Friday, December 21, 2007

Too good not to post immediately

I want to take the time to write something more reflective for the holiday season, but I just got this in my inbox and I have to share it with the world. It is, perhaps, the greatest thing ever.

Grandpa often has Walker: Texas Ranger on when I get home from work. It's is the highlight/lowlight of my day.

The other day I caught part of an episode where Walker stared down a wolf, because he was able to channel some sort of American Indian ancenstral cosmic connection with the animal.

I didn't know if I should laugh or cry. I think I did both.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Random jottings

The wedding is moving along. Right now I'm just waiting for the next month to elapse. I can't believe it's only 35 days away. Zac will get here a few days before that, which is more important than the wedding anyway. I miss him a lot. But the next few weeks are going to fly by. Megan is about to have the baby (any day now) and Christmas and New Year's are in there to boot. It's going to be an exciting, fun time.

My bachelorette party is on Saturday, but I'm worried Megan will go into labor that night and I'll be drunk and taking a taxi to the hospital. That would make for some great pictures. Here's Megan, exhausted but glowing after giving birth to a beautiful baby. Here's Kate, dressed up like a tart, with raccoon eyes because she's been bawling about the new baby. Welcome to the world, Baby. I'm your Aunt. I swear I don't always smell like Vodka and look like a weeping Tammy Faye.

It's not all sunshine and rainbows, though. We recently learned that the newest member of our family, my cousin's seven-week-old baby girl, is sick. She's going to need a lot of medical help to get through this, so in the meantime I just sit and think happy thoughts for her. She's an amazing, tough little peanut, so I've got hope that she's going to make it through this. I could easily sit here and wallow in the sadness, but I just can't do that tonight.

Zac and I were kind of hoping that we'd be heading to Memphis for his next duty station, but we found out today that he didn't get the position. So now it's back to the drawing board, looking at open postings and debating the pros and cons of each location. It's an odd process. It would be nice to have some answers before the wedding, just because "Where are you guys going next?" seems to be one of the main questions people ask.

So no matter what the major life event is right now, it's just a case of wait and see . . .

Monday, November 26, 2007

New Year's Resolutions Prep

I hope everyone had a happy holiday weekend. While I enjoyed my days off, I was glad to be back at work this morning. I think it has something to do with the predictability of the work-week schedule. It's nice and regular. There are so many events in the next eight weeks that it's kind of nice to have "normal" days in the midst of the mild chaos.

Even though we haven't even reached Christmas yet, I've been thinking about New Year's Resolutions. (This is, of course, on top of the obligatory resolutions of 'eat better' and 'exercise more'.) I've been thinking about resolving to change certain things about me. I'm a Mother Hen/Control Freak. I've been that way since High School, probably even before that. This means that I've got a certain number of non-strengths that get me into trouble. For example, I'm miserable at asking for help but I'm realizing that I may be slowly drowning in all the stuff I pile on my sometimes over-loaded plate.

Sometimes I want to do it myself because I think I'll do the best job at it. Sometimes I want to do it myself because if I foul it up, I will have no one to blame but myself. Sometimes I want to do it by myself because I want the satisfaction of the achievement. Sometimes I want to do it myself because I don't want to burden other people. Sometimes I want to do it myself because I don't trust that other people will do it right, or even at all. Sometimes I want to do it myself because I think I "should". But regardless of the reason, I'm feeling that I'm standing at the base of a mountain of stuff that has to be done and is precariously close to toppling over and crushing me.

But even as I sit here and think about resolutions, I can't quite see how I could resolve to be something other than what I am. I'm not really going to change. I don't believe that people ever really, really do. I'm never going to be anything but the Mother Hen that has to be in control of everything. Because how would you change that? How do you even begin to change elemental aspects of your personality? Maybe you could even ask, "should you change?" Because while I am feeling totally and completely overwhelmed and stressed out, I haven't drown yet. I haven't been crushed by all that stuff yet. And I made it to the ripe ol' age of 30 this way and I'm at least some sort of functioning adult, so something must be working.

So while I'd like to resolve to relax more and delegate more responsibilities to others I just don't see that happening. I think a better resolution for 2008 would be to learn how to cope with the fallout of my choices, which seems much more realistic and attainable.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Everyone loves a short work week

I love a three-day work week! It's the end of Tuesday and I'm only one eight-hour shift away from four days of freedom. Oh happy day!

I'm going in to have my wedding dress altered tonight. I'm excited to try it on again. I did try it on when I picked it up at the Wedding Chapel (boo! hiss!) but at that point I was so frustrated with the store that I couldn't really enjoy trying it on. I just wanted to make sure it was in good condition and leave. (Did I mention that they were just as difficult when I picked the dress up as when I called them? Real classy establishment. [stifled chortling])

So tonight I get to try on the dress, with the newly purchased wedding shoes, and "oh" and "ah" about it. The shoes are fantastic. I'm going to be hard pressed not to wear them before the wedding. They're silver sequined. Very cool. It's almost a shame that you won't be able to see them under the dress. But then again, I spent the good part of a day looking for a bra to go under the dress, and you don't see that either. Well, Zac will, but that's none of your business. ;)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Thanksgiving is when???

Two thoughts crossed my mind as I drove into work today.
  1. Holy crap. Thanksgiving is a week from today!
  2. Oh crap. That means I only get paid for three days of work next week!

I was happy about the first realization, but not so much about the second. I suppose I could attempt to cram 40 hours into three days. What is that? About three 13.33 hour days? As much as I'm going to miss the two days of pay, I think I'd be a very unhappy camper if I tried to pull off the 13.33 shift for three days.

I went to the Conservatory last night with Mom to check out the wedding site, in all its decorated glory. It is AMAZING at night when everything is lit up. Kudos to Megan for bringing it to my attention! I'm very happy with it. Most of the major wedding/reception decisions have been made. I'm really just sitting back and collecting RSVPs for now. It will be interesting to see how many out-of-state invitees will be able to attend. I'm wondering if I should have included a promise to take guests to the Mall of America the day after the wedding to sweeten the invatation pot. . . .

102.9 WLTE started playing Christmas music yesterday, much to my delight. Yes, I am that person. The one who thoroughly enjoys 40 days worth of Christmas songs. And NO, I don't get sick of hearing the same ones over and over again. They're like Christmas lights - they make the short days and cold weather just a bit more bearable. I mean, there is nothing more depressing than the end of January sitting in your car in rush hour traffic at 4:00pm and it's pitch black outside and you're stuck listening to Rob Thomas on the radio. Those are the moments that you're begging for Bing Crosby to come on and croon "White Christmas".

And just so I can place myself officially in the "lonely sap" catagory, I heard "Merry Christmas, Darling" by the Carpenters last night on the way home. When she sang, "We're apart that's true, but I can dream and in my dreams I'm Christmas-ing with you," I started to cry. Yup. I'm that person. I've got some shame. :)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Finally able to slow down some

No, I didn't fall into an abyss. I just have been insanely busy the last couple of weeks. Any of you that have seen me lately know that I was teetering on the brink of insanity but I've managed to wiggle my way back from the ledge. Let the Holiday Season begin!!!

This was my weekend:

Friday night - Mom's surprise party. Crazy good time. She was totally surprised and it was a blast. We had it at the Black Forest in Minneapolis and it was well attended by her friends and loved ones. We had a kick-butt Power Point slide show with photos of Mom from the last 30-40 years. Dad even set it to music. It was really a fun night. With Megan's pregnancy and my wedding, it was great to see Mom be the center of attention.

Saturday - peanut brittle making for most of the day. I'm not sure how many batches we ended up making, but it was quite a bit. Probably twice as much as last time. And we're still not done. This latest installment was for the Boutique on this upcoming Saturday. There are always special orders from people and the gift giving that we do, so there will still be at least one more day of candy making.

