Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Arch Rival

I love a good board game. On Christmas night, that game was Arch Rival. It's a "game of balance...nerves...and suspense." And it is awesome. The gist of the game: you don't want to be the one that makes the arch fall.

My mom got Arch Rival at a garage sale or consignment shop years ag
o and I'm still not sure why someone would want to get rid of it. Buy your own set on eBay; you won't regret it.

Becky, attempting to place a plastic piece in the keystone. Plus, look at all the neon pieces in the lower left corner of the photo -- that's a lot of 1992 goodness.

Blake, attempting to remove a plastic piece from the arch.

Me, rockin' it.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Uncle Wayne = So Awesome

This is what makes my uncle Wayne awesome: He has thirteen siblings, nearly that many in-laws, approximately 40 nieces and nephews, roughly 10 great-nieces and nephews, plus aunts, uncles, cousins and friends, and he still manages to send birthday, anniversary and Christmas cards to practically all of them. Plus, for birthdays, he makes the card extra special by mailing a pack of Trident gum with it (it's flat, so no extra postage).

Now, here is what makes Wayne
so awesome (This is the back of the envelope of the Christmas card he just sent me.):

Here's a close-up of that stamp.

Ohmigosh, isn't that just so sweet? When I read the stamp (
The Christmas Seal People - Season's Greetings - 1988), my heart just about busted in two I was so happy. I want to hang the envelope on my fridge all year round because it's impossible not to smile when you see something like that.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Some Sibling Dorkery

I love me some sibling dorkery. And this year, I think we've really outdone ourselves. First came Brian's sibling Christmas gift exchange name selector program, and now we have Becky's coolest sibling poll. The poll in and of itself isn't that exciting; the hilarious bit is that Lola's coworkers have rallied around her and created a program to continually vote for her. Now that Lola has a commanding lead, I've learned they are now working to help Ben and me boost our numbers. Isn't that so nice?

There's less than 12 hours left to vote, but if you want to get in on the fun, visit her blog and vote in the left navigation (and by vote, I mean select the radio button next to Jennifer).

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Sending Good Cheer

Done and done! After a marathon night of writing, addressing and stamping, my Christmas cards are ready to wing their way to friends and family, old and new. Keep an eye on your mailbox for the tell-tale silver envelope with Sharpie scrawl.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Smallest DIY project

This might be the smallest DIY project ever. It took all of five minutes to transform these trinket magnetic letter openers into little works of art with paper and stickers (left over from my long-abandoned scrapbooking hobby). Here are the finished products.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

City Sidewalks

It snowed today -- a nice thick dousing that required the good people of this fair city to do their part and clear their sidewalks. Lucky for me, I have no city sidewalks, just sidewalks that run from the street to my door, so should I so choose, I could skip shoveling entirely. I shoveled anyway, but it's nice knowing I don't have to if I don't want to.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Merry Little Christmas

Here's my humble little tree in all it's glory. I'm trying to stick to a budget this holiday season, so I decked the tree in homemade paper ornaments and candy canes. I think it is sweet.

P.S. If you know where to find more strands of red wooden bead garland, let me know. I'm looking for at least one more strand. I had to rely on optical illusions to make the garland span the tree this year.

Truffle Brownie Cups

I spent my raucous Friday night baking truffle brownie cups at 11 p.m. I have a killer sweet tooth, and there's no stopping me until it's satisfied. The brownie cups were really easy and really delicious (they were really high in calories too, but never mind the details)!

Recipe (yield = 24)
(from The Pampered Chef Fall/Winter 2007 Season's Best Recipe Collection)

Nonstick cooking spray with flour
1 2/3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
2 T butter (do not use margarine)
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream


  • Preheat oven to 325° F. Spray wells of mini muffin pan with cooking spray.
  • Place 2/3 cup of the chocolate chips and butter in microwaveable bowl and microwave until melted.
  • Add sugar and egg and mix until blended.
  • Add flour, mix just until flour is incorporated.
  • Spoon the dough into the muffin pan wells, filling each well about 2/3 full. Bake for 10-12 minutes until edges are set (do not over bake).
  • Meanwhile, create the chocolate ganache filling. Microwave the cream for 1-2 minutes until it is hot (but not boiling). In a medium mixing bowl, add the cream to the remaining chocolate chips, stirring with a whisk.
  • Place the bowl in the freezer for 10-12 minutes to cool the mixture, stirring every five minutes.
  • Once the brownies are done, let them cool in the pan for a couple of minutes. Using a tart shaper or your thumbs, indent the middle of the brownies. Use a paring knife to trim around the edges of the brownie cups, then carefully remove them from the pan.
  • Spoon the ganache into the brownie cups.
  • Let the cups stand until ganache is firm. Enjoy!

