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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

I hate the sun.

It’s true. I know that the sun has a lot of beneficial qualities, blah blah blah, but right now, I hate it. And while I cannot blame my lack of blogging over the last 2 weeks on the sun, I can blame it for a headache that has lasted for approximately 10 days AND for the excessive amount of sweat that I have had to endure. And I’m not talking about justifiable sweat caused by working out or even walking the dogs (although I have experienced that as well)… I’m talking about sweat that comes as a result of walking less than 100 yards to my car after work, or as a result of sweeping the front porch for 3+ minutes. It’s ridiculous, people.

The good news, however, is that relief came last night in the form of RAIN! Actual drops of water fell from the sky and accumulated on the ground! I had almost forgotten what it was like, and I have never been so excited to hear thunder in my life. Dirka and Natalie, however, are deathly afraid of thunderstorms, so of course there was some chaos in the house when the storm rolled in. But hey, I will trade the irrational fear of our imaginary friends for 100+ degree weather and an ongoing drought any day.

And getting back to the real issue—my lack of blogging. I have no good excuse. Ok well I have one excuse: I have been ridiculously busy at work. The kind of busy where I am almost irritated that I have to eat lunch because it gets me off task. But don’t worry, I am never so irritated that I don’t eat lunch… and in fact, never so irritated that I don’t eat snacks throughout the rest of the day either. Food is clearly always high up on my priority list.

But anyway, it seems that I have typically been coming up with blogging material in my downtime at work, and now that the downtime has diminished, my only blogging outlet time would be after work. And if we’re going to be honest, when I get home from work, the last thing I want to do is use my brain, let alone form (debatably) coherent sentences. I think we can all agree that a much better way to spend the evening would be mindlessly stalking facebook while watching re-runs of Dawson’s Creek. Thank you, Netflix!

In other news, Brian is back! And in one piece! He has a plethora of bug bites from his mission trip to Galveston, and he is pretty sunburned (which is a violation of the only rule I gave him when he left—“Do NOT come back tanner than me.”), but he survived. And I really can’t be upset with him for violating that rule considering that Casper the Ghost is currently more tan than I am. But there comes a point in the summer in Houston where no amount of added skin pigment is worth suffering outside in the sun… and for me, that point is when the temperature goes above 95 degrees. Which unfortunately counts out 3/4 of the summer. Oh well.

I am also happy to report that Allison and my mom came to visit me this weekend and we had a great time! And I am measuring the weekend’s success almost entirely on the fact that we took 4 trips to Starbucks in the 36 hours that they were here—and if you know my mom and my sister, you know that any trip including 4 runs to Starbucks is a winner. In between caffeine runs, we did some shopping in Rice Village and Highland Village—both outdoor shopping areas. And also both areas that would be quite enjoyable between the months of September and April. We still had a good time, but there was one point where Allison and I were both fairly certain that we were going to burst into flames. Meanwhile, my mom has very little hair and seemed almost completely un-perturbed by the heat. I guess that’s what happens when you’ve lived in Texas for 59 years.

Have I complained about the heat enough yet?

One amusing moment of the weekend is when my mom stripped the sheets on the guest bed she had been sleeping in and asked me if I wanted her to put another set of sheets on the bed while we washed the used ones. I told her not to worry about it since we don’t have an extra set of sheets for the guest bed. And that’s when Betsy’s look of horror ensued. Allison said she could just see her brain spinning: “What?! They don’t have an extra set of sheets for the guest bed?! They are poorer than I thought! I know what Santa needs to bring someone this Christmas!”

My question is this—WHY couldn’t this conversation have taken place about our crappy vacuum cleaner or my completely worthless laptop instead? Those would be far more enjoyable pity purchases from mom in my opinion. But hey, I’ll take what I can get, because when you are battling 3 very cute grandchildren for Franny and Pop Pop’s attention/monetary donations, beggars can’t be choosers.

Ok that’s all for now, folks. I promise to be a better blogger in coming weeks, so hold me to that!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I spoke (typed?) too soon.

I found another roach this morning. Unlike Saturday’s visitor, this one was very much alive… until I beat him to death with a broom. I use the term “death” lightly, however, as he was still kind of squirming when I swept him into the dust pan and threw him the trash. But we all know that cockroaches are invincible and never really die, so I’m sure he’ll show up again. And by the way, does anyone else find it hard to think of a cockroach as being a female? I’m sure there is some deep psychological meaning behind this (ie: I think boys are yucky?), but I think of all roaches as being male. And there’s your fun insight into my brain for the day.

In other news, I ate a tasty bowl of Raisin Bran dust today. That’s right, I was down to the bottom of the box, and although there was just barely enough for a full bowl even with all of the dust, I wasn’t about to waste our hard-earned money* and not eat it. The dust quickly turned into clumps when I poured the milk in… I’m not really making my breakfast sound very enjoyable, am I? Trust me, it was still tasty.

*Speaking of hard-earned money, Brian is in Galveston on a mission trip with the youth group currently. I talked to him twice yesterday, and one of the times he was in the middle of a game of Yahtzee, and the other time, he was in the middle of a game of Clue. And I believe this week’s plans also include a trip to Schlitterbahn. I’m sure there will be plenty of house demolition and construction mixed in, but that won’t stop me from sulking about the fact that I’m stuck killing roaches at 6 am while Brian is floating around the lazy river.

