Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Why spelling might be important

Yesterday a gentleman came into our office, bringing paperwork that someone in a different office filled out for him. It turns out that the man works at a local retail store stocking merchandise. Under the occupation category on his forms, they meant to write “stocker,” but misspelled it. And, with just a couple incorrect letters, this poor man went from someone trying to make an honest living stocking merchandise to a shady character hiding behind bushes.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Locked out, but with plenty to eat

Yesterday Husband and I were in charge of bringing donuts to our after-church “coffee and donuts” gathering. The purchasing of the donuts is a story of its own. [I’ll just say this: If you’d like to get a little extra attention in the grocery store, fill your cart up with 10 boxes of a dozen donuts, until your cart is full of nothing but donuts…and the spinach you needed for dinner. Then enjoy the puzzled stares.] The backseat of the car was already loaded with the donuts yesterday morning. We just had to get in the car and go to church. Husband was the first out the door, and he turned the lock on the way out. Before I pulled the door shut I asked him, “Do you have your keys?” “Yep,” he replied. I pulled the door shut, and then I heard “uh-oh.” “I don’t have the keys,” he said. I knew he was kidding because he pulls this joke at least once a week. “Haha,” I said. “Now, let’s go.” He fumbled in his pockets, and the look on his face (and the cursing that followed) showed he wasn’t kidding. Our house keys and car keys were locked inside the house. And somehow we had to get to church, especially to bring the donuts. (Because “coffee and donuts” without donuts is just “coffee.” And I couldn’t do that to our fellow church-goers.) We both tried to figure out ways to get in. Husband pushed on the door a few times to see if it would budge. Nothing. I offered to call a friend in our neighborhood that goes to our church, but Husband said to let him try a few more things. Then he walked around to our front door to see if it was open. Nope. Finally, Husband said, “Let me try this trick I’ve seen before.” He put a credit card on the side of the door and pushed, and the door opened. He grabbed his keys, and we left in the car. (I’m not even going to address why we bother locking our doors if anyone with a credit card could get in. I’d like to live under the delusion that we are safe and secure inside our locked home.) We made it to church, though a little later than we wanted, with the donuts in hand. But, on the car ride there, I turned to Husband and said, “Sweetie?” “Yeah?” he said. “Thanks for the blog material,” I said and smiled. He just smiled and laughed a little, which I think meant, “you’re welcome.”

Thursday, March 26, 2009

A Secret Recipe from My Aunt Pillsbury

Yesterday a co-worker said that she had been meaning to ask me for my cookie recipe. I paused for a second. “What cookie recipe?” I thought. Then I remembered that I had brought in chocolate chip cookies for Valentine’s Day. And then I laughed when I realized what “cookie recipe” I had used. I first offered the disclaimer that she might be very disappointed in my “recipe.” And then I shared it with her: 1. Go to the grocery store. 2. Buy a pack of (already sliced) Pillsbury or Nestle chocolate chip cookie dough. 3. Stick them in the oven. 4. Share them with your co-workers and fool them into thinking that you can bake. She couldn’t believe it, and she followed up with, “But, how do you get them so moist?” I told her that I just bake them for the shortest time they recommend because [I’m impatient] I want them to be soft and delicious. Next time I think I’m just going to say it’s a very complicated family recipe.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Pilot Connection

This past weekend Husband and I went to a birthday party for my boss’s husband. Though Husband didn’t come out and say it, I could tell by his questions that he wasn’t exactly excited about going. (“How long is this thing going to last?” “How long do we have to stay?”) We arrived at the party, not knowing anyone except one or two people from my office. We looked around at all the unfamiliar faces and took our seats at one of the tables. Less than a minute later, Husband says, “I think I know that guy. He’s a pilot.” The next thing I know, the two of them are happily chatting away about flying. I had a moment of déjà vu. About two years ago, right before Husband and I got married, we attended a day-long marriage class. Husband asked the same questions before we went. (“How long is this thing going to last?”) We sat down at a table, and another couple asked if they could join us. Within a few seconds of small talk, we learned that the other guy was also a military pilot. They immediately started chatting about flying, airspace, military exercises, and more. By the end of the class, they were shaking hands, and the guy gave Husband his e-mail address if he ever needed anything. In other words, Husband had a great time at the marriage class, although I can’t say it was because he was riveted by the speeches on communication and commitment. The party this weekend went the same way. By the time I told Husband that we should probably leave, he asked, “Are you sure? We have to go already?”

