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Monday, November 6, 2006

Would You Like More Meat, Ma’am?

Joe and I "celebrated" our 3rd anniversary a few weeks ago. When I mean "celebrated", I mean we went out and bought a $1 card from Sav-A-Center and hurriedly wrote "I love you" so that it appeared we had put some thought into our marriage. Actually, the celebration would come later since Joe's gift to me was a fabulous night out at the Imperial Palace Casino in Biloxi to watch the Cirque Jungle performance (my gift to him is the Def Leppard/Journey concert we'll be attending on the 17th).

We double-dated (how cheesy) with a couple who married one week before we did. They're fun to be around, and we always have a great time when we do things with them. Can you sense that I'm building up to something really exciting? I am, you just WAIT!

So, we get to the casino around 5 p.m. and meet up with Shawn and Trish. Let's call them "Shish" since the trend seems to shuck the conventional method of actually calling people by their first names and, instead, opts to meld the names together into one stupid sounding name (think Brangelina or Bennifer). We meet up with Shish and walk into the casino together. After we got carded (yep, uh huh, we got carded) we made our way into the casino and decided to stop at the buffet to get dinner before the performance.

We make our way to the buffet and notice that there's a long line that extends longer than the length of a football field. Surely, I thought, this line was not for the buffet. Perhaps they were giving away $10 bills somewhere or maybe David Hasselhoff was signing autographs at the bar. These people would be insane to wait this long for 3 day old meatloaf and crusted macaroni and cheese. I was wrong. I'd have to eat a pre-meal to wait in a line that long. That pre-meal would have to consist of a starch, vegetable, meat, bread and tea (preferably unsweetened w/ lemon). So, in other words, mama wasn't having that. Shish seemed OK with waiting, but after standing in line for two minutes, Shish decided against waiting. We ultimately decided to go downstairs to the "swanky" restaurant in the lobby. When I say "swanky", I mean expensive. I'll explain in a few minutes.

We walk into this really cool place. It's somewhat dungenous in its decor - dimly lit, lots of natural stone on the walls, huge wooden chandeliers hanging from the ceiling with lit candles instead of electric bulbs, fire pits, medieval men bludgeoning crappy tippers with weapons of mass destruction. Still paying attention? Good. I was kidding about that last part. There really were fire pits in the place.

A man named "Ox" is our waiter for the evening. I'm not sure if this is his nickname/stage name or if his mom was cruel and actually named him Ox. I didn't ask to see his birth certificate or anything, so I'm really not sure.

Here's how it went down with Ox:

Ox: "So, have you guys been here before?"
All: "No."
(During this time I'm looking under my napkin, under the table, and under my dinner plate for the menu. No menu, not a good sign.)
Ox: "You guys are in for a real treat." (My first thought, no we're not.)
All: "Great!" (I had a fake smile on at this point because I look to my right and notice huge chunks of meat turning around on some prehistoric fire pit/skewer thing.)
Ox: "This place is all about meat. You see this red/green coaster right here? (Points to coaster on table) You turn it to green and our wait staff will bring you a continuous stream of meat. There's tons of meat to eat. Meat, meat, meat and more meat. I hope you guys like meat!"

(With each utterance of meat, I felt the urge to purge. For those of you who know me, I'm not much of a meat person. I will occasionally dine on cow and chicken, but that's pretty much the extent of my meat eating. It's very hard for me to eat something that was once living, so I automatically knew this wasn't going to be a pleasant dining experience for me - especially since the meat was brought to us in such a barbaric way.)

Shish: "Great, wow, exciting!"
Joe: "Great, wow, exciting!"
Natalie: ""
Ox: "Ok, turn your green light on and let's go!"

And so it began.

Meat, meat, meat. Ox was right. There was meat galore. Lamb, cow, pork, no innocent animal was spared! It was like a meat glutton's delight. Here's the most fan-fricken-tastic part of the whole dining experience - you couldn't even have a conversation because you were constantly interrupted to feast on more dead animals.

Shish: "So, what have you guys been up to (talking to us)?"
Us: "Well, ..."
Waiter: "More meat, ma'am, sir?"
Joe: "SURE!"
Me: ""
Us: "So, Shish, how is the baby?"
Shish: "Well, she's..."
Waiter: "How about a huge chunk of meat, ma'am/sir?"
Joe: "SURE"
Me: ""

So, that's basically how it went down the entire time. We basically said three words to each other the entire night, and Joe got his fill of meat. I ate a small bite of cow and tried to fill up on the black bean soup at the bar. $110 later I walked out of the restaurant more hungry than I was when I first got there. Yes, you read that right. We spent $110 on meat and a salad.

