Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Starbucks Pumpkin Latte

Don't know what it is about the Starbucks Pumpkin Latte that makes it sooooo good, but it's got that special ingredient that you just can't turn down. I can blame this one solely on my friend Becky. This obsession is solely her responsibility - and my curse. I was not aware of the yumminess of the Pumpkin Latte until this past year. It's a seasonal coffee, and while I venture outside my comfortable little coffee world occasionally, it's often with me kicking and screaming. I like my Frappuccinos in the warm months (or February in Texas) and my lattes in the colder months. I even have been know to grab an iced Latte now and then in warmer months - but never anything beyond the smooth flavor of the Caramel Frap.

So anyway, Becky told me that it was very good (she did that with the pumpkin flavored Round Rock donuts too, but we won't get into that right now or it will turn into a big old pumpkin thing). So, I tried it and low and behold was hooked. So, here I am driving up to the Starbucks drive thru today (conveniently located right next to our vet - WOO HOO!), when I see for the first time this season...Pumpkin flavor coffee has arrived. The light shines down from heaven like a beacon. I simply cannot resist. So, today was the first day of the overwhelming NEED to get to Starbucks so I can get that Pumpkin Latte - decaf of course. Thanks Becky, thanks a lot.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

What's in YOUR purse?

After reading a blog last night where the woman dug into her purse and listed everything in there, I thought I'd take a stab. I figure that right now there's not too much in there, so no harm ...hopefully. Then, it's your turn!

My Business Cards
Delta Air Lines Trading Card (MD-88 - I think it is Ian's)
March of the Penguins Movie Ticket
Power Rangers DVD Case
MP3 Player and earphones
Altoids Gum (unopened)
Altoids Gum (opened)
Wallet (that's a whole other world so I'll skip the contents for now...)
Three half eaten lollipops (from our recent trip)
Children's Tylenol
Car Keys
Sunglass Case with Advil in it
Sugar Free Halls Defense Vitamin C Drops
Bag of crunched up Nutter Butter Bites
Muscle relaxers (from recent back injury)
Coffeemint Lip Balm
2 pens
Listerine Pocket Paks Oral Care Strips
2 AAA Batteries (also from the recent trip in case my MP3 Player died)

That wasn't too painful. This is one of those things where you never quite know what's in your purse. I knew that there was some weird stuff in there due to our recent trip, but also that I've been switching purses a lot lately (my DH thanks you a lot Becky...) and that I dump the trash pretty regularly. So, now it's your turn - what's in your purse?

We'll skip the wallet for now - that REALLY needs to be cleaned out!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

A Not So Good Day

Since Mom passed away there are good days and bad days. Today was one of those not so good days. I won't call it bad because I got to hang out with my adorable kiddos, but it was tough. Mom was so delighted to hear stories about the kids, and I have a ton these over the past few days. The tough part is when I want to tell her something that I don't just pick up the phone and call her. I'm unresolved on the whole talking out loud and knowing that she's listening thing, but I think that I'll get there soon enough.

Several times today I wanted to pick up the phone and call her - and that's only happened a few times since she actually died, but many times in the weeks preceding her death when she wasn't the same person. I lost the Mom I knew about the end of June, when her brain started misfiring big time. I was able to love on her and talk to her, but she was losing her words as well as her comprehension very quickly. I realized at that point that it was time to tell her that she did a fantastic job raising me (if I may so so myself!) and that she could go. She was really at peace with all that was going on and while she knew that her brain function was fading rapidly, she still wanted to talk and visit. She was always willing to listen even if she couldn't comprehend what you were saying. On my last visit to her I didn't have much substance to our conversation, but I did get lots of hugs and I managed to squeeze in a bunch of "I Love You's". I knew that when I left it would most likely be the last time that I'd see her.

Fast forward to today. The boys were making crazy Lego creations, looking at the [dead] hornet out front, goofing around with each other, playing games, getting very excited about new Power Ranger videos, and general cool little kid stuff. All this stuff that I normally shared with Mom I had to just keep to myself. I can tell Dad the stories as I always do, but it is different than sharing it with my Mom. As always I have questions for her too, and now I'm not sure who to ask. It's an odd sensation not being able to pick up the phone to ask your mom a little thing here or there...and I miss those little things very much today.

Tomorrow is a new day. Hopefully it will be a bit easier than today.

No, really, I'm 34...