NOTES: I let my brownies bake for 15-17 minutes because they were way too gooey otherwise. The brownies were very difficult to remove from the pan (even with trimming around the edges). I ended up banging the pan upside-down on a wire rack. Perhaps spooning them out or using paper baking cups would help. I think the ganache would be extra delicious with bittersweet chocolate chips. I stored my brownie cups in the fridge.

Thursday, November 29, 2007


I'm on the hunt for curtains for the sliding doors in my dining room. I don't have much criteria - just that they have to be opaque (so I don't see any scary shadows outside at night) and they have to pull shut easily (so I can quickly shut out any scary things at night).

I'm not quite sure what other curtain retailers are out there, so I've just been searching JcPenney mostly and IKEA a little bit. By searching, I mean I've been looking at the same ones over and over again because I can't make up my mind. Here's what I'm considering:

Clockwise from top left, Pompeo Embroidery Coordinates (in peacock blue, not shown), Supreme Antique Satin Back-tab Thermal (in lagoon, shown), Milano Solid Grommet-top Coordinates (in brown, shown), Jewel Tex Grommet-top Thermal (in antique white, not shown)

I keep weighing the pros and cons of each - Will the color be too overwhelming? Should I go with thermal? Is the grommet-top too modern? Is a solid color too boring?

In the words of "my buddy" Trent, "Le sigh."

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hooray for the holidays! I'm making the three-hour trek home this afternoon. Funny how, even after I have my own house, home is still home.
Norman Rockwell's 'Freedom from Want' from the Rockwell Gallery Collection

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

To Dine For

Transforming my dining room was my first real home improvement project and I'm feeling really good about it. When I moved in, the room had wallpaper which I didn't like. When we took the wallpaper down we discovered the walls were not in good shape (hence the wallpaper). My challenge was figuring out how to get vast expanses of spackling, drywall and other miscellaneous imperfections to match the rest of the walls' texture. I let Google guide me and was not disappointed with the solutions I found.

Here's what Chad and I ended up doing: We watered down drywall compound to the consistency of pancake batter and then rolled it on the walls with a cheap paint roller. It worked really well, giving the walls a nice even texture! Others seem to think this idea is the cat's meow as well.

Then, we used Behr paint and primer (on the recommendation of Consumer Reports, Becky's blog and my own personal color preference) to finish it off. The color is called Sandstone Cove.

Bonus: Chad also put in all new outlets and switches and convinced me to get a new light fixture. I ended up with a little gem of a chandelier from Lowe's.



(please ignore the shadows the chandelier is casting and the lack of baseboards...I'm still getting to those)

Bittman's No-Knead Bread

I'm a year behind the rest of the blogging community on this, but I too tried out what's been dubbed Bittman's bread (though I'd prefer to call it Jim Lahey's bread if we really want to give credit where credit is due). The gist behind this bread is that you let time do the work to make the bread rise, eliminating the need to knead. Then you bake it in a piping hot covered casserole dish which allows the steam to do something (not sure what exactly) to the bread.

It turned out beautiful and delicious. I think it best if it's eaten within a couple days. By day three, the bread had lost some of its luster.

No-knead bread fresh from the oven

Notes: If you try this bread, the consensus seems to be that you should use 1 1/2 cups water, not 1 5/8 like the recipe states. Using regular dry active yeast (instead of instant yeast) is absolutely fine. A 3-5 qt. covered casserole dish should be plenty big. Enjoy.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Of Mice and (Wo)Men

There are mice in my garage. boo. Make that, boohoo. I went through a lot of emotional turmoil as members of my support network coached me through this latest dilemma (hi Mom, Dad and Chad!). I'm not so much into killing (lest we forget the trouble I have with insects) and I'm not so much into animal corpses (I've seen my fair share down on the farm), so I wasn't sure how I was going to handle this rodent invasion and sleep well at night. After much coaching and upon my Dad's suggestion, I ended up with chunks of rat poison positioned around the interior perimeter of my garage. I set it out Sunday...and there's already been a few hits...yikes!

