The Demise of the Horn Monster

You’ll be happy to know that the horn monster has been (hopefully) eradicated. I took my car into the dealership and explained the problem. They told me that it would take about 40 minutes to fix, so I just sat in the little poorly-lit waiting room and tried to ignore the out of date copies of People Magazine and reruns of Judge Judy blasting from the TV bolted to the wall. The good news is that they couldn’t claim that there wasn’t anything wrong with my horn because even Her Honor’s bickering with the defendant over who agreed to pay for the plaintiff’s boob job last January couldn’t drown out the uninterrupted horn blaring from the service bay, At least the horn monster was making his presence known.

About thirty minutes AFTER the 40 minutes they promised me, a guy came in to tell me that I needed a new horn pad because “By durn! That other one was really stuck!” The problem, he went on to explain, was that they didn’t have any in stock, so they were sending someone out to get one from another dealership. Not to worry though. It shouldn’t be more than another 30-45 minutes. So I settled back in to wait, and gritted my teeth through a second episode of Judge Judy (for the love of all things holy, please please don’t let it be a Judge Judy marathon!) and the plaintiff whined on about her loser dead-beat boyfriend not paying rent like he promised.

An hour after the second promised 40 minutes had passed, my new part must have arrived, because the horn went off again. The other customers in the waiting room jumped and giggled nervously. Somebody murmured that he hoped that wasn’t his car out there, but I just smiled. It’s actually pretty funny when it isn’t you trying to get the bleeping horn to stop. I could hear several of the mechanics trying to yell over the noise. The horn monster wasn’t going down without a fight.

I was in the middle of ignoring some soap opera drama (at least we were free of Judge Judy and her minions of morons) when the mechanic staggered back into the waiting room. His hair was sticking up in tufts on his head and he was talking louder than necessary (I hope the hearing loss from the horn battle is just temporary) but he did manage to let me know that they had finally been able to defeat the horn monster and return my car to normal (and quiet) working order. He handed me my keys and almost pushed me out the door towards my car, as glad to be rid of me and my horn as I was to escape my little prison cell of daytime television.

Estimated time to fix horn: 40 minutes
Actual time to fix horn: 3 hours and 30 minutes
Number of times Judge Judy scowled and interrupted people to tell them that they were idiots: 42*
Number of decibels of my car horn: 110
Number of times that horn went off while being fixed: 8
Number of times that other people in the waiting room jumped when the horn went off: 8
Number of times that horn has gone off since it was fixed: 0

Let’s hope we’ve heard the last of the horn monster.

*an estimate…like I said, I was trying to tune her out

Christmas Miracles

Welcome back Internets! I trust that everyone has a wonderful Christmas/Hanukah/Kwanza/Festivus? Tony and I traveled up to the Great White North to see his family for the holidays. Instead of a detailed play-by-play kind of thing however, I figured I would just touch on some of the good things about the trip. Little Christmas miracles.

Christmas Miracle #1: Sonic and Krystal are both open on Christmas Eve. I know this because none of the airport shops and restaurants were open (being Christmas Eve and all) and I was hungry. This normally wouldn’t have been a problem except that our flight from Knoxville to O’Hare that was supposed to leave at 7pm got delayed until about 10pm, which means that the dinner I was expecting to eat when we landed in Chicago didn’t materialize. And security was shutting down, so we couldn’t leave the airport to go get food and bring it back. But Mom and Dad totally played Santa for us by hopping in their sleigh and roaming the streets of K-town until they found some open fast food, and then delivered it to the airport in a sack full of Christmas cheer (in the form of hamburgers). So we sat in the mostly-deserted airport (there were 4 other people there with us) at 10:00 at night on Christmas Eve and ate cheeseburgers from Sonic and it was the best. Christmas. Dinner. Ever. And I may have even pulled a Tiny Tim and been all “God bless us every one!”

Christmas Miracle #2: The plane made it to Chicago. Tony was completely sure that they were going to cancel our flight since there were only 6 of us waiting on the plane, (and one was a pilot just hitching a ride) but we overheard some of the airline people talking about how they needed the plane back in Chicago first thing in the morning, so that’s why we were still going at all. (That’s customer service right there. Nothing says “we value our customers” like being all “well we were going to cancel your flight for no reason and leave you stranded in an airport on Christmas Eve, but we need the plane, so you guys can come along for the ride if you want”. Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside).

Christmas Miracle #3: We weren’t mugged on the subway. There was some discussion about the wisdom of riding the subway in Chicago at 1:00 in the morning on Christmas Day, since the thought was that only the nut-jobs would be out then, but we soldiered on anyway. And I won’t lie to you, there was a nut-job, but apparently he was a rather harmless nut-job, so we arrived to the Seester’s apartment safely and in possession of all our possessions.

Christmas Miracle #4: Tony’s Grandma’s Christmas cookies. I look forward to them all year. They’re like little bits of world peace with frosting and sprinkles. Soooooo good!

Christmas Miracle #5: We didn’t get lost. Tony and I ran around Chicago by ourselves for three days, and we never got lost. We transferred lines on the subway, took cabs, rode the Amtrak trains, and walked all over the greater downtown Chicago, and managed to know where we were going at all times. Considering that I’m not exactly known for being observant to my surroundings (“Skyscraper? What skyscraper?”) and Tony has the spatial reasoning of a rock (and I mean that in the nicest way), I was pretty impressed with how well we were able to get around on our own.

Christmas Miracle # 6: It was warm! This really was a Christmas miracle ya’ll. You know how I hate cold. Hate it! Hate it! Hate it! Snow and ice and slush and freezing rain are not my friends. So imagine my surprise when Chicago in winter was…well, not exactly warm, but not freezing! I was shocked! Friday had a high of 52 F degrees! Saturday had a high of 61 F! 61! In Chicago! In December! I didn’t even wear a coat! Seriously, it made my whole trip. All of the fun, none of the frostbite. I heart global warming.

Christmas Miracle # 7: I exercised! Officially, I’d given myself the week off from the gym since we were traveling, but I’d eaten so many Christmas cookies by Friday that I had to do something. (Grandma’s Christmas cookies may be world peace with sprinkles, but each one has the calorie equivalent of a 5 tier wedding cake). So even though I didn’t HAVE to, I tossed on some workout clothes and hit the gym for an hour of intense (and heart-attack inducing) elliptical-ing. And according to the machine-o-suffering, I managed to burn off 600 calories, which is approximately two licks of a Christmas cookie. Hey, every little bit counts.

Christmas Miracle #8: I had enough books! I packed two paperbacks and two electronic books for three days, which sounds like a lot but really isn’t. When you consider all of the sitting in airports and on planes and on trains that goes on with holiday travel, you can go through books pretty quickly. The good news was that I received a book as a Christmas present also, so that added another 500 or so pages of literary goodness. Nothing worse than sitting in an airport without any books.

Christmas Miracle #9: We were able to get home again! Despite the entire country hearing news reports about the weather being lousy (flash flood warnings in December?) and Chicago airports basically shutting down and all the flights getting cancelled and bleary-eyed passengers complaining about how they’d been stuck at the airport for the past three days, we had no trouble at all with getting home. We were worried, of course. Flights were being cancelled at gates all around us, but other than a short delay while we waited for a crew member to get there, our flight was fine. It seems that not even flash flooding can keep us down.

So that was my holiday. All chock-full of tiny miracles. Little things that made the entire trip wonderful. Plus we were able to see not only Tony’s family, but my Seester too, which was nice. I think everyone had a good time, and I wouldn’t have minded staying longer. I feel like we just barely brushed the surface. Next time, perhaps we can add another day to the trip. And maybe some more Christmas cookies.

Just So You Know...

Warning: Just so you know, if your husband gets the Glade plug-in that smells like pine tree and puts it upstairs, and the Glade plug-in “Winter Night” downstairs, the two scents will mingle in the living room to the point that you will SWEAR that the cat that is sleeping on your stomach while you watch TV is wearing Old Spice cologne. And that will be very strange indeed, because no one in your house has any cologne, much less Old Spice. And it will cause much sniffing of the cat, who will be very confused at your bizarre behavior. And you will yell up the stairs, “Honey? Is that cat wearing Old Spice?” and your husband will yell “Is he wearing WHAT?!” back down, and now there will be even MORE confusion, because why would a cat be wearing cologne, even if he could somehow get a hold of some? (And why Old Spice specifically, which evokes memories of middle-aged used-car salesmen circa 1986, and not kitty cat, even if they both seem to have the same about of body hair). And it will only be after about 10 minutes of sniffing the cat, the couch, and the corners of the room that you will realize that the smell is not emanating from the cat directly, but really a bizarre combination of the air fresheners from the “Holiday” collection. And while you will feel great relief that the cat has not decided to enhance his toilet with men’s personal fragrance products, that relief will not stop the whole Old Spice whistle-jingle from circulating through your brain for the rest of the night because now your entire HOUSE smells like an Old Spice commercial.

Just so you know.

The Horn Monster Returneth

So I’m driving home from the gym last night, singing along to the radio at the top of my lungs (Sometime Around Midnight by The Airborne Toxic Event, if you want to recreate the scene) when I hear this part of the song that I hadn’t noticed before. It’s this constant sound, half-way hidden under the drums and guitars, and it kind of goes “HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONNNNNNK”. And because I’m clueless, I think, “Huh. I wonder what instrument makes that sound”.

I’ll give you a hint. It’s a horn.

A CAR horn.

MY car horn.