It was, quite possibly, the stupidest dining experience I've ever had. I can see how this may have been a good idea in theory. I just imagine two meat-eating guys sitting on a fraternity couch (half drunk) saying, "Hey, do you want to start a restaurant that only serves meat?!" In my mind, I named these guys Bubba and Bo just because I hate those names and always imagine backwoods idiots when I hear them. At least Bubba and Bo had enough common sense to hire a decorator for the restaurant. I'm sure if they'd had their way deer heads, indian dream catchers, Lynard Skynard t-shirts, and car parts would've been the main focal points of the establishment.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Cosmo Wong.

Here are the invites I made for my sister's upcoming lingerie shower/bachelorette party. They are tea-length. I'm pretty pleased with how they turned out considering it was a last minute whim kinda thing. ;)

Every once in a while Cosmo will do something so cute, so random, so ridiculously odd that there are really no words to describe it - so, I took some pictures.

Yes, that's Cosmo, and yes, that's a piece of black paper dangling from his mouth. He sat there staring at me with this piece of paper in his mouth for a good two minutes - totally oblivious of its presence. It's something akin to having broccoli stuck in your teeth and being totally unaware of it while you're talking to everyone you see.

Even better yet, he looks asian in these pictures. Cosmo Dong Nguyen.

Monday, September 25, 2006

I’m Married to Emeril.

I'm not a cook. Joe is not a cook. Joe watches two episodes of "Emeril Live" and thinks he's a gourmet chef. Dog eats raw chicken. House nearly catches on fire. Grease burns on my arms.

All this for one delicious meal of chicken parmesan. Read on.

So, yesterday (Sunday) was a nice and relaxing day for both of us. Joe was off of work, I had no other obligations, so it was one of those sit-back-and-do-nothing kind of Sundays - the kind where you don't even brush your teeth until the afternoon. I went to church yesterday morning, so I DID brush my teeth before noon, but I digress.

After putting up all of my fall decorations and deciding that I am, in fact, Martha Stewart, Jr., I decided to go one step further and cook a meal for my man. You see, I don't cook. It's not that I can't cook, it's just that I don't wanna. I don't wanna and you're not gonna make me. I think cooking is a major PITA (if you don't know what that means, think about it for a while). I mean, you spend quite a bit of $$ on all the ingredients, you spend hours preparing the meal and then cleaning up afterwards and all for what? So your man can tell you how much he loves you while burping and farting out the meal you so lovingly just made for him? Eh, it's not worth it!

All of that aside, I started preparing my meal. A few months ago (the last time I cooked dinner, in fact), I took a chance and made chicken parmesan. Not to brag on myself, but that was the best darn chicken parmesan I've ever eaten. And I'm a chicken parmesan eating fool, so I know what's good and what's not. I lovingly laid out the raw chicken - yum, E.Coli. I set up a separate station for the egg wash (how technical), and a separate station for the bread crumbs - I even crumbled up some Ritz crackers in it just for that extra crunch. I'm ghetto like that.

So, I went to the sink to wash my hands for the 10,000th time - yes, I'm a bit OCD when it comes to raw chicken. As I turned back around, I saw a yellow puff of something whisk past me. Was it a ghost, perhaps? Maybe an explosion of some sort? No, of course not, it was a dog - a little yellow dog - and he had something hanging from his mouth - something slimy, something infested with E.Coli, something repulsive - something like mommy and daddy's dinner. Yes, the little bastard stole a chicken breast with lightning speed and swallowed it whole. After I finally suppressed my urge to throw up, I hurried to the computer to make sure it was OK.

Did you know that dogs can eat raw chicken and other raw meats and have no adverse side effects? Bacteria doesn't affect them like it affects us. In fact, many people feed their dogs a diet that consists of only raw meats and vegetables. So, there's your veterinarian lesson for the day. Do with it what you wish.

After the dog/chicken catastrophe, Joe walks in the kitchen and starts to act like Emeril. He doesn't say "BAM" or anything stupid like that, but he acts like the resident expert of the kitchen. Mind you he's probably never cooked an entire meal in his life, and he's had no formal training whatsoever, but since he's seen two episodes of Emeril Live, he knows how to pan sear chicken. So, I just stand there rolling my eyes at him the entire time because I like doing that sort of thing, and he just stands there letting hot grease splat all over his arms, you know, because that's what Emeril does.

After I took back over the responsibilities of searing the chicken, Joe does the unthinkable and starts telling me how long to leave the chicken on each side, la da da da da. So, not being in the right frame of mind, I flipped the chicken over, and splattered about 7 cups full of grease on my arm. Well, more like a tiny dot of grease, but it hurt like hell, and now I have an ugly welt/scar on my forearm. I should join a bike gang, I'd fit in perfectly now. I'll buy one of those cool t-shirts that says "The bi*ch fell off" and wear leather pants with spiked boots. And instead of saying my scar is from grease, I'll just say it's from a gang fight in Tijuana - that sounds more interesting.