Sunday - my bridal shower. (For a ridiculous picture of me, see Heidi's blog.) It was surreal being the "bride". I've been to showers, but it's a lot different when you're the star of the show. My mom and Megan did a great job of putting it together on such short notice. Too bad that the good folks at Mapquest do such shoddy work on their directions . . . More than a couple of attendees were caused stress by the directions they received. It was fun to talk about Zac for a couple of hours and show off pictures of how cute he is. Many of the people at the shower only have seen him once, and then he was only known as the "Navy buddy of Paul's who is at Megan's wedding reception dancing (a little too close) with the maid of honor." One of the girls at my shower laughed and told me that she had asked her mom when they were leaving Megan's wedding, "Are Kate and that boy dating?" Um, no. We were just getting to know each other. :) Now look at us. A year later and we're getting married. What a long, strange trip it has been.

Anyhow, most of the wedding decisions have been made. Now I can enjoy Thanksgiving, finish putting together Megan's baby shower, chill out until after Christmas and then get married.

No sweat.


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Sharing some amusement

With apologies to everyone else, Austin, this one's primarily for you.


Those of you who know about my love of baseball might also know of my love of Bill Simmons, a writer for's Page 2. (He also wrote the hysterical "Now I Can Die In Peace" about being a Red Sox fan. One of the few books I actually bought in hardcover because I refused to wait until it was in paperback.) He's one of the few writers that can get me to gut-laugh out loud as I sit in my cube at work. Occasionally he posts snipits from e-mails that he gets from readers that share his sense of humor which are often just as funny as what he writes.

With that said, this is a quote from one of his e-mailers regarding the JD Drew grand slam last week that helped the Red Sox advance to the World Series:

"Jim in State College, Pa.: Bill, when Drew hit that grand slam in the first inning, I felt just like I did when I saw "Return of the Jedi" for the first time. After hating Darth Vader for nearly nine hours of the original Star Wars trilogy, he does that one great thing at the end and saves Luke Skywalker's life. We forgot all about how he killed scores of people, including the whole planet of Alderaan."

I was almost weeping. If you want to read the rest of the article:

By the way, what's more indicative of being a slacker at work? Being at work reading a sports blog online, or being at work and composing my own blog about the sports blog? I think I've reached a new level of unproductivity.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Warning: TMI potential

On Sunday or Monday I thought I got a bug bite. It itched like crazy, but I ignored it, heeding the advice that you shouldn't scratch something because it could get infected. The next day, it looked more like a rash. Itching continues. Next day - it spread. Um . . . . Ew! Then on Thursday I woke up in PAIN - the "rash" hurt. Rashs don't "hurt". It was like I had a huge, deep bruise there. Okay, time to call the doctor. (Thank you Kelly Law Registry for providing health insurance to its contractors.)

My appointment was this morning. Verdict? Shingles.

So I'm now pumping myself full of anti-viral medication. Gotta let it run its course. Too weird. The doctor said a few things:
  1. It's a little odd that I'm only 30 and got it, however,
  2. That works in my favor because I'm less likely to have any sort of complications or long-term effects from it.
  3. No one is particularly sure what causes it to "wake up" so there's no way to really know what caused it in me.
  4. It's possible I won't ever have it again, like chicken pox, because I'm having it now.
  5. But that's not 100%.
  6. I have to take horse pills five times a day for ten days. The pharmacist said, "You're going to feel like all you do is take pills." Five times a day? I would think so.

Anyhow, besides the occasionally intense pain and irritating itching, it's no big deal. At least it's something treatable. The body is a strange thing.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Ladies and Gentlemen . . .

We have a date. January 18.

Stay tuned to see what unfolds as a local girl tries to plan a wedding in 89 days. Updates at 5, 6 and 10.

In honor of our upcoming wedding, here's the very first picture of me and Zac taken together. The first of many, tho at the time we didn't know it.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Wedding dress shoppers - beware the Wedding Chapel in Crystal, MN!!!

Just a quick note to any girls out there thinking of buying a wedding dress from the Wedding Chapel in Crystal, MN.


They have terrible business practices and it is only by luck that I am not dress-less for my wedding.

I bought my dress at the end of July. I told them when I was looking at dresses, "I'm getting married at the end of October. I can only look at dresses that are available to be rush ordered so they will get here in time." (At the time we were thinking we were getting married in October -- yes that has since changed but it was the case at the time of ordering the dress.) I narrowed my selection down to my top choices on July 25th and my consultant had the manager, Diana, call the manufacturer the next day to see if any of the dresses could be rush cut.

Again, I repeat, I told them that I was getting married at the end of October. It says so ON MY ORDER FORM. I was informed that my number one choice was available as a rush, so I went back in on the 27th of July to buy the dress. I was told, in front of my Mom and Sister that my dress would be arrive at the end of September so I would be able to get the alterations done in time for my wedding at the END OF OCTOBER. I paid an extra $60 to have the rush order processed.

Time passes.

I called the Wedding Chapel on THREE separate occasions during the last couple months checking on the status of my order. Why? Because it was a rush order and it was supposed to be arriving at the end of September. The first two time they called me back assuring me that my dress was still scheduled to arrive "on time". I called on Thursday last week (the third time) because it is now WAY PAST the end of September. The woman who answered the phone said she'd have someone check on the order and get back to me. They called yesterday with this voicemail message:

"[super chipper] Hi, this is so-and-so from the Wedding Chapel! I'm just calling back with the status of your order. Everything looks good! It looks like it's still going to arrive on time, by October 31st. That should be in time . . . [I can tell she is now actually looking at my order form] . . .for your . . . end . . . of . . . October wedding. Oh. [pause] Oh dear. [pause] Um. Yeah. You might want to call us back."

OCTOBER 31st!!!!! EXCUSE ME?!?!?!?!?

So I called them back last night and the woman said that she didn't know what to tell me. I told her, "Well, I would like my $60 back since it has turned out not to be a rush order." She said that she'd have the manager Diana give me a call today to talk about it.

Well Diana did call me back. All I wanted was my $60 back for the rush order. I felt it was only fair since my dress didn't arrive when they said it would. I was promised a dress at the end of September in exchange for that extra fee. I did not get a dress at the end of September for that fee. Diana didn't see it the same way. After trying to be pleasant and respectful for the first part of the phone call, it started to go downhill. It went something like this:

D: "Well, according to our order form this dress has ALWAYS been scheduled to come in on October 31st. This dress usually takes six months to get here, so the 31st IS a rush."

K: "What does my order form say for a wedding date?"

D: "The end of October."

K: "WHY would I order a wedding dress for a wedding at the END OF OCTOBER if the dress wasn't going to arrive until the 31st???"

D: "I don't know. But our order says that we've told you each time you've called that it would arrive on the 31st."

K: "What? I can assure you the FIRST time I heard '31st' was two days ago. They have always told me that the dress was going to arrive 'on time'. TRUST ME when I say I would have called you sooner if I has heard October 31st at ANY other time."

D: "Well that's what it says here. And it says that the 31st was the expected arrival date from the time we placed the order."

K: "Again, I PURPOSEFULLY chose THAT dress because I was told that it would be here in time. I would NOT have purchased that dress if I didn't think it would be here in time. I would have picked another dress."

D: "Well, like I said this dress usually takes six months to arrive so this IS a rush so I don't think you are entitled to any refund."

K: "Well, there isn't much I can do about this because I have no way to prove that I was lied to. Any reasonable person would realize I would NOT have bought a dress that was supposed to arrive AFTER THE WEDDING.

D: "Uh huh." [At this point she's just waiting to get off the phone. I can see her rolling her eyes at her co-workers.]

