Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Not-So-Virgin Eyes

“Ah! Shield my virgin eyes,” said the red-faced teenager watching a saucy scene from a movie with her parents in the same room.

I used to joke about shielding my virgin eyes from the TV screen every time a kissy-romantic scene would show. Or every time an inevitable sex scene would commence. Even though most of the movies are good at hiding the parts that shouldn’t be shown on television, they’re also good at making the scene an emotionally charged, intense moment.

After being out on my own and married for eight years, I’ve become slightly desensitized to the stuff they show in movies and on TV these days. I thought that I had a pretty good feel for “safe” movies to watch and own.

What I’ve discovered is this – if you think you know a “safe” movie from a “not safe” movie as far as sexual content, language, and violence, watch said movie with your grandma, and then make your judgment.

I was so embarrassed on Christmas Eve when I watched The Holiday with Sheldon’s grandparents in the same room! I’ve watched the movie twice before with Sheldon. I never felt embarrassed, uncomfortable, or red-faced while watching it. But viewing the movie with people born in the late ‘20s made me realize how much sex was actually in it.

Way past “not safe” and into the category of “raunchy” is 40-Year-Old Virgin. One word – ew! I wasn’t just red-faced, I wanted to put a bag over my head and crawl under the couch cushion to avoid looks from the elders. And I didn’t even pick the movie out! I claim no fault of my own. But I was still embarrassed.

I still love The Holiday and I won’t stop watching it with my husband, I just won’t watch it with children, elders or horny teenagers. I’ve learned two things.
1. Maybe watching current TV series and movies has changed what I consider to be appropriate over the years.
2. Always check the rating before watching a movie with family.

On a side note, a new movie I’d like to see is The Bucket List. No, I don’t know what the rating is, so if you’re a child, an old person or a horny teenager, don’t ask to accompany me. I’ll probably get embarrassed.

Happy Movie Viewing!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Juan's Home!!

As requested, the photos from Juan's return home from Iraq. We love you Juan!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Thanksgiving in Alabama

I know all of you are on the edge of your seats waiting for the Alabama Thanksgiving pictures to be posted. So here they are!

We had so much fun! Down-home cookin', family and laughter make the perfect Thanksgiving holiday.

Friday, November 16, 2007

My First Poem!

A little background - I've always been scared of writing poems. Since I was in elementary school the idea of writing something that had a pattern or a rhyming scheme just scared me. I just wanted to write what I wanted to write and that was that. I've since decided that I should give poetry another try. My muse? My husband and wanting the feeling that I've overcome a long-time obstacle in my writing. So here it is! (Please keep the constructive criticism to a minimum.)

To my "Forever & Always"

I love the way I feel when I'm wrapped in your arms so tight,
It's like you're protecting me from the world with all your might.

Your smile always brightens my day,
And reminds me how I love you in every way.

The perfect Saturday morning chef,
Your pancakes, biscuits, and burritos are the best.

When you kiss my forehead, my toes start to tingle.
And I feel as happy as jolly 'ol Kris Kringle.

What on Earth would I do
If I had to live my life without you?

I love you more as each passing year goes by.
I'll be with you forever my snuggly, teddy-bear guy!


Monday, November 12, 2007

A few of my favorite things...

...I simply remember my favorite things, and then I don't feel so bad....

Holiday to-go cups at Starbucks
The smell of coffee
Baking cookies
The warmth and coziness of a house filled with loving friends and family
Snuggling with Sheldon on Sunday mornings (was that TMI?)
Watching traditional Christmas movies with family
The smell of a new book and the silky feel of its pages
My mom's voice on the other end of the telephone line

Thursday, November 8, 2007

In the Spirit of Giving Thanks

The holidays are fast-approaching. Commercials have flooded the TV screen promising the best sales around. The baking aisle at the grocery store is jam-packed and the shelves are empty. The weather is cool, and I got my first holiday-themed Starbucks cup of the season today filled with a creamy eggnog latte heated to the perfect temperature. I love the holidays!

As I sit curled up in my warm house, in my jammies, with a cinnamon candle glowing in the background and my husband next to me watching a good movie, I can't help but be thankful for everything around me. I'm looking forward to spending Thanksgiving in Alabama with my family. This holiday used to just be merely a day when we ate lots of food. Of course, as a child, I was more excited about Christmas and what Santa had in his big bag of gifts for me.

Now, as I've grown older, Thanksgiving has become the holiday I look most forward to. It has a certain innocence about it. People aren't wearing costumes or expecting gifts. It's just about family and friends. It's just about being thankful for all the blessings in our lives.

And it's not only when everything is going great in our lives that I enjoy Thanksgiving. Even during the hard times in our marriage or economically, I still enjoyed the holiday because it always reminded me that my life is still filled with blessings. It was in those times that I became even more grateful for friends and family.

So as the holiday nears, I look forward to spending time with the people that mean the most to me (LG included!) and diggin' in to those sweet potatoes!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Is Nothing Sacred?

I walked into the office bathroom this afternoon for my routine afternoon pit-stop and as I hastily walked toward my usual stall, I heard talking. But no one was in the “lobby” part of the bathroom and one of the stall doors was closed. Someone was sitting on the loo talking on her cell phone!

I had to go potty so bad! What do I do? Should I go? Or should I wait ‘till the call is over? It would be pretty embarrassing for someone across the globe to hear me tinkle, even if they don’t know who I am.

Then I thought, “You know what? Their fault! If they don’t want their friend, co-worker, relative, whatever to hear me tinkle then they shouldn’t be talking on the phone in a public restroom!” So I went. And she began rushing to get off the phone once she heard it hit the water. And she started talking louder to cover the sound.

I thought it was pretty funny. Sorry, person on the other line. If it was you, I needed to take care of business and I was in the proper location for doing so.

