Here's your sign

December 13, 2012

It is a sad day when someone in the world needs a sign like this:

I mean, really, you had a question on where your used toilet paper should go?

3 spooky foods and 1 wildly inappropriate pumpkin

October 31, 2012

Last weekend we attended a Halloween party at our friend Sleepy’s house. You’ve seen pictures of their house before, when there was a tortoise on the roof. Well, something you also should know is that Sleepy and his wife Mrs. Sleepy are expecting a baby. Like, any day now. And still felt motivated to host a Halloween party for all of their friends, bouncy castle and all.

Yes, there was a bouncy house. Because what Halloween party would be complete without full-grown adults dressed up as fictional characters jumping around in a pink and purple castle?

Well, the boys happened to see a photo of a pumpkin carved and modeled to look like a woman giving birth (also, I might have found this photo and happened to send it to them). They decided it would be a brilliant idea to replicate this pumpkin masterpiece and give it to Sleepy and the Mrs. to decorate their Halloween party. So they did.

Here is the original photo:

 Here is the boys’ completed masterpiece:

There may be a little tongue-in-cheek humor aimed at Sleepy insinuating that he is not the father of pumpkin Mrs. Sleepy’s baby, if you are wondering why the pumpkin “baby” is painted a different color. In case it wasn't inappropriate enough already.

While the boys were busy carving their pumpkin, I was busy baking. I saw so many great ideas for Halloween-themed treats that I couldn't pick just one and decided to go on a giant baking frenzy. I was quite proud of the results.

Cheese-ball monsters:

Candy Corn sugar cookies:

And “Guacamoldy” eyes:

 Happy Halloween!!!

Hoarder's Remorse

October 18, 2012

As you may have gathered from some of my previous posts, while I don't consider myself to be anything near an actual hoarder, I do have a tendency to collect and keep things that provide no real intrinsic value to my life.  Usually I keep these things for one of three reasons:

  1. Nostalgia
  2. I am almost certain that at some point they will be useful again
  3. They got stuffed somewhere and I forgot I had them

Reason #1 is why I keep things like expired driver's licenses from various states.  Reason #2 is why I have clothes in my closet that are two sizes too small... because one day that diet WILL work and I will fit in those clothes again!  Reason #3 is not really a reason at all.  But it explains why I find coupons for businesses that no longer exist and pens that have run out of ink.

Moving day is usually a big clean-out day.  You must weigh the importance of keeping your junk with the effort involved in packing, transporting, and unpacking your junk.  And also finding a suitable hidey-hole in your new place in which to stuff it.

Which is why I remember so clearly that day 2 weeks ago when I looked at the binder full of print-your-own CD labels that I had bought for wedding favors over 3 years ago.  You know, the kind that if you want to make someone a mix CD you can create a personalized cover, put the paper in your printer, then peel off the sticker and slap it on the top of the CD?  They worked great for the specialized CDs we gave our wedding guests but I thought, "who gives mix CDs anymore when there's flash drives and iTunes?"  So I threw them all out.

Only today, I needed to make a duplicate copy of a DVD, and wanted a professional cover, rather than hand-writing the name of the video on the CD in permanent marker.  And there's irony for you.  I don't use the darn things for 3 years and yet, 2 weeks after I throw them away, I actually could've used them...


Turning 29 again

October 10, 2012

So September marked the 3rd anniversary of my 29th birthday.  It's not that I think I'm old, it's just that more and more often I realize my lifestyle is slowly sliding into something settled.  Not that it's a bad thing.  It's just a thing.  I want to spend my time differently now - I just can't help but notice the changes.  Like when I'm sitting on the couch on a Friday night, watching television with my cat and my husband, struggling to keep my eyes open after 10:30.  There used to be at time in my life when 10:30 meant I was just getting into the dance club.

My birthday celebration reflected my current lifestyle.  I had a fabulous dinner celebration with my close friends and my parents.  We gorged ourselves on Italian food and laughed and had a general good time - but afterwards?  No partying - I just wanted to go home and relax on the couch.

But something that will definitely make you feel old?  Seeing your old collectible figurines in an antique store:


It's like a showroom!