“NOOOOO!” I yelled! (Actually, I yelled some other choice words too, but Nooooo! is the only one that I can reprint here). And even though the first time proved that beating the steering wheel is completely ineffective, I beat it anyway. Because there’s not much else you can do to unstick a car horn while driving down the middle of the interstate, and you have to try something.

And just so you know, the level of mortification does not decrease any with familiarity. It was the same, only this time anger and frustration were making their appearances also, because suddenly this wasn’t a freak one-time occurrence anymore. And I didn’t do anything to set it off. I was just driving along, minding my own business, not even touching it! As a matter of fact, ever since it happened the first time, I’ve been driving with only my fingertips touching the every edges of the wheel, careful not to so much as even breathe funny and anger the psycho spastic Horn Monster living inside my steering wheel.

But now I have no choice but to take it to the dealership so that they can force me to drive a rental for three days before calling me up to tell me that they can’t find anything wrong with my horn. And I’ll insist, and they’ll shrug and say something about checking it again while they make it clear that they’re just humoring the crazy lady.

Plus the car is still under warranty, which you think would be a good thing, but really just requires me to fill out a lot of paperwork for them to tell me that I’m imagining the horn, or that the horn is supposed to randomly blow like that, or that the horn blowing is a pre-existing condition caused by normal wear and tear and only covered on vehicles with less the 20,000 miles when the last new moon was in line with Pluto and therefore not covered under my warranty. (If it is the last case, then the horn will suddenly be a huge complicated problem requiring a whole new steering wheel and cost the equivalent of the national debt).

And I will grumble. But I will drive their stinky rental car, and pay their national debt bills, and endure their crazy lady shrugs because the random horn blowing? Not cool. Not the kind of attention that I’m looking for.

Once was a freak thing. Twice? This means war, Horn Monster.

Christmas Tour Of Homes


I'm so excited! Today is Boomama's annual Christmas tour of homes! Last year's tour was so much fun that we're doing it again! If it's your first time stopping in to Quirky is a Compliment, welcome, and come right in! Let me show you around.

Did you happen to catch all the blue icicle lights all along the roof of the house outside? These lights are probably my favorite decorations. There's just something nice about coming home in the evening and having the house trimmed out in lights. Completely worth the hours I spent inching along on my belly on the roof while Tony stood on the ground below and yelled helpful things like "If you fall, chances are it wouldn't kill'd just be in a full body cast". (Such an optimist, my hubby). Regardless, the lights are pretty and twinkly and blue, and I love them.

You may notice that I have a thing for the color blue when it comes to decorating. Blue lights on the roof...

Blue ornaments hanging from the trees in the front yard...

Blue lights in the...wait a minute! Those lights aren't blue! I know, I know. It just so happens that my dear hubby really enjoys those big retro Christmas lights. And even though they mess with my beautiful blue theme that I have going on here, I figure that Christmas is all about sharing, so I put his big retro lights in the Japanese Maple tree by the front door. Now he can enjoy coming home and seeing his lights all lit up too.

So that's the outside...why not come inside and warm up?

Do you like my wreath? I love the silver, even if it does get glitter everywhere!

Ah, here's more of my blue. These are just regular ornaments that I tied with silver ribbon and hung from the chandelier. I think it gives the kitchen a funky, festive touch, don't you?

Another thing we look forward to during Christmas is receiving Christmas cards. We display them on our snowman. Don't mind the cat, Mason...he's just really protective of his Christmas cards.

Here's our nativity scene. We keep it on top of the entertainment center. Experience teaches us that all nativity scenes must be displayed up high in order to discourage inquiring kitty paws from pilfering the occasional wiseman.

Back by popular demand from last year, it's the Christmas fish! I decorate the tank with those window clings in the shape of snowflakes. They also have their own little stocking.

"Merry Fish-mas!"
So there you go! That's the grand Christmas tour! Thanks for stopping by to visit, and feel free to come back anytime. We're a little quirky here, but we think that's a good thing.
And if you're new here, be sure to leave a comment and let me know where you're from so I can return the favor and come see your decorations also.


I know I don't normally do weekend posts, but I just wanted to pop on and let you know that I was hooded this weekend.

And no, that doesn't mean that I drove into a questionable section of town and got beat up by gang members. (Yet...the weekend is still young after all).

Actually, what it means is that approximately 6 months after I finished my higher ed-u-ma-cation classes, the university deemed it time to bestow upon me my little piece of paper declaring me graduated.

And also a hood, which was mucho awesome.

So I coerced my family into the car and we drove over to the main campus to sit through a three hour ceremony where lots of people gave inspiring speeches, and then they called out roughly a bazillion names, and we all fought to stay awake. AND THEN I walked across a stage where they gave me this: It is a hood, and it means that I am officially a master of business administration. Woot!

Because Just Saying "I Have A New Floor" Would Be Boring

Once upon a time there was a castle. And in the castle lived four little princes. And the little princes were very good at using their royal litter boxes. But one day, Prince Dixon was waylaid by an evil urinary tract infection, and it hurt very much to use the royal litter box. So Prince Dixon expressed his discomfort by tinkling on the royal carpet in the office. And the King and Queen were very upset. So they commanded the castle SpotBot to get on that, and they took Prince Dixon to the local healer for some medicine.

Only the evil urinary tract infection raged on, and Prince Dixon (unbeknownst to the rest of the royal family) continued to find new and varying places to wee-wee on the floor of the office. And the King and Queen were very upset because suddenly the entire office smelled like cat pee and they couldn’t figure out why. So after trying various carpet cleaning devices, they finally decided that it would just be better to rip all the royal carpet up out of the office and replace it with laminate flooring.

And so they moved all of the furniture out of the royal office, and then pulled up all the carpet, and the padding, and then got down on their hands and knees and pulled up tack strips and staples until their hands blistered and their backs cramped. The royal family was very sad, and darkness ruled over the land.

But still they soldiered on and put down the moisture barrier pad, which all the little princes enjoyed playing on.

And then they started laying floor, which was surprisingly easy due to the whole snapping and locking in place floating floor deal. The whole room only took a couple of hours. And THAT made the King and Queen very happy.

And so all the kingdom rejoiced because the castle smelled good again, and Prince Dixon got over his evil infection and quit tinkling on the floor, and all the other princes soon discovered that if they ran really really fast to the royal food bowls, they could slide all the way across the office floor, which they liked.

So the moral of the story is that if you have carpet that has seen better days, rip that stuff out and go with the interlocking laminate flooring. It’s fast, it’s easy, and the little princes won’t tinkle on it.

The end.

Christmas Cards

I’m a little later than usual this year, but Christmas cards are officially in the mail! We always do the photo cards with a picture of us and the cats on it, and this year we had so many cats that I needed a few photographers and cat-restraining assistants. (The boys do NOT appreciate formal sittings). You’d think they’d get used to it by now…we’ve done the same sitting every year for five years.

Sometimes I wonder if people get bored with the traditional “us with the cats” pose, but then I remember how much I enjoy getting photo cards of other people with their families for Christmas, so I’m hoping that they appreciate getting the card and forget that it’s the same pose as last year. (In our defense, we did add two more cats this year, so technically it is different).

Christmas cards seem to be a dying art. Each year we see less and less of them in our mailbox. (Although it suddenly occurs to me that maybe we’re just not very popular. Hmmm). Still, with the price of stamps and the cards and the photos and time it takes to address each one and write a little note, I can understand why people get busy with all the other holiday stuff and just ignore the cards. I think that I’ll always do it anyway though. I know how much I love getting a Christmas card in the mail, and I assume it’s the same with other people. We have a card stand that I display the cards on every year. I’ve even been known to keep them from previous years so that my card stand is full even when I first set it out. (Tony calls this cheating…I call it sentimental). But even more than getting cards, the best part for me is sending them out. My favorite is when all the cards are sitting in their little envelopes, addressed and stamped and ready to go into the mail. It’s nice to look at that pile and remember all the people who are important to us. Some of them we see every week. Some of them we haven’t seen in years. But I still send the cards because those little ties, no matter how infrequent, keep us together.

Animated Edibles

You will never guess what I did this Saturday morning. I stayed in bed and watched cartoons. It was a serious flashback to 20 years ago. Kind of.

I didn’t really set out specifically to watch cartoons. It just kind of happened by accident. It was one of those rare Saturday mornings where the planets aligned and Tony had to go to work, and the cats decided to let me sleep in, and I had nothing planned to do until later that day. Plus it was cold outside of my toasty electric blanket, so instead of dragging myself up, I snuggled down into the blankets and flipped on the TV. I guess we had been watching CBS last, because that was the channel that it was on when I hit the power button. And lo and behold, there were cartoons.

We do not have little people in our house, so cartoons have not really graced our television with any regularity. So I was not at all prepared for just how weird cartoons had become. In my day, we watched Alvin and the Chipmunks, and Rescue Rangers, and Duck Tales and The Adventures of My Little Pony, and that was good solid cartoon programming. Now? These cartoons are just bizarre. Completely and totally bizarre. And normally I would have hit the guide button and found a Landscaper’s Challenge or Design on A Dime, but the story lines were so odd that I couldn’t turn away. It was like a car crash.

The cartoon in question (which I would have shut off, but the absurdity of it stopped me dead in my tracks) was about (I kid you not) tiny crime-fighting bits of…sushi. Yes. Sushi. Crime-fighting specially prepared raw seafood. Which definitely proves that the cartoon creators were smoking something REALLY potent when they thought of this one.