Monday, October 15, 2007


Where did it go? Since when did I feel so guilty about calling in to work when I’m not really sick? Lately I’ve wanted to take a random day off from work just to be with my husband and do stuff we don’t normally have time to do anymore…like go bike-riding in Cameron park.

One morning last week I woke up and decided I didn’t really want to work that day. I asked Sheldon if he wanted to call-in and we could play hooky all day. We could go to the movies, take the dogs for a walk, we could actually cook a good dinner - not just frozen meatloaf and ready-to-eat mashed potatoes. After lying in bed discussing our schedules with each other for ten minutes, I decided the moment was gone and if it was going to take this much effort to get him to agree, I might as well just go to work. I would feel guilty all day anyway.

The way I see it, most employers don’t pay their employees for the sick time they don’t use. I have plenty saved up. It wouldn’t hurt to take one day every now and then. So why the guilt-fest? Today for instance would have been a perfect day to skip work. It’s raining! I could have laid in bed in my jammies watching the rain fall. But no, I have a meeting this morning I would feel guilty missing and I have to get several items in motion for the rest of the week. Not to mention I’ll be out of town next week for a conference, so I should probably make sure I don’t have anything due next week.

At least I was able to spontaneously decide to write a blog post before beginning my week. Hopefully all is not lost and I’m not completely an adult yet. I’d like to enjoy a few more years of spontaneous activities I can blame on being young.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Meet My Hubby

1. Who is your man?
2. How long have you been together?
Married seven years
3. How long did you date?
dated 7 months, engaged eight months
4. How old is your man?
5. Who eats more?
It depends what’s being eaten.
6. Who said "I love you" first?
He did.
7. Who is taller?
Sheldon, by an inch and a half.
8. Who sings better?
9. Who is smarter?
Depends on the subject.
10. Whose temper is worse?
I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say me.
11. Who does the laundry?
I do.
12. Who takes out the garbage?
13. Who sleeps on the right side of the bed?
14. Who pays the bills?
15. Who is better with the computer?
I’m better with the software on the computer and he’s better with the hardware and figuring out what’s wrong when it’s not doing what I want it to do.
16. Who mows the lawn?
17. Who cooks dinner?
Pretty much me, unless I specifically request he make dinner and I provide the recipe and ingredients.
18. Who drives when you are together?
Generally Sheldon, unless I feel one of my control-freak panic attacks coming on, then I drive.
19. Who pays when you go out?
20. Who is most stubborn?
MOST stubborn would probably be me, but Sheldon’s tough competition. He’ll do anything to avoid an argument though.
21. Who is the first to admit when they are wrong?
I generally have to force Sheldon to admit that he’s wrong.
22. Whose parents do you see the most?
23. Who kissed who first?
Isn’t that supposed to be mutual? We both went in at the same speed.
24. Who asked who out?
I asked Sheldon out as “friends,” he eventually asked me to “date” him.
25. Who proposed?
Sheldon, right next to me on a bench in a gazebo on the river walk…in San Angelo.
26. Who is more sensitive?
It depends – Sheldon for teasing, me for everything else.
27. Who has more friends?
We have about the same amount.
28. Who has more siblings?
Me, definitely.
29. Who wears the pants in the family?
We each share a leg.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Typical Military Brat

Your Linguistic Profile:

65% General American English

20% Yankee

5% Dixie

5% Upper Midwestern

0% Midwestern

Why is crime so fascinating?

Let’s play Jeopardy.

1. Extreme paranoia that someone will enter the house clothed in black from head to toe, hide in the closet for 24 hours, then attack when everyone is sleeping peacefully.

2. Checking the door locks fifteen times within a five minute period before bed.

3. Try to change up my daily routine so stalkers won’t know my schedule, therefore knowing when it’s the perfect time to strike.

Anyone know the answer? What are the reasons why Jill shouldn’t watch crime shows anymore? That’s right!

Last week I watched the premiere episodes of Criminal Minds and CSI: NY. I love those shows, but every night after I watch them, my paranoia gets worse. I have nightmares, I freak out if I hear one little noise like Tigger running across the floor or ice falling from the ice maker, and I drive Sheldon crazy with my imaginative stories of who could be in our house and what they could be doing if he doesn’t go check the front door one last time.

The CSI episode I watched was especially gory too. It seems like those shows are just getting worse as far as showing as much murder detail as possible goes. One of the people who were murdered on the show was embalmed while he was still alive! Ew! What will the writers think of next?

The Criminal Minds’ murderer was a security guard. Talk about not being able to trust anyone. I’m already borderline rude to men I don’t know just so they won’t show any interest. And the security guard used a knife. Ick! I hate knives. I don’t even have anything sharp enough in my house to do the job. It’s BYOW (bring your own weapon) if you’re coming to my house. Not that I’m inviting anyone to come over.

Oh, and another show I watched a couple weeks ago was about a fake fireman that would start small fires in apartment buildings so he could get women to open their apartment doors. They thought they were being rescued! How does one avoid that?! Thank goodness I don’t live in an apartment, because I think I’d know if someone started a small fire in my little house.

So, with all that to say, I really don’t think I’ll be watching crime shows anymore. Even though I love trying to figure out who the killer is and seeing all the creative ways the writers come up with to kill someone every week for several seasons, I’ll try to avoid the temptation to watch the really intriguing upcoming episode of Criminal Minds.

I’ll just have to settle for Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmerman or Weird Travels on the Travel Channel. They can’t be that scary, right?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Gift from a Stranger

Just when I’m about to lose hope in the kindness of humanity, that feeling is washed away by someone who goes beyond just to brighten someone else’s day.

I was wearing on of my favorite bracelets the other day and the stand-in receptionist from a temp agency complimented me on it. She looked like a woman with a great sense of style with her manicured ‘do, fitted grey suit, and perfectly matching grey hoop earrings. I said thank you, happy to receive the compliment, and went about my way. As I passed by the receptionist desk later that day, she mentioned how she has a great anklet that would go perfectly with my bracelet.