Sorry, Mickey. You're a goner.

My new couch

I made my first purchase from Etsy last weekend. I bought a charming print of a couch with some stylish pillows on it by JRitterDesigns. Guess where I'm going to hang it? Above my couch, of course.

Once the print arrives I plan to get a gold frame for it online from American Frame. From what I've researched they seem to be reliable. Can't wait!


Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A Ho-Hum Halloween

Trick-or-treating was tonight, and I dare say, it was a bit of a bust. My neighbors must despise children dressed as ghouls, because I could only see one other house on my street with its front light on. I almost hesitated turning mine on because I didn't want to go against the grain. I ended up having only a handful of trick-or-treaters. Maybe a dozen altogether which leaves me with one very full bowl of candy. Good thing I made sure to buy the treats I like (Twix and Skittles. Had I known I would have this much left, I would have gotten Green and Black dark chocolate bars to hand out.) I feel a bit like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman when she tries to go shopping on Rodeo Dr. but is turned away by the snooty sales women. She ends up back in the hotel concierge's office pulling fistfuls of cash from her pocket, "I have all this money now and no dress." Likewise, "I have all of this candy now and no trick-or-treaters."

The Sexy Sleuth

Halloween out on the town proved to be very fun. I was also quite pleased with my costume, a sexy sleuth, if you will. (Psst...just in case you think you're getting a sneak peak at my house in these pics, guess again. The first two were taken at Josh and Lora's lovely new home).


Me as a sleuth, Josh as Beer Bear the Care Bear, Joel (who looks like he was Photoshopped into this shot) as Tobias from "Arrested Development" trying out for Blue Man Group and Lora as Daria.

Daria and sleuth

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Get your spooky on!

For most of my childhood Halloweens, year after year, I dressed up as a ballerina. And by ballerina, I mean I wore a tutu skirt (handmade with love by my mom) over a pair of jeans, with a heavy winter coat and tennis shoes. My sister Becky often went as a witch, wrapped in heavy black plastic for the dress. My brother Brian once went as a pirate because he already had to wear an eye patch to correct his lazy eye and it made for an easy costume. I actually think my mom made him go as the pirate. Like I said, it was an easy costume.

Once I hit college, I really started to
branch out with my Halloween ensembles. Unbeknownst to me at the time, scary was not, and still is not, "in" for a young 20-something's costume. So, for my first college Halloween party, I went as a scary inmate, complete with teardrop tattoo that I've heard represents you've killed someone. Since then, I've made it my mission to up the (shall we say) girlishness/femininity/cuteness of my costumes. This year, I'm going as a vixen Sherlock Holmes type of detective. Should be a good one. Photos to come!

Here's the past several Halloweens in review.

2002 - Scary inmate, Avril Lavigne, and a chipper sailor

2003 - Cowgirl, a '60s inspired get-up (some would say I was a flight attendant), and Asian beetle (get it?)

2004 - Construction worker, firefighter (not pictured: knee-high boots, flouncy little skirt and plush dalmatian), and Oriental rug (get it?)

2005 - Road construction worker, UPS delivery girl (my favorite costume of all time! I got a lot of "what can brown do for you?" while I was out), and pirate

2006 - Jem and geisha (that little obi is now a part of my piecemeal coffee table)

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Picture This

This picture strip, taken from a photo booth in Vegas, is my latest favorite addition to my home. I want to get a bunch more, but I don't know if we even have any photo booths around here.

Chad and me, livin' it up.

P.S. About Vegas, I ended up wearing my hair in a chignon.

Sudsy-Wudsy Pudding and Pie

It was a full house this weekend! Chad and his friend Matt came to stay so that they could tailgate on Saturday and my friend Jessie came to stay just so we could chat and catch up with one another. I had agreed to dog-sit for my friends Lora and Josh, so their new Great Dane puppy, Suds, came to stay with me as well.

