Thursday, January 29, 2009

If You Think That, I Could Care Less

Verbal Pet Peeve Time!

If you think that I don't have any pet peeves, then you have another thing coming. And that right there is my first pet peeve of this post.

The initial (and in my mind, correct) saying is a grammatical play on words and should be "If you think that, you have another THINK coming." What kind of "thing" do people think that is going to replace the original thought? Well, a new thought would be a good guess, right?? And to make a play on the word "thought," you could call it a "think" - which is actually listed in the dictionary as an informal noun, btw. I know most people say "thing" and just about everyone gets the point when they hear it that way, so maybe I shouldn't let it bother me so much. Well, if you think that it possible, then you've got another think coming!

Next Pet Peeve:
Every time I hear Beyonce's Put a Ring On It, I cringe. I'd like to say that this is because I am way too cool for catchy pop songs. Nope, that's not it. I'll willingly admit that the "Wuh, oh, oh... Oh, oh, oh's" make me sing along and bop around a little while I'm driving to work. It's when she sings "I could care less what you think" that gets me all cringe-y with pet peeviness.

I hear this phrase all the time. "I could care less about the Super Bowl" or "Politicians could care less about what you think." People. It's "COULDN'T care less." When you say that you could care less about something you are indicating that there is some level of caring there. You are indicating that it is possible for the level of caring to be decreased. On the Caring Continuum that ranges from complete and utter indifference all the way up to complete obsession, you are falling somewhere in the middle. Y our bitingly sarcastic tone would indicate that you fall on the lower end, but yet your words are telling me that you DO care. Again, this is a commonly used phrase that people readily understand so I shouldn't let it bother me. However, I really truly could care less.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Mo Update - Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Remember the agility trial two weeks ago? If you recall, Frankie had a bit too much of the crack and was a little (read: A LOT) squirrelly. This was the last run of the day and you can see by my expression that I was not at all amused by his refusal to accept that agility is a TEAM sport.
Frankie and the agility trial were gigantic building blocks for the worst weekend ever. Though I didn't admit it at the time (preferring to wallow in my misery), there was a bright spot in my worst day of the worst weekend ever. And that bright spot was Mo.

I took Mo to the trial for some much-needed socialization. Slo-Mo is still hesitant with strangers and stand-offish with some dogs. She has slowly acclimated to life at my house, but she definitely needs to get out and see the world and know that it's not so scary with me by her side. I am pleased to report that Mo did fabulously at the trial. She was accepting, though wary, of my agility friends. She allowed other dogs to sniff her and attempt to play with her with nary a growl. She didn't freak out or make any complaints when left alone in the x-pen while I ran Frankie. She sat nicely under my chair as I watched the rest of the trial. YAY for Mo!! I was so very proud of her.

Chillin' with her cool green monkey at the trial

We are currently taking beginner obedience class. She is doing as well as can be expected for a Slo-Mo. "Sit" was very hard for her to learn because she does not like being physically manipulated. If you press on her hind end, she runs away and hides. She's not that into treats so luring was not doing it for her. Finally, I resorted to saying "Sit" every time she was about to do so on her own and gave her lots of pets every time. Two full days of this led to the light bulb moment. She finally figured out that if she wants those pets (which she really, really does), she'd better sit. YAY for Mo! "Down" is progressing just as slowly, but she has at least figured out that training is not a reason to run and hide. "Stay" is coming along a little more quickly.

Two steps forward, one step back. (Ha! That's one step for each leg!)

For some reason Mo does not like Georgie. This is strange because Georgie is the one dog that all dogs like. All my fosters, all the dogs at the park - they all like Georgie. But Mo doesn't. I'm sure it's a combination of alpha-girl dog stuff and a budding possessiveness over me. We are working on combatting this. Mostly the dislike is manifested as growling, especially when I'm on the computer with Mo stationed right at my side and Georgie tries to get to her spot under the desk.

Monday night after class, I was feeling pleased and proud because Mo and Frankie were both the best dogs in their obedience classes. I felt like I had the most awesome dogs in the world!! Yeah, right. My feeling of pride was immediately shattered when the growling escalated into a full-fledged, out-for-blood fight. Mo attacked Georgie for, I'm guessing, getting too close to the cat (??). I'm not sure, but it wasn't pretty. I separated them but the growling lasted for a while longer.

