Thursday, December 30, 2010

Oops.

I spent several hours adding and re-adding, and checking, and double checking, and reprinting reports on numbers that made no sense. I told my boss they made no sense and he shrugged and said he didn't know what to tell me, but I needed to balance that statement...
I asked him if he's sure he gave me the right statement.
He's sure.
Okay.
Back to work for another couple hours and I call some guy and have him fax me, like twenty invoices their statement isn't showing and he is super annoyed, becuase, really, who wants to fax 20 invoices??? I wait for the invoices and I am getting frustrated with how long this thing is taking and why it doesn't make sense... and my boss comes up to my office and hands me a document...
"I think this is the correct statement, the one I gave you earlier (Oh, you mean the one i had been working off of for the past several hours and couldn't make sense of?!?!) is wrong. Oops."
And he leaves.
I seriously want to cry. And punch someone.
Opps?!?! REALLY?!?!?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Funny (for me) but not fair.

Last night I made spaghetti and meatballs for dinner. Z was skeptical because he finds meatballs wildly offensive (he doesn't enjoy a ball of meat he has to bite into... so i either have to break his up or make... tiny ones just for him. And because I've the maturity of a 13 yr old boy... I had a good time giving him a hard time about his tiny balls... heh heh. But I digress...) These meatballs were subject to extra skepticism because they were also made from ground turkey, instead of his meat of choice: beef.
He ate a healthy serving of spaghetti and tiny balls (heh) and then told me... "This was really good". (Note the missing word 'actually'? It wasn't 'actually really good' it was just 'really good'. Success. Men can be trained.) then he asked if I wanted to go get my new Christmas toy set up... and I said, "Yeah, but we need to clean up dinner first..." As I was reaching into the freezer for a pint of Haagen Dazs. Noting the icecream in my hand Z asked if that means he had to clean the kitchen by himself, and I said "No, not neccessa-- (wait, what am I saying?!?!?!?!) Yeah. I guess so, Z." And I plopped myself onto the couch with my ice cream to enjoy what was about to happen.
Z is laughing uncertainly about tackling dinner cleanup and i am giggling with glee wondering how this had actually happened! And then... he spills something. And FREAKS out. And of course the spill is entirely my fault because why would I leave a half-empty open bottle sitting out like that (Please note: Z has never left a half consumed container of ANYTHING sitting open ANYWHERE in the entire 27 years of his existence, so you can understand why my over sight is an unfathomable offense... Did you get through that without laughing? Yeah, me neither) So he's in the kitchen all flustered and hacked off and telling me I am in charge of cleaning up the floor since the spill is my fault-- and I am pretty sure he is serious, but the whole thing, and the drama of it all is making me giggle as he is arguing the 'fairness' of him having to clean up after me...
Ah... there we are. I honestly don't think that he really wants 'fairness' in our home... because i am pretty sure life as he knows it would change drastically-- no more homemade meals, dish washing, laundry, or grocery shopping from Mrs. P. If we are being 'fair' he can probably do those for himself.
Buuuut... we don't really want fairness and keeping score and not helping each other in our house. No one would be happy then. However I did enjoy that just for a few moments he experienced my daily frustration of being expected to by myself clean a mess that was made by someone else or for the benefit of someone else (food and dishes anyone?). I'm a little bit glad he experienced the 'unfairness' of it all. But to be honest, I don't really desire that anyone experience that for too long...
So I went in to help. I did make him clean up the unfair spill on his own.
And... don't tell anyone, but as much as I relished the moment sitting on the couch with my Haagen Dazs while Z was busy working... I actually much preferred the later moments with him in the kitchen laughing at each other, dumping the trash, and putting our dishes in the dishwasher.
I don't want to be fair-- just together.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Hangover

I did not drink too much on Christmas day. But I woke up the day after feel as though I had. The alarm went off and I cracked my eyes open to blinding brightness. Too bright-- i wanted to pull the covers over my head but had to pee so bad I thought was was going to burst. My feet hit the floor and I had to make a concerted effort to stay upright for the about six steps to the bathroom. My head was pounding and causing a disorienting dizzy sensation and every muscle in my body was yelling at me as I tried to wake up. I stumbled back to my bed... and my husband was mumbling that he didn't want to get up... and I pulled the covers over my head to enjoy the warmth, comfort, and darkness of my bed for just a few... more...
And then I woke up three hours later.
And there was no husband next to me.
Wrapped a blanket around myself and ran down the stairs-- Zachary!
Who... just laughed at me and said, "I guess you aren't making it to church today." Yeah, I guess not.
I then realized that I was still nauseous and my head still hurt and I lay down on the stairs right there, and whimpered until Z made me get up and shower... drink some water... take a few ibuprofen... There, that's better. Did he slip something in my drink yesterday? No, he maintains his innocence.
We decided it must be a Christmas Hangover. After weeks of preparing, stressing, cleaning, sewing, rehearsing, baking, and making sure everything was (mostly) perfect... the day came and went in one big WHOOSH and the aftermath left an exhausted Valerie.
But you know what the perfect cure for a Christmas Hangover is? An Egg-nog shake purchased for you by your husband at Sheridans. And if you are suffering similarly of a Christmas Hangover, you are in luck because (for the time being...) Sheridans still has them on their menu...
Yum.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas

Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her Iniquity is pardoned. The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness; prepare ye the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Ev'ry valley shall be exalted, and ev'ry mountain and hill made low; the crooked straight, and the rough places plain.
And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see together; for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.
(Isaiah 40 : 1-5)

Thus saith the Lord, the Lord of Hosts; Yet once a little while and I will shake the heav'ns and the earth, the sea and the dry land: And I will shake all nations; and the desire of all nations shall come.
(Haggai 2 : 6-7)

The Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple, even the messenger of the Covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, He shall come, saith the Lord of Hosts.
But who may abide the day of His coming, and who shall stand when He appeareth? For He is like a refiner's fire.
And He shall purify the sons of Levi, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.
(Malachi 3 :1-3)

Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call his name Emmanuel, GOD WITH US.
(Isaiah 7 : 14; Matthew 1 : 23)

O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion, get thee up into the high mountain. O thou that tellest good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, behold your God! O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion, Arise, shine, for thy Light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.
(Isaiah 40 : 9; Isaiah 60 : 1)

For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people; but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.
(Isaiah 60 : 2-3)

The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light; and they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.
(Isaiah 9 : 2)

For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulder; and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.
(Isaiah 9 : 6)

There were shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flocks by night.
And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them, and they were sore afraid.
And the angel said unto them: Fear not, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
And suddenly there was with the angel, a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying:
Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth, good will towards men.

(Luke 2 : 8-14)

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Hot Mess Christmas

If you have spoken to me recently for any amount of time... you probably noticed I seemed a little flustered. A little bit out of sorts. Not... really all put together. A bit of a mess.
B keeps calling me a 'hot mess' and while I know she says it with love in her heart... the truth stings a little. I AM a mess. I can't get it together, you guys! I used to be a pretty level-headed person of average sanity. Excitable, yes, but generally in control of myself in most situations.
These days... there is no control whatsoever.
My house is a mess, I can't keep it clean, laundry and dishes have taken over. I am over-committed, and I am bored with not enough to do. I am frustrated and restless and unfulfilled. My job is frustrating. My husband is frustrating-- and try as I might I just can't figure him out, or figure out how we can peacefully and happily live under the same roof. And here's the kicker-- I rarely see the man! We have approximately 1.5 hours a day together and still can't figure out how to communicate our needs and expectations in a way the other can understand. I don't feel like I am necessary or appreciated at work. Not feeling necessary or effective at my church. Things I think are important that I attempt to make happen just kind of fall apart. Don't know if that's ALL my fault, or other forces or what... but it seems everything I touch is a mess. My whole life just feels like a train wreck right now. It's a complete and utter mess I can't sort out.
And for the past three or four months, that phrase has come to define my life and dominate my thoughts-- I can't shake it-- MY LIFE IS A MESS.