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Best Souvenir

Husband and I had an amazing honeymoon on a Mediterranean cruise, almost 2 years ago. Everything about our trip was near-perfect. (And the few slight mishaps make for funny stories now!)
When Husband and I got back, my only regret was that we didn’t pick up a small piece of art to display in our house to remind us of our trip.
My Dad, who had recently taken up painting, happily offered to try to paint something for us. He asked me what I wanted it to look like, and I sent him a picture of some sea-side buildings in Mykonos, Greece. (For the record, I think it’s impossible to take a bad picture in Greece because everything is so scenic!)
Here is the picture I took. And here is my Dad’s incredible painting! We have it proudly displayed in our kitchen area, where we can see it at every meal. And my Dad cleverly used the frame of an old television to make the frame for the painting.
I enjoy telling people about it, just as much as I enjoy looking at it. In fact, without any prompting or related conversation at our breakfast party, I pointed at the painting and volunteered, “Look! My Dad painted that for us!”
I’m glad that we didn’t end picking up a painting in Greece because the one we have now is so much more meaningful.
My Dad’s birthday is coming up, and I just wanted to thank him for being such a wonderful (and talented!) father.
Happy Birthday, Dad!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Make a Wish!

The other day my friend went to a church that she had never visited before. I shared with her a tradition that my mom used to always share with me: When visiting a church for the first time, say a prayer and make a wish! I’ve never been one to turn down a wish, so I always think of my mom’s tradition when I enter a new church. Then I realized that I have quite a collection of traditions to claim wishes. I’ve learned that you can make a wish when: * the clock shows 11:11. (Husband taught me that one.) * it’s raining but the sun is still shining. * you’re wearing a necklace and the clasp happens to meet the charm in the front. (My childhood best friend taught me that.) * a ladybug lands on you. * you see a shooting star. * you break a wishbone with someone and you get the larger piece. * you throw a coin in a fountain. * you blow out the candles on your birthday cake. (This is, of course, the best one for a wish.) What are your wish traditions?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Notice anything different?

My formerly frumpy blog is now sporting a snazzy, new look. Many thanks to Summer for making it happen! Summer is very talented, and I really enjoyed working with her. She somehow put up with my endless silly questions, and she didn’t laugh (not even once!) at my total illiteracy in blog design. I definitely recommend her if you want a blog makeover! The end result is even better than I imagined, and my only regret is that I didn’t have it done sooner. Thanks again, Summer!

Friday, March 13, 2009

And the role of bridesmaid goes to...

…me! I tried on the dress last night, and unbelievably, it fit like a glove! So, I’m officially a bridesmaid. My bride friend and I hugged because we were both relieved. The dress happens to be one of the most beautiful gowns I’ve seen in a wedding. It’s long, black, and elegant. And, because my friend is sweet and generous, she is letting me keep the dress after the wedding! I offered to give her money for it, but she insisted. I think this is a happy ending for all. (That is, as long as my worst fear of tripping doesn’t happen!)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Back-up Bridesmaid

Husband and I joke that we often seem to find ourselves as the “back up." We once went to a baptism, only to realize that the guy that was supposed to be the Godfather couldn’t make it. Husband, who arrived with an unshaven face and a wrinkled shirt because we overslept, was the only other man there and instantly became the Godfather! Then, just a few weeks ago, at the very small wedding (with less than 10 guests) in town, they needed a male witness of the ceremony. They picked Husband, who with his signature, became the Best Man (!) for the wedding. And this weekend, for the next local wedding, I might be promoted to bridesmaid. My friend, the bride, and I actually joked about this very situation. She had a family member who was supposed to be a bridesmaid, but she canceled recently. My friend joked with me that if I wore a similar dress size as this girl, then she’d ask me to take her place. She called me yesterday. “Remember how we joked about you being a bridesmaid? Well…would you mind being one afterall?” Another out-of-town bridesmaid is probably not going to make it. The dress is already purchased, and her dress size is very close to mine. My friend and I agreed that if the dress fits, I’ll be the bridesmaid. And then we laughed about how crazy the situation is. What’s even funnier is that the dress isn’t supposed to be here until tonight, so we won’t know until less than two days before the wedding. All of a sudden I feel like Cinderella, except trying on a dress instead of a glass slipper. If the dress fits, then I won’t have to worry about what to wear to the wedding. And if it doesn’t, that’s ok, too. Because, unlike Cinderella, I already have my handsome prince. And he just happens to be a Godfather and Best Man.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A (Hassle-Free) Shamrock Shake

