Blue Skies Smiling At Me. Nothing But Blue Skies…

I don’t know what it’s like for the rest of the nation but down here in Arkansas the weather has been HEAVENLY!  A lot of sunshine, low humidity, warm temps…sigh.  Just the other day it was 80 degrees.  And I loved it.  I’m currently in denial about the fact this probably means the summer will be unbearable hot and riddled with insects.  But for now I’m content and happy with the sun.

A few posts back I talked about an assignment I had to do for class that involved creating a glogster.  I’m happy to say that yesterday I finally got around to doing it and it’s now submitted and done.  Looking at it, it’s pathetic it took me as long as it did to put together because I’m pretty sure there are some third graders that could have done a better job in less than half the time.  The information on the page is ridiculously scant but I think that’s the point.  At least I’m hoping it is.  There was no way to possibly put all the relevant information from the chapter on this thing so I scaled back to an extreme degree.  Here’s a link so for those of you who didn’t know what a glogster was, you can get a peek.

Also, some of you from Facebook may have seen that I posted an update about oatmeal.  More specifically, how I don’t like it but am trying to fool my tastebuds into thinking they do.  I think I have finally found success in maple brown sugar.  Is it the beginning of a long and beautiful friendship?  I doubt it, but at least I didn’t dump it down the drain.  That’s gotta count for something.

Speaking of food, there’s a new restaurant here that’s becoming my favorite.  It’s called Pitza 42.  They serve personal pizzas on pita bread or you can get different kinds of salad.  And for every meal purchased they donate a meal to a charity that helps feed hungry children around the world.  AND it’s cheap.  Doesn’t get much better than that.

A look ahead this week shows that Friday is FIELD TRIP DAY!!!!  I love field trip day.  We’re taking the kids to the fire station so that should be pretty fun.  Last year we had some firemen come to the preschool and the kids got to see and try on some of their fire clothes and sit in a fire truck.  The kids had fun but I think this year will be better.

And finally, I’m going to end this post with the Valentine gift I gave my mom and brother.  If this doesn’t say I love you, well, I don’t know what does.

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My Garden

The other day I decided I wanted to try my hand at gardening.  We have an area in the backyard where the grass has stopped growing so I converted it into my little makeshift garden.  I have no expectations for it and I probably just spent $40-50 to dig in the dirt but that’s just the way it goes.

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I realize this doesn’t look much different but even if you can’t tell I did anything, my shoulders sure can.  No tiller, just a hoe.  I don’t recommend it unless you have built up stress and frustration in your life.  In that case, have at it.

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There’s not much there but in my mind it looks like this:

Better than last year??

I was talking to my brother tonight and realized that I can’t remember January – April of this year.  I know I wasn’t in school or working but for the life of me I can’t remember what I WAS doing.  I just honestly can’t remember.  I looked back through my posts but they weren’t much help so I guess I look forward to making this year even better.  Although better from what I’m not entirely sure.  And just for a little bragging rights, last week I baked 400 cookies (3 different kinds), 5 loaves of zucchini bread, 4 batches of fudge, dipped 70 pretzel sticks in chocolate and nuts, made a pan of cream cheese cookies brownies, and successfully experimented in making homemade peppermint oreo cookies.  It was a busy three days and I should have taken a picture but trust me when I say it tasted and smelled fantastic.

Hungry?…Yeah Not So Much

Over the weekend my sister made a surprise two day visit.  Since I didn’t really know she was coming, nothing was planned which was probably what she was hoping for.  On Saturday she did have an appointment to get her hair done from “her guy” of 12 years.  I went along and read a book for the…ahem, 3 HOURS… it took.  Afterward I was really hungry and didn’t want to wait the 30 min drive home until I got to eat.  So we set out trying to find a place where we were.  We settled on a small country looking place that my sister had heard of and was presumably known for their homestyle cooking.  Perfect!  I love chicken, mashed potatos, rolls, and veggies.

The building looked like it was a remodeled house turned restaurant from the 50s.  That is to say that they still had the same dingy carpet, lack of good lighting, and grody decorations.  It sort of had an American red, white, and blue theme going on – redneck, white trash, blue collar.  Nothing wrong with being blue collar, nothing whatsoever.  It’s the redneck and white trash you have to keep an eye out for.  We were seated by our teenage waitress (everyone that worked there was a teenage girl) and eventually gave our orders.  We both decided on chicken, mashed potatos, salad, roll for me and scone for my sister.  And we both said no, that we didn’t want gravy on our chicken for which our waitress looked at us like we were crazy and asked us again, double checking to see if we were serious I guess.