I guess I left out the part where the stove caught on fire. Yes, the remaining grease that didn't splatter on my arm spilled out on the stove and caught on fire. So, instead of doing the smart thing and acting calmly, I just managed to stand there saying "Oh, oh, oh my God, oh, uh oh, oh!" I'm not sure what Joe did in that amount of time, but the fire was extinguished and all was well. He decided to leave me alone after that.

You're probably saying to yourself - oh my, their chicken was destroyed - uh huh, my friend, it was delicious! Just as good as the first time I made it. Joe ate two pieces of it, and I had the one piece that I butchered as it was cooking because I'm always paranoid that the chicken isn't cooked thoroughly. I used to cook it for so long that it would come off of the grill or out of the oven the size of a pea. Now I know better and cook it for just the right amount of time - you know, the three or four times I've cooked it during our three year marriage.

Oh, Cosmo is OK, too! :)

Thursday, September 21, 2006


After searching for weeks to find a great invitation for my sister's bridal shower, I finally decided to bite the bullet and make them myself. I guess I consider myself somewhat crafty, so I was up for the challenge. For anyone who knows me, I'm a stationery/invitation freak, and since this is my only sister - my only sibling, for that matter - I want everything to be very special for her shower(s).

So, for your viewing pleasure, here's the finished product. For my sister's safety, I've blurred out the important stuff. I hope you understand!

What do you think?

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

American Idol III

I'll wrap up my AI story today. I wasn't able to finish adding the final pictures to my picture pages last night because I was busy working on my sister's bridal shower invitations. So, if you're mad, be mad at her. It's all her fault. You can call her and complain if you'd like, her number is

Nah, I can't do it.

So, I'll just write today and add the pictures later - maybe tomorrow, maybe next year.
I left off my last entry right about the time we entered the arena and first saw our seats. So, this is what happened next...

As we were sitting there two women cops came up and started talking to us. They mentioned that the Idols usually randomly picked people out of the audience to come backstage to meet and greet all of the Idols and their band. I was game, Joe was game, so we told the cops to put us down on the list since they seemed to think they had an insider's connection with the group. They were living in la-la land because we never heard anything about it again. I guess they wanted to impress Joe - I saw them wink at him a couple of times. Jezebels!

(Later we found out that the two chicks on row 1, seats 1 & 2 were chosen. Random!? I think not!)

So, after dropping a whopping $60 on a bottle of water and a scoop of ice cream, we were seated and ready to go. The show was supposed to start at 7 but didn't actually get going until about 7:15. The band came out first and started warming up by playing the American Idol theme song. Then the big screen behind them started showing small clips of all of the Idols. The only Idols who garnered screams/whistles from the audience were Chris and Taylor. Everyone else, as far as the audience was concerned, was dog dookie. Is dookie a word? It is now.

The first Idol to come out was Mandisa (sp). Let me tell you, this woman can entertain. She was so energetic, powerful, she commanded the stage. If I didn't know any better, I'd assume she'd been entertaining for years. I was definitely impressed with her although her constant mentioning of "needing a man" got old after a bit. This is how it went down.

"Hey, HOUSTON, I need a man!"
"HOUSTON, thanks for having us, any single men out there?"
"How many single gals in the house? Have any single guy friends?"
"I like my mens big. Any takers?"

I'm like, gee, girl, keep it in your pants! Get this woman a man STAT!

Oh, she also got very sweaty after about 1 minute into her performance. She carried a black lace handkerchief in her hand the entire time yet she never used it. I kept thinking to myself ((please, Mandisa, wipe your face)). The huge screen magnifying the sweat X 1,000,000 didn't help matters much eiher. Ok, I'm just being mean.

So, after Mandisa sang a few songs, Ace graced us with his presence. At this time our camera battery had completely died, so Joe was running around like a mad man trying to find a place to plug in the battery pack. If we hadn't been showing everyone and their brother the pics we took earlier with Chris, Ace, and Bucky, we probably could have gone the entire concert without having to worry about the battery. Next time we'll know better. I also wish I would've brought my own camera as back up. I just didn't feel like lugging my Rebel around because it's quite large and the bag is cumbersome.

Since I was worried about Joe finding a place to charge the battery, I didn't really get into Ace's performance. There was one point where he moved his chest in this really weird ryhtym - like a heart beat or something. It kind of grossed me out for some reason. I thought it was mucho-cheesy, but I soon forgot about it when he started acting normal again. Methinks he tries too hard sometimes.

