Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I miss yall

Dear Santa,
All I want for Christmas is a good laugh with an old friend.


Huh, it's been a long time since I've blogged. Truth be told, it's been difficult to blog ever since I started the new job this summer. I think my creative inkwell is running low because I write so frequently now for work. I never would have guessed I could feel this way. No writer's block, just writer's fatigue.

But I wanted to blog today to express something that's on my mind: I miss yall. Those of you reading this and those out there who aren't. I miss Ya-Ya Christmases. I miss BC Clark TV commercials. I miss seeing your kids and babies (and your pregnant tummies). As much as we moaned and groaned about work Christmas parties, I miss those, too.

No, this feeling didn't motivate me to send Christmas cards (surprise!) but my thoughts are with you anyway. They're with you more often than you know.

Merry Christmas, friends.

How I wish I could tell you that in person.

Friday, November 21, 2008

For those other font nerds out there....

If fonts were people....Civil Unrest at the Font Conference

This video is pretty cute. I especially like how they interpreted Wingdings.

But seriously, Comic Sans saves the day??? I don't think so. In my mind, Comic Sans would look like Molly Shannon in Kath & Kim.

Impact would be a good superhero.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Good message - bad, bad delivery

Honestly, I was online for work, looking up the most popular baby boy name from 2002, so I could give an anonymous child a fake name in a feature story...

When I stumbled onto this very creepy and strange PR attempt.

As a PR person, as a former federal worker, as a taxpayer, I just think...good message, bad, bad delivery. No, that's saying it nicely. In truth, "What were they thinking?"

BTW - The most popular boy name in 2002 is Jacob.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Get busy living

One of my favorite movie quotes is from The Shawshank Redemption:
"Get busy living, or get busy dying."

Today I'm feeling especially inspired to heed that quote - eh, the living part. At work lately, I've been writing some profiles for our alumni magazine, and after recounting such rich, diverse, adventurous lives, mine feels so stinkin' plain.

I know my life hasn't always been plain - heck, I'm the girl who married a guy she met online - but lately it's felt that way. I'm stuck in a rut. A very boring rut.

Let me share with you these people I've written about:
  • A lady named Sue* who, after graduating at our college, taught at Temple, was a consultant for the Netherlands Ministry of Social Affairs, started a program at an American school in Germany, worked in Dubai, lectured in Italy, and volunteers for cancer patients after she survived cancer herself 13 years ago.

  • A guy named Greg* who, after graduating, served in the military, served in Iraq, now teaches here, still is in the reserves, just served in Georgia this summer, and works at the medical examiner's office pro-bono, where he's helped with three murder cases.

  • A lady named Janice* who was a secretary, went to college in 40s, got her journalism degree, was editor of the town newspaper, was in an Israeli dance troupe, started work here, and now that she's retiring, she's planning to compile her 32 years of journals into a Christian meditations book.
And of course, some of you reading this do pretty amazing things; i.e. moving to a new country every 2 years, eternal students, taking up ballet 7 months after giving birth, etc. You know who you are. =)

So, I am inspired. Need to take a class, maybe hang some art in our house, volunteer, serve at church, etc. Of course it makes soooo much sense to take on a new project right before the holidays, but I should make my move while the inspiration is fresh.

Hmmm...what to do......

*Names have been changed. Don't think our alums would want to be on some quirky girl's blog.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Vote! Vote! Vote!

Regardless who you choose for president (and remember there are races to decide aside from president) please VOTE!

Here's a few reasons why voting is important to me.

Because less than 100 years ago, it would have been illegal for me to vote because I am a woman.














Because when I was 18, I got to vote, but my dad didn't at that age.
















Because my mother-in-law left her native country, left her husband and child, and lived alone in Chicago for four years so she could become a nurse and pay for the rest of her family to move here. If she was willing to sacrifice four years to become a citizen here - shouldn't I, shouldn't we all, give a little of our time to exercise a right that she so bravely sought?

I am so thankful that I was born at this place and time. I have the right to vote for president of the United States of America. Millions of people in this world - including Mustang's own family - would or already have given anything for that priviledge.

Please vote.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Mustang memories

As we've prepared to sell the Mustang I hadn't been sad so far. I guess it was causing enough stress that we just wanted to get rid of it. But yesterday I was struck with a pang of nostalgia. Mustang picked me up to go vote (yes, in Texas we can vote early, anywhere in Dallas county - it's the best idea ever). Anyway, as he pulled up in the car I thought, "This is going to be one of the last times I see him approaching me in that car." And I got a little soft and smushy inside.

So to properly bid farewell to the Mustang, I've decided to acknowledge a few memories about it.
  • First off, I've realized we don't even have a picture of the Mustang, so we need to take one tonight. It's weird to think one day we'll tell our kids, "Daddy used to drive a convertible," and I'm sure they'll think that's the weirdest thought ever, because it's difficult to imagine your parents young and hip. A photo will help the cause. I know this because as a child, I was fascinated by a photo of my mom sitting on a step next to her VW bug.

  • I remember while getting ready for dates, I could always tell when Mustang had pulled into my apartment complex because the engine in the Mustang is so loud. So I'd be getting ready in the bathroom (wow, that's a weird thought - getting all "gussied up" for him), and know when he's about to ring the doorbell because I could hear the car.

  • There actually were very few occasions that we'd ride with the top down. This is mostly because 1) Oklahoma wind, and 2) Mustang didn't want to get too much sun. So the few times that we'd put the top down felt like a treat (well, aside from the first time going to Easter service, when I was concerned about my hair). When the top was down, it felt exhilarating. Alive. Adventurous. Of course this feeling may just be me, an "inside girl" who defines adventure by riding in a convertible.

  • After we dated a while, I put a ponytail holder inside the glovebox. I felt a little sneaky because I, the girlfriend, was keeping something in his car. Kind of like Carrie staking her claim in Mr. Big's bathroom cabinet, but on a smaller scale. Last weekend, when we cleaned the car out, I found the ponytail holder. Good times.

  • A drawback to riding with the Mustang's top down was that it attracted a lot of attention. Typically, I hate drawing attention to myself, so this bothered me for a while. But then I decided I could kind of have this alter-ego in the Mustang, we could crank the music up, draw attention to ourselves, and be "those people." It was kind of fun.

  • And that leads me to my greatest sense of affection for the Mustang...because it embodies Mustang himself. He doesn't mind attention. He's confident, fun and sexy. When I think about him driving that car, I picture him with his sunglasses on and smiling.
So I prepare to bid farewell to that image of Mustang approaching me in that car, smiling and sunglasses on, ready for a date. But I take heart in knowing that it will be replaced with a better one - him approaching me in the Camry, smiling, and coming home.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

My brain is going to implode.

OMG.

I'm trying to write a press release that explains a $1 million grant our college just received. Yay, a million dollars is good.

Here's the catch: the grant's title is "DMP1 Mutations: Defects in Odontogenesis."

Whaaa?

Alter-ego wants to put headline:

Grant to Study if Missing Stuff Causes Bad Things

Ditching Mustang (the car!)

Big news, kids. We're getting rid of the Mustang. We actually tried to get rid of it last week....

Mustang (my hubby) takes the car Saturday morning to get an oil change and to get detailed. With the car looking good, ready for a trade-in, we're ready to visit four dealers across Dallas, based on our internet research.

