Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Who Throws a Shoe?

Honestly. That really hurt!

OK, if you don't get that reference, you need to watch more movies. And nobody threw any shoes around here. But, I do have a story that involves shoes and a Really?!? moment.

Over Thanksgiving, Bob and I traveled to Denver, dropped Madeline off with my parents, and headed to Vegas for three days. We flew back to Denver in time to have a lovely Thanksgiving dinner and a wonderful Black Friday. Then, we drove back to Omaha on Saturday.

Knowing that we would be going to see the new bridge over Lake Mead while in Vegas, we naturally took our camera. Now, I know you're probably thinking, why wouldn't they take pictures of Vegas.
  1. I grew up in Nevada and my husband lived there for 5 years. Casinos don't really hold that much fascination for us. When in Vegas, I don't consider myself a tourist.
  2. We're engineers. We went to Vegas to see the bridge (and eat at In-n-Out Burger).

So anyway, we got a couple of great pictures of the bridge that is almost complete.

Well, then we start packing to come home. I had a pocket in my suitcase that was reserved for various electronic appurtenances, including our camera. Since we didn't take any pictures of Thanksgiving dinner, the camera stayed in that pocket.

Until...Someone that I'm married to, who will remain nameless, decided to rearrange things.

Well, I didn't give it a second thought until this past weekend when getting ready to take Madeline to see Santa. I realized I hadn't seen the camera since our trip. I asked Bob if he had seen it. Nope. We started looking in places that it might have been put. We tore the house apart to no avail. Luckily, Bob had his work camera in his truck, so we left the house, still pondering the whereabouts of our camera.

After running around all morning, a thought suddenly popped into Bob's head. "I seem to remember putting the camera in a shoe."

What? Who does that? Honestly!

So, I checked the shoes. Sure enough, in my Keen sandals (that I have not been able to wear in Omaha since before Thanksgiving) was our camera.

Luckily, not too many pairs of shoes had been thrown on top of mine yet, so the camera was unharmed. And I'm left wondering how someone rationalizes putting a camera in a shoe.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Good Job, Madeline!

We try as much as we can to practice positive reinforcement. And I think it really helps. So Madeline often hears "Good job!" when she says please and thank you without prompting, or she picks up her toys, or eats all of her vegetables.

The funny thing about it is, she has no problems telling herself "Good job, Madeline!" When she puts something in the trash or gets into her car seat by herself, she will tell herself that she has done a good job. It is adorable.

But it gets me to thinking. At what point do we quit telling ourselves we have done a good job? When do we start to become our own worst critic?

I can think of many times when I have done things or received complements on something and I think to myself "I could have done that better" or "It's not really important." Why do I never tell myself "Good job!"?

I have done things that I am proud of. I recently made a couple of Christmas gifts that I think turned out very well. But I still find fault with them.

Is is the fact that we are taught as children not to brag?

Or is it the fact that often our accomplishments as wives and mothers go unnoticed? Someone told me the other day that if the kids are still alive at 5 o'clock, I've done my job. I'm certainly a better mother than that. Generally at the end of the day Madeline is fed, bathed and playing happily with her toys. Why do I not then at the end of the day tell myself "You're a great mother!"?

Some days I think we should all strive to be more like our children than have our children be like us.

Friday, November 6, 2009

A Little Engineering Humor

I thought I would share a few jokes with everyone. The sad part about it is I can identify with some of them...

To the optimist the glass is half full. To the pessimist the glass is half empty. To the engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.


Normal people believe if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Engineers believe if it ain't broke, it doesn't have enough features.


There was an engineer who was sentenced to die by guillotine along with a priest and a doctor. They walked to the village square and mounted the steps to The Madame, saw the blade poised high above, ready to drop when triggered.

The priest said "I am a man of God. I will go first as an example and to give courage to others. But I want to die on my back facing my Lord."

So they put him on his back, and the blade swished toward his neck. But a couple of feet from the bottom, it stopped. The crowd cheered wildly. "It's a miracle! Let him go!" So since he had satisfied the law, and they were really afraid of miracles, they cut him loose and he descended the steps.