Out comes the salad and we dig in.  I’m about 2/3 of the way through the salad when the waitress brings out food to the people in the booth behind us.  I can’t see exactly what’s going on because my back is to them but I can hear the waitress say, “I’m not exactly sure how fresh this is going to be.  You’ll have to let me know.”  Uh, what??  My sister and I look at each other and without a word I set my fork down on my plate and push it to the middle of the table.  I’m thinking I can not believe she just said that about the food when my sister informs me she was referring to the coffee.  Oh, alrighty then, salad’s a go and I finished it up.

Then comes the actual food.  The waitress sets down the plate and informs us that she brought out the gravy in a side cup in case we changed our minds and then left.  So, ok, what the crap is this??  I now understand why she thought we were so weird not wanting gravy on our chicken.  Because it wasn’t really chicken like you would get from a regular restaurant, it’s country friend chicken patties.  Eww!  I have no doubt in my mind that had I walked back to the kitchen I would have found an entire freezer stocked full of Hungry Man Jack tv dinners because that’s essentially what she served us.  At least when they nuked it in the microwave they made sure to thaw the ice because it was so hot I couldn’t eat any of it for a couple of minutes.

Now onto the potatos.  There was a giant hole in the middle.  Remember as a kid when you made that hole like a volcano to put gravy in there?  Well that’s what our chef or waitress must have done because it was like looking into Mount St. Helens, only on my plate.  And they were incredibly yellow looking.  Which makes me wonder exactly how much butter they used in mashing these things.  An entire churn perhaps?  And to top it all off, they had a layer of crusty hardness on them.  As though they had been sitting out for a while.  Yum.  The best part about the meal was the honey butter and roll.  I could have eaten an entire meal consisting of just that.

Live and learn I guess.  I lived through the meal and learned not to eat there again.

I Think I’ll Do That Instead

About a month or so ago we had a lab meeting with the boss of the boss, so I knew it was going to be good.  Because work has been so slow for the past year, the powers that be have decided to close down the lab – hence we will all be out of a job.  The departure isn’t expected to happen before the new year so at least there is plenty of warning (unless they come in tomorrow and pull the plug but that’s doubtful).  Compared to a few co-workers I have it pretty good.  I have no family to support and no commitments that tie me down to Utah or anything else for that matter.  Needless to say I’m not worried and don’t plan on even thinking of making future decisions until I get back from my trip to Arkansas at the end of the month.  And probably not even then either.

But then again, this has caused me to think of my dream jobs and how sweet life would be if I could manage to get one of these.  In no way am I qualified for any of them really but that’s why they’re called DREAM jobs.

And in no particular order:

1.  Food Taste Tester

This could turn out very badly.  Like if I was required to eat some delicacy from some island no one had ever heard of.  This would probably end up being something with more than 4 legs and still alive.  Maybe the title should really be Food Taste Tester with an emphasizes on dessert (as long as the dessert doesn’t turn out to be flan or tapioca pudding *shudder*)

2.  Hotel Tester

Imagine getting paid to go on vacations to check out hotel services.  I would make sure they knew I could travel abroad.

3.  Photographer for National Geographic

You get to travel and see the most beautiful and interesting places in the world.  Um, yes please.

4.  Photographer for Favorite Band

Let’s see, you get to travel and hang with your favorite band all the time.  You get exclusive interviews and free reign to take pics and not only would they let you, but unlike the paparazzi, they would be paying you to do so.

5.  Book Reviewer

I read lots of books anyway so I might as well get paid to do so.  And the review wouldn’t be hard to do because it’s just your opinion of what you read.  Simple as that.

6.  Movie Critic

This is the same idea as the book reviewer.  How are people “qualified” to do this anyway?  Just watch a movie and say what you thought of it.  See… thumbs up, thumbs down.

7.  Toy Tester

Imagine going into a room full of toys and being told you will get paid to play with them.  I think I would feel like Tom Hanks in Big.

8.  Mattress Tester

Now hold on just a minute.  I already know where some of you may be going with this one but I’m referring to SLEEPING on the mattress – that or jumping from mattress to mattress in the store.  “Ma’am we’ll pay you and all you have to do is take a little nap.”  Where do I sign?

9.  Bookstore

I would prefer to work in an old, local, used bookstore as opposed to a large chain but either could be fun.  You would have full access to all sorts of different kinds of books and if your store wasn’t busy you would have plenty of time to read.

10.  Hiker

I heard a guy yesterday say that he was a professional hiker.  I’m not sure what that entails exactly but I think it’s kind of strenuous.  My job wouldn’t be.  I would go walking on trails and get paid for it.  Let’s see, get to be outside, lots of exercise, and not be bothered with phone calls and deadlines.

Who knows?  Maybe in 6 months I’ll be writing an entry from a hotel on some remote island, dining on bugs, while taking pictures for National Geographic as I go for a walk on a backwoods trail.