However, in case nobody will take a gas-guzzling V8 Mustang for a trade-in, we stop by CarMax for an estimate to sell it. Ouch. Very low. Add fuel to the fire when we see a similar Mustang for sale there for double the price. I guess this is how CarMax makes money...buys low, sells high. Anyway, at least we now have a baseline for the trade-in value of the car.

Then, on the way to dealer #1, the CHECK ENGINE SOON light comes on. Seriously. I've never seen poor Mustang so frustrated.

(Shhh...I feel bad that he's so upset, but can I secretly admit that I'm strangely attracted to him when he's mad? He gets this look in his eye that makes me swoon. I just want to laugh/kiss him when he's steaming mad, but that would not help the cause, so I resist. But really, I just have to say, he's so stinkin' cute mad.)

Anyway, at this point, we're about 45 minutes away from home, so we proceed anyway to dealer #1 and their car had cigarette burns in the seats. Instant deal-breaker.

We drive to dealer #2 and like their car. We ask if we can have a mechanic check it out this week before we buy it. The dealer agrees and also says they'll take the Mustang as a trade-in (thank God they didn't get in it to see the new light). In the meantime, we take the Mustang in for service. Hopefully, this is the last time we pay money on it!

Anyway, the Mustang is now fixed, and the car we liked was OK'd by the mechanic. So, Saturday, we're trading the Mustang in for.......


A Camry. So sexy!

Mustang's comment: "I am trading in my convertible Mustang for a Camry. I have become an old man."

But a very cute old man. =)

Monday, October 27, 2008

It matters where you shop

So I've been doing the Grocery Game for about a month and half now. Aside from saving money, I've learned quite a bit about shopping, in general. More than anything, it matters where you shop.

Sure, I remember growing up, mom would say Albertson's (back then it Skaggs) was too expensive so we'd instead brave the madness that is known by Choctaw and Midwest City people as "the old Crest." Yall know what I mean.

Hey, guess what? Mom is right. In September I made a price list of my favorite stuff at several grocery stores - prices when they're NOT on sale. Of course, being the goody-goody I am, I'd carefully write in this teeny-tiny address book in my purse and only write in it when nobody was around. I had this stupid fear of being confronted as a grocery spy. When they'd announce some code over the loudspeaker, I was always worried it was a "we have a spy" code. Thankfully this never came true.

Anyway, I compared Kroger, Tom Thumb and Wal-Mart. OH MY GOSH. (Although I referenced Albertson's above, I didn't compare it because the Albertson's by my house is really small.)
  • Tom Thumb, while beautiful and carrying more healthy stuff, is typically twice as expensive as Wal-Mart. Now cringing when I think of weeks I bought EVERYTHING there. Holy moly.

  • I also learned that Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market is slightly more expensive than a Supercenter on a few items. However, I am willing to pay more to avoid a Supercenter. Somehow my irritation level rises past human norms when I'm in a Supercenter.

  • Although it requires an extra trip, it really is cheaper to buy health & beauty products at CVS/Walgreens than at the grocery store. Here's a crazy example: this week, there is an $80 product at CVS that's on sale for $30 and there's a coupon out that takes $30 off the product. So guess what? An $80 product is free. Wow. (As many of you know, Mustang has a strange devotion to Walgreens, but I hear Walgreens has a very complicated coupon regime, so I'm starting to shop at CVS this week. I'll let you know what Mustang says.)

  • Finally, it has taken four months, but Mustang have realized we must vow to never shop again at a grocery store by our house named Carnival. Sure, it's the closest to us, and sure, once you're inside, it's fine. It's the parking lot that is just too scary. Last week's run-in with people walking a pit bull was the clincher. According the the owners, and I quote, "He don't bite." Riight.
PS - I would totally shop at Aldi's if there were any here. Rocks in My Dryer has a great post about it from Friday.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Dallas culinary finds - part 1

A fun part of moving to a new city is exploring. As you all know, I'm a foodie (a bit too much) and so I've enjoyed discovering some culinary delights of Dallas.

Of course, I'm a cheap foodie, too...so this isn't a review of Dallas' 4-star restaurants. Oh no, it's about grocery stores, liquor and a coffee shop. =)

Grocery goodness
When we moved to Dallas, I was so excited about getting better groceries - more ethnic food, healthier choices, more gourmet stuff. Sadly I was disappointed for a while...until I discovered the goodness that is Tom Thumb. I'm not sure what I like more about it: the frou-frou decor (bread in baskets, produce beautifully stacked into pyramids, the florist section), or that it sells Safeway products. When I lived in DC, I got spoiled from Safeway delights (my favorites were chocolate sorbet and vegetable potstickers). I was so excited when I found these old culinary friends, I think I actually squealed at the store. While I'm excited to find groceries that I haven't had since 2003, Tom Thumb is expensive, so I only shop there for particular goodies (or with my coupons from the Grocery Game).

Of course when I think of good (and expensive) groceries , Whole Foods comes to mind. But I haven't shopped there much in Dallas because there's not one by us...YET. They're building one right by work! However I don't expect to shop there often. Talk about pricey. I heard someone call it "Whole Arm Foods" because it costs and arm and a leg to shop there.

Okay, on to the pinnacle of Texas groceries: Central Market. There is only store of these in Dallas, and I had heard repeatedly of its goodness, but I finally got to experience it last month. For our first anniversary, I went there to buy some Gouda cheese for Mustang (we ate Gouda cheese all the time on our honeymoon in Aruba). I knew Central Market would probably have some. Oh, they did: about 10 types, including some made from cow, sheep or goat. The cheese department is organized by country. Amazing. When I stood there forever deciding which one to get, an employee came over to help me and told me about the different types. Wow.

The best part of Central Market: they offer cooking classes. I can finally take the knife skills class I've always wanted to do. They have classes about tapas, risotto, sushi, making roux. Wow. I know what I'm asking Santa for Christmas!

10/27 UPDATE: Holy cow, Central Market just updated their website and it is über-cool. They have their own blog. Wow.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Crime at the local Kroger

This is my grocery store. About a mile from our house. Ah, Dallas.

Woman tries to steal diamond ring off another woman's finger
October 7, 2008
By BRYAN SHETTIG / The Dallas Morning News

A thief tried to steal a diamond wedding ring off another woman's finger after asking to see her nails, Dallas police said.

The incident occurred Sunday in the Kroger grocery store parking lot in the 10600 block of East Northwest Highway, police said. A woman wearing a white shirt and blue jeans approached another woman leaving the store. The thief asked to see the other woman's nails before the two began to tussle.

The thief then pushed aside the 51-year-old woman and ran away without the ring, police said.

The marquis diamond ring was valued at $10,000, according to a Dallas police report.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Bratz dolls

When I was in a women's bunko group back in Oklahoma, I learned many things: about a product called Poopourri that really does work, about new recipes, and I learned that it's a no-no to give Bratz dolls as birthday presents.

Wow, a faux pas I never thought about - inappropriate toys. Not inappropriate because they're not suitable for the child's age or too expensive, because they're dangerous - morally. And then you look at Bratz dolls, and you see why.

Anyway, there's an interesting new Newsweek article out that discusses about the Bratz doll, too - from a dad's perspective. Here's an exerpt that scares the crap out of me:
And then, says Scott, an English professor at a small college in Georgia, "I realized porn culture and I were in a death match for my daughter's soul."
Anyway, here's the article: The Pornification Of A Generation

I know I've said this before, but it's gonna be so friggin' hard to be a mom.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Another Web site experiment

This blog started to chronicle my experiences on eHarmony. It worked. Very well. Thank you Neil Patrick Harris Neil Clark Warren.