So then I am at church on Sunday and D is talking about Christmas cards and how we like the pretty ones with pictures of the holy family looking clean and happy, maybe with a soft halo and a sprinkle of glitter on their snow white garments... pretty, uncomplicated, clean. That's how I like my Christmas cards, how I like my Christmas decor, and how I would really appreciate my life... So I am nodding along as D is talking because I like where I think this is headed... we are going to hear about the peace and simplicity of the season... and my mind is drifting thinking that yeah, I need to hear this...
But that's not what he was talking about at all, he says "...when in actuality, that first Christmas was MESSY. For everyone involved."
WAIT--What? But my focus zeroed in immediately. It doesn't seem incredibly profound but just hearing those words I loathe that have become a description of myself being used to describe the greatest miracle to ever happen to mankind? Give me a moment to process--
But he plowed ahead describing what mess a young man Joseph was in because of it-- the hurt, the scandal, the shame and ridicule and whispers. Same thing for a young woman named Mary who finds herself pregnant, and knows she could be put to death, or best case scenario will be a single mother forced to prostitution just to keep herself and her child alive. And... a baby who is actually the all powerful God who created the universe that chose to come to us with all the power of an infant, born in a nasty smelly barn, and grow up a boy of questionable parentage, facing ridicule and whispers... and eventually the most shameful and painful death anyone could come up with.
Let me give you a moment to take that in--
...
...
...

You good? Great, moving on...
And I thought MY life was a wreck. And I know, I know, maybe you've heard the story, and the gruesome details before and this is not shocking to you. I am pretty sure I have-- but it just hit me HARD this season. I just kept thinking-- WHY? Why? why? I don't get it. I believe the story to be true, but why would it happen like that? Why did all powerful God of the universe choose to come in all the dirt and mess one situation could possibly contain? It makes no sense.
But it does... because we were told about him, before he ever came:
The Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means 'God is with us'). Isaiah 7:14 (NLT)
Hmmmm... Immanuel: God with us. Not God made us, God likes us, or God knows all about us (which are all true... you know) But God with us. He chose to be with us-- one of us-- messy like us. All powerful God chose to enter our mess to be with us... so that he could go through what we do, experience our pain, hurt, confusion, frustration, anger, embarrassment, shame, hunger, communication issues, excitement, happiness... MESSINESS. He got into the mess of humanity because he loved us enough to experience life with us. The good, bad, and ugly parts of it.
Back to that question of why? Because he loves us. And chose to redeem us from the mess we've created at the cost of his own life.
God is with me, on my journey (like how I tie that in?), even on the messy days when my journey is taking me in circles. He didn't ask me to come to him, he came to me. To be with me. To endure the pain, hurt, confusion, frustration, anger, embarrassment, shame, hunger, communication issues, excitement, happiness and messiness with me.
Because he loves me. Even though I am a hot mess.
To be honest... I have spent a couple days chewing on this message. I didn't immediately make sense of it and make peace with it-- so to speak. I don't know if it was what D was trying to get across. I am not really eloquent, and I don't know if what I shared makes sense... but i have found a bit of peace in my train wreck of a life knowing that I have a God who understands, because he chose to be a part of it so he could love me through it... yes?
Hallelujah that we have a God that got messy with us on Christmas day two thousand-ish years ago, and continues to love and redeem our messes today. That's what I am celebrating this season...
Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Another Anniversary

I had a babysitter who regularly performed hearing and eye tests on each of us. Usually over lunch. I remember sitting at the table and being told to cover my left eye, and having to peek through my fingers to see for the eye test. The other kids accused me of cheating. The next time i was asked to cover my left eye I joked-- hey! Who turned out the lights?-- not knowing that it was not at all a funny joke but a symptom of something very wrong.
Donna, my babysitter, convinced my parents I needed my eyes checked. They had the school nurse do an eye check and she told my parents there was nothing wrong with me and my eyes were fine-- that my babysitter was crazy. My parents were satisfied after the school nurse's exam... but Donna persisted. There was something wrong.
So more as a last resort to appease the babysitter than anything... my parents took me to the physician... who sent us to an ophthalmologist... who sent us to an oncologist and a surgeon. Turns out Donna was right-- there was something wrong. I was diagnosed with Retinoblastoma, cancer of the retina, on December 19, 1990. The doctors told my parents to go home and have a normal Christmas... I had surgery 8 days later to remove my right eye. The cancer was entirely contained within the retina, and the surgery was successful in completely removing the cancer from my body...
So today finds me nearly 20 years cancer free... and that is exciting to share! Were it not for the persistence of our dear friend and babysitter, it could be a very different ending to this story. I have been blessed with many such people throughout my life-- who have been the right person at the right moment to (sometimes very literally, see above) save my life. It seems there is really no appropriate way to express gratitude to those people...
Anyway... Happy Anniversary. 20 years I guess that quite an accomplishment, of sorts. Makes me feel old. :)
Buuuuut... Z and I busted out the fancy glasses and had ourselves a little celebration and a toast "To the defeat of evil!" (his words). Feel free to celebrate with us as you see fit!

(in case you were curious... HERE is what I had to say about it last year...)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Slow and Steady (race report)

Happy Thanksgiving! It is 6:00 AM and even though you have a house of out of town guests, and biggest meal of the year to produce for your in laws in just a few hours...
You've decided to start your day with 3.1 miles. Oh, and I do I need to remind you it's only 20 degrees outside? So, bundle up! Whats that? You don't really have winter running gear? What the crap were you thinking?!?!
Bundled in leggings, Z's ARMY sweatpants, a couple t-shirts, Z's Old Navy Fleece and Hawkeyes knit cap, and J's gloves... I headed out for the Thanksgiving Day 5K. I looked way super ultra classy... and I was warm. So there you go.
My Husband is a runner. He gets all competitive and has time goals and people he wants to beat. I usually have 1 goal, and that is to finish, and if I beat a PR, well, that's cool. Because guess what? I'm slow. But I'm cool with that, even if Z is not.
The course was on the Sprint Campus in Overland Park, and was basically an out and back that was uphill out... which you can figure out means 'back' is all downhill... ahhhhhhh... it's a beautiful thing. So ONE WOULD THINK that halfway through my second mile my pace would pick up a bit. You know, make up some time on those nice slopey downhills... and I totally thought I was, at the time. After the race I checked my splits.
Mile 1 - 12:04
Mile 2 - 12:06
(and I never saw the 3 mile marker... sooo... the last is 3.14 miles (it was a Pi run!)
Mile 3 + .14 - 14:18
Total 3.14 miles - 38:28
So those first two miles were obviously a nice consistent pace, yeah me! Slow but steady, thats how a Valerie runs. The last mile I was really cold, and obviously getting a little tired, so I slowed down a bit.
The last 5k I did my official time was 37:47. So I didn't beat my PR but, it was approximately 50 degrees colder out this time, so only adding about 45 seconds to my time I am not broken hearted about. I feel good about what I did.
HOWEVER
I would not recommend running a 5k and then spending the next 4 hours of your life on your feet barefoot in the kitchen preparing the Biggest meal of the year... unless you want your legs to let you know about it. Should your days activities require you to be on your feet for extended periods of time... wear some supportive shoes for heaven's sake!
So that's my race report from Thanksgiving day! It was fun, I would do it again. I got a shirt with a turkey on it. I think Mr. and Mrs. P are going to make this a Thanksgiving tradition.
Hope your Thanksgiving was lovely!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

No deal on the no-shows.

