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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Why I think candy should have its own section on the food pyramid*

You want to know what makes me laugh? The words that the computer prompts you to type in for verification purposes when you want to comment on someone’s blog. The most recent one I was prompted to type was “prooj.” I am fairly certain that, rather than randomly generated combinations of letters, a person is actually responsible for this. He sits on the other end of the computer and thinks of really stupid words to make us type just so he can get a good laugh. And obviously that’s a very technical description of how the whole verification process works.

You want to know what also makes me laugh? I somehow convinced Brian to do The Biggest Loser workout video with me this morning. Let’s just say that it was pretty amusing to watch, but I will not go into detailed descriptions for fear that he will never again agree to do a workout video with me.

Speaking of working out, for some reason lately I have had a really hard time getting motivated to work out. And I’ve had a really easy time getting motivated to eat candy. And the fact that I have a generous coworker who sits approximately 5 feet away from me who currently has a supply of gummy bears, skittles, kit kats, and peanut M&M’s at her desk does not help matters at all. Ok I lied—she doesn’t have any gummy bears left because I ALREADY ATE ALL OF THEM.

I’m sorry, I just really love sugar. And I will never understand people that just “don’t really care for sweets.” I think those people are either (a) lying or (b) very stupid. It may be harsh, but I’m sorry, it’s true.

And speaking of sugar, let’s all clap our hands in excitement that Halloween is the day after tomorrow! Allow me to illustrate for you why I love this holiday so much: I bought 3 decent-sized bags of candy to hand out to trick-or-treaters. We typically have 2-3 trick-or-treaters total, and I may give each of them 2-3 pieces of candy. You do the math to see what’s left for me.
Unfortunately (kidding!) I will have to share the leftovers this year, as Allison and Wade are going to be in town and two of our other couple friends are going to come over for dinner/games on Halloween night. I also happen to have a bag of candy corn that I plan on leaving out for everyone to snack on, and let me just say that I have never exercised more self-restraint than I have with this bag of candy corn that has been sitting out on my kitchen counter for several weeks now. Someone please pat me on the back.

And while you’re at it, you can also pat me on the back because (drum roll please) I have not consumed one single DQ blizzard ALL MONTH. Not one. Not even a bite of one. And it wasn’t even intentional—we have just had other things to do. And, thanks once again to my coworker, I have not exactly been lacking in the sugary treats department, so a blizzard just hasn’t seemed as necessary.

Don’t worry though, the new BOTM should be revealed soon, as the first day of November is fast-approaching. And if it involves chocolate and/or peanut butter, you better believe that my blizzard-fasting streak will come to an abrupt halt.

And that is all for today—have a good one!

*For anyone that read the title and instantly wanted to comment something along the lines of, "There already is a section like that- it's called FAT!," don't waste your time. Already thought of it, and therefore won't be offended by it or amused with your creativity :)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Wish you were here!

Greetings from Gulfport, Mississippi! I know, I know, you're all (a) dying to know what I'm doing in Gulfport and (b) desperately wishing you could be here in my place. Well sorry, folks, but a luxury vacation like this isn't available to just anyone.

I'm actually here on a work trip, and as luck would have it, my plane is running late, so I get to spend an extra hour in the airport. But don't feel too sorry for me just yet because there's a gift shop here AND an Arby's. The possibilities for dinner are endless, aren't they?

I came into town for a career fair, and it happened to be held at a hotel/casino, so I got to stay in the same hotel. Let me start by telling you that I have never been to a casino before. And let me end by saying that after seeing one in person, I have even less of a desire to go to one in the future.

In my humble opinion, slot machines are nothing more than brightly colored trash cans in which to throw your money. And I am just having a hard time understanding why people are so very interested in sitting in front of said trash cans while inhaling second-hand cigarette smoke in a room with no windows. Sounds like a perfect vacation spot to me... if you have no nose and no use for your money.