Next came the doctor. He thought maybe the same would work for him, and he asked to be on his back and they complied. The blade swished down and stopped a couple feet from the bottom. Again the crowd called for his release. "Another miracle!"

So the engineer asked to be on his back. Just before the executioner triggered the release, he said "Wait a minute! I think I see the problem."


Monday, October 19, 2009

Baby's First Quentin Tarantino Movie

Yes, you read that right. Quentin Tarantino. As in From Dusk til Dawn. Pulp Fiction. Kill Bill. And most recently Inglorious Basterds (excellent movie BTW).

Sunday morning Madeline and I had to do some shopping. We went to the local outdoor shopping center. I thought that the stores opened at 11 am on Sunday. But come to find out, they don't open until noon. No big deal. There was a restaurant open and Madeline had already asked for lunch, so I figured we could go eat lunch, walk around for a bit (the sun was actually shining), and then the stores would be open.

So we went to the bakery/sandwich shop at the local outdoor shopping center. I normally love this particular bakery. They have really good breakfast and their cookies are awesome. And, they have really great tea. This was my first experience with eating lunch at this establishment.

I looked over the menu and everything sounded great. I chose a pineapple and ham panini. The only problem with it was the mustard. I'm not a fan. Well, when I went to order my sandwich without the mustard, I got a blank stare from the adolescent boy behind the counter. After a few minutes, it seemed to finally sink in. And then I ordered a grilled cheese kid's meal for Madeline.

Well, I placed my order with the boy who was going to prepare my food. Then I went to the cash register. The food preparer didn't say anything to the second adolescent boy at the register, so I repeated my order for Boy 2.

If the youth of today don't lay off the weed, I hate to think what will happen to this planet. After repeating my order to Stoned Boy, he gave me a blank look for about 30 seconds and said "Uuuhhhh, you place your order at the other end." Direct quote.

I informed him that I had already placed my order, but would now like to pay for it. Then it clicked. Although I did have to repeat Milk several times for Madeline's drink.

Well, we got our drinks and found a seat. I just took the first seat I could where I could kind of keep Madeline corralled. I did not think there would be a television in this particular area of this particular restaurant.

A portion of our food was brought to our table. Of course it was not the portion that contained a kids meal. So Madeline got to eat her cookie before her sandwich, she was pretty hungry by this time. I informed the server (Stoned Boy 3) that I needed a grilled cheese.

They brought it quickly and we proceeded to eat. Madeline's meal was really good. The grilled cheese was good and it came with a cup of fruit which always makes her happy. And, they put 2 extra cookies in her bag, so that's good. Mine, not so great. I think they just took a pre-made sandwich and scraped the mustard off. I could definitely taste some. But not too bad.

As we were eating, I noticed the television on the wall in front of us. At this point on Sunday morning there aren't really sports on yet and the news shows are over. This particular tv was tuned to TBS. And playing on TBS was Jackie Brown.

Granted, this was a cable channel, the sound was turned off, and this is probably the least disturbing of Quentin's movies. But still not something I wanted my 2-year old to see. Most of the violence shots were zoomed in, so she didn't actually see Robert Deniro firing a gun multiple times in to some poor guy. Still...

I'm not saying I wouldn't go back to this particular establishment. But I would definitely think twice about picking a seat next to a tv. And hopefully the Stoner Boys find employment elsewhere before I go back.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Twelve Years Ago

Twelve years ago, I was a college freshman.

Twelve years ago today, my life was changed forever.

Twelve years ago today, I met the love of my life.

I never imagined my life this way. I never imagined a house in the suburbs with a family and a dog.

But I wouldn't change one minute of it. I have the best husband and we have created the sweetest, most beautiful child.

I love you, Bob!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

I Have the Sweetest Baby Ever!!!

I know, I know. She really isn't a baby anymore. But she is my baby, and my only baby, and I will probably call her that when she's 42. But that's beside the point.

Tonight, I injured myself. I will live. Maybe. It certainly wouldn't hurt if someone wanted bake me some cookies. ;)

Now you are probably wondering what happened. I stubbed my toe. Now, before you start rolling your eyes, let me tell you about this toe...

