Apple Juice at 50,000 feet

Every year, the Tonster and I switch out on which family to visit for Thanksgiving, and which to visit for Christmas. This year, Christmas went to his family, who happen to live in the Great White North, where it is usually cold and snowy and windy, and basically all those weather conditions that I hate. (Reason number 1 as to why we cannot EVER live in the Great White North. EVER). Because of this, we decided to fly up, instead of attempting to drive it.

I normally like flying. It has the distinct advantage of Sky Mall magazine (the best magazine with which to play "Guess what's most expensive" and "Guess what's the cheapest"), and it's usually pretty fast, and you get free apple juice, and you don't get carsick.

Well, the Sky Mall magazine didn't disappoint. I can't really say that it was all that fast, seeing how we sat in the Detroit airport for 7 hours (fog likes to follow us around from city to city, reeking havoc with airplane visibility), but when we did manage to get into the plane and off the ground, the flight attendant gave me a WHOLE CAN of apple juice as opposed to just pouring some into the little airplane cup. SWEET! (For some reason, I only drink apple juice on airplanes. I like it, but it's never something I think to buy for myself at home. It's just my dedicated airline beverage). Anyway, the flight was only something like 55 minutes, so roughly 30 seconds after the attendant gave me the can, they made the announcement that she was coming back through to pick up the trash in preparation for landing. Tony is hissing at me, "Here she comes! Chug it!" so I chugged an entire can of apple juice (because apple juice can't be wasted!).
Meanwhile, in anticipation of our arrival, the fog has raced ahead of us to settle in around the landing runway (sneaky fog!). Apparently, fog is also very bumpy (who knew?) because at about 30 miles out, we started bouncing all over the place, and doing crazy mid-air figure eights, and defensive barrel rolls (standard anti-fog maneuvers?), all of which made yours truly (with a tummy full of apple juice) very very queasy. I turned a shade of green that even Debbie Travis would be impressed with.

Rules for airsickness: Pick a focus point inside the plane. I chose the back of Mr. Male Pattern Baldness's head in the seat in front of me. Do not look out the window! Think about anything other than food, drink, spinning in circles, or being sick. (I got Tony to start talking about random things so that I could concentrate on what he was saying. This, for some reason, makes him draw a complete blank). Pray for a quick landing and short taxi. (The fates were against me on this one. After circling in the air forever (oh my inner ear!) we finally land...4 miles from the terminal! And you know how those runways are- they zigzag back and forth, back and forth, turning in circles, daring you to get sick all over the place).

Luckily, I am strong of mind, and had the sheer will needed to avoid puking all over the plane. I did have to sit there for a few minutes to wait for my head to stop spinning, but I considered keeping all my apple juice inside where it belonged to be a Herculean feat. Those other passengers are so lucky. They're grumbling about the delay and the fog and the baggage claim, but they have no idea what they almost got hit with. I consider not puking on them to be my Christmas present to the masses. Merry Christmas ya'll.

Cousin Andy's Band

Actually, he's a cousin-in-law, but I'll claim him as family anyway, since he seems to be well on his way to riches and fame. (Did I mention that he's my favorite cousin-in-law?)

Anyway, the band is Jabarvy and I must admit that I'm really hooked on their music. (Favorite cousin Andy gave us a CD for Christmas, although that's not why I'm writing good things about them...I really do like the music. Besides, he doesn't know the blog exists, so I would totally feel fine bashing them if the music wasn't good- family or not).

Anyway, the music style is unique. For example, I thought Legs, Feets, Sheets had kind of a Barenaked Ladies-ness to it, but then Sweetness in the Sunshine is totally different, with kind of a western-y feel. (By the way, that smell of Texas that they're talking about refers to the cow smell. A little insider band trivia that I picked up). Oh, and the instrumental songs have a jazzy-but-in-a-non-annoying-way feel. (Okay, okay, music review isn't one of my particular strengths. Just trust me, it grows on you).

Check 'em out if you're looking for something different.

A Long Overdue Baby Cooter Update!

It's week 18 for Baby Cooter, and the newsletter seems to think that this is about the time that Nicole will feel him moving around (no doubt beginning his mamba lessons). So far, the Mom-to-be describes the feeling as a "small ball rolling around" when she stands up quickly. The next big photo shoot is scheduled for Jan 2nd, when we discover is Baby Cooter is in fact, from Mars or Venus.