Anyway I've been part of another Web site experiment for a few weeks, but didn't want to discuss it until...well...I understood it enough to explain it. It's kinda complicated.

It's called The Grocery Game. In a nutshell, it's about coupons, but it's oh so much more. The key is to use a coupon (or, if you're really lucky, a mix of coupons) AT THE SAME TIME a product is on sale. So for example, by using two coupons while it was on sale, I bought an eight-pack of Mustang's favorite soap yesterday for $2.09. It's usually $5.99.

Okay, I know what you're thinking: I'm cheap/silly/insert word for using coupons because Mustang is a doctor and we have a good income. While we are blessed with a good income, we believe we should be stewards of it and spend it wisely. I'd much rather spend $50 on something fun or helpful than on lame groceries. Also, I don't know if it's because we moved to Dallas or what, but we spent wayyy too much money at the grocery store this summer. Finally: the economy. 'Nuff said.

Ya-Ya Gina has long been a fan of The Grocery Game (or, GG, as it's called by its fans). Now I see why. It indulges my Type-A personality (I will find the last bottle of free Worcestershire sauce!) and also saves money. In other words, it's a healthy addiction.

And I am reminded of my childhood love for The Price is Right and my junior-high summer TV watching of Supermarket Sweep.

Anyway, I signed up for a $1 month trial in September, and at its conclusion, I can say I'm hooked. I saved about $180 in September. On groceries. Seriously.

So anyway, I'll post a few more things I've observed about GG soon.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Mrs. Mustang

This day one year ago, I became Mrs. Mustang. At current posting time (10 a.m.), I think I was at the makeup artist. I wasn't too nervous and wasn't too tired - I took a Lunesta the night before so I'd be sure to sleep.

Speaking of sleep, last night, Mustang said, "Just think, this time last year was the last time you ever slept in your own bed." That's so weird.

Other memories from my wedding day...
  • Somehow, I got mosquito bites the night before (I think lingering outside, talking to people after the rehearsal dinner). So I stopped at a pharmacy to pick up some topical Benadryl after my makeup was done.
  • All of the girls had our hair done at the salon with the same hairdresser I've had since junior high.
  • My bridesmaids are so modest, they changed in bathroom stalls so the photographer couldn't take pictures of them (even though the photographer was female). The great thing is, the photographer took pictures of their feet in the stalls, which made for fantastic photos. =)
  • It was a very strange feeling knowing that friends & family were very busy setting up/cleaning up, while I'm off getting ready or leaving for our honeymoon. I am still so grateful for all the things people did for me - the tasks I know about, and probably some troubleshooting that I didn't know about.
  • My favorite memory (I'm so glad we chose to do this) was seeing Mustang privately in the church before the wedding. We exchanged gifts, prayed and took a few photos together. It was such a peaceful, precious moment for us to share - just the two of us - amidst all the activity of the day.
I am still just as excited to be Mrs. Mustang as this day one year ago!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Toot my own horn

Okay, I have to share some exciting news. Not one to usually brag, but I'm too stinkin' excited.

Yesterday I was published in the Dallas Morning News.

Sure, it was a news release that didn't bear my name. Sure, it was four sentences in the "News Briefs" in the metro section. But it's the Dallas Morning News, people! I don't know media markets well, but I assume that's a bigger readership than The Oklahoman or the Tulsa World...

Also, part of my job is to create a staff newsletter for our college. This month our president was asked by the system's CEO to send the newsletter to the whole system (which has eight other colleges in it). Today, I got a call from the system's marketing big-wig, telling me how good it was, that it "should be a template for other colleges to use" and how glad she was "that I'm on board."

Anyway, I just feel like I'm rockin' my career! Positive feedback! Creativity! It is glorious!

And I've also learned a lesson: this isn't the highest-paying job I've ever had; it's not the biggest title I've ever had. What makes a job great is the WORK, the PEOPLE and the PLACE. Gee, only took eight years after college to figure that out.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Hurricane update

Thanks to friends who've been asking about Mustang's family in Houston.

His parents have no power, but thankfully, they have no damage, either. His sister's family went to his parents' house to ride it out. SIL has a 2-story home, so they wanted to leave it. Imagine sitting hours in a house without lights or no AC with:
  • Two seniors
  • One adult
  • A 12-year-old
  • A 3-year-old
Notice the list above has only ONE adult. That's because SIL, who is an RN, had to stay at work ALL weekend because they were on "lockdown mode" during the hurricane. It was terribly difficult for her to leave her boys behind while she went into work Friday afternoon.

We don't know yet if SIL's house has damage. They haven't gone over there yet.

Thankfully, Mustang's family was wise in the 1970s and moved to west Houston. They originally lived in Pasadena (where Mustang was born), which got hit hard by the hurricane. Now they live in Missouri City and it's doing very well.

Thanks for your inquiries & prayers. Please pray for people in Galveston & other beach towns. It sounds awful there.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

So. Not. Cool.

Here's a tip to the facilities management people in our building:

Don't work on the fire alarm (and accidentally trip it) on 9/11.

Seriously.

Minor heart attack here at my cubicle.

Hurricane Ike: Strike or psyche?

As a weather nerd since childhood, I've never had much respect for hurricanes. Growing up in Oklahoma, I always thought tornadoes were: 1) way scarier and 2) way cooler.

I always thought hurricanes were lame because you knew they're coming days before they hit. For tornadoes, eh, you get about a 15-minute warning.

But keeping an eye on Hurricane Ike, I have to say they're more interesting than I gave them credit. Primarily because they're such a gamble. Do I stay or do I go? Will it get be a category 2 or a category 4? Where will it hit?

Weird that yesterday we thought it'd hit Corpus and now it's set on Houston.

Which leads to why I'm watching Ike closely. Mustang's family lives in Houston. Of course weather nerd DIL called them yesterday and emailed them today to check if they're ready.

Looks like Ike also will travel through Dallas as it weakens. Bummer! Of course we're traveling to Oklahoma this weekend, so we'll miss the storms. Boo.

One final note: I'd like to say that 2008 has been the weirdest year for hurricane names. Bertha? Dolly? Ike? Do these names denote the concern that they should? My favorites are later down on the list...Sally, Teddy and Wilfred.

The funniest is Marco, which to me, connotes the game "Marco Polo." Correct me if I'm wrong, but I seem to remember the game was played with one person being "it." Whoever was "it" would yell "Marco!" and the people running away would yell "Polo!" I also remember playing the game only in a swimming pool.

Future Hurricane Marco will be over water, moving toward people who are running away from it...is this some lame joke made by a weather nerd at the National Hurricane Center?

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Back on the wagon

Weight Watchers wagon, that is.

My life can be sorted into three phases:
  1. When I'm on WW
  2. When I'm not on WW (which does not equal I'm staying the same weight - no, no, it means that I'm gaining weight)
  3. My life before WW (aka birth - age 12)
I've been on the wagon since we moved to Dallas in June. The good news? I've lost 20 pounds. The bad news? So, so much more to go.

We all have our vices. Our battles. Cue "Everybody Hurts" by REM. My battles have always been my weight and my happiness, and the two are - and will always be - related.