And even though I promised to share the story about the ants with you, it is really boring so I’m going to spare you the details. Here is the shortened version: the dogs took their bowl—still half full of food—out into the yard and it was left there overnight, so when I picked it up in the morning (at 5:15 am- still very dark!) it was covered in ants. I didn’t realize this until they were covering my hands and trying to eat my flesh. Awesome.

And also, I forgot to mention yesterday that it was Dairy Queen’s birthday AND Take Your Dog to Work Day. My sister-in-law, Shannon, made me aware of these great holidays, so I thought I would make sure to share them with you. No, I did not bring Noah and Buster to work, because I value my pay check and am certain I would stop receiving it after Buster ate someone’s files and Noah peed on someone’s office chair. And no, I didn’t eat Dairy Queen yesterday, because there is something pathetic about stuffing your face with a Blizzard when you’re all by yourself. But don’t worry, I’ll celebrate soon enough.

That is all for today… if you’re lucky!

Monday, June 22, 2009

The result of being left at home alone with no one to talk to

Alrighty, folks, this marks week # 2 of Brian-abandons-his-wife-fest-2009. Technically, he did come home on Saturday for 24 hours, so I can’t say that he will have been gone for 2 full weeks, but you get the idea. And side note—I have always hated it when people say things like, “I got all A’s this semester except for 3 B’s!” Because the truth of that statement is that you actually did not get “all A’s”… you got some A’s and some B’s. And because of my hatred for statements like these, I feel it is only fair to say that Brian is gone for 2 separate 1-week segments, rather than 2 weeks at a time. And if you are still reading, you now know what it’s like to talk to me in real life- a series of ramblings about things that I find frustrating.

So anyway, this week is off to a slightly more rocky start, but really I view these things as minor setbacks in my quest to stop being co-dependent. But let’s be honest, as soon as Brian gets home, I’ll go right back into my co-dependency and love every second of it. Because let’s face it, my water just tastes better when he fills up my bottle for me.

Ok so anyway, seriously, getting onto the topic at hand now, I promise.

Yesterday one of the lights in our antiquated kitchen decided to take 10 minutes to turn on after I flipped the light switch on. So obviously, for those 10 minutes, I assumed the light had burned out. But of course it can’t be a standard light bulb, because hello, this kitchen was designed at least 300 years ago. It’s some long skinny light bulb, and while I’m sure the changing procedure is the same, I still spent those 10 minutes fretting about how to take care of it. So the good news is that it hasn’t done that again, so let’s cross our fingers it continues to function until he gets home.

Oh and also, I should mention that my only roach spotting of the week occurred on Saturday morning about 2 hours before Brian arrived home. So being the kind wife that I am, I left it there (it was dead) as a welcome home present for him. And measuring in at 1.5 inches or more in length, it was a wonderful present indeed.

Ok so then there was the problem with the garage door. I have come up with this really great laying out method for the days that I don’t feel like driving over to Brian’s parents’ neighborhood pool: I lay a towel on the sidewalk that runs between our backyard and garage, and set up a box fan facing the towel that plugs into an outlet in the garage so I can stay cool. This is all fine and dandy (except that I only survived in the sun for 30 minutes before melting, even with the fan), until I tried to close up shop and lock the door to the garage. I kid you not—I spent 5 full minutes (all the while still melting, mind you) trying to lock the door. I even tried to jam the key in upside down in hopes that the lock had just been built incorrectly. I finally surrendered and call Brian, only to learn that the door locks from the inside by pushing the knob in and turning it. That would have been great to know before my flesh burst into flames. Thanks.

The pinnacle of my bachelorette mishaps yesterday, however, occurred at the car wash. Because I am both (a) a sweet and loving wife and (b) embarrassed to have a filthy car sit in my driveway all week, I decided to take Brian’s truck to the car wash. I would have washed it myself, but as I’ve mentioned, summer in Houston does not allow for normal outside activity. And I was feeling lazy. So I went to the fancy Blue Wave car wash down the street.

The problem started when I tried to align his truck’s tires with the little ramp things to enter the car wash. I was fairly certain I was at least 3 feet off on one side or the other, but the attendant waved me on anyway. He pointed to the directions that say to put your car in neutral and blah blah blah. He then yelled something to me but I couldn’t hear him, so I just plowed forward.

So here I am, driving in the dark unknown with giant scrubbers and soap blocking my vision. I felt the car drifting to one side so I put my hands on the steering wheel to correct. At this point, I was fairly certain I had driven off track and was about to crash into the wall, so I think this was a fairly logical response. Apparently not, however, because at that very instant, the car wash came to an abrupt stop, as did my car and the other car ahead of me. Awesome. I broke the car wash.

