10 on Wednesday

I meant to to do a 10 on Tuesday yesterday, but I forgot what day it was, so now we're doing 10 on Wednesday. You don't mind, do you?

1. It snowed today! We even had enough to cover all the grass when I left for work this morning. Of course, now that the sun is out, most of it has melted, but it has continued to flurry all day. You'd think this would scare people away from driving, but I think after the big Ice Storm fiasco, TDOT has been out salting every morning, just in case. Roads were crystal clear.

2. I've had an eye twitch in my left eye for the past three days, but I don't know why. Normally, the eye twitches as a response to stress, but I can't think of anything that I should be stressed about. Either the the eye knows something that I don't, or I've got some wires crossed somewhere. Stupid eye.

3. Speaking of body parts that are misbehaving, I've also noticed that my left thigh and glute muscles are really really sore. And like they eye, they have neglected to inform me as to the cause. I mean, it's not like I've gotten my lazy butt off the couch and actually done any kind of strenuous activity, so they have absolutely no reason to complain. And if by some miracle I did get up and exercise, wouldn't the right side be equally sore? I tell you, you turn 27 and suddenly everything runs amok.

4. The Seester has posted about her obsession with shoes. Apparently Mom and I both sent her the same birthday card about shoes, and it's got her wondering if she has "a shoe problem". I don't think the problem is the number of shoes...I think it's the kind of shoes that she collects. With the exception of the Heelys (Yes Virginia, they will break your neck) my shoes are pretty boring basic. Brown, black, white. Done. The Seester's shoes, by comparison, are red and purple polka-dot heels with feathers and bows and doodads and whatsits all over them. And here's the crazy thing! She can pull it off! If I tried to wear them, I'd look like I'd gotten stuck in a freakish version of Horton Hears A Who. But they work for her. It's her quirk. She loves them crazy shoes.

5. Speaking of the Seester, she graduates in June. Yours truly will be flying up to attend her graduation. Normally this would be booooooring with a capital Snore, but the Seester has announced that the special speaker is to be none other than...JK Rowling! How cool is that?! (I guess when you're Harvard, you can convince one of the most famous people on the planet to come talk to your graduating class). I'm very excited. I love the Harry Potter books, but beyond that, she just writes so well! And I'm going to be in the same room with her! I'm planning on bringing a poster that says "Write another book series!"

6. I couldn't have my Cheerios and banana today because I was out of milk...and bananas. (And despite what toddlers worldwide will tell you, it's impossible to choke down plain dry Cheerios). So instead I did a Chocolate Chunk Granola bar with a small apple. It wasn't bad actually. I don't know what it will do for my cholesterol, but it was a nice change of pace. In the interest of science, however, I'll pick up more milk and bananas tonight and continue the Cheerios test tomorrow.

7. Oops! The lisdexia strikes again. I just noticed that instead of "granola", I wrote "granalo". Good thing spell check is watching out for me.

8. I was playing around on the Internet just for fun, and I found a little tiny 2 person hot tub that would just so happen to fit very nicely in the corner of my basement. Sure, it's probably an impulse want, and I'm sure there are more practical things that I could spend my money on, but how much fun would it be to be able to read for hours and have the water never get cold? Or have jets that can soothe my mysteriously sore thigh muscles and ease my stress-induced eye twitch away? And I wouldn't need a huge one...just a basic, no frills, little 2 person portable hot tub would do. Tony will never go for it because he doesn't understand my constant need to soak, but it's fun to imagine.

9. I really like the new Ingrid Michaelson song, The Way I Am. I heard it again today on the radio on the way into work, and I've been humming it since. The clowns in the video kind of freak me out, but I like how real the lyrics are. There's no flowery notions of love here. This is a song about headaches and Rogaine and still being in love. Ingrid is now officially on my favorite music list.

10. I've been doing a version of 10 on Tuesday with Tony so that he will share things from his day that he wouldn't normally think to share with me. (Tony's not a talker by nature. He'll tell me only what I absolutely need to know and that's it. It's not that he doesn't like to's just that it doesn't occur to him that people want to know about unimportant things too. A master of small talk he isn't). So in the interest of torturing Tony as much as possible, I push him to do a daily 5. It makes him crazy, but he's getting there. Yesterday he told me 1) He went to the dollar store to get more jerky. 2) He picked up Dixon's medication refill. 3) The Blackhawks traded 2 players before the trade deadline. 4) Work was fine, and 5) He has to get off the phone because the cats want their dinner. His list consisted of only those five sentences and not a detail more. Bless his heart. He's so cute when he's trying to get out of having a conversation.

There you go. Unlike Tony, I had a whole bunch of random things to say, and I don't mind sharing. Not too bad for a Wednesday.

Quirky Answers your Google Questions

I checked my Quirky site meter, which tracks all you people who come visit me (don't think of it as big brother...think of it as market research!) and I noticed that there's been a lot of traffic from Google lately. Since I, like you, use Google to find anything, anywhere, anytime, I too understand what a wonderful invention the search engine is. But I also know that Google doesn't always give you exactly what you were looking for, so I'm taking this opportunity to answer some Google questions that led you to Quirky in the first place.