Actually, I wouldn’t have guessed that they were supposed to be sushi at all if the name of the show hadn’t been The Sushi Pack. They looked more like different colored blobs if you ask me. There was a pink blob with ears like crab claws, and a blue blob that had several arms like an octopus or squid or something, and a green blob that was apparently supposed to be Wasabi sauce, but I have no idea what the other blobs were supposed to be. (They were introduced, but my eyes had glazed over and my brain was leaking out of my ears and onto the floor, so I didn’t catch them). Anyway, the story begins with the sushi blobs discussing doing some modifications on their crustacean-shaped helicopter. The pink blob wants to make it more Feng shui (do kids even know what this means? Can the average 4 year old now redecorate a room to channel my chi into a more positive climate?), the blue blob wants to do something else, and the green blob (for reasons never explained) wants to make the helicopter look like a giant flying bathtub.

Meanwhile, in another part of the city, a very large LARGE woman whose southern accent more than suggests that this is supposed to be an evil Paula Deen, is monologuing about how much she hates the Sushi Crew. (I can’t say that I’m a fan of raw fish either, but this woman really needs to get over it.) Alas, instead of doing something positive like making an appointment with her therapist to work out her food-related anger issues, she sets about creating an evil gang of fried foods to fight with the sushi crew. (I know. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse). She goes over to her deep fryer, and in the evil voice reserved specifically for bad guys, rants as she tosses a chicken nugget, a corn dog, a ball of mozzarella (hey! I think to myself, this is looking promising! I’m getting hungry!), some ketchup (fried ketchup?) and a dash of something very clearly labeled as “toxic poison” into the oil. The result is a huge explosion, and when the smoke clears, tiny brown blobs with legs and angry looking eyes. The bad guy fried foods all speak with distinct Southern accents, making me believe that there are some culturally disparaging undertones here. As expected, the rival food gangs meet up, and a “food fight” ensues, although not with any violence. The majority of the fight consisted of both food groups standing around, frowning aggressively at each other. (Remember the good old days when Jerry would drop a piano on Tom’s head? Those days are loooong gone). At the fight climax, some of the sushi gang threw yellow stuff (spicy mustard perhaps?) but it didn’t appear to do any damage…I’m guessing the Cartoon Violence Police are behind that one.

I’m assuming that the Sushi Pack eventually wins, but I’m not sure because I was able to snap myself out of the animated sushi-induced stupor and throw myself at the power button of the TV right as the sushi began an important lesson on compromising about the helicopter designs instead of focusing on their differences. I’m not sure how, but this in some way ties into the battle with the fried food.

Now, I am fully aware that I am not the target audience here, but seriously? Crime-fighting sushi? Have we really exhausted every other idea for a cartoon? On the one hand, I’m glad they tried to think of something more original than your standard suspiciously diverse group of kids with special secret powers to fly/shoot fire/talk to animals/cause earthquakes/turn into dragons/cars/dinosaurs/ninjas and are trying to save the world from your typical evil bad guys with legions of bad guy armies and complete with secret lair. On the other hand…it’s a show about two inch tall pieces of raw fish. I’m not sure whether to be in awe or deeply disturbed. Maybe it's just me and my antiquated notions on proper cartoon heroes, but despite the obvious moral lesson on teamwork and compromise, the sushi blobs scare me.

And I think I need some comfort in the form of fried foods.

The 25 Days Of Christmas Meme

Nicole did this Christmas-themed meme not too long ago, and I just had to bow to peer pressure. Here's everything you could ever want to know about my Christmas goings-on.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper. And all the presents are wrapped in the same paper so that they don't clash and look nice and uniform. And the wrapping paper is always blue. It's my wrapping paper rule. If something is just a weird size and impossible to wrap I'll use a gift bag, but then the present has to be hidden in the back so it doesn't mess up my blue scheme. Christmas quirk number 324: Matching presents in blue.

2. Real tree or Artificial? Real. I'd as soon do an artificial one in hopes that the cats wouldn't be so determined to eat the needles, but Tony insists that it isn't Christmas without a real tree. So we go to Lowes each year and pick out a Frazier fur (another Tony requirement...only the Frazier is a true tree; all other tree types are imposters). And every year we drag our tree home and set it up in the living room, and then I spend the next month trying to keep the cats from eating the branches and then barfing them back up in the hallway (cat Christmas quirk number 246: presents of pine tree barf on the carpet), and vacuuming up all the dropped needles, and trying to keep it in fresh water. But I do admit that there's something wonderful about the smell of pine in the house, and I do love the "realness" of a real tree, and I never have to spend time assembling and "fluffing" the branches or dragging it in and out of the attic.

3. When do you put up the tree? The first weekend in December. This is another Tony rule. Although I will (and have) already started decorating other parts of the house. We like to do the tree together, but the rest of the decorating falls under my jurisdiction, so I'll set something out whenever I have a free moment. It's not usual for him to come home and find a wreath up that wasn't there when he left that morning. But we always do the tree together, and always the first weekend of December.

4. When do you take the tree down? Usually the first week of January. We don't have a set time on this one, but usually by the time January rolls around, I've all Christmased out and am ready to have my living room floor space back. We take our tree out to the zoo for the animals to play with/eat on. Zoo animals love Christmas trees.

5. Do you like egg nog? Nope. It's a little too thick and egg-y for my tastes. Like drinking underdone scrambled eggs if you ask me.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? Hmmm. So many favorites. As a child, I'd like to say that the trampoline was pretty cool. And the year Mom and Dad gave us the gerbils with the gerbil play city and miles of connecting tubes. More recently, I'd have to say the birdhouse that Mom made me that looks just like my house, or the Roomba (of course!).

7. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes. I put it on top of the entertainment center so you can see it from the stairs. And also because that's the safest place to keep it away from pilfering kitty paws.

8. Hardest person to buy for? Dad. Everything we give him goes directly into the closet and stays there. He probably has 20 years of presents hoarded on the shelves in there. My goal is to find something each year that he'll actually use instead of burying in the closet.

9. Easiest person to buy for? The Seester. She sends a list with exactly what she wants, and she's just as thrilled to get a gift card as anything else. No surprises there.

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail. Each year I make Tony and the cats sit down and take a Christmas card picture. Then we mail them out to friends and family who secretly mock us for doing the same pose each year surrounded by a hoard of cats. Merry Christmas from the crazy cat family.

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? For some reason, people like to get me scented bath soaps. I'm not sure why. I think that I must be a difficult person to buy for, so they fall back on the Bath and Body funky smells collection. And I'm sure that that is a perfectly wonderful gift for lots of people, but I'm not really a Cinnamon Pear Mulberry Spice scented lotion kind of person. I have tons of that stuff, and no idea what to do with it.

12. Favorite Christmas movie? I'm going to let you in on a little secret here. You know those people who make it a tradition to watch White Christmas or Miracle on 34th Street? I'm not one of them. Just about the only Christmas movie that I'll actually sit down and watch is How the Grinch Stole Christmas (the animated version, not the remake).

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? As soon as I think of something that someone would like. Gift suggestion lists usually make their rounds in the beginning of November, and I like to have everything at least purchased by mid-November to allow for shipping.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Yes. I had the same aunt give us the same Christmas throw two years in a row. They were really nice, but I didn't really see the point of having two, so I gave the second one to someone else.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Chocolate turtles and Harry and Davis Moose Munch, which are sent to the office by our vendors every year and Christmas sugar cookies (especially the kind Tony's grandmother makes). Hmmm. Guess I'm not a very healthy Christmas eater.

16. Clear or colored Christmas lights? Colored on the tree. Blue on the outside of the house.
Tony likes the fat retro lights, which I broke down and bought for him at the end of last year, but I haven't decided where to put them yet. I'm afraid that they're a fire hazard inside, but I hate to have them mess up my blue theme outside.

17. Favorite Christmas song? Carol of the Bells, hands down. Followed closely by Little Drummer Boy and Greensleeves though.

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home. I'd like to stay home, but we alternate back and forth between my family and Tony's family for Christmas. I like to see everybody, but I wish the air travel wasn't always such a hassle. We always seem to be destined to get delayed and spend six hours sitting in an airport somewhere.

19. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeers? Yep. Although why useless information like that managed to stick while things like state capitals or the periodic table didn't...

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Angel. She's wearing a (wait for it) light blue dress. She's lovely. I bought her the first Christmas that I was on my own, even though she was almost taller than my little scrawny table-top tree. She's one of my favorite decorations. I have to be careful not to unpack her a second before the tree is ready though because Mason finds her feather-covered wings irresistible. I learned this the hard way one year when he snatched her from her ornament box and absconded with her through the house and under the bed. Luckily I got to her before he could start seriously chewing on her wings. He doesn't notice her when she's on top of the tree though.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Morning. How are you supposed to open presents before Santa can come on Christmas Eve?

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? Hmmm. I'm going to go with the weather. I know the cold doesn't really have anything to do with Christmas specifically, but I dislike the cold in general. Christmassing in the Bahamas would take care of that though.

23. Favorite ornament theme or color? You'd think that with the blue theme going on, I'd have blue ornaments on the tree also, but I don't. Our ornaments are a hodge-podge of ones that we've made/gotten over the years while we were growing up. We have baby's first Christmas ornaments, and clothespin reindeer ornaments, and plastic apple ornaments that we brought home from school in 1988, and first married ornaments, and first house ornaments, and everything in between. And sure, sometimes I look at all of the matching blue ornaments with the blue lights on the display trees in the stores, but I wouldn't change it. Our tree is a living history of who we are.

24. Favorite dinner for Christmas? I don't think we have any set Christmas dinner. Last time Tony's family did Italian beef sandwiches. My family usually does ham and deviled eggs and green beans and such. Either works for me.

