Saturday, January 31, 2009

Jolly Green Giant Terrorizes Youth

On my facebook page, I mention how the Green Giant scarred me for life about peas. So I have to explain the story.

In the early 70's I lived in Wisconsin. My parents had a small garden but it didn't produce enough vegetables to last all winter. They had rented a meat locker a few blocks from our house. Remember this is Wisconsin so meat is big. Near the town I lived as a Green Giant processing plant. This was the place where they did the actual canning and freezing of all the vegetables that they sold. During the summer, people from all around could go to the plant with plastic bags and pay pennies to get the runts. You know the ends of the corn that aren't good enough to be sold, the green beans that are too small to make it into the frozen bag and the peas that just don't make it. So one summer we went there: my mom, my brother and I. You were limited to only so many bags so we needed both of us to go (I was probably 7 and my brother 5 but we were old enough to get our limit). So we stood in line to get our bags full. Now you have to think about this for a moment. Do you know what a small garden of vegetables smells like when it gets really ripe. Multiply that by thousands. You get the smell of rotting vegetables that goes to your inner core. So I had to stand there for who knows how long holding onto these plastic bags to get peas. Lots and lots of peas. So my mom and seal them and take them to the freezer. Just the thought of peas to this day brings me back to that smell. It also didn't help that both my mother and grandmother told me my hair would get curly if I ate them. My brother had blond ringlet curls like Shirley Temple used to have and he ate peas. I was smart and decided that it wasn't for that reason.

So I will pick peas out of anything that has them. Go to a Chinese restaurant and the fried rice has peas. I have a nice pile when I finish. Chicken pot pie, never get it because it always has peas. I was a good mother and would buy frozen peas to cook for Whitney and she does like them. But I would always make sure and not breathe in the smell.

If I come over to eat with you, please do not have peas. Or else I may have to politely never see you again.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Going back to work after days off

OU was closed for 2 1/2 days this week due to the icy weather. So yesterday was the first day back. Our neighborhood is awful so Dan drove me to work. I was the only one there. I had piles of emails and phone messages. I had to cover for two other people. And answer all the phone lines. And greet anyone coming in the office. All of this becomes rather difficult when your office is located all the way in the back of the office space and your phone doesn't ring for all lines and you rely on 40-something hearing. So it was 12:30 before I ate lunch and went home exhausted. Today I at least had someone else in the office but she was trying to catch up on all her work plus everything I had sent her yesterday. I decided about 3pm that I needed a vacation to recuperate from the 2 1/2 days off and being back to work for almost 2 days.

That got me thinking about the value of vacations. We all love to take vacations. Vacations are supposed to reinvigorate ourselves into being able to handle our everyday lives. I have so much vacation time that I could take off 6 weeks and still get paid for it all. But I never seem to take time off. I feel guilty for a day off. I check my email 3 times by 10am if I'm off for a day. And the whole value of a vacation to rest and have fun turns to pain and suffering when you get back to work and have piles of work that cause instant stress and overtime.

Dan asked me tonight what we were going to do for spring break in six weeks. Do I dare think that a week off in March would relax me to the point that I could survive April? Stay tuned.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Blue nails

I have been getting my nails done every 2-3 weeks for the last 7 years. I used to always get them painted red, specifically "I'm Not Really a Waitress". Then in the last couple of years I switched and got french manicures. But recently I've played around with different colors for the tips. First I started with white sparkly tips just for a change. Then for Christmas I had red sparkly tips. Autumn was a copper color. But the last time I went I must have been in a weird mood because I now have blue sparkly tips. Maybe I was trying to rekindle a youthful spirit but they definately are a show stopper. I don't think I'll do the blue again but they do a have a wide variety of colors. Maybe green or purple for spring?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


That's the headline on today's paper. So I wanted to show you what ice/sleet/snow? looks like here. The sun is out today so Dan got out but the garage door wouldn't shut because the ice was too high. Whitney and I went out and shaved it down with a hoe (us Oklahomans don't have those fancy snow blowers).

These are my footprints in the front yard.

The view down our street. Notice not too many tire tracks.

Abby investigating the hard ice. If this had been the backyard we never would have gotten her outside. But ask her to go out front and she is there before you are.

Abby enjoying her first bit of sunshine in 3 days. She is definately a sun worshiper in the winter and will follow the sun around the living room.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Lazy Day at School

This week was supposed to be spirit week at Norman High but that sort of has been wasted with the ice closing. But day one was lazy day. So Whitney decided to wear pajamas and a robe to school. She did skip the slippers since it was freezing rain and tennis shoes provided for better traction. She did say the clothes came in handy when she slipped on the ice crossing the street to Dan's car after school since they provided extra cushion.

Closed for Weather

Yesterday we had freezing rain so we kept watching the news to see what schools would be closed. Luckily both Norman and OU put out their closing notices early so we knew we could sleep in. But it is always interesting to watch the long list of closings to see what gets put on.

