10 Again

Is it only Tuesday? Since I've been living in thesis-land, I seem to have lost all sense of time. Since the calendar says it's Tuesday, and I have lots to share, let's do this.

One- Soooo, I'm sure everyone wants to know how the super scary thesis dissertation went, yes? Well...I knocked that sucker out of the park! It was a presentation home run! I didn't even throw up or anything. Once I started talking, I was in the zone! The panel of professors were nodding as I went through it, and that's always a good sign. And no scary questions during the sudden death elimination round! Luckily, everything they asked I had already thought of, so I was ready for them. Woot! Thanks for all of your prayers and well wishes. I am soooo glad it's over!

Two- I was so pyched about the presentation that I stopped in the local pool and spa place and bought myself a hot tub. (Technically, it's my graduation present from Mom and Dad, but they told me to go ahead and buy the one I liked, so I did). It's a nice little 3-4 person number with 15 jets and a lounger and electronic everything controls. I've been looking at ones similar to this one for a couple of months now, and this one was the first one to go on sale, so that's the one I bought. They have to ship mine in from the distribution center before they can deliver it, so we're looking at one to two weeks before I'm soaking, but that's okay. I've got a whole lot going on this week anyway.

Three- What's this week, you ask? Well, one of Tony's sisters is getting married this weekend, and I'm a bridesmaid, so I've got a whole lot of bridesmaidsy stuff going on. Plus, we have some of Tony's family staying with us for the wedding (note to self: must seriously clean house that has been completely ignored during thesis time), and it's crunch time at work. No rest for the weary, right? That's okay. I can take on anything now that the thesis is over.

Four- Speaking of the wedding, and seeing lots of people, and having pictures taken that will last all of eternity, I have apparently developed a big fat post-thesis zit right under my nose. And let me tell you, it's a beaut! The Mount Vesuvius of big red throbbing bumps. I'm medicating like crazy, and so far I've resisted picking at it, but I can tell that this sucker is settling in for the long haul. Nothing like ruining your sister-in-laws wedding photos, huh? I can just hear future generations of children asking, "Why does Great great great aunt Quirky have a second nose in this picture?" Because she's a freak, kids, she's a freak.

Five- Speaking of eyesores that will no doubt impress, we're having a wedding party here at the house on Thursday, and what's littered all over my roof? Raccoon traps. Oh yes. Because nothing says fancy party like critter traps all over your house. "Oh that? Well, we've been infested with giant vermin, and we're trying to catch them with this clever little box with a marshmallow inside". (Side note: Apparently raccoons like marshmallows? Who knew?) Maybe I can pass it off as a modern art sculpture.

Six- There's a little bird that comes to sing outside of my bedroom window every morning. He has a little song that goes "bir-die, bir-die, bir-die birdiebirdiebirdiebirdie! bir-die, bir-die bir-die..." Tony and I have taken to calling him Birdie because of it. I like him. He's a happy sort.

Seven- I took a half of a vacation day in order to get some of the house back into shape before all of our guest come, but so far I've just spent the time blogging. I'm sure my guests will appreciate that when it comes time for them to sleep on dirty sheets.

Eight- Oh my gosh! I can hear the raccoon moving around overhead RIGHT NOW! EAT THE FREAKING MARSHMALLOW YOU STUPID RACCOON!

Nine- You know what? All that talk of marshmallows has put me in the mood for some Rice Krispy Treats. I think I'll whip some up for the ol' bachelorette party on Thursday. If it's good enough for the raccoon, it's good enough for bachelorette party guests, right?

Rice Krispy Goodness

3 tablespoons margarine or butter
1 (10 oz.) package regular marshmallows - or - 4 cups mini marshmallows
6 cups Rice Krispies®

1. Melt margarine in large saucepan over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat.

2. Add KELLOGG'S RICE KRISPIES cereal. Stir until well coated.

3. Using buttered spatula or waxed paper, press mixture evenly into 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan coated with cooking spray. Cut into 2-inch squares when cool. Best if served the same day.

MICROWAVE DIRECTIONS:In a large microwave safe bowl, heat margarine and marshmallows at HIGH for 3 minutes, stirring after 2 minutes. Stir until smooth. Follow steps 2 and 3 above.

Ten- Okay, so according to the comments below, no one save one dog can lick their own elbow. Tsk tsk. If you're going to run with the Quirky, you gots to develop your quirk skills, yo! Sounds like some more elbow-licking practice is in order. Only then can you reach your full quirky potential (and slobbery elbows).

Okay cyberbuddies, I'm off to clean my dirty neglected house and run to the store for some Krispies. Peace out Interpeeps!

Elbow Licking: A Much More Interesting Thesis Topic


That said, I need to go over my presentation a few more times, so there will be no Quirky today. You will just have to amuse yourselves. To help you pass the time, I recommend you trying to lick your own elbow.

I saw an email forward once that said it was impossible for people to lick the end of their own elbows (and by the end I mean the bony part with the turtle skin...not the inside of your elbow). Anyway, it must not be impossible because I can do it. I attribute it to the fact that I have very flexible shoulder blades rather than the long reptilian tongue, but feel free to use whatever works for you.

This is also a fun game to keep children entertained for a few precious minutes. Let me know if anyone else can do it, or if the elbow licking quirk ends with me.

In the mean time, I'm going to focus on not throwing up during my presentation.

The Reunion

I just received an email that my 10 year high school reunion is coming up in a few months. I have mixed feelings about this. I don't really want to go because 1) it's a party and I hate parties, and 2) I didn't really have many close friends from my class. I mean, I had friends, but no one I've kept up with once we left. It's almost like that chapter of my life closed when we all graduated, and I'm not really sure I want to open it up again. And I've never been one of those people to wax poetic about the good old days. Plus, I could never ever in a billion years convince Tony to go, and I wouldn't want to go by myself.

