Monday, March 24, 2008

Missing the PW

As mentioned last week and on the advice of other respected bloggers, I have added Confessions of a Pioneer Woman to my list of regularly-read blogs. As is my habit when reading a new-to-me blog (or starting a TV show mid-series like Boston Legal or Grey's Anatomy; thank goodness for Netflix), I have to catch up with the archives (or old episodes) so I completely understand how we got here and where the author is coming from and who the characters are and so on. According to a personality test I took last fall at work, I am obsessed with understanding the Big Picture.

According to the sticky note on my laptop, as of 9:30pm Sunday, I was caught up to February 23, 2007. And now Pioneer Woman is updating her website and has temporarily cut off access to EVERYTHING! I'm lost. I might need another grandenonfatnowhipmochaforKim to get through this. What am I supposed to do this evening - laundry?!?! Tidy the house for MG's upcoming visit?!?! It's as though I was reading a fabulous book and just dropped it in the toilet rendering it immediately useless and unreadable (and yes, that has happened before).

Pioneer Woman, I know you don't read my piddly little blog. But please, PUH-LEAZE come back soon! I must know how the story "ends" (and then continues - the one advantage of blogs over books).

Friday, March 21, 2008

My Day Off

I took Thursday and Friday off from work this week. Other than to get a jump start on the Easter weekend, I had absolutely no reason to take off. Except for the fact that I was sick. Of work, that is. I have a fabulous job surrounded by amazing people who work together for an incredible cause. I have great benefits, no billable hours, cheap parking, a business casual dress code, and a purple wall in my office.

That being said, it's still "A JOB," and I still get tired of it from time to time. So I took Thursday off to recharge my batteries. People naturally assume if you're taking a vacation day, you must be headed to some exotic locale. Nothing terribly exotic about "my house" and "the couch in front of the TV" or even "Eddie Bauer." Since re-entering the real world, I have taken a total of 2 "me" days in as many years ("me" days do not include actual vacations where we do end up in some exotic (to us anyway) locale). I need to do this more often.

What a great day it was! I watched some basketball, returned my mostly-unread book club book to Barnes and Noble, went to book club, watched more basketball, got a new safe deposit box, bought a new purse and billfold, bought 2.5 new outfits, ironed, and tried to watch Oprah.

I love Oprah although I'm rarely home in the afternoons to watch her show. Thus, on "me" days like yesterday, I was quite excited to catch an episode. I don't know why I get my hopes up; every time I'm able to watch, inevitably she either airs (1) a rerun that I saw the last time I was home; or (2) a completely annoying and unwatchable episode that makes me want to puke. Yesterday's episode fell into the second category. Oprah's guest was none other than Celine Dion. While I will sheepishly admit that I mostly like Celine's music (and kinda really want to see her this summer when she's in Omaha), I can't stand her personality. She's a flake. The whole point of Oprah's show yesterday was for Celine to sing excerpts of her songs to audience members who (SURPRISE) did not know they were to be featured on the show that day. In the 2 minutes of the show that I caught before I started vomiting, Celine sang "Because You Love Me" to a woman whose father recently passed. Celine wasn't on the stage singing, oh no, she had to come into the audience and sing at the person. Mindblowingly hokey.

I watched Jeopardy instead.

And my Cats won! In the tournament! For the first time in 20 YEARS!!!!! I love my book club so much that I went there instead of watching the second half of the game. Come to find out, I didn't miss much, as apparently the Powers That Be at CBS decided the Duke game was more important. Bastards. It's probably a good thing I wasn't at home; I might have uttered a curse word or two (not that I know that many curse words).

In conclusion (oh crap - when did this become a 5-paragraph essay), I encourage all of you to take a "me" day (I guess that would really be a "you" day since your day shouldn't be all about me). You totally deserve it. And don't let your co-workers make you feel guilty for not wanting to spend the day with them. You earned that vacation day, dammit, and you can do whatever the hell you want with it, ESPECIALLY if that means NOT A DADGUM THING.


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

A Fever? Eh?

I had an appointment to donate blood this morning. My employer and the blood bank make it so easy for me; the blood bank has a refitted Winnebago (the camper, not the tribe) that accommodates 3-4 donors and parks in my parking lot.

Except that I had a fever of 101 degrees this morning and was not allowed to donate.

Did I mention that I'm not sick? That I look good AND feel good? That 30 minutes after my failed attempt I took my temperature and it was a chilly 97.4 degrees?

Whatever. I'll stop by the blood bank tomorrow and try again.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

What a Waste!

I've pissed the evening away on Facebook. I accomplished NOTHING tonight. I did not buy a new purse. I did not buy a new book. I did not buy anything fabulous at my favorite store, Amazon. Three and a half hours WASTED.

