Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year's Eve!

What are your plans tonight? My plans:

Clutch a box of Kleenex
Take 3rd dose of Dayquil
Drink hot chocolate
Cut and assemble cheese for a cheese and crackers tray
Blow nose
Cook a pizza
Listen to Modern Warfare being played in the background while I nap
Wake up in time to watch Ryan Seacrest and the ball drop

GO ME!!!!! Hope yours is a fun and safe as mine will be!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New Year's Resolutions / 2010 Goals

This week, I am working on my 2010 goals for my work I thought, why not do ALL life while I'm at it?

So, my dear BFFs on the blog (a new acronym of BFFOTB?), is my attempt at improving my life. And I am only picking six. For the whole year. Leo Baubata explains why here:

1. Increase contribution to our 401(k) from 10% to 11% of pre-tax earnings, and maintain monthly contributions of 5% after-tax to cash savings and increase our emergency fund.

2. Commit to walking 5 minutes on the treadmill 4 days per week.

3. Wake up earlier on work mornings so I am not so rushed.

4. Be more sweet, and less irritable, towards my hubby.

5. Make 2 new couple-friends (4 people) who live nearby and who I get to know well enough to have over for movie night.

6. Go on one cool vacation trip, sitting in Business Elite.

What are yours? And are you making 6 SMART goals?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Back at work

Luckily, today is only a 3-day week for me so I am definitely not complaining about being back at work. But I will say that our "Second Honeymoon" (after being on our own for 5 days with each other and nothing else official to do) made it difficult to get back at it today!

Jeff decided to quash boredom by catching up on yard work which I (of course) neglected during his 2+ months away from home. I didn't think the yard looked that bad. And, it is giant enough that even after a full day's work, it looks BETTER but not finished yet. However, I think if Jeff tries to pick up the leaf blower again today, his arm might fall off.

Also making it difficult for both of us to focus and have fun on our own - this stupid cold we caught during said honeymoon. DayQuil and water are working hard to thin out the junk today for me, but I still think it sounds much more fun to sit at home under a blanket, nap, play Band Hero, and watch Million Dollar Listing on tv.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Baked Salmon idea

For your next fancy dinner try this one. It tastes amazing but is super easy!

Mix in one bowl:
2 T butter, melted
2 T Honey Dijon mustard

In a separate bowl combine:
2 T dry bread crumbs
2 T chopped pecans or walnuts
2 t dried parsley

Brush 2 salmon filets with the butter mixture, then sprinkle with the dry mixture.

Bake in a greased, square glass pan for 15 minutes at 400F. Fish should flake in the middle (it's ok to underbake a little).

Let me know how it turns out! And the omega-3s totally balance out the butter :)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Christmas from Atlanta!

Well, Jeff and I did not make it back to SD due to the blizzard of '09, and flight loads / cancelled flights.

Santa realized we never left home and visited us here in Georgia! He brought us new toothbrushes, a 2-person card game, a puzzle, a Nerf gun, and Band Hero for Xbox 360!

Jeff's mom also mailed a few gifts to us before Christmas and we are so grateful for them! My favorite is my new Minnetonka Moccasin slippers - they are wonderful, and these new ones really let me know how worn out my old ones were.

Christmas dinner was a success - we tried our first holiday meal and the most stressful part was using our really old, super-small oven, and remembering where we unpacked all of the things we don't use very often (roaster, electric knife, meat thermometer, wire wisk)...

Our dinner of roasted chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans, and buns was delicious. We even made our chicken leftovers into tacos, which is a perfect way to reheat slightly dried out meat.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Home for Christmas?

Thank you, mother nature, for messing with our plans...still tbd if SD is on the books for us...

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Get Shiatsued

Merry Christmas to us! Well, even if it wasn't Christmas we would have upgraded...

When my back was out really, really bad (as opposed to just kinda bad now), my mom bought me a shiatsu back massager just like theirs at home. We got it at CVS and it worked great.

BUT - today when we started buying Christmas presents (yes, started), we saw (and tried out multiple times) this:

It is more cushy than the older model, plus has 2 simultaneous zones of motion, plus it vibrates, plus it goes way high up on your shoulders and neck, plus it is wonderful! And now it is mine.

Jeff is breaking it in now, but it shall be my turn soon. Mwahahahaha!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Minor procedure, plus food thing

I had a little procedure done on my face today. Not Botox or Restalyne (not yet anyway) - I had a benign cyst removed from my jawline. It appeared during the summer and has just never quite healed - turns out it would have never healed if it hadn't been cut out. So I am home today with a swollen face, some pain meds, and a ginormous bandage on my cheek. Cute, huh? At least Jeff and I will (most likely) get the Christmas letter done and mailed!

There is no segue to the next topic so I will just say it: if you haven't tried it already, buy some Boar's Head Blazin' Buffalo Chicken and Baby Swiss the next time you are at your local deli. Put it on some bread, add ranch, and throw that puppy on a panini maker; serve with pickles, carrots, and celery. Or, add to the meat and cheese some lettuce, tomatoes, red peppers, miracle whip and then put it all on a Sundried Tomato Flat-Out wrap (look in your deli). I like to serve with Garden Salsa Sun's delish!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Merry Christmas

Our tree is up! I was planning to take pictures of our house decorated up but haven't gotten around to you just get the news that it's all done.

On a bummer note, our awesome light-up snowman (yes you can have snowmen in Georgia) has a head that refuses to light. So now we are the creepy house with a headless snowman.

Happy Holidays anyway

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Lovin me some Vancouver!

Some suppliers I just love - like one of my new peeps in Vancouver. Look what they sent me as a Christmas thank-you! Can't wait for the Olympics!!!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Catholic Church gives D.C. ultimatum on social services

Loving relationships, good. Marriage, great. Same-sex marriage, controversial. The Catholic church taking away soup kitchens, BAD. Can't we meet in the middle somewhere? Ugh.

The Catholic Archdiocese of Washington said Wednesday that it will be unable to continue the social service programs it runs for the District if the city doesn't change a proposed same-sex marriage law, a threat that could affect tens of thousands of people the church helps with adoption, homelessness and health care.

Under the bill, headed for a D.C. Council vote next month, religious organizations would not be required to perform or make space available for same-sex weddings. But they would have to obey city laws prohibiting discrimination against gay men and lesbians.
Fearful that they could be forced, among other things, to extend employee benefits to same-sex married couples, church officials said they would have no choice but to abandon their contracts with the city.

"If the city requires this, we can't do it," Susan Gibbs, spokeswoman for the archdiocese, said Wednesday. "The city is saying in order to provide social services, you need to be secular. For us, that's really a problem."
Several D.C. Council members said the Catholic Church is trying to erode the city's long-standing laws protecting gay men and lesbians from discrimination.
The clash escalates the dispute over the same-sex marriage proposal between the council and the archdiocese, which has generally stayed out of city politics.

Catholic Charities, the church's social services arm, is one of dozens of nonprofit organizations that partner with the District. It serves 68,000 people in the city, including the one-third of Washington's homeless people who go to city-owned shelters managed by the church. City leaders said the church is not the dominant provider of any particular social service, but the church pointed out that it supplements funding for city programs with $10 million from its own coffers.

"All of those services will be adversely impacted if the exemption language remains so narrow," Jane G. Belford, chancellor of the Washington Archdiocese, wrote to the council this week.

The church's influence seems limited. In separate interviews Wednesday, council member Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3) referred to the church as "somewhat childish." Another council member, David A. Catania (I-At Large), said he would rather end the city's relationship with the church than give in to its demands.

"They don't represent, in my mind, an indispensable component of our social services infrastructure," said Catania, the sponsor of the same-sex marriage bill and the chairman of the Health Committee.

The standoff appears to be among the harshest between a government and a faith-based group over the rights of same-sex couples. Advocates for same-sex couples said they could not immediately think of other places where a same-sex marriage law had set off a break with a major faith-based provider of social services.

The council is expected to pass the same-sex marriage bill next month, but the measure continues to face strong opposition from a number of groups that are pushing for a referendum on the issue.

The archdiocese's statement follows a vote Tuesday by the council's Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary to reject an amendment that would have allowed individuals, based on their religious beliefs, to decline to provide services for same-sex weddings.

"Lets say an individual caterer is a staunch Christian and someone wants him to do a cake with two grooms on top," said council member Yvette M. Alexander (D-Ward 6), the sponsor of the amendment. "Why can't they say, based on their religious beliefs, 'I can't do something like that'?"

After the vote, the archdiocese sent out a statement accusing the council of ignoring the right of religious freedom. Gibbs said Wednesday that without Alexander's amendment and other proposed changes, the measure has too narrow an exemption. She said religious groups that receive city funds would be required to give same-sex couples medical benefits, open adoptions to same-sex couples and rent a church hall to a support group for lesbian couples.