And please don't even get me started on how overpriced everything was at the hotel. Ok sorry but I'm going to get started. The charge per day to use internet in the hotel room was $32. And it wasn't wireless, so you would have to plug it in to an ethernet cord on the desk. And here's the catch, there was no ethernet cord avaiable in the room, but not to worry!- you could purchase one downstairs in the gift shop! How convenient!

Ok but now I'm finished. I promise. And while the rest of you enjoy a quiet evening at home with your families, please think of me while I'm dying a slow and painful death as a result of listening to the terrible, terrible, terrible music that the Gulfport airport has deemed as hip, cool, and ideal for the mass public.

Peace out from G-port!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Shameless.

Today’s title has a double meaning:

(a) I shamelessly stole today’s blog topic from Kara so I wouldn’t have to come up with something to write about on my own.

(b) The idea is to list out 5 things that you aren’t embarrassed to admit about yourself, but probably should be. So here goes.

1. I still really like the Backstreet Boys. It’s true, I still own all of their cd’s and still sing along when I play them. I’m sorry, but it just doesn’t get much better than “Quit Playing Games with My Heart” or Nick’s life-changing solo ballad, “I Need You Tonight.” And in case you forgot, I recently (well, 2 years ago) met Nick and Howie in person and was just as excited as I was when I attended their Millenium concert in 2000. Fun fact: Brian Littrell was always my favorite BSB. Word on the street is that he now actually sings gospel music—who knew?!

2. I used to eat mayonnaise all by itself… without the sandwich. Yes, there was a time when mayo and I were good friends—I ordered every sandwich and burger with cheese and mayo only. And occasionally at a restaurant, they would bring out the mayo on the side in a little cup. So I would spread it on my sandwich until I had the desired amount, which typically allowed for some to be leftover when I was finished. And I am proud to admit that I would shamelessly dip my fork (or my finger if a fork wasn’t available... don't judge) into the mayo and eat it. Straight up. My mayo days are behind me now, but I still look back on those times fondly… are you grossed out yet?

3. I am really obsessed with our budget. Back in the days before Brian and I were married, I used to make fun of Allison and Wade a lot for the fact that they (a) had a budget, and (b) tracked all of their expenses on it. And then we got married. And then I was unemployed for 3 months. And all of a sudden, a budget didn’t seem like such a stupid idea, and the idea of tracking our expenses actually started to make sense. And because I inherited my father’s obsessing gene, I have fallen deeply in love with the budget, and find few things more enjoyable than comparing each month’s expenditures to see how they measure up to one another. Oh my gosh, I need to get a life.

4. I still remember the worrds to my high school’s fight song, and occasionally sing it out loud. Don’t believe me? Well here you go: Fight the team across the field, show them that Westlake’s here… send the earth reverberating with a mighty cheer (GO WESTLAKE!) Hit them hard and see how they fall! Never let that team get the ball! Hail, hail, the gang’s all here, so let’s have a victory!

No further explanation necessary, but feel free to ask me to sing it next time you see me.

5. I have a Word document saved on my computer with names for our unborn children. Yes, most young married couples discuss possible names for their future children. Most people, however, don’t write them down and save them onto the computer for future reference. But that’s because most people aren’t anal retentive and worried about coming up with a really great idea and then forgetting it. The good news is that someone recently told me that she did the same thing… I won’t out her on here just in case she actually is too embarrassed to admit to it.

So there you have it, folks. Please feel free to join me and share a few things about yourself that you probably shouldn’t be so willing to share!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Brace yourselves

I have some upsetting news to share with you all today: Our local “Deals 4 U” store is going out of business. I know, I know—it is shocking and deeply disheartening.

What exactly does the Deals 4 U store sell, you ask? Well I can’t exactly say I’m qualified to answer that question, because thankfully I have never stepped foot inside the store. I generally try to avoid contributing to the profit of any business that is too lazy to spell out its title or use proper spelling. For example, I would never in a million years send my children to a day care entitled “Kidz Korner.” COME ON.

