Friday, February 27, 2009

Weather

This blue skies, sunny........and snowing shit is really starting to freak me out.

Not that we haven't ever seen this weather here before...because we have. Oh, we have. But when you look out your window, to blue skies....and then notice all the white stuff falling to the ground....it just messes with your brain.

It was 60 degrees one day, now 17 degrees the next.

Just. Plain. Crazy.

This weekend, highs in the upper 20's...then next week (during the week, of course) 50's and 60's.

My new bike is sitting in my basement, mocking me every time I walk by it.





Photo Source

Thursday, February 26, 2009

It's Hockey Time

The last Maverick hockey game has come and gone. It's so sad.

I know, I know....let it all out.

(sniffle)



Mot and I had two vouchers for pairs of free tickets, and we wanted to use them during this last game. We brought Robin and Aaric and my mom and dad.





It was an OK game. It was new ice, so the skating was slow. But, we won.....in the shootout. It ended on a good note, can't ask for much more than that!!

(except maybe making the playoffs, but I'm not bitter - hehe)

I've mentioned Danny and I dancing with the pep band while the arena plays Cotton-Eyed Joe in between the 2nd and 3rd period. Tuesday night, we were too busy gabbing to remember. Once they started to play the song, Danny (sitting immediately in front of me) jumps up and starts cuttin' a rug right there in the stands.

I couldn't help myself....I got my camera out and started recording towards the end.

I don't use the video setting on my camera often. So I didn't realize you can't take a video on the vertical. You have to keep it horizontal. The video is too funny to not post.

So everyone....lean your head to your left.

video

Notice how at the end, it hit me that the video was going to be on it's side....so I put it back on the horizontal? I'm such a nerd!!!! :-)

Non-water drinkers unite!!!!

I'm the worst water drinker ever known to man!!!!!!!

Really, the worst.

Well...ok...maybe not THE worst. Robin's sister and mother refuse to drink water...ever. I'm not that bad. But I do not drink my recommended daily allowance. Nor do I even come close to said allowance.

I do drink skim milk though, and that's basically water with white coloring...right??

When I was in high school, I drank so much milk my doctor ordered me to not drink it.....at all...for six months. I was drinking so much of it, my body didn't know what to do with it. So, it was leaving calcium deposits in every joint it could come up. Knees, elbows, wrists, shoulders. I was in pain it was so bad. Milk. Who knew???

So anyway. After the six months, I switched to skim milk...and cut back how much I drank. I was drinking a gallon a day at one time. I love me some milk!!!

I also used to drink Mountain Dew...."nectar of the gods".....like a crazy fool. If I wasn't at home drinking milk, I was out in public drinking Dew.

There came a point in my life where I decided I needed to stop drinking all of the chemicals...so I quit Mountain Dew, and switched to Diet Coke. (yeah, yeah....just as many chemicals, if not more - the advertising worked, I admit it...it says diet, must be better, right?)

Ugh!

Early last year, I cut it out as well. I'll still have an occasional soda here and there....but they are few and far between.

I tried drinking green tea instead. Love hot green tea, but drinking it day after day got old.

Unless I'm outside in the heat or eating a meal, water doesn't go over well with me. It actually makes my stomach upset...crazy, eh?

One day at the grocery store, I found these.....



And now it's all I drink. A sugar free, calorie free way to make my water taste yummy. I consider it the equivalent of getting your child's cough syrup flavored by the pharmacist. After all, I'm a kid at heart.

There are a ton of flavors, but fruit punch and I get along quite nicely. So that's the one I drink.

If you've never tried these, and want to...and it's the fruit punch mix you pick up...I have a few pointers.

Never put it in the glass, and then put your glass directly under the faucet to fill it. The powder will puff up, and coat the faucet. You won't know it happened, but the next time you turn the faucet on, you water will run red.

Wasn't there some biblical reference to water running red? Anyway.....

Also, make sure it's mixed really well before drinking. That same powder that attaches itself to your faucet will turn your lips red if not totally mixed.

It's similar to putting grape Kool-Aid powder in a friends sleeping bag...while camping...in the middle of the summer. They get in their bag, it's warm out, they sweat, and voila!!!!....they are stained purple for weeks.

Not that I've ever done it.

Or seen it done.

Nope.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Doing Better

I'm please to announce there are some people out there taking my "start being nice, now!!!" request to heart.

I met my friend Lorrie at a park in between her work and mine. We jumped on the Papio Trail (a trail that leads through Omaha, following the Papio Creek), and started walking north. It's a cement trail, so not really considered being out in nature....but it WAS outside...so today, it counts!!!

We met bike riders, runners, joggers, walkers, and dog walkers all along the trail....almost every single one waved, said hi or hello, and smiled. The dog walkers let us pet their dogs.....a couple of the runners actually took their ear buds out so they could say hello and hear our response.

That's the spirit, Omaha!!!! You're starting to catch on.

We walked for about an hour, than I hit Blimpies for a sandwich and returned to work.

Too bad we're supposed to get thunderstorms tonight, and then freezing rain all day tomorrow. Getting out over lunch is really helping with The 'Funk.'

No turning back.

We've begun the kitchen project.

I mentioned our trip to Home Depot a couple weeks ago. The one where we went in for a faucet, and ended up with a new faucet, a new sink, and new counter tops.

We, the stone people showed up today to do their measuring and template making. Not only did the normal crew show up...but they brought about 6 other people along for training. And I think, by the way Mot tells it, a rep from the computer software company to help them with the new laser software they are using.

It's never a dull moment at our house, let me tell ya.

OK, maybe that's a lie. There are quite a few dull moments at our house...I just never write about them. Reading about our dull moments would be.....well....dull. :-)

Anyhoo.....the measuring is done. And the fun will begin in.......ummmm.....anywhere from two weeks to two months?

What??

Let me explain.

The only stretch of counter space we have is 10.5 foot or so. The stone guys don't know if they have a piece of granite (of the color we selected) that long. So, they may have to do a seam. A seam stinks, but they can do amazing things these days...so I have faith. If they DO have a slab that long, we have to wait until the sliding glass door gets installed in the dining room.

Why?

Because they can't fit a 10.5 foot piece of granite into our house through the front door, or the door leading out to the garage. Heck, to get our couch in the house, we had to take windows and support posts out of the front porch and shoved it through that way. It's an old farmhouse....and they didn't think ahead to granite counters. And, I'm convinced they must have built the house AROUND the current counters. Because they are just as long....and they got them in the kitchen somehow...right!?!?!?!?!?!

(sigh)

So.....we have people coming to quote the sliding glass door thing...and the counters (if they don't have to do a seam) will follow as soon as the door is done.

I can't wait. :-) :-)



Here's a picture I got on my phone today from Mot. The old sink is a double bowl, the new sink is a single (which means we have 8 inches more counter space..and no annoying divider in the middle of the sink for us to break our glasses on). :-) :-)

The sink may be less wide, but it's deeper....not deeper down, but deeper back. Does that make sense?

Well anyway....because of it's increased depth, we can't put the faucet in the middle of the back side, where most faucets live....we will have to put it off to one side or the other. Which, surprisingly, I was going to tell Mot we needed to do....instead of going all symmetrical and boring.

He wanted to send me a picture first, before he told them it was going to be OK. Kudos to the installation guy for holding the sink and faucet in place so Mot could take his picture. 9 men in a kitchen, trying to decide the aesthetics of putting the faucet off to the side....scary thought, eh?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

It's unfortunate, but...........

.....the people working at my Subway have also been infiltrated by the 'funk.'

I left for my lunch hour DEMANDING people start being nice to each other.

Unfortunately, the women working at Subway are hard at work, and not reading my blog, so they didn't get the memo.

It started off well. I walked in the door, and the manager greeted me with a smile, asked me how I was....and then asked me what sandwich I wanted. She was genuine....not in the "she really wanted to know how I was" sense....but in the "being nice just because" sense.

I smiled back, told her I was doing just great, and ordered my sandwich.