October 03, 2012

Since our new bedroom set has finally arrived, and since my life seems to be so insanely full of things that when I actually find time to sit down and blog about it I draw a complete blank and end up posting nothing, I figured I would share with you the beauty and wonderment that is our new bedroom.  With real furniture and everything.


Attempting to make our house grown-up

August 30, 2012

It's been almost 2 1/2 years since we bought this house. One of the things about bouncing all over the west coast for our jobs is that we don't spend enough time at our house to get all those finishing touches done.  Things like putting up photographs or buying houseplants or even, um, finishing hanging the shutters because your husband threw out all the little hinges and they haven't sold hinges like that at Home Depot since 20 years ago when your house was built and now you're going to have to order them online but that seems like a lot of work.

We also have what you might call, "furniture essentials."  We have a couch, which is so comfortable all your friends and family start buying the same model and it may or may not suck you into a vortex of downy cushioned goodness from which you will never escape.  We also have a TV (well, 2 TVs, which would make sense if you know my husband at all), an entertainment center in which to display the TV, and some various other items like guest room furniture and a dining table.

One thing we do not have, however, is a bedroom set.  We do have one of those black metal thingies that sets your box frame up off the ground, so in that respect we are a step above the college days of having your mattress sit right on the floor, but otherwise our bedroom is generally a hodge-podge of miscellaneous furniture that has been collected over the years.  We have what should be a glass-topped end table and a coffee table functioning instead as nightstands; a cheap fake-wood corner entertainment center sitting in a corner of the bedroom, complete with VCR and DVD player but, until recently, lacking a TV... and that's about it.

But today is a momentous day, folks.

WE HAVE A BEDROOM SET.  Like real grown-ups, y'all.

Well, technically since we ordered the bedroom set online, it won't get here for another month.  Except the matching desk, which was delivered today.  But it counts anyway - and very soon we will have a dresser and a bed with headboard and footboard and THEY WILL ALL MATCH.

Super Giant Fish at our Front Door

July 14, 2012

So, I just realized the Big Buck Hunter has been in our front entryway for OVER TWO YEARS. I keep holding out hope that one day we'll class it up enough to move that thing somewhere... not so obvious. Like a Man Cave. Chris DEFINITELY needs a Man Cave. I think his new ploy is keep buying hideously unsophisticated things that have no business in the house so that we end up with so much redeneck man-crap in our front foyer that I have no choice but to agree to let him have a man cave. And, oh, yeah, his giant mounted fish finally arrived.

You can't quite tell here, but this thing is "to scale" meaning that fish is about 6 feet long.

Note the Big Buck Hunter in the background...
And, in the true irony that is my life, the boys fired up the Big Buck Hunter and began playing while I was typing this blog.  (They had to move the fish out of the way first, of course.)

An Iowa Wedding: The Bachelorette Party

July 10, 2012

The bachelorette party was a day-long adventure that started out with cake and cocktails at the Barefoot Bar, then progressed to a day of meandering down the lakes in a pontoon boat stuffed full of twenty-something ladies, bottles of booze, and various “gifts” that will not be shown in pictures on this blog due to their lascivious nature.  But they were responsible ladies, and had the foresight to pay the boat rental place to supply them with a driver for the boat.

Meet Tyler.

Tyler is 19 years old.  He was also the lucky employee of the boat rental place who got chosen to drive our boat.  He was pretty happy with this outcome.  

This picture is where we returned to the boat rental place and he had to "show off" his good luck to all his male co-workers.  Thinly disguised as having one of them take a group photo.  

During the boat float we did the usual: jump on giant trampolines in the water until the homeowners came out and shooed us off, stop at Arnold's Park for a quick roller-coaster ride, dance while wearing stick-on mustaches (yes, that's what Tyler's wearing in the first photo), and attempt to learn how to get back in the boat without a working ladder.  After the boating was more bars, and outdoor concert, and a surprise appearance from a pirate (okay, he was actually a Captain Morgan sales guy, but he did give out free hats to everyone at the bar).  

All in all, a successful party to celebrate the impending end of A-Star's single days.


