I has a MOST fabulous girls day out yesterday! Steph's in town for spring break, so I took off work at noon (and ran like mad before they could drag me back) and then met Steph and Mom and Dad at Chili's. (Dad's not officially part of the girls day out, but he like Chili's because they serve chips and salsa, which is number one of Dad's favorite foods list). I had the Quesadilla Explosion (no corn relish), which is awesomely tasty, and contains about a pound and a half of lettuce, so you can convince yourself that this is good for you while you eat all the chicken and cheese and dressing off the top of it. Then we girls went to Lowes (because what would a perfect day be without a trip to Lowes?) and then off to get pedicures. (I'm so addicted to those massage chairs with the foot bath that they have in the pedicure place now). So now I have smooth feet with cute toenails, complete with little flowers painted on the big toes. (Side thought: is there official training for toenail artists? Or is it sink or swim and only people who excel in painting miniature pictures on people's feet become successful enough to make a living at it? And how do I become one, because NOT ONCE while silent Asian guy was painting flowers on my toes did the phone ring and an angry car dealer yell at him). Anyway, once we had freshly coiffed feet (can you coif feet?), we ran around Walmart so that Steph could get some awesome lipstick just like mine, only in a lighter color, and Mom could buy one of every type of Dr. Scholl's shoe cushions available. (Mom wears notoriously uncomfortable shoes). Then we went to the mall so that I could get some new foundation. (Second free beauty tip: Merle Norman foundation powder. Expensive? Oh yeah. But fabulous coverage. You could have an active volcano on your face and this foundation would smooth it out. Every now and then, I get sucked in by the flawless people on the tv commercials and try the Revlons and the Cover Girls, but I always come back to Merle Norman's foundation). We rounded out the day with Mom buying some new shoes (comfortable ones this time). I had to go to class after that, but even that wasn't bad. Long, but not bad. All in all, a fabulous day. I'm trying to figure out how to quit my job and become a full time lady of leisure so I can do this kind of thing every day.
Isn't it amazing how one little change gives you a whole new opinion of yourself? Yesterday my lips were blah, and today they're like, "Ta-da!" A few weeks ago I turned around to Crawford and told him that I just didn't think that this lipstick was working for me. (I've worked with Crawford for about two and a half years now, so he's used to these occasional "girl outbursts"). I said that I needed a new summer color, and hopefully one that would stay on for longer than 3 minutes before my super absorbent lips suck all the color in. The problem with lipstick, however, is that there's only about 500 different kinds, and who can afford to buy one of each to see if the "Max 12 hours stay!" is better than the "Won't run or kiss off!"? The answer to that is Mom can. Mom always has a million different lipsticks. I think she's on her own never-ending quest for the perfect lipstick, and the wake of tried-and-discarded tubes stretches for miles. This is particularly good for me, because I also get to test to see which one really is the best for me, but without all that pesky cash outlay. Well, yesterday my search (through Mom's makeup drawer) paid off. I found the Mecca of lipstick. The color is great, the staying power is great (something I have never experienced before, even with those "guaranteed to last through hurricane force winds, deep sea diving, and the apocalypse" lipsticks), and it's not all sticky or dry. Annnnd, I think it smells like cherries, which was not exactly a criteria, but I'll take it anyway. It's Faaaab-u-lous! I put it on yesterday, and it was still on this morning! Seriously! This lipstick could outlast most Hollywood marriages! Just in case you're on your own search for the Holy Grail of lipstick, I highly recommend Maybelline Superstay. It's got a little brush with lip color on one end, and a Lipsmackers Cherry-like gloss on the other. My personal color of choice is Mauve 785 if you really want your lips to match mine. (And who wouldn't, because I have Hollywood Starlet lips...even after breakfast!) And when I came in today, Crawford (bless his soul) realized that I had new lipstick without me telling him and said that it was a very nice color! (And he's not gay!) You know it's got to be powerful good lipstick if a straight guy will notice it!