While I was pregnant with the sweetest baby ever, I broke this toe. Not once, but twice. And how did I break this toe? By walking into a door. In our Tucson house we had a linen closet in the master bath. The door on the closet opened outward. And I am blind as a bat without the aid of contact lenses. So on two separate occasions, I stumbled out of bed, fighting morning sickness and blindness, go to get a towel to jump in a nice warm shower, and I would walk into the door.

My poor little toe turned the most disgusting shade of greenish-black. To this day, it starts to ache when the weather changes. (Shut up, I'm not that old.)

And yes, I stubbed the same toe this evening. As I was walking into the bathroom to give Madeline her bath, I caught my toe on her step stool. And instead of just scooting out of the way, the stool scooted into the cabinet. It hurt.

I'm very proud of myself, though. I did not utter any of the words that were running through my head in front of my child. I did however say "ow, ow, ow, ow."

After a minute of collecting myself, I sat down next to the tub. Madeline just looked at me and said, "Don't worry, Mommy. It'll be okay." Then she asked to hold my hand.

That one little phrase right there was worth the pain.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Things They Don't Tell You

You would think that with all the millions and zillions of books out there, there are a few things they would tell you everything there is to know about motherhood. They tell you that you will be sleep deprived. That you will have to change diapers and clean up puke. That you will have to do mountains upon mountains of laundry. But I've learned quite a few things that I've never seen in a book or magazine.

They don't tell you that every trip to the store will turn into a lesson on numbers and colors. And yes, we had to count every orange pumpkin last night.

They don't tell you that you will cry over things that don't really warrant that much emotion. Like pee pee in the potty for the first time.

They don't tell you that you will have to watch Shrek at least once a day. And that every time your child wants to watch it, you will end up getting sucked in and watching it with your child.

They don't tell you that it's possible for a child to go from wearing at 24 month infant size to a size 3 toddler. Not too many 2Ts in this house.

They don't tell you how much it will break your heart to have to pack away clothes after each season, knowing she will never wear those cute little sundresses again.

They don't tell you that you will regret buying that really long, 12 days of Christmas book that will have to be read over and over and over and over, even in the middle of summer.

They don't tell you that you will get the songs from Dora the Explorer stuck in your head to the point you start to apply them to everyday life.

They don't tell you that your house will be overtaken by plastic and plush.

They don't tell you that trying to get a 2-year old ready for preschool and out the door in the mornings is enough to make you break a sweat.

They don't tell you that you will have to have three different kinds of graham crackers because one day we might like princess shapes, one day we might like car shapes, and another day we might like just good old-fashioned rectangles.

But most of all, they don't tell you how wonderful it is to be so wholly and unconditionally loved by another human being.

Friday, September 18, 2009

I finally did it!!!

What, you may ask, is so exciting that it requires three exclamation points? Is it a new hair color or finally getting around to painting my walls? Or maybe started on the looong path to finishing my master's degree?

No, I finally spent (a portion) of my Pottery Barn gift card from my parents for my birthday. In April.

I know, you're thinking "I would have spent that in a heartbeat" or "What's the big deal?" Well, let me tell you my story.

When my mom started asking me what I would like for my birthday, I had no idea what to tell her. Knowing about how much they usually spend on birthdays, I knew it wouldn't cover the things we need around the house (like furniture, a gas cooktop, etc.) I have plenty of clothing and more than enough "stuff." I have objets de cuisine coming out of my ears (I've been reading Julia Child's book), so I really don't need any of that stuff. So, I just couldn't think of a single thing that I wanted for my birthday.

Well, then I got the bright idea to ask for a Pottery Barn gift card. It seemed so ingenious. First of all, I ALWAYS ask for gift cards. Because really, is there anything better than the gift of shopping? I thought not. But then, I thought this would be even better, because I can never bring myself to spend money at PB. Don't get me wrong, I love the stuff. But it is pricey.

But, I thought if it wasn't my money, I would have no problem going in there and buying something to make my house pretty. Well, I was wrong.

I went a couple of weeks after my birthday. I walked through and saw a few things that I would like, but I hadn't really given much thought to which room I want to concentrate on next. My kitchen is pretty good and Madeline's room and bathroom are finished. That just leaves the rest of the house...