The Nerdery

June 26, 2012

The twins, Frick and Frack, have a younger sister, A-Star.  Here is a picture of the three of them:

And now the lovely miss A-Star has gotten married.  I will share that story in another post, but the lead-in here was that the twins and I took a flight out to Iowa last weekend for the wedding.

On the return flight, I was sitting middle seat, between my husband on one side and Frick on the other.  We had stopped for a layover and this was the second leg of my flight.  My husband happened to glance over and notice I was reading a different book from the one I was reading on the earlier flight.

He says to me:  "Are you reading two books at the same time right now?"

Me: "Yes, I am.  I need the paper book for takeoff and landing, when my Kindle has to be turned off.  It's not as interesting as the book I'm reading on my Kindle, so this is just to 'tide me over' until we can turn on our electronic devices again."

Him: "Oh, wow, I don't think I've ever read a book to 'tide me over' until I can read another book.  You are such a nerd."

I just shrugged, and went back to reading my book.  Until we reached cruising altitude, of course, when I would start reading the other book.


How to travel with big furniture and tiny cars

May 19, 2012

Today on the freeway I passed a mustang convertible, top down, with about 6 patio chairs crammed in the backseat at odd angles. The driver who, for some reason in all his 50+ years of living did not have a better solution, must’ve figured that his wife holding on to the legs of one of the chairs counted adequately in place of a tie-down strap.

I will say that one thing I’ve taken for granted since meeting Chris is the convenience of a pickup truck. Between him and his friends, there is always someone with some way to move lots of stuff from point A to point B.

Back in my single days, this wasn’t always the case. I did have a hatchback car which I took full advantage of, but a hatchback car is still a car, and therefore has its limitations. Like the time I decided I needed a new TV.

I had just graduated college, packed up all my things, and moved to Los Angeles. No job, no prospects for a job, no plan, and only a tiny savings to keep me fed, clothed, and housed until I found employment. Because the old TV was one of the sacrifices I made in the move, I decided a new TV was in order.

I found one at Wal-Mart for about $300. Keep in mind, this was before the flat-screen era, so this baby was 42” of cathode ray tube-style fun:

(This is not the actual TV)

Seeing as how I had just moved, I had no friends or contacts in the city. I happily let the nice Wal-mart salespeople load up the TV on to my cart, paid for my purchase (hello credit card), and sauntered out to my Mitsubishi Eclipse GS and popped open the hatchback. I realized at once I had a problem:
I couldn’t lift the TV out of the cart to place it in my vehicle. 
I managed to overcome this problem by standing there for a bit, looking sad and lost and confused, until finally one of the skinny teenaged boys that are forever running around collecting the shopping carts came over and the two of us heaved it into the back of my car. I realized that I now had another problem:
The TV was so big that I couldn’t shut my hatchback closed. 
The pimply-faced teenager was looking around, like some bungee cords were going to magically appear. They didn’t. I took pity on him and explained that I wasn’t going very far, so “I would just drive slow” and the kid left to go corral more shopping carts. I managed to sort of keep the hatchback closed by tying it down with a contraption made of elastic hair bands and a plastic shopping bag. I figured it would do for the 8 or so blocks that I had to travel.

I made it to my new apartment without incident, but was again faced with another problem:
How to get the TV out of my car and into my apartment.  By myself, now.
I couldn’t carry it – it was far too heavy. Thankfully I was on the ground floor, so I didn't have to manage any stairs, I just had to navigate from my parking space in the back of the building around to the front door.  In the back alley, there was still a stack of empty boxes that I had recently set out there after unpacking my things. I grabbed a box, broke it down to a flat piece of cardboard, and set it behind my car. I very carefully (re: a lot of grunting and heaving) rolled the TV out of the back of my car and on to the cardboard. Somehow managing not to have it come crashing down on to the pavement.  The cardboard then became a “sled” upon which I dragged the TV all the way around the building and into the front door of my apartment.

It was a successful move. Idiotic, but successful.

Although I must say that story pales in comparison to the time we moved a whole bed – mattress, boxspring and all – using only my friend’s Honda Civic and some ingenuity. But we’ll save that story for another day.

