Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I Married a Real Man

     We hosted Thanksgiving this year, our first time. It's so nice not to have to drive anywhere for once. I had to work Thanksgiving night, so I prepared everything on Thanksgiving Eve (with the help of my temporary slave, Cousin Allison); and on the big day, I just woke up and popped everything in the oven (green been casserole, broccoli cheese and rice casserole, sweet potato casserole, garlic butter rolls, and a pumpkin dessert--- I think that covers all the staples)!
I made it black apron, because black is Manly. 
     Patrick fried his first Turkey.  He was so excited about it that he bought the supplies a month prior and even did a practice fry the weekend before. Given the circumstances, I thought we'd make it official, and surprised him with an apron I painted for his show-down. I had to hang it somewhere safe to dry, so Lucifer wouldn't stomp on it (that would have just made her day).
     For dessert, I made Caramel Drizzled Pumpkin Cheesecake with home-made candied pecans (grown in my parents front yard). I candied them with complimenting seasoning, such as nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves. (Do you  have any idea how expensive nuts are in the store right now??!?!?! They're like blood diamonds.)  I'm currently using the rest of them on my salads, and it is an amazing combination. (I may be addicted.) Then I made some peanut butter filled marshmallows, dipped in chocolate and covered in coconut and graham crackers. They were divine. I had to make an extra late night trip to the store since my first batch of chocolate melted into clumpy-dry-goop instead of creamy goodness, but it was all worth it!
I donned Patrick Angle wings. He is my Real Man Husband Angel, who can fry a mean turkey.
     My man forgot to put his apron on until AFTER he was done cooking, but his turkey turned out perfect anyway. I couldn't stop eating the skin (num num num). James, Patrick's dad, said he doesn't normally like sweet potatoes, but I watched him eat 3 servings of my sweet potato casserole. . . . . . . . .must have been the Crown Whiskey I snuck in there. Vickie, Patrick's mom made her special dressing that Patrick loves so much. Our bellies grew 3 sizes that day.
I can't believe everyone in the entire family looked at the picture except Sumo!!!! There's always got to be ONE in the bunch. 
     We ate at the table we bought a year ago.....for probably the very first time (we're fancy t.v. dinner kinda of people).....only half of us decided to get dressed like normal people......and the puppies food-stalked like there was no tomorrow. It was ridiculous. I wish I would have gotten a video of the way they stayed within inches of everywhere Patrick paced, just hoping for that one piece of something to fall to the floor.
     All in all, I think it was a pretty successful hosting, with only one mishap*. I guess it's time to decorate for Christmas now!!!

*Tune in tomorrow to find out why I thought  I was going have to bring Patrick to the hospital in Thanksgiving Eve!

What are your holiday traditions?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Chalk Up Some Fun

Does this look cozy enough to harbor a guest comfortably? I hope so; it's our finished guest bedroom! (If you believe that, you're lost your fruit loops. A true artist's work is never finished. I actually want to MAKE a headboard next.) Don't mind the caged doorway, that's just to keep the dogs out. The dresser beside the bed is an old mixed matched hand-me-down from Patrick's parents that I painted black and changed the hardware on. 
I'm so dumb for not taking a before picture of this window. It was beyond hideous. Short ruffled old dingy dust-ruffle-like curtains that must have belonged to the extremely old couple that owned the house about 2 owners and 3 renters ago, dressed the window in a recent previous life. The problem with this window, although very cool, and when I say "cool" I mean "unique" (Unique New York. Say it five times fast.) is the odd height. My easy fix was to sew together strips of my remaining burlap from this post, gather and fold the fabric and tie it in place with a burlap bow! Interesting tid-bit: The really cool part, is Lucifer's food and water bowl are disguised directly behind the curtain. My mom sewed that gold tasseled cloth for Patrick and I's first apartment together, and we bought the candelabra in Santa Monica, Ca in Z Gallery at the 3rd St. Promenade.  Sigh; the memories.
I've been eye-balling the creative chalk boards popping up all over the place, like at fun crafty stores I enjoy browsing and Pinterest, and have been wanting to take on a similar project of my own for a while. I've also really been loving the old victorian style picture frames and mirrors that have come back in style, but they are too expensive for my mortal blood. . . . . . So when I found this victorian style picture frame at Ikea, I bought it immediately thinking it would allow me to incorporate both ideas into one!
After a trip to Home Depot, then Sherwan Williams, then back to Home Depot, I finally asked someone for direction to the chalk board paint, and found it. Don't be a dummy like me and forget to grab a wooden stir stick for your paint!!! The supplies needed for this craft are: chalk board paint, a wooden stir stick, a small dense foam roller (for smoothest results),  your cleaned painting surface, and paper or plastic to lay under you crafting spot to prevent property damage! 

In my case, I was painting glass, so I removed the glass from my frame, laid it on the covered surface, applied a smooth solid layer of paint, and let dry for 4 hours. Then I repeated this 2-3 times. Note: Let completely dry for 2 days before conditioning and using your new chalk board! 

While I had the paint out, I removed the top drawer from the dresser I re-furbished a few years ago, had Patrick cut a circular wire portal in back, and painted the newly exposed area black. Ta-da: a pretty and super useful. . . . . and free. . . . . entertainment center! 
If I find out you made fun of me for still having a VCR, I will hire someone to come and tickle you until you pee you pants. At your work place. In front of your boss. I need that contraption to watch my annual "Muppet Christmas Carol".  Because I'm gansta like that, fool. 

Note: I spent the day doing this while listening to the husband in the adjacent room yell at the football games on television. Which, during the Baylor vs Oklahoma game, could have been easily mistaken for what I imagine the sounds a clan of ex-convicts, the psychological insane, and untreated tourette patients would make while escaping from the nearest asylum. "This is the biggest, most important Baylor game of my entire life dear. You don't understand how serious this is!" he said to me. Oh ya, he pulled that classic line on me. Other challenges: keeping Lucifer out of the wet paint!

I'm using the space above our kitchen cabinets as a portrait gallery. It's a win, win. I get to show off and constantly enjoy our engagement, bridal, and wedding portraits, and we don't have to worry about hanging too many things on the walls! The rose candles in the glass container to the left are the floating roses we used in the centerpieces at our wedding, and the old bird feeder to the right we got for free the same day we bought these antique posts! I actually tried to use it as a bird feeder once, in the Belton house, and the squirrels and deer got together as a strange team, stole all the seeds from the birds and poisoned my window-boxes beneath it with weeds. Another Interesting tid-bit: We took that wedding portrait outside our reception hall while waiting for my LATE brother to show up, becuase he thought hanging out with friends and stopping by the liquor store, instead of arriving to our reception, was a fair trade for having to be in our wedding!
Lastly, here is the late finished product picture of my home-made earring hanger.

What do you think about the whole chalk board craze? Do you have one? Do you still have a VCR hidden somewhere in your residence?

Monday, November 28, 2011

You're NOT My Friend

 Don't worry. I'll find a way to make this video fit in; don't doubt me!
          Are you honest when people ask, "How are you?" I am.

Clueless Person: How are you?

Me: Not great. Could be better. My Aunt is in town, and she's really making my life miserable.

Clueless Person: Oh. I'm sorry to hear that you and your Aunt don't get along.

Me: Yeah, she's a real bitch.

Clueless Person: If you don't get along, why does she come stay with you?

Me: I'm just using her for what I need, and then I'll get rid of her.

Clueless Person: (look of horror on their face)......Oh........okay then..........

     I prefer the name Aunt Flow over Mother Nature. To me, Mother Nature consists of fragrant flowers, green pastures, rainbows, and butterflies. My Aunt Flow can be a real cynical winch.
     It's hard to be friends with something that only comes around to torture you when you have really important things to do, demands full-blown attention, spends all your money on pharmaceuticals and toiletries, and turns your uterus into the size of a cantaloupe. Man, before that last description, I was beginning to think I was describing a dependent gone wrong.......except I guess once upon a time the dependent really did make someone's uterus the size of a cantaloupe and then the size of a watermelon......and then it came out screaming and pooping.....but turned cute long enough to make everyone fall in love with it (like the the two kids in the above video)....... Auntie F is never EVER cute.
     It's also hard to be friends with liars. CVS, is currently on my Doo-Doo-Hair-Balls-List. Yes, I am well aware that I just unconventionally described what some people may refer to as a Dingleberry, but quite frankly, my way is more fun to say. You're skating on thin ice when you lie to a woman with PDPMS (Pre-During-and-Post-Menstrual-Syndrome). I would not have took the time away from my precious future cheese and bacon filled omelet to park and walk up to locked doors in 40 degree weather wearing nothing but a cotton shirt and non-windproof cotton pants after a 12 hour patience-testing night of work, had I known the sign was full of lies.

I should have known a CVS that isn't open for 24hours would be shady.

     Hindsight: You know how they say, "Don't text while driving".....or "Don't Facebook when drunk".....or "Don't Tweet ever because it's stupid".....? They should probably make a new one called "Don't Blog while on the Rag".


     Just so we don't end on a bad note: Patrick is either ridiculously sweet, or unbelievably scared of me during this time I spend with my non-existent relative. . . . . . . I'm going to go with "ridiculously sweet", since that's why I married him. I woke up an afternoon this weekend to a one of the best surprises a girl could ask for: a cleaned and organized garage! But the best part is I didn't even have to ask.

Do you have any enemies? Any "loving" nick names to reference your body's "blessings" that some people may not understand? 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Divine Intervention

     This is a week, the week of Thanksgiving, we verbalize the things we are thankful for more than any other time of year. Here's my personal testimony.
     When my Mother was young, she became ill with meningitis and could have died. But she didn't. When I was a baby, I got so sick and weak with pneumonia that I didn't start walking until I was about 13 months old. When my uncle Doug was young, he almost died, but was also saved by God answering prayers. The power of prayer should never be underestimated. Especially if the requests are coming from my Memma's church. Those people are anointed.
     Last November, Patrick and I were struggling to overcome a very financially difficult time in our lives. A series of events had humbled us to depths we'd never experienced, tested the limits of friendships, strengthened our ties with family, and had us wondering how we could pay the simplest of bills each month. We did our best to carry each other, stayed severely thankful for the generosity of those who loved us, and left the rest to the big man. This had transpired for a year too long; my spirit was on thin ice and Patrick's had broken. I started to wonder each day if things would ever get better.
     After being turned down for several jobs, Patrick had his hopes on one more. The next morning, Monday, we got a call saying the job was offered to some one else. We cried together, and then called our parents and cried again with them. It wasn't getting any better.
     The same afternoon, he got an interesting email. It was from the company he worked for a couple of years prior, asking him to come back. We had a mortgage. We only bought the house 1 year ago. How would we ever be able to afford to sell it? If we didn't sell it, how could we afford to keep paying our bills? We decided if the company accepted Patrick's salary counter offer, then we had no other choice but to accept, and hope it all worked out for the good. They accepted.
     We called our parents back to tell them we had no other choice but to move to Dallas and got mixed feedback. Some for selfish reasons. Some out of worry. But I felt this voice, deep down inside me somewhere, telling me it was the right thing do it.
     I had to work that night, so during my down time, I found a couple job's online and applied to them. By Tuesday, we had a realtor at the house discussing how we could put our house on the market before Thansgiving. Wednesday, a hospital called me about my application and gave me an interview the next day. Thursday, we drove to Plano for my interview. I knew I the job in the bag, so we went down the street and got an apartment. Friday we starting packing up the house, so we could it would be staged and ready to show the next week. Saturday, the family came to help us clean and finish packing. I was standing in the bedroom with my Memma when she said something I'll never forget.

Memma: I'm not worried about your house selling. You want to know why?

Me: Tell me.

Memma: Because I've already prayed about it, and I know God has a buyer in mind for you.

Me: Really? Well could you tell Him to have the buyer come by Monday? Because we've got to sell this place ASAP.

Memma: I'll see what I can do, baby, but you shouldn't worry.

     I took a deep breath, and continued on, hoping she was right. Knowing I shouldn't worry, but being human, couldn't help myself. That evening, when they were on their way home, they passed a friend of the family on the road. She was looking for a new place to live. Her daughter, who lived with her, was having her first baby in the next month, and they were worried about the safety of the old house they currently lived in. When she found out we were selling ours, she wanted to come look at it. Sunday, she came to look at the house and loved it. She said she wanted to buy it for sure. We trusted her, and told the realtor we wouldn't be needing his services. On Monday I was officially offered the job.
     It's hard selling a house without a realtor. There were many bumps in the road, and without my mother and her friends in high places, we'd never have been able to do it. A month later, things were still trying to pan out. Our buyer was on thing edge and almost backed out, but I continued to have faith. "Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark."
     My dad called me one day, and we had a very long conversation about his concerns. He worried we made the wrong decision.

Me: I really think this is God's plan.

Daddy: You can't go by that. Just because you pray and listen to God, doesn't mean other people do. Other people do what they want. There are a lot of people that are involved that don't care about what you think God's plan is.

Me: You can't worry about other people. We're not suppose to worry at all. We are suppose to leave it to Him. All I know, is there is this voice inside me, telling me this is suppose to happen and everything will be okay. How do you think all of this could have happened without divine intervention?

Daddy: Well you can't go back now. I hope you're right.

     The week we came home for Christmas, we signed the final documents. The house was officially sold! I took another deep breath. This time in relief. We spent Christmas morning at my Nana's house and my Dad slipped me a card. Inside was a little green, and it was signed, "To my hard headed daughter". My Mom still says she didn't know about that.
     I called my Memma two weeks ago to thank her for the lovely cookbook she made for my birthday. As we were talking, the subject of my brother came up. He has a job, but has known for the last year that the position would be obsolete this December, and he would lose his job. He's been interviewing for another job for the last year, but hasn't been chosen for any. I can only imagine how frustrating that could be. My Memma said she didn't realize that's what was happening, and put him on the prayer list immediately. He called me this week with news that he got a job . . . . . . .in Dallas.
     Glory be to the Father.
     My brother asked if he could stay with us and pay half the bills. I told him he was more than welcome to stay. What kind of sister would I be if I didn't? Then I told him, he didn't need to pay half the bills, not because I'm the most amazing sister ever, but because we'd find him a place he could afford before that was necessary!


Happy Thanksgiving Everyone. We all have plenty to be thankful for.

What are you most thankful for?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Drilling Good Time!

I generally think of myself as a pretty strong independent woman, but when I try to balance a screw on Patrick's 20lb power drill while holding a gadget centered in place, all my strength is absorbed and I can't get anything else accomplished. There's some stuff I've been dying to get done, so I took advantage of the hubby's man strength Saturday, and put him to work!
The above hangers and hooks caught my eye at Hobby Lobby when they went on sale for 50% off. After I found them, I knew just what to do! . . . . . . .
Above, is one of the two antique porch posts that we found almost 2 years ago in Belton, for $20 each. I knew I'd do something brilliant with them, but at them time I didn't know what. I coated them with polyurethane, and tried using them in multiple places until now. Now, they've found their bliss. 
Vintage Hanger Hooks + Antique Posts = Fabulous Coat/Purse/Key Rack!
I got these pots with my 40% coupons, and had Patrick hold the posts level while I filled the surrounding space with 15-20lbs of river rocks in each pot for support. Here's the finished product!!!!
Everyone's seen my super retro velvet green chair! I love it, but I've been thinking those boring wooden knobs could really use some spiffing up. The tassels are just perfect the way they are. 
Obviously, this called for some drilling, and a man's strength to help!!! I put the hubby to work once again, and replaced the old wooden knobs with some beautiful cream and blue detailed knobs I found at Hobby Lobby in the clearance bin for $1.50!! What a steal!
Check out the new and improved finished product!!!  Ta-Da! I am more than pleased; all thanks to my wonderful husband that does all the things I ask him to do!
In other notes, my cousin Allison has been staying with us for the last few days. We've been having a great time running around . . . . getting things done . . . . . cooking . . . . . wasting time with dirty fun-having . . . . . .
Today I'll be slaving away in the kitchen for the Thanksgiving Day feast! 

So what do you think about the hubby's work???? Pretty good egh? What's your favorite Thanksgiving dish?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Snail Mail Tale

     Do you ever go to the post office? Do you have fond memories of it? When I think of the post office, I associate it with any other government ran office; long slow lines and employees that have been grumpy for so long, they forgot how to smile.  I don't usually do much business with these people anymore. I do most of my bill paying online now days, and I hate opening the mail unless it I know there will be a money surprise in it for me.
     I'm bring this up because I went to the post office twice last week. We needed to change our address and the online system that is suppose to be MOST reliable, wasn't working. Grrreeeeaaaaat. I bit the bullet to hand write the old-fashion form, but when I walked in, the line was outrageous, and there weren't any forms laying around. Nope. In their place were post cards advertising the online system (that costs a dollar to use vs the free version, by the way). I thought, hmmmm, maybe they did away with the old fashioned way. So I continued on with my errands for the day, and had Patrick try the online system when he got home. Didn't work.
     The next day, I returned to the post office with a form I printed from online. (After filling all my information out twice and it not registering, the alternative instructions where to print the form with my information, and either mail it in to the address listed, or to give to my carrier.) I looked to my left. The line was long, and only one person was behind the desk. "They're telling their entire life story. We've been standing here forever," the little elderly lady next to me said. I looked to my right. A single man was behind the packaging counter. I went up to him to ask him about my form. "You've got to get in line," he replied. Faaaaabulous. I watched a lady walk in with a sealed and addressed package. She arrived at the drop-off door and rang the door bell, three times. No one answered. No one payed any attention to her, even though you could hear the door bell ring in the whole building. She inquired with the packing counter. "Get in line. If no one answered, then there's no one there," he replied. All this went on, and the line had not budged.
     Twenty minutes later, I was next in line! I did it! I held myself together! The packaging man called me to his desk. I showed him my printed form.

 Me: I don't know what to do with this. I need to change my address, and this says to "give to carrier, or mail in."

Package Guy: Oh, you need to change your address? You can just fill out one of these forms. (Pulls the old fashioned change of address package out of a drawer and hands it to me.)

Me: I came here yesterday looking for those, and couldn't find any!

Package Guy: Oh, ya. We have to keep them behind the counter now because people kept coming in and taking handfuls of them.

Me: Wow. Okay, well I'd rather not have to fill that out, since my form already has all that information on it.

Package Guy: Okay, no problem. (Hands me a pre-stamped envelope for mailing.)

Me: (Fills out the entire envelope, and then has a realization. . . . .) Excuse me. . . . .

Package Guy: Yes maam. . . . . ?

Me: Am I. . . ? . . . ? . Filling this mailing address out to your actual address?!?!?!?!

Package Guy: Hmmm. . . . . What does the mailing address say?

Me: Blah, blah, blah

Package Guy: Oh, well yes you are. Let me see that form.

Me: (Annoyingly hands him the form.)

Package Guy: You could have just given that to me. We are the carrier. We take those, and change your address immediately.

Me: That's what I was trying to tell you since the beginning! I said it says, "Give to carrier or mail in."

Package Guy: Don't worry about paying for that envelope. I got it.

     No way? You "got it"? Sure you did. About 25 minutes of my life is wasted, and you're not going to make me pay for the envelope? Geez, how lucky am I? I always get in trouble for talking to too loud. I think I talk loud enough to be heard, preferably on the first time. But, sometimes I feel like I need to yell at people through a megaphone!
But then I came home and made this. Three cheese ravioli with alfredo sauce and sauteed mushrooms,  butternut squash ravioli with nutmeg butter sauce, creamed spinach with parmesan crust, grilled chicken, and sough dough bread with olive oil/balsamic vinegar dipping sauce.
And then I cuddled with these cutie pies. . . . . .
And this little cutie. . . . . . in my new amazingly soft and warm fleece pajama pants. . . . . . . .and all was better.

    Do you have any ridiculous experiences with government offices? Do you ever feel like people just aren't listening to you?!?!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Perfect Autumn Day

     I decided it's been far too long since the puppies and I went out and enjoyed some relaxing exercise in the park. The leaves are finally turning here; they're pretty close to peak, just in time to get me in the mood for Thanksgiving! I'm hosting Turkey Day at the new house this year, and decided not to decorate for fall, since we just decorated the entire house, and Christmas is sneaking up on us in a hurry. So, getting out and enjoying nature's beauty in the 60F degree weather seemed perfect. And perfect it was. The wind was blowing, the pup's were super energized, and everyone else was at work! Just the way I like it!
     I may not look like autumn in Vermont, but this is about as close as we get to a change of seasons before it transends from too hot to too cold outside! So in efforts to soak up every minute of my favorite time of year, I'm going to overload you with pictures of our excursion.

These little blossoms were all purple in the spring.
The pretty little gems where a perfect accent for the dying weeds.
Clear sky? Nope. Beautiful sky? Most definitely! 
Do you love Fall as much as I do? What's your favorite part? Any big plans for Thanksgiving?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Do You Feel Sexy?

     This video reminds me of all the days we spent in Santa Monica and at Muscle Beach. Aghhh, some of the best people watching in the world. Remember when I scarred your eyes with the "parrot smuggler speedo guy"?
Oh yes Ladies and Gents, this is real. He was feeling sexy for sure that day. . . . . .Come to think of it, maybe this guy gave  LMFAO the idea for this song/video! He needs to get paid for that!

     I don't care what you think about me. I love this song. It makes my want to wiggle. Everywhere. Speaking of "wiggle", there's a part of the song where he says "Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, yeah" over and over. I can't do it. I try every time, and the "want to" is there, but my tongue gets too tied.

     Have you heard of this family from Canada that is running the length of a marathon every day for 1 year, running the outline of Canada and the United States, to spread the message of health awareness? What almost as amazing as being able to run a marathon a day? . . . . .A family of 8 being able to spend an entire year up each other's butt's in a little travel bus. My family would never make it. Then again, it would be the motivation to go out and run. . . . . . .  

I tried to update the blog with a new comment system. . . . . . let's test it out!

Can you say wiggle 5 times fast? What songs make you want to dance?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Evil Bone's Connected to the: Funny Bone

     You're probably sick of hearing about my recent move, but there's something I need to release from my conscience. Sometimes I get angry, but I still smile on the outside for the sake of keeping peace. I recently read an article about the psychological study of happiness. Along with other enlightenment's such as optimism, it stated forgiveness and pretending to be happy can actually, intern, boost authentic happiness. I've found, through my own studies and practice, that forgiveness is much easier after passive revenge. If asked to rate my life's happiness on a scale of A) "very happy" vs. B) "pretty happy" vs. C) "not happy" vs D) "I don't know, ask me after I've had my rum filled chocolate fix", I'd without a doubt choose A (and D would just be a plus), but there's always room in one's life for even more happiness. . . . . . right?
     On this day, I tried to practice the above suggestions. The landlord had come to the house, hobbling on his broken casted foot with crutches and a caulk gun to fix the windows. I felt a little sorry for him, but nothing close to the pity I felt for myself for moving into his money pit (after all, I have had a broken foot twice in the last 4 years). When he asked for a towel, I did what any properly trained housewife would do. I went inside and grabbed the shop rag I had used the prior day to clean the entire house. "Oh, you dampened it for me. Thanks, " he said as I handed it to him. I smiled back thinking to myself, "Yeah, if that's what you want to call left over wetness from a combination of chemicals and toilet water." (I couldn't very well let him ruin a good towel, now could I?) It seemed like a relatively harmless action until later, while dealing with his frustration over the gas pipe issue, he started using the same rag to wipe his brow and face with. At this point, I continued to do what I'd like to think anyone of my moral stature would do, nothing. "Oh shit, that is nasty," I laughed to myself as I struggled to keep my giggles internal.
     The problem is although my initial intent was not malicious, it was far too late to tell him about the rag's history, but he should probably have been informed to go home and wash his face right away (he couldn't do it at my house since there was no hot water!). My ethical dilemma was pondering if it was morally inappropriate to find happiness and forgiveness in such a thing. When I told my husband about it later that night, I finally had the chance to laugh my face off about it. (I literally had to pick my face off the floor and put it back on.) I asked him if it was wrong to get so much pleasure out of such a evil thing. He loves me too much to ever tell my anything that would possibly damper my happiness, so he just said, "You are a sexy beast; now lets hit the sack Jack." (Just kidding. . . . . . )
Nanny Nanny Boo Boo!!!!!
So what do you think? Is getting even wrong or justifiable? Do you think I should have told him he just wiped his face with disgusting filth? What do you do to sustain authentic happiness?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Don't Be Square, Be Aware!

Poor Sumo Wrestler......had to wear the satellite collar!
     I haven't taken anything to the cleaners in about 2 years, but this week I decided to take a few of our frequently used blankets, throws, and curtains to the dry cleaners for spiffing-up. I already had to work, clean the new house from top to bottom, move, and clean the old apartment all in the time frame of 1.5 weeks. . . . . . . besides, I didn't want to take a chance at ruining any of the plush textures or shrinking the length of my white panels. After leaving, I remember why I never take anything there: they took my checking account to the cleaners!!! My belongings wont be ready for an entire week, and I'm struggling with the reality that I may have been able to buy brand new stuff for the price I forked over to a facility that made me sign a damage waiver to my belongings! Rubbish and poppy-seeds.
     Since I was already breaking mold, I rationalized my extremely exhausting schedule permitted me to drop Callie and Sumo off at the groomer instead of holding the family down in the bathroom the old fashioned way. Sumo had an astonishing amount of knots and matts in his neck fur and I couldn't fathom undertaking the task of trying to clip them all out myself. I was super embarrassed to even admit to the groomers I let it get to that point. Petsmart had them about about 5 hours, and it turns out I only had to work 5 hours just to pay the groomers. . . . . . . so maybe it all evens out in the end?

Exhausted and having sweet dreams after a big day! By the way, I distressed the wood on that chair to show off the carving details!!! 

     Also, I thought you may like to know. :

1    in 8 babies is born prematurely each year in Dallas County

Every year, more than 13 million babies worldwide are born too soon

If you'd like to help, click here.

Wear PURPLE on November 17 to
World Prematurity Awareness Day
     I don't know how wearing purple is going to fight prematurity, but a little awareness never hurt anyone! I recently posted this article on Facebook about an ongoing and common issue in the child-bearing world. Anyone who is having a baby or knows someone having a baby should really take it to heart. Obviously, sometimes things happen that are beyond our control, and that's why we have Neonatal Intensive Care teams to help improve the quantity and quality of life for the tiniest of lives. But under normal circumstances, friends don't let friends drive dunk, voluntarily deliver their baby early for selfish reasons (well don't drive drunk either, but my point was to emphasize how serious this matter is)! As a NICU nurse, I feel it's my duty to educate anyone and everyone about the topic.
     I watched an episode of The Doctors the other day discussing the topic of "Which is worse: Vaginal Delivery or C-Section". It almost blew me away that NONE of the information they discussed ever mentioned risks for the babies. It was all about the mothers. I caught a baby the other day to a mother who didn't quite realize the shift of importance until after delivery. As she was holding the precious little miracle for the first time, she looked up to her husband and said, "I feel so petty for worrying about what was going to happen to me during delivery. I realize now, all that matters is that my baby is well and healthy." Good words new mommy, good words. 

Do you pay to have any special services done, or would you rather just put the labor in yourself (get it? "labor")? Do you know a nurse? Give her/him a big hug; they work hard!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


     Once upon a time, and what seems like a fairy-tale ago, Patrick and I got married, escaped to the Carribean for a week, and came back to Dallas to quit our jobs immediately. It had always been a dream of mine to be a travel nurse and we decided, life is short, seize the moment. He was my house husband, and I, his travel nurse. The experience was like an extended honeymoon with a little work on the side, and we met a lot of friends along the way. Our favorite place to live was Hollywood, CA, and to this day we dream of ways to move back.
     It wasn't always a dream though. Soon after we first moved to Northridge, California (yup, where the huge earthquake happened a few years ago),  there was a massive fire that threatened all the major freeways and was closing it's gasp on the Valley. We had gone to a bonfire the night before it started and when we awoke the next day, I was disgusted that we both still reeked of smoke. It wasn't until I walked outside to take Callie on a walk that I noticed why our entire apartment smelled like bonfire. Ashes were falling from the sky like snow flakes. It was terrifying and amazingly wondrous all at the same time. I turned back to catch the news and became aware of the threat for rolling black outs and health risks. The next week there were warnings for mudslides. "What have we gotten ourselves in to?" I thought to myself. A few months later we were laying in bed one evening watching a movie when we heard a loud banging noise. I was immediately outraged that one of our neighbors would be so disrespectful and disruptive! Then I looked around and noticed the dresser and mirror where shaking. When I floated back into my body, I noticed the bed was a little jiggly but no one was moving. We were frozen in place. Earthquake! My mom hated that we lived in California for fear that we might be there when it "falls off into the ocean". I still think my heart belongs there. 

     Last Saturday night, as I mentioned before, we had a few margaritas. It's not uncommon in such cases that we come back to house and have a few more, except this time I was dying to drink some of my Belgium Raspberry Flavored Beer that I found at World Market. Some time between having fun and having too much fun, Patrick got "weird". I was standing in the bedroom doorway having a conversation with my husband that was sitting on the couch when he put out his hands in a stopping signal, and made a weird face:

Patrick: Wait. . . . .Wait just a minute. . . . . Do you feel that?

Me: ? . ? .? .

Patrick: Seriously, I'm shaking.

Me: Like tremors, seizing, low blood sugar? No you're not; I'm looking at you, and you are not shaking.

Patrick: Yes I am. I'm not kidding. I'm . . . . . . . . shhhhhhhh-aking.

Me: You've had too much to drink. (I sat down beside him to get a better look at him and further assess the situation)

Patrick: Well of course it's going to stop when you come over here. It felt like that time when there was an earthquake in Hollywood.

Me: Oh yeah, sure. We're not in Cali anymore.

Patrick: Oh, no. What if our house is sinking? The foundation is crap, and the house is sinking and everything we own is going to be gone. . . . . . . .

Me:You are so silly. I'm going to bed.

Patrick: Lame.

     Apparently, sometimes my husband isn't too far off his marbles. After seeing a couple of strange posts on Facebook the next day, I did a little research and discovered the sensation Patrick was feeling the night before was more than his imagination. It was the earthquake in Oklahoma; sometimes I don't realize how close Dallas is to OK!

Here's the news story:

Early Monday morning Oklahomans were rattled again by a 2.9 magnitude aftershock, which was small compared to the weekend earthquake that was felt in neighboring states.
Hundreds of North Texans report feeling the ground move or their homes shaking moments after a 5.6 magnitude earthquake shook central Oklahoma Saturday night.
Saturday night's quake was recorded at 10:53 by the United States Geological Survey.  The USGS originally reported the quake was a 5.3, but said it was a 5.6 after it was reviewed by a seismologist.
In Las Colinas, Marcella Villagra said she was sitting at her computer, when her chair started rolling. She looked up at a hanging pot, and saw it was moving too. That’s when she knew something was going on.
“I was freaked out, really freaked out, just not expecting an earthquake here,” Villagra said.
Camille Forsythe just moved to Plano from Memphis, Tenn. She said she was closer to a  fault line in Memphis, but never felt an earthquake. Here, two months after moving, she said the ground started moving on Saturday night.
“I was on the floor reading a book and all of the sudden it just started moving, wasn’t sure what was going on,” Forsythe said.
The 5.6 rating makes it the largest quake in Oklahoma's history.  Reports show that the record-setting earthquake has been felt from Texas to St. Louis.
The USGS said the epicenter of the quake was 21 miles north-northeast of Shawnee, which is roughly 40 miles east of Oklahoma City. The depth of the quake, from the USGS was 3.1 miles.
Jessica Turner with the USGS told The Associated Press that the subsequent magnitude 4.0 quake that struck at 3:39 a.m. Sunday was an aftershock centered some 36 miles east of Oklahoma City in the same region. Like Saturday night's quake, she said it was another shallow quake occurring about 3 miles underground, but experts had no immediate explanation for the spurt in seismic activity.
Saturday night's earthquake jolted Oklahoma State University's stadium shortly after the No. 3 Cowboys defeated No. 17 Kansas State. The crowd of 58,895 was still leaving when it hit, and players were in the locker rooms beneath the stands at Boone Pickens Stadium.
The temblor seemed to last the better part of a minute, rippling upward to the stadium press box.
"Everybody was looking around and no one had any idea," Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden said. "We thought the people above us were doing something. I've never felt one, so that was a first."
The earthquakes are occurring on a known fault line, the Oklahoma Geological Survey told Oklahoma's
There were no reports in the hours after the quakes of any severe injuries or major devastation.
NBC 5's Ray Villeda and Elvira Sakmari contributed to this report.

Do you have any experience with natural disasters? Which are you most scared of: earthquake, fire, volcanic eruption, tornado, mudslide, avalanche, or hurricane?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Fit for a Drama-Free Queen: Move Part 2

This is so funny. Some of the reactions are classic; actual grieving over candy. The two little boys at the very end are my favorite!

*** It ONLY took me an entire week, 4 un-returned calls, 3 un-returned texts, and one very angry voice-message to contact the landlord's Realtor to get everything in line for this move-in. I could barely schedule the electricity turn-on for the day of move-in. Here's how it went down:***
Those stools were my birthday present to myself. I love them. 

I stalked this mirror until it went on sale for 50% off. I've been wanting one this style for a LONG time!
Wednesday aka My Birthday: Present #1-I got to start the day waking up to my husband delivering Dunkin Donuts and coffee. It felt great. Present #2- a ridiculously sweet card that will hang on our refrigerator (that doesn't have an ice maker or a water filter/dispenser) for a long time. Present #3- Concert tickets to "How the Edge Stole Christmas"!!!! Whoo Hoo!!! Present #4- Concert tickets to HOB to see Stain'd! Do you have any idea how much I love concerts? 
Ever see the episode of "Friends"; you're my Pinguin! The bottom left picture is Patricks "Be calm, Stay friendly" reminder. He invented it one night in Hollywood and I always keep it around. It works. The bottom right is me grabbing Patrick's butt at a family BBQ. And the card on the right I got Patrick as a suprise, "I love it when you spoon me. I love it when you fork me." Love it. 

     Man, this was starting out to be a fantastic day. . . . . . . . . .then I looked around and remembered we still had to move. I took the puppies out on one last walk to the dog park and got started with the rest of the packing.
     Since the landlord was no help at all with gas companies I could call, and I had no idea where anything was, resulting in my phone being dead, it was thrilling that Patrick's phone had just enough juice for me to spend an hour calling 4 different companies, navigating through 4 different automated system directories, and waiting on hold 4 different times to finally find a company that would service Gas to our new rent-house. The earliest they could come? Thursday! I try to be content with the small accomplishments in life. Believe me, tomorrow things get hairy.
Every room as tall ceilings and cute little nooks to put decor. Fancy!!

     Thank goodness for facebook to remind us of everyone's birthday's! Though moving always sucks, the weather couldn't have been nicer and neither could the comments everyone left me throughout the day!   Here are a few of my favorites ("Cat" is my husband's nick-name. Brendan is my English pin-pal. Tina knows me far too well; we used to live together. Jessica and I have called each other "cow" since we were fish in high school. Although my mother tends to talk loudly, she always writes emails and texts in all CAPS, she doesn't mean to yell at everyone. Vickie is referring to my birthday eve pig-out!):
I've always loved my green velvet chair! That lamp is so vintage it gave vintage it's name. My grandfather bought it at an antique shop before I was even born. The in-table I found at an antique shop and distressed the wood details to make them "pop".

Happy Birthday! I hope you enjoyed your day. Make sure Cat treated you like a queen today.
Happy B'day my favourite little Texan. I will send my bird soon, I promise. :-) X
Its the finale of your birthday week! Hope it was fun! I'm sure Patrick spoiled you :)
Happy Birthday beautiful girl! Hope your dreams and goals are fulfilled in the year ahead! I miss you!!!
Haaaaaaaappppppyyyyyyyy Birthday! Hope it's great cowface! :))
KAYLAAAAAA..........happy happy birthday...happy happy birthday...happy happy...happy happy...happy happy birthdaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!!!!!!!!! love you hope your day is AMAAAAAZING!!!!!!!!!
happy happy birthday!!! Hope your day is amazing and you get everything you want:)
Wishing one very awesome, talented and beautiful lady a very special and awesome Happy Birthday!!! Hoping you have one incredible day today Kayla!!
Vickie Carruth My gosh what is all that-- looks like enough for 10 people. Wishing you a happy happy birthday tomorrow- see you this weekend-- love to my sweet daughter-in- law.
I made that birch arrangement. We got that "C" for a wedding gift. The turquoise thingy is something I found at a garage sale for $3 in Little Rock, AK and I cleaned and painted it to look cool!

     And for the record, I did get everything I wanted, my husband always treats my like only the royal-est of queens, and you all are amazing for thinking so highly of just a 'lil 'ol country gal like me.
     My Memma (my Mom's mom) made me this amazingly cute cookbook/keepsake with pictures of me and the family while growing up with captions, and all of her famous recipes handwritten in it. I love it and will cherish it forever. I'm already melting my new Scentsy bars, breaking in the headbands my mom had made for me, and can't wait to start wearing the apron her best friend sewed and designed with me in mind! So many exciting things!
I got that Sun on my very fist trip to Mexico with my parents. My bed is a hand-me-down I've had for years, and it is the same bed they use on "Everybody Loves Raymond". The lamp is the shake I made in this post. I accidently broke my Tiffany's Lamp Shade while moving this week. The old shutters I bought to make into a necklace holder. 
I made this earring holder with an old mesh crate tray and spiral wire from Hobby Lobby. 

     P.S. All of these pictures are definately from AFTER this day, but since we were talking about "pretty things", like my birthday, I thought I'd post my pretty decor pictures of how the house looks now!
I made that arragement, the white chair is from my Nana, and the table is actually a really old sewing machine (it works, I use it) from Troy home-ec class. My great Aunt Joan gave it to me years ago when they got rid of them all. 
My latest Pinterest project. Used two shower curtains instead of one, to open them like curtains to show light, windows, and decor! My Memma gave me those antique looking candle holders for my birthday about a decade ago!

What was your favorite birthday present ever? Do you look forward to birthdays or dread them?

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