Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Something Not Shit

“The way I look at it, in everyone’s life there’s a certain amount of shit. And in the last year, things have turned out pretty shitty. So logically, mathematically even, it’s got to be time for something not shit.” --Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason

That statement very well describes my feelings at the end of 2005. No doubt the worst year of my life. I wish I could go back and erase it. But I can’t. I can only joke about it, learn from it, and move on.

In the spring of 2005, my dad lost his job. My mom called to tell me the news. Over the phone, I could see the tears in her eyes and feel the fear in her voice. It was a scary thing in their single income household. And I’m an only child so I had no one to share the burden. He was out of work for several weeks, but eventually got things straightened out and was hired back by the company for a different job with less pay. And due to the recent economic downturn, he’s also getting less hours now but hopefully things will pick back up next year.

In the summer of 2005, I discovered my then husband was having an affair. So on top of worrying about my mom and dad, I now had an emotional black hole to emerge out of every day. I tried going to a counselor. I tried reading books. I tried praying. I tried everything I could but in the end, I just couldn’t live with it and, try as I might, I definitely couldn‘t change it. But I did live with it for several months. And I honestly don’t know how people do it for longer than that and function. Some people endure infidelity all of their lives. I am not one of them. I was in a constant, puffy eyed state, a hot mess on the verge of tears. It’s a hell of a way to live, and I’m so glad it’s behind me.

In the fall of 2005, my cousin died in a car accident. He was just a year older than me and the whole family took it very hard. He had some problems and was on the verge of getting his act together, and then this happened. It was a tragic event but I think it brought us all closer together in the end. I miss him.

The year ended pretty much the way it began. My dad fell and broke his leg, and was once again out of commission. He still got paid for disability, or whatever insurance term you want to use, but now there were medical bills piling up on top of normal bills. With everything else that had happened that year, and keep in mind at this point I’m still dealing day in and day out with my husband’s affair, it was the last straw. To quote another movie, how much more shit can we pile on top of this heap? -- My Cousin Vinny.

I’m writing this now because I’m about to enter 2010: a new decade and 5 years removed from the year of shit. And I’m very happy. I think things have gotten better every day since 2005 ended and they’re pretty damn good right now. I still have my bad days and meltdowns, but I’m nowhere near where I was then. I can smile. I can laugh. I can have a good time without the weight of the world on my shoulders. I’m so lucky. So blessed. And so grateful that 2005 is becoming a distant memory.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Christmas Past

This is a picture from 14WFIE's Christmas party in 2006. Perry and I had our first date at this event. I got the urge to find this picture after my mom gave me a picture frame that said "Christmas 2006" because she knew that's when we started dating. Problem is, I didn't have a camera back then. Ironically, I got one for Christmas that year but it was after the fact. So I started hunting down co-workers who might have caught us on tape. Sure enough, Stefanie Silvey came through, and now I have the picture. Sans red eye.

This weekend, yet another WFIE Christmas party rolls around. It would be my 6th but I skipped a year, so just 5 parties for me. Several, several more for Pmo. It's been downsized from a formal gala at the country club to an intimate gathering at the general manager's home. But there's good food and it's still a lot of fun. I also just found out that our favorite bar is having karaoke Saturday night. They recently came under new management, and karaoke is hard to come by now. So I'm super psyched and looking forward to having lots of fun with my husband and our friends.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Working Holiday

I find it funny that people are still shocked I sometimes have to work on a holiday. Especially Thanksgiving or Christmas. People, I work in news. I've been working in news for 6 years. The news doesn't stop for family, friends, and feasting. But I try to take turns with people and sometimes I get to choose. Like this year I decided to take off Friday instead of Thanksgiving. It's a bonus because I get a three day weekend and I get to go out to dinner on my birthday. Plus I'm off Christmas Eve and Christmas Day so I think that's a good trade off.

Working today wasn't that big of a deal anyway because it was a pretty easy day. I did some pre-planning on Wednesday night and got my 2 newscasts as organized as I could. Many of us brought in side dishes and desserts for dinner. Our editor even smoked a turkey so we had a pretty good spread that we ate on all day. I had extra supplies from our reception over the summer so I brought in the sectioned plates, utensils, napkins, a loaf of bread, and three side dishes. We just decided to throw this together last night, so I was amazed at what I could bring that I already had at home. I didn't have to go to the store for anything. I spent the morning cooking for work and cleaning for company who is coming tomorrow night.

Tomorrow, as I've mentioned, is my birthday. Our friends, Rachel and Nick, as well as Mom and Dad are going to eat dinner with us at Shogun in Owensboro. Yummy Japanese hibachi food! I'm very excited and looking forward to it. I might even brave the stores tomorrow to look for a new outfit. I'm at that point where I hate all of my clothes again and feel fat in everything. Also, tomorrow night, we're meeting a couple of my cousins out for drinks. We have no plans for the rest of the weekend, but I imagine we'll start the indoor Christmas decorating. We put lights up on the house last weekend. Now it's time to start on the tree and all the knick knacks.

Yay for the holidays!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Giving Thanks

I'm thankful for many things this year:

I'm thankful I have some money in the bank. Not a lot, but some. Enough to make a dent in my debt. I'm about ready to pay off my car, and that is so sweet.

I'm thankful I have a job that allows me to put money in the bank. And spend it. Usually on groceries. And wine.

I'm thankful my job is not flipping burgers and actually has some purpose and respect that goes along with it.

I'm thankful I have a second chance at marriage and a husband who does not run around on me.

I'm thankful he looks out for me and takes care of me when I need it. Like when I'm sick. Or hungover.

I'm thankful we're able to travel and see the sights. Even if it is just a rock formation or a state park. Every moment is precious.

I'm thankful we have a nice home and a big yard. Even if we had 36 huge Rural King bags full of leaves last weekend. And aching muscles.

I'm thankful I don't live in white trash alley anymore. And kids don't smash my pumpkins.

I'm thankful for my family. I'm lucky my parents and three of my grandparents are still living. And my little cousins bring me such joy.

I'm thankful for friends. New ones that hang out with me on a Saturday night. Old ones that stay in touch and will never forget me.

I'm thankful for my dogs. They may have problems from time to time with fleas, glanding, and eye gunk, but they're my best buddies. I don't know what I'd do without them to come home to.

I'm thankful I've almost made it to my 31st birthday. I wouldn't want to go back to any other year of my life. I've got it pretty good.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Jack Scratch Fever

I haven’t had much to blog about lately except for pet problems. It’s not Bug this time, it’s Jack. A little over a week ago, he started scratching like crazy, and constantly. We went to a pet store to see what remedies we could find. The manager told us that dogs tend to have corn allergies this time of year. And most dog food has corn in it. After he told me what most dog food was made of, I was more than ready to try something new. The manager also recommended a tea tree oil spray. So we bought both. We’re working the food in gradually: half old, half new. The spray provided relief for a bit, but otherwise didn’t do much good. We noticed Bug was scratching, too, but not as much and no hair loss. After we put the spray on Jack, we noticed he had a big chunk of hair missing.

I started looking up solutions on the internet. Then I considered flea allergies could be the problem. I treat the dogs for fleas in the warmer months with flea collars and topicals. But I thought fleas went away when it got colder. I was wrong. Pmo found a couple of Bug the other day and I also found one on Jack. Then I noticed Jack had some red, irritated spots on him that I now believe are flea bites. So I turned back to the flea shampoo I use in the summer and broke down and bathed Jack today, though he wasn‘t due for another two weeks. I'm told overbathing can irritate their skin, too. When Jack was dry again, I put a flea collar back on him and applied the topical.

I found some home remedies for dog allergies on the internet involving oatmeal and baking soda. I didn’t have any baking soda so I tried the oatmeal recipe. It said boil 2 quarts of water and a handful of oats for 10 minutes, drain the particles, and let cool. I had to stick the pot in the freezer so it wouldn’t scald Jack, but I got it down to a nice lukewarm temperature. I put the oatmeal on him after the flea bath and it felt good to me, silky smooth in fact. Surely that had to help even a little bit. I left the oatmeal on for about 5 minutes, then rinsed it off. I think next time I’ll only make half the batch though, unless I’m bathing Bug, too. It seemed a little excessive for one dog.