In addition to the numerous school districts and church activities (this is the south of course) it was an interesting mix of other places. Daycare centers I sort of understand but how hard is it for those places to call the parents. Afterall there is a limited number of people visiting them and they know the numbers. Doctors offices and counseling clinics are another group that gets listed. Once again, they know who has appointments so why can't they just call them.

Then you get the really interesting ones. The handgun permit office, the Dee-Lite Jewelry Store, a dry cleaners, a neighborhood association meeting, a dog grooming place and of course the icing on the cake, the casino. Now my whole day is ruined because I can't pick up my cleaning, shop for cheap jewelry, get a handgun permit and then go to the casino to play away my money.

Update - Another day of closings are starting to be posted and Whitney's school is cancelled. I can't wait to see what else comes up tonight.

Monday, January 26, 2009


For those of you unfamiliar with Oklahoma weather, it literally can change in an instant. We had lovely balmy sunny days last week and then bam, cold and now freezing rain is coming. Oklahoma can never seem to do things simply like snow. No, we have to ice. So we are expecting up to a 1/2 inch of ice over the day and evening.

Of course we all get to watch the local tv stations for our updates, but I happen to work at the National Weather Center. The local forecast office is just 100 feet from my office. So you would think I have an inside track to knowing the weather. In fact, many people when they find out where I work always ask what the weather will be like. The answer is I don't know. Meteorologists are making guesses and half the time they are wrong. If I ask my boss he could tell me the weather in Africa, but not in Oklahoma. I could ask just about anybody I pass in the hallway and they will all give me a different answer.

So my advice to you is watch the tv news, jumble them up in your mind, and make your own decision. You can't be any more right or wrong than the professionals.


I'm so good at predicting weather I closed my office 3 hours before the university shut down. So I've been home toasty warm much longer than everybody else. Now just waiting for Whitney to get out of school and home and we'll get warm together.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Why do things cost what they do?

I just got back from my weekly Walmart trip and I always look at my receipt just to see what things cost. It never fails that I go in thinking I don't need much and then my bill is $100-$150. So today let's just take a look at what I got for my money.

Vitamins - $8.50. I did have a $1.00 coupon for them but what exactly makes 100 little pills cost that much money

Cold Medicine - $5 each. Had to buy two of these because of course you never know what symptoms you'll have. We just had gotten over round 3 of colds and now Whitney has another one.

Chocolate - $3.50. This is a necessary purchase for all women. I'd willingly pay $10 for good dark chocolate because really good stuff you don't need a lot to get that wonderful feeling.

Tuna Fish - $1. Seems like this one keeps getting expensive. Must be saving all the dolphins.

Dog bones - $5. These supposedly freshen the dog's breath but really she needs an entire tub of mints every day to do that.

Car oil - $3.50 each. Bought three of these because my car eats oil and its cheaper to do this than to repair the whole car. A 1997 car that is paid for and runs just fine around town can keep going for $7/month. Not too bad.

Soda - $5/12 pack. Man is this stuff liquid gold. Lucky I had a buy one/get one free coupon so it made it more like $2.50/pack.

Ramen - 15 cents. Ah, finally something cheap. Of course not terribly good for you but Whitney loves it and it works for a night that she needs a quick dinner.

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Biggest Loser

Some of you may watch the tv show, The Biggest Loser. For those of you who don't, they get a lot of very overweight people on the show, hook them up with personal trainers and try to teach them to eat right and exercise to save their lives. The one who loses the biggest percentage of weight wins I believe $500,000.

Our building decided to do something similar to this for six months to start 2009. I normally would never do anything like this. When I decide to lose weight, I do it without anyone else's help. And I really don't need to lose a lot, especially compared to others in my building who I knew would do this. But I decided I really needed a kickstart into my eating more fruits and vegetables and increasing my daily activities to make sure I stay healthy. If I lose some weight in the process, that's great. But let's face it, there is only so much weight one can lose after 43 years.

Basically everyone joined and paid $5. We weigh every two weeks and if you gain weight, you pay $2, if you stay the same you pay $1, and if you lose weight, happy days you don't pay any money. We started two weeks ago and today was the first updated weigh-in. I'm happy to say I lost 3 1/2 pounds which is a lot in two weeks for me. All I did was started to eat some fruit and cut out the late night snack before bed. I also varied my lunch some so no more ham sandwiches every single day for lunch.