Well, I left that day thinking I would come home, take a look around, and develop a plan. (Yes, I need a plan. I AM an engineer people, that's what I do.)

Well, I thought I would start working on the master bedroom next. I saw some really cute pillow shams that would pair really well with a solid comforter and the chair that we already have in there. Then I started thinking. We really don't have furniture in there. Well, we have furniture, but it's mish-mash and consists of a lot of pieces that came out of a box and that are not real wood. So maybe I shouldn't spend a lot of money on bed linens and accessories until we get some furniture. What if I fall in love with furniture and the accessories that are only a couple of years old don't match?

Then I thought I could do the master bath. Really, I would just need a few towels and rugs. But, that was the one "department" that they just don't have anything I really like right now. There was a shower curtain, but no other printed accessories to go with it. I didn't want just solid colored towels. So that option was out.

Then I thought I would buy some beverage-ware for a cocktail party we were going to throw. Well, we scheduled it for a bad weekend for everyone else, so nobody was going to be there. And, I just couldn't bring myself to pay the prices for some of the stuff they had knowing I could get almost identical items at Target for less than half the price.

Then my final plan was a patio umbrella. Our patio table is setup for an umbrella and I found one that I liked. But, this was already at the end of the summer and we couldn't find the stand for the umbrella.

At this point, I decided to just wait awhile. This was turning into such an agonizing decision that I wasn't even having fun anymore.

Then, I had another stroke of genius. I would wait for holiday decorations. And I was not disappointed.

This week, I bought some of the cutest (and most ridiculously expensive) mini-pumpkin vase filler for my candle holders. Now I can start decorating for fall (I am jumping up and down right now). I love fall decorations.

And I even have money left over on my gift card. Maybe some Christmas decorations...

Sunday, August 23, 2009


Have you ever found out something about someone close to you that just shocks you? I mean how could you have know this person for as long as you have and not know this? And how can you not let it change how you feel about them?

Today, I learned something about my dear husband and I just don't know how I didn't know this before. We have been together for almost 12 years. I never noticed.

He doesn't like caramel popcorn!!!!!

That is just downright un-American. I can inhale the stuff. Give me a box of Fiddle Faddle and I'm a happy girl. I have such a horrible sweet tooth and honestly, what's not to like. Popcorn+Sugar=Bliss.

This all came to a head tonight when we got home from our weekly pilgrimage to Target. I saw a bag of Vic's Lite Caramel Corn and thought I would try some. Vic's is a local company and I know people who really like their popcorn. I had never tried it, it was on sale, so I thought - what the heck?

When we got home, Madeline and I tore into the bag as if we hadn't eaten in a week. It is so good. The only thing that could possible make it better is the addition of nuts. Don't care what kind, I just love them. Especially covered in sugar.

As I was proclaiming the greatness of my new found love, Bob came over to try some. He took a couple of pieces, popped them in his mouth, and exclaimed "Eh, not bad I guess."

This brought me to a halt. This is honestly one of the best caramel corns I've ever had. That's when he dropped the bomb. "I don't care for caramel corn."

How did I not know this?

But on the plus side, I know he won't be eating my caramel corn!!! :D

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Mind of a Two-Year Old

Madeline is quite the little character. She does something everyday that makes us laugh. Thought I would share a few of those things with you today.

While we aren't gung-ho about it yet, we have started with potty training. And of course, they do work with them at day care. Well, she has lately been picking up all of her dolls and asking "Cinderella, do you need to go potty? Let's check your pants."

We have one particular pair of shoes that I can not get on her if she doesn't help push her own foot in. Well, her bathtime Dora doll has removable flippers. Last night in the bath, she took off Dora's flippers then tried to put them back on. As she was putting them on, she said "Push, push, push." When she finally got both of Dora's shoes on, she said "Good job Dora!"

We are getting ready to go on vacation in a couple of weeks and have been talking to her about where we are going, who we are going to see, and what we will be doing. Well, now she is very excited about going on vacation. Last night, she was playing with Mommy's shoes. She put on a pair, grabbed a hat and my purse, and headed for the door. When asked where she was going, she said, "Bye bye Daddy. I'm going on vacation!"

On the same topic, when I asked her what we should do tomorrow, she replied, "Go on vacation!"