But what I do know about Deals 4 U (from walking by the store window) is that they are selling a really sweet USA-themed leather jacket for just $40. But hurry—deals like these don’t last forever! And what I also know is that Deals 4 U’s chances of staying in business were probably pretty slim from the beginning, considering that they are located in the same strip center as a Family Dollar, a shady Pawn Shop, and an Everything $1 store. And did I mention that dollar stores are the best at coming up with creative names?

I would also like to point out that there is yet another dollar store located approximately 100 yards away in the strip center across the street. The interesting (read: irritating) thing about this particular Dollar General (again, the creativity is mind-blowing!) is that they are one of those stores that sells quite a few things that cost more than a dollar. I believe I already mentioned this in reference to Target’s One Spot, but it really irritates me when you imply that everything in your store is going to be a dollar or less, and yet you sell canned pumpkin for $1.25, or Halloween candy for $5. Sounds like if you’re being honest, your store should be called Dollar(s) General.

And while I’m ranting about this particular store, I also want to point out that a can of green beans there costs $.80. Um. I’m pretty sure that you can purchase a can of green beans at a normal grocery store for half of that price. And same goes for the overpriced canned pumpkin. Just so you know, Dollar General, you are not fooling me. And if you’re not careful, you’re going to end up in the same boat as Deals 4 U. And you won't have any flashy leather jackets to save you!

Ok and one last thing about the Dollar General and then I promise I’m done: They sell knock-off Vera Bradley items there. Each piece costs $3 (again, NOT ONE DOLLAR), and the patterns are nearly identical to the original VB patterns. I’ll admit that I was actually somewhat impressed with how similar they look to the real thing… until I walked over and touched one. And let me just tell you that if you are interested in buying a makeup bag that looks like real Vera Bradley but feels like one of those brown paper lunch bags, then Dollar General is the place for you.

Ok I’m finished with that topic now.

In other local news, I heard on channel 2 this morning that Houston is going on its 11th day with no murders. Apparently this is big news because it is the longest murder-free streak we have had in decades. DECADES. We have gone DECADES without going 1.5 weeks without a murder. I’m no expert on tourism or anything, but I don’t think I would go advertising that to outsiders. Call me crazy, but somehow I don’t think other people would be as impressed with an 11-day streak as we are.

Oh the joys of living in the greater Houston metropolitan area… at least we have a lot of good Mexican food, right?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Adventures at the dog park: take 2

I would be willing to bet that most of the people who read this (well, at least the ones that live in this part of Texas) spent a good portion of this past weekend outside. Ok let me re-phrase that, if you have a brain, then you spent a good portion of the weekend outside. It was cool, sunny, and the humidity was somewhere around 0%, as opposed to the 820394083% that we experience on a regular basis.

Obviously this called for celebrating, so we made sure to get our indoor chores out of the way early on Friday so that we could spend the rest of the weekend outside. My wonderful husband gave the dogs a bath before I got home from work, and if you are wondering how badly a bath was needed for the pups, then let's just let it suffice to say that I actually can't remember the last time they had a bath. I'm fairly sure it was some time during the summer, but that might be wishful thinking.

And as long as they were clean and the weather was nice, I figured it might be a nice time to take them to a dog park to play. Some of you might remember the last time we attempted to take Noah and Buster to a dog park. And for those of you that don't remember, I'll just sum it up by informing you that we never made it to the dog park, and instead we arrived home with a car full of dog vomit. So you can probably understand why we haven't attempted a dog park (or anything involving a car ride other than the vet) again since then.

Well we're either crazy or just really great dog parents, because we decided to give it another go on Saturday. Fortunately, they recently opened up a new dog park in Sugar Land about 10 minutes away from us. The first one we attempted was a good 25-minute drive from our house, which clearly was far too long for Buster to handle.

And I am happy to report that Buster survived the car rides to AND from the new park with no issues! We decided to let him ride in the front with us this time, and kept a close eye out for any excessive drooling or gagging that might indicate impending vomit. Thankfully he spent most of the ride either with his head on Brian's lap or licking Brian's shoulder. I'm not sure why he went for the shoulder, but we realized early on in Buster's life that trying to rationalize his behavior is an exercise in futility.