Peter Rosenstein of the Campaign for All D.C. Families accused the church of trying to "blackmail the city."

"The issue here is they are using public funds, and to allow people to discriminate with public money is unacceptable," Rosenstein said.

Rosenstein and other gay rights activists have strong support on the council. Council member Phil Mendelson (D-At Large), chairman of the judiciary committee, said the council "will not legislate based on threats."

"The problem with the individual exemption is anybody could discriminate based on their assertion of religious principle," Mendelson said. "There were many people back in the 1950s and '60s, during the civil rights era, that said separation of the races was ordained by God."

Catania, who said he has been the biggest supporter of Catholic Charities on the council, said he is baffled by the church's stance. From 2006 through 2008, Catania said, Catholic Charities received about $8.2 million in city contracts, as well as several hundred thousand dollars' worth this year through his committee.

"If they find living under our laws so oppressive that they can no longer take city resources, the city will have to find an alternative partner to step in to fill the shoes," Catania said. He also said Catholic Charities was involved in only six of the 102 city-sponsored adoptions last year.
Terry Lynch, head of the Downtown Cluster of Congregations, said he did not know of any other group in the city that was making such a threat.

"I've not seen any spillover into programming. That doesn't mean it couldn't happen if [the bill] passes," he said.

Cheh said she hopes the Catholic Church will reconsider its stance.

"Are they really going to harm people because they have a philosophical disagreement with us on one issue?" Cheh asked. "I hope, in the silver light of day, when this passes, because it will pass, they will not really act on this threat."

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Jeff's back! And a funny joke

Jeff's back!!!!!!!!!! Got home about 10:30pm after a stop at Chick-Fil-A, a long drive, and rainy 40-degree weather - he must feel like he's back in Atlanta! And now for your reading pleasure, this is too funny not to share...


Lesson 1: A man is getting into the shower, just as his wife is finishing up her shower, when the doorbell rings. The wife quickly wraps herself in a towel and runs downstairs. When she opens the door, there stands David, the next-door neighbor. Before she says a word, David says, 'I'll give you $800 to drop that towel.' After thinking for a moment, the woman drops her towel and stands naked in front of David... After a few seconds, David hands her $800 and leaves. The woman wraps back up in the towel and goes back upstairs. When she gets to the bathroom, her husband asks, ' Who was that?' 'It was David, the next door neighbor,' she replies. 'Great,' the husband says, 'did he say anything about the $800 he owes me?'

Moral of the story: If you share critical information pertaining to credit and risk with your shareholders in time, you may be in a position to prevent avoidable exposure.

Lesson 2: A priest offered a Nun a lift. She got in and crossed her legs, forcing her gown to reveal a leg. The priest nearly had an accident. After controlling the car, he stealthily slid his hand up her leg. The nun said, 'Father, remember Psalm 129?' The priest removed his hand. But, changing gears, he let his hand slide up her leg again. The nun once again said, 'Father, remember Psalm 129?' The priest apologized, 'Sorry, Sister, but the flesh is weak.' Arriving at the convent, the nun sighed heavily and went on her way. On his arrival at the church, the priest rushed to look up Psalm 129. It said, 'Go forth and seek, further up, you will find glory.'

Moral of the story: If you are not well informed in your job, you might miss a great opportunity.

Lesson 3: A sales rep, an administration clerk, and the manager are walking to lunch when they find an antique oil lamp. They rub it and a Genie comes out. The Genie says, 'I'll give each of you just one wish.' 'Me first! Me first!' says the admin clerk.. 'I want to be in the Bahamas , driving a speedboat, without a care in the world.' Poof! She's gone. 'Me next! Me next!' says the sales rep. 'I want to be in Hawaii , relaxing on the beach with my personal masseuse, an endless supply of Pina Coladas, and the love of my life.' Poof! He's gone.. 'OK, you're up,' the Genie says to the manager The manager says, 'I want those two back in the office after lunch.'

Moral of the story: Always let your boss have the first say.

Lesson 4: An eagle was sitting on a tree resting, doing nothing. A small rabbit saw the eagle and asked him, 'Can I also sit like you and do nothing?' The eagle answered: 'Sure, why not.' So, the rabbit sat on the ground below the eagle and rested. All of a sudden, a fox appeared, jumped on the rabbit and ate it.

Moral of the story: To be sitting and doing nothing, you must be sitting very, very high up.

Lesson 5: A turkey was chatting with a bull 'I would love to be able to get to the top of that tree' sighed the turkey, 'but I haven't got the energy.' 'Well, why don't you nibble on some of my droppings?' replied the bull. It's full of nutrients.' The turkey pecked at a lump of dung, and found it actually gave him enough strength to reach the lowest branch of the tree. The next day, after eating some more dung, he reached the second branch Finally after a fourth night, the turkey was proudly perched at the top of the tree. He was promptly spotted by a farmer, who shot him out of the tree.

Moral of the story: Bull Sh#t might get you to the top, but it won't keep you there...

Lesson 6: A little bird was flying south for the winter. It was so cold the bird froze and fell to the ground into a large field. While he was lying there, a cow came by and dropped some dung on him. As the frozen bird lay there in the pile of cow dung, he began to realize how warm he was. The dung was actually thawing him out! He lay there all warm and happy, and soon began to sing for joy. A passing cat heard the bird singing and came to investigate. Following the sound, the cat discovered the bird under the pile of cow dung, and promptly dug him out and ate him.

Moral of the story:
(1) Not everyone who sh#ts on you is your enemy.
(2) Not everyone who gets you out of sh#t is your friend.
(3) And when you're in deep sh#t, it's best to keep your mouth shut!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Wells Fargo, much love

I sat down to pay my bills tonight and got a panic-inducing surprise - after logging into online banking I discovered my mortgage payment had not automatically gone out on the 1st like it was supposed to.

And today's the 7th. Yikes!

I immediately called the WFHM 800 number to find out what was going on. I was super worried because for 2010 our property taxes went up (I thought we lived in the South and that meant low taxes!) and therefore our payment went up - we have been paying extra every month toward principal and I wanted to keep that nice round number of extra rolling so I changed the amount, supposedly effective January 1st.

Michael in customer service explained to me something happened on their end that made it skip the Dec payment when I changed the amount for January - nothing that was my fault but they were so grateful I caught it early! The just went ahead and processed my payment manually over the phone, no harm - no foul. And here I was worried that I was late. Ha!

I still love my mortgage lender. Thanks Wells Fargo and Michael and MeChelle!

Decorating -almost- done!

When you have specialists in your midst, it is best to use their talents the best of their ability (no that does not make me a user).

Since my mom is here helping me guess what else she is doing - you got it! Decorating my house for Christmas.

Everything's up but the tree! Nativity, outdoor decorations (we put them on the insides of the windows), my dining room, living room, kitchen, and office are all done...woo hoo!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Some days suck

I love my new job. LOOOOVE it. It's super fun and exciting and I get to meet tons of people and go to places I normally would never visit (Birmingham anyone?).

But I do not like the part when I go to the trouble of building relationships, getting to know someone, working on a deal with them, and then not being able to give them my business.

I know, I know, it is my job to get a bunch of bids, work a deal, and then only pick one of them. But it sucks for the losers, and for me to have to explain why they are losers. It makes me feel bad for them and in turn ruins my mojo.

Hopes and dreams crushed for the day? Check. Time to go home.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Mom's home!

So instead of whining about how sore my back is today, I am instead praising the fact I have the form of my very own momma coming down from SD!

I need someone to unload and reload the dishwasher, do laundry, go grocery shopping, pick up a little, help get Christmas decorations out...pretty much anything domestic and requiring a bendover or stressed lifting, I need help with.

Yahoo! Relief in the form of parental love and roll-on Biofreeze is on the way!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Not Your Typical Blonde Joke

An Irishman , a Mexican and a Blonde Guy were doing construction work on scaffolding on the 20th floor of a building.

They were eating lunch and the Irishman said, 'Corned beef and cabbage! If I get corned beef and cabbage one more time for lunch, I'm going to jump off this building.'

The Mexican opened his lunch box and exclaimed, 'Burritos again! If I get burritos one more time I'm going to jump off, too.'

The blonde opened his lunch and said, ' Bologna again! If I get a bologna sandwich one more time, I'm jumping too.'

The next day, the Irishman opened his lunch box, saw corned beef and cabbage, and jumped to his death.

The Mexican opened his lunch, saw a burrito, and jumped, too.

The blonde guy opened his lunch, saw the bologna and jumped to his death as well.

