Same 20 pounds

In a way, I feel like I should apologize for posting a survey on my blog. But then I remember that it is MY blog and I LIKE doing surveys, so there.

1. How many times will you break and/or lose your cell phone in 2009? If the question asked how many times I would drop it - rendering it useless until I put the battery back in - I would say at least 50 times.

2. If for one year (2009) you could choose to be any age, what age would you be and why? I'll go with 29. Young enough to get away with making dumb mistakes, but wise enough to not make very many of them. Plus, that was the age when L and I got back together are were in the blissful "honeymoon" stage. Scratch that. I think I will just choose to be 31 and live in the moment.

3. In past years, what New Year’s resolution did you break the fastest? Um, obviously that 20 pounds has not gone anywhere. Anybody want to hold me accountable for 2009?

4. Who do you NOT want to see in 2009? I could do without seeing Rosie O'Donnell and Tyra Banks ever again.

5. On New Year’s Eve, do you:

a) Fall asleep at 9:00 p.m. (like you do any other night.)

b) Barely make it to midnight with your significant other/family.

c) Hit the town like a party animal until at least 1:00 a.m.

I’m a B sort of gal lately. Tonight includes dinner reservations at 8:15 and that is about it, so I'm guessing that I'll make it to midnight and then call it a night.

6. What word or phrase will you hear your significant other or best friend say most often in 2009? My hope would be that I'd hear my best friend say "My back doesn't hurt!" and that I'll hear my Lare-Bear say "I had a great day at work."

7. What 2009 movie or book are you most looking forward to? I always look forward to Jen Lancaster's new books, so the one coming out in May will be fun. And I assume there will be another "Twilight" movie coming out in 2009, so I'll go see that.

8. Are you more likely to get fired from a job or get a big promotion in 2009? If I have to choose, I'll say promotion. Although I'll be starting grad school, so who knows. My job may suffer.

9. What new thing would you mix with chocolate in 2009? I'm curious about the chocolate-dipped potato chips. I also foresee trying to find the perfect chocolate martini recipe, so who knows what the chocolate will be mixed with.

10. What celebrity headline do you foresee in 2009? Jessica Simpson and Tony Romo breaking up or Miley Cyrus gets caught drinking/smoking/in a compromising position.

11. How many people will you romantically kiss in 2009? Just the one.

Happy New Year and I hope 2009 is everything you hope it will be.


Home vs. Home

Just got back from spending a few days with my "first family" - my parents, siblings, nieces, nephews and cotton fields. (Which, btw make me all clogged and sickly.) There is nothing like being at home.

Except for being back at home with L and the weenie dog.

Funny how that works, no?


O Holy Night

O Holy Night
The stars are brightly shining
It is the night of our dear Savior's birth

This Christmas, remember that you are loved and consider yourself hugged! Have a happy, healthy Christmas and a magical New Year!


Cute -or- Pathetic?

I'll let you decide.



Today I was just the cat by the bar saying, "I'll take another. And make it a double."

Even semi-charmed kind of lives have their bad days.


No jet-dry necessary

So, I just discovered that you can get free blog templates online. Since I'm off for two weeks, I might play with them. Although I kind of like this one, mostly because it is named "Blossoms." Aw. Just for that, here is a courtesy pic of the weenie herself:

There may or may not have been tequila involved when I took this picture.


Oh yes I did

I should have gone to the grocery store. Instead, I opened a can of Spaghetti-Os that I had on hand in case there were ever kids over.

They are not near as good as I remember them being.

This and that

The "Certification Express" won 3rd place in the office decorating contest. The prize was $10, which they donated to our Christmas gift exchange, which was buying our favorite children's book. We all went around and told people what our favorite book was and then we donated them to Brown Santa. (Mine were "The Giving Tree" and "Bridge to Terabithia.")

