Friday, February 25, 2011

Flash Bulb Friday


This past July 4th, our plans to head north were derailed by a traffic back-up in the NC/TN mountains that got us all of 4 miles in 2+ hours. My sanity couldn't take it, so we turned around and headed home. Since I was bummed about missing out on some quality time with my family, Puff came up with lots to do that weekend on our "stay-cation."
 
One of those excursions was to a botanical gardens at a college about 45 minutes from our house. We pretty much had the place to ourselves and wandered for a long while on the paths snapping photos. This was my favorite of the day. And it reminds me that we don't always have to be traveling the world to make good memories. Although, it doesn't hurt.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Mantle Me Crazy

Ever get a bug up your butt about something and just not be able to shake it? Usually this happens with thinking about a big meeting at work or what to wear on a first date. But yesterday? That bug was about my fireplace mantle. I'm in a mood to redecorate some of the house (or rather, amend what Puff already had as decor when I moved in) and for some reason, our lopsided and uninteresting mantle-scape just really got under my skin.
 
I researched the best way to decorate it and found the rule of "three and one." I really liked it... group 3 like items at one end (photos or candles, etc.) and then one large item at the other end (large photo, floral arrangement, etc.) I was so excited to see the possibilities I could come up with, that I actually left work 15 minutes early and rushed home to play Ms. Mantle Decorator. It didn't go as planned. So, I need your help. Suggestions, thoughts, comments, websites to visit, etc. They're all welcome. I need your help!
 
This is what we started with...
 
 
 
My biggest issue is that it seems unbalanced and uninteresting. OK, who are we kidding? My biggest issue is that our "statement piece" is a frickin' cheap, gawdy looking vase from China. And I hate Asian decor. (And no, it's not the Slutasian's fault, although that doesn't help.) But I can't get rid of said vase since the MIL brought that back for Puff from an actual trip to China. Not to mention the large photo of me and my dad is a photo my step-mom took, which I don't even like. And in the pic of Puff & his mom, he looks fat. (Sorry, babe, we've gotta work on getting a new pic!) So, all these things combined just make me hate it!
 
So, this was my first favorite option. (Trust me, I took like 20 photos of options!)
 
 
 
The vase is from our bedroom and it will stay there, but something with some height seemed to make me hate the whole thing less. Plus, getting rid of that ugly vase helped too. But that little Indian fella there in the center, he's not big enough to be a statement piece. He's cool, but he might need to find another home in the house someplace. (He was a gift from a friend's trip to India. I'm starting to think perhaps I'd like to buy my own stuff from my own vacations and not get gifts from places, since obviously these people don't know our taste!)
 
This was my favorite attempt out of sheer frustration...
 
 
 
Ha ha ha... because everyone needs a Dallas Cowboys gnome on their mantle!
 
And this is what I ultimately left it looking like.
 
 
 
I don't like it. And the rest of the night, whenever there was a lull on our TV shows, I would stare at the thing and it would make me angry. I'm not sure why. It's just a stupid mantle. But we don't have any "statement" pieces in our house that I can move from someplace else. Plus, with how the pineapple sconces are positioned, it makes it awkward to have anything tall at the ends of the mantle. So yes, please send along any suggestions you've got!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Right Way to Celebrate our President

As I've mentioned several times before, Puff and I have some serious ADD with life sometimes. We're never content to just enjoy a lazy day at home. So after spending Saturday & Sunday in Atlanta hanging out with family & friends, and finally buying a rug from West Elm for our hallway, we found ourselves with a Monday off work.

And how did we spend it? With a 6 hour tour of backroads of South Carolina, of course! A guide book of the area said this specific drive we would take would only last 3 hours. They obviously forgot to add in time for lunch at a mom & pop pizza parlor (where Puff asked for a BBQ chicken pizza. The guy looked at him very oddly and then told him he would get a sausage pizza instead) and of course, a detour to look at a mound of dirt fort. (More on that later.)