There are days I curse that my battle is visible. You can't identify an alcoholic in a lineup (well, most of the time). But you know just from looking at me when there's been change or stress in my life. Being the natural introvert that I am, I HATE that.

There are days I curse fighting with food, because we need food to live. Going cold turkey will never be an option.

But lately I'm trying to reconcile my weight struggles. God has made me who I am, and God doesn't make junk. Some of my "fruits of the spirit" are very well-developed and lovely, just poor lil' ole "self-control" needs some fertilizer.

I've decided said fertilizer is more prayer along with WW. I've been having quiet time in the mornings, and one day a devotional asked, "What are you holding back from God?" I knew instantly the answer was "my body." In the years I've been a Christian and have known I should surrender all of my life to Him, I've never surrendered my body.

I could go deeper into this thought, but this is already getting deep enough.

In the meantime, I just wanna say I decided to blog about this because I'm serious enough to ask the prayerful readers out there to keep me on their hearts. Maybe it can provide some accountability, too. I don't often blog about personal struggles because I like my blog to be a positive creative outlet. However, I realize that sweeping my weight struggles under the rug means ignoring who I am. After 30 years of specializing in "under the rug sweeping," I can say I'm a pro at it, and that, um, it doesn't work too well.

All the previous times I've been on WW it's been for vanity. Now it's for my health, for my future children and so that I can live many good years with Mustang.

This time I want it to be different. This time I want it to be the last time.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Favorite Dallas radio station

Ah, time for a few posts about life in Dallas. Let me tell you about my favorite radio station here. This former pom-pom girl is in heaven.

The station is called Movin' 107.5. Their slogans? Music that makes you feel good. The best of today and your schooldays.

Here is a sample of their playlist:

Thriller
Anything by Madonna
Big Poppa
Jump Around
Anything by Fergie
Can't Get You Out of My Head
Humpty Dance
Anything by Beyonce
Brass Monkey

My only request is they stop playing "I'm Your Baby Tonight" by Whitney Houston. Ick.

One of their best things? "The Burn," an hour-long remix of high-tempo music for working out. They do this every night at 6:30 p.m. Has this motivated me to work out during The Burn? No. But I keep thinking that I should.

Seriously, this is a major highlight of my life in Dallas. I'm not sure what that says about the overall quality of life in Dallas...

But YaYa Stacy, who lives in Fort Worth says, "How can you have a bad day when you start your morning drive listening to 'Can't Touch This?'"

Well said, Stacy. Well said.

Friday, September 05, 2008

What brings me back?

This crap.









Seriously, people. Even down here in Texas, I hear that Oklahoma's NBA team was officially named Wednesday as "OKC Thunder." As a weather nerd, of course I think this is cool. Then I get online to see the logo. My reaction? What all PR/advertising/marketing people must have said:

"No, noo, noooo!"

Please tell me it doesn't look eerily similar to the Centennial Logo.






Please tell me we didn't rip off New Jersey's logo. I mean, of all the states to copy, New Jersey?






And most of all, please tell me we didn't use, what a fellow PR friend calls, "state agency blue."












Seriously, people. Please don't tell me that Oklahoma finally gets its own professional sports team and we make a logo that looks like this.

My only hope is that an internet rumor is true - that a PR firm was hired and created some cool logos, but, as that same friend calls them, the "old white guys" thought they could design a better logo.

If that rumor is true, then I have two things to say:

1. To the graphic design/ad guy who poured his heart, soul & hours of his life into a wasted design: Buddy, all your PR peeps have got your back. I mean, hey, if it can happen to a guy who's designing an NBA logo, it can happen to anybody. And it has. Haven't we all been there?

2. To the Thunder owners: please, please get a new logo. Quickly.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Mexico hiatus before returning to work world

Well, kids, I have good news, and I have bad news.

The good news is that I'm going to Mexico tomorrow through Sunday.

The bad news is that I start work Monday. (Okay, that's not bad - it's good. I got a job. Yay! Just boo for returning to the work world after a lovely break since March.)

Yep, I'll be on hiatus for a few days while me and the Ya-Yas go on another trip. This time we're going to Guadalajara, Mexico. BTW - don't worry about Hurricane Dolly (and you're probably not - just me, the weather nerd); Guadalajara is on the Pacific coast. So the hurricane won't affect us.

Guadalajara is home to Ya-Ya Amy, whose husband works there temporarily. They've been there since Dec. 2006 and his job is finished this December, so we thought we should see them before they go. In addition to Guadalajara being home to Amy, it's also home of mariachi bands and tequila manufacturing (see the plant on the right). We'll also do some good shopping at the town market. I'm hoping to find some great silver/pottery/etc. for the house. Most of all, I'm looking forward to seeing the Ya-Yas, getting refueled/inspired by them (as I always do), and seeing Amy fluently speak Spanish with the locals.

But come Monday....not only I am I back in the states, but I head back to work. Yes, I FINALLY got the job I posted about. The proverbial chicks hatched. While I've enjoyed not working since March (oh, I have), I seriously am looking forward to working again, for several reasons:
  • I need more creative outlets. I am bored. Yet somehow, still have not "found the time" to hang the art in our house.
  • I'm afraid if any more time passes, I'll get rusty at Photoshop/InDesign, etc.
  • A paycheck.
  • Meeting new people.
  • Getting another perspective of Dallas. So far, my perspective has been around the house & shopping (too much shopping) in the suburbs. Need a good grasp on the City of Dallas, itself. And professionals.
  • Not wasting away the day in scrub pants or t-shirts. Wearing my pretty clothes again. So far, they have only come out at church or dinners out.
  • The job itself. I really approached this job-hunting-round prayerfully (a first, I admit). It wasn't my prayer that I find a job...but that I find the place where I can serve God the best. And I have a really good feeling about the people & the organization. They're big on community outreach, so I thought that was a great sign about their philosophy.
  • Did I mention a paycheck?
  • Oh, and having my own health care benefits that aren't on Mustang's plan. Getting good benefits almost rivals getting a paycheck again.
So I probably won't blog again until late next week, but stay tuned...I have entries planned about my favorite Dallas radio station, post pics of my wreck in May (no, I hadn't forgotten), feeling old at the movies, a mystery photo game to play with you, interesting alcohol laws in Dallas, and rejoining Weight Watchers yet again.

Monday, July 21, 2008

"I'm melting! I'm melting!"

Perhaps the Wicked Witch of the West actually lived in Dallas.
Texas is considered part of the West, right?

Weather forecast this week:

Today: 102
Tomorrow: 103
Wednesday: 101
Thursday: 99
Friday: 99
Saturday: 101
Sunday: 101

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Dishwasher Watch: Day 39

So most everything in our move to Dallas has been very smooth - except one small detail. Our dishwasher doesn't work.

Well, it works - it just also forms a lake on our kitchen floor during its cycle.

When we first moved in, we were good little tenants and meticulously checked every detail of the house (former renters, remember that checklist where you indicate previous damage so you don't get charged for it later?). We ran the dishwasher. Thankfully, Mustang was smart enough to suggest letting it run a full cycle. We came back 15 minutes later to Lake Kitchen.

So...here's where it gets complicated. We're renting, right? Well, our landlord (the homeowner) actually uses a property management company. So we never deal directly with our landlord - just the property manager. Thankfully, the PM is REALLY nice, and we could tell he was very professional. So if something goes wrong, we call PM - he calls the landlord - and then the ball gets rolling.

But wait - there's more! Landlord also has a home warranty. This kind of works like health insurance for your home. So anytime there's a problem in the house (i.e. dishwasher), she pays a flat "copay" for the repairs - regardless of the repair cost. So that's one other step. After PM consults LL, then they consult the home warranty company. And then home warranty company contacts a repair dude.

So you can imagine this has been a long process. We got three visits from repairmen, trying something new each time. On the last visit, the repairman claimed "he had done all he can do" and called the dishwasher's time of death. Which yay, means we probably get a new dishwasher - but just have to keep waiting.

Finally, new dishwasher arrives this morning from Sears. But the Sears guys are puzzled by how the old dishwasher is connected - they say it's something they've never seen before. And they don't want to touch it. They recommend we get a plumber. So I've called the PM and this process continues...

Sorry, mother earth, we've been using a lot of disposable plates, cups & plasticware during this time. In a trade-off, I'm considering buying those permanent grocery sacks to reuse everytime I go to the grocery store.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Job hunting is not fun

So, I've been job hunting a while now. I applied for my first job on May 30, so you do the math. I've applied in higher ed, of course (the field I've been in a while), school systems, even health care stuff and non-profit.

Out of 8 applications:
2 denials,
2 interviews,
and the rest are in a big black hole.

Why is job hunting so friggin' hard? Aside from shopping for a new swimsuit, nothing else makes you feel so crappy about yourself.

"What's wrong with me? Is it my cover letter? My resume? Do I come across too confident? Too weak?"

Sigh.

And the resume thing is always interesting....1 or 2 pages? Should I give past job descriptions, or give examples of projects at those jobs?

But I think the hardest part of job hunting is: waiting for a job you really want VS. the panic of being unemployed. Basically, not settling for a job just because the economy is crappy and you need money STAT.

The first example of this is applying to jobs that don't even say what the company/organization is....they just have some vague "top Dallas company seeks PR professional" listing on a website, and you're supposed to email your resume to some stranger at crazyman@crazy.org. I'll admit, I've applied to those in the past. This time around, not anymore. Because applying to those listings is how, as I've learned, one winds up in a "group interview" for a pyramid scheme to sell bottled water.

The other example of the job quandary is when you're actually blessed enough to get an interview...and while you're in the interview, hearing that little voice in your head that says "hmmm," proverbial red flags, etc, etc. This dilemma, I think, is even tougher, because you're so close to getting a paycheck, why back out? Uh, back out, sister, because you should trust that little voice.

The latter is something I recently experienced. I had a job interview a few weeks ago that just didn't settle right with me. I thought about it over the 4th of July, and prayed about it, and finally took the courage to email them and withdraw my name. It took guts. But I'm glad I did it. Thankfully, I have a spouse who can pay bills while I'm turning down jobs - and supported my decision.

Thankfully, I *think* I have a lead. On the same day as my odd interview, I also had a great one. I felt comfortable, laughed, met nice people, noticed my future office would have....A DOOR! (gasp!) They've already called my references and are now doing my background check. Anyway, they've called me a couple of times to tell me they're still doing the paperwork and to check that I "haven't been lured away by someone else." Yay.

So I'm pretty sure I'll get a job soon, but don't wanna count my chicks until they hatch. But please hatch soon, little chicks. Hatch soon.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

One more thing

I'm not always a fan of the Lolcats (I think it's the grammar Nazi in me disliking the intentional misspelling), but this one is too cute.



Maybe I'm also partial because I like Hot Pockets.

An out-of-state (not out-of-body) experience

Have you ever slept at a hotel or a friend's house, and when you wake up in the morning, you've forgotten where you are?

I had a similar feeling yesterday. Except I had the feeling as I was leaving Walgreen's.

Mustang LOVES Walgreen's. I tell him we should get some stock in it. When we were first dating, I noticed everything in his house was from there - toilet paper, light bulbs, snacks, everything. And he's a big believer in generics, so everything was even the Walgreen's brand.

So we run out of Advil, and of course, he suggests I run up to Walgreen's. And while there, could I also pick up some contact solution, a birthday card, V8, some wasp spray, and an ankle brace?

This is part of the allure of Walgreen's: despite being relatively small, they carry an odd variety. Sometimes the variety is VERY odd, i.e. homemade pralines, singing alarm clocks, and light-up dice all at the check-out counter.

Anyway, the Walgreen's here is built identically to the one by our OKC house. Faces the same direction to the intersection, same age, the aisles are laid out the same, etc. I spent about 30 minutes in there and got acclimated.

The weird feeling was, walking out, I completely expected to see the intersection of 122nd and May - see the bank with the JumboTron sign, the Blockbuster, the ritzy shopping center with Jamba Juice and J.J. Kelly.

Instead, I faced the intersection of NW Highway and Jupiter - and I see a Burger King, a Lowe's, and a Popeye's chicken. And a whole bunch of people waiting at the bus stop.

It was like I forgot I was in Dallas while I was inside Walgreen's and then was suddenly transported back when I exited the doors. It was a very strange feeling. I realize I felt the same way leaving Target a few days ago.

Just an observation that I don't know my way around the city yet and I find comfort in the familiarity of Target and Walgreen's.

Gratitude for the simple things.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

The PR nerd in me eats this stuff up...

Wal-Mart changed its logo on July 1. Article on MSN. What does Wal-Mart's new logo mean?

Which brings me to a thought...if I ever go to grad school (sheah, right)...AND get a master's degree in PR...I would totally do a thesis on Target's evolution-of-cool. Remember 1980s Target? On the same level as Wal-Mart. Now they're worlds apart. So interesting to me.

Personally, I think a lot of Target's success was from adopting a mascot, Bullseye, the "Target DOOOOG!" as commercials would announce him at the end.

I mean, look, he's workin' the red carpet.










They've made him into a cute & cuddly toy.










Yep, Wal-Mart has no hope until a mascot is created. Hmm....What would that mascot look like?

Monday, July 07, 2008

There was a young lady with too many shoes...

I've been meaning to post this for a while. A lot of blogging ideas are floating around in my head, but they've been postponed until much of the house was settled. Now it is. =)

Anyway, as we were unpacking at our new house in Dallas, for the first time, I had all of my shoes together. None in storage; none at my parent's house. The gang was finally all together. And as I put them into our master closet (which has wonderful little cubby holes for shoes), I realized that, when on display, there sure a lot of them. So I decided to count how many I own...

I own 51 pairs of shoes!

Okay, okay, let me post a disclaimer. This count includes:
  • cheap foam flip-flops,
  • tennis shoes,
  • boots (not cowboy, of course, but winter ones),
  • as well as standard shoes of the strappy, loafer, flat or pump variety.
So laughing hysterically, I told Mustang the shoe count.

Mustang did not find it so funny.

To soften the blow, I chose to divide & conquer. The shoes are now stored as follows:
  • Current season shoes (including cheap flip-flops) are in the master closet.
  • Special occasion shoes (ones with rhinestones, or ones that really hurt or have über-high heels but look so good) are under the bed.
  • Boots and out-of-season shoes are in the guest closet.
I also donated two pairs to Salvation Army. Of course, when we packed in OKC, I donated a few pairs there to Salvation Army. So, pre-packing, the shoe-count was actually higher.

I'd also like to say, although I have a lot of shoes, in my crazy rationale, it's not that bad because just a few are expensive. Most are from Target or DSW (a.k.a. the mothership).

Some are from Nine West. And Naturalizer. And Dillard's...But none are of the Carrie Bradshaw variety.

Finally, I vowed to Mustang not to buy another pair of shoes for six months.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Lizards!?!

Months before moving to Texas, I found a great web forum for moving. It was tremendously helpful to read about Dallas geography and neighborhoods, especially to know which ones to avoid for safety. =) It got to be so helpful that by the time we started house-hunting, when Mustang & I drove to Dallas, I already had a grasp on the lay of the land. The GPS told us a street was behind us, and I argued it was in front of us. I was right! It was awesome. And, quite frankly, a bit freakish to Mustang, who has NO sense of direction.

Anyway, that web forum often discussed some quirks of Dallas. I'll give you some examples: 1) it's very common for houses to have foundation problems because of the recent drought. This is true. EVERY rent house we saw, including the one we now live in, have cracks in the walls and/or ceiling. 2) the bugs are very large in Texas. Also true. I saw a dragonfly last week that could've been from the Jurassic Era.

But nobody, no one told me that there are LIZARDS here! I like to garden and I am okay seeing the occasional snail or worm, but lizards? I've discovered I have quite an aversion to them.

Lizard #1 was spotted when we first moved in, near the garage. He was green, about four inches long, and ran UP the wall from the hedges (which we need to trim soon, and I am so afraid now of encountering green lizard family).

Lizard #2 appeared Thursday. I was on our back patio, and our landlord/home owner had left behind a cute terracotta outdoor clock/thermometer hanging on the wall. Yall know I'd dig the thermometer, right? ;-) Anyway, the clock's time was off, so I lifted the thing off the wall to see if I could change the battery.

See something gray moving.

It's about six inches long.

Toward my hand!

Instinctively (or, perhaps, more like a crazy woman), I THROW the clock about four feet from me to the ground. It never even crossed my mind that concrete was there, and I'd break the clock. All I knew was a lizard was about to crawl on my hand.

Mustang is also on the patio at this time, and looks at me, puzzled, when I do this.

Mustang: "You just broke her clock!"

Me: "Lizard!"

And the best part - upon landing, the lizard scampers into the garage. Where we do our laundry. We have not seen him since.

Well, that's a nice incentive to not let the laundry pile up on the washer.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Settin' up the Texas homestead

Oh my gosh, I can't believe I haven't checked my blog for this long. Amy and C, I'm sorry I missed happy hour. Sheesh. And I could've used some tasty beverages & good conversations that week. Moving was stressful.

The good news is, we landed in Dallas on June 8. Much of my blog absence was due to an internet absence. This was thanks to a crazy, crazy man who tried to install our cable/internet/phone and screwed up so badly that his supervisor had to come over twice afterward to repair. Seriously. CRAZY man. The man told Mustang he's been declared insane - twice.

Which begs the following questions:
1) why tell a stranger that you've been declared crazy?
2) if this man was truly crazy, why is he working for the cable company?
3) do we tell the cable company that their employee is crazy? Mustang's reply: "Hell, no! Do you want to get stabbed?"

Thankfully, we did not get stabbed, and the crazy man did not fall through our ceiling, which was another great fear after he told us that "he's had a bad month - he's fallen through ceilings three times this month."

The second half of my blog absence was due to an upcoming visit from the in-laws. Yes, they were planning to visit us in Dallas. Within two weeks of us moving in. So I was in a mad rush to look like the gracious hostess/decent daughter-in-law. In truth, it was a good thing, because we all know that I have a tendency to procrastinate. Hey, I'm a journalist. I live on deadlines. That's my excuse.

So now much of the house is unpacked, but the in-laws wound up canceling their trip that very morning because 2 out of 5 came down with bronchitis. So the visit is rescheduled for July. I am pleased. Now we can host people at our house with curtains, not boxes, covering our windows.

Anyway, I now have my precious internet again (which I missed terribly during the tomato/salmonella outbreak - when did that happen, exactly, anyway?) And thank goodness Dayna texted me about Tim Russert, or else I don't know when I would've learned about that.

I have many things "Texas" to post about. Will be back soon.

Monday, June 02, 2008

SOLD!

WE SOLD OUR HOUSE FRIDAY!!!

On Thursday, we got an offer that was really, really low. Mustang & I weren't too optimistic about it because it was SO low. As you know, in early May we had negotiated on an offer that started low, and the contract fell out. So, once bitten.....

We decide to try to counteroffer anyway and submitted a number we thought was probably too high for the buyers, but would give us "wiggle room" to negotiate one more time and bring it down to the final price we'd live with.

BUT, the buyers took our first counteroffer!!! We couldn't believe it - and I think our realtor was surprised, too.

So, we close on our house July 1. The only catch is the contract is pending on THEIR house closing, but they've already sold, passed inspection & got it appraised, so our realtor thinks that's no big deal. Please pray it all works out!!

We are so thrilled that we don't have to live in Dallas while our OKC house is still on the market. And we can pack like normal people, with boxes in our house and pack up anything we want! This is SO much better than than last week, when I was trying to pack things that were only in cabinets, but still keep the house clean & "staged" in case we had a house showing that day (which was typical).

Overall, I think we've had 20 showings, and about 5 people saw our house more than once. One girl came three times and her last showing took two hours! Seriously, WHAT was she looking at??? I don't know....but I can promise we have valuables locked, so that made me feel better. The irony is, she isn't the person who bought the house!

Anyway, thanks to everyone for your prayers & encouragement during all this! Total time on the market: about 35 days! Not bad at all!!!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

It's officially summer

My nephew Justus would like to announce that summer has begun. These are his 6-month pics.


I'm not sure what's cuter here:
his little muscle shirt & jams,
or that you can see Mom & Dad's hands helping him stand.

Monday, May 26, 2008

The new abode

Time to share pics of our new house in Dallas. It will be our new home on June 8.

Yesterday, as Mustang & I were landing at the OKC airport, the flight attendant announced:"If OKC is your final destination, welcome home."

Mustang looks at me and says, "Home for only 2 more weeks!"

Whoa. Pang of sadness. I can't believe we're finally moving - it's a deadline that has loomed for soooo long, and now that it's here, it's just surreal. I seriously think I'm in denial. Maybe it's because we're already planning to come back to OKC on June 14, so I don't think I've mentally cut the ties.

If I really acknowledge my feelings, it's bittersweet. Poor Mustang is so sensitive that if I mention that I'm sad to leave, he takes it to mean I don't want to leave. Not so. I'm excited for us. I believe Dallas will be a new chapter in our lives, and it holds new adventures & possibilities ahead. But, I think, it's also normal to feel two emotions about it - excited for the future, but it hurts to let go.

Mentally, I need to focus on the adventures awaiting us. God has already brought me a lot of extraordinary surprises in my life, and they've been better than anything I could plan. So I know he'll continue to do so, and need to pray for patience while they unfold.

Anyway, here are a few pics of our new house. There were better ones posted online of the living room & backyard, but they're already taken down. Dang. So these are the ones I took to remember details of the house. Not too sexy, but you'll get the gist.

The outside

The kitchen - sorry for the closeup; I wanted to remember the countertop.

The guest room

This will be our office.

The master bedroom

The master closet. Look at the lovely home for shoes.
It also has a great backyard with lots of roses, a covered patio, and a greenhouse! And it has two living areas, so we'll use one for the TV & one as a library/sitting area because it has built-in bookshelves.