I know that no-show socks for ballet flats and heels sound like a splendid idea... but they are a load of hooey. I have never found a pair that do not actually show... and when they DO show, you look like a big time goober. Don't invest your dollars in a pair, okay? You will be dollarless and disappointed for sure.

Friday, November 12, 2010

No crying over spilled... ornaments.

I let the theatre borrow my Christmas decor for the production of Annie this summer. Mostly they just used the red ornaments on the tree... but the tree was huge, and hard to put together and then take down. And the the person who took the tree down was super clumsy and dropped about half of my ornaments on the floor... and they shattered. (Okay, the clumsy person taking the tree down was me. Happy now?). So I have very few red ornaments for my lovely red and gold Christmas tree... and... I should probably be more torn up about it than I am. Because... now I have to buy new ornaments for my tree. Oh, darn.
I was out with my husband last night and gleefully informed him that I was going to have to shop for all new red ornaments for our tree. My plan is to buy sparkly ones... lots of glitter. The more sparkles the better! Z is lobbying for something more subdued, less sparkle, more understated manly-ness. He obviously doesn't understand the true meaning of Christmas.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Babyphobic

There is a baby gift for a coworker that was left on the front desk (my desk) a couple days ago. It's just been sitting there. And granted, people leave stuff on my desk all the time, but the baby gift makes me uncomfortable. I just don't want someone to walk in, observe the baby gift in close proximity to me and get the wrong idea. Or get any idea.
It's not that I am anti-baby. Babies are cool when they are across the room, not puking, pooing, or soiling themselves in some other way, and not in any way associated with my womb. All I am trying to say here... is I don't want to have to sit around with baby stuff before my day comes... and that day coming is still something I am bargaining with God about (Dear God, Not real excited about pregnancy, childbirth, toys that make animal noises, and small sticky hands. Love, Valerie).
All I'm saying is... if dear co-worker doesn't claim their baby gift soon, it might find a--er--safer storage place in the back room or by the dumpster or far far away from my baby-free zone of a desk.

Monday, November 8, 2010

SIGH

Valerie is having a CRA-aa-ZY week. I think I am losing my mind. I am so spacey and forgetful and discombobulated. I found my cell phone in the fridge. I left my coat at the costume rental place. I double booked myself in a BIG messy way. I keep running into things. I can't get enough sleep. What in the world is wrong with me? Why can't I get it together?
I just tried to bury my worries in a big bowl of brown guacamole (yes, guacamole is supposed to be green, but it's 2 days old and the only thing in my fridge) and made it half way through before realizing I was having an allergic reaction to it-- I'm allergic to avocado and can't handle that kind of concentration of it. So now i'm looped up on Allergy meds? But really, kids, instead of making me loopy maybe the meds are clearing my mind... because I don't feel like I have been able to think this straight in weeks.
I've had a Britney Spears song stuck in my head for like... 3 days. It's kinda starting to grate on my sanity.
I kinda wish someone else could take over and just take care of things for a while. I've too much to do and obviously cannot handle it. I hate the feeling of being a burden to other people or someone else having to pick up the slack because I can't hack it. But guess what? Thats where we're at right now.
Ugh. I just remembered I was supposed to work out tonight. And... I definitely forgot. I suck at disciplines.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Trees

They cut down the tree in front of our house, eliminating what little bit of shade and curb appeal we had going for us. It was really depressing to come home last night. The front of our house looks naked. And speaking of naked, I am feeling as though we need more than the sheer window treatments we currently have in on the window in our master bedroom... you know, now that we don't have a large leafy tree right in front of it. Sigh. I'm seriously bummed about the tree. You know whats stupid though? They left the stump. Really, tree cutters? You are just gonna leave a couple feet of tree sticking out of the ground as a painful reminder of what we lost? Well, Charlie is pleased, because he still has something to pee on. He loved that tree. Both of the boys did. They loved barking at the birds and squirrels that would sit in it right outside our bedroom window. Geez... I am totally disappointed and depressed about the loss of our tree... I could just... cry.
In other tree news, there is a giant one right on the other side of our fence in the back yard that I believe has a personal mission to dump absolutely as many leaves as it possibly can onto our 10x10 patio. And... we don't have a rake... soooo... It's piling up. the boys try to find ground to do their business and the are chest deep in leaves (given that's not too difficult because they are short dogs, but still...). It's kinda funny, in a we're bad parents and should really clear them a place but enjoy the entertainment of them digging out of a pile of leaves kind of way.
But regardless... I really love this time of year and all the pretty trees. I met my husband at the end of summer, and we dated and spent that fall getting to know each other. I can't help but think of how much I loved that fall each time the season has come around since then. Add some apple cider to the pretty colors and happy memories... and I'm sold.

Dear Fall,
You're the best! Never Change. (except your leaves, they can change colors. :)
Love,
Valerie

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Beware of Stranger Huggers

To be fair, I don't often like to hug people I know well. I will hug my family, and a very few close friends... but even still, if they initiate the hug, and I'm not feeling it... I can get super weirded out. But there are some people who will hug anyone. Family, extended family, best friends, lost friends, new friends, co-workers, walmart employees, cab drivers, ex-boyfriends' new girlfriends...
(Yeah... that last one got me. Why would you do that? Introduce yourself, plop down and have an incredibly uncomfortable 30 minute conversation, then hug them on your way out? How does one respond to that? It doesn't seem like an appropriate occasion for a hug. And, really kids, Karma will get you BAD for making someone that uncomfortable. But I digress...)
Stranger Huggers don't seem to recognize or care for boundaries. They are blissfully unaware of how uncomfortable the hug can be to an unwilling recipient. They also seem to lack appropriate timing for hugs, even if they have secured a willing recipient, or appropriate situation.
You can kinda sense it coming when a stranger hugger is about to get you... they kinda get the glint in their eye... like they are about to share a moment with you. But you have to watch for it because it's fast, and if you miss the glint they might be 2/3 into the hug before you know what happens. When you see the glint try as quickly as possible to physically remove yourself from the general vicinity of the hugger. If it's too late for that... you can at least throw a shoulder at their open arms and go for the still awkward but less commitment side hug.
Sometimes the inevitable happens (as happened with the ex-boyfriend's new girlfriend hugger) where you are blindsided because you never in your wildest dreams thought someone would find this an appropriate situation or recipient for a hug... and you find yourself chest to chest with someone else's arms tightly wrapped around you... So, you do the back pat (two pats) and start to pull away. Sometimes they don't take the hint, and you have to start mumbling "Okay, thats good... okay..." as soon as they start to loosen their grip, break free and get out of there! You never know when stranger huggers may strike again, and they HAVE been known to strike the same victim twice.
So, just... be aware of your surroundings, and be careful out there!
(and... if you happen to run into me, waving is good, or even a handshake is tolerable... but hugging is strongly discouraged, unless of course, I initiate or you are my husband, in which case, hug away. I have rarely been offended by Z invading my personal space. He's the exception to the hug rule. Awww...)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

No, really, it's seriously just my allergies.

Soooooo... being sick at work is funny. Especially at my work, people get all bent out of shape and weird about you being sick. Like... how dare you come into work and infect all of us (which is valid) but also if you try to stay home sick, what do you mean you aren't coming in today? You can't take a day off! You aren't that sick, get your butt into work!
SIGH
So you can't win.
But whats really fun is about this time of year, when my allergies go NUTS. And I show up at work coughing, sneezing, blowing my nose, and talking in that nasal voice because my head is stuffed up tighter than an emo kid's pants. I'm popping Claritin and Zyrtec like it's my job, but no relief. AND of course this summer just keeps trying to hang on and hang on and hang on, and we are to the end of October with temps in the 80's with no hope of that first freeze that will finally FINALLY bring relief and assuage my sinuses with it's allergen-killing frosty-goodness.
But until that day...
I'm still at work.
"You have a cold?"
Nope, not a cold, just my allergies. Not infectious. Thanks.
"Wow, you've had that cold for a really long time."
No, no cold. Allergies.
"Are you taking something for that cold you have?"
Allergies, I have allergies...
"Please don't touch my pen, I don't want your cold."
IT'S NOT A COLD!
It's just allergies, I promise!!!!
If it would just freeze already, to prove me right, that'd be great. But it won't. So I've got this 'cold' that I've had for about two months now... and everyone is convinced I am seconds from infecting them with it... and I should go home and get better, but not take any time off work. I am forced to be the office recluse... which is not altogether horrible... but you know a little annoying, because, SERIOUSLY guys, It's just my allergies.

