The Workplace Just Got A Whole Lot More Interesting

Actual Ye Ol Company announcement made at the beginning of the company-wide meeting today:

"Please do not use the ringing function on your Blackberries while in the office. It can be very distracting for your coworkers. Instead, please have your vibrator on at all times. Thank you."

I kept a straight face for four whole seconds.

*Oh don't give me that look, you know you were thinking the same thing!

Shark Week!

I don't know about you, but I'm totally stoked about shark week on the Discovery channel. I love Shark Week! When else can you watch shows with names like, "Air Jaws", (which I first thought was another stupid Disney movie about a basketball playing shark, but in fact turned out to be about jumping sharks in an area of water known most impressively as the "Ring of Death!") I mean, it sounds like WWE wrestling, nature style. The shark swims in wearing a silk robe, with 5 scantily clad female sharks behind him, holding up giant gold belts. There's a New Zealand fur seal in the other corner, talking smack. The shark body slams the seal! The seal retaliates with a folding chair to the snout! That McMahon guy gets in the middle of it for no apparent reason! It's the fight of the century in the Ring! Of! Death! Only on pay-per-view. Check your local listings for details.

Last night I watched "Surviving Sharks!" (another reason I love shark week? The unapologetic overuse of exclamation points! Surviving Sharks! Ring of Death! What was my agent thinking when he booked me on this stupid show! All classics). Anyway, you'd think Surviving Sharks! would be about ways to...I don't know...Survive Sharks!, but from what I could tell, it was mostly just unscientific experiments on what makes sharks go crazy. Answer: A Rubbermaid trashcan full of frozen bloody fish parts known as a "chumcicle". (Go ahead, say Chumcicle. It's fun! ChumcicleChumcicleChumcicle! Yummy!). The question of the evening was whether sharks would attack you more during the day or at night. Our host, Les, started by putting a chumcicle in the water during the day, which quickly resulted in a Feeding Frenzy! Of Sharks! In the Ring! Of! Death! Then Les put a chumcicle out at night, which shockingly resulted in...a Feeding Frenzy! Of Sharks! In the Ring! Of! Death! Les is ecstatic! Sharks eat frozen fish bits day AND night! Amazing! After an hour of this, Les has proved without a doubt that the best way to survive sharks is to not swim with a chumcicle.

On another show, the camera crew is out cruising for sharks when they come across...a bloated whale carcass! Score! Despite the gag-inducing stench, the camera crew immediately anchor themselves to the carcass to get never before seen footage of...a Feeding Frenzy! Of Sharks! In the Ring! Of! Death! (Apparently they missed Les's show). A bazillion sharks are gorging themselves on the whale carcass. It stinks, it's rapidly shrinking, and is slippery with whale guts. Hey! The camera crews says, let's sit on it! One guy draws the winning straw and they toss him onto the whale carcass to get video footage from the food's point of view. (I'm guessing he's not the most popular guy on the boat). The sharks are like, "Oh goody! Free toppings!" I'm all, Dude, even if you do survive the sharks, you ain't never gonna get that stank off of you. There's no way you fellow crew members are going to let you back in the boat after you've been rolling on whale carcass.

This is classic entertainment! Who doesn't love watching sharks eat bloated whale? And for a whole week too! Tonight I'm racing home for Air Sharks III- This Time We Dress the Camera Man In A Sea Lion Suit And Drag Him Behind The Boat! I've got my money on the sharks.

And a real hankerin' for some chumcicle.

10 on Tuesday

You know what? We haven't done a 10 on Tuesday in a while. Whaddya say, just for old time's sake? (The old time that I would be referring to just so happens to be three weeks ago, so ancient history).

One- So, Tony and I went to see the new Batman movie last weekend and....I don't like it. I know, I know, it's a box office hit. Everyone is raving about it. I just didn't like it. I thought it was dark and gory and overly dramatic and boring. C'mon people! It's the same story line as all the other Batman movies! Batman does his whole "dark crusader" thing while chasing the Joker around the city with his fancy toys. He stands in the shadows and spouts overly dramatic whispered drivel such as "I'm not the hero you deserve, I'm the hero you have now". Puh-leeeeze. Get over your tortured self Batman. And how many packs did he have to smoke to make his voice all raspy like that? It hurt my vocal chords just listening to it. I spent most of the movie playing stray popcorn kernel soccer with myself while I waited for it to be over. I'm so disappointed in you Christian Bale.

Two- Oh good news! One a completely different note, it turns out that the kittens can swim! Well, Sebastian can anyway. I had the cover off of the hot tub this weekend while I was doing the cleaning cycle, and Sebastian just jumped right up and over the side, into the water. He was treading water when I ran over to fish him out, but boy was he surprised! The biggest thing on him was his eyes, and you could tell he was thinking, "What the...!" Oh, and it turns out that he's all kitten fluff, because he was the size of a shaved hamster when I got him out. Don't worry, other than the loss of his kitten dignity, he was fine.