Oh and I'm horrible with remembering names and faces, so it's not like I'm going to remember anybody, and I've found that forgetting people exist tends to make them feel uncomfortable. So there. I'm not going.

Except...reunions are major milestones, and what if I look back later and wish that I had gone? So maybe I should go. I mean, I don't want to regret missing it 50 years from now.

Not that I would. Regret missing it that is. It's a party with a bunch of people who I don't remember anymore. Not going.

Although it might be nice to find out what everybody does now. The people I hung out with anyway. I wonder what they've done with their lives? I could go.

Unless they've only done really boring stuff that I'd be stuck listening to all night. No thanks.

Except then I would totally be able to redeem myself for some of my perpetual dorkiness by showing them that I have managed to become a semi-normal functioning member of society. That would be nice. Look at Quirky, she's not the geek you thought she was! Maybe going.

Unless they're all like rock stars and Nobel prize winners and Senators now. Then I would seem like the boring one. Not going.

I could just go and check it out and leave if it was lousy. There's nothing saying that I HAVE to stay all night. Right?

Yeah, nothing but the three hour drive there and back for a party you won't want to stay at for more than 15 minutes. Have you seen gas prices lately?

Back and forth! Forth and back! It's making me crazy. I need some advice, cyber pals. Did you go to your last high school reunion? Was it any fun at all? If you didn't, did you regret not going later? Help a Quirky out here.

And is there a way to avoid the party but still get the after-party summary? Like a newsletter that says, Bobbie Jo is a teacher, Michael lost all his hair, Larry is dating a supermodel, Suzie got fat, Timmy won the lottery, and that nerdy guy who played the French horn is now running a numbers game from the state pen. All the gossip, none of the small talk. I could go for that.

Just as long as the newsletter lists me as the rock star Senator with a Nobel prize.

Good News- Bad News, the Student Edition

It's Good news/Bad News time!

Good news: I just had my last class of the semester! Cue the Endzone Dance! *dancing* Oh yeah! Oh yeah! It's my birthday! No more classes!

Bad news: Except that I've just decided to take miniterm, so the new "semester" starts May 5. Not a lot of time for the endzone dancing after all.

Good news: By taking the miniterm like this, it means that I don't have to double up classes in June. Which means June will only have class 2 nights a week for 4 hours, instead of 4 nights a week for 4 hours, which makes a HUUUUUGE difference in the chances of me keeping some semblance of sanity and not killing someone.

Bad news: The miniterm class is a finance class, which is not my cup of tea. And by "not my cup of tea", I mean BARF! YAK! SPEW! I'm allergic to math.

Good News: When I told the instructor that I was allergic to math, he laughed and told me it wouldn't be that bad. He's a good teacher. And besides, it's only for a month. I can handle anything for a month.

Bad news: it's T minus 4 days until I defend my thesis for my MBA. Mucho nerve-racking. Not so much about the paper, because it's all written and just needs a few final tweaks. And not so much over the presentation because I am not one of those people who dislikes public speaking. I can do a presentation to anyone about anything without batting an eye. The part that makes me nervous is the actual sudden death lightning round at the end, where the professors will fire questions at me to see how well I know my stuff. Like, "why did you pick this variable?" and "How can you confirm the validity of this data?" and "Why didn't you choose to do it this other way?". I'm trying to think of questions in advance so I can practice answering them, but the possibilities are endless, so I'm basically just going to have to wing it. Wish me luck. It's Monday night at 7pm.

Good news: At least the final in my other class is pretty easy. And a take home test too! I'm not as worried about this one because I'm acing the pants off of this class.

Bad News: But it is still one more thing that I'll have to sit down and make time for. (It's due tomorrow, so I guess I better start working on it).

Good News: But it'll all be worth it because as of June 27th, I'll be finished with classes FOREVER! Mwu-hahahahahahahaha! Then I'll have this nice fat MBA degree with my name on it! And that's got me doing the Endzone Dance all over again!

Wordless Wednesday

More from my garden:

These are my climbing roses. They have buds but no blooms yet. They do have a hidden surprise though. Look closer.

A cardinal nest in the roses! And two little eggs inside.

I am Weakling! Hear Me Roar!

Oh ya'll, it is a very sad day. I can no longer do a pushup. No, not one. I'm embarrassed even to admit it. In addition to Latin Dancing, I'm also doing a Pilates class. And it works me. It works me until I've got a good burn going in every muscle group, and I know I'm going to be sore the next day. And that's okay because even with a burn, my muscles have done everything that I have asked them to. Except for the pushup. My skinny twig arms totally bailed out on me when it came to the pushup.

Anyway, we started out well. I was laying on my little mat, pumping out stomach crunches like they were going out of style. I OWN stomach crunches. I'm a stomach crunching machine! Then my instructor suddenly stops with the stomach crunches and flips over into (dum-dum-DUMMMM!) the dreaded pushup position. At first I wasn't worried, because in my mind, I can do pushups. My mind has no trouble imagining me effortlessly doing pushups. Check it out, my mind yelled, one handed even! Look at me go! Sadly, the spirit was willing, but the flesh was weak. I was just supporting myself on my arms while the instructor went over breathing instructions when I noticed that my poor arm muscles were quivering like an 8.5 on the Richter scale. And I hadn't even lowered myself down to the floor yet! The instructor, perhaps noticing that I was shaking like a Polaroid picture, called out that if needed, we could drop to our knees and do "girl" pushups. I considered it. No one else dropped to their knees...not even the 65 year old woman in the back. On the other hand, I am a girl, and is there really any shame in doing a girl pushup? I am what I am, after all. Not dropping to my knees to do girl pushups would be like denying who I am. Like disowning my very own gender. Like...oh who am I kidding? I dropped to my knees five minutes ago. My arms couldn't even support my own body weight while I debated gender biases in physical activities.

