Sunday, December 27, 2009


Okay, I just want to say one thing, and then we are not going to say anything else until February when the topic at hand turns 18.  Deal? 


I know!

Okay, that's all.

Except wait, let me just say this one more thing:

See you in February...

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas to all...

God's gifts....

From The Great House of God by Max Lucado....

"Thanks be to God for his gift that is too wonderful for words." 2 Corinthians 9:15

Why did he do it? A shack would have sufficed, but he gave us a mansion. Did he have to give the birds a song and the mountains a peak?

Was he required to put stripes on the zebra and the hump on the camel?...Why wrap creation in such splendor? Why go to such trouble to give such gifts?

Why do you? You do the same. I’ve seen you searching for a gift. I’ve seen you stalking the malls and walking the aisles. I’m not talking about the obligatory gifts….

I’m talking about the extra-special person and that extra-special gift….Why do you do it?...You do it so the heart will stop. You do it so the jaw will drop.

You do it to hear those words of disbelief, “You did this for me?”

That’s why you do it. And that is why God did it. Next time a sunrise steals your breath or a meadow of flowers leaves you speechless, remain that way.

Say nothing and listen as heaven whispers, “Do you like it? I did it just for you.”

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Today's Post is Brought to You by Cozy Socks...

Have you ever seen such toasty piggies in all your life?!  I'm telling you this:  Combine these bad boys with some stretchy pants and watch the world turn rosey.  You can count that as fact.  They were so magical during movie watching time last night that I took myself right back to Old Navy this morning to buy a second pair.  I also highly recommend getting fun stripes.  It will make your feet happy.

Ugh. Embarrassing story for you. (Not super embarrassing because I was over it in as long as it took me to call my BFF and recount the story, but still...)  My mission at Old Navy today was three-fold: (1) Buy the pj pants for my mom to complete our matching Christmas morning pj's, (2) buy more cozy socks (see above), and (3) use my 20% off coupon.  Oh wait, no, four-fold because (4) use my gift card.  Yes, four-fold. After at least an hour in the store, possibly longer, trying on every single thing that looked sort of interesting, I had a nice little selection of goods for purchase.  (Dang, it's five-fold.  I needed to exchange a shirt too. Brain, please engage. Thanks.) 

In the checkout line, I make things slightly difficult for Cashier Girl and ask her to do the exchange and the purchase separately because one was on my mom's receipt, and the other would be mine.  Halfway through it, I realized that was unnecessary and told her she could do it all on one transaction as she suggested.  It didn't cause her any more work or anything; I just tell you that to prepare you for the idea that maybe my cerebrum wasn't operating with a full staff.  I also ask her to do a price adjustment for a couple of the shirts Mom and I bought yesterday that I found marked down on clearance.  She did whatever retaily thing, then told me that nothing was pulling up as needing to be adjusted on the receipt.  So we look over the receipt together, and I point out what shirts I meant.  Yeah, they were already marked down on the receipt.  We got them at the clearance price yesterday.  GAH!  I mean it's awesome that we got the discount, but seriously Jenny, check your facts before you begin to speak.  No worries, she was nice to me so I went on my merry way.

As soon as I got in the car, I realized two things: (1) I forgot to use my gift card (3rd time I've done that btw), and (2) I forgot to use my 20% off coupon.  Argh!  I immediately called my retail bestie who worked at Gap for like 100 years.  "If I bring my coupon back in there, will they give me the discount?"  She assured me they would.  So I did the dork walk of shame and went back through the cashier's line.  I explained to her how apparently I completely dorked out and forgot about my coupon and could I please still use it?  She thankfully did not look at me insane, but called her manager to help her out with the transaction.  She said she just wanted to make sure she was doing it right, but I'm pretty sure it's because she thought I was going to put a dead rabbit on the counter or something.  I mean I know I was totally putting off the crazy vibe (I might have realized mid-first transaction that I had a full 20 oz Sprite in my purse that I had forgotten about.  Of course I told her about it.)