I went to the doc this morning and he took me out of my boot and said I should wear tennis shoes. This will help me get my movement back in the joints. My dilemma is this: at least when I wore the boot with a suit or slacks, you could tell that I had something wrong with my foot. Wearing tennis shoes with dress clothes is just going to make me look silly and sloppy. Ugh. At least I can finally shower without a giant ziploc over my foot, so there is that.

I'm glad that none of you invited me to a Christmas party, as I would have nothing to wear. Unless you wanted me to dress up as a giant marshmallow. Next time you see me, don't panic. I'm not swollen and sick, I just really have 4 chins.

I get out of work at 2:00pm tomorrow and don't have to go back until January 5. Sweet action on that, no?

That will be all for now, folks. Been a long week.


Deep Thoughts, Christmas Edition

I know I'd heard it all before - probably at least 30 times, once each December that I've been alive, but you know how it is - sometimes you have to be open to hearing something. The sermon last week was really good. He* talked about how the census was being held and why people (aka Joseph and Mary) were traveling even though she was about to pop out a kid and all. And how back in the day, people allowed travelers to stay in the extra rooms of their homes - it was the degenerates, crooks, freaks and weirdos that stayed in the Inn. But since it was census time, there really were no extra rooms to be found. And how the Inn was really lots of little cave dwellings (kind of in a circle) with the stable in the middle so that the riff-raff could keep an eye on their animals. And even though there was no room at the Inn, the Innkeeper said that Mr. and Mrs. Christ could stay in the stable, probably just so they would get out of his way. The baby Jesus was born right there in the middle of that Innkeeper's property, but he was so caught up in everything else that was going on, he missed it.

Now, stop for a second. Have you ever stepped in dog poo? I have, and it is nasty. You know it is nasty. Now imagine that you are not stepping in dog poo, but also horse and cow and sheep and goat and rabbit feces. Don't forget the mice and snakes and spiders. This stable was full of (bleep.)** There is no other way to describe it. And Mary wasn't just stepping in it, she was GIVING BIRTH.

The point is this: The story could have worked out differently. I mean, being the son of God has it's perks, and a nice, comfortable, indoor dwelling probably could have been arranged. However, the stable was chosen as the place of Christ's birth to teach us a lesson - to represent that even in the midst of chaos, pain, loneliness, frustration, uncertainty or heartache, He is there. All of those things that make up all of the (bleep) that we go through on a daily basis - He chose to be right in the middle of it. Hopefully I won't be like the Innkeeper - so caught up in my own life that I miss seeing him there, smack dab in the middle of it all.

*Dave Haney, Riverbend Church
** four letter word that starts with "s"


Let this be a lesson to you all

For the first couple years that I was a teacher, I was well-dressed. I wore skirts and heels all the time. No frumpy jumpers or khaki pants for me. Many people don't treat teaching as a profession, and I wanted it to be clear that I WAS a professional, not somebody that woke up one day and said, "Well, crap. I guess I can just go be a teacher or something." In my opinion, if you want to be treated like a professional, you need to look like a professional. Plus, I liked having my kids say that I always looked cute, and let's be honest... every woman feels better about herself when she is wearing a sassy set of high heels.

Fast forward to years 6-7 of teaching..... you were lucky if you caught me in a skirt. I had about 4 pairs of black pants that I alternated, depending on which ones fit. Give me a twinset of any color and I'm good to go. Flat black shoes were the obvious choice, because after all, they were much more practical for a teacher that walks around for 6 hours each day. (I was not the kind of teacher you find at her desk. Proximity is the key to classroom management and eventually the kids realize that you really DO have eyes in the back of your head.) Anyway, while I still did my best to appear professional every day, let's just say I was a lot less cute than I was my first 5 years.

So anyway, I switched jobs and got to start wearing heels again. I swear, wearing cute shoes can make a big difference in your life. (***Just so we are clear, YES, I understand how ridiculous that sounds. See disclaimer on the left.***) I bought like 5 new pairs of really cute heels, most of them black, and pranced around in my cubicle like I was a CEO or something. And then....