Grocery Shopping or Game Show Obstacle Course?

Yesterday I decided that I should stop putting off the inevitable and go grocery shopping.  On my way, I was thinking it was the perfect time to go because it was in the afternoon before most people got off work and it was a Tuesday – not a big shopping day.  However as I pulled into the parking lot I immediately realized this would not be a quick in and out as the parking lot was practically full.  For crying out loud!  I started thinking, “work’s not out, not a poplular day, it’s the store furthest from the college…Moms.  It had to be the stay at home moms in there.”  On the way in, I was muttering something about why aren’t they home with their kids as school is now getting out…grumble grumble…it’s FREEZING out here…grumble grumble (by the way it was 11 degrees this morning as I went to work – Barf!)  Looking back I can only recall my shopping experience as though being played out by commentators on a game show:

Ladies and gentlemen we’re back as our next contestant enters the course store.  Let’s watch as she makes her way to the carts.  This first step is crucial as she needs a good cart to help set her speed through the store.  Let’s take a loo – oh the front wheel wobbles!!  Well Jim, I can’t say I didn’t see that one coming.  Yes Bob that’s the oldest trick in the book!  And look, let’s watch that again in slow motion.  See how her eyes lift to the ceiling and her mouth starts to move?  Is she saying a prayer?  (laughter) No, Bob see the slight eye roll?  I think she’s saying something else entirely! (laughter)

Well she’s made her way over to the fruit and it looks like something may be wrong.  This is her third circle around the apples.  It appears that there are no Fuji or Gala apples in stock. This is unbelievable!  In all my years commentating I’ve never seen this happen.  Yes Jim this is a first.  Let’s see what she does.  Well it looks like she’s going for an unknown brand of apples.  Here’s to hoping they aren’t soft and smooshy.

Alright, looks like she’s in search of bread and bagels.  She’s going to have to move around the stocker doing inventory but it looks like she’s successful.  Going down the next isle looking for quick pasta dinners and oh – the stocker has now moved to this isle as well.  Let’s see if she can manouver around him again.  Looking good, moving down the next isle in search of V8 Splash and holy cow!  You have got to be kidding!  The stocker is now on this isle!!  Well Bob, instead of being a stocker maybe he’s a stalker (laughter).  Look at this Jim, it looks like she’s saying another “prayer” (more laughter). 

Well, she’s decided to forgo the V8 for now and jump ahead a few isles.  Oops, looks like she started down the wrong isle and in the middle of turning around another couple with their cart was right behind her.  She didn’t see that comming.  Alright, she’s now at the toilet paper.  Looks like she’s debating on what the best deal would be.  Less sheets but considerably cheeper or pay the extra money and have it last longer?  I don’t know Jim, but she’s spending entirely way too much time in this isle.  You’re right Bob and it looks like she’s starting to realize that too.  Look she just grabbed one and threw it into her cart. 

Well it looks like she might be winding down her shopping for the day.  She just needs sour cream and a can of tomato soup.  That’s right Bob and it looks like she’s going for the soup isle first and oh another first!!  Two kids playing football in the isle while their mom doesn’t seem to be paying attention!  I have to say Bob I’ve never seen someone with such bad luck!  That’s right Jim, I can only imagine what her life is like if this is what happens when she goes grocery shopping.  Looks like she’s going back out the isle to try coming down the other side.  Did you see that Jim?  See just about collided with yet another person right behind her wanting to go down the same isle she’s on.  That’s right Bob and let’s not forget the display she gently knicked earlier because her cart wouldn’t turn (laughter).

Ok she has her sour cream and is now going back for the soup.  Finally lady luck has looked her way!  The soup she wants is right at the entry of the isle and she won’t have to try to pass the kids playing football who are still in the isle.  That’s right Bob things are looking up.  She’s making her way to the check out counter and there is only one lady in front of her whose almost done.  It’s a post Christmas miracle!  Let’s not get too ahead of ourselves Jim.  Looks like the lady knows the checker and they are talking about the checker’s brother.  Hmm, that’s good the checker’s brother turned down the offer to return to his old job where he had been a manager and now they were only going to offer him $7 an hour to start at the bottom again…

Ok she’s now making her way out of the store but look at this!  Two elderly ladies locked arm in arm making their way (very slowly) out the front door.  They look like a barricade and she’s going to have to wait until the coast is clear.  Jim would you look at this!!  The lady talking to the checker is parked right next to our shopper!  Unbelievable!  Well Jim this certainly was one shopping trip for the books.  Ladies and gentlemen thanks for tunning in this week.  Be sure to join us again next week as our shopper attempts to do the impossible as….(voice fades).