Three- Are you tired of hearing about softball yet? Tough. I spent Sunday practicing with Mom and Dad and Tony in a field next to their house. In addition to playing softball, Mom and Dad were both actually gym teachers for a while, so they know the whole mechanics of catching and throwing and batting. (Plus Mom took one look at my glove and declared it beyond saving...I'm using her glove now). And it turns out that after someone takes the time to actually SHOW you how to catch and hit and throw, it isn't really that terrible. (Okay, so I'm still bad at the throwing. I keep forgetting to turn and step and lead with my elbow and hold the ball loosely and release at the top of the arc and aim for the person I'm throwing at's chest and keep my thumb from turning. But the catching and batting showed vast improvement). We'll see how tomorrow's practice goes before I put myself out there as a free agent though.

Four- I had a dream last night that my good buddy Nicole was dating Jim from The Office. Only he was about 8' tall, and she was really short. And Nicole was also concerned because he had a large tattoo (I'm not sure where) and she didn't think her parents would like that. Nicole, if you're reading, forget about the tattoo! It's Jim! Get him before he remembers about Pam!

Five- Speaking of TV crushes, I've totally developed a thing for Geof Manthorne from Ace of Cakes. I started out DVRing all the episodes because I thought the cakes were neat, but I find myself especially interested in the ones that Geof does. And I'm not sure what the attraction is, because he's scruffy and gangly and his nose is just a little too big for his face. But I'm totally crushing on him anyway. (Geof, if you're reading this, I totally didn't mean what I said about your nose. Call me!) I think the lure is that he's one of those quiet laid-back types. Still waters and all that. I just love me those quiet laid-back types.

Totally ripped-off picture of Geof.

Six- Does anybody know about the snack/dessert food called Muddy Buddies? It's rice chex coated with peanut butter and chocolate and rolled in powdered sugar. We always called it Muddy Buddies growing up, but Tony knew it as Puppy Chow. I made some on Friday for a co-worker's baby shower, and nobody knew what it was. Everyone was scared of it until I started eating it myself. No one knows it as Puppy Chow or Muddy Buddies either. I know they used to put the recipe on the back of the chex boxes, but I guess everyone was busy making traditional chex mix instead. If you remember it, what do you call it?

Seven- Speaking of the above, here's the recipe. I love it because I can mix it all up in a one gallon ziplock, and then you don't have to get your hands messy.

9 cups Rice Chex
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

In microwavable bowl, stir together chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter. Microwave uncovered on High 1 minute; stir. Microwave about 30 seconds longer or until mixture can be stirred smooth. Eat the leftover chocolate chips right out of the bag. Stir in vanilla (to your mixture, not the leftover chocolate). Put cereal in gallon Ziplock bag. Pour chocolate mixture over cereal, shaking until evenly coated. I find the "hands on either side of the bag while executing a gentle rolling motion" to be the best. Add powdered sugar. Seal bag; shake, rattle, and roll until well coated. Transfer to clean bowl and enjoy all those cereal coating calories.

Eight- Speaking of calories, I was at the gym yesterday, just doin' my thang on the elliptical machine while reading a book, and I did the entire 50 minute workout WITHOUT REALIZING IT! I was elliptical-ing away and all of a sudden I looked down and it was giving me the end of workout summary! I know! I'm very excited. Normally I'm checking the time every 5 seconds because I'm dying and when can I get off this machine of torture? But yesterday I was in the elliptical zone! I wasn't winded! I wasn't having a heart attack! I wasn't gasping and turning purple and losing feeling from the waist down, which is what I'm usually doing. I'm not sure what made the difference, but I seemed to have developed instant crazy endurance. Woot!

Nine- I just double-checked my recipe on, and they officially call it Muddy Buddies! Ha! I was right! Of course, there's a note underneath it that it is also known as puppy food, but I'm going to go with Muddy Buddies since it's all copywrited (copywritten?) and everything.

Ten- It also occurs to me that Geof would probably never go for someone who considers making Muddy Buddies in a ziplock baggie "cooking". (Well, that and whole I'm already married thing). Sigh. I'm sorry Geof. I'm afraid it never would have worked out for us. We'll always have the Food Network though.

So that's my ten. I've mentioned Geoffrey Manthorne enough by now that he'll probably get a restraining order against me. I'll console myself by stuffing myself with cereal-based dessert mix, which I'll then work off with my super elliptical endurance powers. All of this will be documented in my comic hero movie, where I'll save a kitten from a hot tub and stand in the dark, reciting rasping monologues in my smoker's voice. It'll be a hit, and Nicole can meet the real Jim at the after party.

Geof can come too.

Dead Cows Need Proper Skin Care Too

Here's another thing (besides an intrinsic lack of ability) that makes it harder to play softball:

When your glove dry rots and crumbles into dust.

It turns out that when you leave your glove sitting in a box in the garage for sixteen years, it dries out. And when you try to pull it out and use it one day, the shock is just too much for it, and it copes by reducing itself to black leather confetti EVERYWHERE.

I've completely lost the top layer of my glove. It used to be it's just suede. When asked what happened to it, I explain that the cow it was made from had leprosy. (I like to watch how quickly people back up after that).