It started slowly. Occasionally, I noticed that my left foot hurt. Not always, it kind of depended on what shoes I had worn. But gradually, it got worse. Sometimes my big toe went kind of numb. I had to face it... I was 30 years old with a bunion. Not a big, bad bunion like your grandmother has, but a little bunion that was already starting to cause discomfort. Fortunately, the neighbor across the street, Harvey, is a podiatrist, and I knew that he would tell me the truth. He said, yes - you do have a bunion but there is no rush to get it removed. I said, "Will I have to get surgery on it eventually?" He said "yes." I said, "Is there any reason I wouldn't want to do it now before it gets bad?" He said, "No, it's just that it takes about 8 weeks out of your life to heal and I know you like to be a little more active than that." Well, long story short, I decided to go ahead with it.


RIGHT AFTER THE PROCEDURE: (They wrote "yes" on my leg in permanent marker so that Harvey would be sure to operate on the correct foot.)

WITHOUT THE BOOT: (My big toe got purple and yellow bruises and was all swollen.)

And finally, AFTER:

I had to go in once a week to get the bandages redone, and I have to go one more time on Thursday. Hopefully at that point I will get to move from the boot to a tennis shoe. (I would have gotten to already, but I stubbed my foot and jostled the bone. So I have to be "really careful" this week.)

So, in closing, here is my advice: If you are currently in a job where you spend lots of time on your feet, invest in some really cute flat shoes. You'll still be cute, and while you won't have a totally awesome scar like the one I'll have, you will never have to tell people, "I had a bunionectomy."


You've waited long enough

Here you go....

The picture doesn't do it justice. Be sure to notice the doilies placed here and there. Below is a shot up close, just so you can get the full effect of the garland and bows:

And here is a close-up of me as an elf. This part is actually kind of cute.

The ladies who worked on it spent lots of time on it, so this will be the last time I mention the decorating contest. (P.S. We did not win.)

And I am sick of the way Blogger formats things. I don't know how to place captions underneath a photo and I'm not going to mess with it any longer, sorry.


Just wait...

Close your eyes for a moment and picture this:
- massive amounts of garland in every color
- printed pictures of elves (with our pictures from our ID badges as the faces)
- lots of bows (like the ones you peel the sticky off the bottom and stick to a gift)
- lots of lights: some strands blink, others don't
- large train cut out of butcher paper, decorated with christmas cards
- stuffed animals pretending to board the train

Remember, the theme is "All Aboard to Certification Land."

I hope you have a mental picture that is clear as a bell. I am going to bet that it doesn't compare with the actual thing. I'll give you a picture tomorrow.

Disclaimer: I am responsible for the old timey schoolhouse and the trees. I told them that was all I had time to do. Truth was, I did not want to be any part of this National Lampoon Decorating contest.

UPDATE: I keep forgetting to take my camera to work. Hopefully I'll remember so that you can feast your eyes on the loveliness.


Burnt crispy edges

I blame my mother. After all, she was the one who always said, "Oh, I like the burnt crispy edges of the nachos." And "Mmmm, I like to make toast with the heel of the loaf of bread." She would always agree to go to every wedding, baptism, baby shower, or graduation. She signed up to bring something to every pot-luck ever, and not only would bring what she signed up for, but a couple extra dishes. Then she would stay after and help clean up. There are times that I could see how tired she was, yet she always agreed to do things and never opted out. The fact is, there are "yes people" in this world, and she was one of them. As a result, I am one too.

Here is the thing - I really DO want to say yes to everyone. I want to help people with whatever I can, I want to attend their events, I want to be a part of the action. I want to help clean the dishes and organize the sock drawer. I want to do whatever is needed. But I wonder sometimes... do others take advantage of "yes people?" For instance, I had a voicemail in my work inbox yesterday. It had been forwarded from 3 different people because nobody really knew the answer to the question. I didn't either. But did it end up in my inbox because the last forwarder knew that I would take care of it? Eh, I guess it doesn't really matter, I don't mind doing it. I just wonder if people get used to coming to me because they know I'll say "I'll do it" or "Sure, I'd be happy to..."

