Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New Year's Goals

I just have to accept that I’m way too sentimental to stop making New Year’s resolutions. And, if you asked Husband, he’d say that I’m a little addicted to setting goals. When I asked him on our last anniversary what our marriage goals should be, he got a confused look on his face and replied, “Let me get this straight…you make New Year’s goals, Lenten goals, and now you want to make marriage goals??” (The answer was “yes,” but I figured I should cut the poor guy some slack and just forget it.) So, in short, yes, I’ll be making New Year’s resolutions this year. I’m not sure whether they’re technically “goals” or “resolutions,” but here they are regardless: 1) Read more Specifically, I want to finish reading the Bible. I’ve had “read the bible” as my New Year’s resolution for more years than I can count, but I think this year I will actually finish it. I started reading it on a somewhat sporadic basis a couple years ago, and I have about a quarter of it left to go. In other words, by the time I finish reading it, I will probably have forgotten everything I read, and I’ll have to start again. (But I guess the point is to continually read it, right?) 2) Write more Sometimes when I start feeling unsettled or just a little “off,” I’ve come to realize that it’s usually because I haven’t written lately. Writing makes me feel energized and happier. So I figure I should take that as my cue to write more often this year, both on the blog and just in general. My overachiever self feels like there should be a third goal, but I can’t really think of a good third one. So two it is. And now I have to ask… Is anyone else overly preoccupied with making New Year’s resolutions each year, or am I the only one?

Monday, December 28, 2009

All in the Family

When we sat down for dinner on Christmas, I noticed the many reminders of our family.
Our table and china were handed down from Husband’s grandma. The silverware was an anniversary gift from my grandma. The napkins were a Christmas gift from Husband’s mom. And my parents were gathered with us around our table for Christmas dinner.
It made me realize how lucky we are to have such wonderful family with us for Christmas and in spirit.
I hope you had a wonderful, family-filled Christmas, too!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Time Travel

Can someone explain to me how it was just Thanksgiving yesterday and this week it’s Christmas? I know that the holidays always seem to go by fast, but this year seems to be on warp speed. Further proof can be found here:

I realized when I saw this expiration yesterday that 2010 will be here probably before I’m ready for it.

Regardless, my parents arrive today, and I can’t wait! Then Husband and I can finally start devouring the cookies that we baked yesterday. We figured that a plate of crumbs wouldn’t look quite as impressive.

If I don’t post again before then, I wish all of you a wonderful Christmas!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Deliveries

We usually give a small gift to a handful of military friends that live in our neighborhood, and today I made my deliveries. I almost forgot how much fun it is to stop by and offer our Christmas wishes. (I guess it’s like caroling, but thankfully, without the humiliation of me having to sing.)
Last year we did popcorn baskets, which were a big hit. The plastic bowls were only a couple bucks, and I just added a couple bags of microwave popcorn, popcorn seasoning, and some movie-theater candy.
This year the gifts were hot chocolate kits.
I found the containers at the dollar store, and I just added some hot chocolate and topped with marshmallows. The “stirrers” are peppermint sticks covered in chocolate. (Yum!) And now all of a sudden I’m craving hot chocolate…
Happy 5 days until Christmas!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Snuggie-licious

This weekend Husband and I went to a Christmas party, which included a gag gift exchange.
I had very low expectations about what we would get, as I’ve seen everything at these things from a broken watch to a bag of flour (which I suppose is at least somewhat practical).
But, to my surprise, we took this home:
We’re now the proud owners of a Snuggie. We were among the last people to choose our gift, which allowed “stealing” an already-opened gift. It wasn’t until I was able to pick a gift that I realized this strong, hidden desire to have a Snuggie. I became so ruthless that I “stole” two different Snuggies – including one from a pregnant woman! I should be ashamed. I’ll admit, though, that I was giddy when we got home and I tried it on. And this is one product that does not mislead in its advertising – it truly is a blanket with sleeves! It looks like an oversized wizard’s cloak, or a jumbo poncho. I realize I look like a total dork wearing it. In other words, it’s perfect.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Misplaced Giving