I took the boys to Chili's tonight because Tom is out of town and I didn't feel like making anything. I thought I'd order a beer with my fajitas - I am from Texas. The waitress who had to be in her 50's CARDED ME. I laughed and told her that I was 34, but she still wanted to see my ID. Guess she didn't notice the three kids with me, or the wrinkles, or the bags under my eyes. Either that or she thought that is par for the course with 20 year olds! I haven't been carded in years, and yes, she was serious. What an odd sensation to have to pull out your ID after all this time to get a drink. Funny part is - I wasn't ever really carded when I was younger. I almost always was able to order a drink and never really had to present ID - even when I was 21, 22, 23 years old. Not really sure why she thought I was so young - guess it was my three young dates. Cute guys, but come, under 21?

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Invasion of the HORNETS!

UGH! The Terminix guy came to day to rid one of our mostly dead trees of a BIG HUGE hornet's nest. These aren't just regular hornets, but Giant European Hornet - one of whom stung Max two days ago.

We noticed a problem a few weeks ago, but thought it was just a bee or two collecting pollen from the flowers out front. Then we noticed one or two of these things flying around our big mostly dead tree. This past weekend while we were outside doing lawn work (which apparently pissed them off) one came after Max and got him. Max, after he stopped screaming hysterically - was fine. The stinger wasn't in his arm, and after some ice and Benadryl, was no worse for the wear.

So, I called Terminix on Saturday and our pest guy Abi showed up today. Great guy - gets rid of any and all bugs that dare enter our house! Anyway, he was very surprised at the size of the nest. He dug most of it out but pointed out that it goes way up into the tree. By tomorrow we should have several hundred dead hornets in a big pile out front (I'll get a picture if there is indeed a big pile!). There are already dead ones all over the lawn and street - a very good sign. There are still a few flying around trying to figure out what the heck just happened. Abi donned the beekeeper suit and went after those suckers with everything he had - ran through two cans of wasp spray (I mentioned that he said this was a very large nest, didn't I?) - and also dusted the whole area for any stragglers.

Hopefully when we call the landlord (and send him a picture of the pile of hornets and disemboweled tree) he will get it cut down. Not my tree - not my problem, but if those things come back that would be really annoying (and after that sting dangerous!). Abi mentioned that there's enough damage in the tree itself that it might not remain standing past a few months anyway (we're talking a tree that's taller than our house but mostly dead - lots of branches but no leaves). He said that we need to get the tree taken down to eliminate the possibility that they re-nest, but also to prevent the tree from falling on our house, a passing car, dog, or a jogger, the power lines - you get the drift.

So, goodbye our not so friendly hornets...and goodbye tree.

Jury Duty

You know, I really want to be on a jury - always have. I know, it is a sick sort of fantasy. I'd like to be picked for a jury that only lasts for a few days but is interesting. No property disputes or boring civil cases - something fun and criminal. Problem is, I keep getting called for jury duty when I'm out of state. It happened three times in Florida and just happened again here. While I was in college I was called three different times - for juries in Texas. There was no way that I was flying back in the middle of school to appear for the jury selection pool in the middle of the school year. None of these summons came in the summer, or over a break when I happened to be in Texas, but right smack in the middle of the school year.

Fast forward to today. We ha ve a PO Box that I check about twice a week. It is all the leftover mail from our Texas address - mainly to catch those things where I haven't changed our address. Anyway, I got a very interesting piece of mail htere today. It was sent 8/8, forwarded on 8/12 and showed up sometime over the past three days. It was a jury summons from Georgetown, TX - for TODAY! I called information, called the clerk, and asked what I needed to do. Come to find out that they don't hunt folks down if they miss their summons date - happens all the time she said. Just mail it back and circle the "must live in the county" line and they'll excuse me, she also said. Bummer. Called for Jury Duty AGAIN when I can't go. This makes FOUR TIMES that I've missed my opportunity.

Not really sure what the draw is for me, though. It doesn't pay well, it isn't glamorous, and there's no type of reward of any sort, other than the feeling of satisfaction of participation. You actually lose money on the deal in most places - jury pay rarely covers the cost of parking. Guess I'm really a policy wonk at heart. Guess that I like to think that I'm part of the system - and that the sytem works. Obviously it doesn't, because here I am, someone who really WANTS to be on a jury, never having even gotten the chance. Then again, maybe I'm the exact person they are avoiding - scary woman with a mission...hmmm...I bet they see me coming a mile away... and close the doors....