K: "So I guess my only resort is to let people know what kind of business you run and how you treat customers. I ASSURE you I will tell my friends that are getting married that your business is not to be trusted and that customer service is your lowest priority."

D: "Uh huh."

K: "You are LUCKY that my wedding date got pushed back. I will be in to pick up my dress when it arrives, and I will NOT be using your services for my alterations. I will see you when it arrives."

D: "Bye." [click]


So . . . a-hem [clearing throat] . . .




Now if you'll excuse me, I'll be standing outside their store striking up conversations with people heading inside about what kind of service they can expect.

[I'm not really, but wouldn't that be FANTASTIC to do???]

Friday, October 12, 2007

My (dys)functional relationship with Epworth

Do you know what I have planned this weekend?


Blessed nothing.

I don't think I've had a weekend where I have nothing planned for a couple of months. It's like a state of 48 hour bliss. Sure I've got things I'd like to do -- laundry, vacuuming, crocheting, watching football, etc. -- but I don't have anything scheduled. It's lovely. Truly lovely. I may wear elastic waistband pants all weekend . . .

Last night was the Harvest Dinner at church. As usual, it was a lot of fun and a lot of work, and I know that I wasn't nearly one of the hardest workers. I worked for three and a half hours. Some people worked all day. Kudos to them for pulling it off once again.

Those of you that know me well know that I've got . . . er . . . "issues" with organized religion, and you may be a little surprised that I still help out with fundraisers at church, and even enjoy myself. But even as I've come to develop my own views on faith and spirituality that separate me from my church, I do still hold a very soft spot in my heart for it. Notice that I still call it "my" church, though I don't share its views on some of its fundamental beliefs.

It's an odd relationship I have with Epworth, and it is unique to that one church. I certainly don't feel any affinity towards any other UMC out there. (United Methodist for those that aren't familiar with the acronym.) I attended one Sunday service at Choctaw UMC while I was in Oklahoma with Zac. He occasionally attended and I thought it would be the right thing to do to try and stomach an hour of church for him. Once we got home he let me know that he'd never invite me to do that again. I was a little dismayed that I wasn't able to cover up my feelings better during the service. I hope no one besides Zac noticed me, because I certainly didn't want other people at church thinking, "Why did he bring her? - she obviously doesn't want to be here."

And I honestly don't think I should be attending services at a church. At the end of the day I think it's an affront to people that do believe (and to their version of God) to sit there with nothing but an overwhelming desire to roll my eyes as I argue against them in my head. It seems like the best way for me to respect their faith is to not pretend that I share it.

But then there's Epworth. I know the building like I know my parent's house. I know every square inch, the way different rooms and hallways echo, what drawers the plastic table clothes are in, how to correctly wash and sanitize dishes after a fundraiser, etc. I am completely comfortable in the building. Besides my parent's house, my grandparents' houses and Clara Barton Open School, it's probably the building I spent the most time in while I was growing up.

And then there's the people. For better or for worse, they're like family. Some of them I adore, other ones irritate the hell out of me. Like the guy who told my mom that he was pretty sure that I wouldn't make it through college and would probably drop out before I graduated. Yeah, he said that to my mom. (Note to that guy - have I showed you my law license lately? Screw you, you jerk.) But I care about the people there and I appreciate the fact that they don't point out my absence on Sundays anymore. They seem genuinely happy to have me there when I am, and we leave it at that. I honestly, I am genuinely happy to see them too. (Except that one guy.)

I don't feel like posting about all of my disagreements with the teachings of the Methodist church (and the Christian church generally). That would take days and days. But in the end, Epworth will always be my church. And though I don't believe in some of what the church believes, I do occasionally find some things from my Methodist upbringing that I do whole-heartedly believe:

Do all the good you can,

By all the means you can,

In all the ways you can,

In all the places you can,

At all the times you can,

To all the people you can,

As long as ever you can.

-- John Wesley

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Catching up on the weekend

This weekend was just nuts. For a few hours I thought I needed to plan a wedding in seven weeks, then 24 hours later the kibosh was put on that. I spent five hours with my Mom on Saturday making peanut brittle and I spent all day Sunday prepping and eating a Turkey Dinner at Sara's house with friends. I was beat by the time I got home Sunday night. Too much physical and emotional work.

Making peanut brittle with Mom is always fun. It's a sticky, greasy mess, but it's a blast. At the end of the day your feet hurt and your back is killing you, but it's only two days out of the year. My Mom makes the best peanut brittle you've ever had. Those of you who have had the pleasure of eating some - you know I'm right. Crunchy, buttery, peanutty goodness. She got her recipe from a friend many years ago and started making it to sell at out church's holiday boutique. Of course it sells like hotcakes and every year she has to make more and more to keep up with the demand.

For a couple of years when I was in high school, Mom started a business and tried making the candy commercially. It was a gutsy thing to do and I admire her for taking the shot at it. Starting a business is really hard. Ultimately it didn't work out the way she wanted, but it was a learning experience to be sure. I occasionally think about giving the business another shot, but that won't be happening any time soon.

So Mom makes copious amounts of peanut brittle for our church's holiday boutique in November every year. She also makes it for the "mini" boutique the church has in October. (This Thursday as a matter of fact.) We made 20 batches for the Mini Boutique. We'll make double that for the regular boutique. If you calculate it out that one batch makes about five half-pound bags, that's 2.5 lbs of peanut brittle per batch. 20 x 2.5 = 50 lbs of peanut brittle. If we make 40 batches in a couple of weeks: 40 x 2.5 = 100 lbs of peanut brittle.

Frequently she has to add a third day of making it for all the special orders she gets. I've also been giving out some as gifts the last couple years, which adds a few more batches. So maybe we do five to ten more batches. Another 25 lbs. 50 + 100 + 25 = A whole lot of candy folks. A whole lotta.

So in case you get to sample the peanut brittle produced by the Ayers Family Kitchen this holiday season, know that was the result of a lot of hard work led by my Mom.

Friday, October 5, 2007

In lieu of a post

A picture to tie you over until I have time to write something.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Back to MN


I don't even know where to begin. It has been a crazy last week and a half. I got back Sunday night and was back at my desk Monday morning. I don't want this blog to turn into a 10,000 word posting so I'll highlight a few events and come back to them in the upcoming days as I run out of blog topics.
  • Flight to OKC got cancelled because of weather
  • Bawled on my parents couch at midnight on Thursday while all three of us were on the phone trying to find a flight on Friday that would get me to OKC in time for the pinning ceremony.
  • Bawled in the OKC airport as I waited to see if my bags would arrive, as they were on a different flight.
  • Made it to the pinning by the skin of my teeth.
  • Nearly fell apart again when I saw Zac in his khakis up on stage.
  • Shook like a leaf when I tried to pin on one of his anchors. (A combo of very little sleep, stress, nerves, excitement, caffeine and no lunch or supper.)
  • Tackled Zac after the ceremony when I got to see him for the first time in more than two months. (Aside from the aforementioned moment on the stage during the ceremony.)
  • Basked in the glow of being with my boy again.
  • Fussed over him because he was too skinny, tired, and coming down with a cold.
  • Spent time with my parents and his parents and brother, thereby facilitating the meeting of the families.
  • Bid adieu to our families.
  • Spent a week living on Tinker AFB.
  • Had a young Air Force service member create an imaginary baby to allow us to live in family housing for a few days.
  • Due to a booking snafu, spent the last few days living in the officers quarters. Best snafu ever.
  • Spent time with friends.
  • Laughed with friends.
  • Grilled with friends.
  • Enjoyed the perks of government subsidized food in the galley. Seriously, I've never eaten so much food for so cheap in my life. Two cafeteria trays full of food and it came to something like $2.35. Ridiculous.
  • Fell asleep each night, curled up next to one another, just like we used to.
  • Made some preliminary wedding plans.
  • Cried at the airport as I said goodbye to him again. Realized that it will never get any easier seeing him leave. But that's probably a good thing, isn't it? Because I never want there to be a time where it's easy to say goodbye to him.