A nice young man (I sound 80?) then came over, tapped on my window, and while stifling laughter, informed me that, as the directions indicated, I needed to keep my hands OFF of the steering wheel and my foot off the brake. Apparently that was the “blah blah” part of the instructions. Oops. Either way, he repeated it several times because I’m pretty sure he thought I was mentally disabled. I looked helpless and told him that it was my husband’s truck and I wasn’t used to driving it. Do you think it helped that I was sporting a sorority t-shirt and listening to “Poker Face” on the radio the time? I don’t think so either.

Anyway, I made it out of the car wash alive (as did the car), but I still felt embarrassed. And that, my friends, is exactly why I don’t like to go into situations like that where there is even the slightest risk of me looking stupid. Other examples of these situations would be car washes, any places that deal with cars for that matter, the deli counter in my office building, etc. I would prefer to take someone else with me so that they can risk looking stupid instead. In fact, I have been known to drive to the oil change place, and park before entering the line to make Brian switch places with me just so he’ll be the one at the wheel answering the questions they ask when we pull up. I’m so mature.

As you can imagine, this proved to be a big problem growing up, as Allison harbored the same fear of looking dumb. As such, it was a constant argument about who had to call to order the pizza (what if they ask a question I don’t know the answer to?!), or who had to call our advisor in college about how to switch into a different class, etc. And by the way, I still don’t like to order at the deli at the grocery store so I make Brian do it. Last time we went together, he put me on the spot and tried to make me order. The result? I stomped off and pouted for 10 minutes in the greeting card aisle while he ordered the turkey. Don’t test me.

And oh my gosh I just realized I am writing way too much. Apparently I have had all of these thoughts stored up for the last week and had no idea. I thought I had writer’s block and that my muse (Brian) leaving town was the cause. Apparently the thoughts were there all along and just stuck inside my brain. Good to know.

Ok so wrapping things up, the day was not a total wash, however, as my dad decided at the last minute to drive into town and have dinner with me and my grandparents (his parents). They are so sweet and always offer to feed me, and while they didn’t think that our grilled cheese dinner was particularly fancy, they are forgetting that a grilled cheese made by Jean Mom on the George Foreman Grill is way more exciting than anything I would make at home.

And I will wrap up this ridiculous waste of a post by telling you that Allison and I coincidentally gave my dad the exact same Father’s Day card this year. We live in different cities and I assure you we did not discuss the cards in advance—I like to say that we used our “twin”tuition. HYSTERICAL! I KNOW! I CAN’T STOP LAUGHING EITHER!

And if you made it this far, bless you for your patience. Have a great day!

Oh and PS- the whole point in me writing this post was about the ants that attacked me when I fed the dogs this morning, so I’ll have to save that for another day. Lucky you!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Pardon me while I interrupt your afternoon with a few boring thoughts

So since all of you were dying to know, yes, I am indeed surviving week # 1 of being ditched. In fact, I’d say that I’m doing better than surviving considering that I was able to watch Sweet Home Alabama on tv last night all the way through without anyone interrupting to switch the channel to ESPN. There have been a few moments of staying-home-alone panic (ie: when the house settles at night and I lay there paralyzed with the fear that someone is breaking in to abduct me), but for the most part, I have been very brave. In fact, I even went to the Y yesterday by myself! Granted, I decided to drive rather than walk (it’s essentially 200 yards from our house), but still, I went alone.

So far I have managed to have plans every night, so I haven’t even gotten the chance to watch my first Dawson’s Creek DVD yet. But don’t worry, the week isn’t over yet, and I assure you that I will at least make it to the episode where Joey decides to compete in the town’s pageant and Dawson finally realizes that she is not a guy. And of course she responds melodramatically by essentially saying, “It’s about time that you noticed, and by the way, I don’t want to wear makeup anymore.” And then she grew up and married Tom Cruise. The end. If you need any other parts of the series summarized, please let me know.

Also, in case you hadn’t noticed, it is HOT outside. And when I say hot, I mean to say that I am shocked that the laws of nature allow me to get in my car after work without melting into a puddle on the ground. Yesterday I walked outside for approximately 3 minutes around 4:15 pm, and spent the rest of the night trying to cool back down. So I guess going to the Y yesterday morning was less because of my desire to be brave and more because of my desire not to burst into flames as a result of running outside for 30 minutes. Either way.

And anyway, I honestly don’t have much else to say right now other than that I am tired. And although I am functioning just fine without Brian, I would really like him to come home. And if he could come home carrying a carton of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream, that would be nice too.

Stay cool, peeps… literally and figuratively.

Oh, and by the way, I haven't had to kill any cockroaches yet, so please cross your fingers that my luck continues until Brian gets home on Saturday. Thanks and gig 'em.

Saturday, June 13, 2009


I am sad to report that Brian just left for a week at camp. He'll be home for approximately 24 hours next Saturday/Sunday, and then leaves again for a week-long mission trip. I'm excited that he gets to go and I know he'll have a great time... it's just that I've forgotten how to entertain myself on my own! But such is life when you're married to a youth minister, I suppose. And hey, at least I have a slew of imaginary friends to keep me company, right?

And if you're lucky, this solitude will result in an increased number of blog postings... either that, or an increased number of hours spent in front of the tv watching Season 1 of Dawson's Creek on DVD... thank you, Netflix!