In the end, the instructor had us do a pushup, raise one arm in the air, put it down, do another pushup and repeat. I gave it the old college try by laying on my mat and waving the appropriate arm in the air with the rest of the class. Hey, it's the thought that counts. (Truth be told, I was happy that I could even get my arm in the air to wave). And in my defense, I'd like to point out that all this pushup nonsense was at the very end of the class, so my arms were already tired. I'm sure that if they were at the beginning of the class, I would have had much better results. I hope.

In conclusion, I have decided that I will attempt the pushups each class until I can do them again. In the mean time, I am telling myself that I am like a t-rex; very strong legs and core, tiny weak little arms. But all in all, still a pretty darn intimidating dinosaur.

Getting to Know Me, Getting to Know All About Me...

Here's something fun that I came across this's a personality test! I thought it'd be a good opportunity for all of you out there in the blogosphere to get to know me better. I mean, yes, I'm quirky and all, but I bet you didn't know the rest of this stuff about me, did you? And since I'm a faithful analyst, I wouldn't mind seeing some of your results, if you're so inclined to share. Don't worry, you can do it in about 10 minutes, and it gives you a lovely little colored personality DNA doohickey. (I'm pretty sure that isn't the technical term, but you get the idea).

You are Faithful

  • Your trust in others, respect for tradition, and caring nature make you FAITHFUL.
  • Maintaining a few intimate relationships is more important to you than knowing a lot of people, and you share a lot with your close friends. (Or, you know, everybody on the Internet)
  • Those who have managed to get close to you value your camaraderie, and they know that they can trust you with anything; you're a good listener. (What? Are you still talking?)
  • While you can usually see several sides of an argument, you often have a strong opinion as to which side is correct—the order of things is usually clear to you. (So what's you're saying is I'm always right?)
  • Your perspective on the world is based on careful observation, and you know a lot about how people feel in—and react to—many situations. (I do?)
  • Your exploration of others' feelings has led you to believe that although people generally act appropriately, having clear social rules is very important to a functional society. (I despise line cutters! Death to the line cutters!)
  • Time alone for reflection is important to you—you are introspective and aware of your own feelings. (Feel-ings...nothing more than feel-ings)
  • Faithful is as faithful does—you expect those with whom you are close to be loyal to you, and you take betrayal of your trust very seriously. (Well, yeah. Who wouldn't take a betrayal of trust seriously?)

You are an Analyst

  • Your attention to detail, confidence, sense of order, and focus on functionality combine to make you an ANALYST. (I love me some order!)
  • You are very curious about how things work, delving into the mechanics behind things.
    Along those lines, how well something works is usually more important to you than what it looks like.
  • You find beauty and wonder mainly in concrete, functional, earthly things. (Like my Roomba!)
  • You are very aware of your own abilities, and you believe that you will find the best way of doing things. Accordingly, problems do not intimidate you, as you believe in yourself. (I'll tell you what's intimidating...spiders are intimidating. Problems? Not so much. Unless the problem is a spider.)
  • You trust yourself to find solutions within the boundaries of your knowledge. (Uh-Oh, I'm a know-it-all!)
  • You don't spend a lot of time imagining how things could be different—you're well-grounded in the here-and-now. (Here and now is where I'm at baby!)
  • It is important for you to follow a routine, and you prefer the familiar to the unknown. (Amen to that!)
  • You are balanced in your approach to problem-solving, not letting your emotions hold you up. (Emotions-smoshions!)
  • You much prefer to have time to plan for things, feeling better with a schedule than with keeping plans up in the air until the last minute. Your decisions are well thought out, and you're not the least bit impulsive. (No schedule? Shudder!)
  • You do your own thing when it comes to clothing, guided more by practical concerns than by other people's notions of style. (Is this is the nice way of saying I dress like a bag lady?)
  • Generally, you believe that you control your life, and that external forces only play a limited role in determining what happens to you.

So there you go. I'm a self-assured know-it-all who has no sense of style. Betcha' didn't know that about me, did you? Actually, I wouldn't have said that I had that much self-confidence, but apparently I do. Or maybe it just depends on what situation I happen to be in at the time. Let me know how your test turns out. I'm curious to know if everyone is this self-confident.

Shake Your Bon-bon!

Have you guys noticed how warm it's getting outside? Mr. Weatherman said that we might reach 80 degrees today! (Of course, tomorrow will only be mid-sixties, but that's Tennessee for you). All this warm weather reminds me of vacation, and vacation reminds me of the beach, and the beach reminds me of swimsuits, and swimsuits remind me of the past 8 months where I sat on my keister and ate potato chips while watching tv. Not good.

I'm not overweight, but I have noticed some extra "fluff" around the old thigh area lately. We'll call it "winter padding". Except it's not winter anymore, so time to do something about it.

Enter: the samba! And the cha-cha! And the rumba! Oh yes Quirky fans, I have joined a dance class...and not just any dance class either...a Latin Dance class! This class has a lot of hip and rear shaking involved, and I just so happen to have plenty of both, so I figure that I'll be a natural. And if it works for Dancing with the Stars, it can work for me too!

Okay, so it turns out that Latin dancing is a whole lot harder than the stars make it look. First you have feet movement, then the hips start doing their own thing, then the arms jump in with yet more movement! And ya'll, I am just not that coordinated. I can get the feet part down if I really concentrate, but when I try to incorporate the hips, it all just falls apart. And the arms? The words "drunken flailing" would be generous. As bad as I am however, I'm having an absolute blast doing it. I find the key is to be able to laugh at yourself (because Heaven knows other people are). And really let yourself get into it. (I like to make up my own arm and hip movements as the music moves me. I call it Latin freestyle. It really confuses the instructor whenever I start improvising, but sometimes you just have to just let go and toss your imaginary bull fighting cape in the air, no matter what people think).