I will break for just one second to point out that one of the major reasons I love living in SC is that on Presidents Day in February, we were able to go out, wearing short sleeves, and drive with the top down in the sunshine and enjoy the 70 degree weather. You will be hard pressed to EVER get me to move away from here! Now on to some photo fun...


One of our first stops was at a local hippie organic farm. It's not that far from the house, but we've never stopped before. We searched through their racks of cheese and Puff asked for seconds on their chocolate milk samples.


I've mentioned before I like taking pictures at cemeteries, so when the guide book mentioned pulling off into one that had graves from Revolutionary War soliders, we had to stop. A peaceful meander amongst the graves was a great pit stop and chance to stretch the legs. (On a side note, the ground was super mushy in this cemetery. Creeped me the fuck out!)



Our favorite stop of the day was a tiny town called Abbeville. There is a mansion there where the confederacy was supposedly dissolved. (Although it was closed.) And we meandered the town square, checked out an old church with a gorgeous stained glass window that had been imported from England, and listened to children play on an antique piano on the patio of an ice cream parlor. One row of buildings along the square were all brightly colored. It reminded me a lot of Kenmare, in Ireland, with the bright buildings and the park-like square. It was so quiet and cute. It was a great reminder of how neat small-town America can be. This sign, in particular, was one of 3 along the side of a building that housed a Mexican restaurant. It was wooden and rotting at the bottom, but so cool!


I promised more on that awesome fort, so here we go! We detoured off the route in the book for a few miles to check out the historic fort at Ninety-Six. We went back and forth on whether or not it was worth visiting, but figured we would probably never be in the area again, so why not? We walked the pathway back into the trees (and took ridiculous pictures with the metal silhouette sculptures along the way) and finally got to a giant clearing. You could see a mound in the distance, and a rifle tower, so we figured the fort was just past the mound. Nope. The mound *WAS* the fort. We failed to realize that it was an earthen fort, so basically it was a quasi-star-shaped hill in a field. No worries. We enjoyed the walk in the sunshine... even when we got passed by an elderly gentleman walking with a cane.

It's days like these that make for good reminders as to why I love my life so much.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

When Being a Woman Sucks

Wanna know the fastest way to a major meltdown?
 
Let your husband convince you that the jeans you're trying on (that are 2 sizes smaller than your normal size) make you look FABULOUS!
 
Then plop down $108 for them and skip ahead a week to modeling them at home. Put them on with a tight tee (that you normally feel super sexy in) and watch as the muffin-top appears and you instantly looking 4 months pregnant.
 
Cue the tears.

And a return trip to J. Crew sometime very soon.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Flash Bulb Friday


Since it's a week of love, I thought I would post a picture that I love, from a trip with my love... our honeymoon.
 
The second day of our honeymoon, Puff and I took a walking tour of the Art Deco District in South Beach in Miami. Yes, we were the youngest people on the tour, but it was great fun and I got to take a lot of cool pictures and learn a little history too. We followed it up with brunch at a sidewalk cafe at one of the swanky hotels along Ocean Drive.
 
Doesn't get much better than that! Now, when is our next trip?!?!?!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

How To Make Your Husband Hate You on Valentine's Day

I've never been a huge fan of Valentine's Day. Sure, I got flowers from guys I dated through college and "Saw" movies from The Ex. Puff even got me pajamas for our first Valentine's Day together. But last year, we opted to just get cards and to splurge on a super swanky dinner. And we went dutch on it. Since I'm an awesome woman like that.
 
This year, we chose to have dinner at a mom & pop Italian restaurant that we'd been wanting to try for months. And spent Sunday afternoon at a concert put on by a local theater troupe. Topped off by a make-out session on the couch listening to Justin Bieber, and we were set! Except... the cards.
 