Monday, August 21, 2006 bras.

Some women seem to LOVE purchasing new bras. For others it is a major pain in the butt chore. I fall into the latter category. I have these great bras that I absolutely LOVE that I can't find anywhere locally. They are so old and stretched out - they are literally falling apart. So, I've been hunting down new bras without any success. A thought occurred to me a few weeks ago that I might jsut call the place in Austin and have them send me the bras that I love so very much.


My favorites bra and a bunch of it's friends are on their way here. I'm SOOOO excited about this! As long as they fit properly we are good to go. My old bras are so stretched out that the new ones will feel like heaven again! Not that you really wanted to know, but I just had to share.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Peapod to the RESCUE!

Now sure if I mentioned this already, but Peapod is the way to go for getting your groceies. Peapod is a grocery delivery service. All you do is place your order online and they bring the groceries to your door. Best thing on the planet not to have to go to the store (with the kids during the day or late at night by myself). My only complaint is that they don't carry big outside trash cans and they won't deliver my beer. If it did those two things I might just marry Peapod. Regardless, it is the best and I really swear by it. The man showed up at 9:45 tonight with a load of groceries (no trash can, no beer) and went on his nerry way. It took me all of ten minutes to place the order last night, then picka delivery time and send the order in. They charge it right to your credit card or checking account, but only after you've had time to check the order. If anything is missing htey either credit your account or bring the item on the next delivery. If you do have Peapod in your area and haven't tried it out, do it right away. It is the coolest thing ever. They even bring meats and produce and guarantee the freshness. They even take coupons...what more can I say?

Friday, August 18, 2006

The Hat That Got Away

This is SOOOO me...

Monday, August 14, 2006

Tell me there's not Air Travel Karma

So as not to completely destroy my already TERRIBLE air travel karma, I'll tell you now about our trip out to San Francisco. We are here safely now and are glad to have made it at all, albeit a bit late. We had a 6:30am flight out of DC National to Atlanta, connecting and arriving in SF at noon-ish Pacific. Not a bad deal all in all, and I can easily manage the kids schedule to avoid unnecessary jet lag. We get up at 3:30am and arrive in the terminal at 5am to learn that our flight has been cancelled and we are on a 6:30 PM flight. O.K., we'll still make it to the luncheon on Sunday. We go home (live 10 minutes from the airport) and sleep for three hours. We wake up, grab lunch, run a quick errand and head back to the airport at 3:30pm. Our flight out of DC to ATL is fine (we're all exhausted from getting up early, but we sleep some on the plane). We actually arrive EARLY into ATL and we're happy because we have a short (40 min) layover and three little kids - and have to change terminals. But, we sit on the tarmac for about 40 minutes and now we have about 15 minutes to catch our flight. They tell us that they will hold the plane but to run - three little tired kids in tow. We get to the gate and not only is the plane not loading, it hasn't even unloaded from the flight before. Big sigh, but again, not a big deal. We're still getting on the plane. They finally load the plane which was supposed to leave at 9:40. Still in O.K. shape - that gets us into San Fran at 11:45 PM (2:45 AM our time). But, we sit on the plane for an HOUR while they looks for 30 bags that are missing (this part is important so remember that I mentioned it). They find the bags but now have no driver for the tug to move the plane back from the gate. They find a driver but haven't gotten their paperwork back yet, but we eventually leave - 1 hour behind schedule. It's now 10:30 Eastern and we have a 4.5 hour flight ahead of us. That means that we will arrive at 3 AM our time. So, we try to get the kids to sleep as quickly as possible and nap ourselves. Tom goes to grab the boys' jackets for pillows for them (AirTran has no pillows - just blankets and we already have three of those) and discovers that they are covered in OJ. Apparently we didn't get all the juice out of the sippy cups and the pressure changes spit some out...a lot out. Another big sigh. But again, not a big deal - we're still almost there.

We get off the plane and stumble into the baggage claim to realize that they are missing one car seat. Three kids - two car seats. Fill out the forms and wander off wondering what to do. Fortunately I rented a Caravan that has the seats built in so we are fine and head to our hotel. When we get there we realize that something in our luggage leaked all over my and Tom's sweatshirts - thank goodness it isn't very cold out today. They dry and we go about our business. Still haven't heard from the airlines about the car seat and can't get a hold of anyone there. But, we're here, we had a lovely luncheon, and now we are going to play tourist.