At the funeral, the Irishman's wife was weeping. She said, 'If I'd known how really tired he was of corned beef and cabbage, I never would have given it to him again!'

The Mexican's wife also wept and said, 'I could have given him tacos or enchiladas! I didn't realize he hated burritos so much.'

Everyone turned and stared at the blonde's wife. The blonde's wife said, 'Don't look at me. The idiot makes his own lunch.'

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


It's official - it sucks to throw your back out. I cannot sit, stand, walk, or lay down for more than 30 minutes at a time without something hurting. And, did you know, bodily functions are more uncontrollable when spasming occurs? I have also had those "Issues" all day.

And I couldn't get shoes on this morning, so I am wearing sandals in 54 degree weather.


Glee not till April????

What the F??????????

Dec 9th is the last wonderful GLEE episode until April on TUESDAY nights after the new year.

Seriously, it was so cruel to make me wait a WHOLE SUMMER until airing more episodes - PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, FOX - will you air the season as a whole sooner? I mean, the talent is cheap, comparatively, and you have your hungry fans waiting!


Monday, November 30, 2009

Back from Vaca

Well, made it back from our Black Hills Vacation / Hartman Thanksgiving / 5th Wedding Anniversary Celebration...

I took the day off to recoup and finish traveling and guess what happened...leaned over to pick up some of my junk at home and W-ratch! My low back went WAY out of place.

I physically yelped when it happened - and with no one around to hear my cries, that's how you know it's bad.

I went to the chiro in the afternoon (and of course to the allergy clinic for my bi-weekly shots), and am now home "resting" with the help of Domino's, mass ibuprofen, and the drink of champions - Lord and Diet Coke. I will either feel better soon or pass out trying.

Wish me luck at the desk job tomorrow. Seriously, it could suck.

UPDATE: Having difficulty with bodily functions and pain in low back synching up. I either need to stop being in pain or stop processing food. Anyone able to relate?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Made It!

Back in SD at last. After my 6:20am flight from Atlanta and a connection in MSP, I have finally made it back to one of my homes - Rapid City. Jason picked me up from the airport and now we are just waiting for Jeff to arrive from Aberdeen and having a good ol' lunch at where it all began - Qdoba.

I say "where it all began" because many of our first dates (which I didn't consider dates for a very long time, like maybe until this year) happened over burritos and nachos at Qdoba.

Don't judge us - we were in college! No steak, wine, and roses for matter how far - or not far - we go in life, you can't change your beginnings.

And what great beginnings those were - after almost 5 years of marriage I still like the guy. And we can still be content with a date at Qdoba.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The day before vaca

I love and hate the day before vacations. Here's why - instead of getting increasingly excited for a trip as it is coming up, I instead get freaked out by all of the things still on my plate that need to get done before I go...

Saturday, November 21, 2009



Yes, it's true. Our exterminator came for his quarterly visit today. Junebugs that look like roaches to me, you have nowhere to hide.

Bella and Maddie are each playing with some kind of wasp-y things that are not quite flying anymore, and I have spotted a turned up scorpion in the corner.

Regular maintenance on household items makes me happy when the results are so obvious and immediate.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Cleaning Authority

As most of you know, Jeff is the neat and clean one in the relationship. Therefore, during his absence, the house has become a bit of a disaster zone. Not bad, by my standards, but he would flip seeing all the shoes I have not put away.

And, he is also the one that vacuums regularly. Since I just can't quite get up the gumption to do it, or sweep or mop or anything else, imagine my thrill when direct marketing arrived on my doorstep:

"Life's too short to clean your own house."

I freaking couldn't agree more. And I would totally spring to get a deep cleaning done before he comes back as a nice surprise, cuz seriously, I would pay a lot of money to get it done once by someone else and take total credit for it.

I tore that direct marketed brochure open like nobody's business and immediately went to the website. Once there, to get a free estimate for someone from The Cleaning Authority to clean my house, I had to put in my zip code. And was surprised to see this message:

"Unfortunately, we do not have a location in your area at this time. However, we are continually expanding our locations across the country. The Cleaning Authority may have franchise opportunities available in your area. Click here to find out more."

Seriously???? So not only was this brochure DIRECT MARKETED to ME - MY NAME, at MY ADDRESS and ZIP CODE and the service IS NOT AVAILABLE IN THIS ZIP CODE, but to add insult to injury they think I totally want to reverse course and instead of paying someone to clean my house, I just might want to buy a franchise instead to earn the right to clean a bunch of other people's houses.

What? This story is probably really funny, if I hadn't been so excited by the prospect of this cleaning service.

Instead, I am seriously irritated by this. And calling Merry Maids.

Monday, November 16, 2009

This time, Pittsburgh

Any idea what it will be like? Anyone? Heading out tomorrow and sooooo not ready for it...I don't even have my appointments booked for Wednesday...lame, huh?

So, I looked at my calendar and figured out I have been gone a good portion of each work week for over a month. I am jonesing for 2 complete weeks at home, with Jeff, and the kitties. Not likely to happen until after Christmas, I'm afraid.

On the upside of life, a major project that I was handed ("new responsibilities" as a result of a downsized department, but I'm not complaining, don't get me wrong) about a week ago has been launched and put out to bid. I worked on it majorly all week last week, and this weekend - hopefully I will get some really awesome responses and "prove" to the business unit that my group, and myself in particular, is here to help, not hurt or dictate anything, and we can actually get them better deals than they could on their own. We shall see!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Crock Pot deliciousness

This weekend's treat:

3 chicken breasts
1 packet of taco seasoning
1 jar of Mrs. Renfro's Peach Salsa
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can green chilis

Throw it in the crock pot on low for 6 hours and you there you have it! You can eat it over rice, in a taco shell, or shred the chicken and eat it plain. I plan on doing all 3.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Could it get any redder?

Just when I thought I had seen it all in Georgia...I went to Alabama.

Ok seriously, it wasn't that bad but it just blows my mind that I live in the south and am fortunate enough to go to exotic cities like Birmingham.

On a kind of neat note - the Tutwiler Hotel had a photo gallery of historic Civil Rights moments captured in Birmingham. It's still hard to believe that the movement was not that long ago when the world is such a different place now.

Totally changing gears, but I am kind of sick of not having a husband or friends down here. I tried to get a date to the Twilight "New Moon" premiere next week but so far have been rejected by everyone I asked so far. Apparently their schedules are much busier than mine. Boo.

Any thoughts on how to make friends in a new city? Ok, maybe not even friends but just a movie buddy? Craigslist? (Just kidding!!!)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Happy Birth Day

Shout out to Anna, Jed, and little Owen who was born yesterday 11/10 and weighing in at 8 lbs, 3 oz and 20.5 inches long. YAHOO!

Also, for those that care, got my H1N1 shot today at my asthma doc's office. Whew.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Live from's Baby P

Ok, maybe not *quite* yet...but I am very much thinking of my good friends Jed and Anna in Florida as they await Little Owen's Birth Day!!! Can't wait to see photos.

Also, tonight I went to the airport and spent a little QT with my old friend Barry and his brother Dan, who stopped through ATL enroute to South Dakota. We only got to catch up for about an hour but it was totally great to see old friends' faces!!!

Off to hunt wasps in the house (nothing ever dies here, I swear, and it MUST be time for the exterminator again).

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Back from Copenhagen

The whirlwind of activity called my-life-for-the-past-2-weeks is over. I got back from Copenhagen on Friday (yes I was only there a day and a half, not including the 19 hours enroute and back), after my week in DC last week, and have pretty much spent the entire weekend recouping:

- I had NO food in the house (ok, Easy Mac but that's it) so I went grocery shopping yesterday.

- Ran out of deodorant while on the road and have been using Jeff's extra Old Spice (it's dorky, but it makes me miss him more now that I smell like him, kind of). Target stop is next, sometime today. UPDATE: It is 7:30 pm and I have not made it out of the house yet. Oops.

- Got my hair cut and colored and brows tinted and spent WAYYY too much money, accidentally of course (when you keep saying yes to services somehow the bill goes up).

- Plucked said tinted eyebrows. When they are not super blonde it is much more obvious how negligent I've been.

- Nearly ran out of gas after the haircut on Saturday and stopped to fill up.

- Caught up on my reading list of blogs after 2 weeks' absence.

- Petted and played with my kitties like crazy! They don't like parental absence.

- Painted my nails dark purple.

- Got addicted to new smut reality shows: Tabatha's Salon Takeover, The T.O. Show, Dr. Drew's Sex Addict Recovery show, Million Dollar Listing. Most of these will (thankfully) be over before Jeff returns. He will never know they are on the Season Pass (except if he reads this).