Husband and I recently went to a fundraising dinner at the town’s civic center. The dinner is an annual tradition in town, popular with all the locals, and I was intrigued enough to insist that we attend this year. I looked up the details online, and I read that there would be a collection of canned goods for the needy for the holidays. So I grabbed a can of green beans and a container of French’s onions from the pantry before we left. (I guess I inadvertently chose a “green-bean casserole” theme to my giving.) As we were approaching the building, I noticed that everyone else was arriving empty-handed. I saw a few people looking in my direction, probably wondering, “Who brings their own food to a catered dinner?” I knew all the awkwardness would end when I found the collection drop box inside. (But then again, I wouldn’t be writing this story, if it was just that easy.) There was no collection box to be found. I searched around the lobby, feeling more self-conscious about my armload, which had turned me quickly from “charitable giver” to “crazy lady.” Finally, I looked at Husband with desperation and said, “Where should I put these?” He then pointed to any empty table near the wall. “Just leave them here,” he said. I dropped them as fast as I could, like they were contaminated waste. I wondered during the dinner whether I misread the article, or if they forgot to bring the collection box. Later, on our way out of the dinner, we spotted my lone canned goods on the empty table. Husband just smiled and said, “that is just so you.” I wasn’t sure if he meant the trying to give part or the awkwardness. Probably the awkwardness.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Communication Differences

I asked Husband to get updated addresses for a couple of his military friends, so we could send them Christmas cards. And with this simple task, I realized how different how different our communication styles are. I e-mailed a few of my friends for their updated addresses, and here’s a sample of my e-mail: Hi [friend’s name]! Long time no talk! How are things in [friend’s state]? How’s [spouse’s name]? I just started a new job a few months ago, and it’s going really well! I’ve gotten to travel a bit, which has been fun. My husband's family came to visit us for Thanksgiving, and we had a great time. My parents are visiting for Christmas, and I’m looking forward to that. By the way, what is your current mailing address? I couldn’t remember if you were still at [previous address]. Talk to you soon! Tootie Husband then forwarded me an e-mail with the response from his friend with their address. I saw Husband’s e-mail below it, which said: Dude, I need your address. - [Husband’s callsign] Coincidentally, we also have different styles of writing Christmas cards. While I sit on the couch and write the cards, Husband just sits on the couch. But then again, if he wrote them, it might say something like: Merry Christmas, dude. Maybe it’s all for the best.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Cell Phone

I just got my work cell phone in the mail.
It’s a snazzy, touch-screen phone. I had been calling it the “the poor man’s iPhone,” until I saw its hefty price tag. (Let’s just say I’m grateful that work is paying for it.)
The phone can load your e-mail, take pictures and video, give you driving directions, and tell you the weather.
And it can also humiliate you.
When everyone asked me how I liked the phone, I could only respond, “I’d like it more if I could figure out how to turn the darn thing on!”
I consulted the directions, located the power switch, and charged it for hours. And still, nothing.
Finally, I scooped up the phone and the box with all the accessories, and I brought it to the store. And with my pride decreasing every second, I handed everything to the clerk and asked, “Um, how do I turn this on?”
She told me that I needed to put in the battery first. Before I could process that thought, she had already popped it in and handed the phone back to me, smiling.
And then I said, “So all those hours I spent charging the phone….?"
“…yeah, that did nothing,” she finished my sentence.
I have no shame. But at least I have a working phone now.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Lawn Help

I have a hunch that our lawn might need some help. How do I know? Because yesterday a man drove up to our house, rang our doorbell (twice!), and waited patiently at the door, so he could offer to mow it. You know, just a normal, subtle hint. Husband talked to the man. The man said something like, “Hey, man, do you need any service?” “For what?” Husband asked. The man gestured to our scraggly lawn and said, “To clean up your lawn.” Husband replied politely, “No, thanks.” I figure that this is a sign that either our lawn or the economy is in pretty bad shape. Later I reflected and told Husband that we should have let him do the lawn. “Why? I’m going to mow it today anyway,” Husband said. I explained that maybe the man really needed the money. “Nah,” Husband said. “He drove up in a fancy, new pick-up truck that costs more than both of our cars combined.” In other words, our lawn is just that bad.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