As the topping lady was wrapping up my sandwich, she looked at me and thanked me for coming in, and wished me a nice rest of the day.

Wow. Two nice people, in the same building. Someone was actually reading my blog and abiding by my new rules of nicety.

And then it happened......the lady ringing up my order at the register gave the topping lady this look. It was a look of quizzical frustration and surprise.


Topping Lady: "Well, they said one of us had to say it....they didn't mean YOU had to say it every time."


Whoa!!!! They were TOLD to say those nice things to everyone? They didn't just want to thank me for coming in? They didn't really want me to have a nice afternoon?

I'm hurt. I'm crushed. I'm......well.....I'm realizing my request for everyone to be nice needs to be ammended.

Everyone!! Be nice.......FOR REAL!! None of this fake nice shit. It doesn't count. Do you hear me??? And, if you are going to do fake nice, don't announce it in front of someone you are being fake nice too. Come on people, get with it!!!!! :-)

'Funk'adelic

Has anyone noticed the disease the seems to be making it's way through every heart, soul, and blog on the planet??? They are calling it the 'funk.'

Is there a telethon raising money for the cure?

Maybe a hot line we can all call??

It's horrible. Everyone I talk to, and almost every blog I read, is complaining about it. I wouldn't be surprised if it's surpassed the common cold in the numbers of people affected.

I have been suffering from the 'funk' for a couple weeks now, but last week was the worst!!! This week seems to be better. Thank goodness. My sister is not so lucky....I talked to her this morning, and her whole family is down with the 'funk'. My mom is definitely suffering from it.

I blame it on the doom and gloom evening news. Companies closing, jobs lost, stock market down....blah, blah, blah. They are subliminally killing us with their sky is falling newscasts. And even if you don't watch the news, you are affected by those that do. The 'funk' is highly contagious, even if there is no direct cause in your own life, the unhappiness of others creeps into your blood.

It's going to be 60 degrees here today. I'm going to go to Subway, get my usual 6 inch Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki, on wheat bread....with no veggies and head to the park with my book. There had DARN WELL better be some fun people doing some fun things in that park for me to watch and laugh at (and use as blog fodder). I mean it!!!!!

On top of the doom and gloom news.....here are the normal issues with this time of year.....

1) The holidays are over. There are no more paid days off for......well......until May (Memorial Day). That's over 2 full months of having to work every single weekday!!! Plus, unless you work for a company that gives you Martin Luther King Jr Day or President's Day...you have already gone two months without a paid day off....and now we have TWO MORE to go!!!

2) The sun is staying up later and later into the evening. Normally this is a really good thing...but we've been deprived of sunshine for quite a while now. I, personally, have forgotten what my house looks like in the daylight. So....with more sunshine comes wanting to be out in it, enjoying it. Not watching it THROUGH YOUR WINDOW AT WORK!!!

3) It's ugly out there. I mean it. Mother Nature takes a break this time of year when it comes to beauty. (At least, in this neck of the woods.) Everything is brown, grey and sleeping. Piles of dirty snow in the corners of parking lots....sand and gravel along the sides of roads and on sidewalks. Ick! Even though people are sick of winter, a good coating of snow does wonders. Snow is happy. It's clean, white, and fresh.

4) All stores have put out their spring and summer clothing. We can't wear that!!! Are they crazy?? There's nothing more depressing than buying new clothes, that you can't wear. It's like buying a heavy sweatshirt at a garage sale...in July. Ugh!

5) Speaking of spring and summer clothes. Even if the weather was nice enough, we've all put on holiday and winter pounds. If we buy the clothes now, we have to buy a bigger size to accommodate the thanksgiving pumpkin pie we ate...whole. We've all realized we need to start working out in preparation of spring and summer.

6) Speaking of working out....we have had a nice day here and there along the way....but for most people, it's still too cold to get outside and get active. So....woman (and men) across the world are dragging out the home gym equipment that hasn't been used since this time last year...and is currently functioning as a second closet. Either that, or they have to go to the gym. And what kind of people are at the gym right now? I'll tell you. a) those that live there, year round, running on the treadmills like hamsters on a wheel...and while you may smirk and make fun of their enthusiasm, you're actually quite jealous of them b) the people who are unhappy to be there, they won't make eye contact with you, they won't smile, they don't want to be there, and by gum, they are NOT going to try to be happy!!!

I think the solution to this funk is smiling. LAUGHING! Try it out today, on a complete stranger, and see what happens.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Time Trial Bike



I once had a bike stolen when I was a kid. It didn't make the news.

Who else likes the sense of humor found within the Trek team?? This is the sticker they put on Lance's backup time trial bike....after his main bike was stolen.

Mot called me this weekend to tell me it had been found.

Why is this relevant??

Well, believe it or not, it was the catalyst to a decent argument on Saturday.

Nej "Did you hear if Lance's bike was ever found?"

Mot "What are you talking about?"

Nej "Lance Armstrong, his bike was stolen."

Mot (suffering from hunger = GRUMPY and HUFFY) "How the hell would I know?"

Nej "Okey dokey then."

Mot "What'd I do NOW?"

Nej "You are hungry. All you had to say was 'Oh, I hadn't heard it was stolen.'....instead you snapped at me....like me asking you was the worst thing in the world. I'm not going to say anything more until you've eaten lunch."

Mot "Wonderful"


The marriage of two stubborn people.....some days, it's a bumpy ride. :-)


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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Weekend Update #6 Mental Health, Hockey, and Oscar

Howdy boys and girls!! It's time for another weekend update, hosted by the girl voted "Most likely to Run Over Her Cat with a Skateboard".

(really, it's true, I did...and I have the scars to prove it)



(I didn't do it on purpose, if that's what you're thinking.)



But that's neither her nor there. Focus people, Focus!!!!

My weekend started off a little earlier than usual. It actually started right about the time I called in to work and told them I wouldn't be in due to a family emergency. OK, OK.....it was actually a much needed mental health day. It's not something I do often, Karma doesn't allow it. If I call in sick, I actually get sick. But, let me tell you, there was going to be a family emergency if I went to work. I've not been in the best place (mentally) for a week or so now. I decided that I needed a reboot.

I slept in, zoned out in front of the TV, did some grocery shopping, then came home to do some more zoning. It sounds like I just wanted a lazy day, but let me just say the day (heck, the whole week) had been sprinkled with small bouts of crying and depression. I self-prescribed myself a day off.

I'm over it now. So...moving on.

We split hockey season tickets with my parents, they go Fridays and we go Saturdays. Our quartet coaching was cancelled this week, so I was home on my own. Mom had agreed to take Lauren to the game, so I didn't tell her I was home. She would have offered to buy my ticket....and my reboot day included not talking to family members either.

Remember how I mentioned Karma, and how much of a bitch she can be? Well, mom tripped leaving the hockey game on Friday night. (Karma's the bitch, not my mom...let me make that perfectly clear!!!) She buggered herself up pretty good. And remember how I didn't go to work due to a family emergency? Well.....you see....this is why I can't lie.

(mental note, never not go to work for a fake funeral)

The games this week were against Notre Dame. They are ranked #1 in the conference, and it was supposed to be a blowout. I watched it on TV. It wasn't a blow out. It was 3 to 3, game went into overtime. ND ended up winning, but we didn't let them get off with an easy win. I'm sure that's' what they flew to Nebraska expecting.

Saturday morning I had to get up at the same time I do normally during the week. (the horror!!!) Mot and I were signed up for the PDA Workshop at our Verizon store. My Storm has a mind of it's own...and it successfully confounded the Blackberry guru. So now I don't feel so bad!!! :-)

On the way home from the workshop, Mot pulled off to put gas in the Jeep. It was then I realized he needed new sunglasses. He was currently wearing his shooting glasses, and anyone who has ever worn them, knows they are not a fashion statement to be made outside of the range. A couple of weeks ago, we found a pair of sunglasses that looked really nice on him at the bike shop where our future bikes are being stored. (OK, OK, so we hadn't bought them yet, but I could still pretend like they were holding onto them for us. A girl's gotta dream, right?)