As he ended his performance Lisa came on the stage. By this time Joe was back, and we were able to get some decent shots of Ace and then some great shots of Lisa.

Lisa is absolutely gorgeous. I always thought she was cute/pretty on the show, but she was never one of my favorites, and Joe didn't care too much for her either. After she came on stage, Joe was like, "Who the heck is that?" Not only is she gorgeous, but her voice is incredible, too. Oh, and she can play the piano. I know she did a few Elton John songs during her performance. This was Joe the entire time she performed --- .

Paris came on and did a duet with Lisa. I believe it was "Waterfalls" by that group with the girl w/ a condom eyepatch. I'm having a dead zone right now and can't remember their names. I like to call Paris Cybil because she has multiple personalities. Paris'/Cybil's ghetto personality Bonqueesha was out in full-force at the concert on Saturday night. I much prefer the smooth-singing, 40's-style personality that Paris has shown us before. I'm not into watching girls "drop it like it's hot" and having sex with props on the stage.

Bucky came out next. I'm not sure if the sound guy didn't know what he was doing or if Bucky just doesn't know how to project his voice, but I couldn't hear him the entire time he was on stage. When he was almost done with his performance Kelly came out and did a "Grease" duet with him - they sang "You're the one that I love!". Well, more like they just swayed their hips to the music and barely sang at all. I had to strain my ears just to hear them b/c neither of them were projecting.

Kelly had ZERO personality. All of the other performers, up until that point, had been very energetic and excited to be there. Kelly was just very ho-hum or perhaps the jeans she was wearing were so tight that they cut off the blood flow to her brain. I'm not sure who picked out her outfit, but either they were blind or had on a pair of beer goggles. Her jeans were about 10 sizes too small. So much so, in fact, that the zipper was down during her entire performance. I couldn't wait for her to be done with her performance. After she was finally finished, there was a 20 minute break which was great for us since we needed to charge the camera again. There was no way I was going to miss Chris, Elliott's, and Taylor's performances.

Oh man, I have to get back to work now. I just realized how long this was - it's already 9:20 a.m. I'm sorry, friends. Tune in for another AI installment tomorrow. ;)

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

American Idol II.

As promised, this blog will be about my AI experience. (There are pictures below for those who can't read.)

Here goes...

Joe and I left early Friday morning for Houston. The drive there was pretty uneventful with the exception of a major traffic accident that we somehow managed to by-pass. If we hadn't followed the few other brave souls who exited off of the interstate by driving across a grassy area and onto a service road, we would've been stuck in traffic for hours.

So, once we got to Houston we decided to check out the Galleria. I'm not much of a shopper, but I was game since I'd heard how massively large the place was. You could walk for hours and not even see half of the stores. They had stores that I'd only heard about on celebrity blog sites - Niemen Marcus (did I spell that right?), Nordstroms, Tiffany, Saks - you know, all the stores that sell a pair of socks for $400. Pocket change, my friend.

Ok, I just realized that I'm rambling on about things that have nothing to do with American Idol. Sorry if I bored you.

Skip ahead to Saturday (the day of the concert). We went to the Galleria again because 1) we knew where it was and 2) we didn't know where anything else was. After spending hours there and then hours trying to find invitations for my sister's bridal shower, we decided to try our luck and swing by the Reliant Arena to see if some Idols were hanging out - this was around 3 p.m. The reason we even attempted to stalk the Idols was because my friend Jill had luck at the Birmingham concert when she just kind of stumbled upon their tour bus behind the arena. So, I figured, hey, if they signed autographs in B-ham, surely they'd be signing them in Houston. I was right!

Joe and I had to sneak past security guards to get behind the arena. This was very risky because they had guns and swords and dogs with rabies all ready to go if someone should try to get past them. We managed to get past them with only a few battle wounds - some infected dog bites, partial deafness from the gunshots, and broken limbs from tripping a few times.
(Are you still paying attention?)

I'm kidding. The only security guard present was eating a donut and watching Oprah in his security booth. We were fine.

So, after driving for a bit we stumble upon a small group of people gathered behind some barricades. What do I spot? A bald head. Whose head is it? Chris Daughtry's! Woot! So, I'm yelling at Joe, "Stop the car, it's Chris, it's Chris!". Then I jump out of the car while it's still rolling - this is no joke. I'm not quite sure where my sanity was at that point, but I just had to snag a photo of Chris and didn't care if I had to walk up partially paralyzed or gimped out.

After making it out of the car safely, I ran up to Chris and also spotted Ace. Double woot! As you can see from my profile pic, Chris is in love with me. Yes, he is. Our eyes met and that was it. He held his arms out, pushed his other fans aside, and called my name. We ran towards each other like Dudley Moore and Bo Derek in "10".