Oh, and it has a wine cooler (the owner works for a wine distributer). Mustang & I aren't that into wine (only the sweet dessert stuff), so I guess we'll keep bottled water & cokes in there.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Headin' to Houston, house news, AI observation

This will be a pretty long post, cause I'll be out of town this weekend. Mustang & I are flying to Houston tonight because it's his dad's 70th birthday. We're throwing him a surprise party tomorrow, and I admit I've been a little worried if surprise party + 70-year-old don't mix, i.e. cause too much surprise and induce a heart attack. Thankfully, he has no heart conditions so I think it will be okay, but if you're the praying type, pray for a good surprise, in every sense of the word "good."

Looking forward to seeing nephews. Oldest nephew's voice is changing right now. I tell Mustang that we should savor every visit with him, because right now he thinks we're cool, but any day now he could become a teenager who thinks we're so not cool and doesn't want anything to do with us. Hopefully that day will never come, but just in case, I always make an effort to be extra good to him because time is precious.

Also - great news: we FINALLY signed a lease for our rent house in Dallas! Long story short, it was the first house we saw. I have a problem that when shopping, a find something perfectly acceptable but I am convinced I still need "to shop around," then usually return to original find. Alas, the house was this way, too. Anyway, pics coming.

Finally, I have been dying to blog about the following comparison since the American Idol finale earlier this week. First though, HOORAY that David Cook won. Although I was a big fan, I was convinced David A. would win because of the judges' comments (which I agreed with - Cook was off that night). Thankfully his dreamy eyes and previous performances helped build him a devoted fan base.

Anyway, my observation is this: Carrie Underwood performed, which yay for our fellow Oklahoman, but I noticed her outfit resembled an outfit worn earlier in the season by another guest performer:


Not sure if this was Carrie's intention or not. Hmmm.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Thank God for friends

Last weekend, after I picked up my car from Dallas, I continued my travels north to God's country - Stillwater.

I had a weekend scheduled with two of my best friends from college, and even though I was tired from the hassles of Dallas, I knew I would be glad I made the trip.

These days, visits with the girlfriends (the "Ya-Yas," as we affectionately call ourselves) are fewer and far between. We live in five different states and two countries. Four of us have master's degrees; all of us work either full or part time. All are married (me being the last). We have five children among us and one on the way.

It's amazing to think back to a time where we shared rooms, shared trips to the grocery store, spent nearly every waking moment with one another. We brushed our teeth together, took one another to the hospital, pulled all-nighters, cried together. And of course, did countless goofy things together, like wrap another's car with saran wrap or drive by boy's houses just to see if their car would be outside (which helps explain why we didn't date a lot).

And now to think we go months without seeing eachother. Sometimes, months without talking, too.

I wish the future me could visit the college me. I'd tell her to stop studying so much. Definitely stop stressing so much. And to relish in all those moments with the girls that seemed so small, but now the mere thought of them bring tears to my eyes.

Eight years later, here we are, all grown up. I'm immensely proud of my friends. They have chosen wonderful men as their life partners and fathers for their children. They have exciting and successful careers. They travel, they volunteer, they take classes for fun. They are always on a quest to improve themselves. The only downside to all of these journeys is that they make it more difficult to keep in touch, but at least the reason it's hard to stay in touch is because all of our lives are so fulfilled.

So, back to Stillwater, where I spent time with J and her precious princess of a daughter, who is 19 months and loves to wear high heels and can identify and say the sounds of farm animals. She is her mother's daughter. I don't know if I found more joy in watching her child, or in watching my old friend who's become as a fantastic mother.

I spent time with my sorority Big Sister, who has gone through tremendous health challenges in the past three years, but still teaches business to high school students through Junior Achievement. She is the very definition of grace - grace through pressure, grace with mean people, grace despite getting dealt a bad hand that she didn't deserve, and never letting it get her down.

And even though we don't see one another much, that's okay, and here's why: one weekend with my friends fills my heart and revitalizes me enough to last weeks. I spend time with them and the world makes sense again. My priorities get back in order. Most of all, I'm filled with such gratitude for them and for the God that gave them to me.

There are too few times in life we're brave enough or jolted by our emotions (i.e. knowing a death is coming) to let down our guard, be completely transparent and tell our truest, deepest feelings to people. That's too bad. Because when we do that, it's incredibly freeing and beautiful. Several years ago, when I lived in DC, I was part of a group therapy session that lasted nine months. At our last session, we were asked to look at each person and tell them what we learned from them and what we admired in them. It was an incredibly powerful experience because, 1) it felt very unusual because we, as people, never do this, and 2) we could honestly confess our gratitude and not feel cheesy, worried about rejection, or whatever. It was AMAZING. What if we, as society, did that more often? How would we feel? How would others feel? Would it change the world?

Anyway, this is a very long post to say that I am deeply, deeply thankful for my friends. They challenge me. They make me want to be a better person. They open my eyes to the goodness in this world. They give me love, friendship and support that I never knew existed before college - and now that I've been in the "real world" for eight years - know you can't find that often.

How do you say thank you in a way that's appropriate for these feelings? How can you emphasize thank you enough? A blog is probably one of the most ineffective ways. So I will work earnestly and pray hard that I talk to them more often. Because I admit, I'm one of those people who doesn't keep in touch like I should. And that's too bad, because I have so much I want to tell them.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Crazy times

Sorry I've fallen off the planet for a while. As many who know me would agree, when I get stressed, I tend to get withdrawn/seek solitude, and indeed I've done that.

And in times of stress, I get forgetful. Done that, too. On Tuesday, I drove all the way out to Piedmont for Bunko, and when I got to the house I was confused since no one was there. Proceeded to call fellow Bunko member and friend Dayna, who gently chuckled and said, "Bunko's next week."Then went to Walgreens with a prescription bottle on Wednesday - and the pharmacist says, "Uh, this isn't us" - the prescription was instead from Albertsons.

Why the stress? Well, in my last post, we had a contract going to sell our house and I was heading to Dallas to find a rental house. Since then, well, let's take it a day at a time:

Monday: last post, drive to Dallas that night
Tuesday: house contract fell through, had wreck in Dallas*, got rental car, found a cute rent house
Wednesday: took Mom in for outpatient procedure, hid from tornado
Thursday: took Dad in for outpatient procedure, scared after having nightmare he died during the surgery (of course he didn't)
Friday: I think I napped a lot, and been napping a lot since then

But on the positive side, this Monday, we found out we got approved for our rent house in Dallas. So yay! And photos are coming so you can see what it looks like. Turns out it's not one of the earlier houses I blogged about.

And we've had four house showings this week, and one is coming back tonight for a second showing (a good sign).

*Tonight, I think we're driving back to Dallas to stay the night & pick up my car from the body shop in the morning. Obviously, there's more to the story here - having a wreck that required my car to stay in the body shop for a week & a half, and I am now driving a rental Ford Focus. Don't worry, the story is coming. Photos too. Involving a semi.

Wish me better luck in Dallas this time.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Quick house update

I'll try to put this weekend in a nutshell.

The offer Friday on our house was lower than we wanted - by about six thousand dollars. So we counter offered Friday afternoon. I just got a call that the buyer then counter offered this morning, and we've just now counter-counter-counter offered. Our realtor says the buyers should take it because it's so close, so maybe in the next few hours we'll have sold our house.

