Friday, September 29, 2006

Its unanimous

Well, the overwhelming consensus is to change, so now I just have to figure out HOW I want to change it! :-) Bear with me folks, there may be weird looks ahead.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Thinking about a change...

Im getting tired of the pink here... I sometimes feel as though Im drowning in pepto bismol whenever I read my own blog (yes, I read my own blog... how else would I get ideas how to write my stuff better?! After all, an editor is an editor is an editor... even when they are a writer!). I got this design from Zoot and I LOVE IT... just... maybe I'll go in and change the pink to something else. Or maybe I'll actually try to design my own page... or maybe I'll dig into my change jar (I get all the money I find when doing laundry as my play money) and *gasp* actually PAY A TALENTED PERSON TO DO IT FOR ME! Or, since I have talented people IN THE FAMILY... I could just play the "I suck at html" card and have my SIL or Sis do it. hehe. What do you think? Are we ready for a new template here at the nest?

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Our Pride and Joy

We brought home a tightly wrapped bundle of joy on Thursday and by Friday evening it was humming with pure contentment. In spite of the sleepless hours getting it snugly into its new place in our home, and the scraped knuckles, encounters with enormous bugs, and numerous wonderings if we had made the right decision, within an hour of its humming? So were we.

No, we did not get another kitty, or a puppy, or a baby... we got a DISHWASHER.

A glorious, beautiful, stainless steel contraption that has taken hours of work out of every day of my life... and increased the amount of times Hubband can help with the dishes. He always has helped when he could, but my love of actual cooked meals creates many many dishes and therefore helping is a longish proposition and homework infinitely more important in the scheme of things than scrubbing pots and pans.

So, he took a few hours of his time on Thursday and carved out a place for our new contraption.

He looked at our electrical and plumbing and ran screaming to his algebra homework.

Friday, he spent hours working on wiring, buying and returning numerous plumbing apparati, and finally... tightening the last nut and caulking the last seam of pipe, and starting the very first load.

Life is good.

Monday, September 25, 2006


In the shower this morning I was having a very serious talk with myself. I had discovered a latent annoyance (latent! who am I kidding!) with celebrities who's entire goal of life seems (I say seems because I do not know these people, only the face they present to the world) to be to shop and party and buy all the latest and newest toys. While I know that this is in part why they are famous and why they make so much money, I can't help but wonder why more people with money aren't more responsible about it.

If I were really fabulously wealthy, I would want to give to charities, of course, but one of the greatest dreams I have is to have that money and be able to find someone or some family who is deserving. Not because they have had seven million hardships, but because they try so hard every day to manage things and keep going and still do the special things. A family like so many of my friends have... who dont NEED a large influx of cash, but would have so much fun buying gifts for their family and fixing all the little things that need fixing, and maybe buying a new winter coat for the first time in 8 or 9 years... Wouldn't that be fun? Perhaps the desire is a selfish one, as I wish sometimes that that would happen to us.

I actually dreamed the other night that I won a contest for $20,000 to decorate one room in my house AND ONLY THAT ONE ROOM and I was very upset because that much money? Could almost renovate my entire house and leave a tidbit leftover to get Hubband that mixer he wants (sound, not food). Of course, I'd also love to buy my sisters a trip to a spa, surprise my MIL by getting her out of debt, fly my grandmother to meet her newest Great Great Grandson in CT, etc.

Come on Paris, Lindsay, Nicole, Jessica... wouldn't that be more fun than yet ANOTHER trip to Barney's or Rodeo Drive?

On the flip side...

Yesterday morning I drove Hubband to work and passed the crossing guard who usually works over by the University. He was working at a church who's parking lot is across a very busy street from the actual church buildings. I have noticed this man before, mostly because he gets so much enjoyment out of his job. "Twip twwwweeeeeep tip whooop" goes the whistle as he firmly plants himself in the way of oncoming traffic, brandishing his "stop/slow" sign and whistle like a Celtic warrior with his lance and sword. He is a small, thin, older black man with a bounce in his step. As I picked Hubband up (a mere 20 minute after I dropped him off... they didn't need him at work), we passed the guard again, walking away from the church, still garbed in his bright orange vest, still bouncing, and smoking a cigarette with obvious enjoyment of the sunshine and nicotine.