There comes a point when a person has to learn to say no. However, you can keep asking me for favors, because I have not gotten to that point yet. (Plus, saying "yes" to family and friends is different than saying "yes" at work.) For instance, yours truly is responsible for creating the background for our work "Cubicle Decoration" contest. I didn't get to help with the idea because I was out for surgery, or else I probably would have volunteered to spearhead the whole thing. (I'm not going to complain, but the theme is not what I would have come up with: "All Aboard the Polar Express to Certification Land" - yes, seriously.) I'm in charge of creating "Certification Land." How I'll do that is yet to be decided.

So anyway, I blame my mom. Not that I mind - I hope to be at least half the woman my mom is - but at least I know where it came from. I get lots of satisfaction from doing things to help, so in a way, it is selfish. (Which reminds me of a FRIENDS episode where Phoebe complains about not being able to find a single selfless good deed. She is right - is it really selfless if you get satisfaction from it?)

And you'll never guess what happened the other day... LH made nachos in the broiler and left them in a little too long. And what did I say? "I like the burnt crispy ones around the edges - you take the ones from the middle."


I have 3 drafts of blogs that I've started writing and haven't finished, so I'm hoping that maybe I'll at least get to one this weekend. But until then:

5 Terrible Life Lessons from Your Favorite Christmas Movies


Movie: The Polar Express (2004)

Bad Lesson: If You’re a Minor and a Stranger Offers You a Ride, You Should Say “Yes”


Movie: A Christmas Carol (1951)

Bad Lesson: People Will Like You Instantly If You Give Them Money


Movie: Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)

Bad Lesson: If People Were Mean to You as a Kid, That Excuses ANY Malicious Criminal Behavior You Might Commit When You’re an Adult


Movie: It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

Bad Lesson: If You’re in Need of a Moment of Clarity – Why Not Give Suicide a Try?


Movie: A Christmas Story (1983)

Bad Lesson: Toy Safety Warnings are Pointless and Should Be Disregarded Immediately


You can find all 10 of them here.


The most wonderful time of the year

I normally wouldn't use up a blog post to do a survey, but I've gotten this from all sorts of people, so I figured - what the heck. I left out some questions though. (If you REALLY need to know, my favorite Christmas movie is National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.)

Wrapping paper or gift bags? While there is a time and a place for gift bags, (wrapping a bottle of wine, fireplace tools, etc.) I love to wrap presents. I like to make sure there are no crinkles in the paper and that the tape is invisible. Ooooh, then you get to add ribbons and bows and tags. So fun. (Yes, if you'd like to drop your gifts off at my house, I'll be happy to wrap them for you.)

Real tree or Artificial? Real. Especially now that we've started a tradition of going to the Christmas Tree farm to cut down our own.

When do you take the tree down?
Generally on Epiphany. For any of you that weren't raised in a hard-core Catholic family, that is the "12th day of Christmas" and the day the Three Wise Men arrived with their gifts for the baby Jesus.

Do you like eggnog? I like it once a year. Although, as most of you know, this year I am testing out new recipes and might skip the eggnog and go with either "Spiked Almond Joy Hot Cocoa" or "Peppermintinis."

Favorite gift received as a child?
The one that sticks out to me is when I got Pantene Pro-V Shampoo/Conditioner. Growing up, we always had everything we needed, but there were never any designer duds to be found and we rocked the White Rain when it came to hair products. When I was like 12 or 13, I just knew my life would improve dramatically if I had Pantene instead of the generic stuff. So that Christmas, I opened a present that was Pantene Pro-V. All 5 of us kids shared a bathroom, and nobody else was allowed to use it, just me. I loved it then, and now I love that my parents cared enough to humor my adolescent ridiculousness.

