Monday, November 19, 2007
Sometimes I feel like Adam Sandler is playing around with my remote control of life ("Click" reference for those of you who haven't seen that movie). The only difference is that I don't want my life to go by in the blink of an eye. I want to deal with all of the everyday "inconveniences" that slow me down a bit and make me reflect on how short and sweet life truly is. I want to sit down at my desk and write another check for a bill and be grateful that we have a wonderful house to call home and bills that we have the ability to pay because of our jobs.
Life is made up of millions of inconveniences, millions of menial daily tasks that we'd rather avoid - those few moments of pure bliss, those unforgettable seconds of time, those are few and far in between. Why wait around for those moments to happen and ignore the sweet filling in between? Call me crazy, but the best part of cake is the filling in the middle - the actual cake is just a bonus.
I am thankful for the arguments. I've been married for four years to a wonderful man. We have our moments, our marriage is far from perfect, but through each argument, I feel like we learn more about one another. I feel like we mark our battles down in some invisible, unspoken history book and learn from our mistakes. Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it. I am thankful to have a husband who loves me and knows me and still accepts me for who I am even with my many faults.
Waking up at 6:30 a.m. is a blessing. Why would anyone want to be greeted by the irritating beep of an alarm clock and be pushed out of a warm and cozy space? That's easy. It's a blessing to me because I have a place to go, some place that makes my life worthwhile, a true blessing to work where I work and for whom I work. A job that pays my bills and gives me some extra spending money when I just "need" that new "insert whatever gadget is popular now-a-days". An incredible boss who goes above and beyond for his employees. Great co-workers who are funny and smart and good people. This is what life is all about. This is the good filling.
Airing up my tire is a blessing. I've had a nail stuck in my right front tire for the past 6 months. Why haven't I replaced the tire, you ask? It's a matter of principle. I just had all four tires replaced and within a week's time, the nail became embedded in my tire. Kinda aggravated me, so I still drive on it since it's not that big of a deal. It causes a slow leak that I have to fix on a weekly basis. Air it up, I'm on my way. How is that a blessing? Because I have a car. It may not be the latest and greatest or even considered middle-class, but it gets me from point A to point B, and it's always pulled through for me whenever I needed it to. It's paid for. It drives well. It's my car.
My family. The entire dynamic of my family has changed. My maternal grandparents are gone, our holiday get-togethers are at different locations and not all of us can make it there anymore. I had the sickening realization the other day that after my generation is gone, no one on earth will have ever had the opportunity to know my grandparents in life. They'll never get to hear my grandmother's voice, or see the beautiful wrinkles in her hands or hear The Price is Right music playing in her kitchen early in the morning. They'll never know that my grandfather loved to eat bananas and how he used to wear mechanic jumpsuits just to piddle around the house. How he worked on crossword puzzles daily and how is eyes turned a weird shade of blue once the cataracts got too bad. They'll never get to hear them say "I love you" and to know how good it felt to be loved and embraced by them. We can pass their memory along to our children and our children's children, but it will never be the same. They will never know.
This makes me want to hold on to my loved ones even more - to embrace them and cherish them and love them because they won't be around forever. When they're gone, that chapter of life will close. No video or picture or funny story will ever depict just how wonderful they were. I am thankful for them.
I am thankful for my pets - all three of them. If you've never owned a pet, especially a dog, I highly recommend it - if for nothing more than the therapeutic value. My dog is my psychologist. He's my sounding board and my rock at times. I had an emotional day a few days ago. Hey, it's OK to cry, right? My dog was intently chewing on his bone and stopped immediately once he knew I was upset. He came over to me and kneeled down right next to me and just let me lean into him and cry on him. He's a 2 year old lab puppy, so this was a huge feat for him. When I pulled my face back, he looked straight in my eyes and licked my face as though to say "I love you, I'm here for you." I know that sounds stupid, but it's like he just knew. It was one of the most powerful moments of my life. How can something so uniquely different from me be so connected to me on so many levels? My cats are the same way. If I'm sad, it's like they know. They follow me around more, sit on my lap more, head butt me more, whatever they can do to make me happy. I am thankful for them.
I am thankful for all of you and thankful for the many everyday blessings that may not necessarily seem like a blessing. It's time to start focusing on the in between moments, the filling of the cake, the sweet part that is often hidden from the naked eye but makes your life incredible once you reach it. It's the in between moments that count. Let's make them count.
Have a very Happy Thanksgiving!
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Betcha can't eat just one!
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Prior to this challenge, opening a microwave required too much effort. To say that I'm totally out of my element here is the biggest understatement of the year. This leads me to believe that some cosmic forces must've joined recently. I figured I should start this challenge out very slowly since I am a novice and all. Why not make a pot of chili? It was 80 degrees outside which is cold by Louisiana standards - what better way to warm your soul than with steaming bowl of spicy chili. Sounds good in theory, doesn't it? The execution wasn't as pleasant. For starters, here's some raw meat mixed with onions. Simple enough. Now that I no longer have to chop the onions myself - thanks to my lil' Black & Decker processor - my life is much easier.