And woo buddy! What a workout! I couldn't move my arms after the first class. But that's okay, because arm movement is overrated anyway. The important thing is that it's good for me, and I enjoy doing it. That's really the key to sticking with something for the long haul. Now suddenly I'm finding myself salsa dancing on my way to the copier. And doing the rumba to the parking garage. And incorporating hip shakes and arm waves into board meetings. (Okay, this last one may be a sign that I should be committed, but the first two? That just means that I can't wait until my next dance class!)

So who cares if I have the soul of a dancer in the body of someone having what resembles an epileptic fit? I like it anyway. And it's important to like your body. Take pride in what it can do! Show it off!

I'll be showing mine off as soon as the Dancing with the Stars people return my many calls.

Strikingly Unconventional

It's here! It's here! Today's the day! It's the guest post from Antique Mommy! And now, for the moment you've all been waiting for...

Strikingly Unconventional
By Antique Mommy

Last Saturday, my four-year-old son Sean, had a T-ball game. And I don’t mean to brag, but he is good. He hits the ball well, he runs with determination and he can throw the ball with a fair degree of accuracy. He is athletic and good at the components of baseball. What he is not good at is the game part of baseball – the part that requires you to leave your quirky at home and be a part of the team.

Instead of chatting up his team mates while standing in line awaiting his turn at bat, he’ll wander off and pick dandelions. Or spin in circles until he falls down. Last Saturday, he started hopping on one-foot, backwards down the 3rd base line. With his hat pulled down over his eyes.

“Wow. Look at Sean go,” one of the other mother’s said to me. “He can really hop.”

“Yeah, he’s talented,” I sighed. “He’s from a long line of good hoppers. I can hop on one foot as can my mother and her mother before her.”

Watching Hop Along Cassidy was like watching myself as a four-year-old. I was always a little off beat, always had to do things my own way, just a little bit differently than everyone else. I’ve never been good at team sports or things that require lockstep precision. I was, and still am, exactly like that backwards hopping little boy – quirky. Being quirky has made life both more difficult and more interesting. describes quirky as strikingly unconventional -- idiosyncratic, capricious, off beat, whimsical and even unique - Albert Einstein, Mozart, DaVinci! But it also goes on to define quirky as peculiar, wacky, screwy and just plain weird – Michael Jackson. When does quirky become weird? And how do I teach Sean to harness the power of quirky and use it for good and not evil so that his life might be more interesting and less difficult?

“Yeah, he’s a little quirky,” I stated for the record to no one in particular.

“Oh no he’s not!” the other mother rushed in to console me. “He’s fine, he’s a four-year-old!”

I didn’t need consoling. In my mind, quirky is a compliment.

Raccoon 1, Humans 0

Well, we still have a raccoon in the attic. He's doing quite well actually, and doesn't seem at all concerned that we would rather him relocate elsewhere. A quick inspection reveals that Mr. Raccoon has rearranged some insulation and generally made himself at home in our home.

We retaliated by calling in the "wildlife relocation specialists", (who are basically the Mafia for the animal world), and they came out to the house to make the raccoon an offer he couldn't refuse: Heh heh, we got youze now Mista Raccoon! You'ze in trouble now Mista Raccoon! (Said in my best Italian mafia thug accent)

Anyway, our goon wildlife relocation specialist, Trapper Dan, thought he'd try a little raccoon intimidation. He came out to the house, dug around in the attic, and then went outside and promptly fell off the roof.

Yes, you read that correctly. Trapper Dan fell off of our roof. Don't worry, he didn't seriously hurt himself...just a few scrapes on his leg. (He did however, land on my good flower pot, which is now smashed into tiny pieces, thank you very much Trapper Dan). Sadly, the raccoon did not find this at all intimidating. In fact, you could hear him laughing all the way from the attic.

Not to worry though, Trapper Dan has a plan! After dusting himself off, he presented us with an estimate for thousands of dollars worth of future raccoon prevention. One option involved spraying our house with an anti-animal scent, which Trapper Dan explained was necessary because the raccoon had probably marked his territory on our attic. You would think that if the raccoon had sprayed our attic as his own, that would tell other animals to stay away, but no! According to Trapper Dan, raccoon spray really translates to "Come on in guys! I'm hosting a kegger up here!" Luckily for us, Trapper Dan has a special scent of his own that sends out a "Dude! My parents came home early!" anti-party smell. He's also willing to spray this all over our house for the low low price of $1000. (I'm wondering how bad this stuff smells if it's potent enough to chase off animals that usually eat out of garbage cans). No thanks Trapper Dan.

So we told Trapper Dan we'd think it over and sent him limping along his way. In the mean time, we're trying to block the access to the attic so it will at least be harder for the raccoon to just stroll right in, you know, like he owns the place.

If that doesn't deter him, we may have no choice but to go back to the illustrious services of the ever graceful Trapper Dan...and there's no telling what he'll fall off of next.

10 on Tuesday

One- For those of you who read yesterday's post and are curious, yes, we still have our uninvited attic squatter. After the initial shock of finding him up there wore off, Tony's adrenalin kicked in and he was all ready to go back up and do battle with the raccoon. (I'm not sure what he was thinking, but I know his plan somehow involved a broom and a cat carrier). Never mind that this is a wild animal that has razor sharp teeth and claws and possibly rabies, and that raccoons in general are just mean little suckers. Tony was all set to defend his castle. Luckily, cooler heads (mine) prevailed, and the professional wildlife removal services are coming over this afternoon to set a trap. Meanwhile, judging from the all the thumps and bumps and scrapes going on overhead, the raccoon continues to entertain himself by rearranging heavy furniture. How lucky for us that we got invaded by the Martha Stewart of raccoons.