Incidentally, here is a photo of the actual TV, in that very apartment.  We won't comment on the VCR or cassette-tape player stereo system or the Nintendo DS, all of which were already on the verge of being outdated when the photo was taken.

Nor will we make mention of the fact that I owned an actual candelabra and a cat-shaped fan-pull.  The beer mirror that I picked up on a sidewalk sale in downtown Seattle should at least earn me back some coolness points.


Cruise Tip #3: how to swim a horse

April 18, 2012

Today we will give you instructions on how to "swim a horse."  In 10 easy steps.

Step #1: Realize that when the brochure says you will be swimming a horse, this means that you will be swimming a horse.  Not just gently prancing it across a shallow stream.  Dress accordingly.

Step #2: Try to ignore the fact that you look completely ridiculous wearing a bicycle helmet while riding a horse. Because, you know, they ran out of riding helmets.

Step #3: Find an idyllic river.

Step #4: Find a horse that can swim.  This one is important.

Step #5: Make sure that Mr. Miyagi is there.  He makes everything awesome.

Step #6: Learn to be trusting of the one-eyed Mexican cowboy who is going to be leading your horse into deep water.  Most likely he did not lose the eye in a horse-swimming accident.

Step #7: Make sure to be one of the first people to volunteer to swim the horse.  Because the horse just swims little circles in the same area and, eventually, the horse is gonna have to poop.  And you don't want to be the person swimming the horse in the water it just pooped in.

Step #8: Riding a horse bareback while it swims through the water is exhilarating.  And cold.

Step #9:  Make sure you point and laugh at all your friends and make fat jokes as the poor horse struggles to pull itself out of the water and up on the shore while carrying the extra weight.

Step #10: Enjoy your ride back to the horse corral while in damp swimclothes.  And also don't adopt the stray kitten hanging around the cowboy's camp.  No matter how cute.


O Californians, how you drive... me insane

April 14, 2012

An Open Letter to my west coast friends on the open road:

Dear California Drivers,

I know this is going to be a hard, but you are going to have to break yourself away from your unhealthy obsession with the left-hand lane.  When driving down a freeway with more than one lane in any direction, it is common courtesy that the left lane is for passing.  Yes, I said it, PASSING.  As in, NOT MEANDERING DOWN INDEFINITELY.

You see, common driving courtesy says that you should drive in the right-hand lane, even if you are going the speed limit.  And then, when you come upon another vehicle that is travelling at a slower speed than yourself, you move over into the left-hand lane.  You pass the slower vehicle.  You then get back in the right-hand lane.

Here is a list of things you really should not do in the left-hand lane:
* Drive slower than the speed limit
* Drive the speed limit and refuse to move over to the right-hand lane when a car comes up behind you who is obviously going much faster than you are
* Continue to drive in the left-hand lane while travelling at roughly the same speed as the semi-truck in the lane next to you, effectively blocking all faster traffic from passing you
* Drive in the left-hand lane when there is no one on the roadway except you.  Because eventually some car will come up behind you and you will refuse to get over or remain in blissful ignorance of common driving courtesy and they will be forced to pass you on the right.

I do a lot of driving in a lot of other states and I must say, although there are the occasional offenders in other states, in California it is an epidemic.  It's bad enough that they drive in the left lane just for kicks, and it's worse when they refuse to move over for the cars behind them.  Most other drivers look in their mirrors and think, gee, this driver is travelling at a faster speed than me.  Let me just pop on over to the right-hand lane for a bit so he can go about his business and drive on past me.  Not in California, oh no.  They think,  well, I am travelling the speed limit so I have every right to be in the left-hand lane, who cares about common courtesy.

And while I'm at it, can I just add one thing?  When it rains, or snows, or is foggy, or does something other than be sunny and 70 degrees, DRIVING SLOWLY WITH YOUR HAZARD LIGHTS ON IS NOT A SOLUTION.  Unless you are announcing to everyone on the road that you, in fact, and not the weather, are the real hazard on the road.

Driving slowly in inclement weather?  OK, fine.  Driving slowly with your hazard lights on?  Not OK.  Driving slowly with your hazard lights on in the left hand lane?  DEFINITELY NOT OK.  And yet you, California drivers, have been observed by yours truly doing all of the above on numerous different occasions.