I always hate mushy Hallmark cards. Half the time, I don't even bother reading them. I care much more about what Puff has to say than some professional writer. So months and months ago, I decided we would MAKE our own cards to exchange this year. I got red, purple, and pink paper. I got out my scrapbooking scissors and glue. I bought lots of different heart stickers and ones with cheesy romantic sayings on them. And my dear husband left me this note...
 

He's such a romantic!
 
When it was all said and done, we both hunkered down and made each other cards. He griped about it the entire time and vowed to never make me one again. Because he'll never get back those 15 minutes he spent on this project! Yet, while they are not the most beautiful cards in the world, nor was his message inside as mushy or thoughtful as I expected it to be, it was a memory we'll always have together. Trust me, baby, I won't ever make you do this ever again! I'll keep the craft projects to myself!


All together, though, I'd say it was a successful Valentine's Day for our first one as a married couple! Here's to many more in our future!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Lots of Love in 2010

(A long guest post from Kimhead about weddings. And since it's Valentine's Day, I figured a post about love was appropriate! Back to our regularly scheduled program later this week!)


For someone who has never been married and isn’t getting married anytime soon, I think I have the lockdown on wedding how-to after 2010. I was invited or played a major role in 10 weddings. TEN in ’10… fingers crossed that I never have that whirlwind again. While it was amazing to be included in the special day for so many people that I love, it was a bit much for one year. Since I am now an EXPERT on how to execute a wedding, I thought I would share the top NINE things I learned from the experience.
 
  1. The Mary Poppins Bag is a must have
Who doesn’t love this movie and that bag? It started out as a mention from a work friend a few years ago… a makeup bag with some emergency items in it. By the time my the whirlwind ended, I had upgraded mine to a full on Mary Poppinsesque magic bag. You needed an emergency hem?  I not only had a sewing kit, but steam seam tape. Kiddies in the bridal party need to be occupied? Out of the giant pink bag come playing cards, coloring books and crayons. Is a little liquid courage needed before facing the photographer and a chapel full of people? Mini bottles of vodka were on hand, complete with single packets of lemonade mix to make a cool drink. You can laugh all you want, but it was used at every wedding by multiple people. I won’t be in a wedding without my hot pink Mary Poppins bag now!
  1. There is no BAD cake (or pie for that matter)
Seriously, I ate a lot of damn cake this past year. From bridal showers to the actual wedding day I had yellow cake, chocolate cake, red velvet cake, strawberry/amaretto/lemon/malt ball/peanut butter/ name your flavor cake. I ate cupcakes, monogrammed sugar cookies, and chocolate dipped brownies on a stick. I even had wedding pie (pecan and lemon meringue). I thought it was cute how each couple did their own unique little thing that fit their personality. You would think after all of this that I would be sick of cake, at one wedding I was literally serving the cake to hundreds of people as fast as I could hand it out (this group also had pie, I was surprised how fast the cake went after they had all devoured the pies on their tables) but I am still not sick of wedding cake. A highlight of having been in so many weddings, is that I did a lot of clean up and packing at the end of the night, which means that I took home a very large piece (or pieces) of cake at most of the weddings, which made a great breakfast for the rest of the week!
  1. Having the bitch reputation has its benefits
I think I would describe myself as tenacious or determined. Others may say that I am intimidating, forceful or even a downright bitch. Whatever, you say potato, I say patattah. While this isn’t always the best reputation to have, it did work for me in midst of this madness. If there was a problem with a seamstress- I was the one sent in to politely, yet firmly, remind her of all the headaches and blood pressure issues she was causing in failing to do her job. If the head server at the reception hall was being a jerk- I was nominated for the job of going and talking to her and getting what the bride wanted. If the DJ was stuck in the freeway in the ice storm, I was the one on the phone nicely demanding that he call everyone else in his company and seeing what they could do to safely get to the wedding. Not only did I get something done, which was nice to be able to do for my friends, but it provided an EXCELLENT source of venting for me during stressful times. Oh, and my continued public service announcement: DO NOT go to Fran’s Alterations if you are from mine and Gail’s hometown… worst service ever!
  1. Mothers of the Bride/Groom are….
Completely unpredictable. I think I saw the complete continuum of MOB/Gs… there was crying every minute mom, there was so laid back and carefree-happy mom, there was I am stressed and I am going to argue with you right now mom and even I am the drama queen mom. The funny part was, they could all be the same person within one wedding if conditions warranted. Similar to tornado, you never know when or how it will touch down or what it will do to the terrain!
  1. Do not underestimate the necessity of comfortable shoes
Seriously you are in the damn things for hours! Not only do they need to look adorable, be high enough to work with the length of the dress, but if you are a bridesmaid you need to stand in them for twenty plus minutes in front of a room full of people and not fidget. No small task thankyouverymuch. For one wedding I borrowed a pair so I wouldn’t have to buy a pair of champagne colored shoes that I would never wear again. They were cute, but I was in such pain I was crying when I got out of the ceremony. So, lesson learned: pick your shoes carefully. Even if you are going to flip flops later on… the shoes for the ceremony and the pictures matter.
  1. You must be a good actress… it may not mean life or death, and it may not win an academy award but it can mean the difference between content bride and crying bride.
And contrary to what my friends think, I actually can lie through my teeth with a smile on my face and you not know it. I am usually a pretty honest person, I don’t mind telling you what I think even if it is not what you want to hear… but I didn’t always do that this past year. Yes, there were times I am sure when my acting skills were not great, but I am 100% convinced that they were pretty dead on 90% of the time. None of my friends will never know how much they hurt my feelings time and time again, how I completely agreed with their parent about something they as the bride was opposed to, or what I really thought of their color/hair/dress/food/photographer/flowers/ etc… because you know what, what I thought about all of those topics really didn’t matter… it wasn’t my wedding. Now, I should point out that I never would have let any of my friends walk down an aisle in something I thought she didn’t look good in or that she would not like later on, but that doesn’t mean I loved everything they picked… but that is why it is THEIR wedding. Their day…  their week and in cases, their months even… and hopefully I was able to support them the way they needed in that moment.
  1. Weddings are expensive for people who are in them
I was actually IN or I coordinated four weddings this year. Four weddings cost me over $4,800. Yes, go ahead and gasp… I did after I totaled it all up. That is NOT including gas money for the extensive driving that I did to get to said showers and weddings (but it does include airfare for one roundtrip flight). It also does not include money I spent on food while I was out of town and away from my apartment for long weekends or entire weeks and it does not include funds that I was reimbursed for. It also does not include ATM withdraws and receipts that I couldn’t find… so I am guessing this actual figure is somewhere over $5,000. The dress, alterations for the dress, hair-styling and make-up for the day, salon pampering afternoons, wedding and shower gifts, airfare, hotel stays, food for showers, the list goes on. So, from the very bottom of my heart, thank you my newlywed friends for never making me get dyed to match shoes or handbags… I for one appreciate the consideration to my wallet!
  1. You don’t actually get to talk to the people you want to talk to
Cute guy you want to flirt with, friend you haven’t seen in a year that you want to catch up with, an actual conversation with your mother about what she thought of the ceremony… not going to happen. By the time the last wedding came around, I had actually given up on trying to sit down and talk with people at the reception. It is nice in theory… you should have time to chat while eating dinner, or when not dancing… but it doesn’t happen. You start a conversation and have to dash off to take a picture of the bride and groom cutting the cake, or you have to go in for round fifteen with the witch on the catering team about why you need more plates to serve the cake- which they should have been doing for you, you are collecting all of the gifts and loading them into the car, re-bustling the bride’s train for the 12th time, holding her dress up while she uses the restroom or trying to make sure the right family members go home with the right centerpieces and have all gotten their into the family photo with the bride and groom. It is exhausting and before you know it, the night is over and all the people you had been excited about seeing are hugging you good-bye and all you had talked about was how nice you each looked and what the travel was like to get there.
  1. At the end of it all, you were there on a day that mattered
And really, for all the money, headaches, stresses, hurt feelings, ridiculous conversations about what type of paper to use, endless dress fittings that make you feel awful and talks about what proper etiquette is… at the end of the day I got to be there to help people that I love and I would, clearly, do just about anything for. While it may have been a stressful experience for me as a bridesmaid, none of it compares to the stress my friends went through in trying to make all of those decisions and work with budgets, parents and vendors… plus the realization that you are committing your entire life to someone, that is a big major life decision and all the wedding hoopla is just a symbol of it. I am happy that they love me enough to have asked me to be there to support them through a process that defines their futures and I wouldn’t have traded it for anything.
 
And those are my lessons learned from the whirlwind of 2010.  Oh, and I that I need to write an etiquette book. So now I am off to hell on earth, also known as David’s Bridal to help another friend pick out her wedding dress!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Flash Bulb Friday


I've been extra lovey-dovey lately toward Puff. I don't really know why. Maybe it's the pending Valentine's Day. Maybe it's just our hectic schedules that leave me feeling like we don't get as much quality time together as I'd like. Regardless, it's been a little bit ridiculous. Why else would I have been so excited for our Tuesday night dinner date to Red Lobster? (Our first time going together, though. That's a bit monumental! Ha!)
 
Anyway... what does a butterfly have to do with being mushy-gushy? Well, this was taken two days before our wedding last May. Puff and I had gone to the court house to get our marriage license and then went to a local conservatory for their annual butterfly show. I hadn't been since I was very young, and had no memory of my last visit there. It was the perfect way to take a few hours away from the chaos of the wedding planning and just spend some quality time together.
 
Here's to many more hours of quality time in our future, butterfly may or may not be included. Happy (almost) 9 months of marriage!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

That Ex Factor

I was talking with someone recently and they asked me this question:
 
"Do you think your ex reads your blog?"
 
I actually had a very brief moment of panic. It had never occured to me that men from my past might be reading my inner-most thoughts. Of course, my panic comes much more in the form of my old private blog than this one. But still. Now, I know some of the men from my past are friends with me on Facebook, so they very easily have access to this blog. And that's OK. Obviously, if I'm still friends with them, I couldn't care less if they read my mindless ramblings.
 
However, what about the other men? The most recent ex, for example, was the one this person was referring to specifically. It's not like I'm sitting here bashing him or airing all his dirty laundry (although I totally could... and those of you who still are friends with him probably wouldn't be anymore if you knew what he said about you) but I am airing some of MY own dirty laundry. And do I really want him knowing that? Or is it to the point, 3 years after we broke up, where it just doesn't matter anymore?
 
It's actually hilarious to stop and think about it for a second... because Lord knows he's not snooping around the internet looking for a new blog that doesn't have my name or email or anything attached to it. He'd only be able to find it through mutual friends sharing the information with him. And I'm pretty confident that's not happening. But the reality is, that yes, 3 years have passed. That's a long frickin' time! We both are married now and have moved on with our lives. And knowing that I could not be happier with the path my life has taken since that break-up, makes me not worry one second longer about him stumbling across this blog.
 
And if he did? Well, I don't think he'd find much of interest to him. The only reason ex's go snooping around is to reaffirm to themselves that their life turned out better than the other person's. I'm guilty of it myself in my past, for sure. And so, if he comes around snooping to find that, he won't. I'm not saying my life is necessarily any better than his, but it certainly isn't any worse. I'm so blessed to have the most fantastic husband in the world, a great job that I love, an adorable house, supportive family & friends, a nice car, and a schedule so jam-packed I don't have a free weekend until mid-June... which even includes a trip to Scandinavia.
 
He'd be hard-pressed to top that!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Kiss my Droid

When I see a Facebook status from a woman griping about her husband's love of video games, I can't help but be extremely thankful. I'm pretty sure Puff hasn't had a video game console since his brother's hand-me-down Atari in the early '80s.

After dating a little boy man for years who would stay up all night long trying to get to that hidden level or find a magic sword, it was a breath of fresh air to walk into Puff's house and immediately notice there weren't any toys or games of any kind to be found. It just blows my mind how people can get so wrapped up in those things and spend hours and hours in front of a TV immersed in that world. HELLO! What about the REAL world that is happening beyond your controller? Oh... and don't even get me started about fat kids who stay inside all day long playing them.

With all this being said... I think we've officially found Puff's equivalent of a video game obsession... his Droid phone.

I had to get up early this morning and when I came out of the shower, the bedroom was pitch black, except for the glow of the little phone, pressed up close to his face. I wish I had a dollar for every time I've told him that he's going to go blind playing with that thing. I understand the appeal to an extent, but when you've got a perfectly good laptop laying less than 5 feet away, why would you squint to read an article on a tiny ass phone? It just kills me! He's only had the phone a few months, but it's already annoying the crap out of me. He's on it when we're having quality time at night together in the living room. He's on it in the car. He's on it when we're walking around places. He's on it in the dark by himself at 11 o'clock at night. God dammit... I just want to throw that thing out the window sometimes!

Thankfully, Puff and I are on the same page with the video game system... there won't be one in our house. At least not until the kids are much older. And there won't be any handheld ones either, unless they're like a Leap Frog brand educational only toy. (Just like there won't be any DVD players in our car either!) But I'm also starting to think that our kid won't be getting a fancy phone either. Not until they can pay for it themselves. Heck... just in the past few months did I even get one with a keypad on it for texting! I have no desire to be THAT connected to the internet and email. Sometimes, a phone should just be for making calls!

Puff and I like to tell people (not to their faces, of course) who have more than 3 children to "Put the penis down!" And I'm tempted to start using that same philosophy with him... "Put the phone down!" Maybe if you did, I'd pick UP your penis a little bit more! Ha!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Visions of Wee Wees

Dare I say it? Congratulations to the Green Bay Packers on winning a Super Bowl? Wow... that pains me so.

For those of you who don't know me personally, I am one of the biggest Dallas Cowboys fans you'll ever meet. And I have been for 19 years, so don't get on my case about being some obnoxious band-wagon fan. Nope, I'm a true fan... and while I'm not ready to share the honest reason why I jumped on board with them all those years ago, I'll stick with my theory that it was Troy Aikman's charm that sucked me in. A charm that still has a hold on me to this day... a charm that will force me to name my future son after him. But I digress...

The area where I was raised bred me to hate the Shitsburgh (woops... Pittsburgh) Steelers and then my Cowboys allegiance in the 90s led me to hate anything to do with those alcoholic, drug addict, child molesting, racists up in GB. (Thank you, Mark Chmura, for finally coming through on the whole naked with a 16 year old in a hot tub thing after I had been calling you out on that for years!) So, needless to say, I was less than enthused about this year's big game. However, my wise father made a very good point when I was struggling to pick a team to root for... the players I hated so much from the Packers weren't playing there any more. It made sense to me. It also made me thankful that Brett Faahhhhv-ruh isn't there anymore. (Thank God for Craig Ferguson's jokes about him!) And it made me wish that Favre had just quit while he was ahead. Then I wouldn't have an image of his penis stuck in my head.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Sound Bite Sunday

This will be my last "Sound Bite Sunday" for awhile. I realize it's just become mundane filler in a blog where I'm trying to up the ante and create something interesting and fun. (So hopefully I can start joining some blog circles and places that syndicate posts and therefore get advertising offers. Ya know... and quit my day job to write about crap on a blog. Ha! Wishful thinking, right?)
 
Anyway... this song was on Bon Jovi's "come back" album my senior year of high school. The song "It's My Life" was everywhere, including a video on TRL on MTV and accompanied by a dance with my friends for car trips in my Rav4. However, there was another song on that album that just tugged at my heart. And I vowed from the first time I heard it that it would be my wedding song. It had the most perfect lyrics and over the years, I purposely didn't let myself attach that song to any particular man. Nope, that song would remain pure and innocent until Puff proposed.
 
The song immediately went on the list as the song for our first dance, and we even ended up putting some of the lyrics on our wedding cake. Very classic Gail and Puff. Or really, probably just classic me, but he gave me the OK! So, as the tentatively last "Sound Bite" I wanted to leave you with a beautiful and meaningful song. Enjoy!
 
Thank You for Loving Me by Bon Jovi
 
It's hard for me to say the things
I want to say sometimes
There's no one here but you and me
And that broken old street light

Lock the doors
We'll leave the world outside
All I've got to give to you
Are these five words when I

Thank you for loving me
For being my eyes when I couldn't see for
Parting my lips when I couldn't breathe
Thank you for loving me
Thank you for loving me

I never knew I had a dream
Until that dream was you
When I look into your eyes
The sky's a different blue

Cross my heart
I wear no disguise
If I tried, you'd make believe
That you believed my lies

Thank you for loving me
For being my eyes when I couldn't see
For parting my lips when I couldn't breathe
Thank you for loving me

You pick me up when I fall down
You ring the bell before they count me out
If I was drowning you would part the sea
And risk your own life to rescue me, yeah

Lock the doors
Leave the world outside
All I've got to give to you
Are these five words when I

Thank you for loving me
For being my eyes oh, when I couldn't see
You parted my lips when I couldn't breathe
Thank you for loving me

When I couldn't fly
Oh, you gave me wings
You parted my lips when I couldn't breathe
Thank you for loving me

Thank you for loving me
Thank you for loving me
Oh for loving me

Friday, February 4, 2011

Flash Bulb Friday


 
Last February, Puff and I ventured down to the ATL to visit the MIL. Our initial plan was to do some shopping, have lunch with friends, and then go check out the World of Coke with the MIL. She was in one of her moods, so she decided she didn't enjoy a tasty Coca Cola. Instead, we found our way to the Botanical Gardens on a beautiful almost 60 degree day. And it turned out to actually be the right call for a change.
 
I had never been there before, and of course, most of the outdoor flowers were not in bloom, but they had a fabulous orchid display and their large greenhouse. I loved the way the light was streaming in the windows of the large glass room when I snapped this photo. It's a reminder that hanging out with the MIL isn't always as bad as I make it out to seem. Sometimes.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

My Very Own Blueberry

Ever feel like something extraordinarily horrible is just out to get you? Be it the mean lunch lady in a hair-net or the angry armadillo hiding under your house? Well, I think I've finally met my match.
 
My car.
 
I've always had an SUV... my first car was a fabulously fun Toyota Rav4 (that was NOT purple, fortheloveofgod) and since then, I've been hooked. Puff can keep his tiny convertible. I want something I can pile people in and haul luggage and Christmas trees in. So, in May 2009, I wiped my slate clean and broke down and bought my first soccer mom car. Yes, I realize I was a few years too early for the baby seats, but I got an insane deal I couldn't refuse. The dealership gave me that awesome discount and I even ended up with a bigger engine than planned... not to mention the sun roof (or is it a moon roof?) and heated seats I hadn't thought I needed.
 
The problems started in July 2009 when on a girl's trip to Washington DC, my friend realized the speakers on her side of the car weren't working when the Ipod was plugged in. Several rounds of visits and lots of nasty calls to a local dealership later, they finally got the speakers fixed and put in an entire new radio. Problem solved. Cue the next problem. Somewhere around late August 2009, the car decided it was going to bite my ass. And bite it hard. Whenever I would accelerate the first time after the car had been sitting cold for awhile, this strange rumbling/grinding/can't really describe it noise started coming from the rear of the car. We took it to two dealerships and even left it at one for several days, but they could never figure it out.
 
For about 6 blissful months, there were no problems. Then that weird noise would start again. But it would come and go. Still no one could figure out what it was coming from! My nerves were beginning to be frayed by fall 2010. The car was only a year and a half old when all of a sudden, without any warning, my tires just decided to go flat in the driveway. Yes, I realize this could happen with any car, but it just added fuel to the fire. Then, I've been having that weird noise again since just after Christmas. And it's getting worse. Then today happened...
 
I backed out of the driveway, narrowly avoiding the lady who pushes her first grader to school in a stroller, and when I went to tap on my brakes, the car locked up and made this monstrously loud grinding metal on metal noise. I reversed and braked and it did it again. I turned and pulled back into the driveway. It did it again. I called Puff. He's 3 hours away on a business trip. Brilliant timing, STUPID ASS CAR. ::sigh:: So, I decided to drive it around the block to see if I needed to have someone come and tow it to the dealership. The monster had apparently dropped off the underside of the car, since the noise stopped, but it was still acting goofy when I was braking. The best thing to do was to call the dealership and drop it off.
 
Yes, AAA would have been closer, but the car was still under warranty, so why pay if I don't have to? Except the dealership is a good half hour away. After calling work to make sure my morning meetings could be covered, I ventured out. I stayed in the slow lane and didn't dare tailgate. By the time I got to the dealership, the noise was completely gone and the locking up of the brakes had calmed down a little bit. Except there I was... stuck. With no one to come and pick me up to take me to work. I finally made the call to have Enterprise come and pick me up to get me into a rental.
 
A bit shout out to the 3 cute little guys at the dealership who were trying to convince me to buy a Dodge Ram truck for my next car and for happily joking with me to make the entire situation a little less stressful. Twenty minutes later and I was driving off in my very own blueberry. The Toyota Yaris is officially hysterical. I believe I laughed for the first 5 minutes driving it. Maybe that was another joke by the Enterprise guys. But they don't know who I am. I will totally rock that blueberry for as long as I have to!
 
Amidst all the frustration, I have finally come to a decision... there will be a new car in my future. I can't justify continued payments on a piece of shit. My parents had another SUV from the same manufacturer and they had radio and battery issues with it. They didn't even have the car a year before they traded it in for something new. I guess I should be counting my lucky stars that my dad has contacts in the industry, so I shouldn't get ass-raped at the end of it all.
 
So now... Puff will be super excited to do some car shopping! It's like his very own wet dream. Oh, but he'll be shitting himself when I tell him I might want a Toyota! :)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

There's No Interesting Title Today

Last week was pretty busy, to say the least. And full of BS. Ha! Anyway, it pretty much left me tired and cranky. Oh yeah, and hairy. Since having to be at work at 6:30am doesn't really lend itself very well to shaving the legs. I became a master of the Holy Trinity of ho baths... hair, pits, and pubes. Poor Puff will be very happy to know life (and showering) is going back to normal this week. A big shout out to Katie and Trish for saving my butt and giving me awesome blogs to post in my absence. It's good to know you guys have my back!
 
I was told recently by a few friends that this blog isn't as open and interesting as the old blog I used to write. Well, probably because the old blog wasn't advertised out there for people to read and I would pretty much die if certain people ever found old entries! I think it really boils down to my job. I don't want anyone to have any ammunition against me that they could present to fire me. Anyway... so I'm going to try to make a promise to buckle down a little bit more and be a little bit more open and honest and air some more dirty laundry. I won't promise perfection, but I also promise not to write aimless entries about my favorite baby names of the moment or a minute by minute itinerary of a trip I've yet to even book.
 
I'll try to keep it at least somewhat interesting!