Monday, December 31, 2007

Goodbye, 2007

Apologies for missing posts awhile...I spent Christmas in Houston with Mustang's family. I'll recap in a later post, but overall, it was great.

Today is the last day of 2007. The introspective, "carpe diem" side of me stops for a moment to ponder the year. There will never be a 2007 again. Hmmm... Some years, I've been ready to put the previous year behind me and never look back. But 2007 was actually a very good year. So I'd like to reflect & enjoy:

  • In January, I got engaged. I also returned to my previous employer, which I learned from experience, was a very good thing. Cue 80's rock ballad, "Don't know whatcha got till it's gone."
  • In February through March, I got strep throat enough times that I was labeled a "carrier" by my doctor and ultimately led to my tonsils getting removed. It also led to getting a new doctor, since the previous one didn't realize that 4 rounds of the same antibiotic wasn't working.
  • In June, I traveled to Chicago for work, which was exciting because it was the next "big city" on my list of places to visit. Authentic deep dish pizza is delish, and I realized the Great Lakes are so massive that you can't see the opposite shoreline. Chi town was cool. I'd like to go back.
  • (Brace yourself for this next nerdy comment.) In August, Oklahoma got hit by a tropical storm in the middle of the night. Did we ever think that could happen? Awesome.
  • In September, I married Mustang. Okay, okay....I'll try to spare you the mushiness.
  • In October, I also achieved other life goals: I got a passport and FINALLY traveled outside the U.S. when we went to Aruba for our honeymoon. Now there's a place I'd love to return to....but not in October. Too hot. Maybe during Carnival.
  • In November, my nephew Justus was born on Thanksgiving Day. He's healthy, happy, and already spoiled rotten. (whispering) Also in November, I turned 30. It's a good thing. I'd like to think I'm a bit wiser now.
  • In December, I'm still unpacking into Mustang's (oops, I should say my) house. While sometimes I fear I'm turning into those women on Oprah who chronically hoard things, I should be thankful I have everything I need.
Finally, I admit 2007 is a year that I'm feeling, pop-culture-wise, um, old. Some realizations:
  • I don't have a page on MySpace/Facebook/whatever.
  • I somehow never heard the songs "Umbrella" by Rihanna or "Souljaboy" by some rap kid, until I saw those "Year in Review" shows on VH1, or my flabbergasted brother played them for me.
  • I've never seen The O.C., The Hills or Gossip Girl.
  • I took Wild 97.9 off my programmed stations in my car stereo. Stereo seems to be on Magic 104 or K-Love a lot.
  • I considered buying toys at Dollar Tree for Toys for Tots, but hesitated because they were made in China and could be part of the lead recall.
  • I went in Abercrombie for the first time ever this weekend, not to shop for me, but for my 12-year-old nephew. Why the loud music? Why the dim lights? Then I saw the infamous half-naked Abercrombie models and felt guilty for taking young nephew there.
What will 2008 hold? I'm excited to see. Happy New Year, everyone!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Remember the registries

I have a new social cause that I'm spearheading. My life and observing my sister-in-law's life has led me to my quest.

I received two items as a wedding gifts that were not on my registry and had no gift receipts with them. They are lovely, but I already have other items similar to them. THAT'S WHY I REGISTERED.

So I'm toting these gifts in my backseat of my car, going into stores, heading to the customer service counters and asking "Do you sell this XXX?" It's a fun game. Most of the workers laugh with me and sympathize. But so far I can't find the gifts' homes.

Please, help the homeless gifts. They're so sad, they'll never fulfill their usefulness destinies, because they were given without considering the consequences. What will happen to them? We may never know. Please, remember the registries.

Not only do registries help gifts find a good home, it also helps the gift recipient. In my case, as a 30-year-old marrying another 30-something, we both had established homes. So we carefully registered for items we really needed. The registries help us complete our nest.

To aid in your shopping convenience, many brides and moms-to-be register at multiple places. I registered at three stores. I posted the registries on our website. Gifts could be purchased online.