Thank you for your time.

Very Sincerely,


** Side note: the fact that I just signed up for my online defensive driving course to defer a speeding ticket has absolutely NO BEARING whatsoever on this letter.**

EDIT:  Actually, it does have some bearing - in my favor.  Below is an excerpt from my class:

Driving slowly in the left lane: If you are in the left lane and someone wants to pass, move over and let them by. You may be "in the right" because you are traveling at the speed limit, but you may also be putting yourself in danger by making drivers behind you angry. In many states and provinces the law requires you to travel in the right lane and use the far left lane only for passing. Besides, it is simple courtesy to move over and let other drivers by.

Cruise Tip #2: rednecks like big fishes

March 28, 2012

For their birthday this year, Frick and Frack (that's my husband and his twin, in case you were having trouble following there) got to go on a fishing boat in Cabo with their friends Sleepy E, Wobbie, and Vegas.  It was Sleepy E's idea (shout out to him and the lady), and it totally rocked.

It wasn't supposed to be a whale-watching tour, but they got to see THIS:

And then, to top it all off, Chris caught a 160# Striped Marlin.  Well, it was really a collective effort, but Chris happened to be the one holding the reel at the time so he got the credit:

And of course there were the usual "beggars of the sea" hoping for handouts of fish:

After you catch the fish, they give you a couple of options.  You can keep it, or you can throw it back.  If you choose to keep it, you can either ship the meat to your house or donate it to the tour boat operators as part of their gratuity (so it doesn't go to waste).  But if you choose to keep it, after you've figured out what you want to do with the meat, you can then choose to HAVE IT MOUNTED AND MAILED TO YOUR HOUSE.  For a fee, of course.

Let's think about this for a minute, and see if you can figure out which option my husband chose.  And remember, this is the guy who wanted Big Buck Hunter in our front entryway

If you guessed, "MOUNT IT!" you guessed correctly.  In just a few weeks, plus fees and shipping and handling, we will be the proud owner of a 160# striped marlin to hang over the Big Buck Hunter game in our foyer.

This man needs a man cave STAT.  Before my foyer starts looking like a Bass Pro Shop.


Cruise Tip #1: Bring your own mustaches

March 26, 2012

Oh yes that's right.  I said mustaches.

You see, the thing about cruises is that there's a lot of time at sea.  And, aside from stuffing your face at the breakfast buffet, the 24-hour grill/pizzeria, the lunch buffet, the dinner seating, and the late-night buffet, the only other thing to do is drink, gamble, lay by the pool, visit the spa, or some combination of any of those. (There's also a fitness center, but who wants to go to THAT on vacation?!)

So our ingenious friends Sleepy E and Mrs. Sleepy (you may remember them from Prank of the Century and Revenge for Prank of the Century) brought some of those stick-on mustaches that make you look like a cheezy version of Groucho Marx.

And we all wore them.

To dinner.

Our dinner seating was right by the entrance to the dining room, so we got much hilarity from people who were waiting in line to be seated.  They would take a look, spot the guys in their fake black mustaches, then do a double take.  It usually took them a third look to realize that the ladies were wearing the mustaches too.

After dinner we wandered down to the casino.  We were already pretty tired of donating our money to the slot machines, so before we called it an early night I happened to see the perfect opportunity for my mustache to have one last hurrah.

Suddenly, we had invented our own game.  We started wandering the cruise ship, hunting out likely candidates for mustache placement.

First we found this pretty lady
And then Mr. Washington

The mustaches were the perfect size for these ladies

The towel animal mustache was inevitable

We started getting creative with the mustaches

Nothing was sacred...



Even the captain got a mustache

The best part?  Standing in line the next day at debarkation, and spotting your mustaches hidden on random objects that you passed.


Friday Night Fever

March 19, 2012

This is what a rockin' Friday night looks like at our house.  The picture is actually from about a month ago, but it's not like we've changed our weekend habits.

You better get prepared if you want to hang with us, because we sure bring the party on!


3 Years

March 14, 2012

The husband and I were at the grocery store yesterday, picking out our dinner for the night. Chris suggested that we also get dinner for the following night.