My Life in a Commercial

I think the people of Target have been spying on me. How else would they have been able to feature my life in a 30-second commercial? We are thrilled to be hosting Husband’s family for our very first Thanksgiving gathering. And whether it’s his family or my family visiting, I tend to go a little nutso with the preparations. (Just ask Husband - he tries to stay out of the way during my cleaning rampage, lest he get sucked up in an overzealous vacuuming session.) Still, I expect that everything will go well with our Thanksgiving. And if not, maybe we’ll start a new Thanksgiving tradition – take-out.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Oh, Betty

I’ve had the beloved Betty, our trusty GPS, working overtime recently. While I’ve been out of town on business, Betty has successfully gotten me to countless business appointments, back and forth from the hotel, to the mall, to dinner, and to church. But, I think she’s concluded that she’s worked hard enough to earn the right to pull a few pranks. 1) One morning she had me turn right out of the hotel. Then she had me turn right a few more times. Just when I was thinking, “Hey, this is looking familiar,” I realize that after 5 minutes and 3 miles, she has brought me back to the hotel – exactly where I started. Then she “recalculated” and decided that I should have just turned left out of the hotel. Hmm… 2) Betty brought me through the part of town that I can only describe as the part where you check your doors at least 5 times to make sure they are locked and then say a prayer that your car doesn’t break down. Betty didn’t seem too concerned, as she had me drive around this area for at least 10 minutes. 3) On the way to one business appointment, she decided that I should leave the frontage road and get on the highway. The highway happened to be a toll road, so I paid my $1 and went on my way, waiting to hear her next prompt. Less than a mile later, she had me get off the toll road and back onto the same frontage road. My $1 paid for 1 minute of driving. Is Betty getting a commission?? Silly, Betty. She knows that even with the pranks, I won’t get rid of her. I’d be lost – literally - without her.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Happy Veterans' Day

I have to say a special Veterans’ Day wish to my 3 favorite veterans: to my parents, who both faithfully served our country and inspired me to serve, and to Husband, whose hard work for our country makes me so proud. I’m so lucky to have them in my life. And my heartfelt thanks to all veterans and their families for their service.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Random Thoughts

1. I didn’t realize how much I liked fall until this year. It’s not hot enough to need the A/C, and it’s not cool enough to need the heat. In the words of Goldilocks, it’s just right. 2. My job is keeping me busy. I alternate between thinking, “Hey! I can handle this!” to “I have no idea what I’m doing! Help!” For the most part, I’m liking it. 3. I’ve already decided that I’m going to start listening to Christmas music in my car. I have no good reason for wanting to do so, but Bing Crosby isn’t objecting and neither am I. 4. Husband made me breakfast this morning, and I think there’s nothing better than waking up to the smell of a breakfast that you didn’t have to make. 5. Did I mention that I’m liking fall?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

What a Treat

1) We spent the weekend celebrating a holiday where it’s actually encouraged to eat large quantities of candy.
2) We got an extra hour to sleep in.
I think I just found my ideal weekend.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Trick or Treat

The trick’s on us with Halloween candy. First, we didn’t expect it to be so pricey. I wouldn’t mind paying over $5 a bag for candy, if maybe there were more than 3 pieces of candy inside. Husband didn’t believe me, until he saw the prices with his own thrifty eyes. (“Five bucks?? For a dinky bag of candy? That’s robbery!”) Second, we (and by “we,” I mean “I”) decided that it would be better to buy candy that wasn’t our absolute favorite. Otherwise, we (again, meaning “I”) would eat all the candy before Halloween. One type of candy we selected was a humble bag of Starburst gummies. I made the mistake of sampling one, and all I can say is that one bag is almost entirely gone. And it’s not looking good for the second bag either. Do you think the kids will notice when we pass out empty wrappers on Halloween?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Identity Change