Also, I know I've said this a million times before, but I just wanted to remind you all that I hate Wal-mart. As in, I would probably prefer to roam the streets of Houston on a summer day without water to taking a trip to Wal-mart.

As you might remember, Brian and I have recently switched our allegiance almost completely to HEB. Well, Brian had to pick up a few things from Wally World yesterday for camp, so we decided we might as well combine our weekly grocery store trip and do it all in one stop. Poor decision.

I will say that we went to a different (and newer) Wal-mart, and it was much better organized than ours... in that there were no random packages of raw meat strewn about in the cereal aisle. And other than the greeting cards being located in the most remote corner of the store (farthest from the groceries, might I add), everything was fairly easy to find.

My one complaint- and this is kind of major- was that the deli was closed. On a Friday. At 2 pm. Excuse me, what? Maybe they were breaking for siesta time, or maybe the deli staff was playing an intense game of hide and seek, but either way, I was not pleased. How do these people expect me to continue eating the exact same meal for lunch every day if I can't replenish my smoked turkey supply? This incident was not entirely unlike the time we went to our regular Wal-mart and were informed by the deli that they were totally and completely out of turkey. Yes, you read that correctly- the deli had no turkey at all. That's like going to Pizza Hut and being told they are out of pizza sauce. Not acceptable.

So anyway, to cure the Wal-mart-induced headache that remained with us both for the remainder of the day, we decided that we needed to go get dessert after dinner. And surprise! We actually didn't hit up DQ. Those commercials for the new twisted frosties from Wendy's have drawn my husband in, so off to Wendy's we went.

He had the Coffee Toffee Frosty, and I had a Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Frosty. Both were excellent, but compared to DQ, very much lacking in the aforementioned mixed in toppings. Don't worry, we will still be going back- unlike with breakfast and lunch, it's important to have a little variety when it comes to blended dessert treats, don't you think?

That's all for now, peeps. I am off to a couples' shower this evening without my other half, so wish me luck. Another couple has kindly offered to let me be their third wheel. Little does the husband know that I am completely incapable of getting my own food or beverage at social functions now that I have (almost) 2 years of marriage under my belt- sorry, Stephen!

Hope you're all having a great weekend!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Joiners are insane: Part 2

So fortunately, I did not receive any comments on yesterday’s post indicating that I am going to lose friends or readers as a result of my revelations regarding our “friends.” I’m glad the post was at least enough to get some of you laughing—I honestly have no idea where we came up with this stuff, but I’m glad we aren’t the only ones that find these things amusing!!

Ok so let’s keep moving and take a look at the rest of the “group.” Here goes nothing!

“Tony” – Perhaps our longest-standing and certainly our most disturbing character, we actually didn’t invent Tony ourselves. Brian and I once happened upon some random Dateline special about a sickly young “boy” named Tony who befriended older men and became pen pals with them over the phone for several years. He claimed to have a variety of crippling illnesses, and insisted that the reason his voice never changed in his teen years was because some of his ailments prevented it from doing so. So basically he was this teenaged boy with a high-pitched voice that talked to older men on the phone on a regular basis—creepy? Yes. Anyway, they came to find out that it was all a fraud and that it was actually a random woman all along pretending to be this little boy. Very, very strange.

So for whatever reason, Brian started imitating Tony on phone calls with the Olivers, and when he realized that Allison did not take kindly to the creepy high-pitched voice, he decided that Tony needed to be a more permanent fixture. Since then (for 2+ years now), Tony has been on an endless quest to seek approval from his best friend in the whole wide world, Allison. He is constantly requesting to sleep over at her apartment, hang out with her, and talk to her on the phone. She usually responds with a variety of hateful death threats, but he perseveres all the same. Our “Tony” lives in a wheelchair and suffers primarily from a variety of STD’s. He also has a potty mouth and occasionally gives Allison a dose of her own medicine if he’s feeling particularly feisty. I think it comes from an unbalance in his meds, but whatever.

“Firework” – Yes, it’s singular on purpose. The second unicorn in our group of characters, Firework is one of Tony’s constant companions. Firework speaks in a series of horse neighs and whinnies, and is even more difficult to understand than Baby Girl Dinosaur. Oddly enough, Firework and Unicorn have never actually been introduced, but I have a feeling they would be fast friends.

"Russell" – I’m not sure why, but I have always been particularly fond of Russell. Russell is a snail and is the other of Tony’s two best buddies (three if you count Allison). Russell actually (theoretically) lives in a bowl of salsa, which is, of course, his favorite food. Nevermind the fact that salt is deadly to snails. Russell has a voice, but unfortunately, there is not really a word in the English language to articulate how it sounds. My best attempt would be “muhnuhmuhnuhmuhnuh”… got it?

“Boris” – The other international member of the bunch, Boris is Russian—and I will say that Brian has a very impressive Russian accent. Like your typical Russian, Boris is very fond of alcohol and women, and always willing to share his latest stories from the bar. He loves to sleep in, and although he is probably one of the most easygoing characters in the house, he is not friendly if awakened early in the morning. His favorite topic of conversation is “Mother Russia,” and being that he is from a cold climate, he has an especially strong affinity for Noah, our Siberian Husky mix.