So that's a quick overview of the 10 days or so. I may flesh some of these topics out in future blogs. Maybe some of you will even be lucky enough to hear about it in person over a beer or something.

And lest I forget to mention a few major events that occurred while I was gone :

Happy Birthday, Autumn!

Congrats Austin and Kristi!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

OKC Bound

My flight leaves at 9:00. I'm finishing up work for the day and then heading home to finish up the last minute packing. Mom and Dad are bringing over Jackeeno's pizza for supper and Megan is coming too. It will give us all the chance to talk about Grandpa's care over the next 10 days.

Mmmmmmmmm. Now all I can think about is Jackeeno's. How does one type out that sound that Homer makes when he thinks about something yummy? You know. The one where he tilts his head back a little and drool drips out the side of his mouth? It's like a gurgle/moan. Austin - get on this, this is your domain. Report back with an answer. I may need it in the future.

Like I told Heidi today in an e-mail, I've been distracted at best and bordering on non-productive. It's hard to focus. I keep thinking of little things I need to do before I leave. And now that I can actually count down the hours until I see Zac, the waiting is ever more burdensome. I'm not sure that I'll be able to blog while I'm down there, but I might get the chance to pop my head in every now and again.

I get to see my boy!!! :-)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

T-minus 36 hour (or so)

Tick tock. Tick tock. Sitting here, watching the clock tick down until I hop on a plane to OKC. I started packing last night and was a little dismayed to realize that I was going to need to use the medium-sized suitcase instead of the smaller one. Granted, I am going to be gone for ten days, which is a fair amount of time. I'm just used to getting by with a small suitcase and minimal packing. This time around I have to tote along nice clothes as well. I'm usually not packing skirts and dresses and high heels. Also, it doesn't help that I'm bringing two extra pairs of shoes. This is my rationale:

If I only bring the two pairs that I had planned, I will get down there and freak out thinking that I should have brought the other pairs. "Wait a sec - I don't want to wear these! They don't look right! Oh, if only I had brought the other pairs!" By bringing the two extra pair I will be able to wear the original selections, because I'll be able to sooth my anxiety by saying, "See? The other shoes are here if you want them. But you don't want them. So just wear the ones you planned on." Clearly, I'm losing my mind.

Not much else to report. I've got a handful of errands I need to run before I leave. Although, now that I think about it, I could run some of them in OKC. For example, I need to get wrapping paper and boxes for the gifts I got Zac. Believe it or not, OKC actually has a Target or two. This way I could just transport the gifts in my suitcase without worrying about damaging the wrapping. . . This would also give me something to do on Friday morning, since I won't have much to do until my parents get there around 2:00.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

That was fun

Good times! I probably should be in worse shape than I am this morning. Earlier this week I was lamenting to Paul that I wanted to go out, have a few drinks and enjoy being silly for a few hours. There's one person who's perfect for job - Steven, my pseudo-brother-in-law. Steve is Paul's brother. Technically there is no title to affix to the brother of a brother-in-law, but I've known Steven almost as long as I've known Paul. I guess we just have to use the title of "friend".

So Sara, Steve, Paul, Megan and I went out last night. Actually, the four of us met up with Steve at Grandma's in Seven Corners. He had gone to the Twins game with some buddies, so Grandma's was a good location. It was really dead in there. We got there around 10:15, which is a little early granted, but when it didn't start filling up by 11:00 we decided to head across the street to Town Hall Brewery, which I've never been to. I'm not sure how I had made it to 30 in Minneapolis and never had a fishbowl, but that ended last night.

So we had a fishbowl. It tasted vaguely like grape-flavored Kool Aid or maybe even grape-flavored cold medicine you got when you were a kid. I don't particularly like grape, but if someone else is buying you just roll with the punches. And, honestly, about half-way through you don't really care what flavor it is anymore.

Poor Megs - she's more than five months pregnant and was playing the role of designated driver due to her inability to drink. That means she had to put up with our loud, obnoxious, drunk butts all night. What a trooper. Even Paul was drinking last night. That rarely happens. We all raised our eyebrows when he ordered his first Captain and Coke, but it's one of those things you don't want to bring attention to because you don't want him to feel self-conscious about it. By the end of the evening, as we were finishing off the fishbowl, Paul proclaimed that he had had quite a bit to drink. He's a funny kid.

Megan eventually decided that it was time to make the late-night food-run. We headed down to the Perkins, which had closed at midnight. Why on earth would they close at midnight? I don't get it. Although, I could see where they avoid a lot of the hassles of the neighborhood by closing. It may not be because they didn't make any money, it may be because the night-time crowd in that area might be a little rough.

So we did what anyone would do - we went to to White Castle on Lake Street. Instead of going through the drive thru, Megan had us go inside. It probably had something to do with the fact that all four of us were whining about needing to pee. Megan stayed in the car while we went in to order. We ran into Steven's friends inside and were shooting the breeze when Megan comes bustling in and says to the cashier:

"Your dumpster is on fire."

Our drunk butts all press our noses up against the windows of the White Castle and sure enough, there are three or four foot flames shooting up out of the dumpster in the parking lot. Well, there's something you don't see every day. The White Castle staff, at first, thought that Megan may have been another one of us drunk morons. I looked at the cashier and said very seriously, "She's pregnant, sober and our designated driver. If she's telling you your dumpster is on fire - it is."

At that point the White Castle staff went a little nuts. There were four of them. One, the cashier, was the mother hen. The one adult among the remaining three teenage staff members. One of the young guys went to grab the little fire extinguisher, which would have done nothing to cut those flames. The mother hen was hollering at him to stay away from the dumpster, that the fire was too big. It was a bit chaotic. Paul, Steven and Sara were standing outside watching the show. I was still inside because I had just ordered two hamburgers before Megan had come in and made her announcement. In order to get her staff back in line while we waited for the fire truck, the mother hen barked, "Let's get this customer her White Castles." The kids looked at her, a little incredulous. "Let's get this customer her White Castles," she repeated.

The register read $1.09 (you gotta love that value) so I handed her a five when she gave me my burgers. She smiled at me and said, "Thank you, ma'am." I nudged the bill at her again. She met my eyes and repeated, slowly, "No. Thank. You. Ma'am." I finally caught her drift and took my two free White Castles outside to watch the fire with my crew.

So we stood there in the cold, steam rising from the hamburgers, listing to the sounds of the approaching fire truck and watching the fire flicker in the dumpster, like a messed up bonfire.

What a fun night. God, I love living in Mpls.

Friday, September 14, 2007

He's en route to OKC

Zac's currently in the air over the Gulf of Mexico, about 35 minutes away from landing in Houston. Then he heads to OKC. I know that he's still more than 800 miles away, but it's nice to think that he's at least a little bit closer. Part of me is half-tempted to hop on a last minute flight to OKC this weekend to go see him, but I guess I can wait the six days until I see him. But he's so close . . .

So here's my first attempt at posting a photo in my blog:

I got some photos from Zac this morning before he left El Sal. It was weird because I haven't seen him in more than two months. I've talked to him on the phone almost everyday, but I haven't laid eyes on him in what seems like forever. At least he looks happy and healthy. I can't wait until he's actually standing in front of me so I can hug him. I hope I don't accidentally squeeze the living breath out of him in my excitement.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Wednesday update

I am anxiously prepping for my trip to OKC to see Zac. I'm actually wearing my new black heels today to break them in a little. They are to go with my KALBD. (*sigh* I need to get Heidi to teach me how to link to stuff and put pictures in.) I'm still musing over what to wear to the pinning ceremony, but I figure I'll go through everything I own this weekend in one mad try-on session and see if I've got anything I like. If not, I'll just hit the mall and get a new skirt or something. So much of my wardrobe has been in various forms of packing over the last six months, that I'm not even sure what I own anymore.