I know that this isn't going to continue and I'll hit the plateau someday. I'm not really doing it to win the money (but wouldn't that be nice). I'm doing it to get healthier. And that is going well so we'll hope to continue that process. I'm definately looking at labels on food products more.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Digital Cameras

Digital cameras are an awesome invention. We bought one years ago and have never needed to replace it because it takes fabulous photos. However I think it is much clunkier than the newer ones so I wanted one for myself. Our luck with cameras hasn't been too good however. In 2007 we bought Whitney one for Christmas and it was stolen at school. So this year before we went to Disney World I researched and watched ads because I didn't want an expensive one. I found one at Sears for $70 and everything I read about it online was fantastic so I went thinking they would be out. I mean $70 is pretty cheap. But they had one, so I brought it home. It took me a couple of weeks to open the box and then when I did, the brand new batteries I put in that came with it gave a battery exhausted message. I thought that strange so I tried again and it worked. Didn't think anything about it. But over and over I would get this battery exhausted message. So I would change to newer ones. I used rechargeable ones too. One time you would turn the camera on and it would be full. Two minutes later it would show just one bar on the battery line. It took fabulous pictures so I really wanted to keep it but finally I got disgusted and took the camera back to Sears after Christmas. No problem returning it but unfortunately it was discontinued and they would never get another one in like it. But if I wanted to spend another $40 I could get a new one. I passed on that and now am on a quest for a new, cheap, good camera.

So until I get one, this will probably be a photo free blog.

Why I like puzzles

Everyone needs a hobby to keep their hands busy while watching tv so you don't stuff your face with popcorn and ice cream. So a couple of years ago I started doing puzzles. Very specifically 1000 piece Charles Wysocki landscapes. I'm very picky about doing that type of puzzle. First of all the puzzles have nice art. Second they are always seem to have a house/barn/building, sky with trees and a horse drawn vehicle. You can usually see the grain of the canvas on the puzzle piece so you know which way it will go too. And you can usually buy a bunch of them on ebay for a decent price including shipping. I believe last time I got about 20 puzzles for about $25.

I like doing these puzzles because I think it keeps my mind occupied in a productive way. I am a multi-tasker and I have a hard time sitting still watching any kind of tv show or movie. So this way, I can be in the same room, follow along with the show (which usually never needs 100% concentration) and do something with my hands/mind.

Dan has joined me in this hobby occassionally. We used to do them on the dining room table. This caused all kinds of problems with eating eventhough we used a puzzle mat that we could just roll the puzzle up and move it but I never went through that trouble. So we bought a card table and put it behind the couch. Unfortunately it isn't quite as big as the table so while the puzzle fits, its hard to lay out pieces next to it to search through. So I've developed the swirl method. First you have to separate the pieces into bowls. I usually use the color or figure out what part (top, middle, bottom) the piece goes with. Always do the border first to give yourself an outline. Then you take a bowl and swirl the pieces around until you find one that you think you know where it goes. Sometimes you have to pull a few out, but I've found that this method actually works for me. Dan thinks I'm nuts for doing this but I've adapted for space.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Where do I want to visit?

After a three day weekend and a week where 37 employees went to a conference, coming back today has been a nightmare. Add a payroll run and a boss who has decided that he has to catch up on stuff you've been giving him for a month, I think I should daydream about places to go see. So here are my top five places to go visit that I've never seen before.

1. Australia/New Zealand
I have to put these together because they are halfway around the world and they sort of have to go together. Some of you may know that my boss is from New Zealand and goes there every year and some of the faculty I work with are from Australia. So I feel immersed in Aussie/Kiwi accents. Also, who wouldn't want to visit a country where there are more sheep than people?

2. Hawaii
This may sound strange from someone who does not like the sun, but I really think I could kick back and relax next to a beach eating pineapple and coconut. Add in a pina colada and a cabana boy and I'm set.

3. Cayman Islands
We've tried twice on cruises to hit this island and haven't been successful. Dan thinks that if we tried to fly there the plane would crash. So maybe this is just a place to wish for instead of chancing it.

4. Germany/Austria/Switzerland/Italy
I lump these countries together because they are near each other and if I go that far, I'm doing a lot. I think they offer a lot of old world charm, art, food, scenery and views. Enough said.

5. New York City
One of the few places in the United States I haven't been to that I really want to go. It has so many things to see and do that I know I wouldn't be bored. Plus with all the walking I could sample all the different cuisines and not gain any weight.

Monday, January 19, 2009

What to do on a day off?

Today is Martin Luther King's birthday which means that America celebrates by federal and state workers getting a day off. I'm sure that we are all reflecting on the man's words. So what am I doing today? You have to realize that OU just got back from almost two weeks off at Christmas (one of the best benefits of working there I have to say). So we've been back to work for two weeks and have a day off. My day is being spent taking Whitney to the orthodontist and doctor so she won't miss school going to appointments. The good news is she now only has to wear her retainers at night.

We also get to spend the day practicing parallel parking so tomorrow she can take her driving test. Yes it is time for another 16 year old to get their license and terrorize the world. She is a very good driver so I'm not worried. We tried to go take the test during the Christmas break but after standing in line for an hour and a half, we were six too many past the cutoff so she couldn't take the test.

So what else does one do on a day off? Go to the mall and shop of course.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

First Blog

I've decided that I've taken over Dan's blog too many times that maybe I need my own. So I'll start my own and maybe I'll be make you laugh, maybe I'll make you cry, maybe I"ll make you just smile.

This will be just a synopsis of my life of work, motherhood, and life in general. So I hope that it will be entertaining, informative and maybe inspiring.

Lots of love,