Friday, October 15, 2010

100 DC Update #5

Again, I have let two weeks pass in between my updates. Meh.
1) It is getting harder and harder to stick to our workouts. Motivation is waning, as is sleep and they just fuel the monster inside of me screaming that working out is SO not worth it. We work out around 10:00 every night, and maybe that would be fine for some of you, but for me it's a no go. Because it means I don't get to sleep until 12:00. My husband agreed to start doing our workouts on our own, so we wouldn't have to do it so late... but he doesn't get his done during his time home during the day very often because he is doing homework... so then the few precious hours we actually have together... he has to work out, while i do something else. Not worth it. SO frustrating.
On the other hand, we are starting to see some results. Z has to wear a belt now, and his arms are so pretty. :) I think I may be losing weight as well, though I am not sure if it is from working out or the stress of never sleeping and trying to get through my life. sigh.
This is... seemingly unrelated, but working out is the main thing that drives me up the wall and forces me daily to wonder if ALL newly weds have this much trouble balancing life/work/time together or if we are just abnormal. Every time I have a breakdown Z tries to re-assure me that we are normal and I am expecting too much/being too hard on myself... but then all our newly wed friends (or even not-so-newly wed friends) seem to have plenty of time together and I don't see any of them having breakdowns??? Or complaining about lack of sleep??? Where did I miss the 'Time Management for Wives 101' sign up sheet??? UGH.
2) I've been learning and trying a lot of new things the past two weeks, here are some of the highlights:
Tried making hamburger helper for a meal to give myself a break: Catastrophic results. As it turns out, apparently I am not skilled enough to make crappy food.
Made cinnamon rolls and bread from scratch for the first time all by myself: excellent results.
Made myself a sweater. Learning some new sewing techniques so I can sew some clothes for Christmas gifts.
Tried a new restaurant: Spin! Yummy-ness. Want to go back without my husband and get something with goat cheese and/or veggies on it though.
3) Dishes still gross me out. We did a great kitchen clean on sat, and I did a good job keeping it clean of dishes all week after that. (the fabric, scissors, paint, etc. all over the kitchen table are a different story...)
4) Recycled costumes: Went to the good will, and pulled discarded pieces from our wardrobe to create Halloween costumes for us. Pretty excited about the results. I will post them at a later date...

Friday, October 8, 2010

Dear Friday,

I dislike you. I wish we could be friends, because you seem like a really great idea, but time after time you prove to be a long miserable day. Friday, I am sorry, but I have to break up with you. After much thought and soul searching, I decided I am SO over you, and must sever these ties. From now on, I plan to skip you entirely. My week will go straight to Saturday from Thursday, and everyone will be happier for it. Sorry we couldn't work things out, I'd like to say it's not you, it's me, but we all know that's not true.

Sincerely,

Valerie L. Pogemiller

Monday, October 4, 2010

First of the season.

Not gonna lie... despite my plush-y new sweater, I am frezing my pa-tootie off at work today. This building is like a meat locker... and now that temperatures ourside are starting to dip ever so slightly toward fall... the cooling effect is intensified. Brrr...
Soooooo...
I turned my space heater on my toes under my desk today.
Ahhhh...

Monday, September 27, 2010

100 DC Update #4

Technically this should be update #5, but I skipped last week, becuase... I don't know, I didn't feel like it.

P90X: We had a rough week this week. I was a little sick. We had some scheduling conflicts. Z had a lot of schoolwork. We missed a couple of workouts. As per the intructions of the program, if you mess a week up, you have to repeat it. Thus, we should be on week #4 Recovery week now... but instead we will be repeating week #3. So P90X will be P97X for Mr. and Mrs. P. Lets hope... we don't mess up again and have to extend that again. sigh.

This week I learned:
How to play Stratego.
You can change the position of your needle when sewing to change the width of a hem (HA! Shortcut!).
How to sew a button hole using a different foot on my sewing machine.
How to use photoshop to shrink the size of a pic to something more appropriate for emailing and posting on the web.
Being a good friend is less about what you say and do, and more about showing up and just being there.
This week I tried:
A new recipe... kind of created my own, and made a phenominal fall Apple and Banana nut Bread!
Making 'hoodies' for my dogs (created my own pattern, and made a tutorial that I posted on my other blog)
****Not all learning experiences end with success or go as smoothly as planned. With all of the interesting things I learned sewing this week, I also sewed right through my finger for the first time, and may or may not have spewed out several curses when that happened. I also worked really hard on a recipe that was going to be amazing. And... it wasn't BAD, but was a TON of work for average potato soup. I will not be repeating. Sooo... you win some and lose some.

DISHES: Won a few battles this week, but the war is not over. And I strongly believe God is on my side (Ha, I said that just for my husband, who I know will just LOVE that statement), and I will be victorious! Z is helping. HERE is a story about one of the dish battles this week...  but they don't all end so pleasantly. Actually most of them end with me sighing in the middle of my dirty kitchen with a full sink of dishes taunting me.

Reduce, reuse, recylce: Pulled a pair of old sweatpants out of the trash and made THESE charming hoodies for my babies. I am giving myself extra credit for this project, because it made it's way into 2 of my 4 goals. Definitely recycling, reusing, upcycling, whatever word you wanna use. Actually, all the materials for those sweatshirts came out of my leftovers, scraps, or trash. :) I am very proud of myself. And I am dying to do it again...

Friday, September 24, 2010

Expectations and Dishes and Games

Married life has been... different than I expected.
The last month has been a little crazy. Z went back to school (as did the rest of the world) so we see each other less and have even more demands on the time we do have together. By the time we get home each night we are too exhausted to enjoy each other's company. Which is... disappointing, to say the least. I have especially been overwhelmed with the demands of keeping up with my work, life, and housework, meals, laundry...
But dishes seem to always be my downfall. I can't keep them under control. I can have every dish in the house clean when i leave the house, come home and there is a sink of dishes. Then I have to rush-rush make dinner before I can deal with them, and by the time dinner is ready, the husband is home, and we need to spend time together, or workout, or i just don't have the time to finish all the dishes before crashing... and then I get up the next day and the same thing happens again. I hate dishes. Then just throw on top of that... last night my husband started lecturing me about over-filling the dishwasher, because the dishes were not meeting his standard of clean, and I was just done. "I guess if you do dishes more often, you won't have to deal with that issue, will you?" I snapped at him and went and pouted on the couch.
He said nothing as he finished putting away dishes, reloaded the dishwasher, pushed it across the kitchen and hooked it up to run yet another load. Then he came into the living room and smiled at me. And I love him so much, I couldn't pout anymore because he saved me from the dish monster trying to eat my soul and crush my spirit.
I suggested we play a game. And for a moment he looked at me like I was crazy, then went downstairs and grabbed a couple board games (we got a whole collection for wedding gifts!) and we spent about two hours playing board games last night... in the middle of our living room floor... laughing and having a good time. I liked it.
Usually our time spent together is watching TV or chatting in the car on the way to somewhere. But it was really fun to have no where to go (and no dishes taunting me!) and no TV or computers on... just a low-tech board game, a little friendly competition (He won LIFE, I won Stratego-- which I think hurt his feelings, just a little), and some valuable time together.
Sooo... married life is different than I expected. Never thought that dishes would become my nemesis, and my husband my hero for occasionally rescuing me from them. I never thought that the greatest night of my month would be in the middle of my living room shoving little plastic pieces across a board. I didn't expect that the little things would be the things that make or break us. Last night they made us GREAT.
(smile)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Shameless plug for a cool person I know