"Oil it" Tony says when I complain about the black dust that was once my glove.

I wander to the pantry. "Peanut, Vegetable or Olive?" I yell back.

"GLOVE oil!" He yells, a little louder than necessary. He comes in and takes my glove away.

Apparently I'm not responsible enough for glove ownership yet.

Practice Makes...Your Teammates Think Of Ways To Kill You And Make It Look Like An Accident

So I had my first softball practice last night.

It wasn't pretty. A one-armed coma patient with leprosy could play better softball.

I guess that I had hoped that I had magically improved in the sixteen years that I hadn't been playing. Like maybe, even though I hadn't touched a softball, my throwing arm and depth perception and batting would have improved somewhat. Maybe I'm a softball natural and I don't even know it!

Yeah, not so much. If possible, I was even worse that I was when I was 12. And that's really really saying something.

They started me out at second base. They told me where to stand, and lobbed a ball very gently in my direction. I missed it. Then I ran to pick it up and tried to throw it back to the pitcher. And he missed it, which wasn't that hard to understand due to the fact that I threw it in the dirt, 15 feet to his right.

Seems I have some issues with throwing accuracy.

They lobbed another ball. I missed it.

A grounder. I missed it.

An easy pop fly that a two year old could catch. I missed it.

Wincing glances from all the men on the team to each other. Ones that said, "Uh-oh. She really IS as bad as she says she is". False modesty is not one of my sins.

They decided to try me at catcher. I go behind the plate and squat in the dirt. (Tell me again why would anyone think that this is fun?) I don't know how to hold my glove to catch the ball. The pitcher lobs the first ball and it hits me in the chest and knocks me back onto my rear. (Great. And these were my brand new yoga pants too. This dirt better not stain!) I try again. I don't like playing catcher. I'm afraid the bat is going to hit me. I'm afraid the ball is going to hit me. I'm afraid my own teammates are going to hit me and then bury me in the woods so that they don't have to play with me anymore.

The other girls that swore that they couldn't play softball either are disgustingly good. I hate them.

It's my turn to bat. Maybe I'm a super good batter. Maybe I'll knock one out of the park! Wouldn't THAT surprise them? Maybe that's my secret weapon! Yeah, she sucks at catching and throwing, but she's got a killer bat!

I do not have a killer bat.

Unless you count my teammates beating themselves in the head with it to put themselves out of my misery. Which they appeared to be seriously considering. I did managed to hit some of the balls. And I hit them very well...right back to the pitcher. Who then turned and executed a beautiful double play. Every. Single. Time. (Sigh. It seems I have managed to hang on to my reign as the double play queen).

If this was a reality show, they would have voted me off the island by now.

Finally, they put me way out in right field where no one ever hits the ball. On the one hand, it was nice because I got to admire the wildflowers on the other side of the fence. On the other hand, I'm not going to get any better unless they give me some practice. I need to have Tony show me some mechanics. Like how to bat. And catch. And throw.

I have two weeks before the first game. I need a miracle.

Promote Privy Privacy!

It's pet peeve time. Ya'll bear with me while I complain.

I just ran into the Ye Ole Company bathroom, and while I'm in there, I hear a woman in another stall say, "Is it out yet?"

"Excuse me?" Is she talking to me or to herself? Because if it's to me, that's really none of her business, and if it's to herself, then she's got some major personal problems to work out.

"Is it out yet?" She sounds kind of worried, and I'm about to ask her if she needs me to go get help when she continues.

"Cause I usually run it on low for 90 minutes....yeah 90...if you do it shorter it won't get fully dry".

Ya'll, she is on her cell phone in the bathroom! Carrying on a conversation from one of the stalls! In a public bathroom!

Now, I suppose I could understand if you were in a one-holer, and your cell phone rang and it was someone close enough to you that they've probably seen you go to the bathroom anyway, and you HAD to answer it (even though I don't know why you wouldn't just tell the person that you'd call them back), but to be in a public bathroom, with multiple stalls, and multiple people flushing toilets and washing their hands and whatnot? I don't even understand how you could hear with all that. And I certainly don't think the person you are talking to wants to hear that.

Plus, what about MY privacy? I'd like to do what I need to do without knowing that some stranger on the other end of your line is listening to everything. That's the beauty of the bathroom...there is no judgment, because everyone is in here to do the same thing. But the caller? She is blasting all the goings-on to who knows where.

So I ask you internets, what possible reason could someone have for talking on the phone while using a bathroom? Does that seem weird to anyone else? Is my ick-meter totally over-reacting? Has anyone else come across a potty-talker? Is it too much to ask to be able to pee in peace?

Contact your congressman! Tell him to join my campaign!

Be Polite! Promote Privy Privacy!

You can talk in the stairwell.

On the News!

Guess what! I'm famous (kinda) (not really)! I'm on the local news!

And they didn't even make me sound stupid! (Past new blips on which I have appeared are usually edited down to the stupidest thing that I say and then aired. See Halloween clip from two years ago for proof).