Lamest weekend ever? Only if you think being lame is looking beautiful and jamming out to the new Glee soundtrack (which arrived while I was gone).

Saturday, October 31, 2009

One week in DC!

Well, I am back home after a whirlwind week in our nation's capitol. And - here is a surprise - Jeff came back home for the weekend too! We have not done much today except napped, caught up on some tv programs, caught up with each other, and ordered a pizza.

Notice what's missing? Trick or treators. I bought all this candy and we have not had the doorbell ring ONCE. BOOOOO. Literally~

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Garth is back!

I thought I had missed my chance when, over 10 years ago, I chose to stay and cheer on the Monarchs to a playoff victory to be in the football state championships (we lost), instead of attending a Garth Brooks farewell concert in Sioux Falls.

So when I read this article today, I was thrilled!!! Another trip to Vegas is totally in order because Garth just signed a 5-year deal to play at the Wynn!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Another post about Glee...I Heart Mark

In case you don't have enough kick ass reasons to tune in Wednesday nights - here's what you've been missing:

His rendition of Neil Diamond's Sweet Caroline made me feel all warm, fuzzy, and happy inside. Take 2 minutes and fall in love.

For the record, Youtube can eat up hours of your life. Also, rush out and buy the Glee Soundtrack Nov 3rd. NEW MOON plus GLEE plus 5th anniversary plus Thanksgiving at the cabin..................November 2009 may be perfect!

Shots, work, kitties

Since it seems like this week flew by without me realizing it, I am recapping it here.

1) Got my flu shot. The regular seasonal flu one, but even that was no small feat. My asthma and GP docs were out with no sight of getting more, as were the 12 other places I called. Turns out the same day my lovely boss-ola told me there was a clinic at work. Go figure. (Lots of stress for naught.)

2) Kept the house picked up. TOTALLY not my forte. I like to leave shoes everywhere. At least Jeff did not see my misbehavior. (Sorry honey.)

3) Played with the kitties, fed them, and in general loved them. I stayed up until midnight some nights to ensure they got some human interaction because I feel uber guilty about leaving them last week, leaving this coming week, and leaving again the week after.

4) Decorated for Halloween. Most of the decos were out but I finished.

5) Worked like a mad fool. In reference to my previous post about procrastination...

6) Paid bills, read 2010 benefits literature, and enrolled. It SEEMS like I spent a lot of time learning all the different medical plans (seriously, it changed a lot for us merged folks), when realy it was only about 4 hours total and in the grand scheme of decisions, I put a lot more time into other less-important purchases.

7) Grocery shopped. Only for a couple things, and mostly to pick up Halloween candy. I don't want the stores to be out of candy on the day of Halloween like they were last year and we were the dumb house that could only give out Nerds.

8) Laundry. Jeff, you're right, the new Washer and Dryer kick ass. Is it sad it has taken me 6 months to realize how great they are?

9) Cleaned out my car. Empty Gatorade bottles and makeup strewn about does not a good professional image make. Although it IS a Sunfire so it is almost sacrilegious to keep it up to an almost 30 year old's standards - it wants to be treated like an 18 year old's palace of freedom.

10) Had dinner with my neighbors...ahhh! What a week.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Crack Spread

Ok, because I am tired of hearing snickers during various supply chain update meetings, and because the inner chemical engineer in me occasionally wants to burst out, I hereby dedicate today's blog to the 2-minute education of "crack spread".

It is probably not what you think it is - a plumber, a janitor, someone starring in a "special" film.

Really, the term is derived from the pricing difference between crude oil, and the products made by "cracking" the hydrocarbon bonds.

This pricing difference has a lot influencing factors and can be manipulated for gain or loss in many ways. In the world of futures trading and hedging, traders and refineries may sell the contracts owned of specific products while buying others, either trying to hedge their risk or turn a profit.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Health Care Take 2

Ok, so I just thought of something else - if doctors performed less "defensive medicine", ie less tests and treatments for unnecessary items like a brain scan for a broken arm, does that mean that healthcare workers would be laid off?

Probably. But who knows how many.

Dear Mainstream Media: please show me the start of where I can find all of the numbers and studies and opinions I need to make an informed decision on what I think should be changed about healthcare. Please. Please. This is much more important than Jon Gosselin's latest love fling.

Oh, and for all who continue to comment on my blog: MWAH! Love you, many kisses!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Procrastina-shun and a little health care rant

I am such a freaking procrastinator. Ok, not really. It's more like things take way longer than I ever intend them to and my day just slips a way.

Does that I ever happen to you? Your best intentions of having a full and productive day are totally thrown off track by people, places, things (yes, nouns) that are out of your control and all of a sudden you think CRAPPERS!

As a totally unrelated tangent, I am still not sold on this health care thing. Because seriously, figuring out a way to get everyone insurance coverage, be it private or public or a combination therof of options, does not tackle the other issue whatsoever - health care costs have risen astronomically since the 90's. As a matter of fact, had health care costs ticked along at a respectable 5-7% increase year over year, the average American worker would have been able to recoup $XXX (insert crazy increased amount) in their salary instead of their employer paying their healthcare premiums. You will have to check here to find exact numbers -

Chew on that for a second. Instead of the Taco Bell on your lap which will send you to the doctor eventually.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Pheasant Country

Today I am back home - my home home, in SD - and have a moment's quiet. As quiet as can be anyway, with the punctuation of shotguns in the distance.

The guys from Canada - 18 of them I think - rolled in to the farm a couple hours ago. They travelled all this way in what looks to be a really posh motor coach (not a motor home but more like one of those old-people charter bus things). Hopefully, they have fun, although I have heard they will need to "earn their birds" this year since the corn is still in the fields (so the birds will be spread out instead of congregated) and it is soooooo muddy and wet.

I love this time of year in this part of the country. The air is crisp, the dogs are barking, the house smells like chili and pumpkin bars, the fields are ready to be harvested...nothing says HOME to me more than this.

Sigh. Too bad I am leaving tomorrow, but I am extremely grateful to be here today.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Nort DaKOHta

Tomorrow is my big trip to FARGO!!!! Can't wait to see my super awesome lifetime friends, Emily and Marne, after I get there. I have a day and a half of work to do upon arrival but I guarantee I will not just work - we will have fun once we meet up!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

My favorite kids books

I am excited to see the "Where the Wild Things Are" movie. Anyone who knows me, knows I love to read, and have always loved to read, and indeed spent a lot of my childhood "play" hours reading a book rather than sniffling from allergies outside.

So in honor of my childhood, here are some of my favorite kid's books ~

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Cendak
Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
The Little Engine that Could by Watty Piper
The Berentein Bears!
Love You Forever by Robert N. Munsch (remember mom? "love you forever, like you for always...")
Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish
All Babysitters Club books by Ann M. Martin
Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner (yea boxcar stew!)
Nancy Drew books
The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlin
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell
Ramona Quimby, Age 8 by Beverly Cleary
Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar

Compiling this list today was totally nostalgic - like remembering old and very beloved friends.

Ok compadres - what did I miss off my list? And what are your favorites?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Great Georgia Airshow

Well, it's after 7pm and we have just spent the past 7 hours outside at the Great Georgia Airshow! We drove down to Peachtree City earlier today, rode a cheesebox shuttle around noon to Falcon Field, and watched some pretty awesome aviation feats.

Jeff is going to assist me in remembering everything we saw - even with the program we bought about all I know is we saw a lout of loud, fast, and really acrobatic stuff!

My favorite act was called the Red Eagle Biplanes - I swear they almost crashed into each other a few times - on purpose.

We also saw demos of an
- F18 Hornet Strike Fighter which moved so fast it vaporized the water droplets in the air and was soooo noisy
- a Harrier jet that moves like a hovercraft and takes off like a helicopter
- a A10 Thunderbold Warthog which simulated bombing and shooting the crowd
- a Black Hawk helicopter
- lots of WWII vintage aircrafts
- and a little plane that landed on the world's smallest airstrip - the top of a moving pickup truck.

We had a ton of fun, spent more money than we meant to, and came home with a sunburn in October!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Another food post

I am loving this pretzel crisp and hummus combo for my lunchbox:

Today I have the roasted red pepper and it is some of the best hummus I've had (except for the kind at the Israeli restaurant on the east bank of the University of Minnesota campus. Amy, remember your falafel experience??? hahahaha)...

The coolest part it they are individually compartmentalized so as not to take up a lot of space. Very handy. (But not very environmentally friendly. I know. I am a walking contradiction in more ways than one.)

Just be careful not to drop the whole thing on the floor before you open it, or let it rattle around your purse - the pretzel crisps will break.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Baby carrots

Did you know that baby carrots are just regular carrots cut to a convenient size? I wonder how wasteful that is.