25. What do you want for Christmas this year? My Christmas list included gift cards, clothes, video games, an omelet pan, and the Checkmate 1.8 million volt stun gun for zapping potential bad guys that I may come across while walking to my car in the evenings. We'll see what actually shows up under the tree.

Honk If You Love Obnoxious Honking

So yesterday I was driving back to work from my little jaunt to the Minute Clinic when something rather bizarre happened. I was sitting behind another car at a red light, just minding my own business and congratulating myself for (wo)manning up and going to the doctor BEFORE I had to be admitted to the ER (which I think shows mucho personal growth, by the way) when the light changed.

Annnnd the guy in front of me just sat there.

Now, I'm not one to be all banging on the horn and waving my arms around, because who of us hasn't been distracted while trying to extract that french fry wedged between the seat and the console when the light turned green and we didn't notice? Exactly. So I sat there for a few seconds, patiently waiting, but the guy still didn't budge and I was beginning to get worried that we'd miss the entire light. So I very very gently and quickly tapped the horn. You know the one where you lightly hit your steering wheel a few times until you can get the quietest, quickest, least obnoxious horn noise possible? One that, instead of being all "GET OUT OF THE WAY, MORON!" it's more like, "Um, excuse me. I hate to be a bother because I know that at this very moment you almost have the wayward fry tweezer-ed between two of your fingers, but I just wanted to point out that the light is green." So I start tapping, but before I can get the polite horn tap out, the car that has pulled up behind me just LAYS on his horn. And holds it down, which is not only horn-speak for "Get out of the way you Moron!" but also insinuates things about your mother and calls your entire heritage into question. And I jump, and I'm sure french fry guy jumps, because he immediately notices that the light has changed and turns right. And I mentally commiserate with him about the rude jerk behind me who is STILL laying on the horn as I turn left and go my merry way.

And here's where the bizarre part happens, because fry guy turned right, and I turned left, and guy behind me turned right, so they're both heading in the opposite direction from me, but I STILL HEAR THE HORN.

And that's when I realize that it wasn't rude guy behind me laying on his's MY horn! And it's still blowing! Apparently when I tapped it something got stuck, because my horn has been blaring constantly for about 20 seconds now (which is a looooooong time when you are driving down the road with people getting out of your way or flipping you off or just generally wondering what is wrong with this insane person who will not stop with the horn already?!?) and I'm beating on the steering wheel, trying to unstick it, but that just seems to renew its vigor, and now I'm thinking things like "Do I just keep driving? Or do I pull over in the parking lot of one of these businesses? If I pull over, everyone in the business is going to think I'm in some sort of trouble and come running out to see what the problem is. If I just keep driving, people are going to think I have some serious road rage". Either way, blaring horn is mortally embarrassing.

So I just kept driving, and beating the steering wheel, and yelling "SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP!" at the horn, while mentally sending telepathic messages to all the people around me that I'm so sorry, and it's not them I'm honking at, and I really don't mean what it sounds like I'm saying about them and their heritage, and please don't shoot me or run me off the road or whatever it is that people do to the idiot who is driving down the street with the horn blasting.

And right around the time that I'm debating about just diving out of the car and pretending that I've never seen it before, it stops. Just like that. Deafening horn for 40 seconds, then nothing. Blessed, anonymous silence. It was the strangest thing.

Obviously, the car is either suffering from PMS or demonic possession. (Aside: Tony says he thought they were the same thing. Excuse me while I smack him). Of course, being a stickler for proper car care maintenance, I'm planning on handling it by a) pretending this entire embarrassing episode never happened, b) denying to anyone who may have witnessed the event that I was anywhere within a 10 mile radius, and c) never touching the horn again, ever. If that doesn't work, we'll move on to my surefire PMS cure: liberal doses of chocolate and a good cry over a Lifetime movie.

And then I'll figure out what to do about the car.

Minute Clinics

At the risk of sounding like a little old lady who shares all of her medical woes to everyone in great detail, I have a bladder infection. Again. I tell you this not to discuss bathroom frequency (please don’t) or the effectiveness of cranberry (very), but to pontificate on the absolute fabulous-ness of the CVS Minute Clinic. Has anyone else discovered these little medical gems?

I don’t know if you can tell it from here, or here, or here, but if you haven’t already guessed, I am not a fan of the doctor. And for better or worse, will put off going to said doctor until I’m pretty much dead, or have weakened to the point that Tony can overpower me and drag me in against my will. It’s not that I don’t like medical care, it’s just that (commencing whining in 3…2…1) they take forever, and I have to miss work to go, and they’re full of sick people, and you sit for hours in the waiting room, and then you sit for hours in the examining room, and then the doctor spends roughly 4.5 seconds talking to you, and then they charge you (or your insurance company) a bazillion dollars for it. And there’s always the possibility of random blood tests, which involve needles, and don’t even get me started on the needles. So to sum up: not a fan.

Oh! But these Minute Clinics! They are everything you could ever want in a doctor’s office! They are located inside the CVS, and they do not have a billion little forms to fill out in triplicate (they use kiosks! Enter name, address, date of birth and you’re done! Why haven’t traditional offices thought of this before?). Plus, there was not a soul waiting when I arrived, so the RN (who was not sequestered out of sight in a mysterious back room, probably playing solitaire while I sit in the exam room, seething) was right there, waiting for me to finish my kiosk information and immediately admit me. And get this! He actually listened to me! Asked me questions and filled in notes on his computer and talked to me for a full and undivided 20 minutes! He did the "lab work" right there in about 2 minutes instead of 2 days, and emailed the records of my visit to my regular doctor so that she could have a full history also. Then I stepped out of the exam room, walked 20 paces up to the front of the store, and had my prescription filled. I was very impressed. Finally! A doctor for lazy, busy, doctor-phobic people like me!

I understand that Walgreen's has a similar kind of thing going also. Maybe others do too...I don't know. But I think it's a fabulous idea. They don't treat everything...just easy stuff like colds and allergies and bladder infections (there's a list on the website) but they do seem to cover all the little things that are annoying but not really worth the hassles of trying to get in to see a regular doctor. And sure, at first it seems a little weird to be sitting in a room discussing the color of your urine while knowing there's a woman requesting one hour photo processing and a stock boy jostling a new case of lipstick on the other side of the door, but you get used to it pretty quickly. Plus, I am all about the one-stop shopping, and I needed some new lipstick anyway.

So, even though I am not the official CVS Minute Clinic spokesperson (yet...Hint hint CVS people. Loyalty for sale here!), nor in any way affiliated with them, I wanted to pass along something good that I discovered in case any of you are also lazy busy doctor-phobes. I highly recommend them (at least the one I went to on Kingston Pike anyway), and especially if you have a bladder infection and need some new lipstick.

Thanksgiving Update

Hello? Anybody here? (sound of lonely echoes). I know, I’ve left you Quirk-less for the entire week, and I completely understand if you’ve taken off for quirkier pastures. It’s just hard to write over a holiday when family is in and we’re eating and playing on the Wii and eating and dragging Christmas decorations out of the attic and eating. And you know how hard it is to type while clutching a fork in one hand and a turkey leg in the other. As a matter of fact, I didn’t even turn the computer on for the past four days. Nope, not even once. I take my dedication to Thanksgiving gluttony very seriously. And as much as I love all of you guys, turkey and gravy and broccoli casserole and mashed potatoes and stuffing and apple pie can pretty much block everything else out.

But now, having sworn that I am too stuffed to ever eat again, I am back. And hopefully, one or two or you are also.

To catch you up to everything that has happened the past few days without boring you to tears, I submit the following to you, in super-condensed format:

Seester and hubby. Apple pie. Brownies. Banana Bread. Stuffing. 18 place settings. Leaf decorations. Turkey. LED candle batteries. Mashed potatoes. Broccoli casserole. Blue Ornaments for $1. Hard to find yeast rolls. 3 bags of ice. Mom. Dad. Grandparents. Aunts. Uncles. Cousins. Relatives of Relatives. Their friends. More broccoli casserole. Mad Gab. UT Men’s basketball. Gravy. Gravy on biscuits. Gravy on stuffing. Gravy on turkey and mashed potatoes. No more gravy. Laughter. Christmas presents. Saved bows. New clothes. Silly pictures. 1.8 million volt stun gun. Throwing star. Whimsy. Gift cards. Brown boots. Wii games. All you can eat pizza buffet. Dance Dance Revolution. Laughter. Catnip toys. Christmas pictures. Cheese queso. Chips. Turkey pinwheels. Free curly fries. More apple pie. Wii hockey. Cracker barrel. Lima beans. Broccoli casserole leftovers. Measurement from your shoulder to my elbow. Hugs goodbye. Read a book. Take a nap. Last of the broccoli casserole. Already missing the gravy.

I doubt any of that made sense to anyone who wasn’t there, but you get the gist anyway (if nothing else than with my obsession with gravy). And assuming that you’re still out there and I’m not just talking to myself (which would be very lonely indeed), you’re now all caught up on what’s been happening while I was gone. We now return to your regularly scheduled quirky.

Weekend Update

So I saw the Twilight movie Friday night. I can say that it did stay pretty true to the book, which is good because otherwise it’s a deal breaker for me. And the movie was okay, although I probably wouldn’t run out and see it six more times or anything. To me, the magic of the story is to be able to loose yourself in good writing, and the movie just doesn’t do that for me (to be fair, most movies don’t. I’m definitely more drawn to the written word that the silver screen). So. Book= excellent. Movie= okay…mostly because it didn’t screw up the book.