You can vote for whether you think Baby Cooter is a boy or a girl at Nicole's My Space or And Baby Makes Three. (I picked a boy, just because I've been referring to him as a him for so long, but I think a girl would also be really good, especially with Nicole's love of pink ballet decor).

Stay tuned for more updates!

Angel Tree

Our team at work has picked an angel tree kid! Actually, we picked twins. We have twin 7 year old girls, and I've very excited about it. (Despite not knowing anything about kids, I looooove shopping for them). I wait for the Angel tree every year, just so I can justify buying Barbies and Easy Bake Ovens. This year, our twins asked for coloring books and crayons. They got all that and more. I ran right out and bought them coloring books and colored pencils (the deluxe box for shading) and glitter crayons and playdoh (I love playdoh!) and smelly markers. I'm hoping that they both become famous artists because of me. The rest of the team bought blankets and toys and clothes and games and more coloring books and every girly girl thing that a 7 year old could ever want. I wasn't one of the people to deliver the toys, but that's okay. The buying was the fun part for me. I still harbor a secret love of toys.


I usually avoid all things diet like the plague, but when Mom ordered a bunch on Nurtisystem food and then decided that she couldn't do it with her schedule, I was like, "Free food? Sure!" I mean, how bad could it be?

(Any of you who have ever tried diet food are smirking right now).

Anyway, it turns out that you have to use a little bit of imagination with this food. Oh sure, the picture on the outside of the box looks great, but in reality most of it is dehydrated and needs water before turning into something resembling food. (Think of those little pills that you drop into the bathtub and they magically expand into dinosaur shaped sponges). The scrambled eggs, for example, are just neon yellow powder in a cup. (I get around this particular lack of appeal by pretending I'm an astronaut, and this is all astronaut food). But just add water and microwave for 45 seconds, and viola! instant scrambled eggs! (Kind of). Of course, they aren't REAL eggs. But they do look a little like eggs, and they smell a little like eggs, so you can probably convince yourself that they taste a little like eggs.

Here's the secret to diet foods. They're specially designed to taste just good enough that you won't toss it out and eat real food instead, but not good enough that you'll be tempted to eat a second helping of it. This is how you lose weight on them. Sure, you could eat the "serving size" granola bar in three bites, but by the second bite, you don't really want to.

All in all, the Nutrisystem food has been a mixed bag. Some of the things aren't half bad. The chocolate cookie bar (which in reality contains no chocolate and no cookies) is good enough that even Tony has had a couple. The roast beef actually tastes like normal food, and is something that I would recommend to other people. Other things, like the banana spice muffins, made sawdust look tasty. (Mostly because sawdust would have been more moist and flavorful). I couldn't choke more than a bite down, and even after I threw it in the trash, I had to move the trash away because the smell was like burning chemicals mixed with a potpourri air freshener.

I certainly wouldn't eat this stuff at every meal like you're supposed to on the actual diet plan, but they're fine for those times that I'm just looking for an instant lunch that will fill me up while I'm on the go. Just have plenty of water ready, Major Tom.

Fa-la-la-la-la-la Everybody!

Just wanted to let everybody out there in Blogland know that I am now officially ready for Christmas. The presents are wrapped and under the tree, it's all decorated (finally), the outside Christmas lights are on a timer and lighting up delightfully every night when I come home, and I think I've built up a big enough wall of presents to keep Dixon from eating the tree. (Lucky for me, he's too fat to realize he could just jump over them). At work, we've taped up all the Christmas cards from our installers, and I've got my Trans-Siberian Orchestra blasting Carol of the Bells on repeat. (Go listen to it if you haven't gives me goose-bumps). Stephaluffagus and Patto are arriving next Wednesday. There's an ice skating rink in market square.

And as a special bonus, it's 70 degrees outside! This is my kind of Christmas.

If I forget to tell you later, I hope all of you out there have a wonderful Christmas and New Year.


You know that part in Braveheart where he's being drawn and quartered, and he yells "Freedom!" Well, replace the horses running in different directions with an accounting final, a presentation on a case, a paper, and of course, regular work. The official end of the semester was yesterday, and all I can say now is "Freedom!" (at least until January 7th, when the new semester starts.