On the Grandpa front, he's losing his eyesight rapidly. In the last three weeks it's gone from bad to almost non-existent. It means that Grandpa and my family are facing a number of decisions about what kind of care he wants and needs. What my Grandpa wants is a miracle pill that will make him 25 again. I think he's fairly convinced that it exists and that the doctors are just being mean by not giving it to him. He hates being old. He hates how his body is failing him. He hates not being able to walk around the block. He hates being frail and feeling vulnerable. I hate seeing him like that.

There was some talk about Grandpa moving into an elder care facility, but now it looks like we're going to try and get someone to come in M-F for a few hours a day while I'm at work. He said himself that if he's going to go blind he wants to be blind in his own house instead of learning where everything is in a new place. So that's the plan for the moment. However, plans seem to change almost daily, so things aren't set in stone.

It's been a trying time for everyone involved; Grandpa, my family, me. I've had a number of moments of helplessness. I've got the rational part of my brain that tells me that I'm doing everything I can and that I am actually providing help to my Grandfather. The emotional part of my brain has me feeling guilty every time I leave the house and has me feeling like there's nothing I can do. It's a tough spot. I want to be spending time with my friends, but especially during the week I don't like doing things because I feel so bad about not being home. And then I plan everything with my friends on the weekends so I feel bad that I'm not home during the day when I could be because it's not a work day.

I'm not saying that I don't enjoy going out with my friends, I just feel over-scheduled. Between household stuff I need to do for myself and Grandpa, plus things like the Dome and having a handful of friends that each want to spend time with me -- it's overwhelming. Like I don't have enough time to do everything and to make everybody, including me, happy. I'm also not very good at saying "no" to people, especially people that I care about. If one of my family or friends asks me to do something, it kills me to say "no". More guilt.

You know how each of Shakespeare's dramatic characters has a tragic flaw? That one attribute of their character that ultimately causes their downfall? Mine must be my over developed sense of guilt.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Are cute shoes worth the blisters?

I love shoes. I particularly love cute shoes. But, as most women know, cuteness often comes at the price of comfort. I have one pair in particular that no matter how many times I wear, I get blisters on my heels. And even though they always cause me pain, I can't bring myself to get rid of them because they're . . . well . . . cute.

I decided to wear them today and as a preventative measure I decided to arm myself with Band Aids before I left the house, knowing that blisters were in my future. But, alas, I was out. Band Aids aren't one of those things I ever really think to buy. They're just kind of there when I need them. Or not, as in this case.

I knew Grandpa had some Band Aids on his dresser, so I decided to raid his supply. But when I got to his box I groaned with frustration. He didn't have normal Band Aids. He had a box of those little round ones that they put on your finger after they prick it and take blood at the doctor's office. Seriously, for what other life event would you possibly need those quarter-sized bandages?!?! I mean, the actual bandage part is less than a quarter of an inch in diameter! What sort of wound could these actually cover?? And why would you need 50 of them? The only reason that there are so many of them in the package is because they're so dang small.

I proceeded on to work, Band Aid-less. Sure enough I wasn't halfway across the parking lot walking into work before I started to feel the uncomfortable rubbing on my heels. I ignored it. Why? Because I secretly hoped that this time my feet would have built up enough callouses to combat the shoes. However, each step was more uncomfortable than the last. By the time I got to my desk, I was relieved to take them off.

I briefly considered going to the company's convenience store to buy a box of Band Aids, but decided not to. I did that once before (probably when I was wearing the same shoes) and the box cost me a small fortune. That's the thing about the convenience store at work -- they know they've got you. There's nowhere else to go. When you need Band Aids, you need Band Aids, and they're going to make you pay handsomely. It's a really sick and twisted take on supply and demand.

Luckily I was able to bum a Band Aid off a friend which made walking for the rest of the day a little more bearable. However, as I spent the afternoon sitting at my desk, I decided to take my shoes off. When I went to put them back on at the end of the day to leave, it was excruciating. You know how it is - you got blisters from the shoes, they popped, leaving tender, nerve-exposed skin beneath and now you're rubbing them in the same darn spot. It hurt. So I did what any self-respecting professional would do. I put my shoes in my lunch bag and walked out of the office in my bare feet.

As I walked out, feeling extremely paranoid and foolish, I started obsessing over other people's footwear. All I could do was look at every one's shoes. Did they realize that I didn't have shoes on? Would they think I'm nuts? Okay, maybe I am nuts, but still, do other people look at shoes? Why do I care about cute shoes? I've never noticed much about other people's shoes, so why would they notice mine, even if they are cute? Will they revoke my "adult license" if they catch me barefoot at my place of employment? I was completely freaked out the whole way through the building. When I got to the security desk, I was relieved to realize that they couldn't see my feet from behind the desk. I'm not sure if I thought they'd kick me out or what, but I was glad to get out of the building.

Now I had to walk across the parking lot. No biggie, I thought. It was strange feeling the black top under my feet. You could tell which parking spots had been in the sun for awhile and which ones had had cars parked in them by the amount of heat they gave off. About half-way to my car my feet were starting to feel a little tender and I wondered to myself how on Earth did I manage to run around barefoot in the street when I was a kid? I must have had leather for soles.

I finally got to the car and headed home. I even had to stop for gas and fill the tank in my bare feet. Spilled oil, gas and anti-freeze don't exactly appeal to me as moisturizers. When I got to Grandpa's, I sat down and looked at my dirty, beat up feet. They're not pretty folks. And they're pretty tender when I walk around. Tragically this means I won't be working out tonight.

Maybe I'll give the shoes one more chance, though. They are cute after all.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Two weeks from tomorrow

I get to see Zac two weeks from tomorrow. Not that I'm counting down the days or anything. 15 days . . .

Labor Day weekend has come and gone. It was a long one. I took Friday off so I could enjoy a second day of pure joy at the Great MN Get Together. It turned out to be a lot hotter that day than I had expected. It wasn't so bad if you were sitting in the shade and the breeze was blowing. But once you started walking around the streets of the fair, on the blacktop, with all those people and the sun beating down on you -- then it got a little warm. It can really wipe you out.

I ran into a friend from college as I was wrapping up Fair Day #2. It was fantastic to see her, but a little strange. It's always weird to run into people who knew you when you were 18. We lived on the same floor when we lived in the dorms. She was always one of the more level-headed people I knew. It was funny to run into her and do a 20-minute catch-up. Like it's even possible to cram 10 years worth of history into a short meeting. Perhaps my favorite part was the obligatory, "So what are you up to?" She said, "I'm a chiropractor." I said, "Wow! I'm an attorney." Then there was a slight pause where I thought to myself, "Wow. We actually sound like adults with jobs."

I kind of laugh at the absurdity of it. She and I are "professionals" but all I could think about was us living in Sorin, ordering pizza, staying up late studying and dealing with the ever-present drama that always accompanies living in a dorm with 50-60 girls. It was great to see her, if only to remind myself of some of the really good times I had in college. Sometimes I look back at Hamline with a certain amount of regret, but without even trying she reminded me of the good stuff that I experienced too. Thanks, Amy. I hope we stay in touch.