Eh, a girl can dream.

Actually, after patiently waiting my turn, I finally got to hug him and get a picture with him. That was it - nothing too exciting or out of the ordinary. In person, Chris looks exactly like he did on television. I think he was even wearing the same jeans/shirt he wore a few times while on AI. He's quite short, though. I'm 5'9" and had to bend down to him to take the picture. Also, someone asked me if I grabbed his butt or if he smelled nice. The answer is no - the man has children and is married, oh, and so am I - and as far as smelling nice, I don't recall. I do know that he didn't smell like ass or anything foul, so that's good. :)

After I used Chris, I moved on to Ace. Ace, Ace, Ace. I can honestly say that I wasn't a big Ace fan during his run on AI. I thought he was cheesy and nothing more than boy-band material. However, after meeting him in person, my views have changed. He's just a genuinely nice guy. When he smiles, it's sincere and from the heart. He had a gaggle of fans who were there specifically for him - these women were probably in their late 40s or 50s. Most of them couldn't even speak when they finally got to him. He was so patient with all of them, and he hugged each of them like they were family members or friends.

Even Joe liked Ace after he met him, and that's saying a lot.

Some of the fans were asking Chris if Taylor was going to come out and sign autographs. His response was, "Taylor is a grown man, if he wants to come out, he will. We're out here because we want to be out here. Everyone makes their own decisions about that."

So, my guess is that Taylor is a snob now and thinks he's above signing autographs for fans. I also thought it was in bad taste for the people there to ask Chris and Ace about the other Idols. Does anyone else think that's rude? I never expected Taylor to come out.

After signing autographs, Ace and Chris took off on their scooters and left us all alone. We waited for another 30 minutes or so and then rushed back to the hotel room to change for the concert. Our hotel was right across the street, so we were only gone for about 15 minutes. I'm glad we came back again because that's when Bucky came out to sign autographs. Ace came back with him, too. Bucky only stayed out for about 3 minutes and then he went back to the arena. He signed Joe's hat (so did Ace), made a few funny comments, and then he was gone. Bucky reminds me of half of the guys I went to high school with, so I instantly felt comfortable around him.

We waited around for another hour or so (in the rain, I might add) and then decided to start lining up for the concert. It was about 5:30 at this time (the concert doors opened at 6).
Once we were inside the arena we went to find our seats. We'd met some great people at the fan area, and they had third row seats as well (three seats down from us). How crazy was that? They were from Baton Rouge, too. Actually, most of the fans hanging out with us were from Louisiana. Who would've thunk it?

We couldn't believe how close our seats were to the stage. I mean, usually there's a pretty substantial gap between the first row and the stage - not at this place, partner.

And then...

That's all for today, my friends. I just realized that this post is super-long, and I really need to get back to work now. I will finish up my AI experience tomorrow and add the remaining pics. In the meantime, enjoy these pics.

Click HERE for my American Idol pics! Make sure you zoom in on the poster or you won't be able to see all of the pictures.

Monday, September 11, 2006

American Idol I.

Since we were on the road for the better part of the day yesterday, I was only able to complete half of the picture page for our American Idol's weekend. I still have to add pictures of Tyler's, Elliot's, Catherine's and Chris's performances. I also have a few seconds of video of Chris, Catherine and Taylor.

I'm playing catch up at work today, so I won't have much time to write about what all went down, but at least you can enjoy the pictures in the meantime. I'll say this - I had an absolute BLAST! I have so much to write about, so much to tell, but you'll just have to wait!

Click HERE for my American Idol Pics (remember to click on the banner to zoom in so you can see all of the pictures).

Wednesday, September 6, 2006

Extra Extra.

I haven't written a blog in quite some time, so I thought I'd chime in about some recent happenings in my life. I know you guys and gals sit in front of your computer monitors 24/7 just waiting for me to churn out another of my marvelous blog entries. Wait no more, my friends, I'm back, and I'm fierce!

"Unfortch" (word shamelessly stolen from Pink is the New Blog), going forward this entry will pale in comparison to my magnificent opening paragraph, but at least I hooked you in the beginning.

On with it...

So, this past Saturday was my 10 year high school reunion. That's shocking for two reasons: 1) I can't believe I'm already old enough to be attending a 10 year high school reunion and 2) I can't believe I'm already old enough to be attending a 10 year high school reunion. I was quite surprised at how great a time I had. With the exception of feeling awkward for most of the night, Joe and I really enjoyed ourselves. It was nice to see some of my old friends and to catch up on our lives. The only issue I had was the constant series of obligatory questions that everyone asked:

- "How have you been?"
- "Where do you live now?"
- "How many children do you have?"