After I got Jack out of the tub, which he was so ready to do after shivering during most of the ordeal, he didn’t scratch for about 5 to 10 minutes. But I was also vacuuming so maybe he was just distracted. Nevertheless, he eventually started scratching again. So I gave him another dose of children’s Benadryl in the hopes it would ease his pain in the afternoon. That was also a recommendation from the pet store manager and I read about it in several articles on the internet. Except there‘s conflicting information on whether the liquid form or the pill form is better for dogs. I bought the liquid. I haven’t been able to tell if it helps because it’s either been at night when I get home and we soon go to sleep, or before I go to work and I’m not around to see if he’s still scratching. But he hasn’t thrown it up at all, and he has a sensitive stomach. So that's a good sign.

I hope some if not all of these remedies work. I think the flea treatment will do the trick, but the oatmeal and baking soda are good ideas, too. I guess I'll move onto Bug tomorrow.

Friday, October 16, 2009

I Heart Vino

It all began with a trip to the Biltmore Estate. Up until then, I didn't really care for wine and didn't understand the attraction. But Pmo and I visited that winery and we haven't stopped looking for tasting rooms since. We've been to wineries in North Carolina, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee, Indiana, and Kentucky. Maybe even more states but I can't think of them right now.

Visiting wineries and buying wine has really become sort of a hobby for us. But not every winery is created equal. I like a winery to be scenic, kind of set back from everything else. I don’t like junky ones that sit right off the interstate, but I'll still try them out. I think one of my favorites is Stone Hill in Missouri. It's on a hill, obviously, in this charming small town, almost village like. I also like Huber Winery in southern Indiana. Lots of farmland around it.

I started my drinking career with hard liquor. Screwdrivers were my drink of choice. It was college, so cheap vodka was the best I could do. I didn't like beer at the time. Then at some point, I ended up growing quite fond of beer. And I took a few shots of tequila here and there until I knew better. I was on the beer kick for quite awhile, but my tastes have now turned to the art of grapes.

I love learning about wine, talking about wine, and of course, tasting wine. Pmo and I gathered quite a collection from our trips this year, but now that supply is gone. I expect we'll stock up again soon. We have some standards at the local liquor store that are tasty. But half the fun of opening a bottle of wine from a trip is bringing back those memories and remembering why you liked it enough to buy it in the first place.

Every bottle of wine is different, and it has its own story. I don't think you can really say that about other alcoholic drinks. I love smelling a glass or bottle of wine, including the cork. I love to look at it in the glass and swish it around. I enjoy it. I experience it. I used to think it was a bit uppity to drink wine, but not anymore. I'd rather drink wine than any other alcohol at this point in my life.

The bad thing is wine knocks me on my butt pretty quick. I've learned Pmo and I can share a bottle and I'm good the next day. If we share two bottles, I'm probably going to have a headache. Three bottles or more, I'm headed for trouble. And if I'm drinking wine by myself? Oh, Lord, not a good move. But nevertheless, tonight, I'm looking forward to going home, sitting in my recliner, and drinking a bottle of great vino with my husband. In my opinion, it's the perfect way to end the work week.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Coupon Caper

My latest hobby is searching out deals. I scour the Sunday ads and the weekly circulars looking for ways to save. I usually don't travel from store to store just to buy a few items here and there that are on sale. I tend to stick to the deals offered by my local Wesselman's and Dollar General. It helps that they're right next door to each other. But this week, I found good deals on items we use every day that were spread out at several stores, so I decided to brave the rain today and make the trip around town. I went to 5 stores and spent about $25 at each store. But, I saved at least $25 in markdowns and coupons.

I've learned that I can cheat on my coupons a bit. It depends on the cashier, but sometimes you can slip some by that really shouldn't be used. I try to get in line where I see a young kid, preferably a boy, because something tells me he doesn't care if I have a coupon for High Fiber Progresso Soup when I only got the regular kind. By the way, I got 6 cans of Progresso Soup for $7 and some change today. Or when I have coupons for $1 off the purchase of two 12-packs of Diet Coke, but I use 1 coupon per pack instead. That day I got four 12-packs for $7.

I also enjoy buy 1 get one free sales, if I can use the items. Today, I decided against a buy 1 get 1 free today on cranberry juice, because it was a huge container that was $5.49 and I didn't think I could drink 2 of them. I try not to buy things I don't need just because they're on sale. But I've learned the art of watching for things to go on sale, THEN using my coupons. Which is tricky. You have to pay careful attention to the ads, mark things, and make a list. Otherwise, you'll forget what was on sale and what you wanted to get when you walk in the storer. Also, do lots of coupon clipping and be aware of what you have. Long expiration dates on those coupons are important so you can hold onto them and use them when the time is right. And of course, you have to have the patience and will to not need the item right away, and to wait it out. Then you can truly reap the benefits of sales and coupons.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Five Dollar Finds

(pardon the *** but I was having a problem with spacing and indenting in this blog. *** means new paragraph!)
***I’m very proud of the $5 stroller we found at Goodwill and converted into Bug’s buggy. We’ve used it several times and it will certainly come in handy once we start taking the dogs with us on trips. But I’ve found a new treasure.
***I’ve been wanting some sort of vanity by the bed for awhile now. Pmo got me a jewelry chest for Christmas, which gave me a long awaited place to hang my necklaces, but I didn’t have anywhere to put it. So every day, I would go into the hall closet and take out the chest, but I couldn’t explore the jewelry. Also, every night, I would take off my jewelry and put in on my nightstand. So it was only logical that I put a surface beside the bed that could handle all that traffic. My nightstand was small and round. I needed something more like a desk, but still small so that it would fit in the space.
***We set out on Sunday afternoon to see if my vanity could be found at Goodwill. I looked over the furniture room and didn’t see anything. I saw another stroller that probably would work for Bug, but I already fixed that problem. I started looking again and I found it. I though it might have been a kitchen cart or something because it really wasn’t big enough to be a desk. It even had a little shelf underneath for bonus storage. And it was $5.
***We brought it home after running a few more errands in the rain. I wiped it off with furniture polish and now it sits beside the bed. It holds a lot: my jewelry chest, lamp, TV remote, retainer case, lint brush, etc. I’d like to get a small stool to slide underneath, but one of our folding chairs will do for now.
***It’s just amazing to me what you can find for a little bit of money if you just look for it. That cart may not have been there yesterday, and if it wasn’t, I’d try again next time because I know that‘s my best option. It's cheaper than a consignment shop or Walmart. I don’t have to run out and buy a $40 piece of furniture. I’ve gotten along so far without it. It’s just nice to make my daily routine a little easier. Several months ago, we also got Pmo a desk from Goodwill for $10 or $15 that we turned into a work bench for the garage. It’s better than spending hundreds of dollars on a Craftsman.
***There were other activities this past weekend. We walked about 5 miles at Race for the Cure on Saturday morning. I liked having it downtown. It was very scenic. The shuttle from Mead Johnson was also extremely efficient. We didn’t have to worry about parking near the race and didn‘t wait long to get on or off the bus. On Saturday night, I went to a bachelorette party for some quality girl time. And Sunday evening, we put out fall decorations, including some new leafy lights my mom got us earlier in the year.
***This week, I’m getting my haircut and thinking about getting dog beds. If I can find them for a decent price. We put Bug and Jack in their pet taxis in the back bedroom at night, but Jack’s always been unhappy with that. He hides behind the couch and just shakes like he’s scared to death when you shut the gate. I really don’t think he sleeps much at night because he hates it so much. If they had dog beds, they wouldn’t be so confined and could stretch out and get comfortable. I’m hoping I can just shut the bedroom door and they’ll curl up and go to sleep. We don’t want them roaming the house and waking us up in the middle of night.
***This upcoming weekend is Grandma’s birthday, so I’ll probably take the dogs and go home to have lunch with her and Mom while Pmo heads home to visit a friend. There’s also the Fiddler Fest in Newburgh which I’d like to visit at some point, maybe Friday for lunch. And the Yart Sale (cheap art) is also Saturday, I believe. Fall starts Tuesday. Get ready for pumpkins, apple cider, and lots of leaf raking!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Swayze Crazy

I don’t usually write about celebrity deaths but Patrick Swayze is a different story. Most people choose Dirty Dancing as their favorite Swayze movie, and I love it as well. Nobody puts Baby in a corner and all that jazz. But when I think of Swayze, I think of Dalton in Roadhouse, but more importantly, Orry in the North and South miniseries. My mom taped North and South off TV, without commercials, and we would watch it over and over again. It was like another version of Gone With the Wind to us because we love Civil War movies. I even named some puppies we had after the main characters: Orry, Madeline, George, and Constance.