My good friend Courtney is a runner... and a runner with a purpose, which is cool. She runs to cure cancer... or raise money to support the leukemia and lymphoma society. Which I think is cool, and I support... because I happen to know first hand that cancer SUCKS. Anywho... Courtney is in her final push to reach a big fundraising goal and she is doing so by having a THE ULTIMATE BLOG RAFFLE where she is giving away TONS of cool stuff for runners, or athletic people, or healthy people, or people that like to look cool... all those things. Anyway, check out her prizes, help her out, and enter her raffle, by DONATING . If you can't Donate, at least leave her an encouraging note, and let her know how you appreciate what she's doing. She's an AWESOME, driven woman with a big goal, and I believe she will make it!
Love you, Court! Good luck!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Hidden Treasure (and/or groceries)

I intentionally hide stuff from myself. I know that's a little weird...
But every spring when I am putting away the heavy coats, I slip a few bills in one of the pockets and then forget about it. Or if I have a gift card that I don't immediately have use for, I put it in the bottom of my card basket, or in my sock drawer.. and then a month or two later when i get to the bottom of that drawer... Holy cow! $25 to Walmart, I totally didn't know I had! Or an extra $10 in my pocket come fall when yes, it's unreasonably expensive, but also unreasonably uplifting to sip on a carmel apple cider from Starbucks. Thank you, Spring! You're most welcome, Fall!
Well, most recently I did that when we had a ba-zillion gift cards after our wedding, and my husband was on a spending spree i grabbed a couple... hid one in my drawer, and one in the date box and forgot about them.
This month money got tight. Z went back to school, and there is nothing like a semester at a christian school to clear out your checking account. I am kind of starting to feel like Old Mother Hubbard when I open the pantry door, and I have been wondering and wondering what we were going to do on Wednesday when the next school payment cleans us out again and we have to decide between gas for my car, or milk and bread. (which honestly... gallon of milk... gallon of gas... not a lot of difference in price there, my friends!)
Anyway... I went over to the 'date box' which has not been opened in several months (due to previously explained financial situation) because i found I little sentimental trinket I wanted to put in there... and whatever should I find shining up from the bottom of the box at me... but a brand new, never been used, $25 gift card to Walmart! (Can you see the beam of light from the sky and the little angel choir **AHHHHHH!!!** ???) It was like stumbling upon buried treasure. What a beautiful, marvelous magnificent surprise!
You will never ever guess what I'm gonna do tonight! I'm gonna go grocery shopping! Milk and bread... and even some peanut butter! YEEESS!!! (*Fist Pump*)

Windows

My job is interesting. Some days I am so busy I haven't the time to take a breath between answering the phones... some days it is so quiet and so slow that you just want to beat your head against the wall (because you are so tired of twiddling your thumbs). Yesterday was a busy day... which is somewhat foreboding, because that means today is...
Today is that second kind of day.
And I am not just being dramatic (well, maybe I am but...) because there is someone else who feels the same way! ...who has quite literally been beating their head against the wall all morning! ...well, against the window.
There is a bird outside my front window, whom I would only assume is beating his head against my window because he is bored out of his skull like I am. Of course if he keeps it up he's gonna crunch his little skull... but he is persistent! He's either gonna make it through that glass or die trying.
Okay, so maybe the bird isn't bored. Maybe he's OCD. Or stupid. But it can't feel good each time the cla-thunks! my window then thuds to the ground. Every time he gets right up and does it again about 30 seconds later.
At least the bored/OCD/stupid bird offers some entertainment (for the time being, I am sure an hour from now... I'll be over it.)

Friday, September 10, 2010

100 DC update

plugging along. here is what this past week looked like:
1) P90X is kicking my butt. Yoga last night? HOLY CRAP. I was SO not ready for that. Z and I have been doing it every night together which has been motivational and frustrating at the same time. We only have one set of weights and very limited space in our living room... lots of running into each other and pausing to share weights and stuff. We also have no yoga mats... meaning our backs are rug-burned from that dang ab-ripper-X and yoga last night was a little yucky for the same reason. That and our rug smells real funky when you come into close contact with it for that long of a period. So on our wishlist for that *someday* when we have paid our bills and bought our groceries and realize we have money left over (HA!): Yoga Mats. Or if anyone has un-used ones they want to send out way, well thats okay with us too! :) (At this point in our life we are not above donations of any kind... but i digress) So P90X is... well... we're getting through it. Yikes.
Also, for some kind of sadistic accountability reasons, I feel inclined to share that we took 'before' pics (that I will not be posting) and measurements. I am happy to report that even my 'before' body fat percentage is at 20.3% which is an acceptable range. Interested to see how/if that will change over the course of the program.

2) This week I learned:
-how to do some new exercises/yoga... that was interesting
-what 'Monday Night Football' is. (HA! Thanks, Jemel)
-how to use some of the easier editing tools in photo-shop and publisher
-how to recover documents I thought were lost in quickbooks
-how to process jars after canning
I tried:
-making pear butter for the first time!
-making a chocolate zucchini cake (that was really fantastic, even though Z refused to eat any of it.)
-a new pasta recipe my husband did like/eat

3) I did GREAT I keeping a spotless kitchen with all the dishes done for a few days this week... but then last night the week caught up with me, and we rushed out the door to bible study, then back to yoga and i was pooped afterward... and I have a sink full of dirty dishes from last night's dinner to prove it. sigh. Oh well. Room for improvement, and tonight we can start over from scratch with a clean kitchen.

4) On Monday we had the day off for Labor Day, so we celebrated by cleaning our basement and starting P90X. Whoooo... blah. The Basement, though not complete, is in MUCH better shape. It is now my job to free-cycle away all the things we are getting rid of. I might freecycle and craigslist next week, and everything else will go to goodwill. Z is ready to be done with it... I don't want to just fill up the landfill with it all though...
Also the weather has been cooler so we turn off hte air at night and open windows. I try to open blinds and curtains during the day and use natural light rather than electricity... and of course hit the light switch every time I leave a room.

Soooo... I am slowly but surely moving along through my challenges. Some days I make great headway, and the next day I'll take myself back a few steps... but I think in general it's been a positive trend, so thats a good thing. Good luck to everyone else doing the 100 DC!
81 days to go! :)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

P90X pain report

Mr. and Mrs. P are SORE. We hate that Tony guy. We are so sore we groan walking up the stairs to bed, and whine through the stretching at the beginning of the workouts. We are so sore that we are begging for a day off already... but the only thing keeping us going is if we mess up a week, we don't get to move on... we have to repeat that week. That is SO not happening.

Friday, September 3, 2010

100 DC update #2

Week 2 update!

1) OMG, P90X finally came in the mail. I was expecting it a couple weeks ago... but was mis-informed. My husband and I officially start the program for real on Monday, but have been messing around and doing random workouts and 'studying' our material since we received it. It was rainy this week, I don't have a gym membership, and I don't run in the rain... so I tried to do workouts at home a couple times with the Wii... but it's just not incredibly motivating for me. Tony-whats-his-bucket on the P90X is obnoxiously cheesy and for whatever reason, I can get into that. I will probably hate it soon. One thing I have been working on this week is water and sleep habits. Z has been making an effort to go to bed earlier (Thanks Z!) and I have been attempting to drink enough water. I thought I was pretty good, since I am not a soda drinker, I drink three or four glasses of water a day, but the P90X booklet suggests 6-8 OR MORE glasses of water a day. Yikes. So I have been upping the water, especially in the afternoons when energy and motivation starts to drag, and I feel better... but don't know if I'll get used to peeing 500 times a day (especially given my aversion to public toilets).  Monday is going to kick our butt for real, and we need it... we want it... TONY! Do what you must.