Do you have a nativity scene?
Yes. I have an Aunt that is a nun who spent several years in Kenya. She gave my parents a nativity scene made out of some black wood that looks like ebony. I always loved it and told my parents – "When you die, the only thing I want is the ebony nativity set." One year, it was not set up and I asked where it was. They said, "Oh no, we gave it to our friend Gisela because she really liked it and collects nativity scenes." Well, I know Gisela and she really does collect them, so I believed their story. (Gullible much?) Anyway, sure enough, one of the gifts I opened that year was the "Ebony Nativity Scene," My parents said, "We didn't want you to wait until we were dead to enjoy it!" (Picture not available, as it is still in storage at press time.)

Worst Christmas gift you ever received? I'm pretty easy to please. In retrospect, the worst gift I ever asked for and then received was Ex-Cla-MAtion perfume. Y'all, that stuff smells NASTY. (No offense to anyone who might still be using a 17 year old bottle.)

Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Mugs. I used to get lots of mugs from students. So I would put a mini bottle of bailey's and a mini packet of coffee in it and have it on hand for when I needed a little something to give to somebody.

Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?
Sausage balls and puppy chow!

Most annoying thing about this time of the year?
I am forced to take over 2 weeks off from work. Oh, wait. That is only annoying to those of you who aren't employed with an educational institution. ;)

Favorite ornament theme or color? I like them all. I wanted to be all proper and pretty and have a tree that only had certain colors, but there are just too many fun things out there. Plus, I'm hoping all my nieces and nephews will make me ornaments that say "We love you Aunt Bee" out of paper mache' or something, so I'll want to hang those up. (hint hint)

What was your most memorable magical memory from your adulthood?
All of a sudden how it became lots more fun to give gifts then receive them. And watching my sibling's kids soak in the magic of it all.


Hindsight is 20/20

After reading Laurie's comment about her 14 pairs of jeans and totally being on the same page as her, it came to me...

I should have named my blog www.imshallownotstupid.blogspot.com

If it's open, I give you permission to take it. Oh wait, unless you are not shallow. In that case, you can have www.imneithershallownorstupid.blogspot.com

You're welcome.


Before and After

Here I sit, in some pajama pants and a giant sweatshirt that doesn't match. I've played on the computer for a good hour, I'll watch CSI:Miami, and then go to bed. Unless you consider going to a bar to watch football, I haven't been out in a really long time. My idea of a good time is sitting on the patio with a glass of wine instead of going downtown. I learned to play cansata for pete's sake. It makes me think about Meredith "I'm so sullen" Grey saying "We're adults. When did that happen? And how do we make it stop?"

I decided it was time to change my facebook photo, so I was going through all my picture folders and found some doozies. (See that, see how I am using words like "doozy?" I may need you to stage an intervention.) I would tell you the background story, but that wouldn't be near as much fun. So every once in awhile, I am going to post a "before" and an "after." If you want to know the in between, you'll just have to ask...

BEFORE: At a bar on 4th street

AFTER: Dislocated knee-cap with a giant leg brace


There is nothing like a mix-tape

A little something to get you in the mood for December...

MixwitMixwit make a mixtapeMixwit mixtapes


Chub Scout

Smoked turkey? Check.
Roasted turkey? Check.
Smoked brisket? Check.
Smoked pork loin? Check.
Stuffing? Check.
Green bean casserole? Check.
Broccoli Rice casserole? Check.
Cranberry sauce. Check.
Mashed potatoes? Check.
Gravy? Check.
6 types of dessert? Check.
Excessive amounts of beer, wine, and Creamsicle martinis? Check.

Pants not fitting this morning? Check.


Stirred, NOT shaken

I'm on a quest for my "signature drink." You know, the one I will offer you everytime you come to my house. I am testing out one this weekend. I'm actually about to test it out RIGHT NOW! It's 5 o'clock somewhere, right? I'll let you know if it's a keeper. I need something to make the next couple of housework more enjoyable, you know? We have lots of people coming over tomorrow - and if you don't have anywhere to go, you're invited too, so c'mon! (My parents and sister/bro-in-law/niece will be here in about 4 hours, yay!)