Suds was definitely the star of the weekend. His overall puppy-ness, mild temperament and lovable face caused a lot of baby talk*, empty threats to kidnap him and incessant petting from my house guests and me. He was just so good (except for one minor slip-up when he attempt to poop on a pair of my jeans, but all is
forgiven. It had been raining and I just don't think he quite knew how to handle that.) and such a little lover, sleeping on my lap and cuddling up next to my feet. I even started to teach him how to shake. He did quite well, although I think he thinks that a shake is a combination of giving me his paw and licking my hand.

I drove everyone mad with this ridiculous baby talk phrase: "Sudsy-wudsy, pudding and pie, kissed the girls and made them cry. When the boys came out to play, Sudsy-wudsy ran away."

Suds and Suds with cool-dude rabbit ears.

Tuckered out from a day of fun and learning.

*My friend Kelly is solely responsible for spawning canine baby talk amongst my circle of friends. She pioneered this trend with her dog Foxy, using phrases like, "Hez-wo!" "What chu shink about wife?" "Aww, shank you for da kisshes." Translation: Hello. What do you think about life? Aww, thank you for the kisses.

Happy Birthday to My Favorite Handyman!

Chad's birthday was actually at the beginning of the month, but we haven't had a chance to celebrate yet. I rushed around last week gathering presents and an ice cream cake thinking we'd do a little celebrating this weekend, but too many other things were going on and we just never got around to it. His birthday is now on the agenda for next weekend. In the meantime, his cake is being obnoxious and taking up half my freezer and his presents are sitting pretty in my living room.

I don't think Chad reads my "blah-g"(as he calls it), but still, I'm not sure I should say what these presents are. OK, one's a pizza stone. The other two are secret.

My favorite disguise.

Friday, October 12, 2007

The teacher

This post isn't home related, but I need to give a big shout out to my coworkers Amanda, Diana and Laura for saving me from the teacher last night!

We'd just left the bar after a night of celebrating the success of our work's annual charity event - the Haunted Tower. Our cars were parked in different directions; mine was only about a block and a half away so I insisted I could go it alone. Well, I hadn't gone more than twenty feet when a well-spoken, bespectacled gentleman in a Carhartt jacket embroidered with the phrase, 'expect the unexpected,' wheeled his bike next to me asking me for funds with a string of sob stories.

  1. He had a been a college teacher who'd lost his job.
  2. He'd been working odd lawn care jobs, but those jobs had dwindled recently.
  3. He has a new job starting on Monday with Remax.
  4. His car had been taken away (hence the bike), but he would get it back Monday.
  5. Whilst he'd been roaming around downtown with his bike, some guys had jumped him and broke his jaw.
  6. He needs to go see an oral surgeon to take care of his jaw.
  7. He has a cavity on one of his way back molars (which he cleverly pointed out).
  8. He had been to church and asked forgiveness.
  9. He hates having to ask people for charity, but he'd fallen on hard times.
  10. He only has nine dollars in his pocket (again, emphasis on the need for oral surgery)
  11. His dad has Parkinson's Disease

Three things to note: (1) I tend to be quite jaded, so I wasn't picking up what he was putting down, (2) I tend to be chronically nice to strangers, so I couldn't think of a good escape aside from repeatedly saying, "No, sorry," (3) I didn't know if this was the kind of guy who'd follow me to my car, causing even more trouble, so while he rambled I brainstormed different ways to protect myself (e.g., head back inside, channel the skills of late, great martial arts masters)

Luckily for me, I didn't have to worry about item number 3 above, because just as the teacher was spinning his yarn about his ill father, my coworkers appeared as if out of nowhere and yelled at me to get in the car. I quickly obliged.

I have never been so relieved in my life. Thank you, ladies!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Your Mission: Be Neighborly

My neighbor Charley and his wife Gladys are my one hope for a neighborly relationship. They are the only neighbors I've interacted with more than once since moving into my house. I've tried to find ways to get to know my other neighbors, but no good opportunities ever seem to present themselves. So, I've set my neighborly sights on Charley, a retired Marine who may or may not be the president of the local NRA, and Gladys, who hasn't ever said a word to me but I figure the two are a package deal.

About a month ago, Chad borrowed a ladder from Charley to fix my leaky
roof. When he returned the ladder, Charley gave him a jar of homemade pickled peppers in a sign of good will and overall neighborly-ness with the stipulation that we needed to give the jar back. Well, just last week as I finished off the peppers, it hit me - the returning of the jar was my opportunity to win Charley and Gladys over. The way I saw it, if they would appreciate getting their empty jar back, certainly they would appreciate getting a full jar back even more.