There is something to be said for job satisfaction.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Cabin Fever

I realized this morning that other than the daily walks around the neighborhood that I have been taking every day I haven't been out of the house since Monday. MONDAY! We have a small house, people, and its no wonder Im contemplating eating everything in sight, turning into a TLC-loving couch potato, and taking random naps and snipes at the cats/hubband. I decided today that this was a problem and demanded that I be taken on a date tonight.

Working from home is always held out to us as the "holy grail" of the working world. "Have your cake!" they say "Eat it too... in your PAJAMAS!". But what they dont tell us is that working from home will limit the work you can do. You will not be able to have a widely varied set of duties because the company can only send you certain types of things. This wont matter for the first year or so until you've worked your way through each one several times. After that? It gets old. Then there is the fact that the only human interaction you get is outside the house or with your husband/kids/pets. Some days I'll have someone knock on my door to sell me something and Im ready to invite them in for tea! cake! cookies! TALK TO ME PLEASE! Finally, working from home means that when your spouse comes home at the end of the day and wants nothing more than to collapse on the couch and watch reruns of SciFi shows with a pile of snacks at the ready... you have been in the house all day, and want nothing more than to leave it!

I will admit that being in a town where we know very few people (all of whom work or are in school OUTSIDE the home) and sharing a car and living off a single salary (for the moment) probably add to the problems. After all, if Hubband has the car I can't very go somewhere outside the neighborhood! And if I take him to school, I still have to worry about finding something free to do and am still alone.

Have any of you ever experienced this? Are you all still like the guy who came to check if our BellSouth telephone service was still the "best deal" for us and spent 10 minutes talking about how lucky I am to work from home? If not, if you're like me... got any suggestions on how to do something inexpensive and outside the house in an hour or less?

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


I have now officially created my very first recipe. Now, I dont mean one of those where you just randomly throw things into a pot, I mean taking a true diversion from an existing recipe and changing it SO much that all that remains is about 2 ingredients. I have created....

Brandied Peach and Strawberry Smush

Its basically a quick cobbler, but with canned brandied peaches, fresh strawberries, a small sprinkle of sugar over the fruit, then 3/4 of a french vanilla cake mix, a stick of butter, a little more sugar, and pop in the oven until the fruit juices bubble up through the top. The VERY edges and top of the whole thing get a little crispy, but everything else is this glorious smush. Its the only way I can describe it. I was very pleased, but please note. IS VERY RICH. hehe. I think it would be well served with a little lemon sorbet to give it a bit of tang. Hmmm or I could put some lemon zest in with the fruit.....

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Another Post Full of Miscellaneous Unrelated Information

I have driven in most of the largest cities of this continent and am still amazed at the stupidity/audacity of drivers in Memphis. People never use a turn signal, speed limits aren't even "guidelines", yellow lights are the signal to speed up, no one checks their blind spot, and having someone cut you off from the right while they themselves are cut off from the left while someone from behind you decides to zoom across 6 lanes of traffic and over a bit of grass to get an exit is perfectly normal. Last night, however, we were so shocked by a driving incident that we laughed all the way to our destination. In fact, Hubband, who reads the blog about once a year, turned to me after the incident and through gulps of laughter said "You HAVE to blog THAT".

We were driving to Sears last night to ogle dishwashers and refrigerators. Sitting at the corner of Dunn and Getwell, waiting for the truck in front of us to turn left so we could turn right, we were honked at by the car behind us who apparently didn't see the HORDES of traffic (full on rush hour folks...) rushing by. There were about 3 cars on Getwell in the center lane trying to turn left onto Dunn, so the car in front of us couldn't even turn into the turning lane if the near lanes were clear (which they werent), let alone get all the way across 5 lanes of traffic to go left. The car behind us kept intermittently honking until finally the truck ahead turned left INTO oncoming traffic, zoomed the wrong way for about 100 feet swerving to miss oncoming cars and then jumped into the center turning lane before cutting off a mercedes in the right hand lanes. Now, why was this somewhat frightening occurence funny? Because she did the whole maneuver IN FRONT OF A COP who literally glanced over at her as he continued on his merry way, HE EVEN SHRUGGED AS HE PASSED OUR CAR!