Two- Speaking of raccoons, did you know that this is also the time of year when baby raccoons are traditionally born? Oh yes. Mommy raccoons find a nice warm spot out of the weather, make a nest in someone's attic insulation, and have lots of baby raccoons. Any day now. Let that thought sink in for a moment. And keep your fingers crossed that we have a boy raccoon.

Three- I'm sure you are all literary geniuses (why else would you be reading this?) so you recognized my veiled reference to Victorian novelist Edward Bulwer-Lytton from yesterday's post. But just in case the finer points of your English lit class have faded away into the ether, Edward Bulwer-Lytton wrote Paul Clifford, which begins with the famous sentence, "It was a dark and stormy night...". Actually, the full sentence is:

It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents, except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness.

Bulwer-Lytton is known for his overly descriptive run-on sentences; so much so that they even have a contest each year "to compose the opening sentence to the worst of all possible novels"...which basically means overly cheesy. I'm only bringing this up so that newcomers to Quirky don't think that I write in horrible run-on sentences with ridiculous descriptions on a day to day basis. (Only every other day).

Four- On another note, I've decided to break down and try some of that gradual tanning lotion stuff. You know, where you put the lotion on and you gradually get darker over the period of about a week? Today is day one. I keep checking in the mirror to see if I can see a difference yet. (No). Anyway, I was hesitant to try it out even though the commercials swear that it won't turn you orange and you won't be streaky. I usually rely on good old-fashioned tanning practices (aka yard work), but I haven't really had a chance to get outside for long yet, and these fluorescent lights that I spend the majority of my day under just aren't cutting it. I'm in a bind though because I just ran out of winter-colored foundation and I really don't want to buy a whole new bottle because I'll be switching over to my summer-colored foundation at any moment now. What's a girl to do? I'm too pale for my foundation and I sit inside all day. Answer: tan in a can! Has anybody else tried this Jergens tan stuff? Did it work? Were you streaky? Do you like it, or have you reverted back to soaking up cancer-causing rays the old fashioned way?

Five- Remember how excited I was about hitting 1000 visitors last month? Well, this month I did the Fashion Fiesta from BigMama, and I hit 1000 people IN ONE DAY. Which tells me that BigMama has some serious traffic over at her site, and I'm still just a little fish in a big bloggy ocean. But that's okay, because I don't write for international acclaim (although it would be nice!). I write because it gives me an outlet to say all the crazy things that I'm thinking in my head but aren't appropriate to say in person.

Six- Antique Mommy will be guest posting this week! I'm not going to tell you on what day because I want you to keep checking back, but I will tell you that it'll be this week! Can you stand the suspense? Me neither!

Seven- On the above, should that be "Me neither!" or "Me either"? I can't remember what the rule is for that one. I remember that neither goes with nor, and either goes with or, but not which one goes with me. Anyone know what it should be? Anyone? Literary Geniuses from earlier? Speak up.

Eight- While you're kicking around the grammar question above, let me tell you about the fabulous kettle corn recipe I found! See, the Dogwood Arts Festival was in K-town last weekend, and I wait all year for it because I. LOVE. KETTLE CORN! Every year the vendor pulls up with his giant kettle and his giant wooden paddle, and makes superb kettle corn! And I wait with unbridled anticipation until he has a nice batch going, and then I run out there and buy the biggest bag he offers. ($5 for a bag about 2' long). It is kettle corn heaven! It's the only time a year I get it, because it's the best. And don't even talk to me about that microwavable kettle corn that you find in grocery stores, because that's like comparing a filet mignon to Kibbles-n-Bits. But after the kettle corn guy packed up and left, and I finished wolfing down my two foot bag of the sugary popcorn sweetness all by myself, I realized that there must be some way of getting half decent kettle corn the other 364 days of the year. So without further ado, I bring you...

Nine- A recipe for Kettle Corn! It's easy, requires few ingredients, and as long as you don't burn the popcorn like I did, actually tastes a little like actual kettle corn.

1 tbsp peanut oil
popcorn kernels
1/6 cup sugar

Use a decent size pot (with a lid) and turn on the heat to high. Pour in peanut oil. Dump in enough popcorn to make a single layer on the bottom of the pot. Roll the popcorn around so it gets covered with the peanut oil. Add a little bit of salt to taste and cover the pot. When you hear the popcorn start to pop, quickly pour in the sugar. Cover and shake continuously back and forth to coat the popcorn (like Jiffy Pop). Remove the pot from heat when the popping slows and you don't hear many kernels shaking around in the pot. Be sure to get the popped popcorn out of the pot as quickly as possible to prevent scorching from the residual heat in the pot.

I made two batches Sunday night, and I must say that it's not too bad. Next time I make it however, I'm going to tweak it to 1/3 cup sugar because I didn't think it was sweet enough. I'm also going to switch out the peanut oil for corn oil since I think it gives the popcorn a bit of a peanut-y taste instead of a salty/sweet taste. Other than that, it's pretty tasty.

Ten- If you don't feel like making your own kettle corn, or you're just in the mood for a good old fashioned Italian street festival, may I remind all you Knoxvillians that the Rossini Festival is coming this weekend! It runs from noon to 9pm on Saturday on Gay Street and Market Square. To quote the Knoxville Tourism webpage, "The Rossini Festival Italian Street Fair is a free event featuring 4 stages of entertainment, an Artisan’s Market offering handmade and designer goods for sale, food vendors specializing in Italian and Mediterranean recipes, activities and games for children, street parades by living history re-enactors, a Rossini raffle prize drawing featuring a trip to Napa wine country and Kroger Stores gift cards, performances by the Knoxville Opera cast of Puccini’s Tosca, and fully staged and costumed presentations of Verdi’s classic opera, La Traviata in the Bijou Theatre, presented by the UT Opera Theatre". It's sure to be a good time!

Kettle corn is an Italian dish, right?