“Angry Chinese Judge”
– Ok so there’s a 3rd international character that I almost forgot about. Angry Chinese Judge came about during the Olympics—he hated all American athletes and was quick to threaten death threats to Olympians and their families throughout the 2008 games. He is also thought to be responsible for the underage Chinese gymnasts that did so well in the competitions. Don’t mess with this guy unless you are prepared to be yelled at. Again, this is one of Brian’s. As you can tell, Brian has most of the speaking parts with our friends. I just occasionally cheep or make snail noises.

“Baby Girl” – I think it’s safe to say that Baby Girl is Brian’s least favorite character. All she ever does is cry. And she really only comes around when she is cranky or tired, which coincidentally happens most often to be when I am cranky or tired. She will cry inconsolably until Brian does something to fix the situation, although many times his attempts consist only of yelling, “Baby Girl! Stop crying and be quiet!” He’s going to be a great dad, don’t you think? :o)

Ok believe it or not, I think that’s everyone. Brian will undoubtedly point it out if I have missed anyone, so don’t worry, no one will slip through the cracks. You are welcome to call or come visit our friends any time, but be advised that Brian is slightly less shameless than his attention-loving wife, so don’t expect to talk to Duck or Dirka on command. I have often tried to get them to perform on command for friends and co-workers only to look stupid when they refuse to cooperate.

Also, if anyone thinks that Allison needs to follow suit and do a post (or two) about their imaginary friends, please comment here to petition her to do so. And remember to ask her specifically about the following: Baby Duck (yes, they have a duck as well—ours were first!), Spidey, Kitty (I hate Kitty), Wormy, and the weird thing that just makes a pop noise with its mouth.

That’s all for now… or at least until the next character joins the gang!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

You asked for it.

Warning: Do not continue reading if you want to continue thinking Brian and I are even remotely normal!

Ok, folks, so it seems that some of you actually do want to hear more about our “characters.” Let me re-phrase that—it seems that some of you are legitimately interested in what these friends of ours are like, whereas I’m thinking some of you are just hoping that if I divulge all of the details of the lives of our imaginary friends, you will seem much more normal in comparison and therefore feel better about yourselves. Either way, I’m ok with it, so let’s get this show on the road.

And just to clarify, this is only a brief glimpse into the characters’ lives, because trust me—they have developed very complex personalities and there is not room to explain them in full! And brace yourself—I told you there were a lot of them. Actually, I am going to separate this into a 2-part series so as not to overwhelm you. Here goes.

“Duck” – that’s right, he is a simple man with a simple name. Duck resides on Brian’s left hand and his vocabulary consists entirely of the word “quack”… just as you might expect from a duck named “Duck.” Brian translates for him, but I have gotten to know the tone of his voice well enough to where I can usually at least guess what he’s saying. Duck has a wife and 2 children, all of whom we’ll get to in a bit.

Duck LOVES to sing—his favorite genre is easy listening music (he has this in common with Uncle Wade). His current favorite song is “If You Think I’m Sexy” by Rod Stewart, but he is also a big fan of most popular church hymns as well as most songs by Akon on the radio. And you should know that he likes to sing very loudly in the shower, but I think he only does that when I’m home. Duck has to put up with a lot from his family, as you will soon find out, but he is very patient and fortunately for all of us, does not hold grudges.

“Matilda” – Matilda is Duck’s wife. She is actually a Great Egret and not a duck, but please don’t tell her kids this because they don’t understand interracial marriages just yet. We discovered Matilda at a park in Rosenberg… and when I say “we,” I mean that Duck noticed her and thought she was pretty foxy. Since then, she has resided on my right hand. Like Duck, her vocabulary also consists entirely of the word “quack,” but obviously in a more feminine and sultry tone.

Matilda is not around nearly enough—we often say that she is an absent mother. She shows up when it’s convenient for her, and we think she spends the rest of the day flying around the neighborhood and napping. She got pregnant when she secretly stopped taking her birth control without telling Duck. He was not pleased, and as a result, went to get a vasectomy. Matilda claims, however, that she convinced the doctors not to go through with it, so who knows, maybe more children are in their future?!

“Natalie” – Like with children, we try not to play favorites with our characters. But I think it’s fairly obvious from Shannon’s cake that Natalie is my favorite. She is the daughter of Duck and Matilda, and twin sister to her brother, Neb. Natalie resides on my left hand and is a total girly girl—she loves the color pink, and she loves to dance. Unfortunately, she developed a habit early on of dancing inappropriately (ie: dropping it like it’s hot), but Duck, ever-observant father that he is, put an end to that very quickly. Oh, and she also struggles on and off with an eating disorder, which equally frustrates Duck.

Natalie speaks only with the word “cheep,” because duh, she’s a little girl and not old enough to quack yet. She can be kind of whiney, and gets awfully irrational when she’s hungry or tired. Brian claims that she gets this from me, her godmother. Natalie also LOVES Christmas lights, and has been known to work herself up into seizures when driving by a well-decorated house. Her favorite foods are bologna and Twizzlers, so you can imagine how tough it was for her when she gave Twizzlers up for Lent.