I never want to hear someone complaining about driving in some sort of traffic again. I would choose LA or Manhattan over Memphis anytime.

Since the weather has gotten cooler, Ive been turning the air off and opening our brand new beautiful windows. Not only does this air out the house and save us electricity, the cats ADORE it. The window to the left of my desk looks out at the fence and the trunk of what is arguably one of the biggest trees Ive ever seen barring a redwood. Its limbs cover all of our house and about half of our neighbor's house (and yes, we know that's unsafe... trying to figure out how to get rid of it!). Squirrels LOVE this tree, and the kits will sit on the edge of the desk frozen into strange and wonderful poses while quacking nearly uncontrollably at the furry varmints who sit on the fence and quack back. When both sides tire of that game, the cat in question invariably wanders to the window on the right side of my desk, which faces our front yard and provides a suitably all-inclusive view of the neighborhood. As of right now, Obie has the place of honor and is presiding over it with equanimity if not grace.

My father in law was here this weekend and we had tons of fun. He'll be coming back through briefly tonight, and will share dinner with us, my high school friend Krissa, and our new friend from church, Rachel. Everyone but Hubband and I are pretty much full on vegetarian (no flesh, but cheese and milk ok), so I decided I would do one of our favorite "mexican" meals which include enchiladas with lashings of cheese, onions, sauce, and other goodies, and my mom's green chile rice. I very carefully planned out how many servings I would need, bought ingredients, and brought them home to realize that Im going to have to paw through all my kitchen boxes to find dishes big enough to use to cook them in! I am so used to having all my casserole dishes, mixing bowls, etc. that I didn't even realize that they aren't yet unpacked.

We applied for a home renovation loan yesterday... have heard nothing yet which I hope is good news. I figure no news is better than "no" news. :-)

I tried a new type of coffee yesterday and it made me miss my pumpkin spice from Fox Pointe. And APricot Creme... sigh. I think I'll have to order some for my bday. :-) OH! Speaking of that auspicious entering the next decade kicking and screaming day... it appears that my "twin" sister will PROBABLY be able to spend our bday here! WITH US! TOGETHER! WHEEEEEEEEEE. Im trying not to get my hopes up because I, of all people, know how plans can be thwarted. But I am going to go research all the fun things we can do here in town... and look up spas.... and maybe even take a little foray into the world of tatoo parlors because we think that this may just be the right time to get our first tattoos....maybe.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Miscellaneous Little Notes

Today when I went to deposit a check (yeah Verizon Wireless refund! Yeah Verizon overpay refund!) I passed this store and just couldn't resist the sign in the window. (Undfortunately, none of the shots I took with my camera phone came out clear enough) There was a white sheet of paper taped in the window of Paco's Cafe (closed Tuesdays) with a blue and white picture depicting the fact that the Paco's has male, female, and handicapped restrooms available. Above the image it said "Costumers Welcome". I wonder what they would do if I walked in without buying food, while wearing a Princess Leia outfit, and asked to use their restroom....

We also have now had TWO bathroom disasters in 24 hours. At 11:15 last night, hubband was nastily knee deep in guck from a toilet overflow that threatened the master bedroom. We were able to confine the mess to the bathroom, but he ended up having to fix it by HAND and then pratically BATHED in bleach before he showered and came to bed. Tonight? The other bathroom decided to get in on the fun. This time, he was able to catch it and stop it before the actual overflow occurred, but I still made a rush run to Rite Aid for a plunger. Twice in 24 hours is pretty indicative of the fact that we will probably need one in the future!

Our cat has started channeling Queenie's cat, Augustus (aka Auggie, gus gus, NEEERRRDDD, etc). He has started losing his train of thought during a bath and ends up sitting there with a leg wrapped around his neck watching the world go by as though all were hunky dory. Who knows, maybe that is comfortable in middle-aged cat land. He also has started mimicking Auggie's call to the household at 3 am. Instead of just a random "MRAOW" noise we hear plaintive little "huh whoa?" "HA WHOOOAAAA???"s coming from the hall outside our door. The first time he did this? We both sat straight up in bed, looked at each other, and cracked up.