“Unless you would rather go eat at a nice restaurant tomorrow?”

I looked at him. We didn’t usually eat out on weekdays. “Why would we do that?”

He looked back at me. “Because it’s our anniversary.”

Oh, um, oops.

It’s not that I forgot about our anniversary. I just had been so focused on the fact that our cruise vacation was the big birthday/anniversary celebration, it slipped my mind that the actual date wasn’t until the 14th.

“Mark this one down in the books!” He announced. “I get a free pass one of these future years!”


Oh, yeah

March 01, 2012


As if I'd ever get a Lamborghini

February 23, 2012

The Husband and I are preparing to take a cruise for our anniversary this year.  Since I have an irrational fear of being completely disconnected from work, I was reading through the shipboard internet options to see how feasible it is to periodically check my work emails during our vacation, when I came across this polite-but-snarky blurb that demonstrates the cruise line's obvious frustration with people who complain about dumb things.  It's like if someone were to gift you a Lamborghini Reventon and the first thing you do is look at at and go, "Oh.. hmmm... gray?  I would've preferred it in red."  Well, then, let's just overlook the fact that it's worth over 1.6 million dollars and takes 3.3 seconds to reach 60 mph, and focus on the fact that you'd rather have it in a different color.

Not that someone ever tried to give me a Lamborghini.  But you get my point.

SO anyway, I've pasted below what the website actually says about the internet connection on cruise ship, and then taken the liberty of putting my own interpretation of how that really translates out.

What they say:

NOTE: Internet access via satellite is a significantly different experience than high-speed connections on shore. Onboard Internet access is not guaranteed at all times due to the nature of satellite communications, which are subject to occasional disruptions due to weather patterns and location.
Accessing E-mail and the Internet in the middle of the world's oceans is a triumph of cutting edge satellite technology. Our investment into this technology matches some of the most prestigious companies in the world, but even so it cannot be as fast as your home broadband. This is because the data must be transmitted over a slower wireless signal to satellites 22,000 miles above the Earth, which then bounce the data back down to the exchange. At home the data is sent down your fast cable connection to your local exchange, just around the corner from your house. We are continually reviewing our investment to secure you as fast a connection as possible and challenge fjords, glaciers and other grand geographical locations, to provide you with as seamless and consistent a service as possible.

What they really mean:

Internet access via satellite is a significantly different experience than high-speed connections on shore.
Stop complaining because your internet is slow.  We know it's slow.  We're in the middle of the ocean, in case you forgot.
Onboard Internet access is not guaranteed at all times due to the nature of satellite communications, which are subject to occasional disruptions due to weather patterns and location.
The internet has to ping off a satellite somewhere in outer space.  If there's things in the way like, say, heavy cloud cover, then you're not going to get service.  It operates off of electromagnetic waves, not magic.
Accessing E-mail and the Internet in the middle of the world's oceans is a triumph of cutting edge satellite technology. 
Hey, jackass.  Yes, you that's complaining about how you can't stream those YouTube videos and follow your Facebook friends (which, unless you're friends with Chuck Norris or this guy then it's a good bet you're doing something more exciting than they are right now.)  Again we remind you that you are ON AN EFFIN BIG BOAT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE OCEAN.
Our investment into this technology matches some of the most prestigious companies in the world, but even so it cannot be as fast as your home broadband.
We spent a sh*t ton of money on this beast.  Maybe your internet runs at speeds circa 1998 but let's remember, in 1998 the didn't have any internet in the middle of the ocean.  If you wanted internet, you didn't go on a cruise.
This is because the data must be transmitted over a slower wireless signal to satellites 22,000 miles above the Earth, which then bounce the data back down to the exchange. At home the data is sent down your fast cable connection to your local exchange, just around the corner from your house. 
In case you are really dense, let us spell it out for you that THIS IS A MIRACLE OF SCIENCE so SHUT YOUR TRAP and go buy yourself an overpriced drink.
We are continually reviewing our investment to secure you as fast a connection as possible and challenge fjords, glaciers and other grand geographical locations, to provide you with as seamless and consistent a service as possible.
Thanks to all the overpriced drinks you are buying while you wait for the latest People of Walmart photo to load instead of doing things like "enjoying your vacation" and "seeing unique sights you can't see anywhere else" and "exploring the world around you," we can afford to continue to try and provide you with this precious technology to the best of our ability.