At least I was productive at work today. Have I mentioned that my office light fixture is in need of repair? In the afternoons, it buzzes incessantly just like a big ol' moth in those old electric bug zappers. I brought a lamp from home and borrowed another, and while I can see OK, my office has the ambiance of a brothel.

I am enjoying a new blog more and more, and I've spent part of the evening catching up on the archives. My friends, I introduce you to Ree, the Pioneer Woman.

I think I'll go have a brownie. And pee. I really need to pee.

Monday, March 17, 2008

My New Toothbrush

I have the coolest manual toothbrush on the block.

I picked it up at HyVee (which, by the way, is a horrible awful terrible place to be on a Saturday afternoon). I was pleased with its price (cheap but not generic cheap), size (compact for my teeny-tiny mouth), and bristles (extra soft).

Until I used the toothbrush, I had no idea that it also included a Tongue and Cheek Cleaner. Essentially, it's a spot of ribbed rubber affixed to the back of the brush that brushes your tongue and cheeks as you brush your teeth. It looks like the rough side of velcro.


Click here for more information on the Colgate 360 Sensitive. Happy Brushing!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Starbucks Gift Cards

I received a couple of Starbucks gift cards for Christmas (fabulous gift idea for KimmyGoat, I might add), and duly registered each of them on the Starbucks website in order to track their balances. However, after depleting the card's balance, I made the mistake of returning the card to Starbucks instead of retaining it myself. Why was this a mistake? Because I received the following email message from Starbucks this week (complete with the last four digits of the card number).

Learn from me. 1) Register your card. 2) Keep it even after you expend the balance. 3) Publicize your "breakup" (yes, those are air quotes). 4) Get $5.00.

I know we're talking about a mere $5.00. That's not even 2 grandenonfatnowhipmochasforkim. I don't care. There's $5.00 out there with MY name on it, and I can't have it, and it's killing me.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Woo! I'm 30!

And I still have a pimple or two! Woo hoo!

There should be a negative correlation between one's age and the size of their cake. In other words, the bigger the number, the smaller the cake; that way, no one can poke fun of the number of candles (that couldn't possibly fit) on your cake.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The Worst Hard Time

I recently finished reading Timothy Egan's The Worst Hard Time, my book club's February selection. The Worst Hard Time "provides a look back and the natural and man-made conditions that led to the period of the Great American Dust Bowl and explores the lives of the hardy individuals who survived it" (source: Lincoln City Libraries). Since I grew up in what was the Dust Bowl, I took an immediate interest in the book, especially when I learned that it profiled (though not as much as I had hoped) a Volga German family in Shattuck, Oklahoma, and cited as a reference Conquering the Wind, a book about the Ellis County, Kansas, Volga Germans written by a great-great aunt.

The Worst Hard Time has rekindled a long-held interest in my family's history and geneology, and I'm embarrassed to say that although I'm 1/4 Volga German, I have never visited the Germans from Russia museum located six blocks from my office. In junior high I explored my family history (before the interwebs) and was able to trace back several generations. Amazingly, those materials survived umpteen moves and were safely stored in a plastic box in my basement. I'm currently trying to compile and verify the information I have, and I'm working on a website that I hope to share with my extended family this summer.

Some of my family members lived through the Dust Bowl era. Most of them are gone now, but having known them somehow made the book more meaningful to me in a way the next generation probably won't or can't appreciate. Some thoughts...

The Worst Hard Time
mentioned the Volga Germans' obsession with cleanliness several times. My book club friends were amused. At least now I know it's genetic. I'm not OCD after all.

My grandparents Ralph and Peg were teenagers during the Dust Bowl. I vaguely remember asking Grandma about the "dirty thirties," but she refused to discuss it. Being a teenage girl is hard enough, but I can't imagine being a teenager during that time.

My great-grandma Grandma Mary was just a little bit older than I am now, and she was having babies every few years. One of the individuals profiled in The Worst Hard Time was Hazel Lucas Shaw, who lost her first child to dust pneumonia. I think Grandma Mary lost a couple of daughters around/during the Dust Bowl era, and I wonder if they too suffered the same fate.

Dirty. No jobs. Sick people. So much despair. Hopelessness. It's a testament to their "hardiness" (a word also used to describe my family in the obituary of a great-great grandfather) that I'm here today. I like knowing that I come from "hardy" stock, but I'm not sure that term accurately describes me (or my generation). From

har·dy [hahr-dee] –adjective, -di·er, -di·est.

1. capable of enduring fatigue, hardship, exposure, etc.; sturdy; strong: hardy explorers of northern Canada.
2. (of plants) able to withstand the cold of winter in the open air.
3. requiring great physical courage, vigor, or endurance: the hardiest sports.
4. bold or daring; courageous: hardy soldiers.
5. unduly bold; presumptuous; foolhardy.