After the meat was fully browned, I added the following:
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 7000 teaspoons of garlic salt
- 2 1/2 cups tomato sauce
- 1 (8 ounce) jar salsa
- 4 tablespoons chili seasoning mix
- 1 (15 ounce) can light red kidney beans
- 1 (15 ounce) can dark red kidney beans
Looks pretty enough, doesn't it? That's b/c I added tons of water to it. Ya know water totally covers up any salt issues you may have. Yeah, I didn't believe it when I said it out loud either. So, my chili was ruined, but perhaps if I added tons of cheese to it, Joe would be none the wiser. Prior to serving it to Joe, I thought I'd make some cornbread. Yum, cornbread. I don't have any cupcake cups, so I decided to make it in a pan - a pan that was too big for it - a pan I forgot to grease. This is the end result of that fiasco.
Lovely, it all stuck to the pan. It was as flat as a pancake. It broke two of my teeth.
Eh, who cares - why not serve it to Joe anyway? Cut it up in very artistic shapes, plate it to make it look really nice, and he'll be none the wiser. Throw some cheese on the Salt lick chili and wala! After a painful 10 - 15 minutes of watching Joe die of dehydration, I decided to put him out of his misery and ask him if it was too salty. He looked at me with a scared look in his eyes and muttered "Just a little bit" - what a trooper, eh?
Fast forward a bit... While I was cleaning the dishes in the kitchen, I decided to feed a few of the cornbread scraps to Cosmo. I know, I'm an awful pet mom. After breaking two of his teeth on the bread, he can no longer close his mouth. This is his permanent expression now.
To add insult to injury, I walked into the bathroom after the dishes were put away and Joe was gulping water from the faucet. Yes, it was that bad. Moral of the story - next time you oversalt a dish, throw it out. With the exception of the salt, the chili was actually excellent. I think I'll make it again one day but remember which end is up on the salt shaker! Here's the link to the recipe for anyone who is interested:
Monday, March 19, 2007
Here's a brief re-cap of our conversation:
Joe: Hey, I love you.
Me: What did you do?
Joe: Nothing (voice gets higher)
Me: Yeah right, what did you do?
Joe: Nothing, I swear (starting to sound like Mickey Mouse)
Me: Uh huh
Joe: Ok, are you sitting down? (voice is nearly inaudible at this point - dogs are coming out in droves from the high pitch)
Joe: Well, I kind of burned up our back yard.
Me: What do you mean "kinda"
Joe: Well, I left a box burning and it kinda spread throughout our yard and burned the grass up.
Me: How much of our grass is burned?
Joe: Not much
Joe: Really! (mouse pitch again)
Joe: Ok, the entire yard, but at least we didn't burn down the neighbors house.
Joe: It's not so bad, you'll see.
We hung up the phone with one another because I don't really like talking about family matters and such while I'm at work. I guess at that point I didn't realize just how bad it was.
So, I get home from work and walk to the backyard. Looks like a vast wasteland, something you'd see on a National Geographic special. I partially expected Bear Grylls to pop out in all of his glorious hotness and start eating pieces of the charred grass because it has protein and tastes like steak. Poor Cosmo was outside playing hopscotch jumping from one section of grass that hadn't been fried to another section of grass that was still alive. He's a diva dog.
Just incase you're thinking "Nah, it can't be THAT bad!" here's photographic proof. Don't say I didn't warn you. By the way, this is only a small section of our yard. The burned grass stretches from one end of our yard to the next, stopping about an inch from our neighbor's fence. I think I heard, "You know, this is GOOD for our grass, it'll grow in nicely in a few weeks" about 50 times. I guess we'll find out in a few weeks if that's true!
Monday, March 12, 2007
A few blocks from my office is a small apartment complex where the second floor of each apartment has a balcony that faces a main road. While most people decorate their balconies with strand lights (during Christmas) or pumpkins (during Halloween), one resident of the complex has taken it upon herself/himself to be the resident whack-job. This means that s/he has shucked tradition by throwing out all Christmas lights and replacing them with a mannequin. This mannequin is quite festive. She's dressed up for every holiday in the appropriate gear - Santa Suit, Mardi Gras mask, witches hat - what's not to love?
Today, she's sportin' her summer garb - bright, lime-green sun-dress, no shoes. The only thing that's missing today is her hair. I guess her owner was opting for the Phil Stacey look. Judge for yourself.
I will keep you posted anytime the mannequin changes clothes. Just so you know I am risking life and limb here because the crazy person leaves the windows open during the day and can probably see me taking pictures with my phone. Hopefully s/he won't have me arrested.