What's weird is another actor, who died this year and is well known for his other work, was in North and South, too. David Carradine played Justin Lamotte, who was pretty much Orry's nemesis through the entire story. Justin tricked Madeline into marrying him, and she was in love with Orry. Justin was a mean, mean, man. Carradine played it so well. He'll always be Justin to me, just as Swayze will be forever Orry: a southern gent and war hero. So sad they're both gone but at least I have them on video forever. As long as my VCR doesn't eat the tapes.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Credit Crazed

I'm slowly starting to realize how much we depend on credit. Like it's our God given right. I mean, who can afford to outright buy a house, a car, and an education with cash? If I was not able to get loans, I would not live in my home. I'd be taking the bus to work. And I'd probably work at a lower paying job because I'd have no education. Which means I'd never be able to save up enough money to buy a car, a house, or an education because I would barely have enough money to survive. What a vicious cycle. I couldn't take trips unless it was on a Greyhound bus or an airplane. I'd always share walls with neighbors. I couldn't ride my motorcycle.

I guess I'm really starting to think about this because I'm getting close to paying off my car. And I'm thinking about which bill I'm going to work on next. I call it my pyramid. It starts with my least amount of debt and works up to the highest outstanding balance. My credit cards were at the bottom, and now they're done. My car is next, then my motorcycle, student loan, and last but not least, the house. I guess up until this point I've always added onto my debt instead of paying it down. I'm finally at a place where I can take control and really sink my teeth into getting rid of some of it, without starving myself or being bored. It's kind of exciting in a nerdy sort of way.

I'm also stashing more money into savings. It's something I've never been good at, nor able to do. But even with the extra expenses I've incurred this summer like vehicle registrations, property taxes, dog shots, etc., I've been able to save a little money here and there. It's the first thing I do out of my paycheck now instead a last consideration. I think of it now as an emergency fund and can't believe I never really had one before. I mean, I've always had a savings account but there was never much in it. I'm also thinking of moving some moolah over to another savings account that I don't use anymore to stow away a fund for our next trip or big purchase. If I can't easily transfer money from that account into my checking, it's more likely to stay there.

Monday, August 31, 2009

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I'm not ruling out the possibility of more 90 degree days, but it looks like for the most part, the summer heat has passed us by. And I couldn't be happier. I appreciate having to cover up. I'd much rather wear jeans than shorts. Long sleeves instead of tank tops. And let's not forget my precious hoodies. However, I know that 90 degrees temps in September are not uncommon. I've even experienced a hot day or two in early October. But I hope fall is here to stay.

My weekend was a flurry of activity. I headed to Indy to hang out with my college pal Sunni and her daughters for the day. We ran around town for a bit then headed back to her house to relax. A little dinner, a little drinking, a little dancing, and it was already 1am. The next morning, which came way too early, I went to church with them and watched Sunni sing. Then I began the trek home, zigzagging my way through southern Indiana until I was back in da burgh again.

Pmo surprised me Sunday night with a dinner at Olive Garden. What a treat! Plus I had my trusty coupon for $4 off. I ordered my usual ravioli di portobello and bellini tea, we each enjoyed a glass of moscato wine and, of course, the always delicious salad and breadsticks. Yet afterward, I felt so miserable. I was overly stuffed with food, but I was also still nursing this crud I've had for the past week. After we got home, we spent some time in the backyard, watching Jack run his little tail off playing ball. I had to wear a jacket and change into jeans. It was chilly!

I almost forgot. We made the inaugural trip out of the neighborhood with Bug's buggy. We took the dogs down to the riverfront before dinner Sunday afternoon. We let Bug walk around for awhile by the boat ramp. He got to go with Jack and check out the good smells of the river bank. Then we got the stroller out of the trunk and took off with him. He tried to jump off only once or twice and actually laid down a time or two. So except for his beagle shrieking when he sees other dogs (nothing I say or do stops him from freaking out and screaming, so if anyone knows how to get this under control, let me know) it was a pretty good venture.

The week ahead will be pretty low key for me. I'm planning another trip to the grocery store and I also need to color my hair. I'm hope to take the dogs walking by myself and try to handle the stroller and Jack at the same time. I didn't walk at all last week, and I certainly don't need to fall into that routine. I'm feeling better, not as weak, but I still have crap running down my throat, a cough, and a sneeze here or there. I'm still taking mucinex and amoxicillin so hopefully I'll come out of it by the weekend.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Along with the Sunshine...

…there's gotta be a little rain sometimes.

I'm a bit under the weather. Where that expression came from I don't know. But anyway, it started with a sore throat on Sunday night. I spent 2 hours at the clinic on Monday to get a prescription for amoxicillin. Now this crud has transformed into some kind of nasal congestion. I found some allergy pills I bought the last time I was sick, so I popping them today. I'm not aware that I have any allergies, but those pills are supposed to relieve the same symptoms, so I thought, why not? It saves me from having to make a trip to Walgreen's and trying to pick something out that might work, and forking over more dough. Hopefully, this crud will clear up by the weekend. I'm supposed to go to Indy to visit my friend, Sunni, and her family. Right now, all I want to do is sleep, though I'm bored with it.

I'm also researching medication for Bug online. He's been doing so-so on the Rimadyl pills but they're so freaking expensive. I hate to keep buying them if they're only halfway helping. So I might try some aspirin the next time it seems like he's hurting. The vet says a baby aspirin or 1/4 of a regular aspirin is okay. But not long term. It's so weird because the first batch of Rimadyl worked so well, but ever since it's not been 100% effective. The vet also told me he needs lots of rest. He's a pro at that.

So we'll see. As of Thursday night, I still feel like crap and will probably hit the hay as soon as I get home. It's really irritating when you're used to coming and going as you please without a hint of illness. Now every task seems like a chore and I'm out of breath. But it only happens every once in awhile. I'm guess I'm pretty lucky.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Bug's Buggy

I’m not sure where the idea came from, but lately I’ve been thinking about buying a pet stroller. I’m sure it sounds stupid and frivolous. Probably as silly as putting a dog in a bag and carrying it around. Or dressing it up in clothes and putting jewelry on it. But there is a method to my madness.

Bug has had problems with his back legs for several months now. The pills from the vet worked at first, but he’s been taking them for awhile now and he’s only about 75% well. This means walking is a chore. Bug doesn’t want to go, and he’s slow. Jack is hard enough to keep up with as it is without Bug lagging behind. But I need to walk more for exercise, Jack needs an outlet for his energy, and we’ve been talking about taking the dogs on a trip with us. If Bug is down, I don’t want that to keep him from going places with us and being able to move around.

I knew a pet stroller would not be cheap. Not many things that are custom made for pets are. And I was right. I started looking on the internet and they were anywhere from $75 to $200. Seriously? I just want to push my dog around. The basket doesn’t have to be lined in gold. It doesn’t have to dispense treats or anything. So I went back to my original thought: get a used baby stroller and modify it.

We found one at Goodwill for $5 and brought it home. It was a simple one. No diaper bag compartment or drink holders. Just a cloth seat. So we got it into the garage and stared at it for awhile, trying to come up with a way to use it. We put Bug in it and, well, he didn’t quite fit. His paws hung over the front, along with his upper torso. We tried putting different things in the seat that would jut out and give him some support but nothing really worked.

At some point, I grabbed the ironing board from the loft in the garage. It was a small one, made for a countertop. Seemed like it would be a good platform for Bug. But we couldn’t figure out how to incorporate it. Until we took the cloth seat off. We slid the ironing board onto the bottom rungs of the stroller. And voila! We had the BugMobile. The ironing board fit really snug so it won’t come out unless we take it out. And we can collapse it down to take with us on a trip. It’s absolutely perfect.
We tried it out twice over the weekend walking around the neighborhood. I hooked Bug’s leash onto him, locked it tight, then slid the handle over the stroller. He rode pretty well, even laid down a couple of times. He jumped off once, but he didn’t go very far because of the leash, and we just put him right back on it. Of course, just because his legs are weak doesn’t mean his mouth is. He stirred up a bunch of dogs in the neighborhood across the road from us with his beagle shrieking. But all in all, it worked out great. We even added a pillow in the back so his tail doesn’t get too close to the back wheels.