“Oh, really?” I said. “Neat.” I mean, what else are you supposed to say to that? “Great, would you like to borrow my bracelet?” She then went on to say how she has two of them because she thought she lost the first one, so she bought another one just like it.

“Nice, one for each ankle,” I laugh.

“I’ll bring the other one up here for you when I get a chance,” she said.

I said okay and went about my day thinking that people say stuff they don’t mean all the time, so I’ll probably never see the anklet. I mean, why would someone take time out of their day to take something to someone else they hardly know. How would they remember the next day? Why would that make the top of their “things to do” list?

The next day I had completely forgotten about our conversation. Our permanent receptionist was back and I was busy facilitating a class. Around 10:30 a.m. I was called to the front lobby. The administrative assistance said the receptionist from the temp agency was looking for me.

“Why?” I asked, not having a clue why she would be looking for me.

I walked to the front lobby and there she was holding the anklet, still in its packaging. She reminded me of my stylish grandma. Her hair was perfect, her fancy rhinestone flip-flops matched her turquoise shirt, and she held her wallet and the keys to her Cadillac in her other hand.

A smile beamed across my face as I tried the anklet on. It just so happened that I was wearing a skirt. I proudly wore my anklet the rest of the day.

I said thank you and she, happy with her gift, rushed off on her way to finish the things on her list to do the rest of the day.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Love for Home Cookin'

Recipes like sweet potato pie, pecan crusted fish, and chive butter filet mignon make my taste buds quiver with excitement. I’ve discovered that most of my “free” internet browsing time is consumed by searching for recipes. I’ve spent hours reading about how to beat egg whites until “soft peaks form” or how to make chicken or fish taste like they’re fried when they’re not.

I’m not sure why this new obsession recently emerged. I used to dread going through cookbooks to find new recipes. The first years of my marriage, our dinners included spaghetti, tacos, and chili. It was easy, it was from a box or jar, and it didn’t take much time. Two years later Sheldon and I were sick of eating tacos and spaghetti every week. I guess I’ve learned to love trying new recipes.

The new addition to my already over-stacked baker’s rack is Paula Deen’s “The Lady and Sons” cookbook. It’s southern, down-home, comfort food. I’ve been waiting for cooler weather to use this book.

Others on the new-cookbooks-to-get list are Weight Watchers cookbooks – Simply the Best: All American and Take Out Tonight. Both have excellent recipes that taste like real home cookin’. I know this because I’ve tried a few recipes from a friend’s copies of the books. One recipe I spotted today is Coconut Bread Pudding with Chocolate Sauce. Yum! Who wouldn’t want to try that?

A challenge I’ve tried to overcome is cooking for two. I have all these wonderful recipes and no one to cook for. No big family Sunday dinners going on at the Anderson’s. No pitter-patter of little feet, or big feet for that matter. And if I did have family to cook for, I wouldn’t have time. Between work, school and volunteering, I don’t have much time left in the day.

But I’ll hold onto my many cookbooks in hopes of one day fulfilling my taste buds’ pipe dream.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Boys Will Be Boys

Dad, Sheldon and Cody posing with the dune buggy they just fixed.

Cody fixin' to ride.

Sheldon gettin' ready to ride.

The Biker Boyz - Sheldon, Cory, and Mark.

There's something about machinery and engines that attract boys and men. Even from the young age of two, boys make crashing and booming sounds with Tonka trucks while girls hum and dance around with their dolls.

I give Sheldon a hard time about his car, a 1971 Chevrolet El Camino, but I know he loves it. And I love that he loves it. He likes to tinker with stuff. He would be perfectly happy working on his car all day. When he can't work on his car, he dreams about how he'll customize his bike so windows will shake when he rides by. Among his list of other toys to eventually own are a boat, a 4-wheeler, and a dirt bike.

Girls need girl time, this is why I love Girl's Night. Boys need boy time too. Sheldon got to do that this past weekend and he had a lot of fun. He rode over 160 miles around Central Texas on his bike with his friends and no worries in the world. Everyone needs to ride free once in a while. I'm glad he got his chance.

So, when's the next Girl's Night?

Thursday, September 6, 2007

I love this time of year

It’s just barely September, but I’m already excited about the upcoming holidays. I love ‘um. I love ‘um all. My house already has its fall touches in the living room, dining room and kitchen. I have my pumpkin decorating patterns picked out and I’ve already made plans for Thanksgiving. My Christmas tree is still in its box, but there’s a designated spot in our new house for it to sit and be lovely.

There’s even a cool breeze today, a hint that fall is on its way. Warm clothes, happy faces, and stomach-warming goodies are what draw me to this season. I love to bake, so I couldn’t wait to get out my Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread recipe and fill the house with the aromas of ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon.

I don’t have a fireplace, but sitting on the couch enjoying holiday movies with an apple-cinnamon-scented candle will work just fine. Favorite movies of the October through December holiday season include: Ghostbusters I & II, It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, The Grinch that Stole Christmas (both the Jim Carey and cartoon versions), and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

Most of all I enjoy all the family and friend get-togethers during the holidays. I feel a fall fondue party coming on!

Friday, August 31, 2007

Laughter Makes Life Fun

I like to laugh. It lightens the mood, brightens my day, and is essential to a healthy life. When picking out movies, I pick romantic comedies or just comedies. I like to quote movies like Finding Nemo, Robin Hood: Men in Tights, and Wild Hogs.

I like books with happy endings and sit-coms. Two of my favorite sit-coms are Frasier and Friends. The new show coming out this fall, Back to You, looks fun. I also love Last Comic Standing. You can preview one of the comics below from this week’s show.