Oh, and the Twins won last night. I only hope they are not slaughtered tonight (6pm EST on TBS).

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Thoughts in Detroit

The Detroit Free Press has a lot to talk about.
Or at least they SHOULD!

1) Cabrera comes home drunk, beats up wife, goes 0 for 5 with the
title on the line (ok the last part is how I hope it goes tonight)

2) Rick Porcello has it all riding on his young shoulders tonight.
Seriously, let me tell you what other 20 year olds are doing with
their lives. It ain't national tv, that's for sure (and the amazing
race doesn't count)

3) Brett Favre in purple. What a game.

4) Michigan State beat Michigan which was crazy.

5) Chrysler's new Italian CEO will finally ditch Dodge cars (my
prediction only). After spinning off the Dodge Ram to be its own bad
ass self, names like Avenger will disappear. (Because seriously, name
one time you have even seen this car being driven around. I didn't
think so.

Oh, and today I am at my new allergy and asthma doctor. They told me I
had met my deductible (big surprise) but am able to pay my 20 percent
today, which I fully anticipate being upwards of $400. And that is
WITH my good insurance coverage - so why so expensive in the first
place??? Please, Mr President, do something!

Sent from my mobile device

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Rally cap

Tigers lost 8-0 and the Twins won...put your rally caps on!

Friday, October 2, 2009


I love baseball. Not in the I-have-watched-every-game-and-know-every-stat way, but in these ways:

1. My team is the Twins, and I love them always. No matter what.

2. I enthusiastically watch the Twins play when possible although I don't see probably more than 5 or 6 entire games a season (and I bet that will change now that we're southerners). But, I could pick out the FSNorth sports announcers voices from anywhere.

3. I also love watching little kids play. And high schoolers. And college. And amateur. Any team. Any time. Softball, t-ball, or baseball.

4. Baseball games mean at least one hot dog and a Fun Dip. Who doesn't love that?

5. I will watch just about any team in person if I have tickets. And this weekend, we DO!!! To the Braves game :) Look for me on TV!

That being said, keep your eyes on the Twinkies this weekend: To earn the division outright, this weekend the Twins would have to sweep the Royals while the White Sox would need to sweep the Tigers at Comerica Park. To force a one-game tiebreaker for the division title, the Twins would have to sweep Kansas City and Detroit would have to lose two of three, or Minnesota would need to win two of three and have Chicago sweep the Tigers.

Start SING-ING...we're gonna win, Twins, we're gonna score. We're gonna win, Twins, watch that baseball soar! Crack out a home run, shout a hip-hoo-ray! CHEER FOR THE MINNESOTA TWINS TODAY!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Shopping success

Ok, for those of you who don't know NeNe - she is one of the Real Housewives of Atlanta in a tv show on the Bravo channel. Sorry for the obscure pop culture reference (I forget you all are not as crazy as me).

We also had a VERY successful trip on Saturday - 1) Chipotle, 2) Ecco shoe store, 3) real live couture shopping mall.

Ok, number 3 was surreal and fascinating and a little disturbing. I mean, who can HONESTLY afford any of that stuff? It's just supremely impractical in my opinion. I mean, yes there is a difference in quality, which I am glad to pay for, between Walmart clothing and Ann Taylor, but do you really get that much better quality at Michael Kors that warrants a price increase equal to that of a small car? I doubt a pair of pants will last as long as our Jeep has.

But I is the kick butt work boot Jeff got and is very excited about:
He's ready for harvest!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Skirt, flirt, blurt, kurt

For the first time since my wedding day - coming up on 5 years in November - I am wearing a skirt. (Plus dangly earrings and a scarf, but I've been known to sport those regularly.)

Here's why: today we are going shoe shopping in Buckhead, land of NeNe and the other Housewives of Atlanta. Ever seen it on Bravo? Nuff said. I am stepping up my game.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Is my tush more important than the environment?

I am not really sure why I am on such a conservation kick - perhaps when you grow up on a farm, surrounded by things growing, and have an awareness that it's your livelihood, you just have an "understanding" with Mother Nature that you will do your best to protect her as well as turn a profit at the same time.

So when I came across the below article yesterday, I immediately groaned as my conscience whispered naughty reprimands to me - because soft tp and zero break-through double rolls are KEY to my happiness at home. Ok, see here, I will endure BOTH of those atrocities at work and in public places, but my home is my castle, (er, throne?) and one of the cheap ways I feel like I can pamper myself.

However, my ignorant blissful state has been shattered. For who knew that old-growth forests were being sacrificed for my own heinie?

On our next Target trip we will buy a recycled variety and test run it versus my favorite Quilted Northern double rollm, and let you know the results.

(Caution! It's a longer article!) From the Washington Post yesterday:

There is a battle for America's behinds.

It is a fight over toilet paper: the kind that is blanket-fluffy and getting fluffier so fast that manufacturers are running out of synonyms for "soft" (Quilted Northern Ultra Plush is the first big brand to go three-ply and three-adjective). It's a menace, environmental groups say -- and a dark-comedy example of American excess.

The reason, they say, is that plush U.S. toilet paper is usually made by chopping down and grinding up trees that were decades or even a century old. They want Americans, like Europeans, to wipe with tissue made from recycled paper goods.

It has been slow going. Big toilet-paper makers say that they've taken steps to become more Earth-friendly but that their customers still want the soft stuff, so they're still selling it.
This summer, two of the best-known combatants in this fight signed a surprising truce, with a big tissue maker promising to do better. But the larger battle goes on -- the ultimate test of how green Americans will be when nobody's watching.

"At what price softness?" said Tim Spring, chief executive of Marcal Manufacturing, a New Jersey paper maker that is trying to persuade customers to try 100 percent recycled paper. "Should I contribute to clear-cutting and deforestation because the big [marketing] machine has told me that softness is important?" He added: "You're not giving up the world here."

Toilet paper is far from being the biggest threat to the world's forests: together with facial tissue, it accounts for 5 percent of the U.S. forest-products industry, according to industry figures. Paper and cardboard packaging makes up 26 percent of the industry, although more than half is made from recycled products. Newspapers account for 3 percent.

But environmentalists say 5 percent is still too much. Felling these trees removes a valuable scrubber of carbon dioxide, they say. If the trees come from "farms" in places such as Brazil, Indonesia or the southeastern United States, natural forests are being displaced. If they come from Canada's forested north -- a major source of imported wood pulp -- ecosystems valuable to bears, caribou and migratory birds are being damaged.

And, activists say, there's just the foolish idea of the thing: old trees cut down for the briefest and most undignified of ends. "It's like the Hummer product for the paper industry," said Allen Hershkowitz, senior scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council. "We don't need old-growth forests . . . to wipe our behinds."

The reason for this fight lies in toilet-paper engineering. Each sheet is a web of wood fibers, and fibers from old trees are longer, which produces a smoother and more supple web. Fibers made from recycled paper -- in this case magazines, newspapers or computer printouts -- are shorter. The web often is rougher.

So, when toilet paper is made for the "away from home" market, the no-choice bathrooms in restaurants, offices and schools, manufacturers use recycled fiber about 75 percent of the time.
But for the "at home" market, the paper customers buy for themselves, 5 percent at most is fully recycled. The rest is mostly or totally "virgin" fiber, taken from newly cut trees, according to the market analysis firm RISI Inc.

Big tissue makers say they've tried to make their products as green as possible, including by buying more wood pulp from forest operations certified as sustainable. But despite environmentalists' concerns, they say customers are unwavering in their desire for the softest paper possible.

"That's a segment [of consumers] that is quite demanding of products that are soft," said James Malone, a spokesman for Georgia-Pacific. Sales figures seem to make that clear: Quilted Northern Ultra Plush, the three-ply stuff, sold 24 million packages in the past year, bringing in more than $144 million, according to the market research firm Information Resources Inc.
Last month, Greenpeace announced an agreement that it said would change this industry from the inside.

The environmental group had spent 4 1/2 years attacking Kimberly-Clark, the makers of Kleenex and Cottonelle toilet paper, for getting wood from old-growth forests in Canada. But the group said it is calling off the "Kleercut" campaign: Kimberly-Clark had agreed to make its practices greener.

By 2011, the company said, 40 percent of the fiber in all its tissue products will come from recycled paper or sustainable forests. "We could have campaigned forever," said Lindsey Allen, a senior forest campaigner with Greenpeace. But this was enough, she said, because Kimberly-Clark's changes could alter the entire wood-pulp supply chain: "They have a policy that . . . will shift the entire way that tissue companies work."