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
So, for the past few weeks they've been building a set about a block from my work. There are about 20 headstones set up in cemetery-like fashion. With the weather all gloomy and cold, it's the perfect backdrop for whatever sad, sappy movie is about to be filmed here. Which, by the way, I just found out is a Brad Pitt film called "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" (comes out in 2008).
I usually eat my lunch and read by the Lakefront, so I was especially curious today when I saw that parts of the park were being partitioned off by barricades and police tape. Since I'm nosy as hell, I came back to work and told my co-worker about it - she immediately wanted to go check it out. Who am I to argue? We march down to the lakefront and start chatting with everyone who has gathered.
This is what we hear while we're standing there...
"Brad Pitt is going to be filming today!"
"No, Brad isn't going to be here!"
"Yes, Brad will be here!"
"No, Brad isn't coming!"
So, being the investigator that I am, we started chatting up some LA guy who was there to help setup. After he tried being smooth and flirting with us - spare me - he said that Brad won't be there and that some character actor guy would be filming a scene at 4.
My point is this - this LA actor guy said he just got finished wrapping up Spider Man III - which, my friends, stars none other than Topher Grace - my future husband. So, in some sick and twisted way, I experienced a Six Degrees scenario with my favorite actor. I couldn't care less about Brad Pitt at this point.
Oh, when we were walking back to work, one of the photographers there from the local paper said that the movie company asked them to come out and photograph. It's unspoken that Brad WILL be there. I guess that none of the assistants can verify that he'll be there - perhaps it's some sort of breach. I'm not sure.
I will be there at 4 just to see. I'll post an update later.
Saturday, January 20, 2007
This week's money maker? Spice. Yes, spice.
He calls me a while ago and asks if I can make a website. After I told him no, he said he and his friend Shawn (if you remember, he was part of the duo known as Shish in my "more meat ma'am" blog) decided that they could start up a website that sells New Orleans spices all over the world. They both think they could earn a substantial amount of income from this idea. They probably could have if they'd been the first to think of it, but Tony Chacheres and Tobasco already have their own sites, so why would anyone go to joeandshawnspice.com when they can go straight to the manufacturer?
Get rich quick scheme #2...
A few months ago Joe wanted to invent a portable A/C that keeps your car cool all day. It would run off of solar power and essentially cool your car while it's parked in the sun. Great idea, just a little too late. After Joe told me about it, I saw an infomercial for that very thing.
Get rich quick scheme #3...
Before that, Joe and Shawn wanted to invent a coffee cup that had a temperature guage. So, if you know you like your coffee at a certain temperature, you didn't have to test it and either scald your tongue or freak out b/c it's too cold. This one has yet to make it off the drawing board.
If it's not about ways to make money, it's about ways to spend money. Joe watched an episode of Everest and decided he wanted to summit Mount Everest. Of course he'd need the $3,000 - $4,000 worth of gear to accomplish that.
A few weeks before that he wanted to be a super mountain biker. So, he goes out and spends an arm and a leg on a mountain bike and all of the gear that goes along with it, and what happens next? It ends up collecting dust and cobwebs in our messy garage (another project he started and never finished).
Now he wants to be a scuba diver. He and Shawn are planning on diving this summer, so Joe is about to get his license or whatever the hell he needs to dive (Shawn is already registered). So, there's another $$$ down the drain.
Shawn is so darn nice, and his wife is great, too. I always feel like I'm the spoil sport. I guess there has to be someone like that in a relationship otherwise we'd have massive amounts of debt and unused sports equipment for every known sport under the sun taking up huge amounts of space in our little garage.
So, for all the women out there who married men with the heart of a child, I feel your pain. Perhaps we should start some sort of support group or something. What do you think?
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
While I was in the shower, I was thinking about '06 and how quickly it flew by. With the exception of a few brief moments, I had a hard time remembering any of the events that transpired throughout the year. This memory lapse isn't from my pre-mature Alzheimer's, no, it's because time is passing by too quickly, and I'm not taking the time to slow down and appreciate each day for what it's worth.
A close friend of my mom's recently passed away from a very aggressive form of breast cancer. She went through periods of remission and periods of non-remission. At the end, the cancer had spread throughout her entire body. I met her years ago when Joe and I were insuring my engagement ring (she worked for State Farm). She was the picture of health and beauty.
My great uncle passed away yesterday. He went into the hospital complaining of some back problems on Monday. The doctors ran some tests that day and discovered he had a malignant grown on his liver. They also discovered he had some clotting and made arrangements to perform surgery early yesterday morning to prevent the clots from circulating throughout his body. About an hour prior to his surgery, he passed away. It was that quick.