Frankie and Georgie were on edge for the rest of the night. Though the situation was no laughing matter, this picture is a laughing matter. Mo was right next to me when I took it. She wasn't growling at the time but I'm sure she was giving them the old stink-eye, which apparently was very frightening!

Scaredy-Dogs in "hiding"

I have to say that if I'm looking for a place to hide, I don't think that underneath Frankie, the wussiest of wuss-dogs, would be the most logical spot. However, Georgie hasn't yet mastered logic. And poor Frankie, who is too tall to hide under Georgie, did his best, patent-pending "you-can't-see-me-because-I'm-invisible" trick originally seen here.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Phoenix in January

My friends Lacey and Elizabeth have snow in Portland. My family, Laura and Margaret have freezing cold temps (highs of 17°!) in Illinois.

Me? I have shorts. And I'm wearing them. And I have a mountain (ok, you might call it a hill, but we call it a mountain) about a mile up the road. It has nice views. And I'm wearing shorts. In January!Christy's kids love it.
The doggies love it.
I love it! Yay for Phoenix!!!

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Ubiquitous "25 Random Things"

Kinda like the email chain that goes around every year with 25 questions, this is a facebook chain currently going around. It's as contagious as mono. If you're reading this, consider yourself tagged to post your own random list on your blog or send me an email (via my profile) - even if you don't know me, I'd still love to hear 25 random things about you. Who knows? Maybe we'll become BFFs and I can be a bridesmaid in your wedding.

1. I don't like pasta. Yes, I know that you've never met anyone that doesn't like pasta before.
2. I once told Ashley Judd that her thong was not appropriate and she should go put on some shorts. (She did.)
3. I have gone more than 5 days without showering ... and I was not camping at the time.
4. I cannot catch a ball.
5. I have not kissed a girl.
6. I once kissed a boy named Tilly.
7. When I was little I wanted to be a Solid Gold Dancer. I still harbor a small grudge that my mom never signed me up for dance classes.
8. I love Arizona in the summer. Heat is my friend.
9. I am tone deaf. This does not stop me from singing.
10. I lived in Iowa until I was a sophomore in high school.
11. I was afraid to drive and didn't even get my learner's permit until after I turned 16.
12. With the exception of one 6 month period, I have not lived more than a mile from Christy in 16 years.
13. I feel guilty that I don't spend enough time with my dogs.
14. I have never broken a bone.
15. Pickles are my enemy. They are the spawn of evil.
16. I don't like the rule that end punctuation should be within quotation marks, especially if what is being quoted is only a section of a sentence. I break this rule on purpose.
17. I called my mom crying after my first college Spanish class.
18. I was an awesome waitress.
19. My dream job is to be a mascot.
20. I like maple syrup on bacon and sausage.
21. I got my fake ID confiscated when I used it to try to get into a bar where the girl whose identity I was borrowing worked.
22. I don't drink alcohol.
23. I was once hit by a car, albeit a very slow moving one, while riding double on a bicycle.
24. I once hit a lady with my car in a grocery store parking lot. She was fine, but her eggs and bread and my ego were not.
25. When I am alone in the house, it is always silent - no TV, no music, no nothin'. When traveling by myself, I never turn on the TV in the hotel room.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

My Sister's Wedding

Anne and Kevin have set their wedding date for October 10th. Yay! I love weddings. I also love being in weddings. Therefore, I am happy to report that I get to be a bridesmaid in the wedding. Yippee!! Sadly, this will most likely be my last opportunity to be a bridesmaid. Therefore, I am going to go all-out this time around. Do you think she'll mind if I wear a tiara and bring my own entourage? Is there such thing as a bridesmaid-zilla? Ok, ok, I promise to behave and be a good little bridesmaid. I am very much looking forward to it!

I'm also looking forward to completing this series of sister-wedding photos. I hope when she was selecting her wedding venue that Anne put the proper emphasis on finding a location that has stairs!!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Friday Fives

Well, the Friday Fives weren't stupid this week but that's only because they weren't ever posted! I went through the archives until I found one that seemed fun and easy. I like the light and fluffy ones. Too much thought is required for questions like "If you ruled the world for one week, what changes would you make?" So, here we go...

Theme: Attack of Randomosity!

1. What is something you collect? Why?

Dogs and Pet Boys. Why? Probably because I require a lot of attention.

I'm sure I have covered my affinity for dogs adequately on this blog. Pet boys, maybe not so much.