So, yesterday, I filled the jar with the fruits of the season: candy corn and peanuts. I even affixed a little thank you label. Then, tonight I laid in wait, clutching the jar, ready to ambush them with kindness. I kept a constant watch, peeping through my blinds every few minutes to see if their lights were on, but alas, there was no sign of life across the street whatsoever. Once I thought I caught a glimmer of something, but it turned out to just be the lights from my house reflecting in their windows. Bummer.
Eventually, I gave up my watch for the night, but I haven't given up my quest. I'll return to my post tomorrow night and the day after that and the day after that and so on and so forth - I won't rest until I've returned their jar and succeeded at building that neighborly relationship! :-)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Jennifer's Beauty Salon

My house has temporarily morphed into a beauty salon. I desperately need to figure out how to do my hair for my friend Kelly's wedding next weekend. The wedding is in Vegas and I'm a bridesmaid which means two things: I need to look good and a professional updo is ridiculously expensive (to the tune of $80 and upwards). So, I'm determined to put together a nice enough look by myself. I tried doing just large soft curls, but my slippery hair wasn't having any of that and the curls fell out almost as soon as I took the curling iron away. Now, I've moved onto updos. Last night I had great success with a French twist and silently patted myself on the back for a job well done. Tonight, however, I can not even come close to replicating my handiwork, so the whole thing might have just been a fluke. I was able to muster up a chignon (fancy way to say "loose, soft bun") though with little difficulty -- probably because I wear my hair in a bun nearly every day and already halfway know what I'm doing. Alas, while I really want to sport the French Twist, it seems the chignon is going to win by default.

You think that's all right?

Yeah? You think that's all right, spider? You think you can just make a web on my deck? Think that's OK?

I've been waging a war of words with the army of spiders living in my yard and garage, but it seems to have done little good. When one gets the hint and moves on to greener pastures, another one, double in size comes to replace it. I'm constantly ripping down their webs and trying to will them away, but as you can imagine that doesn't do much either. I know I should just squash them, but the whole idea of killing them makes me squeamish. Gone are the days when I used to chop lazy flies in half with a dull knife (I was eight...and perverse). Now, I can't stand the thought of feeling a little bug go "squish" under my thumb. So, until I get a stronger stomach I guess I'll just keep assaulting the spiders with my verbal battery. Take that!

You grow girl!

My backyard has several brown patches and I've meant to spread some grass seed all summer long. I finally planted some approximately 10 days ago, and look how well it's done! I was really surprised that I had anything sprout at all because I thought it was too late in the year. When I shared the good news with my dad, he said that now (fall) is actually a great time to plant grass seed since the weather is cooler and you don't have to water it as much. It's also worked out in my favor that Mother Nature has blessed us with several showers in the past week. woot woot!

You grow girl! Show 'em what your workin' with!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Congratulations Ooh! Shiny!

Ooh! Shiny! has quickly risen in the ranks to become one of my new favorite blogs. It truly is a "random directory of pretties" and has just the right mix of quirky and cute stuff. I like these things:
1. Perching sparrow (Go)
2. Pink rice paper print (
3. Mini pill canister (
4. Vanity stools from PB Teen (

Solitary Pine

I like original artwork and want to fill my house with it. Here's one my aunt Doris created using her medium of choice: fabric. It's called "Solitary Pine" and is one in her series of fabric landscapes. Right now it's sitting pretty on my dresser in my bedroom.


I don't have a bird feeder, but I want to get one just so I can have a Twirl-a-Squirrel. YouTube has better videos than this one, but the music was too good to pass up.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Saving the planet, saving money

I like to save the planet and I like to save money. Incidentally, the two often go hand in hand. I figure I play a role in polluting the planet, so it's my responsibility to cut back where I can to help keep it green. Here's ten little things I do to around the home to recycle, reduce and reuse:

1. Use the backs of envelopes: I don't think I'll ever buy a pad of paper again. For every bill, junk mail or letter I receive in the mail, I save the envelope and use the reverse side to jot notes or make my grocery list.
2. Take the bus: I use public transportation to get to work, saving several of gallons of gas each week. It's an even better deal since my company pays for my bus pass.