Still, some environmental activists said that Greenpeace should have pushed for more.
"The problem is not yet getting better," said Chris Henschel, of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, talking about logging in Canada's boreal forests. He said real change will come only when consumers change their habits: "It's unbelievable that this global treasure of Canadian boreal forests is being turned into toilet paper. . . . I think every reasonable person would have trouble understanding how that would be okay."

That part could be difficult, because -- in the U.S. market, at least -- soft is to toilet paper what fat is to bacon, the essence of the appeal. Earlier this year, Consumer Reports tested toilet paper brands and found that recycled-tissue brands such as Seventh Generation and Marcal's Small Steps weren't unpleasant. But they gave their highest rating to the three-ply Quilted Northern.
"We do believe that you're going to feel a difference," said Bob Markovich, an editor at Consumer Reports.

Marcal, the maker of recycled toilet paper here in New Jersey, is trying to change that with a two-pronged sales pitch. The first is that soft is overrated. "Strength of toilet paper is more important, for obvious reasons," said Spring, the chief executive, guiding a golf cart among the machinery that whizzes up vast stacks of old paper, whips it into a slurry, and dries it into rolls of toilet paper big enough for King Kong. He said his final product is as strong as any of the big-name brands. "If the paper breaks during your use of toilet paper, obviously, that's very, very important."

The second half of the pitch is that Marcal's toilet paper is almost as soft as the other guy's anyway. "Handle it like you're going to take care of business," company manager Michael Bonin said, putting this reporter through a blind test of virgin vs. recycled toilet paper. Two rolls were hidden in a cardboard box: the test was to reach in without looking and wad them up, considering the "three aspects of softness," which are surface smoothness, bulky feel and "drapability," or lack of rigidity.

The reporter wadded. The officials waited. The one on the right felt slightly softer.
That was not the answer they wanted: The recycled paper was on the left.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Halo = sunny weather

Well, I am not completely sure that the new Halo game brought the sunny weather about. But here in the Hartman household, for whatever reason we are glad for it, now we have both!

Jeff has been diligently playing Halo with his new online buddies (look him up under username WOLREY if you want to play), and we have also finally been basking in the sunshine that's been awol the past week.

Although the ground in our area is still mighty soggy I can't complain about the weather anymore - bring on the sun!

Also - did you see the job appeal by Kristin Chenoweth? Love it. Not desperate - just the statement of "Hey, I must be good at this, I just won an Emmy. And I don't have a job since the show was cancelled. So if you're looking for someone, I like x, y, and z shows."

Pretty awesome. Ballsy, yet awesome. (Just like me! I wish I could be that cool, actually.)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Don't Stop Believin'

Did I tell you that amidst the downpour this weekend, we took Saturday night and went to see JOURNEY at the Verizon Amphitheater? It was rainy and humid, but AWESOME (not to mention our limo transport was not too shabby either).

WOW - it was great! But word to the wise, although the lead singer sounds very similar to the original, he is not the same guy (aka Asian, and younger).

My favorites from the setlist:
Stone in Love
(Forever Yours) Faithfully
Open Arms
Don't Stop Believing
Any Way You Want It
Lovin, Touchin, Squeezin (Nah, nah, na-nah, nah)

Hope this gets a fun tune stuck in your head and some 80s hair going today!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Must. Have. Shoes.

Bemoaning the fact I can't find the shoes I want and Jeff can't find the work boots he wants...I do not have time to drive an hour to try and shop!

So if any of you see the lace-up black mannish looking Aravon shoes and / or Ecco workboots, please tell them to call me.

Also, HAPPY FIRST DAY OF FALL!!! Our rain has subsided and the sun came out, and the leaves have started to turn...

Monday, September 21, 2009

Rain, rain, go away!

We are caught in a tropical rain pattern. Something about low pressure circling and bringing up rain from the Gulf. Anywho, it has been raining since Wednesday last week.

This morning I am on my morning walk - inside, mind you (it's still raining) - and on the news there are SCHOOL CLOSURES! Can you believe it? I thought to myself, what wimps, just a little rain and they close school. It's not like the busses can't start because it's too cold.

Then they started showing images of the metro (courtesy 11 Alive). And now 2 people have died from being swept away. I guess this is more serious than I thought:

Water rushes over the Yonah Dam in Stephens County after heavy rains.

Stephens County, Douglas County and Villa Rica are under a boil water advisory Monday morning because of burst water pipes
Random image from a town north of the city

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The latest OCD fear

Have any of you seen the new "crazy shows", Obsessed and Hoarding (think Intervention but for OCD)? I think they are on A&E. Anyway, Obsessed follows people through their treatment for OCD, including everything from hand washing to counting to hoarding garbage / books / mementos. For the hand washers and germophobes, I can't imagine how this new study looks to them:

Your showerhead may deliver more than a refreshing spray of water. New research suggests disease-causing bacteria hide out inside showerheads, hitching a ride to your face and body inside water droplets.

The grimy results come from genetic tests run on samples from 45 showerheads in homes, apartment buildings and public places from nine U.S. cities in five states: New York, Illinois, Colorado, Tennessee and North Dakota.

About 20 percent of the showerhead swabs harbored significant levels of Mycobacterium avium, bacteria linked to pulmonary disease that most often infects people with compromised immune systems, said lead researcher Norman Pace of the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Pace and colleagues found that M. avium and related pathogens were clumped together in slimy biofilms that coated the insides of the showerheads at more than 100 times the levels found in municipal waters that are the origins for the showers' water.

Once the pathogen-laden water spurts from showerheads, the bugs can suspend in the air where showering individuals can easily inhale them into the deepest parts of the lungs, Pace said.

Southern Environmentalism

Here are some things that have been bugging me down here.

1. Chick-Fil-A serves everything in styrofoam.
a. That's Everything. From sandwich containers to the carryout cup.
b. Yes, it kept my Coke cold during 95-degree weather with 80% humidity, but still.
c. When I asked the nice grandmotherly-like hostess about it, she had to check with the manager. She found out that it was "eco-friendly" styrofoam. Does that exist?

2. Sonic serves everything in styrofoam.
a. See point b regarding Coke, but substitute non-melting ice cream instead. Delightful. For about 15 minutes until I am finished.

3. There is no recycling service pick up in our neighborhood.
a. We do not live in the boonies. A mere 35 minutes from a major metro should justify recycling pick up.
b. When I called the garbage provider to verify they did not offer recycling, they reacted similarly to the nice granmotherly-like hostess at Chick-Fil-A: shocked. Apparently no one has asked about this before.
c. And finally, I cannot find any pick up or drop off locations near where we live or near the airport where I work.

Ok, folks, seriously? What are we, in 1982? Come on - global warming is REAL, littering is BAD, recycling is GOOD.

I only slightly feel ok about not recycling because it is not available. And we truthfully don't eat at Sonic or Chick-Fil-A probably more than once a month. My only saving grace is my reusable bags from Publix. THANK YOU to my favorite local grocery store for my one little do-gooder thing I can hold on to.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Need a passport?

Most of the time, Jeff and I feel like it was a really good decision to move to the South. However, a few times over the past couple weeks, we are look at each other and are like, (in relation to a conversation with someone else) WHHHHHHAAAAAT????? I so cannot believe you just said that to me.

And because of such recent events in our lives - one being NASCAR in Atlanta a couple weekends ago, another being "You Lie" from our neighboring state to the north, and yet another thing being our local nightly news and the crazy stories that happen down here - I keep getting the impression that we are sometimes living in a different country. Because seriously, the culture is FAR different than the midwest.

Time to break out the new virus top news story...not H1N1 but UR1HTR (hat tip to Lea Lane
Her thoughts (but I have edited a few things) ~

The ever-present UR1HTR virus (also called "hate flu" or "Republican flu") has been spreading rapidly since November, 2008.

Heavily Infected Areas
The hate flu seems to thrive in the southern United States, with pockets found throughout the country, especially in rural areas. The Republican Party, especially its southern congressional delegation, is already suffering an epidemic. Being around those infected with the virus carries special risk, especially in the very young, the vulnerable, the mentally challenged and the uninformed.

UR1HTR virus symptoms include irrational hatred of people of color (especially those in positions of power), Jews, New Yorkers and all things French. Other symptoms include loss of brain cells, aversion to facts -- especially scientific ones, minimal empathy, frequent invoking of God and the Second Amendment, chanting of slogans, love of NASCAR and World Wrestling Federation, screaming, fear of change, and hypocrisy.

Secondary symptoms include demonizing "the unfamiliar" or "other," linear thinking, weird hats, hooded sheets in the closet, lack of humor (except for The Cable Guy, Dennis Miller, and stale jokes about a priest, a rabbi, and a black man).