In Dallas, we wound up seeing eight properties and driving by five. Why? Because after our original five we saw in the morning, we were so disappointed, we got online found a few more and kept looking. So we saw our 1st house at 10 a.m. and the last house at 9 p.m. We got back into OKC at 2:30 a.m. Of course, I was so tense from the day, that I didn't fall asleep until 4 a.m.

We have two top choices in Dallas, but are very tempted on one of the "drive-bys", so.....I think I'm going back to Dallas tomorrow to look at our top choices again (which happen to be the first and last house) and the drive-by. I'm bringing a camera, our completed applications, and prepared to get a money order while I'm in town so we can apply for whichever we choose.

Whatever we decide in Dallas, I can report our new zip code will either be 75214 or 75218.

I'll keep you posted!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Oh. My. Gosh.

I can't believe this as I'm typing...but this could be one HECK of a weekend.

Our realtor said we'll get an OFFER on our house tomorrow!

and

We're going to Dallas Friday/Saturday to look at two rent houses!

Trying to not get too excited. "An offer" doesn't mean it will be an offer that we want, and the Dallas houses may not work, but I just have to give a moment of praise for what will be a very EXCITING weekend, in the least.

I'm sure you're thinking, "What?? That was fast!" So lemme back up a bit:
  • Friday: house goes on market
  • Sunday: first showing
  • Monday: hear from realtor that lady from first showing was single and worried about the safety of apartments near our house. Well, if two streets away counts as "near," whatever. On a good note, she said she looked at several houses in the neighborhood and ours was the cutest of them.
  • Tuesday: while we were at the Kanye West concert (which was a 6.5 of 10 - another post), we had a showing.
  • Wednesday: In the morning, I find two Dallas houses online that meet our criteria and set up appointments to see them Saturday. In the evening, Tuesday's people come back for a second showing.
  • Today: At approximately 2:15 p.m., I couldn't wait any longer and called our realtor. He said the people are working up an offer and we'll see it tomorrow!!!
So, our plans this weekend were for me to pick up Mustang from work tomorrow and drive to Dallas, where we're staying at the Westin (thanks, Priceline). But now we may need to come home before leaving town TO POSSIBLY SIGN PAPERS!! Ahhhhh!

I'll keep you posted!!! In the meantime, telling myself, "Be cool. Be cool."

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Watco II: The Before & After

Here's my attempt at showcasing the miracle product I shared earlier. Photos don't do it justice. My digital camera isn't too good.

Anyway, all of these are in our master bathroom.






Sunday, April 27, 2008

First showing today!

We had our first house showing this afternoon. Mustang was on call, my mom was over helping me do a few last projects in the house, and we got a call at 2 p.m. that a person wanted to see the house at 3:30.

Quickly, mom & I scurried like little mice, since we were mid-project, and I was too frantic to think straight. Our wonderful realtor gave me some great advice to make a "showing" checklist, because when I get a call, I'll be so excited & panic, and it will be hard to remember everything. That was SUCH great advice, because indeed, I was like a chicken with its head cut off. Thankfully the handy checklist helped. A few of the obvious items:
  • Make bed
  • Wipe down bathroom vanities & toilets
  • Wipe down kitchen sink
  • Open blinds to let light in
  • Turn on lamps
  • Turn on soft music
The list also includes getting out items that come out only for showings:
  • New, fluffy towels in both bathrooms
  • Light candles (all are Yankee Candle Clean Cotton scent)
  • New soap dispensers in bathrooms
  • Chocolate in candy dish at entryway (with red wrappers to match the decor - and as I type this, I realize I've officially gone Lt. Intenso* if I've shopped for red-wrapped chocolate)
Our realtor also suggested to store/secure all valuables, bills and prescriptions. Interesting.

And, I store away Mustang's CPAP, which he wears as a mask every night to prevent snoring/sleep apnea. I'm sure people would wonder what the heck this weird mask machine is on our nightstand.

We leave at 3:15 and I return at 4. Mustang got there a few minutes before me and said the people were still at the house, so he had to circle the neighborhood for a while. So I'd like to think them taking 30 minutes is a good sign.

I planned with my realtor that I'd call him every Tuesday to get feedback from the showings. I can't wait.

*"Lt. Intenso" was my nickname in college for when I got really stressed out. I was lieutenant and my sorority big sister was sergeant, which now I realize is backward...

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Before & after

Well, these are the best before & after shots I have.

The outside...
(granted, photo 1 was in winter, photo 2 in spring. )
The kitchen...
(Please ignore us dressed in costume for a murder-mystery party).
But notice the bad navy floral wallpaper is gone!...

Friday, April 25, 2008

We're on the Market!

As they say on Designed to Sell on HGTV...

"Let's sell this place!"


THANK GOD this day has finally arrived!!!

Pray for lots of interest! I'll post before/after pics soon!!!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

So many movies...so little time

Believe it or not, one of my first clues that Mustang & I were destined for eachother was that he subscribes to Entertainment Weekly. Seriously. My maid of honor even referred to this in her wedding toast. I guess when I called her to gush about our first date, I must have mentioned it.

(Aside from Entertainment Weekly, which I learned about during my first phone call with Mustang, another clue of destiny was that he had a large collection of Calvin & Hobbes books, which I noticed the first time I saw his house.) A doctor who enjoys Calvin & Hobbes? I mean, really, does it get any better?

Anyway, I digress...the point of this post is how excited I am for summer movies. A couple of years ago, I finally figured out that:
Winter movies = Oscar attempts
Summer movies = Fun

So, this week's Entertainment Weekly previewed the whole summer (and featured a cover with Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones - sigh). I will quickly summarize my faves & their opening dates:
  • Chronicles of Narnia - May 18
  • Indiana Jones - May 22
  • Sex and the City - May 30
  • Get Smart - June 20
  • The Love Guru - June 20
  • Wall-E - June 27
  • Hancock - July 2
  • The Dark Knight - July 18
  • Step Brothers - July 25
  • The Mummy - Aug. 1
I also want to see Forgetting Sarah Marshall, which is already out.

Finally, I predict I also will see the following movies this summer, unless Mustang has some boys' nights:
  • Iron Man - May 2
  • Speed Racer - May 9 (please, someone take him to this)
  • Incredible Hulk - June 13
  • Tropic Thunder - Aug. 13
Oscars? Bah! Bring on the CGI! Bring on the risqué comedy! Bring on the fun!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Happy Earth Day!

Save the planet for this cute kiddo and all the others...



Go to HGTV.com for easy ideas you can do at home...change your lightbulbs, recycle, etc.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Miracle product

We had major drama at our house yesterday with our tile contractor...I'll share it with you soon, but I just don't have the energy today. As a teaser, I'll just say that there are now a few blood drops on our carpet by the tile.

So...instead, I'll post a positive note. I HAVE to share with you the BEST thing I've enjoyed while prepping this house to sell (well, aside from creating a house that causes pride, not embarrassment, if someone wants to come over).

Our real estate agent recommended this great product called Watco to cover the scratches on our cabinets, baseboards, etc. IT IS FABULOUS. Seriously, it looks like we have new cabinets in our kitchen.

It costs about $8 for a can, but it's lasted the whole house + extra for later. You can buy it at home repair places in the wood stain aisle. It comes in three shades. We use the darkest.

Tip: be sure to wear gloves when using it, and open up some windows. The fumes aren't great - but the results make up for it!

Off now to Watco the master bath...I think some before & after photos may be in order...