3. Air dry dishes in the dishwasher: Not only do I only run my dishwasher when it is full, I also air dry the dishes. After all, when's the last time a dishwasher got every single item completely dry? Once the dishwasher is finished running, I just open the door, pull out the racks and let the dishes really air dry. If I do this in the morning before I go to work, everything is dry and ready to be put away by the time I get back.
4. Unplugging my cell phone charger: Appliances that are plugged in still suck energy even when they aren't in use. I've heard that the seeminlgy innocuos cell phone charger is one of the worst culprits, so I keep it ungplugged when it's not powering up my phone.

5. Keeping the
thermostat in check: In the summer, it's set no lower than the recommended 80 degrees Farenheit and in the winter, it's not higher than 68 degrees. For every one degree, that's plus or minus 1 percent on your energy bill.
6. Recycle: I recycle as many things as I can! Cardboard, glass, plastic, paper, you name it. I even recycle little things like yogurt containers.

7. Turn off the lights: And the computer and the TV when they are not in use. This is something that was drilled into me when I was growing up and it's something I abide by to this day. At work, I cringe knowing I have to leave my computer running over night (company policy) so I make sure to turn off the monitor -- it's at least something.

8. CFLs: I've swapped out the incandescent bulbs for CFLs in all the main light fixtures I use in my house. These bad boys use 30 percent less energy than their incandescent counterparts and last upwards of five years. When I moved from my townhome to my house, I moved the CFLs with me.

9. Turning off the water: When I'm brushing my teeth or shaving my legs, I
turn off the water. There is an old Sesame Street cartoon that has stuck with me. It showed a boy who left the water running while he brushed his teeth. The pipe to his sink came directly from a pond that was home to one fish. The longer the water ran, the less water in the pond. When the fish was almost a goner, he finally took matters into his own hands (fins), got on the phone and called the kid to tell him, "DON'T WASTE WATER."
10. Washing my clothes in cold water: I wash almost every single item of clothing in cold water. Most of my clothing items call for this anyway so it's not a hard energy saving stategy to stick to. The challenge is summoning up the courage to line dry my clothes in the summer. It seems this practice has gone by the wayside.

Photo from flickr

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Only so-so

I had such high hopes for this silicone sink strainer from Oxo. Since I don't have a garbage disposal, I thought this bad boy would come in handy because it can invert, making it easy to empty all of its contents into the garbage. The inverting part works great. The trouble comes with trying to get all the little food particles floating around in the sink to acually flow into the strainer in the first place. A lot of them get caught on the lip of the strainer, creating more work to scoop everything up. So, if you're thinking about buying this, think again -- it only works so-so.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

An innate inability to operate machines

Growing up on a farm, I had many opportunities to become a great operator of machinery. Instead, I proved time and time again that it was probably for the best if I just stayed away from machines altogether.

1. The Honda Passport

I never could seem to balance, steer and accelerate all at once. That inability to multi-task led to a number of incidences. I have: (a) wiped out at the end of my parents lane trying to turn around. (b) gotten hung up on some stubby metal posts and ripped up some of the bike's underbelly. (c) crashed into the barn at an excess of five miles per hour.

2. The riding lawnmower
All in all, I was actually pretty good at operating the riding lawnmower. The only memory sticking out in mind right now is this: I tried to squeeze between a post that held up my parents' clothes line and the cable that anchored that post. I did manage to squeeze through the tight space. I also managed to snap off the top part of the gear shift stick.

3. The baler
Only once was I allowed to operate our hay baler. I had gone to a water park the day before we baled hay and came back with the worst sunburn of my life - complete with lobster red skin, impossible tan lines and blisters. Since I could barely move, I was spared from physical labor and put on the tractor. I wasn't a very good judge of depth, and for every two bales I made into the wagon, I would land one squarely in the field (I'm exaggerating this point a little, but it was definitely more than quite a few bales). Afterwards, my siblings and I had to do even more work driving around the field to pick up the errant bales. Needless to say, I wasn't the one that got to drive - I was picking up bales.

Is this coupon still good?

Of all the things I suck at, I might suck at mowing my lawn the most. Perhaps it's my antique lawnmower, my lack of atheltic eye-hand coordination or my innate inability to operate machines that prevents me from succeeding at this task (I'll get to my inability to operate machinery in just a bit). Whatever the reason - I'm no good at it and hate it (Maybe I hate it because I'm no good at it. I'll leave that to the psychology enthusiasts to mull over.). I can't seem to figure out a logical pattern to maneuver around trees and landscaping and I am always running into the fence and over the edge of the curb.