Also, to the group of six or seven girls that sat behind me and giggled through the entire movie? SHUT. UP. You have no idea how close I came to coming over the back of my seat and knocking your empty pre-pubescent heads together. I credit only my Herculean self-control. There is no need to squeal every time an actor walks into a scene. It’s not like he can hear you. He’s not REALLY there. This isn’t live theater. Don’t make me go all rated R for gratuitous violence on ya’ll. (I suddenly remember why I never go to movies in theaters anymore).

I also went to Nashville to visit my good buddy and long-time cohort in crime, Nicole (and my younger man crush, Eli). He’s 18 months old now, and let me tell you, the boy is a major heart breaker. He does this thing where he looks up at you through his big long eyelashes and grins and you just melt into a little puddle on the floor. I, probably the most immune person on the planet when it comes to baby cuteness, would have given him anything he wanted in an instant. Apparently, his current thing is dancing, and he insists that when he dances, everyone else does too. He kept pulling on my hand to make sure that I was up dancing to the Disney music channel all night long (or at least until his bedtime anyway). He’s got some really smooth moves designed to make all the little girls swoon. His mama is in big big trouble.

Nicole also foolishly took me to the Titans Jets game. (I say foolish because I told her that the Curse of the Goose would make the Titans lose, but she took me anyway). Now normally I am not a football fan and usually end up bored by halftime, but this time I was interested enough to follow the ENTIRE game. True, we had really awesome seats in the 15th row, and true, there was this inflatable raccoon mascot thing that was so oddly proportioned that I couldn’t look away, but I think the real thing that kept my interest was the fact that Nicole can carry on a conversation and watch a football game AT THE SAME TIME, unlike my usual game watching companion who is generally so engrossed in the game that conversations mostly consist of one word answers and no eye contact whatsoever. (Not that I’m naming any names here, coughTonycough). So yeah, the Titans lost, and yeah, they were previously undefeated up until they tangled with the Curse of the Goose, but we still had a good time. I would totally go again, and that’s saying something when it comes to football.

So that was my weekend, which was awesome, although way too short (as weekends tend to be). But that’s okay, because it’s a short week at work, followed by a 4 day weekend. And THAT, silly pre-pubescent girls, is something to squeal about.

My Dream Guy, or Defending The Castle Once Again

Last night I was dreaming. It was a lovely dream where Tony and I were ballroom dancing. (Technically, this is not something we know how to do, but when does that ever stop you in a dream?) Anyway, we were gliding beautifully across the floor, and my gown was just amazing, and the room was twinkling like in a fairy tale. So romantic. And then the music ends, and Tony leans down and whispers in my ear

“I think we have another raccoon in the attic”.

Queue the screeching halt in the music. My eyes fly open. It’s dark in the bedroom.

“I think another raccoon has gotten into the attic. I keep hearing thumping above the ceiling”.
Fabulous. Why won’t the giant rodents leave us alone? And why won’t they let me finish a halfway decent dream sequence?

“Do you want me to go up and check?” He tries to sound noble, but I can hear the edge of excitement in his voice. Like he can’t wait to duke it out with a wild raccoon.
“No” I sigh, “Leave him alone”.
“I’ll call the guys we used last time and make and appointment for them to come out and set up another trap”.
That’s my Tony. Willing to do the mundane little things like arrange to have the second uninvited attic squatter removed without me even having to ask. And I know he’ll actually follow though too, because he’s responsible like that.

We may not be ballroom dancing, but he’s always my Prince Charming.

A Little Whine With That Flurry?

Ack people, it is cold! Have I mentioned how much I hate cold? I’m pretty sure I have, but I think for today it bears repeating. Yesterday? Snow flurries on the way to work! Actual, real live, frozen accumulation! Here! In my little K-town! Where even though there’s a chance, and even though people wish for it, and even through it can get technically cold enough to where people are wondering if this year is going to “a bad one”, it is NOT supposed to snow! Oh how I longed to turn the car around and head straight back to my cozy little electric blanket on my cozy little bed to wait out this insanity until say, next April. But alas, I could not. And so I was cold.

Then today, while the weather guy was happily gesturing to the close-up of the Knoxville map with a giant 21 degrees plastered over the top and a wind chill of 19 (19! You should have seen the gleam in weather guy’s eyes…sadistic monster), I was out scraping my windshield. And my windows. And my mirrors. The entire car was a giant sheet of ice. You can see why I’m in such a good mood right now.

I do not understand why you Northerners put up with this kind of stuff. I am putting my foot down about anything less than 50 degrees. As a matter of fact, I have recently become consumed with the idea of fleeing to somewhere warm, like say the equator, to wait out this nasty winter winter-ness. All I need is a little shack and a computer with internet connection (and a job that would let me work tele-commute from a shack on the equator), and I’d be a happy camper. It is definitely time for me to fly south for the winter.

It’s going to be a long 4 months.

Heart Walk

In a continuing effort to keep my family healthy, I signed Mom, Dad, and Tony up to do the American Heart Association’s 5K Heart Walk with me this weekend. And in a continuing effort to make them miserable, I made them go even though it was cold and rainy.

Still, despite the rain and wind and cold (and mud, and wet dog fur smell, and the fact that you couldn’t hear anything that was being said up on the stage), it was an okay time. 5K is not a difficult distance to walk, and Tony totally forgave me for making him go when we stocked up on candy from Mast General afterwards. (Mental note: the key to diffusing marital discord is apparently a vast quantity of Sugar Daddies and Goo-Goo clusters. Who knew?)

Anyway, I’m sure that the American Heart Association appreciated our walk, even though the only one who raised any money was Aunt Suzie, who was smart enough to send a check in her absence when she realized how nasty the weather would be.

The rest of us were just a glutton for punishment.

Our walking team. Mom is in the white hat, I’m next to her, Dad’s the one in the black hat (looking stoic and unusually tall), and Tony’s in the back, pretending to be either the Grim Reaper or the Unabomber with his hood up.

A Friday Meme

It's Friday. I'm feeling lazy. That means meme time!

Here's one I found at Poetikat's Invisible Keepsakes:

1. My uncle once: was a Navy seal. He doesn’t really talk about it much though.

2. Never in my life have I: been in a hot air balloon, vacationed in Australia, published a book, or driven a motorcycle. All things that are now on my to-do list.

3. When I was five my parents took me: to kindergarten? I don’t specifically recall it, but I know that I went to kindergarten, and five seems to be the average age of attendance, so I’m assuming I was there.

4. High school was: tolerable. Nothing to write home about, but not the worst time ever either. Just something I did while I was waiting to go to college.

5. I will never forget to: take time to read a good book

6. Once I met: Tennessee football coach, Phillip Fulmer. He was in a restaurant at the table next to mine. My mom made me go over and get his autograph. He was very nice. I’m very bummed that he’s leaving at the end of the season. He’s been a great coach.

7. There’s this boy I know: who is sweet and funny and kind and responsible and loving and selfless and easy going and does the dishes, the laundry, and takes out the trash without being asked. Good thing that I married him. (Eat your heart out ladies!)

8. Once, at a bar, I: was like, “Are you ready to go yet? This place reeks of smoke. And that guy just tried to grab my butt. And it’s really crowded in here. And I drank all my water and I’m not about to go back up to the bar to ask for another one. And why does it have to be so loud in here?” (Oh yes, I’m a lot of fun to be out with. That might explain why I spend so little time in bars).

9. By noon, I’m: blogging, reading other people’s blogs, or out wandering the streets looking for blog fodder.

10. Last night I: tried to take over the world. (Said like the Brain in Pinky in the Brain). No really, last night I sat in the hot tub and read. This, going back to Pinky and the Brain, is the same thing I do every night.

11. If only I had: any idea what I want to be when I grow up.

12. Next time I go to church: I’ll ask Tony if he wants to bring something to the church’s annual Thanksgiving potluck dinner. He probably won’t, but I’ll ask anyway.

13. What worries me most is that I: won’t ever find whatever it is I’m meant to do. That I’ll just end up floating along without any real purpose or direction.

14. When I turn my head left I see: my Pathos plant. Looks like it could use some water too.

15. When I turn my head right I see: that framed picture of my and the Seester when we were at the photographer getting her pre-wedding photos done. I hadn’t planned on being in any so I was really ratty casually dressed, but the photographer wanted to get a picture of me and the Seester playing a game where we stared at each other and tried not to be the one to smile first. (We played this all the time as kids). Anyway, she totally lost and the result is this great picture where she’s laughing like crazy and I’ve got my head turned towards her, smirking ‘cause I won.

16. You know I’m lying when I: lie. Apparently my face is an open book. No poker face whatsoever. It’s annoying actually. There goes my career as an international spy. Or politician.

17. What I miss most about the Eighties is: big hair. My hair yearns for the day when it can be large and in charge again. It’s like, “Just say the word, sister”

18. If I were a character in Shakespeare I’d be: really old by now. No seriously, I’d like to be one of the fairies like in Midsummer Night’s Dream, but some days I feel more like the third tree from the left.

19. By this time next year I will: be 29? Who knows beyond that? I’d hope to be smarter, kinder, and doing something meaningful with my life.

20. A better name for me would be: the 2008 Lotto Million Dollar Jackpot Winner

21. I have a hard time understanding: why people love reality shows so much. It’s not really real people! I hope not anyway. What a conniving, self-centered and rude world we live in if it is.

22. If I ever go back to school, I’ll: take only classes that are fun and interesting to me. No more accounting EVER!

23. You know I like you if I: skip the small talk and go straight to a real conversation.

24. If I ever won an award, the first person I would thank would be: my Mom. Chances are she had a lot to do with whatever I’m getting an award for.