I spent the majority of my childhood living up North, but I’ve lived most of my adult life in the South.
Since then, I’ve been quickly won over by sweet tea (which is entirely different than unsweetened tea that you sweeten at the table yourself).
I’ve happily gotten rid of my huge winter parkas, thermals, and other bulky gear.
And once I realized that the young Southern man that was offering to help me with my groceries wasn’t going to rob me, I’ve grown to love the kind hospitality.
Yesterday I realized that I’ve become an official, card-carrying member (or more accurately, a magazine-carrying member) of the South, when I saw this in my mailbox:
My Northern side can rationalize that I subscribed because I saw a deal on Amazon for a year’s subscription for just $5 (that’s sadly no longer available). Or maybe I’m just becoming a Southerner, y’all.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Christmas in October

Did I oversleep and miss the last two weeks of October? And all of November? Today I saw Christmas d├ęcor already stocked on a store’s shelves. (Secretly, this sight made me just a little bit giddy inside. It’s only a matter of time before I break out my Charlie Brown Christmas CD.) I guess the good news is that if you’re stuck for a Halloween costume, you can just pick up a Christmas hat and call yourself Santa Claus.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Dorothy was right

There’s no place like home. After being gone off and on for the past few weeks, I’m done with all my work trips, and I’m home for a while. I figured I had been gone for too long when the hotel staff that saw me every morning at breakfast for two weeks gave me goodbye hugs on my last day there. And now I’ve grown to appreciate the little things about being back: being able to cook real meals, sleeping in my own bed, curling up on our comfy couch, etc. Of course, there’s one big thing I appreciate most about being home. (I’ll give you a hint: he’s 6 feet tall.)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Redneck Car Repair

I have to hand it to Husband. He’s pretty knowledgeable in the car repair category.
Though, he wouldn’t have to know much at all to surpass my limited understanding. The most I can say about car repair involves caveman-like sentences, like “Car broken!”
So, I wasn’t surprised when he said fixed the problem he had with his car window, which had been stuck briefly in the “down” position.
What did surprise me, however, is that the car looked like it was fixed by someone named Bubba or Billy Bob.
Notice how the car door "guts" - for lack of a better word – are clearly visible. If you look closely, you’ll see some scrap wood that is helping to prop up the window, plus some green tape that’s holding up a dangling door handle.
Note that the tape used is not duct tape, which may exempt us from redneck status, but only by a technicality.
I’ll just make sure that Husband doesn’t start parking the car on the front lawn, or I might as well give up and put on my bathrobe and curlers.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Weekend Slumber

My weekend was good. And when I say weekend, I mean the few hours that I was awake. Husband and I both had a long week at work. I got a burst of energy Friday afternoon, and I planned in my mind all the things we could do: watch a movie (I eventually want to see Love Happens), cook a few meals, go for walks, etc. But, I totally underestimated how tired we both were. On Saturday morning, I did some grocery shopping while Husband took a late morning nap. We ate a brief lunch together, and afterwards I ended up falling asleep on the couch for 2 hours. That night, Husband was excited because one of his favorite movies – The Matrix – was on TV, and he couldn’t wait for me to finally see it. And the only review I now can give of the movie was that the first five minutes of it seemed interesting. Just when Husband leaned over to tell me, “this is when it starts getting good,” I was already sound asleep. Next weekend, however, is looking better thanks to Christopher Columbus. With the extra day off, I just might be awake long enough to do something.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Becoming Grandma

I think I’m becoming my grandma. Before I left on my last trip, I was looking around the house for a bag tag so I could find my black laptop bag in the sea of similar black bags. I couldn’t find my luggage tags, so I decided to put a ribbon on the handle. And before I could fully congratulate myself on such an inventive idea, I asked myself, “Since when did I become my grandmother?” While most people have an “I’m-becoming-my-parents” moment, I skipped that generation and went right on imitating my grandparents. I told my grandma on the phone about my ribbon on the bag, and she laughed. “But it works, right?” she said. The next thing you know, I’ll be watching Dancing with the Stars, drinking hot tea, shopping at the clearance rack, and mailing recipes cut out of magazines. On second thought, I think the transformation is complete. Can I interest anyone in a hard candy?