– Nicknamed “Neb,” for obvious reasons, Nebuchadnezzar is son to Duck and Matilda, and twin brother to Natalie. Neb actually also lives on my right hand, along with his mother. So you can imagine how confusing it is when Matilda and Neb are talking to each other. Neb is a bit of a black sheep in the family—he is definitely emo and steers clear of the mainstream. Unfortunately he has even been known to have suicidal tendencies, but fortunately he gave up suicide attempts for Lent and has not gone back. Neb’s diet also consists of bologna and Twizzlers, although some days he just doesn’t eat because he doesn’t feel like it. Oh, and of course he also speaks in “cheeps.”

Despite Neb’s resistance to pop culture, he, like Natalie, loves to dance, and they have been known to choreograph dances to any song that has a good beat. Oh, and one time Brian accidentally rolled Neb’s beak up in the window… you can imagine how long he milked the sympathy from that one.

“Baby Dinosaur” – I honestly don’t remember where Baby Dinosaur got his start. Brian has always enjoyed making animal noises, and in fact, he has even tried to bring in new characters with his walrus impression, but I have put my foot down on that one because the walrus is needy and makes a lot of noise when he (or Brian) are hungry. But anyway, back to BD. Yes, we refer to him as “BD,” and he talks to us in a high pitched dinosaur roar/squeal. We have been quite impressed, however, because his attempts at English have really improved over time. His most recognizable phrase to date is, “I love you, Mama.” Oh, and by the way, he refers to Brian and me as “Mama and Dada.” Please don’t tell him otherwise.

Unfortunately, Baby Dinosaur has an affinity for eating children. He can’t help it—he’s a dinosaur. We have worked with him, however, and have guided him more towards eating red meat that doesn’t come from humans. He has gotten in trouble with the law once or twice for chasing kids on the playground at local schools, but always seems very apologetic for his bad behavior. His absolute favorite activity is to play catch, which he requests to do almost nightly before bed. And I’ll tell you from experience that he hates it when you accidentally miss a throw or knock the ball off the bed.

(FYI, I am kind of listing these in order of popularity, so I promise all of the descriptions won’t be this long!)

“Baby Girl Dinosaur” – BGD, as we call her, came about as a playmate for BD. To be honest, she very rarely speaks unless spoken to, and unfortunately it is next to impossible to understand her. She is a great friend to BD, though, and they even went on a Valentine’s Day date together to Freebirds this past February. Oh, and she and BD are both simply voices—they don’t have a physical location like Duck’s family members.

“Dirka” – Let me go ahead and warn you that this is going to sound like a total stereotype, so please don’t take offense! It is meant to be a joke :o) Dirka is actually a finger on Brian’s right hand that crawls around… actually, more like lurks around. Dirka is an Islamic terrorist and is a big fan of the word “jihad,” as you can imagine. He loves to blow things up, and is always trying to steal my phone in order to call back to his homeland and coordinate terrorist efforts. Dirka obviously has a very bad temper, so you always have to be careful not to make him angry. His favorite punishment (other than blowing up your head) is to poop on you or in your purse, so keep your belongings away from him.

Dirka does not appreciate that his host family is composed of church-going Christians, and he gets very upset if we kidnap him and take him to church. I think our evangelism efforts are rubbing off on him, however, so don’t be surprised if he converts one day. Also, even though he pretends to be really tough, deep down he is a softy. Natalie has taken a special liking to Dirka, and even asked him to be her Valentine this year. Though he acted disinterested and disgusted, you could tell he enjoyed it and likes the attention Natalie gives him. I will warn you, however, that he is pretty demeaning to women and is very homophobic.

“Unicorn” – Unicorn is actually the pointer finger on whichever one of my hands is available at the moment. He does not speak—he simply hops up and down (which irritates Brian immensely) and flies around the room. Unicorn’s original purpose was to provide transportation for Dirka, but for some reason, Dirka finds his incessant hopping to be irritating as well, so he often refuses to ride on Unicorn’s back.

Ok I think that’s enough for now—I will work on descriptions for the rest and either post them later today or some time later this week. Feel free to share if you have any characters as well, cough cough, Chrissy!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

I have a feeling none of these topics will make me sound cool

I've mentioned before that Brian and I have quite a few (15+) imaginary friends (let’s call them “characters” so as not to offend them). Some of them appear on a daily basis, whereas others (ie: Russell, the snail) show up with less frequency. Regardless, they have become fixtures in our lives and many of our friends and family have come to know and love them as well.

I discovered recently, however, a few signs that are pretty good indicators that we spend too much time talking to/about our imaginary friends. Allow me to share:

You know you spend too much time talking to/about your imaginary friends…

… when your sister-in-law includes a picture of one of them on your birthday cake.
… when you wake your husband up to tell him goodbye in the morning and he mumbles incoherently to you in one of the character’s voices, not even realizing he’s not using his normal voice.
… when others call you on your cell phone and request to speak to one of the characters rather than to you.
… when you cover the characters’ ears when you say something indicating that they aren’t actually real, or something that might otherwise offend them.
… when your imaginary friends have an imaginary White Elephant Christmas gift exchange with your twin sister’s and her husband’s imaginary friends.