So, off to the bike shop we headed. Before looking at the sunglasses, we wandered over to say HI to our future new bikes. Make sure they were being treated OK and all. Not only did they have the bike I was looking for (2009 Gary Fisher Utopia), they also had the same model in a 2008. Brand new. For quite a bit less.

Hmmmmm...what's the difference?

Turns out, nothing. Color, that's it. Due to gas prices going up and up, they (Gary Fisher) had to raise the prices of their 2009 models.

We left with the bike.

OK, that's not totally true. I left with a pair of cycling shoes for riding the bike.

We put a daily limit on our debit card, so anyone who steals it can only get so much before we have time to stop it. Yeah, our bank closed about 1 hour earlier....so when we called them to override the limit, they didn't answer. Argh!! We put money down on the bike, and will go back on Monday and pay for the rest. It's too cold to ride it right now anyway. So, technically, they actually ARE just holding onto my bike for me now. :-) :-)

We came straight home after the bike shop....had a mild argument as many married couples will do. (Especially when the wife of said marriage has been having a rough couple of weeks, and is now being beat by a piece of electronic equipment - my phone.) By the end of the evening Mot, my knight in shining armor, figured out the phone issues...and all was well.

As I write this, I can say that I'm a very happy and pleased Blackberry Storm owner. The thing is actually pretty damned sweet (Now that we've come to an agreement. It will work, or I will throw it out the window, and run over it with my car - seems to be working so far)!!!!

Anyway.....

We made a quick dinner then headed to the hockey game. The games are normally played at the Qwest convention center and arena downtown....but this week were being hosted at the old arena. (They do it once a season, and I can't tell you why. Probably hosting a car show or something at the new arena, who knows!) Anyway....it's a MUCH smaller venue....so the 7,991 people that showed up almost maxed the place out. We were like sardines. Good thing most of us hockey fans get along.

Most.....

We were seated in front of this dude that only came to talk to the people around him. He had to impress everyone by how many people there he knew, by yelling out the names of everyone he saw. He also decided we needed to know how many engines he blew up while in high school (4 total, 3 in one car. In case you wanted to know.)

Sigh...why do we always get seated next to these people??

The game was another good game. The score was 0 to 0 until the end of the third period. They scored a goal...we scored a goal to tie it up. Yeah!!!

No, not yeah.

The evil men in black and white took the goal away. We still don't know why. The crowd was pissed...yelling, and actually throwing beer bottles and such on the ice. God, I love hockey!!!!!

The game ended, 1 to 0, we lost again. But, it was the second night in a row that we made them work for it. So take that!!! :-)

As we were exiting our seats, the announcer let everyone know the team was going to be doing an autograph session on the ice. Hmmmmm......I have this Jersey that needs signed. And it wouldn't be bad seeing #11, the quick little shit, up close.

Let me just say....he's the strong, silent type. Was the last one of the team to make it out on the ice, and was the quietest player as the people came by for autographs.



I decided to try out the camera on my phone. 3.2 mega pixel, how good could it really do? You know what, I don't think it did that bad with this pic.

Since mom wasn't there, I got a picture with every one's signatures on it for her. Hope she likes it. :-) If I'd known they were going to do the session ahead of time, I would have bought a t shirt for him to sign for her.

I scanned the pic, and tried to post it here.....unfortunately, Blogger keeps giving me an error (Bad Request, Error 400). Curses, foiled again! It's a cool picture, I promise.

Oh well.....

Sunday morning I again had to get up at the same time I do during the week. What are weekends again, I forget?? :-)

The gym my sister works at was hosting a pre-triathlon swim meet, of sorts. They are hosting a pretty large triathlon in March, and wanted to get everyone geared up for it. I had told them I would help out. And will help them out with the real deal in March...if we're not gone on vacation. Should be fun.

Mel and I are signed up to work the HyVee triathlon in Des Moines. We're on the kayak safety team. I figure, since I'm terrified of deep water, and unable to compete in contests involving swimming...I may as well help out!

(Being terrified of deep water usually isn't a prerequisite of kayaking...I know, I know.)

The meet was fun. A bit unorganized, but that made it all the more fun. Watching them try and work the bugs out, it's always fun to see. Plus, the people swimming were all really nice, and were having fun themselves. Everyone was supportive of each other, cheering everyone on.

One of the women was only competing because she was doing laps in the pool...and they were going to kick her out for the races. She said, where do I sign up? You've gotta love it. She had no idea what she was doing, but thought "Hey, why not!?" I completely and TOTALLY love that attitude!

On the way out the door, I picked up a Mocha Madness (with peanut butter added) Smoothie from the gym Cafe and came home.

My buddy, Lorrie, hosts an Oscar party every year. Her mom, her mom's friends and Lorrie used to go out once a month for a ladies night out. A number of years ago, Lorrie invited me to come along, so she wasn't the youngest one there. :-) It was also about this time, she started hosting Oscar parties.

She now has two young children, and is in desperate need of a non children related activity, so the party is being hosted at one of her Mom's friends' house. I'm supposed to bring the nacho cheese dip. Easy peasy!

For the rest of the afternoon I watched DVR'd episodes of House, cooked the cheese dip, checked email, did some dishes, ate some Fat Free Pringles, tried to decide what "Bling" I have in my house that I could wear to the Oscar party. Yep, that's one of the things on the invite, "Prizes for the Best Bling".

What do you think of these glasses????




They are at least the start of bling. There is one lady that shows up in an different prom dress she finds at Goodwill, and all the bling you can imagine. There's no way I can compete, but I'm not going to show at the door with nothing. No way!!! :-)

I ended up wearing one of my tuxedo shirts, black dress jacket and black bow tie. I accessorized it with big silver and diamond (fake of course) earrings, bulky silver bracelets and the mardi gras beads (red, silver and black) they threw at the hockey game on Saturday night.

It wasn't really the "bling" that she was was thinking of when she put it on the invites....but it was fun. And it really made me realize I'm seriously lacking in the bad costume jewelry department. I need to remedy this immediately!!!!

Robin, Lorrie, Lorrie's mom, Betty (whose house we were at) and I all lasted to the end of the awards. We ate a ton of really bad food, and savored every moment of it. Back to reality tomorrow!!!!!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Vivarium, Part 1

So, as I mentioned before, we started work on a vivarium on New Years Eve day. I thought I should probably get around to posting the story. It's too good to not tell you.

(And by now, Mot thinks he's in the clear, and that I've forget to tell you. Silly fool!!!)

My fish recently passed into the great brackish body of water in the sky, and we were looking for something to do with his empty tank.



It's a basic 35 or 40 gallon hex tank. Nothing special.

(Neither are the bath towels it's sitting on in this picture. They are like sandpaper and were demoted to projects around the house. I like to multitask, but exfoliating and drying off should not be combined if you can avoid it. :-)



This is a piece of egg crate, used in office fluorescent light fixtures. We (Mot) cut it to fit into the bottom of the aquarium, to be used as a false bottom. It looks like someone took a bite of it on purpose....that will eventually be the pond section of the environment we're creating.

To keep the false bottom off the bottom of the aquarium, we (Mot) cut PVC pipe into 3 or 4 inch tall sections.



He also decided to cut notches into the bottom of each pipe section...so stagnant water wouldn't collect in the tubes at the bottom of the tank.

There are numerous ways to cut notches into the bottom of PVC pipe. I left to tend to something in the house...and this (below) is what I came back to.

Do you remember the cartoon...the Animaniacs??? I watched the crap out of it when I was younger. Pinky and the Brain were the best.

Anyway, during each half hour show, there was this segment they used to do....

"And now it's time for another Good idea, Bad idea."



Notice how in the second picture...you can see the saw blade chopping its way closer and closer to his thumb. Yeah, I saw what he was doing.....took these pictures.....and left.

You ever have one of those moments, when you know what's going to happen...and you know that if you tell your stubborn hubby it's not a good idea...he'll just get all defensive and say something along the lines of "I know what I'm doing" ???