Excellent weather this weekend for a hike. We were originally scheduled for Smokemont this weekend, but Greg wanted to do something a little closer to home base, so we ended up doing Laurel Falls instead. This is the hike to do if you or friends of yours are visiting the Smokies and are all, "Hey! Let's go hiking in the mountains!" It's an easy 1.3 miles and is paved all the way up to the really picturesque Falls. Bring your kid, your kid's stroller, your kid's diaper bag, your kid's grandma, and grandma's Rascal, because no one will have any trouble getting up this trail. (Just keep a hold on the kid's and Grandma's hand, because there are some steep drop-offs along the trail). Take a few hours, walk along the asphalt trail with 500 thousand other families, and ohh and ahh over your oneness with nature. You can also use the "Do not climb on the rocks" sign as a foothold to hoist yourself up on the rocks. Then, if you liked that, send Grandma and the kid back to the car and keep on going, because the Falls is where the REAL trail starts. This one is not paved, is covered with pesky rocks and roots, and has a rapidly climbing elevation that will make that stair climber look like a walk in the park. It's also blissfully quiet, has lovely wildflowers, and old growth trees that are wider than you can stretch fingertip to fingertip. It takes you up to the top of the ridge where you have a fantastic view of the surrounding mountains. No little kids or Grandmas in sight.
Tony and I were watching Dateline the other night, and the subject was football obsessed husbands and how they treated their wives during football season . Dateline (and the wives) planted secret cameras in the rooms to watch the husbands during the game. The craziest one by far was the guy who continually told his wife to "stop it!" when she tried to talk to him, but would signal his desire for her to get him a new beer by holding the empty beer can above his head. If she didn't immediately respond, he would shake the can. If she still didn't respond, he would channel the thoughts and desires of a plastic Halloween scull decoration that was sitting on a shelf behind him, such as, "Scully says get me another beer!" and "Scully says quit talking during the game!" The truly sad part is that his otherwise intelligent-looking wife would obey these "commands" from Skully. I mentioned something to this effect to Tony, (who obviously doesn't correlate my comments to the meanings behind them, bless his heart) because he immediately tried to do the same thing. "Scully says get me a frosted pop-tart!" Luckily for him, I can recognize general pesterfidiousness, so I sweetly kissed him on the nose and told him that if he really tried that with me, he'd be surgically removing Skully from certain bodily orifices. Let's see what Skully has to say about that.
Do you ever go through a period of time where you're just cruising along, and then all of a sudden, you realize that you've made a mistake on something, and then, like 30 seconds later, you find another mistake, and another, and another, and another? Some of these mistakes I made last week, some of them 6 months ago, but it seems that I'm finding them all here at one time. It's totally shot my confidence in my work. I went from being one of the best to being a total screw up with no warning. Now I'm cringing, waiting for the next mistake to show up. If I had made all the mistakes at one time, like within the same week, I could be like, "Wow. Lousy week." or figure out what was going on that could have attributed to the mistakes. But these are all spread out. And I can't figure out why I'm making them, because I never make these kinds of mistakes. Very frustrating. I hate making mistakes. I know, I know. Everyone makes them. But all my mistakes ganged up to ambush me at one time. Very frustrating.
CLASS WAS CANCELLED TODAY! What an unexpectedly awesome present! I have no idea why, but Dr. Sellers cancelled class for tonight. I am so excited. Don't get me wrong, I like school and everything, but to have an unexpected day off when the weather is soooo nice? I'll take it.
Well, hiking was, as usual, fabulous. The weather was fabulous, the scenery was fabulous, the company was adequate. Okay, okay, the company was fabulous too. I have a pretty good hiking group, and we had a lot of fun. It was me, Liz, Andrea, Chris, Eric, and Greg, so you could probably hear us laughing all the way down the trail. We played a rousing game of "Would you rather" (as in, would you rather have the ability to fly, or the ability to be invisible?) as we walked. And the elliptical machine is obviously paying off, because last year the steep portions were kicking my butt and this year I was flying right through them. We ended up doing the Elijah Oliver trail too, since it was only a mile long and had some neat cabins at the end. So all in all, a nice 6 miler. (It's funny how 6 miles hiking is easy for me, but 2.5 miles alone on the elliptical has me dripping sweat and aching to get off...I'm guessing the scenery keeps me occupied). It was too cold to swim, but we did get some pretty neat pictures. I'll let you go to Greg's site to see them...if I load too many on here, it slows the blog down to a crawl. Well, okay, just this unflattering yet funny one in front of Abrams Falls.