The third question got me the most. By the end of the night, I was almost apologetic for not having a gaggle of children. I was one of only three couples there who were childless, and two of those couples were newlyweds.

So, where does that leave me? Let's just say I'm starting to feel some pressure. I'm 28 and a few months old, I still have no desire to have children and I'm not really sure if I will ever want a child. Houston, we have a problem! Or do we? Who says you have to have a houseful of snot-nosed children to be happy in life? Who says that? If you can find me the person who says that I'll give you a $100 reward and a stick of gum - sugar-free gum for all you dieters out there.

Maybe I'll change my mind over the next few years. I know my mom's praying for that, and I'm sure Joe is praying for that as well. He's still on the fence about the child issue - his fence separates daddy-hood from corvette/camaro-hood. Methinks he'll choose the car, but I could be wrong.

So, aside from my child issues, I had an excellent time at my reunion. There were a few awkward moments throughout the night, but it was all bearable. I did find it shocking that half of the hard-bodied jocks of my class put on about 10,000 lbs. collectively.


Joe and I are off to Houston on Friday for the American Idol concert (Sat. night). I'm really looking forward to just getting out of town for a few days. Hopefully I'll be able to score some awesome pictures like my friend Jill did (check out her slideshow). We have third row seats, so I'm hoping to get some great shots. With our luck, we'll be behind a 7', one-ton man and only get to see the show from the big screens on stage. Isn't that always the case?

On a lighter note, one of my cats is crapping outside of the litter box now.

That is all.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

A Beagle, A Lottery Ticket and a Dream.

I am kind of anxious and excited right now - I'll tell you why.

Yesterday, on my way home from work, I saw a beagle running up and down one of the busiest streets in my area. It was quite evident that the dog was someone's beloved pet, so I turned my car around just in time to see it almost get hit. I knew at that point - 100 that I had to get the dog out of that situation. I'm always a bit apprehensive in dog rescue situations because I'm never sure of the dog's temperament or how I will handle the situation once I actually have the animal in my car - what if I can't find its owners, what if I can't find someone to adopt it, etc.

So, throwing caution to the wind (this is the first time I've used that phrase in a sentence - I like it), I pulled on a side street and used my best "call dog" voice possible "Come here, baby, come here darlin'!" Like a pro, the little dog turned around and ran over to me like we'd been pals for years. What a cute, cute beagle (one of my favorite breeds)! So, I picked the dog up and put her in my car. Actually, I opened my car door, and she jumped right in. At that point I KNEW she was someone's pet - also the huge dog tag dangling from her neck was a good indication.

So, first thing's first - what's her name? Gypsy. Cute. It's obvious from her running away shenanigans that the name suits her pefectly. Is there a phone number? YES! So, I nervously dialed the number from my cell phone hoping that her owner would pick up. Answering machine. DAMN! Ok, so I left a message. On to the next number. Within a second Gypsy's owner answered the phone. I explained to him that I had his dog and that she was running around on a busy street. He and a friend had been out looking for her. She must've turned into David Copperfield for a second and escaped without a trace.

So, we made plans to meet at my office b/c he lived down a nearby street and was out and about anyway. I get to my office and he's already there waiting for me. He's super excited that he found his dog and extremely grateful. He kept calling me a "good samaritan" and telling me "you done good, girl". I was very happy to be able to facilite a reunion with his dog. I could tell that she was well taken care of. I went home and kind of forgot about the whole situation.

Fast forward to today.

I get back from having lunch with my co-workers, and one of my other co-workers tells me that the man brought by a card for me and told her about what had happened. Up until this point, I hadn't told the story to anyone because I didn't really think they'd care. So, I explained everything to them. They know how much of an animal fanatic I am, so it came as no surprise to them.

Well, I was quite surprised! When I opened the card the man gave me, 5 lottery tickets fell out. I'm not much for the lotto - Joe and I will buy one or two tickets every once in a while, but I never pay it too much mind. I do have to admit, though, now I'm kind of excited to see how this pans out. It's kind of like the "pay it forward" principle. If you haven't seen the movie, go out and rent it tonight. Does one good deed really transpire into more good deeds? What if these lottery tickets are actually worth something? How crazy would that be? I will have to keep you posted.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Dead Zones.

I do what I can to stay sharp mentally - I always keep up with the latest celebrity news and gossip, I watch tons of informative TV shows like Cops and Reno 911, I spend countless hours playing computer Solitaire and Free Cell, you know, all the stuff that keeps our brains in tip-top shape. ;) However, as I age, I've noticed something that's somewhat alarming... "dead zones" are starting to occur more frequently.

What are dead zones, you may ask?

Come along, and I'll explain.