Saturday morning I went up to the Dome and stayed there until Sunday afternoon. I helped clear paths and even had the distinct pleasure (?) of crawling under the deck to do some repair work. Our deck is about 18-24" high. It was starting to sag in a couple of places where the deck was segmented. After trying a few above-deck options that didn't quite work, I volunteered to get the car jack out of my trunk and crawl under the deck to jack up the sagging pieces. Once I got them up I was to put boards under the legs that had sunk into the ground.

Now under the deck isn't exactly the place you'd want to hang out. Besides being confined to wiggling around on your belly, there are cobwebs and leaves, dirt, critters and the occasional snake. But the deck had to be elevated and no one else in my family was going to volunteer. (Or could volunteer for the assignment. Paul and Dad are too big to fit under there. Come to think of it, Megan's pregnant belly makes her too big to fit under there too. Lol.)

I jacked up the deck, fixed the legs, lowered the jack and then scooted my way out, feet first. It's really hard to be elegant when you're doing that. I was pretty grody when I got out, but I felt like I had earned my keep for the weekend. On Sunday I cleared more paths with Dad and split firewood with Paul. Yes, we used an axe. Apparently there are machines that will split firewood for you -- where's the fun in that? I enjoy attempting (and 52% of the time, failing) to hit the log with the axe.

When I got home on Sunday, I did some laundry. Monday I went shopping with Sara to find a dress for the Khaki Ball. (Which is in a little more than two weeks. Did I mention that I'm going to see Zac in two weeks? Yeah, I'm not counting.) I totally owe Sara because she found me my Kick-Ass Little Black Dress. It is phe-no-men-al. I luuuuuuuhhhhhhv it. As soon as I put it on I thought, "I don't care how much this costs. I'm buying it." Of course I got shoes to go with it. I think the endorphins from my reaction to the dress made me a little delirious. I may keep looking around to see if any other dresses catch my eye for the Ball, but at the very least I figure every woman needs a KALBD in her closet.

It took me a couple of days of being back at work to recover from my weekend. Too much fresh air, physical labor and shopping. But now I'm back at work, marking big red "X"s through the days til I can see Zac. Did I mention it is two weeks away?

Monday, August 27, 2007

Thank heaven it's Monday

You ever have those weekends where you're actually relieved to have Monday roll around? That was my weekend. I had an absolute blast with my friends, but all that fun, food and fresh air really wiped me out. I was really looking forward to sitting in my cubicle for eight hours today.

Friday night I had some of the girls over to Megan and Paul's house to grill hamburgers. That night ran kind of long, mainly due to us stumbling across Ryan Reynolds in "Blade Trinity". He is hard not to enjoy in that movie. Funny as all get out and abs that you could do a charcoal rubbing on. Nice. . .

Where was I again? Oh yeah - movie ran late. On Saturday I did some running around. Literally -- I went for a run for the first time in quite awhile. It was so nice and cool out on Saturday morning that I was actually itching to go. I hate (abhor, despise, loathe) running when it's hot out. And by "hot" I mean over 80 degrees. (I'm from MN - 80 is hot.) I'd much rather run when it's 45 than when it's 80. I don't like getting all sweaty and gross. So now that summer is winding down and it's getting nicer outside, I'll probably start running again. (Instead of "running" I should probably say "jogging awkwardly".)

After I ran, I did some laundry and such and then met Autumn and Sara to walk around Lake Calhoun. Maybe not the right choice after running for the first time in four months. The extra 2.8 miles around the lake made me mighty sore on Sunday.

The kind of sore where you swing your legs over the side of the bed when you wake up and attempt to stand up, except that you can't because your legs have totally rejected the idea of helping you rise from the bed. The kind of sore where when you walk down stairs your legs quiver and you are totally petrified that they are going to give out any moment and you're going to do a face plant.

And then I proceeded to spend eight more hours on Sunday walking! Autumn and I went to the MN State Fair on Sunday for Day 1 of our Two-Day-Great Minnesota-Get-Together-Extravaganza. Day 2 is on Friday. Lucky for me, I had total justification for eating whatever high calorie food I desired - I had muscle tissue to repair in my poor, poor, suffering legs. The Fair was awesome, as usual. Perfect weather. And now I have done effective reconnaissance so I know exactly what I want to buy on Friday. (For the record, I didn't know how to spell reconnaissance. I had to spell check it.) I think I may go a little crazy at the U of M booth buying Gopher stuff this year. I feel like if I'm going to be living out of the state in my future I need to have at least 85% of my wardrobe mention my home state.

All I know is, I've got at least 12 more hours at the Fair and I plan on enjoying each and every moment of it.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Note to self - never own three dogs at once

Before anything else: A quick shout out to Brian and Chelsea - Congrats on the nuptials this coming weekend! I want to hear all about the wedding upon your return to MN. We'll go to Grandma's in Canal Park and toast your marital bliss!

Megan and Paul are en route to the UP of MI for the weekend for Brian and Chelsea's wedding. I'm house/dog-sitting for them. It's only fair as they have watched my dog countless times on my excursions to Oklahoma. So last night I got to the house and let all three dogs into the backyard. They ran around like lunatics and I retired to the living room to eat supper without having them hovering over me, watching each bite of food go into my mouth. When I decided to check on them, I saw that Toivo had dug a hole - no, more like a trench - in the yard. I was livid, not so much that there was a hole, but that the ground was soft because of all the rain lately so he wasn't as much a dirty dog as he was muddy. Obviously I decided to let Toivo stay outside, but I thought Charlie and Lucy might need some attention so I let them in.

Let me explain something about Lucy. She's a big dumb animal folks. She's a sweetheart and she loves people, but it is like having an offensive lineman with a brain the size of a walnut. She has no concept of her body which she throws around with reckless abandon. If you aren't paying attention to her, she will take you out. There have been a couple of times I think she should have been penalized for a block to the knees. She spins around with no regard for the physical limitations of three-dimensional space and will crash into anything and everyone.


You know what's not "super fun"? An 80 lb dog jumping on your clothes with muddy paws. Not so much.

Today when I got home from work, I let the dogs out, they ran around, I ate supper and I let them back in. This time I checked Lucy's paws to look for mud. They looked clean. I turned around and she jumped on me. I looked down. Perfectly placed paws prints streaking down my shirt and pants. I CHECKED HER! Grrrrrrrrr. So that was the only pair of work pants I brought with me to their house so now I either have to wash them tonight or I have to raid Megan's closest. I think I'll just be nosy and browse Megan's pants collection.

So now the three turd-brains are sitting out on the back steps playing some screwed up version of king-of-the-mountain. Except that it's not who can get to the top of the stairs, it's more like keep the other dogs from getting off the stairs. They're sitting there and every time one of them makes a move like they're going to walk down the stairs to go into the yard, the other two block the way. Lucy and Charlie are comfortable enough with each other that they actually grab each other's collars and tug on them to keep the other one from leaving. Bizarre.

Obviously it's a slow night for tv watching, eh?

Saturday, August 18, 2007

A fond adieu to my 20s

It's my birthday! I turned 30 years old today. I'm officially out of my 20s. Good riddance, I say. I'm glad to be moving into a new decade. My 20s were okay -- I'm not saying they were horrible -- I'm just glad their done. It feels liberating saying, "I'm 30." It's like being on the first page of a new chapter.

Talk about a roller-coaster ride of emotions this last week, especially the last 24 hours. To recap, Zac made chief and was sent from El Salvador to Florida for "initiation". Typically he would have stayed there until around the end of September. But not everything is always typical when it comes to the military. Turns out he was told that he'd be sent back to El Sal at the end of the week due to some sort issue with his orders. This meant the whole week was, "Will he or won't he go back?" Every day seemed like there was a different possibility of how this all would turn out. By mid-week it looked like that while he might not be able to stay in FL, he might be able to continue his initiation in OK, which was a happy possibility.