Well, I decided to skip all that, and just leave the garage.

This is what it looks like when the saw met his thumb. (About 2 minutes after I left.)



I hate it when I'm right.

Most of the time. :-)

It really doesn't look that bad in this picture. He knew I was there with the camera, so I was lucky to get this shot. But let's just say that he should have gotten stitches...it wasn't good. In fact, it was so un-good, it actually worried him.

Did it worry him to the point of going to the hospital though? No!

We went to the fire station down the street...so his buddies could tend to it for him. They thought it was funny that I came along, with my camera. :-)



This is what it looked like when they were done.



We decided to call it quits for the night. Go figure.

(To be continued.....)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Storm of the Century

My hubby treats me pretty darned well*.

He helps around the house if I ask or leave a list. He cooks dinner nearly every night. He brings flowers when I least expect them. And he buys me weapons**.

This week he surprised me again. His cell phone needed replaced. He's had it for two years, and is less than nice to it***.

We currently use Verizon as a cell provider. We've had no issues with them, and the service is good. Both of us have been drooling over the idea of an iPhone, but the cost of the phones themselves have been keeping us at bay****.

After much thought, indecision, and about a million phone calls to me here at work...he decided on the Blackberry Storm. He went straight from plain old just calls a number phone to a smart phone...a touch pad smart phone none the less.

How did he justify it? By telling me that he was able to get me one for free if he bought one. How was I to argue with that logic????? Yes, I can be bought. :-)

So, here it is (well, here's a picture of one, not mine per se)....drum roll please...I give you, Nej's new Storm.




Oooohhh.....Aaaaahhhhh......

The thing is pretty sweet.....if you ignore the fact that I wanted to throw it through a window yesterday afternoon*****. I've enrolled in a school for computer programming and computer engineering. And, in 4 short years, I should be able to run the damn thing.

OK, that's a bit of an exaggeration. But I do feel the need to take an entire day off of work just to get it set up the way I want. The options are limitless, thus the frustrations are limitless as well. :-) For some reason, the people here at work, want me to do my job...and probably wouldn't look kindly to me dinking around with my phone all day. Darn them!!!! :-)






* Most of the time...I mean come on, he's male, they can only be so nice before their testosterone starts shocking them like a dog training collar...admit it, we know it's true!! When your wife is having an obviously bad day, making jokes about it, asking her if it's "medical" and then telling his WoW friends "wife is aggro, need one moment...maybe two" definitely will not help the situation any. FYI.

** At last count, I have more guns than he does. He's either very secure, very trusting, or very silly. Arming an Italian woman....what was he thinking?!?!

*** That, and he really just wanted a new one, so any time it did something annoying, he would use it as an excuse to get a new one. When really, brand new cell phone do things that are annoying all the time.

**** Barely. By the way, where does that saying come from...keeping it at bay? I really must look it up. My luck, I'm using it completely incorrectly.

***** It wouldn't do what I wanted it to do, and when Mot picked it up, it worked fine for him. I've been using a blackberry for work and home for over a year now....this thing shouldn't be so much of a problem. I'm wondering if my phone is male*?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

February Funk



I'm in the middle of one. Normally, this is the time of year I start gearing up for the spring. Getting excited about planning a vacation, counting down the days to the daylight savings time switch. We're planning on doing a long weekend vacation with some friends of ours in March....the where and exactly when is still up in the air. I'm pretty desperate to get out of dodge for a little while. Switch things up, do something new, go somewhere I've never been.

I've been hitting the gym for three months now, regularly. (Before that I was going, but not as regular.) Minimum of 3 times a week, but usually more like 4 or 5. Minimum of an hour each visit, if not more.

My clothes fit exactly the same, my weight is exactly the same. (sigh)

Mot and I were talking this weekend while at the grocery store, and we've cut back on how much we eat sooooo much compared to what we used to do. We pay so much more attention to labels, fat content, calorie counts.

I make sure and do a small snack in mid morning, and then one again mid afternoon...to keep that metabolism burning. I've written down and tracked my calorie intake. I take a multi-vitamin. I get at least 7, but usually 8 hours of sleep each night. I drink virtually no caffeine (maybe a rogue Mountain Dew once a month or so), increased my water intake, and cut out the Starbucks mocha lattes on the weekends.

Still, no weight change, and no body (how my clothes fit) changes. What gives??? I understand it's only been 3 months of this, but in 3 months, shouldn't there be some sort of change??? Yes????



(By the way, check out the picture of the scale up above. It gives you your weight in animals. For example, you could weight in between hog and ox. Or goose and pig. I posted the link of where I found it below. Interesting, eh?)


Images found here and here.

Human Weights

Does anyone else, besides me, think this odd?

London's Gymbox in Bank athletic club, recognizing that lifting weights can be a boring way to exercise, introduced "human barbells" recently, hiring five men of various sizes (including two dwarfs) that customers could use for weights instead of the iron. One advantage of the humans is that, on request, they shout encouragement to the customer with each lift. The largest of the five is a 37-year-old, 340-pound man. [Daily Telegraph, 1-22-09]


Monday, February 16, 2009

Evil

I was deleting pics from my crackberry today, and came across this one.



I don't remember taking it.

In my head, my imagination pictures her furry little paw holding my camera phone, snapping this pic of herself while I'm outside feeding the dogs or upstairs paying bills.

Makes me wonder if I shouldn't lock her out of the bedroom at night. :-)

Patience



It's something both Mot and I are lacking. I admit it freely.

But where I have a little....

HE

HAS

NONE!!!!!

I love him to death, but we may end up with a death on our hands if he doesn't calm down today. Cell phones - buying a new one, should not...SHOULD NOT be a factor in murder.

Should they??? :-) :-) :-)


image found here

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Weekend Update #5.... A Special Holiday Edition

Happy Valentines' Day (belated)!!! What a good, and painful, weekend it was. :-)

We ended up with just a little over 6 inches of snow on Friday afternoon. Sweet!!! I love the stuff. Finally, for the first time this year, it was wet and heavy. Perfect for snowball fights!

Speaking of snow ball fights....we held a little impromptu one in the parking lot at work. You can't put the group of us in a situation that includes snow, Friday afternoon and surprisingly warm(ish) temps..it's just not safe.

I didn't get any pics of the fight, I was too busy instigating it. (hehehehe) By the time I finally got in the Jeep and started for home, my jeans were soaked, my bra was dripping wet (thanks to a marvelous shot by Robin, right now the shirt), and my hair was frozen solid.


Robin dusting off her car.


Jean and Allan digging theirs out. Luckily, Robin and I had headed out for Chinese over lunch, so I only had half the snow everyone else did to remove from my vehicle. Which made it easier for me to start that snowball fight. :-)


The road home. Just over this hill, is the country club, and where the gopher ran in front of me. (Although, Mot assures me it was only a woodchuck, not a gopher, as gophers aren't the best runners. I prefer to keep the gopher dream alive though.)

Quartet rehearsal was called off, due to the storm (that ended up moving through faster than the weathermen expected), and headaches. I had one and Robin (quartet Robin, not work Robin) had one as well. I think, honestly, mine was brought on by work, the weather, and just being tired. I needed a night off.

So, once I got home, I fed the dogs - which took 30 minutes. Mot broke our last snow shovel, so I was trying to scoop the patio using a push broom. What? It's all I had. :-) :-)

I fixed my best dish for dinner (Mac and Cheese, from a box - what can I say, I love the stuff!) and sat down to watch a little TV and scare my headache off. I've started watching House, the show cracks me up. He's such a jerk, and his sense of humor is awesome.