When my SIL had her baby showers, she received every baby-boy outfit under the sun. But no bottles. Two Boppy covers, but no Boppy. Tons of diapers, but no diaper pail. My nephew would be the most stylin' kid in OKC, but he didn't have basic necessities.

So, please help spread the word. If you or someone you love is shopping for a bride or mom-to-be, please remember the registry. Chances are, the registry isn't about want they want, it's about what they NEED. Creativity is overrated. Be practical. Remember the registries.

This message does not necessarily reflect the views of Blogger, the author's sister-in-law, or her husband. Void where prohibited. Please drink responsibly.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Shabby school, lost and costumes

Sweet. I've been anticipating this post. I've realized recently that my blog used to have a theme (eHarmony) and it really doesn't anymore. So I'm wondering if I should narrow it to a few themes (and if anyone would want to read about those) and one theme popped up: dreams.

I have very vivid dreams and used to entertain a DC coworker with my recount of the night before. So perhaps that would make good blog fodder. And last night had some doozies!

Things started off with two HS friends (C, one was your old neighbor) and I substitute teaching at a very run-down school. We were supposed to teach 5th graders, and we realized the school's quality was awful because their lesson plans were coloring. We also noticed their only computer monitor was old-fashioned, didn't work, and scribbled all over it. We finally left the school and went to a nearby mall.

At the mall, we were required to put on security devices when we entered the front door. And what were these? Big, chunky necklaces. We shopped for a while, realized the mall had bad stores (ala Crossroads or Heritage Park) and left. On our way out, when we returned to the old lady who gave us our security necklaces, she told us we were nice girls so we could keep them.

When we left the mall, we were ready to go home but realized we were lost. We were in some town in NW Oklahoma because we kept looking at a map and seeing Okarche and Northwest Expressway. But we were arguing if we were going north or south.

Another dream. This one's short. Two kiddos I know (Anna & Jeremy) were dressed in costumes for Christmas. I'm not sure what Christmas event would have them wearing costumes, but anyway, it did. And here's the best part. Jeremy was dressed as a Girl Scout Thin Mint cookie. Anna was dressed as a red cocktail napkin. Her costume was made from a baby mattress (worn vertically) covered with red fabric.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Ironies of the ice

Well, the winter ice storm of 2007 indeed arrived (as predicted in my Oct. 24 post). Oklahoma is doing what we do best....helping each other cope through weather craziness, and comparing stories of "who has the worst damage."

I was driving around last night, shopping for new nephew Justus' Christmas presents (yes, that's plural) and I noticed some ironies of the ice.

At the intersection of Penn and 63rd in OKC, the traffic light was out and cars had to stop and go. However, the creepy Waterford people-sculptures overlooking the intersection were glowing with lit-up Santa hats and white lights.

Tacky houses decorated like Christmas Vacation now look downright gluttonous while down the block, the entire street is dark from the lack of power. Too bad just one string of those lights can't be loaned to a suffering neighbor.

Of course, the local TV stations are always a source of amusement:
"So far, the deadly ice storm has claimed 21 lives in Oklahoma."
"And be sure to email us your pictures of the ice at tv.com! Oh! Look at that beautiful shot from Sherri in Yukon!"

Much of the power is getting restored. Thank goodness. Some people suffering without power were rather cranky to their employees. But seriously, I hope they make a lot of progress today restoring the power.

Because tomorrow, much progress won't happen. Why? Oh, 2-4 inches of snow. Maybe around 9 inches in Enid.

Let's hope our meteorologists are way off.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Awake now - we'll see at 7 a.m.

Odd.....ever since my post about me being sleepy, I've had a surge of energy. At work, I'm not wanting to doze at my desk.

And at home, I've unpacked boxes! Finally I have an organized kitchen. It is glorious. And an extra surprise....how excited I am about the space. After cooking in an apartment kitchen for the past eight (!) years, it is so freakin' wonderful to cook in a normal-sized kitchen! Sure, as an apartment-dweller, I coveted garages.....back yards.....and not carrying groceries up stairs.........but I never thought about the giant kitchen with glorious counter space. Look, I can use a normal-sized cutting board now. Ahhhhh!