I didn't go to the hospital to see him because I thought I had more time. I had some things I had to finish at work. In the grand scheme of things, were my menial tasks at work that important? Why didn't I spend more time with my Uncle Bob at my sister's wedding? Had I known it would've been the last time I'd see him alive, I would've attached myself to him the entire night.
I wish I could press an easy button and slow down time. I'll be 29 years old in a few months. My sister is a married woman now. My parents are approaching their mid-50s. My cat Sam will be 13 in July.
I remember when 29 seemed so old. I remember holding my sister when she was a baby. I remember when my parents were close to my age. I remember buying Sam from the Pet shop at Lakeside Mall. All of this seems like it was yesterday. How did all of this time pass without me realizing how quickly life flows? Why didn't I take the time to appreciate Sam when she was a kitten or play with my sister more when she was a child?
I'm not sure why I'm so pensive right now. I hate being like this, actually. Maybe it's the time of year. I'm usually always kind of bummed around this time of year. Perhaps it's because this year has already started off in such a crappy fashion.
My post is very random. I just re-read it and really can't make sense out of it, so I'm sorry if you're confused. I guess my point is that life has become so routine. We wake up, go to work, eat, sleep, workout - not necessarily in that order. We don't try to make our days significant. It's sad that I can only remember a handful of significant days in '06. I'll bet my mom's friend lived each day to the fullest after finding out about her cancer. Each day of life was a special gift, and she cherished it and made it the best day she possibly could.
I'm not talking about taking trips to Fugi or climbing Mount Everest to make your life meaningful (we all know how dumb I think that idea is). I'm talking about going to PetSmart on your lunch break to play with the kittens for adoption or bringing your spouse/significant other a surprise lunch at work or walking along the lakefront/beach and smelling the water - these things are significant. These are the memories that fill our days and carry us through the years. Taking the time to appreciate the little things, not dwell on the big things, and to look forward to all things - this is what I need to focus on this year. I need to change my outlook.
We all need to look at life through the eyes of someone who just found out they have a terminal illness. Make the best of the time we have on this Earth and focus on ways we can improve our life and the lives of those we love and care about. Bake some cookies for the elderly neighbor who has no family. Take a care package to the lady down the street who is caring for her dying husband. Sometimes we need to take the focus off ourselves for a while.
Wednesday, January 3, 2007
My dog farted so loudly in his sleep that he actually woke himself up and started to bark.
Moral of the story...
Own a dog and you'll never stop laughing.
My reaction when I see people doing this:
Tuesday, January 2, 2007
Random thought #1...
Have you ever watched a show on obesity where the camera person gets shots of obese people from the neck down? I often wonder if those people are watching the program at that exact moment and say to themselves, "Hey, I have that exact same shirt! Hey, I have those exact shorts! Whoa, I've been there before! Wait a damn minute, that's me!!"
I mean, seriously, don't you find it strange that these camera operators are videotaping people without their consent or knowledge? I highly doubt they have to get permission since the person's face isn't in clear view. Just imagine if you were one of those people they were videotaping and you saw yourself on camera for all the world to see.
It's just something I've pondered lately since my Tivo has been recording lots of shows of this type.
Random thought #2...
Did you know that if you climb Mount Everest and you suddenly die or find yourself dying, that a) no one is going to rescue your ass and 2) your body will be left there for eternity? Why is this? Well, the altitude is too high, so flying in a rescue helicopter is impossible and it would take at least 20 trained people to move one average-sized person down the mountain. So, let's just say you get a wild hair up your butt and try to summit the mountain. If you take too long to hike up/down and use up most of your oxygen, you're basically screwed. Forgot to bring enough water? So long, amigo.
If you really think the bonds you've established with your hike-mates will save your life, you're wrong. They will leave you faster than Lindsey Lohan leaves her man. Then they will call your wife/husband and tell them that your body will be a human sicle on the side of Everest as long as the Earth is in existance. There's no possible way they can ever get you down from the mountain. If that's not enough motivation to prohibit idiots from ever climbing that mountain again, I don't know what is.
Random thought #3...
If you're ever stranded in the African Wilderness and decide that you're thirsty, just squeeze a delicious lump of elephant dung into your mouth and you'll be A-OK.
Random thought #4...
My mom tells me the other day that my dad was so enthralled with an Olsen Twins movie that he was actually visibly aggravated when he had to leave to go somewhere before the movie ended. His response, "Now I'm not going to know how this movie ends!" My dad is 6'5", 220 lbs. and a true man's man. The fact that he was even watching an Olsen twins movie is comical.
Random thought #5...
On my way to work this morning I saw my first dead Christmas tree sitting on a curb waiting to be picked up by the trash collectors. This made me unbelieveably sad for some reason. Christmas came and went WAY too quickly this year. Now there aren't any good holidays for about 10 months ('til Halloween). This sucks!