Anyway, I was walking into work, just minding my own business, when a camera crew stopped me to ask a few questions. And I said sure, why not? All the while telling myself not to say anything stupid. The last thing we need is another "serving wench!" comment.

And we chatted, and I did okay. Not really anything too terrible, except for one little part where I slipped up and started blathering. I believe the phrase "pesky calories" was uttered. (All the while my brain was yelling shut up! Shut up! SHUT. UP!) Luckily, that part wasn't included. Just a shot of me approaching, and then one sentence, which I totally managed not to mangle!

And I didn't look half bad, if I do say so myself. Sure, I could have bothered to put mascara on, but other than that, not too bad for 8:30 in the morning.

Eat your heart out Barbara Walters.

Taking The Stairs

So guess what little Ms-I'm-so-smart-cause-I-gots-me-this-big-fancy-MBA (that's me, by the way) did today?

Locked herself in the stairwell. Oh yes.

Ye Ole Company makes us wear these ID badges that get us in and out of different areas. They say it's to keep us safe, but you and I both know that it's so that The Man can track my movement throughout the day. "What's this? Prisoner 315 is away from her desk AGAIN? That's the third time today she's been to the bathroom!"

Anyway, I usually put it on on my way into work cause I need it to get in the front door, but today I managed to time it right so that someone else had already gone through the door, and I just slipped in on their coat-tails. Haha! Take that Ye Ol Big Brother! Only because I didn't need it to get in the front door, I never took it out of my purse. Which means that I didn't put it on my little zippy line ID badge holder thing that I wear.

Which is how I ended up locked in the stairwell when I took the stairs down a floor to cook my lunch. (Taking the stairs to the kitchen means lunches are calorie-free, right?) Anyway, It was one of those things where are soon as the door clicked behind me, I knew I was in trouble. My hand flew to my side where my badge always hangs, but alas, no badge.

And no one else in the stairwell to save me.

"Crap! Crap! Crapcrapcrappity-crap crap!" I yelled. (Which makes a really nice echo in the stairwell, by the way. I could hear myself yelling crap on every floor, which was kinda neat). That doesn't exactly get me out, but it is less lonely. Something to remember.

I considered kicking the door and yelling until someone came to rescue me, but I figured that nothing says dork quite like locking yourself in the stairwell and then kicking and screaming until someone lets you out. Somehow that's not what I want to be known for around here. Plus I would be really really embarrassed when they came to open the door, and I wasn't quite that desperate yet.

On the other hand, I don't want someone years from now to stumble upon my scattered bones, propped up next to the 4th floor door, clutching my little Healthy Choice frozen pizza and the remains of the mouth forming the word "crap". Without my badge, they probably wouldn't even be able to identify the body. I'd be mystery stairwell girl for the rest of eternity.

Decisions. Decisions.

Finally, I decided that I'd just wait quietly for some other unsuspecting stair user to come out, and then I'd just pretend that I was just about to open the door anyway. The picture of nonchalance. Yes sir! No pathetic loitering in the stairway here! Just going about my business.

So I stood next to the 4th floor door, poised in such as way as to look industrious and not AT ALL like a sap who locked herself in the stairway. And I waited. And I waited. And I waited.
This was taking longer than I thought. Does NO ONE use the stairs?!? What kind of lazy bum co-workers do I have here? Don't tell me that everyone would rather ride the elevator than take one lousy flight of-

Wait! I just heard the door open! Only it's down on the third floor! Can I catch it? If I don't try, then I may just be standing here forever!

***Me and my rapidly thawing Healthy Choice Pizza hoof it down a flight of stairs, only to watch the door close right as I get to the bottom.***

"Double Crapcrapcrappity-crap crap!" Still locked in the stairway! This is getting annoying! I'm not spending my whole lunch hour locked in the stairway! If I have to, I'll go down and use the emergency exit at the bottom! I don't care if it does say Alarm will sound! Let the alarm sound! At least that would force my slovenly elevator-riding co-workers to use the stairs as they evacuate the building! Ha! That'll teach them! They should-

"Excuse me. Did you forget your badge? Do you need someone to let you back in?"

A co-worker is holding the door open for me. She looks a little disturbed that I've pacing and glaring and red-faced out here in the stairwell all by myself. I've probably been ranting out loud too. I do that.

"Who me? I wasn't...that is to say that I haven't...I was just...yes please".

She steps out of the way to let me through. Waaaay out of the way. Like she wants to put as much distance between us as possible. Like I'm some kind of stairway psycho crazy person. I keep my head down and mumble my thanks without making eye contact. Just like that, I'm Crazy Stairwell Girl.

The elevator is looking mighty good right now.


So if you looked at yesterday's picture of me and the cattos playing Guitar Hero, you may have noticed that I've cut my hair. (Of course, I'm not sure why any of you would notice, seeing me only sporadically like you do, and in photos at that. As opposed to say, my coworkers, who see me every day yet have failed to make so much as a murmur about my new coif. Unless of course they HAVE noticed but they hate it, and are therefore pretending that they haven't noticed so that they can avoid having to lie and say that they like it. Hmmmm. Hadn't thought of that. Mental note to schedule time to be self-conscious about hair later).