Favorite Google Searches over the weekend:

  • Is Sherbert okay for cats? This linked to the post about the new layout, which didn't answer the question, so I'm going to say no. I doubt sherbert would hurt a cat, but I subscribe to the notion that you shouldn't feed cats people food anyway. It makes them fat and teaches them to beg. And since sherbert is not a food found in nature, I seriously doubt that sherbert would be considered part of a healthy kitty diet.
  • Speaking of healthy diets, lots of people are also googling the "Cheerio lower cholesterol in 6 weeks?" deal. I've seen a few more commercials about it lately, but obviously the Cheerios website is slow to expound on the details of such a claim. Meanwhile, I'm on week three of my own personal Cheerios experience, which I enjoy with a cup of skim milk and a medium sliced banana. I'll get my cholesterol tested again at the end of the 6 weeks, but I don't know what it will prove since the accuracy of the first test has been challenged. Either way, I'll let you know. If nothing else, I'm getting my daily allotment of milk and bananas.
  • Here's another Google search question that somehow wound its way to me: "Blood in stool- when to go to emergency?" The answer is Now you dummy! Or at least head to your doctor, stat! As evidenced by the Health Book from Ye Ol' Company last year, Bloody stool is nothing to mess around with. Even if it turns out to be nothing, wouldn't you feel better knowing that everything is okay? Bookmark the site, go see your doctor, and then come back and enjoy some quirkiness. You'll feel better after you know what's going on erm...down there.
  • I also get a lot of searches about Roomba. This latest one is "Roomba and cats?". Let me assure you, my cats are not bothered at all by my Roomba, which continues to vacuum my house and thrill my soul. I think it's because the Roomba is so small. They feel like it isn't a threat because it is shorter than they are. Mason is so unconcerned by it that it accidentally bumped into him once while he wasn't paying attention. Mason jumped, but neither the cat nor the Roomba was harmed. Trust me, Roomba is the best thing ever!

    I also like to see what international visitors are Googling. Here's what our non-US friends were checking out this weekend:
  • Saudi Arabia landed on the Bloggy Sleepover about Makeup, which just goes to show you that dark under eye circles are an international concern. Pay attention UN.
  • Mexico asked about Cheerios. (Is there a Spanish name for Cheerios, or is it still El Cheerios)? Regardless, a Cheerio by any other name cholesterol.
  • Someone from the United Kingdom Googled "It's basketball time" and ended up on the post about watching the UT men's basketball game (who happen to be #1 after beating former #1 ranked Memphis this weekend. Whoohoo!). As the UK would say, "Well done chaps!"
  • Canada Googled "Ginger Ale can picture" which, had they used Google Images, would have ended up with this. Instead, they did a regular Google search, and ended up with this. Welcome to Quirky anyway, eh?
  • Someone in Norway Googled "The Big 3-O" which took them to The Big 3-0-0 post. I'm assuming that they were really worried about turning 30, not my 300th post. Let me put your mind at ease're old now. Might as well sit back and enjoy the Quirky.
  • And finally, I don't know what the sudden interest is in caped vigilantes, but Australia, Israel, the Netherlands AND Hong Kong all hit my Zorro costume post over the weekend. I didn't even know that they had Zorro internationally. Pretty good costume huh? Mom's sewing prowess reaches worldwide acclaim.

So there you go. That's not an exhaustive list of all the Google hits from the weekend, but there's a good sample. If you have any other questions that you want Quirky to answer, feel free to send them my way. I'll answer it if I can, and if not, I'll Google it.

Sheets, Cheese and Hot Tubs Oh My!

Happy Monday bloggy readers!
I know you were all dying to know about the home and garden show, which is lucky, since that's what I'm going to write about! (What are the odds!?)

Mom and I attended the event in question on Saturday. We arrived at 10am when it opened and stayed until about 7pm. A lot of the vendors are the same from year to year, but there were a lot of new faces as well. This works out better than you'd think because while I wasn't interested in retaining walls last year, this year I am, so it was nice to know that all the landscapers would be there with some great ideas.

Sadly, the hot tub people weren't there this year, which is a shame, because I'm sure I would have purchased one, if only in my dreams. (As soon as I figure out where to put it, I am sooooo getting one...maybe....eventually...okay, it'll be Barbie-sized, but I'll have one!)

One booth that was there that was a big hit was aromatherapy jars, featuring the much anticipated Snore-No-More scent. The idea is that you take 4 or 5 deep whiffs of this scent and then leave it open on the bedside table for a snore-free night. Everybody was really skeptical at first, but it had a 30 day guarantee, so Mom bought a jar to try it because my dad can wake the dead with his snoring. AND OH MY GOODNESS, THE NEXT MORNING MOM REPORTED THAT THERE WAS NO MORE SNORING! I am shocked, but there you go. If you're ever at a home show and you see the aromatherapy booth, the snore-no-more really works.

The other hot booth was the 400 count Egyptian sheets, any size, any color, for $20. They were so soft that even I broke down and bought some, and considering that our usual sheets come from Wal-Mart's "thread count, smead count" economy line, they feel reeeeeeally good. Like silk, if I actually knew what sleeping on silk felt like. Of course, if I act like I like them too much, the cats will shred them, or barf on them, or somehow permanently cat hair them, so I'm playing cool around them. You can't be too careful.

Mom and I also attended several good talks ranging from The Dirt on Soil to Custom Water Features. (You can't go wrong with compost, and string algae is a fact of life). A lot of the speakers were people with HGTV shows, which was fun, although you could tell that they were used to having someone edit out all the random stuff for them, because there was a lot of rambling interwoven with all the good information. I think for a TV host (and/or your average Quirky blog), you just keep talking as much as you can in hopes of getting enough good stuff to air/publish. The rest is filler.

Anyway, I had a blast and I think Mom did too. We ran into Aunt Suzie while we were there (who was purchasing hardwood flooring) and ate a LOT of cheese at the wine and cheese garden. (Ohhh! Buy the horseradish cheese too! I don't even like horseradish, but that stuff was FAB-U-LOUS! I promise you'll love it!)

Next year I think we're going to go on Sunday though. By then, the vendors are tired and not looking forward to packing up all that merchandise and flowers that they trucked in there, so the deals are better. Last year I walked away with some prime free tulips. This year I had to pay for my sheets and cheese, but I did get a lot of free retaining wall brochures.

Next year I'm shooting for the free Barbie-sized hot tub.


I wait all year for this!

Soooooo stoked! This is just one step closer to spring!

10 on Tuesday

I'm going to try this 10 on Tuesday thing again. Every Tuesday I decide that I'm going to do it, and every Tuesday I write waaaaay too much for each thing, and the post ends of being a bazillion miles long, and I end up not doing it because you'd probably lose your mind if you tried to digest that much quirky, all at once.

But if at first you don't succeed, nobody will bother to read it anyway. So I'm trying again, although ya'll bear with me, because brevity is not my strong point.

1: You know how I've decided to eat Cheerios to drop my cholesterol levels? I've recently discovered that the health day cholesterol screenings have tended to be on the high side. Apparently, the finger prick test isn't always the most accurate cholesterol test, given that cholesterol pools in your fingers. (Who knew?) So a lot of people *ahem* were told that they have high cholesterol *ahem* when in reality, they may not. (Lesson learned: you can't trust someone who stabs you in the finger with a needle). I'm probably fine, but I've decided to stick with the Cheerios anyway, just because all that whole-grain oat stuff is good for general heart health too.

2: Some people called us the other day to see if we would be willing to participate in a week-long radio survey. Marketing class has made me more open to the plight of the surveyor, so I said sure, why not? And Arbitron was very happy, and sent me two radio diaries and $5, but not until after they made me swear that I would return them. Then about halfway through the survey week, they sent us $4 more dollars ($9? How weird is that?) and made me re-swear under oath that I was still going to send my diaries in when I was finished. (Arbitron is serious about returning these diaries). Then they called again the day before the survey ended to remind us that we had SWORN on the life of our firstborn to send these diaries in. It got to be a joke in the house where every time the phone rang, Tony and I would yell, "It's Arbitron! Do we promise to return these surveys, so help us God?" The crazy part was, 99% of the time, it WAS Arbitron calling. They must have "checked up on us" about 50 times! You'll be happy to know that we put the surveys in the mail as soon as we were finished with them, because we keep our words...and Arbitron would never let us rest if we didn't.

3: Speaking of Arbitron, we also just received Nielsen TV diaries in the mail yesterday. Tony and I start those Thursday. Obviously we've been added to the "will take any kind of survey as long as you make them promise" list. We'll see how Nielsen goes. Aren't you scared that Tony and I are now in charge of picking the tv programs that will be aired? Say goodbye to your precious reality shows and say hello to the 24 hour Hockey Channel! Mwu-hahahahahahaha!

4. I was in Lowes last weekend, and I totally impulse bought a grapevine. I don't know why. I guess that I saw them, and in my head, I envisioned lazy summer afternoons, lying in the hammock in the backyard, and being like, "Hey! I sure would like some fresh grapes!" and then being able to reach out and pick a perfectly ripe and photo-quality bunch of grapes and eat them as I admire the bountiful beauty of all my lush flowers in my garden. So I put the grapevine into the cart and went on my way. Here's the thing though: according to the Internet, you can't just toss a grapevine in a hole and expect it to grow. First, only certain vines can grow in certain regions. And even if you do get the right one, it needs moist but well-drained nitrogen rich soil with 10 hours of sun exposure a day (preferably from the Southern sky) and a trellis that is 6' tall. (I had been planning on planting my generic grapevine by the semi-shaded back fence and ignoring it). Now the grape vine is sitting on my kitchen counter while I decide if I'm ready to make a long-term commitment to a high-maintenance plant.

5. Speaking of fruits and veggies, I've been craving cherry tomatoes lately. I'm buying two boxes at a time now because I tend to eat one container just as a snack. It started out innocently enough. I ate one tomato to see if they were ripe, then another, then another, until I was sitting in front of the TV, popping tomatoes like they were potato chips. Then of course, I didn't have any left for salads and tacos and such, hence the two containers. I'm not sure where the sudden desire for tomatoes came from. It may have to do with the semi-cold that I have. Maybe I'm seeking something in the tomatoes to kick the cold.

6. Speaking of colds, (aren't you impressed with how I segue all these together?) I'm coming down from a cold (again) so I picked up some of the Airborne stuff at Wal-mart the other day. Technically, I think you're supposed to take it when you first feel a cold coming on, but since I've had two colds in the last month, I figure that my immune system could use a little help now. I gotta say, I do feel a lot better since I took it. The stuff itself is nasty, like overly-strong fizzy Tang, but it works. You dissolve it in water and then gulp it down. It's got 1667% of the recommended daily value of vitamin C. (Seems a little like overkill to me, but hey, these Airborne people probably know what they're doing). Mom says that that stuff doesn't really work cause your body can't absorb all the vitamins and stuff, but I'm willing to take all the help I can get. DIE COLD DIE!

7. Speaking of Portuguese explorers...(okay, I know we weren't, but I couldn't figure out how to get from colds to coconuts. I'm just hoping you won't notice the sudden change in direction). Anyway, speaking of Portuguese explorers, did you know that the coconut got its name from Portuguese explorers? It has nothing to do with cocoa either. The explorers thought it looked like a little hairy face so they called named it the coconut, because coco is Portuguese for Goblin. I've gotta admit that they've got a point. It does look a little goblin-like, doesn't it?

8. Speaking of coconuts, (yes, we're back to the segueing), That tidbit from about the coconut above came courtesy of the Food Network, which after my Nielsen diary is returned, we'll all be seeing a lot more of.

9. Speaking of things I plan to see a lot more of, I've discovered the the Dollar Store has packets of beef jerky for only...a dollar! Annnnd, they're the same packets of jerky that Wal-mart sells for about $4.50. Since beef jerky is a good high-protein snack that I happen to really like, and it was such a great price, I purchased 20 bags. (Yes, 20 packets of jerky. The cashier thought I was crazy too. But hey! They keep! It's jerky! I can eat it every day!)

10. And finally, speaking of things that I do every day that make me happy...My crocus are blooming! Every evening I come home from work and do a flower check for bulbs coming up. My daffodils, tulips, hyacinths and crocus were all coming along nicely, but the crocus has actually bloomed! They make me so happy. I look forward to going home and seeing their pretty little blue petals all day long. I'll see if I can't snap a picture for you so that they can make you happy too. C'mon spring!

Okay, there you go. 10 things. What do you think? It's long! It's rambling! It's...10 on Tuesday!

A Case Study...of Awesomeness!

Ya'll will just have to excuse me, but I have to brag on myself, just a little. We had a case study in my Marketing class two weeks ago, and after grading them, the professor announced that he would post the best paper on blackboard so that the rest of the class could see it and get an idea of what he wanted. Right after he said that, he turned to a guy and was like, "I'll need your paper in electronic only gave me a hard copy", so of course, everyone knew it was that guy's paper. Just out of curiosity, I checked to see if I made the same points that the best paper had, and as I was scanning it, I was like, Yep. Said that. Said that too. Said that...wait a second! This is MY paper!

And then I jumped up and did my funky chicken dance right here in the middle of work, which I gotta say caused more than a few raised eyebrows around the copier.

My paper rocks! My paper rocks! Wooo-hooo! Oh ya'll, this just made my day. So much so that I hung my A paper on the fridge to celebrate. Email me to schedule a time to come over to my house for official viewing. Commemorative copies will be available for purchase in the gift shop. Oh, and I'd like to thank my family for always believing in me, and Microsoft Word spellchecker for making my work the best it could be, and Harvard Business School for providing the Tivo case in the first place. Thank you! Thank you! *sniff* Oh, I promised myself I wouldn't cry!

Whew! Okay, I'm better now. I just wanted to share. We celebrate the good times and the bad here at Quirky. You may now return to your regularly scheduled Monday.

Love Me Like You Do...

Happy Valentine's Day ya'll!

I just checked all of my favorite reading blogs, and it seems a lot of you are cooking fancy Valentine vittles to celebrate today. I don't cook (anything. ever.) so cooking for my sweetie would probably make him wonder what he did to deserve such punishment rather than to swoon with love and appreciation. That's okay though. We celebrate our own way.

I'm celebrating by wearing my official Valentine socks with pink and red hearts all over them (Mom gave them to me, cause she loves me and she's cool like that!), and my official Valentine red fuzzy sweater (which was technically given to the Seester, but it was a size too big for her, so Mom got her a smaller size with every intention of returning this one, but she never did, and it just rode around in the back of the car for a year or two, and then finally she gave up and just gave it to me, so now I wear it for Valentine's because it's red).

Tony and I will go to a Japanese hibachi place tonight because many moons ago when we first started dating, Tony asked me what restaurant I wanted to go to, and I said Japanese hibachi cause nothing says love quite like shrimp sauce and ginger dressing. So we went, and a romantic dinner was had by all (or as romantic as you can get sitting at a giant table with 8 strangers while someone lights a pile of fried rice on fire). What Tony didn't realize is that this would rapidly become a tradition, and no matter what state we happened to be in at the time, or how difficult it is to get a table, we're doing hibachi for Valentines. Tony would probably rather eat somewhere else, but he knows that I will never grow tired of my eternal hibachi love, so that's where he gets a reservation. THAT'S the sign of a good Valentine.

Much to Hallmark's horror, we also skip the whole card thing. The first few years we did Valentines cards, but it didn't make sense to spend 45 minutes looking for the perfect card and then paying $4 for it to just read it once and immediately throw it away. To be honest, it's kind of a relief not to go through that whole funny vs mushy card debate. We also don't do the whole traditional jewelry or flowers. I do occasionally drop hints for chocolate since by the time February rolls around, my Halloween stash has been long depleted and we still have another couple of months before Easter, so he usually stops by Wal-Mart and picks up some chocolate goodies. He's a good hubby, so he gets me what I really want. And I'm not talking those heart-shaped boxes with those random mystery chocolates either. He knows that I like chocolate pretzels, and Symphony bars, and Chocolate Oranges, and Andes mints, so that's what I get. He's such a good Valentine!

I try to be a good Valentine too. Every year, I ask him what he wants for Valentines Day, and he always says nothing. And I try to get him Twinkies or cupcakes or something, but this year I hit the Valentines Day jackpot! Remember when he drooling he did over his rack of ribs when we went to Famous Dave's? Well, it seems that they do to-go orders too, so I picked him up a rack of ribs last night on my way home from class. Maybe pig meat is not the first gift you think of when you think of Valentines Day, but let me tell you, he was thrilled! We may have to make that another Valentine's Day tradition.

Hallmark can keep the mushy cards and diamond heart pendants and dozen roses. Barbequed ribs, heart-covered socks, chocolate pretzels and shrimp fried rice spells L-U-V to me.

Go Dogs Go Stays and Stays

A coworker is having a baby shower on Friday, and one of the things that they registered for is books. Last night, I picked up a copy of Go Dog Go! and Are You My Mother? for the new arrival-to-be. I can't believe that they still have these books around! I LOVED these books as a kid. I have very distinct memories of reading these books with Mom and Dad when I was very very young. These books DEFINED my childhood. I still quote them in everyday conversation (Usually the part about "Do you like my hat?" "No, I do not like your hat" "Goodbye" "Goodbye")...that's not weird is it?

Anyway, I couldn't help but flip through Go Dog Go again, just for old times sake. It's been at least 25 years since I've seen these books, but as I looked at each page, I kept getting flashbacks of feelings I had as a kid. Like, there's a picture where the dog is out fixing his car that's broken down. I thought this was hysterically funny, although I don't know why. There's another picture where a dog is on a Ferris wheel, and he's calling out to the operator that he wants to go around again. I saw it and though, "Yes, that was the mean dog". (I can't figure out why I thought the dog was mean. I studied the picture very carefully to see what gave me that impression as a kid, but nothing jumped out at me. Regardless, he's the mean dog. The big dog party in the tree (sorry if I'm spoiling the ending for anybody) was wonderfully exciting. I knew it was coming, and it was still fabulous 20 plus years later. I really got a kick out of looking at that book again.

I guess it goes to show you that some things, even mundane little things like the book you read when you were tiny will still manage to stick with you your entire life. Hopefully this generation will get the same pleasure and sense of wonder out of it as I did. It's a classic.

Monday Five

Normally, I talk about just one thing that's going on, but I'm a bit all over the place today, so we're going with a list of little things. Think of it as a Ten on Tuesday, but only on Monday. And only 5. And more random. First on the list is:

1. Happy Birthday Dad! It's officially the Old Fart's birthday today! (Old Fart has a story to it. Apparently about 27 years ago, he referred to his father as an old fart too, so I make a point to carry on the tradition. He really appreciates that).

2. Okay, the not complaining thing? Sooo hard! Maybe even harder than giving up chocolate, because the complaint seems to pop out of my mouth before I'm even aware of it. I've tried to turn it around by instead thinking of why I'm grateful about the thing I'm complaining about, but it's taking practice. Apparently, I am a whiner and didn't know it.

3. I started my Cheerios diet too. I've seen the commercial a couple of times now about eating Cheerios every day for 6 weeks to lower your cholesterol, but when I went on their website to find out the details (do they mean once a day, or for every meal? Do frosted cheerios count?) I couldn't find anything. Sure, the website says that they're good for your health, but not how often you should eat them. I'm assuming one serving (1 cup), once a day for breakfast. It occurs to me that I haven't had Cheerios for YEARS. I was never really a cold cereal fan growing up. I think it was just too early in the morning for me to want to eat anything before school. Anyway, today I had my little bowl of cheerios with 1 cup of skim milk and one banana, and it was pretty good. Surprisingly filling. One day down, 39 more days to go. Take that bad cholesterol!

4. We had the most beautiful weather here this weekend! Sunny and high of 55 with blue skies and puffy white clouds. (It's amazing how happy I am when the sun is out. I really am solar powered). I played outside all day Saturday. I'm building a storage shed for all my garden supplies, and all I have left is to put the hinges/knobs on the doors. Mom gave me her old deep sink, which also fits quite nicely beside it. That will be perfect for all my planting and watering needs. Ya'll, my back porch rocks! I can't wait until spring gets here and I can officially start planting.

5. Speaking of spring planting, is anybody out there a squirrel expert? I have a squirrel question. There are a few squirrels in my yard, and they've developed the bad habit of digging up my bulbs in the flowerbeds. I've been thinking about putting a squirrel feeder with the dried corn up in my back yard, far away from my bulbs. My question is, will the lure of the corn keep them out of my beds? Or will it just attract more neighborhood squirrels who, after a tasty corn cob lunch, will work it off with some bulb digging exercises? Anybody have a guess? Or better, a way to keep my bulbs underground where they belong in the first place?

I could go on with more random randomness, but 5 seems like a good stopping point. (And I'm hoping that the squirrel question is still fresh so that you'll answer and stop the bulb madness. My tulips are counting on you). And be sure to say happy birthday to Dad.


I've been having trouble deciding what to give up for Lent this year. The last couple of years I've given up chocolate, which is sooo hard. I was ready to do the same thing this year, but this year it just didn't feel right. Maybe this was just the chocoholic part of me talking, but for some reason, chocolate just didn't seem like the right thing to do. I won't say that giving up chocolate had gotten too easy, but I kinda felt that it had lost some of its meaning.

I always thought that the point of Lent is to sacrifice something that you like so that it reminds you of God's sacrifice. Then, every time you miss whatever you've given up, you instead thank God for His sacrifice to you. Giving up chocolate accomplished that goal, but I get the feeling that God is pushing me in another direction. Lent could mean more.

So I went on a hunt for something else. Instead of chocolate, I was going to give up the radio on the way into work in the morning. The idea is to use that silence for prayer instead of singing along with the radio. I figured that was something that would really strengthen my relationship with God. Then I was randomly selected to participate in a week long radio survey. All this week, I'm writing down whenever I listen to the radio. True, I could have just sent their radio diary back blank with the note that I'd given up radio for Lent, but the timing was just a little too coincidental. Giving up the radio was not what God had in mind.

I saw a commercial for Cheerios where a guy was eating Cheerios every day for 6 weeks to lower his cholesterol. It just so happens that according to my health day assault, my bad cholesterol is a little high. And it just so happens that Lent is 6 weeks long. It seems like a good idea, and I probably need to do something to watch my cholesterol levels, but eating Cheerios would be for health, not for God. On to something else.

I started looking to the Internet, and came across a site that says that instead of chocolate and sweets or cokes or beer or pizza, people should focus on giving up the things that they do that hurt people around them. (The example that the author gave what that she's trying to give up being late. She realized that when she's late everywhere, her friends have to wait on her and it puts a damper on the whole evening. They get annoyed, and she feels guilty. So for the next 6 weeks, she's shooting for being everywhere 15 minutes early, and when she gets somewhere, she's making a note in a diary about what she did to make her on time, or what happened that made her late. Then she's going to focus on avoiding those things that made her late). Fixing a fault seemed to be on the right track, but I generally don't have a problem with tardiness, so I needed to find something else.

I found another website that suggested going in another direction. Instead of something physical, try giving up complaining and instead focusing on gratitude. Or giving up bitterness and focusing on forgiveness. Or giving up worry and focusing on trust. The website also has scripture to support each of the things you should give up. As soon as I saw it, an angel smacked me in the forehead and said, "There you go!" I think I'm going to give up complaining and instead be grateful,

Philippians 2:14&15 – Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure…
1 Thessalonians 5:18 – Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Jesus Christ.

and giving up gossip

Psalm 34:13 – Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies.
Proverbs 21:23 – He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity.

I have a feeling that I do both of these things more than I realize. So from here on out, until Easter (and beyond) I will not complain and I will not gossip. I will be happy and thankful in all my circumstances, and I will say only good things about others.

And maybe I'll do the Cheerios thing too, just for good measure.

Something to Remember

I'm out in the field today (surveys! Yay!) so no access to a computer to write your daily dose of Quirkiness. Instead, I leave you with this quote I came across, so that you may think on it and have deep philosophical discussions amongst yourselves.

I am still determined to be cheerful and happy, in whatever situation I may be; for I have also learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances.
--Martha Washington (1732-1802)

How awesome was Martha Washington? Discuss.

Family Reunions

My work partner, Chris, had a family reunion this past weekend. Apparently it was quite the shindig, because he's been talking about it for the past three days. I can't tell if he enjoyed the reunion or not. He seems to oscillate between "My family is a hoot!" and "Oh my gosh I can't believe I'm related to these people". (Of course, I suppose that most of us do that).

Anyway, Crawford’s self-imposed prison sentence with great aunts and third cousins and random elderly people that he will never ever be able to identify even though they are, in some way, sharing at least some of his genetic code, got me thinking about my own family reunions. Personally, I’m not such a big fan of the reunions. First, I have a very large family and I never know half the people who show up for them, and second, certain family members keep returning from the dead to attend them.

Yes, you read that right. Family members whom I have personally watched being lowered into the ground continue to attend family reunions. It really freaked me out as a kid.

When I was but a wee Quirk, I was somehow related to a woman known only to me as "Nana"*. She was very very old, had thick coke bottle glasses that made one eye squinty and the other eye HUGE, and a hump from osteoporosis. I remember thinking that she looked a lot like the witch from Hanzel and Grettel, although I’m not sure where I got that idea from. I think from the cackling. She cackled a lot, and everyone knows that only witches cackle. We used to visit her occasionally, and the only thing that I remember distinctly was that her house smelled like old person, and she had a really vicious man-eating bird that she constantly threatened to sic on me. Every time we would visit, Nana would lean over, glare at me with her one giant eye, and tell me "That bird will bite your fingers off!". Then she would cackle. I had a mental picture of hundreds of fingerless children running screaming from the house while Nana stood on the porch and cackled. I couldn’t see the bottom of the bird’s cage because I was too short, but I was sure that it was full of gnawed up finger bones. (I have since learned that the bird in question was actually a parakeet, and that she was warning me not to stick my fingers in the cage or else the bird could bite me, but really, as young as I was, how could I not think that she was feeding little kid fingers to her giant bird of death)? The point of the story is that after years of visiting with both hands clasped firmly behind me lest the bird get any ideas, Nana died. We knew that she had died. There was a funeral, and she was in the casket, and that was that…until the next family reunion. I walked in, and there was Nana! Same thick coke bottle glasses, same giant eye, same stooped stature. It had been my understanding that when someone died, they were supposed to go to heaven, but you weren’t supposed to see them anymore! (Obviously God had given Nana permission to keep coming to family reunions). Next family reunion rolled around, and Nana was in attendance once again. I wasn’t about to question Nana about it when obviously she and God had worked out a deal, but still… Besides, of all neat things to do back on Earth, attending a family reunion wouldn’t have been my first choice. (Seaworld would have been my first choice. Maybe Nana had a fear of fish). The years went by, and by now I had just accepted that Nana would be at family reunions, despite her ethereal state. It wasn’t until I mentioned something in passing to Mom years later about Nana coming back from the dead that she set the record straight. It seems that Nana really did die, and we really did bury her, but what I didn’t understand what that Nana had a sister. And the sister had very similar genes to Nana, especially ones that made her look exactly like Nana when she got older. And it was the SISTER that kept coming to family reunions, looking like Nana-incarnate. This information both relieves me (Nana's decided to stay put behind the Pearly Gates after all) and scares me, because obviously coke bottle glasses, one huge eye and a hump are the result of pretty consistent genes...ones that currently belong to my family. Nana may be attending family reunions for the rest of my life.

*I'm sure Nana was really a sweet little old lady who had the misfortune of being painted with the brush of a child's imaginative impressions (and later posted on the internet). I'm almost 70% sure that she didn't feed children's fingers to her bird.

Quirky Meme

There's a Quirky meme going around, and I am shocked- just SHOCKED that I haven't been officially tagged for it yet. I mean, quirky is my word! I embody quirky! I can only assume that people didn't send it to me because you're supposed to list six quirky things, and people knew I would never be able to limit myself to so few quirks. Nevertheless, I am up for the challenge.

Here are some random quirks, off the top of my head, in no particular order:

I talk in my sleep. I answer questions, I carry on conversations, I can even win debates in my sleep. I was watching a movie with a boyfriend once (many years ago), and try as I might, I just could not keep my eyes open! I kept dozing off during the movie, but I didn't want him to know that because he picked the movie and I didn't want him to think that I thought it was boring (it was, but I think only because I kept falling asleep during important parts and couldn't follow the plot). Anyway, to "prove" that I wasn't sleeping, I started a debate about the underlying theme of the movie. I made a comment, he disagreed, I countered, he counter-countered, I won him over with my unfaultable logic. He conceded that okay, he could see my point. Then I said something witty like, "I'm glad you see it my way...besides, you would never be able to hide it all under your cape". Silence. He had no clue what I was talking about, and it was rapidly dawning on him that maybe I didn't either. The silence woke me up enough to realize that I'd won the debate, but blown my cover. He realized it too, and insisted on taking me home. Sure, lots of people talk in their sleep, but can they make a successful persuasive argument while sleeping? THAT'S a quirk.

I hate washing dishes. The idea of leftover food mixing in water with all the other leftover food and forming some kind of chunky greasy stew just makes me want to gag. When I lived on my own, I would only buy paper plates and paper cups and those little plastic glad bowls that you can throw away. Instead of washing dishes, I just threw them all away (I know, I know. I'm horrible for the environment. There's a landfill dedicated solely to me). Sure, I could just put the dishes directly into the dishwasher, but you still have to pre-rinse them all first, and all that stuff still pools in the bottom of your sink. Luckily, I married a man who sees no problem with sticking his hands in all kind of food muck (shudder!), so he does the dishes (thus saving me from the EPA picketing in front of my house). I try to help out by emptying the dishwasher once all the dishes are nice and clean and gunk-free. I'm a thoughtful wife like that, and thoughtful turns an otherwise disturbing mental hang-up into delightfully quirky.

I don't drink anything carbonated. No Cokes, no Dr. Pepper, no sparkling water, no ginger ale, no energy drinks. Haven't had even a sip in the last 17 years. I used to when I was little, but I just kinda stopped when I was about 10. I don't really recall any particular reason for it. I just went from liking the taste to not really liking the taste. Or the bubbles. Or the sugar level that makes my teeth and gums feel like they are rotting out of my mouth even from just thinking about it. I only drink water and milk for the most part, and on rare occasions, apple juice or sweet tea. This quirk probably turned out to be a good thing for me, since I can put all those Coke calories towards something really good, like chocolate. And cheese sticks. And more chocolate. Tony imbibes in an occasional root beer, and I won't let him kiss me until he wipes his mouth because his lips taste just terrible from drinking that stuff. (He considers that a challenge and tries to sneak in the occasional root beer kiss, but I can smell it on him a mile away). Strangely enough, not wanting to drink something that tastes like licking the bottom of a radioactive garbage can makes me quirky. Go figure.

Speaking of drinking, I don't like alcohol either. I don't have a problem with anyone else drinking it as long as they don't get out of control, but I myself just do not care for the taste. Of anything. This really amazes people, and they invariably say something like, "Have you tried a fruity mango rum margarita colatta breezer? I bet you'd loooove that one!" And I try it, and I hate it. Alcohol has a very distinct taste to me (much like what I would expect cat pee to taste like), and I seem to be able to pick it out of even the fruitiest frozen drinks. Sometimes I think about telling people that I'm a recovering alcoholic just so we don't go through the taste-test game EVERY. SINGLE. TIME I'm at a party or event, but posing as an alcoholic seems sleazy somehow (and not fair to real recovering alcoholics). Almost like telling people I'm a cancer survivor. I could also try to claim religious beliefs, but that's kinda far-fetched coming from a Catholic. So I'm a tee-totaling Catholic who hates the taste of alcohol, no matter what fruit it's mixed with...quirky.