After I'd relaxed a while, I got the "holy crap, there are people coming to our house who have never been here, and this place needs cleaned" to-do list. Our house is usually picked up, but it was in need of a good pre-spring cleaning. Once someone has been to our house that first time, they get the normal levels of dust on the coffee table, and occasional tumbleweed-like lump of cat fur under the end table. :-)

Saturday: I got up early again (ick) and met my sister at the gym for a barbell strength class. Tisha used to teach our step class at the gym we belonged to a year or so ago....so I wanted to catch a class she was teaching at my sister's gym. And, right in line with my luck, I find out that she's only going to be teaching for another month, before moving to New Mexico or something. Ugh! :-)

The class was good. Kicked my ass, but good. Inny had 30 minutes to waste before she had to start working, so we hit the gym cafe. She got a breakfast sandwich, and I got a Mocha Madness (with peanut butter added) smoothie. Yummy!!!! :-)

I left there and came home. Mot was still sleeping. Because of the storm, the day before was a busy one for him. He came home, scooped the driveway then hit the sack. So, I cleaned upstairs and in the basement while he was sleeping so I wouldn't disturb him. We spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning the place up, and he baked some bread to serve with dinner that night.

Danny and Steve (who also don't celebrate the holiday) came over about 6:00. We immediately jumped into drinking some pomegranate martinis and gave them the 10 cent tour of the house. We all stood around and gabbed and ate munchies while Mot fixed dinner. After dinner, we played cards (while doing more munching) until about 2 am or so. It was a great night....I got sloshed. (damn vodka)

Here's what the cheesecake looked like Sunday morning. Not the greatest picture, but it tasty loverly. :-)



Sunday morning the cats woke us up at 6:00, then 6:45, then 7:30, then we finally drug ourselves out of bed at about 8:00. Damn cats!!! :-)

I didn't have a headache (made sure to drink plenty of water during the night), but I was in serious need of grease!!!!!! Instead of making biscuits and gravy, we decided to run up the street to Burger King. There's nothing like eating grease to quiet the hungover stomach!!!!!!!!!!

Our kitchen sink has a drip. It's had this drip for months, and neither of us can stand it anymore. We thought we'd head out on Sunday, and try to find a replacement. Once at the store, we decided we may as well replaced the old sink while we're at it. Then we only have to deal with the plumbing once. As we're looking at sinks, we realize the style we really like won't fit into our counter top....so you probably can see where this is going.

We bought a new faucet, a new sink.....and new counter tops. Spending the tax return wisely via home repairs. How very adult of us, don't you think? :-)

As soon as we got home from the home improvement store, I went to bed. Yes, it was only 1:30 in the afternoon. (damn vodka) I woke up about 4:30 or so, ate some dinner, then headed out for quartet rehearsal. After quartet, I came home and went back to bed.

(damn vodka, and pitchers of margaritas, and shots of tequila......)

Friday, February 13, 2009

It's Friday, why not?!?!?!

Average Girl in Average World opened up her heart (and purse) for everyone to see. As it seems I'm sitting here at my desk, watching the minutes tick down towards 5:00, I thought I'd join the party.

Unfortunately, I think I'm going to be a bit of a disappointment to those wishing to see into my soul, via my purse. I'm quite the minimalist in comparison to some.

First, here's the purse itself.



While in Portland, OR late last year, I happened upon a Cole Haan store....where I found this wonderful red beauty. :-)

Actually, I think you technically call it a clutch. Mot gets a kick out of saying clutch. "Here's your clutch, honey." or "This is her clutch." Hmmmm.....now that I've typed it a few times, it is kinda funny sounding. Clutch, clutch, clutch.

All right, enough of that!

Here are it's contents....



Clockwise, starting at the top left.

1) Olympus 1030 SW camera. It's waterproof, freeze proof, crush proof, Mot and Nej proof. :-)
2) Ugly brownish wallet. Holds cash, a few cards, and my sister's high school graduation picture. What can I say, she's my little sis and I love her (no matter how much she drives me completely crazy!!).
3) Burt's Bees Radiance Lip Shimmer. I didn't get it for the shimmer part, I got it because it was chap stick, and it wasn't a huge tube. Plain as that.
4) Small blue ink pen and notebook (for making little notes of things I need to remember to blog about. Seriously.
5) Black business card holder. Contains a variety of things. Business cards (go figure), library card, key lime cheesecake ingredient list, some assorted pictures, and a coupon or two.
6) Blackberry. (not pictured - used it to take the pics) I know, you're wondering why I didn't use the CAMERA, right?? It's simple really. I don't have a way to download the pics from my camera at work.

So, there you go...a little snapshot into the personal property of Nej. Pretty exciting, eh??

(crickets)

OK, exciting might be the wrong term. But at least it passed 10 minutes of my boring afternoon.

The snow has stopped falling outside my window. It started at about 9:00 this morning, and they are telling us we got about an inch and hour. Sweet!!!!!!

Good to the last...um...stir?

Last night was CHEESECAKE NIGHT!!!!!!!

Why the excitement? For starters, I don't allow myself to make the 4 million calorie treats very often. But more importantly, it's CHEESECAKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We are having Danny and Steve over for cards on Saturday night, and I'm totally using their visit as the excuse to make the cheesecake.

I decided to celebrate the 50 and 60 degree weather this last week by making the flavor of the weekend Key Lime (using regular limes, there's not a key lime to be found in Omaha, NE this time of year). 50 degree weather in Jan and Feb (when it was 50 below the week before) is a perk of living in the Midwest...where if you don't like the weather, wait 10 minutes...it will change.

True to form, we are supposed to get 6-8 inches of snow today. I was driving around with my sunroof open yesterday, and today at least half a foot of snowy precipitation. I hesitate to say this, but I'm one of those psycho people that LOVE the white stuff!!! (snow, I mean snow - geeesh!)

Once I begin making the cheesecake, I can't stop stirring. The darn thing is very high maintenance. I have to be set everything I need out ahead of time, food TV style. Small bowls of ingredients, prepared and ready to dump into the mix when it's time.



Measuring cups, spoons, gelatin, butter, graham crackers, limes (zest and juice), eggs, sugar...etc, etc.

And don't forget the timer!! Here in the Mot and Nej house, boring timers just aren't going to work. See my newest purchase from World Market (before they disappear forever, our stores are closing). :-(

All hail the chicken timer!!!!!



I think the mug says it all.........I Am the (cheesecake) Big Dog!!

(cue evil laughter)

I turned the XM radio to Big Bands and Swing music...and started in. It's sitting in the fridge setting up right now.....so I'll get a picture of it on Saturday for you. :-)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Evolution



Happy Birthday Mr. Darwin! :-) I applaud you for making religious fanatics across the world squirm in their seats. Way to stir the pot dude!!!!




Speaking of Evolution......I really need to pull that movie out and watch it again. David Duchovny and the 7up guy...genius!!! :-)

Awwwww

Mot and I don't celebrate Valentines' Day. Too much commercialism, and the pressure to do something special each year just gets to be a headache more than anything. He gets me flowers during there year, here and there, for no reason in particular. I enjoy those sooo much!

Jean, my co-worker in the office next to me, called Mot on it this morning. "It's a little close to an actual holiday, isn't it?" :-)

I was away from my desk. He was trying to put them down and sneak out the door when I walked around the corner and busted him.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

N is for Nej

Sass over at Are you Sassified? put forth a challenge. And you all know me, I can't resist a challenge.

Unless that challenge is say..... scuba diving. Claustrophobia and the fear of deep water are not positive prerequisites for scuba diving.

Actually I took a scuba lesson once, in a pool...so I guess I did even tackle THAT challenge. The results of the day were less than wonderful. Swimming around in a pool, with a heavy tank on your back, breathing under water (which is just freaky - yes, I said freaky, welcome back to 1985!)....all the while watching your mask fill with water. It was just the act of watching it slowly fill up....it scrambled my brain. Ugh!!!

Well, that was quite the tangent, eh? Back to the post.

Sass issued an alphabet challenge. She sent me a letter of the alphabet, and I have to think of 10 things starting with that letter. Oh - not just ten random things though.....oh no, that would be too easy. I need to list 10 things that I love. 10 things that make my heart go pitter patter. 10 things that...well, you get the idea.

So, here goes.....(in no particular order)...