Ok so we made it to the dog park in one piece, and Brian decided to get some of the dogs' energy out by taking them on a quick little jog. Well I think he underestimated the size of the loop he set out on, because it was a good 5-7 minutes before he returned to the truck, all 3 of them panting and clearly ready to head home. Nonetheless, we pressed on.

When we first entered the gate, we saw that there were tons of other dogs/owners there, and all of them were off of their leashes. And it was at this point that we had a big decision to make: Did we want to play it safe and keep them leashed, knowing they might not enjoy it as much? Or did we want to unleash them, putting ourselves at great risk for one or both of them to either (a) embarrass us, (b) try to injure one of the other dogs, or (c) both of the above.

It was wish great apprehension that we finally decided to set them free, and were relieved to find that this was a great decision! As was expected, Noah sprinted off the second his leash was removed. Meanwhile, Buster lingered back and stayed at our side, tail wagging and overcome with excitement over the fact that finally, FINALLY he had us all to himself.

Eventually Buster, too, frolicked off to play with the other dogs. However, most of the time that we were there, Noah was running around making friends with other dogs while Buster was traveling from one human to the next in hopes of getting some attention. He might or might not get his neediness from me :)


They only embarrassed us a handful of times by jumping up on people, but the wonderful thing about a crowded dog park was that no one knew which dogs belonged to which humans! So when they would jump up on someone's lap or shove their noses in someone's crotch, we would cringe in embarrassment at first, but quickly realized we could just turn around and pretend we had no idea whose poorly-behaved mutts those were that were causing trouble. Once again, hopefully this is not indicative of how we will behave as parents, because I have a feeling we wouldn't be able to get away with that tactic at a play group, for example.

But really, for the most part they made us proud, and both of them even received some compliments... which was nice, because usually Noah gets all of the compliments and Buster is treated like the mentally disabled step-child. AND Noah even found himself a girlfriend, which was great until he and Buster decided it would be fun to gang up on her and try to start a fight. A word to the wise, Noah-picking fights is typically the GIRL'S job. I know this from many, many years of experience.

We were also excited to find that the dog park had a little dog lake in it. As we predicted, Noah loved the water and spent a few minutes swimming around with his new friends. And as we also predicted, Buster is not exactly going to be the next Michael Phelps.

We're pretty sure he has actually never swam before, and our suspicions were quickly confirmed when we saw him go into the water for the first time. He ran into the water, and he must have thought that it was going to be shallow, because as soon as it got deep, rather than paddle, he basically sunk. I panicked when I saw him go under, but Brian assured me that he would figure things out and come back up. Thankfully he did just that, and promptly swam back ashore. And as you might have guessed, he went no where near the water for the remainder of our stay.

And in case you were wondering, yes, I am fully aware that I just devoted a good amount of my time (and yours) to a blog about taking our dogs to the park. But hey, what else are young married couples without kids supposed to blog about, right?

We'll be sure to take Noah and Buster back to the dog park soon, but I'll spare you of another detailed play-by-play when that happens... if you're lucky :)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Our trip to Vermont, aka: rubbing our vacation in your face

So I had an e-mail from my dad this morning informing me that I am a “slacker,” being that I have not blogged in an entire week now. In my book, being called a “slacker” is the ultimate insult, so it was like a dagger to my heart. I will forgive him, however, being that he turned 59 yesterday. Clearly he is old, grumpy, and senile, and does not know what he is saying :o)

And I’m kidding by the way—he is none of those things! Happy belated birthday, Dad!

So anyway, we had a great trip to Vermont, as you might have already read about here or here. The scenery was topped only by my brother’s totally inappropriate but impossible-not-to-laugh-at-despite-my-best-efforts sense of humor. I’m pretty sure that Brian laughed to the point of tears at least twice each day that we were there.