My family grew up laughing together and I hope to enjoy the same kind of silliness with my children. My sisters and I picked on each other and we learned not to take anything too seriously. My memories of living at home always come back to something we all laughed about. We laughed at my dad’s hair as a little tweed stuck up in the back of his head during church or when Brittany said “Excuse me” to Darth Vader as she walked into KFC. (Darth, a life-size sticker was stuck to a glass door. Britt thought he was leaving KFC).

Everyone needs a little comedy in their life. I can’t wait until the next time I laugh so hard my stomach muscles hurt or I blow coffee from my nose from a friend’s dry comment.

Until then, live, LAUGH, and love!

Last Comic Standing - Jon Reep - Final 4 Performance

Monday, August 27, 2007

Super-long catch-up-on-my-life post…

Whew! Where do I start? There are several topics to cover here, so I’ll just divide them into sections.

Sheldon and I recently moved into our new house last week. Yay! After battling with a title company for five days to get stuff done they should have had done several weeks prior to closing, we finally got the keys to our home on August 22 at 4:30 p.m. The original closing date was set for August 17, which is the day we had to move from our old house.

Luckily, we have great friends that opened their houses to us. We weren’t homeless for five days – that was a blessing. During the first two of the five days, we had our stuff still in the old house with plastic over it because painters were re-painting the entire house. Our dogs were at a friend’s house, and our poor cat was at the old house wondering why we had abandoned her. By the third day, we were able to move our stuff into a moving truck and park it in front of our new house. We had expected to move in the following day; however, the title company didn’t get their information straight yet again. So, our stuff sat in front of our new house for two days.

The afternoon of Wednesday, August 22, the title company received several very mean phone calls from my realtor, the seller’s agent, my husband, me and my “attorney.” Forty-five minutes after my “attorney” called, we had the keys in our hand. Heehee! “Attorney” = brother-in-law who is a partner in a real estate company. He’s talented in professional BS.

After an exhausting weekend, we have about half of our stuff organized. Boxes still litter the living room and kitchen, but we’re making progress. I love our house! I can’t wait to get everything in its place. Until then, Tigger will have fun scampering through all the newspaper and boxes scattered on the floor.

We were almost 10 weeks pregnant when I miscarried on August 10. I had to have a D & C on the same day that I found out we lost the baby. The surgery went well and I recovered pretty quickly. I’m lucky to have a great doctor.

The most frustrating part of the whole thing is that no one can tell me what went wrong. My blood work was fine and all the other tests the hospital did came back as normal. The doctor told us that there was nothing we could have done to change anything and that the baby was probably not developing correctly.

Sheldon and I have finally come to terms with it. We’re told we will be clear to start trying again in three months if we want to. We’ve had many conversations about when to start trying again. First Sheldon wanted to wait about a year because he wasn’t sure how I was handling it. After assuring him I was fine and I’d like to try again as soon as we could, we decided to start in exactly three months. Then after several conversations on the long drive to San Angelo this weekend to pick up our new refrigerator, we decided we’ll let nature take its course. No ovulation tracking or obsessing over getting pregnant. When it happens, it happens.

I’ll be less likely to freak out if it doesn’t happen on the first month again and I won’t stress about it so much. To comfort myself I have to believe that the miscarriage occurred for a reason. I don’t know that reason, and I may never know it, but I know that God is taking care of us.

One odd comment to add – the night that I knew I was probably miscarrying, Sheldon and I watched Bruce Almighty on TV. It’s a goofy movie, but it has a good point. It might seem like God is picking on you, but we don’t see the big picture like God does. I know he’s always taking care of us even though it doesn’t feel like it at times.

It’s been crazy as usual at work. The more I dive into my work, the more I want out of this line of work. It’s all politics and paperwork. So, I decided to go through an Alternative Teaching program at a local community college.

Teaching has been in the back of my mind since sixth grade. I even majored in the elementary teaching for two years in college. Somehow I would always talk myself out of it. But after working for the government for so many years, I’m ready for something more creative and fun.

I have to take one class this fall and I can start looking for jobs in the spring. I’m nervous and excited. I currently teach 2-year-olds in Sunday school and they’re a handful. I was a TA for my sister’s fifth grade class and I taught sixth grade AWANAS one year. Each time I’ve had an opportunity to teach I’ve really enjoyed it. I think it’ll be fun to have my own classroom. Plus the big bonus of having summer off!

That’s about it for now. Hopefully my life has settled down a little bit and I’ll have more time to write blogs!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

My Sentiments Exactly

I read this cute story in, believe it or not, Senior News. I’m sure others agree with me that at some point you’ve dreamed of just being a kid again. With everything going on right now in my life, it’s nice to remember summers when I was a child.

I am hereby officially tendering my resignation as an adult. I have decided I would like to accept the responsibilities of an eight-year-old again.

I want to go to McDonald’s and think that it’s a four-star restaurant. I want to sail sticks across a fresh mud puddle and make a sidewalk with rocks. I want to think M&Ms are better than money because you can eat them.

I want to run a lemonade stand with my friends on a hot summer’s day. I want to return to a time when life was simple, when all you knew were colors, multiplication tables and nursery rhymes, but that didn’t bother you because you didn’t know what you didn’t know and you didn’t care. All you knew was to be happy, because you were blissfully unaware of all the things that should make you worried or upset. I want to think the world is fair. That everything is honest and good.

I want to believe that anything is possible. I want to be oblivious to the complexities of life and be overly excited by the little things again. I want to live simply again. I don’t want my day to consist of computer crashes, mountains of paperwork, depressing news, how to survive when there are more days in a month than there is money in the bank, doctor bills, gossip, illness and loss of loved ones.

I want to believe in the power of smiles, hugs, a kind word, truth, justice, peace, dreams, mankind and making angels in the snow. I want to play with my pets and my days of imagination to last forever.