#1 Netflix. Yep, movie rentals with no pressure to return them when "the man" says you must. I can hold onto that copy of Airplane as long as my little heart wishes. And, when I do decide to return it, I need only walk to my mailbox. No getting into my car and driving somewhere to return it. Netflix is better for the environment...."Netflix, Go Green, Movie Style." (You can't steal that. The marketing genius you just saw there belongs to me. Back off!!!)

#2 Nine O'clock. That's about the time my (boring) butt starts heading for bed. Usually to read a couple chapters of the book I'm reading, or sometimes I really stir things up and just turn off the light and go to sleep. I'm a mad woman, watch out!!!!!! She's cccrrraaazzzyyy!!!!

#3 Newfoundland. Actually, Newfoundlands. I'm talking about the dogs here folks. Those huge, black canine teddy bears. Every time I see the commercial where the rescue dog jumps out of the helicopter to make that deep sea rescue, I have to cheer him (or her) on. What the heck was that commercial selling anyway, I can never remember. Energizer batteries maybe?

#4 Nala. My cat. Actually she is Mot's cat. She hates me. When she was a kitten, she bit my eyelid. Not a pleasant experience. On a good note, she seems to be hating me less and less these days. In fact, she's sitting next to me on the couch while I type this. Because of this, I feel obligated to put her on the list. (Also, the letter N is proving more difficult than I originally thought.)

#5 Nachos. Meat, cheese, sour cream, guacamole, and maybe some beans. The more the plate actually looks like a heart attack, the better. Not only are they a salty snacker's heaven on earth, they are also a game. Nothing like the challenge of eating nachos!! Challenge you ask? Come on, you know what I mean. All the toppings are on the top 10% of chips. You have to play Jenga to get down to the bottom chips, without disturbing all the goodness on top. You have to make sure the chip-to-topping ratio stays even and fair. The best part - that one chip. The one that is so soggy with cheese and sour cream you have to bring in utensil backup.

#6 Nickels. They are a very overlooked and under appreciated form of currency. I managed a grocery store for 8 years (through high school and college), and there was this awesome old dude who would come into the store once or twice a week. He loved getting nickels back as change. No, he wasn't obsessive about it, it just brought a smile to his face. One day I asked him why. He said everybody collects pennies. You'd be hard pressed to find a house without a change jar filled with 'em. He, on the other hand, decided in his younger years to collect nickels. He assured me he had a jar of pennies collecting on his dresser as well....but he said you can collect 5x the money, in less space if you don't spend your nickels.

#7 Napkins. Eat a plate of buffalo wings, and tell me you don't admire the napkin. Eat spaghetti on a first date, and tell me the napkin isn't the best invention ever!!!

#8 Nieces and Nephews. My sister has two beautiful children, Brandon (Bug) and Lauren (Peanut). They are, quite possibly, the cutest and bestest kids ever, on the whole planet!!! (I might be a bit biased, but I think that's my job as an aunt.) Overall, the whole idea of nieces and nephews was a good one. We can spoil them to death, feed them sugar, and then return them to their parents when the noise level gets annoying. It's like having grand kids that you can spoil, only you don't have to have children of your own, and wait until you're 50 to get them. :-)

#9 NCIS. The TV show. It's not my favorite show, but I do enjoy it. I had to list it though, because it's the only TV I watch that starts with the letter N. How is that possible??? (And Abby rocks!!)

#10 Naked. I can only come up with a few examples of when naked it a bad thing. a) In your dreams - it's never a good thing. Usually involves work or school. b) Seeing naked you wished you hadn't seen. I took a water aerobics class for a couple of months, a few years ago. 90% of the women in the class were over the age of 70, and they were not shy in the locker room.

But, the list of good examples of naked are too many to type. Plus, it's just a fun word to say...naked, naked, naked.

So, there you have it. 10 things starting with the letter N. Thanks Sass!!!!!!!!!! :-) If anyone wants to make their own list, let me know, and I'll send you a letter.

Fugitive on the Run

As I'm driving to work this morning, I see a gopher......running for all he's worth across the country club grounds, and into the road. He was constantly looking back behind him the entire time.

The big dummy ran out into the road, right in front of me. Luckily, I had noticed the furry critter and had almost come to a stop, expecting him to do just what he did.

He stopped in the middle of my lane....panting. I kid you not, panting. The poor little thing was completely worn out...and was still looking back at the golf course.

Mot and I had noticed there were a TON of gopher holes on the course, while we were out for a walk last week. I'm guessing this is one of the perpetrators. :-)

One of my father's favorite movies (and mine too) is Caddyshack. As I'm staring at the little rodent in the middle of the road, I can only imagine what horrors he was trying to escape.

Sandy: I want you to kill every gophers on the golf course!

Carl: Correct me if I'm wrong Sandy, but if I kill all the golfers, they're gonna lock me up and throw away the key...

Sandy: Not golfers, you great fool! Gophers! The *little* *brown*, *furry* *rodents* -!

Carl: We can do that; we don't even have to have a reason. All right, let's do the same thing, but with gophers -!

Monday, February 9, 2009

That's what the government is for??

In local news, a child care facility was shut down for a number of state violations.

#1, the temperature was under 52 degrees. We keep our house at 63-64, and I love watching tv under a blanket or doing the laundry with a sweatshirt on. I love sweatshirts. But 52 degrees in a child care facility...that's a might bit chilly I suppose.

#2, outdated food in the fridge. I'm not sure the extent of the out-datedness, or the degree of spoiled, but who doesn't ever go through their fridge and find a tub of outdated something or other?

#3, the fire exit was blocked. Yeah, that's not good.

#4, a felon taking care of the kids. That was probably the biggy I'm guessing.

#5, cleaning products not locked up. While this isn't good, it comforting to know they actually HAD cleaning products. Owning them implies you thought about cleaning at least once.

#6, avoiding a state inspector by taking all the children to Chuck E. Cheese for the day.


On the way home, talk radio had grabbed onto story and were beating it to death. There was a statement made about parents needing to check out their child care facilities.

One caller called in and said "Parents these days are busy. That's what the government is for. They can check these places for us."

Hello?? I'm not a parent, nor do I plan on being one. But you can't just trust other people to check out the places your children are spending their days, can you??????

I'm not saying people who took their children to this facility knew they were going to avoid inspectors, they didn't go a background check on every employee, they don't check the contents of the fridge. But to make the blanket statement saying it's the government's responsibility....it makes me squirm.

Weekend Update #4

I have met Satan....and her name is Pam.

This weekend was pretty packed actually. Friday night, Mot and I used our free ticket vouchers and went to the hockey game. (We split season tickets with my parents because of Mot's schedule. They take the Friday tickets and we go on Saturday. Because Mot wasn't working Friday, we thought it would be fun to go anyway.)

They lost. But, they went into overtime, and lost in the shootout. It was a good game.

Saturday, I got up the same time I do during the work week...there's something terribly wrong with that!!! Inny (my sister) and I went to the gym. First we did an hour long barbell strength class, then for some reason, we thought an hour long spin class immediately after would be a good idea. Not so much!! :-)

I went home from there, ate a little lunch, messed around the house, and then finally got ready for hockey again that night. Mot was working, so I called mom and asked if she wanted to go. It was merely a formality, she never turns down hockey tickets. The two of us decided to go to Micheal's, the Mexican restaurant right down the street from the arena. Danny and Steve were already there, so we ended up sitting with them.

They were waiting for some friends of theres to arrive, but only one couple (Val and Dee) made it to dinner. The other two were at the game....but darn it if I can't remember their names.

The game was horrible. Truly and absolutely horrible. 5 to 0. Ugh!

Between the 2nd and 3rd periods, the arena plays "Cotton Eyed Joe" and everyone (well, not everyone, but quite a few people) in the arena get up to dance. Danny and I have been saying for weeks, that were we going to go down and dance with the pep band. The band students all get up and do a little impromptu square dance session during the song every night.