2) This week I learned:
It takes much more water than I thought to keep your body going, also...
A glass of water can calm nerves, increase energy in the afternoons, and even help my daily headaches.
Z likes blue cheese. A LOT.
How to make some really fun crinkle baby toys
When you suck a bug up your nose, you can use a saline nasal wash to get it out (Gross, but true... and valuable info to know!)
and I tried:
A new recipe my husband loved.
Naked Juice: Green Machine=LOVE
Relating to some frustrating people in a different way, with great results! I had to re-arrange my veiw of things, but I found they weren't as impossible as i originally labeled them.

3) Didn't do a lot in my kitchen this week, becuase i was lazy. The one night I did make a for-real dinner, Z got home a little late, and so I basically had all the food-prep dishes clean before the meal started. Yay. We did better about loading things directly in the dishwasher after a meal (instead of piling in the sink) and Z ran the dishwasher for me the other day-- without my even asking which was a pleasant surprise! I think this is progress on the dish front.

4) Cans to the recycle place, thank you. Free-cycled my first item this week (an Ironing board) and got a larger file cabinet that we will be transitioning some files to, the free-cycling the old one. (anyone need a 2 drawer metal file cabinet???) It has also been cooler in the evenings, so we have turned the air off and opened windows, which makes my heart happy, and uses a lot less energy. Yay, us!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Sorry.

You don't get to go around throwing fire and burning bridges... and then expect people to still like and respect you. That's not how it works. If you are nasty and hateful to people, you can't really play the victim or feel sorry for yourself when no one wants to pursue a friendship with you, or even talk to you anymore.
If you have sincerely had a change of heart... ball up and apologize to people. Don't send someone else ("tell everyone I'm sorry") or expect social networking sites to do the job for you ("I sent him a message on facebook..."). That kind of response still lacks maturity and responsibility in every way. And quite honestly, pisses people off.
It is, unfortunately, a long, frustrating, and humbling process to rebuild that bridge you burnt absolutely to the ground, so if you know yourself to be impulsive, immature, fickle, or you opinion easily swayed... next time, I would think very carefully before you get out your flame thrower.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Loot

I had a lovely birthday! Dinner with my parents, a comedy show, a day at the lake ...and even a surprise party! It was tons of fun. I also got tons of gifts! Including new sewing scissors, Gift Cards (to get my hair done, starbucks, maurices, itunes, and NY&Co.!!!), a grill, a new zjusher, an apron, couple candles, a box full of fabric/ribbon scraps, buttons, and dye, and a new bible! I am feeling incredibly spoiled and inspired. I have lots of shopping, cooking, and creating to do!

Friday, August 27, 2010

100DC Update

I guess the deal is I am going to give you an update on this 100 day challenge (100DC... yes?) every Friday. So here is the first week update... and some honesty.
My 100DC has had a slow start... we were on vacation for the first couple days this week... and I've had a hard time catching up to life since then, plus it's birthday week around here, so we have been doing lots of extra celebrating with extra lazy time mixed in... anywho... here's how i am doing on each of my 4 challenges:
1) P90X: Worked out with Joel the first day. Had fun. Was so sore the next day I wanted to cry. We haven't received our copy in the mail yet-- so it's up to me to be active on my own, I guess... and I've been doing more ice-cream eating and movie watching, BUT it's beautiful weather and the boys are dying to get outside these days... so I am sure there will be much activity this weekend... at least a run or two with the dogs.
2) Learn/try something new: This week I played frisbee golf for the first time, did P90X for the first time, Met two cool people and learned about their lives, Wrote the longest sewing tutorial I ever have to date (and discovered I need to learn a) how to make patterns and b) correct sewing lingo. ha!). I also learned some things about my husband and how to communicate and relate to him better, just by spending time with his family, and talking on our car ride. Learning, trying, growing, good for me.
3) Dishes: Well... um... when we left town the sink was full of dirty dishes (I had asked my husband to help me with that, since I was crazy busy that day, but he was not feeling helpful in any way, and we were walking out the door when i saw the still-full sink.) I dreaded coming home to the inevitable stinky mess, and was it ever. Yesterday did a load in the dishwasher in the 13 minutes i had at home before rushing out the door again, but still can't bring myself to tackle that pile. But today is the day. We'll call it a birthday present to a better me.
4) Three Rs: I go through the house each morning and turn off all the fans and lights in rooms we are not using. I have a tub in the basement full of soda cans (and probably other stuff, as I cannot for the life of my convince my dear husband that is not a trash can) that I will take in sometime tomorrow. We need to clean out our basement... DESPERATELY and so that project will probably have a lot of recycling, upcycling, freecycling and the like attached to it. I hope to not send much to the landfill... but get A LOT of stuff out of our house.

Soooo thats where I'm at. With hopes for a better next week in all areas of my challenge! :)
Oh, and it's also my Birthday today. I have plans tonight with my parents for my traditional daddy-made birthday dinner (fried chicken, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, and watermelon) and a motorcycle ride. Should be... amazing. :)

My Boys and Their Toys

Oh, Dad, all i really want is to play with your new toy... or, you know, kill it!
video

video
(Yes, our house is rather messy... we just got home from vacation and took a break from cleaning and unpacking to play with the boys. Winston Grace was FASCINATED with his dad's new helicopter. Every time he would get close to it-- of the couple times he snatched it out of the air... he got in trouble. Not fair, not fair at all, huh bud? Charlie, on the other hand, could not have been more disinterested in the whole scene. He crawled on my lap and snuggled in with his mom. Awww... Charlie. We missed our boys.)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Insight from my best friend:

McDonalds never lives up to expectations...just like the men in my life. You convince yourself you MUST have it and once you've got it, it's kind of gross.

Monday, August 23, 2010

100 Day Challenge

My friend Courtney put out a 100 day challenge to all of her friends. Basically the challenge has 2 rules/guidelines: 1) challenge yourself to better yourself in some way 2) complete your challenge within 100 days. And... you have the support of lots of other people who have challenged themselves to be better in some way as well... or something. I don't know, read what she said about the 100 Day Challenge, she probably explains it better than me.
Anywho, I decided to participate and so I am posting here for you my goals. I have a couple different goals I am working on... and they have actually changed slightly from what I originally posted on Courtney's site, but I have explained in detail about each of them below...
1) Complete P90X in 100 days Okay, I know that P90X is a 90 day program. I also know that Valeries are not as ambitious as Tony Whats-his-bucket who designed the 90 day program. So I figure if I can stick with it and have 10 free passes in the next 100 days I can feel good about that. Z's fam bought us P90X for our b-days, so it's perfect timing. I do better with quantitative goals than qualitative... so instead of 'get in shape' or 'lose weight' my first goal is two fold, complete P90X and be able to do an unassisted pull up (Which i have never before even come close to doing--don't judge me) by Dec. 1.
2) Learn/Try something new every day I know I just made my qualitative/quantitative speech... and this one hardly falls into the latter category. But i was sitting around my place of employment the other day looking at my dreary bored co-workers and I thought to myself, I am not going to be here forever. Meaning in this place, this job, this stage of life... whatever. But the only way to move yourself out of dreary bored-ness is to keep moving and keep learning and sometimes trying things and learning by error... learning and trying. I am currently teaching myself to sew. I like trying new cooking techniques, the other day I refinished a bedside table, and since recently getting married I am attempting to speak a new language--MALE. Sooo... Learn/try something every day, easy enough to accomplish. I think it will be interesting to record. ha!
3) Don't go to bed with Dirty dishes this seems simplistic enough, but I am not a tidy person by nature. And the kitchen... well the kitchen messes quickly overwhelm me. I can create more dishes than any person I know making dinner for 2. It's out of control. But if I can get each day's dishes out of the way before starting a new day, I can re-gain control of my kitchen... slowly but surely... this is going to be the toughest for me, I am afraid.
4) The Three R's. I live in lovely Johnson County Kansas, which is a backwards part of the world where they charge you to recycle. If you want to recycle your paper products, cans, and glass... you have to pay a monthly fee for recycling pick up service. Drop off centers for such resources are few and far from here... it's just silly. That will not, however, keep me from my attempts to reduce my carbon footprint... or whatever that lingo is. Here are a few things I am implementing:
a) buckets in the basement for aluminum and paper. (I know of local-ish drops for those items that i can make a trip to weekly)
b) Freecycle.org--I make fun of my mom because she is a little out of control with her free-cycling, but it's a better way to get larger items to someone who can use/fix stuff that would otherwise sit in a landfill. Likewise, I have saved a couple items from landfill status by taking them off the hands of others... and saved $$$ at the same time. woot.
c) Light switches. There is a switch for a reason-- so you can turn it off. This is more of a challenge for my dear husband than it is personally... but we will work to be better about unnecessary energy consumption...
So there's our few things we will doooooo... not world changing, but world helping, right? right.