So that’s the story of how Bug's buggy was born. I’m quite proud of it. I mean, it was five freaking dollars, an ironing board, and a pillow. Problem solved. And I don't care if people think I'm babying him or just being ridiculous. I know why I'm using it and that's all that matters. But hopefully, Bug will get better, and he won't need it. Lord knows he needs the exercise. But now we have an alternative if he’s not feeling well or if he gets worse as he gets older. Cheap ingenuity rocks.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I Wanna Rock!

I got the best present in the world from Pmo last year for Christmas: a karaoke system. We were so excited that we went out and bought CDs for it and tried it out in the living room. Problem was, our TV speakers were not made for such loudness, so when we sang, we sounded like crap. Then we realized if we brought in the stereo from the kitchen, we could hook up the karaoke player to better speakers. But then the stereo sat in front of the TV, which was not very pretty, nor conducive to daily living. So besides one time when the Folzi came over, and another time when my college friends were in town, the karaoke machine has hardly been touched this year.

We thought we were going to get better speakers some time at Goodwill and sit them on a shelf above the TV. Then we could route the system through a receiver and enjoy karaoke in the living room. But we just never seemed to come across any speakers we liked. Plus, once we found some, we'd have to build a shelf and get another receiver. A recent trip to Tennessee netted a set of pretty good speakers from a Goodwill store, but we still weren't sure how to rig everything up. Then Pmo got the idea to look for a TV instead and put the whole system in the "stuff" room instead. The "stuff" room is one of our back bedrooms that consists of our movies, books, magazines, and pictures, Pmo's stereo, big stereo, and music, and a lot of other stuff. Hence the name, stuff room.

Wouldn't you know the next time we went to Goodwill, we found a small TV that even had a digital tuner for $15, and we brought it home. Now we have an extra set of rabbit ears hooked up so we can watch TV. And since the karaoke player is multi-functional, we can listen to CDs and watch DVDs in there, too. But the best part is, the mics are hooked up and we are ready to rock! The night we hooked it up, we stayed up late singing, then took turns going outside to see if we were really that loud. And since then, I've been in there a few times by myself in the morning.

I can't believe I actually have an outlet now for my singing. It only took 31 years! And don't get me wrong: I know that I can't sing well. I don't know anything about notes or pitches or melodies. But I love it. I've been doing it all my life. And I'm not about to stop. Even when I am told I'm singing off key. Who cares? Obviously, I don't.

When I was a kid, I used to prop up the push broom against a chair in the basement and use it as a microphone stand to belt out tunes. Or I would grab a flashlight for a hand mic and run around the room. Now I sing in the car, in the shower, wherever I can turn up the radio, CD, or mp3 player. It helps drown out my voice! But now, I can just go back to the stuff room, put in a CD, and sing to my heart's content. With a real microphone. I'm sure I'll still enjoy the occasional trip to Lamasco. But it's nice to know that when I'm home, I can just take my beer or glass of wine down the hallway and pick up the mic if I feel the need to make eardrums bleed! That's kind of harsh, but you get my drift. In other words, I WANNA ROCK!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Weighing on my Mind

I was shocked when I looked down at the scale at the doctor's office this afternoon. Well, maybe shock is not the right word. I've known for some time that I was putting on weight. The tummy doesn't lie. In fact, it proudly juts out for all the world to see. My diet is not the best and I don't get a lot of exercise. I always seem to find excuses. The number one excuse being, "Oh, I didn't have time." Yeah, but somehow I found time to lay back in the recliner, eat cream cheese and crackers, and watch Days of our Lives for an hour.

I've lost weight before. I know how to do it. But it takes so much willpower and I'm weak. The number I saw on the scale today may be just what I need to jump start an exercise routine, and more importantly, stick with it. That's the hard part. I think I'm going to commit to a steady walking routine. I know I could burn so many more calories if I ran. But I freaking hate running with a passion. I'm thinking about speedwalking with Jack. Since Bug's leg problems are not totally behind us yet, we've been taking Bug on a short walk and Jack on a longer loop. I also need to do it first thing in the morning and get it out of the way. If I wait until midmorning or longer, I'll find any excuse to sit on my butt.

I'm not going to waste money on a gym that I know I won't go to, although I wouldn't mind lifting weights again. I figure I can do just about anything at home that I can do at a gym: pushups, situps, walking, etc. The only thing is when it gets cold, I won't be able to walk outside. I'll have to find an indoor option. Maybe Washington Square Mall where Pmo goes sometimes. I can't take Jack there though.

My other option is dancing. I can do that indoors, in the air conditioning, without going anywhere. Make up my own routines as I go along, blast the stereo. Wait, that sounds like a better option than walking! Maybe I'll mix it up because I also want to get the dogs exercising as much as possible. The more energy Jack expends, the better off we all are.

Friday, August 7, 2009


I'm just not much of a fest person. I think it's a combination of the heat, the parking, and the people. I went to the Schweitzer Fest when I was younger. I'd walk around, talk to friends, eat the food, ride the rides. But the older I get, the more I don't enjoy being hot and sticky much less bumping into other festgoers. Probably the same reasons I'm not a huge fan of amusement parks.

So this year, I passed on the Freedom Fest. I probably won't be attending Volksfest. And if I miss the Fall Festival, it won't kill me. But I am considering the Fiddler Fest in Newburgh this fall. I love catfish and I recently attended a wine tasting festival at the same location, the Old Lock and Dam. There's also a jazz and wine festival coming up in downtown Evansville. I won't rule that one out just yet, although the crowd might be big. In the words of Forrest Gump, that's all I have to say about that.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

My Hometown

I went home for a funeral this morning. My great aunt Lea passed away. I saw several family members I hadn't seen in several years. I received the usual compliments: "you're so tall like your dad" and "you look just like your mom." It seems every time I go home for something like that and see everyone, I start thinking about all my family members who were born and raised there and have never left. I'm not one of them.

Both sides of my family have deep roots in Perry County. But I've noticed the younger generation is branching out, for the most part. On my dad's side of the family, the majority of my cousins live away from home. On my mom's side, my cousins live within yards of each other and I'm the only one who's not there. It makes me realize that my kids, if I have any, are not going to grow up like I did. They're not going to have their grandparents nearby, their cousins to play with, their aunts and uncles to dote on them. Sure, there will be holidays and we'll visit, but it won't be the same. It won't be how I was brought up, my mom was brought up, my mom's mom was brought up, and so on.

I had every intention of leaving home for as long as I remember. I knew I would never live there as an adult. But I guess it never hit me what that would mean for my children. Again, if I have any. I'm not saying it's a bad thing or a good thing. In fact, I think the Evansville/Newburgh area is a great place to call home and raise a family. But it's weird to think my kids won't bicycle down Catholic Hill and go up to the Cannelton dam with tater wedges they bought from Marvin's Market. Or have their grandpa pick them up on his day off and take them around town. Or get caught behind the floodwall doing things they aren't supposed to be doing, only to have their dad find out the next day. Wait a minute. Maybe that is a good thing.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Take It Easy

This was a productive, yet relaxing weekend. It's one of the few this summer that we didn't have something scheduled. I think the busy times are over for now. Isn't it funny though, when you get down time, you start planning more things to do?

Pmo went to a gun show in Boonville with his dad Saturday morning and I slept in, as usual. I had stayed up watching "Daisy of Love" for some stupid reason. But even if I hadn't been up late, I would have still slept in. It's my nature. If I don't have to get up, why should I? When Pmo got home, we had some lunch and I set out to vacuum and wash my car. Even though I knew it was supposed to rain that night, sometimes things just need to be done. I realized I needed to wash the car the other day, when I went to put my 2010 sticker on my license plate and had to wipe so much dirt off to do it.

Saturday night was all about Shogun. We took The Folzi to Owensboro to experience this awesome Japanese restaurant. I took Pmo over there once but it had been a long time since we'd been back. I went a little heavy on the yum yum sauce for my rice and had to slow it down. It's such a bad feeling when you're sitting there, already so full you can't stand it, and you haven't even gotten to the meat yet. But I managed to jump over the wall I hit and keep going. I did bring home a box though and ate it Sunday. On the way home, it was pouring rain but it slacked up a bit by the time we got into the house. We had some drinks, played some games, and like that, it was almost 1am, and our company went home.