A couple of weeks ago, we went out for lunch on a Sunday. We got to the restaurant right when they opened, so it was pretty empty. She marched right up to the hostess and proceeded to tell her "I have pretty barrettes and I have fishies on my shirt." Now, normally, she doesn't talk to people she doesn't know.

She has quite the personality!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Just one of those weeks...

I tell you what, if something can go wrong, it will happen this week. I can not beleive the things that have happened this week.

On Sunday, when I looked at my calendar I thought, oh this week won't be too bad. Sure I have two night meetings and that's never fun. But I had a lot of "free" time so I figured I would be able to clear off the Mount Everest pile of stuff that has been accumulating on my desk.

However, this was not to be.

I've gotten phone calls from people who have not liked the decisions I've made. People I actually need to talk to are not returning my calls. I even had a guy call my boss's boss to see "what we could do about this situation." Sure, I'll just get on my personal line to the White House and get federal regulations changed, just for you because you went to high school with his cousin's wife's ex-roommate.

The two meetings that I've had so far this week have been absolute train wrecks. People, regardless of party affiliations, don't like the government. We have website issues, and I don't know how to deal with that.

So, I've spent the better part of this week dealing with issues as they come up, instead of actually accomplishing things. So, Everest is just growing.

And the problems just aren't at work. Oh no. If there is an idiot driver out there, they are no doubt right next to me. I've had more near misses than I can count. If I texted while driving, I would be in trouble. I spent my lunch hour yesterday driving all the way to Target and they were out of everything I needed.

There is a bug in our house that keeps biting me at night. We've washed everything in hot water and bleach, vaccumed out all vents, corners and even the mattress. But we can't find the beast that is doing this to me. At this point, I don't care if I get cancer, I want some bug spray that will just kill anything and everything.

And today, I got a call from daycare to inform me that everything is ok, but they didn't want me to freak out when I came to pick up Madeline tonight. She fell and hit her head hard enough to cause an instant lump. And of course, this happened at 9:30 this morning, so I was worried about it all day. She is just fine, but she has a nasty bruise on her forehead. It's a good thing she has bangs.

And now, looking forward to the rest of my week. I have another night meeting tomorrow night, and it's not looking like it will go well. I have to get some information from an organization that doesn't like our organization. And I somehow I have to get to all the normal things on my to-do list. I only have to get through the next two days...

Monday, August 3, 2009


No, I am NOT going to have another one. Ever.

But, a friend posted recently how much she liked being pampered while pregnant. And that reminded me of an article I read while pregnant about all the joys of how people are so much nicer to you when you're expecting.

Well, let me tell you, that DOESN'T work for everybody. I suppose if you're some little skinny thing and you look like you just put a basketball under your shirt, strangers think you're so cute and want to give you all sorts of unwanted advice.

If you're like me, and plus-sized, people just think you're even fatter than you normally are. Not once did I have a complete stranger ask me about my pregnancy. Not even the girl who did my pedicures ever asked me about it.

I remember one day while my mother was visiting, we went out to lunch. There was a bit of a wait and all the seating was taken. When some finally came open, this woman jumped right in front of me so fast that I couldn't even waddle over close to the open seat. I was about 8 months at that point and it was obvious that I was pregnant. And it wasn't an elderly lady, she couldn't have been more than 40. My mom just looked at this woman with shock and then asked me if I was going to be okay. The lady then looked and realized what she had done, but did she give up her seat? No.

For me, pregnancy was horrible. My hair was greasy, not full and luxurious. At the ripe old age of 27, I finally had to start using an acne cleanser. Let me tell you, the girls at the Clinique counter aren't used to getting adult women asking the basics about treating acne and then having to take into consideration that there are some products that shouldn't be used during pregnancy. Now, I'm not complaining about this. Considering I didn't have to do that in high school like most girls, I can deal. It's just not fun dealing with the 12-year-olds they hire at these places.

My asthma was horrible and I ended up on steriods. The back pain that was relieved by my breast-reduction surgery was back, and not because I had big boobs. Just because of whatever crazy medical reason that gives you back pain when you're knocked up.