So there are my goals, my friends. I hope you will... participate with me in encouraging and keeping me accountable to the challenges i have put myself to. Should be fun. As my friend Sara would say... it will be Life Changing! :) yay!

***Challenge runs Aug 23, 2010 through Dec 1, 2010****

Monday, August 16, 2010

I LOVE SURPRISES!

I do! I really really love surprises! I love it when people surprise me, and I love surprising other people. Birthday surprises are the best... and I just so happen to have one up my sleeve that is making me really anxious for this week to get over, because I can't keep a secret for long! YIKES!
It's going to be a Happy Birthday for someone I love...

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Highlight of my week:

"Will you please just go over and smell the dogs breath? It makes me sick when I smell it, and I think it might be poisonous!"

Thursday, July 22, 2010

StressBrush

I know it sounds weird, but I keep a toothbrush at work for days like today. When the place it going crazy and the phones won't stop ringing three at a time and coworkers are not being thoughtful, or helpful, or polite, and the majority of them flat out aren't here...
I keep a toothbrush and a travel size tube of toothpaste in a case in the back of my drawer. And I pull out my little case, grab my can of clorox wipes, and walk into the bathroom. (I share a bathroom with a bunch of males at work, so it is generally yucky. I start by wiping down the sink, and any other area I may touch with the clorox wipes.) I pull out the brush and the paste, I wet the brush, apply the paste and go to town on my teeth... because there are just so many things that I can't deal with when my teeth are sticky and my mouth is warm. Blehck. So I scrub scrub scrub all the goo off my teeth and use that time to take a few deep breaths to calm my nerves. Then I rinse, re-case my supplies, and wash my hands... all while trying to touch as few surfaces as possible in the bathroom. I walk back to my desk, and use the hand sanitizer.
I am now cool calm and collected and ready to deal with whatever they throw at me next. It's a good 2-minute re-group to get me through harried days. Yup... I brush my teeth at work. gross, huh?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

*Key

So my birthday is next month, and just in case you were pondering what you should get me... THIS would be a splendid little trinket to surprise me with. ;)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

FUNK

Ever have the kind of week where everything just kind of falls apart? Everything you do and say seems to get messed up, mis-construed, or mis-communicated. Suddenly people are freaking out, angry, or chewing on you about something that is not your fault, or something that is definitely a mis-interpretation of your intentions...
So you are defeated, discouraged, and frustrated and retreat to the people and activities that usually help you rest, refuel, and re-energize... but you don't have your best to give to those activities or people so suddenly those things are not working out for you as well, and those people are frustrated at you for not being better at relationships, and you are frustrated for not being better at anything you do... and you feel completely and totally ineffective and therefore unnecessary...
And because all your defenses are down emotionally and spiritually, the physical world decides to go ahead and rub salt in your proverbial wounds with some kind of ridiculous, though not life threatening illness, such as a pounding, nausea-inducing headache, or a mouth full of canker sores that just make it uncomfortable to eat, drink, talk, kiss, sing, or think about doing any of the above mentioned tasks that may or may not be essential to your existence...
And all this just sucks you further into the spiraling vortex black-hole of a nasty yucky FUNK.
Ever have a week like that? Thats the week I am having.
To my knowledge... the only known cure for such a week is pancakes, but I havn't the time or energy to make my own de-funk-ing cakes right now. So I might just be screwed.

UPDATE: I tore a hole in one of my favorite shirts today. sigh.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Time Out.

I unintentionally missed church this morning... but honestly I think the extra sleep and hour or two of quiet stillness in my home have done more for my spirit than anything else could right now. When did my life get so busy? Even when I am not at work, meetings, rehearsal, or church I still have so many things that must be accomplished that my head and my feet never stop. Or if they do, I feel guilty for my lack of activity. But when did activity become mandatory for every second of my waking hours? I don't know.
I do know that I need to slow down. I need space to think, breathe, and pray. I need some time to ask tough questions right now, and figure out the answers. There has been no time for asking questions or learning truth as I have over-filled my life. And not with bad things... with 'good' things... like spending time with friends/family, working, and using my talents... doing things I enjoy... but doing so much that my head and heart are overwhelmed.
So I am sitting in my quiet house this morning, not even the dogs are here making noise. And the quiet is a wonderful sound. Sitting and doing nothing and refusing to think of things that need to be done is welcome rest for my soul. I am quietly reviewing my life--the past week, past months, etc. and thinking about the things that brought me joy, and the times when I kinda blew it. And I am working my brain around how to handle some new situations and changing relationships in my life. I am trying to remember how to be loving or even just how to be 'nice' to some really frustrating people... instead of just trying to ignore it because 'I don't have time.' What a horrible horrible thing to say.
In just a little bit I will get up and do some laundry and wash some dishes then gather up my things and head out the door for another performance. But I will leave my home refreshed and energized, for a change, and ready to share that energy with many people I will meet today. I am quite grateful for my quiet time out today.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Public Service Announcement

Show Expectations For Uninformed Husbands:
If your Wife is in a show, it is expected that you should attend at least one of her performances. Several, if you want to earn brownie points.
Also, as a token of your love, affection, and the phenomenal job she has done, it is expected that you send/bring flowers to her for at least one of her performances. If you don't know where to start: An arrangement in a vase delivered to her dressing room on opening night, or an arm bouquet personally delivered after the show on closing night are both stellar options. ***It is important to note that the flowers should be presented to her at the performance venue, when friends and adoring fans are still present... flowers waiting at home do not have nearly the same effect to make your special lady feel even more special and celebrated as she deserves to be for her hard work.***
Be sure to include a note telling her you love her, you are proud of her, she did a fantastic job (or if delivered pre-show... "Break a leg" not "good luck").
Hope this helps shed some light on the situation! Feel free to share and distribute this info as you see fit.
***Please don't think I am a greedy and/or presumptuous person for saying such things... I have quickly discovered in my own marriage that it is better to state your expectations clearly for your significant other than to just HOPE they know what you expect... usually the latter method ends in disappointment and frustration for both parties. Just a thought!***

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

You should know,

I'm the only person allowed to call him Z.
Zach or Zachary are fine for you. Thanks!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Breaking habits

I was complaining to Z the other day about how yucky and broken out my skin is all the time... and I can't seem to stop it no matter how many miracle products I use 3 times a day. He just said-- maybe it's because you touch your face all the time and dirt and oil from your hands breaks you out.
Huh? I don't touch my face all the--
Yes. You do.
Well I shrugged him off, he is a boy. What does he know about skin care?
But it stuck in my mind and I started noticing each time I have touched my face the last several days. Promise you won't tell Z this-- but he's right! I do touch my face (chin, cheeks, mouth) almost constantly. UGH.
So I am trying to break myself of this habit now, and it is not at all easy. My hands automatically go up there... or I rest my chin on my hand when reading... or I have a phone pressed to my face... it's really difficult to stop it!
And I know at least one person is going to read this and recommend also that I should wash my hands more often as well-- already been on top of that one for years-- germ-a-phobe who works around little kids. I go through more soap and hand sanitizer than anyone I know.
How do you break a 25 yr old habit of constantly touching your face???