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Airport Workout

My business trip went really well. The only downside, as I lamented to a co-worker on the last day, was that I wish I could have exercised more during the trip. And then the words “be careful what you wish for,” became all too true for me. My first flight was delayed by about 45 minutes, which gave me less than 20 minutes to try to make my connecting flight, which happened to be at the completely opposite side of the large airport. I was grateful to a co-worker, a former military soldier, who said in a loud voice when we landed, “Can everyone please step aside? This young lady’s flight leaves in 15 minutes.” I gave him a look of sincere gratitude, when everyone moved aside so I could make my way to the front. I sprinted through the airport, lugging my bag with my work laptop and my overstuffed purse. It just so happens that I wore my dress shoes (dumb idea) and a new pair of pants without a belt. So I was simultaneously running, trying to hold up my pants with one hand, and praying to God that I didn’t trip or drop my laptop. I weaved through a sea of people, ran up two flights of stairs, took a bus, and then finally caught the tram. I was down to 5 minutes before the plane left, and I remember thinking that maybe, just maybe, I would make it. And then the tram broke down. A couple of maintenance personnel ran over to us, as the seconds quickly ticked down to take-off time. They finally were able to manually open the doors, and I ran to the gate. I arrived at the gate, sweaty, with my heart pounding. Through panting, I asked if my flight was still there. It just left, she told me. My workout then changed from running through the airport to strolling around the airport, as I had 10 (yes, ten!) hours to kill before the next flight. Let’s just say that I’m no longer going to complain about not being able to work out on a trip.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Business Trip

I’m getting ready to go on a business trip. While usually it's Husband who’s jetting (no pun intended) off somewhere, this time I’m the one who’s leaving. I think the trip will be fun. But, of course, I’ll miss Husband. And I’ll also miss this perfect weather that’s decided to hang around here. In honor of the nice weather, we grilled up some bratwurst this afternoon, which was a great idea. The bad idea, however, was completely forgetting we had put them on the grill. All of a sudden, I heard Husband say, “Oh crap!” and I saw him rush out to the grill to rescue our charred lunch. On the up side, I think we invented a new meat category to follow well-done: Burned to the Point of Almost Being Unrecognizable. You know what, though? They still tasted delicious. Have a great week!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Homemade Ice Cream

When Husband and I got married, the ice cream maker and sundae set (complete with tall ice cream glasses and various jars of toppings) that some friends gave us instantly became one of my favorite gifts. I thought it was such a creative and fun gift idea. Well, we’ve been married for over two years now, and we finally used the ice cream maker today to make our first batch of homemade ice cream. The verdict? In short, I think there’s a reason why people get their ice cream from the freezer section of the grocery store. We used a package of chocolate ice cream mix and a quart of whole milk. [Surprisingly, I’ve learned that they no longer label milk as “whole milk.” Instead, it’s tagged as “Vitamin D” milk (and according to the label, “an excellent source of calcium!”) At least, I was left to assume it was whole milk, since the “skim” and “2%” varieties were clearly labeled as such.] The machine turned the inner frozen bowl and churned the ingredients, creating about as much noise as a jet taking off. After about 15 noisy minutes, our ice cream was ready. Or so we figured when it was dripping down the sides of the machine. It wasn’t too bad. A little more icy than creamy, but decent. I still can’t help but think that for less than $3 we could just buy it – in any flavor we want! – at the store without any of the mess and fuss…and noise. But then again, we wouldn’t be able to fondly say, “Hey, remember that afternoon we reached in the freezer and grabbed that carton of ice cream?”

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Business Pajamas

I started my new job this week, and so far, so good! The more I learn about the job, the luckier I feel to have gotten it. Everyone I’ve met so far has been great, and they’ve been a big help. I’m also fortunate that I can do some of my work from home. My parents were the first to recognize one of the biggest advantages of this. They sent me an e-mail today saying, “Tootie, enjoy working in your pajamas!” I think the only thing better than getting paid to work in pajamas would be getting paid to eat ice cream. A girl can dream, right? And yes, mom, I’m writing this while wearing (clean) pajamas.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Quick, Call the Guinness Book of World Records

I think Husband and I have the world’s smallest tomato on our hands. We had just about given up on getting any tomatoes. Even though the plant was still growing tall, the extreme heat this summer took its toll on it. The poor plant was just in survival mode. But then we noticed a small, pea-sized green bud. And now it’s our beautiful, smaller-than-a-penny tomato.

For me, it’s proof that hope is all around us.