So here are my checkbook and my car keys, my credit card bills and my 401(k) statements. I am officially resigning from adulthood. And if you want to discuss this further, you’ll have to catch me first because,

“Tag! You’re it!”

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Top 5 Pet Peeves

In my opinion, venting is a healthy way to release stress and/or tension. This week has been very stressful and/or tense for me. Coming back from paradise and entering into the threshold of hell (my grey cubicle world) has required much patience from me.

So here goes – things that have caused steam to spontaneously blow from my ears this week.

1. People who think it’s OK to sit in front of the speaker at a restaurant drive-thru and talk on their phone to someone else for 10 minutes! Who does that?! Take the stinkin’ order before getting in line or go inside! I would have gone inside but I was in a hurry and actually knew what I wanted to order when I entered the drive-thru line.

2. Grocery store meanderers. This is someone who swerves back and forth on the aisle trying to figure out what it is they might want to buy. Make a list before you go! Should there be a designated passing lane in all grocery store aisles? I would vote for it.

3. Drivers who are the first in line at a red light and aren’t paying attention. These people have a responsibility to the rest of the people behind them to pay attention to when the light will be turning green! Take it seriously!

4. Drivers who slow down to 0 miles per hour to turn their steering wheel in an attempt to turn their car down the next road. People it doesn’t work if your foot isn’t on the gas! There’s no such thing as a pause in between driving and turning onto another road. Get used to the movement.

5. Co-workers who totally disregard all friendly social rules. Example: If Party A wants to move Party B’s files from one cabinet to another, Party A should ask Party B first! Who cares is Party B is on vacation for week. Party A should just wait or at least send an e-mail to Party B letting him or her know where the stinkin’ files were relocated.

Ahh. I feel better. Anyone else want to add to this list?

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Long Awaited Vacation…Post

Sheldon and I have decided that we’ll never wait seven years to go on a vacation like that again! Where do I start? We only spent five days in Cancun, but there’s so much to tell about those five days.

The one aspect of our visit to Mexico that I could not get enough of was the water. It was so blue! It was like a turquoisey, greenish blue. And it was so clear! We were on a trimaran (kind of like a sailboat) to Isla Mejueres, which is a small island across from Cancun Island, and we could see the bottom of the ocean. The captain said it was about 20 feet deep.

Food and drinks of course were always available. We stayed at an all-inclusive resort, the Riu Palace Las Americas. Waiters came down to the beach and started taking drink orders around 10 a.m. Did I order one that early? Of course! I was in Mexico! There were five restaurants, one of which was a 24-hour buffet of anything you could ever want. Another one was an Italian restaurant open for lunch and dinner and the other three were reservation-only, dinner-only restaurants. We were able to make reservations at three of the four restaurants.

We spent Tuesday and Wednesday lying on the beach, swimming in the pools, or eating. Thursday we decided at the last minute to sign-up for an excursion. And I mean really last minute. We had to run to the city bus stop for the bus to take us to a meeting point. We were picked up by another bus and driven 45 minutes down the Riviera Maya coast. We chose to ride ATVs and a speedboat, each for 45 minutes. Woohoo! It was so much fun.

The next day we had signed up to go on the trimaran to Isla Mujueres. This was an all day excursion, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. We were so exhausted when we got back to the hotel. We sailed to the island, Sheldon got to swim with a catfish shark, we snorkeled (the coolest thing ever invented!), and we strolled on the island for awhile before heading back to Cancun.

Saturday was our last day at the resort. We decided to order room service (which was included) and then play on the beach for awhile before having to pack it up and check out of our room. We ate one last free meal at the buffet and headed out to do some souvenir shopping.

Our last stop was Hardtails and Beaches, a bar/restaurant/motorcycle rental/tattoo parlor. The owners, believe it or not, are from around Waco! They live about 45 minutes outside of Waco (sorry, I can’t remember the name of the town).

That ended our much-needed vacation to the tropics. We can’t wait to go back!

This was the view from our room.View from the sailboat.
Sheldon and his buddy.
Jill and her buddy.
Sheldon and Jill on the sailboat.
Sheldon and Jill on the ATVs! Woohoo!
Sheldon and Jill with tequila guy. We like tequila guy.
At the resort lounge after dinner one night.

Jill at the beautiful Cancun beach!

Sheldon striking a pose.
Gettin' ready to 4-wheel!
Wait! What is that?

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Back on the Bandwagon, Baby

Sometimes you just have to keep trying to get something right. I’m going back to Weight Watchers again. This is my third time to join in two years. While I’ve gained a little back from my initial 35 pound weight-loss, I’ve never returned to my original weight total.

Today, as you’ll notice on my Weight Tracker to the right, I weighed in at 1.8 pounds lighter than last week! It’s a small feat, but those numbers are what keep me going.

My weight loss partner in crime, also known as the Workout Nazi, did a good job this week too. It always helps to have the support of a friend when one is trying to make life changes. Thanks friends!

Monday, June 4, 2007


My perception of summer has changed over the years. Summer used to be freedom from school or work, days spent on the lake, sleeping-in, vacations spent with family, staying out until dark, the smell of campfire lingering on my clothes, and slumber parties every night. It used to be a season worth looking forward to.

Now I work 40 or more hours per week and I have no time to spend at the lake. Sleeping in is non-existent; even on weekends the latest I’m able to stay in bed is 9 a.m. My family lives 14 hours to the east and Sheldon’s family lives 4 hours to the west. Camping seems too overwhelming to do ourselves – it’s too much work, we’re supposed to be relaxing!

The preparation that goes into the one week of vacation I do get this summer just proves that all adults are out to look better than everyone else, not to have fun splashing in the water.

For women, it’s highlights for the hair, tanning - either by bronzer or tanning bed, special exfoliating lotions to smooth the skin, a new bathing suit, new clothes to match the new bathing suit, new flip-flips for every color shirt you bought to match all your bathing suits, a new workout schedule to tone all the flabby, a diet to accompany the gym membership, and dreading barbeques because they’re all red meat and desserts!

