between Grey's Anatomy and Desperate Housewives, not to mention The O.C., I am more than a little frustrated that someone had to die on each episode. Why! I am sure that some of it is attributed to actors moving on and leaving the show. But for god's sakes! Can't Someone have a happy ending?

Carlos sleeping with the housekeeper/surrogate, Tom and Lynette dealing with a crazy and obviously immature mother of his first child, Matthew being shot by a sniper while trying to kill Brie, Mike hit by a car by crazy Orson, who is obviously trying to hide his true identity, and in the meantime Susan's house burnt to a crisp by that spiteful bitch Edie and waiting for Mike who never shows. And they never show if he is dead or alive. Makes me wonder if he might be looking for work elsewhere and they leave it hanging till he decides... but how frustrating is all this pain and suffering?! I want at least ONE happy ending! Jeez! Now I guess I will have to watch something else, and see if I can get some satisfaction from that!

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It's clean!

Well, the closet is clean. See All the "after" Pictures Here. Isn't this exciting!? LOL. Just in time for desperate housewives so I can run the dishwasher and hang up some misc clothes. Mr and Mrs "T" got new bikes and wanted to try them out, so I watched Ava for about an hour while they went for a ride. This is good news because I haven't ridden my bike since I moved to Wyanet 6 years ago. Bummer. It needs to have a friend to ride with, so now's my chance! Ava slept about 98% of the time she was here. Check her out, crashed on the bed while I cleaned the closet!

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Reality Blogging, Now with Shocking Real Photos!

Today I am avoiding work. Not real work as in Monday thru Friday paycheck producing work, but the ever dreaded "housework." After being gone all last weekend and 3 of the 5 days last week, my house looks terrible. There are so many PILES of crap! Everywhere! And this is in addition to the regularly scheduled and allowable piles of crap. Don't get me wrong, it has been worse... but it isn't pretty. See the piles of crap on the desk in the photo on the right? Yep. Crap.

I have this habit, on Sunday's and whenever else... if I have clothes that I need to deal with, and I don't have time, I have a "pile" that consists of precariously stacked clothes baskets filled with misc clothes. Either because I ran out of hangers, ran out of closet space, or ran out of time. The pile had recently reached the point of being scary, where you couldn't see the top of the pile for the cirrus clouds circling it like a mountain top, and I would just shut the closet door and pretend it wasn't there. It was becoming increasingly difficult to get to the two closet bars behind the tower, and more dangerous with every attempt. On Saturday, right before we left for the Cubs game last week, I reached beyond the tower to grab a sweatshirt, and it happened. The tower careened to the left, then to the right, and then leaned towards me... I barely had time to leap out of the way with the sweatshirt and save myself. I just groaned at the disaster before me and left for Chicago. When we got home the next day I groaned again, Gingerly stepped over the rubble, grabbed what I needed, and left for Indiana. This weekend, the closet and the remains of the tower are kind of like the elephant in the room. My goal is to get the rest of the house in order, laundry and dishes, minitaure piles sorted and put right.... and then while watching the season finale of Desperate Housewives, this housewife will desperately try to put right the remains of the closet. Ugh.

On a lighter note, the neighbor kid is graduating high school today, and the ceremony begins in 10 minutes. Congrats to him. Even more exciting was the family's rush today, to prepare for his open house by PAINTING THEIR HOUSE! Yes. For real. While I was sitting in my silky pajamas at noon watching Lord of the Rings and drinking coke while beading "bookthong bookmarks" as gifts, "neighbor-mom's" boyfriend was leaned preacriously on a ladder whilst painting the house while neighbor mom ate her bon bons or whatever inside. I heard a very loud clatter and after about 10 minutes of trying not to look I had to crane my neck around to see. I burst into childlike peals of laughter alternated with "poor guy" and "such a shame" as I saw that "neighbor-mom's-boyfriend" had had some sort of accident involving an entire can of white house paint spilled on him, the ladder, the side of the house, and then the flowers and the grass below. Resulting in a grand splotch that screams to everyone "we just painted our house the day of our son's graduation." Oh the irony! Poor neighbor-mom's-boyfriend! and of course neighbor mom did her customary "open the screen and lean out the window" bit to see what's going on. Since it would be SILLY to exit the comfort and safety of the house and step out into the sunshine to help or see what is going on. The part of the story that is best? They painted the side of the house which is closest to us and parallels our driveway, but didn't paint the FRONT of the house. WTF? Are these open house guests planning on setting up in our driveway to party? I wouldn't doubt it. Or maybe they consider that next to our driveway desperately needing a new load of white rock, and the grass growing through it, and the giant hole in the flowerbed where the pond was, their white and freshly painted "side house" will look gleamingly fabulous. Paint splotch in the grass and all.