Oh, yeah, and we do all this while also attempting to safely navigate a very large vessel through tricky geographical features and unpredictable weather conditions.  But, obviously, the boat part of this cruise is just a side note to you.  Heaven forbid your internet connection gets interrupted.

Why don't we just pull the Captain off of his duties navigating the ship and have him get right on fixing the internets for you.  He doesn't have anything more important to do, really.

Date Shakes

February 16, 2012

 There's a lonely stretch of Interstate 8 that runs through the desert, about halfway between Yuma and Phoenix, that boasts a place called "Dateland."  Along the freeway is a giant sign advertising their world-famous date shakes.

We always drive on by, of course that's usually because it's too late or too early in the day to be interested in a milkshake.

Only not today.  I happened to be driving by Dateland around lunch, so it seemed perfect to stop for a sandwich and a date shake.  I had never had a date shake, and they sounded intriguing.  World-famous, even.

So let's just say for the record, that I am officially not a fan of date shakes.

And it had nothing to do with the venue - the place was clean, the shake recipe obviously full of homemade goodness it just... also... had dates.

I'm pretty sure I like dates.  Just apparently, not in milkshakes.  I took two sips, and my first reaction was, "GAH."

I waited a bit, and took two more sips.

Nope, still not loving it.

If you ask me, this is how you make a date shake:

Ice cream, a few dates, and a handful of dirty socks.  I mean, if you could imagine a milkshake that tastes like dirty socks with a few dates thrown in for color, that is how I felt about the date shake.

In the future, I would be happy to stop at Dateland to do any of the following:
* Fuel up my vehicle
* Use the restroom
* Buy snacks and/or a sandwich

I will take pass on the date shakes, however.  Gah.

Minivan castles

February 07, 2012

I say, who needs to take the kids to Disneyland, when you can just have Disneyland come to YOU:


Worst. Dentist. Appointment. Ever.

January 20, 2012

I don't really mind going to the dentist. Usually.  Heck, sometimes I even blog about it.

Some people are just lucky and their teeth are naturally awesome.  And some people brush and floss religiously and still have tons of cavities.  I am one of the former.  I have never had a cavity.  In fact, one of my former dentists once told me I had "super teeth" and that I could probably get away with only a dental visit once a year, instead of every 6 months.

If we're being honest, I'm not the best flosser in the world.  I mean, I do floss, just not as often as you're supposed to.  But I brush my teeth, use mouthwash, avoid excessive soda drinking, and all that jazz.  My dentist appointments are usually over in less than 45 minutes.  I'm in, I get a cleaning, a flouride rinse, a final look-see from the dentist, and then they give me my free toothbrush and I'm on my way.

But not this latest dentist visit.  I pretty much left in tears, and not from any sort of dental work that they did.

Appointment #1:

  • Arrive at dentist for scheduled appointment.
  • Get ushered back to dental room and sit in chair.  
  • Get teeth X-rays because they didn't want to request them from my last dentist, even though I had them done less than a year prior.   (I'm told if the insurance doesn't cover it, the dental office will cover the cost, so it's at no cost to me.)
  • Teeth photography session.  Literally, the dentist gets out his camera and takes a gazillion digital photographs of my teeth from really close up and at all sorts of angles.  It felt somehow creepy in an indescribable way.
  • Teeth inspection.  He pokes and prods my teeth for a bit with some fancy-looking gadgets.
Then that's it.  I'm told that the "consultation" is complete and they are going to look at the pictures and X-rays and evaluate the data they gathered, so they can put together a recommendation for my teeth treatment plan.  They apparently need a lot of time to do this, so I have to schedule a second appointment to come back and find out the "results."