ANYWHO. The hair has been in desperate need of a trim for oh, the past eight months, but I've been ignoring it under the guise of trying to decide on a new style. I had been wearing it cut short in a lovely wedge bob kind of deal, but it turns out that that hairstyle is for people with wonderfully straight hair, and I have mind-of-its-own curly hair, so my lovely wedge bob spent more time resembling a not-so-lovely Little Orphan Annie meets Don King frizzy fro. (And that was AFTER 30 minutes with the flat iron and the shine serum). The moral of this story is that no matter how good that style looked in the hair style book in the waiting area, your hair's stubbornness will outstrip your own, and frizzy fro will be your punishment.

The good news is that my hair grows crazy fast, so a wedge bob/frizzy fro from eight months ago has turned into manageably wavy hair slightly below the shoulders (albeit with some weird leftover layers). I had learned my lesson with the bob, so I knew better than to try to cut it short again, but I've been woefully indecisive about what to actually DO with it. So I made an appointment on Monday for a hair specialist at the local Ross the Boss, and threw myself on the mercy of the trained hair professionals. One who likes a challenge.

My normal girl wasn't available, so I got a new woman that I hadn't had before. She took one look at my leftover layers and the first thing she did was ask me how long it had been since I'd gotten my hair cut. (She so used the same tone that the dentist uses when she asks me how often I floss. There must be formal training for that tone). But then she took pity on me, and settled down for some hard-core snipping and combing and sectioning and all that magical stuff they do while they're forcing you to keep your chin to your chest. And suddenly the layers made sense again, and the split ends were gone, and I was slow motion bouncing out the door like a shampoo commercial model. Cue the slow motion spin here.

I LOVE getting my hair cut. It makes me feel so fresh and new and bouncy. Like making a change, but without the scariness of something permanent. She put new layers in to take some of the weight out of my hair, and she cut it so it would be curly but not too curly, and she angled it on either side of my face so it would hang in ringlets but without making my look like the stereotypical Jewish Rabbi. And it's still long enough to fit in a ponytail when I don't want to mess with it, which is mucho importante.

So now I'm on a hair cut high. It's curlier, but it's controlled curl, so it seems that the hair has forgiven me for the frizzy fro debacle, and we're back to being friends again.

All we needed was a professional.

Kitten Groupies

Jammin' with the felines

Just call me "Cat Stevens"


Ooooooooh Look! Pam over at Antique or Not gave me an award! (And a bea-u-ti-mous one at that!) Apparently, I am Brilliante, which may or may not be something like Brilliant. Maybe that's like a European spelling, in which case I'm totally down with being internationally brilliant. Or Brilliante. And Premio.
Anywho, here's the dealio. Once an award is received, the rules are as follows:

Put the logo on your blog. (Check!)
Add a link to the person who awarded you. (Check!)
Nominate at least seven other blogs. (See below)
Add links to those blogs on your blog. (Ditto)
Leave a message for your nominee on their blogs. (Annnnnd...check!)

With all that legal stuff dispensed with, let's move on to the moment you've all been waiting for!
Envelope please! And the award goes to:
Rage in the AM- A totally hilarious blog about a high school friend of the Seester who now lives in Korea. Who knew Rage could be so hysterical?
Diverged- This happens to be the Seester's blog, but family associations didn't bias me in the slightest. However, she shares the same warped quirky sense of humor as me, so maybe that's why I enjoy reading so much. It's in the genes.
Fully Alive...Ready to Smile- Erin's Canadian, but we won't hold it against her. (Just kidding!) She's also quirky, and I always get a good laugh when I visit her blog.
Life is a Marathon- Mel is another of the Seester's high school buddies, but she writes well, and even though I'd rather have a root canal than do this running nonsense that she loves so much, I do enjoy reading what she's up to.
Red Shoe Ramblings- I just noticed that someone else gave her this same award already, but I enjoy her blog, so I'm keeping her one as one of my award winners anyway.
The Miss Elaine-ous Life- Elaine is a hoot! I love all the stuff that she gets into! I'm totally engrossed in her life. Like daytime drama, only funnier, and without your long lost twin brother's son in a coma.
Rediscovery- This is my good buddy Nicole (and Eli), and she gets the award because I can totally mother Eli vicariously through her. She's more than a mommy blog though, because her strength and honesty and devotion through the good times and bad is an inspiration.
Ta-da! 7 awesome blogs, all of which make me laugh and think and laugh some more. And all of the Brilliante!

7/14/08 Eli's (and Nicole's) Visit

Guess who came to visit us this weekend! Nicole and Eli! I got to go see them around Easter, but Tony hasn't seen Eli since he was a baby, so I coerced Nicole into packing up Eli's required accompaniments and driving over to K-town to stay with us.

I did my baby-proofing part by buying those little outlet covers and sticking them in outlets all over the house. No one's getting electrocuted on my watch! No siree! So I stuck a dozen outlet covers in all of the outlets, wiped my hands and considered the house officially baby-proofed. This parenting thing isn't so hard.