So of course Friday comes and goes and there's no definitive decision. Zac TMs me last night to tell me that he's going back to OKC and Tinker for his initiation. I was thrilled! It meant he was going to stay in the states, and that I'd probably be able to see him at least once, maybe even twice before he got sent back to El Sal at the end of September. I spent last night checking the prices on flights, getting a rough idea of how much it would cost to fly down to see him in OK. Smartly, I didn't book anything, because if there's one thing I've learned about the Navy it's this:

Don't count on anything until it has actually happened.

Sure enough, Zac was supposed to be on a plane to OKC this morning, but got a call at the last moment saying, "You're not going to OKC. You're heading back to El Sal tomorrow morning." So Zac will be heading back to central America tomorrow morning where he'll continue with his initiation. There is still an outside chance that he could come back to the states for the frocking ceremony at the end of September, but I direct your attention to the italicized comment above.

So needless to say, I'm terribly disappointed. I think if I had only heard about him going back to El Sal, without the intervening OKC news, I wouldn't be as upset. I just spent a lot of time last night thinking about how great it was going to be to see him. I was even hoping that maybe I could fly down to OKC next weekend for a visit. But that seems silly now. I really should have known better.

But it is still my birthday, and I still plan on celebration and happiness. I just wish the day would have started out a little differently.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Quick mid-day thought

Arg! How does this happen? I think to myself, "I just posted something yesterday, right?" and then I check and I last posted five days ago. A lot of it has to do with being back at work during the day. By the time I get home, make supper for me and Grandpa, do the dishes, run a few errands, and talk to Zac on the phone, I forget to sit down for 10 minutes and type. Shame on me.

After a bit of a rocky start to the work week, I've settled into a groove and feel good about the job again. There was a bit of a learning curve to what we're doing and I was beginning to question my competency as an attorney, reader and writer. I seriously thought my brain was turning to mush. Nothing was making sense. I was reading through pages and pages of court rules and I couldn't make heads nor tails of them.

But I came into work yesterday and it was like someone had turned the light on. Maybe a decent night's sleep was all I needed to get everything to settle into place. Suddenly all those poorly worded rules that I'm pouring over made sense.

Seriously folks - if you ever want to compose something in the most convoluted, bass ackward way possible, hire some of these local Federal Rules drafters. They're pros at taking a comcept that is perfectly easy to describe and turning it into something unintelligible.

Let's look at an example, shall we?

Here's one:

Parties shall furnish to the Clerk forthwith, upon demand, all necessary copies of any pleading, judgment or order, or other matter of record in a cause, so as to permit the Clerk to comply with the provisions of any statute or rule.

It could instead read:

Give a copy of your papers to the Clerk, if the Clerk asks for one.


All filed motions shall have annexed thereto a proposed order.


You must file a proposed order along with your motion.

I swear, they make this 100 times more difficult than it needs to be.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Weekend round up

Zac is on his way to Florida as I type tonight. There's something rather comforting knowing that he's back in the states, even though he's still about 1,489 miles away. (I Google-mapped it.) He'll be there for the next five weeks going through what I like to call, "chief school," and what he likes to call "initiation." "Initiation" sounds ominous, doesn't it? It doesn't exactly have a positive connotation. "Initiation" sounds like it involves the basement of a frat house, hooded figures and a wooden paddle. Or maybe hooded figures, drinking doctored Kool Aid while waiting for aliens to show up.

[Hmph. What's with the hooded figures? Is that standard "initiation" attire? Are there guidelines to this? Does Emily Post have an etiquette rule about what one wears to an initiation?]

Anyhow, at the very least "initiation" involves some sort of humiliation. When I was in high school and made the hockey cheerleading squad I got to go through "initiation." It wasn't too painful, but there was a certain amount of embarrassment. Since I don't like the word, I think I'll stick with "Chief School" which makes what Zac is going through sound much happier. They could have called it "orientation" instead - I would have been okay with that choice too.

As for me, I've been working out at Thomson as a contractor for a whole whopping three days. So far, so good. I like the people I work with, and I get to see my friends each day either at lunch or when we take a coffee break. It's nice to be back in the building. I'm working in the depths of the basement with a bunch of other contractors. My supervisor affectionately refers to it as "Temp Land." It's a bunch of contract workers with their itty bitty cubes, all working on something different. My cube is about the size of a large card table. (Maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration, but it's pretty close.) But for the work I'm doing, I don't really need any space. Just a computer and a desk.

This weekend was full of excitement. On Friday night I went to the Vikings' first pre-season game. Then on Saturday morning I went up to the Dome. I got home a little after lunchtimes today. After I got home I took a nap and then walked around Lake Calhoun with Sara. It was good to get up to the Dome- I haven't been up there since I've been back in MN. We (i.e. Dad) spent all that time, energy and money rebuilding it so I need to start using it.

My family affectionately refers to our cabin as "The Dome." We don't say, "We're going to the cabin this weekend." We say, "we're going to the Dome this weekend." It's not because we have some sort of great affinity for the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis, home of the Twins and Vikings - it's because it's a geodesic dome. If you're unfamiliar with what a geodesic domes looks like, picture a half-sphere made out of triangles. (I'd put a link in here to point to an example on the Internet, but I haven't mastered that blogging skill yet. Time to call Heidi, obviously, as she is my Sherpa up the blogging mountain.) Typical Ayers family - we're a little odd. What? A standard shaped building? Pshaw! No generic rectangular cabins for us!

The Dome is located about an hour and a half North of Minneapolis. It makes it a nice, easy drive to get to. You can easily go there for a day or a weekend without killing yourself with the drive. Yesterday it was blazing hot up there. Even though I was exhausted at bedtime, I couldn't sleep too well. This morning was lovely, but I had to come back home and prep for the upcoming work week. There were ducks that needed to be put in a row . I'm hoping to make it up to the Dome many more times, especially this fall. I LOVE it up there in the fall - all the leaves change, the weather is beautiful, it's quiet -- it's perfect. And since it's Minnesota, and the State Fair is in two weeks, fall is just around the corner . . . .

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Just a quick note

Just had to mention a few quick things since I don't have much time to blog tonight:

  1. I started my new temp gig at Thomson today. So far, so good. I think it might be exactly what I want at the moment.
  2. Zac made chief! I'm so proud of him, I could burst. Best part, he gets shipped back to the States for five weeks, so I may get to see him sooner rather than later.

I'm all smiles tonight. But I don't have the time to write about it. I've got to hit the hay because my Day 2 of employment starts in about eight hours.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Trial run

I don't think I've mentioned yet that I finally found employment. Thanks to Kelly Law Registry, the agency that got me into Thomson two years ago, I have a new temp assignment at Thomson starting tomorrow. I'm not even sure what I'll be doing but, frankly, I don't particularly care at the moment as I need the income. I'm excited to be back in the building though, where I may even be able to occasionally meet up with Sara and Layni to have a cup of coffee or lunch. It's also nice not needing to learn the layout of a new building or commuting route or parking issues. It's back to the same old routine.

I did a test-run of going out to Thomson this morning because I was told that there's construction on the road leading to the building. I thought I should check things out to see how much more time I would need to get there tomorrow morning. See? I have moments where I actually have some sense. The moments are few and fleeting, but I do have them.

Before I headed down to Thomson, I thought I would stop by Dunn Bros. for a cup of coffee as a tribute to my last day of unemployment. Back when I was working at Thomson, before my move to OK, I'd stop in there usually once a week to get a cup of coffee on the way into work. Sometimes twice. When I left Thomson I was working 6:30-3:00 which meant that I could hit the Dunn Bros. right when it opened at 6:00 and still make it into work on time. I needed the jolt of caffeine that early in the morning and Dunn Bros. is by far my favorite coffee in the neighborhood.