What We Did This Weekend, or Alternatively, Eat Your Heart Out Bulwer-Lytton

It is a dark and stormy night on the eve of the second Friday in April, and the house where our tale begins is dark except for the lone light that shines out dimly through the torrents of rain- the room on the second story of the house where it's occupants huddle together while they wait out the brunt of the fierce storms; talking of happier things like the pros and cons of having a dedicated 220v line for the hot tub vs a 110v standard plug model. The hour is roughly half past ten and the storm lashes against the windows in its relentless attack on the wood (and concrete, and vinyl siding) structure while brilliant white lightening flashes and thunder booms through the turbulent night like cannon fire from a ship's deck. Suddenly, a strange thump-thump-thump-thump! noise resounds through the house, seemingly originating from directly above the occupants' heads, almost as if the storm had blown a stray tree limb or something of that likeness onto the roof, and it was rolling off again; which admittedly is a bit far-fetched as a theory since there are no trees close enough to the house to drop limbs onto the roof. The occupants of the room, two human and two feline, cease in their discussion, (the humans' discussion anyway, as the felines had no particular opinion and were just listening at this point) regarding the energy efficiency of hot tub voltage over a period of time as compared to the cost of hiring a local electrician to run a dedicated line for the increased power, and glance up at the ceiling as if to ask themselves the cause of the mysterious thumping, and from where upon it originated. After a brief whispered conference, the room's inhabitants agree that the most logical place in which to look for the source of the explicable thumping sound is indeed, in the very attic that abides above their heads, that is, the very same attic that is always advanced upon with a slight feeling of unease, especially on storm-tossed evenings such as this one, which only serves to amplify the creaks and rustles and general creepiness that comes with a dark, seldom used space.

And so Tony, as his parents had called him in the hour of his birth seven and twenty years previously, as the sole man of the house, (for it was the simple virtue of his gender that won him this particular unpleasant assignment in the first place), was elected to sojourn up to the attic space and investigate the aforementioned thumping, and upon a successful survey of the area, report back with his findings as to the source of the unusual sound to the other occupants of his group waiting earnestly below. Resigned to his lot, Tony removed himself from his bedchambers, donned some pants, took up a small flashlight normally kept in the bedroom for the sole purpose of providing a light source during power outages caused by storms such as the one that raged on this very night, and journeyed into the hallway outside the bedroom to slowly lower the creaking trap door and ladder that leads from the hall up and into the attic above. As Tony advances hesitantly up the ladder, he is reminded of the long pull chain attached to the single light bulb that allowed the user to illuminate the attic prior to climbing the stairs; unfortunately, that pull chain snapped into multiple pieces roughly a year past, thus requiring the explorer to ascend the ladder on faith and allow himself to be engulfed completely by the inky black void that is the attic entrance before being able to access the light at the top. Meanwhile, the storm rages on; rain slashes up against the bedroom window, lightning flashes, and thunder booms loud enough to shake the house while the stalwart Tony, armed only with the little red Scooby Doo flashlight, steps up on the first rung of the ladder, then the second, then the third, until his entire head and torso disappear into the black, the tiny light from the flashlight no match for the murky darkness. Another thump! The flashlight's beam darts madly back and forth, searching in the shadows of Christmas decorations and boxes of old clothes and books, the ray of light cutting through the dust and the stale smell of air that has been closed up too long. As rain pounds on the roof inches above his head, drowning out all other sounds save his racing heartbeat, Tony's every instinct tells him that he isn't alone up here. Suddenly, the flashlight catches something over in the far corner! A pair of eyes stare back at him from the darkness! His fingers fumble for the lone light bulb's pull chain, and the figure of a masked stranger materializes out of the shadows, his malice-filled eyes locking with Tony's from behind the anonymity of his disguise! Tony freezes in surprise, but as survivalist instinct long ago buried under the guise of civilized existence rises out of dormancy once again, he realizes that his greatest chance at survival is to outrun the intruder back to the opening of the attic, leap from the ladder, and slam the door shut, thus trapping the burglar in his attic-cage until the proper authorities can be notified and can come to our aid, thus ridding our attic of this malfeasant intruder that has taken up residence- the crafty (if now comfy) raccoon.

Fashion Fiesta! Ole!

Against my better judgement, I am participating in BigMama's Fashion Fiesta. Normally upon seeing the word fashion, I would run the other way, (since I am severely fashion-impaired), but heaven knows I love any excuse to make a fool of myself, and right here on the Ol Interweb for the whole wide world to see too. So brace yourself, because here goes:

This is pure, unedited, uncut me. This is a typical work outfit for me (last Wednesday's, to be precise). It's one of the few times you'll catch me in a skirt. Sadly, I seem to be related to Olive Oil and have unfortunately inherited the gene for knobby knees, so skirts and I don't get along. I realized that by avoiding skirts entirely however, I was depriving myself of a lot of work wear options. So I made a deal with myself that I would wear skirts once a week provided said skirts were long enough to hide above mentioned knee deformity. Like this:

(Yes, I know I'm wearing sunglasses indoors. I'm what they call "accessorizing". It's a fashion thing).

Anyway, the skirt was purchased last spring, the shirt is older than dirt, and I have no idea if the whole belt thing is still fashionable or if that ship sailed in the late 80's. You can tell me, interpeeps, I can take it.

For a balanced work-attire representation, this is the kind of thing that I'm in the other four days of the week. Slacks and a top. Depending on the weather, the top can be long-sleeved, three-quarter length sleeved, or sleeveless. Pants are available in black, brown, khaki and grey. Shoes are boots or sandals, depending on the season. Other than the color options and the length of sleeves, this is basically my uniform. Day in. Day out. Until the end of the ages. Amen.
(Mason is not usually part of my work attire. He just loves to be in pictures).