I was spoiled this summer since my brother Brian was around and was more than willing to mow my lawn. Now, that he's back at college, I'm stuck with this miserable chore. For my birthday earlier this summer, Brian gave me a series of coupons. I wonder if this one is still good?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Kiss my Taurus Good-bye!

It's the ending of an era that began only four short years ago. My Taurus has been sold. I bought the car back in 2003 when I was a sophomore in college. I had saved my waitressing tips for years to accumulate enough to buy something substantial. That something substantial turned out to be a car. I didn't really do much in the way of searching for a car and test driving the different models. I let my dad handle all those details and I just signed on the dotted line. What I got was a 1995 emerald green Ford Taurus with power windows, power locks and leather interior (ooh-la-la!).

March 2003. Looking F-A-B-O-L-O-U-S with my new car.

That little gem saw me safely on many trips to see boyfriends, visit family and start new jobs, but in recent years, its health had been declining. Most visibly, the clear coat was peeling in a number of places, giving my car a splotchy, scorched look and subsequently, keeping me humble. It was with a heavy heart that I let it go. Had it been up to my unmechanically-inclined self, I would have driven it forever. Or at least long enough to let my bank accounts beef up a little after they were depleted from buying my house. But, the timing was right. Just when my dad was getting increasingly nervous about me driving long distances in a car that was past its prime and needed more tune-ups than I cared to pay for, my uncle approached me with the offer to buy his wife's car so they could get a Prius (brats! so jealous.). And so it came to pass. I ended up with a zippy gold Mazda and an 18-year old girl now calls the Taurus her own. Hopefully she'll have as many good memories with it as I did.

August 2007. Looking F-A-B-O-L-O-U-S with my old car.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Let my people go!

The ten plagues of Egypt have descended upon my backyard. They are a bit out of order and some have been modified to fit our modern times, but still the same, they have come.

First came the darkness over the land (to make the rest of the plagues all the scarier). Next came the locusts in droves (manifesting themselves as cicadas this time).
Then came the raccoons (perhaps in lieu of frogs or flies or lice).
All of these plagues were enacted upon Chad and me as we grilled out last night. I hate bugs, so I must say the cicadas were scarier than the raccoons. To make matters worse, I had to deal with not one, not two, but th-ree different bugs. That's right, I'm a hater, but it's cool, 'cuz I got it like that.

Monday, August 6, 2007

When Blecky Comes a Callin'

My sister Becky and her husband, Blake (collectively known as Blecky) came a callin' last weekend, and it was just the motivation I needed to make some progress on my house. Without any solid, looming deadline for me to complete my home improvement projects, I really hadn't had a reason to move faster than a snail's pace. But with the arrival of Blecky, I knew I had to at least get the spare bedroom/office cleared out so they would have a place to sleep.

Now, prior to Blecky's visit, my spare bedroom-office combo had been acting as the Island of Misfits ("Nobody wants a Charlie-in-the-box!"). All the boxes of odds and ends and any other items I had never gotten around to putting away or didn't feel like putting away ended up there. It boasted a collection of sweaters, shoes, picture frames, luggage and other knick-knacks including a Christmas stocking and some old face paint I'd used to transform myself into a geisha last Halloween. Once I put my mind to clearing out the room, the work went relatively quickly. I even had time to arrange my books by color on the bookshelf.
After most of the items were put away, I shoved the rest of the boxes against a wall and called it, "good enough". And the space I'd cleared was good enough. Blecky was able to get their air mattress filled up with no problem (I still need to get an extra bed). Actually, I just need to get all new furniture for that room. All the pieces in it are leftovers from my illustrious college career and have all seen better days, but not many, though, because I think the furniture was pretty crappy when I originally got it from Pamida. Ahh, nothing quite brings style to a room like a matching particle board desk and bookcase.

My s-bare room

My next bit of motivation is coming up in just two short weekends. My other sister and her husband (collectively known as Lola and Mike) and perhaps my mom will be dropping by for a weekend visit! It's just the thing I need to get the last remnants of wallpaper out of my dining room!