I still voluntarily participate in the aforementioned activities because I don’t want to be the topic of pool-side conversation. And as I sit in the salon for four hours, I think to myself, this is why I love fall and winter so much. I can go without shaving for months and no one is the wiser. I don’t have to keep up with a pedicure, brunette is in for the cold months, and tanning isn’t necessary. I can wear big, comfortable clothes because it’s cold and people are supposed to wear comfy clothes in the winter. No one even cares if you eat chocolate on a daily basis or hearty meals because that’s what you do during the holiday season. Who wants a salad for Thanksgiving? I certainly don’t.

Since summer’s on its way, and I have to live through it in order to get to fall, I figure I should enjoy it. I will make it a point to spend at least a couple weekends at the lake, plan healthy barbeques with friends, and enjoy Mexico and all it has to offer when I leave for my week vacation in mid-June.

Anyone up for pineapple chicken kabobs?

Thursday, May 31, 2007

A Memorable Memorial

Ahh, Memorial weekend, the kick-off to summer. Many Americans celebrate Memorial weekend with trips to the lake, family, friends and mounds of barbequed red meat.

Check, check, and check.

We had a blast this past weekend visiting with family and friends. While our trip to the lake was technically the Watson’s house, it still counts. And we barbequed! Mounds of yummy sausages were grilled over an open flame, as they should be.

My sister, Brittany, her husband, and their four dogs (two of which were someone else’s) came to visit. It was a crazy house! But I enjoyed it. I love cooking for people other than Sheldon and me. I cooked breakfast each morning and dinner twice. It was some good eatin’.

On the agenda, Saturday was sister time. Brittany and I went shopping at Hobby Lobby and went to get our nails done. Starbucks, of course, is a mandatory pit stop while shopping. The boys went to boy stores and got ready for the paintball game planned for Sunday.

The Life Group girls, Brittany and I had plans to go to Practically Picasso while the guys enjoyed a relaxing afternoon of paintball warfare on Sunday. It was so much fun!

Monday we had planned to spend the day barbequing at Lake Whitney; however, chances of rain loomed over our lake venture, so we decided to stay at the Watson’s house to grill and play games.

Our Memorial Day menu consisted of sausage, chips, salsa, guacamole, fresh fruit, potato salad, and beans. After chowing down, we got into some games.

Boy, are we a competitive group. We can never decide on a game to play because at one point or another someone has lost at said game and doesn’t want to play it. (I’m not just picking on Karen; you all know who you are.)

After intense gaming, Sheldon and I said our farewells to our friends and Brittany and David in Whitney and went our separate ways to start the work week. Sheldon and I finished our Monday evening out by relaxing on the couch and reminiscing about the memories made over the weekend.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Tweet Widdle Twos

When I signed up to volunteer at the church “nursery” I thought I would be babysitting infants for an hour and a half every other Sunday. Cute little babies to goo-goo and ga-ga with danced in my head.

Little did I know I would be following a curriculum to teach two-year-olds about the Bible by telling Bible stories, creating a craft for the child to take home, trying to organize snack time for 15 toddlers, changing dirty underwear, and chasing kids around the indoor play-ground. Whew! I’m exhausted just talking about it.

Feeling a bit overwhelmed, the first Sunday came for my teaching partner (Karen D) and I to observe the class and get a feel for what we’d be dealing with. By the time the class was over, I was thinking it was too bad I’d already signed a commitment to serve through the summer. It was craziness!

There were probably thousands of thoughts that ran through my head during that hour. One of which was, “Oh my gosh…two-year-olds know how to talk?” I know, it sounds stupid, but really, I didn’t know they could do so much. I thought they were still in the crawling stages. Little did I know… they are far from crawling.

They talk, they eat, they throw, they scream, they poop on their own (for the most part), they have little imaginations, they build, they listen, they argue, they tattle, they color, they glue (and don’t eat it!), they cuddle, and they love.

After three weeks of teaching little twos, I’ve learned that I love it. I really thought I’d be pulling my hair out, but I’m not. Even after cleaning up pee that didn’t quite make it in the pot, or wiping snotty noses, or holding crying girls, or getting up early on Sunday to make the craft for the class, or telling little boys not to throw things at people’s heads a ba-gillian times, I thought I’d be running out the door screaming. But I still love it.

Next week is my first Sunday off in three weeks. While it’ll be nice, I’ll still miss the little guys until it’s my turn again.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Am I really?

These are my results from the personality test on Lindsey and Margie's blogs. So, am I like this?

Stability results were moderately low which suggests you are worrying, insecure, emotional, and anxious.

Orderliness results were high which suggests you are overly organized, reliable, neat, and hard working at the expense too often of flexibility, efficiency, spontaneity, and fun.

Extraversion results were high which suggests you are overly talkative, outgoing, sociable and interacting at the expense too often of developing your own individual interests and internally based identity.

Trait Snapshot: self revealing, neat, craves attention, prefers organized to unpredictable, needs things to be extremely clean, worrying, perfectionist, emotionally sensitive, respects authority, social, vain, does not like to be alone, likes large parties, controlling, social chameleon, not a thrill seeker, enjoys leadership, takes precautions, puts the needs of others ahead of their own, assertive, rule conscious, makes friends easily, always busy, heart over mind, phobic, aggressive, clingy, compassionate, dominant, outgoing, suspicious, hard working, strong

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Social Faux Pas?

Since I was old enough to reach the countertops, my mom has always told me to take small portions of food to save for other people who may have not had a chance to eat yet. This was the standard rule whether in my home of four children, two parents, two birds, one dog and one cat, or at any social gathering.

Lately I’ve encountered several people who clearly don’t know the rule. Have they changed? Did I miss the memo about encouraged selfishness and looking out for number one?