What? Why are you laughing?

Anyway, Nicole showed up on Saturday lugging a suitcase, a diaper bag, a stroller, Eli's food, two sets of Winnie the Pooh plastic cutlery, Nicole's purse, a bag full of toys, a car seat, and a squirming one year old. And this was just for an overnight! I was stunned. Who knew a 14 month old required so many things? Eva Gabor travels with less baggage.

Anyway, after arriving, Nicole settled Eli into the kitchen for a quick lunch of "meat sticks" and fruit cocktail. (Meat sticks, as best as I can describe them, seem to be tiny hot dogs in some sort of juice). Nicole painstakingly cut them up into tiny pieces and fed them to Eli. Tony and I sat across the table to enjoy the show. Eli is pretty adapt at picking stuff up with his hands and squishing it. When Nicole held the Pooh Bear fork, food made it into his mouth. When Eli held the fork, it was mostly used to bang on the plate. Not the most efficient way to eat, but eventually Nicole was able to get a pretty good amount of food into him. I could do that, if I had to.

Except when he decides to "share" the food he's chewing by taking it out of his mouth and handing it to Nicole. I'm totally not down with chewed meat stick in my hand. But Nicole, she is a saint, and seemed not at all grossed out.

After lunch, we went to the zoo. (Because what does everybody want to do after a 3 hour car ride? Go walk around the zoo in the heat!) But Eli's never been to the zoo before, and we're the zoo people, so we felt honor-bound to take him.

Eli was thrilled with the zoo. He was thrilled with the animals. (Although I'm not sure that he realized he was seeing anything out of the ordinary, because he was also thrilled with the bushes and the fence and the Watermelon Slush Puppy that Nicole gave him). We skipped the petting zoo, but Tony showed Eli his beavers and chickens that he used to take care of, and I'm pretty sure the Eli was suitably impressed. We may have a future zoo patron in the making there.

We grilled out for dinner. Nicole had a hamburger, Eli had half a hotdog (the other half was equally distributed to the table, his chair, the floor, or Nicole's hand. The cats cleaned up the floor and the chair for him...they were thrilled that Eli and his hotdog bits had come to visit!) And Tony and I each had a hotdog and hamburger, because calories don't count when you grill out. Then Eli ran around the house with his sippee cup, and threw one of the cat toys down the stairs, and opened all the kitchen cabinets, and played with the trashcan lid, and punched all the buttons on the roomba, and got his arm trapped in the cat door. So much for child-proofing the house! Just watching him was both amusing and exhausting at the same time. I'm not sure how Nicole keeps up with him.

He got a little cranky around bedtime. Nicole says he's teething, so he's been running a fever lately. (Teeth=fever? Who knew?) He'd be playing, then he'd suddenly start to cry, then he'd stop, then he'd start again. All in the span of about 2 minutes. It was amazing. (Much like watching a tiny version of myself while PMSing). Except I don't think I have that kind of lung power, because that boy can really wail when he sets his mind to it. All of the cats went tearing out of the room when he really got going, and to be honest, Tony and I seriously considered following suit. You'd think the child was being tortured, the way he screamed. Of course, Nicole didn't seem at all alarmed, and just kept rocking him and talking to him until he finally went to sleep. Did I mention she was a saint? Because I think a mere mortal might have gone insane.

Of course, the next morning he was completely fine, and acted as if nothing had happened. The kittens were totally checking him out, and he was very good about gently petting them. Obviously Nicole has been working on the right way to pet a kitty. He's such a sweet little boy.

We did Applebee's for lunch, where Eli had a cheese stick (cut into tiny pieces), some chicken (same little pieces) and some green beans (in big honkin' pieces...not really). I'm thinking that "Feed the baby" would be a fabulous new diet, because by the time Nicole finished cutting up pieces, making sure he ate them as opposed to dropping them into the floor, moving the salt and pepper shaker out of the way, making sure the sippee cup was within reach, and picking up the crayons he had dropped, she really didn't have much time to feed herself at all. (I lent her moral support by wolfing my food down. No baby's gonna make me miss a meal!)

After lunch, Eli gave me a slobbery fingered wave, Nicole strapped him into his car seat, and off they went, back to Nashville. Tony and I immediately collapsed for a nap (mine was 5 hours) after which I cleaned cheerios out of the couch. Eli was way more fun and way more work than I imagined. I'm not sure how Nicole keeps up with him. He was here less than 24 hours and I needed to sleep for 5 hours to recover. I'm not sure that I could handle that full time. But at the same time, now that he's gone, I find myself thinking that the house is just a little too quiet. I'm already looking forward to the next time they come to visit.

The cats are hoping that he'll show up with another hot dog.

We Need A Pitcher! Not A Restless Twitcher!

When I was in school, I would spend two evenings a week, at four hours a night, telling myself that when I finally got out of this joint, I wasn't going to do ANYTHING in the evenings. No classes, no study groups, no planned events, nothing. I was just going to go straight home from work and sit in front of my TV like every other red-blooded American. (Or read, because I actually prefer books to TV). But that was it! No going anywhere!