I am really not sure where all these characters came from? Allison and I did come up with some fictional characters in college (aka: the bobcat that lived in the Kappa parking lot, or the bird that lived at the Theta house (yes, you sense a theme here), or the Nalgene bottle named “Pat,” or her best friend, “Kelly,” the paper clip…). And I guess that happened to coincide with when we started dating Brian and Wade, so it only makes sense that these characters would develop and make new friends over time… right?

I know—we’re insane. I’m ok with that. And by the way, if any of you would like me to do a full post outlining each character with their likes, dislikes, personality traits, etc., I would be happy to do so. But I’m not going to do it unless I sense some interest in the topic, because I can only reveal my unusual behavior to a certain extent on the internet without prompting before I start to feel embarrassed. I have boundaries, believe it or not!

Anyway, here is the cookie cake that Shannon made me for my birthday. Please take note that Natalie, the duck whose face is made up of my left hand, is featured on the top right corner. And big props to Shannon for making this happen- it made my day, and perhaps more importantly, it made Natalie’s day. :o)

I also just wanted to share an amusing moment with y’all. Anyone else out there married to/dating/related to a video game junkie? I am most definitely married to one. Granted, his video game affinity has waned somewhat since we got married, but I can still guarantee you that if I left town for the weekend, a good majority of his time would be spent playing virtual baseball, Super Smash Brothers, or whatever the heck his other games are called.

So this past weekend, he decided that he had a few games he wanted to trade in at Game Stop. The important point of this story is that he got $14+ for them. The other equally important point of the story is that he took it in store credit so that he could put that money toward more video games, but anyway, let’s move along.

The salesman at Game Stop was perhaps the most stereotyipcal “gamer” that you could imagine—fair-skinned, didn’t make a lot of eye contact, and talked and looked very similar to Napoleon Dynamite with straightened hair. He was pretty mellow when we first arrived, but after he took a look at the first game Brian gave him, he exclaimed, “Skies of Arcadia?! Where did you find this? This is really rare. I’ve been looking for this game forever!” At this point, the on-looking 12-year-old chimed in and wanted to know why it was so cool. The salesman then explained that this gem of a game “launched sky battles” in the video game world, and talked about how it was awesome for various other significant reasons. Brian nodded in agreement (although he later confessed that he’s never played the game), and the kid looked on in awe.

Meanwhile, I tried desperately not to (a) laugh out loud and (b) remind these people that “sky battles” don’t exactly make for normal social conversation. But then again, I was on their turf, so I knew I had to shut my mouth. I was very impressed with my self-control. So anyway, Brian, Napoleon, and the 12-year-old continued chatting it up, talking about whether the X-box 360 is cooler than the PS3, how life-changing the new Wii motion-sensor controls are going to be, and a number of other fascinating topics while I pretended to be interested in the games on the wall behind me so that they wouldn’t see me smirking.

And yes, I made sure to make fun of Brian as soon as we walked out of the store, but I went easy on him because I was proud to find out that my video game-loving husband has yet to morph into a video game dork. But at least now I know for next time that I’m probably better off just staying in the car when Brian goes to Game Stop… unless, of course, he deems it appropriate to take CASH MONEY for those games and take his wifey out for DQ Blizzards. In which case I will gladly endure as much nerd talk as necessary.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Confession and some more townie observations

I may or may not have consumed a Dairy Queen blizzard last night. And I may or may not be admitting to this only because Allison outed me by commenting on my blog post from yesterday after I ranted about how I'm tired of eating so much sugar.

In my defense, I still needed to use my birthday buy-one-get-one-free coupon from DQ before Tuesday, and last night was the best available option. I wasn't necessarily hungry after dinner- in fact, I had a stomach ache-but I've learned that sometimes being hungry is not a prerequisite for eating. And perhaps that's my problem.

Regardless, I thought I should inform you that there is a picture of Jesus on the wall in direct view of the drive-through window at DQ. Probably not the first place I would expect to find a picture of Jesus, but hey, I'm glad to know He's in plain sight for all other blizzard-lovers to see.

And as if that wasn't enough, we went to Jaime's Dairy Treat to pick up some lunch for Brian today (apparently swimming and laying out builds up an appetite for him that only fast food will fill) and we noticed that they had a picture on their wall of the Last Supper. I think it's safe to say Richmond is in good hands, people. Or at least it's in the hands of people who love Jesus and also have an affinity for clogging our arteries.

Oh, and I also think it's important to tell you that Jaime's Dairy Treat has signs advertising ALL of the following foods at their establishment: burgers, nachos, corn dogs, stuffed burritos, fajitas, fried shrimp, and egg rolls. I don't know much about running a restaurant, but wouldn't you think it would be smarter to specialize in one or two types of food, rather than all of them? Just a thought.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Back in the game

Ok so whoa, where do I even begin? First of all, my apologies for not having written a real post in over a week. I realize that some of you are very bored at work, and I apologize for robbing you of a time-filler, however unexciting it may be.