25. Take my advice, never: ride an alpine slide. This, for those of you who are not familiar with it, is a concrete slide that winds down a mountain. The idea is you slide down this concrete chute on a little sled with wheels. Oh sure, it sounds like fun now, but DON’T DO IT! Because when you fall off of the little sled at high speeds, you will surely demonstrate Newton’s First Law (objects in motion tend to slide another 25’ feet along the concrete) and Friction (thereby ripping all of the skin off of your body) in an amazing display of road rash, and exactly one week before you are supposed to start the eighth grade (Murphy’s law and the Law of Teenage Mortification).

I Love A Good Story...Even If I Am 15 Years Out Of The Target Market

So I just finished Stephanie Meyer’s The Host, and I have to say, it’s really really good. I am in awe (and totally jealous) of the depth of her imagination and storytelling. This one has a completely different feel from the Twilight series, and you wouldn’t even guess that they were from the same author except that they both are incredibly well written. I almost wish that she had come out with The Host first, because it deserves some limelight in it’s own right. It’s a great story…Kind of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, only from the alien’s point of view. If Twilight sucked you in and kept you up reading all night, The Host keeps you pondering long after the last page. I just can’t quit you, Stephanie Meyer. (Me and all the other 14 year old girls).

In related Meyer news, the other day I saw the trailers for the new Twilight movie that is set to come out November 21st. Now, normally I hate hate HATE the movies of books that I love because they never live up to the book, but I watched the trailers on this one, and it may be okay. It seems to stay pretty close to the book. So maybe. I can say that I do not care for Edward’s hair AT ALL, and why they made it all stick up like Teen Wolf, I’ll never know. And Bella looks way younger than I thought. (I know, I know, she’s 17. But the movie makes her look 12). So I have a totally different picture of both Edward and Bella than what the movie producers did, and I while it won’t keep me from seeing the movie, I’ll continue to use my mental images of them instead. Tony claims that he has no interest in seeing it at all, but I went with him to see the last Batman movie, so he owes me one. I think it’ll be fun. Part of me is a little embarrassed to admit that I’m going to go see a movie geared towards teenagers, (that’s like admitting to like Hannah Montana or seeing High School musical 3) but I tell myself that it’s only because the trailers have stayed true to the book’s plot, and Stephanie Meyer writes so well. And I’m young at heart.

My Alter Ego

I have found my alter ego. And oh my goodness, she’s beautiful.

She looks fast just sitting still, doesn’t she? This is the Ducati 848 Superbike, and if I believed in reincarnation, this is what I would want to be when I came back.

I have never given motorcycles much thought. They held no draw for me. Just another mode of transportation. But this! This is more than a machine. This is art with attitude. This says screaming down empty winding moonlit roads that really only exist in car commercials. This says a ride so smooth you’ll cry and so fast your heart will explode in your chest and you will not only not care, but actually enjoy it when it happens.

I didn’t know what a Ducati was until recently. I’d read the name in a book a couple of years ago, and I was like, “A what?” (Normally I Google anything I’m not familiar with, but at the time I ran across it, it was really late and I was already in bed and the computer was off. Besides, I figured out from the context that it was a motorcycle, so I just pictured your run-of-the-mill bike and went on). Then, a couple of months ago I saw it mentioned again in another book. Not even an important mention. Just something like, “…parked next to the Ducati…” and I was like, “There it is again! What is it about this bike?” So I googled the Ducati website, and when this pulled up, I actually, literally said “Holy Smokes!” out loud. It was everything I ever secretly wanted to be but am not, in machine form.

Of course, as soon as I acknowledged the teensiest kernel of desire, my practical, responsible, sensible (boring) self screamed ABSOLUTELY NOT! It watches the news too much. I could tell it had visions of me splattered all over the road because some SUV didn’t see me. (Not see me? If you saw this bike coming down the road, you wouldn’t be able to look away). But I understand the point. There are gobs and gobs of statistics about people killed in motorcycle accidents. And even if they weren’t, this fine fine Italian is probably molto costoso. My boring sensible self knows all of this. My boring sensible self points out all kinds of other practical, logical arguments like, even if I had the money, and even if it was perfectly safe, where would the groceries go? Where would your purse go? And what about when there’s inclement weather? Sigh. My practical, responsible side always wins.

But somewhere, deep down in my dream world where I’ve won obscene amounts of money in the lottery, and Tony looks like Antonio Banderas, and my legs never need shaving and I can gorge myself on chocolate without gaining an ounce, my alter ego bike throws off the yoke of practical responsibility and dares it, no, taunts it to follow me as we go roaring out onto the open roads, all whipping wind and freedom and laughing uproariously at the stunned look on practical responsibility’s face as we gunned the engine and whooping, rocketed off into the sunset.

Holy Smokes is right.


I know the entire world is abuzz today with the results of the Presidential election. And that the blogosphere is all a twitter with what this will mean for our country. That people are saying that we’ve made history today, for better or worse.


I gotta tell you I don’t really see what the big deal is here, people. We do this every four years. Two politicians spend bazillions of dollars badmouthing each other and telling the country how they’re going to be for change. Then we pick one. It’s the same thing every single time. The names changed, but other than that it wasn’t really very different.

And some people are celebrating in the streets, and some people are bemoaning how the world is going to end, but I don’t really think there will be all that much that changes. At least not in my little world. I’ll just keep on doing the same thing I’ve always done, no matter if there’s a Republican or Democrat in the Oval Office.

So there you go, in case you were wondering about what I was feeling on this “historic day” (ABC news’ words, not mine). The answer is Eh. With a shrug.

Tomorrow we’ll go back to the really important stuff, like my fear of jell-o and other people’s basketball shorts.

Gym People

I’m at the gym tonight, doing my thing on the elliptical machine. I’ve brought a book with me, but for the moment I’m content to people watch. Most of them are familiar to me. They follow the same schedule I do, and though I’ve never so much as uttered a single word to them, I know them. They are my gym people.

Tonight is a fairly busy night, and several of the treadmills in front of me are full. To my right, doing a fairly respectable pace is the guy I’ve nicknamed Just For Men, because he looks like the poster child for the hip, successful, yet graying middle-aged man. You know the commercial where the guy is surfing and singing in a band and generally pretending that he’s still in his twenties except for the fact that he can color his hair yet still look natural by keeping a little gray? That’s this guy. He’s in shape, he’s not bad looking, and he carries that air of confidence that says “I’m not old…I’m just keeping a little gray”. He has his headphones in, probably listening to his Led Zeppelin and mentally reliving the free-spirited 70’s of his youth.

Next to Just For Men is Aunt Jemima, who ironically, looks nothing like a large comfortable black woman known for her pancakes. Instead, this is a young, fit, white man, probably in his late 20’s, whose only transgression is a fondness for working out with a bandana on his head, thus the nickname. (I suppose he could have just as easily been Biker Guy or Pirate Guy…either of which he would have probably preferred, but as soon as I saw the bright red bandana, I thought of Aunt Jemima, and the mental nickname stuck). Actually, Aunt Jemima is one of my favorite gym regulars to watch because he is a beautiful runner. He quickly gets his treadmill up to speed and settles into a graceful bound, running effortlessly like a gazelle. His movements seem so carefree and fluid that it appears to be no effort at all for him. He almost seems to be floating. It makes me want to get on a treadmill just to see if it really is as much fun as he makes it look. (It’s not. I’ve tried. I am not a graceful floating runner. I am the jerky, arms and legs flailing awkwardly for a minute or two before tripping over my own feet and falling off the end of the treadmill runner). But Aunt Jemima makes running look at natural as breathing. And tonight, he’s on the treadmill right in front of me so I can watch him with envy without being obvious.

Two treadmills down from Aunt Jemima is a new runner. I don’t think I’ve seen her before. Or if I have, she hasn’t stuck. Like Aunt Jemima, she’s running, but unlike him, she is not floating gracefully. She’s pounding. Bam! Bam! Bam! Bam! go her feet against the belt. She runs with jarring steps that slams down with each step. I pity her knees. The entire room is filled with the sounds of her stomping, drowning out the music and causing other patrons to glance over at her. I mentally christen her Angry Girl, since her run seems to be about intense frustration and maybe even a little self-punishment. I wonder what happened that made her so mad. I wonder if she really is mad, or if she always runs like that. She’s facing away from me. I can see her general reflection in the window in front of her however, and if she’s going to run like that, she needs a better sports bra. She’s going to knock herself out with all that jerky stomping. I tsk at her. If Angry Girl is angry now, she’s really going to be seething when she gets ready to leave and her “girls” drag along behind her.

Just For Men starts his cool down.

On the other side of Angry Girl is Mr. Male Pattern Baldness. He wears and oversized t-shirt and those giant basketball shorts that hang down below his knees. Why do guys like those shapeless shorts? It makes them look like they have no rear end whatsoever. And short deformed legs. Honestly, they don’t even look good on professional basketball players. Overlooking the unfortunate wardrobe, Male Pattern Baldness has another problem. He’s got the treadmill going too fast. He runs right on the edge of flying out of control. His body gives off waves of panic as he just barely keeps himself upright on the spinning conveyor belt. He has a death grip on the handlebars. I can’t say I blame him. He’s half a step from shooting off the end of the treadmill into the stratosphere. I can’t look away. It’s like a car crash. I want to yell at him to slow down, but I also want to watch the destruction.

Just For Men finishes his workout. He wipes down the machine and saunters over to the water fountain. Angry Girl drops her speed down to a jog. She’s still stomping, but at least it’s at a slower pace. Less bouncing too. I wonder if my rear end is bigger or smaller than hers. I mentally measure my butt. Hard to tell. Probably about the same size. I’m okay with this. She’s got a decent shape.