Um Yeah.

You know how long it took me before I added another evening commitment to my schedule? 9 days. 9 whole evenings of going home to sit on the couch and watch mindless television without any kind of planned activity. And don't get me wrong, it was nice. I relaxed, I lounged, really restless.

I'm a doer. I like schedules and plans and having something to do. The aimless sitting? It makes me twitchy.

Which is the only possible reason why I signed up for what I did. The twitching must have addled my brain. It's my only excuse. Because suddenly I find myself agreeing to be on the company's co-ed softball team.

I hear you out there. You're all like, "That's it? Softball? That's nothing to worry about! Softball is fun! I love softball!" But that's probably because you're athletic and enjoy team sports and have even an iota of natural ability. Not so, my friend, with me. (I threw out my shoulder pitching an imaginary ball in Wii baseball. If an imaginary ball puts me on the DL, a real ball could very well kill me.)

And that's just throwing. Batting isn't much better. When I manage to hit the ball, which is no guarantee in itself, it results in a alarmingly high amount of double plays. I am the queen of double plays. (If you're on base in front of me, you might as well go ahead and come back to the bench). And we won't even talk about my lack of depth perception, which causes me to yell "I got it! I got it!" when the ball is actually landing 20' behind me.

But when the company newsletter came out, and I saw the softball sign-up sheet, the twitchiness threw all of the above out the window and I very gamely agreed to make a fool of myself enjoy the company of my peers with a friendly game of softball every Tuesday night for the months of August and September.

Despite my dismal level of play however, the team informs me that we're all just here to have a good time, and it really doesn't matter how bad I am, because it's not competitive AT ALL.


Have you ever seen a non-competitive softball team with a bunch of guys? Or even with the other girls, who I have just been informed went to college on scholarships for fast pitch softball?

But the twitch wanted to do something other than watch TV on Tuesday nights, so here I am digging through boxes in the garage looking for my glove from 16 years ago. It should be entertaining to say the least.

Stupid restless twitch.

10 on Tuesday: Kitten Edition

Things still aren't that interesting around here, but I promised that I'd post, so today we're doing 10 on Tuesday: Kitten Edition. I haven't mentioned the kittens all that much because I'm worried that if I start all of my sentences with "The kittens did this...", then people will think that I'm becoming a crazy cat woman. (Hey! I have 4 cats! I AM a crazy cat woman!) Still, just in case any of the rest of you are crazy cat women too, here's 10 things about the new kittens.

One- The shelter told us that they were litter trained when we got them, and for the most part, they do a good job. There have been just a few accidents. Like the first dull day that they were home, and one forgot how to get from the kitchen back down the stairs to the litter box. He tried though. And you know the closest thing in the kitchen that looks like a litter box? That's right- the air vent in the floor. (I couldn't figure out why the kitchen smelled like poo when the AC kicked on). Do you have any idea how hard it is to get kitten poo out of an air duct? Tony does. Luckily, he was able to get all of it, and then I sprinkled enough Arm and Hammer baking soda into the duct to permeate the entire house. There was also a reminder lesson on how to get back to the litter box from the kitchen.

Two- The other "Oops!" happened in Tony's hockey bag. The kittens like to sleep on top of the bag downstairs, so I'm not sure why someone thought it was a good idea to pee in it. (Probably trying to cover up sweaty hockey gear smell). Tony had to wash all of his gear, and the bag. I guess the kittens aren't hockey fans. On the positive side, Tony's gear was due for a good scrubbing anyway. A second litter box was added downstairs as a more enticing alternative. What can you do? They're just babies. Hopefully that will be the extent of the "oopses" though.

Three- So far, the big boys are doing a wonderful job with the little boys. Mason still hisses at them when they get within a foot of him, but Dixon isn't hissing at all anymore. Last night, all four boys were on the couch and chaise at the same time. (Well, Mason was pretending that he didn't see the others, but no one else was bothered). We've come a long way from even refusing to be in the same part of the house with the new interlopers. The kittens aren't bothered at all by Mason's hissing, and just continue right on doing whatever it was that got them too close to him in the first place.

Four- In case you were wondering, we put the new kittens downstairs in my spa room. They have their food, cat bed, and two litter boxes down there. We put them down there at night, and when we aren't home. We let them out when Tony's home for lunch and in the evenings. The idea is that the spa room is their turf, and the living room/kitchen is neutral ground. Our bedroom is the big boys' turf. This way, they can mingle if they want, or they can have their own space.

Five- Originally, we didn't want the kittens going upstairs at all, so we bought a 2'x4' plastic fluorescent light cover to put in front of the stairs. (It was cheap and sturdy without being able to be climbed...those little buggers climb everything!) We set it up in front of the stairs and patted ourselves on the back for about 5 minutes...which was how long it took for the kittens to realize that they have a vertical leap that can clear a 2' barrier. Nothing makes a kitten want to do something more than being told that they can't. We spent a good half an hour trying to keep them from going "over the wall" as it were, but then we just gave up. The big boys were up on our bed, and the kittens haven't figured out how to get up there yet. So Mason and Dixon still have their's just shrunk a little.