Another rule, which I could have possibly created on my own, is that one doesn’t take food, specifically prepared for a meeting, before the participants of the meeting have eaten first.

I organize several meetings and classes at work. Many of them are catered either for breakfast or lunch. Yesterday I picked up a delectable selection of breakfast goodies for a law enforcement class. I delivered them to the classroom and made sure everything that would be needed in order to devour a goody was provided. I did not take one of the goodies, though I hadn’t had breakfast and I was quite hungry.

A few minutes later, an administrative assistant who helped make the coffee for the class decided she wanted a hot, sugary goody, and she was going to go get one even though she’d already had a breakfast burrito and the class hadn’t had a chance to touch the food yet.

Even worse, she wanted me to go into the classroom, while the instructor was teaching, and grab her one! I got out of it temporarily by using the excuse that I’d look like a pig if I grabbed two donuts, one for me and one for her. So then she suggested she would top off the coffee, I could go in the room with her, we could both grab a donut, and no one would be the wiser.

While this still goes against my rule, the idea appealed to my biting hunger pains. So I agreed. It went as planned; she topped off the coffee, we grabbed our donuts and fled. While she pranced out of the door, happy she’d achieved her goal; I left the room hovering over the donut hoping no one would see the social faux pas I had just committed.

The donut was perfect. Gooey warmness on the inside, while slightly crispy on the outside with sugary glaze drizzled across the top. I couldn’t enjoy it though; I couldn’t enjoy it with what I had just done. I kept wondering what 25 police officers, who hadn’t had a chance to select one for themselves, would think of me. Who gave me the right to have the choice pick?

I finished my donut, licked my fingers so as not to waste any sugary goodness, and began my day’s work. I probably won’t do it again because I can’t stand the constant guilt, but is anyone else concerned with such things?

What kind of social faux pas have you committed?

Saturday, April 7, 2007


These are my pictures from the glorious Easter Eve Snow Day - one of the most fun days I've had. Sheldon and I slept in, watched snow falling, watched cartoons, watched snow falling, went to Panera Bread for lunch and ate yummy soup, watched snow falling, went to the movies, watched snow falling, built a snowman, watched snow falling, went to church, and watched snow falling! And it's still's been 10 hours, and it's still falling!


Friday, April 6, 2007

Biker-World Initiation

Peeking through the plexi-glass face shield of my helmet I see bikers littered throughout the parking lot. Bodies covered from head to toe in leather and tattoos, one hand busy smoking a cigarette while the other hand holds a cold cup of brew. Laughter, loud pipes and rock music fill the background.

Sheldon and I ride up on our hog, ok, well it's a Honda, but I think it's pretty cool. Eyes follow us until we park our bike. "Who are these new people," they wonder. I imagine myself hopping off the back of the bike with quick and precise movements, like a cat, and when I take off my helmet my blonde locks flow out of my helmet bouncing off the back of my jacket.

Reality check - I got off the bike early, before Sheldon parked it, and I hopped on one leg to avoid getting the other leg stuck on the back rest. Sheldon took off to park on the other side of the parking lot, so I'm chasing after him with my big helmet wobbling around on my head. When I catch up to him, we take off our helmets and our hair is matted to our heads. No flowing locks dancing in the wind, just sweaty bangs stuck to my forehead. This is why people where doo-rags, I think to myself.

We uncomfortably walk through the crowd of bikers and scantily-clad women through the front parking lot of the famed restaurant, Hooters. I never thought I'd set foot in a Hooters restaurant in my life, but Biker's Night was too tempting. We had to see what it was about.

Sheldon and I peruse the parking lot and check out all the bikes. There's everything from custom choppers to stock sport bikes (metric bikes is the term to use in BikerWorld). Tricked out bikes had "ghost" paintings of skulls within the flame paint job of the bike, various colored lights to bring out the paint job of the bike in the dark, and custom pipes that would rattle a house's foundation.

After browsing the bike lot, we stepped through the front door. We were in. A girl in daisy-duke spandex and a tight tank top took us to our table, where another girl in short shorts and a revealing tank top waited on us. After the initial shock of the employee uniforms I enjoyed the surroundings.

Everything was really laid back, the waitstaff was actually really attentive to all of our dining needs, and the manager asked us twice if we enjoyed the food and if everything was OK. I'll have to admit, the wings were actually pretty good. And so were the curly fries. And so was the hamburger. Sheldon and I split everything we ordered, so we didn't bottom out the bike on the way out. :)

All and all, the experience was a fun one. I would definitely go again, but probably just during bike night. Maybe next time I'll be donning more leather and I'll work on perfecting the back bike seat exit.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Freedom of the Road

Since I was about 14, I've been intrigued with motorcycles. The loud rumbling sound of the pipes, the shiny chrome sparkling in sunlight, the feeling of my hair dancing in the wind. I've ridden on the back of Harleys with friends and even braved the occasional dirt bike. I have toy motorcycle models littered about my house and I've had an expensive Harley-Davidson leather jacket hanging in my closet since I was 16.

I took the motorcycle safety course when I was 17 and got the special little "M" class on my drivers license. I've collected Harley-Davidson t-shirts from Fairbanks, Alaska all the way to Tijuana, Mexico.

One of my favorite motorcycle ads is below. The small caption in the bottom left-hand corner, which you probably can't read, says: "There it is: road, sky, elbowroom. Plum for the picking behind the handlebar of your own H-D motorcycle. Hair dancing in the wind. The roar of the engine drowning out the opinions of the world."

This ad hangs in my little grey cubicle at work. It used to remind me that one day I, too, would own a motorcycle. Today it reminds me that I only have eight hours separating me from my motorcycle!!

We did it! Sheldon and I took the plunge and bought a motorcycle. It's a Honda, which is not a Harley, but I enjoy it just the same. Plus it probably rides smoother than a Harley anyway.