Every morning I went for my coffee, the same guy was working. He's a nice kid - a student at the U of M, waiting to start student teaching this fall, if I remember right. He'd see me come in and have my order already poured for me by the time I got to the register. (Medium city roast.) We'd chit chat about unimportant stuff and I actually felt obligated to tell him I wasn't going to be around anymore when I moved to Oklahoma. He wished me the best and off I went to OK.

So today I stop in to get a cup of joe and the same kid is working. I figure, it's been more than four months since I've been in here and there's no way this kid will remember me. But the kid sees me and smiles. I ask him, "Can I have a medium city roast?" He laughs and says, "Of course you can - your usual. Where have you been? Have you been avoiding us?" I was flattered that he remembered me, and my drink of choice, and reminded him that I had gone to OK for awhile. He jokes, "Oh yeah, that's right. You told me you were leaving. Well, I missed you. I shed tears." I laughed and told him that I was back in town for awhile and that I'd probably be stopping in every once and awhile again. He said it was good to have me back.

It's so strange how you can leave home for awhile and then sometimes just drop back into the same routine. I'm back living in the same place, working at the same place and the coffee guy still remembers my coffee order. It's rather comforting.

Monday, August 6, 2007

How old am I?

Seriously, you'd think I was turning 13 not 30 in a couple of weeks. Do you ever have those moments when you think to yourself, "There's no way I'm qualified to be an adult, I don't know what the hell I'm doing" and you're afraid someone is going to point out what a complete fraud you are and revoke your adulthood? No, no. Me neither. I was just checking.

When my sister and I were growing up, there were times that we would get home from school before my parents got home from work. I had a house key, so we'd just let ourselves in when we got home. Our neighbors around us also had keys to my parent's house, just in case something came up where they needed to get into the house. This mainly came into play when I got into high school and would get home earlier than Megan. I'd look through my backpack and think, "Oh crud, I did it again." I'd walk sheepishly two doors down and ask Mrs. Heineman* for my parent's house key. It only happened a couple of times each school year, but often enough that whenever Mrs. Heineman saw me on her front steps she knew exactly why I was there.

I graduated from high school and went to college in St. Paul. And sure enough, I still found myself on Mrs. Heineman's front step every once and awhile needing that key. And in the years since college, there have still been a few times that I forgot my key and end up at the neighbors'. ( As the years have gone by, Mrs. Heineman has become increasingly strange and erratic to the point where some of the neighbors and her don't get along at all. My parents and I are not involved in the battle, so she usually is pretty happy to see me, although I kind of wait for the day that she becomes totally exasperated with my ineptitude.)

So here we are today, August 6, 2007. I'm almost 30. I pull up in front of my parent's house and realize, "Oh $hit. I forgot my parents' house keys." Two things to note:

1.) I cursed instead of saying "crud" like I did when I was younger.
2.) I didn't have my house keys because I took them off my key chain when I moved to Oklahoma. I haven't thought to put them back on since I've been back.

So I sat down in the backyard and did what any self-respecting, independent woman of a certain age does: I called my mom. She said, "Just go down to Mrs. Heineman's and get the key." I knew that was going to be the answer, BUT FOR CRYING OUT LOUD I'M 30 YEARS OLD AND I HAVE TO GO ASK THE NEIGHBOR LADY FOR THE KEY BECAUSE I'M A MORON AND FORGOT MY KEYS!!!

I walked two doors down, rang the doorbell, and the door opens and there's Mrs. Heineman with some sort of strange turban-looking thing on her head, obviously at the beginning stages of her daily beauty routine. She looks at me for a second and then starts laughing. "I'll go get it," she said. I step inside her porch and am subsequently peppered with questions from her eight year old grandson. "Who are you? Why are you here? Do you still live in that house? Do you have a key? Why did you forget it? Can you stay here and play with Grandma and me?" Okay, kiddo. Take it down a notch.

I took the key, walked back to my parent's, unlocked the door, returned the key and thanked Mrs. Heineman. I told her, "You know, I'm going to be 50 years old and still coming over here for this key." She told me, "As long as I'm here, you just keep on coming over. I'll have it for you."

It official, I'm a fraudulent adult. Who do I turn my card into? I'm assuming I should give it back . . .

*Name changed.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Happy Birthday, Heidi!

Heidi, Sara and I got together to celebrate Heidi's birthday on Saturday night. She's turning 29 (again). We decided to keep it relatively low-key because none of us have any money. Seriously, I don't know what I'd do if I didn't have good friends who were going through the same educational/debt/employment issues that I am. I'm sorry that they have to endure the same tribulations that I do, but at least we can sit around and commiserate about it. And we also understand when we all declare that we can't really afford a night out on the town to celebrate a birthday. Solution? Spa Night at Chez Heidi!

It was a lot of fun. We drank mimosas and ate chocolate cheesecake from Byerly's. Two things about the food and drink selections:

1.)Yes, we drank mimosas at night. We know that they're typically reserved for Saturday brunches, but Heidi has a historical hankering for them in the p.m. I fondly remember the waitress's face when Heidi ordered one when we were out in Uptown one night. The waitress looked utterly confused, like the mimosa part of her brain turned off after 1:00 in the afternoon. Sara nearly collapsed from laughing so hard, and Heidi, in true Heidi Form, declared that she would not be bound by typical mimosa protocol. Who cares if the sun was down? Bring her a mimosa!

2.)I had to go to Byerly's to buy the cheesecake. (Actually I was looking for another kind of cake they make but it proved to be unavailable.) I don't shop at Byerly's. I shop at the Rainbow and Cub on Lake Street, where I am surrounded by normal, salt of the earth people. As for Byerly's? The people that shop there are, generally speaking, pretentious, self-absorbed yuppies who live in a world off limits to us other 98% of the population. I saw 45-50 year old women in $300 velour jogging suits with $150 white New Balance shoes that have never been exercised it, save walking into and out of the salon. The men? Rugby or polo shirts tucked into their khaki shorts, twirling their Saab/Audi/Lexus car keys on the their finger, milling about waiting for their wives to pick out two or three different cheeses from the Southern regions of France. Seriously - these are NOT my people. But Heidi likes Byerly's chocolate cake, so I went. That's friendship. LOL.

So we got to Heidi's and after consuming the cheesecake and a few mimosas we watched some episodes of the first season of Bridezilla. I had never seen the show. It was alarming. As someone who is engaged and planning a wedding, I was for a moment thrilled to be poor! Mo' money, mo' problems yo'. Seriously, the more crap you've got to buy and plan, the more stuff there is to stress about. I'd be pleased if I can have my wedding and have it cost less than $5K. (I'm actually aiming for $2, which still seems like more than it should cost.) I'd rather have a down payment for a house than a big wedding. Yes, the dress, the dinner, the photographs, it's all nice, but I couldn't fathom being saddled with paying for that for years to come. I don't want to be paying for my wedding at my one year anniversary!

The worse part about Bridezilla was the weirdo dreams I had last night as a result. I kept dreaming of things that were going wrong at my wedding. In one particular vivid point, my dress was delivered to me 10 minutes before the ceremony. I opened the box and it was pink with bows and frilly things all over it. I started freaking out saying, "This isn't mine! This isn't what I ordered!" The lady delivering the dress said, "Yes it is. This is the one you picked out." I kept saying, "No, no, NO. I wouldn't pick this!" The lady showed me the order form and said, "See this is the one you ordered." I kept saying to everyone running by, "I wouldn't pick this dress. This is NOT me! It's pink! It's got BOWS!!" but no one would listen and then they pushed me into the church as I stood there holding onto something that looked like a rejected dress from "Pretty in Pink".

Loved the party, Heidi. But no more Bridezilla after supper for me.