I, who sleep through anything, ended up getting up four times a night to pee. And you know how they say you'll get your energy back in the second trimester? That was a lie. I was absolutely exhausted the whole time. I was in bed no later than 9 every night.

And the swelling. Let's just say that it was a good thing we lived in Arizona and I was able to wear flip flops all winter. I'll leave maternity clothes for another day.

But, even after all the misery, I couldn't imagine my life without my precious girl. Not going to go through it again, but it was worth it.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Don't you hate it when...

Your seedless watermelon has seeds...

Your garbage starts to smell the day after pick up day...

Something that should take five minutes ends up taking two hours...

A TV show goes over the scheduled time by two minutes and your DVR didn't get the last two minutes...

Your brand new clothes shrink the first time through the wash...

You're running late and everybody is out for a Sunday drive...

Your kid decides she wants to be sweet and cuddly right when you have to get something else done...

You hold open a door for someone and they don't even acknowledge it with a smile, much less a "Thank You"...

You get a song stuck in your head but you don't know all the words...

People don't listen to what you say the first time and then ask you to repeat yourself repeatedly...

Other people don't do their job correctly thus making life difficult for you...

iTunes doesn't have the original song by the original artist...

Reality shows are obviously scripted...

Sunday, July 26, 2009

I'm a Crafting Fool

And I have no idea what I'm doing.

I've never been much of a crafty person. In school, art was not my favorite subject; I had trouble even drawing stick figures. In junior high home-ec, we had to do a semester of sewing and a semester of cooking. While I got an A in cooking, I got a D in sewing. In high school, I took creative writing, and I wasn't too bad at that. In college, I majored in engineering and they didn't give a rat's ass about creative outlets.

So, other than cooking, I've never had a creative outlet. And as much as I love to cook, I love to eat what I cook. And I like butter. So, having just joined Weight Watchers, cooking the foods that I actually like to cook is out.

After Madeline was born, I tried to put together some scrapbook pages with ultrasound pictures and hospital bracelets. I bought a scrapbook kit from Michael's and thought I did a pretty good job. Until I actually went into a real scrapbooking store and realized how horrible they were. So I gave it up.

I started with scrapbooking again last summer after my sister-in-law got my mother hooked on it. My mom helped me to get some decent layouts, even if they are a little simple. But, I just never kept up with it.

Since having Madeline and moving to Omaha, I've met a great group of women. However, most of them seem to have at least one crafting hobby. I've gone to several craft nights (and even hosted a craft brunch myself) in the past few months. And I've come to really like it (well, most of it).

I don't think I will ever enjoy sewing/embroidery. I did a project for Mother's Day. I embroidered a saying about mothers and children on a piece of muslin cloth. I've never felt so much relief in my life as when I finished that project. I was miserable the whole time doing it and vowed I would never do it again.

But, I have really enjoyed the paper crafts and the beading. I have made a couple of holiday-themed letter blocks, one for Thanksgiving and one for Christmas. This was a really easy project and something that fits perfectly on my mantelpiece. I have also covered cut-out letters for Madeline's room.

And now I've taken up beading. I made my first bracelet last week. After doing this with the help (and tools) of my friend Candace, I took myself to Hobby Lobby and bought a whole bunch of tools and beads to make a necklace and matching earrings.

And I didn't stop there. I then went to a bead store and bought the stuff to make my own watch, which I love. I've needed a new watch for awhile now, but I haven't found anything that I'm willing to spend money on. Everything is either not appealing, or I like it and it's really expensive. Even after I had to pay for a new battery in the watch face that I just bought, I still didn't spend as much as I would have on a new Fossil.

And all of this is well and good. I do need some sort of hobby, and I will appreciate it as Madeline gets older and more independent. But, I now have a "list."
  1. I need to either paint or use paper to cover wooden letters for Madeline's bathroom.

  2. I need to come up with a word and then make letter blocks similar to the holiday ones for my kitchen.

  3. I've got scrapbooking to finish. I have all the elements for several pages, I just need some help in trying to get them together.

  4. Make a necklace.

  5. Learn how to make earrings.

  6. Finish the bracelet I started last week.

And all of this on top of the digital scrapbooking that I've always done for grandparents as Christmas gifts. I believe my crafting is quickly spiralling out of control!!!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Life is not fair...