And now the real challenge will be figuring out who gets the first (and only!) bite of the little tomater.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Comedy, Take 3

The first comedy show that Husband and I ever saw together was actually on our very first date. He took me to a nice Italian dinner and then to a comedy club. I was impressed that he came up with such a clever date idea, and I also happen to really enjoy watching stand-up comedy. We had never heard of the woman that was the comedian, but we took our seats, eager for the show. In short, it turned out to be 2 of the most awkward hours of our lives. The comedian’s act turned out to be extremely vulgar, and the fact that it was our first date made it that much more uncomfortable. (I figure the only way it could have been worse is if I went with my grandma.) We were both too polite to say anything, so we both sat there, dying inside, worrying about what the other was thinking. My face was probably a permanent shade of red for most of the night. We laugh about it now because neither one of us said a word about the show afterwards because we were both so embarrassed. But, even with the awful comedy act, we still had a great date (and it obviously all worked out!) Our second comedy experience together was completely different. We were newly engaged, and we went to see Jerry Seinfeld perform. This time, we laughed so hard for two straight hours, until our cheeks almost hurt from smiling and laughing so much. It was one of the best nights of my life. Tomorrow we’ll try out another comedy experience. We got tickets to see a local show. I figure it will rate somewhere between the two extremes. It won’t be as good as Seinfeld, but let’s hope it’s (much) better than the first show. But based on our past experience, it probably will be memorable either way.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Heaven in a Muffin

I decided that I wanted to make some sort of dessert for Husband’s new team (he’s in the same unit, just a different position). Before you say something like “how thoughtful of you,” I should probably disclose that I have a tendency to use any reason possible to make sweets. (Example: I recently brought brownies to Mexican-themed pot luck.) Anyway, I found a recipe for chocolate chip muffins, which looked pretty good. They were surprisingly easy to make. And I completely underestimated how good they would taste. I took my first bite when they were still warm, and the first thing that came to mind was, “this is heavenly!” In case you can’t access the link, here is the recipe: 2 cups all-purpose flour 1/3 cup light brown sugar 1/3 cup sugar 2 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 2/3 cup milk 1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled 2 eggs, lightly beaten 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 (11.5 oz) package of chocolate chips (I didn’t use the entire package) 1/2 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped (I skipped the nuts because I didn’t have any) Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease 12 muffin cups. In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugars, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, stir together milk, eggs, butter, and vanilla until blended. Make a well in center of the dry ingredients. Add the milk mixture and stir just to combine. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts. Spoon batter into muffin cups, and bake for 15-20 minutes. Remove from muffin tin to wire rack, and cool for 5 minutes. --------- It ended up making 15 muffins for me, instead of 12. Oh, and I didn’t let them “cool for 5 minutes” before eating, but maybe you’ll have more patience than I do. :) Enjoy!

Friday, August 21, 2009

The road to insanity...

...starts with a single beep. The smoke detector in our hallway decided to let us know at 5AM that its batteries were low. I closed our bedroom door to block out the noise, so we could get a little more sleep. Husband had to dash off to fly this morning. We briefly talked about the smoke detector, and he told me he’d fix it when he got home. That sounded like a great option, if I wanted to slowly go insane throughout the course of the day. I’m not sure what’s more annoying – the high-pitched beep, or knowing that the next high-pitched beep is only 21 seconds away. (Sadly, yes, I counted.) I bought some 9V batteries, got out our ladder, and replaced the battery. Hear that? It’s silence, also known as the sweet sound of success.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Souvenirs

I’m back, after a wonderful 2-week visit with my parents. This was probably the longest stretch that I’ve been there in a couple years, and it was one of the most fun visits.
Sadly, I’ve learned that no matter how long a vacation is – whether it’s 2 days or 2 weeks – it always feels like it lasted only 5 minutes.
And, in no particular order, here are a few of the things I brought back with me:
- sand in my shoes - a slight tan - clean clothes (thanks, mom, for doing laundry!) - salt water taffy for Husband - recipes from my parents’ cookbooks - a memory stick full of pictures, including:
the botanical gardens we visited, where we quite literally stopped and smelled the roses

also from the botanical gardens the beach, which I think still looks pretty even on a cloudy day

- homemade chocolate chip cookies from an afternoon baking with my mom - a couple of new work outfits - the memories of all of our adventures - fresh basil and oregano from my parents’ garden And speaking of gardens, I’m happy to report that the tomato plant grew quite nicely while I was gone. In fact, it’s already waist high!