Those infected with the UR1HTR virus tend to gather (Sept. 12 rally, town halls) where the virus spreads rapidly and infects others through media enabling. Disruptions (bitten fingers at town meetings) and Tourette-like statements ("He's an Arab") are common.

While the UR1HTR virus cannot be yet eradicated, virus victims have been known to make a fast recovery when something awful happens to them so that government intervention is needed, or if they travel to France and enjoy the snails.

At Special Risk
Children, older people, independents, family members of those infected, and those who: talk about religion excessively and /or are fundamentalists, have never left the country (or worse, the county), would benefit most from government programs, or do not have a college education.

Those With Natural Immunity
Democrats, Union members, persons of color, atheists or agnostics, the over-educated, and travelers to more than 10 countries seem to maintain life-long immunity to the hate virus.

Boosters for Those Without Immunity
While there is no cure, the following seems to offer some protection against the virus: Michael Moore movies, Bill Maher, Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow, NPR, and Jon Stewart.

Important Request
Please spread this information about the UR1HATER virus to help stop the spread. It is especially important to thwart the virus before November, 2010.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Ok, seriously, I know I am delinquint posting my Vancouver pics. I blame Jeff (since he's my IT guy and it's always IT's fault. Outsourcing.).

So instead I will tell you about my super-awesome-newest-funnest-show-on-the-planet, Glee.

Picture this: hot, young, married but to evil ho's beast teacher takes over a fledgling group of glee club kids at the high school he teaches at. Said high school is also home to a nationally ranked cheer squad and competition ensues. As wel as much singing and dancing!!!!!


Jeff can attest, I caught the premiere in May after the American Idol finale. And it was watched at least 6 times this summer as it sat on the Tivo, undeleted, for 3 months. Last night was the season premiere and it was seriously awesome. White girl even sang Rihanna. It was great.

So - in summary, check it out Wednesdays on Fox at 9 EST, probably 8 CST, and for the few still in Rapid City that read my blog, you will just need to check and see what times it's on. It's right after the So You Think You Can Dance.

Wednesdays are my new favorite nights!

Monday, September 7, 2009

H1N1 / Swine Flu

If you do not have a fever, it is not swine flu. That's what we decided. Although this thing is seriously hanging on for dear life. UGH

Friday, September 4, 2009

The problem with positive thinking

Still not feeling well but wanted to share this post. Seth Godin strikes again!

All the evidence I've seen shows that positive thinking and confidence improves performance. In anything.

Give someone an easy math problem, watch them get it right and then they'll do better on the ensuing standardized test than someone who just failed a difficult practice test.

No, positive thinking doesn't allow you to do anything, but it's been shown over and over again that it improves performance over negative thinking.

Key question then: why do smart people engage in negative thinking? Are they actually stupid?

The reason, I think, is that negative thinking feels good. In its own way, we believe that negative thinking works. Negative thinking feels realistic, or soothes our pain, or eases our embarrassment. Negative thinking protects us and lowers expectations.

In many ways, negative thinking is a lot more fun than positive thinking. So we do it.

If positive thinking was easy, we'd do it all the time. Compounding this difficulty is our belief that the easy thing (negative thinking) is actually appropriate, it actually works for us. The data is irrelevant. We're the exception, so we say.

Positive thinking is hard. Worth it, though.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Back home and sniffling

Sorry no pics or comments yet but we have managed to knock on death's door since returning - I got sick literally on the way down from the mountains in Whistler on Saturday and Jeff got sick on Sunday. So we are keeping each other company at home while barely able to move or do anything except sneeze, sniffle, and cough!

More tomorrow...

Friday, August 28, 2009

Jeff made it!

He's here! It's 3am in Atlanta but only midnight here - and we
ordered a pizza to get us thru till morning.

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Poll boycott

Ok, seriously? I am done posting polls. Lame-os. Nobody ever votes so what's the point? And not even one comment about the hunkilicious Alexander?

BUT NOT ANNA - shout out for my 2nd follower of the blog!!!!! WOOP!!!! Nothing makes you pee less than a baby pressing on the privates while giggling at my funniness - right?

On another note, I am leaving in about 10 minutes from my lovely hotel room in downtown Vancouver to go pick Jeff up at the airport. He did not make it on his first flight from Atlanta to Salt Lake City - which would have connected and gotten him to Vancouver by 5pm local time - and alas is not not arriving until 10:45pm local time. My guess is he will be tired and grumpy.

BUT NOT SO FAST!!! This weekend's agenda? Whistler and Whale Watching. How can you grump at that? Eat it, all you stay at home chumps (especially my mom and dad who have access to the same flight privileges. Come on. Seriously, explore a little).

Also - I am feeling feisty after 3 glasses of wine in the past couple hours. Gotta love work social time!!! No food, only seafood appetizers and drinking. That's work for ya! All glamour and no toil. Trust me.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

O Canada

Made it to Vancouver! It is beautiful - mid 70s and no humidity...I
hate to admit I was chilly today!

AND - So You Think You Can Dance CANADA!!!! Snap!!!!!!! Glued to the
tv for one hour (although Leah is no Cat Deely).

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Monday, August 24, 2009

Quotes from today

Heard in the breakroom at work: "Hizzah! We have new automated paper towel holders!!"


Jeff's lone phone call contact with me today: "Yeah, Red, what do you need? We're busy - Jason's on the roof." Then a click.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

My new fire pit

Cheesey dogs, brats, s'mores, Code Red Mountain Dew, Bud Light...and a fire pit!!! So what if it was 80 and humid???

Friday, August 21, 2009

Visitors 1 and 2

Jason arrived to sunny and humid Atlanta on Wednesday morning and he and Jeff have been having a ball. So far, the big plane has been flown, the little plane has crashed and is no longer viable, we have eaten at our local pizza shop and Waffle House, the backyard has been picked up of every large and small stick and burned in the fire pit using Jason's expertise, Season One of True Blood has been started, and our WOLREY band has begun its trek to infamy by featuring 3 Hartmans at one time, on all the instruments (guitar, bass, drums, or vocals).

I am really really hoping the weather holds today because Jason and Jeff are planning on sprucing up the fire pit - from a dug in the ground hole to a concrete and sand-lined, paver circled fire ring. The goal is cheesey dogs and S'mores by 7pm tonight!

I will keep you posted on the progress, and will share photos when they finish...

Oh and by the way, Visitor 2 is.......................Lois!!! We heard she is making her way south with the camper so hopefully we will be host to another guest by Saturday!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Vampire Poll

A little FAN-aticism today, if you will bear with me.


Monday night is True Blood night for me (Sundays when it airs are impossible). Who knew vampires could be so cool and metaphorical for society?

We left off last week with a suicide bomber entering a vampire "lair" (read: super cool house), strapped down with a bomb made of silver chains and wood splinters. He was a soldier from the Light of Day church, who is campaigning to protect the sanctity of human rights (as opposed to vampire rights). I won't spoil it for any of you, but wowza it was a good episode.

Faithful watchers - who is your favorite vamp: Bill, Eric, or Godric??? (Hint - mine is of the extremely tall and buff blonde variety.)

Monday, August 17, 2009

News of the week

Well, after one night at home recovering, it was time to pack again for a trip to Charlotte last week (which you all saw). It has been a whirlwind last week.

But now I am back for this week and ready to go!!! We may be having a visitor of the Jason variety arriving on Wednesday. If he comes, his help will be enlisted to install gutter guards on our gutters, as he is much more wily and nimble than either Jeff or me (it is very possible Jeff or I might lose our balance and break our necks thanks to gravity if we attempted to crawl about the roof. It's a center of gravity / balance thing.).

The last bit of news today is that the hurricane weather is messing with us. Yes, you heard me right! HURRICANE WEATHER. It is extremely windy and misting-raining, which makes Jeff unable to fly his RC airplane and which makes my hair look like crap. Again. The land of the humidity and sweet tea has not been kind to my locks. I think I need to grow it out so it will tame down in the summer.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Paris Photos Take 2

After 3 hours sleep on Saturday morning, we were ready to take on Paris! This is in the Novotel Tour Eiffel lobby before we left for the day.

On our walk to the Eiffel Tower, we stopped for lunch at this local bistro. This guy looking at me is very obviously Parisian.

The Eiffel Tower was seriously bigger than I thought it was. (And every time I thought that, it was followed by, "That's what she said!". Thank you Steve Carrell.)

We walked around the tower and came to rest in a nearby park for about an hour, just people watching and hanging out. Being a little romantic - because everyone else was doing it too!