So that's Sunday for you. Husband cleaned the dog's kennel outside, I took some pictures of more blooming flowers, iris, etc... and I have laundry going, dishes almost finished, and the scrapbook table nearly cleaned off. Oh and I organized some of my wooden stamps in my new white organizer that finally came last week while I was gone. So things are okay. And it's a beautiful day and the windows are open and the dogs are lying in the grass or treeing squirrels like this one... poor scared squirrely! Frozen with Fear in the front yard maple tree while the dogs howl up the trunk. Silly Squirrel, Dogs can't climb trees!

Check Out some Sunday Pictures that I uploaded HERE....
Babysitting for Ava Friday night
Pictures of the Yard, New Iris Colors Blooming- Sunday May 21st
27 New Scrapbook Room Pictures

EDIT: NeighborFamily did not have a graduation open house that day, they had it several weeks after graduation, when they were able to have their whole house painted. My mistake. NeighborBoyfriend did spend the morning of graduation painting the house. He did have an unfortunate paint spill. Those are the facts.

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Saturday, May 20, 2006

A Dog's Life

I am a little upset today. We took the dogs to the vet this morning for Rabies Shots. Boyd (our oldest dog, the beagle) has had some "back door" problems, that started when he had his glands cleaned in February as part of the vet's grooming process. The vet tech said that he has something "protruding" and that it looks to be a tumor of some sort, and that she can't tell how far in it goes or anything further. So we made an appointment with the vet this Thursday and they will put him under sedation, remove (if possible) the growth, and then send it away to be tested for cancer.

It's a tough decision to make. The expense in veterinary bills these days is outrageous. I have always had a hard enough time paying for rabies shots, heartworm, flea treatments, etc. Let aone if there is a real problem, like when Boyd had seizures or when they found the calcification of his lower spine that was causing him lots of pain and making him lame. Luckily those two things were both treatable, but after bloodwork, xrays, sedation, etc... It easily cost me $1000. They have estimated that Thursday's trip will be between $477 and $587, and that doesn't count any medications that they decide to send home with him.

My vet is Dr. Maxwell at the Animal Care Clinic in Princeton, Illinois. I like the people that work there. I like the care that we get, but of course I don't like the cost. In the past, I have always been able to do a "payment arrangement" for non-routine services. But today when I inquired about one, I was getting some conflicting answers, and basically it comes down to the office manager returning from vacation this week and deciding if I can have a payment arrangement. In the past they have divided my bill up into 3 or 4 payments and I write all the checks that day, post date them, and then they deposit them on the due date. I am hoping to do the same thing again.

Nothing is more frustrating than knowing that the only thing standing between your animal and a healthy life is your ability to produce $500 at the drop of a hat. And it makes me feel incredibly guilty to know that Boyd, who has been with me for 9 years, could have cancer and I won't treat it because of the cost. But I guess I have to look at the positives and say that he has already had a great life, and that the person who examined him was not a Vet, and that he acts healthy so even if he does have cancer he could have lots of time left. I really really hope that it isn't. Because I don't want to go through a scene again like Meredith saying goodbye to dog.

So send good Karma our way this week.
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Friday, May 19, 2006


What the hell kind of name is Chamillionairre?! I know what is supposed to be, but all I can think of is Charmin toilet paper. WTF? Too many rappers in the pond if the best name you can come up with is Chamillionairre.

My luck he will probably come shoot me. (Oh, stereotypes, stereotypes)

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Bag Whore!

Ladies, what IS it about bags, purses, totes, wallets, backpacks, breifcases, luggage, etc. that we can NOT resist! I have so many purses, totes, and bags that they hang from every hook in my closet. I have them to match every outfit, different shoes, many colors, sizes, functions. It's unbelievable. I have Backpacks- five that I am aware of, 3 of them with laptop holders built in, and I ended up giving one to my husband. I have a breifcase that rolls and holds my laptop and goodies. I have LUGGAGE! (But I just sprung a zipper on a piece of luggage that we had used only once, and on our honeymoon the airline ripped the wheel off a piece of luggage that was also brand new, so we know that stuff doesn't last.)

I don't mind having variety, lots of things to choose from, for specific occasions, etc. But what amazes me, is that I can get an email with a bag like this one on sale, that has a little detachable pouch like this one, and I get all in a frenzy about how I NEED this bag! And when I think about it, I have about 3 totes of similar size. I DO NOT NEED THIS!

And I see a messenger bag that is made of recycled advertising banners like this, and I think "I need one of those!" And It is endless! I see a cute purse that a woman out shopping has, and I am craning my neck to check the brand and see if I can find it on eBay for cheap. I am a bag whore! I don't pay anywhere near full price for purses, but I love a good bag. My eye is trained to spot Guess's "G" shaped Buckles, Burberry plaid, and my friend Carrie made sure that I can pounce on a knock-off Kate Spade or Luis Vuitton. She brought me three Kate Spade Bags when she was stationed in Korea, and they are not knock-offs.

I was once at a scrapbooking party and when a guest saw my Kate Spade, she did a huge intake of breath (like the one you should never do when riding shotgun in a car, lest the driver careen off the road from a heart attack) and she said "is THAT a REAL Kate Spade?" and I said "yep!" and She was like "omigodOmigodOmigod can I Touch it?" and "where did you get it" and "how much?" and the rest of the place was like "kate Who?" (Umm... she totally has a BARBIE! Hello!) In a podunk place like this, if it ain't at Bergner's... nobody knows what's up. And I am great with that. So there is no point in paying big bucks for anything without 4 tires, because no one gets it. But I can't afford those things, and I wouldn't buy a $200 purse even if I did have tons o' cash... but it's still fun to have one (or two!) that will make people freak and THINK that I paid $200. I also have a Nine West "solid bling" bag (Turquoise and Lime Green, see the picture?) that people go ga-ga over. It was on a HUGE sale (over 50% off) at Younker's one time and after I got one, my friend Anya ran and got a pink and lime one similar to mine.

One of my Kate Spade's is Burberry Plaid and I can see green eyes of envy when I take my matching Burberry Plaid Glasses Case out of it, to put on my Burberry eyeglasses. And yeah, I did that on purpose. And people probably think I wasted BIG BUCKS on all that, but the purse was free and the glasses were covered on my insurance plan, so I just paid my co-pay. And my Camera Case is a tiny red Kate Spade. Yup. another gift. Thanks to Carrie who understands my passion for purses.

I may be a bag whore, but I am not paying big bucks for things... and I LOVE a great deal. And you CAN be a bag whore without being a label whore! It is possible! I saw an AWESOME bag at Target that I wanted, but it was $29.99 and I was like NO freaking WAY. Later I wished I would have splurged... but my most expensive purse was the $50 Nine West that HAD been over $100... and my LL Bean Boat and Tote Bags that are personalized and work great when I have lots of stuff to take, like when I go to Work or on Vacation or to the pool. Otherwise I am too cheap to pay money for bags. I have plenty to recycle over and over again.

And, if you are a real bag whore, or just a curious girl (or better yet, a curious guy) go check out the Flickr Photo Group "What's In My Bag" where women spill their purse to show you their secret. Mine's probably pretty interesting when it's clean, and you get past the stray tampon or wadded up wal-mart receipts.