Definition of Pet Boy: A single guy who enjoys my company, is available to entertain me whenever I am bored and who will accompany me to things that my husband can't or doesn't want to go to. In return, he gets a girl to boss him around. It's a very symbiotic relationship.

Pat doesn't play Scrabble. No problem, I've got a pet boy. Pat doesn't want to go to a disco Halloween party? No problem, I've got a pet boy. Pat doesn't want to enter a dance contest? No problem, I've got a pet boy. My friend, Kiri, calls hers a "back-up boyfriend", but I prefer my terminology. Like pet dogs, it seems as though three is the maximum number of pet boys that I can handle at a time. Unlike dogs, pet boys don't always offer lifelong devotion and they end up needing me less as they get involved in serious relationships. So, I guess I'll keep collecting new ones.

2. If you could make one ice cream flavor, what would the ingredients be and what would be the name?

Vanilla ice cream, chocolate dipped waffle cone bits, ribbons of caramel and ribbons of marshmallow. Mmmm. There once was a flavor like this called Coney Island Waffle Cone that they don't sell anymore. I don't really like the name but I'm too lazy to make up a new one.

3. What can't you go a day without?


4. What position do you sleep in? *back, right side, left side, stomach...ETC*

I can sleep in almost any position as long as my feet are not trapped in the covers. If the sheets are tucked into the end of the bed, I have to pull them out before I can sleep.

5. What is your typical morning routine before work/school?

Let the doggies out. Shower/dress/etc. Feed the doggies. Feed the kitty. Eat cereal and read the newspaper at my spot at the table. Both Pat and my roommate have been yelled at for trying to take my spot. It's MY spot. No TV. No music. Quiet, quiet, quiet. Let doggies out again. Brush teeth/put on mascara/etc. Put doggies in their crates and give them treats.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Case of the Puzzle Piece Pilfering Pussycat

This blog post is written by Laura, my first guest-blogger, as a follow up story to the PastaPuzzleParty she hosted on Saturday night. The puzzle was a mystery puzzle - you're supposed to read a short story describing the case, put together the puzzle and then use it to find clues to solve the crime. The short story was too long for our adult-onset ADD, so though we solved the puzzle, we did not solve the crime.

The Case of the Puzzle Piece Pilfering Pussycat
By Miss Laura

Although we have not yet solved the original crime, another one has already occurred. I arrived home this evening and at first didn't notice anything out of the ordinary. That changed when I glanced over to the kitchen table.Someone or something had trashed our lovely work of art without a second thought. Luckily, the criminals made the fatal mistake of returning to the scene of the crime. Suspect 1 tried to act casual,while Suspect 2 appeared guilty. I couldn't make up my mind, until I found new evidence!Something was in the mouth of Suspect 1. What could it be? I zoomed in for a closer look and knew at once who was indeed the pilfering pussycat.It should be noted that Suspect 2 later admitted to being an accomplice in this terrible crime.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Happy Birthday, Mrs. Cookie

Today is my friend Nicole's birthday. She is a great person, a great friend, a great mommy, a great dog-mommy, a great storyteller and a great asset to my life. Happy birthday, Nicole!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Running. It Sucks.

As I see it, there are only three reasons to run. Ok, maybe four. 1) to lose weight, 2) as a means to work out the craziness in your head, and 3) because it's a race. The fourth one would be because your dogs like it so much. When I took them to the park yesterday, I was carrying the bag with blankets, book, camera and toys and thus was unable to run. Frankie and Georgie were very disappointed. They kept taking off in a run hoping to convince me to follow, but all they got were a lot of jerks on their collars. Those dogs LOVE to run. Anyway...I digress.

You will notice in my list of reasons to run that "because it is fun" is conspicuously missing. That is because it is NOT fun. It's boring. It's painful. It's dumb.

Which begs the question, why the hell am I entering races? The answer? Because I'm dumb.

On New Year's Eve, I ran a 3 mile "Midnight Madness" race. Christy wanted to do it and neither of us are big fans of the high expectations that are never realized by New Year's Eve's parties, so it seemed like a good idea at the time. Our soccer friend, Aimee, joined us. And somehow we convinced Jamie to play, too. Before this race I had never run 3 miles consecutively. I probably ran 3 of the 4 miles of the Mud Run, but that was interspersed with walking. I wasn't sure I could do it. Turns out I could. I did it in 27 minutes and got 2nd in my age group. Woo hoo! I had been running first with Christy, then with Aimee when I decided that I'd try to catch Jamie. This was seriously my only motivation to keep running. I got close, but he beat me by 17 seconds.