So in a nutshell, our trip to Plainfield/Chicago was great! As Allison mentioned in her post, we shopped, we walked, and we ate. And I know that I always talk about how much I eat, but seriously, this vacation gave new meaning to the words "I'm full." Let it suffice to say that we had birthday dessert 4 times in a period of 4 days, and that does not include miscellaneous stops for cookies (what else am I supposed to consume at Starbucks while everyone else is having coffee?!) and munching on the brownies/cupcakes that Sara so kindly made for us. Thanks again, Sara!

Anyway, even as I type this blog 4 days after our return, I am still experiencing heartburn/acid reflux from all of the food consumption. I might or might not have helped the situation by having a birthday cupcake/ice cream at the office the day after I got back, or a cupcake and a cookie the day after that... or a rice krispy treat yesterday. Anyway, I will make sure to post a picture as proof that I have not fallen into morbid obesity... yet.

OH, and one more exciting piece of food news. I tried TWO - yes, TWO! - new cereals on our vacation! Sara very generously shared her Shredded Spoonfuls with me (similar to Life cereal, but healthier) and I LOVED them. As in, if I didn't follow social norms, I would have poured the entire box into my mouth in one sitting at their apartment. In fact, toward the end of the trip when we were discussing our favorite meals from the weekend, I suggested that my bowl of Shredded Spoonfuls might have been my favorite. Lame? Possibly. But totally correct.

And also, on our last day in Chicago, we went to the grocery store for a light breakfast, as we didn't think we could handle more pancakes or eggs. I ended up picking Kashi Honey Sunshine (get excited, Chrissy!) and I am addicted! It is like a less sugary (but still amazing) version of Cap'n Crunch. I think Brian even liked it, and his cereal taste is generally limited to cereals marketed to 4-year-olds, so that's a big step.

So anyway, we made it back in one piece. I am still catching up on sleep, but perhaps most importantly, I am STILL catching up on facebook and blogs. How is it possible to miss so much in such a short period of time? And perhaps a more important question is WHY do I care so much about being caught up on every single status update, photo album creation, and blog post? I will be the first to admit that I like being in the loop, so I guess I just want to make sure I didn't miss anything monumental.

If you want to see all 70+ pictures from the trip, feel free to check out my Shutterfly site here.

Ok and now onto non-trip-related news: Brian and I had a townie date this afternoon! Well first I should mention that I arrived home from work discouraged by all of the cleaning and chores that needed to be done only to find that my wonderful husband had cleaned the ENTIRE house without my prompting! Perhaps this was to get him back in my good graces after I woke up at 1:30 am with an empty spot next to me in bed only to find him playing video games in the study... but that's neither here nor there.

Back to the townie date: we started with lunch at the Flying Pig Cafe in downtown Richmond. This little cafe has apparently been open for several months, but somehow I haven't made it over there yet. Regardless, it is decorated in sort of a 50s theme with a lot of Elvis paraphernalia. I had a turkey panini and Brian had chicken fried chicken... because who doesn't order a giant slab of chicken and mashed potatoes covered in gravy for lunch at a sandwich place? Both were quite tasty, but perhaps more importantly, they serve Amy's ice cream at this joint! We didn't have any, because HELLO- no need for any more sugar in this girl's system- but I have big plans to go back and get a scoop some time. Feel free to join me.

After lunch, we ran a few errands and made a stop at Sonic. I have found that I can get Brian to agree to go on most errands with me as long as Sonic or a snow cone are a part of the deal. I think I'm going to be a great mom, don't you? Anyway, if you have ever doubted my dedication to townie-hood, what I'm about to tell you will for sure seal my fate as the most hardcore townie ever: After a stop at Sonic, we willingly went on a tour of the Fort Bend Museum. And paid actual money for it.

No, I am totally not lying. Most people in their mid-20s would probably spend a free Friday afternoon in June at the pool. But not the Joiners. Instead, we went on a self-guided tour of the museum and EVEN went on the guided tour through the 2 old houses. Our tour guide was a pretty hardcore townie herself, obviously, and was very knowledgeable about Richmond's roots. Although she did start one sentence with, "I think, I'm pretty sure- probably this is from Germany." Way to confidently assert your credibility.

But really, she was very nice, and gave us a very thorough tour. At one point, she pointed out some kind of cotton spinning mechanism and told us that back in the day, girls started spinning cotton at the age of 8. I laughed and said, "Sounds about right- I started spinning cotton when I was around 8!" Brian laughed and said, "Yeah- why did you stop?" Well somehow, our sarcasm was lost on our tour guide. She informed me that they still offer cotton spinning classes and that I was welcome to attend, and when we tried to leave at the end of the tour, she made me stop so she could give me some brochures on the classes. Sadly, they were out of brochures, and another person working there informed us that no such classes exist. Darn the luck.

So that was our townie afternoon date. Try to top it- I dare you.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

What she said

No, this is not a post devoted to jokes from The Office (although that would be awesome). But rather, I am having a busy week playing catch-up at home and at work from our vacation, so I don't know when I'll have a chance to sit down and re-cap the trip for you. So instead, go here and read what Allison had to say about it.

In the meantime, I am going to continue getting back into the swing of a routine that does not consist almost entirely of shopping and eating. Happy Wednesday!