I know, I know, it's been a while since you've heard from me. There's a little hole in your day to day existence without my delightful wit and charm. My only excuse is finals. For the past week and a half, I've been eating, breathing, and dreaming finals. (Well, that's not true...the last few days I quit eating and sleeping altogether). But I'm happy to say that now that it's finished, and I'm convinced that after a few more days of regular sleep, this eye twitch will go away and my hair will quit falling out in clumps. (You deal with stress your way, I'll deal with mine my way).

For now, it's like being on vacation. All I have to do is just go to work, and when that's done, I come home and do whatever I feel like doing. Do I want to watch tv? Do I want to read a book? Do I want to just soak in the bathtub? It's fantastic!

"They may give us failing grades, but they will never take away our freedom"!


In an attempt to make our little drab cubicles more festive for the holidays, a lot of people have decorated their cubes with lights and tinsel and whatnot. One guy even went as far as to bring in one of those lighted deer with "realistic head motion" (which is kinda freaky when you first walk by and the deer nods at you). As if having a lawn decoration deer in the office wasn't bizarre enough, the next day, the deer was "shot".

Just because we hunt Christmas yard decor in the office doesn't make us rednecks.

Flying Box Game

If you loved Helicopter Game, you'll love this one too!

Introducing...Flying Box Game!

From the makers of Flying Box Game; stealing your productivity since 1942.

(PS- longest time in the office is held by Crawford, with 31.5 seconds...let me know if you beat him).

Decking the Halls

I'm waaaay behind in my Christmas festivities this year. Normally, the house is decorated, the presents are purchased, and the Christmas cards are going out by the first weekend in December. True, we were out of town on Tony's-Official-Start-Of-Christmas-Decorating weekend, but still... This time between December 1st and December 25th flies by. So far, I have the outside lights up, but not burning due to a shortage of extension cords. (The final cord was purchased yesterday but I haven't had time to climb back up on the roof). So our house remains dark, even as the rest of the neighborhood shines in Griswold-like fashion.

The Christmas shopping is partially complete, with all on-line purchases made and shipping out of their respective warehouses as we speak, but the items that require actually going to a store and physically buying them has yet to be done. I just can't seem to drag myself to the store and fight all those other cheerful holiday shoppers.

We have no Christmas tree yet. We were going to go yesterday when we got back into town, but it was cold and dark, and we were tired. Tonight is out because I've got study group (who decided that it would be a good idea for the semester to end right before Christmas!?!). Hopefully tomorrow night after work we can swing by Lowes and pick out our annual Douglas fir. Then some lights and ornaments, and Dixon can begin his own annual tradition of homemade cat-barf wreathes. (This year, if the tree looks tasty, I'm going to buy a toy train to go around the bottom. Here's hoping that the movement scares him off).

Most of the inside decorations are up, with the exception of some garland that I haven't decided where to put yet, and the snowflake window stickies that I put on the mirrors and fish tank. Every year, the collection of weird Christmas decorations seems to multiply while up in the attic. All of a sudden, we have truly weird decorations that someone probably gave us, but I have no intention of putting up. I need to have a Christmas themed garage sale before it all overtakes the attic.

Haven't even started on the Christmas cards, which need to go out ASAP. We do those photo cards every year of the family (us and the cats), and the picture taking alone usually takes an evening. We average about 30 pictures of no-goes (Tony's eyes are closed, I'm making a funny face, Mason is trying to escape, the camera fell off the makeshift tripod of books and magazines, Dixon ducked his head, I didn't beat the auto-timer, Mason is fighting like mad to escape, the camera fell over again, the timer took so long that I was getting up to check on it when it flashed, Mason is a whirlwind of claws in an attempt to escape, the batteries in the camera ran out, Tony is trying to stop the bleeding from the claw marks, the camera memory is full, Dixon is eating the tree, I have one eye closed, and Mason has escaped). Surprisingly, the winning picture is usually the first one we take.

Here's to Christmas though! The lights, the smells, the parties, the presents, the carols, the Christmas cards, the cat barf. I love it all. It's the most wonderful time of the year.