Because there was holiday madness happening, I let the two ladies in line behind me go first while we waited for Manager.  Once he got there, he said she would just need to void it and redo the transaction.  Ok, a small pain, but nothing major.  Then, when it wasn't working right, he realized there was an exchange on the receipt and because of that, she would have to return each individual item MANUALLY and then re-ring it up. Poor girl. I glanced over my shoulder to see how many people were inconvenienced by this.  Seven.  SEVEN!  Well, sorry Old Navy shoppers, welcome to Christmas In Retail.  I was so happy to get out of there, that I didn't even bring up the gift card.  No way.  I'll use it later, let's just roll with the coupon thing please.

It all worked out fine, I just hate having to do stuff like that.  HATE it. Let me just do it all right the first time, so as not to have to make waves to fix it later.  But whatever, I'm over it.  But brain, please note...You are on notice.

Monday, December 14, 2009

I'd like to thank the Academy...

Holy snowballs! My first blog award!  Thanks mucho to Kathryn over at From the Inside...Out for bestowing this honor upon me.  For real, I'm so stinking excited.  It's like I'm an official blogger or something.  Should we get t-shirts?  I'm pretty sure we should get t-shirts.


Now as a condition of this prestigious award, I am instructed to fill in the following blanks.  It will be diffcult because I am so modest (which is why I am so awesome after all), but I vow to do my best.  Here goes:

(1) My site rocks because: In addition to fascinating topics such as dog vomit and locker room nudity, I can offer you pictures of a cute dog and beautiful produce.

(2) In my next life, I want to come back as a: goat because days will be spent eating the heck out of whatever I want.  Plus, I can randomly head butt people to my liking, and they can't get mad, because hey, I'm a goat.  It's what I do.

(3) For me, the best part of blogging is:  I like having an outlet to share thoughts and stories, and if those stories can make someone else smile, then it's all the more rewarding.

Now for my pay it forward awarding, I would like to award Lise over at Every Last Drop for her honest and encouraging writing.  Go say hello!

Thank you again Kathryn.  Your praise is much appreciated. :)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Pop Quiz...

Question:  As I vacuumed this afternoon, how far did I get before I realized the canister was not on, therefore recycling all dust and debris right back onto the floor?

(a) The hallway
(b) The hallway and the kitchen
(c) The hallway, the kitchen, and twice around the living room

If you answered C, give yourself 10 points.  And then another 5 points for being pretty.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Odds and ends...

'Sup dudes? I hope everybody is doing well.  Have you gotten all your Christmas shopping done?  I have.  Yep.  I was able to get everyone I know something completely on the cheap, which is a blessing because these economic times have not been kind to this girl's bank account.  The solution? I am giving everyone hugs. Practical and very eco-friendly.  I'm just a trailblazer that way.  I don't think I used that phrase properly.  But whatever, it's my blog.

So, let's see...what do I have to tell you.  First off, it needs to be said that today was stupid.  Like really stupid.  And that's all I have to say about that.  Wait, no, I have one more thing to say about that.  The upside to the downside is that I got in a fantastic cry that lasted a good portion of the day.  I can't tell you how exciting this was for me.  Seriously, you know how things just build and build and build and it's getting all intense, but thanks to the survival instinct thing you've got going on, you haven't exactly cried yet?  But then when you finally do, it's like oh sweet relief?  Yeah, that's the kind of cry I got today.  Totally cathartic (is that the right word?  I swear my brain thesaurus/dictionary is on the fritz.).  Acutally, I don't think I'm done yet either, so I'm hoping I have a few good crying days ahead of me.  Fingers crossed.

I seriously need to reboot the hard drive in my brain these days.  It's like a forgotten to-do item floats into my thought process at some random moment, and all synapses on duty start working on the Oh Yeah! memo to the rest of my brain.  And then immediately all of those synapses clock out for the day, and the Oh Yeah! memo is just left on the desk in the dark allowing the to-do item to float right on out.  So it never gets done and this just annoys me to no end. Wow, that was some analogy huh? (Why am I picturing my synapses as elves?  Santa's, not Keebler.  Hmmm.) Point being:  I still have not cooked pumpkin yummy goods for the pumpkin givers.  I know right?!  How does one FORGET to bake a magic pumpkin?  Especially when there's practically a keg of it in the freezer.  What is that about Brain? Huh? Can you please offer me some explanation as to your completely flaky state these days?  So, I'm deeply sorry, dear pumpkin friends, that you have yet to taste the satisfaction of healthy sugar-free pumpkin muffins (shut up, they are so awesome.). However, in an attempt maintain my living room picture frame status (seriously, I'm in the living room! In a frame!), I am going to throw the "My Dog Had Surgery" card.  That's right.  I went there.