Since then I've run four times. Two times were 2-milers to the Castle for soccer. The other two were 1.5 milers to exercise the dogs.

And today I did the PF Chang's Rock-n-Roll Half Marathon.


Let's start with last night. My friend Laura had a PastaPuzzleParty in honor of the race. It was kind of ironic that she made pre-race pasta since I was the only one there doing the race and I don't like pasta. But it's the thought that counts and everyone else there loved the pasta!! I did carb-load on bread and about 38 Hershey's chocolates.

The party started early so that we'd finish the puzzle early, with the intention that I would go home early and thus get to bed early. We did the puzzle in pretty good time and had a pretty good time doing it.
Manually blurring out NFBF's face

I was home by 10:30 and I should have gone to bed! Instead I started uploading music to my iPod. At 12:30 a.m., I realized that maybe I had stayed up too late. I was in bed by 1:00 and got up before 6:00. 4+ hours of sleep is better than the zero I got before my last adventure race.

When I went to the kitchen for breakfast I was bitterly disappointed to find that Old Mother Hubbard's cupboards were bare, save for a box of close-to-stale Lucky Charms. Close-to-stale Lucky Charms it was. Breakfast of champions.

I picked up Craig and off we went.

His goal was 1:45. My goal was 3:00. I only signed up for the race because my firm offered to pay the entry fee. I like free things so I couldn't turn down the offer. My initial plan was to run 2 miles and walk the rest. After the successful completion of the Midnight Madness, I modified the plan to run for the first 3 miles and walk the last 10.1. A lot of people at work were training for this race and would ask me how my training was coming. Training? What training? There was no training. Who needs training to walk??

I was part of this madness - 22,000 people did the half marathon! I started out running fast, faster than a lot of the people around me because they were pacing for 13.1 miles. I was pacing for 3. But then my plan failed. At the 3 mile mark, I kept running. At the 4 mile mark, I kept running. At the 5 mile mark, I kept running. WTF? My left foot started to hurt at 5 miles but I wasn't tired yet so I ignored it and concentrated on my right foot instead.

About two years ago I wrecked my heel playing soccer. It's been hurting a lot the past two weeks so I put some insoles in my shoes for the race to try to keep it cushioned. I think this was a mistake as they made my shoes fit too tight. By mile 7 (yep...still running!) both of my feet hurt.

At mile 8, my right knee started to hurt. But I kept running. Seriously, WTF? At mile 10, I gave in to my aching feet and walked. Sadly, this didn't help at all. Finally I sat down, took off my shoes and removed the insoles. That was a little bit better, but damn my feet hurt. After I walked for a mile, I hated that there were people passing me so I started running again. Also, I figured if Laura could run 11 miles (she's training for a full marathon), then I could too! I ran the remaining 2.1 miles and I finished the damn race in 2:05.

I ran 12.1 miles in one day (and walked 1). Ridiculous.

But they gave me a medal...My acceptance speech: I would like to thank the Tragically Hip ("The Hockey Song") for popping onto my iPod right at the mile 11 mark and inspiring me to keep running. I'd also like to thank Indigo Swing and the Mighty Blue Kings for making me run happier during miles 3-5. George Michael gave me "Faith", the Velvet Underground gave me "Rock and Roll" to my great pleasure. "Paper Planes" (M.I.A.) and "For the Girl" (The Fratellis) made me sing out loud.  I guess staying up late to load up the iPod was a good thing!

Funny signs I saw on the course:
"Farris! Quit Now! You are never going to make it!"
"Golf is easier!"
"You'd better hurry. It's almost kick-off!" (Our Arizona Cardinals were playing for the NFC championship. It was a big deal here in Phoenix.)

And a shirt I liked:
"If you went for a run without sacrifice...congratulations. You just JOGGED!"

Oh, and Craig crushed his goal with 1:32!!! He finished 310 out of 22,000. What a rock star!

Saturday in the Park...

...I think it was the fourth of July... Actually, it was January 17th. Perhaps the shorts and t-shirts are a little confusing.

I know that many of you across the country have had some seriously cold weather lately. That really sucks. You should live in Arizona. Then you can spend your Saturday afternoons doing this:Ah, yes...napping at the park. The temperature was 76 degrees. The skies were blue and there was barely any wind. It was perfect! I love Arizona!!

Frankie and Georgie are watching a family launch rockets.
This is a classic picture of Mo. She likes to be in my personal space.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Friday Fives

I didn't do Friday Fives last week because they were about money and seemed much too similar to the winning the lottery questions from a few weeks ago. This week the questions are just boring. I'm not really feeling good about the decision to join the Friday Fivers. Maybe I will give up the Pinocchio dream of being a real boy, er.. real blogger and make this my last Friday Fives. Unless, of course, they get more interesting. Anway. Here goes:

1. What are your favorite smells/scents?
Rain in the summer. Apple pie in the oven. Browning ground beef. Peach scratch-n-sniff stickers. Bubble-gum scented erasers shaped like roller skates.

2. Do they bring back memories for you? If so, what?
I no longer have my bubble-gum scented roller skate eraser, but I do remember sniffing it in Mrs. Dieter's fourth grade class with much the same vigor as the seventh-grade boys sniffed glue. And the peach scratch-n-stiff stickers were scratched and sniffed well past the point of offering up that oh-so-yummy cloying smell. I loved fourth grade.

3. What are your least favorite smells/scents?
Pickles. Vinegar. Cat pee.

4. Do they bring back memories for you? If so, what?
Vinegar - my mom used to clean the coffee pots with vinegar. She did this very early in the morning on the weekends. Very early! I'd still be asleep and would be woken up choking for air. My kingdom for some fresh air! The only option was to get up and leave the house immediately, probably still in my jammies.
Cat pee - My super-awesome in all other ways kitty, Al, used to pee on our leather couches quite regularly. I don't know what the problem was, but it has since been solved. It made Pat so very, very angry. I believe Al owes his life to some higher power that somehow had a hand in controlling Pat's homicidal tendencies and protected Al from being taken to the highway during rush hour and thrown out the car window.

5. What are your favorite perfumes/colognes?
I'm not a fan of girlie-pew or manly-pew.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Damn It!

When I was about six years old, I developed a lazy eye. For a while my parents only noticed it in pictures and they just attributed it to me making funny faces and being overly attention-seeking. (Can you imagine??!!) But they soon realized that I really was cross-eyed. They took me to the eye doctor a zillion times, but it was never fixed.

For some reason, I was never teased about it as a kid. I was always outgoing and confident enough that I didn't let it bother me. I do have to admit that it is a little annoying to meet someone for the first time and be talking to them and have them surreptitiously look over their shoulder to see if I am actually looking at someone else. I would just assure those people that I was, in fact, looking at them and that yes, I do have a lazy eye.

Sometimes it wasn't even noticeable. Other times, especially when I was tired or angry, it would get really bad. This is what it looked like when I wasn't particularly tired or angry:
Two years ago, I finally had surgery to strengthen the outside eye muscles and loosen the inside eye muscles. The major coup was that my insurance deemed it to be medically necessary and not cosmetic and thus, they paid for the whole thing! It took about three weeks of looking like this (YIKES!):

to end up with eyes like this:Finally! Straight eyes!!! Yippee!! On my follow up visit with the eye surgeon, he said that the surgery went perfectly and there should be no reason that I would ever need to come back to see him again.

But lately when I glance in the mirror, I swear I see that left eye swinging in again. When I look closer, I don't see it. Could it just be an illusion? It's like those cartoons where the monkey teases the rabbit behind his back, but jumps to hide behind a tree when the rabbit turns around to see him. Tricky little monkey! I've asked a couple people who see me every day to try to notice if my eye starts turning in. They say they don't see anything amiss.

Well, maybe they just see me so often that minor differences are hard to notice, because I was right! Tricky little monkey! I am going cross-eyed again. My suspicions were proved true with this picture taken Tuesday night.
A closer look:
Damn it!

My Most Impressive Work of Art

On Sunday I took one of those personality tests that are supposed to teach you how you learn or what your career should be or don't really know what they are supposed to teach you. To no one's surprise I scored high on the kinesthetic, verbal and interpersonal scales. And to no one's surprise I scored very low on the visual scale.

Me and art - we're not friends. My career choices will never include sculptor, artist, interior designer or anything that involves creating something pretty. I'm a failure even at the Paint Your Own pottery places.