Male Pattern Baldness gives up and slows the treadmill to a walk. Good. Despite the unattractive shorts, falling off the treadmill would be mortification that I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

Angry Girl gets her second wind. She bumps the speed back up and resumes her beating.

On the elliptical machines to my left are three Barbies. They’re blond co-eds with perfect figures and matching sorority t-shirts. I wonder why they come here instead of using the gym on campus. Despite my nickname for them, I don’t begrudge them anything. They come just like the rest of us to work out and nothing more. They can’t help it that they’re Barbies. It’s just one of those college phases where everyone wants the same clothes, the same shape, the same blond hair. Identity through conformity. Pretty, but an exact clone of the girl next to her. Don’t worry, I tell them silently. Once you graduate, you’ll find yourself again. I’ve been there. I’m the wise older sister. Oblivious to me and my mental encouragement, they pedal along to their I-pods, lost in their world of Beyonce or T.I. or whatever collage girls are listening to these days.

Male Pattern Baldness is watching the TV turned to CNN. I can just barely see the profile of his face. He looks like he’s working out a very difficult math problem in his head.

Aunt Jemima finally slows. He’s been in a Zen-like state for close to 45 minutes now. He’s not even sweaty. I suddenly wonder if he’s attractive. I can’t tell from behind. He has the classic athlete’s body, with the wide shoulders slimming down to a trim waist. The perfect V shape. He’s well-muscled but not bulky, and he has nice calves. Dark hair peeks out from under his bandana. I can’t see his face though. (Not that I’m in the market, mind you. I’m just passing the time).

A new woman, (I'll call her Every Mom) gets onto the elliptical machine next to me. She’s probably late 40’s, and wearing a plain blue t-shirt and yoga pants. Very Soccer Mom-ish. She’s flipping through a Southern Living magazine, but she’s not really reading it. Just glancing at the pictures. Something to keep her occupied while she exercises. I watch her out of the corner of my eye. She’s in pretty good shape, although she’d probably never believe it if you told her. Women her age always seem to hate the way they look. I feel like the bridge between her and the Barbies. This was me 10 years ago, and this will be me 10 years from now. I wonder if anyone else has realized that we’re all pedaling away in chronological order. Probably not.

It’s getting late. I’m almost through with my workout. I switch to my cool down.

Aunt Jemima leaves. I remember my earlier curiosity about his face, but he never looks in my direction. I shrug it off. It doesn’t matter what he looks like. He’ll always be Aunt Jemima to me.

Angry Girl also slows to a stop. She didn’t really do much of a cool down, but it looks like the battle is over. I hope she found some peace.

The workout summary pops up on the screen and I roll to a stop. Another day done, another workout mastered, and I’m feeling strangely connected to all my gym people. We’re kindred spirits, dedicated to our nightly workouts as we commune silently together on our various machines. Good night Every Mom! Good night Male Pattern Baldness! I’ll see you next time Barbies! You don’t know it, but your unacknowledged familiarity comforts me in my routine. You are my gym people.

60 Extra Minutes of Wonderful

Oh Internets, I cannot express to you how much I love daylight savings time! Sure, sure, it’s a pain changing all of the clocks all over the house, and I can never remember the sequence of buttons that changes it in my car (although I do manage to erase all of my pre-set radio buttons instead), but all that is but a distant memory compared to waking up and realizing that I have another hour until the alarm goes off! It’s like a little piece of Saturday, wrapped up in Monday morning.

You know what else I like? Sunshine. It is sooo much easier to get out of bed with the sun shining instead of it being all dark and cold outside. Dark and cold=sleep. Blessed sunshine pouring through the window? That I can deal with. Ah, but what about the hour of sunshine you lose after work, you argue? Eh. It’s normally dark by the time I’m out of the gym in the evenings anyway, so no big loss for me. Besides, that’s my most awake time of the day naturally. I don’t need the sun’s help then. I’m ready to party at 6pm. 6am is when it hurts.

Oh! And you know what else? I just thought of this! That extra hour is just enough to melt all the frost off of the windshield of the car so that I don’t have to go out and scrape it! I HATE scraping the windshield. But that hour of sunlight does it for me, at least for the next few weeks. Gotta love that. (If I was smart, I’d use this extra time to find the special-sized battery for the garage door opener so that I could park inside the garage again before the frost with staying power shows up. We’ll see how that goes).

Of course, daylight savings only bought me another month or so before I adjust back to being sleepy in the morning, and the winter solstice wins and sucks my morning sunshine back out of my room, and the frost creeps back onto my car windows, but I’ll enjoy it while I can. Winter makes me crazy like a crack monkey, so every second of sunshine is precious. And why I use that extra hour to count my daylight-savings blessings.

A Quirk-less Halloween

I didn’t dress for Halloween this year. I know, I know. I ALWAYS dress up. I just couldn’t get into it this year though. And rather than cheapen the dress up experience with some polyester off-the-rack monstrosity, I just decided to forgo the entire event this year. And even though while Ye Ol Company encourages dressing up, I just decided to be one of the boring grown-ups instead. It’s not like anyone other than me would care, right?


I didn’t realize it, but all those other boring grown-ups that never wear costumes at work really really look forward to my costumes. All day long, everywhere I’ve gone, people are shocked that I didn’t dress up this year. Not just shocked, but crushed even.

“No costume this year?”
“No, not this year.”
“BUT WHY???? I’ve been looking forward to your costume all year!”
“Uhhhh…really?”YES! Why didn’t you dress up? Can you go home at lunch and change into one?”

I thought the first few times that this conversation took place that they were mocking me and my love for all things dress up. But I must have heard this 20 times now, from 20 different people, and I can’t imagine that such a large array of co-workers would take the time to plan a group mock like that. So I have to assume that they are sincere. And they really do miss my costumes. Which I think is rather bizarre.

But kinda sweet at the same time.

Just in case you also miss my costumes, here’s a recap of last year’s, and the year before, and the year before.

Seven (More?) Quirky Things Meme

Okay, so it’s meme time. Actually, it was meme time about a month ago when someone tagged me for this meme, but I haven’t gotten around to doing it before now, and I’m too lazy to go back and look up who tagged me for it in the first place. (If you tagged me, then thank you, and don’t worry that I can’t remember who you are because it is in no way a bad reflection on you. I’m just bad about stuff like that. And lazy. But you, you are awesome). Anyway, it’s the 7 Quirky things tag, which come to think of it, I may have done before already, but I’m not positive and I don’t see it in the archives, so maybe not. Again, too lazy to give it more than a cursory look. But even if I have done it before I don’t remember what I wrote, so I’m assuming that you don’t either. Okay, here we go:

One: I don’t eat jell-o. Not one bit. It all goes back to when I was small and accidentally choked on some jell-o. I know, I know, you can’t choke on jell-o. Well I did. And it wasn’t pleasant. And I haven’t eaten for like, 25 years because of it. Besides, food that is semi-transparent and wiggles is unnatural. Just say no to jell-o.

Two: You know what else I don’t eat? Waffles. Not because I choked on them once, but because once when my family was down visiting friends of ours in Savannah, they made us homemade Belgian waffles with their new waffle iron. And they were completely delicious, and I ate a ton of them. Unfortunately unbeknownst to me, I was also very quickly developing a nasty stomach flu, so those lovely waffles didn’t stay down for long. I was on my death bed for days. And I know it had nothing to do with the waffles, but they are now forever linked in my head with the stomach flu so I just can't bear to make myself eat them. That was about 18 years ago. I hold food grudges for a LONG time.

Three: I consider myself an excellent whistler. I can whistle along to any song. I have fabulous range too. I consider whistling to be genetic. My Dad and I can whistle. My mom and sister can not. (I’ve tried to teach the Seester off and on for years…it just doesn’t work). Tony can’t whistle either, so who knows if my children will be able to or not. I would hate to see my fantastic whistling abilities die out with me. I am reminded of an old boyfriend’s father who used to tell me that “a whistling woman and a crowing hen both will come to no good end”. I have no idea what that means except that I’m pretty sure he was jealous of my exceptional whistling ability.

Four: I have a thing for guys with glasses. It suddenly occurs to me that just about all the guys that I’ve ever dated have worn glasses. I seem to be attracted to genetically inferior eyesight. Tony is no exception. What is it about blind guys that makes my heart go pitter-pat?

Five: I’m a little mixed up on my condiments. Maybe not mixed up...just quirky. For instance, I never eat cocktail sauce with shrimp. I always eat my shrimp with ketchup. I never eat ketchup on French fries...I always eat my fries with ranch dressing. I never eat chicken nuggets with mustard...I eat them with with honey. I don't eat barbeque sandwiches with barbeque sauce...I eat mayonnaise on my barbeque. And I don't eat mayonnaise on my burgers at home...I eat it with ranch dressing. I like to think it keeps the condiments guessing.

Six: I don’t like spiders. I don’t know many people who do, but I really don’t like them. Whenever one gets into the house, Tony tries to make it less scary by giving the spider a name. (“Oh that little guy over there? That’s just Frank. He won’t hurt you”). I’m not buying it. It didn’t work with Charlotte’s web, and it isn’t working now. It does, however, make the neighbors wonder when they see me through the window, standing on the couch, banging a shoe up against the wall and screaming “DIE FRANK DIE!” It especially bothers our neighbor Frank.