Appointment #2:

  • Arrive at dentist for scheduled appointment.  Since they didn't do a normal teeth cleaning at the first appointment, I'm hoping that's going to happen this time.  There's nothing like squeaky-clean teeth after a dentist visit.
  • Get ushered back to dental room and sit in a chair.
  • Dentist arrives.  He has a packet that includes my treatment plan, some promotional brochures from the pharma company that sells the anti-gingivitis medication he is recommending, and an ominous-looking black binder.
  • The dentist hands me the treatment plan.  They did not find any cavities.  However, one of the spaces between my teeth has a deep pocket in the gumline, which he feels cannot be resolved with brushing and flossing alone.  He recommends the medication and a "deep cleaning."  I also have some wear on the outside of one of my teeth from brushing too hard.  This just needs a little patching to protect the enamel.
  • Total cost for medication and deep cleaning totals over $5000.  Cost of patching (the only thing I feel that I really do need) is $24.
  • Dentist then gets out the ominous binder.  He opens it to reveal close-up photographs of people's teeth in varying stages of tooth rot and gum disease.  He then proceeds to full-on lecture me on the importance of keeping one's teeth healthy, while progressing to photographs that, in the end, must be of people who never brushed their teeth in their whole entire lives.  
  • This makes me feel very ashamed, like I somehow am not doing enough for my teeth by regularly brushing and flossing them and, oh, the horror.
  • The lecture lasts somewhere between 15 and 20 minutes, until he finally puts away the awful pictures of strange people's teeth.
We discuss strategy.  I ask, politely, "When are you going to clean my teeth?  Are we going to do that now?"  
He replies, "We only do teeth cleaning on people who have healthy teeth.  Your teeth aren't healthy enough for a regular cleaning." 

(This is the point where I am not sure whether to be shocked into silence or start crying.)

So I say, "Ok, what if I think about the medicine and some of the extra dental work you're recommending, and wait on that, but agree to do the deep cleaning and get the teeth patching.  Can we just do that?"

He says we can but I still have to schedule another appointment.  This appointment is just to review the teeth treatment plan (and, apparently, employ scare tactics to shame me into buying whatever med the pharma company is pushing).  If I want to get any actual dental work done, I need a third appointment.

That's right... a THIRD appointment.  When all I wanted was to go in, get my teeth cleaned, and maybe a 10 minute patch job on the tooth that got brushed too hard.  (Also: does anyone note the irony that he is telling me I have horrible dental hygene at the same time he's telling me I'm brushing my teeth too much?  Which is it?)

I told him I would "think about it" and get back to them on when I wanted to schedule the third appointment.  I then left the dental office, feeling deflated and with no intention of EVER going back.

A few weeks later, the sweet receptionist lady (the only thing this place had to recommend it) called to ask if I'd figured out when I was going to schedule my appointment.

I told her I would have scheduled one if I could've just gotten a teeth cleaning and that little patch job done.

"Well, of course you can honey," she replied, scanning my file.  "We can schedule you for a cleaning and to get that bit of chipped tooth patched too if that's what you'd like."

I said, "I'd like that very much, but the dentist said that wasn't possible, that he didn't want to do a cleaning."

"That's odd," she replied, sounding perplexed.  "I don't know why we couldn't do that.  Let me just check with him and find out what's going on.  I'll give you a call back after I've spoken with him."

She never got back to me.


School Pride

January 14, 2012

Seeing as how the husband's family always sends us gear promoting the University of Iowa, it seemed only fair that my family send us gear promoting Kansas State.  And my parents did just that for Christmas.

Afterwards, the husband and I had the following conversation.

THB:  I like my new K-State sweatshirt, but I think it's funny that they picked the camouflage one.  What, do I scream redneck?

ME:  I wouldn't say so much 'scream' redneck but you definitely 'announce loudly.'


In memory of a wonderful grandmother

January 05, 2012

This is my favorite photo of my Grandma, and the one that I will always remember her by.

In my memory, Grandma Fern was always this person: smiling on the porch steps, standing in the warm dappled sunlight of a Michigan summer.  She was the grandmother who was always happy to see you, who would give you hugs and kisses and send homemade fudge at Christmastime.  She would patiently play cards with pre-teen adolescents as if it were the one thing she wanted to do most in the world.  She let us eat sugar cereals and always, always, sent cards on our birthdays.

Love you always, Grandma.  XOXO