Anyway, back to my sleep issues....my normal sleep patterns have made my sleep diary rather non-eventful. Instead, I've realized how much caffeine I'm drinking. I don't like pop much, so I believed I didn't use much caffeine. How I am wrong. I'm supposed to mark each hour with a "C" when I have caffeine, and too many Cs are all over the diary. I guess that's better than too many A's, which I'm supposed to mark if I have alcohol.

During my sleep research, I discovered many suggestions for how to wake up in the morning. I HATE getting out of bed - well, the problem isn't only hatred; it's also whether or not it's possible. I can turn off my alarm clock in my sleep and never know.

What if I move my alarm clock to the other side of the room? Tried that. But here's an even more physical solution: the moving alarm clock. Choose from one that runs around (right) or one that flies. I don't own these, but I'm intrigued.

How did I wake up when I was younger? Mom would always turn on my overhead light. And sunlight wakes me. Hmm...light....and guess what? They make alarm clocks with lights. But instead of shelling out $50 for this Skymall-esque gizmo, I've plugged my bedside lamp into a timer. I have to say, it works pretty well (although I use it in 2-part system). The light turns on about 10 minutes before the buzzer alarm clock. Sometimes I wake up before the buzzer. Those are the good days, when I'm only 10 minutes late to work. =)

The lamp timer is also handy because it's programmed for M-F only - and it has auto shut-off at 8:15, to tell me it's time to leave the house. So that's pretty cool.

But waking up is a mental issue as much as a physical one, and in another post, I'll talk about some interesting suggestions I've encountered to help program my brain.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Caffeine, wake me today!

As a child, I liked to reenact TV commercials and this title plays off one of my favorites (Calgon). Another favorite was "Madge, I soaked in it," complete with dipping my fingers in a bowl, but I digress....

The real reason for this post is to express my growing concern for being so freakin' sleepy all the time.

At home, I have turned into my mother. I come home, I eat dinner, I go to bed. We're talking bedtime at 8:30 or 9. Not at all the lifestyle you'd imagine for a 30-year-old newlywed. I'm terrible company to Mustang and can't get any projects done (unpacking, putting up Christmas tree, finishing wedding Thank-You notes...).

At work, I struggle to stay alert. We're not talking narcolepsy, where I doze off involuntarily, but just a general fog that sets in about 2 p.m. Like I'm a zombie to the computer screen. Like hypnosis. Like if I could get horizontal, I could be asleep in 2 minutes.

So, as when any problem plagues us these days, I Google "sleepiness" and learn several things:
  1. A cause of daytime sleepiness is being overweight. Um, yeah. I need to deal with that...
  2. Maybe I have a sleep disorder. Perhaps one called PLMD where I kick around a lot. Mustang says my kicking is horrible, and sometimes the sheets are off my side of the bed when I wake up.
  3. I should keep a sleep diary (this one uses sleepy faces) for two weeks, and share it with my doctor. Interesting.

I've also learned several other sleepy things and will post them tomorrow.

Until then, it's time to get some more iced tea.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Welcome to the world, Justus

That pregnant woman did need an eye on her!! My nephew came into this world yesterday!! Yep, he's our little turkey. So here's the stats. Brace yourself, people....

Justus Russell
Born 1:22 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 22
9 lb. 6 oz.
22.5 in.

Yeah! He's HUGE!! It's a riot to see him next to all the little ones in the nursery. They're all tiny, curled up in the fetal position, and he's just this big guy, all stretched out, apparently enjoying his newfound room. I think he was awfully crowded in SIL's tummy. And remember, he was 5 days early!! I think it was quite a shock that he was so big - even to her doctor!

My favorite part: he has TONS of curly, dark brown hair!! It is sooo cute!

Baby & mama are doing great and will stay in the hospital until Saturday (Justus is staying for antibiotics; mama is staying because she has the food).

Now I definitely have to remember how to post pictures again so I can show him off. I may be biased, but he really is one cute baby.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Forget the turkey - keep an eye on the pregnant woman

That's how to summarize tomorrow's Thanksgiving. My SIL is uber-pregnant (due in 6 days) so she's in that stage where she looks soooo miserable. And she's a little freaked out too, I think (it's her first). To be honest, it kinda freaks me out. I get a bit uneasy around pregnant women who could go into labor at any moment...I worry they're a ticking baby bomb. I mean this no offense to the preggers, just that if something happened, I hope I would help (instead of freak out) and be equal to the task. Huh, as I type this, it becomes clear that if I'm worried by other women who are pregnant, I definitely need to wait a while for my own. Good mental ammo against the occasional baby fever.

Anyway, tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I'm excited. I have more cooking responsibility than ever before. Bringing the turkey (I'll get into that in a minute), deviled eggs, seven-layer salad and green bean casserole. This will be green bean's first T-day appearance in our family. We're adopting it for Mustang; dropping broccoli rice casserole to make room. I can't imagine green beans tasting better than cheesy rice goodness, but hey, it does involve those salty fried onions.

As for the turkey, we're picking up a Cajun fried turkey from Pearl's! Mustang's brilliant idea! All will benefit: my parents don't need to cook the turkey; the rest of us can enjoy turkey meat that doesn't taste like pencil eraser.

Here are my top 5 most thankful items for this year. Wow, as I type this, what a difference a year makes!!!
  1. Mustang is my hubby
  2. Mom's skin cancer from a year ago is all healed
  3. Having a different job than this time last year
  4. Living in OK again, will be here for nephew's arrival
  5. Not sharing walls with apartment neighbors anymore
Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Kanye's in OKC, for sad reasons

One of my quirks is that I like an odd variety of music. Most people who know me casually (i.e. coworkers) would never guess this reserved goodie-goodie listens to Lenny Kravitz or Kanye West. I love Kanye for his clever lyrics and social consciousness.

I've been thinking a lot about Kanye today because he's in OKC for his mom's funeral. What a sad day for him. I don't even want to *think* about what that must feel like to lose your mom.

So, pretending that Kanye reads this, I just want to send out some hugs & prayers for him. Obviously his mom impacted his life greatly - she was a single mom since he was 3, she got her PhD and eventually became the chair of the English department at Chicago State (which helps explain Kanye's good lyrics).

Moms are SOOOO unappreciated. That's one of the truths I've learned as I've matured....moms love more and do more than we, as their children, can ever truly know.

On the positive side, Kanye should feel comforted that he told his mom how much he appreciated her. Too often we don't express our gratitude until it's too late. So this weekend, it's my mom's birthday, and I hope I can properly express my love for her. In the meantime, here are some lyrics from Kanye's lovely song about his mom, from his second album....hugs, Kanye.

Hey Mama, I wanna scream so loud for you, cuz I’m so proud of you
Let me tell you what I’m about to do,
Hey Mama, I know I act a fool, but I promise you I’m goin back to school
I appreciate what you allowed for me
I just want you to be proud of me
......
And you never put no man over me
And I love you for that, mommy can't you see?
Seven years old, caught you with tears in your eyes
Cuz a ***** cheatin, telling you lies
Then I started to cry
as we knelt on the kitchen floor
I said "Mommy I'm gonna love you till you don’t hurt no more
And when I’m older, you ain't gotta work no more
And I'm gonna get you that mansion that we couldn’t afford"


See, you’re unbreakable, unmistakable
Highly capable, lady that’s makin loot
A livin legend too, just look at what heaven do
Send us an angel, and I thank you

Forrest Gump's mama said, life is like a box of chocolates
My mama told me go to school, "Get your doctorate
Somethin to fall back on, you could profit with"
But still supported me when I did the opposite

Can’t you see, you’re like a book of poetry
Maya Angelou, Nikki Giovanni, turn one page and there’s my mommy

Hey Mama, you know I love you so, I'd never let you go
I wrote this song just so you know,
No matter where you go, my love is true.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Light my fire

It's finally fall in Oklahoma. "Fall" is about a month-long event here, when temperatures finally move from 90 to 50. Next month, there will be an ice storm, officially ending fall.