Have you ever been approached by an old high school chum, you know, your best bud with whom you shared many happy memories? As you two catch up on the good ol' days, you sit back and try to jog your memory to keep up with the stories your friend is spewing out. There's one problem, though - half of the stories you're hearing about mustn't have involved you because surely you'd remember them, right? Your friend swears up and down that you were there, you did play an active role in the situation, and that s/he can't believe you don't remember - how dare you!

This, my friend, is a dead zone.

Legal definition of dead zone: periods of time that your brain has mis-filed into some arbitrary filing cabinet that's buried and stored away from the rest of the useless data that our brain retains. Some dead zone cabinets contain small file folders of data, mine contains at least 2 tons of data (perhaps more).

Dead zones aren't always about stories from our past. Dead zones can also include the following:

1) Forgetting how to spell simple words like cat or dog
2) Forgetting when your own birthday is and how old you really are (although sometimes this is intentional)
3) Forgetting how to form a complete
4) Sentence
5) Forgetting the name of your first born, or, on a lesser scale, your husband.

The list goes on and on; however, I'm experiencing a dead zone right now and can't remember what else should be on the list.

In all seriousness, I have noticed a pretty serious decline in my mental capacity. I read papers that I wrote while I was in college, and I'm truly amazed that I was able to articulate my thoughts onto paper so well (sorry if that sounds like I'm bragging). Now I find that I have a hard time writing a complete sentence much less a 20 page paper on King Lear.

My fear is that this decline will keep happening and I won't be able to tie my shoes by the time I'm 40. What if that happens? What if Joe won't tie my shoes for me? I guess I'll have to purchase velcro shoes like I had when I was in the first grade. They were very sexy shoes - gray velvet with pink velcro straps.

Please tell me how I can remember that useless bit of information but I can't remember my senior prom?

Oy vey!

Monday, July 10, 2006

My Dog Ate My Ipod.

Oh, the joys of pet ownership.

Although Cosmo is gradually moving away from his bad puppy/adolescent phase of development, he still reverts back to his old ways sometimes. Case in point - the other day I heard him chewing something under the bed. This is a fairly common occurrence since he likes to hide out under the bed while I'm getting ready in the mornings. He usually brings his toys under the bed and chews them for a while; however, sometimes he'll find something "chewable" in our closet (unbeknownst to me) and go to town. I usually catch him before he inflicts too much damage on the object of choice.

So, just like every other day, it went down like this:

1) I see Cosmo's butt partially sticking out from under the bed. My first thought - hmm, he's chewing something.
2) I stand quietly and listen for a second - yep, he's eating something alright (I can hear his giant teeth crunching down very hard).
3) I decide to quit being lazy and just bend down to see what he has in his mouth.
4) I'm on all fours trying to see what's going on under the bed. It's dark, it's scary, and its dangerous.
5) I catch a glimpse of something white - something hard, plastic-y and white - something Ipod'ish in nature.
6) Cosmo looks at me and is scared. He immediately drops the object from his mouth and runs for cover.
7) I reach under the bed and clumsily feel around for the object.
8) When my hand finally comes into contact with the object I realize that it's not a credit card, a clothes pin, a shoe, a piece of sticky tape that gets cat/dog hair off of clothing, a hair clip, a rubber band or any of the other thousands of items that Cosmo eats on a daily basis. It's my little Shuffle. My free gift (I won it at Joe's Christmas party). My source of entertainment during my daily jogs. My life.

Ok, that was a bit too dramatic, but I was pissed off nonetheless. What's equally as upsetting is that the Ipod wasn't even out in plain site of the dog. The furry bastard actually went into my purse, dug to the bottom of it with his wet dog nose and pulled it out with his teeth - all the while I'm totally clueless all this is going down.

So, now I have no Ipod.

I still have a dog, though. Anyone want a mixed mutt w/ expensive taste in doggy toys?

Friday, June 23, 2006

The Old Man Next Door.

My company re-located offices to a very old and quaint area of town right before Katrina hit. We're in a beautiful, old building that's situated in a residential area. I love it here because our office space feels very home-y, and the neighbors and neighborhood are just wonderful.

A few months ago I noticed an older gentleman who lives in the house next to our office. He waves to me every morning. He's usually outside in the mornings with his little dog. I never really understood what he was doing outside because he would just stand around staring off into space. My first thought was that he was an Alzheimer's patient, but after watching him one morning, I saw him get on a bus. I always wondered where he was going and what he was doing.