On Sunday, Pmo fixed pancakes for breakfast. We read the newspaper and checked out the ads. At some point, we decided we would go pick up a few things in a place I like to call, town. But we weren't in too big of a hurry. Pmo was on the hunt for some hardware and I wanted to get a 4G flash drive I had seen advertised at Big Lots for $10. Somehow, we got engrossed in "13 Going on 30" on TV and didn't leave the house until almost 3pm. We also stopped at Sears where I picked upsome jewelry and a wallet. Then I dropped off Pmo at the house so I could go back to the grocery store and CVS and pick up some things while he worked on his hardware project and fired up the grill.

Dinner consisted of barbecue pork chops and some left over hot dogs and bratwurst we wanted to use up. I also fixed corn on the cob, baked potaoes, and salad. Later, we took the dogs for a walk and pretty much settled in for the night. I put my new wallet together and organized my new to-do list for the week. We also had vanilla ice cream with strawberry topping. Yum!

I also got some sad news over the weekend. My great aunt Lea passed away. She'd been in the hospital for several days with lung and kidney trouble. When I think of Lea, I'll always remember going with my family to cut wood at Aunt Elsie's and Lea would bring the strawberry pie that was so good. I'm glad I got to see her and Tom in Rome in the spring during the Dogwood Festival.


Monday, July 27, 2009

Slowing Down

I guess it's the nature of summer. Weddings, showers, cookouts, birthday parties... it's a busy time of year. But we're finally slowing down. We took a trip to Cincy over the weekend to go to my sorority sister's wedding. I had a little too much of a good time (if you know what I mean) but I managed to make it through Sunday and still do a little sightseeing. We went to Newport (KY) on the Levee and visited the aquarium. The whole area is super cool. Shops, restaurants, dudes on stilts making balloon animals for kids, it was awesome. We ate at Johnny Rockets which is very busy diner but they drop everything and do a little dance when "Respect" by Aretha Franklin comes on the jukebox. We had the best strawberry milkshakes there.

Bug's having trouble again. I took him to the vet and got him some more medicine. It looks like he overdid himself during our cookout and aggravated his back legs. The good news is that the meds worked while he was taking them, so I can just get his prescription refilled now instead of taking him into the vet every time his condition acts up. I was also told by a co-worker that baby aspirin is okay to give dogs for their joints. I asked the vet about that, and he said yes, but it's more a short term solution. And to not give him baby aspirin AND the meds. It's more in between times when I'm out of the pills. I also picked up some soft dog treats and a munchee stick at Pet Food Center.

What's ahead? I hope a little rest and fun at home. This weekend, there's a gun show in Boonville that Pmo will probably attend. We're also planning to take some friends to Owensboro for a yummy dinner at Shogun. After that, our schedule is pretty much clear for awhile. We're thinking about taking some mini-trips before the summer is over like going to Garden of the Gods, canoeing, and hiking some trails in Perry County. I'm thankful it's been so mild and I hope it stays that way.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Wedding Wrapup

We had our reception over the weekend at our house in Newburgh. Our family and friends enjoyed chicken and potatoes prepared and cooked on the grill by my parents. They worked their butts off, they always do. I don't know what I would do without them. The weather turned out just perfect. In fact, it was pretty cool all morning. I wasn't sure if we'd even see the sun, but it eventually came out. We had some yard games for the kids and a lot of good conversation and catching up. Even though I was busy, I had a good time and it reminded me of the parties we used to have at home. I hope we can do it again. Next time, I want to play volleyball!

Pmo's mom and stepdad stayed with us all weekend, so we've been entertaining them and showing them around town. We're starting to get back to normal and my to-do list is no longer consumed by wedding tasks. Now it's all about trip planning, finding a dentist, getting a haircut, and other tedious things. This weekend, we travel to Cincy for my sorority sister's wedding. I haven't seen many of those girls in a long time, so it should be fun. Then I think we'll relax for awhile and really settle into married life. I'm so glad we already have a house and a routine. There's really no adjustment period, besides me getting used to my new name. In fact, we've been in our house almost a year already. We'll celebrate that anniversary in just a few weeks.

I feel like making a New Year's resolution in July. I really need to get into shape, lose some weight, and figure out a hairstyle. I thought I could learn to live with the extra pounds I've acquired but I just hate when I look at pictures and see my bulges. I know I could look better but it's going to take a lot of discipline and willpower. More exercise, less food. It's a pretty simple concept. Hopefully, I can find an activity I enjoy and stick with it. And the food, well, that's probably the most difficult part. Saying no when I want so bad to say yes!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Bits of Gratitude

To Mom for the music. She got me started on 8 tracks of Blondie, Elvis, and more. And she's still rockin'.

To Dad for the endurance. He always told me, "it will be here before you know it" when it came to getting my driver's license, going to college, and my 21st birthday.

To Joni for the innocence. We've come a long way but we'll always remember where we came from.

To Sunni for the laughter. It's infectious and it makes me smile. Plus her jokes are soooooo funny.

To Holly for the variety. If it wasn't for her, I would have never known the likes of The Hush Sound, This Providence, or We are the Fury.

To Rachel for the rowdiness. Wild nights at Lamasco. Cool nights by the fire pit. Lots of beer in between.

To Ann for the wisdom. She once told me, "when your happiness means something to you, you'll know what to do." And she was right.

To Perry for the adventure. Several trips are behind us, but we have many more to go. And lots of fun in between.


Monday, July 6, 2009

Land of the Free

My 4th of July was good, though it started out pretty dismal with all the rain. We were invited to a cookout earlier in the week, and by the time we got there, the rain had stopped but it was still bleak outside. So we ate inside and went out later to watch our host set off fireworks. On Sunday, we met Pmo's dad at the Super Flea Market, then had lunch at the State Street Tavern in Newburgh. Yummy. Later, we took the dogs out to the levee for a walk, and eventually headed to the riverfront for fireworks. It was an awesome show. I also had a bratwurst and a root beer float.

Many adventures lie ahead for me in the next few days. It's pay week so that means taking care of bills and grocery shopping. Plus our little "reception" is coming up so I've got to get with Mom on details of what we have and what we need. I need to get a local dentist because I am due for my bi-annual teeth cleaning and am no longer required to make the trip to Madisonville. I can get to work on my name changes now that I have my new social security card in my hot little hands. The BMV is calling my name. We're still waiting on the official wedding album and hoping it comes this week. I need to do some yard work that I've been avoiding for awhile. I should order new checks and address labels. Buy stamps. Send out announcements to newspapers about our wedding. Keep looking for cabins for our Gatlinburg getaway this fall. Figure out what the hell to do with my hair. The list goes on and on and I hope to knock a few of those off this week.


Monday, June 29, 2009

Just Married

The secret is out! Perry and I got married at Niagara Falls, NY last week. We had an awesome time, but we’re also glad to be back home. We drove up last Sunday, hammered out the details on Monday, and got hitched Tuesday evening. And of course, we did plenty of sightseeing here, there, and in between.

There was no music playing. No bridal party to keep in line. No throwing of the bouquet. No guests to gawk at me. No aisle to walk down or place for me to hide until the big moment. We had no choice but to ride together to the ceremony site. So, instead, Perry got ready before me and went down to the hotel lobby. I came down by myself in the elevator later. And his reaction was everything I hoped it would be. I had been nervous that he was expecting a white gown and other fanciness. But he was grinning ear to ear and lavished me with compliments.

We picked a site by the upper rapids because it was more private than other locations near the falls. The ceremony was about 15 minutes long and that was it: we were husband and wife! Afterwards, we took more pictures and headed to Terrapin Point, the closest site to the Horseshoe Falls from the American side, for some more shots. Luckily, we also had the photographer take some pictures with our camera so we can print copies. I ordered our official album this morning.

After the ceremony, we had some time before our dinner reservation so we went back to the hotel and opened our bottle of Niagara wine from Huber Winery we brought with us. Can you believe we couldn't find a single solitary wine glass in any gift shop in Niagara Falls? Plenty of mugs and shot glasses, but no wine glasses. We ended up borrowing a couple from the hotel bar. We also had our first dance at this point, thanks to the mp3 player on my phone: "Love Song” by Tesla.

Pretty soon, it was time to eat, so we headed over to the Red Coach Inn where we had delicious entrees, more wine, and dessert. A couple even bought us a round of drinks to celebrate the occasion. After dinner, we headed back to the upper rapids one more time and enjoyed the sunset. My original plan was to go back to the falls but by this time, my shoes were killing me. But damn, they looked good!

Let's see, what else happened? We visited several more attractions: Old Fort Niagara, Cuyahoga Falls, Ferrante Winery, Debonne Winery, Eddie Bauer outlets, and the Cincinnati Zoo. We headed back to southern Indiana Friday evening and found out Hank, Mom and Dad's pony, had died. Literally, just before we got there. We also came home to storm damage from the high winds on Monday. We lost part of a tree, again, our yard swing was in a different position, and several more limbs and branches had fallen in the yard. So it was back to reality in a hurry for us on Saturday, but at least we had two days to sort everything out. Sunday was definitely the nicer day. It was so flippin' hot Friday and Saturday.

I hope that's enough details for everyone. We just thought keeping the date and location a secret would make the moment that much more special and memorable. And it did.
"Love is all around you. Love is knockin' outside your door. Waitin' for you is this love made just for two. Keep an open heart and you'll find love again, I know." --Love Song by Tesla

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Ooh La La

This past weekend, we headed up to Richmond for my friend Fish's wedding. I got to catch up with some old friends, drink some beer (thanks Jen!) and eat hot dogs. Afterward, we played Putt Putt and ate a late night breakfast at IHOP. It was a long day for us since we got up at 6am, spent a lot of time on the road, and crashed around midnight.

On the way home Sunday, we had three goals in mind: Eddie Bauer, Huber Winery, and Indian-Celina Lakes. Two out of three ain't bad! We got some snazzy clothes from the outlet and bought some good wine in Starlight. But by the time we got into Perry County, we were too tired to explore the lakes so we picked up the dogs from Mom's and headed home.

That's all I have for now. We're heading to another wedding this weekend but this time it's local. I will say that I've had a few meltdowns lately and been stressed out. But I'm coming out of it and fully looking forward to the week ahead. Even though I haven't made it through this one yet. A girl can dream about Friday, can't she?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Better Late Than Never

I've been keeping busy but haven't found time to blog about it. I can't remember what I did the weekend before last, but they're all about the same nowadays. A lot of work and and a little bit of play. Saturday, Mom and Dad came over to help us with a house project. While we were on the back patio, I looked through the garage, which was open, and this man was walking toward me. I thought, who the hell is that and why is he walking through my garage? Is he a neighbor I don't know? He peeked his head out on the patio and asked where Martin was. Then it dawned on me. He's looking for the old owners. So we explain that we've lived there almost a year and he was shocked that Martin had been gone that long. He wanted to show him his new car. Mom goes, "Well, we'll look at it!" We talked to him for about 15 minutes. Turns out his daughter has a campsite at Rocky Point. Small world, huh?

Pmo and I treated ourselves to dinner and a movie Saturday night. Olive Garden and "Night at the Museum 2." We tried some really good wine at OG called Moscato. We thought about buying some but it's not like the cheap wine we tend to purchase! I liked the movie but I thought the first one was better. I enjoyed the new characters and revisiting the old ones though. Sunday, I read my newspaper and began mulching in the afternoon. We grilled out for dinner then just relaxed until the weekend came to a close.

The week before, I did get two very important things done. I caught up with some friends I hadn't really talked to in awhile. One on the phone and one in person at lunch. It's amazing how much better you feel once you've done that. And it doesn't take long to do. You just gotta make time.

This weekend, my friend Fish is getting married so we're traveling to Centreville, IN for the big bash. Pmo's co-worker gets married the weekend after that. Lots of loose ends to tie up before vacation. Time is flying by.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Memorial Weekend Memories

I took advantage of the 3 day holiday weekend. I tend to work the summer holidays to earn extra cash, but I decided to go for the free time this year. Saturday, I headed home for my cousin's graduation party. I rode the motorcycle and by the time I got home late that afternoon, it was pouring rain. I got the bike in the garage right before it hit. The rest of the night was spent relaxing and watching ConAir.

Sunday, Pmo and I had breakfast, read the newspaper ads, and got ready for Holiday World. It was media day so we got in free and had a luncheon. The Voyage kicked our butts and the Pilgrim's Plunge soaked us. We hit the highlights throughout the rest of the park and headed home. After a yummy dinner at Pizza Chef, we were wiped out and pretty much turned in for the night.

Monday was a mix of yard work, shopping, and dog adventure. We checked out the trails near Angel Mounds and found quite a little maze. Jack was very excited about newfound territory and Bug did a good job of keeping up. He also panted a lot. They were wiped out when we got home. See picture below. Jack is the smart one on the cool tile by the front door.

I have many things to look foward to this weekend and beyond. The debut of the farmer's market in Newburgh, a friend's birthday party, more yard work, and a little bit of relaxation. We also have two weddings to attend next month, another one in July, and we're also tying up a few loose ends on our own ceremony. Ready or not, summer, and all it brings with it, is upon us!

Monday, May 18, 2009

May Madness

Friday was sleep deprived. I stayed up until 1:30am that night, thinking that would help me fall asleep, but I ended up wide awake for another hour. Then the storms hit which makes Jack cry so I got up to go sleep with him. I turned the ceiling fan on, forgot there was a balloon in the room which drifted toward the center and wrapped itself around the fan making all kinds of noise. I was mad by this point but I finally went to sleep about 3am.

Saturday was full of wine. It was drizzling as we walked up to the tent and by the time we got there, the back of my hair was soaked. I had an umbrella with me but I didn't think it was raining that hard at the time. We bought our tasting tickets and worked our way down one side of the tent. We each tried a different wine then switched glasses. By the time we were ready for the next side, I suggested we go check out some the food at Englebrecht's booth because we were tipsy. We ended up buying 3 bottles from Buck Creek Winery in Indianapolis. We liked some others but knew that either a local store carried it or it was within driving distance. We're not likely to go to Indy anytime soon.

Sunday was yard work day. In the afternoon, I mulched around the front of the house while Pmo set up a bird house in the backyard. I got so into mulching that I went back and bought 4 more bags, on top of the 4 bags I had already used. Mulching is addictive once you see how good it looks. But it's also very tiring. We ended up having cereal for dinner and watching the movie Hancock.

Monday was Bug's day. He really had trouble moving around over the weekend so I bit the bullet and took him to a new vet. I was worried about the price tag, what they would say was wrong with him, and how he would act. But it was a pleasant experience. The staff was really nice. The doctor answered all of my questions. And I got free meds for Bug because they had a sample on hand so the whole thing cost about $40. Bug acted a fool like usual but not too bad. Hopefully he'll get better and x-rays won't be necessary.

This week, I'm tackling computer storage and cookout invitations. I've decided the tons and tons of pictures and music are making my laptop slower than dirt. So I've bought a few USB drives to free up the memory. Then I'll try the library again to download some new songs. We bought decorative paper and envelopes over the weekend so I'm hoping to get invitations for our summer "reception" sent out this week. Washing and vacuuming my car would be a good idea, too, while it's stopped raining.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Wasting Time

I was in the library today for about an hour and got absolutely nothing done. My laptop must be overloaded in the memory department because it just would not cooperate and by the time I actually got to do what I wanted, my battery died and I wasn't near a plug-in. So I had to start over again. And I'm not sure the program downloaded. I guess I'm going to have to transfer pictures onto a zip drive or something. Or maybe it's the monumental amount of music I have on there. Whatever the case, it must be fixed because I couldn't download any new music today like I had planned. I simply ran out of time. No Lady Gaga and Pop Evil for me.

I could have done something with this wasted time and not have been rushed to get back home, eat lunch, fix dinner, walk dogs, and get ready. Not to mention I was up at 5:30am with Jack because of the thunder. And when I went in the other room to sleep with him, he was all excited like it was time to play! I had to convince him it was still night night time. Bug was like, whatever, put me in the bed and I'll go back to sleep.

Tomorrow is dog grooming day and I think I might take it easy after that. If I get done early enough, I can enjoy some "What Not to Wear" and pick out my outfit for the work day and Saturday's wine tasting. The weekend's almost here!


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Mid-Week Review

The weekend is kind of a blur by now but I thought I would try to catch up. Saturday was my cousin Hannah's birthday party so we trekked over to Perry County. We had good barbecue, watched Hannah open presents, and played bubbles with my cousin Lauren, a.k.a. Lolo. After we got home and spruced up a bit, we headed to Nick's Pizza for a graduation party for Pmo's friend. Good pizza, good beer, and I even got a giant margarita glass out of the deal. Then we headed to the riverboat for a little gambling. This is not something Pmo and I normally like to do but we thought, what the hell? Pmo spent a few bucks and won $25. I spent 5 bucks and got nothing. So I told him to cash out and let's hit the road!