But once, a long, long time ago, I created a masterpiece of artistic genius so grand that it has never been matched. I present to you...

The artistic reinvention of the 3-door Toyota Tercel Corolla, affectionally dubbed the Ouchmobile (originally seen in the post below):

Abstract art at its finest? This is, in fact, not an abstraction because it is devoid of the spiritual connotations historically associated with abstraction. This piece indeed performs a general liquidation not only of abstraction, but also of everything that goes into it (earnestness, sincerity, lifestyle, palette, the gesture, all-over composition, even paint itself). As the artist, I literally and symbolically emptied the abstract gesture of its affirmative value and its power to suggest that which cannot be signified (ie, the transcendental).

Ok...I stole all that malarky from an art review website. I don't know what it means and I don't think it applies. But you cannot deny that this is spray paint perfection!
It's amazing how the paint almost hides the crashed in door. This is an almost absolutely perfect work of art, marred only by my sister's Grateful Dead sticker on the back windshield.
The Ouchmobile may be dead and gone, but it still lives in my heart. Maybe my 3-legged Mo is the reincarnation of my 3-doored car?

Monday, January 12, 2009

Yikes! It's Facebook.

Really, is there anything more frightening than an email from Facebook with the subject line " {insert name of old high school friend here} tagged a photo of you on Facebook"? I'm not just talking about someone you've known since high school, but someone who you haven't seen since high school? That means that whatever photo is being shown to the world is one from 20 years ago! Yikes. I got two such email alerts today naming two different high school friends.

Luckily, it wasn't that bad. Most of the photos were scanned in polaroids from post-prom and you can barely tell who anyone is. However, among the now-public photos was this gem of my most-stupendous Ouchmobile! I loved this car. (And, NO! It was not me who did that to the car!)

I'm seeing my photo-scanning friend, Jen, tomorrow. Ha-ha! These high school friends are officially forewarned....I'm gettin' in on this game!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Crack Pipe Agility

This is Frankie.
This is his crack pipe.

And this is why I'm contemplating quitting agility.

You do everything you can to be a good parent. You spend quality time with your kids, you teach them important life skills, you are there for them when they need to talk. You spend your hard earned money making sure they go to the right schools and have the best gear. And how do they repay you?

By hitting the crack pipe, that's how!

I don't know who Frankie's supplier is or how he manages to light the lighter with no thumbs, but there is no denying that my dog is a frickin' crackhead.

In the past six months, Frankie has shown tremendous improvement at agility class. He's been known to be something of wild child, running around like a man on fire every chance he gets, especially at trials. I've tried everything to combat this tendency and have finally found moderate success. The new trick is to have Frankie take the first obstacle of the course and then immediately command him into a sit. Then we start up again and finish the course. It calms down the zoomies and has been working like magic (ok, not highly accomplished-Vegas show type of magic, but at least like impressive amateur magic). I've been getting good runs out of him at every class and every practice. All of this success instilled in me a heart-soaring feeling of optimism that maybe THIS weekend would be the weekend that we could get a few Qs.

Cue the trial. Bring in the crack pipe.

As soon as that dog gets to the start line, you see all the classic signs. First his eyes glaze over. Seriously, they do. Then you notice the increased energy and intense euphoria as he tears around the course taking any and every jump and tunnel. Whee!! See him fly off the A-frame! See him fly off the dog walk! He's having more fun than any dog you've ever seen. And he is completely Out. Of. Control.

After the crack high, you always get the crash. All of the "crash" signs are evident as well: anxiety, severe depression, irritability, extreme fatigue. Evident in me anyway.

After 5 out of 5 crack-runs, I packed it up and quit for the weekend, taking with me some severe depression, anxiety, and fatigue.

This weekend sucked.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Things You Don't See Every Day

There is a farm near Pat's sister's house in Missouri that creates an oversized hay Christmas decoration/sculpture every year. It's becoming (yet another) tradition for us to take a picture with Pat's nephew whenever we go there.

Here we are in 2006 with Holiday Snoopy:
This year it was a teddy bear:
I'm hoping for a penguin next year!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Conquering the World in One Day

Can the world be conquered in a day? Why, yes, it can! Can I prove to my blog-readers that I am every bit as nerdy as they suspect? Why, yes, I can do that too!

You may have noticed that I have a lot of traditions. One of my favorites is the New Year's Day Day of Strategery. Every New Year's Day a group of us gets together for a day-long game of strategy in an attempt to be that year's Conqueror of the World.