I’m forgoing one of my long-standing St. Patrick’s Day traditions this year. I’m no longer going to spent countless hours searching for a McDonald’s Shamrock Shake. A Shamrock Shake is a green, mint-flavored milk shake offered only at select McDonald’s each year. Which McDonald’s carry it? That’s the million-dollar question. Sadly, I spent three years trying to answer that question myself. (I did a quick internet search and learned that McDonald’s restaurants in Ireland always carry the shake. And I also learned that there’s a website dedicated to bringing back the shake, so apparently I’m not the only one with a thing for it.) Instead, this year, I’m making my own Shamrock Shake, thanks to my friend Kristy. She forwarded me this easy recipe that turned out to be delicious! (Thanks again, Kristy!) In case you can’t access the link, the recipe is: 2 cups vanilla ice cream 1 cup milk ¼ teaspoon mint extract [I accidentally added a bit more, and it still turned out ok.] 4 - 6 drops of food coloring (optional) Mix it all in the blender.

I think it almost tasted better than the real thing because it wasn’t overly rich and still had a nice flavor. Husband, who has never had a real McDonald’s Shamrock Shake, thought it was tasty and wanted seconds.

I know I'll make it again. (I might even sprinkle crumbled Thin Mints on top, even though I risk self-destructing from such a sweet combination.)

I definitely recommend the recipe, where you can enjoy the same shake for probably half the calories and none of the frustration.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Time-of-Day Theory

It seems like at least once on almost any given week, Husband will say to me, “Wow, you have a lot of energy this morning.” I always answer, “I’m a morning person.” He has a hard time making sense of it because he has more energy at night. When I’ve fallen asleep on the couch watching TV, he’s still awake for at least an hour or two later. Our opposite schedules are not necessarily a bad thing. Husband, the night owl, can always fill me in on what I missed on Saturday Night Live. I, the morning person, usually have breakfast ready on weekend mornings. So it all works out nicely. Recently, Husband and I were talking about this very subject, and I came up with a theory. Maybe the time of day that someone is born affects whether they’re a morning or night person? For example, I was born at 8:30AM (= morning person), while Husband was born in the evening (=night person). Husband thinks it’s just a coincidence. Now I’m wondering if there’s any truth to my theory. So, what time of day were you born, and are you a morning or night person? (Husband has promised me that he won’t gloat if he’s right.)

Monday, March 2, 2009

Weekend Wonders

This weekend was one of the best that we’ve had in a while. Here are the highlights, in no particular order: 1) Our breakfast with the neighbors went splendidly! Everyone seemed to enjoy the food and the company, and one woman made the comment, “We’ll have to do this more often.” (I happily translated that to mean, “You people are pretty nice and your food isn’t half-bad.”) I also conquered my fear of hosting, and we plan to host again sometime. And, the bonus was that Husband and I got to eat some of the leftover food, which meant little cooking for the rest of the weekend. 2) The $7 on my bathroom counter is gone, replaced by 2 boxes of Thin Mints! I wanted to hug the Girl Scout that delivered them. 3) There was a small carnival in town, and I convinced Husband to go. [I was surprised at how much convincing I had to do. “But you love rides,” I told him. He replied, “Those aren’t rides, they’re death contraptions.” I nominate that as the funniest quote of the weekend. And I learned that Husband has discriminating taste in rides – only theme park rides will do.] My only goal in going to the carnival was to eat a corndog, and it was everything I hoped it would be: greasy and delicious. 4) We bought a new TV. It arrives sometime later this week. And then I may or may not see Husband again, except for the back of his head glued to the new TV. 5) We saw the movie Slumdog Millionaire yesterday. I was a little bit skeptical because of all the fuss about it, but let me tell you, it lived up to all of it and more. The movie was heart-wrenching and wonderful all at the same time, and I can’t stop thinking about it. I highly, highly recommend it. (But just know that it’s not for the faint of heart.) Did anyone else see it? I’m curious to hear what other people thought. Hope your weekend was wonderful, too!