The boys got to enjoy all kinds of nature-y activities like canoeing, hiking, and touring the waterfalls. Meanwhile, the girls got to enjoy all kinds of not nature-y activities like shopping and eating. Fortunately, Vermont is about the size of the greater Houston metropolitan area (ok it’s slightly bigger, but not by much), so we were actually able to conquer most of the state in our short stay there. And yes, we did make it to the Ben & Jerry’s HQ, but it was so unbelievably crowded that we looked around the gift shop, bought some ice cream, and hit the road.


Kelly and Andrew were great hosts, so if you are looking for a vacation spot, I highly recommend that you head up to Shrewsbury, VT, and spend some time there. Unless they don’t know you, in which case you will need to find another tour guide—sorry, strangers!

And can we please talk about the weather for a minute? The temperature was no higher than 57 during our stay there… which is totally appropriate considering it’s October. Meanwhile, back home in Hades, there was allegedly a cool front that managed to come to a screeching halt before we touched down at Hobby airport on Monday. We got off of the plane and were greeted/assaulted with temperatures in the 80s and about 1,000,000 % humidity. Isn’t it fun to come home after a vacation? No.

But here I am, back in the swing of things and thankfully just about halfway through the work week. Allegedly there is another cool front coming in this weekend… and who knows, maybe I’ll even pull out my light cotton hoodie to ward off those icy 70 degree winds?

I’ll do my best to pick up the pace with the blogging this week, so stay tuned!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Hey, Fall- Come out, come out, wherever you are!

I had every intention of writing this blog on Monday, but unfortunately life has gotten in the way so I’m a few days behind. Isn’t it annoying when your real life gets in the way of your internet life? I sure think so.

So we made a trip to Austin this past weekend for Brian to attend ACL. For those of you that aren’t familiar with ACL (Austin City Limits), it is basically a giant, overpriced concert series packed into one weekend. If you are a big fan of crowds, traffic, very loud music, and smelly hippies spilling beer all over you, then ACL is the perfect event for you. If you are like me, however, then ACL is your worst nightmare.

Fortunately for me, Brian was meeting up with some other friends there, so my experience with ACL was limited to dropping him off a couple of miles away from the park and fleeing away as fast as I could. He seemed to have a good time, and I accomplished some quality family bonding in the meantime, so it was a win for both of us.

While he set off in his pursuit of permanently losing his hearing, I spent the afternoon at Ford and Elizabeth’s house hanging out with them and the little ones. To remind you, they have 3 very precious and adorable children—Emma, age 4, Brown, turning 3 next month, and baby Sayers, who is 9 months old as of today (all pictured below). Translation: there is never a dull (or quiet) moment. Much like ACL, I suppose, minus the hippies and expensive food.


So anyway, I chatted with my sis and her husband while Emma colored and showed me proof that she can now write out her own name. I was admittedly impressed, because Emma is, after all, the first grandchild on our side of the family, and therefore anything she accomplishes warrants an excessive amount of praise and attention.

Meanwhile, Brown road his tricycle throughout the house with no pants on and baby Sayers sat on my lap trying his best to pull my hair out of my scalp… all in all, a pretty normal afternoon at the Wheeler house. Brown apparently has learned that if “I love you” is a sweet thing to say to someone, that the opposite must also be true. And so when I told him sternly that he was not allowed to ride the tricycle naked and needed to dry off from his bath and put on his jammies, he responded dramatically with, “I DON’T LOVE YOU!”

I had been warned, thankfully, so I did not take it personally. I was, however, slightly offended when I arrived and he demanded to know where Wade and Rocky were… I guess it’s somewhat unrealistic to expect a 3-year-old to be able to tell identical twin aunts apart, but still. I also heard Emma refer to Elizabeth as “mom” for the first time (instead of “mommy”) and I will admit that it made me sad. I can’t wait to see how emotionally imbalanced I am once I have my own children!