**Quick sidenote:  Just so you know, Deedra & Bel, Pumpkin Givers Extraordinaire, are the wonderful pet parents to Cooper, Lola, and Codi that I told you about a while back?  Remember those kids?  Just trying to give you all the pieces to this puzzle. :)**

So next up on our agenda today:  Literary Christmas. Sigh.  (Hang tight.  This is where the banner pic gets explained.)  For the past 2 or 3 years, my Aunt Terri has hosted a Literary Christmas Party at her house.  The concept is for everyone in attendance to "perform" a song, reading, poem, game, whatever of a Christmas nature.  It is, in a word: awesome.  My family is HUGE by the way.  Like Catholic family in the 50's huge. My mom has 9 brothers and sisters.  Yeah.  It's fantastic. So this mass of people gets together (aunts, uncles, cousins, grannies...) contributing everything from 'Twas the Night Before Christmas to Christmas Jeopardy.

Up until last year, I had been strictly a spectator.  The night before last year's party, I was hanging out at my cousin, Val's, house.  Somehow the conversation turns to the party and that the two of us should do something. The conversation goes as follows:

Val: We could do a skit.
Me:  I love it.  Of what?
Val:  Beloved Christmas classics
Me:  Like A Christmas Story
Val:  Or It's a Wonderful Life
Me:  What if we did a dramatic re-enactment of It's a Wonderful told by sock puppets.

Literary. Christmas. Gold.

The next morning, we made a quick trip to Wal-Mart for a bag o' socks, and after some Sharpie magic, we had our Bailey family.  We gave the lady socks yellow yarn hair of course, and little Zu Zu even got red ribbons for her pigtails.  Even puppets must maintain their feminity.  There was a short outline of key scenes in the movie and maybe 1 or 2 dress rehearsals, and after a total of 15 minutes of work, we were stage ready.  And let me just say...we nailed it.  At one point, I was laughing so hard I couldn't even say my lines.  Val had to cover for me and play George Bailey AND Mary at the same time.  Luckily, she is quick on her feet (or hands), and would just shake my puppet hand while she talked so people would know which character was talking.  That is professionalism at it's finest.  It was so much fun, and everybody really liked it.

Here's the problem:  We set the bar too high. Literary Christmas is only a week and a half away, and I got nothing.  I mean, there was an encore request on Christmas Day!  How do we compete with that?  I know I shouldn't be too concerned really, considering last year's Tony winning show was cooked up in about 10 minutes the night before while watching Christopher Walken and drinking a couple of beers.  But the questions have been coming now since the party announcement:  "What are Val and Jenny gonna do?"  Is this how Meryl Streep feels?  I'm thinking yes. 

Stay tuned...

Monday, December 7, 2009

Week One Complete

Dude, has it seriously been a week already?  One week into this long road to recovery, and I have to say, so far so good.  There were definitely a couple REALLY bad days right up front, but that was all me and not a whole lot to do with Gracie girl here.  Lesson learned here:  Do not combine a week of craft show preparation with 3 days of Thanksgiving/travel with an all day craft show with major surgery on your one and only dog child during a week that is known to not be safe emotional-wise for us ladies and physical-wise for you fellas.  I think you follow.  Luckily, I was able to sleep in extra late one day which recharged my batteries a bit.

This dog is taking this whole thing like such a champ.  Dogs, man.  The resilience in these animals is amazing.  From the minute she got home, she has not whined a bit about having to be in the crate.  Trust me when I tell you this is a HUGE occurrence.  She'll huff and snort at me a bit, if she thinks she should be up on the bed with me, like maybe I forgot, but once I tell her to lay down, she settles in.  WHA???  Oh, and there was the HORRIBLE, nightmare-inducing night where she had to wear the Cone of Shame (10 points if you name the movie!) for the first time, and she literally laid there and quietly cried herself to sleep.  Like not even the whining dog kind of crying.  Just little whimpers to herself, and y'all, I am not lying when I tell you fat, little teardrops rolled down her cheeks.  I mean, seriously, universe?  Must you be this cruel? Heart. Breaking.