For the past few years we have played Civilization, which is an empire-building game of land use, supply discovery and management and not surprisingly, civilization building. As the civilizations progress, you move through eras. We've played for up to 9 hours in one sitting and have never made it to the modern era. New Year's Day 2008, with the help of the supply-trade-genius, my NFBF, I was the Conqueror of the World - a title I held for a full year.

This year we played Diplomacy, a game of negotiation and pure strategy.

Some reviews of the Diplomacy include:

"You will hate this game if you hate lying. If you stink at poker, avoid this like the plague. If you can lie through your teeth, and enjoy having people do your work for you just to kill them, then this game is for you!"

"The best game that no one ever plays because they want to keep their friends so they still can play other games."

And my favorite: "If you can play the game hard and walk away smiling, you have a group with players you should cherish."

In Diplomacy battles are not won or lost based on the roll of a die like in Risk or Civilization. Battles are won based on strength of arms and the strength of your allies. Be forewarned if you ever play this game, however, that the battle of learning the rules can be the bloodiest battle of all. For us, it took three hours and almost came to blows. (Seriously.)

But we persevered through the somewhat bumpy learning process and played a full-out diplomatically, strategically, mind-bending game. I did not conquer the world this year but I DID backstab both of my allies and shake things up quite a bit. This was quite fun since I'm usually the tried and true, honest-to-the-core partner that everyone can trust. And we did play the game hard and walked away smiling, so I know I have a group of players I should cherish. And I am devilishly, smirkingly awaiting next year's rematch against these cherished players! New Years Day 2010 is the day I will regain the Conqueror of the World title!

The title this year belongs to my NFBF, the Master of Strategy (and king of the blurred out face):

Monday, January 5, 2009


I was in the elevator after work. It was right before Christmas. It was rainy and cold outside. I was commenting to my friend that I hoped the rain had stopped because playing soccer in the rain when it is cold out is just not very fun. A lady in the elevator got in on the conversation, commenting that it's unusual that we still have soccer so close to the holidays. She said that football just had an optional practice that night but she didn't think many people would be going.

I have seen the postings on Craigslist for the women's football league and I thought it was super-cool that she plays. She looked pretty tough and I figured she was pretty good at it. I wanted to ask her tons of questions about it but we had reached the parking garage and went our separate ways.

As I walked to my car, I realized that she was actually talking about football for her son - not her own football team. She had joined the conversation with the assumption that I was just like her, a dedicated mom who spends my evenings taking my kids to soccer. Likewise, I assumed that she was like me, participating in activities that she enjoys for herself.

Is it human nature to assume that people are just like you? Or is it just an indication of being narrow-minded? I certainly hope its not the latter.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Friday Fives

This was a boring set of questions or perhaps I'm just in a stagnant mood. I apologize for the waste of time (it's a theme! You'll see...)

1. What is your biggest waste of time in your home?
The cleaning supplies, the washer/dryer, the dishwasher, the stove. Any time spent cooking and cleaning is time wasted. That is valuable time that could be better spent reading or emailing or blogging or playing with the dogs or sleeping!

2. When at work, what is the activity that you find wastes the most time?
Ok, I'll go with the expected answer here. Yes, the internet is the answer. Reading and responding to my email, creating dancing elf videos, reading those blogs that are listed over there on the left of this page, researching books to suggest at book club, planning know - all the stuff that keeps me sane when work threatens to push me over the edge.

3. When getting busy with a date or significant other, what ritual could you do without?
I wonder if they meant to ask "what ritual would be considered a waste of time?" I'm guessing they did, otherwise, this question wouldn't fit the theme. Either way, I'm not answering it.

4. What is the biggest waste of time on the Internet?
Perez Hilton and other gossip websites. Why waste time reading about what the celebrities are doing when you could be on facebook or reading blogs seeing what your real friends and ex-boyfriends and the people you used to know from high school are doing? And then you can poke them and give them underwater sea creature gifts and see what 80's Movie they are and give them drinks and cupcakes and see what movies, groups, products and websites they are fans of and then become fans yourself! Or you can be like me and just read everyone's status updates and call it done. Yeah,'s all a waste of time.

5. What do you do at a restaurant to waste time when waiting for your meal?
Fidget. Try to balance the salt shaker on its edge. Build tents with my forks and napkin. Sitting still is very difficult for me.