Creamsicle Martini
4 oz. diet orange soda, room temperature
1.5 oz. orange flavored vodka (like Smirnoff Twist of Orange)
1.5 oz. Torani Su
gar Free Vanilla Syrup
1 Tbsp. Cool Whip Free

Place all ingredients in a shaker, but DO NOT shake - or the carbonated soda will explode! Mix thoroughly with a spoon until mixture is mostly lump-free. Add about 1 cup crushed ice and stir until mixture is cold. Then place strainer on top and pour into large martini glass. (For anyone that cares: 109 calories, 2 WW points)


"That was the first night I dreamed of Edward Cullen."

The movie was basically exactly what I thought it would be. I like everyone okay except Rosalie. I don't really know how I feel about it - I liked it okay, it just doesn't compare to the pictures in my head.

The Right Stuff?

I have a really bad memory. Fortunately, my good friend Sarah reminds me of things that happened when I was a child. However, I do remember this: I was probably in about 5th grade listening to New Kids on the Block, maybe practicing the "Right Stuff" side to side kick move, (oh oh oh oh oh, oh oh oh oh) when my older brother Adam started making fun of me. I don't recall exactly how it went down, but I remember him saying something like, "Those guys aren't even going to be around in 10 years. You should listen to some REAL music like Metallica." Of course I responded with something really witty like, "Uh HUH, they are still going to be around in 10 years!" Obviously, he was right, but whatever.

So anyway, last night, I am flipping channels and see the American Music Awards. I watch a little bit, keep flipping, and end up back on them. All of a sudden, Jimmy Kimmel is all, "We have mostly teenagers performing tonight. Ironically, the only old people here are New Kids on the Block." And then they perform. I will admit I was nervous for them and held my breath for like the first 10 seconds of the performance. Let's face it - nobody really wants to see a boy band reunite after 20 YEARS!!! But I actually screamed out loud and was all, "OMG, they're going to do Please Don't Go Girl!" And say what you will, but I was so happy for them. People were seriously cheering for them, not making fun of them. Even though it is pretty hilarious to see 40 year old men doing the boy band dance routines.

I was so happy for them that I wanted to support them by buying their new album, but I previewed it and well, I probably won't buy it after all. I kind of vomited in my mouth when I saw the lyrics for their song "Full Service." Here is a sample:

I'll fill you up-up (If you wanna get some)
I'll pump you up-up (Cause I got the premium)
I'll fill you up-up, pump you up-up
'Till the tip-top, drip drop, don't stop, don't stop

So yeah, I'm still on Team NKOTB, but I'll pass on the new album after all.



Hi, I'm Rachel and I'm a blogaholic.

I spend far too much time checking to see how Clemsongirl is doing or what the folks at Go Fug Yourself have deemed ugly for today. Postsecret is the first thing I do on Sunday mornings and The Bloggess makes me snort soda out of my nose. I no longer read Dooce, as I've found that reading smug political posts is not something I find relaxing. The Redneck Mommy cracks me up, yet breaks my heart all at the same time. I love blogs, yet have been hesitant to create one of my own. I am somewhat notorious for starting things and not
following through with them. (ex: Kickboxing classes, gym memberships, Mary Kay, learning spanish, you get the idea.)

But here's the deal: I am 31, have a great job, have an amazing man, a good dog and no health issues. (I've even paid off my credit cards for heaven's sake!) Add my incredible family and friends to that mix and it is safe to say that I am truly blessed. I have far more than I deserve and want to celebrate it. So, I'm going to give this blogging thing a shot.

Blessings come in all shapes, sizes, flavors and colors, and I'm going to share mine with you. Oh, and one request...while you're here, grab the beverage of your choice and toast to the good life with me!