We're learning about Motivation in my management class at school. Basically we learned that we're a very cynical bunch, and are not at all motivated by anything. The most fun we had all night was reading through Demotivators, which are the opposite of those Motivational posters you see in companies everywhere. Check them out. If you don't have time to check them out, then just read the best ones that I've picked out below, but you'll miss seeing the pretty pictures that go along with them.
My favorites include:
DaretoSlack When birds fly in the right formation, they need only exert half the effort. Even in nature, teamwork results in collective laziness.
Demotivation Sometimes the best solution to morale problems is just to fire all of the unhappy people.
Discovery A company that will go to the ends of the Earth for its people will find it can hire them for about 10% of the cost of Americans.
Leaders Leaders are like eagles. We don't have either of them here.
Mistakes It could be that the purpose of your life is only to serve as a warning to others.
Motivation If a pretty poster and a cute saying are all it takes to motivate you, you probably have a very easy job. The kind robots will be doing soon.
Quality The race for quality has no finish line- so technically, it's more like a death march.
Wishes When you wish upon a falling star, your dreams can come true. Unless it's really a meteorite hurtling to the Earth which will destroy all life. Then you're pretty much hosed no matter what you wish for. Unless it's death by meteor.
Underachievement The tallest blade of grass is the first to be cut by the lawnmower.
Hike this weekend! I'm excited. The weather has been so wonderful lately (as you can see by the current temp graph to the right), and I'm itching to get out in it. We're starting with a nice easy warm up hike to Abrams Falls. We did it last year too, but it's a lovely hike along (and over) Abrams Creek, so it's a favorite of mine anyway. It's pretty gentle terrain, and there's a great waterfall at the end, so we're packing a picnic lunch to sit and eat by the falls. It starts at the Cades Cove area, so it'll probably be crowded, but hey, what can you do? I bought a new camera last weekend, so I'll bring it along and see what kind of pictures I can get. You know, it's funny. When I lived here to go to school, I had tons of free time in the afternoons and on weekends, and I never went to the mountains. Then I moved away, and I really missed them. Now that I'm back, I'm taking advantage of them every chance I can get. I'm addicted to nature. Not enough to quit my job and be a park ranger, but enough to look forward to my weekend day hikes. Hopefully the added weekly elliptical sessions have given me enough endurance to be able to actually hike and breathe at the same time this year. The link Great Smokey Mountain Hikes on the right here is Greg's site, and he's the one that coordinates all of our hikes. He keeps a record of where we go and what it's like, so if you're interested, check it out.
Don't panic! It's okay! You're still in the right place if you came looking for Quirky (and even if you didn't, you still managed to make it to the right place, you lucky dog). I know it looks different. I've been playing with the template. I signed on, and the "minimal black" just looked so...minimal...and black. Definitely not the fresh crisp look that it needs. So I made a little template change for spring. A little green here, and a little freshening of the color. Viola! A totally different look. Goodbye black Goth, hello strappy sundress and sandals. Of course, I totally cheated and just loaded a ready-made template from Blogger. No creativity on my part at all, I know. (A few years ago, this would have horrified me, but what can I say? My html skills are basic at best, and I just don't have the time). So we'll keep this for a while. Annnnd, as a special bonus to you, my dear favorite readers, I have added the lovely weather logo right here on the right, so that you can know what the temperature is in Knoxville at every moment of every day. Pretty snazzy, no?
There's a guy who works here (I think he's a salesman) that I do not know, but nonetheless do not like. This is based solely on the fact that he looks like the mean director guy on CSI Las Vegas. Yes, I know that he isn't the same guy, and I know that the mean director guy is a fictional character on a tv show, but I can't help it. Every time I seem him, I can hear him saying, "I'm opening an investigation on your competency in running this lab, Supervisor Grisham" and I snarl at him. If he notices my nasty looks, I'm sure that he has no idea what he's done to cause this, and I will never tell him because you can't just look someone in the eye and tell them that you dislike them because they resemble a mean fictional character on a tv show. I mean, really.