We weren't feeling too good Sunday morning, but we were up and moving by afternoon. We planted some flowers that we bought the weekend before. We took a break for a trip to the Dollar General and Wesselman's for what I called the "bare essentials" but of course I ended up getting a bit more. Then we headed back to the house for a mid-afternoon lunch and finished our flower planting outside. For dinner, I fixed pork chops, baked beans, and macaroni and cheese. Then it was time for the final Apprentice. Joan won and it was over for good.

I've been spreading out the to-do list over the week so I can get things done but still get to work on time. That's my new daily aim. Today's task was groceries, tomorrow the library, and Friday is dog day. Baths, nails, teeth, pill, the works. Saturday is the Newburgh Wine Festival which we are super excited to attend and probably bring home more bottles of wine. Sunday is up in the air. Probably knock some more items off the neverending to-do list.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Wine and Dine

***Saturday mornings are filled with such hope in our house. We have two whole days to do whatever we want. So this is what we did. After pancakes, sausage and bacon for breakfast, Pmo set out to replace lumber on the patio that had rotted. I started reorganizing the garage to set up a recycling area. I helped Pmo cut the lumber when he needed me, and I planted some tomatoes. We took a break and ate lunch in the house, then headed outside again to check the gutters. Pmo blew tons and tons of helicopters off of the roof with the leaf blower while I supervised from the ground. We walked the dogs around the neighborhood for a bit, then got ready to go out to eat. On the way, we stopped at the Pet Food Center and Goodwill and purchased a hummingbird feeder and a work bench. Dinner at the Red Robin was pretty good. It was noisy and they forgot to put our name on the list, but otherwise, very filling. I got a cheeseburger with bacon and an egg. Back at home, we watched "Forgetting Sarah Marshall," a movie I had borrowed from the library for free, and drank some Stone Hill wine. Vignoles. Tasted like apricot, so good!
***Sunday started out with donuts and the newspaper. Except I never got to read the actual news. I just perused the ads and we were off and running again. Pmo hung his birdfeeder then we went back to Goodwill to pick up the work bench. We also stopped by Sears to pick up some hooks to hang up my bicycle in the garage. We stopped at the Pet Food Center again to buy some flowers and then one more stop at the Country Store in Newburgh which also had a plethora of plants. At home, I got the notion to start attacking some out of control bushes with the clippers. Pmo says I shiskabobbed them. While I worked in the ran, he made a place in the garage for his workbench. It turned out to be a little small but it will work for now. I went back inside to review my purchases from Kohl's and decided to take two pairs of shorts back. Then I made chicken vegetable medley for dinner and spice cake for dessert. We settled in for the Apprentice where 3 celebrities were kicked off. I knew it would come down to Annie and Joan. It's the perfect catfight.
***Today, I did some more shopping. I stopped in at Walgreen's, Kohl's, then Target. I didn't find a lot I liked at Target, but I ended up with a pair of shorts, a shirt, and some other stuff. To make myself feel better, I'm going to try to make a big payment on my credit card next paycheck. The guilt is driving me nuts. And with a little help from savings, I should be able to cut the amount in half. Problem is, the other half remains.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Buyer's Remorse

Tremendous guilt washed over me today when I checked out at Kohl's today. I spent nearly $200, on myself, for clothes. I never do this. Never, never, never. I shop only clearance. I limit myself to spending no more than a certain amount of money. And I don't really shop with a purpose. I shop to see if, by chance, I can add a few pieces to my wardrobe and find some bargains. But this time is different. I don't have clothes that fit right now. I need to buy these items or I'm going to burn up this summer. And I know it's only a matter of time before I get tired of capris and crave a pair of shorts. But do they even make shorts that aren't either down to your knees or up to your butt? I bought three pair today but I wouldn't call them shorts. More like half pants. I also bought two pairs of jeans, a pair of navy blue pants, and three tops that could be used for work or casual wear.

All in all, I was pretty happy with the purchases but I'm secretly hoping I'll be able to take something back and get a refund. I'm still trying to pay down my credit cards (aren't we all?) and today's "power shopping" didn't help matters much. I'm also rethinking my decision not to open a Kohl's charge card. I don't usually buy that much at one time, so I didn't realize I would have shaved $25 off my bill. But I always refuse those offers because, like I said, I'm trying to pay off the credit cards I have now. I don't need another one. So I'm going to go home and try some stuff on again and see if I really want to keep the goods. I must not be too remorseful because I'm planning to go to Target next to see if I can find some more casual tees!


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Head Games

I have lots on my mind to do this week and weekend. Presents to buy for friends getting ready to have babies or already had them. Tomato plants to put in the ground. Dogs to walk. Clothes to buy. Restaurants to check out. Groceries to get. TomTom and picture printer to fix. Movies to borrow from the library. Recycling to set up. Is your to-do list this long? And I just keep adding stuff.

Our weekend activities are slowing down in May so I guess I'm trying to fill the time in my head. I'm sure Pmo has his own plan in mind so I'll try to get some of the stuff done during the next two days. So far, I've loaded pictures up on FB, wrote a blog, and cleaned the house. Hopefully, we can blend our ideas together and have a productive, yet relaxing weekend.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Work and Play

Saturday was work day. Pmo had something to do in the morning so I decided to go shopping. I’ve been watching “What Not to Wear” and decided I needed some new clothes. Every time I go to the closet, I hate whatever I put on. It doesn’t fit. It makes me feel fat. The typical “I hate my body” reaction. So I picked up some necessities at the Dollar Tree and spent some quality time at Sears. I tried so many clothes on and only came out with 3 shirts and a pair of corduroys. But that’s to be expected. I also stepped out of my clearance tunnel vision and looked at stuff that wasn’t at rock bottom prices. And the great thing was that once I ran them through the price scanner, most of the stuff was also on sale anyway. I went home, ate lunch, and relaxed a bit. Pmo was fiddling around in the yard so I decided to rip out all the ivy from our back patio. I don’t understand why people want vines growing everywhere. It’s not pretty or the least bit manageable. That activity took up all of the afternoon and by nightfall, I was exhausted and sore from pulling and yanking and tearing. I also started a worm collection because I was doing so much digging.

Sunday was play day. We headed to Perry County for our bi-annual trip to Rome for chicken dinners. It’s called Dogwood Days in the spring. I'm not sure what they call the fall gathering. We picked up Mom and Grandma and got out there by 11am. After dinner, we listened to the musical stylings of “Country Breeze” and sat in the sun. For some reason, I didn’t even think about wearing sunscreen and I’m still paying for that mistake. My cousins showed up later so I got to spend some time with them which was an unexpected surprise. On the way home, we drove through German Ridge to find the lake was still closed for the season. We also stopped at the Eagles Bluff overlook in Cannelton that was recently reopened it to the public. Apparently, people used to trash it or do drugs up there and they shut it down for a long time. I had been there once before through the back way by four-wheeler. But now there’s a nice visitors center with brochures and the view of the dam is awesome. We wrapped up the afternoon with ice cream from Wall’s, dropped Grandma off, headed back to Mom’s, then home. I posted some pics below but I have more on Facebook in my Dogwood Days album. (1217)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Parks and Recreation

We set out early Thursday morning for our Missouri adventure. After a stop at Cracker Barrel to fill up on breakfast, we were well on the other side of St. Louis on I-70 when we saw a sign for Stone Hill Winery. We don't have too much of a rigid schedule on our outings. It's just an outline with highlights along the way, mainly attractions I found on the Internet, but if we come across something else we like, we do it. So we took the exit and headed south to Hermann, MO. We found Stone Hill and were very impressed by its quaint setting. We took the tour, tasted some wine, bought two bottles and went on our way.

Making our way towards one of our destinations, we passed through Jefferson City, MO and noticed a ton of law enforcement and even the bomb squad. We found out later we had just passed a plant where VP Joe Biden was about to visit. Good thing we didn't get caught in that mess. Our next stop was Lake of the Ozarks State Park in Osage Beach, MO, which was literally on fire. I guess they were doing a controlled burn. We soon discovered it wasn't much of a park to tour. More for fishing and camping type folks. The lake was pretty though. We hit the Eddie Bauer outlet nearby then decided to find a place to stay for the night since we were only minutes away from the next stop but wanted plenty of time to explore it.