Of course, given my druthers (not sure what a druther is, but given them anyway) non-working hours are usually spent in something like this:

Note the jeans (purchased from wal-mart) the tank top (purchased from wal-mart), and the deliberate lack of shoes. Shoes and I have a hate-hate relationship. I only wear them because restaurants refuse to serve me otherwise. It's foot discrimination I tell you! I just don't get the whole shoe-love obsession that other women seem to have. Give me barefoot any day.

The last thing BigMama wanted to see was what I would like to wear if I could wear anything in the whole world. This probably isn't what she meant, but I'm going to have to go with this:

I love the colors and the patterns and the breezy comfortable look. I love that exotic feel. Unfortunately, I'm not Indian, so me trying to wear something like this would probably crumble international relations. But if I could wear anything without anyone batting an eye, I'd have a closet full of this stuff.

If that's completely out of the question, my backup outfit of choice would have to be this:

Minus the eyeliner mustache of course.

The Big Surprise

Remember the surprise I hinted at yesterday? Is the suspense killing you? Do you give up? Hmmm? HMMMM?
Okay I'll tell you, but only because I'm more excited than anybody on the entire planet, and possibly off-planet too!

Coming soon, Quirky is a Compliment is having a guest blogger!

And not just ANY guest blogger either! A super-duper awesome guest blogger!

(Drumroll please)


I KNOW! I can't believe it either! (As evidenced by the amount of exclamation points!!! And all capital letters! And all capital letters WITH exclamation points!!!) Go ahead and take a minute to run around the room cheering and high-fiving strangers. Bottling up this kind of excitement could lead to heart conditions, and we don't want that now.

Have you managed to control yourself yet?

Okay, so here's the deal. Antique Mommy had a little contest called Six Unimportant Things in which she mentioned 6 things about herself, but only 5 of them were true. The idea was to guess the false one, and a correct guesser would be randomly pulled out of a hat by her lovely and talented assistant, Sean.


I KNOW! She's like, a real live celebrity and everything! (As I told Tony last night when I translated the awesomeness of this awesome event into hubby-speak, this is like Nikolai Khabibulin agreeing to come play goalie with him for one of Tony's hockey games! Tony is very excited for me now).

Even as we speak, Antique Mommy could very well be crafting one of her signature works of wit and wisdom, especially for me!


Just remember, you can't get spoiled by Antique Mommy's blogging. She's only doing one guest post, and then you're stuck with me again. But is this an awesome surprise or what!?!

The Addicting Properties of Kitties and Chamomile

Guess what loyal Quirky reader(s)! I have a treat for you! A super duper awesome treat of utmost excellence! I'm very excited. You should be very excited too. I'm not telling you what it is though! It's a surprise! You'll just have to wait.

So anyway, yesterday I had a most fabulous massage. My dear sweet ever-lovin' hubby got me a gift certificate for an aromatherapy massage for last year's anniversary, and I saved it all last year for a special occasion. First I was going to go for my birthday, and then it was for after finals, and then it was going to be a great Christmas thing, and then it was going to be nice for around Valentines, and then this year's anniversary rolled around and I realized that I better just use the thing before it expires. So the special occasion ended up being the first opening they had before the card became worthless. But who cares? I'm getting a massage!

Anyway, I get to the Fancy-schmancy Salon and Spa, which is very nice by the way, and I walk in the door and tell the woman that I have an appointment. And she says, "Oh, for your hair?" (which was not correct, but got me wondering what my hair could possibly look like that she would immediately assume that I needed a hair appointment. Of course, I AM overdue for a haircut, but I didn't think it was that bad. And even if it was, I definitely wouldn't get it cut here in fancy-schmancy salon where they would charge me something like $75 per strand cut. I'm a SuperCuts kind of girl...which may be back to why she thought I was here for my hair).

Anyway, I said no, I was here for a massage, and she said something like, "oh of course!" and whisked me back to a lovely little dimly lit waiting room with ocean noises and super cushy chairs in soothing colors. And she asked me if she could get me something to drink, and I (determined to enjoy every second) was like, sure, I'll have some water. So I sat in my fancy-schmancy chair and drank my fancy-schmancy water and admired the fancy-schmancy fountain tinkling in the corner while I tried to relax. I say tried because the combination of the water and the fountain really really made me have to use the bathroom. Except I was supposed to wait for my masseuse to come get me, and I was afraid that if I left to go in search of the bathroom, I'd miss her. So I sat there and jiggled my leg in the dark while the tinkling of fountain water trickling rhythmically over rocks slowly drove me insane. Luckily my masseuse arrived after only a few minutes, thus saving me from having to explain why there was a puddle in the corner. And because she was an observant sort (possibly tipped off by the fact that I was doing the same dance little kids do when they have to go) she let me use the bathroom before we got down to business.

You're supposed to strip down to your "level of comfort" for the massage, which I took to mean down to my undies. I'm not really a modest person (you're shocked aren't you) so lounging in my underwear while a stranger rubs my back doesn't really bother me. (I'd strip down and run around the parking lot if it meant that someone would spend the next hour working these kinks out of my neck and shoulders). What was a little embarrassing was that I had forgotten about the massage when I was getting dressed that morning, so I was shocked to find that I was wearing the underwear with the fluffy pink kitties all over them. (Oh yes, massage lady- I'm really 8 years old). Nothing like pretending to be all suave and sophisticated while wearing fluffy pink kitties. I just kept telling myself that my masseuse was a professional and she'd probably seen it all-including grown women wearing kitty underwear.