My co-worker's grandfather was recently in a car accident and has since had his car keys taken away from him. Old age is cruel, unfair and inevitable. I can't imagine being stripped of my independence, but when your inability to think quickly and see clearly starts affecting your ability to drive, there's no other option. I digress. After the car accident, my co-worker walked over and started talking to the old man next door. She found out that the bus brings him to a local community center where seniors get to engage in all sorts of fun activities - line dancing, bingo, aerobics classes, etc. I think this is a fantastic program!

Since she first talked to him, they've become friends of sorts. He's opened up about his life to her, and she relays all of this information to me. Today she told me that the little dog he played with every day and took on hour long walks had to be put to sleep a few weeks ago. This just broke my heart. I know he's lonely. His wife passed away, he never sees his children, no one is ever over there with him - I imagine his dog was his only companion (besides the friends he has at the community center). I just feel like running over there and giving him a big hug. My heart is connected to this man for some reason.

I'm not sure why I posted this here. I guess I just need to collect my thoughts. When she told me about his dog I started crying (like an idiot). I just feel so sorry for him. I just wish that there was something I could do for him. I can't imagine being lonely at that stage of your life - everything and everyone you love is dying around you and you're just standing there watching it happen.

Friday, June 9, 2006


Yes, we've been hit - hit by a mailbox smasher. You know the type - the pubescent, zit-faced loser kids who think it's funny to go around denting up and ripping off people's mailboxes. It's an epidemic in our area. Countless mailboxes have been beaten to a bloody pulp with no hope for survival. No matter how beefy the box, it's no match for a baseball bat (or whatever object of destruction is popular these days with the kiddies).

It started about a mile down the highway from our house. Since many of the residents on the highway have mailboxes across the street from their homes in tight sections of 10 or more boxes, it's an easy 1. 2. 3. punch for the little bastards. I'm sure they can take out 10 or more boxes with one quick whip of the bat. After the first batch of boxes were taken out, a new batch of brand new boxes appeared the next day. A day later, the new boxes were gone, too. It's disgusting!

We figured that since we live in a neighborhood off of the main highway, we were immune to this stupid prank. No such luck, amigos. Joe calls me at work this morning to tell me that our neighborhood has fallen pray to the zit tards aka the mailbox smashers. What's even more astounding to me is that Joe and I were outside this morning for at least 15 minutes, and we didn't notice that our mailbox had been knocked down. How observant are we? Obviously not very!

So, a few of our other neighbors were also the target of the tards, and now everyone is up in a tizzy (rightfully so). I think it's such a terrible crime to deface someone else's property, and these little asswads should feel very relieved that I didn't create the laws in our area.

Crime: Mailbox smashing
Punishment: Death

OK, maybe not so severe (well, maybe). Anyhoo, Joe is already trying to fix the mailbox as best as he can. I guess we'll just have to be more vigilant with these bastards and hopefully one of us will be able to catch them. I would personally dance a jig of glee if they were caught, and that's saying a lot because 1) I can't dance and 2) I'm not sure what a jig is. Nevermind, I looked it up - it's a hop or a skip - I can hop and skip. No problem!

Oh, and wouldn't you assume that a metal baseball bat (or whatever instrument they used) hitting a metal mailbox at brute force would create a noise loud enough to at least wake up the dog? Nope, not our dog. Joe and I are both deep sleepers, but our dog is such a light sleeper that he will bark when someone walks down the street in front of our house. How did he not hear that? Was he high? Drunk?

Monday, May 8, 2006

Lafayette, LA is the Bermuda Triangle of the US

Snady and I photographed a wedding in Lafayette, LA this past Saturday. Although I've driven past Lafayette, I've never actually driven THROUGH the town. Can I just say that I've never been so discombobulated in my life? I had perfectly clear directions from I've used MapQuest dozens of times and have always found my way with no problem; however, once I got to Lafayette and tried finding the hotel where we were staying, I somehow managed to get off course so badly that I was lost and driving around w/o a clue for a good two to three hours.

It's not just me, though! Sandra had the same problem finding the hotel the night before. Then when she tried finding the place where the bride was getting ready, she got flipped around and was lost for a good while.

Also, when I was leaving out the next morning a man came into the gas station and said he was totally lost and confused. He said he found his hotel earlier in the day and now couldn't find it again. The lady working at the gas station said that Lafayette was a big cluster and one of the worst places to try to find anything.

Why is it so hard to drive around that place? It's like some strange vortex or black hole there. Street directions don't make sense, hotels and other landmark places are hidden miles down the side streets, everything just seems so...backwards.

Let's just say that this past Saturday was the day from hell. I hate being late to important appointments like that - especially when I give myself plenty of time to get somewhere (just incase I get lost). I felt especially bad b/c Saturday was Sandra's birthday and we were both so exhausted - mentally and physically - from the day that we didn't even do anything fun afterwards.

Sandra, I owe ya one!

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