Since then, all is gravy.  Just today she has started to bite/chew on her leg from the itching more consistenly.  All week, when I tell her no, she'd quit.  Not so much today.  She'll latch on to that little naked leg and just gnaw the heck out of it, pretending she can't hear me of course.  Smart pup that she is figured out how to time it too, that if she ignores me, I'll get up to stop her.  And don't you know that little dog will bite bite bite on her itchy spot right until I put my hand out to stop her.  Then, of course, she's done.  Mmmm hmmm. What a coincidence.  You just happen to stop itching when I get to you.  I'm on to you little animal. So the bummer of it is that she now has to wear The Cone all day since she refuses to heed the wisdom of my years.  She doesn't fuss at all about it, but is having a little trouble figuring out how to walk and hear and all that with it on.  She clipped the walls in the hallway a few times, and tries to see over the top of it instead of turning her head left or right.  It's really cute/sweet/funny to watch.  She's a trooper, that one.

So, anyway, we're managing. We made it through week one, seven more to go.  The stitches come out this Saturday, so that should help with some of the itching.  All we can do is one day at a time right?

And just so you know what I see every night before I go to sleep:

I can't help but smile.

Sunday, December 6, 2009


If I'm going down, you're all going down with me....

Saturday, December 5, 2009

It's The Great Pumpkin!

Sigh.  Isn't it the most beautiful pumpkin you ever did see?

A couple of weeks ago, I went to visit a friend (Shelley) who was housesitting for another friend(Dee & Bel).  This completely perfect pumpkin was sitting next to Dee's front door when I arrived, and O.M.G. I am fairly certain I blacked out for a second due to it's sheer great pumpkin-ness. In case I've not mentioned it previously, I have an obsession with pumpkins.  I LOVE them.  I love to hug them and thump on them to hear their hollowness and then hug them again.  They make me plain ole happy.  And this one just topped them all. I had to touch it just to see if it was real.  It was all fat and shiny and the perfect pumpkiny color, and I fell head over heels.

Imagine my complete and utter joy when Shelley emailed me a few days later and said, "They're giving you the pumpkin."  This is how the term "Squee!!!" was coined, my friends.  Are they not the most wonderful people you have ever heard of in your life?!?!  These two beautiful friends of mine are willing to give up THE GREATEST PUMPKIN! in order to bring joy to my life.  (Also, I kind of promised that I would bake them something pumpkiny delicious with it, but I'm sure that has nothing to do with why they gave it to me.  I'm sure it's the whole joy thing.  Right girls?) (Oh and I think I should point out that it was recently been noted that I have reached picture frame status in their house. PICTURE FRAME, PEOPLE!  And not even hidden in the back guest bedroom.  Front and center in the living room!  If that doesn't just scream BFF, then I don't know what does. I'm just saying.)

After Shelley delivered The Great Pumpkin (!), it sat proudly and prominently in the place of honor next to the armchair in the living room.  This way it can be seen while eating dinner or while watching tv, which is the only way to properly respect the pumpkin.  After a couple of days of hugging on it, my mom says "You know, we could just buy another pumpkin and cook with that one and just let this one sit here and be pretty."  (I love my mom.)  We deliberated and decided that it was only fair to cook The Great Pumpkin (TGP), so that he may live out his full Harvest Destiny.  I mean, this is what he was born for right?  It was decided.  TGP would be carved on Tuesday. 

And honestly, that's pretty much the end of the story. I mean, I carved it, and it took me approximately 17 years, but you probably guessed that.  Once it was all cut up into pieces ready for steaming, it was enough pumpkin to fill four large mixing bowls. FOUR!  Took me almost a week to steam and strain it all.  Gosh, I'm getting all tired just remembering how long it took.  Sometimes you just have to suffer for baked goodies (which I totally haven't even done yet.  I know!  I'm sorry! But I promise to the lovely pumpkin givers, that it is still in the freezer and I will absolutely bake you some deliciousness this weekend and probably even get it to you too.)

So anyway, that's the story of The Great Pumpkin.  Aren't you glad you waited around for like a week for me to tell you that.  You will sleep SO good tonight now, I'm telling you.  Gosh, I love pumpkins.

OH WAIT!  I forgot to tell you!  When I started pulling seeds out, there were like 3 that had started growing INSIDE THE PUMPKIN!!!  The Great Pumpkin was preggo!  (This explains the adorable roundness and lovely pumpkin glow) But for real, the seeds were sprouting leaves and had roots all growing and attaching to pumpkin walls and everything.  HOW GROSS IS THAT?!  So gross and so completely awesome.  Wait, I think I took a pic....hang on....

(I apologize for the graphic pumpkin guts.)

Isn't that just crazy?  There were 3 of them like that, and my mom planted them all so we could possibly have Great Mini-Pumpkins in the future. (!!!!)  So, okay, yeah that was my pumpkin story.  You're welcome. :)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

B is for Bah!...and also Buzzkill...

Disclaimer:  The following post could be a hazardous to your positive mood.  Rantings and grumpy feelings are forecast.  You've been warned.

Today is stupid.  The past week has been just one emotional crapfest, and honestly, I would like it all to stop please.  I would like to not have to concern myself with things of a financial nature, and I would like to undo all of the dumb spending mistakes I have made in the past, oh, I don't know, ten years or so.  Why the heck couldn't I have learned these lessons right out of the gate?  Because seriously, my first car came with the hefty note of $165.90 a month, and I spent ALOT of time thinking that was just going to break the bank.  Not even close. Fortunately, I had a good friend who said "pay $20 extra a month toward principal and you'll pay it off like a year sooner."  The car crapped out completely before it was ever paid off, but thankfully, that extra $20 a month I was sending lessened the blow of being in the red on a car that could not be fixed.  I wish I had known then that I had more money than I realized and probably could've been doubling my payments avoiding this whole upside down situation in the first place.  But whatever, I'm totally getting off topic.  The point of all that rambling is basically if I had known then what I'd know now, this whole layoff would probably be a heck of a lot less agonizing.  I'm fast approaching 30, and I'm nowhere close to where I hoped I would be from a stability standpoint.  That sucks.

Thanksgiving came and went with a lot more stress and anxiety than I had anticipated.  There were some truly awesome aspects of it, such as my brother being able to be there rounding out "the four of us" like it should be.  Or getting to spend time with my mom's sister's husband's mom (grandma-in-law?).  She is one bad@ss senior is all I'm saying.  And she brought some rocking good dip.  That pretty much makes you a winner in my book.  But for some reason, with all the things to be thankful for and all the wonderful company, I was completely unsettled. Even Gracie spent every chance she got racing for the front door. My anxiety goes through the roof when I'm at that house, and I can't entirely pinpoint why.   I suspect it has to do with the whole Katrina thing, and this is the house we evacuated to and maybe all that comes out.  I don't know. 

And now I'm pup nurse to my sweet lil Gracie girl.  She had the knee surgery on Monday, and all went really well.  She came home yesterday afternoon and has been cooped up in her cozy kennel since then.  She gets bathroom breaks, and I occasionally let her out to lay next to me on the floor in my room.  There was a major cone of shame issue last night when she started spending a lot of time going after those stitches.  So at about 8:30 last night after I was showered and in my jammies, I had to go out and find a cone to keep her from messing up the incision.  I wanted a specific comfy cone so she would be able to sleep on it.  Petco fail.  Petsmart fail.  So I settled for the little inflatable donut thing.  Have you seen those?  They're pretty cool.  Anyway, got it home...too small.  GAH!  It was too late at that point to go find another one so I took my chances that she would sleep and not chew overnight.  She chewed.  So now she has this huge hematoma type thing on her knee which vet says is not normal.  So I have to take her back in to see him in the morning.  Finally found the comfy cone I was looking for today, but when I got it home, it was too big and she pulled it right off. GRRR!!!  I managed to make the inflatable one work and she looked fairly comfy in it, but she can get around it to her stitches.  Oh geez, is this some joke?!  So again, last minute trek out right before closing time to find a comfy cone size small.  I think it fits okay, but I keep watching her making sure she's breathing and that it's not too tight. But that poor pup is MISERABLE. 

I just need everything to stop.  For just a bit.  Until I can recharge.  I need to not think about money and how I'm going to support myself.  I need to not worry about getting a job.  I need my dog to be happy and healthy and not have to suffer like this.  I need to feel settled and in place and not have this weight of uncertainty on me every. single. second.  I need sleep.