So....we hurried down and danced a little with them. At first they didn't know what to think about us old-timers joining them. But, it wasn't long before they were laughing and cheering us on.

Sunday, I tried to sleep in...but it just wasn't going to happen. The opening line of my post said I met Satan. Yes, her name was Pam. Pam was the chick that taught the barbell strength class Saturday morning. I tried to get out of bed Sunday morning, and about died. Holy hell!!!!

Mot had grabbed a book when he got home from work that morning, so I hobbled out to see him. We sat around on the couch, talking and watching some TV for a little while, but it didn't last long. We showered and went out to run some errands. Actually, we just went out for Bruegger's breakfast, and then to the book store. Go figure! :-)

We came back home and puddered around the house. He was baking bread, I decided to work on a project I started quite a while ago. Scanning old pictures onto my computer. I scanned a hefty stack before I had to leave.

I had agreed to go to the gym with Inny again that night.

We made it through the yoga class alive. Neither Inny nor I were able to walk into the room correctly (thanks Pam!!), yet we still made it through the class. Between the two of us, and the dude right next to me, we giggled through half the class. He was huffing and puffing, my sister...well, with about 10 minutes left of the class, she did what everyone is afraid they'll do in a yoga class. The room is quiet, the lights are very dim, relaxing music, everyone is in pain, and she farts.

It was impressive sounding, let me just say. The poor thing, I look over at her, and her shoulders are shaking, trying not to laugh. I kept thinking to myself "I'm not three, I won't laugh. I'm not three, I won't laugh." But once I saw her shoulders shaking, I knew I was a goner. :-)

After yoga, we went down and got the kids from the child center so they could get to their swim lessons. We dropped them off and headed upstairs. If you use the recumbent bikes along the wall, you can see down into the pool. So we pedaled, watched them, and laughed at horrible TV on the screens attached to the bikes. We didn't have sound, but the show we were watching really didn't need it. It was horrible, prime time, game show TV. Ugh!!! It took our minds off the fact our legs were burning...again!

When swim class was over, we picked up the kids and headed to the racquetball court. I think we had an hour reserved, but after 30 minutes, we waved the white flag. Neither of us are great players, but we actually looked as though we'd never picked up a racket before. We weren't running (couldn't), looked like we were 80 years old when having to bend over and pick up the ball.....we were bushed.

I went home, talked to Mot a little, took another dose of Advil...then went to bed.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Wag the Dog

I had no plans for lunch, and no where exciting I needed to go, to get me out of the office.....so I grabbed my book and headed for the little neighborhood park 5 or so minutes from work.

I've worked here nearly 6 years, and every single time I go to this park over lunch, a little white SUV is parked there. Every day I go. This person goes to the park over lunch and sits in their car, every day.

I don't know why I think it's strange. It's a nice little park.

But anyway......I bought a book a few weeks ago off of eBay, and it finally arrived earlier this week. A Walk in the Woods, by Bill Bryson. I've had this urge to hike the Appalachian Trail for a number of years. I find the desire gets worse and worse each winter. So, when Mel mentioned her son had read this really interesting book about some dude that walked the AT, I had to check it out. The day I ordered it Brook suggested I read the exact same book. I took it as a sign that the universe insisted I read it....and put it at the top of my must read list.

I'm sure the person in that little white SUV in the park is convinced I'm a nut. I've given them ample reasons to come to this conclusion in the 6 years we've been sharing the park. I usually have quartet sheet music and a pitch pipe, that's gotta make 'em wonder right there!! But today, I was laughing, out loud...sunroof open...laughter bellowing into the park.

I'm not all that far into book, but I'm already amused. Not many books make me laugh out loud. This guy writes as a human. As an average, every day person. He makes mistakes, he does dumb things, he's got a very dry sense of humor. He does what I wish I could accomplish. As you're reading his words, you can't help but put yourself in his shoes.

Wow - I've gotten really off topic today. Back to the title of this post...Wag the Dog. Have you seen the movie? Robert DeNiro, Dustin Hoffman. The tag line of the movie is "Why does a dog wag its tail? Because a dog is smarter than its tail. If the tail were smarter, the tail would wag the dog."

As I'm sitting in my car, laughing like a hyena...I notice a man walking his dog enter the park. They saunter over to the ball diamond, where he takes the very blond Golden Retriever off it's leash. The man stops walking, and the dog walks to the middle of the field, turns around and lays down, facing his owner. The man throws a softball out into the field, and the dog watches it, not moving.

I assume this is some sort of obedience training. Don't fetch the ball until I tell you to move. Something along those lines. The man throws another ball, in the other direction. The dog doesn't move.

Finally the man puts his hands out in a "why are you just laying there gesture" towards the dog. The dog still doesn't move. The man slumps his shoulders in a sigh, and walks to each ball...shaking his head the whole time. Once he gets both balls picked up, he walks out of the ball diamond and sits down on a bench, facing away from the field and his dog.

The dog finally stands up and walks over towards his master. The man stands up and they both leave the park together. I swear to you the dog had a look on it's face that said "see, I told you I didn't want to go to the stupid park, and fetch the stupid ball, when will you listen to me?"

No more had they walked out of eye shot, a new pair came into view. This time it was a woman and her German Shepard. These two were walking with a little more gusto than the last couple. They followed the exact same route, right into the baseball diamond. She unhooked the dog's leash, and he sat down in front of her. She threw a red Frisbee (threw is a relative term...she throws a Frisbee like me - which means horribly). The Shepard bounded out to fetch the red projectile. He picked it up and shook it violently.

Then he ran a few steps towards the woman. Stopped and shook it again. Ran up to the lady, and shook it some more. Just when I thought she was going to take it, the dog backed up about 10 feet. He shook that Frisbee one last time, and then THREW it at her. It hit the woman square in the shins.

She picked it up...and it started all over again. At the very end, he backed up ten feet and threw it at her, hitting her in the thighs.

It went like this a for quite a while...but I lost interest and went back to reading the book.

Both dogs, although having completely different personalities themselves, definitely ruled in those dog/master relationships. They wear the pants in those families, not the humans.

Goodwill stalker

I met my friend Lorrie for lunch yesterday. We had to push our normal lunch time back, due to her business meeting running late. By the time we got to the restaurant, it was packed...with a wait.

We opted for Taco Hell, I mean Bell, across the street instead. The choice was made merely because there's a Goodwill next door.



I'm a garage sale junkie. Love them!!! Why? I don't know. Woman no longer have to leave their homes to gather nuts and berries for their families. Maybe this is a way to fill that now unnecessary instinctual need? Is it the thrill of the hunt?

Probably not.

Mot never used to understand...until I started coming home with stuff for him. A complete set of Dewalt power tools for $40 really changed his mind.

In the winter, garage sales are few and far between...actually, they are 100% non existent. The next best thing.....thrift stores.

As I was sifting through the racks of women's jeans and skirts, looking for some yellow tag $.99 deals, a random dude walks up and says "There anything good in here?"

I'm not the kind of person to judges, so if he was looking for women's clothing, more power to him. He was dressed in normal men's attire, but you just never know.

I told him I was having some luck, and went back to what I was doing.

Whoops!!! For the next 30 minutes, the man followed me from rack to rack.

He. Never. Shut. Up.

It was crazy!! Lorrie picked up on my predicament and came over to give me an "out." Unfortunately, I was having luck and had a handful of items. I didn't want to leave the area while the getting was good...so I weighed my options, and chose to stay. She went back over to the book section, smiling the biggest grin ever.

When it was getting closer to the end of our lunch break, I looked across the store and made eye contact with her. She came back over, and helped me to help with the escape.

He was average height, average build, probably in his 50's, and could talk like no one I've ever met. He talked about the weather here, about the weather in Florida and Georgia...he talked about eBay...he talked about the benefits of making unisex sweatshirts, because you could sell them to anyone.

The guy never once took a breath. :-)

Lorrie came over, and I told the dude I had to leave, but it was nice talking to him (even though the only talking I did was a "uh huh" every once and a while).