Damn it! That Flickr Photostream "What's in my bag" pushed me over the edge. I knew I shouldn't do it, but it's like waving crack in front of a street whore with bruised knees. I just can't help myself. So I bought the best bag that I saw on there. I have always wanted a messenger bag that can hold my laptop. Something with lots of pouches for all my electronic gadgets and cords and then all my girly stuff too. And I like to carry a tiny umbrella, a bottle of water, all that jazz. SO.... I saw THIS photo and THIS photo and realized that I had JUST been on the container store website and saw the exact item but because they showed no inside pictures, I passed it by as "not organized enough" for my many pieces.... and gave up. Until I saw these pictures I didn't understand the magniture of what's inside. And now, I have a blue one coming in the mail. Oy. I will post pics of the organization once it arrives. Organization makes me so excited!

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Thursday, May 18, 2006

Fat Quarters


Dear "person-who-invented-fat-quarters";

I. Love. Them. Period. Dot. Dot. Dot.

Why is it that any fabric mixed and matched by someone with an artful eye and cut into little squares and folded and stacked, and tied together, is like an orgasm for the eyes?

Why is it that a creative person like me can't hardly even STAND to walk past the Fat Quarter section of the craft store or fabric store without wanting to fondle all of the short stacks?

Why is it that when I see fabric squares on eBay today that I had to buy some like these and these? (thanks by the way, to eBay for sending me that email with links to craft supplies when I promised "NO MORE CRAFT SUPPLIES until I have finished some of the ones I have started already")

Why is it that I suddenly have ideas of quilted pillows, patchwork skirts, and many other crafty-ass sewing projects when I haven't even STARTED making the two skirts that I bought fabric, elastic, and patterns for? WHY!?

Anyway. Thank You Fat-Quarter-Maker for your evil plotting to get more fabric into my craft room. Without you I would have a savings account. And no debt.

Anonymous Craft Addict

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Missing HNT ~ Welcome Home!

Dear people.

I know I haven't done HNT and I am sorry. I was going to take a "welcome home" picture last night but the camera was somewhere in the suitcase I hadn't unpacked and it was 12:45am and in Indianapolis time it would have been 1:45am... which meant I had been awake for 18 hours and 45 minutes, taken an 8 hour class, driven 4 hours in a heavy downpour, been a jam-packed semi sandwich on the expressway around Chicago during rush hour, refrained from screaming at a nervous backseat (passenger side) driver, came home to a house that look like a tornado hit (exactly as I left it of course), installed a 1 gig memory chip in my laptop, snuck cigarettes to someone who needed them, ate a taco salad, took a bath with full shaving, and I literally could not bring myself to unpack the suitcase and take a picture. I. Was. Exhausted.

So this is what will be forever known as the "missing" HNT, which will consist of no picture (lame, eh?) and no Meagan.... due to sheer lack of organization, and pure exhaustion. And did I MENTION how busy work was today?

I can not WAIT for the weekend! YEAH!

I will need to clean and organize the house, get back to normal (or perhaps I should say "better than normal" before the cleaning people come on Monday) and then I have a graduation open house to decide if I will attend, and to study for my HDA certification test which I assume will be on Tuesday of next week. I got a 91% on the practice exam the last day of class. I read all the questions twice, some of them 3 times. They give you like an hour and a half to take the test and I finished the practice test (which has 21 more questions than the actual certification) in about 25 minutes, and I pretty much know which ones I missed and which ones I need to study. So hopefully after a weekend of studying, I will do really well on the certification.

I also need to help a friend install a sound card in their PC, and I have to clean the scrapbook room, which is a disaster. And my parents need antivirus installed. So I will have a full weekend. A really full weekend! And it will be nice to see husband. I saw him for a couple of hours last night, and we got to sleep in the same bed, which hasn't happened for a week or so, since I have been gone) and so that was just comforting. It's nice to be HOME! I like to be able to use my own bathroom, sleep in my own bed, drive my own car, get up and my regular time instead of two-and-a-half hours early. AND I like to not live out of a suitcase (although I still am since I am not unpacked yet) and I like to use my own towels that are actually big enough to wrap around my body, and it's good to see my hairy shedding stinky dogs too. And I like to eat at home, instead of restraunt after restraunt until your stomach feels like it might explode.