My niece has started protesting nicknames. Sis tells me that today for instance she told her Daddy very firmly " "I told you three times dont call me fuzz or stuff, I AM GRACE". At least she knows. :-D I wonder how she'll react to her Uncle calling her Gracie Poo when she's 14...

I, the inveterate chocolate hater, have been craving the stuff like mad for about 3 weeks now. No, not pregnant, not even hormonal... just craving it. I finally gave in and bought some hot cocoa. Hopefully that will assuage the evil demon that is asking for that ... STUFF.

I have tried to call my sis THREE times in the last 4 days. WOODSIDESPRITE?! HALLO?! ARE YOU THERE?!!!!! I finally resorted to singing incredibly off-key songs to her answering machine. I think we're bonding. I've asked it to let her know that I am in need of a Plantier Girl Chat Fest. We'll see what happens.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Hard to Remember

Today is the 5 year anniversary of one of only 2 days in my life that I try my hardest to never relive. Because I was in New York City on 9/11/2001, because I walked out of the city through smoke with my brother-in-law babbling in my own form of shock and horror while those around me were silent in theirs, perhaps because I relive it every time I see the images, hear the newscasts, etc. I have spent most of each anniversary trying NOT to remmeber. I know that so many lost so much more than I did that day... For them, the ones who lost more than their sense of security and bubble of carefully preserved innocence, depending on your point of view, perhaps the remembering is healing. Perhaps it can help them bring back the memories of their loved ones.

For me, if I even smell a Dunkin' Donuts Dunkachino I am suddenly fighting back tears, choking through a ball in my throat and swallowing back nausea because it floods my mind with memories of huddling on Mom and Dad Sikora's couch for 3 days straight with my sister and her husband and our pets, glued to the search for survivors and flinching when the military planes flew close over the house there on Long Island. Walking down a city street on a brilliantly sunny day and feeling happy that Im doing so can bring back walking the last block to my office on a beautiful Tuesday before smoke and flames and death. I can't hear an ambulance or fire engine without my mind and heart freezing for a few brief seconds.

If I try to tell people who ask me about that day how it really was, I can't continue, so I brave through it with a glib tale of meeting up with my brother-in-law and walking to Queens where we met our family. I pass it off as a note of how great my friend is... the one who didn't stop to find out what was going on but simply bought a pair of tennis shoes and walked home.

It has been 5 years since that day. I still refuse to watch the documentaries, just the trailer of the movies that have been produced are enough to give me a stomach ache and bring on a flood of tears. It took me 4.5 years to be able to sit down with my husband on a Sabbath afternoon and try to look through a book of photographs taken on that day... and it took me 3 full days to be able to make it through the entire book. I had nightmares for a week afterward.

Hubband just called me on his way home from school and asked if I had seen the media coverage of the anniversary and when I said I had been avoiding it... he understood. He knew that I avoid it not because I dont care, but because I can not bear the thought of reliving it in even a minute way. So forgive me for not telling you the "whole" story, for not reliving that day over and over when asked and sharing every minute of how I felt, what I saw, what I did... Because I cannot. I will always remember those who sacrificed their lives and those who died senselessly in a rotten sneak attack by a dreadful group of people... But like the day my mother died, this day will always be a day that I live to forget. Not to remember.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Flashing lights...