Seriously, one fall 2 years ago, my mom told some story on the phone that started with, "I was on the back porch, moving the plants inside for the frost, when I heard the tornado sirens go off."

Anyway, back to this year...on October 2, it was 92. Monday night, it got down to 40. So Mustang decides to turn on the heater Monday. The heater uses a pilot light, which must be lit.

I've never lived in a house with gas, and my family has some serious issues about fire (a result of an aunt dying in a housefire before I was born), so I'm scared out of my mind. Our conversation:
Mustang: "I think we need to turn on the heater."
Me: "Are you sure? It will get up into the 70s later this week."
Mustang: "It's too cold. It will be easy to light the pilot light."
Me: "Have you lit it before?"
Mustang: "Yes. Well, once. I tried. But then I couldn't, so I had to call ONG. But I watched the ONG guy do it."
Me: "Okayyyy."

So we go into the garage, where Mustang proceeds to find the spot in the heater to light.

I still express my uneasiness, so Mustang finally opens the garage door so at least the "gas" that I'm afraid could be leaking will air out some.

I hold the flashlight while he lights.

Thankfully, it worked.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Moving = monster

Just in time for Halloween comes the evil, evil monster......moving. Seriously this thing is a nightmare. For me, it's just moving - it's a pain in the rear, but you suck it up & do it. But for Mustang, it's this huge big deal that is really freaking him out. It's really wearing him down, which in turn is wearing me down.

I guess I'm more used to moving - college, DC, back to OK - heck, in the sorority house, we were required to move 3x a year. So I guess I got accustomed to paring things down, boxing & moving......and the bare-bones lifestyle while everything is in boxes.

Meanwhile, Mustang has lived in his house for 7 years, so he's accumulated a lot of stuff and hasn't moved in a long time. So this is a big, big deal to him.

Last night, we tried to take apart his desk from IKEA. This thing is huge & he assembled it in the room, so we have to disassemble it to get it out. And we can't figure out HOW THE HECK to do it. Mustang kept the directions, but they're in Swedish or whatever, and there are 32 steps with really bad illustrations. So between working backword and deciphering the Swedish drawings, we are screwed. After an hour an a half, we decided we're ready to saw it in half (literally), but then realized we'd probably need a circular saw to do that, which he doesn't have, and certainly neither of us know how to use.

So I start laughing. Hysterically. I've developed this laughing tactic after living in high-stress situations such as 9/11. You have to have a sense of humor or you'll just go crazy. Mustang gets offended by the laughing and thinks it's directed toward him. It's really not - it's just the giant desk, the Swedish instructions, and wanting to use a saw.

We finally just gave up & went to bed.

***Update***I told my mom about my struggles, and I guess she's pleaded with my dad. He's coming over tonight to help with the desk. Yay!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Moderate risk

The weather nerd in me is so excited today. We have a moderate risk for tornadoes.

Not wishing anyone to get hurt - let's hope for a tornado in some random field (or on a lake; that would be cool....then its name officially changes from tornado to waterspout). See, I am a big nerd.

I would add a photo on here, but it's been so long, I can't remember how. Gonna have to play around....

Friday, October 12, 2007

The blog is back

Hello folks out there....if anyone reads this at all. It has actually been 1+ years since I've blogged. Terrible. I couldn't even remember my account name. Double terrible.

I return with an intention of blogging regularly again. I was once told in career counseling that I should write every day to exercise my creativity. I think they were right. I've really missed it.

I return with fabulous news - I got married 2 weeks ago. It's very strange to type that. Yes, I married Mustang.

I really regret not blogging during all the wedding planning. I'm sure it would be obnoxious to some people, but a few of the stories/events that occurred along the way were fascinating. I'll have to recap the best ones.

For now, hello & it's great to be back.