I may add to this later, but for now, That's All Folks!

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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Hello, hello, hello hello..... Is there an Echo in here?

Where are you people? Am I THAT boring? I know I am doing the business trip and my posts aren't thrilling, but I AM posting pictures and I AM wishing I had something to read out here so COMMENT DAMN IT!

DaVinci Code Scandal, swEEt!

I am LOVING the whole controversy about the DaVinci code movie. It's a riot! The book has been around forever, it's not like people can't just read the book! And by making this huge stink they are just driving people to see it in droves, or to go get the book.

I love that this morning on the news there was an interview with the cast and director Ron Howard about the movie, and the interviewer asked if how they would have felt had their been a disclaimer at the beginning of the movie, as christian and catholic groups have been pressing for, and actor Ian McKellen who plays Sir Leigh Teabing made the comment that the BIBLE should have a disclaimer in the front. Whoa! I laughed OUT LOUD in the breakroom at class. Touche!
I had an image of Kelso on that 70's Show "Burn!"

I saw a vatican rep on TV last night that made the comment "I read the book and I don't understand what the appeal is." Oh how Droll! I love it! But I do appreciate that the vatican is smart enough to know that making a big fuss will just draw more people towards it, but they are still calling for a catholic boycott. That's like saying, "we don't trust the strength of your religion and ability to make decisions for yourself, so how about you save us priests a bunch of work and just don't go see it."

And in Italy the church persuaded one giant poster (like the one shown here) to be "covered up." I think about slaughterhouse 5 and how they banned it in Footloose and the church was burning books in the library. Puh-Lease. So much for a "free country" eh?

I am currently reading "Labyrinth" By Kate Mosse, which is deemed as the "female DaVinci Code" and is a grail story with similar controversy and scandal, with a woman who protects the grail and a woman who discovers it in modern times. So far it's good, I will keep you posted.

Va Va Voom!

Welcome my new Renter "Va Va Voom."

Please go visit her this week. I think that she thought that my price of 80 credits for about 1000 hits was expensive, but liked my template so she bid anyway. Luckily my price for bidding came down from my usual 100 credits. LOL. I see people charging 300 or 400 credits for similar or even less hits. It's all in the stats folks.

I had lots of bidders this week so I apologize to all of those that I had to turn down. It was nothing personal!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Indiana again

Night 3 in the Hotel. Tonight we ate at Longhorn Steakhouse, I had steamed mixed veggies and grilled chicken breast topped with peppers, mushrooms, onions, shrimp, and a sauce... and a baked sweet potato with cinnamon. Yum. South Beach friendly all the way but I still feel like I might have gained 60 pounds on this trip. I went for a long walk around Indianapolis, in a Northern Suburb like area, took some pictures, and got my muscles working and some fresh air since it got nice and sunny today finally. I walked for an hour at a good pace... and when I came back and sat on the bed my leg muscles were all twitching so I know it worked. But I still can't wait to get home.

Tomorrow is our last day of HDA Class so tomorrow morning in addition to getting ready for class, I will be packing up everything before class and checking out of the hotel. Then after class we will make the drive back to Illinois, gaining an hour on the way there.

I found out today that Indiana just got a new time zone recently, and it messed up all the Microsoft Operating Systems because there was no time zone in the system. Microsoft sent out a patch and it was a MAJOR issue for Indiana tech folks because it messed up everyone's outlook calendars when it shifted their appointment times. Interesting...

Today we saw an Indy car and a Big foot (see flickr photos) and we took a long nighttime cruise around town, checking out suburbs, houses and subdivisions, businesses, etc. Now I am kinda watching the incredibles, which I have never seen and always wanted to.

Have a nice night and I will be HOME soon!

This Post (and others like it) Tagged Under:

Internet helpdesk...

Check this out. Safe for work Video... We saw it in our Helpdesk Analyst Bootcamp Class today...