But, with all my focus on the tomato plant, I forgot to tell Husband to look out for our basil plant, too. As far as its status, well, I’ll let the picture speak for itself:

(At least, I’m assuming that this withered stick is the formerly vibrant basil plant.)

That’s ok, though. It was a small price to pay for a great 2 weeks.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Julie and Julia

We saw the movie Julie and Julia today, and we loved it. It was funny and charming, and for the first time ever, I can say that I enjoyed the movie more than the book. I left the theater with a strong desire to: a) catch the first flight to Paris, b) eat anything covered in cheese or butter, and c) say "Bon Appetit!" in my best Julia Child voice. [I couldn't do (a) or (b), so I settled for an enthusiastic (c).] We planned on going straight to dinner afterward, which I realized later was a brilliant plan because looking at all the good food in the movie made me hungry. If you see it, too, I wish you happy viewing - and eating!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

At the beach

After being here a week, I've decided that almost any activity is infinitely more fun when it's at the beach. So far, we took a walk at the beach, had breakfast at the beach, and ate lunch at a restaurant at the beach. In short, the excitement of being "at the beach" has not worn off for me. But, with views like this, I wonder, will it ever?

Monday, August 3, 2009

Visit

I just arrived at my parents' house for a 2-week visit. I'm excited to have this time to see them. (And in the interest of full disclosure, I'm excited to see the nearby beach, too!) My new job doesn't start until the end of the month, so I have a few more weeks of carefree summer. Before I left, I did a huge grocery shopping trip for Husband, where I shopped with reckless abandon, pretending that I've never heard of "low-fat," "light," or other such healthy options. And I'm not sure what was bigger: my cart full of hamburgers, bacon, and other meat, or Husband's smile when he saw his dinners for the next couple weeks. While Husband will be fine in my absence, I'm not sure I can say the same for our plants. When I asked Husband if he wouldn't mind watering the tomato plant, he replied, with a puzzled look, "We have a tomato plant??" Let's just say that I won't be expecting any tomatoes when I get home.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Wedding Details

Husband was lucky enough to be able to go to our friends’ wedding while on his military trip (TDY) this weekend. I was sad that I couldn’t make it, too, but I figured at least I could hear all the “details” from Husband. And this is the part where you should laugh at my own delusion. I was conveniently forgetting that this is the same guy who can have a 40-minute conversation with someone on the phone, and when I ask him what they said, he says, “Oh, nothing.” I talked to Husband on the phone right after the wedding, and here’s how the conversation went: Me: How was the wedding?? Husband: It was fine. Me: I mean, what was it like?? Husband: You know, just a standard wedding. Me: Was the reception nice? Husband: Yeah, you know, just the normal dinner and dancing. And here he just described every wedding I've ever attended. When he got home yesterday, I joked about his lack of details, and I said, “I’d ask you about her dress, but you’ll just say it was long and white.” And he said, “But it was long and white!” And so I have no idea: if her dress was strapless, if the groom got teary when he saw her for the first time in her dress, if the toasts were funny or touching, what song they danced to, what color the bridesmaid dresses were, if there were any cute favors on the tables, and much, much more. Thankfully, I’ll get to see my friend (the bride) when she gets back from her honeymoon, and I’m thinking she might have more to say about it than just “it was fine.”

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Getting Old

Husband is gone this weekend on a military trip (or “TDY,” if you speak military). I planned to stay up late last night watching chick flicks. But, as I told my mom in an e-mail this morning, I must be on an old person’s schedule because I was asleep on the couch by 9:30PM. My mom took it one step further and pointed out that I also mentioned in that same e-mail about my plans to “go to Home Depot today” and “change out light bulbs.” She said that I have “all the symptoms” of getting old. If my symptoms get worse – say I start talking about prune juice on the blog – I hope that someone will take pity on me and stage an intervention.