I've got to say that separately these events are not bad. Not one of these thing made me mad or got my goat at all, but looking back this has to be the absolute WORST plane trip that we've had ever. And not only was it a bad plane trip that got us in 14 hours later than expected, but I was up for more than 24 hours with only one short three hour nap. I can't say that anyone in particular didn't do their job or was impolite, but the karmic world of air travel really got us this time.

The really funny part is that Max (who just turned 6) is telling everyone that AirTran is the best airline ever - that they are very good. All this because they flew in the dark. Ahhhh, to be 6 again and have that perspective. So, I sit here now, not particularly put out (weird, but true.). I guess there's peace knowing that we got here in time for the luncheon, spent the day with family and friends that love us, and that we are flying Delta back home...

Friday, August 11, 2006

Reflections on tuning 34

Well, today it's official - I am 34 years old. That doesn't sound much older than 33, and I certainly wasn't asked much this past year how old I was, so it really isn't a big deal. The reflections are more on the past year, and what a year it has been. More specifically what a sixmonth stretch this has been.

The first half of my 33rd year was pretty routine. I like routine because it is familiar. Max started Kindergarten and that was our big change (actually happened at the very end of my 32nd year, but let's not pick nits). Max loved school, the little guys didn'tseem to mind that he was gone most of the day, and we went about our business. The only real stress was that Tom wasn't so happy at his job and we all weren't so happy that he was travelling so very much. So, he started working on that part - mostly thinking about what he really wanted to do. Fast forward a few months. We're at the beginning of this calendar year and Tom has a new job that will take us to Virginia. We are very excited but there's a ton to do in a short amount of time.

Jump ahead one more month. My Grandma Sybil passes away suddenly, but she was in her late 80's and lived a very good life. I was sad but glad to have known her - she was truely a wonderful person. I travel out to NY for the funeral and see all the relatives. A week later my Grandpa Kermit died of what everyone describes as a broken heart. He was in his early 90's andnot in great shape, but he told me he was just waiting for Sybil to pass. He did - what a loving thing to do. Back and forth to NY again - this time only a month before the big move.

The move itself went smoothly. The company that Tom works for made it a very simple and strightforward process. All we needed to do was fill out some forms, tell folks when to show up and where, and sell our house. Now, that's a story into and of itself. The house sold pretty quickly (but after we were in VA) and that part was over. No need to rehash the crazy buyer stories - but just know that there are stories. We found a house the first day we looked and was able to secure it relatively wuickly, but we stayed ina hotel for almost two weeks. It snowed while we were here - without coats - and the kids thought that was cool. We hung out at the mall a lot because they had a playplace there - also pretty cool.

We eventually got our stuff all in one piece, got settled into our house and got Max into school. His new school was different but also very good. We were impressed with the school itself and are looking forward to him being there for more than the first few months.

In the midst of this my scrapbooking business was growing. I have yet to really get it going locally, but the reason for that is to come later in this year. But rest assured it's going! The market here is wide open and I'm sure that IRW is going to grow here in Virginia.

So, the summer starts up and we are looking foward to a trip to California for my cousin's HS graduation, swim lessons, and lots of outdoor fun. Two weeks before the CA trip, and shortly before Max gets out of school we find out that my Mom has a 4 cm glioblastoma in her brain. That's a very aggressive brain tumor. Life in this house comes to a halt. Patti and Henry basically move up to this part of the country for the next few months and are here when we need them to be. I went back and forth to visit with Mom, help Dad and give him love, and watch my mom quickly fade. She goes home from the hospital after a very brief stay (and brain surgery) right into Hospice Care. They are in and out initially, then provide full time care the last few weeks. She declines quickly so I take the boys out there to see her. While we're there Max gets sick , so he can't visit her the last two days, and then the morning we were leaving Sam got sick. We were staying down the street from my folks house and were very thankful that they put us up. I went back to TX two more times, the last being the day after Mom passed away. What a rough time.

Max's birthday was sneaking up and we really weren't sure what we were going to do. So, my Dad came to VA, Tom's folks stuck around, and some old friends from Texas who had moved to MD came over and we played mini-golf. The kids loved it and it was really great for my Dad to have some fun with the kids. Then, our Anniversary came and went (got some pretty flowers!) and here I sit typing on my birthday.