I tell ya, kids have it so easy these days. And I'm not talking about all the hand held video games and portable DVD players. I'll admit, that DVD player makes life easier for me as well as Madeline. I think that's a great invention.

No, I'm talking about college kids. The amount of stuff available to them boggles my mind.

When I went off to college (let's just say more than 10 years ago, but less than 20), my options were limited.

My first year, I lived in a dorm. I was one of the lucky ones in my dorm. I had what was called a Plex Room. We had three bedrooms, a small living room, and a private bathroom. What sold me on the room was the private bathroom. In the dorm (which was the only one on campus at that time), the communal bathrooms had open locker-room style showers. Absolutely no privacy. For a girl who rarely even wears tanks tops, the thought of being nekkid with everyone else every morning was enough to bring a halt to my college career.

We had two girls in each bedroom. The six of us got along pretty well, in fact, three of them are now Facebook friends (yes, I graduated college before Facebook). We were the only six girls on the first three floors of the dorm (there are only four floors total). So, we pretty much had to stick together.

Preparing for that first year of college was difficult for me. Not emotionally or mentally. I was ready to leave the nest and be on my own. I went to a school 500 miles away where not a single person I went to high school with was going. No, for me, it was difficult to find the basics to live comfortably away from home for the first time.

Like most dorms, our beds were Twin Extra Long. Which meant that your normal twin sheets, didn't fit on the bed. I had to order my sheets from the JC Penney catalog and there were no trendy colors available. I think I had beige and pastel blue.

There were no compact, modular storage systems. I had to use milk crates stacked on their sides because I couldn't fit any additional shelving in my room. There were no little handy shower caddies (although I didn't really need one).

There were no replica posters of the Beatles or Jimi Hendrix available at Target. In fact, there was no "dorm line" available at Target or Bed Bath and Beyond or Wal-Mart. We had to make do with normal products available for any home.

And we actually had to get creative to decorate our space. We didn't buy a hot pink plastic beaded curtain at Wal-Mart. No, we actually went to a bead store and found a hand-made curtain. We didn't have mass-produced, pre-framed art from Target. We found pictures from magazines, catalogs, old calendars that actually showed our individual personalities and interests. We somehow ended up with a gift of a single, discarded hub cap, which we then painted to look like a globe. We all had artwork from home that represented a place we had visited or a special person in our life.

Now, granted I haven't visited a dorm room since I lived in one, but judging from the increased availability of mass-produced, trendy items with brand names like College '09 or Dorm '09, kids these days do not have to work to piece together a comfortable and functional living space. And that makes me long for the days of Kurt Cobain.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Wild and Crazy Wednesday

Yes, I have gotten a little crazy this morning. And you'll never guess what I did.

I am wearing navy blue pants!!!!!

I know you're probably thinking, she's lost her mind. How is that crazy?

Well, let me tell you, I have three main types of pants: khaki, black/gray, and jeans. Yes, I really am that boring.

I do love a plaid pant, and I have several pair of plaid shorts. But for some reason, over the last few years I have only bought practical, wear-with-anything pants. Oh and I do have a pair of paisley pants that look like my friend Trina's dining room chairs. But they're Ralph Lauren (that I only paid $20 for!!!) so by default they must be cool or hip or whatever it is the kids say nowadays.

Well, I hit the awesome clearance sale at a local department store this weekend and found the perfect pair of pants. They are a soft twill with just a hint of stretch. They have the perfect rise; I don't look like I'm 60 years old and my bum is completely covered. They have perfectly straight legs, to balance out my hips. And they are navy blue.

Navy blue is not normally a color I wear. It just reminds me too much of little old ladies (I don't know why, it just does). But lately, I've been thinking of the virtues of navy blue.
  1. It's a softer color than black. When you're as pasty white as I am, black can be a little harsh.
  2. It really is a neutral (I really should listen to Stacey and Clinton a little more often). I am surprised how many shirts I already own that go with navy rather nicely.
  3. It puts a little bit of color into some of my more monochromatic outfits. I tend to wear a lot of black and gray together when dressing for business. Now I can wear navy blue and gray.
My typical summer uniform is khaki capris and a polo shirt. But today, I have stepped outside of my comfortable little box and I am wearing navy blue pants and a polo shirt! I am really quite proud of myself.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Say Yes to the Dress

I am completely addicted to this show. I love seeing the dresses and the brides when they have finally found the perfect dress. Yes, I have a sappy side. But, I think I have wedding envy.