Six- The other place that was a Mason/Dixon only spot was out on the screened-in porch. Dixon could really care less about being out there, but Mason loves it. We have a cat door that leads from the kitchen to the porch, and the kittens don't know how to use it. Scratch that. The kittens DIDN'T know how to use it. Mason and I were out there potting new petunias (4" pots for $1 at Home Depot!) when Pop! Out came a kitten. Then Pop! Another kitten rolled through the cat door. After that, they were back and forth, back and forth all day. Magellan still thinks that he has to scratch at the door before going back inside, but then he just pushes his way through. I thought Mason would be upset, but he seems to be under the impression that if he ignores them, maybe they'll go away.

Seven- We absolutely have to find some kitten-sized Soft Paws! These are the little caps that you glue onto needle-point kitten claws to keep yourself and your furniture from being ripped to shreds. Tony and I have been trying to get some for the past week without success. Wal-Mart doesn't have them. Kroger doesn't have them. Pet Care Warehouse didn't even know what they were. Pet Supplies Plus had them, but they were out of kitten-sized! My kingdom for some Soft Paws!

Eight- Speaking of our pitiful lack of Soft Paws, Tony and I are covered in puncture wounds. It's not like the kittens mean it, but every time they try to jump up into our laps, or try to walk on our legs, or get excited during play time, the claws come out. Little razor sharp claws. I look like I've been in a fight with a food processor. Ironically, the song Cat Scratch Fever came on the radio as I was driving into work this morning. Fitting. What are those symptoms again?

Nine- I have to take the kittens back for their three month worm shots in a few weeks. We do vet trips in shifts, with older boys going one day, and little boys going the next. Otherwise, I'd have to get a moving dolly to wheel in all the cat carriers, and I'm not sure that would go over well.

Ten- Do you know what kittens love to eat more than anything? Cat Chow. You know what they can't have? Cat Chow. They want Mason and Dixon's food so much, they can hardly stand it. I tried telling them that they'll be able to switch over in another 8 months, but they don't listen. Meanwhile, do you know what Mason and Dixon love more than anything? Kitten Chow. You know what they can't have? Kitten Chow. I told them that eating kitten chow will make them fat, and that according to the kittens, the cat chow is much tastier, but they don't listen. It's like a Three Stooges episode, trying to keep kittens out of the cat food and cats out of the kitten food. They're all crazy fast too.

So that's what the kittens are doing. Eating the wrong food, peeing in hockey bags, jumping over barriers, puncturing me with kitty claws. But being so cute that they're worth every second. What's a cat mom to do?

Drivel Alert!

Alright. I admit it. I've been AWOL. Go ahead and put your hands on your hips and shriek "And just WHERE have you been young lady!?!"

(Which totally reminds me of the time that I went to Destin with the youth group, and Mom told me to call her AS SOON as we arrived, and I had every intention of doing that...right after I saw put my toes in the ocean for a minute few hours. Everyone else called their moms at 3pm when we arrived...mine called me at 9pm. Not happy. Oops).

Anywho, I have a whole list of excuses worked up, which I'm just going to put right here, and you can pick your favorite:

1. I've had a horrible case of writer's block lately, and rather than antagonize you with lousy pointless drivel, I've just been hiding.
2. It was a holiday weekend, and Tony and I went down to Atlanta to catch a Braves game and go to Six Flags, and I don't have a laptop, so I couldn't write.
3. Every time I sit down at the home desktop computer, the kittens, under the guise of trying to scale me like Mount Everest, attack me with their needle-like claws.
4. I checked out 13 totally mindless summer must-read books from the library. Need I say more?

But the point is, I'm back. And I'll try to stay back. Even though everything is totally boring right now, so some of it might be drivel.

Like today for instance.

Part of the problem is that I just can't see how you would be interested in what the kittens are doing (learning to use the cat door), or how many times we rode the Ninja roller coaster at Six Flags (twice), or what I'm doing in the evenings now that school is over (Guitar Hero). I mean, I could tell you that I'm doing all of that stuff, but it wouldn't make for very good entertainment. But something is better than nothing, right? And if nothing else, you'll know I'm still alive. And driveling.


I'm guest blogging over at Mel's Life is a Marathon today while she's on vacation. Come over and keep me company.

No More Pencils, No More Books, No More Teacher's Dirty Looks

Oh ya'll, I am officially, finally, completely, and forever out of school. I turned in my final paper for my final class yesterday. Over. Done. Finito. Oh how I love typing those words!

Stamp ed-u-ma-cated on my forehead! All that's left is for them to mail me my pretty little diploma. I am MBA all the way baby! Woot!

What's on my calendar from 6-10pm on weeknights? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! I must say, it's REALLY weird not having homework to do. Or chapters to read. Or papers to write. I keep catching myself trying to remember what it is I still have to do. (Answer: nothing! Mwu-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!)