I chose orange citrus chamomile for my aromatherapy, which was supposed to soothe while energizing. (Seems to be a contradiction in terms, doesn't it?) I thought so, but I wasn't going to say anything because I'm getting a massage! Oh and what a massage is was too! It was fabulous. She worked on my back, she worked on my neck, she worked on my shoulders. I told her I was floating above the table. She worked on my thighs, and my calves and my feet. I told her she was my best friend. She worked on my arms, and scalp and face. I asked her to come live at my house. And when she dug in to the tight muscles where I apparently store my tension, I offered her one of my kidneys. Anything she wanted as long as she kept working on that knot of muscle. When she finished, I couldn't feel anything at all. It was like I had turned to jelly. I had no bones, I had no muscles, and really, I was fine with that. Who needs bones and muscles when you're laying on a table under the toasty warm blanket with the ocean noises? I sincerely hope that Heaven is like this. Unfortunately, all good massages must come to an end, and eventually she made me get up and put my clothes back on. Still, the whole way home, I was so relaxed that I made up a little song about being mellow like jell-o on a cello. (I'm not sure what that means, but it seemed to be a pretty apt description at the time).

Now I'm hooked. I wake up and I long for a massage. I go to bed and dream about getting another one. It's like they drugged me with citrus and chamomile. I'm an addict and I don't care! I'm already trying to figure out when I can get my next fix.

But maybe in something other than the fluffy pink kitties next time.


Well, it's official. As of this past Saturday, Tony and I have been married five whole years. Count 'em. Five big ones. It doesn't feel like five years, and at the same time, it feels like I've known him forever.

Five years is a major milestone, and since I'm all OCD about anniversary milestones, I wanted it to be perfect. Which means we started planning how to celebrate our special day really early:

2 days ago: "Hey, our anniversary is like, tomorrow! What do you want to do?"
"I dunno. What do you want to do?"
"I dunno".

The problem wasn't so much that we didn't know what to do...the problem was that in classic major milestone anniversary fashion, I wanted everything to be fairytale perfect, and Tony didn't care one way or the other. And here's when you realize that Disney has totally warped your sense of romance, because when you think of the perfect date, here's what you think:

First an elegant dinner at a romantic restaurant, where you are dressed in a stunning princess dress and he's in a suit of armor. Then after dinner you have a lovely moonlit stroll, followed by a moving live performance of some sort, like a play, or a concerto. Then the next day, (because anniversaries are two day events) you wake up to breakfast in bed, followed by a day of just the two of you, side by side, holding hands, strolling through fabulous gardens, planning for the future.

So that's exactly we did. We drove down to Atlanta to have the perfect fairytale anniversary.

First an elegant dinner at a romantic restaurant,
The little Italian place that we were looking for apparently no longer exists, so we changed plans and ate at Olive Garden instead. We sat next to a table with several screaming children, and no candlelight or violins, but it was still romantic because we realized that this was the exact same Olive Garden that we went to right after we got engaged. Roughly 6 years ago, we sat in that same building, talking about what it would be like to be married. Now we were there again, talking about how we'd done so far.

where you are dressed in a stunning princess dress
I was in a very stunning Atlanta Thrashers hockey jersey, which isn't exactly a gown for a princess, until you remember that it's Tony's and he let me wear it so I could cheer for the home team while he wore the rival jersey.

Then after dinner you have a lovely moonlit stroll,
We strolled all the way from the parking garage to Philips arena, and he held my hand the whole way. (Okay, so he was making sure I kept up so that we wouldn't miss the puck drop, but it was still hand holding, and it was very sweet).

followed by a moving live performance
We watched the Atlanta Thrashers play the last game of the regular season against the Tampa Bay Lightning, and with a score of 4 to 1 Atlanta, it was very moving. (And crushing, and high sticking, and amazing goalie saves). I'm not sure most wives would spend their anniversaries at a hockey game, but it was perfect for us.

you wake up to breakfast in bed,
Okay, not in bed, but in the lobby of the hotel. (He would have brought me breakfast in bed but I like to judge the state of the scrambled eggs with my own eyes). Most of the lobby was occupied, and the little boy of the family next to us kept running off and hiding under tables, and the TV in corner was spouting the most recent developments in Iran and the dismal state of the economy, but Tony dug through the tray of bacon to the very bottom because he knows I like the crunchy pieces, and he shared half of his cream cheese with me because I thought mine tasted funny, and when he got up to get more juice, he asked me if I wanted him to bring me anything.

followed by a day of just the two of you,
We went to Six Flags over Georgia, which was crowded but not too crowded since it was a Sunday and a bit overcast. And we did make a day of it. We did the whole park in about 6 and a half hours.

side by side,
Strapped into restraint harnesses, doing 70 mph through three inverted loops and some upside-down twists on roller coasters with names like the Georgia Scorcher and Mindbender.

holding hands,
We did 9 of the 11 roller coasters, so we needed to hold hands to support each other until the dizziness cleared. Apparently our inner ears are not as resilient as they used to be.

strolling through fabulous gardens,
They do have some lovely flower beds at Six Flags. I pointed out all the flowers that I recognized and Tony pretended to be interested because he knows I'm interested.

planning for the future.
He always lets me hold the map. He knows I like to plan which rides we'll do next while we're waiting in line for the first one. Even though I got us lost a couple of times (the map was not to scale) and we ended up at the Monster Plantation instead of the Wile E Coyote Wild Canyon Coaster, he doesn't mind.

So there was our romantic fairytale anniversary weekend. Disney probably wouldn't make a movie about it, but we had fun together, and it's those kinds of little things that let me know that we'll still be together 5 years from now, and 5 years after that, and 5 years after that. And that's what makes a happily ever after.


Guess what ya'll! I am excellent! (And for once, it isn't just me who thinks that). Reluctant Housewife has graciously bestowed the Bloggy Excellence award to moi for being both quirky and funny! (Her words- Quirky AND funny!) Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I am so honored! I will keep it over here on my sidebar for all eternity, so that everyone who comes to visit will know that someone (with very good taste) thought I was excellent. This just makes my day.

And so with a glad heart, I will accept the duties and responsibilities that come with being Excellent, and will thus bestow this mighty award of Bloggy Excellence amongst my fellow bloggers who, in my own excellent opinion, are also excellent at excellency.