Monday, June 21, 2010

Visa Commercial

Pillar candles left over from wedding: $40.00
48 Vases leftover from wedding: $48.00
200 gold chargers, left over from wedding: $200.00
Selling all your leftover wedding decor and being able to afford pictures from the best day of your life: PRICELESS
There are some things money can't buy, but for my wedding pictures, I'm paying CASH! :)

Friday, June 18, 2010

Married life

Married life suits me, according to one of my co-workers who also commented that I have been 'fluttering about with new light and happiness' the past few weeks. Which was really ironic this morning when she told me because Z and I got in a bit of a tiff this morning... and I was anything but 'fluttery' today.
Regardless, on the whole, I would say I have to agree. I like walking into my own home and greeting my excitable dogs and kissing my husband, and I even like making him bland dinners and rubbing his shoulders when he watches TV. I like that it is so not the exciting glamorous life I always dreamed of but it's a happy comfortable routine that we are cozy-ing into. It's not the spectacular big events, but the small daily happenings of our life that excite me right now. Ah, Married life...

(Oh, and that tiff this morning... well, neither of us are really fighters so most arguments dissolve quickly, and today was no exception. A quick phonecall at work to apologize and it is behind us now, though it will no doubt spark some conversation over our weekly Friday night pizza tonight. Ah, married life...)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Laundry and Loathing and Longing

Just ask Z-- he will easily be able to tell you what my least favorite household task is... it's Laundry. I hate laundry. I hate doing laundry more than I hate doing dishes. I hate the hauling baskets of stinkiness down the stairs and loading it all in there. I hate the dirty socks and underpants that manage to find their way out of the basket on your way down the stairs. I hate unloading soggy clothes and shoving them in the dryer. And I hate dryer lint, it gives me the heebie jeebies. But even more than all that I hate folding laundry, and even more than all that I hate putting clean folded laundry away. I don't know why. I just don't like doing it.
But then I stumbled accross this picture of a gorgeous laundry room:And I gasped! My goodness! It's beautiful! If I had a laundry room this clean and homey and light and airy I would probably spend all my days doing laundry. And when I was done with it all... I would take off my clothes and do more laundry just for fun. And I would hang out in there when I got bored just admiring the lovely clean stacks of towels, and sheets. And I would probably sigh a lot just because i was in a beautiful room.
Or I might also just love to have a laundry room that looks like this:
Or even this:

Which may actually be a more realistic goal for me... it's still clean and bright and organized.
But alas and alack, my laundry room looks nothing like wither of those pictures. My laundry room (and you must know this is rather embarrassing to reveal in all it's cluttered, dirty, concrete ickiness...) looks like this:(shudder) I can't believe I just shared that. I don't even like to look at it-- much less be in it. As you can see I have no white washed cabinets, sparkling tile, or bright clean, happy looking walls. What functional storage we have is unorganized, and basically holding trash. The floor and walls are dirty concrete and I have no where I can fold clothes... even if I wanted to. (sigh) it's the most depressing room/space of my life.
I was talking to Z about cleaning up the laundry area and making some small inexpensive changes to try to boost it's appeal... he thinks I am crazy for wanting to 'fix up' our laundry room, but not so crazy that he has offered to do laundry so I don't have to be in the yucky room.
So, here are my proposed laundry room changes/additions/remodel:
(yes, it's a scribbled on picture of the same dirty space as above. PROPOSED changes--dream with me!) A. PAINT the walls and raw wood shelves a clean bright white color.
B. STORAGE I would really like to put some cabinets above the washer/dryer, and then clean off the shelves and keep baskets for laundry there, so it wouldn't have to pile up on the floor. which bring us to...
C. FLOOR I know we don't have money to put down nice pretty tile or even easier-to-keep-clean vinyl flooring. But I am considering a floor paint or stain-- and hopefully something with a nice hard shiny finish so I can mop it up and feel like it's at least partially cleaner.
D. HIDE I have an old changing screen thats just dying for a makeover and a laundry room with a big nasty eyesore of a water heater... the two should meet. It will be magical, I just know it!

See, don't you think that will at least be a great IMPROVEMENT? Now I just have to get Z on board. I seem to be pretty good at getting my way with him when I have my mind set on something. I imagine he will shake his head and laugh at me when I suggest it-- or when he comes home one day and I am in the midst of a bigger mess than this whole thing was to begin with. But he always helps me out of my messes... which is why he is my husband and I love him.
And because I love him, I do his laundry. And because I do his laundry, I would like to love my laundry room.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Crafti-ness

I am doing lots of fun, crafty, home decor or re-decor kind of projects... and I've a been a little bit addicted to several crafty and design blogs... and I am toying with the idea of starting a crafty blog. Buuuuuut... I don't know.
Should I commit to another blog? Do I have enough ideas on a regular basis to really keep one going? Will I feel guilty toward this one as I do my recipe blog when I don't post for months at a time? I just don't know right now... even though I find the idea of a venue dedicated to sharing my ideas and creations incredibly appealling, but maybe thats just the narcissist in me.
Plus, the first thing I need to accomplish is a ridiculously clever name for a new blog full of creative crafty valerie-ness. hmmm...
It just makes me smile, I can't help it.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Wedding gift survey:

We have so many ridiculously generous friends and family it is not even funny! We were super blessed to be just showered (and drenched!) with gifts of all varieties, shapes, and sizes for our wedding. We cannot do enough to express our gratitude for all the many things our friends and family gave-- beyond tangible objects... time, work, advice, even just a smile and sincere congratulations. It all means so much to us!
However, I have had quite a few people asking us about the 'tangible' gifts we received, so I thought it would be interesting to do a little survey here: (I hope it is not in poor taste to discuss gifts you have received... shrug... I don't know for sure, if you are offended or appalled, my deepest apologies)

  • We spent wedding gift money on: Honeymoon, patio furniture, bedroom furniture, and a Wii.
  • Most creative/interesting gift received: Someone gave us shelves off our registry along with a stud finder tool--Thoughtful! , we also received two scrapbooks and a 'date box' to collect mementos--I like those!
  • Funniest gift received: Tonight/Not Tonight pillows from Z's Aunt... HA!
  • Most sentimental gift received: Tea Cup from Grandma
  • Most surprised to receive: China-- didn't think anyone had a budget to fit my extravagant tastes!
  • Received the most duplicates of: Cake pans! We received 7 round cake pans total! :)
  • Most frequently used wedding gift to date: Round Pizza Pan, (and probably sheet sets/pillows on our bed)
  • On our registry, didn't receive as a gift, first thing we purchased: IRON
  • Gift Z was most excited to use: Digital picture frame, or tools (you know, gadgets)
  • Gift V was most excited to use: Le Creuset dutch oven, or the fat fluffy new towels
  • Favorite wedding gift: HOUSE CLEANING! (sigh, it was pristine and beautiful when we walked into our house on our wedding night. AMAZING.)

You participate in the survey now! Tell me: What were some of your favorite wedding gifts you received... or what is your favorite thing to give as a wedding gift?