I had a nice wedding. It was a small ceremony in a church with the reception in a hotel. There were about 50 people there. The ceremony was only about 15 minutes (that was awesome!!!) and since we had no booze at the reception, there were no crazy drunks (and believe me, they would have come out).

But, I didn't really get to make a lot of choices about my wedding. We were so young; Bob had only graduated the week before the wedding, and I still had three semesters left. Two college students really don't have the money to fly everyone to Turks and Caicos for a wedding on the beach at sunset. And neither my parents nor Bob's parents have a ton of disposable income. No $10,000 dress for me (not that I want one).

We got married in Butte, Montana. That's where we went to school. Yes, we are college sweethearts. Awww. But, it's a small town and not a lot of options. It was about half-way between my family and Bob's family, so it seemed like that was fair. But as far as venues, not so many. The reception was at the Comfort Inn. Not the fanciest place, but it was cheap, and that's where all the out of town guests were staying, so it worked.

The flowers were minimal. We only had one attendant each, so I only had to buy two bouquets. We had one arrangement on the altar, and a few sprays of greenery on the pews. Simple corsages for the moms, boutineers for the men. At the reception we had lillies floating in bowls.

The food was pretty much all homemade. We ordered deli trays from the Safeway, my mom, grandma, and aunt made a few salads. The in-laws made some fruit salads and they brought tons of home-baked cookies (some of the best I've ever had). And of course cake.

Don't ask about the pictures.

All in all, it was a very nice wedding. It was just a crazy time to get married. As I said before, Bob graduated the week before the wedding. Three days afterwards, we moved to California. I think we were a little insane.

So now, when I see these shows about weddings, I get a little envious. I know that they don't show you behind the scenes on TV, but I just imagine that these brides get pampered a little bit more than I did. They probably weren't recovering from finals week and getting ready to move 1,500 miles to a city they've never even visited.

But, I have a plan. Next year will be 10 years and Madeline will be 3. We're going to DisneyWorld!!! Hopefully I can talk my hubby into "renewing our vows." I really just want a pretty dress...

Thursday, July 16, 2009


I need to learn to relax!!!! And I'm not talking about unwinding and letting go of the stresses of daily life. I'm talking about my inherent desire to have things match, line up, or generally look nice. Today at work, I edited an entire PowerPoint presentation that was a group effort because two people didn't line up their text properly. I mean really, this presentation is for a large audience, at least make it look like we know what we're doing.

This desire to have things just so also translates to Madeline. Even though she's only two, I still want her shoes to go with her outfit. No light-up Dora shoes in this house! Well, my precious offspring has decided that she only wants to wear barrettes in her hair. No ponytails, no headbands, and definitely no leaving it down. She MUST have barrettes. Which is fine.

EXCEPT, they rarely make it home from daycare. At some point during her busy day, she somehow (or maybe one of her friends) finds the time to rip the barrettes out of her hair and leave them on the playground, or who knows where. So...I'm getting kind of fed up with going to the store and paying $3 for 12 pairs that last two weeks. Now, I know this doesn't seem like a lot of money, but it is when you are only giving in to the whim of a two-year old.

Well, today I got a BRILLIANT idea! I went to the dollar store to buy some barrettes. I figured that they were 1/3 of the cost of what I have been buying, so that wouldn't be as bad. And to my delight, the packages at the dollar store have 30 pair!!! I was in awe of my own brilliance.

Until...I got home and opened the package. There is a reason they were only a dollar. Unlike the $3 packages that I normally buy, these were not perfectly matched in pairs. Not good for my peace of mind. So, did I spend the absolutely gorgeous summer night outside enjoying some gardening or a leisurely walk around the lake? Nope, I sat upstairs and matched barrettes.I did end up with about 90 pairs out of what should have been 120. And I do have a pile of mismatched barrettes for that day when I finally throw caution to the wind...