Seven: Sometimes when I’m reading, I’ll unthinkingly act out the faces that the characters are supposed to be making to get a better idea of what they look like. So when the book says, “Confusion clouded his features for a moment before morphing into hysterical laughter”, I’ll try to look confused before suddenly laughing hysterically. This wouldn’t be so bad except that I tend to read in public places, such as on the square and at the gym. Sometimes I’ll run through the sentence 4 or 5 times before I feel like I understand exactly what the character is doing. Frown. Laugh. Frown. Laugh. Frown. Laugh. I’m sure it looks very disturbing to the casual observer. (Come to think of it, this may be why no one ever gets on the elliptical machine next to me).

Okay, that’s seven completely pointless quirky bits about me. Technically, I think I’m supposed to tag people to do this also, but since I can’t find the person who tagged me, I’m going to pretend that I don’t remember that part. If you want to do it, feel free.

*I just realized as I published this that this is post 450. Oh my goodness people! I've been talking about myself for 450 posts! Not parenting! Not politics! Not celebrities! Just Me! And you're still here! And sending me Quirky memes! Aren't you sick of hearing about me yet? I'm not that exciting. No wonder we're down to discussing my irrational fear of jell-o.

Olive Oil: Your Skin Never Had It So Good

Good afternoon internets, and welcome to today’s edition of Quirky Beauty Tips, also known as Unrelated Household Items That I Allowed Myself To Use As Beauty Aids Based On Untested Advice From The Internet. Today’s hot beauty item: Olive Oil.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but there’s just something exhilarating about finding a new use for something that you already had around the house. It doesn’t matter if you have 50 things that can already do this desired action…the fact that you found something else that can do it too just makes it all worthwhile. So in honor of this, I have decided to pass along my newfound love of olive oil.

Like you, I kept my olive oil in the kitchen because of its main accepted use is as a cooking item. (Not that I cook with mine…that would require, well, actual cooking, and Heaven knows that anything beyond toasting Poptarts exceeds my level of culinary comprehension). But I keep olive oil anyway, because I have this lovely blue oil container thingie that matches my kitchen d├ęcor, and I needed something to put inside. I guess you could say that my olive oil’s main job was to sit there and look pretty.

But then, one day not too long ago, I came across a website that mentioned how beneficial it was to slather your feet in Olive Oil to soften them. (Honestly, I do not remember the exact website where I found this, but I do remember it saying that it softened hard feet better than lotion or baby oil). And since my olive oil wasn’t serving any other purpose, I decided that it was high time that it pulled its weight around here. So I oiled up my feet, ignored Tony’s raised eyebrows, put some socks on and went to bed. Then, the next morning, OH MY GOODNESS my feet were so soft! Baby soft tootsies! And that is really saying something since my feet are not in the best shape anyway. (My idea of proper foot care is spraying them down with the hose after running around barefoot outside all day). Olive Oil on the feet: very good. It forgives a multitude of foot-related sins.

Anyway, as excited as I was about my new olive oil foot rub, I needed more. So I went back to the internet, where I discovered several one accredited random scientifically controlled blog where someone said that it would make a great natural makeup remover and moisturizer for your face without clogging your pores. And even though I have makeup removers and moisturizers that don’t clog my pores, I ran back to my kitchen and smeared olive oil all over my face. And Tony took one look at my shiny cheeks and forehead and said, “What the heck is on your face woman?!” But you know what? It WORKED! The olive oil isn’t greasy at all, and it soaked right into my skin, and it made my skin so soft and smooth and even takes off waterproof eye makeup. I don’t use it every night, but I have used it several times when my skin just felt a little dry. And I love it.

So then I went back to the internet, and I found more olive oil converts who were not only using it on their faces and feet but all over, as a fabulous full body moisturizer. It soaks in better than lotion, and doesn’t get on your clothes and sheets. And I was like, if my face feels this good, and my feet feel this good, then why not? So I rolled around in my olive oil, which makes your skin very shiny and healthy looking, by the way, and feel just wonderful. And Tony called the men in white coats to tell them that his wife obviously believed that she had turned into a tossed salad. Albeit one with very smooth legs and elbows.

All this is to say that, after strenuous product testing, I have confirmed that olive oil makes a fabulous foot bath, lotion, face wash and makeup remover. Maybe even better than my actual beauty products. Unfortunately, that leaves all these existing products without much to do since they didn’t taste nearly as good on the crusty Italian bread loaf.

**Note: It is true that there can be too much of a good thing in the case of olive oil. Use it all you want as a lotion, but despite what the Internet tells you, do NOT put it in your hair. Some websites will have you believe that putting it in your hair will make your hair feel thick and shiny and take care of the frizz. And it does, trust me. But also trust me that you will never get all that olive oil washed out again. You think you have right up until you try to dry your hair and it just won’t dry. I washed my hair a dozen times trying to get it out. Then had no choice but to go work sporting the “wet look”. Think Michael Jackson ala Thriller hair. Short of that, go nuts. Your husband will believe that you are anyway.

Voting: Truth, Happiness, and the American Sticker

Well, I did my civic duty today and voted. I’m very proud of myself for voting early too. I’d like to claim it was because I’m a patriotic American who still believes in safeguarding the rights to our democracy, but mostly it was because I was bored at work and looking for an excuse to escape the building for a few minutes. I wasn’t 100% sure that they’d let me vote downtown at the courthouse since technically my district is supposed to vote at the elementary school instead, but I took the chance and headed to the courthouse anyway. I figure that while the basement of the courthouse smells like musty old person and newspaper, it was still better than the school, which lingers of Elmer’s glue, fish sticks and sweaty child. (These are important things to consider when deciding to vote…who knows how long the line will be?)

Anyway, I walked down to the courthouse. I always get a kick out of the 600 million candidate signs all jammed together right up until you get to the “No campaign signs beyond this point” sign. Do they think that I managed to wander down here without knowing who was running? Or that I had been undecided up until the point that I saw that last “Vote for me!” sign stuck in the ground? Or maybe that I’d base my vote on who had the most signs? (Actually, I think I’d go the opposite direction. If you think buying 50 campaign signs to cover approximately 1 square foot of land is a good use of money, then I don’t want you near my tax dollars).

Once I was inside, it was fairly easy to figure out where to go to vote. The election commission has apparently raided several senior citizens homes to work as voter helpers, so I just followed the smell of arthritis cream. (I’m not sure why they choose such “mature” volunteers. My guess is this is because they have the most experience with voting, seeing how they were around for the very first election also).

Surprisingly, there’s not much of a line at 10:30 on a Friday for early voting, so the masses of little blue haired ladies were very excited to see me. This is both good and bad because while they were very friendly, none of them could read the small print on my driver’s license to verify my address. They get around this by passing the license from person to person down a long table. Everybody squints at it and passes it on. The theory is that between them all, they’ve managed to read enough of it to verify that I am who I say I am.

The voting itself wasn’t that exciting. I stood in my little booth and cast my vote on a machine that looked like it would have been very high-tech in 1945. Like maybe one of those old-fashioned arcade games and an adding machine had a love child. It took me a second to adjust to the idea of using a toggle switch instead of a touch screen, but you do what you can.

The whole thing took about two minutes, which was unfortunate because I had really wanted to stretch this out until at least lunch. I was also looking forward to getting my “I voted” sticker, but the blue hairs informed me that they didn’t have any yet. I guess they wait until closer to actual Election Day to do that. (I’m sure this is just a conspiracy to keep all the stickers to themselves. I was all set to demand my sticker, but I figured that it would have ended in a brawl, and all that Aspercream makes them too slippery hang on to, so I let it go).

All in all however, I had a good time and encourage each of you to go out and do your civic duty by voting also. It helps your country, your local government, and the little blue haired ladies who would otherwise have nothing to do. Except hoard “I voted” stickers, of course.

Chilly Mornings and Other Blue Things

Well, it’s officially cold. I had to wear a jacket this morning. (Sigh). I knew this would happen…it happens every year. You think I would have come to expect it by now, but it always surprises me. So much of the time, Knoxville is hot. It starts about late March and ends around late October. I love the warmth. I’m a warm weather girl, and the thought of waking up to cold weather makes me groan. Reason number 1 why we don’t live above the Mason Dixon line.

As a matter of fact, I was late to work today because it was toasty warm under the covers and the slightest bit chilly outside. I hate that part. It’s hard enough rolling out of bed anyway, but to do it knowing that it’s going to be cold? No thank you. So I burrowed in deeper instead of getting up, and it made me a couple minutes late. The temperature was one in the low 40s this morning when I finally staggered out of my comforter cocoon, and while that may not seem cold to you Northerners, it was brisk enough to get me grumbling. Maybe I’m part bear. I certainly seem to have the hibernation instincts. And no one would expect a bear to get up and brave the cold to come to work. Or at least, no one would have the guts to tell that to a bear anyway.

It’s also my first hot chocolate day of the year today. I’m not a coffee drinker, so in the summer months I usually just stick to water or milk for breakfast. But it’s cold today, and I just can’t seem to get my fingers warm, so I made hot chocolate. Mostly so that I could just hold on to the cup. I’m going to have to pick up some fat free instant mix though. What with the increased chocolate intake and the desire to hibernate, the winter padding sneaks its way back onto my thighs in record time.

On the flip side, the sudden change in temperature has me giddy with anticipation of Christmas lights. At the end of the season last year, I picked up several strands of practically free Christmas lights, and I’m excited about getting the decorations up this year. This year’s Christmas theme will be (of course) blue and the bluer the better. We will once again, be the blue house with the blue lights and the blue wreath and the blue giant ornaments. I CANNOT wait.

Just call me Bear in the Big Blue House.