The funny thing is that I used to have that Rage Against the Machine t-shirt.

It's a great great video that is kinda like the story of my life. LOL.
And he has lots of other great stuff, including the "System Administrator" Song.

I'll tag this post later when I get to a PC with Mozilla and my Greasemonkey extensions.

Monday, May 15, 2006

The Recap (Chicago, Cubs, Wrigleyville, Indianapolis)

Whew! Just got back from Dinner at Joe's Crab Shack. It's 10:23pm Indiana time and I was able to talk to husband on the phone a little bit, which was nice. Dinner was DELICIOUS and my co-worker and I had a nice dinner chat, it was just good overall.

I just settled down in my pajamas, turned on the laptop, put on my headphones and started the Jack Johnson playlist on iTunes. Life is good. Even away from home. I just need to digest before I sleep, and I do have homework still.

I am taking a "Helpdesk Analyst Bootcamp" Course at Signal Learning (Serious IT Training.) The course has an exam certification that I am not sure we are supposed to take, because my employer would have to pay for it. But the class is good, seems to be worth it, but you can never really tell unless you get back and see if the rest of your co-workers want to implement the plan.

I did walk on the treadmill tonight for a little bit after my two hour nap. Nothing better than 5 pillows on your own king sized bed and room darkening shades to knock your ass out.

I have been trying to eat okay, but it is SOOO hard when all you can have is "eating out." Many places just don't have a south beach friendly menu. For breakfast I had a multigrain bagel toasted with cream cheese and some apple juice. Too many carbs but it was that or cookies/muffins. Lunch I had a Philly Chicken Open faced sandwich, and I didn't eat any of the bread... so it was basically chicken pieces (grilled not breaded) with onions, peppers, and mushrooms with melted mozarella. And Cottage Cheese. For supper I had broiled lemon pepper tilapia, rice with vegetables, corn on the cob, and salad. And I had a little fried Calamari... appetizer that we shared. But I tried to keep it okay. It's tough! I am feeling like I am swelling again, or maybe it's just seeing the photos from Wrigley Field and my giant round body and giant round head still there, despite losing 17 pounds. Ugh. More walking tomorrow.

Well... I know I said I was going to blog about the Chicago trip, but I am tired and that seems like old news.... but I will give a recap.

We went to Bernies on Clark Street which is the bar across from the field, on the corner. We had drinks and food outside, I had chicken Quesidillas and Angela ordered fries (some of which I ate even though I shouldn't have.) And then PG bought peanuts and PISTASCHIOS~! from a guy on the corner who was super cool, and then we went inside and got to our seats, which were AWESOME! PG is a season ticketholder. We sat in the outfield, outside the foul line behind 3rd base. We had a great view of everything. It didn't rain. It was cool out but it didn't rain.

I felt alot like an unattractive pack mule though because I was hauling around a jacket, sweatshirt, and umbrella just in case, and it only got worse as the day went on and we acquired more shit. AND I had on a pink cubs tshirt that I spilled Quesidilla juice on before we even got INTO Wrigley, so that pissed me off a bit. I had to wear my sweatshirt anyway then cuz it cooled off.

I have to be honest, how the day went and how we had imagined it were not exactly in sync. PG Wanted to be sure that we got the whole "wrigleyville/Cubs game experience" But we just really weren't up to it OR into it.

Evan and I thought we were going to go to the game and then out to eat and then either stay at Angies or go home. But instead we went from Bar to Bar, where it was PACKED with people, a d we were walking and lugging all our crap. I don;t mind the walking but it was so packed I had to hold Evan's hand so I didn't get seperated from him.

And we were dressed in sweatshirts and long john shirts, not like "Chicago bar" attire... so we looked crappy compared to the trendy yuppies in black as far as the eye can see. But the part that we didn't like was not being able to sit down, or walk, and being crowded in the bar like sardines. We went to Tryst on Clark Street in Wrigleyville. You can tell by their website how they describe themselves as "upscale" contemporary and all that jazz. We were just out of place. Evan and I both had headaches and were exhausted already.