And anyway, we spent the rest of the weekend hanging out with my mom (my dad was out of town) and the Olivers. Food was eaten, clothes were purchased, and football was watched by the boys—pretty standard weekend at home. We drove back bright and early on Sunday morning to make it home in time for church (un-showered and a bit disheveled, but we still made it!)

Sunday afternoon’s entertainment came in the form of a “Blessing of the Animals” service at the church. Yes, we most definitely took Noah and Buster. And in a surprising turn of events, BUSTER was the well-behaved dog for a change! In a room full of 15 or so dogs, 4 cats, and a snake, he was just as calm as can be and even made friends with some of the other pups.

Noah, however, was acting like a lunatic and spent the better part of the service pulling with all his might on his leash in hopes that Brian would let him roam freely to play with all of the other animals. He even spit up a little at one point as a result of his choking, and I’ll let you guess who was right there to lick it up off of the floor—and no, it wasn’t Brian or me.

I actually ended up having to take them home early before the blessing even took place because Noah was being such a freak of nature. Oh well—at least they didn’t poop on the gym floor or pee on the priest’s leg, right?

And to wrap things up, I cannot tell you how excited I am to escape the sauna that we call home and head to Vermont tomorrow! We are spending a few days with the Olivers visiting my brother, Andrew, and his wife, Kelly. And considering the “feels like” temperature here today is 96 degrees outside, I would say the timing of this trip couldn’t be better.

I hear they actually experience Fall up there, and perhaps it’s even possible that I’ll be able to walk outside without breaking a sweat and wanting to run myself over with a car. Dramatic? Perhaps. But completely warranted.

Anyway, we have big plans to hike, shop, do other naturey things, eat, and (prepare yourself) go to the Ben & Jerry’s headquarters! And I full intend to eat as much Chocolate Fudge Brownie as I can get my hands on, so don’t be surprised if I come back looking like I ate my twin.

I’ll be sure to give a full recap upon our return, and if you are really lucky, I might even post some pictures. Until then, I’ll think of you while I’m frolicking through the fall foliage and eating ice cream samples. Hasta luego!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Perhaps it's time to try a new strategy

So while I was on my way to work this morning, I pulled up at a red light next to a car with a “for sale” sign in its window. Let me first note that the sign was in the back right passenger side window, which seems kind of like a strange place to put a sign that you actually want people to see?

But anyway, moments after the car came to a stop, I noticed out of the corner of my eye that the passenger in the back right (you know, the one apparently responsible for overseeing the “for sale” sign) was opening his door. Curious, I glanced over to see why he might be doing this, just in time to see him spit a giant loogie (I hate that word) onto the ground. Awesome. Just what I was hoping to see on my way to work, just minutes after finishing my breakfast.

It was then that I noticed his friend in the front passenger side was smoking a cigarette… with the windows up. Again, just inches away from that “for sale” sign. Now I’m no marketing expert, but I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that there are probably better ways to get your call to sell than to cruise around smoking with your friends spitting snot out of the back seat. Just a hunch.

But here’s an interesting fact for you: I was once offered the job of as Director of Sales and Marketing at the ice skating rink in College Station. I know, pretty exciting, right? I declined the job, sadly, and took a job offer as a Recruiter with another company instead. And here I am, 3 years later, still recruiting, so I suppose it was probably a good call. Not that I wouldn’t have highly enjoyed making cold calls and planning birthday parties for 8-year-olds on a semi-regular basis, however.

And I really don’t have anything else to share with you this morning. Ok well there is one more thing… and I didn’t want to mention it simply because it’s exactly what you would expect me to mention. But I can’t help it. So here goes—just FYI, the new BOTM was announced by DQ and for the month of October it is … (drum roll please) … the Pumpkin Pie Blizzard! Personally, I could care less, because I am not a huge pie fan, and I can only take pumpkin flavoring in limited amounts. But I do know one certain husband that is excited about giving it a try, which means I will just have to take one for the team and have my usual Reese’s when that times comes.

Have a great weekend!