We had a big excitement in the neighborhood yesterday. The part of it we could see started whenwhat seemed to be a group of people started yelling at each other. They got a little closer and we realized it was actually 3 people, their friends, and people from almost every house they passed as the 2 guys pushed and shoved each other down the street adjacent to ours. Within about 5 minutes, a police car appeared and the 2 cops inside separated the men and put one of them into the back of the car. Then another car appeared, then an ambulance and still MORE police cars. When I looked outside next... there were NINE police cars on the corner. None of them had their lights flashing, and the EMTs from the ambulance were just kind of standing around in the middle of the road. Starting to get a little worried, even though the cops also appeared to just be standing around, I called the police station and asked for information. Wouldn't you? I mean, 9 cop cars on a little tiny street in a big city makes one think maybe its something bad that you really dont want in your neighborhood... well, it was and it wasn't. Turns out it was a "domestic dispute with a weapon". The only weapons we had seen were the fists of the 2 guys who had been playing basketball together until they were tipped off to the fact that they were both involved with the same woman! No one was badly injured, no one was arrested (as far as we know), but it sure felt like a return to the small town to have that many police cars respond to such a little fracas! Our initial worry turned to amusement as we watched several of the police cars come and go... empty but for their drivers. Apparently it was a slow day and this was the most interesting place to hang out. Not the water cooler for these guys... donut shop? Pshaw. Lets go hang out on Mink Street instead! Im surprised one of them didn't bring food and turn it into a real party.... Although, we did leave around that time to get Hubband to his evening class so who knows... we may have just missed the pizza delivery by moments.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The results are in!

Went to the doc today and they did a mammogram and ultrasound ... turns out it IS just a cyst as we hoped. Hurrah! The doc wants me to come back in 6 months, but said that unless it gets bigger or painful the cyst should eventually go away on its own. Thanks for all the prayers and encouragement!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Busy Boyds

Whew! We had such a fun/busy weekend I hardly know where to start. We took Sabbath "off" as usual, although we did do some putzing around the house after sundown. By Sunday morning, however, all bets were off! We slurped up breakfast and coffee, slathered ourselves in mosquito repellant, and attacked the jungle of our front yard.

Before (this was actually taken in April, before it overgrew itself by another few feet of bushes and inches of leaves...)

We spent approximately 6 hours raking, pruning, digging up unwanted bushes, and spraying round up on all of the grassy stuff lining the driveway (tried to dig them out as that is where our daffodils and tulips will be planted next month, but they did NOT want to come... roundup was the next option). At the end...this is what we had!

Yesterday was Hubband's first day of work at the deli, and it went pretty well. He's still antzy to find something a little better paying and more "interesting", but he's been pleased so far with the management... we'll see what happens. After he got off work we went to Lowe's and spent a happy 3-4 hours planning out our kitchen. We discovered that we have good taste! All of the cabinets we liked best were, shockingly, the most expensive ones. >sigh< We got the design/layout finished though, and have an appointment on Sunday with the designer to price out the lower-end cabinets. The upper-end fully custom cabinetry would have run us around $10,800 ... and that was installing them ourselves! >gulp< We're hoping to spend about that on the entire kitchen, but our guy was encouraging, and pointed us in the direction of a good but less expensive line. We found some things there we actually liked better so we'll see how that helps our bottom line. Once the cabinets are chosen, we get to move on to the counters (hopefully granite!), appliances, backsplash tile, light fixtures, and sink. Woot! It really is a lot of fun... and a lot of work! We're getting a better idea of how much we'd like to get our home equity loan for, though, and we're going to a cabinet and a flooring liquidator warehouse to price out their options as well. :-)

We're also excited about the prospect of our first visitor! My FIL is going to be in Nashville on business next week and will be driving through on Friday on his way down to some more business in MS... We're hoping to coerce him into staying all weekend. :-)

Im off to work ... I'll leave you with a picture of my boys... just for grins.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Working hard...

Like Obie, Hubband and I are working hard. Both?! You say... yes! Hubband got a job! He is being groomed to take over as a shift manager at McAllister's Deli. For the moment he'll just be working the counter, but they are working around his class schedule, and open to how ever many hours he needs and wants.

In other news!

Our need for the air conditioner has decreased with the advent of the new windows. Part of that may be due to the fact that the weather has finally cooled off. ITs nice though, to go to bed with the air turned to fan. :-)

I will be heading to NJ for a 2 day rush training session on the building of a calendar. We're not sure of the timing yet, but it will be nice to expand my responsibilities at work. We've been trying to schedule this for a few months now and it never was able to work out. Looks like this time we may actually succeed.

We have a long weekend this weekend, hurrah! We're planning to attack the jungle that is our backyard.

And that's the news of the day. Enjoy.