So, you can see that the past few months have been an adventure. Our lives since Mom was diagnosed came to a halt. We didn't dare plan anything bceause I wasn't sure what was to come. Tomorrow we are off to San Francisco for a luncheon for family to celebrate mom's life. She was a wonderful woman and will truely be missed.

And now, I am 34. Hopefully this next year will less eventful.

Thursday, August 10, 2006


(This post gets BIG print!)

It's finally here...and my dh has lost me for the season...sigh...gotta get me some MORE football!

O.K Not
really obsessed...well, maybe a little bit. A very little bit...sort of. Just don't ask my hubby...

O.K. a LOT - Bring on the BOYS and GO SEMINOLES!!!

Seminoles Opener at Miami - Monday, Sept. 4, 8pm on ESPN

Cowboys Opener at Jacksonville - Sunday, Sept 10, 3:15 pm on Fox

Monday, August 07, 2006

More About Me!

It's my turn!

Four jobs that I've had:
1. Research Specialist
2. Secretary
3. Bartender
4. Lifeguard

Four movies I would watch over and over:
1. The Matrix
2. Serenity
3. Pretty in Pink
4. Threesome

Four places I have lived:
1. San Antonio, TX
2. Sarasota, Florida
3. Leander, TX
4. Falls Church, VA

Four TV shows I love to watch:
1. Prison Break
2. Nip/Tuck
3. Monk/Dead Zone/Psych/4400 (They count as on because they are on the same network!)

Four places I have been on vacation:
1. Walt Disney World
2. Walt Disney World
3. Walt Disney World
(Yeah, we don't get out much!
4. Key West

Four websites I visit daily:
1. My Yahoo (for e-mail)
3. Scrapfriends
4. Bank of America

Four of my favorite foods:
1. Steak
2. Cheese soup
3. Candy (does this count as a food?)
4. Anything Mexican – especially margaritas!

Four places I would rather be right now:
1. Sleeping
2. Disney World (no big surprise there!)
3. Out with my girlfriends
4. Taking a warm bubble bath

Now it's your turn!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Color Theory

So I was sitting down last night frustrated with my latest newsletter, trying to figure out how to get the colors to work. Tom peeked over (after a bit of bullying him for his help) and asked if I knew that I could match the colors numerically and I was absolutely floored. OF COURSE! This is the answer! I was struggling because the colors just didn't look right, even though I thought I was using the color wheel correctly. While the colors were close, they weren't just right. The newsletter didn't pop. So, Tom rolls his chair over (I'm still parking my computer in the media room until I get my office fixed up) and offered up his mad math skills.

Seems that instead of 365 to make the wheel (as in degrees oh a compass) 8-bit color has 256 increments. So, if you pull the color using the dropped tool off the image that you want to match up, you can hit complimentary colors, tertiary colors, analogous colors, and such. It's all math from there on out. After you've “droppered” your color, you simply go into the info for that color and see what the HSL are (Hue, Saturation, and Luminosity), and adjust the Hue. There are twelve sections on my color wheel, so you take that 256, divide by 12, and figure out how many steps you need to move. Then, you add the steps to the original shade and you've got your new color. For example, if you wanted to get the complimentary color - the color straight across the wheel from your original - simply take the Hue of your original color and add 128. If you are near the end of one side of the color spectrum (for lack of a better description but I'm sure there's a word for it) you simply add the number then subtract 256 to get back to the other side - the answer needs to be positive in other words.

O.K. A lot of jumble, but basically it means that I've found a VERY easy way to match colors! I'm sure that none of this is new info, but it certainly is like a light bulb went on in my head. This is how folks get their colors to match up perfectly every time! No wonder all those coordinated lines look so perfect - it's all just mathematical color theory! Silly me with my little color wheel sitting here like I knew what I was doing all along. The even cooler part is that this works not only for stuff on the computer, but for picking paper as well! The number are a bit different as the computer uses additive color (RGB - goes lighter as we add color) and paint uses subtractive color (CMYK - goes darker as we add color), but the theory is still the same.

It's wild when you stumble on something so simple. It's certainly not something that was in my box, but after consultation with someone who thinks outside of MY box (in his own math box!), I pulled this little trick right in! I ended up using the Split Complimentary scheme for my newsletter, and since I was able to pull the original color right out of the logo, I knew EXACTLY what my other colors should be! WILD!