He followed us up to the register....still talking. He stood in line behind us....still talking.

Thank goodness he had to pay for his purchases, or he'd have followed us out to my car.

It's what I get for forgetting to put on my watch and wedding band that morning!!! Being flirted with is always nice, but why is it always a guy 20-30 years older than me? It's always been that way.

In fact, now that I think about it, I'm not sure how I managed to attract the attention of Mot. He's (gasp) in my age group. They never talk to me. :-)

Happy Frickin' Friday

Robin, co worker and friend, says this nearly every Friday morning.

Fridays are bitter sweet around here.

I mean, it's Friday, last day of the work week, we don't have to come in tomorrow....yeah, woohoo, yippee, and all that crap. :-)

But, at the same time, it's freak-out day!!! Shipments have issues, molds go down, suppliers fail to deliver necessary components.

Today is basically just another Friday....with one big difference.

It's going to be in the 50's...sunny...and we're all stuck inside.

Torture, pure torture!!! :-)

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Waaaay Back When-sday, Episode 4

Well, well, well......I think this is my 200th post. That's pure craziness if you ask me!!!! And, since I didn't celebrate my 100th, I feel obligated to point out and make note of the 200th.

Yeah me!

OK, enough of that crap, on with the show.

Every week I post a story from my past. Or my way back, if you will.

This week......

Fourth Grade

I was a shy kid. Beyond shy actually. My teacher would send home notes with the students for our parents. "Your kid won't shut up." "Your kid won't do his/her homework." "Your kid spit on a lunch lady."

That kind of stuff.

My teacher sent home this note..."Your kid hasn't talked in months."

Heck, to be honest with you, I'm surprised she noticed. I was a master in the art of wallflower. I was a 4th grade ninja stealth warrior. (that might be stretching it a little)

Anyway, I was quiet and shy. I had a small handful of friends, we were renegades. The weird ones nobody would talk to.

One thought she was a horse...no kidding. She would spend recess galloping and whinnying (sp?) around the playground.

One wanted to be the leader of a rock band, but a rock band without musical instruments. She had no intention of starting a band, just wanted to say we were one.

My strangeness was how shy I was. I wasn't the kid that pee'd her pants, that got head lice, or the one that acted like a horse...I was just quiet. No one knew what to make of me.

Because of this, I was bullied. By the girls. Not the guys, they thought I was cool. But the girls hated me. (Probably because the boys didn't, now that I think about it. )

I did have one normal non horse, rock band leader friend. We didn't hang out after school or on the weekends, just at recess. But we talked, we played, we did what 4th grade girls do.

One day, out of the blue, this friend hated me. When we said goodbye the night before, all was well. But the next day...hatred spewed from her eyes.

I was hurt, and I couldn't explain the behavior. It's not like I talked about her behind her back..heck, I barely talked at all. I figured it would blow over, or she'd eventually tell me what was bugging her.

I was wrong.

The following day she walked up to me, with two other girls from our class. One scared the crap out of me, she was cool, dressed well, didn't care what people thought of her...she was what I wanted to be. So I guess in 4th grade, that's scary?? The other was a girl I'd only seen once or twice before. We weren't in the same class, didn't ride the bus together. I don't think I even knew her name.

When the three of them walked up to me, I was sitting on the bike rack, minding my own business (= hiding from the world). Jamie (my ex friend) and Sarah (the scary one) on each side of Rachel (the one I didn't know). I thought it odd that Rachel's eyes were closed....I thought it odd that the other two seemed to be leading her around like she was blind.

I thought it odd when they walked up to me smiling. And I really thought it odd when Jamie took Rachel's fist and hit me in the face with it.

Yep, you heard me right. They led Rachel's first, while her eyes were closed, into my face.

I just stood there. I didn't know what to say or what to do. I put my hand up to my mouth and nose, and came back with a hand full of blood.

Rachel opened her eyes to see what she'd made contact with. I hadn't let out a sound, so I can only imagine what she thought she hit. I could tell she definitely didn't expect it to be a human face. :-)

The three of them ran. Probably had something to do with the look I was giving them. Mot can tell you what that look is. I've been told it will turn a person's blood to ice, and make them pee their pants. But, neither has ever happened, so it's unconfirmed.

I started walking towards the 4th grade door, when the bell rang. Recess over. I stood in line with the rest of my classmates. No one noticed the blood flowing freely from my face. Heck, they probably didn't even know I was there in the middle of them. (Ninja stealth master, I swear!)

The doors opened, and children filed away to their classes. I walked to the end of the hall, and started to clean myself up at the sink.

The teacher that sent the note home to mom must have noticed I wasn't in class, because she came out into the hall looking for me. She took me under her wing for the rest of the year. I guess I became her pet project.

She was unhappy to say the least. "Who did this?" (notice she didn't ask what happened)

"Some girls, it was an accident, I'm OK." My acting skills were less than swell, and she didn't believe me, but didn't ask for more information.

After lunch, I wandered out towards the tennis courts. It was as far away from the building as I could get, without technically being off school grounds. I was only there a few minutes before I noticed Rachel coming my way. All I could think to myself was, "Man, I hope she tries to hit me again! I'm in the mood."

She didn't try to hit me, she tried to befriend me. She apologized for what happened, and swore she didn't know what they were doing. She told me the three of them had been taken out of the lunch room, and to the Principal's office. Jamie and Sarah confirmed she had nothing to do with it, and they let her go. (I can only assume someone saw what happened, and let Mrs. Smith know. Either that, or she was with the CIA. Hey..I had the imagination of a 4th grader, what can I say!!)

We talked for five minutes or so, then the bell rang and recess was over.

I didn't talk to her again during the remaining months of school.

Two days before 5th grade started, my mom handed me the telephone. "It's a friend of yours."

It was Rachel. She wanted to know what classes and teachers I had. We talked for quite a while about moving up to the junior high building, and what 5th grade was going to throw at us. For the next 4 years, we were inseparable. If I wasn't at her house, she was at mine. We took karate together, we played sports together, spent the summers at her grandparent's lake house every year.....the works.

She moved to Omaha in 9th grade, and we talked a little here and there. But the friendship faded with the distance put between us by her parents moving. After high school, she got married, then divorced, then married again (to a good guy in the Coast Guard) and moved even further away.

What a strange friendship. It all started with a punch in the face. Huh.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge

Saturday afternoon, after trying to hike in the hills and finding they were nothing but muck and mush, we tried to find something else to occupy our time...something that was active and didn't involve sitting in front of a computer or TV.

On our way back into Nebraska (the hiking in Iowa is much better), we saw the new pedestrian bridge to the North. Well heck, we hadn't walked across it yet...so why not?!?!?

Downtown Omaha is off to the left in this pic. I didn't notice, until I was looking at the picture this morning, that the bridge appears to be the bridge to nowhere in this photo. The Omaha metro area population is 1 million plus....there's a city at the end of it...I swear!! :-)



We parked on the Iowa side. The bridge is pretty nice actually, very simple in it's design. Smooth, clean lines.

I couldn't believe the number of people using it. Bikes, walking, running, with pets, with strollers.

This photo is looking up at one of the two 200 foot tall towers. I'm sure there's a more proper bridge type name for them...but I'm not an engineer, architect or design student...so for now, I'll call them towers. :-)



This is the view in the opposite direction, walking back to our car. Because it's winter, the river level is pretty low.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Talent

You see videos circulating the email and blog circuit all the time. Amazing children, doing crazy things. I'm always drawn towards the ones that have something to do with musical talent.

There is always controversy, over the training and time these children have to put into these kinds of performances. Doubts about whether or not the training is good for them in the long run. Will they end up blowing their voices at a young age? I know that it doesn't have to be the case.

So, when I see these things, I always think the best. I hope they receive the correct training...and I hope they are allowed to live their lives as children. I hope they enjoy doing it, and aren't forced into it by parents living vicariously through them. I know it's not always the case.

I mean, how can you not appreciate these wonderful voices?? :-) :-)