We had been up since 7am and were on the road for 3 hours and through traffic to get there, picked up Angela on the way and drove to PG's downtown. We hadn't got much sleep the night before with laundry and prep and packing... so we were tired. Then we went to Sluggers/Dueling Pianos, which was also on clark, and pretty cool. It was more laid back and casual and the usual bar environment. I took video of some chicks pole dancing on the pianos (maybe online soon) and also we requested a song, did the whole thing. IT was then that I realized Evan not looking too happy and then not looking like he felt good, and I realized that PG Kept bringing him alcohol that he didn't want, and his headache was worse, and he hadn't eaten.

We stayed there much longer than either Evan or I anticipated, and even I was getting antsy. I didn't want to be rude so we hung out. PG is great and I didn't want to seem ungrateful. But what he didn't realize is that the Wrigleyville experience wasn't something we really wanted, the Cubs game was exciting enough for us.

So PG's friend Rene came, and she was GREAT. We were all so glad to meet her and we seemed to all click pretty instantly. She moved to Chicago from NYC recently. We all went to Club Lucky, and we were excited about that, but the cab ride was rough and I started to feel car sick, little did I know that Evan was feeling the same way but much worse.. and by the time our food came he looked positively GREEN. I felt so bad for him. I know how terrible it feels to be nauseous and have a headache, let alone when you are miles and miles from home, or from ANYONE's home. The food was good, as usual. Evan ate half of his meal and then went to get some air. I knew right then that he would be sick.

I ended up having to excuse myself from the table because I was so worried about him and everyone else was talking and enjoying coffee and dessert, but I couldn't concentrate and I was so worried. I went outside and Evan and I waited together for everyone else to be done. PG bought dinner, for which I am so grateful but didn't get to tell him. I feel bad because I am sure he thought I was such a bitch, but I just KNOW how sick Evan was and how miserable he was. Evan had to Rally to make it through the cab ride home, and we didn't even get inside PG's and he was throwing up in the front yard. Poor guy. I felt so bad. We had a nice time chatting at PG's for a while, and we got to know Rene better, while Evan slept on the floor until he felt good enough to go back to the suburbs so we could stay at Angie's. Rene and I started talking about blogging, and famous bloggers, and blogs she reads, and also about people getting fired for blogging or being outed from a "secret" blog identity. She told me about Chicago and NYC bloggers who had been outed by someone, I found that very interesting and right up my alley.

Angela was so kind and let us have her bed and she took the couch. We slept like rocks, then got up and drove home... buying a Chicago street map on the way home. I had about 4 hours at home, where I did laundry and packed more clothes for Indianapolis, and saw the dogs. Then we went to Princeton to grab some food and I met my co-worker for our 4 hour drive to Indy. We saw the speedway as soon as we got into town. The Qualifying got rained out last Saturday, and again on Sunday. Practice is scheduled to start again this Wednesday, and then will try the Qualifying again this weekend. The news is abuzz with Danica Patrick interviews and other race info, like the return of Al Unser Jr after his "retirement." It's interesting. If we were able, I would love to go see the practices... but we have class and then we have to head for home.

SO that's it in a nutshell, and now I had better get to my homework or I will regret it in the morning when I have to get up at 7am instead of my regular 9am!

People, please comment and email me. I totally need communication out here in Indy all alone. I keep checking for emails and comments but I have none. Entertain me. Don't leave me hanging! Puh-LEASE!

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Angela and Meagan at the Cubs game

Peruse my flickr Albums for all the cubs photos, pictures of my hotel room in Indianapolis (where I am right now) and of Evan giving the dogs baths on Friday night. I am so tired that I need a nap, but stop back by later for the full scoop, or at least as much of it as I can stand to type.


Hey, just to let you all know I am alive and well in Indianapolis. Our hotel doesn't have free internet (cheap bastards) so I have lots to post, but I will have to do it later when I can find a hotspot. I have lots to say about this past weekend~ our trip to Chicago and to the Cubs game, and Now that I am in Indiana and have seen the speedway and all that jazz... so I stay tuned for some long posts and cubbies pictures.
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