I have a thing for the color blue. The outside of my house is blue, my living room accent wall is blue, my kitchen is blue, my office is blue, my master bathroom is blue, accessories are blue, my lawn furniture is blue. I looooove blue. Tony got tired of all the blue, so he asked that some rooms be painted other colors. I tried it, but the rooms that aren't blue are my least favorite rooms in the house. The guest bedroom is minty green, which I've decided to tone down with some blue (but haven't told Tony yet) and the guest bathroom is brown (which I've decided to warm up with light blue accents). After that, I think they'll look much better. Don't get me wrong, it's not that I'm obsessed with blue. I actually very rarely wear blue. I just like to decorate with it. And plant with it (I gravitate towards blue flowers), and do Christmas decorations with it (blue icicle lights, blue hedge lights, blue tree ornaments, blue angel on top, and all blue wrapping paper). I think blue is calming. Tony thinks blue puts me squarely into the quirky category. But if color-coordinated is wrong, I don't want to be right.

I like lima beans. Scratch that. I LOVE lime beans. Especially when they've been cooking all day and they're nice and soft. Cracker Barrel has the BEST lima beans, but only on Saturdays, because that's when they're the vegetable of the day, and you can only get them then. Normally a lima bean quirk would be a good thing to have, but I think they lose some of their nutritional value when cooked with fat back and bacon. (Mmmmm! Soooo good!) The canned limas are okay, but if you want true lima bean heaven, go to Cracker Barrel. When I can convince Tony to go, I get the vegetable plate with lima beans, lima beans, and a side of lima beans. He claims that one day I'm going to turn into a giant lima bean. (He says that like it would be a bad thing). Actually, I haven't come across too many people that do like lima beans, which I guess is what makes this a quirk.

So there you go. Some of my many many quirks. Some of them odd, but mostly endearing (I hope!). I like to think that our quirks are good things because they make us unique, and unexpectedly refreshing. So embrace your quirks! Celebrate them! And pass this meme along by listing your particular quirks. And if someone thinks you're quirky, consider it a compliment.

The Big Three-O...O

So here's something neat: According to my Blogger list, this is my 300th post! It's kinda like a bloggy birthday or something. (And right after I did the whole template thing too. That's like having a birthday makeover!) Unfortunately, I was so focused on the makeover that I didn't realize the birthday was coming up, so it's kinda like walking into your surprise party where everyone is waiting for you to make a poignant birthday speech but you can't think one remotely interesting thing to say to honor the occasion.

Soooo...thanks for sticking with me through all 300, and when the next milestone rolls around, I'll try to have a better birthday speech planned.


Okay, I think I'm done tweaking (for right this second anyway), so...Welcome to the new and improved Quirky is a Compliment! (Version 2.0!) Isn't it pretty? I've decided to call it Sherbert Dreamsicle- Quirky style. I have to give props to Melissa over at Pink Paper Peppermints, who inspired me with her fabulous header picture, which I totally coveted. I told her as much, and instead of being all "don't talk to me, basic template loser", she was all "here's a helpful website link to help you out!" which was way cool. Standing O to Melissa!

Do not be fooled by all my new class and designer sophistication though. It wasn't hard at all. True, back in the day (those would be college days if you're wondering) I could write a mean HTML code, and looked down my nose at anyone who was unimaginative enough to snort! use a template! (I ran with an arty crowd full of graphic designers and webpage techies. Give me a break). But then we graduated, and all went our separate ways, and I didn't have the daily need to write code. And much like high school Latin, if you don't use it, you lose it. So when everybody's favorite quirky blog was born, I resorted to one of the preset Blogger templates that I had so detested years ago (and that, dear friends, is referred to as irony).

This is still based on a Blogger template (snapshot if you're wondering), but I've been able to tweak some things to really make it my own, which is cool. And best of all, it was all free!

I found my pink and yellow swirly picture (and the others listed in the post from yesterday) at 123 Royalty They sell images that designers and photographers create, but they also have a section for free stuff. You have to register, but it's free. Then just download the images you want. All of the ones I downloaded were from a designer called Alri.

If you want your own banner header, I recommend popping over to Mandarin Design to see several different ideas. If you want to skip the ideas and do the EASIEST. BANNER. MAKER. EVER, then go here to The hardest part about it is making a decision on exactly what you want it to look like. (Border vs no border kept me up all night, but that's just me).

I also tweaked my background color (Sienna1) and the sidebar size, and added the search bar (oooh!) with the help of this super easy, wonderfully written Tips for New Bloggers. If it can be done, they'll tell you how to use it. It's all cut and paste. No HTML knowledge required.

And viola! The ease of a template, the custom look all my own. Easy breezy beautiful Quir-ky Blog!

The only downside is that it makes me crave sherbert dreamsicles now.


I know, I know. The colors are all funky. I'm playing with the template. You'll probably see several variations before the final one is picked. My HTML is rusty at best, so if you see something that just doesn't work, or you want to weigh in on color options, be my guest.

What do you think about these color combos? I'm working on a custom quirky logo.

Maybe something like this?

Quirky is a Compliment