Open road, here we come!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Does this happen to everyone?

A good friend and I were discussing the reality of having babies the other day at lunch. We're both planning on having children eventually, but there's always the question of when. And how does one pinpoint when to start such a challenging venture? I can't speak for my friend, but I've planned in the past when my husband and I should start trying to conceive, and when the time finally rolled around, I chickened out.

While I can plan all I want to for the perfect time of year to give birth, what the child's name should be, what kind of school he or she should go to, and watch Super Nanny on a regular basis to learn how to discipline my child, it still frightens the crap out of me to bring another human being into this world.

How do I know I would be a good mother? How do I know when the time is right to have a baby? Will I just be doing it because everyone else is doing it? And most of all, will I lose my independence? Will I just be known as Kate or Nate's mom for the rest of my life? Does my small career I've barely begun fall into a hole never to be seen again? Would I be OK with that if it did?

It's not like time is ticking away at this point. I'm only 25. But will I still feel like this when I'm 27...29...31? I would love to have children some day, I'm just not sure when some day will arrive.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

As the cursor blinks...

The daytime drama of a woman, who day after day stares blankly at a white screen, unable to form the words of the story living within her.

Basically I have fallen prey to writer's block also. Maybe it's the spring-like weather outside. I'm too restless to sit in front of a computer and write to my heart's content. I'd rather be riding my bike or walking my dogs to their heart's content. :)

So, I've taken this opportunity to write while I'm stuck at work, and it's too early to begin working. Literally, I got here at 7:10 a.m. because I carpooled with someone who had to be at work before the crack of dawn! I won't name any know who you are.

I look around my desk and wonder what I'll start working on this morning. As I prioritize the projects in my mind, I lose the desire to write down my thoughts. My thoughts consist of work jargon, schedules, research planning, proper forms to be filled out, upcoming meetings. These aren't things my readership would enjoy with a cup of coffee on a Wednesday morning. So why write? Maybe this is why my creative thoughts have soured.

My free time lately has consisted of watching every crime show on television, making supper, cleaning house, and working out at the gym to get that perfect summer body. These aren't things many people would enjoy reading about, I assume. Except maybe if I go into vivid detail about the nightmare that I had last night because of watching CSI before my bedtime. Well, why not, sharing my dreams has gone over well in the past.

Sheldon and I were visiting Alabama for a cousin's birthday in said nightmare. We began the day riding our bikes to a local swimming hole and taking a dive with the rest of the family and friends. I guess we had made the trip to Alabama for more than a cousin's birthday, because we ended up spending the night in a new house.

The new house had been built by a friend of the family's, and he allowed us to stay in the house for a week to try it out...kindof like a test drive. Common with most Alabama summer nights, the clouds rolled in at sundown. It was stormy. We lit some candles to set the mood...the TV-watching, ice cream-eating mood, that is. Sheldon walked in the kitchen to get the ice cream, and noticed something dripping from the wall next to the side of the fridge.

He stooped down and noticed a hole in the wall where the liquid was coming from. He swiped his finger across part of the soggy wall to see what was dripping. It looked red, but he needed to turn the light on to get a better look at it. I strolled in and flicked the light on to see what was taking so long.

"What is that?!" I yelled. Blood was oozing out of the hole, which was jammed with bananas and white t-shirts. Yes, bananas and white t-shirts.

Sheldon pulled the bananas and t-shirts out of the hole, which just made it worse. Clumps of body matter and blood fell out of the wall at a slow, sickening pace. Like bad milk being released from its carton.

Little did we know, the murderers of this obviously destroyed body, had been watching us from the next house. They were staked out in the top floor with lanterns waiting to see if we'd discover the body hidden so discreetly behind bananas and white t-shirts in the main room of the house.

Sheldon seemed shocked. He couldn't move. I said we should call the cops, wait until they got there, then go stay at my mom's house. We called the cops, but I couldn't wait in the house any longer. We stood outside in the pouring rain waiting for them to show up.

The murderers, realizing that we probably discovered the body because normal people don't randomly stand out in the rain, in the dark, awaiting rescue, headed outside to take care of us.

Shaking in the cold rain, holding a jacket over my head, I noticed two men running toward the house. I called for Sheldon, who had run inside to grab a few things.

And then I woke up. Until tomorrow night...

Thursday, March 15, 2007

And The Winner Is...

Cancun, Mexico!! Sheldon and I have booked our vacation to be spent in the lap of luxury on the beach in beautiful Cancun, Mexico. Woohoo!

To brag a bit: We're staying in an all-inclusive, five-star hotel right on a strip of pure sugar-sand beachfront. Crystal blue waters will welcome us each morning along with a giant, fresh breakfast. We'll spend the day lounging on the beach, eating, and swimming. We might venture out on an excursion like treetop gliding or swimming with dolphins if we feel the need to remove ourselves from our sunbathing spot.

Restaurants available include Sakura, the Japanese restaurant, Brazilian Rodizio, Grill and Steakhouse, a Spanish cuisine at Tío Pepe restaurant, and Sir Arthur, a gourmet restaurant. Buffets are available for breakfast, lunch, and dinner as well.
Activities include an on-resort gym, ping-pong, beach volleyball, tennis, windsurfing, catamaran (not sure what that is), snorkeling and scuba diving lessons. Golf courses are close by, and obviously, so is "nightly" entertainment.
To prepare for this trip, after 7 long years of no vacations, I need to fill my closet with certain pieces of clothing. Bathing suit cover-ups, a couple new swimsuits, shorts, tanks, more flip-flops, sundresses...I could go on and on. So, if anyone needs a shopping buddy in the May-June timeframe, I'm there!
I've provided some pictures for your enjoyment. Post-June I'll have several personal pictures to share! For now, we'll just have to settle for the professional advertiser's photos. :)