In the morning, we set out for Ha Ha Tonka State Park near Camdenton, MO. This was the place I was looking forward to the most. We saw castle ruins, a natural bridge, a bunch of turtles, a spring, etc. The views were good and the sights were interesting. I would definitely recommend it if you're in the area and you like nature activities. After Ha Ha, we stopped by the St. James Winery in St. James, MO. It wasn't quite like Stone Hill but we still did some tasting and took a few bottles with us. Then it was onto Maramec Spring Park. Another pretty cool place with a beautiful spring and ruins of an old iron works industry. And trout. My god, the trout. There were pools after pools after pools of different sized trout. You couldn't fish there but you could fish downstream where I guess the adult trout were kept.

After staying in Sullivan, MO for the night, we went to Meramec Caverns, the famed Jesse James hideout. It was cool. It had formations and the "total darkness" effect, but I think we're about caved out. I mean, they're all pretty much the same. In fact, you'd think I could be a tour guide by now with how many we've visited. But we were on a tour with a family of 10 kids so that was interesting. After we got out of the darkness, we headed south for Elephant Rocks State Park near Graniteville, MO. It was something I had been interested in visiting but it was a bit out of the way and not really near a main road to get back home. But we decided to try it out anyway.

I'm very glad we did. It was probably my second favorite next to Ha Ha. It's just a bunch of granite rocks that have been unearthed and eroded. There's a trail around and through them and once you get up to the top and see the actual Elephant Rocks, you're just amazed. Dumbo, the biggest rock, is 680 tons, 27 feet tall, and 32 feet wide. Not sure why I remember those stats, but I do. It was also misting rain on us by this point, but it didn't bother us because we had our trusty hoodies. It was a nice leisurely walk and end to our trip. I could stay in those kinds of places forever. I love looking out onto landscapes or following trails that lead to who knows what. Although I usually like to know I'm going to see something awesome. I don't usually take a trail for nothing!

We ended up coming home Saturday evening because the rain came pouring down and there wasn't much else we could do. So Sunday we went to get the dogs from Mom's and settled back in at home Sunday night. We hated to see it end but it's always good to be home. Our next trip is just around the corner and it's a pretty special one. Can't wait!


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

What's Going On

I had a busy weekend and I feel like I've been going non-stop ever since. I helped my co-worker, Nathan, move furniture to his new place on Saturday. Afterwards, Pmo and I set out to make Easter baskets for his niece and nephew, but I totally forgot that it was last minute and most places were bare. But we managed to come up with some good stuff. And I was exhausted from lifting heavy stuff so I crashed super early.

Sunday, we made the 2 1/2 hour trip down to the tip of western Kentucky to Pmo's brother's house. We spent most of the day with family and got back at a decent time Sunday night. We stayed up watching TV because Pmo is on vacation all week and didn't have to get up early for work the next day.

Monday, I tried to get myself organized for the week and helped Pmo do some projects outside the house. Today, I got a ton of groceries and a haircut. Tomorrow, we drop the dogs off at Mom's and I must pack for our trip because we leave Thursday morning for Missouri. State parks, caves, wineries. We plan to pack in a bunch of stuff in a few days. Just like the beginning of this week!


Monday, April 13, 2009

Dream, Dream, Dream

It began in the kitchen of an apartment. I was cooking and baking up a whole mess of things when I heard a knock out the door. I went to answer it and this guy who looked like Puck from The Real World barged inside. I said, “What are you doing?” He said, “I used to live here and I left something behind.” He opened up a cabinet below the counter, reached in and pulled out some sort of package out that was taped underneath. Then he dumped out the contents in a skillet. It was pot. Again, I said, “What are you doing?” He said he needed to cook it up so he could sell it.

Before I could say anything else, there was another knock at the door. This time, it was a food critic who wanted to taste my cooking. But somehow he was also an authority figure of some sort who looked like Joe Montagna. So I was scared he was going to find the marijuana and arrest me and Puck the pot dude. I diverted Joe the food critic's attention away from the marijuana skillet, which was on an island in the kitchen, and guided him toward some other things I had made on the stove that was against the wall. I also poured some batter into the pot skillet to disguise it as an omelet.

Joe tasted everything I had made, and I thought he was never going to leave. And somehow in that time, the whole place had filled up with college people who were talking, eating, and drinking like it was some sort of dorm party. Finally, Joe headed toward the door and said he would call me with a report and let me know how everything tasted. Puck never said a word while Joe was there because he didn’t want to get busted either. After the food critic left, Puck yelled at me, saying I ruined his stash. I said, “Get out of here and take that skillet with you!” He left.

That was the dream I had Friday night. I don't know why. I don't know what it means. But I thought it was pretty damn funny. I also had a dream Saturday night that my friend and co-worker Rachel and I were driving over the Twin Bridges to find a water rescue story. And as she read me the press release in the car while I was driving, I could see all the action in my rearview mirror as we crossed over the river. I said, "Rach, is that it?" She kept reading. "Rach, is that it back there?" She kept her head down and read some more. I yelled, "Rach! For the love of God, turn around! Is that it?" And that's where it ended. That dream is even more weird because neither of us go out in the field for stories.


Thursday, April 9, 2009

Tune Up

I woke up to the sound of roofers this morning. Early this morning. Pmo concluded they were trying to beat the rain. Good for them, but that doesn’t help my sleeping habits. There are two roofing projects going on: one next door, the other within earshot when I go outside. They’ve turned my quiet neighborhood into a noisy, construction zone. I hope they get done this week.

I tried some new cream cheese and I hate it. Funny thing is, it’s supposed to be the good stuff. Philadelphia Cream Cheese. Not the usual generic I buy. It’s fat free so maybe that’s the problem. I was trying to be good and go for less calories. But it bit me in the butt. I hate to waste such a precious commodity.

I’m trying to write a song. I’ve always wanted to be a songwriter but never did anything about. It’s one of many unattempted tasks in my life. Anyway, I figure I’ve had enough pain and suffering in my life. There’s got to be a good country song in there somewhere. I’ve got some lyrics written down, but I can never come up with a tune. I don’t know much about music, notes, chords. In fact, nothing at all. And every time I try hum a little ditty, I end up singing songs I already know like the Indigo Girls or Kellie Pickler. Weird choices, I know.

I’m not sure what I would do with a song if I came up with one. Take it to Nashville? Offer it up to a label? There are people that have been trying to break into the biz for years. What makes me think I’d be any different? I’m not sure I have the energy or ambition. If I did, I would have done it by now. And I would have learned how to read music and play the guitar. Maybe I should keep under wraps as a hobby. Or just stick to poetry and look for some contests to enter. I need some affirmation.


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Getting Creative

I try to eat at home at much as possible. Regardless of my financial situation. But this week, I have no choice. So I’m getting creative. For lunch, I made egg sandwiches since we seemed to have a surplus of eggs and leftover hamburger buns. For dinner, I’m having a few hot dogs that I'll microwave and more leftover hot dog buns. I went to the store this morning and bought just what I needed. Nothing more. Funny, if I did that all of the time, I’d probably have more money! The rest of the week will be tricky. I’m thinking of a green bean casserole, maybe some grilled cheese sandwiches and soup. You gotta do what you gotta do with what you have.

A friend got me thinking of the movie Some Kind of Wonderful so that’s what’s in the VCR now. It’s not even the real movie. It’s a copy a friend made for me in high school. But I practically memorized it because I watched it so much. Eric Stolz, Mary Stuart Masterson. Even little Candace Cameron. Life doesn’t get much better than a good 80s teen movie. Girls Just Want to Have Fun, The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink. The list goes on. But I eventually need to get them on DVD. They are my timeless treasures.

Yesterday was opening day in major league baseball. And it got me thinking. There is not a single sport that I’m fanatic about. I’m not really an IU fan. I don’t go crazy for the Colts. And if the Cards are playing, I don’t really care. I don’t have a team. I’ve never made that connection. I’m not sure why. I played basketball and softball. I know the rules. I can follow along. But I just don’t care. I wonder if I’m missing out on something. I did enjoy the last football season for the first time in my life. I didn’t latch onto a team or anything. But Sunday Night Football became a ritual in our house. Just like Saturday morning bacon and the Sunday morning newspaper. The older I get, the more routine is comforting.