We walked back to the hotel - in the rain - and crashed for a couple hours. Then we went to an authentic French restaurant, complete with duck, creme brulee, and red wine...then more red wine at the hotel...and walking the streets of Paris. Somehow we didn't really get photos of that.

To save money the next morning we walked to McD's for lunch, and then headed out to Notre Dame Cathedral.

The inside is truly magnificent and it is amazing to think it was constructed with pulleys and ropes.

After the cathedral, we walked. And walked. And walked. (Later we learned we were in the very oldest part of Paris. It was awesome.)
We came across St Michael's fountain, which had artists on the street, shops, brasseries, and lots to look at.

Stopping for a photo while walking along the River Siene.

We saw tons of shops, beautiful designer gowns and wedding dresses, and lots of people - but nothing was open on Sunday.
We headed back to the Tour Eiffel to get on our river boat cruise, and had to snap a photo in the sunlight.

Here we are on our boat cruise!

We saw plenty of canoodling, kissing, coffee drinking, even some West Coast swing dancing on the cruise!

One of the amazing buildings...

After the cruise I was pooped. I could go no further without dessert and something to drink!

We walked back to hotel, had dinner at a different local restaurant and sat outside eating, drinking wine and espresso until the wee hours.
The next morning we headed out bright and early at 5 am to catch our flight back to Atlanta. What a crazy 3 days!!!!
If you want to check out more photos from the trip, click here

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Paris pictures? Not yet

Paris note for the day: Oui, oui is not the same as wee wee. Hahahahaha!!!!

I can explain my humor only as I am super tired from 2 days of
inspections in the great Nascar capitol of Charlotte, NC. Since noon
yestetday we have toured 10 hotels. Whew!

So my crew wants to go "out" tonight in about 5 minutes but I truly
need to log on and work...but also need to build
relationships...what"s a girl to do? Probably beg off.

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Monday, August 10, 2009

Paris Stereotypes

Hey gang. Guest blogger Jeff here. Made some interesting notes about
Paris over the past couple of days. 1. The men and women are all
beautiful. Beautiful and skinny...and they all smoke. 2. Don't
wear shorts, you'll look like a tourist. I didn't and I'm glad. 3.
No matter how nicely you dress, you'll look like a slob compared to
the Parisians. 4. Parisians really do just sit around and make out.
I saw more PDA this weekend then I could have ever imagined. 5.
Even if you don't speak french, you will have no problem ordering at
McDonalds. 6. Everything is about image in Paris...even building
construction is covered up by large colorful billboards. Well, I
tired of typing on Jess's you in America.

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On the road (sky) again

After waking up with 3 hours sleep, we made it to Charles De Gaulle by
0542 and are now waiting for our airplane to arrive. We figured out
that we should have slept about three nights but really only were
asleep for probably 2 and are actully looking forward to the 8 hours
on board! We'll also have to finish the Star Trek movie we started 2
days ago! Au revoir, Paris!!

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Saturday, August 8, 2009

We arrived!

At our hotel and napping for a bit. Our room is on the 30th floor with
a view of the top of zee Tour Eiffel! Bonjour!!!

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Friday, August 7, 2009


We are at the gate in Atlanta and have been assigned seats 1A and 1B.
To be continued...

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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

In Greensboro

Hi everyone, I am in Greensboro for 2 days while Jeff holds down the fort at home. It's been a whirlwind first day, with 5 hotels looked at from noon until 6pm (including lunch!). I think that might be a record, even for me - but this trip was easy without an entourage of 7 or 8 people. It was just me plus one other and we had fun! Also Pam, our trusty GPS, reacted like a young pup and got us everywhere we needed to go, stress-free. I think that's the worst part - navigating a new city every time you go on a trip.

Dinner tonight was at Carrabbas, and might be some of the most tasty Italian food I have ever had. I had some kind of grilled chicken stuffed with goat cheese, roasted tomatoes, and prosciutto. Oh and don't forget the battered zucchini appetizer and shot glass dessert (desserts in tiny shot glasses, like a mini-tiramisu). DELISH!

Ta-ta for now, I will see you on the flip side back in A-town tomorrow (not the A-town known as Aberdeen though).

Monday, August 3, 2009


First, we thought a cat had been locked in a closet. Or a bathroom. Or somewhere. Similar to Maddie being stuck on a mousetrap in a closed closet (see previous posting).

After successfully locating both felines, we went about determining what might be making a scratch-scratch-scratch-BANG noise somewhere in the house. Which sounds like it's in the walls.

It must be either a squirrel, or a very large rat. I am assuming squirrel, mostly because I HATE rodents of the mice and rat type and refuse to believe something like that is inside.

Anywho, it is continuing the noise into this evening and I am crossing my fingers it will find its way out. Although Jeff says they don't usually, at which point I will dread 90 degrees and 70% humidity even more than I have been already.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

She'll be coming round the mountain

when she comes...yee haw! I don't know why, but that song is stuck in my head. Perhaps it's because of the All-American Saturday we had.

Jeff flew his plane, the kitties went outside for an hour (both of them), we grilled hotdogs, worked on a puzzle when it got too hot, I played my saxphone after hearing of a sax band at church, and now I am gazing out my front window, with the view of the road framed by our big hardwood on one side and the American flag on the other.

What a great weekend!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Da Beer Summit

If you could host a Beer Summit, what would you serve? And who would be invited?

I have no racially charged incident I am trying to quell (see: Harvard Prof's arrest reporting ...but I think lots of problems can be fixed with some light conversation and heavy drinking. Or wait, maybe heavy conversation and light drinking. Or something.

So, perhaps our next party should be a Beer Summit. Game on.

By the way, the drinks of choice are Bud Light for President, Blue Moon for Crowley (the police officer) and Red Stripe for Gates (the Harvard scholar).

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Today IS the Good-ole day

I don't know why, but the last few days I keep thinking about this phrase - that the days you are living today will be the "good old days" in your future.

Sometimes that makes me feel lucky about my life right now, that I will look back at it nostalgically about how great things were. Or, in the future, I will think the tough times really weren't that bad, even though as they are happening they seem terrible.

Other times this phrase gets me thinking that things do not get easier as you get older, which is a little sad. But even that train fo thought circles back to me feeling grateful about what IS happening today, so that I cherish it and know it will be the best day of my life.

So, thanks to everyone in my life today, how you touch it, and everything that you affect.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Party = Success!

Jeff and I hosted our first PAR-TAY in Atlanta this weekend. I invited the 20 people I knew, and they were all from work (yes, I know that might be lame but I can't help it, I don't have a big social circle yet. Plus I really, really like my coworkers! pictured below but minus Matt).

I think it went great! We had probably around 15 people show up by 5pm, and served burgers, cheese dogs, steak and chicken, plus fruit salad, macaroni salad, a veggie tray, chips, and brownies. And the world's best icebreaker? A half-finished puzzle sitting on the table (see previous post). Who would have thought that??

We debated what kind of beer to buy and decided to BYOB since we just had no clue. Turns out, this crowd is a red wine (or margarita) crowd. Good to know for next time! And, the zipline even got THAT was a party. Thanks to Carol and Elaine for the beautiful flowers!

Hmmm...what should we do next? Margaritaville? Rock Band festival? Murder mystery dinner?

Friday, July 24, 2009

Foreign Policy / Rap

You all know how much of a super-fan I am of NPR. (PS - Atlanta, seriously? THUMBS DOWN. You don't have an all-news station with special features or stories. And, I miss Kerri Miller. And Cathy Wurzer. I think I am homesick for Minnesota Public Radio.)

I digress. Here is a facsinating article on Jay-Z's story as it compares to US Foreign policy. Makes Iranian / US relations darn near almost decipherable for just about anyone!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Your Own Time

I think most of what you do on your own time - within the law - should be off limits as grounds for termination. Especially if "what you do" means you GET MARRIED. Seriously, most of corporate America is married, in a relationship, divorced, dating, or otherwise...but it is not part of your employment terms.

Unless you are Scott Janke, the Fort Meyers Beach city manager recently fired for getting married. To a porn star, but got married nonetheless.

That's just crazy. HE didn't do anything wrong except (hopefully) find happiness and fulfillment in his personal life, yet was fired for it because of who his wife is. Ugh. Crap like this drives me crazy.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


If you are a frequent reader of this blog, you will recognize this puzzle from a previous post. Except now it is out of the box, large, in charge, and defeating us.

You will notice that certain sections are together. Those were the easy ones. Also you will notice that there are not many pieces left. That is because the entire sky (approximately 1/3 of the puzzle) is back in the box because the kitties insist on laying on the table, helping. And we can't get any of them together.

But, although we feared it was dorky to admit we were doing a puzzle, it appears we are not alone. Click here for the puzzle rebirth story: